The Musketeer Preview

Wha-wha-wha… Sirs Sklogsalot? Where, and more importantly when, are they? “It’s… it’s August 12th, 2031, right?” Rich asks earnestly, stating the exact date very clearly. But their fellow knight Sir Bangarang just guffaws, “Right. 2031. As if, bro. It’s totally September 23rd, 1326. Pretty rad, right?” Rich and Poe’s heads are spinning. 1326? Why does it feel like… not that. Like this is all so fake… as if someone made it. “It’s falling apart,” Poe whispers to Rich, “we’re near the end and it’s all crashing down.” Rich nods and the end will be a battle for everything within them. Their souls, but most importantly the Obsidian Dongle and thus… Earth. “Where are we going?” Rich asks Bangarang, walking besides his horse. “Ha. Classic Sklogsalot. The castle, duh. The King is waiting and he’s none too happy. Nope. Better to just bite the bullet and get it over with. Face the music and all that. Lame, but I’m not the one who tried to kill him, amiright?” Rich and Poe’s faces blanch. This ain’t sounding so good. Maybe time to scram, but just when they are looking to book it Bangarang turns on them and pulls an uzi from under his armor. The gamemasters really half-assed this one. “Just come along quietly, Sklogalots. I’m getting too old for this shit.” Just then a whistle is heard from the surrounding trees. Bangarang looks around, suddenly concerned, and then turns and breaks out into a trot as several people backflip their way out of the forest. “Who are you?” Rich and Poe ask, admiring their flashy blue velour suits. “We are French,” they say matter of factly. “We saved you, so you are part of our crew. You are our… how do you say… Planchet?” That’s right! We are finally watching the Justin Chambers vehicle The Musketeer. This is the super rad martial arts interpretation of the Three Musketeers that literally everyone was clamouring for. We flooded the streets for calls for more Musketeer IP but now with karate! Swing around on ropes, we begged. Can they fight while on ladders? We asked. And so we received. The Musketeer. Let’s go!

The Musketeer (2001) – BMeTric: 55.7; Notability: 29 

(You can see the nice inflection in ‘11 and indeed, it seems like over the last few years films have reached a different stable point in vote growth. I feel like I need to do a new meta analysis on notability, because I would have thought this would have been a bit higher … but it also seems like most major films get between 25 and 35. But it is hard to tell.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – Peter Hyams’ “The Musketeer” combines traditional swashbuckling with martial arts in a movie where the men wear plumes in their hats but pounce like crouching tigers and scheme like hidden dragons. No wonder; the choreography of the fight scenes is by Xin-Xin Xiong–not a name on every tongue, I grant you, but he is one of the top action designers in Hong Kong. … I cannot in strict accuracy recommend this film. It’s such a jumble of action and motivation, ill-defined characters and action howlers. I am not even quite sure if Richelieu and Febre are on the same side, or if there are three or even four sides in the story. But the banquet scene is a marvel of art design. The action scenes are wonders to behold. And when Tim Roth vows vengeance on the man who blinded him, I for one believe him.

(An amazingly ok review from Ebert here. I think by 2001 he had fully entered his “it’s good for what it is” phase, which I personally rather appreciate. Watch the old “Worst of” shows for Ebert from the late 80s and early 90s and you’ll see him tear a film like this apart. By 2000 I think he became more appreciative of people just doing their thing.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFnSmS-SUXQ/

(This is one of the best-bad trailers ever made. If you show this trailer to anyone without pretense I have to assume their minds would melt. It doesn’t seem real. The moment where the narrator says “with fight choreography by …” as if I’m supposed to know who that is, and (worst yet), as if I’m supposed to think bringing wire-fu to The Three Musketeers is the most incredible idea ever conjured into existence … I love it. I’ve been waiting to watch this movie just based on this trailer for literally years.)

Directors – Peter Hyams – (Known For: Stay Tuned; Timecop; 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Hanover Street; Outland; Running Scared; Capricorn One; The Presidio; Sudden Death; Narrow Margin; Enemies Closer; The Star Chamber; Future BMT: End of Days; The Relic; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; The Musketeer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for End of Days in 2000; Notes: Has three sons. One was the director of Universal Soldier: Regeneration (for which Peter was cinematographer). One is the CEO of Indeed. And the last is the rap battle promoter Lush One. Read the notes on him below, this film was legitimately his career’s last gasp.)

Writers – Alexandre Dumas (novels) (as Alexandre Dumas père) – (Known For: The Count of Monte Cristo; The Three Musketeers; The Return of the Musketeers; La Reine Margot; The Four Musketeers; The Three Musketeers; The Count of Monte Cristo; The Iron Mask; Future BMT: The Three Musketeers; The Man in the Iron Mask; BMT: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; The Musketeer; The Three Musketeers; Notes: I don’t think I need to explain who Alexander Dumas is … but let’s appreciate that he is, in fact, credited as writing the novel that Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li is “based on”. Snooping around this seems potentially fake, but some places suggest maybe it is a vague adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo? Bizarre.)

Gene Quintano (screenplay) – (Known For: Police Academy 3: Back in Training; Sudden Death; Future BMT: Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Operation Dumbo Drop; King Solomon’s Mines; Loaded Weapon 1; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: Was a salesman who worked with the director Tony Anthony which is how he got into film. Wrote a good number of the Police Academy films. The Musketeer was effectively his last major production. Hyams and him worked on Sudden Death together.)

Actors – Justin Chambers – (Known For: Lakeview Terrace; Liberty Heights; Leo; Future BMT: The Wedding Planner; The Zodiac; Broken City; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: You would know him as reformed bad-boy Dr. Alex Karev on Grey’s Anatomy. He left the show this year, and you would not believe the arc they gave his character! No spoilers, but it is juicy drams, and fans are NOT happy.)

Catherine Deneuve – (Known For: Dancer in the Dark; Belle de Jour; The Brand New Testament; The Truth; The Hunger; Repulsion; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; Pola X; Persepolis; Les Demoiselles de Rochefort; 8 Women; Tristana; Indochine; A Cop; Hustle; Mississippi Mermaid; Once Upon a Time; The Last Metro; Time Regained; A Christmas Tale; Future BMT: O Convento; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: Chosen as one of the 100 sexiest stars in history by Empire magazine in 1995, and from 1985 to 1989 she was the model for Marianne, the national symbol of France.)

Mena Suvari – (Known For: American Pie; American Beauty; American Pie 2; American Reunion; Slums of Beverly Hills; Becks; Stuck; Edmond; Brooklyn Rules; The Dog Problem; Future BMT: The Rage: Carrie 2; Loser; Beauty Shop; Trauma; Domino; You May Not Kiss the Bride; Sugar & Spice; Live Virgin; The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; Sonny; Caffeine; The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson; Standing Still; Factory Girl; Nowhere; Spun; Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children; BMT: The Musketeer; Rumor Has It…; Kiss the Girls; Notes: She now does mostly television (like American Woman and American Horror Story) and non-theatrical / television films. Notable for the sheer number of works with the word “American” in them that she’s been in.)

Budget/Gross – $40,000,000 / Domestic: $27,073,640 (Worldwide: $32,533,802)

(For the actual production company I imagine this was a disaster, and I also imagine they totally blamed the director in the end. According to the notes the distribution was sold for $7.5 million so cleary the companies that distributed it did fine. That is a lot more money, especially domestically, than I would have thought.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (11/99): Hong Kong inspired action sequences take center stage in this latest Three Musketeers adaptation. Unfortunately, the oversimplification of the story and an uncharismatic lead character leave the movie flat.

(How dare you slander Justin Chambers like that! He’s Grey’s Anatomy mega-star Justin Chambers!! Reviewer Highlight: Musketeer’s fight scenes are underlit, overmiked, and appallingly edited, with none of the spacious grace that even routine Asian action flicks get right. Worse, the narrative scenes make less sense. – Ty Burr, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Câble-fu

(This ain’t your daddy’s Three Musketeers. I think that comes across in this poster, although a bit busy. Nice font, nice color scheme. Needs a little bit more of an artistic touch to get the feeling of motion across. But not the worst. B.)

Tagline(s) – As you’ve never seen it before. (C)

(Why not just go with The ain’t your daddy’s Three Musketeers? It is what you’re trying to say and at least people would have been like “lol, WTF” rather than just shrug at the cliche of it all. I need more from my taglines. This is short and gets the point across, but there isn’t any heart… no love… you know?)

Keyword – historical fiction

Top 10: Django Unchained (2012), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Titanic (1997), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Dunkirk (2017), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Wonder Woman (2017), Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Assassin’s Creed (2016), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

Future BMT: 55.6 Robin Hood (2018), 41.8 Young Einstein (1988), 37.2 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), 36.9 The Great Wall (2016), 27.5 The Legend of Tarzan (2016), 27.5 Inferno (2016), 27.4 47 Ronin (2013), 21.8 Yellowbeard (1983), 20.5 Live by Night (2016), 20.4 The Three Musketeers (1993);

BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Assassin’s Creed (2016), The Three Musketeers (2011), Wild Wild West (1999), Red Riding Hood (2011), Jonah Hex (2010), The Scarlet Letter (1995), The Musketeer (2001)

(I think next on the docket had to be Robin Hood. Like The Three Musketeers it is a story that just gets made and made and made, presumably because the rights are in the public domain or something. There must be hundreds of versions of Robin Hoods. That peak at 2016 is interesting, there does seem to be an inordinate number of historical fiction films that came out then. I wonder why.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 25) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Mena Suvari is No. 4 billed in The Musketeer and No. 8 billed in Rumor Has It…, which also stars Jennifer Aniston (No. 1 billed) who is in Just Go With It (No. 2 billed), which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 4 + 8 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 25. If we were to watch The Wedding Planner, and Two for the Money we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – D’Artagnan did really exist. His name was Charles de Batz and was called D’Artagnan when he arrived in Paris probably because he was coming from the south-west of France (where the movie was partly shot) and where there is a little city called Artagnan.

The first film that Director Peter Hyams had directed without his long time editor Steven Kemper, who vowed not to work with the Director after the last few films he had directed which included End of Days and The Relic were too darkly lit and shot causing editorial problems. (Wow!)

The first film the Director Peter Hyams did not work with his usual composer John Debney. Debney had composed the music for Sudden Death, The Relic and End of Days for Hyams.

Universal Pictures teamed up Miramax Films to buy the film’s North American and U.K. rights for only $7.5 million, and the film was very profitable for both companies.

Black Knight Preview

As John Travolta dances his heart out in their dreamworld, Rich and Poe’s heart sink deeper with each hip thrust. Travolta is bringing the heat like a sultry night in Havana. “It’s just so dirty,” Rich says in stunned admiration. “Filthy, really,” Poe agrees, his bright eyes brimming with tears. Breathing hard and wiping sweat from his well bronzed and eerily smooth brow, Travolta manages to just gasp out, “That’ll… show you… what it’s like.” Confused, Rich and Poe temporarily fear that what they have truly won’t be enough and perhaps they will know what it’s like. Knowing that fear can’t stop them trying, they nonetheless start their mesmerizing twin dance routine. Years of training have perfected not only their physiques, but also their dance moves. They move in unison and Travolta’s eyes bug out in amazement. But it’s not enough. Poe’s jaw clenches in frustration as even their dirtiest of dance routines can’t match Travolta’s absolutely disgusting moves. Rich still shows no fear, though, and just as the sweat on their muscles hits peak magnitude he signals to Poe and they simultaneously rip off their shirts, leaving them clad only in their sweat-soaked jorts. The beam of light bursts from Rich’s chest and gleams off Poe’s sweaty pectoral muscles. It’s like a supernova and in the blinding brightness they hear a final “nooooooooooo… never forget meeeeeeee!” from Travolta. As their eyes adjust, they find themselves in a boggy swamp and hear the faint words of Travolta, “Now all of time and all of Earth is our Battlefield.” They know this is the fourth and final trial. They just don’t know when it is. Suddenly a armor clad knight gallops up to the swamp and cocks his head, “Sirs Sklogsalot? What are you doing in that swamp?” he asks. That’s right! We’re watching Black Knight starring Martin Lawrence where he is transported back to the Middle Ages a la A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. We’re really watching it because of the promise of Big Momma’s House. If it can approach even a fraction of that film then we’ll be in a good spot. Let’s go!

Black Knight (2001) – BMeTric: 65.5; Notability: 39 

(The rating is a lot lower than I would have expected, which is basically the entire reason the BMeTric is so high. You know what is a bit odd? I feel like when I started making these plots it looked like the IMDb votes were just increasing with no bound. I think this makes it a bit more clear that around 2011 (which I previously pinpointed to the moment IMDb got a phone app) the vote counts increased, and now the votes are mostly tailing off for older films … could be. Only time will tell.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  A 21st-century homeboy who works at a run-down medieval theme park is magically transported back to 14th century England, where he must use his wits to survive, and forms an alliance with a disgraced knight (Wilkinson) to help restore a deposed queen to the throne. Comedy vehicle for Lawrence gives you pretty much what you expect, though it would have meant a lot more if a better more famous actress had played the queen.

