Highlander: The Final Dimension Preview

Jamie and Patrick are excited to take part in the Super Duper Commando Project… sounds pretty rad. Unfortunately when they show up there seems to have been a mix up. A gust of wind blew their applications from the accept pile into the reject pile. What a mistake! They are informed that the only open positions are as security guards. Jamie and Patrick shrug. You take what you can get. As they walk around the building they are super duper bored. “If I wanted to be a security guard I would have joined the Security Brigade,” Jamie says resulting in a chuckle from Patrick. Just then a Super Duper Commando backflips his way into their path. “What thuuuuuuu…” Patrick says before they are both kicked out of a window. Shaking off the serious trauma inflicted on their non-Super Duper bodies they return to the security center and find the place in disarray. Turns out a rogue general bestowed the Sword of Power upon one of the Commandos giving him the power of the gods. Sounds totally ridiculous and unbelievable, I know, but like… you better believe it’s happening. Jamie and Patrick look at one another. The head of security is curious, “You boys look like you know something. Out with it.” They look sheepish. “It’s just,” Jamie begins and takes out an ancient scroll, “when we were born it was foretold that we would face a super soldier equipped with the Sword of Power. It was oddly specific to this exact situation.” The head of security is in awe. “Did it say anything else?” Patrick and Jamie look at each other again. “Yes,” Patrick whispers, “It said ‘There can only be one.’” That’s right! We’re getting another notch in the Highlander Franchise belt with our Sci-Fi/Fantasy entry in the cycle, Highlander: The Final Dimension… or is it Highlander: The Magician… or is it Highlander: The Sorcerer? Impossible to tell with the third entry in the series. I’m sure you’re all like ‘But Jamie, don’t you mean last entry in the series. There can’t possibly be a fourth major release in the Highlander series.’ Well you’d be wrong. Highlander: Endgame exists and it is foretold that we will watch it… someday. But not today. Let’s go!

Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994) – BMeTric: 69.4

HighlanderTheFinalDimension_BMeT

HighlanderTheFinalDimension_RV

(Quite low, but is getting that regression to the mean as one would have expected. Nearly 70+ BMeTric, which is obviously extremely impressive. High hopes.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Conor McCloud, the wanderer from medieval Scotland, does battle in today’s N.Y. with evil fellow immortal from the past, the Mongol magician Cane (Van Peebles). Foolish, badly written piffle is a sequel only to the first film, ignoring the second and the TV series. Lambert is glum, Van Peebles shamelessly hammy. Dozens of unexplained elements, starting with Cane’s perfect English.

(Leonard hates Highlander. The films are rated: 1.5, 1.5, BOMB, BOMB for the first four. Which is insane. The first is actually halfway decent, at least compared to the second! I’m looking forward to the performances now. Seems like it could be something truly to behold.)

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

(I guess it is called “The Sorcerer” in this case. Anywho, this looks terribly cheap. And they kind of give away that he quickens again there. And they also give away that there is a pretttttty sexy sex scene … it’s a wash, this could go either way now.)

Directors – Andrew Morahan – (BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: British. Still is a music video director mostly. His father was a director as well, and his half-sister is an actress.)

Writers – Gregory Widen (characters) – (Known For: Highlander; Backdraft; The Prophecy; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Worked as a firefighter for three years. Witnessed a friend killed by a deadly backdraft which became the basis for the script.)

Brad Mirman (story & screenplay) (uncredited) – (Known For: Forsaken; The Shadow Dancer; Crime Spree; Future BMT: Knight Moves; Resurrection; Truth or Consequences, N.M.; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Body of Evidence; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Body of Evidence in 1994; Notes: Mostly a writer-director now, including a television mini-series called The Confession starring Kiefer Sutherland.)

William N. Panzer (story) – (Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Was the producer for basically every single Highlander property over the years. Died in 2007.)

Paul Ohl (screenplay) – (BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: French, but lived mostly in Quebec. Was in public service most of his life, and wrote multiple novels which I suppose is how he ended up connected to this.)

René Manzor (uncredited) – (Known For: Monsieur N.; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Caught the attention of George Lucas and Spielberg early in his career and wrote on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.)

Actors – Christopher Lambert – (Known For: Highlander; Hail, Caesar!; Bel Canto; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Fortress; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Subway; White Material; To Kill a Priest; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Beowulf; Fortress 2; Southland Tales; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; Mortal Kombat; The Sicilian; Loaded Weapon 1; Gunmen; Knight Moves; Resurrection; The Hunted; Electric Slide; BMT: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Born in the US, although he is French as his father was a diplomat. Was married to Diane Lane, and had a daughter with her.)

Mario Van Peebles – (Known For: New Jack City; Ali; Heartbreak Ridge; The Cotton Club; Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song; How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass; The Hebrew Hammer; Stag; Future BMT: Solo; Exterminator 2; Gunmen; Posse; Submerged; We the Party; Multiple Sarcasms; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Son of the famous director Melvin Van Peebles, whom he portrays in Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.)

Deborah Kara Unger – (Known For: The Game; Thirteen; Crash; Payback; The Way; The Hurricane; Sunshine; The Salton Sea; A Love Song for Bobby Long; The Alibi; Fear X; Stander; One Point O; Shake Hands with the Devil; Hollywood North; Signs & Wonders; Emile; Future BMT:White Noise; The Samaritan; Jackals; A Dark Truth; Keys to Tulsa; Whispers in the Dark; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Silent Hill: Revelation; 88 Minutes; Silent Hill; Notes: Canadian, but she started her career in Australia where she became quite a famous actress before returning to North America.)

Budget/Gross – $26 million / Domestic: $12,303,080

(Absolutely absurd budget. I understand there is a level of set design and special effects involved, but it would have been ludicrous to think they’d recoup that number. It has to involve funny math.)

#97 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

highlanderfinaldimension_liveactionfantasy

(Around Dungeons & Dragons. The genre really took off in 2000, likely because they were able to put together films that otherwise would have been impossible to produce with practical effects with the cheaper CGI that had been developed by then.)

#29 for the Sword and Sorcery genre

highlanderfinaldimension_swordandsorcery

(Only In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale did worse among BMT films. The chart gets a bit skewed because The Lord of the Rings made so much money all within a few years of each other. The genre has never really be huge in the number of films produced.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (1/20): No consensus yet.

(My god the consensus would be something else: Cheap looking with absolutely ridiculous performances by Lambert and Van Peebles. Literally like watching a franchise crash and burn in front of your eyes! Reviewer Highlight: As for Van Peebles, he’s quite the ridiculous sight and sound. – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – Skloglander: The Final Dimensional Sorcerer from Space Probably (B-)

highlander_the_final_dimension

(I have to say I like the clock and how the poster is laid out. The coloring is crazy though and the font is just meh. Tone it down a little and get some sweet Highlander brand font and we might be off to the races.)

Tagline(s) – Centuries ago one man was chosen to protect all that is good. But an enemy from the past has travelled through time to challenge him in the present. (F)

(Bahahahaahaha… … … hahahahahahaha… ha… ah… well that sounds stupid.)

Keyword(s) – sex scene; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.6 The Room (2003); 90.4 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 82.0 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000); 81.9 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 81.2 Sex and the City 2 (2010); 78.7 Jason X (2001); 77.6 Fifty Shades Darker (2017); 77.0 Fifty Shades of Black (2016); 75.8 Fifty Shades Freed (2018); 74.9 Species II (1998);

(Kind of unbelievable there are still films on the table here. Given the number of films with the keyword it isn’t that surprising that all of them are basically above 75 BMeTric which is incredible. All three Fifty Shades films make this list.)

Notes – Deborah Kara Unger did her love scenes with Christopher Lambert herself, declining to use a body double. (Good for her I guess)

The original script for the film was radically different from the finished product in that the flashback sequences to place in early 17th century Scotland and early 18th century England. MacLeod had an Immortal friend in the script named Cavanagh who had similar aspects like Ramirez, The main villain in the script was named Kilvera. The script started depicting what happened with Connor after he buried Heather as well as a scene that revealed that he kills Jack the Ripper who was an Immortal as well. (I understand none of this)

The film is true to the original Highlander (1986) and ignores Highlander II: The Quickening (1991). In Highlander 2, Connor, Ramirez and the Immortals were aliens from the planet Zeist. In the original Highlander, Connor and Ramirez were not aliens from another planet and Highlander 3 takes place 8 years after the original film and is true to the original story and mythology. (Cool? They’re going to fuck it up anyways, so what does it really matter, y’know?)

Christopher Lambert and Mario Van Peebles had both previously starred in Gunmen (1993) and had become good friends.

