Soul Survivors Preview

Jamie, Patrick, Kyle and little Baby Niles race through the streets of New Jersey trying to evade the powerful enemies that Kyle’s son Niall has made. They Tokyo drift everywhere and a bullet shatters the back windshield. Baby Niles wails in terror as Kyle does his best to calm him. Suddenly a car pulls up to the side of them and a guy in a real dopey plastic mask stares back at them. “What thuuuuuuu…” Jamie says, transfixed by the dopiness of the mask. But he’s soon snapped back to reality as Patrick screams out, “watch the road you dumbo!” Jamie’s eyes dart back in time to see an oil slick ahead, seeping out from an overturned sardine truck. Oh woe is them! Unless Jamie is some kind of El Diablo behind the wheel, ready to set fire to the road in pursuit of justice and fambly, then there’s no way they can get out of this jam. Psych! Jamie is exactly that kind of El Diablo and he drifts right through that sardine oil and splashes it all over that weirdo mask guy to boot. They all high five a bunch as they make their escape. But as they are high fiving they fail to realize the dopey mask guy has pulled out a sniper rifle. With a loud pop their back tire explodes and they start spinning out of control. Thinking fast, Jamie furiously turns the wheel in time to put the car into a semi-controlled spin. He aims for a nearby tree that could stop their momentum and save them from certain death. With a crash everything goes black.

4 weeks later

Jamie, having miraculously survived the crash, cries softly as he looks at the only picture of him, Patrick, Kyle and Baby Niles. That’s right! We are watching Soul Survivors… that movie that everyone remembers. You know, the one… where they are sole survivors… anyway, it got really terrible reviews and it’s probably about time we watched it. Let’s go!

Soul Survivors (2001) – BMeTric: 62.7; Notability: 24

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.0%; Notability: top 74.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 0.5% Higher BMeT: Glitter, Jason X, Freddy Got Fingered, Driven, The Animal, Ghosts of Mars, Black Knight, Valentine, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles; Higher Notability: Pearl Harbor, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Monkeybone, Hannibal, Ghosts of Mars, Impostor, Not Another Teen Movie, Bubble Boy, Swordfish, 15 Minutes, Town & Country, The One, Scary Movie 2, The Affair of the Necklace, America’s Sweethearts, I Am Sam, 3000 Miles to Graceland, Along Came a Spider, Chelsea Walls, Joe Dirt, and 58 more; Lower RT: Texas Rangers; Notes: My god, sub-4.0 is so low, no wonder this film I’ve never heard of has a 60+ BMeTric. And holy crap, this rounds out the top-10 as far as BMeTric for 2001 and I have definitely seen nine of them (although I don’t think we’ve officially watched The Animal for BMT, I think I’ve just watched it multiple times by myself …))

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  A young woman and her three friends have one last night of celebration before going their separate ways for college. Unfortunately, something goes terribly wrong. Supernatural, horror, teensploitation, reality/fantasy grab bag set to pulsing music, this movie shamelessly steals ideas from good movies – and bad ones too. So-called “Killer Cut” is rated R.

(Uh oh … this sounds suspiciously like it is going to be trite nonsense. Which can be fun, but usually isn’t very fun for horror. For horror you want absurdity like Lindsay Lohan with a robot arm and a robot leg for example.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gLy7dks4GI/

(Uh oh … I think this might be trite nonsense like Maltin suggested. Like … she’s dead or almost dead or the only one alive right? It is one of those three, it can’t be anything else. Also the acting looks dire. Only Dushku looks like she’s doing anything special in this. And the soundtrack!! There is a lot to digest with this terrible terrible trailer.)

Directors – Stephen Carpenter – (Known For: The Dorm That Dripped Blood; The Kindred; The Power; BMT: Soul Survivors; Notes: Ultimately probably most well known for creating the hit television show Grimm (and some of the spin off mini-series and such).)

Writers – Stephen Carpenter (written by) (as Steve Carpenter) – (Known For: The Dorm That Dripped Blood; The Kindred; The Power; Future BMT: The Man; Blue Streak; BMT: Soul Survivors; Notes: Allegedly created the first draft for the Ocean’s 11 remake, although he ended up not being credited obviously.)

Actors – Melissa Sagemiller – (Known For: Get Over It; The Clearing; Standing Still; Love Object; Future BMT: Sorority Boys; BMT: Soul Survivors; Mr. Woodcock; The Guardian; Notes: Her father played for the NFL, and he mother was Jimmy Carter’s campaign finance manager. She began as a model and now mostly does television, for example she was briefly the DA during a later season of Law & Order: SVU.)

Wes Bentley – (Known For: Interstellar; The Hunger Games; The Best of Enemies; American Beauty; Mission: Impossible – Fallout; Knight of Cups; Pete’s Dragon; Lovelace; The Four Feathers; Final Girl; Broken Vows; Beloved; Welcome to Me; The Claim; The Game of Their Lives; Rites of Passage; Unconscious; There Be Dragons; Dolan’s Cadillac; Pioneer; Future BMT: Gone; P2; We Are Your Friends; Underworld: Awakening; BMT: Jonah Hex; Soul Survivors; Ghost Rider; Notes: Was discovered during an open casting call for Rent, and was nominated for a BAFTA for his supporting role in American Beauty.)

Casey Affleck – (Known For: Interstellar; Gone Baby Gone; American Pie; Good Will Hunting; Ocean’s Eleven; Our Friend; The World to Come; Every Breath You Take; Manchester by the Sea; American Pie 2; Tower Heist; Ocean’s Twelve; Ocean’s Thirteen; Triple 9; The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; A Ghost Story; To Die For; Out of the Furnace; The Finest Hours; The Old Man & The Gun; Future BMT: Drowning Mona; 200 Cigarettes; Race the Sun; BMT: Soul Survivors; Notes: Won an Oscar for Manchester by the Sea (and was nominated for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford). You know Affleck, he’s Ben’s brother. Notably got called out during the Me Too movement for hostile set environments on some of his films.)

Budget/Gross – $17,000,000 / Domestic: $3,111,545 (Worldwide: $4,299,141)

(Oh wow, even on the usual shoestring budget for teen horror films this still didn’t even get close to breaking even. Even if the budget was inflated after it was clearly not a success (likely), there is no way this would have cost the $2 million it would have needed to even get close. A huge bomb.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 4% (2/48): Soul Survivors’ stock characters and utter lack of suspense gives viewers little reason to attempt deciphering the confusing plot.

