Virus Preview

As Jamie heads out of the apartment he almost bumps into a delivery man carrying a large wooden box. After he drops it off, Jamie waits a moment before asking the obvious question… “what’s that?” Patrick looks up confused. “Oh… you mean the box? I got a safe to keep the Obsidian Dongle in but now… you know… we don’t have it anymore.” Jamie nods. Makes sense. No need to investigate further or even think about that box. It’s obviously nothing that anybody needs to worry about. With that clearly unimportant event out of the way Jamie heads downtown whistling Starring Jason Derulo. It sure is catchy. As he approaches WARR, their local pirate radio station, he is shocked to find a “Closed” sign up in the window. Whaa-whaaa-whaaaaaa? Quickly snatching the transistor radio out of his pocket he tunes it to the station and hears only static. What the heck is going on? He walks down the street getting odd glances from everyone he sees. But really he should be giving them weird glances. Seems a bit warm to be wearing face masks. When he arrives at the second most popular local pirate radio station WGRG the owner is just locking up. “Oh thank god,” Jamie says relieved, “I have a hot new track that needs to drop fast for the latest FMV VR video game craze for the gucci crowd.” The owner understands all this perfectly but informs him that because of the virus he’ll have to send it via email. “Virus?” Jamie asks and the man snorts. “What have you been living under a rock?” Jamie, insulted, is about to inform him that no, he just happened to be saving the world for the last year (thank you very much) when everything clicks into place. A pandemic! That’s right! We’re appropriately watching Virus starring Jamie Lee Curtis. She considers it the worst film she’s made and so I’ve been pretty excited to catch it one of these days. It also had what is widely considered a terrible video game associated with that, so Patrick can have fun with that. Let’s go!

Virus (1999) – BMeTric: 60.1; Notability: 44

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.4%; Notability: top 31.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 5.4% Higher BMeT: Baby Geniuses, Inspector Gadget, Universal Soldier: The Return, Wild Wild West, Wing Commander, The Haunting, Dudley Do-Right, Bats, The Rage: Carrie 2; Higher Notability: Wild Wild West, Inspector Gadget, The 13th Warrior, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Haunting, Idle Hands, End of Days, Joan of Arc, My Favorite Martian, The Out-of-Towners, Random Hearts, Crazy in Alabama, Double Jeopardy, Instinct, Stigmata, The Bone Collector, In Too Deep, Entrapment, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, The General’s Daughter, and 4 more; Lower RT: Baby Geniuses, The Mod Squad, Universal Soldier: The Return, The Omega Code, The Bachelor, Eye of the Beholder, Wing Commander, Chill Factor, Body Shots, End of Days, My Favorite Martian; Notes: Really solid, the IMDb rating is absurdly low. We’ve almost seen all of those Higher BMeT films. Inspector Gadget and The Rage: Carrie 2 are the only non-BMT … which is incredible.

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – The last half hour of the movie is almost unseeable. In dark dimness, various human and other figures race around in a lot of water and flashlight beams, and there is much screaming. Occasionally an eye, a limb, or a bloody face emerges from the gloom. Many instructions are shouted. If you can explain to me the exact function of that rocket tube that turns up at the end, I will be sincerely grateful. If you can explain how anyone could survive that function, I will be amazed. The last shot is an homage to “The African Queen,” a movie I earnestly recommend instead of this one.

(I might just have to go ahead and watch The African Queen. Although I’ll watch both … I don’t need to make a choice or anything. I don’t look forward to watching this film in broad daylight on my old dim television and being like “THIS DIRECTOR IS AN IDIOT!” when it is actually mostly me watching it like an insane person.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEFf78HegJg/

(Oh shit is that a ghost ship with the most ship? Blast from the past with Mir as well, which fell back to Earth in 2001 (a mere two years later). Really went for the “return of the scream queen” ending there with a clear jump scare a la Alien as well.)

Directors – John Bruno – (Known For: Heavy Metal; BMT: Virus; Notes: Nominated for 6 Academy Awards for special effects (and won for The Abyss). Notable for working closely with James Cameron, this was his only live action full length directorial effort.)

Writers – Chuck Pfarrer (creator: Dark Horse Comic Book series: “Virus” & screenplay) – (Known For: Darkman; Hard Target; Future BMT: Red Planet; Navy Seals; The Jackal; BMT: Barb Wire; Virus; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Barb Wire in 1997; Notes: He was a Navy SEAL, the details of which are written in his autobiography Warrior Soul.)

Dennis Feldman (screenplay) – (Known For: Just One of the Guys; Real Men; BMT: Species II; Virus; Species; The Golden Child; Notes: Brother of Randy Feldman who wrote Tango & Cash, and son of the producer Phil Feldman. Went to both Harvard and Yale.)

Actors – Jamie Lee Curtis – (Known For: Knives Out; Trading Places; True Lies; Halloween; Halloween; Escape from New York; My Girl; Freaky Friday; A Fish Called Wanda; The Fog; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension; Terror Train; Forever Young; Veronica Mars; From Up on Poppy Hill; Prom Night; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Blue Steel; Beverly Hills Chihuahua; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; My Girl 2; You Again; Drowning Mona; House Arrest; Halloween II; BMT: Virus; Christmas with the Kranks; Perfect; Notes: The original Scream Queen. The daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, she is also married to Christopher Guest. She’s been nominated for a Primetime Emmy (Nicholas’ Gift) and won two Golden Globes (True Lies and Anything but Love).)