(Interesting to condemn the film partially on just not getting a big actress for the queen? Although I guess I could see it. It would be like if you got a rando to play the part of the escaped convict in Big Momma’s House. Some of the power of the film is that they kind of randomly have Terrence Howard as the headliner of the B-plot of the film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw7dzS8UJ4Q/

(The ending there is not what you want. As a matter of fact for family entertainment the trailer gives the impression of a much more sexually explicit film that one would expect.  But otherwise the film looks a bit like Big Momma’s House,  a vehicle for Lawrence’s brand of very physical and brash humor.)

Directors – Gil Junger – (Known For: Think Like a Dog; 10 Things I Hate About You; BMT: Black Knight; Notes: Huge television director, probably most notable for 29 episodes of Ellen for which he was nominated for an Emmy. Seems to work on kids’ programming mostly these days.)

Writers – Darryl Quarles (written by) (as Darryl J. Quarles) – (BMT: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Big Momma’s House 2; Black Knight; Big Momma’s House; Notes: The Big Momma sequels are actually just characters, so this is the one true big budget follow up to Big Momma. He was a producer on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.)

Peter Gaulke (written by) – (Known For: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Future BMT: The Babymakers; BMT: Black Knight; Say It Isn’t So; Strange Wilderness; Notes: Was a gymnast at UCLA and would work his skills into his comedy routines when he was coming up. Wrote for SNL.)

Gerry Swallow (written by) – (Known For: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Future BMT: The Babymakers; Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie; Ratchet & Clank; BMT: Black Knight; Say It Isn’t So; Notes: Was a stand-up comedian in Seattle before moving to LA. Clearly was the writing partner with Gaulke for a time, although not recently it would seem. Writes under the pen name Dr. Cuthbert Soup.)

Actors – Martin Lawrence – (Known For: Bad Boys for Life; Do the Right Thing; Bad Boys; The Beach Bum; Life; House Party; Boomerang; Death at a Funeral; Open Season; Future BMT: College Road Trip; Rebound; National Security; What’s the Worst That Could Happen?; Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins; House Party 2; Blue Streak; A Thin Line Between Love and Hate; Bad Boys II; Nothing to Lose; BMT: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Big Momma’s House 2; Black Knight; Big Momma’s House; Wild Hogs; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son in 2012; Notes: Television star with Martin in the 90s, and then movie star in the 00s. After his divorse he seemed to kind of retire until the Bad Boys For Life this year. Notably almost died while running in extreme heat in preparation for Big Momma’s House.)

Marsha Thomason – (Known For: Priest; Future BMT: The Haunted Mansion; Long Time Dead; The Tripper; My Baby’s Daddy; Caffeine; BMT: Black Knight; Notes: British. Mostly a television star including a long stint on White Collar, and 11 episodes of Lost.)

Tom Wilkinson – (Known For: Selma; Batman Begins; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Burden; Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; The Patriot; Michael Clayton; Sense and Sensibility; Rush Hour; In the Name of the Father; RocknRolla; Snowden; Valkyrie; Shakespeare in Love; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; The Green Hornet; In the Bedroom; Belle; The Ghost; Future BMT: The Titan; Good People; Jenny’s Wedding; The Samaritan; Burke and Hare; The Catcher Was a Spy; Essex Boys; A Good Woman; A Business Affair; Little Boy; BMT: Black Knight; Unfinished Business; The Lone Ranger; The Choice; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars (In the Bedroom, and Michael Clayton). A huge character actor, especially in the 90s and early 00s.)

Budget/Gross – $50,000,000 / Domestic: $33,426,971 (Worldwide: $39,976,235)

(Pretty horrible bomb. It is pretty surprising Big Momma’s House 2 was made considering that. Although maybe 9/11 played a part in the depressed box office in the end.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (14/98): Black Knight feels like a lazily constructed movie, filled with lame gags and constant mugging from Lawrence.

(Constant mugging from Lawrence? What else are you expecting? Did you watch Martin? Did you watch Big Momma’s House? Bizarre consensus take. Reviewer Highlight: Martin Lawrence [stars] as a theme park worker who falls into a scummy moat and surfaces in the Middle Ages — perhaps in search of people who would find his humor fresh and original. No such luck. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper.)

Poster – Sir Sklogsalot

(This is a shockingly bad poster. Like… parody poster made as a prop for a different film level of bad. I can give it some props for trying to do something with the font but that’s basically it. It’s actually hard to look at. D.)

Tagline(s) – He’s About To Get Medieval On You. (B)

(It works. This got me thinking about where and when this phrase became popular enough to be a tagline. “Getting medieval on your ass” seemed pretty current. Turns out it is. Popularized in Pulp Fiction. A mere seven years and it’s headlining a major motion picture. Not the most clever, but as I said, does the trick.)

Keyword – time travel

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Back to the Future (1985), Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Interstellar (2014), Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991), Back to the Future Part II (1989), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016), Deadpool 2 (2018)

Future BMT: 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 62.9 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014), 59.5 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015), 56.2 Land of the Lost (2009), 50.0 The Sin Eater (2003), 49.3 Mannequin: On the Move (1991), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 43.0 Freejack (1992), 34.4 Il mondo di Yor (1983), 33.6 The Time Machine (2002);

BMT: Assassin’s Creed (2016), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), The Lake House (2006), Jumper (2008), Timeline (2003), Lost in Space (1998), Paycheck (2003), Black Knight (2001), Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996), The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007), A Sound of Thunder (2005)

(Wow we’ve watched a ton of these! Seems pretty consistent over time. Maybe depressed a bit in the late-90s, although I don’t really have a theory as to why. I’m excited to watch Freejack if I have to choose any of the films in the Future BMT list.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Martin Lawrence is No. 1 billed in Black Knight and No. 3 billed in Wild Hogs, 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) => 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – The scene where Princess Regina trips over her bed sheets was not scripted, Jeannette Weegar really did trip and fall, but the director liked it so it was kept and put in the final cut.

Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism helped in the historical recreation of this movie by providing consulting work and playing as extras. (Ha!)

Chris Tucker was originally cast as Jamal Walker. (Huh, interesting. So I assume Quarles was hired onto the film to rewrite once they secured Martin Lawrence)

Martin Lawrence was paid $20 million for his work on the film.

In the DVD commentary, it was said that the black horse that Jamal rode at the end of his dream was taught to rear on command.

Based on the book “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” by Mark Twain

The film was rushed by Fox after the attacks on 9/11 to be released much sooner than it was intended. The film was slated for a Winter/Spring 2002 release and had just started the post-production process when Director Gil Junger and was called by the studio to speed up the editing on the film for a November 2001 release date to capitalize on family friendly entertainment, comedies, dramas and thrillers which some studios were filling with after having to reschedule films that were deemed too sensitive for that period of time. (Pretty gross)

The second of two films starring Martin Lawrence in 2001. The other was “What’s The Worst That Could Happen?” co-starring Danny DeVito.

The Darkest Hour (2011) Preview

As Rich and Poe karate chop the necks of the old buffoons ogling Rio, the creepy old men try to explain all the terrible rich people problems that have driven them to this point. “My wife is cheating with my best friend!” one screams. The other nods his head, “that’s right, and I’m disillusioned with my materialistic life and that drove me to find thrills sleeping with his wife!” Oh boy. Rich and Poe roll their eyes at the tired excuses. Time to take them to the Twin Chip Zone. But just as they are about to finish the job, Rio steps in. Hugging them both she explains how she no longer needs their protection. That she is a strong woman who can defend herself against these weak willed old men going through whatever midlife crisis has brought them to this beautiful (and certainly not creepy) blue lagoon. “Don’t let them change the beauty of this place with violence. We can keep it natural. Beautiful. Love.” Bessy, Rich, and Poe wipe tears from their eyes and let the old men run off into the jungle. They roast s’mores and enjoy some refreshing Coca-Cola on the beach as the sun is setting. “It’s beautiful,” sighs Rio, “I’ll miss it when I’m off becoming a detective.” Bessy snorts happily, but Rich cocks his head quizzically. “It’s so… uh… green?” he says as a chill runs down his spine. Indeed the sky is streaked in green and while those creepy old men were ultimately harmless it seems that the civil war has arrived after all. The sky becomes smokey and what appears to be monsters begin to descend from the sky. Everything is plunged into darkness. The hour of battle has arrived. That’s right! We’re finally, finally, finally watching The Darkest Hour. There are a number of films from 2011-2012 that were coming out around the inception of BMT where we’d see the trailer on TV and be like “word, that would be fun for BMT” and then we just never watched the movie. And it would come up all the time over the years… and we’d still not watch the movie. And now we’re here and we’re watching The Darkest Hour. Which is weird because probably no one remembers what The Darkest Hour even is. Rest assured, it’s very much set in Moscow. Let’s go!

The Darkest Hour (2011) – BMeTric: 68.2; Notability: 26 

(Oh … this is going to be garbage. It hits 4.9 like a heat-seeking missile. I’m actually a bit surprised, because after Emile Hirsch torpedoed his own career I would have imagined people might go online to pile on his real stinkers.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  In Moscow, a group of young Americans is among the few survivors of an attack by invisible aliens. They have to make their way across the deserted city in hopes of meeting other survivors. Well-made by standard alien-invasion stuff (thank you, H. G. Wells), distinguished primarily by the Moscow locations.

(I’m glad I nailed this actually. I wanted to make sure I watched a good “learning” film and was working through in my mind which alien invasion films make the most sense. I settled on an older adaptation of War of the Worlds because it fit the bill of alien invasion across the globe in insurmountable odds against humanity. Leonard’s little “thank you H.G. Wells” is certainly an allusion to how much of a rip off this film is of that book.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgXzLMQuQ6Y/

(Oooof. It just looks bad. There is no way around it, the CGI and effects just look terrible.)

Directors – Chris Gorak – (Known For: Right at Your Door; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Production designer on the smash Stephen Baldwin classic Sub Down. Was the art director for Minority Report and studied architecture before getting into film.)

Writers – Jon Spaihts (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Doctor Strange; Prometheus; Future BMT: Passengers; BMT: The Darkest Hour; The Mummy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Mummy in 2018; Notes: One of the writers of the upcoming Dune film. Passengers was an unproduced script he wrote that made the 2007 blacklist.)

Leslie Bohem (story) – (Known For: Twenty Bucks; Future BMT: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child; Tracers; Nowhere to Run; Dante’s Peak; House III: The Horror Show; The Alamo; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Daylight; Notes: Won an Emmy for the 2002 miniseries Taken. Played bass in the 80s band Gleaming Spires. You’d recognize their song Are You Ready for the Sex Girls.)

M.T. Ahern (story) – (BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: I believe this is Megan Ahern who is the daughter of Emmylou Harris. I have a theory that Ahern came up with the story, Bohem helped her out with it knowing her via some musical connection, and then Spaihts was brought on to finish the shooting script.)

Actors – Emile Hirsch – (Known For: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood; Into the Wild; Lone Survivor; Freaks; The Girl Next Door; The Autopsy of Jane Doe; Savages; Alpha Dog; Killer Joe; Lords of Dogtown; Speed Racer; Milk; Never Grow Old; An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn; Taking Woodstock; Prince Avalanche; The Emperor’s Club; 10,000 Saints; The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys; Roxxy; Future BMT: All Nighter; The Outsider; The Air I Breathe; Imaginary Heroes; Venuto al mondo; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Amazingly consistent career … well, right up until he was convicted of a pretty grotesque assault of a movie producer in 2015. He’s been blacklisted from what I know, although his recent appearance in Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood probably will help him get back on his feet in the coming years.)

Olivia Thirlby – (Known For: No Strings Attached; Juno; Dredd; United 93; Above the Shadows; The Stanford Prison Experiment; The Senator; 5 to 7; Margaret; The Wackness; Solitary Man; Nobody Walks; Snow Angels; Being Flynn; Uncertainty; Between Us; Breaking Upwards; Love Comes Lately; Future BMT: New York, I Love You; Damascus Cover; Just Before I Go; Arlen Faber; Welcome to Happiness; BMT: The Darkest Hour; What Goes Up; The Wedding Ringer; Notes: Married a sound designer she met on the set of Dredd. This was one of her first starring roles.)

Max Minghella – (Known For: The Social Network; Horns; Agora; Into the Forest; The Ides of March; Syriana; 10 Years; About Alex; Brief Interviews with Hideous Men; Bee Season; Future BMT: The Internship; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; Art School Confidential; The 9th Life of Louis Drax; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Son of Anthony Minghella, who won an Oscar for directing The English Patient. Directed the film Teen Spirit starring Elle Fanning which got a limited 4 theater release.)

Budget/Gross – $30,000,000 / Domestic: $21,443,494 (Worldwide: $64,626,786)

(That’s not super great, partially because that $30 million figure was probably quite above the initial budget considering they decided to film in 3D and there were a lot of issues in Russia during production.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (7/59): Devoid of believable characters or convincing visual effects, this may be The Darkest Hour for the careers of all involved.

(Rough, the film is compared unfavorably towards the Transformers sequels. Makes sense though, lots of grinding machine noises without many ideas. Reviewer Highlight: Not since Mark Wahlberg trembled in fear beside a menacing houseplant in The Happening has a film tried to provoke terror with such an unlikely object of menace. – Nathan Rabin, AV Club)

Poster – Bad ‘Tricity

(It’s posters like this that had me going “WTF, mate?” back in 2011 and assuming that we would have watched it for BMT ages ago. Giving me flashbacks to The Avengers. I guess I like the orange color scheme and the russification of the font. C-)

Tagline(s) – Survive The Holidays (C)

The Invasion Begins Christmas Day (D)

(They really went all in on the Christmas release date, didn’t they? I don’t love taglines like these primarily because they are using something wholly separate from the film in order to try to be clever with the tagline. These would be OK for a Christmas film, but I don’t think this is even a secret holiday film… so what’s the point? First is better than the second and would actually be good if it pertained to the film at hand.)

