Manos: The Hands of Fate Preview

As mentioned in the Bye Bye Man preview, Manos: Hands of Fate doesn’t fit traditionally into BMT because of its pre-1980 release. Buuuuuut, since it is so iconic, we felt like it deserved the real preview / recap respect. Shot in 1966 on a super low budget by a random Texan businessman/amateur theater actor I have no more expectations for this than I would a film like Birdemic. It’s just an amateurish film made by a delusional person that should never have seen the light of day. Will likely be a bore, but that’s what this cycle is all about. Finding out whether these categories are as boring as we assumed when we precluded them. Let’s go!

Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966) – BMeTric: 88.1 (#5 on the IMDb Bottom 100)

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(Obviously the reason we are here. I’m most interested in that jump in 2013. I found two plausible explanations in the wikipedia page. First there was a kickstarter that year to get a puppet version made. I think that is a bit niche and thus unlikely. That was also the year they announced a prequel being made. I’m more inclined to believe something like that’s when the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode went on netflix, but I don’t really have any evidence for that. A mystery, although likely an extremely solvable one.)

?????? – ??? stars –  ????

(I couldn’t really find a review for this film at all. There are some … but they are about at the level of this blog anyways (and our monthly hits are … not impressive). Rather than confusingly link to something like that let’s marvel at the fact that a film can be as revered at this one and yet no legitimate news source has decided to retroactively review the film. C’mon … that’s weird.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRcGukCdr3c

(I mean … like what the fuck? Just like … what the fuck?)

Directors – Harold P. Warren – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: Often referred to as a fertilizer salesman even though he actually sold insurance at the time of filming.)

Writers – Harold P. Warren (screenplay) – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: Ultimately even though he admitted the film was terrible he remained proud of it and would often where his costume throughout the rest of his life.)

Actors – Tom Neyman – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: I going to be be in some strange revival of the film (Manos Returns) next year, may God help us all.)

John Reynolds – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: Helped to design the trademark “knees” of Torgo in the film, for which he would become (mildly) famous.)

Diane Adelson – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: Became a rather accomplished model after Manos and is currently, seemingly, an antiques dealer.)

Budget/Gross – $19,000 / N/A

(Not real obviously. This film made no money basically only being shown in El Paso, Texas where is was made. The budget it seemingly real at least.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (1/14): No consensus yet.

(I’ll have to make a consensus: Barely a movie, in that soul-crushingly not-fun way we all know and love. Oof. Always though with films like this since all of the reviews are from now. Was a 0% until literally months ago for example.)

Poster – Manos: Sklogs of Fate (F)

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(This certainly didn’t have a poster when released. I think everything online is probably from the post-fame era of the film’s existence. Still an F.)

Tagline(s) – It’s Shocking! It’s Beyond Your Imagination! (F)

(I doubt this had any taglines in reality. It was basically not released so why would it need a tagline. I kept this one as a warning to all those that attempt to pass something like this off as a real tagline. I don’t accept it!)

Keyword(s) – family in peril; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.1 Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966); 57.7 The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007); 17.4 Supremacy (I) (2014);

(NOPE. Hilarious that Seeker comes up in both this and Bye Bye Man in a way though. Although in the most tangential way possible. This movie shares a keyword with it. The Bye Bye Man’s main character’s brother was in Seeker … small world?)

Notes – Cast and crew recall that John Reynolds was on LSD during filming, explaining his confused behavior and incessant twitching in virtually all of his scenes.

The entire film was shot with a hand-held camera that could only record 32 seconds of film at a time. It was also shot without sound; all the lines were dubbed later by two men and one woman. Jackey Neyman Jones cried when she first heard her dubbed voice.

The film had a gala premiere in El Paso. Many local dignitaries attended. Members of the audience began heckling the film during the premiere. Many of the film’s cast and crew sneaked out of the theater before the film ended, to avoid having to admit being part of it.

The only cast members who were paid for their performances were Jackey Neyman Jones, who got a bicycle, and the Doberman, which got a bag of dog food. The rest of the cast was supposed to receive a cut of the movie’s profits, which never materialized. Director Harold P. Warren also gave the crew shares, instead of a salary.

Lighting was limited for the film, which explains the infamous scene in which two cops literally take two steps to investigate, then turn back.

Despite the film’s negative reception, Harold P. Warren was so proud of it that he began wearing the Master’s robe every Halloween. His son Joe Neal Warren has carried on the tradition.

The film was popularized by a 1993 episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (1988), in which Joel and the Bots, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot, go mad while suffering through the film’s endless boredom. The creators of the show called this the worst film that had been featured.

In 2011, Benjamin Solovey found the work print, made from the original 16mm reversal stock. It was in pristine condition. Solovey released the digitally restored film in DVD and Blu-ray formats in October 2015. A new short documentary about the Making of Manos, including interviews with surviving cast members, was included.

The endless driving sequences at the beginning were supposed to have the opening credits over them.

The snake Michael shoots looks a lot better than the rest of the film because it was stock footage lifted from a Disney nature documentary. It’s also why the snake is on purple carpet.

Harold P. Warren only did two takes of each shot. If things didn’t go well, he reassured the novice cast that the magic of Hollywood would fix any errors in post-production.

As filming dragged on and on, the increasingly disgruntled crew began to refer to the movie as “Mangos: The Cans of Fruit”.

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The Bye Bye Man Preview

We finish up our Bring a Friend cycle by transitioning to the final cycle of the year, our traditional year-end Smaddies Baddies year in review cycle. It’s where we get to watch many of the worst films of 2017 that we didn’t get to watch in one of our BMT Live! events. Now that we are BMT horror fans and aspiring aficionados it’s only fitting that we start by pairing one of the worst reviewed horror films of 2017 with one of the worst films of all times. That’s right we’re watching The Bye Bye ManOs: Hands of Fate. The Bye Bye Man has been on our radar ever since it’s pretty ridiculous trailers (and even more ridiculous name) that seemed to air constantly during last football season. In quite the coincidence I was also watching a past Survivor season (yes, I watch past seasons of Survivor for fun in my spare time. So what?) that happened to feature a contestant by the name of Jonathan Penner. Why is it a coincidence? Because Penner also wrote The Bye Bye Man. So it was literally seared into my brain that we must, must, must watch this film in the future. As for Manos: Hands of Fate, while it’s considered one of the worst films of all time it doesn’t fit traditionally into BMT because of its pre-1980 release. Shot in 1966 on a super low budget by a random Texan businessman/amateur theater actor I have no more expectations for this than I would a film like Birdemic. It’s just an amateurish film made by a delusional person that should never have seen the light of day. Will likely be a bore, but that’s what this cycle is all about. Finding out whether these categories are as boring as we assumed when we precluded them. Let’s go!

The Bye Bye Man (2017) – BMeTric: 63.4

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(That VOD bump though! This looks like a classic in the making. It ticked up a bit after the VOD release, but staying steady at 4.4 is very impressive indeed. Looking very promising for staying above 50+ BMeTric for its career.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars –  Both as a straightforward horror exercise and a look at the perils revolving around off-campus housing in Wisconsin, “The Bye Bye Man” is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.

(Oooooooh yeah. Don’t tantalize me like this RogerEbert.com, my heart can only handle so much. This movie is either going to be hilarious, or an unfortunate mind-bending disaster like The Devil Inside. I’m excited to see which.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDPf9fZl4Bs

(It’s …. The Bye Bye Man. Looks ridiculous. Like funny ridiculous. Like the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen, and my mind can only accept one thing: this is a steaming white hot pile of garbage. I’m excited.)

Directors – Stacy Title – (Known For: The Last Supper; Let the Devil Wear Black; Future BMT: Hood of Horror; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Directed her husband Jonathan Penner in this, The Last Supper, and Let the Devil Wear Black. He also wrote The Bye Bye Man.)

Writers – Jonathan Penner (screenplay by) – (Known For: Let the Devil Wear Black; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Multiple time contestant on Survivor. Despite being on three seasons he never made it all that far into any season but was a fan favorite. Also husband of director Stacy Title.)

Robert Damon Schneck (based on “The Bridge to Body Island” by) – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Guy who specializes in writing about urban legends and supernatural phenomena. His books sounds kind of fun for maybe a future read.)

