Maximum Overdrive Recap

Jamie

Hello students. Welcome to Dr. Smadbeck’s lecture on Trucks and its adaptations. I am the foremost authority on this subject as I’m actually the only person currently alive that has read the original short story by Stephen King, watched its first adaptation known as Maximum Overdrive, and the 1997 Canadian TV Movie that returned to the original title of Trucks. Let’s begin.

There is nothing in the short story that screams “I must be adapted.” Nothing. The story simply details a bunch of people hanging out in a truck stop while driverless trucks prowl about outside. People die, they end up pumping gas for the trucks (becoming their slaves), and end the story contemplating whether one day they may once again be free from their new masters. Like most Stephen King tales, the story is somewhat abstract in its creepiness. It makes one confront a fear that they may not have even known they had (like the helplessness that would go along with our own creations turning against us).

So you might expect that Stephen King (the director of his own adaptation) must have looked at this particularly abstract scary story and thought “I’ll have to jazz this up to get this to work on screen.” You would be wrong. As King is wont to do, he instead made an nearly exact replication of his work. Few details were added other than a shitty explanation for why the machines have come to life (answer: Earth passing through the tail of a comet… cool beans, bro). It was boring, it was silly, and it had a terrible ending. Worst of all it just wasn’t any fun, and that’s usually what I love about King. A pulpy 50’s feel.

Anyway, you’d think it couldn’t get worse. You’d be wrong again, because I then watched Trucks, a TV movie adaptation of the same work that originally aired on the USA network back in 1997 (egad! What has my life come to?). Oddly, I had a sneaking suspicion that whoever made the film ripped off Maximum Overdrive as several key elements, which were not in the original source material, appear in the TV movie. How little creativity do you need to have to steal from the adaptation that absolutely tanked? Even odder? I think this absolutely terrible TV movie managed to have a better ending than the major motion picture (double egad!).

I also have a more minor gripe I’d like to voice. Emilio Estevez is understandably cool as ice in this film. He looks cool, he seems cool, he is cool. A short time into the film a girl enters his life. She looks cool, seems cool, and is cool as well. They are basically the heroes. They run around saving people. She seems tough as nails and so does he. It’s perfect. It was one of the few things working in the film. Obviously, though, they end up boning (why wouldn’t they? They are both rad). Immediately after boning our once badass chick is no longer running around saving people. She throws on a short skirt, kisses Emilio, and tells him to be safe. She stays behind waiting for him to come back and kiss on her some more. It’s super duper lame. What happened to the badass chick that I liked so much?! It was really infuriating. From what I’ve read it was actually a conscious choice by the producer Dino De Laurentiis. He told King to stop dressing her in pants and to have her just be a typical girl in a short skirt for guys to ogle. Talk about having an old fashioned feel. Guess Dino never saw Alien.

With that I’ll conclude the lecture. I hope you’ve learned enough to never have to watch either of these films.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Maximum Overdrive?! More like Movie That Patrick Derides! Weak, but I think this is a historic moment, the first Bad Movie Title Pun (BMTP) with my name? Maybe. Anyways, I hated Maximum Overdrive. Oops, spoiled it one sec:

  • The Good – I liked Emilio. I liked Laura Harrington. Some tense moments, although few and far between.
  • The Bad – I hated this movie (there it is). Let’s see. Most of the acting was terrible. The entire movie is bookended by title cards explaining (unnecessarily) an origin for the machines awakening. The movie looks like it was made in 1975. By extension, this movie had the opportunity to have seriously sweet practical effects, but I’m convinced King as director waylaid any hope of pulling off anything interesting. The ending was straight hot garbage.
  • The BMT – Not really. I mean, for street cred purposes sure. But in general I would never really want to watch this film again. Borderline I guess.

But that kind of exemplifies the problems we often have with watching films from the 80s for BMT. Context. In context what did people think of this film in 1986? It really does look like it was made in 1975, it looks like Jaws. Did people notice that? Were 1980s horror fans going in and just baffled by the quality. Or was it just a shrug and a “not very scary, kind of boring” attitude. Without context for me it makes this movie very puzzling. I don’t like the movie either as a movie or as a BMT film. It satisfies Bad Movie Street Cred (BMSC) and nothing more.

Game? I do actually want a remake. I think there is something here with one simple change. Play it straight to start. Hey we can just wait out the trucks. They’ll run out of gas. Whatever is causing this will end. But no. The machines get their energy elsewhere, they don’t need gas. Show them rebuilding their fallen brethren. Evolving into better machines. Until it dawns on our protagonists that they are doomed. This movie comes across as silly without a sad ending unfortunately.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Maximum Overdrive Preview

Alright, for this week’s film we continue on our cycle of one-and-done directors with horror/thriller. While the previous entries in the category typically involve an actor taking a stab at directing, or a commercial/music video/television director getting a shot, this film is one of the few examples where a novelist was given the chance to adapt his own work. That’s right, we are watching Maximum Overdrive! Perhaps emboldened by Clive Barker’s success with Hellraiser, Stephen King decided he really, really, really wanted to direct this adaptation. Then afterwards he decided that he really, really, really didn’t want to ever direct again. Let’s go!

