Unfinished Business Preview

We are basically running willy nilly through these last few weeks of 2015, grabbing whatever bad movies are left from this year. This week is technically the Razzies category itself, so we looked at the films left over and chose what we thought gave the best shot of hitting one that might show up on the Razzies ballot (Editor Note from the future: It didn’t!). That, of course, means we’ll be watching Unfinished Business starring Vince Vaughn. This probably won the award for the film my wife least wanted to watch this year. She thought it just looked gross. I also thought it looked pretty gross. Great. Let’s go!

Unfinished Business (2015) – BMeTric: 38.3(At the Time), 39.5 (February 23, 2016)

UnfinishedBusiness_BMeT

(Look at dem curves. You can see the exact jumps corresponding to the theatrical and DVD releases. Seems like this will have a little relaxation from here, but as of now it has a pretty solid score. One of the highest (non-horror) films left from 2015 for us, and ever creeping closer to a 40+ BMeTric. Note: Plot generated on February 23, 2016.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – Screenwriter Steve Conrad has written some very good films about middle-aged male panic, most memorably “The Weatherman,” but in “Unfinished Business”, scenes just sit there. Nothing happens.

(Wow. That final, nihilistic statement couldn’t chill my heart more. I don’t think there is anything I hate more than a film where nothing actually happens… looking at you Grown Ups. Ugh.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bM5vyZBQFA

(See? Just looks a little gross. Does seem like there are some stakes here though. So how could nothing happen? Gotta close that deal!)

Director(s) – Ken Scott – (Known For: Starbuck. BMT: Delivery Man; Unfinished Business. Notes: It has been announced that he will direct the sequel to The Shining, called Doctor Sleep.)

Writer(s)Steve Conrad – (Known For: Wrestling Ernest Hemingway; The Weatherman; Pursuit of Happyness; The Promotion; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. BMT: Unfinished Business. Notes: Sold Wrestling Ernest Hemingway at the age of 19. It was based on a short story he wrote for a creative writing class he took in college. Didn’t get another script produced for eleven years.)

Actors – Vince Vaughn – (Known For: Dodgeball; Wedding Crashers; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; The Cell; Into the Wild; Old School; The Lost World; Swingers; Starsky & Hutch; Return to Paradise; Clay Pigeons; Made; Thumbsucker; Rudy. BMT: The Internship; The Break-Up; Couples Retreat; Delivery Man; Four Christmases; The Dilemma; Fred Claus; Be Cool; Psycho; Unfinished Business; Domestic Disturbance; The Watch. Notes: I’ve seen a lot of these! Never nominated for a Razzie. This could be the year.)

Also stars Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco

Budget/Gross: $35 million / $10,219,501 ($14,431,253 Worldwide)

(Massive bomb. One of the worst of the year. Comes in as the 31st worst opening weekend for 2500+ theater release, a couple behind BMT favorite Bats. Opened at #10 in the box office. Yeesh.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 11% (10/90), Unfocused and unfunny, Unfinished Business lives down to its title with a slipshod screenplay and poorly directed performances that would have been better left unreleased.

(Better left unreleased! Bite your tongue. Do you know what kind of films don’t get released? Theodore Rex types of films. D-Tox type of films. Only the worst of the worst of the worst aren’t even released to try to recoup some of the budget.)

Poster – Weird Blocks and Colors (F)

unfinished_business

(I hate this poster. I hate the block separation of characters. I hate all the colors. I hate how it doesn’t even try to make it hard on Patrick when he spoofs it (Sklog Brothers, each section is a brother, I call Franco))

Tagline(s) – Best business trip ever (F)

(Wow, what a bad poster/tagline combo. That is just lazy. Not clever. Not interesting. I hate it.)

Notes – Originally titled Business Trip (Unfortunately this is slightly better than the nonsensical Unfinished Business).

While the characters made several references to Portland for business and home in St. Louis, all of the US scenes were filmed in Boston. Boston is never mentioned in the movie. (God I love settings in films. Like, why Portland? Editor’s Note: This turned out to be Portland, Maine! Dear God! Why? A veritable mystery.)