Actors – Douglas Smith – (Known For: Miss Sloane; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; Blast from the Past; Antiviral; State’s Evidence; Future BMT: Ouija; Sleepover; Stage Fright; Hangman’s Curse; Terminator Genisys; The Beautiful Ordinary; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Brother of Gregory Smith who we saw in previous BMT films The Seeker: The Dark is Rising and American Outlaws.)

Lucien Laviscount – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: British actor knew to American film, but in so much British TV that I’m guessing Patrick has inadvertently seen him before in something.)

Cressida Bonas – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Tulip Fever; Notes: British actress just on the scene. Already making a BMT splash with this and Tulip Fever that also got terrible reviews this year.)

Budget/Gross – $7.4 million / Domestic: $22,395,806 (Worldwide: $26,667,197)

(Like many horror film this wins largely by being made for next to nothing. This makes me wonder whether we’ll be treated to The Bye Bye Man 2, even if it is straight to DVD. I would watch it. Gotta keep up with the development of the lore of the Bye Bye Man.)

#90 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(The chart is a tiny bit deceiving. It might look like the genre isn’t growing because the money is mostly stagnant, but given that year over year more and more theaters show a supernatural horror film that money does indeed translate to more and more profit. Kicked off by The Blair Witch Project the claim to fame and fortune for the genre is simple: like the slashers of the 80s you can make these on a dime and there is a built-in opening day audience for $10-20 million for anything even remotely coherent. Strike that: anything that promises a jump or two will turn a profit given the business model. It is incredible.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (16/69): The Bye Bye Man clumsily mashes together elements from better horror films, adding up to a derivative effort as short on originality as it is on narrative coherency or satisfying scares.

(Lack of narrative coherency? Sign me up. As for lack of scares? I’m indifferent. While I’m not scared by many older horror films, the jump scares that are sprinkled throughout modern horror still make for an uncomfortable watch even when other people say it’s not scary, so I’m skeptical. I bet that Bye Bye Man is popping up all over the place.)

Poster – The Sklog Sklog Man (A-)

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(I actually like a lot about the poster. Nice font, nice coloring, and I like the artistry that makes it look kinda like an old photo. I wish there was a bit less detail on the main monster. Should be even more of a dark silhouette. But that’s just my opinion.)

Tagline(s) – Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. (Ha. Not a tagline.)

The evil behind the most unspeakable acts has a name (D+)

(The first is not a tagline. It’s just an artistic use of text on the poster for effect, but I like how many times imdb wrote it out. So exact. The second is just not a good tagline and should just be thrown out. Just let those “Don’t think it. Don’t say it” sets of text do their job. No need for this extra shit.)

Keyword(s) – supernatural; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.4 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 75.5 Ouija (II) (2014); 72.7 The Apparition (2012); 71.0 The Last Exorcism Part II (2013); 70.6 Cell (I) (2016); 70.5 The Gallows (2015); 70.4 Devil’s Due (2014); 67.6 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 67.4 Pulse (I) (2006); 67.2 666: The Prophecy (2011);

(We kind of now need to see Ouija, and perhaps we will for an upcoming cycle (SPOILER ALERT!). Man, there are some shit supernatural films out there, I feel like all of these will be watched, and would probably represent a final completion of the Sklog’s horror film education.)

Notes – Previously rated R by the MPAA for “bloody horror violence, language and some sexuality.”

Filmed in November and December 2015, but not released until January 2017.

Doug Jones, who plays the title character, previously played Slender Man (who has similar abilities) in Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story.

The story on which the film is based, “The Bridge to Body Island,” has a much more complex mythology for the Bye Bye Man: He was an albino born in New Orleans in 1912 who ran away as a child and became a derelict who lived in a train yard. After going blind he began murdering people and cutting out their eyes and tongues, which he sewed together and brought to life using voodoo. The resultant creature became the Bye Bye Man’s literal seeing-eye dog, helping him hunt his prey. Several elements from the story- notably the dog and the motif of trains– were retained for the movie, though their purpose is left more elliptical. (Spooky)

The Bye Bye Man is the 2nd collaboration between Carrie-Anne Moss & Douglas Smith. They played doctor and patient in the film, Treading Water.

First Daughter Preview

I know what all of our faithful readers are thinking and it rhymes with Geostorm, but slow your roll. At the time that we had to choose the films for this week we just didn’t know what the reviews for Geostorm would be like… … … OK, so we did pretty much knew what the reviews for Geostrom would be like, but we couldn’t risk it getting “good for what it is” bullshit reviews that propelled it to 41% on RT. So this week we stayed the course and moved to our Games category where we aimed to get a Mockbuster friend to tag along. A Mockbuster is a film released with a similar title and concept to a major blockbuster hoping to ride the hype to minor profits. In the end there was only one Mockbuster that would do. That’s right! We’re watching TransmorFirst Daughter! Transmorphers is obviously a play off of Transformers and makes me sad to even think about… should be excruciating. As for First Daughter, the Katie Holmes vehicle is both on the Calendar and is an abstract part of the Periodic Table of Smellements (for #1). An unexpectedly important film in the BMTverse. Let’s go!

First Daughter (2004) – BMeTric: 56.5

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(Sub-5.0 is a brutal IMDb score, but that isn’t a surprise, the film has brutal reviews. Other than that you have the regression to the mean and 2011 inflection, but not much else interesting. In other world, these plots take after this movie (boom).)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Fairy-tale romance for wholesome teens centers on the sheltered daughter of the U.S. President who goes off to college to get away from her omnipresent Secret Service detail and falls for a hunky student whose true identity holds a big surprise (not really). Chasing Liberty was bad enough; did we really need another formulaic, juvenile variation of Roman Holiday the same year?

(The answer to the last question is no. I’ve never seen Roman Holiday (I know, a travesty, I have too little experience with film prior to 1980 I admit), but maybe I’ll check it out now. How can I properly assess this purported retelling if I never experienced the original telling?)

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

(That looks … generic. Honestly they kind of give away the twist hinted at by Leonard Maltin … just look at what Marc Blucas is wearing in certain scenes and you’ll get it. The soundtrack for this trailer is also bonkers.)

Directors – Forest Whitaker – (Known For: Waiting to Exhale; Future BMT: Hope Floats; BMT: First Daughter; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Battlefield Earth in 2001; Notes: Wait wait wait wait wait … the Forest Whitaker directed this? Weird shit. He’s enjoying a bit of a career resurgence with Lee Daniel’s The Butler and the most recent Star Wars films.)

Writers – Jessica Bendinger (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Bring It On; Aquamarine; Future BMT: The Truth About Charlie; Stick It; BMT: First Daughter; Notes: A former model turned novelist turned screenwriter/director. She hasn’t done much after her directorial debut Stick It, but she certainly had a burst of success in the mid-2000s.)

Jerry O’Connell (story) – (BMT: First Daughter; Notes: Yuuup, that Jerry O’Connell. Derisively known as the fat kid from Stand By Me, he ultimately had a very successful career in film. He is currently married to Rebecca Romijn with whom he has twin daughters. We. Love. Twin stories. Especially because Jerry O’Connell seems like a cool cat.)

Kate Kondell (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde; BMT: First Daughter; Notes: There isn’t much about her, but she’s written multiple pixie / fairy direct-to-video films including the Tinkerbell pirate fairy film I remember seeing a million advertisements for at one point in my life.)

Actors – Katie Holmes – (Known For: Logan Lucky; Batman Begins; Phone Booth; Woman in Gold; The Gift; Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark; Go; Thank You for Smoking; The Ice Storm; Wonder Boys; The Unbeatables; Pieces of April; Muppets from Space; Touched with Fire; The Extra Man; Future BMT: The Son of No One; Teaching Mrs. Tingle; Abandon; The Romantics; Disturbing Behavior; Mad Money; The Singing Detective; Miss Meadows; The Giver; Days and Nights; All We Had; BMT: Jack and Jill; First Daughter; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screen Couple for Jack and Jill in 2012; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress in 2006 for Batman Begins; and in 2012 for Jack and Jill; Notes: Most famous for her role in Dawson’s Creek. She subsequently became famous after marrying (and divorcing) Tom Cruise. She’s worked steadily throughout her career and is in the cast of the upcoming Ocean’s Eight.)