Maximum Overdrive (1986) – BMeTric: 40.8

MaximumOverdrive_BMeT

(While fairly standard I am kind of startled by how rapidly this movie’s rating has risen. You can kind of see it here, but the rating has risen from 4.3 in 2007 to 5.4 now! How?! This is a weird trend I see a lot and I think it is because as the “population” of IMDb increases less discerning people (or at least people less willing to just rip a movie apart) join up. Still weird. But 40+ for a film from 1986? Uh, yes please)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Customers and employees at an interstate truck stop are terrorized by the trucks themselves, which have come to demonic life as a part of a global rebellion of machines. Novelist King, making his directorial debut, said he set out to create a junk movie, nothing more… but he made it stupid and boring. Remade as a 1997 cable movie, TRUCKS.

(I searched high and low but can’t seem to find the source for where King implied he set out to create a junk film. I can only presume that it was in some interview lost to time because it is referenced ad nauseum when talking about the film. Patrick and I will have to draw straws to determine who is going to go out of their way to watch the 1997 TV movie.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygWMy-QQNbw

(Is this some sort of sick joke? Stephen King was hopped up on coke while making this film? You don’t say.)

Director(s) – Stephen King – (BMT: Maximum Overdrive; Notes: Nominated for Worst Director, Maximum Overdrive (1986). World famous author. ‘It’ is one of my favorites books. I love it.)

Writer(s) – Stephen King (film by, written for the screen by) – (Known For: The Shining; 1408; The Running Man; Pet Sematary; Christine; Creepshow; Cujo; Salem’s Lot; Stephen King’s ‘The Langoliers’; Stephen King’s ‘Storm of the Century’; Stephen King’s ‘Silver Bullet’; Stephen King’s ‘Cat’s Eye’; BMT: Dreamcatcher; Maximum Overdrive; Creepshow 2; Stephen King’s A Good Marriage; Stephen King’s ‘Thinner’; Stephen King’s ‘Sleepwalkers’; Stephen King’s ‘Graveyard Shift’; Notes: Famous author. Has said the only adaptation of his work he remembers hating is Kubrick’s The Shining. This hatred led to him making his own TV movie adaptation of the film.)

Actors – Emilio Estevez – (Known For: The Breakfast Club; Young Guns; Bobby; St. Elmo’s Fire; Repo Man; The Way; Mission: Impossible; The Outsiders; BMT: The Mighty Ducks; D2: The Mighty Ducks; Maximum Overdrive; D3: The Mighty Ducks; Men at Work; Freejack; Young Guns II; National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1; Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor, Maximum Overdrive (1986). Has not acted in a significant role since 2010’s The Way. Now more focused on directing.)

Budget/Gross: $10 million / $7,433,663

(I heard it was supposed to be a spring film, but King needed a break or something so they moved the release date to July in exchange for him doing a lot of promotion… which didn’t help and it failed miserably. Not the worst release ever for a major Stephen King adaptation… 4th actualy. The worst two are the Mangler and future BMT pick Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 16% (2/12), No consensus.

(Old films never have a huge number of reviews, although RT is getting better at collecting them. I’ll write a consensus: King’s directorial debut proves that if you want something done right, you better not do it yourself.)

Poster – Jeez Louise! (F)

maximumOverdrive

(Holy Moly! That is listed as the theatrical poster! Did Stephen King also make that himself? That is startling.)

Tagline(s) – Stephen King’s masterpiece of terror directed by the master himself. (F)

(There are lots of taglines associated with the theater release/VHS/laserdisc/DVD over the years. I just use the one that’s on the original poster. Obviously it is trash. Nothing more to say.)

Notes – In the movie trailer, Stephen King said he decided to direct the film himself after writing several because he wanted to see Stephen King done right. “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.” When asked why he hasn’t directed a movie since “Maximum Overdrive”, Stephen King responded “Just watch Maximum Overdrive.” (perfect one and done for real)

Stephen King, being a former cocaine addict, later admitted that he was “coked out of my mind” the entire time he was making this picture and often didn’t know what he was doing. He remarked that he’d like to try directing again someday, this time sober. (This is what I like to hear Stephen. I’m willing to bet a solid portion of weird ass movies from the 80s have a similar origin story)

An accident occurred on July 31, 1985 during shooting in a suburb of Wilmington, North Carolina where a radio-controlled lawnmower used in a scene went out of control and struck a block of wood used as a camera support, shooting out wood splinters which injured the director of photography Armando Nannuzzi; as a result, he lost his right eye. Nannuzzi sued Stephen King on February 18, 1987 for $18 million in damages. The suit was settled out of court. (Yeah, there is a bit of a sad tale there. Obviously losing an eye is not ideal for a director of photography).

