The Legend of Hercules Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. Well, nothing says “I’m a producer and I have no idea what I’m doing” like making a film starring Kellen Lutz. Enjoy!

The Legend of Hercules (2014) – BMeTric: 83.1; Notability: 33 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 0.4%; Notability: top 38.8%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 0.4% Higher BMeT: Left Behind; Higher Notability: Transformers: Age of Extinction, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Exodus: Gods and Kings, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Dracula Untold, Transcendence, Think Like a Man Too, Dumb and Dumber To, Annie, The Monuments Men, A New York Winter’s Tale, Horrible Bosses 2, Ride Along, The Expendables 3, Need for Speed, Men, Women & Children, Walk of Shame, Lessons in Love, Vampire Academy, Blended, and 6 more; Lower RT: Left Behind; Notes: Absurdly low IMDb rating for that number of votes. It is crazy that anything beat it at all, congrats to Let Behind I guess. This is definitely in that same small-but-terrible camp that seems to just churn out Hall of Fame films in the mid-2010s.

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – It may or may not be a good thing that summer will bring a second attempt at reviving Hercules on the big screen with Dwayne Johnson in the lead and directed by Brett Ratner. But with the bar set this low, surely the performer formerly known as The Rock doesn’t have to strain himself too hard to pump up the entertainment value.

(It is pretty funny that both of these movies came out, and both were bad. Shockingly the one with The Rock isn’t even close to good, and thus it has been completely forgotten. The complete catastrophe that is this film didn’t really help with that.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0GMzQwO2l0/

(Holy crap, this looks like such a load of crap. I … just don’t understand. They really don’t make films like this anymore. Hell, they barely made films like this in 2014! This feels like a movie some guy who got rich buying up real estate in 2007 would make before going bankrupt.)

Directors – Renny Harlin – (Known For: Die Hard 2; Deep Blue Sea; The Long Kiss Goodnight; Cliffhanger; The Dyatlov Pass Incident; A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master; Prison; Bodies at Rest; Future BMT: Exorcist: The Beginning; 12 Rounds; Cutthroat Island; 5 Days of War; Skiptrace; Cleaner; Mindhunters; The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Driven; The Covenant; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1991 for The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; in 1996 for Cutthroat Island; in 2002 for Driven; in 2005 for Exorcist: The Beginning; and in 2015 for The Legend of Hercules; Notes: Finnish, and is probably the most successful Finnish director in Hollywood history. Was married to Gena Davis for five years.)

Writers – Sean Hood (screenplay) – (Known For: Cube 2: Hypercube; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; The Crow: Wicked Prayer; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Claims to have retired from screenwriting in 2018, but has an announced television series, so perhaps it is just that he is no longer pursuing feature films.)

Daniel Giat (screenplay) – (BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Notes: Nominated for two Emmys for Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and Path to War.)

Renny Harlin (screenplay) – (Known For: Prison; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1991 for The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; in 1996 for Cutthroat Island; in 2002 for Driven; in 2005 for Exorcist: The Beginning; and in 2015 for The Legend of Hercules; Notes: Only wrote a few films including Born American starring Chuck Norris’s son Mike Norris.)

Giulio Steve (screenplay) – (BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Notes: A very prolific Italian producer … I have to imagine this has something to do with cheap production in Europe in some capacity.)

Actors – Kellan Lutz – (Known For: Twilight; Immortals; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; What Men Want; Science Fiction Volume One: The Osiris Child; Experimenter; Future BMT: Prom Night; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Extraction; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Tarzan; Love, Wedding, Marriage; Guardians of the Tomb; Speed Kills; Java Heat; Syrup; A Warrior’s Heart; Accepted; Stick It; As Blood Runs Deep; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; The Twilight Saga: New Moon; The Expendables 3; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for The Legend of Hercules in 2015; Notes: Naturally started his film career as a model. He was born in North Dakota and moved to Hollywood originally to attend Chapman University to study Chemical Engineering (what what). He dropped out to pursue acting.)

Gaia Weiss – (Known For: Judy; We Are Boats; Future BMT: Overdrive; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for The Legend of Hercules in 2015; Notes: French. Originally trained as a professional ballerina.)Scott Adkins – (Known For: Zero Dark Thirty; Doctor Strange; The Bourne Ultimatum; Yip Man 4; The Expendables 2; Triple Threat; Avengement; Unleashed; Accident Man; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Ninja: Shadow of a Tear; Close Range; Savage Dog; Future BMT: The Pink Panther; The Accidental Spy; Grimsby; American Assassin; Criminal; Dead Reckoning; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; The Medallion; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Notes: Trained in Taekwondo, Kickboxing, Ninjutsu, Krav Maga, Karate, Wushu, Jiujitsu, Muay Thai, Capoeira and Acrobatic Gymnastics. Dat’s a lotta martial arts.)

Budget/Gross – $70,000,000 / Domestic: $18,848,538 (Worldwide: $61,279,452)

(Woof. Who thought a Kellen Lutz film was going to gross like $140 million dollars? In what universe was this going to ever make enough money to be worth it. It just doesn’t make any sense. Is this one of the biggest bombs of 2014?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (4/83): Cheap-looking, poorly acted, and dull, The Legend of Hercules is neither fun enough to qualify as an action movie nor absorbing enough to work on a dramatic level.

(I don’t think they were ever thinking of the drama angle to this stuff. What they were hoping for was maybe Kellen Lutz mugging for the camera while rock music played .. or something. Who knows. Reviewer Highlight: The dialogue isn’t dubbed, but is written and delivered so indifferently that it might as well have been. – Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club)

Poster – The Legend of Smirk-ules

(It is definitely of the time. I personally don’t like the blue-toned “grittiness” of posters which I think were popular at the time. I think the weirdest bit of the poster is that it is just a full picture of Kellen Lutz … and yet his name isn’t on the poster. They are advertising it as essentially: Just imagine whomever you want in this role, he barely needs to even have a face to be what we want, which is a generic Hercules person. I’m giving it a C+, I think it delivers what the filmmakers wanted, but I don’t like the bland color scheme. Bumping it up for the font.)

Tagline(s) – Every man has a destiny (D)

(I actually hate it and I’ll explain why. Is Hercules a man? In this movie he might be, I can’t remember. But in the stories he’s the son of a god … so yeah, the son of a god would obviously have a destiny! I can’t think of a good one, but I would have tried to go more with the “legend” part of it, how a mortal man destined to save his people became a legend.)

Keyword – sword and sandal

Top 10: Gladiator (2000), Braveheart (1995), Aladdin (2019), 300 (2006), Troy (2004), The Beastmaster (1982), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Immortals (2011), Legend (1985), Clash of the Titans (2010)

Future BMT: 49.7 The Last Legion (2007), 47.9 Alexander (2004), 46.9 Kull the Conqueror (1997), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 42.9 Hercules (1983), 42.5 Samson (2018), 41.2 Clash of the Titans (2010), 40.8 Ben-Hur (2016), 34.4 Il mondo di Yor (1983), 33.9 Immortals (2011);

BMT: Gods of Egypt (2016), Conan the Barbarian (2011), Eragon (2006), Conan the Destroyer (1984), Pompeii (2014), In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007), Red Sonja (1985), The 13th Warrior (1999), The Legend of Hercules (2014), Season of the Witch (2011), Meet the Spartans (2008)

(Every so often they try and bring these sword and sandal films back and it never quite works. I think it is because they try and make them action films. The ones that end up being good seem to hire big name actors and bring the drama to the story. The bad ones hire a Kellen Lutz who looks good without a shirt and go from there.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 24) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Kellan Lutz is No. 1 billed in The Legend of Hercules and No. 15 billed in Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 15 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 24. If we were to watch Immortals, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Scott Adkins’s character, King Amphitryon, is seen at two different ages in the film, younger and older, and Adkins created two different looks for the character. He said he wanted to look extremely “lean and ripped” for the younger scenes, showing highly defined eight-pack abs in a shirtless scene, as compared to very “muscular and bulky” for the older scenes, where he just had to show his biceps in sleeveless costumes. He said for the younger scenes, he ate very carefully and trained a lot to achieve the ultra-cut look but for the older scenes, he trained just as hard but ate what he wanted because the focus was on size and not muscle definition, and he did not have a shirtless scene anymore. (This is a very very detailed note)

This was the second Greek mythology movie to star Kellen Lutz. The first was Immortals (2011), where Lutz portrayed Hercules’ uncle, Poseidon. (Whaaaaaaa?)

Director Renny Harlin mandated that all the male actors shave their legs along with their torsos, because the film was being shot natively in 3-D and he said that hair stuck out when you shot with stereoscopic cameras. (Whaaaaaaa?)

Director Renny Harlin said that he chose Scott Adkins for the role of King Amphitryon because of “his acting skills, his incredible physical ability and his incredible physique.” He said that King Amphitryon “had to be the biggest badass the audience had ever seen, and only Scott Adkins fit that bill.”

Kellan Lutz said his co-star Scott Adkins had the body of a god and that his physique was so great, it looked green-screened. He also said it “did not make his Hercules character look too well.”

Kellan Lutz said that because he was shirtless through much of the movie, he could constantly do push-ups and ab-crunches on set before takes without fear of sweating into his costumes and staining them. He said it allowed him to look pumped on camera, greatly enhancing his looks, and he ended up doing more than a thousand push-ups and ab-crunches every day on set for the duration of the shoot. (Jesus, these notes are just like … descriptions of gym workouts)

Due to the heavy armor worn by his character throughout the film, Johnathon Schaech was bitterly disappointed that he was unable appear shirtless in the film. He had been following a punishing bodybuilding and dieting regime to prepare for the role. (Jesus, what the hell are these notes! Was this all from a Men’s Fitness interview or something?)

Hebe, in Greek mythology, is actually the Goddess of Eternal Youth and the daughter of Zeus and Hera. Considering that Hercules is the son of Zeus, that would actually make the two love birds half-siblings.

When Kellan Lutz first landed the role, he said that physique-wise he wanted to get really big to portray Hercules. However, director Renny Harlin told him not to get any bigger as he found it very stereotypical for Hercules to be “a pile of meat.” Instead, he instructed Lutz to “get his abs to pop out more” as he thought it would be a great effect in 3-D. So Kellan Lutz adopted a special Paleo (caveman) diet for the role, ensuring that no fat accumulated on his body and that his abs visibly popped throughout principal photography. (What. The. Hell. Are. These. Notes.)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Kellan Lutz, 2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Gaia Weiss, 2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Renny Harlin, 2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel (2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Combo (Kellan Lutz, 2015)

Solo (1996) Preview

Jamie and Patrick emerge from the portal to Earth and they breathe in the fresh Brooklyn air. Home at last. Patrick pulls out his emergency cable knit sweater and they begin the hike back to their apartment. He sure is ready to put the Obsidian Dongle away for safekeeping and see his wife and six children, while Jamie just needs a classic NY slice and his MTV. Rad. As they pass by their favorite book store a stray glance stops Patrick dead in his tracks. “J-j-jamie… what is that?” he says in a panic. A large “Bestseller” sign hangs over a large stack of the latest hit: R&P: Rest in Peace: The Death of Rich and Poe. They scramble into the bookstore and buy a copy for themselves. They stare at the glossy cover in disbelief. It’s exactly like the one they saw in the BMTverse. They flip to the back page to see a picture of them… there they are smiling from a picture neither remembered taking. A chill runs down their spines when they turn back to the front and see a small sticker that reads: “soon to be a major motion picture.” “They can’t,” mutters Patrick, “if that movie bombs then…” but Jamie is right there on the same page, “Rich and Poe will die in the BMTverse.” Hearts racing they run back to their apartment and pace the room. “We need to know who stole our identities and what the hell is going on”, says Jamie, “and there’s only one way to do that.” Patrick nods. They have to read that book. “Maybe it won’t be so bad,” says Patrick as he reads the first line: “‘Let’s pound some dweebs,’ says the robot terminator cyborg sent from 1996 to kill Rich and Poe…” Oh boy. That’s right! We continue the based-on-a-book cycle on a lesser known 90’s action film Solo starring Mario Van Peebles. It’s about an AI weapon that fights back against its creators and is based on the book Weapon by Robert Mason. Let’s go!

Solo (1996) – BMeTric: 46.5; Notability: 18 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 7.2%; Notability: top 80.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 1.0% Higher BMeT: Barb Wire, Kazaam, Striptease, Bio-Dome, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace, The Crow: City of Angels, The Stupids, Hellraiser: Bloodline, Mr. Wrong, Spy Hard, Poison Ivy 2, Jingle All The Way; Higher Notability: Eraser, The Fan, Spy Hard, Jingle All The Way, Chain Reaction, Daylight, The Associate, Dear God, Mulholland Falls, Up Close & Personal, Eddie, Eye for an Eye, Sgt. Bilko, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Adventures of Pinocchio, Larger Than Life, Dunston Checks In, The Chamber, Carpool, Girl 6, and 58 more; Lower RT: Bio-Dome, Kazaam; Notes: I’m starting to think bad films come in two flavors. There are the ones where the notability is relatively low but it absolutely crushes BMeTric / RT (which are usually the same as long as critics and audiences don’t disagree). And then there are the soulless films which have huge notability but seem to always hover in that 35-55% range on RT. I think the low-notability ones tend to be the more beloved in BMT, so that’s promising. Also, I can’t believe we haven’t seen either Bio-Dome or Kazaam for BMT yet.