Marc Blucas – (Known For: Brawl in Cell Block 99; Sleeping with Other People; We Were Soldiers; Knight and Day; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Pleasantville; Red State; The Jane Austen Book Club; I Capture the Castle; Mother and Child; Sunshine State; Prey for Rock & Roll; Future BMT: Meet Dave; They; Summer Catch; View from the Top; Eddie; Thr3e; Stay Cool; The Alamo; The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human; BMT: First Daughter; Notes: Most well known for having a super fake sounding name. He’s had moderate success in television most recently, and will be in a new Nic Cage film coming out next year, exciting stuff.)

Michael Keaton – (Known For: Spider-Man Homecoming; Beetlejuice; The Founder; Spotlight; Batman; Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance); Cars; Batman Returns; Minions; Jackie Brown; Toy Story 3; The Other Guys; RoboCop; Much Ado About Nothing; Out of Sight; Herbie Fully Loaded; Mr. Mum; Night Shift; The Merry Gentleman; Multiplicity; Future BMT: Jack Frost; White Noise; Post Grad; Desperate Measures; Speechless; Gung Ho; One Good Cop; Inventing the Abbotts; The Squeeze; American Assassin; The Last Time; BMT: First Daughter; Need for Speed; Notes: He’s originally from Pittsburgh (all the way down to starting his career working on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood). He had a few minor roles before landing in Ron Howard’s Night Shift where he and Henry Winkler famously swapped roles (or at least characteristics) to much critical acclaim.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $9,055,921 (Worldwide: $10,592,180)

(Disaster. If you look at the notes there is a whole thing about moving the release because Chasing Liberty flopped so hard … didn’t help.)

#26 for the President genre

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(The thing I think I like the most about this genre is that is really is a recent phenomenon. There is a kind of Blockbuster aspect to representing Presidents and speculating about their lives. And this is despite that fact that political cartoons have been skewering presidenting for literally hundreds of years! We love fake presidents (so much we once considered a whole mini-game concerning it), so it is great to see Keaton put on the suit and try out the role.)

#260 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(Why do I remember speculating about this … anyways, comes right in the long plateau of a peak for the genre which has had a rather sudden downturn. I probably guessed this last time, but: romantic comedies aren’t tentpoles and are simply getting less screens I think in the new franchise era. Probably doesn’t help that of all film types this one might actually benefit the least from the big screen experience. VOD here we come!)

#47 for the Teen Romance genre

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(Just below Here on Earth (be still my beating heart!). That giant peak? You guessed it, the Twilight Saga. The John Hughes era of the 80s were the heyday, but the late 90s saw a small resurgence. With The Fault in Our Stars and other YA novels starting to find an audience it is possible we might be entering a new post-Twilight bump as well. We’ll see.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (7/85): First Daughter is a bland and charmless fairy tale that fails to rise above the formula.

(Wow. Sub-10% is nuts, and I’m stunned a film like this gets a coveted position like that. Especially when the consensus might as well be: Blah. I’m getting intrigued.)

Poster – First Sklog-hter (D)

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(Gah! I’m blind! Why is this poster sooooo white? Jesus. It’s also just a poster for Katie Holmes: The Movie… there is nothing First Daughter in this at all. Font is shit too. Boooo. Not an F because it doesn’t actually hurt my brain, only my eyes.)

Tagline(s) – The girl who always stood out is finally getting the chance to fit in. (B)

(I like the effort and the construction. Just too long and still doesn’t work in the whole “daughter of the president” thing.)

Keyword(s) – college; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.6 The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000); 71.3 Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011); 67.4 Pulse (I) (2006); 66.9 Teen Wolf Too (1987); 65.6 Bodyguard (2011); 64.1 The Roommate (I) (2011); 63.3 The Comebacks (2007); 62.7 Smiley (2012); 60.3 Soul Survivors (2001); 59.9 Flubber (1997);

(Top one is fake, but this does remind me we need to watch Teen Wolf Too at some points. Probably the only one that I really want to see from that list.)

Notes – Vera Wang designed all of Katie Holmes’ ballgowns for this film. (Her originals usually retail for over $10,000 each.) (That last bit is not a comment by us, the parentheses are in the IMDb notes. No comment otherwise)

The release date for the film was pushed back after the similarly themed Chasing Liberty (2004) flopped at the box office. (Ha! I think I’ve seen that one at one point …)

The movie James and Samantha are watching in the movie theater is The Girl Can’t Help It (1956). Director Forest Whitaker was originally set to direct a remake of the 1956 comedy after the release of “First Daughter”.

This film is dedicated to Michael Kamen, the film’s composer.

The book Katie Holmes is reading in the library is Hermann Hesse’s ‘Siddhartha’. (It’s on the BMT Not-Necessarily-Bad Book List!)

In the scene where Katie Holmes and Ameriie are sliding down the slope on the slip-n-slide, Katie Holmes inadvertently pulled down Aneriie’s sweatpants while struggling to climb over the hay bales, exposing Ameriie’s bottom in view of the camera. The director chose to leave this in the final cut of the film, since it was a spontaneous event and quite in line with the carefree nature of the scene. (The director being Forest fucking Whitaker)

Jaws 3-D Preview

Every cycle is new and different in the BMT-verse, but one thing stays the same: the Chain Reaction always puts us in a tough spot. We have to navigate the past, current, and future cycles all at once or else we might paint ourselves into a corner. This cycle was no different and it left us with only one true spot. That’s right! We’re doing Jaws 3-D-Tox! We’re making our way from The Beverly Hillbillies through the lovely Lea Thompson to the first of the two Jaws sequels that qualify for BMT, Jaws 3-D. Apparently at the time the underwater 3-D photography for the film was actually pretty amazing, but it has been lost to film. Despite this it was still nominated for Worst Picture at the 1983 Razzies, so another feather in our BMT cap. As for D-Tox there was really no other choice for straight-to-DVD as this cycle represented one of the few times we could watch one of films Sly Stallone made in the early 2000’s. This was when his career was really waning and he consecutively made Driven, this, Avenging Angelo, Spy Kids 3-D, and Shade before resuscitating his career with the criminally overrated Rocky Balboa. D-Tox has been on our radar for a while because of just how bad its title is, not to mention that it was released in Europe under an even worse name: Eye See You. Unacceptable! Let’s go!

Jaws 3-D (1983) – BMeTric: 84.7

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(See! Last week I wondered about votes just kind of … tailing off. This is more like it. I really do think Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is just slipping into obscurity. The rating is astonishingly low. Like crazy low. I’m kind of shocked. Take a peek below … this is a film Leonard Maltin gave 2 stars. The reviews aren’t overwhelmingly bad … why do people hate this so much. I am intrigued.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Road-company Irwin Allen-type disaster film, unrelated to first two Jaws except by contrivance; this time a shark’s on the loose in Florida’s Sea World. (Does this make it an unofficial remake of Revenge of the Creature?) Might play on TV, but in theaters its only real assets were excellent 3-D effects. Retitled Jaws III for TV and home video.

(Jesus, this review is excellent. Back-to-back hyphen / semi-colon work to open. Two (count’em, two!) older film references (Irwin Allen, the father of the disaster film, and, of all things, Revenge of the Creature). Nice and short, and I’m all about a plot driven by contrivance, so getting me excited.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMlx33ov82c

(A little bit less information than we traditionally see in trailers for BMT films. Probably for the best considering this just shits all over the previous two films …)

Directors – Joe Alves – (BMT: Jaws 3-D; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director for Jaws 3-D in 1984; Notes: His one-and-done director job. He is mainly an art director and production designer, including for three Spielberg films (Jaws, The Sugarland Express, and Close Encounters).)

Writers – Peter Benchley (suggested by the novel “Jaws”) – (Known For: Jaws; Jaws 2; The Island; Future BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; The Deep; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Notes: Grandson of famed humorist Robert Benchley, he appears in Jaws as the man reporting the shark attacks at Amity on Fourth of July weekend.)

Richard Matheson (screenplay) – (Known For: I Am Legend; Real Steel; The Box; What Dreams May Come; Stir of Echoes; Twilight Zone: The Movie; The Omega Man; Somewhere in Time; The Legend of Hell House; The Last Man on Earth; The Incredible Shrinking Man; Pit and the Pendulum; The Fall of the House of Usher; The Devil Rides Out; The Raven; Tales of Terror; The Comedy of Terrors; Fanatic; Night of the Eagle; Future BMT: Loose Cannons; The Incredible Shrinking Woman; De Sade; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Jaws 3-D in 1984; Notes: Wrote the book I Am Legend, What Dreams May Come, among others. Likely he got involved with Spielberg because he wrote the short story Duel which was Spielberg’s first film.)