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Around the World in 80 Days Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. On my way back to the US, doing my own trip across the world, I watched Around the World in 80 Days. All I have to say about it is: poo de chien sur mon visage (as the throwaway character Monique would say. I say dog poo in my face, straight up). We were a twin house divided on this one (a little) let’s get into it:

  • The Bad –  Jules Verne’s spinning corpse could power a small city, this is possibly the worst adaptation of a book in history, it is offensive. Lord Kelvin’s portrayal offends me as a scientist and resident of Britain. Literally a comically diabolical villain, it is offensive. The movie is objectively racist at times. The way they treat British imperialist rule (as a source of comedy) is offensive.
  • The Worse – The movie itself offended me and upset me so much that it made me question my life and Bad Movie Thursday as a construct. I will never forgive this movie for that. I could barely watch Terminator Genysis on the plane after. But I persevered. I overcame.
  • The Worst – Jackie Chan’s presence as (almost definitely) the star of the movie is inexplicable. The sets are straight out of Epcot, they are insanely and bizarrely terrible. Steve Coogan’s performance is lazy and by the end it seems like he is just begging for the sweet release of death at every moment. The aforementioned Monique (an impressionistic artist from Paris) was pointless, a walking talking romantic plot point. Even the cameos (Arnold as a Turkish prince, Owen and Luke Wilson as the Wright Brothers in particular) should have been fun, but ended up being tragically unfunny. This movie was garbage.
  • The Good – Arnold looked like he had fun. Good for him.
  • The BMT – I say bad. An unpleasant, boring, surreal experience I never wish to relive.

I hate hate hated this movie. Jamie seemed to think the middle was just bonkers enough to make you think “wait, maybe this isn’t a terrible adaptation, maybe it is … bold?”. I disagree, this movie is garbage. There is nothing bold about this adaptation, it is just an aggressively dumb children’s version of the story. Something like an updated mock travelogue version of the story? That’s bold. This was offensive and stupid.

Jamie

Thanksgiving (more popularly known as TGivs) is the day we give thanks. Well I give thanks for my friends and family. I give thanks for the health and happiness of those I love. I give thanks for the opportunities that have been granted me. But I mostly give thanks for all the terrible movies that Hollywood provides to us each year. Oh you’re thinking of making Gods of Egypt? Why thank you. Super odd Warcraft video game adaptation? Thanks again! An inexplicable sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman that no one asked for!?!?! So many thanks to give Hollywood! And this is just looking forward to the first few months of 2016. Hollywood works hard for us and it’s long overdue to give them thanks. Back in 2004 the thanks would have gone a little something like this: “Wait, so you’re telling me that you’re making a big budget adaptation of a 130 year old property starring Jackie Chan and it’ll have a cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger?! Uh, yah. Thank you, Hollywood!” And oh, how thankful we should have been.

Patrick’s assessment of my feelings on the film is spot on. The beginning and the end are so bad that it upset me. Everything with the Royal Society hurt me physically to watch. But the middle of the film was just so crazy insane that you couldn’t help but kinda give them some props for going so nuts with the adaptation. There is a scene where Jackie Chan is hanging from a rope attached to a hot air balloon and his pants get caught on a statue. A character says “Oh! That statue grabbed his trousers!” And we smash cut to the statue SMILING! The fucking statue was smiling. The only implication you can get is that the director truly wanted you to think that indeed, the statue grabbed and pulled off Jackie Chan’s trousers. And that’s when the film grabbed me by my trouser heart.

Alright, so for a little game this week I think I might Sklogify It. The sklogified version of this film would be called Around the World in 80 Sklogs and the entire conceit would be that me and Patrick would play every character in the film, plus have approximately 50 cameos that are totally tangential to the primary plot. Don’t worry, Patrick. I will play both the main character and his love interest. Although, that will not make the sex scene any less disturbing. “Why write in an unnecessary sex scene?!” you may ask. We’re trying to get the butts in the seats, aren’t we? Case closed.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Around the World in 80 Days Preview

This week we are mired in the worst releases of 2015 as we wait for Razzie noms to be released and our long awaited switch to the Stallonian calendar to take effect. We no longer have any genres to adhere to (remember, we are waiting to use the Action selection to pick Fantastic Four when it gets released) so we are left with the more random categories of Razzies, Chain Reaction, and Scattegories. We decided to mix things up this week by using the Chain Reaction wild card. Why is it a wild card? Well our devoted fans will remember that the last Chain Reaction film was the major blockbuster What Goes Up starring Steve Coogan. It’s a small film with a small cast that didn’t really have the reach necessary to guarantee a 2015 connection worthy of BMT. So instead of forcing some small time film through the pipeline, we will take a little break from our Razzie tour and jump into the 2004 family adventure Around the World in 80 Days starring Steve Coogan and Jackie Chan. Wild card! Now Steven Coogan aficionados may be decrying our snub of his classic Marmaduke, but don’t worry, Marmaduke will have its day. There are reasons we picked Around the World in 80 Days. Reasons that will become clear far in the future (like 6 weeks). For now, let’s go!