On Deadly Ground Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. On Deadly Ground? More like Not Made For Patrick! Let’s get into it.

  • The Good – The directing was shockingly solid. You heard me right. Makes me think Seagal just didn’t like directing. The action was brutal, some of the practical effects were genuinely amazing, and the entire part with Caine is kind of strangely appealing in a cynical fuck-you-corporate-America kind of way.
  • The Bad – It often comes across as a barely film. McGinley is terrible. The lines often cross into WTF-am-I-hearing territory, no human beings would talk like this. An unnecessary hallucination sequence in the middle which is just baffling. And a crazy monologue at the end which could not have been more trite.
  • The BMT – Of course. But I was right, it is like a 40 (borderline but not quite legendary), not a 60. Nailed the Seagal Adjusted BMeT (SABMeT).

I kept that part short on purpose because something happened while I watched this film, and it kind of relates to the SABMeT. Every so often when I watch a movie I think to myself “oh this is unpleasant”. Usually it is with movies like Sabotage where I get physically repulsed by the amount of violence and gore on screen. I’m a sensitive lad. Super violent movies just aren’t my jam. That happened during this film. Which is weird. I’ve only seen two Seagal films (On Deadly Ground and Fire Down Below, both for BMT), but for some reason I had the impression he was like JCVD, whose movies I find far more palatable (and with super karate action! Is it karate? I honestly have no idea).

And then it struck me: “Oh, this movie isn’t made for me”. It appears (I assume) to be serving a niche underserved market. People who want to watch Aikido (or perhaps any martial art), ‘splosions, and people getting shot in the face and blown up by claymore mines in gruesome and unyielding detail. No wonder Seagal appears to exist in his own realm of movies. Such unpleasant films are few and far between I imagine. Get yo money Seagal. Get yo money.

No time for another game. I was going to do a Tril-Oh-Geez (landmines featuring Double Team and this gem: I. Am. Not. Joking. ). But I’ll just leave it here. So philosophical these last couple of week. Loving the One-and-Done Director Cycle!

Jamie

There is a set of actors in the bad movie universe (not the BMTverse… there’s a distinct difference) where I’m not totally sure why they are so appealing to their loyal fanbase. On the rare occasions that we actually watch one of their films, I like to take the opportunity to try to better understand them. Steven Seagal is one of those actors (Jean-Claude Van Damme and Tyler Perry are two others that I can think of off the top of my head). We have watched one other film starring Seagal (Fire Down Below) and I can tell you I did not understand his appeal AT ALL after watching that shit. But that was late Seagal. Not fat Seagal, but still late. His star was fading. This was the first true blue Seagal film I have actually ever seen (shocking, I know). And I can tell you: I now get it. Seagal is three things: swearing like a sailor, the environment, and gruesomely murdering people that he deems deserving. Can I see why people are into that? Uh fuck yeah (minus the whole environment thing, which is kinda a Seagal quirk). Am I into it? Not totally. While fun, I was getting a bit queasy around the seventh time he shot someone in the face at point blank range. Regardless, I get it. And that’s what BMT is all about.

One small thing to note is that this film didn’t just take place in Alaska. It is Alaska. I loved it. Great setting film.

Anywho, this movie was not based on a book (although two Seagal films are: The Patriot and Exit Wounds), but if it was it would be based on a book called The Rainbow Warrior where an Inuit warrior, Aklark, fed up with the oil company destroying his home, decides to fight back. While the oil company may have the firepower, The Rainbow Warrior has the power of nature behind him. The book is notable for the number of times that Aklark calls upon the animal kingdom to gruesomely murder someone, as well as a climactic scene where Aklark transforms into a bear and mauls the president of the oil company to death. Reviews for the book were… poor.

On Deadly Ground Preview

Alright, onto this week. Once upon a time a boy named Steven Seagal stumbled inadvertently into fame after giving an aikido demonstration for a bunch of Hollywood talent execs hopped up on cocaine (probably). They thought it was totally kick ass and immediately allowed him to star in five major motion pictures, culminating in Under Siege (a wild success). After reading The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump (probably) he was all like “I have leverage” and was like “I totally won’t do Under Siege II unless you let me direct my next film.” The execs were horrified. They needed the sweet, sweet Under Siege II dollars to fuel their obsessive speedboat collecting habits. So they said yes and he made a little movie called On Deadly Ground and everyone in the world lived happily ever after. That’s the story of our next film. The only directorial effort by the late, great Steven Seagal (Patrick’s Note: Steven Seagal is not dead). He apparently decided not to direct again because how can you improve at something you’ve perfected? We now get to watch his perfection. Let’s go!

