Zoolander 2 Recap

Jamie

I come here with somber news my friends. Patrick and I made a terrible mistake. Once the Great Gods of Egypt Disaster of 2016 was realized, we panicked and decided we had to (had to!) watch a BMT Live! film before it was too late. After all, the Stallonian Calender was fresh out of the box and still had that new BMT game smell. We couldn’t have it go off the rails in the first two months. So we ran into the open arms of Zoolander 2. Well I’m here to report that not only was the film not that bad (Not that bad! Not that bad! Not that bad!), we also watched it the week before London Has Fallen totally tanked with reviewers. God help us. Can we do nothing right? We may as well give up this whole endeavor and shut down the site now. But no! We will persevere! We will not let our loyal reader down! And with that we move ever forward.

In terms of Zoolander 2, I found it oddly absurdist considering the first film had absurd elements, but was at least seemingly rooted in reality. This type of shift in tone isn’t unusual. We’ve seen it with the Anchorman sequel and the Wet Hot American Summer series. Seems like with such a long time between the first film and the follow-up, the world is just in a different space comedy-wise. Necessarily you’re going to end up with a sequel that feels very different than the original. This can turn out well or not and I think Zoolander 2 came out on the slightly underwhelming side of things. Was it as good as the original? No. Was it totally not worth watching? No. At least I found myself laughing at several points (looking at you Kyle Mooney)… I just know that I probably would have laughed harder and longer if we had been able to watch Gods of Egypt.

For my BMTsolution this year, I will try to read the source material for all the films that we watch. Zoolander 2 is not based on a book, but if it were it would be a 1950s spy thriller series detailing the adventures of male model/international spy Zander (nicknamed Agent Z by MI6). Embroiled in the world of espionage he uses his perceived lack of intelligence to infiltrate the most dangerous of criminal organizations. Joined in the first novel by brother and sister folk singers Hansel and Gretel (curiously combined into the single character of Hansel in the film adaptation), he continues his adventures in the sequel in Rome attempting once again to foil the dastardly plans of Malaysian crime lord Mukashi. I found the book offensive due to the excessive number of ethnic stereotypes employed, but otherwise exciting and engaging.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Zoolander 2? More like It’s Not That Bad! It’s Not That Bad! Woooooooooooooo. This was pretty expected honestly.

  • The Good – The third act had some serious laughs. I still enjoyed the characters and they played the 15 years later thing pretty well. Once Will Ferrell arrives the movie picks up and it ends before his character (which had less non-stop exposure in the first film) got on your nerves.
  • The Bad – The cameos. But it wasn’t just the cameos, a lot of them were good and made sense. It was a specific moment. I get into it more below, but basically a two minute sequence in which Susan Sarandon, Willie Nelson, Katy Perry and (ugh) Neil Degrasse Tyson appear in an absurdly grating scene. That ejected me from the film. Also the product placement (Netflix and Uber in the beginning) in particular was pretty rough.
  • The BMT – Nope. Not only too good, but just didn’t feel BMT. Gods of Egypt? I would have been rolling down the aisles Pompeii style with that movie. Oh what could have been. This though? I enjoyed it reasonably. Laughed a bunch. I have no issue with Zoolander 2.

For this week’s game I would like to go with Tril-Oh-Geez myself. In this case it is, as of now, incomplete. The first leg is missing, but here goes. Basically, the aforementioned cameo immediately dropped the movie from Good to Okay-Kind-Of-Shitty. So here we go.

Movies Ruined by a Single Scene (Beginning-Middle-End edition)

  • Beginning – [Missing] (Jamie’s note: Conan the Destroyer? Opens with a lot lot lot of callbacks and unnecessary comedy bits, but then picks it up a bit in the middle and up to the end. That’s the most recent one where I felt like the critics probably were out from the beginning, but it wasn’t the worst and I didn’t totally understand the reviews. They seemed ready to pan it and took their chance with the beginning.)
  • Middle – Zoolander 2 – The cameo scene really knocks the movie down a notch and comes completely out of nowhere. Until that point I was thinking to myself “these cameos aren’t that bad! What are the reviewers talking about?”
  • End – The Call – The immediate ending (literally the last 5 seconds) of the film changed my opinion of the movie from “Wow, that was a legit good thriller!” to “Nevermind, that movie is literal garbage and I’m angry now”.

I’m not sure about Conan the Destroyer, but hey, it is always nice to have a complete trilogy. I’ll have to mull on it.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Zoolander 2 Preview

This week we were preparing for BMT Live! and a BMergenT erupted! A little backstory. We were planning (hoping, dreaming) on Gods of Egypt for the first Live addition to the inaugural Stallonian Calendar. Everything seemed set, it looked like a disaster and the UK and US release dates on IMDb synched perfectly. I was going to prepare the preview and thought “ooooooooo I’m going to pick my showing for the weekend” and then …. there were none. No London showings. But how could this be? Because IMDb was wrong! The Gods of UK releases had pushed the release date to the summer! (or was it always?) I am very disappointed, what a disaster of a country I live in. Backwards. Truly saddening. But as my mentor (Michael Caine in Batman Begins) said: “Why do we fall? So we can pick ourselves back up … and become crazed vigilante Batmen.” And so we are (becoming crazed BMTmen I mean). Not wanting to risk the inevitable 45% London Has Fallen is going to receive upon release next week, we are instead picking up Zoolander 2. Fun fact: Leonard Maltin walked out of this movie. So I got that going for me. Let’s go!