Around the World in 80 Days (2004) – BMeTric: 33.8

AroundTheWorld_BMeT

(I’m very pleasantly surprised with this metric. It makes me curious as to whether it has gone up over time (impossible to tell with this plot, although I would tentatively say it hasn’t). Mostly it’s because the reviews at the time of release weren’t super low. Maybe it’s the opposite of a cult classic. People look back on it and are like ‘yeesh.’ Getting me excited. Note: Plot generated on February 23, 2016)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Absentminded Victorian inventor Phileas Fogg embarks on a global journey with a fugitive from justice (Chan) as his valet. Stumblebum remake of the Jules Verne saga is devoid of wit, and with so many CG effects shows no evidence of globetrotting in spite of having used several international locations. The 1956 had cameos by the likes of Sinatra and Dietrich; this one gives us Schwarzenegger in a funny wig.

(Stumblebum?! That’s my middle name. Jamie Stumblebum Smadbeck. I’m all about Stumblebum remakes. All in!)

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

(When Sugar Ray’s Fly started blasting I threw up all over myself. No longer all in! Not in!)

Director(s) – Frank Coraci – (Known For: The Wedding Singer; BMT: Click; The Waterboy; Blended; Here Comes the Boom; Around the World in 80 Days; Zookeeper. Notes: I need to see Here Comes the Boom stat. Gotta be that Coraci completist. Has somehow escaped Razzie nomination.)

Writer(s) – David N. Titcher (screenplay) – (BMT: Around the World in 80 Days; Notes: Only feature. He is probably best known as the writer of the Noah Wyle TV movie franchise The Librarian.)

David Benullo (screenplay) – (BMT: Around the World in 80 Days. Notes: Only American feature. He interestingly has written a couple Bollywood features.)

David Goldstein (screenplay) – (BMT: Around the World in 80 Days. Notes: There is literally nothing to find out about this guy so I’ll make something up. This is actually my pen name. Yep. That’s right. I wrote Around the World in 80 Days my sophomore year of high school. After having it come out to disastrous box office returns I was too ashamed to tell anyone about it.)

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; Supercop; Enter the Dragon; The Legend of Drunken Master; Rumble in the Bronx; Police Story. BMT: Rush Hour 3; Around the World in 80 Days; The Tuxedo; The Spy Next Door; The Medallion; The Protector; The Cannonball Run; Cannonball Run II; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn. Notes: Funny note on his wiki. Says that he is not a fan of the Rush Hour series despite the incredible success it had. He says he didn’t like the stunts in the films and doesn’t understand American humor. Don’t worry, Jackie. We no longer think Chris Tucker is funny either.)

Steve Coogan – (Known For: Hot Fuzz; Philomena; Tropic Thunder; Despicable Me 2; 24 Hour Party People; The Other Guys; Night at the Museum; The Trip; Hamlet 2; Ruby Sparks; Our Idiot Brother; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Minions; In the Loop; The Trip To Italy; Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief; Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian; Alan Partridge. BMT: Around the World in 80 Days; Marmaduke; What Goes Up. Notes: Just published an autobiography called Easily Distracted. Seeing as I’m a library enthusiast I might have to look and see if that’s available at the always wonderful Rochester Public Library.)

Budget/Gross: $110 million / $24,008,137 ($72,178,895 Worldwide)

(Let that sink in. I wasn’t fully aware of just how disastrous the release of this film was, but oooo mama. That is rough. Opened at 9th (!) in the box office with the 129th worst opening for a 2500+ release film. Just ahead of BMT film The Big Wedding.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 31% (40/127), Hit-and-miss family fare that bares only the slightest resemblance to Verne’s novel.