On Deadly Ground (1994) – BMeTric: 62.8

OnDeadlyGround_BMeT

(BMT University Alert! Months ago I postulated that an adjustment to the BMeTric needed to be made, a Genre Adjusted BMeTric (GABMeT, the first part of an adjusted BMeT+), in order to account for the fact that Horror films have a small bizarrely devoted fanbase who watches everything and is perfectly willing to throw out ratings on IMDb. It artificially inflates the BMeTrics of Horror films and leaves us baffled. I’m going to say it now: Seagal is the same. His straight-to-video film from 2015 has 2000 votes on IMDb … 2000! How?! Who watches these things?! Baffling. So this is probably like … a 40 in my Seagal Adjusted BMeTric (SABMeT). Book it.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – After the critical/popular success of Under Siege, Seagal was allowed to direct this fast-fader about the raping of Alaska’s interior by an oil company run by evil Caine. Spiritual mumbo-jumbo halfway through look like an outtake from The Doors, and the star’s anticlimactic final speech (and the obligatory wrist-snapping) had fans bolting for the exits. Caine looks as if he’s undergone cosmetic surgery by Dwight Frye.

(Leonard should have just stopped at “evil Caine.” No need to say more. I’m in. He then descends into film nerd jokes that only he would get. I do not understand either The Doors reference or the Dwight Frye thing. Finally, I can’t wait to enjoy Seagal’s anticlimactic speech. I feel like BMT was built on anticlimactic speeches.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyD_6_jFB8A

(I wonder if this is the only case of the White Savior trope being used in reference to the inuit people? Probably. Love, love, love the line “I’m gonna reach out and touch somebody here.” Bwhahahahaha.)

Director(s) – Steven Seagal – (BMT: On Deadly Ground Notes: For Razzie info see below. His lone directorial debut. It is said that he got to do this because he agreed to be in Under Siege II: Dark Territory. This was a small production until Seagal was attached at which point its budget ballooned.)

Writer(s) – Ed Horowitz (written by) – (BMT: On Deadly Ground; Exit Wounds; Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, On Deadly Ground (1994); Teaches at UCLA and is known for his work with Segal in addition to writing for La Femme Nikita.)

Robin U. Russin (written by) – (BMT: On Deadly Ground; Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, On Deadly Ground (1994); Teaches as University of California Riverside and the author of Screenplay: Writing the Picture.)

Actors – Steven Seagal – (Known For: Machete, Executive Decision, Under Siege, The Perfect Weapon, Above the Law; BMT: On Deadly Ground, The Patriot, Half Past Dead, Fire Down Below, Ticker, The Foreigner, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory,  Into the Sun, The Glimmer Man, Exit Wounds, Maximum Conviction, Hard to Kill; Notes: For Razzie info see below. We all know Seagal. We rode that sweet high-octane martial arts wave from the late eighties, through the 90s, and (like many a-wave rider) became a parody of himself in the 2000s. He is still making movies, but basically straight-to-video stuff. His fanbase does appear strong though judging by the number of IMDb votes his recent movies receive (that I’ve never heard of, let alone seen). Make yo money Seagal, haters gonna hate.)

Razzie Info for Segal: Won for Worst Director, On Deadly Ground (1994); Nominated for Worst Actor, On Deadly Ground (1994), Fire Down Below (1997), and Half Past Dead (2002); Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, Executive Decision (1996); Nominated for Worst Original Song, Fire Down Below (1997) For the song “Fire Down Below” (!!!!!! He genuinely helped write that song!)

Also stars Michael Caine!

Budget/Gross: $50 million / $38,590,458

(Oooooooooooof. Why does this movie cost $50 million? Why would they give that to Seagal for his directoral debut? How much of that budget went to ‘splosions? Hopefully a lot. In reality Seagal probably gave most of it to Caine and himself and then laughed all the way to the bank.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 10% (3/30), No consensus yet.

(Bah, I’m going to give it a consensus. Not even evil Michael Caine can save this disastrous directorial debut. Explosions galore, but ultimately underwhelms.)

Poster – Bob Ross-esque (B-)

ondeadlyground

(There is something mesmerizing about this poster despite it being a bit crowded. I like the title font and really like the tones. Seagal’s giant orange face mixes nicely with the burning building and the sunrise and all that fades picturesquely into the darker background. It’s like a painting that Bob Ross would have painted. I can’t stop staring at it. This means something…)

Tagline(s) – His Battle To Save The Alaskan Wilderness And Protect Its People Can Only Be Won… (D)

(… On Deadly Ground. Let me just finish that little guy for you. Way too long. Almost a perfect example of informative, but boring. And stupidly incorporating an already stupid title into the tagline, just not a good look all around.)