Zoolander 2 (2016) – BMeTric: 33.6

Zoolander2_BMeT.png

(For the record, at this point in time this is the highest BMeTric for a 2016 film vaulting over The Forest and 5th Wave. It has helped that this winter has been particularly uninspiring … besides Gods of Egypt *sniff* alright, that’s the last I’ll mention that. The wound is still too new)

Leonard Maltin – ? stars – Ten minutes passed, then twenty, filled with puerile and unfunny gags; along with gratuitous cameo appearances by everyone from Katy Perry to Willie Nelson. … Finally, after almost an hour, I strode out of the theater, proud of myself for taking positive action and sparing myself further insult.

(This was the semi-review from Maltin in which he explains that life is too short to actually watch Zoolander 2 in its entirety. He handled it well, not even reviewing the film ultimately, although his explanation is vicious enough. For the record, rogerebert.com gave the film 3/4 stars with this as the closing line “I laughed so much my wife thought I was going to have a stroke. There’s the blurb for you, Paramount. Thanks, Derek!” And that is after Ebert himself gave Zoolander 1/4 stars in a scathing review starting with “There have been articles lately asking why the United States is so hated in some parts of the world. As this week’s Exhibit A from Hollywood, I offer ‘Zoolander.’” Incredible stuff all around.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CL4LNWHegk

(I like this trailer. The only thing that is disappointing is they should have saved the Mugatu body suit gag for the movie, it is fantastic. Otherwise, while I can see the cameo issue, it also looks really fun. At what point does someone take a chance and cast Bieber into a major role in a feature film?)

Director(s) – Ben Stiller – (Known For: Tropic Thunder; Zoolander; The Cable Guy; Reality Bites; The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty BMT: Zoolander 2; Notes: Amazingly solid record as a director. Really impressive that this is his first major flop.)

Writer(s) – Justin Theroux (written by) – (Known For: Iron Man 2; Tropic Thunder; Rock of Ages; BMT: Zoolander 2; Notes: Also a prolific actor and married to Jennifer Aniston. Cousin of Louis Theroux, who I know as the person on half of the UK Netflix programs scowling in awkward photos with weirdos (or so it seems).)

Ben Stiller (written by, character Derek Zoolander) – (Known For: Tropic Thunder; Zoolander; BMT: Zoolander 2; Notes: Again, pretty good record with his first two Writer-Director-Star gigs. I’m getting very very impressed with Ben Stiller weirdly.)

Nicholas Stoller (written by) – (Known For: Yes Man; Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Dir); Neighbors (Dir); Get Him to the Greek (Dir); The Five-Year Engagement (Dir); The Muppets; Muppets Most Wanted; BMT: Sex Tape; Gulliver’s Travels; Zoolander 2; Fun With Dick and Jane; Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, Sex Tape (2014). Frequent collaborator of Jason Segal he went to Harvard. Impressive directoral record.)

John Hamburg (written by) – (Known For: Meet the Parents; Zoolander; Safe Men (Dir); I Love You Man (Dir); BMT: Meet the Fockers; Along Came Polly (Dir); Little Fockers; Duplex; Zoolander 2; Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, Little Fockers (2010). Attended Brown University.)

Actors – Ben Stiller – (Known For: Tropic Thunder; Night at the Museum; Zoolander; Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa; Meet the Parents; There’s Something About Mary; The Cable Guy; Starsky & Hutch; Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; Tower Heist; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Dodgeball – A True Underdog Story; The Royal Tenenbaums; Keeping the Faith; Reality Bites; Greenberg; Megamind; While We’re Young; Mystery Men; Madagascar; Happy Gilmore; Empire of the Sun; Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny; The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty; Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian; BMT: Along Came Polly; Meet the Fockers; The Heartbreak Kid; The Watch; Duplex; Little Fockers; Envy; Zoolander 2; The Suburbans; If Lucy Fell; Black and White; The Marc Pease Experience; School for Scoundrels; Fresh Horses; Being Canadian; Heavyweights (Blasphemy!)); Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor, Along Came Polly (2004), Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004), Envy (2004), Starsky & Hutch (2004). Oh my, that is an impressive year.)

Also stars Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell.

Budget/Gross: $50 million / $24,797,992 ($41,818,769 Worldwide) –

(This is almost definitely a disaster financially. I would guess what? $80 million total worldwide. Not even close. Disaster.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 22% (38/167), Zoolander No. 2 has more celebrity cameos than laughs — and its meager handful of memorable gags outnumbers the few worthwhile ideas discernible in its scattershot rehash of a script.

(I predict this will be fun but ultimately forgettable. But maybe this will be like Anchorman 2. Where a bunch of people hated it and I was sitting there like “but I mean that Ice Castles parody was killer” and everyone I knew was like “what?”. Hopefully there is at the very least a Color of Night gag or something.)

Poster – I don’t hate it (C+)

Zoolander Poster

(I like how clean it is. It gets the point across. I like the play on perfume ads. Five people is close to too many, but I still think it works. Just kind of boring. Nothing about this says that it is funny just that people are in it. But I don’t hate it.)

Tagline(s) – Long time no Z. (C+)

(I’m giving the plus just for the lampshading of the fact that this sequel was released waaaaay too late. Otherwise it is nonsense, a bad pun, and forgettable, probably like this movie will be.)

Notes – Eddie Murphy has expressed interest in being in Zoolander 2. He has even developed his own pose called “Black Iron”. (I feel like this would have been fun. I just watched Coming to America again though so maybe I’m just misremembering how fun Eddie Murphy is. One sec, I’m going to watch Norbit and hate my life again).

Released 15 years after the release of the first movie. (Terrible idea for the record).

Paramount partnered with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to feature Derek Zoolander on their advertising campaign for the Fiat 500X. (This is how you make movies boys and girls. Disregard my earlier comment about this being a financial disaster, they probably made back everything in product placement and then some).