Keyword – end of the world

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Justice League (2017), Interstellar (2014), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), Suicide Squad (2016), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Man of Steel (2013)

Future BMT: 65.6 Pulse (2006), 61.0 Legion (2010), 57.5 Little Nicky (2000), 56.1 Spawn (1997), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.1 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), 48.4 Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), 47.5 The Dark Tower (2017), 44.3 The Reaping (2007), 40.2 End of Days (1999);

BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Geostorm (2017), Fantastic Four (2015), Hellboy (2019), 2012 (2009), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), The 5th Wave (2016), Gods of Egypt (2016), Pixels (2015), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), The Darkest Hour (2011), Left Behind (2014), Maximum Overdrive (1986), Skyline (2010), R.I.P.D. (2013), Bless the Child (2000)

(Absolutely amazing dip right when this movie is made. I have a feeling I know what it is: the financial crisis. The reasons could be twofold. Mainly I just think disaster films are ultra-expensive so they put all of them on the back burner. But also psychologically I imagine people struggling to find work have no interest in watching films where the world falls apart, so that could be part of it as well. I’m excited for Legion, that looks like a giant pile of shit.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 23) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Olivia Thirlby is No. 3 billed in The Darkest Hour and No. 3 billed in What Goes Up, which also stars Steve Coogan (No. 1 billed) who is in Around the World in 80 Days (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jackie Chan (No. 1 billed) who is in The Medallion (No. 1 billed), which also stars John Rhys-Davies (No. 5 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 2 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 4 + 1 = 23. If we were to watch Suicide Squad, Nights in Rodanthe, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 20.

Notes – Shot in 3D as opposed to post-conversion. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa)

Production was suspended for a planned two weeks due to the extraordinary air pollution caused by heavy smoke from the wild fires surrounding Moscow in August 2010. It eventually resumed three weeks later. Even with this precaution, smoke still made it into a lot of shots and had to be digitally removed in post production.

The involvement of Timur Bekmambetov as producer afforded the production the opportunity of using Russia as a backdrop instead of the usual USA locations. Bekmambetov owns a film production company in Moscow called Bazelevs where most of the movie was made.

Not screened in advance for North American critics.

The crew was made up of about 30% American and 70% Russian.

The boat the refugees use to try to reach the submarine is named “Orca” (spelled “orka” in Cyrillic).

Return to the Blue Lagoon Preview

“Oy, mates!” screams Alligator Steve as he hops down from Bessy and greets Rich and Poe. Apparently, in the scuffle with the gamemasters he also fell through the portal and ended up back in his homeland. “All for the best,” he says with a wink. He watches in amusement as Tiniman’s army moves quickly away through the fire desert. With a slap on the back he invites Rich and Poe back to his village where they partake in some traditional shrimp on the barbie and hear the legend of their giant alligator friends. It’s all very exciting and interesting. “Do you think, Steve,” Poe asks, “that maybe we are supposed to help you win this war? That that’s the purpose of this part of the game?” But Steve isn’t so sure. The gamemasters seemed mighty suspicious of their behavior back at the school. “War is war, mates. You don’t want any part of it. Take Bessie and head out to the islands,” he says pointing to some beautiful tropical islands off the coast. “No will find you there. You will live a beautiful natural life full of natural beauty and wonder. It’ll be a magical time that everyone will be interested in because of how beautiful it is. And perchance you will find love there with the beautiful natural denizens of the island and it will be beautiful and natural and not creepy because how could something so beautiful and natural be creepy, right?” …. right. They try to convince him that they don’t need Bessie, but Steve is insistent that he’ll be alright. There’s a reason they call him Lil’ Bessie, mighty warrior. Just before they leave Rich and Poe look back at Steve one more time and ask hesitantly, “so this definitely isn’t a weird, creepy place, right?” That’s right! We’re watching the double feature of The Blue Lagoon and The Return to the Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields and Milla Jovovich, respectively. Panned at the time by critics for a variety of reasons they’ve mostly been remembered as films about nude young people falling in love on an island… which isn’t a great look. They are both set on an undiscovered island in the Pacific, which was good enough for us. Let’s go!

Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991) – BMeTric: 50.6; Notability: 21 

(Wait, this one also has that same 2012-2014 inflection. Looking through other films it really doesn’t seem that common. Just wait for this theory: The Blue Lagoon: Awakening, the totally unrelated third film made by Lifetime … came out in 2012. So when that came out people went and watched the whole series, and rated the film. That is blowing my mind.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  The two-year-old son of Lagoon 1’s deceased parents is rescued by a ship carrying a widow and her year-old daughter; circumstances (read: cholera) force the trio onto another tropical island, so the kids can eventually partake in PG-13 prurience.

(There are so many amazing things in this review. Calling it “Lagoon 1” with the number 1 is amazing. The semi-colon quickly followed by “read: cholera” … there is just something so charmingly quirky and shrunk down about the entire review. The BOMB designation is shockingly rare, so that’s super fun.)

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

(Hahahahahahahahah it was the first film to explore natural love? More like it was the first film to show 20 minutes of uninterrupted underwater dick shots. Oh gosh, “I’ve become one” they put that in the trailer? Out of innocence comes the most sensual love of all? Yiiiiiiikes. Guys, this one might be a doozy.)

Directors – William A. Graham – (Future BMT: Change of Habit; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: Was a prolific television director in the 70s and 80s, getting nominated for an Emmy for a television movie about Jim Jones. Was in the Navy and an avid sailor, which is maybe why he was tapped for this.)

Writers – Henry De Vere Stacpoole (book) – (Future BMT: The Blue Lagoon; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: Was able to retire after the success of The Blue Lagoon and write fiction full time. He occasionally wrote under the name Tyler De Saix.)

Leslie Stevens (screenplay) – (Known For: The War Lord; The Left Handed Gun; Incubus; Future BMT: Sheena; Gordy; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Sheena; and in 1992 for Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: A Navy brat, he ended up writing for Broadway. Created the late 90s revival of The Outer Limits before dying in 1998.)

Actors – Brian Krause – (Future BMT: Sleepwalkers; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: He starred in the Bandit series of television movies which act as a prequel to Smokey and the Bandit. Cristopher Atkins  (the star of the original Blue Lagoon) was in the first of those films. He played a main role in the series Charmed in the late 90s.)

Milla Jovovich – (Known For: The Fifth Element; Dazed and Confused; Zoolander; Paradise Hills; He Got Game; A Perfect Getaway; Chaplin; Stone; The Claim; Dummy; Future BMT: Future World; Resident Evil: Retribution; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter; Anarchy: Ride or Die; Survivor; Resident Evil: Afterlife; Two Moon Junction; The Fourth Kind; No Good Deed; The Million Dollar Hotel; Resident Evil: Apocalypse; Kuffs; Resident Evil: Extinction; Bringing Up Bobby; Joan of Arc; A Warrior’s Tail; Dirty Girl; Shock and Awe; Resident Evil; BMT: Ultraviolet; Zoolander 2; Hellboy; Return to the Blue Lagoon; The Three Musketeers; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 2000 for Joan of Arc; and in 2013 for Resident Evil: Retribution; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Fifth Element in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: Her daughter Ever Anderson was just cast as Wendy in the new Peter Pan film.)

Lisa Pelikan – (Known For: Circle; Julia; Swing Shift; It’s My Party; Future BMT: Ghoulies; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: Was at one point married to Bruce Davison (the Senator from X-Men), and has going to be a dancer, but a surgery cut her career short and she went into acting.)

Budget/Gross – $11,000,000 / Domestic: $2,807,854 (Worldwide: $2,807,854)

(Somehow a huge bomb! I guess back in 1980 people were much more willing to watch a film of this style. And then this one came out and was roughly the same 12 years later … and people just had zero interest.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/30): Despite its lush tropical scenery and attractive leads, Return to the Blue Lagoon is as ridiculous as its predecessor, and lacks the prurience and unintentional laughs that might make it a guilty pleasure.

(A zero percent is really really rare. I think this summary might have missed a bit of the point of why it was universally derided: this is the same as the previous film, but as a big dose of cynicism as it is (at least perceived to be) a cash grab. Reviewer Highlight: The sincere idiocy of this film really has to be seen to be appreciated — not that I think there is any need for you to see, or appreciate, it. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.)

Poster – Return to the Creepy Sexy Lagoon

(Much better than the first film’s poster. I like the orange sunset tones and Brian Krause’s face nicely conveys the plot of the film: bad acting. Wish the font was better and maybe this would have jumped past mediocre. B-. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: There we go, I love when I really get to color my face a crazy color. I have to assume there is a way to do this while keeping the whites very whit (like Jovovich’s eyes and teeth) … probably a filter. I think my pale complexion would end up registering as “tooth colored”.)

Tagline(s) – The story of natural love continues… (D)

Alone… wild… untamed… (B+)

(Hahahaha, that second tagline is quite hilarious. There certainly would be some things wild and untamed on that island… I’m talking about their hair… I’m saying they’d be wildly ungroomed… Anyway, the first tagline is stupid. The second one is actually OK… you know, if it actually had anything to do with the chaste, totally not wild love story of this franchise.)

Keyword – tropical island

Top 10: Jurassic Park (1993), Moana (2016), Jurassic World (2015), Cast Away (2000), Serenity (2019), The Thin Red Line (1998), The Beach (2000), Ice Age (2002), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)

Future BMT: 39.0 Club Dread (2004), 34.0 Robinson Crusoe (2016), 14.7 The Beach (2000);

BMT: Serenity (2019), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)

(Small keyword obviously. The Beach is the big one. BTW you can notice it more here, but yeah, The Blue Lagoon technically doesn’t qualify for BMT because technically there is no confirmation that it was released to 600+ theaters in the US. But it also made like $60 million apparently, so it was definitely a wide release. But it means it won’t show up in any analysis.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Milla Jovovich is No. 1 billed in Return to the Blue Lagoon and No. 1 billed in Ultraviolet, which also stars Cameron Bright (No. 2 billed) who is in Godsend (No. 4 billed), which also stars Rebecca Romijn (No. 2 billed) who is in Rollerball (No. 3 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 = 16. If we were to watch Joan of Arc, Hook, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – Milla Jovovich said that this is the worst movie she has ever done.

First starring role of Milla Jovovich.

Milla Jovovich said of this movie, “I think that the idea of falling in love on a deep and spiritual level without the distractions of the material world will always be appealing.”

When she was 13, during her days as a teenage fashion model, Milla Jovovich had been hailed by critics as “The New Brooke Shields .” Shields played Emmeline Lestrange in The Blue Lagoon (1980), to which this film is a sequel.

On Taveuni Island in Fiji, production designer Jon Dowding began work on the movie’s main set pieces 60 days before the cameras began rolling. Having served as the art director on The Blue Lagoon (1980), Dowding welcomed the opportunity to expand and improve upon his work from the earlier film. Both Dowding and his wife, wardrobe designer Aphrodite Kondos, drew extensively upon the cultures of Oceania for the design elements of the film. Dowding said, “In addition to the rich cultural influences of Fiji, Australian aborigines, New Guinea, Micronesia, Melanesia, the Marquesas and Easter Islands, we made every attempt to use raw materials found on Taveuni in the construction of the props, sets and costumes”.

Although it was touted as a sequel to The Blue Lagoon (1980), many reviewers criticized it as more of a remake than a sequel.

Nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards at the 12th annual ceremony in 1991. It was nominated for Worst Picture and Worst Director –both for William A. Graham; Worst Screenplay–Leslie Stevens; and two for Worst New Star–one each for Milla Jovovich and Brian Krause. It didn’t win in any category.

Taveuni in Fiji, the only land mass in the world that the international date line runs through, proved in the end to be a challenging but rewarding filming location of singular beauty. Cast and crew alike traveled countless miles on the island’s only thoroughfare, bouncing along an unpaved dirt road with harrowing curves to reach filming sites. Equipment was hauled in on stretchers through thick jungles and brought in on barges through dangerous coral reefs for some of the less accessible locations.

The novel this film is based on, “The Garden of God” by Henry De Vere Stacpoole , was published in 1925. (Oh … so it is based on a sequel of some sort? I figured it was literally a vague sequel to the adaptation of Stacpoole’s novel)

Final film of director William A. Graham. (… final feature film)

Filmed on Taveuni, one of 300 islands in the Fiji archipelago. With an average of 400 inches of rain a year, Taveuni is usually overgrown with magnificent greenery and is rightly referred to as Fiji’s “Garden Island”.

The production team was concerned about preserving the island’s ecological balance during the making of the movie. When they expressed concerns that a mile-long path that had to be cut through thick jungle vegetation–to get equipment to one of the more difficult locations–might harm the local ecology, the chief of the local village assured them that it would grow back within a matter of months. (That’s pretty cool)

The movie’s opening prologue states: “The South Pacific Ocean 1897. Fifteen years before our story begins, two children were shipwrecked on an uncharted island. The little boy and girl grew up alone in this lost paradise. As man and woman, they discovered a pure and natural love. In time, a child was born. But in a tragic accident, they were driven out to sea away from their island. Drifting for days, they believed that their lives and the life of their baby were at an end. Then a passing vessel drew near . . . “. (Yup that is the original movie)

Despite scenes of nudity and near nudity involving Milla Jovovich, the film was advertised as a “family-friendly” movie. (Gross! I do not enjoy that at all!)