(Wow, the film continues to grow in cred. I basically had never heard of it, but sub-10% on RT is nothing to joke around about. And … I doubt the plot is all that confusing, if we are being honest. Reviewer Highlight: Blatantly cannibalising every horror movie it can think of in the attempt to produce some patchwork Frankenstein’s monster. – Jamie Russell, BBC)

Poster – Sklog Survivors

(I like the cool blue, but the font isn’t great and it fits perfectly into the “generic horror film poster” set up. Reminiscent of the Scream Franchise. The most interesting aspect is the ordering of the actors. Melissa Sagemiller is way in the back. She’s the main character! Look at this alternate poster… she’s not even on it! Luke Wilson’s name appears instead! My god. I think it’s a C.)

Tagline(s) – The World of the Dead and the World of the Living… are About to Collide. (D)

(Boooo. I get the idea but poor execution… which is probably what you can say about a lot of this film. I can’t in good conscience give this even an OK grade, even if the cadence is fine for the length.)

Keyword – hallucination

Top 10: Midsommar (2019), The Little Things (2021), The Father (2020), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), The Game (1997), Joker (2019), Suicide Squad (2016), Inception (2010), Chaos Walking (2021), The Big Lebowski (1998)

Future BMT: 89.4 Vampires Suck (2010), 82.8 Prom Night (2008), 70.0 The Unborn (2009), 67.8 Poltergeist (2015), 67.0 Halloween II (2009), 65.6 Pulse (2006), 63.0 Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983), 60.9 Darkness Falls (2003), 60.7 A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), 60.3 Brahms: The Boy II (2020);

BMT: Hellboy (2019), Fantasy Island (2020), Sucker Punch (2011), Batman & Robin (1997), Friday the 13th (2009), Event Horizon (1997), The Bodyguard (1992), The Mummy (2017), The Covenant (2006), After Earth (2013), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Safe Haven (2013), Assassin’s Creed (2016), Seventh Son (2014), The Lone Ranger (2013), Truth or Dare (2018), The Golden Child (1986), Slender Man (2018), 10,000 BC (2008), Ghosts of Mars (2001), Max Payne (2008), Son of the Mask (2005), The Forest (2016), The Number 23 (2007), The Lawnmower Man (1992), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Flatliners (2017), Dreamcatcher (2003), Silent Hill: Revelation (2012), Dracula 2001 (2000), Ride Along 2 (2016), The Wicker Man (2006), The Rite (2011), Solarbabies (1986), Rings (2017), A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989), The Ring 2 (2005), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Toys (1992)

(The keywords falling off a cliff is so common I have to think it is because it takes a bunch of years for anything but the biggest films to gain enough edits to cover them all. Nonsense keyword in realist, but The Unborn I think is, at least, a real one. Mostly horror films as you would expect, with probably The Unborn being one of the biggest ones we haven’t watched yet.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Wes Bentley is No. 2 billed in Soul Survivors and No. 3 billed in Ghost Rider, 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 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 13. If we were to watch 200 Cigarettes, and Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – James Marsden turned down the role of Sean in favor of the part of Scott Summers/Cyclops in X-Men (2000). (Good choice)

Casey Affleck has gone on record to reveal that this movie and Drowning Mona (2000) were his two least favorite films on which he has worked.

Half Past Dead Preview

Kyle sits nervously outside the house of his estranged son Niall. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” he says despondently when Patrick asks what came between them. Jamie smirks, as if anything could shock them at this point. “Well…,” Kyle begins, “there was this cursed Egyptian amulet of immense power. Niall stole it using his hacking skillz. Everyone wanted it and so they went after him. In the end he put it on and… the power… it felt good. I guess it drove him a little crazy. So like I said, a bit of a wild card.” Jamie and Patrick nod in understanding. Gathering up courage they boldly stride to the door and knock in unison. As the door opens techno music blares and Niall dances his way to the doorstep looking pretty dope in his hacker clothez and a funky fresh ancient Egyptian amulet hanging from his neck. He slides his wildly fashionable sunglasses down his nose, “Daddio? That you?” Kyle nods sheepishly and looks closely at Niall. “How are you? Still a little wild?” he asks hesitantly. Niall waves him off and explains that he learned that “with great power comes great responsibility.” (Jamie and Patrick write that wholly original phrase down). Niall then ushers them into the house where he introduces his beautiful baby boy. It’s all very touching and they are on the verge of tears. Kyle and Niall go in for a hug when a shot rings out only to be blocked by the immense power of the amulet. “My god they’ve found me!” Niall yells, “Quick take the child. I’ll juke Miles’ stats, just keep little Niles safe.” The three of them look frantically at the child as Niall flees. What are we just three men and a baby or something? That’s wrong! We obviously aren’t watching the hit comedy classic Three Men and a Baby, but if Niall doesn’t get out of there quick he is gonna be… Half Past Dead. Starring Steven Seagal in pretty much his last starring role in a theatrical release this film looks bonkers and it’s no wonder it got a big ol’ BOMB by Leonard. Let’s go!

Half Past Dead (2002) – BMeTric: 63.0; Notability: 36

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.0%; Notability: top 48.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 1.4% Higher BMeT: Crossroads, Rollerball, Halloween: Resurrection, The Master of Disguise, Pluto Nash, Feardotcom, Scooby-Doo, Boat Trip; Higher Notability: Men in Black II, Scooby-Doo, The Time Machine, Star Trek: Nemesis, The Master of Disguise, Dragonfly, John Q, Unconditional Love, Collateral Damage, Showtime, Queen of the Damned, I Spy, Rollerball, The Country Bears, Bad Company, The Truth About Charlie, The Sweetest Thing, The Tuxedo, Pluto Nash, Analyze That, and 21 more; Lower RT: The Master of Disguise, Deuces Wild, Feardotcom; Notes: Pretty incredible the rating is rising at all if I’m being honest. It should absolutely stick below 5.0 I would think. The notability is about where I would expect, maybe even a bit high. It is a theatrical action film with a ton of rappers and stuff, but they almost definitely skimped on the crew.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Seagal is an undercover FBI agent who arrives as an inmate in prison on the same day a team of crooks – get this – break into the joint, to get a condemned man to tell them where there’s a hidden stash of gold bars. To call this bad is an understatement … even by Seagal standards. Followed by a direct-to-video sequel.