Not the first movie where Penelope Cruz encounters “The Fountain of Youth”. She visits the fabled fountain in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”. (Cool story Hansel)

White Chicks Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. That’s right, only Patrick here. Jamie was, of course, driven insane by White Chicks. A tragic tale indeed. It is either that or he’s on holiday in Mexico. I can’t remember. It is of no consequence because we have matters of the utmost importance to attend to. In particular, a Hall of Fame induction ceremony. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then that probably means you haven’t seen White Chicks. Stop what you are doing this instant and watch it! For it is incredible (and on Netflix). A true masterpiece on every level. Since I’m pulling double duty let’s get into it!

  • The Good – Um, can I say everything? They let loose in this movie. Everybody is on board. Crazy Mexican impression which made me shout “Oh shit!”? Check. A love story built on a foundation of deceit and lies that results in an inevitable happy ending? Check. A panoply of friends/enemies of the white chicks each one with an individual scene where they can just go bananas on screen? Check. Terry Crews fart battle? Check. Terry Crews “hilarious” roofie/rape storyline?! Check. Terry Crews accidentally having sex with a man gag?!! CHECK.
  • The Bad – Uh … I’m saying everything again. This movie makes no sense. It is genuinely racist. Every storyline is somehow both expected and off-the-wall, a Schrodinger-like situation in which I think the plot didn’t exist until I observed it at which time it collapsed into a movie that was designed for the pleasure of the observer. Without quantum effects this movie is completely inexplicable. It is the two slit experiment for BMT Theory. You see what it has done to me? I’m making no sense!
  • The BMT – Did you not hear this is a BMT Hall of Fame inductee? This should honestly have a 70+ BMeTric. It appears than in the past few years people have been somehow giving this 6+ ratings on IMDb, otherwise it would be there. For shame world.
  • They Look Like Monsters – I’m adding a new special category to my recap. I wrote this exact phrase more than a dozen times in my 5+ pages of notes about this movie. They looked like monsters. Every so often I’d start to wane a bit then all of a sudden Monster Face! And I was back on board. They looked insane. I can only think they knew exactly what they were doing. This ain’t no Big Momma or Norbit, this wasn’t going for wins for makeup. At least I hoped not. Because they looked like monsters. I hope you like monster movies …. because they looked like monsters.
  • This movie could have been a horror film with minimal slick editing.
  • Multiple fart battles.
  • A harpy wife character which will make you go “racist and misogynistic?! They’ve done it again!”
  • A++++ would watch again. They look like monsters!

Phew, I’ve been thinking about this movie for days. It made me wonder about the Hall of Fame for BMT. Looking back through the lists I would tentatively put 29 previous films into the Hall of Fame (That sounds too high, I feel like a HoF is more like 1-5% of players). But until Jamie gets back tentative it will remain. Rest assured though, White Chicks is on the list. And I am now 1000% more excited for Littleman. And waaaaaay on board with White Chicks 2. I have a feeling it will have to go in the Big Momma’s House 2 direction in which they, inexplicably, use the same characters in a subsequent FBI investigation (i.e. No longer will we have to suspend our disbelief that people could ever mistake the monsters they transform into for real life women, hooray!). On. Board.

Game time. My quick game is a drinking game. This is three fold and rather cavalier when it comes to drinking games. Trust me, it would work:

  • If you think “They look like monsters” – drink
  • If you think “wow, that seems racist” – drink
  • If you think “well, no way they could get away with that joke nowadays” – drink

If you are honest with yourself you will be slammed by the end of playing this game. Be honest with yourself.

And as for Jamie’s game, I heard through the grapevine that this movie was in fact based on a book. The book is called The Debutantes. Written as a pre-world war I satire of upper crust British society the book is about two handmaiden of wealthy ladies on their way to a debutante ball who, through a series of hilarious events, end up taking the places of their mistresses. Deftly navigating the political firestorm that is high society Britain, the two servants teach the nobles a thing or two about manners (and attract the eyes of the most desirable lords to boot). Critics decried it as “Low-class Evelyn Waugh” and “Distinctly non-posh”, the book quietly entered the public domain and then was adapted by the Waynes brothers (huge fans). Or so my grapevine source led me to believe.

Cheerios,

The Sklog

White Chicks Preview

As we head into the homestretch of the airball category, we are faced with finding a Razzie nominated film featuring a professional athlete. This is going to be pretty hard, right? Wrong! Not when you have Terry Crews (played for six years in the NFL) on your side! That’s right, we are taking advantage of his comedy filmography and doing the classic Wayans Brothers film White Chicks! It was nominated for five Razzies (Worst Picture, Worst Actress (ugh, for the Wayans Brothers), Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Onscreen Couple), but came up against a juggernaut (Catwoman) and failed to win any of them. I’m pretty excited for this. Let’s go!

White Chicks (2004) – BMeTric: 50.7

WhiteChicks_BMeT

(Woah Nelly! Two 50+ BMeTric films in a row? Hose us down! This might be too much to handle. This is actually a nice plot because White Chicks was released right as the internet archive started to store IMDb pages and it is reasonably popular. You can even see the DVD bump right in the beginning.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Two male, maverick FBI agents go deep undercover, disguised as air-headed twin sisters, to flush out a criminal. They’re black but the girls are white, and that’s the central joke. Logic aside (and it certainly is), the heavy-handed comedy is a fragile excuse for the Wayans brothers to do a series of broad, silly riffs, poking fun at stereotypical white people. Unrated version runs 115m.

(Secret twin movie! Secret twin movie! Just like the Antonio Banderas classic Two Much, this begs the question: does a movie where the characters are pretending to be twins count as a real twin movie? The answer is yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I’m so happy. Editor Note: To point out, unlike with Two Much in this case presumably Maitland Ward and Anne Dudek are in fact playing twins. Although I don’t recall whether they specifically mention they are twins in the FBI briefing in the beginning or not. It is a subtle but important difference.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6V25aqQblM

(They literally look like monsters. How anyone would think they are human beings is odd, especially anyone who knew the girls they were impersonating. I’ll just hang out waiting for the dance scene, which looks amazing.)