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Solo is an android who has a crisis of conscience when he directly disobeys an order that would result in the murder of innocent people. This sets him on a collision course with his creators, particularly a sadistic colonel. Standard action for nondiscerning fans of the genre. Van Peebles is actually quite appealing in the lead.

(Not much to discuss there as it boils down to: pretty much what you would expect, although Van Peebles is better that one would think. I’m shocked, having watched the movie, that he doesn’t mention that it yet again seems to rip off Seven Samurai.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sV-4gWRtNxY/

(Oh wow the overlay with the blatant Apocalypse Now rip off. This trailer looks like a direct-to-video garbage fire. What the hell were they thinking?)

Directors – Norberto Barba – (BMT: Solo; Notes: Mostly does television now, including 11 episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Served in the U.S. Army Special Forces.)

Writers – Robert Mason (novel) – (BMT: Solo; Notes: Wrote an autobiography called Chickenhawk about his experience flying helicopters in Vietnam. His only other credit is writing for a documentary on the same subject. His writing is mostly science-fiction, like Weapon, the book Solo is based on.)

David L. Corley (screenplay) (as David Corley) – (BMT: Solo; Notes: Almost exclusively wrote straight-to-video stuff after this, including Executive Power starring Jean Claude Van Damme.)

Actors – Mario Van Peebles – (Known For: Ali; New Jack City; Heartbreak Ridge; The Cotton Club; Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song; Run the Race; How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass; Stag; The Hebrew Hammer; Future BMT: Exterminator 2; Gunmen; Posse; Submerged; We the Party; Multiple Sarcasms; Panther; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Highlander III: The Final Dimension; Solo; Notes: A director, actor, and producer, the son of Melvin Van Peebles. He directed the film Badasssss! which is about the making of his father’s film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.)

William Sadler – (Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; The Green Mile; Bill & Ted Face the Music; Iron Man Three; Die Hard 2; The Highwaymen; The Mist; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; VFW; The Hot Spot; Kinsey; Freeheld; Freaked; Rush; Project X; Trespass; Being Flynn; Greetings from Tim Buckley; Ava’s Possessions; The Hollow; Future BMT: Grudge; Machete Kills; Bordello of Blood; Disturbing Behavior; Hard to Kill; K-9; The Duel; RocketMan; Living Among Us; The Battle of Shaker Heights; Hanky Panky; Eagle Eye; Man on a Ledge; Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight; Awaken the Night; A New Wave; Freedom; August Rush; Reach the Rock; Frank the Bastard; BMT: Solo; Notes: I never realized he played the Grim Reaper in the Bill & Ted films. Played Sgt. Toomey in Neil Simon’s Tony Award winning play Biloxi Blues.)

Barry Corbin – (Known For: No Country for Old Men; WarGames; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; Stir Crazy; Urban Cowboy; The Hot Spot; The Homesman; Planes: Fire & Rescue; In the Valley of Elah; Dead and Buried; Honkytonk Man; Nothing in Common; Permanent Record; All Saints; The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez; That Evening Sun; Provinces of Night; The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez; The Valley; Race to Space; Future BMT: The Dukes of Hazzard; Ghost Dad; Who’s Harry Crumb?; Held Up; Career Opportunities; Burning Rubber; Beer for My Horses; Any Which Way You Can; The Man Who Loved Women; Curdled; The Grand; My Science Project; Lake City; Short Time; New Life; BMT: Solo; Critters 2; Notes: Nominated for three Emmys, two for Northern Exposure, and one for the TV Movie Moon Shot. He was in the marines and actually did train at Camp Pendleton in California where they were planning on reprogramming Solo.)

Budget/Gross – $19 million / Domestic: $5,107,669 (Worldwide: $5,107,669)

(Brutal return. But I’m not sure what they expected since the film looks like it was destined to be straight-to-video. I’m not sure why you would spend $20 million on a Mario Van Peebles vehicle in the first place. Where did the money go? Exclusively into pyrotechnics?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (3/36): Featuring hammy performances and bland characters, Solo is an all too straightforward actioner that’s both predictable and instantly forgettable.

(Sounds about right. I’m still pretty perplexed that of all people Mario Van Peebles was being tagged as a potential action star in 1996. Reviewer Highlight: These escapist showdown movies are only as good as their villains and heroes. The heavies here are more of those ubiquitous gung-ho military types who are due to be dishonorably discharged from further cinematic duty. – Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune)

Poster – Solo: A BMT Story

(I’d love to think what would happen if Patrick and I were able to travel back in time and see this poster in the wild. I feel like a graphic artist somewhere threw this together and assumed it would be rejected and then when he was told his poster was chosen he panicked. At least they got that sweet block lettering. D.)

Tagline(s) – Part man. Part machine. Total weapon. Prepare to go Solo! (C+)

(You were going so good there for a while, tagline. Honestly the end is tacked on. Prior to that it’s an OK tagline. It’s got the structure and the plot. Just lacks a little creativity. Really what they have is something that works for any cyborg film… although, I’m not always prepared to go solo for every cyborg film, so that’s helpful to know.)

Keyword – based on novel

Top 10: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Catch Me If You Can (2002), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Emma. (2020), Goodfellas (1990), Ready Player One (2018), Jojo Rabbit (2019), Forrest Gump (1994), Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Future BMT: 72.2 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), 47.5 The Dark Tower (2017), 45.7 London Fields (2018), 43.8 Priest (2011), 43.6 Allegiant (2016), 43.4 The Rhythm Section (2020), 42.2 Pan (2015), 41.3 Addicted (2014), 39.7 Eat Pray Love (2010), 39.4 The Princess Diaries 2 (2004);

BMT: After (2019), Dolittle (2020), Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), Fifty Shades Freed (2018), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), The Three Musketeers (2011), The Circle (2017), The Snowman (2017), Striptease (1996), Conan the Barbarian (2011), The 5th Wave (2016), Hunter Killer (2018), Fifty Shades Darker (2017), Vampire Academy (2014), Jumper (2008), Around the World in 80 Days (2004), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), A Walk to Remember (2002), A Dog’s Purpose (2017), I Am Number Four (2011), Death Wish (2018), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Poseidon (2006), Eragon (2006), Kiss the Girls (1997), Dragonball Evolution (2009), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), Along Came a Spider (2001), The Choice (2016), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), Something Borrowed (2011), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), The Host (2013), Safe Haven (2013)

(My god, we’ve done so many of them. And we still, confusingly, still have Twilight films to watch? I forget because I actually randomly watched them all years ago for no apparent reason. None of the others in that Future BMT section seem particularly appealing if I’m being honest. Although some of them have to be in a different keyword since we aren’t even half way through this cycle.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Mario Van Peebles is No. 1 billed in Solo and No. 2 billed in Highlander: The Final Dimension, which also stars Deborah Kara Unger (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 6 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 3 + 6 + 3 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, and Kingdom Come we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – The program on the TV that the people in the village is The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951). (I noticed this in the wild. Really good film, would highly recommend even if you don’t typically go for 50s films and that particular brand of special effect artistry)

2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story included the subtitle so as not to be confused with this film. (Well … I would assume it included a subtitle because Solo sounds like it could literally be anything. I doubt many people would be like “I’m going to Solo tonight want to come?” and their friends would respond “Wait, you’re going to go see that 1996 Mario Van Peebles robot film in theaters? That’s weird”)

The Roommate Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. Others might say we just want to see Cam Gigantic, Lyla Garrity, and Insane Leighton Meester fight it out Single White Female-style. Enjoy!

The Roommate (2011) – BMeTric: 68.0; Notability: 25 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 3.6%; Notability: top 65.1%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 0.5% Higher BMeT: Jack and Jill, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, Shark Night 3D, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Higher Notability: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Green Lantern, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Cars 2, Jack and Jill, Battle: Los Angeles, Hop, New Year’s Eve, Your Highness, The Smurfs, Immortals, In Time, Red Riding Hood, Johnny English Reborn, I Am Number Four, The Hangover Part II, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Larry Crowne, Priest, and 38 more; Lower RT: Jack and Jill; Notes: It has actually been going down in IMDb rating recently! That’s fun. A sub-5.0 is a guarantee of a solid BMeTric, so it is no wonder that it fits into the “small film which both critics and audiences hated” category.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Young woman (Kelly) moves into her dorm at an L.A. college. At first, she likes her shy, somewhat disturbed roommate (Meester), but soon discovers the young woman has become frighteningly attached to her. Trivial, trite would-be thriller shamelessly copies Single White Female. You’ve seen this before and done much better.

(Incredible energy from Leonard here. He is usually pretty forgiving of trite films I feel like, but apparently it is such a rip-off of Single White Female that it doesn’t get that pass? I should probably watch Single White Female, huh?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NX30f8b1Oo/

(The trailer looks a lot more like a horror film that it actually is. All of the creepy night stuff isn’t really in the film, it seems like it was kind of post production nonsense. Weird trailer. If I saw that I would be like “cool, a horror film” and then what you get is actually a thriller version of The O.C.)

Directors – Christian E. Christiansen – (BMT: The Roommate; Notes: Nominated for Best Short Film, Live Action, at the 2008 Academy Awards. He is from Denmark and this was his one and only foray into the Hollywood system.)

Writers – Sonny Mallhi (written by) – (Known For: Anguish; BMT: The Roommate; Notes: Was a producer for years, this was his first writing credit. He almost exclusively writes / produces horror films.)

Actors – Minka Kelly – (Known For: The Butler; 500 Days of Summer; The Kingdom; She’s in Portland; The World Made Straight; State’s Evidence; Future BMT: Naked; Night Hunter; Papa Hemingway in Cuba; BMT: The Roommate; Just Go with It; Notes: This was one of her only major starring roles after Friday Night Lights ended. She is now starring in the television series Titans. Is the daughter of Aerosmith guitarist Rick Dufay, and was briefly engaged to Derek Jeter.)

Leighton Meester – (Known For: The Judge; Date Night; Going the Distance; Like Sunday, Like Rain; Life Partners; By the Gun; Future BMT: The Oranges; Hangman’s Curse; Country Strong; The Beautiful Ordinary; Brothers in Arms; BMT: The Roommate; Monte Carlo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for That’s My Boy in 2013; Notes: Was a huge star in Gossip Girl at the time. These days she’s in the shoe Single Parents. She is married to Adam Brody from The O.C. Released an album called Heartstrings in 2014.)

Cam Gigandet – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Magnificent Seven; Easy A; Future BMT: Who’s Your Caddy?; The Unborn; Dangerous Lies; Schlong Story; Priest; In the Blood; Plush; Free Ride; Never Back Down; Pandorum; 4 Minute Mile; BMT: The Roommate; Trespass; Burlesque; Notes: I know him mostly as Volchok on The O.C., but he is still a pretty busy film actor these days. Has a black belt in Krav Maga. We almost exclusively refer to him as Cam Gigantic.)

Budget/Gross – $16,000,000 / Domestic: $37,300,000 (Worldwide: $40,492,652)

(That is pretty solid actually. Where is my The Roommate 2: Fashion Week in Milan? I need more Billy Zane in my life!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (3/86): Devoid of chills, thrills, or even cheap titillation, The Roommate isn’t even bad enough to be good.

(Yeah that sounds about right, although I obviously disagree with the idea that is isn’t so bad it ends up being good … because it is in the Hall of Fame, by definition it was so bad it is good (in it’s own way). Reviewer Highlight: Kelly and Meester hit their marks and look pretty doing it, while supporting players Cam Gigandet, Billy Zane and Aly Michalka fade into the background so blandly that viewers will never remember they were there. – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post … how dare you suggest I would ever forget Billy Zane is in this film!)

Poster – The Roomsklog

(What I like: a little bit of weathered interest on the font, and the feel of the college campus atmosphere nails it. What I don’t like: The crazy time lapse effect in the middle, and only featuring Leighton Meester. It also feels a bit too bright maybe? Not a very thriller-y poster. C+. I think if it was more sinister it would be in the B range.)

Tagline(s) – 2,000 colleges. 8 million roommates. Which one will you get? (D)

(I don’t like it. It is too long, and there are too many numbers. The answer to the question being posed is: very likely one of the 7,999,999 roommates who aren’t Crazy Leighton Meester.)