Notes – The final scene when Forrest Taft gives the speech about the oil companies and air pollution, was originally 11 minutes long. Audiences complained that it was overlong and preachy. The scene was re-edited before release. (fuck you audiences, do you think I can find this?)

There were allegations that Michael Caine and Steven Seagal didn’t get along. However, in Caine’s memoir, The Elephant To Hollywood, he stated that he liked working with Seagal and the crew, but hated filming in Alaska, even joking that “On Deadly Ground” was an apt title. (This has been settings facts, brought to you by Jamie’s weird obsession)

Steven Seagal agreed to appear in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995) if Warner Bros. allowed him to direct this film. (good deal bro)

After Warner offered Steven Seagal the directorial reins for this film, then titled Rainbow Warrior, the budget blew out when bigger and more explosive action scenes were written into the screenplay. Warner turned to indie production company Largo Entertainment to share some of the cost. In return, Largo would get the international rights to the film. However, after Under Siege (1992) opened, and performed beyond Warner’s expectations, Warner decided to fully finance the film themselves.

On Deadly Ground was not Steven Seagal’s first choice to make his directorial debut. He was initially offered the mafia drama “Man of Honor” as a starring/director/writer vehicle by Twentieth Century Fox and Morgan Creek Productions, but cost overruns, and Fox’s unwillingness to plonk down $30+ million dollars for the film, forced the pic to shutdown, just weeks away from filming.

Razzie Awards 1995, Won for Worst Director, Steven Seagal

Razzie Awards 1995, Nominated for Worst Picture

Razzie Awards 1995, Nominated for Worst Actor, Steven Seagal

Razzie Awards 1995, Nominated for Worst Actress, Joan Chen

Razzie Awards 1995, Nominated for Worst Screenplay, Ed Horowitz, Robin U. Russin

Razzie Awards 1995, Nominated for Worst Original Song, Mark Hudson, Klaus Meine, For the song “Under The Same Sun”.

The Tuxedo Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The Tuxedo? More like The Tuxe-don’t!!!! No time to waste, I got BMT Theories to attend to:

  • The Good – I am nearly always charmed by Jackie Chan. The ending was a solidly entertaining twist on a tired trope (the guy finally getting the girl he fawned over in the beginning, asll you need is confidence!). Some of the practical effects were genuinely impressive (if terrifying for a kids movie). The directing choices showed passion (this is becoming a theme)
  • The Bad – The plot is linear but convoluted, so weird that it make suspension of disbelief nearly impossible. They utilize wire-work in such a way as to make me not enjoy the one thing I should be enjoying in a Jackie Chan film (martial arts), unbelievable and not fun same as in the Medallion. Hewitt was a bland sidekick (more on this later). The entirety of Jackie Chan pretending to be James Brown, the scene is a travesty to filmmaking in general. The directing choices are out of date (diagonal wipes for scene transitions? What is this, Star Wars?!).
  • The BMT – Yes, although Jamie and I disagreed a bit on the exact level. If you recall the actual number is 50+ (amazing). Jamie thinks that is about right. I thought this was more like a 30-40. Really just bonkers crazy, but it ain’t no Medallion. Which brings me right to my game.

Welcome to BMT University and a new edition of BMT Theories where I give you a probably terrible theory on bad movies. Let’s roll out the main big budget Chan movies/franchises between ‘98 and ‘08: Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon, The Tuxedo, The Medallion, and Around the World in 80 Days. These all have three common denominators besides Jackie Chan. First, martial arts. Second, a kind of ridiculously convoluted plot. Third, a companion, someone who can make fun of how Jackie Chan looks, speaks, and is in general (comedy!).

My Theory: you can pretty much just rank these movies by the interest of the companion. Chris Tucker and Owen Wilson are a bit neck and neck, but I go Owen Wilson all day (and I like Shanghai Noon over Rush Hour, so there). After that we have The Tuxedo, Hewitt did an admirable (although overly silly/bland) job in the role. The Medallion had Lee Evens in a perpetual gay panic, so that was not a great look. And then Around the World in 80 Days had Steve Coogan sleepwalking around Epcot Center-level sets. Voila, it works!

I do think this movie was slightly better than The Medallion which is where the 30-40 BMeTric assessment comes in. I think The Medallion is 50+, but this one was saved slightly by Hewitt. I’m excited to see how the theory holds up with Spy Next Door where Jackie Chan is paired with three children.