Writer/Director – Keenen Ivory Wayans – (Known For: Scary Movie; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; BMT: Scary Movie 2; White Chicks; A Low Down Dirty Shame; Little Man; Notes: Nominated for Worst Director and Screenplay, White Chicks (2004), Littleman (2006). Rose to prominence as the creator of the sketch comedy show In Living Color)

Actors/Writers – Shawn Wayans – (Known For: I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; BMT: Scary Movie 2 (Wri); White Chicks (Wri); Dance Flick (Wri); Little Man (Dir) (Not Found); Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood; Notes: Brother of director Keenen Ivory Wayans.)

Marlon Wayans – (Known For: Scary Movie; Requiem for a Dream; The Heat; The Ladykillers; Above the Rim; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; BMT: Scary Movie 2; White Chicks; A Haunted House; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; A Haunted House 2; Senseless; Dance Flick; Dungeons & Dragons; Norbit; The Sixth Man; Fifty Shades of Black; Mo’ Money; Marmaduke; Little Man; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood; Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009). Originally cast as Robin in Batman Forever.)

(Dual Razzie Notes For Shawn and Marlon: 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). I actually find it rather stunning that of their entire filmography only two movies generated all but one of the Razzie nominations for the Wayne family)

Additional Writers – Michael Anthony Snowden (screenplay) – (BMT: Scary Movie 2; White Chicks; Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, White Chicks (2004). According to IMDB his nickname is FireFly, used to write for South Park)

Andy McElfresh (screenplay) – (BMT: White Chicks; Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, White Chicks (2004). Writes prolifically for late night television. In 2013 he and Kevin Smith co-wrote a Krampus based anthology horror film on Kevin Smith’s podcast, unrelated to the actual Krampus movie from 2015)

Xavier Cook (screenplay) – (BMT: White Chicks; Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, White Chicks (2004), frequent collaborator with the Wayne family)

Budget/Gross: $37 million / $70,831,760 ($113,086,475 Worldwide)

(Smash hit… which is not surprising. Right around the time that Big Momma’s House was also a smash hit. The fifth (!) highest grossing “cross dressing” film of all time. The lowest grossing major release (1000+ theaters)? Connie and Carla (2004)… which I’ve never heard of.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 14% (18/123), Scattershot comedy that’s silly and obvious.

(Wow, RT. That’s all you can give us for a consensus? No clever pun like “Silly gags and poor writing makes this Wayans brothers comedy a drag.” Like I just made that up in five seconds and it’s better than your lame consensus that could apply to a trillion other comedies.)

Poster – Literal Monsters

WhiteChicksPoster.jpg

(Gooo! Again, monsters. This is a great example of the types of posters that I hate, hate, hate. No clear color scheme other than white (and human colored, which is the worst). The font isn’t interesting. The spacing is all off. You know what it reminds me of? The Juwanna Mann poster, which was also the worst. I wonder if it was made by the same guy.)

Tagline(s) – None! (F-)

(No!!! No, no, no, no, no.  I do not accept this. BMT will be shutting down until White Chicks gets their fucking act together and provides a tagline. Nope. Unacceptable.)

Notes – The Miltons was originally intended to be a comical remake of Gone With the Wind in modern day Beverly Hills. After many script revisions, the story settled and became White Chicks. (Is “the story settled” some euphemism for something? So we set out to make this like a modern day Godfather, but then the story settled, yada yada yada Deuce Bigelow).

The original title was the “The Miltons” sounding more like the Hiltons, which they spoofed. (hmmm, I think we may have missed the boat a bit on the cultural reference here)

When The Wilson sisters get out of the airplane, the song playing is a spoof of “Miss Hilton”, a song recorded by The Penfifteen Club for The Simple Life, Paris Hilton’s hit reality show. (yeah, I’m going to cut short the Hilton notes at this point. We get it, they’re making fun of the Hiltons)

Less than a year ago the Waynes said they wanted to do White Chicks 2. (sigh)

Razzie Cred

Razzie Awards 2005, Nominated for Worst Picture, Columbia

Razzie Awards 2005, Nominated for Worst Actress, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, The Wayans Sisters.

Razzie Awards 2005, Nominated for Worst Screen Couple, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, The Wayans Brothers (In or Out of Drag).

Razzie Awards 2005, Nominated for Worst Director, Keenen Ivory Wayans

Razzie Awards 2005, Nominated for Worst Screenplay, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Andrew McElfresh, Michael Anthony Snowden, Xavier Cook

Steel Recap

Jamie

There is a lot to talk about with Steel, but I’ll leave that mostly for Patrick. I’ll just provide this image:

Steel.jpg

Soak it in. Look at Hill Harper’s costume on the left. What is he wearing? Is that an eyepatch, leather vest, purple leather overalls combo? It’s everything you need to know about the film.

In terms of my BMTsolution, I read the first three comics in the 1994-1998 solo run of Steel and I have to say: this may be the worst comic book adaptation in the history of comic book adaptations. If someone was a fan of Steel (were there true fans? I don’t know), they would have had to be horrified by what was done. Other than Steel himself, all the characters had different names (even when they directly corresponded to a character in the comic book run). Why? I don’t know. They had the rights to the comic book, so why change the names? Additionally, the three worst characters in the film: Judd Nelson’s Nathaniel Burke, Annabeth Gish’s Sparks, and Hill Harper’s Slats were all only very loosely based on characters from the comic book! I gave them the benefit of the doubt and presumed that they were straight from the comics… WRONG! Throw on top that the most cartoony thing in the film (the fact that Steel’s weapons are sold illegally through a super rad arcade company), is not even based off anything in the comic. That is straight out of the screenwriters’ brains. Wow.