(There is a reason I’m pretty sure this is the last theatrical release by Seagal. I don’t know why all of the martial artists all went away at the same time, I wonder if someone wrote a book on it. Market corrected by Jackie Chan? The realization you could get actual actors like Nic Cage to star in weird action films? I don’t know, seems weird though that nearly all martial artists became straight-to-video at the same time.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNYoAd02Uo/

(My god the opening with Seagal spinning Ja Rule out of the car. Let’s see if they are going to give it away. Please give it away. Please. Oh shiiiiiiiit they didn’t do it! That’s impressive. Spoiler alert, but Seagal isn’t a convict, he’s an undercover agent. It isn’t hard to guess.)

Directors – Don Michael Paul – (Known For: Kindergarten Cop 2; The Scorpion King: Book of Souls; The Garden; Future BMT: Who’s Your Caddy?; BMT: Half Past Dead; Notes: He was an actor to some degree, even starring in a television series called The Hat Squad with Billy Warlock. He’s directed a ton of straight to video action sequels basically.)

Writers – Don Michael Paul (written by) – (Future BMT: Who’s Your Caddy?; Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man; BMT: Half Past Dead; Notes: He’s mostly been writing the straight to video stuff he’s directed over the last two decades. He sold his freshman script which became Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, although he was originally an actor.)

Actors – Morris Chestnut – (Known For: Boyz n the Hood; The Last Boy Scout; The Call; Girls Trip; Think Like a Man; G.I. Jane; Like Mike; Heist; Higher Learning; The Inkwell; The Best Man; Ladder 49; The Best Man Holiday; Confidence: After Dark; Scenes of the Crime; Two Can Play That Game; The Brothers; Future BMT: The Cave; Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; Identity Thief; When the Bough Breaks; The Perfect Holiday; The Perfect Guy; Breakin’ All the Rules; Kick-Ass 2; Not Easily Broken; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Half Past Dead; The Game Plan; Notes: Won the 1998 Madden Bowl which was a video game tournament between celebrities and professional athletes. Mostly does television now, like the title role in Rosewood.)

Steven Seagal – (Known For: Under Siege; Machete; Executive Decision; Above the Law; Beyond the Law; China Salesman; General Commander; Sniper: Special Ops; About Time; Code of Honor; The Onion Movie; Attrition; Killing Salazar; End of a Gun; Contract to Kill; The Foreigner; The Asian Connection; Maximum Conviction; The Perfect Weapon; Ticker; Future BMT: Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; Hard to Kill; Marked for Death; Out for Justice; BMT: On Deadly Ground; Half Past Dead; Fire Down Below; The Glimmer Man; Exit Wounds; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for On Deadly Ground in 1995; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1995 for On Deadly Ground; in 1998 for Fire Down Below; and in 2003 for Half Past Dead; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Executive Decision in 1997; and Nominee for Worst Original Song, and Worst Screen Couple for Fire Down Below in 1998; Notes: Famously a Bhuddist, he was even announced as a tulku (to some controversy) by his advisor. Has Serbian and Russian citizenship, both granted to him after visiting both countries.)

Ja Rule – (Known For: Assault on Precinct 13; Shall We Dance; Pauly Shore Is Dead; I’m in Love with a Church Girl; Goat; Back in the Day; Don’t Fade Away; Furnace; Future BMT: Scary Movie 3; The Cookout; Turn It Up; BMT: Half Past Dead; The Fast and the Furious; Notes: Born in Queens as Jeffrey Atkins. He apparently has a feud with 50 Cent and was born on Leap Day.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $15,567,860 (Worldwide: $19,233,280)

(Yeah that is some Hollywood accounting. There is no way they spent $25 million on a Seagal film in the mid-2000s. He was basically toast at this point career wise.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (3/88): Seagal is now too bulky to make a convincing action hero, and Half Past Dead is too silly and incoherent to deliver any visceral kicks.

(Oh snap, they actually call him fat in the Rotten Tomatoes consensus! That is coooooooold blooooooooded. Reviewer Highlight: It goes through the motions of an action thriller, but there is a deadness at its center, a feeling that no one connected with it loved what they were doing. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Half Past Sklog

(I’m glad they put all those colors on there or I wouldn’t know how rad this is. Seriously, though, if I saw this poster in a theater today I might just live there until it came out. Look at that tiny little Alcatraz in the corner! Nice font, interesting spacing, and pretty horrid colors. Comes out a little bit of a wash but I’ll give it a C+ just for funsies.)

Tagline(s) – The Good. The Bad. And the Deadly. (C+)

(It’s a little generic, but it does hit a lot of the right beats. It’s short and is trying to be clever. Basically, it sounds like a tagline and does its job adequately. I was gonna give it higher than it deserved, but then I looked and found another film with the same tagline… and it looks pretty amazing.)

Keyword – prison

Top 10: Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020), Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017), Boogie Nights (1997), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), The Goonies (1985), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), The Dark Knight (2008), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 68.7 Supergirl (1984), 68.7 Gulliver’s Travels (2010), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 64.6 102 Dalmatians (2000), 57.5 The Counsellor (2013), 56.0 Ri¢hie Ri¢h (1994), 54.3 Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005), 54.3 Honey (2003), 51.9 Blackhat (2015);

BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Over the Top (1987), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Super Mario Bros. (1993), Assassin’s Creed (2016), A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), Tango & Cash (1989), Pixels (2015), Gamer (2009), Battlefield Earth (2000), Need for Speed (2014), Rambo III (1988), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), Gangster Squad (2013), Judge Dredd (1995), Pompeii (2014), Zoolander 2 (2016), American Outlaws (2001), 10,000 BC (2008), Hudson Hawk (1991), Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003), Lock Up (1989), Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory (1990), A Haunted House 2 (2014), Problem Child (1990), xXx²: The Next Level (2005), Twisted (2004), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), Mortdecai (2015), 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001), Dungeons & Dragons (2000), Another 48 Hrs. (1990), Old Dogs (2009), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), Romeo Must Die (2000), Alex Cross (2012), Exit Wounds (2001)

(If I’m being honest, none of the future BMT films are very appealing. Street Fighter maybe, but I’ve seen the film a number of times. I guess Supergirl given it is apparently one of the worst films of all time, but I wish there were more terrible prison films you know? Just make one film set in future Alcatraz a year and I’d be pretty down to watch it.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Steven Seagal is No. 1 billed in Half Past Dead and No. 1 billed in Exit Wounds, which also stars Isaiah Washington (No. 3 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 5 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 5 + 2 + 3 = 15. If we were to watch Out for Justice we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – In an article for the German publication Berliner Kurier, Wolfgang Lindner recalls the eccentricities of Steven Seagal on the set. Reportedly, Seagal traveled everywhere in the company of a Buddhist adviser whose verdicts on the state of Seagal’s karma would be reason enough for Seagal to halt filming for a day. (Sounds about right)

Some aerial shots in this film were originally shot, but ultimately unused, for Michael Bay’s film The Rock (1996). Bay is very good friends with director Don Michael Paul and allowed him to use the footage in this film.