(See, the reviews seem just mediocre. 31% is pretty high for us and the consensus hints at the idea that at the time of release people just thought ‘meh’ about it. Now, in retrospect, they probably look back and are like ‘what a stumblebum production.’)

Poster – Giant Golden Letters (F)

around_the_world_in_eighty_days
(Oh god. That is awful. First, the title font, while hilariously impossible for Patrick to spoof, is jarring. Second, look at dem colors. Third, Steve Coogan must have been pissed that when it was all said and done this film was marketed entirely as a Jackie Chan vehicle.)

Tagline(s) – The race begins: June 16. (Blech)

(This is easily the most common tagline you see on the posters and it is no good. It’s just too lazy. I just like to see people try to be clever. No fun when they don’t even try.)

Notes – Arnold Schwarzenegger’s last film before being elected governor of California. (Fantastic)

With a box office loss of around $80 million, this film is considered the biggest independently released flop in film history (it was made by an independent group under Disney). (Yeah it was made by the Walden Group which specializes in Christian family films like the Narnia films. This isn’t a Christian film, but wholesome enough).

Will Forte’s feature film debut. (Wow!)

Razzie Awards 2005, Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger; Nominated for Worst Remake or Sequel.

The Gallows Recap

Jamie

Why do we do this to ourselves? We know we hate found footage films and yet we keep dipping our toes over and over again into the well only to realize that that “well” is in fact a sewer and instead of “dipping our toes” we actually got submerged in shit. I wouldn’t say this was the worst found footage we’ve watched (for reasons detailed in Patrick’s section), but it’s the relative sameness of every… single… film in the genre that just wears on me. I can barely tell these films apart. Unfortunately we have to keep doing it. Each year there are like 3 or 4 BMT found footage films released to theaters. If me and Patrick don’t watch some of them each year, BMT will eventually consist only of found footage films… it’s like the apocalyptic future of BMT. Me and Patrick roaming the wasteland of found footage films to try to find some bad movie sustenance. I’m of course being facetious, everyone. Don’t worry your little heads about this. Patrick has run the numbers (obviously) and we will never (never!) run out of bad films. There are approximately a full year’s worth of bad films released each year. So rest assured, our national nightmare of found footage BMT will never be fully realized. Phew.

I’m feeling a little Sequel, Prequel, Remake for this one. I want a Prequel. No, not the story of the original production of The Gallows culminating in the death of Charlie (and giving a bit more clarity on how he came to exist as a supernatural being). I’m talking about what would have followed right after. Charlie’s girlfriend is devastated at the death of Charlie in a freak theater accident. What else could go wrong? Everything apparently cause now she finds out she’s pregnant and at the same time finds out her deadbeat boyfriend is back from the dead as a ghost! Oh my! How can this odd couple navigate the world of new parenthood when one of them isn’t even of this world?! Through laughter and tears they find that raising a baby isn’t all that hard when you have love… even when one of them is a spooky ghost. It shall be called Ghost Dad… wait…

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The Gallows? More like So Shallow! Found Footage? More like dog poo genre in my face. The thoughts on this were somewhat interesting (if you are me or Jamie that is), so rapidfire!:

  • The Good – This is genuinely shocking. We’re talking about a genre already prone to laziness in its reliance on jumpscares, but yet this one tread what seemed to be novel ground (not that I’m an expert on found footage films). (1) They had a genuine reason for the characters to carry a camera around (they needed the light attached to it). (2) The last 20 minutes were genuinely creepy, really tense with actual horror elements beyond jumpscares. (3) They seemed like they enjoyed poking some fun at the genre with some general silliness.
  • The Bad – (1) The first hour is useless. Literally nothing happens. I’m not being figurative, literally nothing of import happens in the first hour of an 80 minute long film. (2) The “twist” ending was terrible. So bad it was hard to tell whether it was meant to be ironic. (3) The acting is horrible. Not a surprise, but it was especially bad all around in this case.
  • The BMT – It kind of has to be. This is the worst of the year in a garbage genre. It must be represented by BMT … if that weren’t the case though I would just kick the entire genre out excepting special occasions.

But hey, they made money, they gave me some scares, and all for $50K! That’s actually incredible. If someone actually intelligently applied like a million dollars to a horror film like this something great might actually come of it. Although, maybe that’s what Paranormal Activity is.