The only good things to come of out the adaptation is that Shaq is actually a really good casting choice for the role given his character in the comic, they did a smart thing by making him more Trash Batman than Trash Superman as it made the film easier to make, and they chose not to include the most ridiculous part of the comics in the film (the presence of a street drug called Tar that turns users into raging hulk monsters impervious to weapons). If they had tried to make Steel like Superman or include Tar in the plot (and it was a major part of the comic run), they would have likely fallen into the Mortal Kombat: Annihilation special effects zone and just looked silly.

So you see how much was changed from the comics (some good, mostly bad)? I’m sure that drove the six fans of the comic crazy. Alright, before throwing it to Patrick I’m going to do a quick game. It’s rare for us to watch a film primed for a drinking game, but Steel certainly is. Here it is:

  • The name/word “Steel” is said (1 drink. This should be a gangbusters rule, but I honestly can’t remember if the word is actually said in the film)
  • You see an eyepatch (1 drink. Not even remotely the most hilarious part of Hill Harper’s wardrobe. Three words: purple leather overalls)
  • Steel breaks something (2 drinks. It’s like his superpower is the power to break random stuff to little effect)
  • Shaq attempts a free throw (2 drinks. You’d think this was a one-off joke, but it’s not… it’s not even a two-off joke)
  • Shaq saves someone’s life (3 drinks. He saves someone’s life so often it’s like he’s superma… wait)
  • Judd Nelson kills someone (3 drinks. He kills someone so often it’s like he’s the enemy of superma… wait)
  • Waterfall for the entire time that Shaq chases someone through a trainyard in slow motion.

God damn! I want to play that game right now! Not only because it’s great, but also because I kinda sorta maybe fell asleep for the ending of the film and should go back and watch it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Steel? More like Shaqmobile (I’m going insane guys)! I think that does it for Shaq in BMT (Blue Chips, The Wash and Thunderstruck remain in his filmography for me, but nah), and what a way to go out. Let’s just get into it.

The Good: Weirdly, Shaq, who did an admirable job given the circumstances. Whomever got paid for this movie also made out like a bandit. Yeah, that’s it. Wow. Let’s move “hilarious basketball references” up here to help clear out the Bad category. I’m digging Shaq trying to make a free throw through a hole in a chainlink fence with a grenade.

The Bad: Oh, let’s see. The costume was made of rubber and could not have been cheaper. The Hammer looked like garbage. The other costumes were ridiculous. Judd Nelson and his pick ‘n mix of bad guys were universally terrible. The entire Annabeth Gish storyline single-handedly set back progress for the disabled by ten to fifteen years. The music was jamming, but not in a good way (you know?). The action sequences appeared to be filmed at half speed. The entire film focused on the development of laser weapons which appeared to be unable to kill anyone on purpose. Trash Batman indeed.

The BMT: It’s a quandary isn’t it? At what point do you cross from a real movie to a late career Segal or Van Damme picture? At what point do you go “No, Theodore Rex is not a real movie!”. This is definitively BMT, but is so ridiculous as to creep ever closer to Stone Cold or Firestorm. A “hey, you think people would pay us to see Shaq as a superhero … yeah, throw $5 million at it and see what happens” type situation happened for sure. It is BMT, but I still like things like Battlefield Earth and Here on Earth and After Earth (among many earth based movies) more than this.

I’m going for a new game today called Sterling Jewelers Presents The Ideal Ideal Cut Cycle. Try and get the best cycle possible for BMT. This week, superhero films. There are basically, now, seven must see superhero travesties:

  • Comedy – Batman and Robin
  • Action – Ghost Rider 2
  • Girls Night Out – Elektra
  • Horror/Thriller – Spawn
  • Razzies – Catwoman
  • Sci Fi – SteelScattegories – Jonah Hex

Sure, Elektra is a bit weak, if anyone can think of a good romantic super hero flm … ooooo, My Super Ex-Girlfriend might work. That kind of works. I’ll leave it as is though. BTW, I’ve seen all of the films in the idea ideal cut cycle. My life is excellent.

Cheers,

The Sklogs

Steel Preview

This week we move onto the film that made this cycle possible. When we dreamed a little dream about pro athletes in film, Steel was the first film to come to mind. One of two leading roles that Shaq enjoyed (the other is, of course, Kazaam), it was top of our list as a must-do. So here we are in our Sci-Fi category ready to do it. Made in 1997, this might be the most forgotten DC comic adaption of all time (willfully so, probably). So forgotten that it’s not even listed on Netflix. Not even like a “Save DVD for when it comes out” button. It just doesn’t show up if you search for it. Not in their database. I’m ready… you ready? Let’s go!

Steel (1997) – BMeTric: 53.8

Steel_BMeT

(Ugh, way to show off Steel. Yeah, we all know you’re going to be ridiculous, you don’t need to show off with your gaudy BMeTric score. It is pretty impressive though, 50+ is amazing).

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Film version of DC Comics’ “Steel” with basketball great Shaq in the title role, as a tall superhero with a heart of gold, wearing a funny metal suit and doing battle with stereotypical enemies of modern civilization. As endearing as Shaq can be, he should definitely not give up his day job.

(Interesting that this didn’t get a BOMB rating. Almost sounds like that half-star is given to Shaq and his endearing qualities.)

Trailer – https://youtu.be/-bAWWmLfkWo

(With this and Batman & Robin, 1997 must have been the Year of the Puns. Amazingly it actually looks like they spent a bit of money on the film. Looks like it’ll be at least fun to watch.)

Director(s) – Kenneth Johnson – (BMT: Short Circuit 2; Steel; Notes: He often works the names of friends and family into scripts.)