The shot of the skydivers jumping out of the airplane is footage from Navy Seals (1990).

Although writer/director Don Michael Paul praises Steven Seagal in the “making-of featurette” on the DVD, he has since gone on to give interviews saying that Seagal was a disruptive force on the set and that he would constantly turn up late and delay production for no apparent reason.

All indoor prison scenes were shot in an old STASI prison in Berlin, Germany.

The script to this film was written ten years prior to filming as The Rock (1996) but there was another script with the same title that was filmed so this one had to wait ten years later to be done (I don’t think that’s why it took 10 more years …)

Although many industry publications stated that the film’s budget was in the mid $20 million range, the actual figure is closer to $15 million. (I knew it!)

Near the beginning while the PST news report is running, the scroll at the bottom is either ridiculous or reflects the politics of the writers/producers and also in one case contradicts itself. As follows: Middle East Crisis Escalates, Stock Prices Surge – Pessimism Ebbing, Economy Sluggish-Gross National Product Flatlining, 27 Foot Great White Shark caught off Barrier Reef, Polar Ice Caps Melt-Global Warming to Blame.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Steven Seagal, 2003)

Son of the Mask Preview

After walking Kyle through the math it seems pretty straightforward: the sham R&P film is only one review away from not qualifying for BMT. “And so all we need is to somehow insert sexy mannequins into the film and it’ll be within your scope to review?” But Kyle shakes his head and explains that the film already has mannequins. “And they’re really quite striking,” he adds, sending a shiver up Jamie’s spine. The site has even already written a review. “So how was the movie?” asks Jamie. Kyle shakes his head and wrinkles his nose. Patrick throws up his hands. “So if you already wrote a bad review then how does that help us?” but Kyle shakes his head again and reiterates, “the mannequins… they were very striking.” Patrick feels bile in the back of his throat. They summarize: Kyle has a website (check), it reviewed the film (check), and they gave it a good review (check). “Cause of the extremely striking mannequins,” confirms Kyle. “The only problem,” he continues, “is that we don’t meet the eligibility requirements. Jamie and Patrick nod in understanding. It is pretty strict and obviously SMT isn’t getting 4 million hits a year, but Kyle is taken aback. “Of course we have 4 million hits a year… we have 4 million subscribers,” he says as Jamie’s mouth falls open in shock. “It’s mostly because one of our three reviewers isn’t qualified as an individual critic. Me and my brother Lyle are, but our other brother Miles isn’t because he’s only written for the site for a year.” So all they had to do was hack the planet and juke Miles’ stats? Kyle nods, “and I actually know an elite hacker. My son Niall, but… he’s a bit of a wild card.” That’s right! We are watching the sequel to the comedy classic The Mask that literally no one was asking for. A decade after the first film they jettisoned everything that people loved from the first one in order to make a film with a CGI dog/baby instead of Jim Carrey. Seems like a plan. Let’s go!

Son of the Mask (2005) – BMeTric: 92.8; Notability: 74

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 0.0%; Notability: top 8.8%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 3.1% Higher Notability: The Island, Fantastic Four, Kingdom of Heaven, Domino, Bewitched, Be Cool, Chicken Little, Memoirs of a Geisha, xXx²: The Next Level, The Longest Yard; Lower RT: Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne, The Fog, Chaos, Supercross, Hate Crime, Yours, Mine & Ours; Notes: It is famous for a reason! One of the highest BMeTrics ever due to having 50K votes with a sub-3.0 (!) IMDb rating. Truly an astonishing feat, the lowest BMeTric of 2005.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Kennedy isn’t ready to be a father but conceives a baby anyway, wearing a supernatural mask. It, in turn, is coveted by a Norse god’s son (Cumming, in another of his leftover Paul Reubens roles). The god himself is played by Hoskins, in layers of makeup, and by this time the creaks are louder than anything in The Son of the Sheik. So-called sequel to The Mask (1994) is raucous without mercy, and burdened by a charmless cast; it has to plunder Chuck Jones’ cartoon One Froggy Evening to glean even a few good moments.

(Overly long review IMO (saved only by a late snippet semicolon). The review manages to completely undersell just how ridiculous this movie is and how famous it is as a legendary bad movie. I think this is Baby Geniuses level bad, and yet Leonard talks about it like it is a little kooky and unoriginal. No respect.)

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

(Oh man, they’re really showcasing the dancing baby and cartoon dog huh? Kind of amazing what they’ve done to The Mask. An abomination of a sequel for no good reason.)

Directors – Lawrence Guterman – (Known For: Cats & Dogs; BMT: Son of the Mask; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Son of the Mask in 2006; Notes: Was a CGI wizard hired out of film school by Spielberg to help direct Dreamworks projects. Went to Harvard and MIT as well at times.)

Writers – Lance Khazei (written by) – (BMT: Son of the Mask; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Son of the Mask in 2006; Notes: Also went to Harvard which makes me think he might have known Guterman in some capacity prior to the film. Was a writer on the Chevy Chase show, and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for the Great Minds Think For Themselves shorts.)

Actors – Jamie Kennedy – (Known For: Romeo + Juliet; Scream, Dead Poets Society; Enemy of the State; As Good as It Gets; Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies; Scream 2; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Three Kings; Scream 3; Boiler Room; The Hungover Games; Bowfinger; Extreme Movie; Spinning Man; Roe v. Wade; Last Call; The Sand; Trick; Clockwatchers; Dr. Dolittle 2; Future BMT: Malibu’s Most Wanted; Kickin’ It Old Skool; Max Keeble’s Big Move; Good Deeds; Bait; Skin Deep; BMT: Son of the Mask; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Son of the Mask in 2006; Notes: Allegedly helped his acting career by pretending to be his own agent. Dated Jennifer Love Hewitt in the late 2000s.)

Traylor Howard – (Known For: Me, Myself & Irene; Confessions of a Sexist Pig; Future BMT: Dirty Work; BMT: Son of the Mask; Notes: Probably most well known for her role as the assistant to Monk on the Emmy winning show Monk. I think she was the second assistant after Bitty Schram left the show.)