Takes place in 1897 and 1912. (Okay, I wonder if they explicitly indicate that date for when they were rescued in the first film)

With the commencement of filming in June 1990–which is the dead of winter in Fiji–nature began to become a major “player” in the production. Director William A. Graham said, “When we first visited the island in early 1990, the weather was perfect. As soon as we began filming, we quickly learned why Taveuni is called the ‘Garden Island’. It rained for two weeks straight, which would certainly account for the lush tropical foliage.” Despite the adversity of working under less-than-ideal conditions at first, Graham remained undaunted and came out of it with his sense of humor intact: “The reason you have a 70-day shooting schedule on a film like this, as opposed to 40 to 50 days, is that you attempt to anticipate the unpredictability of nature. While we didn’t get the puffy clouds and blue waters everyone expected initially, the island presented us with a whole other kind of beauty. Nature exerted an undeniable force in the making of this movie, which the film journalists will probably give me credit for. I can see it now: William A. Graham wisely avoided the clichéd postcard look of paradise’.”.

While based on the novel sequel, “The Garden of God” the only thing “Return to the Blue Lagoon” shares with that book is the very opening where Richard and Emmeline are dead and the baby is rescued by the crew. In fact, in the novel, Arthur Lestrange himself decides to stay on the island with Baby Paddy (called Dick M) and dies while taking a walk, his body never being found. (That’s morbid)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (William A. Graham, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (William A. Graham, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Leslie Stevens, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Milla Jovovich, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brian Krause, 1992)

Primeval Preview

In a fun montage we see Rich, Poe, and Roach enact their scheme to construct mashed potato based deep fakes of themselves to escape from Tiniman’s camp. Step 1: Enter the big camel race. Step 2: win camel race, beating Gen. Tiniman’s prized camel. Step 3: get potato peeling duty. Step 4: use natural artistic abilities to craft potato people. Step 5: place potato people in bed and sneak away. “Come on, Roach,” Rich says before accidentally plunging his hand into who he thought was Roach, but was in fact his potato person. They all laugh nervously at the unsettling photorealism of the duplicate and tiptoe their way out of camp. Just when it seems like they are in the clear, a light shines in their faces and Gen. Tiniman steps out from behind a spotlight. “But… but how?” Rich and Poe say, but when they turn to Roach he has a badge out and grunts “Cop.” Saboteur! A group of military police approach them and it seems like the end! Oh, woe is them, woe is the Earth! Suddenly the beacon of light shines from Rich’s chest again and Gen. Tiniman is temporarily blinded. Taking action, Rich and Poe escape Roach’s last blind grab and sprint into the fire desert. Rich and Poe’s muscles aren’t just for show and boy howdy do they demonstrate that here. Their endurace is stunning and their legs churn with lightning quickness taking them away from the pursuing trucks. They would almost certainly outrun the vehicles using their unrivaled athletic abilities, but suddenly Poe pulls up with a cramp. My god, the climactic tension is almost unbearable! Once again the military police approach, but no light is there to save them now. Suddenly a deafening roar rings out. The alligators are here. That’s right! We’re watching the not-so-original big crocodile horror film Primeval. Set in Burundi and “based on a true story” it has been high on the list of craziest settings for BMT. Let’s go!

Primeval (2007) – BMeTric: 56.6; Notability: 28 

(Creeping up, but seems like it is settling right around sub-5.0 which is nice. Notability hits right where I imagine. I think the sense I’m getting it that 25ish is like a normal wide release. Above that and it scales with the size of the production. Below that (down to like 10) and you’re looking at a really small film (intriguingly so). Nice string of 50+ films recently it feels like.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  American reporters reluctantly trek to Africa to capture a huge man-eating crocodile the locals call Gustave, and becomes embroiled in a local war. Peculiar blend of Jaws and a Blood Diamond-like subplot has its moments, but is mostly routine, with herky-jerky editing in the frequent action scenes. Loosely based on real events.

(I am down with that. Mixing Jaws with some bizarre B-plot? Yes please. I’m very ready for a creature feature, and I’ll even take one with … herky-jerky editing? Alright, Leonard, let’s go with that description.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RARfk8cXPeg/

(The entire marketing campaign around this film was about this mayyyybe being a serial killer film … nope psych it is about a crocodile. This trailer is garbage though, way too many cuts to black and choppiness.)

Directors – Michael Katleman – (BMT: Primeval; Notes: Huge television guy. He directed individual episodes from the early 90s, and has been a major producer since 2000. I think my favorite one is the very short lived series Reunion … yeah I watched that live.)

Writers – Michael Ferris and John Brancato (written by) – (Known For: The Game; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; Future BMT: The Net; The Hunter’s Prayer; Surrogates; Terminator Salvation; BMT: Catwoman; Primeval; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Catwoman in 2005; Notes: Most of their credits are for The Net and subsequent spinoffs of that. I vaguely knew there was a television series, but I didn’t know there was a straight-to-video sequel The Net 2.0. Ferris wrote Bloodfist 2 prior to them working together.)

Actors – Dominic Purcell – (Known For: Mission: Impossible II; Equilibrium; Straw Dogs; Blood Creek; Gridlocked; Vikingdom; The Gravedancers; Scenes of the Crime; Future BMT: The Carrier; Blade: Trinity; Bailout: The Age of Greed; Elimination Game; Killer Elite; BMT: Primeval; Notes: You will know him from Prison Break (which yeah, I’ve seen basically the entire series, want to fight about it?), but I first saw him in the short-lived series John Doe … man there are so many television people involved in this film.)

Orlando Jones – (Known For: Magnolia; Office Space; The Replacements; Bedazzled; Evolution; Runaway Jury; Drumline; Liberty Heights; Enemies Closer; Future BMT: Biker Boyz; I Think I Love My Wife; Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant; Double Take; The Time Machine; Woo; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; Sour Grapes; The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea; BMT: Primeval; Say It Isn’t So; Notes: Roomed with Artie Lange when both were on MadTV. That is basically where he got his start.)

Brooke Langton – (Known For: The Replacements; Swingers; The Deal; Playing Mona Lisa; Future BMT: Terminal Velocity; Kiss the Bride; BMT: Primeval; The Benchwarmers; Notes: Ha! She starred in The Net television show! No wonder she got the job in this case. Was on 68 episodes of Melrose Place.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $10,597,734 (Worldwide: $15,291,277)

(That is likely not going to do it. But I also imagine, given the talent was mostly pulled from television, that you maybe could have gotten away with a budget of $10 million? While trying to figure this out I ended up stumbling onto The Numbers page for Primeval. Their categorization of this film is “serial killer” … this is not a serial killer film from what I can tell, but for a hint as to why someone might think so go check out the tagline section.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (11/57): Primeval is a low-quality horror film, which due to the inane political messages does not even qualify as campy fun.

(Oh wow. Read the description of the film on Rotten Tomatoes … like, for a split second I thought “wait … is this a serial killer film?!”. Again, I don’t think it is, but some descriptions make it seem like it is. So many of the reviews slam the film for the political message, described as blending a giant crocodile film with Hotel Rwanda. Reviewer Highlight – The sub-sub-Anaconda bottom-feeder Primeval makes the mistake of taking itself far too seriously; with its exploitative images of civil war and genocide, it’s the Blood Diamond of 25-foot-killer-crocodile movies. – Scott Tobias, AV Club)

Poster – Sklogeval

(But… why? This looks like shit. The alternate poster with a bunch of bones that pretends the film is about a serial killer is much better. This just looks like a bad photo. Nice font though. C-)

Tagline(s) – Inspired by the true story of the most prolific serial killer in history. (D)

He’s 20 feet long, and has taken 300 lives. Now, he’s about to resurface. (D)

(Both of these aren’t great. The first is just being tricky with what the film is about. While I like when a tagline tells you about the plot, I don’t love when they basically lie about it. The second one is just using numbers and I guess that’s supposed to be interesting. Hard to say. Both are too long and not nearly clever enough to make up for it.)

Keyword – crocodile

Top 10: Suicide Squad (2016), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), Jumanji (1995), Annihilation (2018), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), Pan (2015), Octopussy (1983), The Legend of Tarzan (2016), Romancing the Stone (1984)

Future BMT: 43.8 King Solomon’s Mines (1985), 42.2 Pan (2015), 38.6 Firewalker (1986), 34.5 Suicide Squad (2016), 33.9 Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), 31.0 Rugrats Go Wild (2003), 30.2 Eraser (1996), 29.6 Inkheart (2008), 27.5 The Legend of Tarzan (2016);

BMT: Runner Runner (2013), Crocodile Dundee II (1988), Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004), Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001), Primeval (2007)

(The second recent film where we’ve used this keyword. The other is obviously Crocodile Dundee II. Really just crushing those Crocodile features recently. Maybe we’ll look into Firewalker soon, that would be a weird one.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 9) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Orlando Jones is No. 3 billed in Primeval and No. 3 billed in Say It Isn’t So, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 2 = 9. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – In real life, as seen in this film, an attempt to bait the crocodile failed. The team used a live goat as bait one night, and the team continued this for days. One day the goat disappeared. The camera failed the night before due to a storm, and then political issues in the area forced the team out of the country. Leaving them unable to know what happened that night.

Since Gustave has not been captured, his exact length and weight is unknown, but in 2002 it was stated that he could be “easily more than 18 feet (5.5 m)” long, and weigh more than 2,000 pounds (910 kg). He was estimated to be around 100 years old in order to achieve such outstanding size; however, further more careful observation of Gustave revealed a complete set of teeth when he opened his mouth. Since a 100-year-old crocodile “should be nearly toothless” (according to the documentary), he was estimated to be “probably no older than 60, and likely, still growing”. Gustave is also known for the three bullet scars on his body. His right shoulder blade was also found to be deeply wounded. Circumstances surrounding the four scars are unknown. Scientists and herpetologists who have studied Gustave claim that his uncommon size and weight impede his ability to hunt the species’ usual, agile prey such as fish, antelope and zebra, forcing him to attack larger animals such as hippopotamus, large wildebeest and, to some extent, humans. According to a popular local warning, he is said to hunt and leave his victims’ corpses uneaten. The documentary film also stated that since crocodiles can go several months without eating, Gustave could afford to select his prey carefully. In 2009 the croc had reappeared in Ruzizi River near Lake Tanganyika.

Gustave was named by Patrice Faye, a herpetologist who has been studying and investigating him since the late 1990s. Much of what is known about Gustave stems from the film Capturing the Killer Croc, which aired in 2004 on PBS. The film documents a capture attempt and study on Gustave.

Knock Off Preview

The men in Tiniman’s army expect nothing from Rich and Poe. Yeah, they may have toned biceps and abs for days, but they also seem like a couple of rascals who don’t care much for rules. At first it seems like they’re right. “This sucks!” yells Rich, while Poe looks sadly at his nutritionless grub they’re served in the mess. “How are we expected to keep ourselves lean, mean fighting machines without a balanced meal,” he sighs. But soon, they learn the meaning of their military family and come to trust and love their brothers in arms. They aren’t just passable soldiers, they are oddly competent. “Hey Roach,” Rich asks one day, “what are we training for anyway?” Their comrade Roach looks up from polishing his robot legs. “War,” he grunts and gets back a-polishing. He needs those babies gleaming. “War… who are we fighting?” Poe asks, curious now. “Alligator,” Roach grunts. Rich and Poe nod their heads but suddenly look at each other… Alligator. Rich and Poe get as many details as they can from Roach, one grunt at a time. Tiniman’s aim is to conquer the lands to the south. Where a tribe of men have come to live harmoniously with giant alligators. “Unconquerable,” Roach says winking, his legs now gleaming in the sunlight. “My God,” Rich says, “Alligator Steve… this is where he’s from.” Poe gulps, “and we’re going to destroy them.” While their newfound maturity bucks at the idea of betraying their comrades they also know they gotta get out of there… and fast. “What we need is…” Rich begins, but suddenly a shadow passes over them. “Deception,” Roach grunts. Startled, they look up in fear, but Roach is smiling. “Twins,” he says and Rich and Poe smile back. “Knock offs,” they agree. That’s right! We’re watching the JCVD-Rob Schneider buddy cop film about a Hong Kong… uh… fashion designer? Who also does karate or something? And Rob Schneider is a cop… what, what’s happening? Let’s go!

Knock Off (1998) – BMeTric: 55.3; Notability: 29 

KnockOffIMDb_BMeT
KnockOffIMDb_RV

(The notability is higher that I would have expected for a film I never heard of, but not super high for a major release. I’m intrigued. The rating is riding, but sub-5.0 is pretty great with that 50+ BMeTric. This film has a lot going for it from a numbers perspective.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Van Damme teams up with American agents to combat terrorists. Having Van Damme play a Hong Kong clothing designer/importer in an action film pinned to a plot about designer jeans is peculiar but not interesting … which also describes the movie. Director Hark abandons his vivid fight choreography for standard swift intercutting instead. Samo Hung appears unbilled.