Writer(s) – Louise Simonson (comic book series) – (BMT: Steel; Notes: Her nickname is “Weezie”. Co-creator of Steel she now writes young adult novels.)

Jon Bogdanove (comic book series) – (BMT: Steel; Notes: Comic book writer. His son’s name is Kal-El. Co-creator of Steel.)

Kenneth Johnson (written by) – (BMT: Short Circuit 2; Steel; Notes: Most famous for the television shows V and Incredible Hulk.)

Actors – Shaquille O’Neal – (Known For: He Got Game; The Year of the Yao; CB4; The LEGO Movie (Not Found); BMT: Kazaam; Blended; Steel; Grown Ups 2; Scary Movie 4; Jack and Jill; Good Burger; When in Rome; Blue Chips; Freddy Got Fingered; The Smurfs 2; The Wash; The Kid & I; Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, Blended (2014); Nominated for Worst Actor, Steel (1997); Nominated for Worst New Star, Blue Chips (1994). Someday he hopes to be nominated for writing and directing as well (fine, I made that up))

Budget/Gross: $16 million / $1,710,972

(Woah. That’s an incredible bomb. If you assumed that it wasn’t released in many theaters you’d be wrong. Over 1200. The 78th worst opening ever for a wide release film. Right ahead of Marci X… you know, that film that people remember.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 12% (3/25), Steel is a badly-acted movie that indulges not only in superhero cliches, but also the sappy TV-movie-of-the-week ones.

(Everything points to this being essentially Theodore Rex, but actually released to theaters.)

Poster – Dutch Angle Moon Poster

steelPoster

(Shaq is on this poster twice. It’s like they made a Matryoshka doll of posters. The main poster contains a smaller poster in the middle. Love the color. Love the font. I dig this poster.)

Tagline(s) – Heroes don’t come any bigger. (B-)

Man. Metal. Hero. (D+)

(I usually only grade the tagline that’s on the poster, but in keeping with the nested nature of the double poster, there are inexplicably two separate taglines. It’s almost like the first tagline is Shaq’s tagline and then the second tagline is for the movie. Neither are particularly good, but the second one is straight nonsense. Just words. And pretty boring words at that.)

Notes – Shaquille O’Neal had to do all of his own stunts; the producers were unable to find a 7’1″ stunt double for him. (awwwww hell yes)

Writer/director Kenneth Johnson revealed in a SlashFilm interview that he originally wanted Wesley Snipes to play Steel but Warner Bros. felt that casting Shaquille O’Neal would help sell more toys and merchandise. (In the alternate universe in which this swap occured I wonder if they regretted their decision…)

Conan the Destroyer Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Conan the Destroyer? More like Phoned-In Performer (whatever that means, weak. Wizzeak. I am unhappy with my performance, for it was I who was the phoned-in performer). This week I spent my time (!) assembling a rudimentary website. Why? Posterity. Pure and simple, I want our legacy to ring from mountain top to mountain top for the centuries to come. The lack of recognition now will surely translated into

The Good – Not nearly as bad as people made it out to be. Arnold was solid. The story was fun in that kind of Krull or Willow kind of way. It by no means diminished the accomplishment that was the first film. I am genuinely surprised at the vitriol directed towards this movie.

The Bad – The effects were Krull-level laughable. The story gets seriously lost between acts two and three, both Jamie and I had no idea what was happening at one point. Complete misfire from a humor perspective, especially Malak the inept sidekick (whose sidekickness rivals Hall of Fame sidekicks like Todd Maniac Marshall from Wing Commander).

The BMT – Naw. I don’t think so. It was an okay movie. Silly, sure. It is like Willow. In retrospect the movie seems very crazy and silly. But that doesn’t make it bad. In fact that ambition in making both of the Conan movies is impressive.

Game. Let’s do a remake. Basically, Conan the Conqueror should have been the second film in the franchise. Conan earning his kingdom. Now old Conan, having accomplished his goals, looks back towards his love he wished to have sitting beside him as his queen. And he goes on one last adventure. An adventure to face death and either rejoin his love by the side of Krom, or to bring her back from Death’s clutches to reign beside him on Earth. The Conan the Barbarian, Conqueror, Destroyer trilogy can then be complete. It’s bringing a tear to my eye I tells yah.

Jamie

Let’s start with a simple statement: I looooovvvveeeeeddddd Conan the Barbarian. It spoke to me. It spoke to me in a similar way that The Thing and The Warriors spoke to me. It was nearly perfect and even makes me a little upset that they remade it a few years back. This is not the type of film you remake. It’s the type of film you make an unwanted sequel or prequel to (like 2011’s The Thing). You can’t remake perfection.

As for my game, I didn’t have the DVD for this one, so couldn’t scoop out a MonoSklog (if there was one… I can’t remember). Instead I’ll use my BMTsolution as my game. For those that don’t know, my BMTsolution this year is to read the source material for any and all BMT films. For Conan the Destroyer, I simply read a couple Conan stories in prep. They seem to have done a pretty good job adapting the character. Generally he seems to be a thief/adventurer who has a preternatural fighter’s instinct. In the stories I read, Conan was already King of Aquilonia and was defending his throne or going off to perform heroic feats. They mention that his people (the Cimmerians) are known to be without humor or the ability to hold their liquor. Conan has both, but to a modest extent. He is also very sharp-witted. Overall, I think this came through pretty accurately. His backstory is kinda screwed up in the first one, but whatever. As Patrick mentioned, the most disappointing thing is that they never adapted his ascension to the throne into a film. Conan the Conqueror was abandoned after Conan the Destroyer. I want to see him take the throne from some assholes, damn it!

Make sure to check out the preview for the next film in the cycle, Steel starring Shaq.