In early development this was going to be a prequel about Connor arriving in New York at the start of ‘The Gathering’. (That would have been kind of cool. If I recall correctly the original kind of starts as the battle for The Quickening is coming to a close)

Mako plays a similar role to the role he played in Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer (1984). (M’man Mako is in this? Hell yeah)

For the UK VHS and DVD releases, the title was changed to Highlander 3: The Sorcerer, with no extended cut (renegade cut). (This title keeps on coming up and it annoys me. There are like fifty goddamn names for this film)

Advertisements

Universal Soldier: The Return Preview

Dear Diary, Jamie writes, I know I haven’t written to you in awhile but I met someone. I know, very exciting. Less exciting? I met someone else. Classic Jamie, right? Anyway, I need some advice. On the one hand you have beautiful… actually now that I think of it I don’t know their names. Classic Jamie you know and love. So Demon #1 is beautiful and a lawyer, but also a demon. Demon #2 is beautiful but also a liar and still a demon. The choice is tearing me apart, like hooks into my flesh. What do I do?! Gah! Classic Jamie. But having talked it out with you I think I have my decision. I will just have to marry both of them and live forever in this puzzle box. It’s the only logical choice. Thanks Diary. With that Jamie looks up and find himself back in the alleyway where they cornered the Predator. “Wha… what?” He asks stunned. Patrick comes over and places a hand on his shoulder, “A gust of wind blew by and closed the puzzle box while you were writing for the last twelve hours.” Jamie nods, but can’t help but wonder if he could have found happiness in that demon world. Probably not… because they were demons. Suddenly light floods the alley and they are surrounded by police. “Freeze, Predator dirtbag! Wait… where is it?” Asks the Commander. Jamie and Patrick look at each other and toss the puzzle box into a nearby sewer. “That Predator won’t be bother anyone else, Commander. We made sure of that.” The Commander is impressed. First a multimillion dollar t-shirt business and now this. He approaches Jamie and Patrick, “ I have a new assignment for you. Ever heard of the Super Duper Commando Program?” That’s right! We’re crushing the Universal Soldier franchise by watching the only two qualifying films in the franchise. Weirdly this is actually the first and the fourth films made. That’s because after the first film they made a couple Universal Soldier TV movies before deciding those never happened and starting over again with a new sequel Universal Soldier: The Return. It’s just weird enough that I made sure to get the TV movies from my local public library so I could torture myself with them. This is the Chain Reaction part of the cycle as Xander Berkeley was in both Proud Mary and Universal Soldier: The Return. Perfect. Let’s go!

Universal Soldier: The Return (1999) – BMeTric: 76.8

UniversalSoldierTheReturn_BMeT

UniversalSoldierTheReturn_RV

(Oh shit, it was at 3.0 for a hot second there. It has “recovered”, although mostly because you can’t really stay below 4.0 without being a truly legendary film while accruing votes. This should be a truly dire experience. I’m excited.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  The muscles from Brussels is back and must stop an out-of-control super-cyborg from world domination. Derivative but not boring rehash of the original. Features two tough heroines, Schanz and ESPN fitness guru Tom, but it you’re threatened by the enlightened sexual politics, there’s also a gratuitous brawl at a nudie bar. In his acting debut, WCW superstar Bill Goldberg proves he has all the dramatic range of Foghorn Leghorn.

(WCW star. Check. An ESPN fitness guru. Check. Brawl at a nudie bar. Check. Uh, this might be the greatest thing I’ve ever read. My body is ready, but will my mind melt when I watch this? There is only one way to find out.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2SxMcP-UFo

(That looks way dumber than the original! It looks so bad. Just explosions, and guns, and stunts, and Michael Jai White … woof!)

Directors – Mic Rodgers – (BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Notes: A stuntman, and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, most notable for being Mel Gibson’s personal stunt double for over ten years.)

Writers – Richard Rothstein (characters) – (Known For: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Universal Soldier; Notes: Died this year. He made the television series Deadly Nightmares.)

Christopher Leitch (characters) – (Known For: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Universal Soldier; Notes: Worked with Rothstein briefly on Deadly Nightmares, which is possibly why he got the job at the time.)

Dean Devlin (characters) – (Known For: Independence Day; Stargate; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Future BMT: Godzilla; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Independence Day: Resurgence; Geostorm; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1999 for Godzilla; and in 2017 for Independence Day: Resurgence; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: Advised the games company ZeniMax in the early 2000s, they own Bethesda.)

William Malone (written by) – (Future BMT: Supernova; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Notes: He was the designer of the Michael Myers mask in Halloween!)

John Fasano (written by) – (Future BMT: Darkness Falls; Megiddo: The Omega Code 2; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Another 48 Hrs.; Notes: Died in 2014. He began his career creating industrial films for IBM.)

Actors – Jean-Claude Van Damme – (Known For: The Expendables 2; Kung Fu Panda 3; Kung Fu Panda 2; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Hard Target; Kickboxer; Kickboxer: Vengeance; Sudden Death; Timecop; Breakin’; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; JCVD; Enemies Closer; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Derailed; Cyborg; Knock Off; Welcome to the Jungle; The Order; Double Impact; Legionnaire; Maximum Risk; Replicant; Inferno; Missing in Action; The Quest; Nowhere to Run; Pound of Flesh; Black Water; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Last Action Hero; Bloodsport; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Double Team; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: Y’all know Jean-Claude. He was a karate champion in Belgium, including appearances on the Belgian team which won the 1979 European Karate Championship. After a successful fill-contact career he became an actor.)

Bill Goldberg – (Known For: American Satan; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; Future BMT: Ready to Rumble; The Longest Yard; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Notes: Was a pro football player for a bit (he played for the Falcons, Rams, and Panthers). Had a horrible sounding abdominal injury which ended his career. He then became a WCW star, and even the Heavyweight champion!)

Heidi Schanz – (Known For: Se7en; The Truman Show; Future BMT: Virtuosity; Kiss the Girls; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Notes: Was at one point a model, and has been in a smattering of television programs as well. Appears to have retired from acting in 2003.)

Budget/Gross – $40-45 million / Domestic: $10,667,893

(Oh that is terrible, although I’m somewhat skeptical that it actually cost that much. Considering the crew they had going and the cast besides (an older) Van Damme … where would the money even go!)

#87 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

universalsoldierthereturn_martialarts

(Oooof worse than Double Team! This kind of came at a nadir of the genre. Possibly, this was a last gasp for testing Van Damme (and any martial arts) films in theaters.)

#43 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

universalsoldierthereturn_cyborg

(Juuuust narrowly beats out Deadly Friend, which is atrocious. Basically the only super successful robot films recently were transformer films.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (3/58): Universal Soldier – The Return fails on almost every level, from its generic story to its second rate action and subpar performances.

(Oh, that sounds delighful. And sub-10% is incredibly bad. Getting more excited. Reviewer Highlight: It’s actually the fourth entry in the series, after a couple of straight-to-cable sequels. That’s a lot of pulp to squeeze out of a concept that was fairly juiceless to begin with. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Robo Soldier v2.0 (A-)

universal_soldier_the_return

(Gotta be honest with you… this is working more me. The balance, the sepia tone, the kooky font. Yes, yes, yes. Just a tad bit less going on… like what’s with the circle?)

Tagline(s) – Prepare to become obsolete (B)

(Am I a soldier in the scenario this tagline is commenting on? Why am I preparing? Shouldn’t Van Damme be preparing? Anyway, it’s short and comments vaguely on the premise, but not really all that clever other than a weak double entendre with obsolete.)

Keyword(s) – time bomb; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.7 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 85.7 Spice World (1997); 84.4 Movie 43 (2013); 84.0 RoboCop 3 (1993); 77.9 Torque (2004); 76.8 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999); 68.9 On Deadly Ground (1994); 68.4 Double Team (1997);

(Oh shit, we need to watch Street Fighter stat! Kind of a great list to be honest, a decent range, but also a few terrible films.)

Notes – The role of Romeo was originally intended for WWE wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. However, without notifying Steve, his agent turned down the offer of $55,000 to star in the film. The role was subsequently offered to WCW star Bill Goldberg, who accepted the role, for a fee of $250,000. When Austin found out about this, he expressed his anger to Vince McMahon for not letting him know about the movie offer. (Austin would have been better. I haven’t even seen the film and I know this)

Subsequent Universal Soldier films ignore the events of The Return, and outright contradict it in several ways. While still an official entry, it is no longer considered part of the franchise canon. (Reeeeeeally … I don’t believe you)

Michael Jai White (S.E.T.H.) also appeared in the original Universal Soldier (1992) as a soldier.

(At around one hour and eleven minutes) During the final fight sequence between Seth and Luc, when Seth finally breaks the termination code, the first part of the code is NCC1701, the same as the numbers that are on the outside of the Enterprise, of Star Trek fame. (Oooooooo I like that)

Was released theatrically despite the previous sequels having been made-for-television.

The last feature to be theatrically released starring Jean-Claude Van Damme until JCVD (2008). (Wow. It was kind of strange how abruptly Seagal and Van Damme retired into straight-to-DVD stardom)

(At around one hour and six minutes) When Bill Goldberg’s character Romeo tears his shirt off, and starts to fight with the security guards, he uses one of his signature wrestling moves, the spear. (natch)

Certain subterranean scenes were filmed in Texas, in the tunnels dug for the U.S.’s Superconducting Supercollider project. After the project was canceled in 1993, the tunnels were used as storage by Ellis County. (That’s sad)

William Malone was originally going to direct the film, but left just before the start of shooting due to creative differences with the producers, and was replaced by Mic Rodgers. (Hmmm Malone had at least a little more experience as a director, so probably unfortunate that happened)

Gods and Generals Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the third in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Gods and Generals (2003) – BMeTric: 17.1

GodsandGenerals_BMeT

GodsandGenerals_RV

(It concerns me that this film is actually rising over time. Not because the rating is rising, that is natural as the vote count increases. No. I’m concerned because anyone is deciding to watch a horrible 4 hour film … why? I guess Civil War enthusiasts, which I suppose might explain the rising score.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Writer-director Maxwell’s prequel to Gettysburg is not in the same league but does manage to capture some of the sights, sounds, and personalities of the Civil War’s early years, with an emphasis on the South. Lion’s share of the story is devoted to Lang’s pious “Stonewall” Jackson. Telling vignettes and vivid battle scenes make up for some ponderousness, speechiness, and overlength (it’s even longer – 231m. – on video). Film’s backer, media mogul Ted Turner, has a cameo as a Confederate soldier. Based on the Jeff Shaara novel.