(Ha! I love that description. Leonard is just flabbergasted by the B-story which is actually the A-story. The character sounds like Tommy Wiseau in real life.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Txm_I4usB0/

(The trailer is fucking bonkers. Just cut after cut after cut with weird quips (“Goodbye yellow brick road”? It isn’t even that quoting Elton John is out of date, it is that it is just a weird turn of phrase). Explosions, Rob Schnieder saying random words, clearly a bunch of wire-fu which is going to annoy me. I literally cannot wait to watch this ludicrous film.)

Directors – Hark Tsui – (Known For: Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame; Journey to the West: Demon Chapter; Once Upon a Time in China; Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings; Seong lung wui; Flying Swords of Dragon Gate; Wong Fei Hung II: Nam yee tung chi keung; Zhi qu wei hu shan; Shu Shan – Xin Shu shan jian ke; Once Upon a Time in China III; Shun liu ni liu; Tit sam gok; Future BMT: Shu shan zheng zhuan; Qi jian; BMT: Double Team; Knock Off; Notes: He is considered a master in martial arts action, and one of the best Chinese directors ever. His production company is one of the biggest Hong Kong film companies in the business.)

Writers – Steven E. de Souza (written by) – (Known For: Die Hard; Commando; Die Hard 2; The Running Man; 48 Hrs.; Ricochet; The Return of Captain Invincible; Future BMT: Street Fighter; The Flintstones; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Bad Dreams; BMT: Knock Off; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Judge Dredd; Beverly Hills Cop III; Hudson Hawk; Another 48 Hrs.; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Notes: One of the last films he wrote that got a major release. He was only 51 at the time, so I assume he just kind of retired.)

Actors – Jean-Claude Van Damme – (Known For: Bloodsport; The Expendables 2; Kung Fu Panda 2; Kung Fu Panda 3; Kickboxer; Hard Target; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Timecop; Kickboxer: Vengeance; Lukas; Sudden Death; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; JCVD; Enemies Closer; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Derailed; Cyborg; Welcome to the Jungle; The Order; Legionnaire; Double Impact; Maximum Risk; Inferno; Replicant; The Quest; Missing in Action; Pound of Flesh; Black Water; Nowhere to Run; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Breakin’; Last Action Hero; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Double Team; Knock Off; 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: Literally the last film he released prior to starting to mostly release non-theatrical films. Legionnaire would be his next film, and Universal Soldier: The Return was after that and was his last theatrical release for a decade.)

Rob Schneider – (Known For: 50 First Dates; Muppets from Space; Future BMT: The Animal; Norm of the North; Little Nicky; You Don’t Mess with the Zohan; InAPPropriate Comedy; The Hot Chick; Sandy Wexler; Eight Crazy Nights; Surf Ninjas; Mr. Deeds; The Adventures of Pinocchio; You May Not Kiss the Bride; Bedtime Stories; The Waterboy; Big Stan; Down Periscope; Click; Big Daddy; The Longest Yard; Necessary Roughness; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; BMT: Little Man; Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo; The Ridiculous 6; The Beverly Hillbillies; Knock Off; The Benchwarmers; Judge Dredd; Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; Grown Ups; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Around the World in 80 Days; Demolition Man; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo in 2006; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo in 2006; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2007 for Little Man, and The Benchwarmers; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2000 for Big Daddy; in 2008 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; and in 2011 for Grown Ups; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Grandma’s Boy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Little Man, Little Nicky, The Animal, The Benchwarmers, and The Hot Chick; Notes: This was kind of right in the middle of his starring career, after he had already teamed up with Stallone for Judge Dredd. He is apparently anti-vax, which caused him to be dropped as a spokesperson for State Farm in 2014.)

Lela Rochon – (Known For: Any Given Sunday; Boomerang; Brooklyn’s Finest; Waiting to Exhale; The Big Hit; Gang Related; Why Do Fools Fall in Love; Blood Done Sign My Name; Future BMT: The Meteor Man; Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo; Breakin’; Supremacy; BMT: Knock Off; First Daughter; The Chamber; Harlem Nights; Notes: Right at the top of her peak as a leading lady in film, right around Why Do Fools Fall in Love. She has a degree in broadcast journalism.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $10,319,915 (Worldwide: $10,319,915)

(Oh wow. Now this can’t possibly be true right? Wouldn’t this, at the very least, get a release in Hong Kong? This came out right as Van Damme’s career was cratering though, so I imagine they only realized it was mostly unreleasable afterwards. Case in point: this came out after Legionnaire.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (3/39): Muddled plot; stiff acting.

(Short and sweet! They seem to kind of agree that it is a little too jokey, but somehow very serious, and … honestly it does sound muddled now that I write it. Reviewer Highlight: Something of a kaleidoscopic mess of a movie, but it has its moments. – Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle)

Poster – Sklog Off

knock_off

(That is nuts. I find it offensive. What were they even thinking? Case in point: why is “Van Damme” in giant block letters that nearly fade into the background. My eyes hurt. F. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I think this was the most difficult font I’ve ever undertaken. I’m rather impressed with how okay the background looks behind the letters since I had to rebuild it all. Overall looks pretty good for what is, in fact, a pretty complicated poster.)

Tagline(s) – There is no substitute. (C+)

(It’s a pun… that’s the best you can say about it. Obviously playing on the fact that the story involves a bunch of knock off products and the fact that there is no substitute for Van Damme. But it’s stretching just a bit too far and doesn’t flow.)

Keyword – kickboxing

KnockOff_kickboxing

Top 10: The Mummy Returns (2001), American Assassin (2017), True Lies (1994), The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), Road House (1989), Tomb Raider (2018), Street Fighter (1994), Say Anything… (1989), Kiss the Girls (1997), The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 63.0 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997), 61.9 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 57.6 Cyborg (1989), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 42.9 Fighting (2009), 41.0 The Quest (1996), 37.3 Nowhere to Run (1993), 26.4 American Assassin (2017), 24.6 A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave (1990);

BMT: Road House (1989), Kiss the Girls (1997), Universal Soldier (1992), Double Team (1997), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), Knock Off (1998)

(Wow, we really loved kickboxing in the 90s! There is something about it. I’ve been doing “research” into non-theatrical stars in my free time, and one of the major conclusions I’ve come to is there are different eras of straight-to-video films. And the 90s was definitely the apex of martial artists being recruited to put out their weirdo non-films.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Rob Schneider is No. 2 billed in Knock Off and No. 1 billed in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, which also stars William Forsythe (No. 2 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 5 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 1 + 2 + 5 + 3 + 1 = 14. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Hong Kong superstar and director Sammo Hung served as the film’s 2nd unit director. The release print of “Knock Off” suffers from the removal of a lot of the martial arts action shot for the film, with a couple of sequences being very heavily edited. The final battle between Jean-Claude Van Damme’s character and Australian actor/stuntman Michael Miller is less than half of the action shot for their fight, and upon careful viewing you can pick up the fact that the fight has raged across several different sections on the boat, while the fight between Jeff Wolfe’s character Scar and Jean-Claude’s is the most heavily edited with more of the action being shown in the “Making Of” featured on several of the DVD editions than in the finished film.

The film is one of the last in the world to feature Kai Tak Airport still in use; the airport closed in 1998.

In the Army Now Preview

Rich and Poe plunge into the water. A slow motion shot shows them float slowly downward as sad music plays. They are seemingly dead and this is the end of their story… the end of their quest… the end of their world… or is it?! Suddenly a beam of light shoots from Poe’s chest pointing their way to safety. They swim like a couple of totally majestic dolphins and burst forth onto a beautiful beach, sputtering for air. They look around. Their surroundings are so exotic. Just being able to place their eyes on such a beautiful exotic location makes everything seem way better than it actually is. “I… don’t understand… is this a new quest? Or did they kill us? Also why did that random beam of light shoot from your chest out of nowhere to save our lives?” Rich has so many questions and yet Poe has no answers. He sniffs the air and he turns quickly to Rich in panic, “do you smell that?” Rich sniffs too and narrows his eyes. “Is that…” but before he can finish the thought they both scramble up the nearest sand dune and lay eyes on a sea of fire and desert. It was all a facade. An oasis in a world of shit. Suddenly a convoy of trucks come screaming through the fire and smoke to come to a screeching halt in front of them. A small military man steps out of the nearest car and looks them up and down before nodding to a nearby soldier. The soldier steps up to Rich and Poe and thrusts some guns into their hands. “Congratulations,” he says in an unidentifiable (but definitely not racist) accent, “General Tiniman has recruited you. You are officially in the army now.” That’s right! We’re watching the Pauly Shore classic In the Army Now, which is set in the African country of Chad for some reason. It is somehow the first of the five major Pauly Shore films that we’ve done for BMT, which seems like a mistake. Let’s go!

In the Army Now (1994) – BMeTric: 51.8; Notability: 41 

IntheArmyNowIMDb_BMeT

IntheArmyNowIMDb_RV

(Great BMeTric obviously, and the notability is incredibly impressive. Looking through his filmography the notability for Shore-led films is always around 30-40. Sub-5.0 films are relatively rare. This is a film that was inevitable for BMT, and one I’m quite excited to actually see, since I’ve seen the other major Pauly Shore films.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Pauly is a pacifist who joins the army so he can “be all that he can be for free,” only to learn that there’s more to enlisting than receiving complimentary room and board. Latest in a long line of barracks comedies proves no competition for Buck Privates. Pauly’s fans might disagree. Brendan Fraser appears unbilled.

(Absolute deep cut with Buck Privates, a comedy from 1941. Just whip that ref out like it’s nothing. And yeah, I think between the two Iraq wars there was a sense of, I don’t know … comedy about the army again. That would obviously go away real quick in the 2000s. I can’t think of a comedy-army film that has come out since the 90s to be honest … A brief look suggests Delta Farce might be a rare breed indeed.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8WQ8sgWaVU

(Ha, they call Encino Man “California Man” in the beginning, so this trailer is maybe for European consumption? I had to change all of those in the autogenerated preview because I think that is what it is called in the UK. Other than that it looks like a Pauly Shore movie. If that is what “toning down” the weasel character was to the producers … I don’t know what to say really.)

Directors – Daniel Petrie Jr. – (Future BMT: Toy Soldiers; Stranded; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: Is the son of Daniel G. Petrie who won three Primetime Emmys, and Dorothy Petrie who won two Primetime Emmys. His brother, Donald Petrie, directed BMT classic Welcome to Mooseport.)

Writers – Steve Zacharias and Jeff Buhai  (story) – (Known For: Revenge of the Nerds; Future BMT: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise; Johnny Be Good; Eddie; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: Long time writing partners. They released the Johnny Be Good screenplay as a book in the early 2000s.)

Robbie Fox (story) – (Known For: So I Married an Axe Murderer; BMT: In the Army Now; Playing for Keeps; Notes: Son of Charles Fox, a composer who was nominated for two Oscars for original songs in the 70s.)

Ken Kaufman (screenplay) – (Known For: The Expendables 2; Space Cowboys; The Missing; Curious George; Muppets from Space; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: In 2013 he wrote a novel called Ramblefoot.)

Stu Krieger (screenplay) – (Known For: The Land Before Time; Monkey Trouble; Future BMT: A Troll in Central Park; BMT: In the Army Now; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Where the Boys Are in 1985; Notes: Briefly wrote feature films in the mid-90s, he has mostly worked in television (both movies and shows). He developed the kid’s show Toot & Puddles.)

Daniel Petrie Jr. (screenplay) – (Known For: Beverly Hills Cop; Beverly Hills Cop II; Turner & Hooch; The Big Easy; Deadly Pursuit; Future BMT: Toy Soldiers; BMT: In the Army Now; Beverly Hills Cop III; Notes: Was was nominated for an Oscar for Beverly Hills Cop.)

Fax Bahr and Adam Small (screenplay) – (Known For: Bad Grandpa; Future BMT: Malibu’s Most Wanted; Son in Law; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: These guys worked on In Living Color and MadTV together. Just prior Bahr, to start his career, made Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, the acclaimed and award winning documentary about the making of Apocalypse Now.)

Actors – Pauly Shore – (Known For: A Goofy Movie; Pauly Shore Is Dead; Future BMT: Bio-Dome; Jury Duty; Sandy Wexler; The Wash; Encino Man; Son in Law; 18 Again!; Class Act; For Keeps?; BMT: Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; In the Army Now; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor in 1996 for Jury Duty; and in 1997 for Big Bully, Bio-Dome, Carpool, and The Stupids; Winner for Worst New Star of the Decade in 2000 for Bio-Dome, Encino Man, and Jury Duty; Winner for Worst New Star for Encino Man in 1993; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000 for Bio-Dome, Encino Man, and Jury Duty; Notes: Debuted on MTV with Totally Pauly in the late 80s. From the 80s through 2010 he only actually starred in 5 films: Encino Man, Son-in-Law, In the Army Now, Jury Duty, and Bio-Dome. He hosts Random Rants on YouTube.)

Lori Petty – (Known For: A League of Their Own; Point Break; Free Willy; Tank Girl; Cadillac Man; Prey for Rock & Roll; Relax… It’s Just Sex; The Glass Shield; Future BMT: Dead Awake; Poetic Justice; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: Was apparently originally cast in the Bullock role in Demolition Man, but left over creative differences. The Glass Shield was the last in a series of starring turns for her in the mid-90s.)