Conan the Destroyer Preview

This week we continue our athlete-turned-actor cycle with the Chain Reaction category. Last time we watched Around the World in 80 Days, so we have an obvious next step in Conan the Destroyer through Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is the sequel to Conan the Barbarian which we both loved, and a film that appears to be universally abhorred by fans of the original. It notably costars Wilt Chamberlain in his only major motion picture role. It’s pretty much the quintessential athlete-inexplicably-starring-in-a-film film. Greasy Arnold fighting monsters straight out of Krull? Yes please. There’s not much more to say than that. Let’s go!

Conan the Destroyer (1984) – BMeTric: 33.4

Conan2_BMeT

(This is actually much higher than I expected. I already watched the first film and loved it… how could they really mess the second one up so badly? Seems so easy not to. For some weird reason the rating for this movie has been moving up substantially. I think it, again, has to do with this somehow being popular with kids when growing up … maybe)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Lumbering attempt to pit Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age hero against very derivative special effects – leading to ridiculous climax.

(So is it just worse special effects? That seems strange. I wouldn’t even say the special effects were a big reason why I liked the first Conan… it was more the writing and the character… so did they fuck that up? I’m so confused.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q15RX_fayv8

(I wouldn’t say that’s the worst trailer in the world for a Conan film. A few too many sidekicks in this one perhaps. But nothing in there that makes me especially worried… maybe it is that it just looks like shit now.)

Director(s) – Richard Fleischer – (Known For: Soylent Green; Tora! Tora! Tora!; Fantastic Voyage; The Vikings; The Boston Strangler; Mr. Majestyk; 10 Rillington Place; The Narrow Margin; Barabbas; Compulsion; Violent Saturday; BMT: Conan the Destroyer; Red Sonja; Doctor Dolittle; The Jazz Singer; Mandingo; Amityville: The Demon; Notes: Nominated for Worst Director, The Jazz Singer (1980 with Sidney J. Furie). Won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for Design for Death, which was written by Dr. Seuss. Seriously.)

Writer(s) – Roy Thomas (story) – (Known For: Fire and Ice BMT: Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Notable in the comic book world for his work at Marvel. Inducted in the Comic Hall of Fame.)

Gerry Conway (story) – (BMT: Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Also a big part of the comic book world. Worked at Marvel with Roy Thomas.)

Stanley Mann (screenplay) – (Known For: Eye of the Needle; The Collector; The Mouse That Roared; Circle of Iron; BMT: Conan the Destroyer; Firestarter; Meteor; Tai-Pan; Red Sonja; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Screenwriting for the Collector (1965). Died 3 weeks ago at the age of 87.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: Terminator 2; The Terminator; Terminator 3; Predator; Total Recall; True Lies; The Last Stand; Conan the Barbarian; The Running Man; Commando; Kindergarten Cop; The 6th Day; Escape Plan; Red Heat; Maggie; The Expendables 2; The Expendables; BMT: Last Action Hero; End of Days; Twins; Eraser (Dir); Jingle All the Way; Batman & Robin; Conan the Destroyer; Collateral Damage; Junior; Terminator Genisys; Red Sonja; Raw Deal; The Expendables 3; Sabotage; Hercules in New York; Around the World in 80 Days; Notes: Won for Worst Razzie Loser of Our First 25 Years. Nominated for Worst Actor, End of Days (1999), Last Action Hero (1993), Conan the Barbarian (1982). Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, The Expendables 3 (2014), Around the World in 80 Days (2004), The 6th Day (2000), Batman & Robin (1997). Mind boggling that he’s been nominated 8 times and never won anything besides worst actor for the first 25 years.)

Budget/Gross: $18 million / $31,042,035

(Modest hit. The 14th highest grossing “sword and sorcery” film of all time. The lowest (#31)? In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. As if there was ever a doubt )

Rotten Tomatoes: 26% (6/23)

(RT is able to do an OK job with this old one. No consensus though, so I’ll make one up. Consensus: Arnold is so greasy and muscled and his muscles are so greasy and sexy… what was I talking about? )

Poster – Looks and Reads Like a Novel

conan_the_destroyerPoster

(Meh. Similar to the first one. Pretty good, all things considered. I wish IMDb listed that full paragraph on the poster as a tagline.)

Tagline(s) – The Darkest Side of Magic. The Strongest Side of Man. (B+)

(I like this quite a bit. I prefer when there are three things in a list though, so not perfect.)

Notes – After the phenomenon of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Universal thought Conan the Destroyer (1984) would make more money if it were family entertainment. Schwarzenegger argued against this change but they overruled him. Director Richard Fleischer agreed with Schwarzenegger, but complied with Universal’s wishes to make Conan the Destroyer (1984) more like a comic book. (Oh that is a serious change. The source material for Conan is very pulpy and the almost grindhouse feel of the original plays into that well. Here must be where it really went wrong. Making this more family friendly with humor and stuff would be really, really, really, really, really dissapointing.)

Wilt Chamberlain’s first and only credited film role. (That’s why we’re here boys)

Arnold Schwarzenegger recently confirmed Conan the Conqueror is moving forward. Previously it was suggested that the sequel would totally ignore this disaster area (methinks this is a good idea Arnold).

The original screenplay for the film became the graphic novel Conan: The Horn of Azoth (which I now officially want to read).

Smaddies Baddies III

It has become an annual tradition. On the anniversary of the start of Bad Movie Thursday we take a look back at the year in review. With a name that’s just as bad as the films it honors it is ….

Smaddies. Baddies. Smaddies. Baddies. Remember, these awards are for the worst of the best of the worst films that we watched in the last year. So they could have been made in any year as long as we watched it in 2015. We usually start off with several silly awards to give something to those films that deserve to be “honored,” but may not have come out on top in the big awards. Think of them as the Sci-Tech Oscars of the Smaddies Baddies.