Keyword – psycho thriller

Top 10: Inception (2010), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Seven (1995), Zodiac (2007), Split (2016), Shutter Island (2010), Ex Machina (2014), The Sixth Sense (1999), Don’t Breathe (2016), The Gift (2015)

Future BMT: 77.9 Boogeyman (2005), 58.8 Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), 56.7 See No Evil (2006), 53.5 The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018), 51.0 Eye of the Beholder (1999), 49.5 Unforgettable (2017), 44.5 The Purge (2013), 40.2 Gothika (2003), 39.1 The Forgotten (2004), 37.8 Never Talk to Strangers (1995);

BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), Friday the 13th (2009), House of Wax (2005), Perfect Stranger (2007), The Number 23 (2007), The Roommate (2011), Jason X (2001), Friday the 13th: Part III (1982), Jade (1995), The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), Twisted (2004), Godsend (2004)

(The days of the big budget, big Hollywood star psycho thriller certainly seems to have passed. You can even see it in the box office numbers. A $40 million return is fine, but you can’t have stars with those types of numbers, and you certainly won’t make a ton of cash like Blumhouse if you are wasting money on things like actor salaries. I’m not super excited about any of the Future BMT films listed.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Cam Gigandet is No. 3 billed in The Roommate and No. 4 billed in Trespass, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 15. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Leighton Meester was originally cast as Sara but then opted to take the role of Rebecca instead.

When the audience first meets Sara, a drawing of Leighton Meester as her character Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl (2007) can be seen in the background.

Minka Kelly was 30 while playing an 18-year-old in this movie. (Jesus, that means she was 28 playing a senior in high school in Friday Night Lights)

The college and ominous looking stairs leading to it on the movie poster is an actual college in Winfield, Ks. Southwestern College and its 77 steps are frequently used as backdrops in photos and used for exercise. (And they got sued for it)

In the original script, Sara’s favorite film was Coyote Ugly. In the finished film, it’s The Devil Wears Prada. (Why Coyote Ugly?!)

The name of the cafe Sara works at – Råzone – is the title of one of director Christian E. Christiansen’s movies. It’s in his native Danish and means raw zone. It’s design even matches that of the movie’s title design.

The two leads have pancakes in the same “Quality Cafe” seen in Se7en (1995) with Morgan Freeman and Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ghost World (2001), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), and Catch Me If You Can (2002). (So it is a distinctive looking cafe in L.A., I guess at least all of those are set in L.A. rather explicitly)

The original script had Rebecca have a fight with Irene in the nightclub bathroom before killing her with Sara discovering her dead body during the final confrontation at Irene’s apartment. This was rewritten to have Rebecca seduce Irene and kiss her before kidnapping her. (I like the way they did it. Even the one death seemed a bit overboard in that it doesn’t make much sense that she would kill Sara’s ex-boyfriend as a favor to Sara)

Exit to Eden Preview

Rich and Poe kneel next to Nic Cage, while Santa peers menacingly from just over their shoulder. “Here it is, Nic. May we open it to find the cure?” Nic nods weakly but when Rich and Poe open the book a look of shock crosses over their faces. Nic smiles. “Empty,” he says, “this was but one more test before you head back to your world. A world that must be protected from the Obsidian Dongle.” With that he waves his hand and a door appears in the distance. Tears run rivlets through Rich and Poe’s dust streaked cheeks as they finally see their path home. A home they had nearly forgotten, but now must be protected from the very real and not at all arbitrary power of the Obsidian Dongle. “But… but what about you?” they ask Nic, who honestly is not looking too hot. I mean… like… for real… Suddenly Santa butts into their touching scene and points at Rich and Poe demanding that he get his compensation for their ride to Nic. The twinkle in his eye is scary. What might they have wrought for poor Nic Cage in this moment of weakness? But just when Santa opens his mouth to speak a croaking chuckle begins to emanate from Nic’s throat. “Jokes on you, fat boy,” he finally gasps and with that he dies. Santa screams to the heavens in rage and flies away to bring destruction on all that lie in his path. Rich and Poe rush to Nic’s side and hold his broken body in his arms. A faint voice is heard, “never forget meeeee,” and with that his body fades leaving only a five dollar bill in its place. Wiping tears from their faces Rich and Poe look towards the final exit home. That’s right! We are starting off the first cycle of the year (films based on books) with a true classic of the bad movie genre. Exit to Eden was the misguided effort to make a comedy out of a Fifty Shades of Grey-esque BDSM book Exit to Eden with the inclusion of a wacky jewel theft subplot involving Rosie O’Donnell and Dan Akyroyd… so… yeah. It also has the distinction of being generally unavailable for viewing. But not for us! Let’s go!

Exit to Eden (1994) – BMeTric: 53.8; Notability: 55 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.8%; Notability: top 11.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 1.2% Higher BMeT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Junior, The Next Karate Kid, The Flintstones, Double Dragon, On Deadly Ground, North, Leprechaun 2, 3 Ninjas Kick Back; Higher Notability: The Flintstones, Beverly Hills Cop III, The Shadow, Love Affair, Frankenstein, North, Radioland Murders, I Love Trouble; Lower RT: Getting Even with Dad, Major League II; Notes: Amazing that it started to rise a bit more recently. Some benchmarks: sub-10% RT, 50+ BMeTric, and 50+ Notability. And was chosen as one of Siskel and Ebert’s worst films of 1994. A top 10 BMT-qualifying film of 1994 across the board.

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars – How about Faye Dunaway? Linda Fiorentino? Sigourney Weaver? See what I mean? Anne Rice recently took out two-page spreads in Variety and the New York Times to announce that she has seen the film of her novel “Interview with the Vampire,” and thinks it is a masterpiece. I don’t think we should look for her ad about “Exit to Eden,” not even in the classifieds.

(This is right around when Ebert was bizarrely praising Jingle All the Way, so I think we have rest assured that he really truly hated this film. I assume in this case he is referring to the odd casting choices. You’d think his quote was concerning Rosie O’Donnell, but no, he is actually referring to Dana Delaney.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yxa7yLhYDg8/

(Rollerblading. Going to weird resort vacations. This movie could not possibly be any more 90s. The trailer is really long I feel like … but maybe that is because it is a trailer for a comedy with no funny jokes, so it just feels longer than usual.)

Directors – Garry Marshall – (Known For: Pretty Woman; Overboard; The Princess Diaries; Runaway Bride; Beaches; Frankie and Johnny; The Flamingo Kid; Nothing in Common; Future BMT: The Princess Diaries 2; Raising Helen; Dear God; Young Doctors in Love; The Other Sister; BMT: Exit to Eden; Valentine’s Day; New Year’s Eve; Mother’s Day; Georgia Rule; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for New Year’s Eve in 2012; Notes: Died in 2016. A legend whose sister, Penny Marshall, is also a legend. Nominated for 5 Emmys for The Odd Couple and Mork & Mindy.)

Writers – Anne Rice (novel) – (Known For: Interview with the Vampire; The Young Messiah; BMT: Queen of the Damned; Exit to Eden; Notes: Her books featuring Lestat is by far her most famous, but she has written several other including the Mayfair Witch trilogy.)

Deborah Amelon (screenplay) – (BMT: Exit to Eden; Notes: She apparently was in Ice Follies with Dorothy Hamill. She ended up writing Hamill’s biography A Skating Life.)

Bob Brunner (screenplay) – (Future BMT: The Other Sister; BMT: Exit to Eden; Notes: Allegedly he gave “Fonzie” his nickname on Happy Days, and also wrote the infamous scene in which the Fonz jumps a shark on water skis.)

Actors – Dana Delany – (Known For: Tombstone; Fly Away Home; Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; HouseSitter; Light Sleeper; Masquerade; Wide Awake; Moon Over Parador; Patty Hearst; Where the River Runs Black; Spin; Future BMT: The Wedding Guest; Live Nude Girls; Dead Man’s Curve; Wild Mountain Thyme; The Fan; Multiple Sarcasms; Drunkboat; A Beautiful Life; BMT: Exit to Eden; Notes: She won two Emmys for her starring role in China Beach. Apparently she turned down the role of Carrie in Sex and the City.)

Dan Aykroyd – (Known For: Trading Places; Ghostbusters; The Blues Brothers; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; My Girl; 50 First Dates; Ghostbusters; Ghostbusters II; Casper; The Great Outdoors; Tommy Boy; Get on Up; 1941; Chaplin; Twilight Zone: The Movie; Driving Miss Daisy; Sneakers; Evolution; Antz; Grosse Pointe Blank; Future BMT: Yogi Bear; Coneheads; Loser; My Girl 2; My Stepmother Is an Alien; Celtic Pride; War, Inc.; Feeling Minnesota; Loose Cannons; Doctor Detroit; Sgt. Bilko; Pearl Harbor; Canadian Bacon; The Couch Trip; Getting Away with Murder; Spies Like Us; Diamonds; Into the Night; This Is My Life; Unconditional Love; BMT: Crossroads; Caddyshack II; Tammy; North; Exit to Eden; Nothing But Trouble; Christmas with the Kranks; Pixels; Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor in 1989 for Caddyshack II; and in 1992 for Nothing But Trouble; Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Nothing But Trouble in 1992; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Exit to Eden in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for North in 1995; Notes: Is moving and shaking once again with a new Ghostbusters coming out soon, a new Ghostbusters animated series in production, and he’s the creator of a new Blues Brothers television show. Most notably the owner of Crystal Head vodka.)

Rosie O’Donnell – (Known For: A League of Their Own; Sleepless in Seattle; Pitch Perfect 2; Beautiful Girls; Tarzan; A Very Brady Sequel; Harriet the Spy; Wide Awake; I’ll Do Anything; The Twilight of the Golds; Future BMT: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; The Flintstones; Another Stakeout; BMT: Exit to Eden; Car 54, Where Are You?; Fatal Instinct; Now and Then; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress in 1995 for Car 54, Where Are You?, Exit to Eden, and The Flintstones; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Exit to Eden in 1995; Notes: Won 11 Daytime Emmys for her talk show, and a Primetime Emmy for hosting the Tony Awards in 1999. She still acts, the last thing I saw her in was a part in Curb Your Enthusiam a few years ago.)

Budget/Gross – $25-30 million / Domestic: $6,841,570 (Worldwide: $6,841,570)

(Wow, really really bad. I have to imagine this put the kibosh on any other plans to adapt Rice’s lesser known series. Queen of the Damned probably stopped the Interview with a Vampire series as well. BMT classics.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (1/18)

(My consensus: Boring. Everyone, especially Marshall, seems embarrassed about this one. Reviewer Highlight: A sodden, Emmanuelle-lite caper from Garry Marshall that wants to be a ”sex comedy” and that is neither sexy nor funny. – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Brexit to Eden

(I like the artistry in the layout and I like the font. But the color scheme isn’t good and it falls into mediocrity as a result. C+ probably although maybe better. Seriously though, if this is the poster for your movie you’ve got a problem on your hands. This is a film for no one. No one wants this.)

Tagline(s) – Two cops are going undercover on the exotic island of Eden. But to crack this case they’ll have to flash more than their badges. (C-)

(My god. It’s both beautiful and horrendous. I can only believe that they intentionally used the phrase “But to crack this case,” because it vaguely resembles butt crack and it’s kind of amazing. I like the puns but I can’t abide by the length.)

Keyword – bdsm

Top 10: Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017), Addicted (2014), 8MM (1999), Jawbreaker (1999), Fifty Shades of Black (2016), Exit to Eden (1994), Lightning Jack (1994)

Future BMT: 41.3 Addicted (2014), 41.0 Jawbreaker (1999), 31.5 Lightning Jack (1994), 19.0 8MM (1999);

BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), Fifty Shades of Black (2016), Exit to Eden (1994)

(I would think 8MM is one of the bigger ones for this, although it is more about snuff films I think. I couldn’t help myself with this keyword despite it probably having a little too few films to really give a good graph.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Stuart Wilson is No. 6 billed in Exit to Eden and No. 9 billed in Here on Earth => 6 + 9 = 15. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Dan Aykroyd when interviewed on the American morning radio show Hill-Man, identified this film as the one that he’d like to forget making. (Not Nothing but Trouble?)

Antonio Banderas was offered the role of Elliot Slater but his schedule for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) prevented him from accepting the role.

Rosie O’Donnell’s weight noticeably changes in certain scenes. This is because the studio ordered several scenes to be shot before releasing the film, which was several months after principle photography had been completed and she had gained weight.

Rosie O’Donnell reportedly disliked the final cut of the movie, calling it “terrible”, and refused to go promote it as a result.

This film was adapted from a book by Anne Rice, and during the scene in New Orleans people are arguing over whether a man is Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise. These two actors starred in a film adaptation of Rice’s Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), which mostly takes place in New Orleans.

Most of the Eden scenes were filmed at the Manele Bay Hotel, on the island of Lanai, Hawaii.

Feature debut for Penthouse Pet Sandra Taylor.