Carl Gottlieb (screenplay) – (Known For: Jaws; Jaws 2; The Jerk; Doctor Detroit; Future BMT: Caveman; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Jaws 3-D in 1984; Notes: Wrote the famous book The Jaws Log about the difficult production of the original Jaws. Heavily involved with the Writers’ Guild.)

Guerdon Trueblood (story) – (BMT: Jaws 3-D; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Jaws 3-D in 1984; Notes: Highly successful television writer, he ended up writing several made-for-television creature features including The Savage Bees.)

Michael Kane (additional dialogue) (uncredited) – (Known For: All the Right Moves; Southern Comfort; Future BMT: Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Notes: Appears to have retired around 1994, he rocked multiple movies per year from ‘79 to ‘83. Solid early-80s run.)

Actors – Dennis Quaid – (Known For: The Day After Tomorrow; The Parent Trap; Any Given Sunday; Footloose; Traffic; Wyatt Earp; The Rookie; Soul Surfer; Innerspace; DragonHeart; Frequency; The Right Stuff; Stripes; Truth; Breaking Away; Enemy Mine; Far from Heaven; Dreamscape; At Any Price; Playing by Heart; Future BMT: Legion; Cold Creek Manor; Yours, Mine & Ours; Beneath the Darkness; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Horsemen; Something to Talk About; Flight of the Phoenix; The Alamo; Caveman; Undercover Blues; Vantage Point; Switchback; Wilder Napalm; Pandorum; A Dog’s Purpose; All Night Long; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Movie 43; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Playing for Keeps; Notes: The more successful brother of Randy Quaid. He plays in a band called “The Sharks” … which is kind of funny because he claims he doesn’t really remember making this film.)

Bess Armstrong – (Known For: Serial Mom; Pecker; Dream Lover; Nothing in Common; The Four Seasons; Diamond Men; Future BMT: That Darn Cat; Second Sight; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Notes: Onca said about Tom Selleck: “he has some real power now, but he doesn’t use that, or his charm, to exploit women. He genuinely seems to like women. For an actor, that’s rare.”)

Simon MacCorkindale – (Known For: Death on the Nile; The Sword and the Sorcerer; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Wing Commander; Notes: Was on 230 episodes of Casualty. He died in 2010 from cancer.)

Budget/Gross – $18 million / Domestic: $45,517,055 (Worldwide: $87,987,055)

(Absolutely smashing it. People do like a creature feature sequel.)

#190 for the 3D genre

jaws3d_3d

(It is staaaark how many more 3D films came out in the last 10 years compared to in the 80s. People think these films are dying … but they’re going pretty strong it looks like. Right around The Great Wall from this year!)

#27 for the Creature Feature genre

jaws3d_creaturefeature

(We are seeing a resurgence after the boom following Jurassic Park could repeat that success. Things like Jurassic World and Kong: Skull Island seem like the genre is truly back.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (3/28): No consensus yet

(I’ll have to make my own!: A testament to the greed and arrogance that ultimately lead to a sort of studio collapse in the 90s, this represents nothing more than yet another dumb sequel. The reviews are pretty brutal, although all from after the fact. This film got me wondering about sequelitis, but creature features in particular always had a lot of sequels (like Godzilla), so it wasn’t unique to the “modern” studio system. Still, given the joke about Jaws 19 in Back to the Future Part II, the awareness of the problem was there.)

Poster – Sklogs 3-D (B+)

jaws_3d

(Why do I like this poster so much? Like, I like the symmetry, and how it tries to get across the 3-D. I deduct a bit because the big shark looks very silly, but then the foreground with the water skiers is fun. I dig it.)

Tagline(s) – The third dimension is terror. (D-)

(My initial gut reaction was “I dig it”, but then my brain had time to process the nonsense that is actually there. The third dimension is terror. So like, x, y, and terror? It is lucky it doesn’t get an F.)

Keyword(s) – shark; Top Ten by BMeTric: 87.9 Jaws: The Revenge (1987); 84.7 Jaws 3-D (1983); 84.2 Movie 43 (2013); 81.4 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005); 77.1 Shark Night 3D (2011); 62.2 My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006); 57.0 Chairman of the Board (1998); 55.5 Dark Tide (2012); 51.8 Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991); 51.2 Sand Sharks (2012);

(We’re leaving a bit of flotsam in our wake with this one, as Jaws: The Revenge will have to be done another time. This is actually an incredible list minus the comedies which “merely have a shark in them”, but Return to the Blue Lagoon? Yes please.)

Notes – According to the book “Roy Scheider: a film biography” (2002) by Diane C. Kachmar, Scheider, who starred in the first two Jaws movies, once said, “Mephistopheles….couldn’t talk me into doing [it]…They knew better than to even ask”. Reportedly, Scheider agreed to make Blue Thunder (1983) in order to ensure that he was definitely and contractually unavailable for this film. Scheider had made Jaws 2 (1978) reluctantly due to a contract issue with Universal Studios whereby he owed the studio two films after withdrawing from The Deer Hunter (1978). To get out of this situation, he opted to make to do Jaws 2 (1978), a picture he didn’t want to work on, in exchange for the studio releasing him from his contract.

The shark was 35 feet long, 10 feet longer than previous films.

David Brown and Richard D. Zanuck, producers of the first two films, originally pitched this as a spoof, based on a suggestion by Matty Simmons and John Hughes. Titled “National Lampoon’s Jaws 3, People 0”, it was about a movie studio trying to make a second sequel to Jaws (1975). It opened with author Peter Benchley being eaten in his pool by a shark, and included a naked Bo Derek and shark-costumed aliens. Joe Dante was attached as director. Steven Spielberg rejected the idea and threatened to walk from his deal with Universal. When Zanuck and Brown learned of the rejection, they quit the studio. (That movie would have been terrible. But it is kind of funny to think of how excited Zanuck and Brown must have been about this idea to quit the studio over it).

In a later interview Dennis Quaid referred to this movie as “I was in Jaws what?”

Lea Thompson’s feature film debut. (Noice, I love Lea Thompson)

The female dolphin called Sandy in the movie is really a male dolphin named Capricorn. He currently lives in Discovery Cove which is owned by SeaWorld Orlando and has interactions with guests like giving them rides and doing tricks for them. Capricorn is 50 years old. (fuck SeaWorld)

In later interviews, writer Richard Matheson claimed that the film was bedeviled with script doctors that ruined the central premise of a white shark swimming upstream and becoming trapped in a lake.

The film made $13,422,500 in its first weekend of release. At the time, that was the highest grossing opening for a 3-D film, it wouldn’t be until 20 years later when Spy Kids 3-D Game Over broke that record ($33,417,739).

The filmmakers initially planned to have very few “pop-out” effects where objects extend beyond the screen in 3D. Studio executives ultimately pressured them to include more, worried that audiences would leave disappointed and spread bad word-of-mouth if the 3D were used mainly for depth. (I cannot wait to notice all of this garbage in 2D)

This is the only film ever directed by Joe Alves. (One and done, one and done, one and done!)

Actresses Lorraine Gary and Fritzi Jane Courtney starred in three of the four “Jaws” films. This movie is the only one that they don’t appear. It is also arguably the only one that Roy Scheider does not appear, given the fact that he appeared in the first two films, and the fourth, Jaws: The Revenge (1987), but in the latter only via the inclusion of a framed photograph, and archive footage used for flashbacks.

This sequel did not use any actors from the first two Jaws movies, Jaws (1975) and Jaws 2 (1978).

The movie was part of an early 1980s cycle of 3D movies that also included Starchaser: The Legend of Orin (1985), Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983), Jaws 3-D (1983), Parasite (1982), Amityville 3-D (1983), Comin’ at Ya! (1981), Friday the 13th Part III (1982), Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983) and El tesoro de las cuatro coronas (1983) [“Treasure of the Four Crowns”].