Alan Cumming – (Known For: Eyes Wide Shut; GoldenEye; X-Men 2; Spy Kids; Josie and the Pussycats; It’s Complicated; Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion; Battle of the Sexes; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Emma; Titus; Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams; Nicholas Nickleby; Sweet Land; Black Beauty; Circle of Friends; The Anniversary Party; Dare; The Tempest; Hurricane Bianca; Future BMT: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; The Smurfs 2; The Smurfs; Strange Magic; Buddy; BMT: Son of the Mask; Spice World; Garfield; Get Carter; Show Dogs; Burlesque; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Son of the Mask in 2006; Notes: Was nominated for four Emmys, once for organizing the Tonys, and three other times as a guest star on The Good Wife. He won a Tony Awards as a lead in Cabaret in 1998.)

Budget/Gross – $84,000,000 / Domestic: $17,018,422 (Worldwide: $59,981,548)

(Brutal, although somehow I doubt they actually spent 84 million dollars on the film. That has to be some fudging. I still assume it was a pretty major loss considering the amount of CGI involved.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (6/105): Overly frantic, painfully unfunny, and sorely missing the presence of Jim Carrey.

(Well yeah. There should never have been a sequel without Carrey. Reviewer Highlight: No doubt extensive market research shows that there’s an audience out there for movies like Son Of The Mask, but it’s too depressing to speculate who that might be. – Scott Tobias, Variety)

Poster – Sklogtown USA 2: Maskalicious

(Sometimes I just don’t have a pun for the poster. Deal with it. The whole thing makes me a little sad though. Not like Ace Ventura Jr. sad, but still pretty sad. Lots of things going on, nothing that I want to see. Good font, too much going on to understand. Could be worse, but couldn’t be sadder. C-)

Tagline(s) – The next generation of mischief (C+)

(This is fine. It gets the point across in a not totally terrible way, but not in a way that is interesting. The more concerning tagline on the poster is “From the director of Cats & Dogs.” That’s an F.)

Keyword – transformation

Top 10: Mortal Kombat (2021), Avengers: Endgame (2019), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), The Conjuring 2 (2016), Wonder Woman 1984 (1984), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), The New Mutants (2020), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Doctor Sleep (2019), The Matrix (1999)

Future BMT: 89.4 Vampires Suck (2010), 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 69.5 Teen Wolf Too (1987), 69.1 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), 68.8 The Shaggy Dog (2006), 68.7 Supergirl (1984), 65.0 Max Steel (2016), 63.0 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997), 61.0 Cursed (2005), 60.7 Skinwalkers (2006);

BMT: Masters of the Universe (1987), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), Fantastic Four (2015), Hellboy (2019), Vampire Academy (2014), Gods of Egypt (2016), Batman & Robin (1997), Event Horizon (1997), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), The Mummy (2017), Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Super Mario Bros. (1993), R.I.P.D. (2013), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Lost in Space (1998), I Am Number Four (2011), Queen of the Damned (2002), Conan the Destroyer (1984), Pixels (2015), Little Nicky (2000), Seventh Son (2014), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), Slender Man (2018), Dragonball Evolution (2009), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011), Jason X (2001), Silent Hill: Revelation (2012), Dreamcatcher (2003), Dracula 2001 (2000), Beastly (2011), Son of the Mask (2005), The Lawnmower Man (1992), A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989), I, Frankenstein (2014), The Golden Child (1986), Troll (1986), The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007), Species II (1998), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)

(Man, a lot of films do transformations. Only thing this really tells me is the Notability is below average for the film. I’m excited to watch Teen Wolf Too though.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Alan Cumming is No. 2 billed in Son of the Mask and No. 8 billed in Get Carter (2000), which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), 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) => 2 + 8 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 20. If we were to watch Buddy, and Two for the Money we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Plans for a sequel, “The Mask II,’ were in the works years before this film. Nintendo Power magazine held a contest, and first prize was a walk-on role in that movie. The project was canceled, and Nintendo Power issued a public apology to the contest winner in their final issue. Years later, the winner was revealed as Nathan Ryan Runk, from Arbutus, Maryland. The film was technically on hold, so Runk could have chosen the role or money and merchandise. Runk, who was 12 at the time, chose the money, and received $5,000, a film crew jacket (which he later lost), and several Super Nintendo video games, including “Pilotwings 64” on Nintendo 64. He later claimed it was “absolutely the right call.” (Yeah it was, although it would have been a better call to keep the jacket in mint condition and sell it to me for another $5,000)

Film critic Richard Roeper admitted that in the five years he co-hosted with Roger Ebert, this film was the closest he’d come to walking out halfway. Looking back, he wishes he’d walked out.

Initially was supposed to be a follow-up to the original, with Jim Carrey returning as Stanley Ipkiss, but Carrey decided after making Ace Ventura 2 that playing the same character twice wasn’t interesting to him at the time, so the sequel was shelved, and this stand-alone film was developed instead due to Carrey’s indifference to the project. Subsequently, Carrey became more open to sequels, costarring in “Dumb and Dumber To” and stating in 2020 that he wanted to do sequels to both The Mask and Sonic the Hedgehog.

When asked why he agreed to do the film, Jamie Kennedy responded, “I’ll give you 2.5 million reasons.”

Jack Black turned down the role of Tim Avery. (Would have been an infinitely better movie, although still terrible)

Ben Stein is the only actor in this sequel who was also in The Mask (1994).

This is one of four times that a movie starring Jim Carrey had a sequel in which Carrey was not involved. The other sequels are: Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003), Evan Almighty (2007) and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Jr. (2009). (I cut it down, but the note did say Batman Forever didn’t count)

Two dogs played Otis. They were each taught different tricks. Their fur was dyed in patches so they matched on screen.

The character name Tim Avery is a reference to the cartoonist Tex Avery.

Inconsistent with The Mask. In the first movie the mask only works at night but in this one it seems to work anytime even during the day. (There are a bunch of incongruities, in the first it also suggests Loki was trapped in the mask, so him being a character is weird)

Marlyn Waynes, Matthew Lillard, and Ryan Reynolds were all considered for the role of “Tim Avery.”