Andy Dick – (Known For: Old School; Road Trip; Laputa: Castle in the Sky; Zoolander; Dr. Dolittle 2; Funny People; The Cable Guy; Reality Bites; Hoodwinked; Permanent Midnight; For the Boys; Pauly Shore Is Dead; The Hebrew Hammer; Scotland, Pa.; The Independent; Future BMT: Inspector Gadget; The Comebacks; Happily N’Ever After; Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil; Blonde Ambition; Dude, Where’s My Car?; Loser; Employee of the Month; Bongwater; Best Men; Abducted; BMT: Zoolander 2; Double Dragon; In the Army Now; Notes: Allegedly reintroduced Phil Hartman’s wife to cocaine, something that would contribute to her murdering her husband and committing suicide. Had a years long feud with Jon Lovitz over it, although he denies any culpability. In the Army Now was a rare star turn for him, he was mostly a television actor (News Radio) and supporting comedic actor (like in Old School).)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $28,881,266 (Worldwide: $28,881,266)

(That’s kind of okay. $10 million less than Son in Law which is probably the benchmark they were looking at. This is the beginning of the end for his starring career. Jury Duty would make $17 million, and then Bio-Dome would make $13 million, and that was it, he wouldn’t star in a feature film (of consequence) again.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (2/32): This 1994 Pauly Shore vehicle stretches its star’s thin shtick to the breaking point with a laugh-deficient screenplay that borrows shamelessly from Bill Murray’s far superior Stripes.

(The comparisons to Stripes are thick across all reviews. Would a movie like this made now draw such comparisons? Probably not. Just because its popularity (and the popularity of Bill Murray in general) has waned so much in the last 25 years. But it is interesting that a film made nearly 15 years later is getting condemned to comparing unfavorably to a classic … like, can people not make comedies about the military unless they are better than Stripes? Reviewer Highlight: The screenplay, work by five writers, based on a story by three others, seems to have been rewritten often enough that any individuality has been lost. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.)

Poster – Stupid Soldier

in_the_army_now

(Hate the font. Hate the color. But I love the framing and think it’s a pretty well put together poster besides being aesthetically gross. B- Patrick’s Shallow Fake: Whenever these things compress they always look a bit off. Love that for no reason they have two totally different fonts. Decent shadow on my face this time, just needed to be a bit more matte? The idea behind the fake movie is that there is a super soldier serum that I take that makes me Captain America, but it also makes me super dumb for the duration of my super powers. Like … you can pay me for that spec whenever Netflix, the lines are open.)

Tagline(s) – America, sleep tight! The safety of the free world rests in his hands! (F)

(That is unpleasantly bad. Although now that Patrick is making parody posters and we have been trying to make up taglines for these films I do appreciate that there are probably larger forces at play a lot of the time when we get something bad like this. Like there is an obvious tagline in The Few, The Proud, The Stupid… but I think they had to tread carefully in their treatment of the military. So they went with something inoffensive but bad.)

Keyword – u.s. military

IntheArmyNow_u.s. military

Top 10: Midway (2019), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Top Gun (1986), Spider-Man (2002), Fury (2014), 2012 (2009), Platoon (1986), The Predator (2018), Stripes (1981), Black Hawk Down (2001)

Future BMT: 68.4 Delta Farce (2007), 34.4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), 33.5 Red Tails (2012), 30.4 The Monuments Men (2014), 27.8 Pearl Harbor (2001), 25.2 The Fifth Estate (2013), 23.2 The General’s Daughter (1999), 22.1 Renaissance Man (1994);

BMT: 2012 (2009), The Predator (2018), Hunter Killer (2018), The Mummy (2017), The Pacifier (2005), In the Army Now (1994)

(Vaguely ebbs and flows with things like the Cold War (peaking around 1990), and then post-9/11 … or maybe that is just the career of Michael Bay? Hard to tell. The kind of regular gaps in the 80s and 90s is interesting … makes me wonder if it has something to do with recruitment cycles for the U.S. military.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 23) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Art LaFleur is No. 7 billed in In the Army Now and No. 6 billed in Cobra, 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) => 7 + 6 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 23. If we were to watch Encino Man, and Extraordinary Measures we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – According to an interview, the scar on the back of Pauly Shore’s neck, visible when he first encounters the female drill sergeant, occurred during filming, when a shell casing ejected and landed on his neck, burning him. This scar is first visible when the barber turns him around after his haircut.

This is the third Pauly Shore movie to feature Brendan Fraser as Link in progressive life roles. The others are Encino Man (1992) (High School) and Son in Law (1993) (College).

Most of the basic training and war scenes were shot at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. A sign saying “Fort Sill” is clearly visible in one scene.

The video game Bones plays in the opening sequence is Return Fire (1994) for the 3DO.

In a 2017 interview with Joe Rogan, Pauly Shore admitted that this film was the beginning of the end of his movie career. While he enjoyed making it, and doesn’t regret doing it, he was offered the script when he was under a 3-film contract with Disney. He’d already made Encino Man (1992) and Son in Law (1993), which had been modest box office hits. Executives at New Line Cinema offered him a role in a film called “Totally London,” in which Shore would’ve continued a variation on his popular Weasel character. Disney CEO Jeffery Katzenberg refused to let Shore out of his contract. Disney bought the script from New Line Cinema, and decided to shelve it. Katzenberg then gave Shore the option to do this movie. Shore’s agents advised him against it because they thought the script was mediocre. They also felt audiences wouldn’t accept Shore without his usual Weasel style, since he would have to cut off all his hair in the beginning for the basic training sequences. Shore said he made the film because it was his only available choice at the time, and he desperately wanted to be on a movie set. When this movie earned less at the box office than his previous films, Disney wouldn’t let him make anymore movies for them. His next two films, Jury Duty (1995) and Bio-Dome (1996), were box-office failures, though the latter eventually gained a big cult following. (You can glean as much from his career trajectory. He started in supporting roles in major films, then made those five films as a leading man, and then immediately just churned out a bunch of supporting roles in non-theatrical films … it is bizarre, but he never really got many leading man roles for video releases. Just seems odd considering he was genuinely quite famous among teen audiences in the mid 90s)

Bones enlists as a Water Purification Specialist in the Army Reserve thinking he’ll be in safe position far from danger. In reality, a reserve water purification unit assigned to the 14th Quartermaster Detachment suffered the highest casualty rate of any American unit in the Gulf War. A Scud missile struck their barracks in Saudi Arabia, killing or wounded 81% of the soldiers of the unit. (Oooooooof, … could this have been a recruitment tactic to try and make that unit more appealing afterwards. I mean … assuming they are talking about the first Gulf War)

The script was originally much raunchier and was supposed to be Pauly Shore’s first R rated film similar to Stripes (1981). Disney rejected the original script due to Pauly Shore’s popularity at the time with teenage audiences and said the film could not exceed a PG-13 rating so the younger crowd could see it. The script then went through several changed and was toned down to its eventual PG rating.

Damon Wayans was considered for the role of Fred. He turned it down to work on Blankman (1994). (Wowza!)

Whoopi Goldberg was considered for the role of Drill Sergeant Ladd. She turned it down because she was filming Corrina, Corrina (1994). (Semi-wowza!)

Ed Preview

Steve, Adrestia and Rich stand in a circle. Rich details the prophecy read to him by Brawln and Sorsaron about the portal that he and Poe must close to stop the gamemaster’s ultimate plan. “But then when we got here there was so much chaos that we more or less forgot. Our only idea was to quell the riots with a new salacious entry in the The Platonics Solids Series.” At that Adrestia and Steve look up shocked, “No,” they exclaim, “we need the riots as a distraction!” But before he can run to stop Poe and Det. Halloway, they come around the corner smiling from ear-to-ear. They smooch tenderly before showing off the last copy of The Platonic Solids Series Part II: Love on the Blocks. “Shit,” wails Steve in despair, “this book is lit. The gucci crowd is gonna love it!” Rich and Poe are despondent. Will this mean they’ll miss their only chance to close the portal? “We don’t have time to explore all the parts of this campus,” Poe thinks out loud. “No one could,” Rich follows. Suddenly everyone looks at Steve. “Or at least no person,” Poe says excitedly. Steve looks confused and then a light sparkles in his eye. “I get what you’re putting down,” and with that he gives a shrill whistle. A monstrous alligator bursts out of a nearby sewer in terrifying fashion, but Steve calmly pats it on the head and starts to speak softly, “They don’t call me Alligator Steve for nothing, mates. Perfect cover as there aren’t any rules against alligators playing middle school water polo.” With that he looks into Bessy’s eyes. “Remember, mate. Middle school,” and Bessy responds with a growl that sounds startlingly like “Extreme friendship.” That’s right! We’re taking a dive into the world of animal films by watching a classic of the animals-play-sports genre: Ed, starring Matt LeBlanc. It’s just a simple tale of a small town boy trying to make it to the big leagues… and also a chimpanzee is on the team.

The man stares into the mirror at his face. A robot arm comes up and prods the new flesh. Nearby another man marvels at his robot legs. “Heh heh… Just call me MVP,” he says. “Most Valuable Prosthetics,” the other replies and they cackle with glee. That’s right! As a Bring a Friend companion we are going to rot our brains by consuming MVP: Most Valuable Primate… at least it isn’t Most Vertical or Extreme Primate. Not sure I could have handled that shit. Let’s go!

Ed (1996) – BMeTric: 65.4; Notability: 30 

EdIMDb_BMeT

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(Holy crap that rating is so low. Completely makes up for the fact that less than 10K people have bothered to rate it on IMDb. And the Notability of 30 is kind of crazy. Possibly it is due to a bunch of baseball people being involved in various parts of the production and cameos and stuff? Who knows. This seems like a legendarily bad kids film though.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Nervous pitcher getting his big break on a minor-league baseball team becomes roommate with the club’s new third baseman: a full-grown chimpanzee. Uninspired vehicle for Friends star LeBlanc (and Hollywood debut for award-winning documentary director Couturie). Strikes out as a warm family comedy, though younger viewers may be amused.

(Sounds about right. It is bizarre just how big the film seems given just how dull the storyline seems. Something was really happening in the mid-90s. It seems like a bunch of production companies were flailing about with different niche genres to try and make money.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InqDF8ImCgU/

(Man I remember this trailer! Let’s see, I was like 10 at the time. I remember seeing the film, but I imagine I just caught it randomly on cable at some point after. But who knows, we were decent Friends fans so we might have rented it. I also remember the ice cream scene being disgusting.)

Directors – Bill Couturié – (BMT: Ed; Notes: A documentary filmmaker of some acclaim, winning the oscar in 1989 for best documentary about the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Him and Ken Richards I think might be partners of some kind as they’ve done multiple documentaries together.)

Writers – Ken Richards (story) – (BMT: Ed; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Ed in 1997; Notes: Has only done documentaries besides getting credited for this. He has a few about the life of a soldier in war from both wars in Iraq.)

Janus Cercone (story) – (Known For: Leap of Faith; BMT: Ed; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Ed in 1997; Notes: He wrote the book for the Leap of Faith musical adaptation as well.)

David Mickey Evans (screenplay) (as David M. Evans) – (Known For: The Sandlot Kids; BMT: Ed; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Ed in 1997; Notes: He’s uncredited as the writer of Radio Flyer, but he apparently wrote it initially and sold it for over a million dollars. He also sold The Sandlot for a lot, and has written the sequels as well.)

Actors – Matt LeBlanc – (Known For: Charlie’s Angels; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Future BMT: All the Queen’s Men; Lovesick; BMT: Ed; Lost in Space; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star in 1997 for Ed, Mother, She’s the One, and The Pallbearer; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Ed in 1997; Notes: You know him as Joey from Friends. I know him as Don West in Lost in Space. The first of two major film roles he would have, he mostly has always done television including Episodes.)

Jayne Brook – (Known For: Kindergarten Cop; Gattaca; Future BMT: Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead; Last Dance; Clean Slate; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Ed; Bye Bye Love; Notes: Also mostly television including a major role in Star Trek: Discovery. She did bit parts mostly, this was her only starring role.)

Jim Caviezal – (Known For: The Passion of the Christ; The Rock; The Count of Monte Cristo; Escape Plan; The Thin Red Line; Wyatt Earp; Deja Vu; My Own Private Idaho; Frequency; G.I. Jane; The Ballad of Lefty Brown; Paul, Apostle of Christ; Ride with the Devil; The Stoning of Soraya M.; Midnight Sting; Transit; Future BMT: Ed; Angel Eyes; Long Weekend; Highwaymen; Outlander; The Final Cut; Blue Chips; High Crimes; Unknown; When the Game Stands Tall; Savannah; Notes: Has maintained that his star has faded partially due to his strong religious beliefs (part of why he took the role of Jesus in The Passion of the Christ). He was a genuine movie star from around 2000-2010, but now he kind of seems to do religious films mostly.)