(Amazingly if you watch the director’s cut the film is an astonishing 4 hours and 40 minutes. When I watched it for the first time I remarked “I’ve forgotten what it was like to not be watching Gods and Generals. I’ve been born, lived, and died while watching this film.” Leonard is being kind, or it was a review of the time, because the film is an achievement in ponderousness, there is no more ponderous film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxPXrrZ8bJU

(Hmmmm. Hmmmmm. Hmmmmm. I wonder which side is fighting for God’s glory and which for his kingdom on earth …. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.)

Directors – Ron Maxwell – (Known For: Gettysburg; Little Darlings; Future BMT: Copperhead; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Notable somewhat for his incredibly long production periods. The intention, as of 2013, was to write and direct a Joan of Arc movie. But it is somewhat unclear what happened with that plan.)

Writers – Jeff Shaara (book) (as Jeffrey M. Shaara) – (BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: The son of Michael Shaara who wrote Gettysburg, which this film is a prequel to. He also wrote a sequel called The Last Full Measure.)

Ron Maxwell (screenplay) (as Ronald F. Maxwell) – (Known For: Gettysburg; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Exclusively writes and directs historical epics financed by Ted Turner.)

Actors – Stephen Lang – (Known For: Avatar; Hostiles; Tombstone; Don’t Breathe; Braven; Public Enemies; Manhunter; Gettysburg; The Dinner; The Men Who Stare at Goats; The Hard Way; Tall Tale; Band of Robbers; Last Exit to Brooklyn; Gridlocked; White Irish Drinkers; Project X; Pionér; The I Inside; Twice in a Lifetime; Future BMT: Eye See You; A Good Marriage; The Nut Job; Shadow Conspiracy; In the Blood; Another You; Guilty as Sin; Mortal Engines; The Amazing Panda Adventure; Trixie; Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You; Band of the Hand; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Fire Down Below; Gods and Generals; Notes: His father was a noted businessman and philanthropist who left the entirety of his $150 million fortune to charity upon his death.)

Robert Duvall – (Known For: The Godfather; Widows; Apocalypse Now; The Godfather: Part II; The Road; The Natural; Jack Reacher; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Judge; Deep Impact; Falling Down; MASH; Open Range; We Own the Night; Crazy Heart; Secondhand Lions; Network; True Grit; Sling Blade; Thank You for Smoking; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Something to Talk About; Days of Thunder; Wild Horses; Lucky You; The Handmaid’s Tale; Gone in Sixty Seconds; In Dubious Battle; Seven Days in Utopia; Breakout; Jayne Mansfield’s Car; BMT: The Scarlet Letter; Gods and Generals; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Newsies in 1993; Notes: Won an Oscar for Tender Mercies. Was good friends with Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman whom he went to acting school with.)

Jeff Daniels – (Known For: The Martian; Looper; Speed; Dumb and Dumber; State of Play; The Hours; Steve Jobs; Pleasantville; Terms of Endearment; 2 Days in the Valley; Gettysburg; Arachnophobia; The Squid and the Whale; Away We Go; Blood Work; Ragtime; Good Night, and Good Luck.; Because of Winn-Dixie; Traitor; Heartburn; Future BMT: Space Chimps; My Favorite Martian; RV; Dumb and Dumber To; Allegiant; 101 Dalmatians; Mama’s Boy; The Butcher’s Wife; All the Rage; Super Sucker; The Catcher Was a Spy; Paper Man; The Answer Man; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Married his highschool sweetheart and lives in his home state of Michigan helping to support economic development there.)

Budget/Gross – $56 million / Domestic: $12,882,934 (Worldwide: $12,923,936)

(Catastrophic. But then again Gettysburg didn’t do much better. I’m fully convinced Ted Turner just loves the Civil War and doesn’t care. Also they probably have a racket whereby every school in America buys a copy of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals and thus the film is profitable before it even releases … I’m only half joking, that sounds plausible to be honest.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (10/121): Filled with two-dimensional characters and pompous self-righteousness, Gods and Generals is a long, tedious sit. Some may also take offense at the pro-Confederate slant.

(Some might take offense … at the pro-Confederate slant. Yeah I can imagine that might rub some people the wrong way. Reviewer Highlight: Four hours including the intermission, I felt like I was seeing the Civil War in real time for awhile there. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper)

Poster – Sklogs and Generals (B-)

gods_and_generals

(Neither the worst nor the best. I think the imagery is stirring but wish they had done it a bit more artistically. Looks a little sloppy. Odd font, but unique.)

Tagline(s) – The nation’s heart was touched by…. (D+)

An unforgettable story of the Civil War, from the Director of “GETTYSBURG” (D-)

(Obviously the second one is a classic trash just trying to get those Gettysburg fanatics in the seats. At least it tells me the story is unforgettable. Which is true. I’ll never forget how terrible it was. The first is merely bad. So you’re telling me the nation’s heart was touched by a gigantic civil war that tore the country apart? Interesting.)

Keyword(s) – george washington character; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.5 Wild Wild West (1999); 17.1 Gods and Generals (2003); 16.5 The Manchurian Candidate (2004); 12.0 Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014); 6.6 The Patriot (2000); 2.2 John Paul Jones (1959); 0.2 Janice Meredith (1924); 0.0 George Washington’s First War: The Battles for Fort Duquesne (2003);

(Noice, although I’m skeptical there was a George Washington character in Wild Wild West all things considered. As a matter of fact, why would George Washington be in Gods and Generals? Or The Manchurian Candidate. Weird stuff. Usually I would replace a dumb keyword like this, but I’m mostly just fascinated.)

Notes – Some scenes were filmed on Robert Duvall’s estate in Virginia, which was the site of some Civil War skirmishes.

Martin Sheen was in the Washington, D.C. area the week of September 11th filming scenes for The West Wing (1999). He was prepared to fly the Tuesday morning Dulles to LAX flight if Warner Brothers agreed to his demand for one million dollars to reprise his role of Robert E. Lee from Gettysburg (1993). It was only because Warner Brothers passed, that Sheen was not on Flight 77 the morning of September 11. (Wow)

The majority of the Civil War re-enactors in the movie volunteered to be in the movie without pay. In return, the production company agreed to donate at least five hundred thousand dollars to preservation of a Civil War battlefield. (Cool I guess)

The wide shots of the Union infantry advancing towards the stone wall during the Battle of Fredericksburg were not set up nor filmed as visual effects shots. However, due to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the subsequent travel concerns and military reserve call-ups, the film’s re-enacting unit had drastically shrunk in number. This was not fully evident until the wide shots were viewed in post-production. Visual Effects Supervisor Thomas G. Smith had to digitally create over seventeen thousand low-resolution CGI soldiers, and then map out individual speeds for them: running, walking, or crawling wounded. He then added three thousand dead soldiers to scatter around the shot. (Kind of sad actually, that they didn’t get to do what they originally envisioned due to a national tragedy)

Kevin Conway often cites reprising his Gettysburg (1993) character, Sergeant Buster Kilrain, in this film, as part of the reason he turned down a supporting role in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which would have prevented him from shooting this film. (Oof)

Originally given an R-rating by the MPAA for extended battlefield violence and gore. Director Ron Maxwell either shortened or cut out entirely the most objectionable scenes in order to get the film down to a PG-13 rating. (But I assume he added twice as much footage of Jeff Daniels ordering people into the proper battle formation? Can’t let the movie be too long)

The film mostly omits a few of General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson’s eccentricities, but makes sly reference to them. The real Stonewall Jackson rode with a hand raised at all times, as he felt it was necessary to balance his bodily humors. In the film, Jackson suffers a wound to one hand, and spends a scene riding in that manner, ostensibly to staunch the bleeding. In addition, the real Jackson, according to legend, sucked on lemons incessantly in the belief that it was essential to his health. In the film, he presents lemons as a gift to the fiancée of his junior officer, and enjoys the resultant lemonade for its tartness. (What a weirdo)

Russell Crowe was the first choice to play Stonewall Jackson. Crowe expressed initial interest but eventually declined, citing a need to return to Australia and take a break from movie making. The role was then offered to Stephen Lang, who was already signed and rehearsing to reprise his Gettysburg (1993) character of General George Pickett. Billy Campbell took over the Pickett role.

Ted Turner put up the entire sixty million dollar budget of the film personally.