“Jaws 3-D” and “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” have several things in common. Both are the third films in a popular series that began with very successful films released in the 1970s (“Jaws” (1975) and “Halloween” (1978)), both of which launched the careers of their respective directors (Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter). Both were set in new locales not seen in the first two films (the “Jaws” movies took place in Amity Island, and the “Halloween” movies in Haddonfield, Illinois), and were unsuccessful attempts to deviate from previous sequels, which had been highly derivative of the originals (“Jaws 2” (1978) and “Halloween II” (1981)). And both were made by first-time directors who had been the production designers of the previous films (Joe Alves for “Jaws” and Tommy Lee Wallace for “Halloween”).

The movie was directed by Joe Alves who had been the production designer on Jaws (1975) and Jaws 2 (1978) and was also the second unit director for on the latter. Trade paper ‘Variety’ said “Joe Alves was instrumental in the design of the first Jaws shark and was the unsung production hero in both the first two pictures”.

This film was the first shot on Arriflex’s single-camera ArriVision 3D system. However, the system was not actually ready for use until a week into production. During the wait, the Optimax and StereoVision 3D systems were used. All of the footage from the Optimax system was deemed unusable and thrown out (that system was prone to serious misalignment issues), while StereoVision was deemed acceptable enough that it continued to be used for second-unit work through the entire production. ArriVision footage makes up the bulk of the final film, with the earliest-shot and second-unit scenes shot in StereoVision and miniatures and effects shot with a two-camera beam-splitter system similar to later digital 3D setups.

The only Jaws movie which does not feature any scenes filmed at Martha’s Vineyard, known as Amity Island in the series. (BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)

Veteran editor Verna Fields, who won an Oscar for editing the first film, recommended Joe Alves as director.

One of a cycle of 1980s and late 1970s movies that got made after the box-office success Jaws (1975). The films include that movie’s three sequels, Jaws 2 (1978), Jaws 3-D (1983), and Jaws: The Revenge (1987), as well as Orca (1977), Piranha (1978), Tentacles (1977), Killer Fish (1979), Barracuda (1978), Tintorera… Bloody Waters (1977), Blood Beach (1980), Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1981), L’ultimo squalo (1981), Up from the Depths (1979), Monster (Humanoids from the Deep) (1980), L’isola degli uomini pesce (1979), Devouring Waves (1984) and Mako: The Jaws of Death (1976). (I want to see these)

The characters of Mike Brody (Dennis Quaid) and Sean Brody (John Putch) are the sons of Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) from Jaws (1975) and Jaws 2 (1978).

All the appliances seen in the film’s interior shots were Sears Kenmore-branded. However, this was not intentional. (Awesome secret sponsor)

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Rupert Hitzig)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Louis Gossett Jr.)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Joe Alves)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Richard Matheson, Carl Gottlieb, Guerdon Trueblood)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star

Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas Preview

See the Christmas with the Kranks preview for a description of all of the different movies we are doing for the Bring a Friend cycle! Some of the bonus films will be BMT (by our qualifications: <40% on Rotten Tomatoes, big box office release, released after 1980), some won’t. This week, our film is for sure qualified! Here’s what I wrote about this “friend” in particular:

Christian FilmsThese get major releases, but usually aren’t our bag. A liiiiiiittle holier than thou. Unless you’re Madea, then I love you. Saving Christmas here we come!

True to form, we’re mashing up Saving Christmas with the Kranks! Saving Christmas is by all accounts not a real film, but rather a 79 minute Youtube response video to the made up “War on Christmas.” We actually told ourselves we would NEVER watch it and yet here we are. Bring a Friend was an offer we couldn’t refuse. Ho ho ho, everyone. Let’s go!

Saving Christmas (2014) – BMeTric: 74.9

SavingChristmas_BMeT

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(Consistent. A good sign. Even after the hubbub (instigated by Cameron himself like an idiot) it has maintained its ridiculously low rating. Otherwise only surprising because of how many votes it has to be honest, considering it barely was released to theaters.)

RogerEbert.com – 1 star –  Doing nothing but preaching to the converted—literally and badly to boot—”Saving Christmas” is a terrible movie regardless of one’s eschatological mindset. And while it may not be the worst Christmas-related movie ever (a title I believe is still held by the vile “Christmas with the Kranks”), it certainly does the genre no favors. However, if watching shoddily filmed presentations of shoddily constructed arguments justifying a self-absorbed perspective is the kind of thing that strikes your fancy, then it may indeed be up your alley after all.

(Shout out to Christmas with the Kranks!! What what. Amazing. Time for a little lesson: eschatological (adj.) – The part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind. Pushing it brother. Spoiler alert, it is not up my alley, and I’m prob not going to be a huge fan. But I’m ready and willing to expand my horizons.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqG1Hafyhhk

(Barf. The two people in the car are the director, Darren Doane, and Kirk Cameron. I’m genuinely curious how long the dance sequence lasts. By all accounts this movie, based on actual content, is like 40 minutes long, so I will be disappointed if that dance sequence isn’t a bloated five minutes minimum.)

Directors – Darren Doane – (BMT: Saving Christmas; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for Saving Christmas in 2015; and Nominated for Worst Director for Saving Christmas in 2015; Notes: Check out his wikipedia to see it incredible list of music video jobs. He’s directed a few small direct-to-video and bargain bin movies in the past, but otherwise is a hard right Christian documentary filmmaker.)

Writers – Darren Doane (written by) – (BMT: Saving Christmas; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for Saving Christmas in 2015; and Nominated for Worst Director for Saving Christmas in 2015; Notes: Hervey and Doane wrote the documentary Free Speech Apocalypse together. Is BMT objective? Should it be? From what I have seen about both these people they seem like disingenuous fanatic evangelicals to me, and that will color my viewing of this film. My research makes me question whether we should be watching this film … but I suppose that is the point of the bring a friend cycle in a way. I’ll leave both of these guys’ biographies there.)

Cheston Hervey (written by) – (BMT: Saving Christmas; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for Saving Christmas in 2015; Notes: Worked with Doane on Free Speech Apocalypse, helped write this, and was an extra in Saving Christmas as well.)

Actors – Kirk Cameron – (Known For: Fireproof; Future BMT: The Best of Times; BMT: Saving Christmas; Left Behind: The Movie; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Saving Christmas in 2015; Notes: I kind of wish he was just known as a funny kid actor from Growing Pains. Instead he’s known for making evangelical christian films. Married to fellow Growing Pains star Chelsea Noble)

Darren Doane – (BMT: Saving Christmas; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for Saving Christmas in 2015; and Nominated for Worst Director for Saving Christmas in 2015; Notes: Mentioned above. This movie sounds suspiciously like a Doane vehicle through and through. I wonder why it is called Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas.)

Bridgette Cameron – (BMT: Saving Christmas; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress for Saving Christmas in 2015; Notes: Kirk Cameron’s sister.)

Budget/Gross – $500,000 / Domestic: $2,783,970

(Ugh. Legit success. This is how films like this (and I would put any film aimed at a niche audience in this camp) get made: you start will a small budget and smash it with your audience in intensely focused marketing. In this case you focus on church groups. Literal preaching to the choir.)

#50 for the Christian genre

savingchristmas_christian

(This was the 59th biggest release for a film of this kind. I suppose it is interesting that while the average gross for the films isn’t great recently, that even with the massive explosion of films in the genre they didn’t drop too much. A good sign … maybe. It does seem like a genre which might be getting more niche as the years pass.)

#48 for the Christmas genre

savingchristmas_christmas

(Wow. Looks like it came right before a new boom. There were three during the last two Christmases, so one would assume there will be a few this year. The only obvious one on the schedule though is Bad Mom’s Christmas … gross. Anywho, this made no money.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/13): No consensus yet.

(I’ll just paste a review that seems the most appropriate: Virtually everything about this production feels thrown together. In other words: you aren’t good at your job Doane. You had one job and you made a big old piece of shit instead.)

Poster – Kirk Cameron’s Saving Sklogmas (D-)

saving_christmas

(Messy, and Kirk Cameron’s arrogant smirk can shove it. But it is higher quality than you’d expect from a $500K film. Plus they put love and care into the font, hard to sklogify that. That saves it from an F. Dutch angles on the title though Kirk? C’mon, you’re better than that.)

Tagline(s) – Put Christ Back in Christmas (F)

(B-b-b-b-b-but cadence, and whatnot! Doesn’t matter, this is literally just the catchphrase for the War on Christmas nonsense. They didn’t make it for this movie, and it deserves no credit. Do you know what I say about that? Put the Sklog back in Sklogmas, that’s what I have to say.)