Jamie

As usual I allowed Patrick to tell the story of The Tuxedo to our loyal audience, while I concerned myself more with some of the underlying themes and characteristics that interest us in the BMTverse. Briefly I’ll say that I thought The Tuxedo was bonkers. A great BMT film. Really hacked to shit in editing, super odd pacing to a confounding story arc, and a scenery-eating antagonist extraordinaire. I liked it a lot. Some might disagree.

I’m tired of making up fake book adaptations. Instead, I’ll play a new game called BMysTeries. The Tuxedo provides a perfect opportunity for me to talk way too much about one of my favorite BMT subjects: the setting. I love settings. I find it fascinating to try to figure why particular films are set in particular places. Is it necessary that Chill Factor take place in Montana? Nope. Could have been Small Town, U.S.A., but they chose Montana. Why? Hard to say. But it’s easy to see why New Year’s Eve takes place in New York. Interestingly it’s rare for us to watch a film that doesn’t have an identifiable setting, and even rarer for a film to go out of its way to obscure where it takes place. The Tuxedo is one such film. How do I know it’s not set anywhere? Well whenever I watch a BMT film I always look for evidence pointing to where a film is set (I’m a weirdo): license plates on cars, landmarks, business cards, etc. In The Tuxedo every license plate was the same: “The Great State” listed on top, “Freedom” on the bottom. Additionally, the home address of one of the characters is shown explicitly on screen no less than three times. The state on the address? LI. A made up state abbreviation! Perhaps an underhanded way of implying Long Island = New York… but hard to say as the town names are all made up. You have to give the film credit for going all in on not having a setting. But why? It’s the question I’ve been asking myself all week. Why? Why is it important that the film have no setting? I could understand having fake license plates (cheaper?), but a fake state abbreviation doesn’t save anything (other than saving you from having to specify a setting). It’s a BMysTery. BMysTery #1: Why do settingless films not have a setting?

I will be researching this topic for future entries. Perhaps if I collect enough datapoints, I’ll be able to figure out the benefit that The Tuxedo gained being set in The Great State of LI. For now it’s a spooky mystery.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Tuxedo Preview

Moving onto this week’s film, we were on a quest for a comedy film where the director never directed anything before or since it’s release. This actually turned out to be pretty tough for the genre. Not sure why. Perhaps it’s just more common for comedy directors to be given second or third chances at directing. Who knows. Regardless, we ended up finding the Jackie Chan classic The Tuxedo to fit into the cycle, which was directed by Kevin Donovan, a director known mostly for commercial directing. I’m excited for a little martial arts action comedy adventure. Let’s go!

The Tuxedo (2002) – BMeTric: 52.0

TheTuxedo_BMeT

(I am stunned this ended up with this high of a rating! A BMeTric of 50+ is incredible high echelon stuff. Knowing the medallion though I can see it. It has been dropping a bit recently, probably (this is my current theory) because people who watched the film as children (you love everything when you are a child, see Hook and Hackers in my case) are now older and rating things online. I bet there are more than a few people who are like “The Tuxedo is bad?!??!”)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5/4 stars – The movie is silly beyond comprehension, and even if it weren’t silly, it would still be beyond comprehension.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Dreadful concoction casts Chan as a cabbie-turned-chauffeur who must take the place of his new boss, a dashing government spy; when he dons the secret agent’s tuxedo, he acquires superhuman skills. Boneheaded movie replaces (or augments) Chan’s dazzling martial arts skills with special effects; what’s more, the script’s t&a “humor” is a poor fit for the ever likeable star. Hewitt is incredibly obnoxious as Jackie’s new partner. Bob Balaban appears unbilled.

(Lots to unpack here. Leonard certainly has a lot to say. Love his excessive use of semicolons. Classic Len. Also love the shade he’s throwing at the script through the use of quotation marks around “humor.” Finally, he singles out Hewitt for being incredibly obnoxious. Is it possible that she’s more obnoxious than Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour series? If so, bravo.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHAOLihH58s

(This is late 90’s, early 2000s candy for my brain. I’m so excited. I think my two favorite things from the trailer are the “shake_booty” option on the tux… which is wonderfully awful and the fact that the tux is Devlin’s “2 billion dollar secret.” Haha, what? Why that amount of money? Is the cost of production an important plot point?)

Director(s) – Kevin Donovan – (BMT: The Tuxedo; Notes: An internationally recognized commercial and music video director. Was attached to direct Beverly Hills Chihauhau, but dropped out due to creative differences.)

Writer(s) – Michael Leeson (screenplay) – (Known For: The War of the Roses; What Planet Are You From?; BMT: The Tuxedo; The Survivors; Notes: A prolific and renowned tv writer he has been nominated (and won) several Emmys and was nominated for a BAFTA and Academy Award. Wrote for the Cosby Show)

Michael J. Wilson (story, screenplay) – (Known For: Ice Age; BMT: Shark Tale; The Tuxedo; Notes: Mostly a kids film writer as far as credits, I wouldn’t be surprised is he was a script doctor.)