Although Robert E. Lee was a highly regarded officer in the U.S. Army, his dislike of slavery, and lukewarm approach to secession, combined with some early reverses while in command of the Virginia militia, took him out of consideration for field command in the Confederate Army. Instead, he was made an advisor to Jefferson Davis. He was named to command the Confederate Army outside of Richmond in 1862, when General Joseph Johnston was wounded, because Davis did not want General Pierre Beauregard in command.

A subplot involving John Wilkes Booth and his actor friend Henry T. Harrison (from Gettysburg (1993)) had to be cut from the film in order to get a wide release. The entire battle of Antietam was also deleted. In all, nearly two and a half hours of the film never made it to final print. (Jesus Christ. Director’s Director’s Cut of 6 hours incoming)

The intermission was actually included in the print and was almost an entire reel of black film. Theaters added light cues at the beginning and end of it. (Weird)

Unlike Producer Ted Turner’s previous American Civil War movies Gettysburg (1993) and Andersonville (1996), this movie was a major failure at the box-office and among the critics. The movie returned only twelve million out of its sixty million dollar budget. History buffs were angered by some obvious historical inaccuracies in its depiction of some of the major characters, despite the movie’s promoting its historical authenticity (Stonewall was not shot in the hand at the start of the war, Lee’s ascension to the position of the leader of the Confederate army happened slightly differently, et cetera.). Some critics even accused the movie of historical revisionism in favor of the Confederacy, due to the film’s somewhat glorified depiction of the Confederate Generals, and downplaying the importance of the issue of slavery in the conflict, since it focuses more on the states rights issue instead. (Yeah … they do seem to like the Confederates in the film)

Jeff Daniels reprised the role of Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain from Gettysburg (1993). Tom Berenger had been asked to reprise the role of James Longstreet, but declined, and was replaced by Bruce Boxleitner.

Stephen Lang also appeared in Gettysburg (1993). However, he does not reprise his original role from “Gettysburg”, that of Major General George E. Pickett. Instead, he played Lieutenant General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, who died two months prior to the momentous clash in Gettysburg. Billy Campbell took over the role of Pickett. (Honestly someone bigger should have been Stonewall, but whatever)

Ron Maxwell spent all of 2002 editing, re-editing, test screening and touching up the film. It went from six hours to three hours and five minutes, to three hours and thirty-seven minutes time and again. (Jesus, it was six hours!)

According to a report on CNN.com, Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV) and George Allen (R-VA), Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and former Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) all make small appearances in this film. “Wet plate” photographs of these politicians in full Civil War attire are available online. (Weird and wild stuff)

Gettysburg (1993) was based on author Jeff Shaara’s father’s classic novel, “The Killer Angels”. After the critical and commercial success of the film, Jeff was approached about the possibility of continuing the story, finding someone to write a prequel and sequel to The Killer Angels. Because of this, Jeff Shaara has used his father’s historical fiction approach to the American Revolution, the Mexican-American War, another Civil War Trilogy in the West, and both World Wars. (Good for Shaara I guess, get yo money)

Ted Turner is a huge Civil War buff. He financed two more films on the subject, Gettysburg (1993) for theatrical release, to which this movie is the prequel, and Andersonville (1996), a successful and acclaimed television movie about the worst and most notorious Confederate P.O.W. camp for captured Union soldiers in the entire war. (I knew it!)

A Sound of Thunder Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the first in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

A Sound of Thunder (2005) – BMeTric: 72.0

asoundofthunder_bmet

asoundofthunder_rv

(Oh those sweet summer children who gave this good reviews initially. It is a bit shocking that it is that high actually. The CGI alone I would have imagined would have dropped it into the 3’s.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In Chicago, 2055, a company takes expeditions back in time to hunt dinosaurs. Precautions are taken, but (of course) something goes wrong, and a tiny change in the past sends alterations down through time that our heroes try to set right. Misguided expansion of Ray Bradbury short story with mediocre effects and a confusing script. It’s easy to see why this stayed on the shelf so long. Filmed in 2002.

(“Mediocre effects” is extremely kind even in 2005. Final Fantasy: Spirits Within was released in 2001 and this is like … five years prior to that level of quality. And they had full creates in CGI. It is too much. It just look like garbage. It sat on the shelf, I believe, because they were trying to finish the really bad looking CGI.)

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

(The beginning is pretty crazy. I understand why they put it in there, but that isn’t part of the film. And weirdly the CGI doesn’t look that bad in the trailer. Which makes sense, you’re trying to trick people into seeing the film.)

Directors – Peter Hyams – (Known For: 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Stay Tuned; Sudden Death; Outland; Timecop; Capricorn One; Running Scared; The Star Chamber; The Presidio; Enemies Closer; Hanover Street; Narrow Margin; Future BMT: The Musketeer; End of Days; The Relic; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for End of Days in 2000; Notes: One of the few writer/directors of major films who also serves as his own cinematographer.)

Writers – Ray Bradbury (short story) – ((Known For: Fahrenheit 451; Moby Dick; Something Wicked This Way Comes; King of Kings; It Came from Outer Space; The Illustrated Man; The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit; Future BMT: Fahrenheit 451; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: A close friend of both Ray Harryhausen (who was best man at his wedding) and Gene Roddenberry. Perhaps the greatest American Science Fiction writer.)

Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (screen story & screenplay) – (Future BMT: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night; Sahara; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Penned a first draft of the long-awaited and always-upcoming Uncharted film based on the Playstation video game.)

Gregory Poirier (screenplay) – (Known For: Rosewood; Future BMT: Tomcats; The Spy Next Door; See Spot Run; Gossip; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; A Warrior’s Tail; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: Born in Hawaii, and apparently wrote a draft for Superman Returns.)

Actors – Edward Burns – (Known For: Saving Private Ryan; The Holiday; 27 Dresses; She’s the One; The Brothers McMullen; Friends with Kids; Confidence: After Dark; The Fitzgerald Family Christmas; Sidewalks of New York; The Groomsmen; Newlyweds; Future BMT: Life or Something Like It; Echelon Conspiracy; 15 Minutes; Man on a Ledge; Ash Wednesday; No Looking Back; BMT: One Missed Call; A Sound of Thunder; Alex Cross; Notes: Has a brother Brian Burns with whom he owns a production company called Irish Twins … presumably because they are, in fact, brothers born within a calendar year.)

Ben Kingsley – (Known For: Schindler’s List; The Jungle Book; Iron Man 3; Shutter Island; Operation Finale; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Hugo; Ender’s Game; The Dictator; Knight of Cups; War Machine; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Dave; Lucky Number Slevin; Gandhi; The Walk; Sexy Beast; Transsiberian; House of Sand and Fog; Future BMT: BloodRayne; Thunderbirds; The Last Legion; War, Inc.; The Ten Commandments; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Collide; Suspect Zero; Slipstream; Rules of Engagement; Self/less; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; An Ordinary Man; The Ottoman Lieutenant; BMT: The Love Guru; A Sound of Thunder; Species; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2007 for BloodRayne; and in 2009 for The Love Guru, The Wackness, and War, Inc.; Notes: Ferdinand Kingsley, his son, is a notable television actor, including an appearance in Doctor Who.)

Catherine McCormack – (Known For: Braveheart; 28 Weeks Later; Spy Game; Dangerous Beauty; Shadow of the Vampire; Magic in the Moonlight; The Tailor of Panama; The Journey; The Land Girls; Strings; Renaissance; Dancing at Lughnasa; Born Romantic; Future BMT:The Weight of Water; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: A British actress who appears to have more recently been performing in the theatre, including work with the Royal Shakespeare Company.)

Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $1,900,451 (Worldwide: $11,665,465)

(A truly catastrophic bomb. As a matter of fact, if you dug into it, it might actually be one of the worst box office bombs in history, or at least since 2000)

#78 for the Creature Feature genre

soundofthunder_creaturefeature

(The lowest grossing film we’ve done in the genre. After this it is pretty obvious everyone looked around at each other and said “yup, that’s about enough of those for now, we should wait a bit before tricking people into watching more of these.”)

#77 for the Future – Near genre

soundofthunder_future

(2012 is by far the most successful BMT film of the genre. It has blown up since 2010, plausibly because we still are in a dystopian kick. I’m surprised Hunger Games doesn’t qualify as Near Future as I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what actually kick started things in 2012.)

#48 for the Time Travel genre

soundofthunder_timetravel

(Only Timeline and this amazingly. There are plenty in the future though (heyyyyooooo, get it?). Unfortunately Timecop doesn’t qualify, but we do get to watch The Time Machine again …)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (6/99): Choppy logic and uneven performances are overshadowed by not-so-special effects that makes the suspension of disbelief a nearly impossible task.

(Somewhat oddly most of the reviews don’t seem to mention the special effects. Which makes me wonder if they actually watched the film. It is literally the craziest thing you’ll see (unless you watch hundreds of bad films … it is still top ten craziest thing I’ve seen in a BMT film, no joke). Reviewer Highlight: So perfect in its awfulness, it makes one seriously consider a theory of unintelligent design. – Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – A Sklog of Thunder (C+)

sound_of_thunder

(I hate the font. It looks super silly and I don’t think it gets across anything important about the film. The red hand and butterfly is interesting, although perhaps feels more like a horror film? I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. I like the style outside of the writing, so I’ll go above average for it., even if it looks a bit cheap)

Tagline(s) – Some Rules Should Never Be Broken. (D)

(First, it sounds like a tagline, but it isn’t. It is a tautology. Of course there are rules that should never be broken. They are rules. Second, what is even the rule being broken here? The butterfly effect rule? The sound of thunder rule? Neither. The actual rule broken? Don’t turn off the biofilter on your time machine … yeah, I’m not sure the tagline is getting that across. But it sounds nice, so it isn’t an F.)