The Best Book-to-Movie-to-Reboot Lenny from Multiplicity Smaddy BaddyEndless Love – It’s rare for us to have a book-adaption-reboot on our hands where all three versions are like a big BMT ice cream sundae to dig into. It’s my… endless loooooovveeeeeeeeee.

He Just Wants to Go to Fashion Week! Planchet Smaddy BaddyBilly Zane in The Roommate – Goes to our favorite side character of the year (named to honor James Cordon in The Three Musketeers (2011)). Hard to overshadow Cam Gigantic in this masterpiece, but Billy Zane’s creepy (and potentially totally misunderstood) professor did just that. He just wanted to go to Fashion Week.

The Sound of Thunder Special Effects Smaddy BaddyMonkey Feet from Aeon Flux

MonkeyFeet.jpg

Nothing will actually ever top The Sound of Thunder for the disaster area that was its special effects, but we loved Monkey Feet enough to throw it a bone. Maybe Gods of Egypt can reach such great heights this year.

Mi Padre Monosklog Smaddy BaddyMi Cantina by Vin Diesel from The Pacifier – It’s just so beautiful. Thank you, Vinny D. I have to give a little shout out to the fact that Dungeons & Dragons somehow beat out Big Momma’s House in this category last year. Our very own Oscars-like diversity scandal. In hindsight, Big Momma’s House all day.

The Garry Mashall The Location is a Character! Smaddy BaddyPaul Blart Mall Cop 2 for Las Vegas – Happy Madison films could probably win this every year. It’s like they’re paid to take place at these resorts or something… wait.

White Commanche I Wish We Could Have a Mulligan Smaddy BaddyAtlas Shrugged Part III – Thank God this didn’t happen when I actually read the source material to these movies. I would have straight up refused to read that book and watch that trilogy. Would have taken me a month.


Alright, and now for the main awards. These are for the secretly good BMT film of the year, the worst of the worst BMT film of the year, the most BMT film of the year, and (new!) the top 2015 film of the year (to go head-to-head with the Razzies, natch). Each category presented the nominees that Patrick and I came up with and the final winner.


The Freddy Got Fingered (Secretly Good) Smaddy Baddy –  Nominees: Bless the Child, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, Mortdecai, Endless Love (1981), The Gunman;

The Winner: Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return – It had a great song and did everything it needed to do for a kids film. If someone was like, “Hey, could you watch Legends of Oz with my kid while I go shopping real quick?” I would obviously refuse (I ain’t watching your kid) and then sneak home and watch Legends of Oz by myself.

The Strange Wilderness (I Hate this Fucking Movie) Smaddy BaddyNominees: Hitman Agent 47, Unfinished Business, Around the World in 80 Days, Be Cool, Ridiculous 6.

The Winner: Unfinished Business – Unfinished Business is the worst written film of the year. It is nonsense. The true Razzie scandal this year is that it didn’t even make the nomination ballot (!!!!!!!!!).

The (new!) Worst of 2015 Smaddy BaddyNominees: Hitman Agent 47, Unfinished Business, Ridiculous 6, Boy Next Door.

The Winner: Unfinished Business -Obviously, given the last award. Is there more to say? Not really. It was the worst. We hated it.

The Here on Earth Best BMT Smaddy BaddyNominees: The Roommate, Silent Hill 2, Color of Night.

And the Winner is ….. Silent Hill 2 starring Triangle Head – Truly a great (and not meaningless) honor. And there we go. For those of you whose eyes naturally gloss over long lists of garbage the moral of the story is: watch Silent Hill 2, Legends of Oz, and The Roommate. Avoid Atlas Shrugged Part III and Unfinished Business. Women who do karate with monkey feet are the best.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Recap

Jamie

First, my (BMTsolution) thoughts on the book What to Expect When You’re Expecting. They actually did a strangely good job at adapting an instructional book on pregnancy into a film. I read three chapters of the book (Chapters 1 and 2, which were preparing for pregnancy and questions about early pregnancy, and the chapter for expectant dads). In each chapter there are kind of key ideas, like how dads can gain weight during pregnancy too, how hormones can affect women in totally opposite ways, and how women who are pregnant have a lot of non-glamorous things going on with their bodies (forgetfulness, etc.). Many of these key points are pointedly mentioned during the film. Often it almost seemed like they were reciting passages word-for-word (i.e. “Hey, it’s not weird that I’m gaining weight. In fact, it’s quite common for dads-to-be to gain weight through stress or sympathy”).

So good on the writers for incorporating large swaths of a non-narrative book into a narrative medium… still wasn’t great. I’d say like Valentine’s Day > What to Expect When You’re Expecting > New Year’s Eve… so like middle of the shitty pack. Was it the same in jolly ole England, Patrick?


Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Introducing Patrick’s Bad Movie Shortform Recap (PBMSR):

The GoodIt was actually funnier that I thought it would be. I liked the Brooklyn Decker / Dennis Quaid storyline. It is better than New Year’s Eve as far an ensemble features go (slightly worse than Valentine’s Day).

The Bad Jennifer Lopez was terrible and her storyline was terrible. The Dude’s Group wasn’t funny despite being filled with amazing comedians. I disliked the Dude’s Group immensely but also realized that without it we’d be left with no movie. Literally nothing. Too little D-Wade for my tastes.

BMT? Hell’s yeah. Actually a better BMT than I expected. To remind you the BMeTric gives this a 36.7, which is really good. That number is generous. This is more like a 20-25 level movie. Borderline, but definitively BMT.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

P.S. Check out the 3rd Annual Smaddies Baddies. This recap was produced on the fifth anniversary of BMT, an amazing (?) achievement indeed.