Garry Marshall’s daughter Kathleen Marshall plays the woman in the airport restroom. She makes cameos in all of her father’s films.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Rosie O’Donnell, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Dan Aykroyd, Rosie O’Donnell, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Dan Aykroyd, 1995)

The Specialist Preview

“Welcome to Hell,” Santa says as his sleigh settles down in front of Rich and Poe. His well oiled muscles are fresh from destroying another horrific monster in this fantasy realm. Bathed in blood he nods cheerfully at Kilgorn, recognizing a kindred spirit. “Ho ho ho,” Santa laughs, his abs jiggling like a bowlful of rock hard jelly, “and what would you boys like for Christmas?” Just as Rich is about to tell Santa about their quest, Poe jumps in eagerly to ask for the latest Jim Nasium Jones action figure that has all the special add-ons, like the rocket pack and complete frolf set. “It’s really cool beans,” Poe gushes. Santa winks and out of thin air appears that most exclusive action figure. “Woah,” Poe says and honestly Rich can’t blame him, even if it did totally bone their quest to save Nic. Jim Nasium Jones is rad. Just as Santa is about to fly away, another satisfied customer in his wake, Rich calls out for him to wait. Santa turns a menacing eye on Rich, “Really? Another wish?” The rat-bat squeaks in fear and flies away. “You know the price. You must fulfill a wish of mine as well… if you dare. Ho ho ho.” His tone is menacing. “Yes,” Rich affirms, his voice cracking, “take us to Nic Cage.” Santa smirks and pops his knuckles. “Gladly, my boys,” Santa says in a suspicious, jolly tone, “But on one condition.” Rich and Poe lick their lips waiting for the other shoe to drop. “Just get me close enough to tell him something,” Rich and Poe look at each other. Just to say something to him? Seems harmless enough. They nod in agreement. “One very, very special thing,” Santa completes and begins to scream in maniacal laughter. That’s right! We are finishing 2020 with an extra special Stallonian Calendar Leap Week! Some very special years are blessed with 53 thursdays. In those years we get an extra week outside the cycles and BMT Lives to do what we wish and boy howdy do we wish upon a star for a new Sly Stallone movie. This year we gather under the traditional Stallone Day hanging slab of meat to watch The Specialist. Let’s go!   

The Specialist (1994) – BMeTric: 45.9; Notability: 42 

(Actually a lot lower Notability than I would have thought. It is a Sly Stallone film from 1994 involving, presumably, a lot of stunts and pyrotechnics. I wonder if given Sly’s undoubtedly absurd salary at the time they had to skimp on some of the crew to meet the production’s budget … could be. The rating is getting mighty close to a genuine cult classic. It it ever hits 6.0 on IMDb it would have to be one of the highest rated sub-10% Rotten Tomatoes films ever.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Rod Steiger, as the mob patriarch, employs an accent that requires him to say “chew” when he means “you.” Roberts, as his son, is real slick with chicks (“What I want, I take” is his opener with Stone). And the movie includes a dandy example of the Aquarium Rule, which teaches that whenever a large aquarium is introduced into a crime movie, we will eventually see a character’s head sleeping with the fishes.

(He actually seemed to like the film more than a lot of critics at the time. This is right around the time that I think Ebert started softening on “good for what they are” action in particular, and I think the very forgiving 2 star review is evidence of that.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqTrjDsEg4g/

(I mean, yeah. I’m down. Mid-90s Stallone flicks are at least entertaining if not always good. They do a nice tease of how much Woods chews at the scenery as well.)

Directors – Luis Llosa – (Future BMT: Sniper; BMT: Anaconda; The Specialist; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Anaconda in 1998; Notes: Born in Peru, he made multiple films set in the Amazon jungle culminating in Anaconda. Since 1996 he’s mostly been a producer on Peruvian soap operas.)

Writers – John Shirley (Specialist novels) (suggestion) – (Known For: The Crow; BMT: The Specialist; Notes: The series was a pulpy book series about the assassin Jack Sullivan. It was published under the pseudonym John Cutter, and Shirley, after becoming a famous novelist, disowned the series as garbage written for quick cash. Also wrote multiple full albums for Blue Öyster Cult and was a writer on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon which won an Emmy.)

Alexandra Seros (written by) – (Known For: Point of No Return; BMT: The Specialist; Notes: While only credited on these two films she seems to maybe be involved with the UCLA film school and is still (maybe) listed as a screenwriter on LinkedIn, so it is possible she has been doing mostly behind the scenes writing for the last 20 years.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Rocky; Cliffhanger; Creed II; The Expendables; First Blood; Creed; Rocky III; Escape Plan; The Expendables 2; Rocky Balboa; Rocky II; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Antz; Cop Land; Escape to Victory; Death Race 2000; Bullet to the Head; Animal Crackers; Future BMT: Escape Plan II; Escape Plan 3; Staying Alive; Rocky V; D-Tox; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Backtrace; Avenging Angelo; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Oscar; Rocky IV; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Driven; Zookeeper; Rhinestone; Get Carter; Judge Dredd; The Specialist; Rambo III; Cobra; Over the Top; Daylight; The Expendables 3; Rambo: Last Blood; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Demolition Man; Rambo; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actor for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Winner for Worst Actor in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1989 for Rambo III; and in 1993 for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Spy Kids 3: Game Over in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Cobra, Cobra, Lock Up, Lock Up, Over the Top, Over the Top, Rambo III, Rambo III, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rhinestone, Rocky IV, and Tango & Cash; Nominee for Worst Director for The Expendables in 2011; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1986 for Rocky IV; in 1987 for Cobra; in 1989 for Rambo III; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1994 for Cliffhanger; in 2002 for Driven; and in 2020 for Rambo: Last Blood; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1987 for Cobra; in 1988 for Over the Top; in 1990 for Lock Up, and Tango & Cash; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for The Specialist; in 1996 for Assassins, and Judge Dredd; in 1997 for Daylight; in 2001 for Get Carter; in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; and in 2020 for Rambo: Last Blood; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Rambo: Last Blood in 2020; Notes: Y’all know Sylvester. Most of the recent news for him is about how he just bought a $35 million house in Florida. Good for him I guess.)

Sharon Stone – (Known For: Basic Instinct; Total Recall; Casino; The Disaster Artist; The Laundromat; The Quick and the Dead; Alpha Dog; Lovelace; Antz; Broken Flowers; Above the Law; Bobby; The Mighty; Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold; Stardust Memories; Irreconcilable Differences; Fading Gigolo; The Muse; Les uns et les autres; Beautiful Joe; Future BMT: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Sliver; Cold Creek Manor; King Solomon’s Mines; Diabolique; Simpatico; Action Jackson; Intersection; Gloria; Life on the Line; Sphere; Mothers and Daughters; He Said, She Said; Deadly Blessing; Last Dance; Last Action Hero; Year of the Gun; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; A Warrior’s Tail; A Little Something for Your Birthday; BMT: Catwoman; Basic Instinct 2; The Specialist; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 1995 for Intersection, and The Specialist; and in 2007 for Basic Instinct 2; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1988 for Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold; in 1994 for Sliver; and in 2000 for Gloria; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Catwoman in 2005; and Nominee for Worst New Star in 1997 for Diabolique, and Last Dance; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Casino. She appeared nude in Playboy in 1990 which is somewhat credited for getting her the role in Basic Instinct which would propel her to stardom. Still works a ton, just more sporadically on both television and film.)

James Woods – (Known For: Once Upon a Time in America; Casino; Hercules; Contact; The Virgin Suicides; White House Down; Any Given Sunday; Chaplin; Videodrome; Against All Odds; John Carpenter’s Vampires; The Way We Were; Surf’s Up; Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within; Straw Dogs; Stuart Little 2; Riding in Cars with Boys; Nixon; True Crime; Salvador; Future BMT: Big Fat Important Movie; Scary Movie 2; Play It to the Bone; The Getaway; The General’s Daughter; Kicked in the Head; Jamesy Boy; Pretty Persuasion; Bling; John Q; BMT: The Specialist; Be Cool; Jobs; Notes: Notably went to MIT and dropped out in his sophomore year to pursue acting. Nominated for Oscars for Ghosts of Mississippi and Salvador. Also notably a Hollywood conservative.)

Budget/Gross – $45,000,000 / Domestic: $57,362,582 (Worldwide: $170,362,582)

(That seems like a modest success to me. This probably didn’t end up leading to a sequel because of how poorly it was received critically.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (2/29)

(Wowza! That is absurdly low! Let’s make a consensus: A dmb story involving dumb people saying dumb things. That about sums that up. Reviewer Highlight: Llosa relies on stock action shots and tedious exposition to get from scene to scene. You keep waiting for something — anything — neat to happen, but nothing does. – Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle)

Poster – The Sklogalist

(I should have been keeping track of the posters we’ve seen where the star(s) appear multiple times. It tickles me that there is double stallone on this. So much is wrong with this but daaaannnngg, that’s some unique font… I believe they are going for a digital look based on The Specialist’s brand of time bombs. Or maybe not. I honestly can’t tell, but I very much appreciate the effort. C-.)

Tagline(s) – The government taught him to kill. Now he’s using his skills to help a woman seek revenge against the Miami underworld. (F)

(No. Stop. I didn’t even read it. Who would read this enormous tagline? Fine, I’ll read it… did a child write this? That might be the worst tagline in history.)

Keyword – time bomb

Top 10: Tenet (2020), Die Hard (1988), Inception (2010), The Dark Knight (2008), Justice League (2017), Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), Spectre (2015), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), The Fifth Element (1997)

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 63.9 Underdog (2007), 62.5 Big Fat Important Movie (2008), 56.9 Suburban Commando (1991), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.3 Son of the Pink Panther (1993), 47.7 Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995), 46.6 Solo (1996), 46.3 Machete Kills (2013), 44.4 Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990);

BMT: Armageddon (1998), Sucker Punch (2011), Batman Forever (1995), The Expendables 3 (2014), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), Point Break (2015), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Movie 43 (2013), Godzilla (1998), Tango & Cash (1989), The Specialist (1994), Rambo III (1988), Killers (2010), Abduction (2011), Soldier (1998), Hudson Hawk (1991), Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997), The Lawnmower Man (1992), Spice World (1997), Torque (2004), I Spy (2002), RoboCop 3 (1993), Fair Game (1995), On Deadly Ground (1994), Double Team (1997), Alone in the Dark (2005), Bad Company (2002), Universal Soldier: The Return (1999), Extreme Ops (2002)

(If you squint you might be able to get the impression that time bombs were a purely 90s thing. Like dumb 90s films love time bombs and that love just grew and grew. And now? Not so much. We are over time bombs now … I could actually believe that. As far as films with time bombs I hope to watch soon, look no further than Under Siege 2.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sylvester Stallone is No. 1 billed in The Specialist and No. 1 billed in Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 10. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.

Notes – Sylvester Stallone had this to say on filming the shower scene with Sharon Stone:”OK. Let it be known, I didn’t want to do this scene because Sharon was not cooperating. We get to the set and she decides not to take her robe off. The director asks only a few of the crew to remain, and she still won’t take it off. I promised her I wouldn’t take any liberties, so what’s the problem? She said, ‘I’m just sick of nudity.’ I asked her if she could get sick of it on someone else’s film. She was having none of it, so I went down to my trailer, brought back a bottle of Black Death vodka that was given to me by Michael Douglas and after half-a-dozen shots we were wet and wild.” (Oh, that sounds awful Sly)

Sharon Stone was 36 when this movie was filmed, although her character was supposed to be in her early twenties.

Eric Roberts is only two years older than Sharon Stone. In the film his character was supposed to have killed her parents when she was a child. (haha)

Sylvester Stallone demanded for some of James Woods’s scenes to be cut out of the movie and for some of his scenes to be re-shot in order for Stallone to have more screen time. The reason for that was because Stallone was worried that Woods would “steal” the movie away. Stallone allegedly also cut out some Rutger Hauer’s scenes from Nighthawks (1981) for same reasons.

David Fincher was set to direct this at one stage. Sylvester Stallone liked Fincher but he was overruled by the producers, because Fincher’s career was still in deep freeze after the failure of Alien³ (1992) and wasn’t revived until the massive success of Seven (1995).

Ray Quick’s cat was named “Timer”. The cat who portrayed Timer (a Maine Coon) is also seen in Assassins as Pearl.

The producers got Sylvester Stallone to do the movie by threatening to replace him with Warren Beatty if he didn’t commit himself to the project within a fifteen-minute deadline.

In January, 1993 the Los Angeles Times listed The Specialist as the best unproduced thriller script in Hollywood, based on a poll of forty agents, producers and studio executives. (Interesting, an early blacklist thing)

“Turn the Beat Around”, covered by Gloria Estefan for this film, remains one of her highest selling singles.

Mario Van Peebles was attached to direct the movie in 1991, but left.

The music for this movie was written by John Barry who is more known for doing the music for the James Bond movies that starred Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton.