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (2006)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2006)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Jamie Kennedy, 2006)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Alan Cumming, 2006)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Bob Hoskins, 2006)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Jamie Kennedy, 2006)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Lawrence Guterman, 2006)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Lance Khazei, 2006)

Problem Child 2 Preview

“That’s a wrap,” Patrick calls in exasperation. Another day, another unscripted fist fight between Chris Klein and Angel. With CK now playing both Rich and Poe in this entry of the film, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of who is even fighting Angel and whether they are dealing with a love triangle or love square. It all won’t matter anyway if this continues as CK is getting perilously close to leaving the film and their production deal was predicated on their star’s return to the series. “Dastardly cyborgs,” Jamie says, pounding the desk in their trailer. They’ve tried every which way to get rid of Angel, but his contract is iron clad. Besides, despite not being able to act a lick his test audience scores are through the roof. “So Angel has to appear in at least 90% of the film, right?” Jamie nods along as Patrick thumbs through Angel’s contract trying to find a loophole in the wording, “and we’re not allowed to recast,” Jamie nods again, wincing at their predicament, “but they don’t say anything about additional casting, right?” Jamie looks confused, but there is a twinkle in Patrick’s eye. The next day a chorus of boos rain down on Angel as he makes out with Leighton Vanderschmidt. He looks uncomfortable as he eyes the latest addition to the cast, Rich and Poe Jrs., the previously undisclosed twin children of Rich and Leighton Vanderschmidt’s character. Soon Angel has agreed to rewrite his part and remove the love triangle. CK is satisfied and so are Jamie and Patrick, but Adam Banks looks wary on his latest visit to set. A fart-gag laden scene is being shot and the production has taken on a distinct PG-rated vibe “Aren’t these children going to be a bit of a… problem?” That’s right, we’re taking on a couple of problem children in Problem Child 1 + 2. The first film was a staple and is probably one of the most quoted films of our childhood. The second film… was not. Let’s see if either of them hold up in any capacity. Let’s go!

Problem Child 2 (1991) – BMeTric: 60.5; Notability: 26

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 0.8%; Notability: top 54.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 1.4% Higher BMeT: Cool as Ice, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Higher Notability: Hook, Hudson Hawk, Mobsters, Switch, Flight of the Intruder, Rock-A-Doodle, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Life Stinks, Out for Justice, Necessary Roughness, The Marrying Man, The Five Heartbeats, Billy Bathgate, Driving Me Crazy, He Said, She Said, Oscar, Teen Agent, King Ralph, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Married to It, and 33 more; Lower RT: Cool as Ice, Mobsters; Notes: There we go, sub-5.0 is much more what I expected for these films. The 60+ BMeTric is beautiful, but somehow it got better critical reviews than the first film … who knows. Mobsters is an interesting film I don’t recall ever hearing about but it seems like we should watch.

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  The sequel no one asked for has Ritter adopting a second demon-child, ths one female and hell-bent on giving her stepbrother a run for his money. Any parent who lets and impressionable child watch this stuff ought to have his or her head examined! Followed by a 1995 TVM sequel.

(Uh … that isn’t the plot of the film? Trixie is the daughter of Ritter’s love interest and Junior and her have a prank war for completely unrelated reasons. Is this a true blue instance of Maltin not watching the film? Or maybe he just wrote it long after. It feels like something you’d gleen from only watching the trailer or something.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmvf4Jr0AEg/

(Nope, the trailer seems fairly clear that Trixie is probably just Junior’s rival, not his step-sister (yet). How in the world did Maltin get it so wrong I wonder? Anyways, this trailer is terrible and I’m so very excited to watch this film again.)

Directors – Brian Levant – (Known For: Max 2: White House Hero; Future BMT: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; The Flintstones; Snow Dogs; The Spy Next Door; Beethoven; BMT: Are We There Yet?; Problem Child 2; Jingle All The Way; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for The Flintstones in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Director for Jingle All the Way in 1997; Notes: He is writing and directing and producing the new Police Academy film apparently. Directed a bunch of The New Leave it to Beaver series in the 80s.)

Writers – Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (characters & written by) – (Known For: Man on the Moon; 1408; Ed Wood; Big Eyes; Goosebumps; Dolemite Is My Name; The People vs. Larry Flynt; Future BMT: Agent Cody Banks; Problem Child; That Darn Cat; Screwed; BMT: Problem Child 2; Notes: Apparently they didn’t want to write the film, but were offered a ton of money to do it because the studio wanted a sequel completed a year after the release of the first film.)

Actors – John Ritter – (Known For: Sling Blade; Bride of Chucky; Bad Santa; Nowhere; Real Men; Stay Tuned; Noises Off…; They All Laughed; The Other; Tadpole; Nickelodeon; Hero at Large; Panic; Clifford’s Really Big Movie; Americathon; Montana; I Woke Up Early the Day I Died; The Prisoner of Second Avenue; Hacks; Shadow of Doubt; Future BMT: Problem Child; Wholly Moses!; Skin Deep; BMT: North; Problem Child 2; Notes: Ended up married Amy Yasbeck who played his character’s love interest in both films (as two different characters).)

Michael Oliver – (Future BMT: Problem Child; BMT: Problem Child 2; Notes: Seems to work in music now. This is likely due to his half-siblings or maybe his step-father who seem to be involved in music.)

Jack Warden – (Known For: 12 Angry Men; Heaven Can Wait; The Great Muppet Caper; Sunset Blvd.; All the President’s Men; Shampoo; While You Were Sleeping; The Replacements; Death on the Nile; From Here to Eternity; Being There; The Champ; The Bachelor Party; The Verdict; Donovan’s Reef; Mighty Aphrodite; …and justice for all.; Used Cars; Beyond the Poseidon Adventure; Bulworth; Future BMT: Problem Child; Guilty as Sin; Dirty Work; A Dog of Flanders; BMT: Ed; Problem Child 2; Chairman of the Board; Toys; Notes: Was married to Wanda Ottoni although they apparently separated in the 70s but never got divorced, and thus were legally married for nearly 50 years at the time of his death.)

Budget/Gross – $11–15 million / Domestic: $25,104,700 (Worldwide: $32,704,700)

(Not bad, but obviously once you cut your box office in half you probably aren’t completing the trilogy (in theaters at least).)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (2/26): Crude, rude, puerile, and pointless, Problem Child 2 represents a cynical nadir in family-marketed entertainment.

(It couldn’t possibly be a nadir since the previous film somehow got worse reviews. I’ve seen both of these films a ton in my life, and the second is loads worse so that is insane. Reviewer Highlight: I’m probably getting awfully moralistic, but couldn’t the geniuses who devise entertainment for tots have come up with something a bit more, uh, responsible? – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Sklogin’ Children Too: Mo’ Problemo

(Retread of the first one with Ben in the washer instead of the cat. I thought it was pretty good for the first one, but gotta do something different to keep the score up. C+.)

Tagline(s) – This summer, Junior has a brand new friend. (D)

He’s bad. She’s worse. (B-)

(The first one doesn’t really work without the poster and the second tagline beyond already being too long. So that’s off the table. The second is better. Short and knowing what the first movie is about you get the idea. Not terribly clever though.)