Matt Manfredi  and Phil Hay (story) – (Known For: Crazy/Beautiful; The Invitation; BMT: Clash of the Titans; R.I.P.D. (BMT); Ride Along; The Tuxedo; Ride Along 2; Aeon Flux; Notes: Look at that filmography! They kind of got their break with The Tuxedo and that have really come up from there. Ride Along in particular was a huge success. This movie was a patchwork operation though, for sure.)

Actors – Jackie Chan – (Known For: Kung Fu Panda; Rush Hour; Rush Hour 2; Shanghai Noon; The Forbidden Kingdom; Shanghai Knights; The Karate Kid; Kung Fu Panda 2; Rumble in the Bronx; Enter the Dragon; Kung Fu Panda 3; Supercop 2; The Legend of Drunken Master; Supercop; Police Story 2; Police Story; Operation Condor; New Police Story; BMT: Rush Hour 3 (seen it); Around the World in 80 Days (BMT); The Tuxedo; The Spy Next Door; The Medallion (BMT); Police Story: Lockdown; The Protector; The Cannonball Run; Cannonball Run II; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Notes: Has the potential to be a BMT darling of sorts. The Medallion was a great BMT, so we are excited for this and Spy Next Door in particular. His movies often feature fight scene using props, cheeky slapstick humor, and a series of during-credits outtakes)

Jennifer Love Hewitt – (Known For: Can’t Hardly Wait; Heartbreakers; BMT: I Know What You Did Last Summer; I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; The Tuxedo; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; The Audrey Hepburn Story; The Hunchback of Notre Dame II; Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit; Delgo; The Suburbans; House Arrest; Garfield – The Movie; Notes: Probably best known for her television work (Party of Five for example). Married to Brian Hallisay (only BMT film: Jessabelle), and according to IMDb is a huge fan of the Glasgow Celtic Football Club.)

Budget/Gross: $60 million / $50,547,998 ($104,391,623 Worldwide)

(That is quite the budget. At the time Chan was huge though. Rush Hour (30 million budget ballooning to 140 million by the time Rush Hour 3 came about), Shanghai Noon (55 million budget), and this each came out 2 years apart from each other (1998, 2000 and 2002). I think they were looking for their next franchise to insert him into. Shanghai Knights and Rush Hour 3 subsequently kind of stopped Chan’s career progressing in its tracks. This movie didn’t help, 100 million worldwide, yikes!)

Rotten Tomatoes: 21% (30/138), Chan is as charming as ever, but his talents are squandered by special effects and bad writing.

(I feel like this consensus from RT could have also been used for Around the World in 80 Days. Like Chan was charming, but the writing was shit and he didn’t get to do his usual stunt magic.)

Poster – Ooooo, look at that font, sexy (D)

tuxedo_ver3

(I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really do not like that background mix of colors. Makes it look like garbage. Only good thing I can say about it is the font for the title is bomb (Patrick Note: While staring transfixed by this poster I exclaimed “The font on The Tuxedo is … incredible!” Twin time). I would love to see Patrick try to spoof that shit.)

Tagline(s) – He’s Not Looking For Trouble… He’s Wearing It. (B)

Class. Action. Suit. (A…. mazing)

(I generally stick to just the tagline on the poster, but the second one here is just too good. The one from the poster is surprisingly decent. Just a little wordy. Otherwise fairly clever and tells me a bit about the film. The second one is ridiculous. Like what does “Class action suit” have to do with anything? It makes me laugh. I’m laughing at it right now.)

Notes – When Jimmy goes through Mr. Devlin’s address book looking for “Walter Strider”, he finds phone numbers for Claudia Schiffer, Norman Schwarzkopf, Stephen Sondheim, and George M. Steinbrenner III (first names added). All of the numbers have special characters inserted to ensure that they are not real numbers that people might try to call. (Literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard)

The “high tech” sniper rifle featured in the movie, is really a scoped competition air rifle from Steyr. Nothing is done to hide this fact, the gun is in its original state. (get me the internet movie firearms database stat! It’s a real thing and, yes, this note is specifically made here)

At the premiere there was a chimp in a suit and hat. (What, why?)