Keyword(s) – time travel; Top Ten by BMeTric: 73.8 The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006); 72.0 A Sound of Thunder (2005); 71.4 S. Darko (2009); 67.7 Black Knight (2001); 65.8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993); 62.9 Lost in Space (1998); 62.6 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 59.1 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015); 58.1 The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007); 53.1 Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996);

(The Seeker doesn’t have time travel according to Box Office Mojo, but whatever. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III though, now that is a ridiculous and pointless film.)

Notes – Renny Harlin was fired from the production, because he made a creative decision that made Ray Bradbury very unhappy, and this film’s producers decided to support Ray Bradbury.

One major reason for the film’s long delay is that the original production company went bankrupt during post-production, and there simply wasn’t money to finish the film. (Which is why the CGI is absolutely the worst thing you’ll ever see)

Production was slowed when severe floods in the summer of 2002 in the Czech Republic caused considerable damage to the set.

This film was originally set for release in 2003.

Spota’s supermarket is a reference to director Peter Hyams’s wife’s family name.

The T.A.M.I. acronym stands for “Time Alteration Manipulator Interface”

When Hatton (Ben Kingsley) receives his clients after their time safari, he likes to compare them with great explorers: Marco Polo, Columbus, Armstrong… and he also says “like Brubaker on Mars”, remembering a future (past for him) conquest of the Red Planet. Brubaker was the name of the commander of the Mars expedition in the film Capricorn One (1977), also directed by Peter Hyams. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?)

Based on the short story A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury

Pierce Brosnan and director Renny Harlin were originally attached to this film. (See above note about Harlin)

The film takes place millions of years in the past and in 2055. (I can’t wait to see if that 2055 is made explicit, I honestly cannot remember)

A video game based on the film was released for the Game Boy Advance. It also had been considerably delayed, and ended up coming out slightly before the film, in March 2005. It was an overhead shooter with some driving stages, and included support for co-op and deathmatch multiplayer via link cable. A third-person action-adventure shooter based on The Thing (2002) engine was being developed by Computer Artworks for BAM! Entertainment for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, but ended up being cancelled. Its plot differed from that of the film: the changes in the course of evolution were not an accident, but acts of terrorism caused by a Luddite cult. The “present” time was also changed to 2038. The game was to have nine missions taking place in both the past and present. Real-life bands would have been hired to provide the music. (I have to definitely never play that game because that would be a huge waste of time)

The change in the timeline is caused by a single butterfly. This probably alludes to the so called “butterfly effect” in which a small change in one state of a system can result in large differences in a later state.

Slender Man Preview

In the guise of a big fat cat and craving lasagna, Jamie and his dog pal Odin are on their way out of Dracula School in an attempt to find Patrick. The plot to use the Ivory Socket waits for no cat and Jamie’s vampirism can be dealt with later. When they turn a corner they are confronted by Dr. Vampiro, the headmaster of the school! “Not so fast, fat cat! You’re not going anywhere until we know how to use the Ivory Socket.” They look for escape only to have their eyes alight on a Dance Dance Revolution machine in the corner of the student lounge. “Perhaps a dance-off to decide whether we can go or not,” Jamie suggests. “Ha,” Dr. Vampiro scoffs, taking off his coat, “that is super dumb… and not because it makes no sense that I would agree to such a thing, but because I’m a dance machine, don’t worry about it.” There isn’t anything kids and bored parents love more than a couple of animals boogying down and boy howdy do they. Jamie and Odin bip and bop across that machine with some seriously bodacious dance moves. But as Dr. Vampiro begins his seductive vampire dance Jamie realizes that he may not be a match for his supernatural dance powers. Could he lose a dance-off? He knows then and there that he must call upon his friend and ally, The Top Hat Man. “Top Hat Man I summon you and your Top Hat, man,” he states with eyes closed.

Stunned by what he’s just seen Patrick sits in the pile of garbage and contemplates the situation. A talking cat!?!? And what did it mean he didn’t belong there. Sweat beading on their foreheads Sticks and Stones turn around, finally completing the firebombing of the witch’s set, “What’s with that dern look on your face, it’s like you just saw a talking cat (!?!) or something,” Stones says. Patrick opens his mouth … but you know what, the experience wasn’t actually that remarkable, just kind of pointless and dull. “Where am I? Where is Jamie?” he says instead. “You listen to me punk,” Sticks growls, “all we know is what we were told: fetch the kid in the teenage witch set and bring him to the precinct set. You’re here alright, but we don’t know anything about any goddamned Jamie. Let’s move!” Sticks and Stones walk up to a series of doors in the false alleyway and whisper quietly to themselves. This had gone on long enough Patrick thought. What did he do the last time he lost Jamie? Oh yeah, he called on his friend and ally, The Top Hat Man. The Top Hat Man would know what to do. “Top Hat Man I summon you and your Top Hat, man,” he states with eyes closed.

That’s right! This week we’re watching Slender Man. After one of the slowest BMT years in history, we take a break from our Bring a Friend cycle to (finally) head back to the theater for some BMT Live fun. Ever since The Bye Bye Man stole our BMT hearts, we’ve been clamouring for something similarly dumb and not scary and hilarious. So when we saw previews for what looked like a terrible misguided attempt to cash in on what the kids are calling “The Internet,” we hoped and prayed for it to fail miserably with critics… and hoooo boy! It sure did. This film pits the Slenderest of Men against a bevy of teenage girls and I’m hoping that he has a tall slender top hat and like a slender greyhound friend. This better be the slenderest film ever released. Let’s go!

Slender Man (2018) – BMeTric: 51.0

SlenderMan_BMeT

SlenderMan_RV

(Sometime I ignore “current” films in this section because the plot is somewhat boring … not so here! The rating of 2.9 is so absurdly low that I had to make note of it. If it stays that low this will be a 70+ BMeTric film soon enough which is pretty crazy. I think people just really hate the idea of the film, and it doesn’t help that the film is apparently a load of garbage.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  I should have been the exact right viewer for “Slender Man.” And yet my mind wandered to memories of better, similar films, and it was really only in the moments when “Slender Man” went terribly wrong that it grabbed my attention. After all, nothing is scarier than bad filmmaking.

(Noice. Kind of reminds me of The Bye Bye Man maybe? That somehow the redeeming feature of the film was just how laughably bad some moments of the film are. Otherwise films like this are a dime a dozen these days.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySy8mcceTno

(Uh, having watched the film already (spoiler) but … that trailer describes a different movie. Actually, I can exactly see what the storyline was supposed to be. Their one friend gets taken, the three other characters offer themselves in her stead, she returns but isn’t the same, The Most Slender Man is still spookifying them because of the deal they struck … better than the chopped up film you’ll get, be warned.)

Directors – Sylvain White – (Known For: The Losers; Future BMT: Stomp the Yard; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: He did the direct-to-video addition I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer before landing his breakout film Stomp the Yard. Mostly directs television more recently.)

Writers – David Birke (written by) – (Known For: Elle; 13 Sins; Dahmer; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: Announced as the screenwriter for an upcoming Picture of Dorian Gray adaptation.)

Victor Surge (based on a character by) – (BMT: Slender Man; Notes: Know Your Meme. Is still answering questions to this day about this thing he created nearly 10 years ago on a whim, which is bonkers.)

Actors – Joey King – (Known For: The Dark Knight Rises; The Conjuring; Crazy, Stupid, Love.; Oz the Great and Powerful; White House Down; Going in Style; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Horton Hears a Who!; Wish I Was Here; Ramona and Beezus; Quarantine; Reign Over Me; Future BMT: Wish Upon; Stonewall; The Kissing Booth; Family Weekend; The Sound and the Fury; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Slender Man; Battle Los Angeles; Notes: The Kissing Booth is actually having a moment as it (1) is not considered to be very good by traditional film standards, but (2) is incredibly popular in the pre-teen girl demographic (as stated on the Bill Simmons podcast on several occasions). She’s even dating her Kissing Booth co-star in real life.)

Julia Goldani Telles – (Known For: Most Likely to Murder; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: Studies at Columbia, and has a co-starring role in the show The Affair.)

Jaz Sinclair – (Known For: Paper Towns; Future BMT: When the Bough Breaks; Fun Mom Dinner; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: She is going to star in the re-imagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch which is coming out in October.)

Budget/Gross – $10–28 million / Domestic: $23,393,116 (Worldwide: $25,020,757)

(The gross is “so far” and I’m willing to bet the 28 million figure is with advertising, which isn’t usually included in these figures I think. It is going to be a modest success in the end I think, but I doubt we should be waiting for Slenderer Man … More Slender Man?)