When Sylvester Stallone enters his computer to activate the massive explosion of his home near end of film, the password he uses is “Top of the world, Ma.” This is a slight paraphrase of Jimmy Cagney’s last line in White Heat (1949), just before Cagney shoots into the large gas storage unit he’s standing on, causing massive explosions. (“Made it, Ma. Top of the world!”)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sharon Stone, 1995)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Jerry Weintraub, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Rod Steiger, 1995)

Fantasy Island Preview

“Quick, follow me,” Mr. Big says, pulling Poe through a trapdoor with the gray ninjas close on their heels. “To the plane, the plane,” he says urgently, quickly taking off. Behind them, the gray ninjas have procured a dirigible of some sort and are in hot pursuit. Gunfire crackles around the hull of the small biplane and Poe can tell that Mr. Big is nervous. The little plane can’t take much more heat. He hands the book over to Poe, opens the side window and begins to futilely fire a handgun at the approaching blimp. Finally he sighs and collapses in the pilot’s seat. “We have protected this book for generations. It’s up to you know,” he says somberly, handing Poe the only parachute, “but it’s important to tell you that in reality…” with a whistle, a bullet shatters the side window of the plane and kills Mr. Big. “Noooooo,” Poe screams. His best friend! The blimp sidles up the plane and the gray ninjas reveal themselves as Rich and the gang (duh). “We saved you!” Rich exclaims happily, “and you got the book!” But Poe is not talking to him right now because of the whole killing his best friend business. “What’s that smell?” Rich asks suddenly, wrinkling his nose at the stench. they both look up and see the blimp, sagging sadly, losing air through a small hole in the middle of the giant “G” that spells out its name: The Great Nut. “Huh,” notes Rich before looking down to where they are about to crash land, “looks like we are heading for that island. If we can get across it then it’s just a short trek back to Nic. Should be no prob,” he says cheerily. But that sounds like a fantasy to Poe. That’s right! We’re watching one of the few major 2020 BMT theatrical releases in Fantasy Island. A rare Blumhouse flub, it’s no wonder since they turned a mild 70’s fantasy show into a horror movie for some reason. It should be obvious why we chose the Bring a Friend 2020 nonqualifying film to be paired with Fantasy Island. That’s right, we’re watching the 2020 straight-to-streaming sequel to JCVD’s Sudden Death called Welcome to Sudden Death for some reason. I’m excited. Let’s go!

Fantasy Island (2020) – BMeTric: 64.8; Notability: 25 

(Shockingly low IMDb rating which is surprising. I know horror fans are quite harsh no bad examples of the genre, but it is so close to being a horror comedy I’m a little surprised there weren’t more people some of the silliness. High notability I feel like for a Blumhouse film, but maybe that’s the IP effect.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – So yes, “Fantasy Island” is a terrible movie—this probably won’t come as a shock to most people—but more than that, it seems to have been made with absolutely no one in mind. Anyone who might have actually wanted to see a straight-up adaptation of the show will be put off by the way that it lurches into more ostensibly horrific areas. Those in the mood for a horror film will be annoyed by the pedestrian scares and its pilfering from other examples of the genre. Fans of actors like Michael Pena, Maggie Q and Lucy Hale (who is hereby advised to let any further calls from Wadlow go directly to voicemail) will be put out with how thoroughly they are wasted here. Look, I am no “Fantasy Island” fanatic by any means—I’ve only seen two episodes in my life, both of them featuring Michelle Phillips as one of the guest stars, strangely enough—but even it deserved better than this brainless product that’s no sane person’s fantasy of a half-decent movie.

(Yeah, it does seem that it was mostly just incredibly confusing as to why this was chosen to be the adaptation. Once they tacked so far away from the original premise, why not just make it original? It feels like it would have been easy to do. I guess you still want that sweet IP street cred.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6O30nJ02PU/

(Pretty good trailer. Still feels weird that this is the direction they decided to take the property. It feels like an empty sci-fi horror film, and very unlikely to satisfy anyone familiar with the property.)

Directors – Jeff Wadlow – (Future BMT: Cry Wolf; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; Kick-Ass 2; Never Back Down; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Like with a lot of Blumhouse stuff he also is a producer on the film. That is typically by design as his salary is probably largely determined by the box office return.)

Writers – Jeff Wadlow (written by) – (Future BMT: Prey; Cry Wolf; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; Kick-Ass 2; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Bloodshot; Notes: Oh, he wrote two of our 2020 films, that’s impressive. Katie Couric’s nephew, he got his start writing and directing short films.)

Christopher Roach (written by) (as Chris Roach) – (Known For: Non-Stop; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Was an executive producer on multiple series of Big Brother, among other unscripted television series. It is interesting that he’s made the leap to scripted films.)

Jillian Jacobs (written by) – (BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Was a producer on Big Brother, so I imagine she is operating as a writing partner with Roach in some capacity.)

Gene Levitt (based upon the television series created by) – (BMT: Fantasy Island; Notes: Created fantasy island, and while he was a writer on a ton of television in the 50s and 60s this was the only one he created and he seemed to have retired right after. He died in 1999.)

Actors – Michael Peña – (Known For: The Martian; The Mule; Fury; American Hustle; Ant-Man; Crash; The Lincoln Lawyer; Dora and the Lost City of Gold; Ant-Man and the Wasp; Million Dollar Baby; Shooter; Tower Heist; End of Watch; 12 Strong; Babel; A Wrinkle in Time; Turbo; The Lego Ninjago Movie; My Little Pony; 30 Minutes or Less; Future BMT: The Vatican Tapes; Extinction; Hell and Back; Vacation; The Calcium Kid; Lions for Lambs; Jexi; Collateral Beauty; Star Maps; Cesar Chavez; The Lucky Ones; The United States of Leland; BMT: Fantasy Island; Battle: Los Angeles; CHIPS; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Gangster Squad; Notes: Born in Chicago, and has starred in character roles in film and on television across the years, like Eastbound & Down. Apparently plays bass guitar, hopefully he starts a band.)

Maggie Q – (Known For: Divergent; Die Hard 4.0; Mission: Impossible III; Rush Hour 2; The Argument; Rogues Gallery; Future BMT: Balls of Fury; The Con Is On; Priest; Allegiant; Slumber; Death of Me; Deception; Insurgent; New York, I Love You; Jekyll Island; BMT: Fantasy Island; Around the World in 80 Days; Notes: Played the lead role in the Nikita remake. Grew up in Hawaii, but ended up becoming a huge star in Hong Kong before breaking out in Hollywood.)

Lucy Hale – (Known For: Scream 4; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2; The Unicorn; TinkerBell and the Secret of the Wings; Future BMT: A Nice Girl Like You; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Was part of the band American Juniors which was assembled on a reality series. Amazingly appeared in The O.C. way back in the day, but most well-known for her leading role in Pretty Little Liars.)

Budget/Gross – $7,000,000 / Domestic: $27,309,289 (Worldwide: $48,811,343)

(Still an incredible return on investment. Blum really can’t lose with these things. I wonder if they’ll think about doing another? I mean, in theory they could do the whole again with a new group. Could be a fun franchise if they fix whatever issues it had.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (8/107): Fantasy Island tries to show audiences the dark side of wish fulfillment, but mainly serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of exhuming long-dead franchises.

(“Who is this film for?” seems to be the common question. Not horror fans. Not Fantasy Island fans … so Blumhouse fans? Probably not that either. Reviewer Highlight: Contrived and loony, it feels like someone planted about a half-dozen different scripts all over this Fantasy Island. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Fancy Tree Island

(Clever. I think that’s a really good poster. Give me a little more on the font front and it might even be a perfect poster. Really artistic and beautiful. Too bad something so nice isn’t associated with a better film. Despite the font I’ll still give it an A. Just not an A+.)

Tagline(s) – Anything you desire. Everything you fear. (A)

(Blumhouse is good at what they do and despite flubbing a bit with the film as a whole you can still see that they know what’s up. Good poster, good tagline. This has the cadence, the length, and the specificity to the film at hand. I like it.)

Keyword – based on tv series

Top 10: Fantasy Island (2020), Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018), Charlie’s Angels (2019), Star Trek (2009), Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), Baywatch (2017), Addams Family Values (1993), Serenity (2005), State of Play (2009)

Future BMT: 83.1 Inspector Gadget (1999), 79.3 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000), 75.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 69.4 The Flintstones (1994), 67.3 Scooby-Doo (2002), 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 66.4 Yogi Bear (2010), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 65.0 Max Steel (2016);

BMT: Fantasy Island (2020), Baywatch (2017), The Last Airbender (2010), Masters of the Universe (1987), CHIPS (2017), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), The Lone Ranger (2013), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Wild Wild West (1999), Lost in Space (1998), Sex and the City 2 (2010), Æon Flux (2005), The Avengers (1998), Garfield (2004), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), I Spy (2002), Garfield 2 (2006), Marmaduke (2010), Dudley Do-Right (1999), Car 54, Where Are You? (1994)

(My God, we’ve watched so many. And we still have so many to go. And again, no need to remake television series anymore, you can just you know … make the television series again on Netflix or whatever. So it is no wonder it is dying as a mini-genre.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Michael Rooker is No. 8 billed in Fantasy Island and No. 4 billed in Here on Earth => 8 + 4 = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Jason Blum wanted Nicolas Cage to play Mr. Roarke but Cage passed on the role.

The movie is a reimagining of Fantasy Island (1977) in a horror genre, inspired by The Cabin in the Woods (2011) and Westworld (2016).

Principal photography on the film began in January 2019 in Fiji.In October 2018, Michael Peña, Jimmy O. Yang, Dave Bautista and Lucy Hale joined the cast. In November 2018, during an interview, Jeff Wadlow disclosed that Maggie Q, Portia Doubleday and Ryan Hansen had joined the cast, as well as suggesting Bautista may no longer be able to appear in the film. (Huh … I wonder who Bautista would have been. I guess maybe the Rooker role? Or many the army captain)

The Skulls Preview

Poe shields his eyes against the blinding lights of the club and taps the glass of a giant aquarium filled with semi-nude women. The disguises worked like a charm to get into the club, but now what? Suddenly a mermaid lady swims up and after looking from the ghost back to Poe, winks and tilts her head towards a table in the back. Poe whispers softly to the sassy ghost, trying to make sure no one can hear them in the deathly quiet club. “Good,” murmurs the ghost, “that’s my contact. Seems like the key to getting to the book is already here.” The group sashays their way towards the back of the club, careful not to spill their flirtinis and Poe doing his best to wink dramatically at every guy that passes by. They are stopped by a security guard before reaching the table, but a voice behind them demands that the man let them through. A big man (let’s call him Mr. Big) gets up from the table and ignoring everyone else he extends his hand out to Poe. Poe smiles coquettishly and, channelling all the Samantha possible make a winking comment about the size of his hands, much to the embarrassment of the rest of the group. The man smiles devilishly, “My my, you are a sultry minx. What are you doing in a club like this? It’s so… 2000’s, am I right? Allow me to take you someplace a little more… exclusive,” and leaning in he whispers softly, “You ever hear of a club called The Skulls?” Poe titters shyly and Mr. Big takes Poe by the hands and leads him away. Alarmed, he looks over at the sassy ghost who nods her head and urges him forward. Looks like it’s all up to Samantha now. That’s right! We are watching the true classic of Dawson’s Creek era college thriller in The Skulls released 20 years ago. Much like Swimfan I can’t wait for this to both be incredibly stupid and yet my favorite thing ever. Let’s go!

The Skulls (2000) – BMeTric: 42.8; Notability: 25 

(Delightfully low IMDb rating there. I feel like this is often exactly the right spot you want to be in. A 25 notability is right in the ranger where the film is a wide release film, but there aren’t so many people involved that a disaster can be averted by throwing money at it. And a 50ish BMeTric is a genuinely bad movie that a bunch of people still managed to see when it was released to theaters. I wonder if I collected 40+ BMeTric and 25-35 Notability whether we’d end up finding a bunch of hidden gems. I bet so.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – I would give a great deal to be able to see “The Skulls” on opening night in New Haven, Conn., in a movie theater full of Yale students, with gales of laughter rolling at the screen. It isn’t a comedy, but that won’t stop anyone. “The Skulls” is one of the great howlers, a film that bears comparison, yes, with “The Greek Tycoon” or even “The Scarlet Letter.” It’s so ludicrous in so many different ways it achieves a kind of forlorn grandeur. It’s in a category by itself.

(I had never really heard of The Greek Tycoon, but that is quite a deep cut by Roger. And this review is just a delight. A “forlorn grandeur” … that is absolutely the perfect word for what we have been ever striving for at BMTHQ. I love it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B03lvL3pVp8/

(Hoooooooweeeee that rocking soundtrack? The dutch angles! The punctuated close up shots. I have to say … that is basically my dream BMT trailer. You know this thing is a melodramatic trash triller, which is the best type of thriller.)