Bill Murray: Can be seen in the final gallery scene as a customer. (WTF, that is kind of hilarious)

Can’t Stop the Music Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Can’t Stop the Music? More like Please Stop the Movie! Amirite!!!!! Wowwy Wow. Let’s get into it:

  • Good – Guttenberg was certainly enthusiastic. Really really into it. The director has some tricks up her sleeve that, while not wholly original, at the very least showed passion. If you like beefy man bods there is puuuuuhlenty to work with here. Paul Sand was funny. Caitlyn Jenner was actually really good at acting, at least relatively. If you hadn’t told me that was Caitlyn Jenner I would have guessed he was just a no name 80s actor.
  • Bad – Let’s start with 90% of the music in the film. A lot of it was genuinely bad. Most of the actors were terrible, especially the leading lady. They put way too much on the shoulders of the Village People who were all really really bad. The movie was also literally 40 minutes too long. I was shocked it was over two hours. This should have been a 70 minute barely movie from conception.
  • BMT – Uh, yeah. But you have to really get into it, or else it is merely boring. Watch the musical sequences and marvel at their length. Revel in each gratuitous shot of Dr. Pepper as they sip it casually in every other scene. Wonder aloud “did Guttenberg really suggest that Perrine should eat two snowballs and a ding dong for his music career? What a bizarre sexual innuendo that is simultaneously disgusting, offensive and inventive”. If you are there this is a 70 BMeTric movie, creme de la creme. If you are like me though, this was a borderline 25, something that needed to be watched more for bad movie street cred rather than specific enjoyment. Can’t Stop the Music, you’ve just been served (speaking of future music-based BMT choices…).

I was trying to gauge where on a bad movie musical scale this fell. You might be surprised if you had looked it up because it is rare to find Can’t Stop the Music on any online list. I saw it listed #31 on one list and left off of multiple other lists entirely. At the very least Spice World, Glitter, From Justin to Kelly and Rhinestone (all BMT) are all pretty universally considered worse. The Apple shows up more frequently as a similar contemporary. I would kind of agree, this ain’t nothing special. Get over yourself Can’t Stop the Music.

Game time, I needs a prequel baby! It’s called It Takes a Village and is focused on Sam Simpson’s rise through the mean streets of the fashion world while staying grounded in her crazy loft in the Village. As her career skyrockets a new hot designer, Chili Piper, invites her to fashion week in Paris. But will her blossoming romance with young music exec Steve Waits derail this huge opportunity with the smarmy Piper (who wants her body for more things than just pictures)? A cameo (somehow) by a young Steve Guttenberg delights. Billy Zane is electrifying as Chili Piper (spoiler, he doesn’t make it to Fashion Week in Paris, poor Billy Zane).

I want to see that movie.

Jamie

Now that you know a little about the “film” we can get a little into what the film means. It both causes me to exclaim “Why don’t we watch more older film? This film is nuts!” And “This is a perfect example of why we try to stay away from older films.” Why? Well like White Comanche before it I think Can’t Stop the Music exemplifies a type of film that occasionally crosses our BMT path. This is the “inherently hilarious” film. A film whose mere premise will make people say “You have got to watch this. It’s stars William Shatner playing a Native American…” And then you watch it and indeed, there’s William Shatner playing a Native American. Are these types of films fun to watch? Yes, occasionally. I think Can’t Stop the Music is a good example of one that is pretty fun to watch (albeit way too long). But often times once you get past the inherently hilarious part, there is nothing underneath to capture your attention. It’s actually just a really boring film that stars William Shatner as a Native American. And Native American William Shatner can only take you so far. That’s mostly why Patrick and I have steered clear of these types of films for BMT, which populate the 1980s at a much higher rate than the late 90s and the 2000s (mostly due to the rise of mid-major studios in the 80s… and probably cocaine). Thus our predilection for more recent fare. For us it’s just more fun to make fun a film that managed to sneak out of the studio system and still end up a complete disaster. So Can’t Stop the Music holds a place in the niche section of BMT whereby we build credibility as BMT experts. “Yes, we’ve seen Can’t Stop the Music. But have you seen Here on Earth?” That’s what BMT is.

Hope that wasn’t too philosophical. It’s sometimes hard to explain why BMT generally lives in the more recent past than most bad movie ventures. Can’t Stop the Music provided a vehicle for the explanation. As for my BMTsolution, Can’t Stop the Music is not based on a book. If it was it would be based on the Village People’s memoir called Macho Men. The book details the group’s rise from the anonymity of the streets of NYC to global stardom. The climax of the book involves the making of the Village People biopic called Can’t Stop the Music, which ends up being a massive flop and tears the group apart. In the book, the film is based on a memoir written by the group called Macho Men, which details the group’s rise from anonymity of the streets of NYC to global stardom. The climax of the book within a book involves the making of the Village People biopic called Can’t Stop the Music, which ends up being a massive flop and tears the group apart. In the book within a book, the film is based on a memoir written by the group called Macho Men, which details…

Oh dear, seems like my book collapsed in on itself and created a tiny black hole. Oops. Cheerios,

The Sklogs