#93 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

slenderman_supernaturalhorror

(This is, in a way, still the cutting edge of horror, although I assume that will change soon enough. Basically Blumhouse ushered in the current era with the Paranormal Activity franchise which was the first of the genre to break $100 million in over 5 years (and on a microbudget no less). Silent Hill, Thirteen Ghosts, Ghost Ship, The Fog (2005), The Bye Bye Man are either good or hilarious so far, so I’m quite excited to see what Slender Man brings to the table.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (4/48): Slender Man might be thin, but he’s positively robust compared to the flimsy assortment of scares generated by the would-be chiller that bears his name.

(Rough consensus right there. All I want in the world is for Slender Man to be hilarious like The Bye Bye Man. Please be hilarious. Reviewer Highlight – Slender Man feels as used up as any years-old meme, like trying to explain what’s funny about dat boi a decade late. – Andrew Whalen, Newsweek)

Poster – The Top Hat Man (A-)

slenderman

(Slender Man watching me through my foggy shower door. How creepy. I do like the simple artistry of it with the unique font and nice balance. A little more blue tint to the overall color, but otherwise this is pretty good to draw me in.)

Tagline(s) – None (F)

(Oooo, the slenderest of all taglines. Real meta, A+ tagline… psych! Unacceptable but not unexpected, Slender Man.)

Keyword(s) – woods; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 87.5 BloodRayne (2005); 86.0 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 85.9 Troll 2 (1990); 82.6 The Legend of Hercules (2014); 80.4 Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010); 80.0 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 78.4 Jason X (2001); 78.0 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 77.7 The Starving Games (2013);

(Birdemic is coming up, and I really hope We can do the Halloween franchise at some point. And who knows, maybe we’ll finally add the Twilight franchise to the list of BMT films.)

Notes – The father of the victim whose life was nearly claimed by two girls that worshipped the Slender Man spoke out against the film, citing how they felt disgraced by Hollywood making a film about events that led to tragedy. (I mean … fair)

During the post-production of Slender Man (2018), Sony and Screen Gems were reportedly extremely nervous about releasing the film, due to the ongoing court cases and negative publicity surrounding the Creepypasta legend. This caused the two companies to release the film with very little promotional materials to it, and it did not screen for critics. (I mean … fair)

The Slender Man first appeared on the “Something Awful” forums in a series of photographs edited to depict a tall, humanoid entity unnoticed by other people in the image but almost always surrounded by, or in close proximity to, children. Since then, many have speculated inspiration and origin of Slender Man in popular media, folk tales and ghost stories from hundreds of years ago, the earliest being a reference to Der Großmann in a German folk story written in 1702.

Both Chloe and Tom are shown dying in the trailer, yet neither death appears in the final cut of the movie. (Reshoots I guess. Interesting only because there aren’t very many notes, presumably because the film just came out)

Speed 2: Cruise Control Preview

We sit on our perch, chilling with the night security guard, Ed, while he protects the Ivory Socket. We discuss at length his hopes and dreams. His passions, his loves and his greatest fears. He asks if we would like a cracker. Ed, you devil, you always know just what would hit the spot. As we munch on our crackers Ed asks us when we plan to steal the Socket. We freeze… cracker crumbs spilling down out parrot costumes. How did he know? Of course, he always knew (the devil), for we are full grown adult humans in parrot costumes. But he enjoyed our company and thought he’d delay our arrest for as long as he could. Today was supposed to be the day he finally turned us in, but he just can’t. We’ve changed his life (and honestly, Ed has changed ours too). He hands us the Ivory Socket and tells us to go, throwing rocks at us to goad us on. “I never even liked you stupid birds!” He screams with tears streaming down his face and we squawk our way out of the Royal Library. When we attempt to use the Socket to destroy the Dongle we find it’s port jammed with a note. “Before you make two pieces one, a sacred liquid must be found. Venture to the isle of sun, and find it deep within the ground.” Wait… another MacGuffin? Or is the Socket still the only MacGuffin and the sacred liquid is like… part of it that helps power it? Regardless, the riddle is trash (suspiciously so, hmmmmmm) and obviously points to the Isla del Sol in Bolivia. Time to catch a boat and get some R&R on a relaxing cruise where nothing super crazy should happen along the way. That’s right! We’re watching Speed 2: Cruise Control. This is one of the most critically reviled sequels in film history with an well deserved place on our Calendar. We’ve obviously seen it before, but probably not since its release so I remember almost none of it. Let’s go!

Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) – BMeTric: 89.5

Speed2CruiseControl_BMeT

Speed2CruiseControl_RV

(Notorious, but I think it gets a bit of a pass as an action film with a charming and still-loved lead in Bullock. It’ll rise steadily with more votes, although I’m not sure it’ll ever actually get to 4.0 … I mean, it would need people to give it a 5/10 at least … are people giving Speed 2 ratings of 5 or above? That would be crazy.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Mind-numbingly stupid action yarn opens with a chase scene that makes no sense, and never improves. Bullock (whose character here is especially annoying) agrees to go on a Caribbean cruise with boyfriend Patric, an L.A.P.D. officer. When a madman Dafoe takes control of the ship, Patric feels it’s his duty to try and stop him. Did anyone read the script before signing on for this one?

(Keanu Reeves did. That’s why he then skipped out on it. The director had to do it, and I think Bullock was at an early point in here career where she still needed the job/money. Patric … well this kind of derailed whatever career he had I think, so yeah, he should have thought this guy through.)

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

(My word. Loud, choppy cuts, one liners out the wazoo. C’mon now, this is going to be amazing. Dafoe is also just completely ridiculous as well. Get hyped.)

Directors – Jan de Bont – (Known For: Twister; Speed; Future BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; The Haunting; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1998 for Speed 2: Cruise Control; and in 2000 for The Haunting; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: There is very little explanation as to why he basically retired after Lara Croft 2. He was a cinematographer for years before becoming, briefly, one of the most in demand action directors of the late 90s.)

Writers – Graham Yost (characters) – (Known For: Speed; Broken Arrow; The Last Castle; Future BMT: Mission to Mars; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Hard Rain; Notes: Writes and produces television now. Only credited because he wrote the original Speed screenplay.)

Jan de Bont (story) – (BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1998 for Speed 2: Cruise Control; and in 2000 for The Haunting; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: The only film he has a story credit for, presumably because it is based off of a dream he had (? Read the notes below).)

Randall McCormick (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Titan A.E.; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: This was his first screenplay after getting the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.)

Jeff Nathanson (screenplay) – (Known For: Catch Me If You Can; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; The Terminal; Rush Hour 2; Tower Heist; The Last Shot; Future BMT: Rush Hour 3; New York, I Love You; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: Apparently was an uncredited screenwriter on Twister (also directed by de Bont) along with Joss Whedon, which I imagine is how he got attached to this film. Is somewhat famous for uncredited rewrites of many notable projects.)

Actors – Sandra Bullock – (Known For: Ocean’s Eight; The Proposal; Gravity; Crash; Minions; The Heat; Miss Congeniality; Speed; While You Were Sleeping; The Prince of Egypt; A Time to Kill; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; Two Weeks Notice; Forces of Nature; The Vanishing; The Thing Called Love; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; Infamous; Wrestling Ernest Hemingway; Future BMT: Premonition; Love Potion No. 9; The Net; Stolen Hearts; Hope Floats; 28 Days; Murder by Numbers; Gun Shy; Practical Magic; Our Brand Is Crisis; Loverboy; In Love and War; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; All About Steve; Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous; Demolition Man; The Lake House; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress, Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for All About Steve in 2010; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Demolition Man in 1994; Notes: She’s opened up recently about sexism and other tough subjects in Hollywood. But she does give a good shout out to de Bont whom she credits with giving her her big break when no one else would.)

Jason Patric – (Known For: The Yellow Birds; The Lost Boys; Sleepers; The Losers; My Sister’s Keeper; In the Valley of Elah; Rush; Narc; Geronimo: An American Legend; The Confines; Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound; Your Friends & Neighbors; After Dark, My Sweet; The Journey of August King; Keyhole; Expired; Three Days of Rain; Future BMT: The Prince; Cavemen; The Outsider; The Alamo; Downloading Nancy; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Solarbabies; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: Was a sort of child actor in things like Solarbabies. His father was nominated for an Oscar for The Exorcist.)

Willem Dafoe – (Known For: Murder on the Orient Express; John Wick; Finding Nemo; Spider-Man 3; The Florida Project; What Happened to Monday; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Spider-Man; Finding Dory; American Psycho; Platoon; The Fault in our Stars; Inside Man; Spider-Man 2; Death Note; John Carter; Fantastic Mr. Fox; The Aviator; Antichrist; The English Patient; Future BMT: New Rose Hotel; Anamorph; Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant; The Great Wall; Tomorrow You’re Gone; Flight of the Intruder; The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; Fireflies in the Garden; Lulu on the Bridge; A Family Man; Adam Resurrected; The Reckoning; Miral; Odd Thomas; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; xXx²: The Next Level; Body of Evidence; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Body of Evidence in 1994; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: He’s playing the villain in the upcoming Aquaman film. There are tons of rumors about him as the Joker as well, although that obviously seems pretty unlikely … since he’s the villain in Aquaman.)