Keyword – slapstick comedy

Top 10: Thor: Ragnarok (2017), The Goonies (1985), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), Tom & Jerry: The Movie (2021), Iron Man (2008), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), Monsters, Inc. (2001), Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 92.3 Son of the Mask (2005), 89.4 Vampires Suck (2010), 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 87.3 Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003), 83.1 Inspector Gadget (1999), 82.9 Home Alone 3 (1997), 79.3 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000), 78.8 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), 78.6 Superhero Movie (2008);

BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Movie 43 (2013), Super Mario Bros. (1993), The Lone Ranger (2013), The Cannonball Run (1981), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Superman III (1983), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), The Cat in the Hat (2003), Fifty Shades of Black (2016), Epic Movie (2007), Wild Hogs (2007), Meet the Spartans (2008), Around the World in 80 Days (2004), Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985), Hudson Hawk (1991), Jungle 2 Jungle (1997), Made of Honour (2008), Mortdecai (2015), Out Cold (2001), The Love Guru (2008), Old Dogs (2009), Jingle All The Way (1996), Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005), The Master of Disguise (2002), Harlem Nights (1989), Big Momma’s House 2 (2006), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), The Medallion (2003), Caddyshack II (1988), Problem Child 2 (1991), Miss March (2009), Furry Vengeance (2010), Are We Done Yet? (2007), Christmas with the Kranks (2004), Dudley Do-Right (1999), The Marrying Man (1991), Unaccompanied Minors (2006)

(It would peak around ‘97 and it has been a bit downhill since the mid 00s. Makes sense in a way, although who knows how scientific these numbers really are. Son of Mask is a huge one we’ve been semi-consciously avoiding.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Laraine Newman is No. 4 billed in Problem Child 2 and No. 4 billed in Perfect, which also stars John Travolta (No. 1 billed) who is in Wild Hogs (No. 2 billed), which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 4 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 20. If we were to watch Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – During a 2014 interview on Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski revealed that the studio was reluctant to rehire them, only doing so because they wanted to shoot a sequel before Michael Oliver could noticeably grow and, as the writers of the first film, could produce a script quicker than writers new to the story and characters of the franchise. Frustrated with the criticisms of Problem Child (1990), they deliberately increased the poor taste in the sequel, intending to make a Pasolini or John Waters film for children, and went so far overboard that the first cut received an R rating from the MPAA, a secret kept until their 2014 appearance on the podcast. Dubbing over Junior’s use of the term “pussy whipped” got the film a PG-13 rating on appeal but the studio was still so nervous that, at the last minute, they added the Woody Woodpecker cartoon Smoked Hams (1947) to the film’s theatrical release to reassure parents that the film was suitable for children.

In 1999, John Ritter married Amy Yasbeck in real life.

When Mrs. Dumore sees Ben in the bank, she says she plans to make him “Hubbie #7” and a bunch of pictures are shown of her previous husbands. Her other husbands are John Ritter in several costumes. (ha!)

Ben is still driving the Jeep he “borrows” from Roy in the first film when he goes to rescue Junior from the Bow Tie Killer.

Based on the landmarks the Healys pass on their road trip, it can be assumed that they’re moving from California (the first landmark is the Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood, CA) to Florida (the final landmark they pass is the Booby Trap club in Orlando, FL). (I’m not sure this is true, elsewhere it indicated they were in Illinois in the first film and Oregon in the second. But we’ll have to keep our eyes peeled).

The only actor to appear in all three films and the short-lived cartoon series was Gilbert Gottfried. Jack Warden appeared in all three films, but not the cartoon.

In the original movie, while Junior is watching news clips of the Bow Tie Killer on TV, he goes into a toy box and retrieves a bowtie to wear so he can emulate his hero. The bowtie is being worn on a My Buddy doll. This is referenced in the sequel during the carnival scene, when Ben wins a My Buddy doll and gives it to Junior.

Mortville, the town that Ben and Junior move to, is a reference to a town with the same name in which the John Waters film Desperate Living is set. (Absolutely incredible ref, WTF this is a kids film?)

June Foray, who voiced the puppets in the puppet show before Trixie (Ivyann Schwan) took it over, did various cartoon voices for 60 years; in particular many Warner Brothers cartoons. She passed away in 2017 just shy of her 100th birthday.

The license plate on Ben’s car reads “JRS DAD”.

When LaWanda is reading various newspaper headlines that detail Junior’s actions in the first film, one of the headlines reads, “Union Carbide Plant Explodes.” This was not Junior’s fault, this is referencing the incident known as “The Bhopal Disaster” that occurred on December 2, 1984 at the Union Carbide Plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, where methyl isocyanate gas leaked, exposing 500,000 people. It is estimated that 16,000 died from pesticide exposure.

Dungeons & Dragons 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. But first it has to defeat Stone Cold in a head to head battle for the final spot! The Boz versus Jeremy Irons, the battle you’ve all been waiting for. Enjoy!

Dungeons & Dragons (2000) – BMeTric: 85.0; Notability: 27 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 0.4%; Notability: top 62.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 4.0% Higher BMeT: Battlefield Earth; Higher Notability: Gone in Sixty Seconds, Little Nicky, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Coyote Ugly, Mission to Mars, Ready to Rumble, Lost Souls, 102 Dalmatians, Rules of Engagement, Bless the Child, Proof of Life, Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Reindeer Games, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Scream 3, Supernova, Hollow Man, Isn’t She Great, Dude, Where’s My Car?, Final Destination, and 42 more; Lower RT: The in Crowd, Battlefield Earth, Bless the Child, Down to You, Lost Souls, Turn It Up, Urban Legends: Final Cut, The Skulls; Notes: Hooooooooooooo doggy, that is some impressive stuff. I’m actually most surprised by the notability bit. You’d think a CGI-heavy high fantasy story would necessarily have a large number of notable people in it, but apparently that is not the case. Being mentioned in the same breath as Battlefield Earth is always a good thing.

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – “Dungeons & Dragons” looks like they threw away the game and photographed the box it came in. It’s an amusing movie to look at, in its own odd way, but close your eyes and the dialogue sounds like an overwrought junior high school play. The movie tells the story of a power struggle in the mythical kingdom of Izmer, where a populist empress wants power for the common man but an elitist member of the ruling caste plans a coup. High marks for anyone who can explain the role that dragons play in the Izmerian ecology.