Directors – Rob Cohen – (Known For: DragonHeart; Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story; xXx; The Hurricane Heist; Future BMT: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor; BMT: The Boy Next Door; Stealth; Alex Cross; The Skulls; Daylight; The Fast and the Furious; Notes: Was a producer in the 70s, and also ran Motown Records at the age of 24. He moved into television production and direction in the 80s, and then film directing in the 90s. Was considered a “baby mogul” in the 70s.)

Writers – John Pogue (written by) – (Known For: Quarantine 2: Terminal; Future BMT: The Quiet Ones; U.S. Marshals; BMT: Rollerball; Ghost Ship; The Skulls; Notes: Graduated from Yale and claims to have been part of a secret society, which is part of the inspiration for this film.)

Actors – Joshua Jackson – (Known For: Cruel Intentions; Scream 2; Bobby; Apt Pupil; Andre; Muppets from Space; One Week; Battle in Seattle; Sky; The Safety of Objects; The Shadow Dancer; Aurora Borealis; Americano; Future BMT: Cursed; Shutter; Lay the Favorite; Racing Stripes; D3: The Mighty Ducks; Gossip; D2: The Mighty Ducks; Inescapable; I Love Your Work; The Mighty Ducks; Magic in the Water; BMT: Urban Legend; The Skulls; Notes: You might also know him as Pacey in Dawson’s Creek, or his leading role on Fringe. A rare child actor who has managed to transition from a real deal kid actor through to teen soaps, to now adult television roles.)

Paul Walker – (Known For: Fast & Furious 7; She’s All That; Furious 6; Pleasantville; Fast & Furious 5; Flags of Our Fathers; Varsity Blues; Running Scared; Tammy and the T-Rex; Eight Below; Hours; The Lazarus Project; Future BMT: Vehicle 19; Brick Mansions; Meet the Deedles; Into the Blue; Hustlers; Takers; Noel; Brokedown Palace; BMT: The Skulls; Timeline; 2 Fast 2 Furious; Fast & Furious; The Fast and the Furious; Notes: Sadly passed away in 2013 as a passenger of a supercar which crashed in California. Was also something of a kid actor having a role in the tv show Throb in his teens.)

Hill Harper – (Known For: Concussion; He Got Game; The Sun Is Also a Star; Beloved; An Interview with God; 1982; Get on the Bus; Premium; Love, Sex and Eating the Bones; The Visit; Future BMT: The Breed; All Eyez on Me; For Colored Girls; In Too Deep; The Badge; Hav Plenty; Loving Jezebel; Destined; BMT: Steel; The Boy Next Door; The Skulls; Notes: Mostly a television actor, he had a major role in both CSI: NY and currently is in the main cast of The Good Doctor.)

Budget/Gross – $35,000,000 / Domestic: $35,046,120 (Worldwide: $50,802,120)

(Not great. I imagine the budget was inflated after it was clear it wasn’t going to do very well though. $35 million just seems way to high for a schlocky teen thriller. Still not a huge success though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (8/85): The Skulls is full of nonsense and empty of good script and plot.

(Always love sub-10%. And I’m always down for films that are “full of nonsense.” Yes please. Reviewer Highlight: If there was an Oscar for the Silliest Movie Category, then The Skulls might be in with a good chance of winning. – Ben Falk, BBC)

Poster – The Sklogs

(While the poster is not good from a scoring perspective I have to say it tugs a bit at my heart. Give me a thriller set in college and I’ll be pretty excited. But really, it’s a little drab and the font is terrible. I do like the artistic spacing of the whole thing and I’ll give a little shoutout to the tiny skull emblem at the bottom. So that saves it a little and gets it to a C+.)

Tagline(s) – A secret society so powerful, it can give you everything you desire… at a price. (D-)

Getting in is easy. Getting out is a killer. (B+)

(The first one is on the poster and is so long it’s almost unbelievable. What is this, school? It’s not even clever… just kind of straight forward. The second one… now that is kind of amazing and should have been on the poster. Just one note, shouldn’t it be “Getting in is hard. Getting out is a killer.”? Cause getting in was, like, incredibly difficult. Just seems weird once you watch the film.)

Keyword – secret society

Top 10: Hereditary (2018), Fight Club (1999), Get Out (2017), Spectre (2015), Glass (2019), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Future BMT: 87.9 BloodRayne (2005), 55.7 An American Werewolf in Paris (1997), 42.4 Darkness (2002), 41.7 Blood and Chocolate (2007), 19.3 Now You See Me 2 (2016), 19.0 Killer Elite (2011), 18.6 Mona Lisa Smile (2003), 18.5 The Hunted (1995), 18.0 Malone (1987), 17.0 The Da Vinci Code (2006);

BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), The Mummy (2017), Hellboy (2019), Assassin’s Creed (2016), Vampire Academy (2014), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Queen of the Damned (2002), Silent Hill: Revelation (2012), The Wicker Man (2006), The Skulls (2000)

(These are genuinely all films about secret societies. Maybe at some point I’ll need to look through all of these and rank all of the secret societies. It’ll be a two axis ranking. One by how secret it is, and one by how powerful it is. The Skulls are more powerful than secret. The Wicker Man cult is more secret than powerful. The Hellboy secret society is both. This is already great. And as should be obvious, secret societies boomed in the 00s. I have a feeling such things will crater over the next decade or two. With QAnon and other weird conspiracies seemingly in real world news, people might not want to hear about such things in their escapist fiction.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Paul Walker is No. 2 billed in The Skulls and No. 1 billed in 2 Fast 2 Furious, which also stars Eva Mendes (No. 3 billed) who is in Ghost Rider (No. 2 billed), which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 1 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Into the Blue we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – The Skull-and-Bones Society (on which this movie was based) actually gives out watches to each class of skulls, though not necessarily with the whole branding ceremony. After the movie was filmed, Joshua Jackson acquired one of the actual watches and gave it to director Rob Cohen. (Well .. obviously they don’t brand themselves on their wrists. That’s insane).

Hill Harper’s character, Will, who plays Luke’s roommate in the film, is modeled after director Rob Cohen’s real life Harvard roommate.

When the Skulls members are heading out to the island, the castle in the background is Singer Castle on Dark Island. The island that the Skull and Bone Society owns is called Deer Island. Both islands are in the Thousand Island of the St. Lawrence River. (The amount of this that is already real is insane)

Yale is never mentioned by name during the film, but there are plenty of references: – At the boat race, every team is mentioned by its school name, except for “The Bulldogs.” (They’re the Yale team.) – The characters wear Ys on their sports uniforms. – The Skulls are said to have “322 alumni worldwide.” The Yale secret society Skull & Bones uses the number 322 as an identifier on many of its symbols. – The characters are seen celebrating at a pizza parlor they refer to as “Mory’s,” drinking from a big golden cup. Mory’s is an actual place, and the tradition with the song and the big golden cup is accurate; however, it’s a formal restaurant, not a pizza parlor, and actual Mory’s cups are traditionally silver. – The new Skulls are sent to raid “Snake & Skeleton.” There is a Yale secret society called “Book & Snake.” – Some campus shots seem to purposefully mimic Yale buildings. There’s a tower that looks a lot like Harkness Tower, and the dining hall looks like the one in Saybrook College.

The wristwatch that each new member of the Skulls is given is the Breitling Old Navitimer. (This is what I come for right here, these fun facts)

The film is included on the film critic Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list.

The Identical Preview

With their powers combined the robot vixens are no match for Rich and Poe. They bust those robots up and boy howdy, bustin’ makes them feel good. Rich looks at Poe and realizes that this is his moment to say goodbye. “It’s time to set yourself free,” he tells him. Poe steels himself and despite the love in his heart he delivers one last crosskick that sends the bots back into the puzzle box. With a second flying kick he forces the box close, thus sealing them away. With the spell finally broken, Poe picks up the box and has a moment of contemplation. Perhaps he should just throw the box into the fire and end it. Rich steps in, “I know you’re not ready to say goodbye and perhaps… just perhaps, we’ll see that puzzle box again down the road.” With that he gives a little wink and Poe nods, leaving the box behind. As they leave the ship they are greeted by a smiling Nic Cage and the masked gamemaster. “Congratulations, Rich and Poe, you have won. Earth is saved.” They smile and breathe a sigh of relief. “Unfortunately, the universe is lost,” the other gamemaster says and begins to cackle in glee. What? This doesn’t make sense! “But we won!” they scream. “Oh yes, you won, and for that you will pay dearly, for it revealed what is inside of you… what we are destined to possess,” and the gamemaster holds up the Obsidian Dongle! With a small shard missing! Rich’s hand immediately goes to his chest. “Nic Cage! Stop him,” they plead, but he just shakes his head and smiles. He then turns to the gamemaster who slowly takes off his mask to reveal… a second Nic Cage. They’re… they’re… identical. That’s right! We are kicking off the Twins battle cycle where we watch BMT films featuring twins paired with Bring a Friend’s also featuring twins! It’s a veritable twinstravaganza! First up The Identical. ‘What’s that?’ you ask. Who cares, no one remembers it, but it was all about an Elvis twin or something. Let’s go!

The Identical Nic Cage peers at Poe. “Oh, you don’t recognize me? Of course. The face. You see I had them take my face… off. And then I had his face put… on. You getting it yet?” Poe’s aghast. Travolta! The sequence of events is still a little confusing, but before he can get it clarified Travolta uses his sorcerer’s powers to send Poe deep into the Earth… to Hell! That’s right! We are pairing The Identical with Sorceress, an 80’s film that features magical creatures in some anonymous time of the past. Oh and sexy twin warriors. Pretty appropriate stuff. Let’s go!

The Identical (2014) – BMeTric: 25.4; Notability: 18 

(Odd plot. I think maybe the initial ratings were exclusive to people who actually went and watched the film in theaters … so like Elvis impersonators? Just seems insane the drop which almost definitely coincides with the film coming out on VOD or something.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – On January 8, 1935, a woman gave birth to twin boys in a little shack built by her husband in Tupelo, Mississippi. It is not known whether or not the twins were identical. One twin was stillborn, the other grew up to be Elvis Presley.  For the entirety of his life, Elvis missed his twin (named Jesse). He prayed to him, talked about him all the time. If you visit Graceland, there is a small gravestone for Jesse in the family burial plot outside the house. Elvis wondered if he had somehow sapped the strength of his twin brother in the womb, and if that was why he became the superstar that he did. He had guilt about it. … One positive thing about “The Identical” is that it will make you want to bust out Elvis Presley’s early Sun and RCA recordings, songs like “That’s All Right,” “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” “My Baby Left Me,” or “Good Rockin'” just to remind you that no, it didn’t happen the way it did in “The Identical”. Thank goodness.

(Oh wow … wait, this is basically some screenwriter who read this story about Elvis and made a fictionalized version of it with an Elvis impersonator? That is crazy. Do you know what else it crazy? Ray Liotta’s face which is the only thing about this film that I’m looking forward to.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LWy9hBy0Kk/

(Hmmm, they really hide the fact that this is pretty explicitly a Christian film. Not that I blame them for that, but you’d think this was just a vague fantasy biopic thingy based on the trailer. It assuredly is not.)

Directors – Dustin Marcellino – (BMT: The Identical; Notes: There is nothing about this person. I have a theory: there is a real estate agent in Tennessee with this name. This film was likely produced and shot in Tennessee where both Wade Cummins and Blake Rayne live. I think he probably directed impersonator / local commercials / real estate stuff and these two people are one in the same.)

Writers – Wade Cummins (written by) – (BMT: The Identical; Notes: Also had a cameo part in the film. He is also an Elvis impersonator!! Here’s his website.)

Howard Klausner (screenplay) – (Known For: Space Cowboys; The Last Ride; Future BMT: God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness; The Grace Card; BMT: The Identical; Notes: Seems to have transitioned to Christian films, including directing a small Kevin Sorbo film called The Secret Handshake.)

Actors – Blake Rayne – (Future BMT: Hounddog; BMT: The Identical; Notes: An elvis impersonator. Was a web designer prior to winning an Elvis impersonator content in Columbus, Ohio in 1998. His real name is Ryan Pelton.)

Ray Liotta – (Known For: Goodfellas; Marriage Story; Blow; The Place Beyond the Pines; Identity; Killing Them Softly; Field of Dreams; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Bee Movie; Cop Land; The Iceman; Heartbreakers; Kill the Messenger; Date Night; Wanderlust; Muppets Most Wanted; Observe and Report; Something Wild; Youth in Revolt; No Escape; Future BMT: The Son of No One; Operation Dumbo Drop; Go with Me; Crazy on the Outside; Revenge of the Green Dragons; Forever Mine; Revolver; The Lonely Lady; The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud; Slow Burn; Even Money; Better Living Through Chemistry; Powder Blue; Unforgettable; Smokin’ Aces; Hannibal; Corrina, Corrina; Crossing Over; Flock of Dudes; Pilgrim; John Q; Local Color; A Rumour of Angels; BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Turbulence; Wild Hogs; The Identical; Notes: Was adopted. Was a genuine A-list star in the 90s, but in more recent years he’s focused on television, like Shades of Blue with Jennifer Lopez.)