Seriously, maybe I should be checking more of these found footage films outside of BMT (ugh, I hate them so much though). I’m going to wax poetic a bit about the BMeTric and the complications that horror seems to cause it. There is a small and impassioned fanbase around horror films. Combining this with the fact that most horror films aren’t perceived to be particularly good movies, and you got a recipe for BMeTric inflation. It is an issue with the BMeTric because it suggests movies (like the Gallows) are going to be good BMT when they honestly aren’t much fun. There are just weirdos who watch bad horror films (like me to an extent, even though they are spooky and scare me) and screw everything up. What is a boy to do?

To hammer home the points: taking the qualifying (more than 10 rotten tomatoes reviews, less than 40%) OMDB data and splitting off the ones that have a listed genre of “Horror” you can see that horror films are about as popular on average (a little more even), but the rating is, on average, about half a point less.

HorrorAnalysis1
HorrorAnalysis2

Out of all of the genres Horror has the highest 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile with the BMeTric. The average qualifying horror film has a BMeTric of about 35 whereas for all genres the average BMeTric is about 25. This does suggest the first adjustment to the BMeTric. A Genre-Adjusted BMeTric (GAB) might tamp down the increased number of suggested horror films. I’m digging it and will be exploring it more soon. (Editor’s Note: While I did explore this nothing came of it (so far). The BMeTric itself is quite different between the two, I just haven’t found the time to look into what underlying distribution to use and/or how to easily do a genre based transform. I do think this is a good idea in general. Currently, I think the easiest idea is to take quantiles and do the adjustment based on that. They already do this with genetic data I think, so hopefully it ends up being easy enough as to allow the adjustment to be produced each month with the OMDB data dumps).

 

The Gallows Preview

It was a bit of a tricky week for deciding which movie we were going to watch. The only genres we have left (besides the more random Razzie, Scattegories, and Chain Reaction) are Action and Horror/Thriller. Since we are looking forward to the release of Fantastic Four for the action section of this cycle, we were left with Horror/Thriller. Which is hardly thrilling in this case since those films are rarely taken seriously in the Razzie competition. In a lot of ways we will be merely treading water since we can’t hope to guess which film in the genre will be nominated. So we felt like we should just make sure to do the one that seemed like the shittiest. With that in mind, this week we are watching The Gallows. I found the trailer for this film so horrifying(ly bad) that I nearly insisted that we see this film in theaters for BMT. Didn’t work though, cause Patrick lives in a second world country across the pond that only had it in theaters for a week (To think! A modern country in this day and age only getting The Gallows for 7 days! How do they expect you to live over there, Patrick?). We would have had to be really on the ball. So instead we see it now! Let’s go!

The Gallows (2015) – BMeTric: 49.5 (At the Time), 53.6 (February 24, 2016)

TheGallows_BMeT

(This metric is really high! Love it. Something to keep in mind with the new BMeTric is that lots of these terrible found footage films get some really solid numbers and yet won’t get Razzie nominations. More an aspect of the Razzies than the quality of the metric. It basically has to do with horror having a great cult audience following. So the bad ones still get watched and rated a ton. It makes almost no sense to me. Editor’s Note: Plot generated on February 24, 2016)

RogerEbert.com – 1 star – … so incredibly dumb that it is almost, but never quite, scary to behold.

(Nice concise blurb I could grab from the review. Essentially what the review says it that genre has been dominated this year by some terrible wide release horror films (Poltergeist remake, Lazarus Effect, etc.) which still look like masterpieces in comparison to The Gallows. I’m all for incredibly dumb, though. Getting me excited.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_8OKImO2pc

(Absurd. Just absurd. I don’t really know how to reconcile the whole serial killer aspect with the supernatural bullshit that happens in the film (the lockers being the prime example). Everything just looks cheap and goes for cheap scares. I hate it already.)

Director(s) – Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing – (BMT: The Gallows. Notes: Travis Cluff is boring so both notes about Lofing. He actually has a very rare genetic disorder which results in him having abnormal skeletal structure. If you see pictures of him he looks very short and that’s because of this disorder.)

Writer(s) – Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing (written by) – (BMT: The Gallows. Notes: It says on Lofing’s imdb that he set four American powerlifting records. I thought it was some joke that maybe he put on there. Nope. He actually did. Interesting.)