Budget/Gross – $110 million (official) $135–160 million (estimated) / Domestic: $48,608,066 (Worldwide: $164,508,066)

(That is pretty catastrophic. Ultimately that is likely in the $30-50 million write off range if my admittedly amateur box office math works correctly. Although, this movie was a pretty long time ago so who knows how this all worked back then.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (2/69): Speed 2 falls far short of its predecessor, thanks to laughable dialogue, thin characterization, unsurprisingly familiar plot devices, and action sequences that fail to generate any excitement.

(One of the worst reviewed films ever I would presume, 3% is quite low. Given the first has a RT score above 95% this also certainly qualifies as one of the worst sequels of all time (if not the worst sequel ever made). Reviewer Highlight: An ear-splitting amusement-park attraction posing as a movie. – Jamie Bernard, New York Daily News)

Poster – Speed 2: Sklog Control (D)

speed_two_cruise_control

(Wow. A true tragedy nearly on the level of 1998’s The Avengers, which has become my watermark for how bad a poster can be. Look at those two electric colors and… like, rain or something across everything. Truly misguided. Does have unique font though and it’s not super cluttered like some posters can be, so just above the bottom of the barrel.)

Tagline(s) – Rush hour hits the water. (D+)

(Ha! For some reason this is very amusing to me. The idea that this would deal with some kind of boat traffic or whatever. It’s got fine construction, but is just so stupid that it’s funny.)

Keyword(s) – time bomb; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.5 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 88.6 Street Fighter (1994); 85.4 Spice World (1997); 83.6 RoboCop 3 (1993); 78.9 Torque (2004); 78.0 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999); 70.3 On Deadly Ground (1994); 68.2 Double Team (1997); 64.4 Fair Game (1995);

(Awesome. We do have to go back and smash Street Fighter at one point. We stupidly didn’t do it when we did Legend of Chun Li or again when we inducted that into the Hall of Fame. Although that would have required a outside of the box Bonus, which we’ve never done … this is some pretty niche BMT behind the scenes talk)

Movie Stub – Speed 2: Cruise Control (GA-class) – Look at this beauty. There isn’t much in the talk page, although there is a pretty thorough review commentary which I plan on looking at as some point. No specific public notes on improvements, nor do I think it needs any, so I’ll leave it be for now.

Notes – The original script was intended to be the third film in the “Die Hard” series. After the success of the first film though, the script was reworked into a Speed sequel instead. (Huh. Vengeance is a much better idea for that (and Vengeance’s script was supposed to be a Lethal Weapon sequel)).

In a 2000 interview, Sandra Bullock jokingly referred to this movie as “the biggest piece of crap ever made.” (Not really, but it isn’t great)

Gary Oldman turned down the role of the villain, and instead chose to make Air Force One (1997). (Great choice)

Although the movie was close to being universally panned by film critics, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel were among the very few critics to give the movie a positive review. Before his death, Ebert stated that this was the review he had to defend more than any other he had written, and that it was the one most often cited as an example of him being a poor film critic. (Ebert was a rare critic who could make a convincing argument for “it’s good for what it is”. It worked for him because he rarely deployed it for really dire films and also didn’t tend to bump films up that much using the excuse. It is understandable he’d be criticized here though, it is quite a leap to call this movie anything but garbage IMO)

Keanu Reeves turned down the movie to go on tour with his band Dogstar. (FAKE NEWS. According to Keanu. See the note below)

Matthew McConaughey was one of the male stars considered once Keanu Reeves bailed. (Would have been 1000x better. Sorry Jason)

Sandra Bullock’s character Annie was not given a last name at all in Speed (1994). movie. Here, it is revealed to be Porter. (Coooool)

Sandra Bullock agreed to star in this film in order to get financing for her pet project Hope Floats (1998). (Get yo money Sandra)

Jason Patric only agreed to make the film contingent on some major script changes being made. However, when he eventually arrived onset three months later, he found that the script hadn’t changed at all and he was contractually obligated to make the film. He found the whole experience to be thoroughly miserable and depressing. (Awwwww)

Susan Barnes plays Constance in this film. In the first Speed film, she plays the frozen-in-fear female executive who is the last one out of the perilous elevator. In this film, her character is seen calmly sitting down smoking while being trapped among others in a life-threatening situation. This may allude to her character’s survival from the first film. She is one of four people to appear in both films. (Nooooooo)

Jon Bon Jovi, ‘Patrick Muldoon’, and Christian Slater were also considered for the male lead. (Jon Bon Jovi might have worked, especially if they recast Bullock as well)

The oil tanker bears the name “Eindhoven”, the Dutch hometown of director Jan de Bont. (ooooo fun fact)

The device labeled “Fiber Optic Converter” used by the hacker is really a mechanical KVM switch (a device used to operate several PCs with one set of keyboard, mouse and monitor). (Who knows these kinds of things?)

Keanu Reeves passed on the role to star in the horror film The Devil’s Advocate (1997), which was filmed at the same time as Speed 2, and subsequently toured with his band, Dogstar. Reeves said that Fox was “furious” with his decision and released “propaganda” against him, falsely claiming that he turned down the role to tour with his band.

The sequence where the Seabourn Legend rams into port was, at the time, the most expensive stunt ever filmed, accounting for $25,000,000 of the film’s $110,000,000 budget. (holy shit)

Director Jan de Bont initially felt that Speed (1994) had no sequel potential, but he was contractually obliged to direct a sequel when it was green-lit after the success of the first movie. Many ideas were pitched, including a plane which cannot ascend above a certain altitude without exploding. Finally, de Bont used an idea of his own after he had recurrent nightmares about a cruise ship crashing into an island. (Oooof. The airplane idea is much better. Should have also recast once Keanu dropped, would have made it a bit more believable maybe.)

When Annie is retaking her driving test at the end of the film, a bus identical to the one in the original Speed passes by on the highway. Annie notes to her instructor about the bus “going way too fast”.

When the oil tanker explodes, what looks like a cow can be seen flying out with the rest of the debris from the tanker, possibly a reference to the flying cow from Twister (1996). (Noooooooo)

A total of 3 different ships were used in this film: Seaborn Legend (actual cruise liner; used for most exterior shots of the ship) “Bridge Ship” (Sturgeon Atlantic freighter ship built with a false hull and bridge; used for bridge scenes and the boat crashes in the marina) “Rail Ship” (false hull built on an underwater rail; used for the island crash finale scene). All other shots of the ship were complete computer graphic effects. (Super interesting. This is what I live for)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Jan de Bont, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sandra Bullock, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Willem Dafoe, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Jan de Bont, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Randall McCormick, Jeff Nathanson, Jan de Bont, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (1998)

Cool World Preview

After seeing Rich get accused of vigilante murder (again), Poe quickly pulls out a small evidence notebook to reveal that he is also a vigilante cop (what a twist!). Secretly we know this is all a frame job and they just need to stick together so they can take down their ultimate foe. They go on trial and are thrown in the slammer (again). Luckily, being Rich and Poe, they escape like the badasses they are, punching people in the throats and faces along the way. They track their arch nemesis back to a secret iron smelting plant/cocaine factory/headquarters and find that it is none other than Helmut Gruber! He’s alive! Gruber leads them on a chase through a house of mirrors. There appears to be twenty Grubers… who do they shoot? Wrong question, who don’t they shoot? They blow him to pieces with their dual miniguns and with dead doll eyes set the factory ablaze, evidence and all. They high five a whole bunch and are reinstated to the force no questions asked. THE END … [fade from imagination script world] … We nervously sit across of a high powered studio executive, the script to Rich & Poe in his hands. We’ve been waiting for hours while he’s read it in a single sitting. “Jamie and Patrick. This script is a true masterpiece. I love it more than my children. Just one thing.” We hold our breath. “I think we need to change this ending… what if, and hear me out… what if we have Rich and Poe fuck a cartoon” That’s right! We’re watching Cool World. It’s the classic tale of boy meets cartoon girl, boy has sex with a cartoon. Straight from the deranged mind of Frank Mancuso Jr., the producer of I Know Who Killed Me, this is like Who Framed Roger Rabbit except super weird and a guy has sex with a cartoon. This also officially transitions to the Calendar cycle of the year where we try to knock a few more dates off that challenge. Let’s go!

Cool World (1992) – BMeTric: 61.4

CoolWorld_BMeT

CoolWorld_RV

(Makes sense it would slowly increase. It sounds like something that animation fans would kind of grow to respect over time despite its problems at the time of release. Even pulling punches on hard-R and ending up at PG-13 can be forgiven given when it was released.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Pointless live-action / animation feature from Bakashi, who’s covered this ground before, much more successfully. Ex-con comic-book artist Byrne discovers his cartoon creations are real, and live in a parallel universe called Cool World. After sexy “doodle” Holli (Basinger) has sex with Byrne, she becomes human and escapes to the real world, with detective Pitt in tow. Too serious to be fun, too goofy to take seriously; lead characters unlikable and unappealing. Looks like a Roger Corman version of Roger Rabbit.

(Such a long review. Too serious to be fun and too goofy to be serious sounds exactly like I expected. Sounds ludicrous.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kJAVgY8DMk

(Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a trailer that seemingly walks through the entire plot of a film so precisely… and boy does it seem really weird and yet super boring.)