Keyword(s) – christmas; Top Ten by BMeTric: 92.1 Jack and Jill (I) (2011); 87.8 Jaws: The Revenge (1987); 84.0 Home Alone 3 (1997); 83.1 RoboCop 3 (1993); 75.6 Look Who’s Talking Now (1993); 74.9 Saving Christmas (2014); 74.4 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009); 70.8 Getaway (2013); 69.6 Setup (I) (2011); 68.9 Are We There Yet? (2005);

(I would watch Getaway a million times instead of everything else on this list. Although Jack and Jill will be an interesting rewatch eventually I think.)

Notes – Kirk Cameron responded to the film’s negative reviews by pleading to his fans on his Facebook page: “Help me storm the gates of Rotten Tomatoes. All of you who love Saving Christmas – go rate it at Rotten Tomatoes right now and send the message to all the critics that WE decide what movies we want our families to see. If 2,000 of you (out of almost 2 million on this page) take a minute to rate Saving Christmas, it will give the film a huge boost and more will see it as a result! Thank you for all your help and support in putting the joy of Christ back in Christmas!” This actually resulted in a severe backlash against the film, in which Internet users traveled to the Rotten Tomatoes page and condemned the film. Cameron later blamed this action on “haters and atheists”. (Both are dumb, but I guess he started it. I won’t cry a river over Saving Christmas’ “cheap” rating is all I’m saying)

Made on a budget of $500,000.

“VeggieTales” creator Phil Vischer was asked to submit an opening segment to this film, but respectfully declined. (cooool)

Awards – Won the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Kirk Cameron)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Darren Doane, Cheston Hervey)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Combo (Kirk Cameron)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Bridgette Cameron)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Darren Doane)

Christmas with the Kranks Preview

Time has truly flown with the calendar cycle as we are already at the end of the line. Time for transition time! This is where the last film in the cycle has to overlap with the next film in the cycle. In this case the film has to both appear on our Calendar and also… drumroll… bring an atypical BMT film along for the BMT ride. What does that mean? Well it is truly our most convoluted and confusing cycle we’ve ever done, which obviously means we love it. Basically there are several types of terrible films that we typically don’t watch for BMT. To help understanding these types of films Patrick has prepared a handy guide:

  • Missed Opportunity – Juuuust barely over 40%. So critics thought you were so bad you’re good, or good for what you are? Critics are also idiots and your movie is in actuality terrible.
  • Kids’ Films – You probably sold the movie as a romp that both 5 year olds and parents alike can laugh at. In reality you made a fake movie with fake money and overlaid ADR farts on top. Good job, is that what they teach in film school?
  • TV Movie – We obviously don’t watch shit SyFy originals, get that junk out of here (until now!)
  • Mockbuster – You want to trick me into watching your dumb ass intentionally bad shit? … fine, but only this once
  • Christian Films – These get major releases, but usually aren’t our bag. A liiiiiiittle holier than thou. Unless you’re Madea, then I love you. Saving Christmas here we come!
  • Straight-To-DVD – You couldn’t even get your shit together to get released to a theater? 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain got released to theaters! What are you doing with your life?
  • Foreign – You got some big names to run around on a Taiwanese production for a week, you’ve unlocked the key! Pay celebrities money to sell their souls.
  • pre-1980s – Everyone knows prior to the blockbuster era the bad movie landscape was dominated by hacks, if we wanted low-hanging fruit we’d go and make fun of community theater productions.
  • Bargain Bin – There was a time when terrible films were found like buried treasure in the bargain bins of local blockbusters. That time has passed… until now.

So how do we bring one of these terrible films along? Mash-up the titles of course. Using this first entry as an example we are starting with the Christian Films and mashing it up with a film from the Calendar. That’s right! We’re watching Saving Christmas with the Kranks. A mash-up of the Kirk Cameron barely-a-movie garbagefest, Saving Christmas, and what is likely the worst major Christmas release of all time, Christmas with the Kranks. It’s a Christmas miracle in August! Look at how nicely the titles flow into each other. Hooray. Saving Christmas is by all accounts not a real film, but rather a 79 minute Youtube response video to the made up “War on Christmas.” We actually told ourselves we would NEVER watch it and yet here we are. Bring a Friend was an offer we couldn’t refuse. Ho ho ho, everyone. Let’s go!

Christmas with the Kranks (2004) – BMeTric: 55.5

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(Impressively low rating. I always like holiday films because you get that extra bump. That bump on the ‘06 mark might seem like a DVD release bump, but it isn’t. It is a bump around Christmas 2005 when a number of people saw it over the holidays. Solid stuff. This is a lower number of votes than I expected, I assumed a family film like this would be hugely popular regardless of quality. Go figure.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Noxious holiday movie in which suburbanites Luther and Nora Krank, whose daughter has joined the Peace Corps, decide to forgo celebrating Christmas and take a Caribbean cruise – which, according to their outrages neighbors, is positively un-American. Alleged comedy pays homage to mediocrity, crass consumerism, and love-it-or-leave-it conformity. Screenplay by Chris Columbus, based on John Grisham’s novel Skipping Christmas.

(Noxious! People hate this film. “Pays homage to mediocrity” is a great line by the way, and probably could be used to describe 25% of BMT films ultimately. I would say this is likely to be boring … except people hate it so much that in reviews for Saving Christmas (made 10 years later) people still mention Christmas with the Kranks as the worst Christmas movie ever made! Get me amped, no joke.)

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

(It certainly is getting me in the spirit! I hope the soundtrack is exactly that in the film, just wall to wall Christmas music. Was this a last gasp of Tim Allen the movie star? He had Wild Hogs, but that was kind of explicitly “look at all these older actors!” wasn’t it? He did do a great Dad with a capital D back in the day.)

Directors – Joe Roth – (Future BMT: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise; Freedomland; America’s Sweethearts; BMT: Christmas with the Kranks; Notes: Mainly a producer now, notably on the xXx franchise. Was married to the daughter of Samuel Arkoff titan of horror production pre-1980. Part owner of the Seattle Sounders F.C.)

Writers – John Grisham (novel) – (Known For: The Firm; A Time to Kill; The Rainmaker; The Client; The Pelican Brief; Runaway Jury; The Gingerbread Man; BMT: Christmas with the Kranks; The Chamber; Notes: His first novel was A Time to Kill written while he was serving in the Mississippi State House of Representatives. Was a practicing lawyer for 10 years, but has been writing full time for over 20 years now.)

Chris Columbus (screenplay) – (Known For: The Goonies; Gremlins; Gremlins 2: The New Batch; Young Sherlock Holmes; Only the Lonely; Future BMT: Nine Months; Heartbreak Hotel; BMT: Christmas with the Kranks; Notes: The director of both Home Alones and the first two Harry Potter movies, he was well established for working with kid actors. Gremlins was his first optioned script, which he rewrote in Steven Spielberg’s bungalow)

Actors – Tim Allen – (Known For: Cars; Toy Story; Toy Story 3; Galaxy Quest; Toy Story 2; Big Trouble; The Santa Clause; Redbelt; The Santa Clause 2; Future BMT: Zoom; The Shaggy Dog; The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause; Jungle 2 Jungle; Joe Somebody; For Richer or Poorer; Crazy on the Outside; Meet Wally Sparks; Who Is Cletis Tout?; BMT: Christmas with the Kranks; Wild Hogs; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor in 2007 for The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, The Shaggy Dog, and Zoom; and Nominated for Worst Screen Couple for The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause in 2007; Notes: Most famous for Home Improvement, but have been a well-established television mega-star for over twenty-five years now. Went to jail for two years for drug dealing before turning to stand-up comedy.)

Jamie Lee Curtis – (Known For: Halloween; Trading Places; True Lies; My Girl; Escape from New York; Freaky Friday; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension; A Fish Called Wanda; The Fog; Veronica Mars; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Prom Night; The Tailor of Panama; Forever Young; From Up on Poppy Hill; Blue Steel; Beverly Hills Chihuahua; Spare Parts; Fierce Creatures; Homegrown; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Virus; My Girl 2; Perfect; You Again; Drowning Mona; House Arrest; Terror Train; Halloween II; Queens Logic; BMT: Christmas with the Kranks; Notes: The original Scream Queen! She is the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, and married to Christopher Guest. Launched her horror career with arguably the best slasher of them all: Halloween.)