Ashley Judd – (Known For: Heat; Divergent; Natural Born Killers; A Time to Kill; Olympus Has Fallen; Frida; Barry; A Dog’s Way Home; Bug; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; Animal Attraction; Simon Birch; Dolphin Tale; Smoke; De-Lovely; Dolphin Tale 2; The Passion of Darkly Noon; Ruby in Paradise; Normal Life; Helen; Future BMT: Tooth Fairy; Eye of the Beholder; Allegiant; Insurgent; Kuffs; Good Kids; High Crimes; Big Stone Gap; Flypaper; Double Jeopardy; Crossing Over; Where the Heart Is; Trafficked; A Secret Sin; BMT: Twisted; The Identical; Kiss the Girls; Notes: Went to the University of Kentucky and considered a run for U.S. Senate from Kentucky in 2014, but ultimately decided not to pursue the position. Was in Twin Peaks: The Return.)

Budget/Gross – $16 million / Domestic: $2,827,666 (Worldwide: $2,840,991)

(I cannot believe the budget was actually that large … I guess maybe they knew you could pull in church groups and make bank like Tyler Perry. Weird story to try that strategy with though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (4/69): With nearly every element ringing as hollow as the ersatz Elvis at the story’s core, The Identical looks destined for a bright future on the ironic viewing circuit.

(Ironic viewing? Check. A saw a few reviews that mention the odd pro-Isreal slant the movie takes. Sounds like some weird and wild stuff. Reviewer Highlight: The script is so determined to deliver an upbeat message of faith and love, it forgets to be interesting. – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune)

Poster – Twins: The Musical

(It’s certainly… magical looking. I won’t even say it’s a bad poster or anything. It’s fine. A little old fashioned, but I think I expected that. Just wish they tried a bit harder here and there. C)

Tagline(s) – If He is in your dreams, nothing can stand against Him. (D)

(Oh my gooooodddddddddddddddddd. I don’t even think this makes sense, but I don’t care. Run, Patrick! Run! What have we done?!)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Great Outdoors (1988), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), Despicable Me 3 (2017), The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 41.3 Father Figures (2017), 13.4 Little Women (2018);

BMT: Jack and Jill (2011), Pluto Nash (2002), The Identical (2014)

(Wow, how have we done so few? What a disaster. Looks like we are ready to fill up this keyword. Stay tuned because this same keyword plot will be coming at you every week for two months as we slowly watch every single BMT qualifying twin film (and I guess add the keyword to a few movies as well because this looks mighty incomplete to me!))

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Ray Liotta is No. 2 billed in The Identical and No. 3 billed in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 = 10. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Blake Rayne is a famous Elvis Presley impersonator. He was cast after one of his performances as Elvis garnered the casting director’s attention.

Joe Pantoliano appeared in La Bamba 27 years earlier, playing Ritchie Valens’ music manager, another movie about music and set around the 1950s. (I would have deleted this note as pointless … but there are so few notes for this film I’ll leave it in. Yes, sometimes actors act in two films with an extremely tenuous and vague connection …)

Ray Liotta and Amanda Crew previously starred together in the 2010 film Charlie St. Cloud, but shared no screen time together. (How is this a note? Step up your game random people on IMDb!)

Supernova Preview

We flash back to the year 2000….

Rich and Poe were just a couple of rad dudez. They got their bubblegum a-poppin’, their cargo shorts a-baggin’, and their frosted tips a-glistenin’. Despite the heat of the bayou they are rocking their dopest threads: matching denim jackets. The world is their oyster and they are on a mission with their two best friends, Ernie and Jellyroll. A mission for love. That’s right, the big L-O-V-E. That’s because the megahit sensation B*Witched is coming through Rabideaux and they just gotta score some tix. “Man, think about it, four of them, four of us. It’s destiny!” Young Rich exclaims excitedly. Jellyroll laughs nervously while eating a candy bar and Ernie trips on a root, nearly breaking his glasses. Young Poe rolls his eyes, but he’s also excited. B*Witched is in town and love is in the air. “Rich?” he asks, “how do you think I’ll know when I’m in love?” Young Rich puts his arm around his buddy and lays it out there. “First you’ll feel like a spooky ghost has possessed you,” he says. Ernie and Jellyroll gape in disbelief. “Then you’ll sweat all over like you just scored a winning touchdown,” Young Poe nods in understanding. “Finally,” Young Rich pronounces, “you’ll woo her with your most bodacious dance move. If she doesn’t like it, then you’ll know she’s not the one.” At that Jellyroll proceeds to pull up his shirt and do his patented Jellyroll Bellyroll and they laugh and laugh. 

Poe closes his diary ready to bust a move. Unfortunately, while he was reading the puzzle box went from a portal to a full blown supernova. And Rich and his robot loves are nowhere to be seen! That can’t be a good sign. That’s right! We’re watching Supernova starring James Spader. It’s basically Hellraiser in space… wait, didn’t we just watch this? No? But I could’ve sworn… Let’s go!

Supernova (2000) – BMeTric: 58.0; Notability: 51 

(Impressively low rating there, you might think this is the kind of film which would get a cult following, but clearly the film is bad enough that that isn’t happening. Also this is, I think, the first 50+ notability film in a long while. Turns out that is rare. I should do a full analysis again for all qualifying films … actually, you know what I’m going to go do that right now … alright, 25% of BMT films are above 50 notability and around 21% of all qualified films fit the bill. So you’d kind of expect that at least a fifth of 2020 films would have 50+. This is the sixth of the year which is just about right (17%, so a little below expectations), although I was also right, this is the first 50+ film since April so it has been over three months straight of smaller films. Well, that was fun, good talk.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Alan Smithee gets competition that neither he nor the industry needs; [Thomas] Lee is a pseudonym for director Walter Hill, who took his name off this costly but listlessly derivative space adventure. Story deals with a hospital ship rescuing a battered freighter that has sent out a distress call in “black hole” territory. Spader and Phillips are so pumped up that you wonder where they’re getting the celestial weightroom time.

(Huh, this is in actuality one of only like five or six major films to use a non-Smithee pseudonym in the brief moment around 2000 where people decided that the Smithee pseudonym had been played out. Weird that the sole complaint here is that it is derivative.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUdy0Cu3f_o/

(Holy shit the music … is this real life? This is apparently the “infamous” trailer in which the film is cut to suggest it is a comedy. It is not. It is a thriller mostly. It is actually not funny at all.)

Directors – Walter Hill – (Known For: The Warriors; 48 Hrs.; Streets of Fire; Bullet to the Head; Red Heat; Southern Comfort; Crossroads; Geronimo: An American Legend; Undisputed; The Driver; The Long Riders; The Streetfighter; Extreme Prejudice; Johnny Handsome; Trespass; Future BMT: Tomboy; Last Man Standing; Brewster’s Millions; BMT: Supernova; Another 48 Hrs.; Wild Bill; Razzie Notes: ; Notes: Went by Thomas Lee, which is a rare non-Smithee pseudonym by a director who disowned their films. Originally attached to Geoffrey Wright, then reshot by Jack Sholder, and re-edited by Francis Ford Coppola, apparently little of Hill’s work actually appears in the theatrical cut.)

Writers – William Malone (story) – (BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Supernova; Notes: Mostly a television director, he directed House on Haunted Hill in 1999. Originally pitched in 1990 as Dead Space, that timeline makes a bit more sense as a Hellraiser in Space concept.)

Daniel Chuba (story) – (Known For: Big Fish & Begonia; BMT: Supernova; Notes:  Founded Hammerhead Productions in 1992 which has worked on visual effects for over 100 films. Studied painting at the University of Michigan.)

David C. Wilson (screenplay) (as David Campbell Wilson) – (Known For: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; The Perfect Weapon; BMT: Supernova; Notes: The Perfect Weapon is a fun one, a starring vehicle for the little-known martial artist Jeff Speakman. Was also directed by one of the directors of Kickboxer. Just wild stuff.)

Actors – James Spader – (Known For: Avengers: Age of Ultron; Pretty in Pink; Stargate; Secretary; Lincoln; Crash; 2 Days in the Valley; Wall Street; Wolf; Sex, Lies, and Videotape; The Homesman; Less Than Zero; White Palace; Shorts; Baby Boom; Dream Lover; Bad Influence; Bob Roberts; Jack’s Back; The Rachel Papers; Future BMT: The Watcher; Mannequin; Keys to Tulsa; Tuff Turf; BMT: Supernova; Endless Love; Notes: He was a genuine movie star in the 90s although he is now more known for his many starring television roles (Boston Legal and The Blacklist most notably). He’s won three Emmys for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series.)

Peter Facinelli – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Can’t Hardly Wait; The Scorpion King; Riding in Cars with Boys; Hitman Redemption; Walter; The Big Kahuna; Dancer, Texas Pop. 81; Future BMT: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Gallows Hill; Running with the Devil; Freezer; Finding Amanda; The Wilde Wedding; Foxfire; Loosies; Telling You; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; Supernova; Countdown; Notes: Seems to do mostly guest spots on television shows and supporting roles on non-theatrical releases these days. Was the asshole boyfriend in Can’t Hardly Wait. Was married to Jennie Garth aka Kelly from 90210.)

Robin Tunney – (Known For: Horse Girl; The Craft; Hollywoodland; Vertical Limit; Monster Party; The Secret Lives of Dentists; Niagara, Niagara; Future BMT: Looking Glass; End of Days; Encino Man; The In-Laws; The Zodiac; Paparazzi; August; The Darwin Awards; Empire Records; The Burning Plain; My All-American; BMT: Supernova; Notes: Probably most well known now for her starring role in The Mentalist. She was also in the first (and only good) season of Prison Break.)

Budget/Gross – $90,000,000 / Domestic: $14,230,455 (Worldwide: $14,828,081)

(Holy shit that is catastrophic. I can’t remember the last time I saw a return that negative … I would usually make a joke about Supernova 2: Origins or something, but that genuinely makes me sad.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (6/61): This is an insult to the Sci-fi genre with no excitement and bad FX.

(Yep, basically everyone is quite perplexed by how dull the film is, and how it manages to say a whole lot of nothing for the entirety of the runtime. Reviewer Highlight: Appears headed for a deep-space rendezvous with audience indifference. – Godfrey Cheshire, Variety)

Poster – Super Duper Nova

(Egad, that’s like… well, like I made it. It’s terrible. I like the blue and I like that they went kooky with the font (almost too kooky, I thought for a second they had misspelled January, but the font was just confusing me). But there is A LOT going on here and most of it is not good. Feels like a poster for a film that they gave up on. C)

Tagline(s) – All hell is about to break loose (D)

(I feel like I do have to start being harsher for taglines like this. Sure it’s short and tells me about the film… but also, it’s generic and shows a real lack of creativity. There was no value added.)

Keyword – outer space

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Interstellar (2014), Ad Astra (2019), Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019), Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Spaceballs (1987), SpaceCamp (1986), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Future BMT: 68.7 Supergirl (1984), 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 63.9 Underdog (2007), 59.6 Virus (1999), 59.2 Space Chimps (2008), 58.7 Apollo 18 (2011), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 56.9 Suburban Commando (1991), 55.0 Coneheads (1993), 53.6 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995);

BMT: Battlefield Earth (2000), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Event Horizon (1997), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Armageddon (1998), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), The Predator (2018), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Masters of the Universe (1987), Jupiter Ascending (2015), Geostorm (2017), Gods of Egypt (2016), Howard: A New Breed of Hero (1986), Battleship (2012), Doom (2005), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), After Earth (2013), The Space Between Us (2017), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), Lost in Space (1998), Jason X (2001), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Mac and Me (1988), Soldier (1998), Ghosts of Mars (2001), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Species II (1998), Supernova (2000), Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996), Pluto Nash (2002), Critters 2 (1988), Wing Commander (1999)

(I think somewhere around Empire Strikes Back people started realizing they couldn’t halfass space films anymore, and then somewhere around 1996 people thought “hey … can we do these things on the cheap with CGI now?”. Otherwise the graphic seems to state the obvious: people like space films. I can’t wait to watch Virus, it has been on the BMT shortlist for ages.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robert Forster is No. 3 billed in Supernova and No. 8 billed in Firewall, which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 3 + 8 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 18. If we were to watch The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Walter Hill said in interview some years after the movie was released that his version was much darker, had a very different setup and that the ending was much different from the final cut. He also expressed strong dislike for the way studio ruined the movie but he said that James Spader did a great job with his role.

Four different endings were filmed.

This was the first post-Alan Smithee film. For many years, a director who for whatever reason wished not to be credited for a movie and disassociate themselves from it, would have their name replaced with the fake name “Alan Smithee”. After the film An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997), the name was too well known, and so the Director’s Guild of America decided to replace the name “Alan Smithee” with the name “Thomas Lee”. (They would eventually return to Smithee, probably because they realized people would figure out it was a pseudonym regardless due to the trades)

According to Walter Hill, problems began when he did a rewrite of the script, not knowing that the president of United Artists (Lindsay Doran) was very attached to the script. He also said that the budget of the film was cut halfway through production.