Budget/Gross – $24 million / Domestic: $4,422,380 (Worldwide: $4,422,380)

(How could that budget possibly be right? I guess the animatronic chimpanzee would be pretty expensive … but for real could that possibly be right? That is more than Air Bud made. There has to be some nonsense accounting in there, there is no way anyone thinks Ed is going to make like $50 million.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/16)

(Wow! A true blue zero-percenter! We haven’t seen one of those in years. Let’s write a consensus: Will only amuse the under-10 year old crowd, otherwise it is an unadventurous bore. Reviewer Highlight: Mr. LeBlanc … is so blank that the only impression he makes is of having teeth that are very large and unnaturally white. – Stephen Holden, New York Times)

Poster – Ape-mazing!: The Jack Cooper Story (C)

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(There’s something beautiful and yet sad about this poster. I want to paint it and then destroy the painting. Seriously, though, there is something actually artistic in how things are spaced in the poster and some nice red theme… those two things claw it back to a C rating. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I think I’m getting a bit better at putting my face into poor quality posters. The poor quality also helped in that I didn’t have to worry too much about removing that giant Ed title and getting the grass “just right”.)

Tagline(s) – Minor league. Major friendship. (A+)

(Probably one of the best taglines I’ve come across. I mean… it’s near perfection. The only critique is that you don’t necessarily get a sense that it’s about a chimpanzee, but who cares? Major friendship? Sign me up.)

Keyword – baseball movie

Ed_baseball movie

Top 10: Major League (1989), Moneyball (2011), A League of Their Own (1992), The Sandlot Kids (1993), The Natural (1984), Rookie of the Year (1993), The Perfect Catch (2005), Field of Dreams (1989), Bull Durham (1988), The Rookie (2002)

Future BMT: 50.7 Major League: Back to the Minors (1998), 34.7 The Fan (1996), 32.7 The Scout (1994), 29.1 Rookie of the Year (1993), 27.0 Angels in the Outfield (1994), 23.9 Mr. Baseball (1992), 21.5 Little Big League (1994), 18.6 The Slugger’s Wife (1985), 6.7 The Final Season (2007);

BMT: The Benchwarmers (2006), Ed (1996)

(Oh wow, only our second one. Honestly the weirdest bit is how consistent baseball movies have always been. They’ve completely disappeared recently … but maybe all sports movies have moved to VOD? I’m trying to think of the last baseball or football movie I’ve seen go to theaters. That was the Affleck basketball movie. It does seem like maybe “sports” movies are getting to be smaller affairs. I’m excited to watch The Fan and Mr. Baseball since I haven’t seen those before.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Matt LeBlanc is No. 1 billed in Ed and No. 3 billed in Lost in Space, which also stars Heather Graham (No. 5 billed) who is in Say It Isn’t So (No. 2 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 3 + 5 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 14. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc’s co-star from Friends (1994), was considered for the lead role. (He ended up being a movie star for a bit in the late 90s and early 00s. He genuinely had never starred in a wide release film until Fools Rush In in 1997, so he might have actually done it if he got it)

Ed watches an episode of Friends (1994), the show that made Matt LeBlanc a star. The scene he watches features Marcel, the pet monkey of one of the characters.

Ed, the chimp, is actually “just a guy in a suit” (according to Matt Leblanc), with a mechanically controlled head. That head made so much noise that all the dialogue in the scenes which included the “chimp” had to be re-dubbed in post-production.

Texas Rangers second baseman Mark McLemore, long time friend of Matt LeBlanc, spent time during off season teaching LeBlanc how to look and play like a major league baseball player.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Rosalie Swedlin, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Matt LeBlanc, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (David Mickey Evans, Ken Richards, Janus Cercone, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, 1997)

Masters of the Universe Preview

“Down!” Adrestia shouts as she tackles Rich to the ground. A shot rings out and a window shatters. “Go!” Rich barks and with that they are out the door. They see a man disappear around the corner of the school, but before Rich can pull out his patented Twin Speed, Adrestia is off like a flash. Rich is stunned. Thinking fast, he stops at the nearest soda machine for the unrivaled energy and refreshment of a delicious Mountain Dew. Doing the Dew, Rich is able to catch up to Adrestia just in time to help take down the fleeing shooter. “Nice running,” says Rich and before he can even ask Adrestia points to her legs. Robot legs, of course. At that they unmask the suspect to reveal none other than Alligator Steve! “Of course, it only makes sense it was you all long,” says Rich, but Steve protests and pulls out a badge, “Det. O’Malley, Mate. I swear I wasn’t trying to kill you. I was trying to save my world.” Rich is confused. Save his world? From the gamemaster? And Steve nods. “The gamemaster is pulling all the strings. The rogue cops, the riots, everything. It’s all to stop you from completing the task. And if we don’t stop you he’ll destroy my home… my fambly,” he finishes, descending into a low, emotional growl. Suddenly Steve looks up and his eyes are shining, “but now I see… what’s inside of you. It’s not just my home that is at stake is it?” And Rich shakes his head. With that Steve pulls himself up from the ground and extends his hand, “Crikey, then I’m in… let’s go save the whole universe, Mate.” That’s right! We’re going back in time to our youth to watch the classic action figure turned cartoon turned major motion picture, Masters of the Universe. We are using this as the MacGuffin entry of the cycle as The Cosmic Key is an all-timer when it comes to unexplainable, mostly magical objects of power in cinematic history. So get ready to blast out some sweet synth notes as we jam out to Masters of the Universe. Let’s go!

Masters of the Universe (1987) – BMeTric: 50.1; Notability: 53 

MastersoftheUniverseIMDb_BMeT

MastersoftheUniverseIMDb_RV

(Huh, I wonder why it increased so much in the early 2000s … unclear. Very nice how low it is and is staying. I’ve seen pieces of this film before, at the very least it looks like complete crap.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  He-Man (Lundgren) comes to Earth seeking a key that controls the power of the universe, stolen by cosmic crub Skeletor (unrecognizable Langella); somehow two teen puppy-lovers get involved. Elaborate comic book nonsense (which has had another life in kiddie animation) is dumb but inoffensive.

(I love dumb but inoffensive. That “somehow” is doing some heavy lifting, and can basically be used to describe any ridiculous sci-fi / action B-story issue. Like Pearl Harbor: “Somehow a love triangle becomes the focus of the film.”)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF20B8p4F08/

(Wow, Skeletor’s costume looks even worse than I remembered. Truly horrific. Reminds me of Howard the Duck and The Garbage Pail Kids’ Movie. That level of shooting incredibly far over their budget/technological capabilities at the time.)

Directors – Gary Goddard – (BMT: Masters of the Universe; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Tarzan the Ape Man in 1982; Notes: He founded Landmark Entertainment Group for which he directed many of the biggest theme park videos (T-2 3D, Jurassic Park intro, etc.))

Writers – David Odell (written by) – (Known For: The Dark Crystal; Future BMT: Supergirl; BMT: Masters of the Universe; Notes: He wrote on the Muppet Show in the 80s and wrote on a few other Muppet things over the years. He seems to have effectively retired in 1990.)

Stephen Tolkin (rewrite) (uncredited) – (Future BMT: Captain America; BMT: Masters of the Universe; Notes: Mostly wrote for television. His brother, Michael, was nominated for an Oscar for The Player, and his father was an Emmy nominated comedy write from the 50s all the way into the 80s.)

Gary Goddard (rewrite) (uncredited) – (Future BMT: Tarzan the Ape Man; BMT: Masters of the Universe; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Tarzan the Ape Man in 1982; Notes: He created a Captain Power television program prior to Masters of the Universe which he wrote on. It was canceled after one season.)

Actors – Dolph Lundgren – (Known For: Aquaman; Creed II; Hail, Caesar!; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Don’t Kill It; Future BMT: Red Scorpion; The Punisher; Black Water; Skin Trade; The Peacekeeper; Showdown in Little Tokyo; Dark Angel; A View to a Kill; Small Apartments; Rocky IV; BMT: Masters of the Universe; Johnny Mnemonic; Universal Soldier; The Expendables 3; Notes: A world class kickboxer, he also has an advanced degree in Chemical Engineering. Apparently he still does some work with his brother who is a scientist.)

Frank Langella – (Known For: Captain Fantastic; Lolita; Red Dragon; Noah; The Ninth Gate; Superman Returns; Unknown; Small Soldiers; Muppets Most Wanted; Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps; Draft Day; Frost/Nixon; Dave; The Box; Good Night, and Good Luck.; 5 to 7; The Tale of Despereaux; Robot & Frank; Dracula; The Prophet; Future BMT: Junior; Eddie; Cutthroat Island; Grace of Monaco; And God Created Woman; All Good Things; Bad Company; Brainscan; 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Sweet November; The Caller; BMT: Body of Evidence; Masters of the Universe; Notes: Started out as an acclaimed Broadway actor, winning a Tony for his role in Seascape in 1975. Nominated for an Oscar for Frost/Nixon.)

Meg Foster – (Known For: Overlord; They Live; 31; The Lords of Salem; The Emerald Forest; Blind Fury; The Osterman Weekend; Ticket to Heaven; The Minus Man; Relentless; Future BMT: Jeepers Creepers 3; Leviathan; Best of the Best II; Stepfather II; BMT: Masters of the Universe; Notes: We’ve actually seen her before in a Friend of BMT, Future Kick. She starred in that film. She had quite the straight-to-video career in the early 90s.)

Budget/Gross – $22 million / Domestic: $17,336,370 (Worldwide: $17,336,370)

(An unmitigated disaster that apparently helped Cannon Films to go under. So that, maybe, is a net positive? I kid, but for real every Cannon film I’ve seen looks like garbage, so I wasn’t surprised to hear they produced this movie.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (4/23): Masters of the Universe is a slapdash adaptation of the He-Man mythos that can’t overcome its cynical lack of raison d’etre, no matter how admirably Frank Langella throws himself into the role of Skeletor.

(I just love the stories about Langella in this. He either hated working on this or loved it. He either thought everything was trash or he loved it. Mixed signals from everyone. It’s going to sound obvious but I think he may have done this movie for one reason: $$$. Reviewer Highlight: The result is a colossal bore. – Variety)

Poster – Masters of the MacGuffinverse (C+)

masters_of_the_universe

(This poster is really telling a story… and it’s not a great one. It seems like if I were a huge fan of Masters of the Universe I would probably be like “just please don’t make it the case that He-Man and the gang are transported to Earth for some reason.” Then I would see the poster and be like “well, Shit.” Spacing is bad and too much going on, but some nice on-brand font and general blue tone. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I was going for speed in this case, and I came in at just around 60-70 minutes. Which is quite good. It took me about 50 minutes for the words, and then the face went pretty quickly. Not the best face I’ve done, but again, this one was for speed and I think looks pretty good.)

Tagline(s) – A battle fought in the stars, now… comes to Earth. (D)

(Lol, what? If you think about the synopsis of the cartoon, all events take place in a relatively small kingdom of Eternia. So when was the battle fought in the stars? They aren’t in spaceships or anything. This feels very much like “let’s get those Star Wars butts in the seats,” and I don’t appreciate that.)

Keyword – based on toy

MastersoftheUniverse_based on toy

Top 10: The Lego Batman Movie (2017), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Trolls (2016), Bumblebee (2018), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Transformers (2007), The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019), The Lego Movie (2014), Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), UglyDolls (2019)

Future BMT: 65.0 Max Steel (2016), 57.1 Jem and the Holograms (2015), 41.0 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009), 37.4 UglyDolls (2019), 34.4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), 27.9 Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), 2.6 Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer (1985);

BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Masters of the Universe (1987), Bratz (2007), Ouija (2014)

(Amazing. Basically bad production companies like Cannon producing schlock in the 80s. After those companies went under the big production houses knew better in the 90s. And then Transformers changed the game again in the 2000s. Looks to be slowing in the last decade. A lot of the future BMT I’ve actually already seen, although I am excited for Max Steel and Jem and the Holograms.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Dolph Lundgren is No. 1 billed in Masters of the Universe and No. 8 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 + 8 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Zoom we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – The Throne Room set of Castle Grayskull was originally two large, adjoining sound stages. The wall between the sets was knocked down to make one gigantic sound stage. At that time, this was the largest set Hollywood had seen in over 40 years.

Frank Langella went on record in an interview stating that playing Skeletor was one of his favorite roles. His young son was a huge fan and was running around the house shouting “By the power of Grayskull,” so he took the role for him. He wrote some of his own lines, like: “Tell me about the loneliness of good, He-Man. Is it equal to the loneliness of evil?”

Anthony De Longis trained Dolph Lundgren in the use of a sword. He also choreographed the sword fight between He-Man and Blade and the climatic duel between He-Man and Skeletor. De Longis also played Skeletor during the final fight, instead of Frank Langella.

Mattel, the toy company that produced the original He-Man toys, ran a contest where the winner would get a role in the new He-Man movie. The production was under a great deal of pressure to finish in time and under budget, so director Gary Goddard had to squeeze the contest winner into the shoot. The winner, Richard Szponder, is Pigboy, who hands Skeletor his staff when he returns from Earth. He was even listed in the ending credits. (Ha, funny)

Dolph Lundgren said in a French magazine that working on this film was “a nightmare”. The shooting schedule was five months, including two months of night shooting. He said he was approached to do a sequel during shooting, and he turned down the offer. However in an interview with the IO9 website promoting The Expendables (2010), Lundgren said he would return to appear in a new “Masters of the Universe” movie, as either a cameo or He-Man.

A script for the sequel, to be titled “Masters of the Universe 2: Cyborg” was written. It followed He-Man, who returned to Earth to battle Skeletor, who had left Earth a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The film was to feature Trap Jaw and She-Ra, and Albert Pyun was hired to direct. Because the film bombed at the box office, Mattel and Cannon decided to cancel production on the sequel. Pyun rewrote the script, which became Cyborg (1989).