Actors – Cassidy Gifford – (BMT: The Gallows; God’s Not Dead. Notes: Daughter of Kathie Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford.)

Also stars Pfeifer Brown and Ryan Shoos

Budget/Gross: $100,000 / $22,764,410 ($38,164,410 Worldwide)

(I have to take a knee right here. Jesus… Blumhouse just cleans up on these things. Basically they have figured a way to game the system. Buy or finance a bunch of microbudget horror films. Some will hit big and make up for the minuscule losses they see with their failures. Further a couple sequels can be made with the successes to magnify their gains. They also did something interesting this year with Jem and the Holograms where they seemed to try to leverage its minor cult interest against the low amount needed to purchase the rights to the film adaption. Didn’t work great that time.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 15% (14/90), Narratively contrived and visually a mess, The Gallows sends viewers on a shaky tumble to the bottom of the found-footage horror barrel.

(The… the… bottom? *gasp* I had presumed we had reached the bottom during one of the last several terrible found footage films we’ve endured. If this is worse than any of those we are in for a bumpy ride.)

Poster – Bomb Red (A)

gallows

(I love this poster. The red coloring perfused through everything. The text format. It’s like a work of art. Almost makes me want to put in on the map for Nebraska. Would look so nice.)

Tagline(s) – Every School Has Its Spirit (D)

(I feel like this is trying to trick me into liking it. As I’ve said on occasion: this looks like a tagline, sounds like a tagline, but I assure you, it is not a tagline. It is a strange twist on the phrase “school spirit” that just is wrong in every way. It hurts my brain. I hate it.)

Notes – The co-writer/director Travis Cluff was a contestant in season 2 of Wipeout (“Super Shorts”) and won. (hahaha, where was this on his imdb trivia page? Only on the trivia for the film.)

Certain exteriors were accomplished in Lofing’s hometown of Beatrice, Nebraska, the setting for the film. However, “The Gallows” was shot primarily in and around Fresno, California. (You know we love settings)

Pixels Recap

Jamie

Patrick and I had to look ourselves in the mirror last week (and by mirror I mean a sheet of glass that we look at each other through). As the email develops and grows (literally… to interminable length), we periodically have to reflect on whether it is growing stale and whether it is time to SHAKE THINGS UP. Last week was that time. And the answer was yes. Time for a BMT Shake Up. It’s not going to change much. We’re just going to try to make sure we aren’t repeating ourselves. The front part of the email is where we fool around (before getting to the super serious second half of the email) and we found ourselves making the same points, playing the same games, and generally repeating ourselves. In an email this long, we should try not to be redundant since the email’s too long. For the most part this will just mean that we’ll start working on the email together, rather than separately. It’ll help us tighten the bolts. Provide structure where there previously had been none. Not really aiming to shorten the email per se, but really just cut out the extra fat so we can add lean joke meat back into the email. So here we go… I guess this is this week’s anecdote.

To start, I have to go on record saying I also didn’t totally mind the film. I wouldn’t say I liked it though. Just OK… like a lot of the poorly reviewed films from this year. It feels a bit like this is the year of the OK film. But that is a discussion for a later time.

Because right now is game time. Usually this is time for a MonoSklog (and Pixels certainly had a couple primo examples), but I had a little inspiration this morning for a new installment of Sklognalysis. That’s where I go all philosophical and/or analytical on a film that probably doesn’t need that much reading into. In this case I want to draw a parallel between Pixels (and Happy Madison Productions as a whole) and the culture of a hockey locker room as described by Montreal Canadiens legend Ken Dryden. In his autobiography The Game he describes a hockey locker room in the following words:

… there is another level of dialogue we can all hear. It is all loud, invigorating, paced to the mood of the room, the product of wound-up bodies with wound-up minds. It’s one line, a laugh, and get out of the way of the next guy – “jock humor.” It is like a “roast,” the kind of intimate, indiscriminate carving that friends do to keep egos under control. Set in motion, it rebounds by word association, thought association, by “off the wall” anything association, just verbal reflex, whatever comes off your tongue, the more outrageous the better. Elections, murders, girl friends, body shapes, body parts… it is anything for a laugh.