Tommy Malone originally pitched the film in 1990. He envisioned it as a modestly budgeted film which would cost around $5-6 million and be like “Dead Calm (1989) in space”. (Wait a tick … on Wikipedia it says he pitched it as Dead Calm in space! Now that makes a whole lot more sense, because that is what is mentioned on TV Tropes when I tried to figure out a horror corollary! I was supremely confused by the Hellraiser bit while watching the film).

Many promotional stills show lots of deleted scenes which were not included in deleted scenes section on the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the movie. These include; * Kaela and Danika dressing up the Flyboy robot. * Nick investigating the Titan mining colony and more areas of it. * Nick finding more cocooned dead bodies of miners and examining them. * Karl’s original monster-like look.

The original script was about a space expedition that discovers artefacts from an alien civilisation and brings them back to Earth; one of the artefacts unleashes an evil force. Tommy Malone and producer Ash R. Shah asked H.R. Giger to produce some conceptual sketches to help promote the script. (Now that sounds like Hellraiser in space. I wonder if they changed it up a bit once Giger produced the drawings.)

The infamous theatrical trailer, featuring songs “Fly” by Sugar Ray and “Momma Told Me Not To Come” by Three Dog Night, shows many alternate takes of some scenes, extended versions of some others, parts of few deleted scenes including the one where Nick finds real Troy on the Titan moon turned into fetus and Troy begging Nick to help him, and couple shots of original ending where Karl is killed by dimensional jump. (It is insane!)

The film takes place in 2101.

Due to the troubled production, James Spader disowned the film and expressed his regret in participating, citing this film as the one in his career that people should avoid.

Walter Hill, having grown frustrated with the studio interference, walked out of the film production midway and refused to be involved with the reshoots. Francis Ford Coppola stepped in to direct some reshoots before he also walked out, and Jack Sholder came aboard to finish directing the reshoots and oversee the final edit. The latter two remained uncredited as directors, with Hill receiving sole director’s credit under the pseudonym “Thomas Lee.”

Originally, main villain Karl transformed into a demon-like monster during the final part of the movie. Although much time and effort was spent on special make up effects for these scenes, MGM decided that they didn’t like that because they “couldn’t see the actor”, so all the creature footage was cut and re-shot with Karl being only partially transformed in the final cut.

Dialogue by ship’s computer Sweetie in theatrical ending where it tells Nick and Kaela that Supernova will either destroy Earth or make it and humankind better and that Kaela is pregnant was added later in post production during one of the re-editings of the movie, most probably during the one supervised by Francis Ford Coppola. Original dialogue only said that Supernova will destroy Earth in 257 years and that it’s unstoppable. (That is a wild ending)

Whiteout Preview

As the monsters descend to the beautiful (not creepy) lagoon it becomes clear that they are gigantic super soldiers from General Tiniman’s army. They are outgunned and outmatched and this is where their journey will end. They hug Rio and pat Bessy on the head. They reminisce about all the fun times they had. “Remember that time we karate chopped the President in the neck?” Rich says, “and it turned out he wasn’t even a robot,” he recalls and oh boy how they laugh. Back in the real world Rich has a wife and six wonderful children. Poe has a very solid collection of old books. But most importantly they have love. Rich and Poe nod and go in for one final Predator high five. But this isn’t a time for high fives. This is a time for hugs. With tears in their eyes, they bro hug it out. Suddenly Poe is blasted away from Rich as the beam of light shoots forth once more from his chest. Screaming in pain from the quickening he is experiencing, Rich watches in joyful horror as it destroys all the foes in front of them. No matter how advanced their super armor is, the power of love emanating from Rich’s chest destroys it. The power is so great… unstoppable. Almost as if… and in that moment Rich realizes what is happening. A chill runs down his spine. So long ago, when they destroyed the Obsidian Dongle. When they made the universe whole once more. It was never destroyed. It lay in wait, embedded in the body of Rich. It brought them to Nic Cage. It brought them to this tournament. It is the ultimate prize. They are the ultimate prize. They are fighting for themselves. And with that thought everything goes white. That’s right! We’re watching Whiteout starring Kate Beckinsale. I feel like this has always been on the horizon as there is always room for another Antarctica film in BMT. This one won’t beat out AvP and its bullshit Predator-Human collaboration, but it’ll give it a shot. Let’s go!

One man takes out several guards with his bionic karate chops while the other does a patented Robot Split and takes out several more. Their prize is so close… their revenge. “Eagle has fallen, eagle has fallen!” one of the guards screams watching in horror as the men approach. They smile and then everything goes black. That’s right! We’re bringing along Black Eagle as a friend for this one. It’s a classic martial arts film from the 80’s which also features Van Damme as a bad guy and is set in Malta! What fun. Let’s go!

Whiteout (2009) – BMeTric: 47.0; Notability: 29 

(Pretty low actually. I’m always surprised when these smallish films, films I kind of barely remember existing, seem to get pretty thoroughly trounced on IMDb. I just imagine in my mind that there would be super fans of some kind flooding the ratings … but nope, hit mid-5.0 hard and hasn’t budged in years.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Good-looking but paper-thin thriller involving U.S. marshal Beckinsale, stationed in Antarctica, who struggles to exorcise her demons while investigating some gruesome killings. Even though her character is constantly in danger, Beckinsale is always perfectly coiffed; early on, she even peels off her clothes to take a steamy shower. Only in the movies … Based on a graphic novel by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber.

(Only in the movies indeed! Very interesting he gave it what I would say is a pretty decent review? Like two stars doesn’t seem so bad. Maybe there is something salvageable from it after all.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqxjF9qR5Cg/

(Pretty intense actually. Honestly the CGI looks like garbage, and it looks like a rote thriller, but the setting is interesting.)

Directors – Dominic Sena – (Known For: Kalifornia; BMT: Season of the Witch; Whiteout; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Swordfish; Notes: Won a Grammy for Best Music Video (Long Form) for the Janet Jackson song Rhythm Nation 1814. We have officially completed his BMT filmography, and I think he retired from directing in 2011.)

Writers – Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber (screenplay) – (Known For: The Meg; My Spy; RED; RED 2; BMT: Whiteout; Battleship; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Battleship in 2013; Notes: They are writing a live-action Naruto film (not a good idea). They are also tagged to write the sequel to The Meg. They are brothers.)

Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes(screenplay) – (Known For: The Conjuring; The Conjuring 2; Future BMT: House of Wax; The Turning; The Reaping; The Crucifixion; BMT: Whiteout; Notes: Twin brothers. Amazingly they wrote ten episodes of Baywatch Nights, the straight crime-drama spin off of Baywatch. They have been tapped to write the Die Hard prequel McClane. They were non-theatrical all-stars in the late-90s, and somehow transitioned back to wide releases in the 2000s.)

Greg Rucka (graphic novel) – (Known For: Wonder Woman: Bloodlines; BMT: Whiteout; Notes: Wrote Stumptown which has been adapted into a television show starring Colby Smulders. His graphic novel Queen & Country is being adapted into a film by Ridley Scott.)

Steve Lieber (graphic novel) – (BMT: Whiteout; Notes: An illustrator. He also illustrated the sequel novel Whiteout: Melt. There was supposed to be a Whiteout: Thaw, but I don’t believe it was ever released.)

Actors – Kate Beckinsale – (Known For: The Aviator; Contraband; Much Ado About Nothing; Serendipity; Eliza Graves; Vacancy; Love & Friendship; Laurel Canyon; Farming; Everybody’s Fine; The Last Days of Disco; Haunted; Snow Angels; Fragments; The Golden Bowl; Shooting Fish; Future BMT: The Disappointments Room; The Face of an Angel; Underworld: Blood Wars; Absolutely Anything; Van Helsing; Pearl Harbor; Total Recall; Click; Underworld Awakening; The Only Living Boy in New York; Underworld: Rise of the Lycans; Brokedown Palace; Underworld: Evolution; Underworld; BMT: Whiteout; Tiptoes; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Pearl Harbor in 2002; Notes: Voiced Queen Aryenn in multiple Elder Scrolls games. Had a child with Michael Sheen in 1999.)

Gabriel Macht – (Known For: Love & Other Drugs; The Good Shepherd; The Recruit; The Object of My Affection; A Love Song for Bobby Long; Grand Theft Parsons; The Adventures of Sebastian Cole; A Bag of Hammers; Future BMT: The Spirit; Simply Irresistible; Bad Company; Middle Men; BMT: Whiteout; Because I Said So; American Outlaws; Behind Enemy Lines; Notes: Most famous for his role as Harvey Specter in the show Suits. This film came out right in that brief moment where he was a genuine movie star.)

Tom Skerritt – (Known For: Top Gun; Alien; Steel Magnolias; Ted; Contact; The Dead Zone; A River Runs Through It; M.A.S.H.; Up in Smoke; Harold and Maude; SpaceCamp; Singles; Lucky; A Hologram for the King; Big Bad Mama; Smoke Signals; The Turning Point; At Middleton; Ice Castles; The Big Town; Future BMT: Poltergeist III; Poison Ivy; The Rookie; The Devil’s Rain; Beer for My Horses; Knight Moves; Tears of the Sun; The Other Sister; Fighting Back; BMT: Whiteout; Texas Rangers; Notes: Nominated for two Emmys for his role in Picket Fences. This film is his last leading role in a wide release film.)

Budget/Gross – $35,000,000 / Domestic: $10,275,638 (Worldwide: $17,976,667)

(Yeah not great. The budget at least makes sense. They definitely had to build something that looked vaguely like the South Pole station. There is only so much smoke and mirrors you can pull off with blue screen and stagecraft.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (8/115): Kate Beckinsale is as lovely as ever, and does her best with the material, but moribund pacing and an uninspired plot leave Whiteout in the cold.

(The reviews kind of outline the problem with most 00s thrillers don’t they? Bad plotting, bad twists, no thrillz. It seems like there was a streak of weird thrillers based around a poorly thought out twist, or just a book (in this case a graphic novel) which doesn’t adapt well. That was the issue with the (frankly cheesy) Alex Cross books. Reviewer Highlight: Even in a whiteout, you can see the plot twists coming. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Chillz

(Artistic and does its job pretty well. While I don’t understand the font they’ve chosen, I still appreciate it. I guess the only question is whether going all in on “Kate Beckinsale vehicle” was the best move or if they should have highlighted something else. Because that’s really the only story you get. B+)

Tagline(s) – See Your Last Breath. (A-)

(Huh… I think… I think I might like this. Telling me about the danger. Telling me about the cold. Short and sweet and a little bit of a twist on the phrase “Take Your Last Breath.” I dig it. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty solid.)

Keyword – antarctica

Top 10: Watchmen (2009), Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), The Thing (1982), Madagascar (2005), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), The Thing (2011), AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004), Happy Feet (2006), Good Luck Chuck (2007), Minions (2015)

Future BMT: 64.7 Norm of the North (2016), 42.3 The Brothers Solomon (2007), 27.2 The Thing (2011), 25.6 The Pebble and the Penguin (1995);

BMT: AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004), Good Luck Chuck (2007), Whiteout (2009)

(Amazing that we’ve seen three films either set in Antarctica or with plot elements concerning Antarctica. I genuinely believe such films boomed in the 00s because that was when juuuuust enough cheap CGI was available to make it look … fine, without having to set it inside or at night most of the time. Oddly, the only really good movie of the bunch is The Thing and that was made long before cheap CGI. Huh.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Kate Beckinsale is No. 1 billed in Whiteout and No. 4 billed in Tiptoes, which also stars Gary Oldman (No. 1 billed) who is in Lost in Space (No. 1 billed), which also stars Heather Graham (No. 5 billed) who is in Say It Isn’t So (No. 2 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 17. If we were to watch Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 9.

Notes – Dominic Sena is a fan of the “Whiteout” graphic novel, and when rights were acquired by Dark Castle Entertainment Sena petitioned president Joel Silver for the opportunity to direct. (Oh snap, this is based on a graphic novel? That’s … a bit surprising considering the reviews)

Warner Bros. shelved the film for about two years, according to Entertainment Weekly (Issue #1085). (Whaaaaaaaaaaa?)

Screenwriter and novelist Alexander Stuart wrote an early draft of the script, while Reese Witherspoon was still attached, following a studio-sponsored research trip to Barrow, Alaska (the northernmost point in continental North America) – which scientists said was the closest location in “feel” to McMurdo Station in Antarctica. (Could have been cool)

The British Flag in the Communications room is hanging upside down. This is an inside joke common among South Pole installations. Since they are at the bottom of the world, if you were to look at the globe proper, the flag would appear to be right side up.

Both real and fake snow were used in production. (There was too much of it at times for it to be fake I think. I have to imagine they breathed in a crazy amount of it by accident)