Directors – Ralph Bakshi – (Known For: The Lord of the Rings; Fritz the Cat; Wizards; American Pop; Heavy Traffic; BMT: Cool World; Notes: Considered one of the greatest animators of all time.)

Writers – Michael Grais and Mark Victor (written by) – (Known For: Poltergeist; Future BMT: Poltergeist; Poltergeist II: The Other Side; Marked for Death; BMT: Cool World; Notes: Grais co-wrote Poltergeist with Steven Spielberg which basically influenced the rest of these two guys’ careers. Surprisingly little about them online though.)

Actors – Gabriel Byrne – (Known For: Hereditary; The Usual Suspects; Excalibur; Little Women; Enemy of the State; Miller’s Crossing; Assault on Precinct 13; Dead Man; Mad to Be Normal; The 33; Point of No Return; Vanity Fair; Louder Than Bombs; Spider; Gothic; Carrie Pilby; A Dangerous Woman; Shade; P.S.; No Pay, Nudity; Future BMT: Vampire Academy; End of Days; The Bridge of San Luis Rey; The Keep; Stigmata; Hello Again; The End of Violence; All Things to All Men; The Man in the Iron Mask; Quest for Camelot; Trial by Jury; Siesta; BMT: Cool World; Ghost Ship; Trigger Happy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2000 for End of Days, and Stigmata; Notes: Irish. Is notable for only starting acting when he was 29, far later than most actors.)

Kim Basinger – (Known For: The Nice Guys; L.A. Confidential; Batman; 8 Mile; Nine 1/2 Weeks; Wayne’s World 2; Never Say Never Again; The Natural; The Door in the Floor; Cellular; Final Analysis; People I Know; Nadine; Fool for Love; Future BMT: The Informers; Prêt-à-Porter; My Stepmother Is an Alien; While She Was Out; The Getaway; The Real McCoy; Blind Date; The Sentinel; The Man Who Loved Women; Even Money; Third Person; I Am Here; The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud; The Burning Plain; BMT: Fifty Shades Darker; Cool World; Bless the Child; No Mercy; I Dreamed of Africa; The Marrying Man; Grudge Match; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Fifty Shades Darker in 2018; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 1987 for Nine 1/2 Weeks; in 1992 for The Marrying Man; in 1993 for Cool World, and Final Analysis; in 1995 for The Getaway; and in 2001 for Bless the Child, and I Dreamed of Africa; Notes: Kimmy B! I missed her in Fifty Shades Freed. Her daughter Ireland is a model now.)

Brad Pitt – (Known For: Deadpool 2; Ocean’s Eleven; Inglourious Basterds; Fight Club; Se7en; Ocean’s Thirteen; Ocean’s Twelve; Troy; Fury; 12 Years a Slave; The Big Short; Snatch; World War Z; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Twelve Monkeys; Megamind; True Romance; Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Allied; Future BMT: The Counsellor; Full Frontal; By the Sea; Cutting Class; The Devil’s Own; The Favour; Johnny Suede; BMT: Cool World; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Notes: Basically just in the new recently for his high profile divorce proceedings involving Angelina Jolie, they have five children together which … complicates things.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $14,110,589

(Complete bomb, but honestly that is expected. It is a Roger Rabbit knockoff and a terrible one at that.)

#222 for the Animation genre

coolworld_animation

(Shockingly only the fourth animated film we’ve seen (The Emoji Movie, Escape From Planet Earth, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, Doogal). I believe the big jumps are introductions of new technology (CG in the mid-90s), and the various phases of those technologies. Recently, I think the jump is the complete takeover of cheap animation by CG leaving basically no traditionally animated features being released.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 4% (2/46): Cool World throws a small handful of visual sparks, but they aren’t enough to distract from the screenplay’s thin characters and scattered plot.

(I did not realize how low this rating was. That is pretty stunning. Review Highlight: A realm with precious little humor and zero pathos, to be admired only for its considerable technical achievements. – Brian Lowry, Variety … at least it is a technical achievement.)

Poster – Sklog World (C)

cool_world_ver2

(Brad Pitt looks so out of place on this poster… which is probably foreshadowing to how the effect will work in the actual film. Doesn’t even have good framing with the toons even. OK coloring and some kooky toon font rescues it a bit.)

Tagline(s) – Holli would if she could …and she will (C-)

(A little play on the character’s name and her ambitions to seduce a human… which we wouldn’t know because it’s not based on some known property. So it kinda just ends up being a meaningless play on words.)

Keyword(s) – profanity; Top Ten by BMeTric: 85.8 Troll 2 (1990); 71.5 The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) (2015); 68.1 Vice (2015); 65.8 Problem Child 2 (1991); 64.4 Stealth (2005); 63.7 Body of Evidence (1993); 63.1 Ben & Arthur (2002); 61.9 Blair Witch (2016); 61.4 Cool World (1992); 61.1 Transformers: The Last Knight (2017);

(Problem Child 2? It is rated PG-13 and basically made for like … 13-year-olds. Why would it get a profanity keyword. You’d think you’d save that for like … specifically profane movies.)

Movie Stub – Cool World – Rated GA-Class – GA is very high by the way, likely because of the pretty big sections on the production, release, and reception. Reception is actually often noted as a blind spot for film wikipedia pages. I’m not sure what they tend to look for, I guess a few choice soundbites from bit critics, but almost all C/B-class pages mention that the reception section is lacking. To me this is a perfect wiki page for the film, and I would hope that all BMT films could aspire to the svelte plot summary and expansive notes.

Notes – Ralph Bakshi was almost fired and sued by Frank Mancuso Jr. for punching him in the nose after he told him this film was being changed.

Ralph Bakshi wanted Brad Pitt to play Jack Deebs. Brad said he wanted the same, but Paramount Pictures disagreed.

As a publicity stunt, Paramount Pictures placed a huge cut-out of Holli Would on the D of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. Although they did not have to pay any fees, the studio still had to make a donation of $27,000 to the sign’s maintenance fund, another $27,000 to the Rebuild L.A. fund (this was just after the L.A. riots), and the cost of two park rangers to guard the sign 24 hours a day. However, the publicity stunt angered local residents who picketed and demanded that the cut-out be taken down. (ha, fun fact)

Since the characters were simply created from scratch, the directors thought this to be appropriate to parody both popular Disney and Warner Bros. cartoon characters. A few examples would be the medium used for the rabbits, the old bald man and their own version of Geppetto and Pinnochio in a larger character’s stomach, or Daffy Duck’s face seen in a building on the movie.

In Ralph Bakshi’s original script, Holli Would was named Debbie Dallas, after the porn film Debbie Does Dallas (1978). (Kind of gross)

The movie was originally sold as a “hard-R” animated/live action horror film. The original concept art that Ralph Bakshi used to pitch the film was significantly more disturbing than what ultimately ended up onscreen, and had character designs stylistically similar to those found in Frank Miller’s “Sin City”. Once Kim Basinger became attached, she and the studio became ambivalent about the kind of reaction the movie would generate, resulting in the studio deciding to “soften” the picture to a PG-rated dark comedy (though the ratings board ultimately gave this a PG-13). (Ambivalent seems like the wrong work, to change things so dramatically one would have to be concerned about the negative buzz the picture could generate).

In the press release for the film, the studio tried to sell the movie both as a down-and-dirty Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and as a technical achievement in creating a multiplane effect using live-action and animation. The claims were somewhat foolhardy as Roger’s adult situations better served its plot and Roger had scores of technical breakthroughs in its attempt to seamlessly combine live-action and animation. (Alright, calm down IMDb trivia writer. I agree, but no need to throw Roger Rabbit’s “scores” of technical breakthroughs in their faces)

Ralph Bakshi originally wanted Drew Barrymore to play the sultry Holli Would. (Oooof, that would have been weird … did they decide that was a bad idea before or after they realized she was 17 at the time? …)

The character of Nails the Spider is borrowed from Bakshi’s own Christmas in Tattertown character Sidney the Spider. Charlie Adler provides the voices for both characters.

As of 2017, this is Ralph Bakshi’s last film, though he does intend to return to filmmaking soon, after being annoyed by every major animated film being made with computer animation. (He’s going to be annoyed for a long time sadly)

Despite the film’s less than stellar performance, its soundtrack gained critical acclaim and popularity which consists of electronic dance and rock songs by David Bowie, Moby, Neil Tennant and Mark Isham, the film’s composer.

The song, “Disappointed” by Electronic, appeared on the film’s soundtrack before this appeared on any of the band’s own albums. In 2006, this was finally released on the band’s compilation album, “Get the Message – The Best of Electronic”. (WHAT that is crazy)

During a meeting mid-production, Kim Basinger told Ralph Bakshi and Frank Mancuso Jr. that this would be wonderful if she could show this movie to sick children in hospitals. Bakshi replied “Kim, I think that’s wonderful, but you’ve got the wrong guy to do that with. Why didn’t you tell me that on the way in? How are you telling me that halfway through the picture?” Mancuso reportedly agreed with Basinger that this was a good idea. (This I assume was the incident that Bakshi punched Mancuso in the nose over. I love that this is the producer of I Know Who Killed Me as well.)

Awards

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Kim Basinger, 1993)