Jokes at the expense of others? Ripping on everything and anything to get a laugh? A team of guys spewing what might be called  “jock humor”?! Isn’t that Happy Madison?! They sit around poking fun at each other and genuinely having fun. Each movie they invite you to spend some time with their team of guys who are trying to do the impossible together (make a successful comedy/win a Stanley Cup). If you embrace it and go into it with an open mind, then you might feel like you’re part of the team and begin to enjoy yourself. If you’re a snobby asshole BMT writer that sits in the corner going ‘this locker room smells and I don’t like these people and I don’t like hockey. Harrump’ then guess what? You won’t. It’s a team and they’re just asking you to be their teammates and enjoy the ride. I’m convincing myself at this point! We’re working on a whole other Sandler level here at BMT!

Patrick

Helló mindenki! That’s right, I watched this movie in Budapest, so some Hungarian in your face. Pixels!? More like This Smells! (Sandler slammmmmmmmed). Are you guys ready for a BMT Shake Up Brought To You By Pepsi MAX!? What a Shake Up means is I am not supposed to be so verbose. So three quick points, in and out, hit it:

  • The Good – I actually kind of liked this movie. In the immortal words of Bill Simmons: “My kids love this movie”. I’m sure they do, Bill. I would if I was a young lad just yearning for CGI distractions. All in all the jokes had a decent hit percentage. The actors didn’t totally look like they were phoning it in, and the CGI was gorgeous. What more could you ask for?
  • The Bad – Well … Josh Gad was pretty rough. And the kid actors. And Kevin James. So yeah, the acting was actually pretty terrible. And the movie just felt kind of lazy overall. At one point they just repeat a bunch of jokes from early Sandler films. And rip-off of Armageddon of all movies. The script felt very punched up. Lots of lampshading and other techniques to add in “jokes” to what is in reality a bunch of exposition held together by a plot featuring Kevin James as the president of the United States … yeah, might have wanted to rethink that.
  • The British – And I was genuinely offended by the portrayal of England in this film. As Jamie said “hey, they’re in Patrick’s backyard”. First of all, I got super amped because they were in Hyde Park which I literally work like 100 feet from … but then it was clearly in some park in Los Angeles and there were no other outdoor scenes. Gross.
  • The BMT – Yep I think so. Although it might be too good I have a feeling most people would disagree with us. Weirdly 30-40 sounds right, exactly where it is..

Bam. Quick. Those are my thoughts. Can I just sneak in a shoutout to Dan Aykroyd and Crystal Skull Vodka, both of which made a completely illogical product placement cameo in this film. It was glorious. In the spirit of our newly found brevity I’ll end it there. Búcsú.

Pixels Preview

Alright, so this week we moved on to one of the most anticipated BMTs of the year. It stars a BMT favorite in the lead role and will almost certainly be nominated in several Razzie categories (not that we respect the Razzies in any way, we’re just trying desperately to bring some legitimacy to an otherwise illegitimate award voting process). That’s right! We’re watching Pixels starring Adam Sandler! Avert your eyes. This might get ugly. Let’s go!

Pixels (2015) – BMeTric 37.9 (February 24, 2016)

Pixels_BMeT

(Editor’s Note: Generated on February 24, 2016.The BMeTric trajectory and result is about what I would expect, pretty smooth, between 30 and 40. Above average bad movie, but probably too good all things considered. I expect it’ll stay around there).

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – Oh, “Pixels” does have a couple of laughs scattered here and there, and the film as a whole is certainly better than such recent Sandler disasters as “That’s My Boy,” “Blended” and the truly inexplicable “The Cobbler,” but when one considers how good this material might have been if placed in the right hands, to see it squandered this way makes it almost more painful to view than the typical Sandler stinker.

(Funny that they specifically bring up The Cobbler. Both me and Patrick found the film mediocre and generally harmless. Basically seemed like people came in expecting something great because of the director and were appalled to find that it didn’t live up to that. Sounds like the same thing happened here. Gave Pixels a bad review just because the film didn’t live up to some preconceived lofty expectations. Maybe we’ll like it then… or at least not hate it. I didn’t hate The Cobbler after all. It was just blah with a bad ending.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diqZBS-RTAw

(I find it interesting to note how little of the plot you actually get from the trailer. Like… what do you actually know? There are video game aliens attacking and several people (Who? We don’t know) are tasked with defeating them. Why just them? Well, apparently they are the “only ones who can defeat them.” Oh… huh… why?)