Dan Aykroyd – (Known For: Ghostbusters; Ghostbusters; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; The Blues Brothers; Ghostbusters II; Trading Places; Casper; My Girl; 50 First Dates; Grosse Pointe Blank; Twilight Zone: The Movie; Chaplin; Tommy Boy; Antz; Driving Miss Daisy; Evolution; The Great Outdoors; The Campaign; Blues Brothers 2000; Sneakers; Future BMT: Crossroads; Coneheads; Exit to Eden; My Stepmother Is an Alien; Loser; My Girl 2; Celtic Pride; Feeling Minnesota; Loose Cannons; War, Inc.; Sgt. Bilko; 1941; Pearl Harbor; Canadian Bacon; She’s Having a Baby; Spies Like Us; Getting Away with Murder; Diamonds; BMT: Caddyshack II; Tammy; North; Nothing But Trouble; Christmas with the Kranks; Pixels; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Supporting Actor in 1989 for Caddyshack II; and in 1992 for Nothing But Trouble; Nominated for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Nothing But Trouble in 1992; Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Exit to Eden in 1995; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for North in 1995; Notes: Not much to say about him. Recently was in the news for trashing Paul Feig for the recent Ghostbuster remake, which Aykroyd himself cameoed in.)

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $73,780,539 (Worldwide: $96,572,480)

(Not fantastic, but also not terrible. Won’t get you a sequel though. I’m willing to bet holiday films tend to do okay, just because people want to see them around the holidays and you can usually take your family to them.)

#12 for the Christmas genre

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(These movies certainly make money regardless of quality. Fred Claus made $75 million? Bizarre. The plot is a bit messy, but it is interesting that holiday films seem to go in waves. I wonder if they buy up scripts like this and just make them until there are none left and no one wants to watch them anymore, and then they just wait out the slow periods. Either that or the peaks correspond with the bad movie booms … Seems like we might be in a boom period if that was the case. I’m skeptical.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (7/131): A mirthless movie as fresh as last year’s fruit cake, Christmas with the Kranks is a coarse, garish comedy that promotes conformity.

(ugh, some awful writing there. Garish is what I’ve been hearing about it. Basically it promotes consumerism and is in general just kind of sickening. Conformity is right, as Maltin said, it kind of has a love-it-or-leave-it vibe going on.)

Poster – Christmas with the Sklogs (F)

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(That so very easily can be modified to be Christmas with the Sklogs, but why would we? It looks like straight trash. No bueno.)

Tagline(s) – Their Christmas will turn the town upside down! (C-)

No! Ho! Ho! (Nope.)

(Weird. The first tagline seems more like a riff on the poster… not really on the film itself. Get it? Tim Allen is upside down in the poster. The second is from an alternate poster and I kept it because it is truly a wonder to behold.)

Keyword(s) – christmas eve; Top Ten by BMeTric: 75.6 Look Who’s Talking Now (1993); 67.3 Black Christmas (2006); 58.3 Deck the Halls (2006); 55.5 Christmas with the Kranks (2004); 51.2 Jack Frost (1998); 50.2 Santa Claus (1959); 46.5 The Traveler (I) (2010); 45.3 Unaccompanied Minors (2006); 44.4 Bad Teacher (2011); 44.2 While She Was Out (2008);

(Oh wow. Solid list of movies I’ve mostly never seen. We’ll be doing Deck the Halls eventually, I think it is on the calendar.)

Notes – The title of the John Grisham book on which the film is based is “Skipping Christmas”. It wasn’t used for the film to avoid confusion with another Christmas-themed film, Surviving Christmas (2004). (and eventually Saving Christmas, obviously)

The swimsuits the models are wearing in the advertisement for the cruise the Kranks are taking are the same ones Luther and Nora wear when they go tanning in the mall. (ha, love prop master 101 notes)

During filming, it was reported that the cast and crew had ingested over 10 pounds of fake snow. (gross)

Jamie Lee Curtis and Dan Akroyd had previously starred in Trading Places, My Girl, and My Girl 2 together. They play neighbors in Christmas With the Kranks rather than love interests as they have in their previous movies.

When the Kranks are watching Vic Frohmeyer through the window, Luther says to Nora, “So you’re saying Frohmeyer has a problem with our skipping Christmas? Who’s he gonna call?” Dan Aykroyd, who plays Frohmeyer, also starred in the film “Ghostbusters” for which “Who Ya Gonna Call” was a line from the movies theme song. (Half the notes are about the dumb references in this film by the way. I deleted like four of the more unnecessary ones)

Tom Poston’s final film

Emmet Walsh and Tom Poston were both recurring actors on Tim Allen’s Home Improvement (1991).

When Nora drops the ham in the shopping center parking lot and the truck runs over it and she screams, you can hear the theme song from “Halloween”. (This reference on the other hand I approve of)

Lots of deleted and alternate footage appears in the movie’s trailer (included in the “Previews” section on the DVD). Some examples are: A book being opened to a photo of the Krank family.Nora Krank taking a photo of her husband and daughter outside their house.Luther Krank with a device in his mouth, obviously sitting in a dentist’s chair to get his teeth whitened and/or fixed.Luther Krank driving home with the skimpy tree on the roof of his car getting heckled by another motorist.A different cruise advertisement in the travel agency’s window.Luther Krank showing his botox-injected face in the hospital. (We only see it for the first time in the scene afterwards where he’s eating with his wife.)The shot of Blair Krank saying goodbye to her parents at the airport doesn’t have a screen credit over it as it does in the actual film. (cooool)

The $75 tree bought from the scouts is not tied to the car when Luther arrives at his house. (props)

Ally Sheedy was considered for the role of Nora Krank (Huh, that could have been interesting. I feel like I don’t see Sheedy in stuff that often)

When the power goes out, Luther asks Vic if he knows anybody at Con Ed. In Ghostbusters II (1989), Dan Aykroyd who plays Vic, and the other Ghostbusters pretend to be from Con Ed to dig a big hole in the middle of the street. (Also kind of a cool ref)

Julie Gonzalo, who plays Blair Krank, and Jamie Lee Curtis also star together in Freaky Friday (2003) in which Gonzalo plays the nemesis of Curtis’s daughter.

During the scene when Tim Allen is stuck hanging from his roof, you can see one of the fireman get hit in the face with the ladder. (goofs and bloops, loving it)

The Frosty prop used the film belonged to Tim Allen’s father and was brought overseas with him. He hung it at the Reichstag during the Fall of Berlin.It is a family heirloom and has made cameo appearances. Films in which Frosty makes an appearance include: Saving Private Ryan, Inglorious Bastards, Santa Clause 2, Dunston Checks In, Fury, Saw, Avengers II, The Pacifier, Frozen, every Fast and the Furious film, and all of the Exorcist films. (Got to end it there. That is super cool)

Jason X Preview

It’s back, Jack! Right on cue we are continuing our Mini-Challenge journey through the world of Friday the 13th. It’s been an interesting time and I’ll miss the series once it’s gone, particularly since I went from actively disliking the series to fascination with the series and finally anticipation for each successive watch. There may be none more anticipated than the SciFi entry of the Calendar cycle. That’s right! We’re (finally) watching Jason X. Because everyone knows that it’s a super good idea to take a struggling franchise to outer space (see: Leprechaun 4: In Space). Works like a charm. Of course this also means we’ll be doing the 9th in the series, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday as a BMT bonus in preparation for the film. Hooray! I really do love watching these totally unscary horror films. Let’s go!

Jason X (2001) – BMeTric: 77.9

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(INCREDIBLE! It has gone down as more people watch it! This can only mean one thing: this film is going to be great. I can feel it. A Very Popular Bad Film through and through.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In this, the tenth Friday the 13th installment (and first since 1993’s Jason goes to Hell: The Final Friday), cryogenically frozen Jason (Hodder) and a sexy scientist (Doig) are thawed while on board a spacecraft in the year 2455. You can guess what happens next. For dedicated slasher fans only. David Cronenberg appears briefly as Dr. Wimmer. Not to be confused with Malcolm X.