(Boom. Roasted. I think it is probably impossible for someone to seriously watch this film and go “meh good enough”. You either have to ironically enjoy it, or not enjoy it. There is no other possibility.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efSq9FF1r2Q/

(The first 20 seconds of this trailer is just nonsense. And the blue lipstick on the bad guy!! I love this film. It is just so funny. Jeremy Irons is just screaming in the middle, the protagonist drops to his knees and screams “Nooooooooooooooo!”)

Directors – Courtney Solomon – (BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Getaway; An American Haunting; Notes: Son of Fran Solomon, a maybe big producer from the 80s. It might explain how he bought the rights to D&D when he was 19, had a production company in his early 20s, and ended up directing the D&D movie when he was 29.)

Writers – Topper Lilien (written by) – (Known For: Low Down; Where the Money Is; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: He was oddly in Coneheads in a bit part. If I were to guess he is a lifelong screenwriter who was asked to do substantial rewrites or an initial treatment by the studio they were working for.)

Carroll Cartwright (written by) – (Known For: What Maisie Knew; Where the Money Is; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: Possibly was a writing partner with Lilien around 2000 as they both wrote Where the Money Is as well. Odd that neither have very many credits and very little information on IMDb.)

E. Gary Gygax (game) (uncredited) – (BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: D&D started as an extension of table top war simulators which have existed since the 1800s (used by European militaries primarily in order to practice tactics). It was one of the first, and amazingly is still likely the most popular game of its kind. And the popularity is only growing with the D&D play podcasts that now exist (like The Adventure Zone).)

Actors – Justin Whalin – (Known For: The Dead Pool; Serial Mom; Future BMT: Child’s Play 3; Super Capers: The Origins of Ed and the Missing Bullion; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: Won a Daytime Emmy for a children’s special in 1994. Is a certified scuba diver and seemed to have retired from acting in 2009.)

Jeremy Irons – (Known For: Red Sparrow; The Lion King; Lolita; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; High-Rise; Margin Call; Stealing Beauty; Inland Empire; The Mission; Beautiful Creatures; Their Finest; Dead Ringers; Damage; The Man Who Knew Infinity; Race; Casanova; Appaloosa; Reversal of Fortune; The Merchant of Venice; The French Lieutenant’s Woman; Future BMT: The Pink Panther 2; The Time Machine; Justice League; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; The Man in the Iron Mask; La corrispondenza; Better Start Running; The House of the Spirits; An Actor Prepares; The Words; Kingdom of Heaven; Love, Weddings & Other Disasters; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Eragon; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Won the lead actor Oscar in 1991 for Reversal of Fortune. His voice might be what he’s most famous for as he played Scar in The Lion King.)

Zoe McLellan – (Known For: Mr. Holland’s Opus; Imaginary Crimes; Future BMT: Inventing the Abbotts; One Fall; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: Starred in NCIS: New Orleans in their early seasons, 20 episodes of Designated Survivor, and a very good two-part episode of Star Trek: Voyager back in the day.)

Budget/Gross – $45,000,000 / Domestic: $15,391,970 (Worldwide: $33,978,694)

(Yeah, that isn’t what you want. This budget makes a bit more sense, given some of the big name actors and the money they must have spent on CGI (in 2000 no less). They were obviously hoping for that big fantasy money.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (9/92): Critics say this movie has a cheap look and is badly directed. Despite the presence of talented actors, the performances are really bad, and additionally, some people are offended at Marlon Wayans’ character, calling it a racist throwback to black stereotypes.

(Ooooof, officially below 10%. I’m surprised it isn’t more like 4%, but it seems that there was more appreciation for the spectacle than I expected. Reviewer Highlight: The average episode of Xena or Hercules offers a more compelling and imaginative photoplay. – Scott Foundas, Variety)

Poster – Faces & Sepia Tones

(As busy as this might seem I think that is standard for high fantasy and sci-fi (think of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars as examples). The only real complaint is the color scheme is just really boring. I would imagine the idea is that in the eventual series, I would guess they would color each a distinct tone, they just never go to do it. B. Love the font.)

Tagline(s) – This is no game. (B+)

(There isn’t anything else to be done. This had to be the tagline. It is short and sweet, goes to the roots, lays out the stakes. Deduction only because of how inevitable it feels.)

Keyword – dragon

Top 10: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), The New Mutants (2020), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Dolittle (2020), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Inside Out (2015), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Future BMT: 61.9 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 54.0 Balls of Fury (2007), 53.9 The New Mutants (2020), 53.2 The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990), 50.6 Your Highness (2011), 47.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie (2004), 40.1 The King and I (1999), 33.3 Just Visiting (2001), 27.4 47 Ronin (2013), 26.9 Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016);

BMT: Dolittle (2020), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), The Last Airbender (2010), Jupiter Ascending (2015), Hellboy (2019), Sucker Punch (2011), Gods of Egypt (2016), Eragon (2006), Dragonball Evolution (2009), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), The Golden Child (1986), Seventh Son (2014), Dungeons & Dragons (2000), Dragon Wars (2007)

(Really ahead of its time on “hey we can actually make dragons with CGI now kind of” films. And oh boy am I excited to watch the entire Mummy series eventually.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 21) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jeremy Irons is No. 2 billed in Dungeons & Dragons and No. 3 billed in Assassin’s Creed, which also stars Brendan Gleeson (No. 4 billed) who is in Turbulence (No. 3 billed), which also stars Ray Liotta (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 3 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 3 + 4 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 1 = 21. If we were to watch Passenger 57, Murder at 1600, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – When asked why he did this film, Jeremy Irons replied, “Are you kidding? I’d just bought a castle, I had to pay for it somehow!” (I love it when actors go and get their money, it is great)

Director Courtney Solomon’s first film. He acquired the exclusive rights from TSR (Tactical Studies Rules) in 1990, when he was 19. It took 10 years to raise the funds to make the film. (Jeez, is he involved in the new one then? Yup, he’s a producer on the D&D television show that is coming up.)

Courtney Solomon only intended to produce the film originally. However, TSR head Lorraine Williams vetoed every one of his choices (one of which was Francis Ford Coppola) and forced Solomon to direct the film since he held the rights.

The bones visible in Profion’s lair are real. These scenes were filmed in Sedlec Ossuary, a small chapel in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic. It is decorated with the bones of people who were buried in the surrounding cemetery, but had to be moved to make room for the chapel and for new burials.

Richard O’Brien parodies his own role from The Crystal Maze (1990) (TV Series). (I might have to check this out)

The film is not based on the classic 1980s cartoon of the same name, but it is based on the same source material. (Obviously, but the cartoon is actually pretty fun)

Based on the 1974 tabletop RPG game by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc.

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)