Mattel, which owned and produced the “Masters of the Universe” toyline, mandated early in production that He-Man could not kill anyone on screen. That’s why Skeletor’s troops are robots. (Basically the same thing with Disney properties now. They always kill like … clones and robots, or mindless aliens or something)

Meg Foster said that she based her character on Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. In the film’s beginning, she is a pantomime villainess but obviously deeply in love with Skeletor. As the storyline progresses, she gradually comes to realise that he does not truly care for her. In the end, she abandons him to his fate, her withdrawal of her forces leads to his eventual defeat. In Foster’s opinion, the character progresses from evildoer to scorned woman to tragic heroine.

A total of three working Cosmic Key props were built for the film, each personally constructed by Richard Edlund. The props were extremely fragile and broke down easily, so a special team of prop technicians had to be on hand at all times to repair damage during filming. As of 2012, they are valued at $6,000 each.

Because of financial difficulties, Cannon Cinema made a decision to discontinue all filming three days before its scheduled end, leaving the movie in a quandary. All the climactic scenes were completed bar the final battle and resolution between He-Man and Skeletor. After two months, the Cannon Cinema executives allowed director Gary Goddard to film the ending in a complete, albeit rushed manner.

Production designer William Stout took an existing fast food stand in Lake View Terrace and transformed this into “Robby’s Ribs ‘n’ Chicken” where Julie Winston works. According to Stout, the same fast food place was later the site of the infamous Rodney King beating. (That is a wild fact)

At the 1987 Cannes Festival press conference, producer Menahem Golan announced that lead actor Dolph Lundgren was set to reprise his role as He-Man and that he had already signed on for two more movies. However, Lundgren refused to reprise his role when he was offered it while filming Red Scorpion (1988) and went on record in a 1989 interview with Comics Scene magazine that he felt playing He-Man was his “lowest point as an actor”. His role was recast with surfer Laird Hamilton but the “Masters of the Universe” sequel ultimately never happened. (Wild, that guy ended up not really acting in anything)

The character Gwildor was created to replace Orko from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983). (Obviously)

The original budget of $17 million increased to $22 million and this became Cannon Films’ most expensive film.

During production, Gary Goddard developed Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future (1987) which premiered on American television the same year as the release of Masters of the Universe (1987). (Uh …. Do I watch that then? No, surely I watch some of the He-man cartoon instead …)

In the official “Masters of the Universe” comic book adaptation, an alternate ending is used that was written for the movie but never filmed. In the comic, after the final battle between He-Man and Skeletor, Man-At-Arms comes from the depths of Castle Grayskull carrying a NASA and United States flag. The NASA flag has “Starfinder 5. July 10, 2221” written on it, revealing that the first humans on Eternia were actually from a future American space mission. (WHAAAAAA)

Cannon Films originally had plans to make a Spider-Man movie but opted instead to take the money and split it in two for two other films: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) and Masters of the Universe. The plan was to take the profits from both movies and make a large-budget Spider-Man movie. Both movies bombed at the box-office and the Cannon-produced Spider-Man movie never materialized.

Gary Goddard came up with the idea of Skeletor in a bottomless pit filled with bubbling red water at the very end of the film. After filming the final battle between He-Man and Skeletor which took one day to shoot. Gary Goddard told Frank Langella his idea for the very end of the film and that Frank Langella approved. Boss Studios prepared a vat of bubbling red liquid and Gary Goddard walked Frank Langella in full costume and make up to the vat of bubbling liquid and told him that “You get there in full make up and costume and you pop up and says “I’LL BE BACK!”. And they got the shot and this was the last shot of the day.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Billy Barty, 1988)

The Twilight Saga: New Moon Preview

As Rich and Poe walk down the hallway with the teacher, Ms. Halloway, they wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into. If this was a The Substitute scenario they should be bashing skulls and taking names by now. “Maybe we’re missing a crime… a murder to solve?” Poe ponders. Ah, a The Substitute 2: School’s Out scenario… definitely possible, Rich agrees. “You know we can stop this ruse, right?” Ms. Halloway says behind them. They slowly turn and attempt to sputter out an excuse, but Ms. Halloway just smirks and flips open a badge. “Det. Halloway, BMTPD. You boys are a little late to the party.” What a twist! But how could she have seen through their bulletproof nerd alert disguises. “Well, you are both forty years old,” she explains, “and as a cop it was easy to connect the dots from there.” Clever girl. “I’ve been working undercover on the case for two years and you two stroll in and nearly blow the whole thing on day one. Lucky for you I know these kids and I know what they want.” Rich and Poe’s hearts leap, perhaps this is the break they need. “Love.” Rich is deflated. Love is lame. What about bashing skulls? What about patented Twin Chops, backflips, and abs. Pffff. Love. But Poe’s eyes are shining and he steps closer to Ms. Halloway. “What if I told you I know a little something about that.” He steps even closer. “You ever heard of a book called The Platonic Solids Series Part I: Outside the Box?” he asks breathily, inches from Ms. Halloways quivering lips. “It’s… it’s my favorite book,” she replies in a whisper, her bosom heaving and breath bated in anticipation. And with that they begin to make out… hard. That’s right! We are finally dipping our toes in the mother of all teen love triangle romances with the second Twilight film The Twilight Saga: New Moon. This is also one of only two qualifying films. So we are leaving the series hanging, but hopefully not for long. I’m ready for the steamy vampire-werewolf romance extravaganza. Let’s go!

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) – BMeTric: 78.1; Notability: 63 

TheTwilightSagaNewMoonIMDb_BMeT

TheTwilightSagaNewMoonIMDb_RV

(Quite intriguing how low that is. I assume that is mostly because of the demographics of the people who vote on IMDb. I remember this movie mostly just being boring. That doesn’t feel sub-5.0 to be, but we’ll see.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – The characters in this movie should be arrested for loitering with intent to moan. Never have teenagers been in greater need of a jump-start. Granted some of them are more than 100 years old, but still: their charisma is by Madame Tussaud.

(Ooooooo, so maybe it is just so boring that it ends up being really really terrible! Because one star is really really low as well. This is precisely how I remember this.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNi-ebCWXos/

(Oh, I love you so much Bella. Oh, I love you so much Edward. Let’s die together, that would be super romantical wouldn’t it? Oh … that’s my impression of Twilight. Nailed it.)

Directors – Chris Weitz – (Known For: American Pie; The Golden Compass; Operation Finale; About a Boy; A Better Life; Future BMT: Down to Earth; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for About a Boy. Apparently he was uncredited on American Pie, presumably because he was just helping his older brother to direct it.)

Writers – Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay) – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Future BMT: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Step Up; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2010 for The Twilight Saga: New Moon; in 2011 for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; in 2012 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; and in 2013 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Notes: Wrote the entire series. A legend of television, she produced and wrote on Melrose Place, The O.C., and Dexter among many many others.)

Stephenie Meyer (novel) – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Future BMT: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; The Host; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 in 2013; Notes: Wrote the novels. Apparently the idea for the storyline came to her in a dream, the idea of a vampire being in love with a human woman while thirsting for her blood.)

Actors – Kristen Stewart – (Known For: Charlie’s Angels; Underwater; Twilight; Into the Wild; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Snow White and the Huntsman; Zathura: A Space Adventure; American Ultra; Panic Room; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Adventureland; Still Alice; Cafe Society; The Runaways; On the Road; Personal Shopper; Certain Women; Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk; J.T. LeRoy; Clouds of Sils Maria; Future BMT: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Cold Creek Manor; The Messengers; Catch That Kid; Equals; Seberg; Cell K-11; Anesthesia; Fierce People; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; Jumper; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 2013 for Snow White and the Huntsman, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 in 2012; Nominee for Worst Actress for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2010 for The Twilight Saga: New Moon; and in 2013 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Notes: Notably had an affair with the director Rupert Sanders, which caused her initial breakup with Robert Pattinson. She is bisexual and has mostly been in relationships with women recently.)

Robert Pattinson – (Known For: The Lighthouse; The King; Good Time; Twilight; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; The Lost City of Z; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; High Life; Waiting for the Barbarians; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Vanity Fair; Water for Elephants; The Rover; Maps to the Stars; Cosmopolis; Damsel; Life; The Childhood of a Leader; Future BMT: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Bel Ami; Queen of the Desert; Little Ashes; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for Remember Me, and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; and in 2013 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Twilight Saga: New Moon in 2010; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2012 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; and in 2013 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Notes: He is going to be The Batman. During his entire Twilight period he would have amusing interviews where he would appear bemused about the various odd storylines from the film, look them up.)

Taylor Lautner – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Future BMT: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Tracers; Run the Tide; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; The Ridiculous 6; Abduction; Grown Ups 2; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Valentine’s Day; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 in 2013; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and Valentine’s Day; and in 2012 for Abduction, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Grown Ups 2 in 2014; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2010 for The Twilight Saga: New Moon; and in 2012 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Notes: Been moving more into prestige television recently, specifically was in Cuckoo for the past several years.)

Budget/Gross – $50,000,000 / Domestic: $297,816,253 (Worldwide: $711,020,081)

(Obviously, a huge success. One of the most successful series in cinema history. Single-handedly made vampires a huge thing again.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 28% (64/227): The Twilight Saga’s second installment may satisfy hardcore fans of the series, but outsiders are likely to be turned off by its slow pace, relentlessly downcast tone, and excessive length.

(This is what I remember. Just Bella moping about depressed for an hour and a half. Reviewer Highlight: The boys preen while the girl sulks. And pouts. And sulks. And pouts. – Richard Roeper, RichardRoeper.com)

Poster – The Platonic Solids Series Part 2: Love on the Blocks (C)

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(Gonna be honest. I don’t really like that. The colors are drab and otherwise just the usually human mess. Some OK font, but even the spacing seems off. Like there is too much space around them.)

Tagline(s) – The Next Chapter Begins (F)

(Blah, boo. Give me something more than that. I spent more time thinking up the “Love on the Blocks” subtitle for the fake second book of our fake teen romance series.)

Keyword – vampire

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Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), Twilight (2008), The Lost Boys (1987), I Am Legend (2007), Hellboy (2019), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Underworld: Blood Wars (2016), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012)

Future BMT: 89.4 Vampires Suck (2010), 87.9 BloodRayne (2005), 72.2 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), 51.1 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010), 48.6 Sleepwalkers (1992), 43.9 Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), 43.8 Priest (2011), 42.2 Transylvania 6-5000 (1985), 41.8 Bordello of Blood (1996), 40.8 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003);

BMT: Hellboy (2019), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), Vampire Academy (2014), Queen of the Damned (2002), Dracula 2001 (2000), Ultraviolet (2006), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Dudley Do-Right (1999)

(The crescendo is right after the Twilight books hit it big, they were trying to capture that fanaticism. It has, naturally, kind of slip away recently as one would expect. I’m excited for … Priest. That has been on the docket for years.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Taylor Lautner is No. 3 billed in The Twilight Saga: New Moon and No. 2 billed in Ridiculous Six, which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 15. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Just before Jacob almost kisses Bella, he says “Kwop kilawtley”, which means “stay with me forever” in Quileute.

Each member of the wolf pack had to have papers proving their Native descent. Chaske Spencer is Lakota (Sioux), Bronson Pelletier is Cree-Metis, Alex Meraz is Purepecha (Tarasco), Kiowa Gordon is Hualapai, and Tyson Houseman, who was discovered at an open casting call, is Cree.

After months of speculation and rumors, director Chris Weitz and the novel’s author, Stephenie Meyer, confirmed on her official website that Taylor Lautner would be reprising his role as Jacob Black. It was doubted as the filmmakers feared he would not be able to become fit enough in time. However, he was given the go-ahead after gaining 26 pounds of muscle.

Summit Entertainment greenlit this sequel one day after Twilight (2008) had opened in theaters.

The Italian sequences were shot over a period of 4 days. Red was deliberately kept out of the color palette until the Italian sequences.

While Carlisle is cleaning Bella’s wounds after the party, when he burns the blood-soaked gauze, the gauze forms the flower that is present on the New Moon book cover.

When Michael Sheen was cast as Aro, he had no clue of who the character is nor what are his characteristics. He learned as much as he could including the character’s back story from his daughter Lily Mo Sheen who is a fan of the series.

Contrary to scheduling conflict claims, Catherine Hardwicke turned down directing this film because the release date set by Summit (exactly one year after the first film’s release) would not allow her to have enough time to work on the script. With Hardwicke out, the studio scrambled in looking for a replacement director until producer Wyck Godfrey had to turn to his friend Chris Weitz who eventually agreed to do the film.

“New Moon” is Robert Pattinson’s favorite book in the Twilight series.

Ashley Greene wore a different wig than the one she wore in Twilight (2008), to portray Alice Cullen. She also cut her hair quite short so that it could fit under the wig.

A vampire’s diet is revealed by the color of the eyes – the Cullens feast only on animal blood and therefore have topaz eyes, whereas the Nomads and the Volturi have red eyes indicating they feast upon human blood.

The town of Voltera was chosen because of its uncanny resemblance to the Italian town described in Stephenie Meyer’s novel. The only difference was that its main square lacked a fountain which production designer David Brisbin duly had built from wood.

Every song that appears in the film and on the soundtrack is original and written specifically for the film.

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

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, 2010)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Robert Pattinson, 2010)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel (2010)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Melissa Rosenberg, 2010)