(Not to be confused with Malcolm X? I get you Leonard. This is such a nicely rote review. He definitely either didn’t write this or basically barely watched this film. Leonard gave so many of these films BOMB designations it is kind of weird that the 8th, 9th, and 10th didn’t manage even one. Seems he’s a softy for the more ridiculous horror films maybe.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Sv8eWDEFsM

(I remember the Let the Bodies Hit the Rope soundtrack from when I was younger. This trailer looks atrocious on several different levels: the humor, the acting, the special effects, and Jason’s design. I can’t believe Kane Hodder came back for this garbage to be honest, after 9 years I would have read the script and just said “good luck”. I have a feeling this is going to be the first Friday the 13th that doesn’t even feel like a Friday the 13th as well.)

Directors – James Isaac – (Future BMT: Skinwalkers; House III: The Horror Show; BMT: Jason X; Notes: Was involved with creature effects for both Gremlins and Enemy Mine. Every so often he would give directing a try it would seem. Also involved with special effects on Virtuosity, which I’m only noting because I interviewed for a job with this guy who now works as an MD-PhD at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.)

Writers – Victor Miller (characters) – (Known For: Friday the 13th; Freddy vs. Jason; Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI; Future BMT: Friday the 13th; BMT: Jason X; Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan; Friday the 13th: A New Beginning; Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Friday the 13th Part III; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Friday the 13th Part 2; Notes: I feel like he hasn’t shown up in the credits for a few of these, so weird he would all of a sudden get credit again. He wrote the original movie. The end.)

Todd Farmer (written by) – (Known For: My Bloody Valentine; Future BMT: The Messengers; BMT: Drive Angry; Jason X; Notes: The guy has a crazy life. He dropped out of college and because an independent AmWay distributor, and then moved to LA and started working for Sean S. Cunningham (the other original writer of Friday the 13th). That is how he got this gig and probably his other writing gigs, he was working under Cunningham on different projects he was involved in.)

Actors – Kane Hodder – (Known For: Monster; Daredevil; The Devil’s Rejects; Frozen; Hatchet; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon; Alligator; Lone Wolf McQuade; Hatchet III; Prison; Digging Up the Marrow; The Rapture; California Split; Future BMT: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday; Room 6; House II: The Second Story; Hatchet II; Muck; Wishmaster; Father Hood; Best of the Best II; Out for Justice; BMT: Jason X; Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan; Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Grind; Notes: There is nothing else to say about this guy! He is Jason, and I doubt anyone has a chance of beating him or Englund for dominating a slasher killer like they did.)

Lexa Doig – (BMT: Jason X; Notes: She had the title role in the show Andromeda, and has been in many other television series. The cast for this movie is pretty funny, no wonder Hodder got first billing.)

Jeff Geddis – (Known For: Crime Spree; BMT: Jason X; Notes: Canadian, and a voice actor almost exclusively.)

Budget/Gross – $11 million / Domestic: $13,121,555 (Worldwide: $16,951,798)

(Complete disaster. It is a wonder that they didn’t scrap Freddy v Jason after this. Although maybe they thought that would have more pull. And smartly, it did actually. The franchise went from this pitiful return to over $80 million in Freddy v. Jason only a few years later.)

#64 for the Horror – Slasher genre

jasonx_slasher

(Around Halloween 5. I mentioned in the other preview that this genre is effectively dead (the last major release was January 2013 according to Box Office Mojo) in theaters. Kind of understandable, the return since 2005 was the same as during the lull in the early 90s.)

#39 for the Sci-Fi Horror genre

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(Near Ghosts of Mars. With Alien Covenant and the final Resident Evil film this genre has had a bit of a resurgence in recent years, and has been going strong since 2000 regardless. It has been flopping a bit recently though, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the release numbers wane a bit as well though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (20/104): Jason goes to the future, but the story is still stuck in the past.

(Nope, terrible Rotten Tomatoes. A few franchises did this (inexplicably send their slashers to the future in space, most notably Leprechaun in Space), but it can’t go well. It also crosses the rubicon from horror to at least close to horror-comedy. Not super great.)

Poster – Jason Sklog (B-)

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(We jump from an early 90’s bonkers poster for Jason Goes to Hell straight to an even crazier early 2000’s bonkers poster for this one. Better font, worse coloring, but I like the artistry.)

Tagline(s) – Evil Gets An Upgrade (B-)

(I’m good with this. Short, sweet, little hint on the futuristic aspect of the plot, but perhaps not quite clever enough. Could be better, but could be a whole lot worse.)

Keyword(s) – scientist; Top Ten by BMeTric: 93.5 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 90.0 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.4 House of the Dead (2003); 88.4 Street Fighter (1994); 85.7 The Avengers (1998); 85.6 Fantastic Four (2015); 84.1 Piranha 3DD (2012); 82.4 Baby Geniuses (1999); 82.1 Inspector Gadget (1999); 82.0 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991);

(Incredible list. This is a marathon I would actually hold, although I would be a bit more discerning. Here … The Avengers would make the cut for sure. Highlander II I think. But a marathon without Bats? Travesty. So there would be some work to do.)

Notes – The first film in the Friday the 13th series to rely on digital effects for death and gore shots. (Interesting. Sad but interesting)

Jason Voorhees’ eyes never blink when they are shown. (Cool idea actually)

During a Q&A;, screenwriter Todd Farmer joked that there were probably about 20,000 people aboard the Solaris space station when Grendel inadvertently crashed into and destroyed it. (Acknowledgment of flippantly killing people, I can respect that.)

Screenwriter Todd Farmer based much of the film on Alien (1979), even naming one of the characters (whom he also played) Dallas, after Tom Skerritt’s character in the Ridley Scott film. (Yeah I feel like you can tell from the trailer)

The name of the primary ship in the film is the “Grendel” which is the name of a monster in the Old English poem “Beowulf”. Grendel was a direct descendant of Cain from the Book of Genesis, a monster described as half-troll, half-ogre. Like Jason, Grendel rose from a lake in search of victims and seemingly could not be killed. Also, in their fight, Beowulf rips Grendel’s arm off, and in the movie, when Kay-Em shoots up Jason, the first thing he loses is his arm. (I … kind of love the comparison)

Because Jim Isaac wanted the acting in his film to “blow every other Friday movie out of the water.” The associate producer videotaped the rehearsals on a camcorder for Isaac, who would view them afterward to get ideas from seeing his characters in action. The problem was with all the script re-writes a lot of the time Isaac didn’t even know if what the actors were rehearsing was still going to be in the movie (most of it wasn’t). (That’s kind of sad all things considered. Kind of sweet how much he cared though, sucks it didn’t work out).

One of the things which won over everyone to the concept of Jason in space was the idea of the kids seemingly killing the hockey mask monster halfway through only for him to be recreated into something even scarier via futuristic technology. The mechanism of this change ended up being nanotechnology, an idea screenwriter Todd Farmer lifted from Virtuosity. However, the actual concept of an UberJason predates Jason X. (Gross and I hate it)

(at around 15 mins) The space debris floating in space has “Cunningham Realty” written on the side. This is a reference to the name of producer Noel Cunningham, the son of executive producer and maker of the original Friday the 13th (1980), Sean S. Cunningham.

During Jason X’s development process, director Jim Isaac, producer Noel Cunningham (Sean’s son), and screenwriter Todd Farmer kicked around any scenario they could think of it, typically “Jason in [insert blank] (the hood, snow, underwater, the arctic, in L.A. fighting gangs, on safari).” They even considered something involving the NASCAR circuit. Farmer suggested “in space” because he knew Freddy Vs. Jason was on the way, and it’d be best if Jason X was set after the events of that epic battle. So, they needed to jump into the future, and going into space certainly did that. They were a little scared of doing a horror sequel in space [see: Hellraiser, Leprechaun, and Critters.], but they thought it could be fun to do a mash-up of Ridley Scott’s Alien and James Cameron’s Aliens with not one but two strong Ripley-type females on a ship of bad-ass space marines hunted by Jason instead of xenomorphs. (When your idea can be boiled down to: it would be best if we could flash forward a bit because a movie that was planned in 1987 and never made it totes going to come out soon … let’s put it in space I guess. That is not great).

Jason murders 28 people, more than any of the other Friday the 13th movies. (Jesus Christ, that is a ton)

In 2010, Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters actually tested out Jason X’s liquid nitrogen head smash kill. It turns out it doesn’t quite pass the smell test. (I think I saw that one. Yeah, doesn’t really work in my mind, wouldn’t freeze all of the way through).