Director(s) – Chris Columbus – (Known For: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone; Home Alone; Mrs. Doubtfire; Stepmom; Rent; Adventures in Babysitting; Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. BMT: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; Bicentennial Man; Pixels; Nine Months; I Love You Beth Cooper. Notes: Born in Spangler, PA which is only 25 miles from Indiana, PA where we were born.)

Writer(s) – Tim Herlihy (screenplay, screen story) – (Known For: Big Daddy; Happy Gilmore; The Wedding Singer; Billy Madison. BMT: Just Go with It; The Waterboy; Mr. Deeds; Grown Ups 2; Little Nicky; Bedtime Stories; Pixels. Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, Grown Ups 2 (2013), Little Nicky (2000), Big Daddy (1999). Could this year spell his first win?)

Timothy Dowling (screenplay) – (Known For: Role Models. BMT: Just Go with It; This Means War; Pixels. Notes: Brought in for the major rewrite of the film that took it from a more traditional Happy Madison production to a bigger, tentpole type film in the vein of Ghostbusters… or at least that’s what Variety told me.)

Patrick Jean also gets an official writing credit as the creator of the short film that it’s based on.

Actors – Adam Sandler – (Known For: 50 First Dates; Anger Management; Big Daddy; Happy Gilmore; Hotel Transylvania; The Wedding Singer; Punch-Drunk Love; Billy Madison; Funny People; Reign Over Me; Spanglish; Hotel Transylvania 2. BMT: Click; Grown Ups; Just Go with It; The Longest Yard; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; The Waterboy; Mr. Deeds; Grown Ups 2; Little Nicky; Blended; Bedtime Stories; That’s My Boy; Jack and Jill; Pixels; The Cobbler; Bulletproof; Airheads; Zookeeper; You Don’t Mess With the Zohan; Men Women & Children; Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights. Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor, Blended (2014), Grown Ups 2 (2013), I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007), Eight Crazy Nights/Mr. Deeds (2002), Little Nicky (2000), The Waterboy (1998), Bulletproof/Happy Gilmore (1996); Won for Worst Actor, That’s My Boy (2012), Jack and Jill/Just Go with It (2011), Big Daddy (1999); Won for Worst Actress, Jack and Jill (2011). BMT hall-of-famer.)

Also stars Peter Dinklage and Kevin James.

Budget/Gross: $88 million / $78,604,981 ($237,104,981 Worldwide)

(Per usual nothing can touch Sandler. You think this is a failure? Have you seen the box office grosses for real failures? Ever heard of a film called Pan? Now that’s a failure. This film essentially mimics the gross of the last Die Hard film which by all accounts was a decent performer for its studio. Everything about the articles being written about the demise of Sandler was bunk. He will never go away! He will always win! Even when he doesn’t win, he fucking wins.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 17% (27/155), Critics Consensus: Much like the worst arcade games from the era that inspired it, Pixels has little replay value and is hardly worth a quarter.

(Ugh, RT and your puns. You should be embarrassed. You just stretched this one out and it’s horrible. First of all, “replay value”? That doesn’t even really pertain to films. “Hardly worth a quarter”? What is this phrase? God you are terrible. Also a bit surprising that it got slightly better reviews than The Last Witch Hunter given the number of articles devoted to poking fun at Sandler about it.)

Poster – Pretty Pixelly Poster (A)

pixels

(I have to hand it to them… it’s a very pretty poster. Simple, bright colors, and just looks pretty. I like it a lot.)

Tagline(s) – Play for the Planet (B-)

Game on (B)

(Both of these were used on official posters. There may have even been a third, but I just used these. Both are not great, but not as bad as you might think at first glance. The first one has some alliteration. The second one has a nice double entendre. Both give ideas of the film. Just missing a level of cleverness that isn’t there. Surprisingly good though.)

Notes – This is the ninth film or television series in which Kevin James and Adam Sandler have appeared together.

Jennifer Aniston turned down the female lead role.

This film is based on a 2010 short film by French director Patrick Jean and distributed by One More Productions.

Fiona Shaw plays the British Prime Minister. This is the second time she has appeared in a video game related movie. She also played Lena in Super Mario Bros. (1993).

Contrary to many of his other films, Sean Bean survives the entire movie.