Donald Sutherland – (Known For: The Hunger Games; Pride & Prejudice; National Lampoon’s Animal House; The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; A Time to Kill; Ad Astra; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2; Horrible Bosses; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1; M.A.S.H.; The Italian Job; Cold Mountain; JFK; Klute; Lord of War; Fallen; Backdraft; Outbreak; Deception; Ordinary People; Future BMT: Buffy the Vampire Slayer; The Art of War; Shadow Conspiracy; The Eagle; The Puppet Masters; Instinct; Catholic Boys; BMT: Virus; An American Haunting; Fool’s Gold; Lock Up; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Lock Up in 1990; Notes: Father of Kiefer Sutherland. Won an Emmy (Citizen X) and two Golden Globes (Citizen X and Path to War). Was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2018. Is set to feature in Roland Emmerich’s action film Moonfall.)

William Baldwin – (Known For: Forgetting Sarah Marshall; Backdraft; Born on the Fourth of July; Internal Affairs; The Squid and the Whale; Flatliners; Bulworth; Aftermath; Curdled; Maximum Impact; Three of Hearts; You Stupid Man; Adrift in Manhattan; The Broken Key; Noise; Park; Relative Values; Jock; Say Nothing; Dino Time; BMT: Virus; Sliver; Fair Game; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Sliver in 1994; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Fair Game in 1996; Notes: Incredible flex by us clearing out Billy’s qualifying films within a few weeks of each other. Both him and Stephen Baldwin were Calvin Klein models prior to pursuing acting.)

Budget/Gross – $75,000,000 / Domestic: $14,036,005 (Worldwide: $30,657,854)

(Disaster, but I don’t know what they would have thought it would be otherwise? It is based on an obscure Dark Horse comic … but they were expecting what? $150 million. Insane.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (6/49): Despite its great special effects, this movie’s predictability greatly undermines its intensity.

(Oooo, I’m excited for some “good” effects from the late 90s. Reviewer Highlight: A derivative sci-fi shocker that isn’t likely to spark much interest beyond its target audience of undemanding genre fans. – Joe Leydon, Variety)

Poster – Alien Shock Wave v2.0

(I like the colors, the framing and really all the visuals. If I was walking in a theater the only thing that would stop me from being pretty excited for some dumb fun it Billy Baldwin’s face. Replace him with Gerard Butler and we’d be cooking with gas. It’s also pretty amazing that they put the giant robot face up there as if it’s a star of the film. B)

Tagline(s) – Life on earth is in for a shock. (B)

(I can’t tell if I love this or hate this. The fact that I laughed out loud when I read it is probably not a great sign for the actual quality of the tagline though. “In for a shock” seems a bit mild for how life on earth would react to an electricity-borne virus that creates killer robots. Beyond how funny it is it certainly is short, clever, and hints at the plot. So still gets an OK score. The tagline combined with the giant robot head makes for one of the more unintentionally funny posters I can remember..)

Keyword – virus

Top 10: The Matrix (1999), American Psycho (2000), Iron Man Three (2013), Logan (2017), The Maze Runner (2014), Dawn of the Dead (2004), I Am Legend (2007), Contagion (2011), Alien: Covenant (2017), Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Future BMT: 65.6 Pulse (2006), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.1 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), 40.8 Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), 39.4 The Forsaken (2001), 39.0 Jigsaw (2017), 36.1 The Invasion (2007), 35.0 The Relic (1997), 27.6 Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), 27.5 Inferno (2016);

BMT: The 5th Wave (2016), The Happening (2008), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Paycheck (2003), Dreamcatcher (2003), The Darkest Minds (2018), Species II (1998), Virus (1999)

(Huh … I guess you would argue ‘puters really went mainstream in ‘95 then. Kind of amazing just how much of an inflection that is. It was pretty much immediately from 0 to HACK THE PLANET! on that graph. Can’t wait to just smash all six of the Resident Evil films at some point.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jamie Lee Curtis is No. 1 billed in Virus and No. 2 billed in Christmas with the Kranks, 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 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Because of the ship being mothballed in the James River Reserve Fleet, on the border of Isle of Wight County and city of Newport News, the ship was covered in rust and disrepair when the filming started. For the movie, one side of the ship was painted and dressed up, leaving the other half in poor condition. Hence, only one side of the ship was ever filmed on camera for the movie.

The “Goliath” robot was approximately 9 ft tall and weighed an estimated 4000 lbs. The special effects company hired to create Goliath had only three-and-a-half months to produce the robot from the initial drawings to the finished product.

In an IGN.com interview, Jamie Lee Curtis said the following about Virus (1999): “Rob Reiner, for his 40th birthday, had a bad show business party where everybody brought show business clips. Rob’s was playing a hippie on Gomer Pyle: USMC (1964) singing ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’. Virus (1999) is so bad that it’s shocking. That would be the all time piece of shit. It’s just dreadful. That’s the only good reason to be in bad movies. Then when your friends have [bad] movies you can say ‘Ahhhh, I’ve got the best one. I’m bringing Virus (1999).'” (Incredible, but I highly doubt Virus is going to blow my mind in how bad it is)

Jamie Lee Curtis has admitted to hating this film, calling it “the worst movie ever made”. She added that she lobbied hard to have the director fired and replaced by Steve Miner, who she had made Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) with. However, he wasn’t available, as he was working on Dawson’s Creek (1998)).

The lyrics of the Russian march heard during the end credits are actually the names of various cast and crew members pronounced backward.

John Bruno was about to start work on the visual effects for Titanic (1997) when the offer came through to direct his first feature.

In 1999, prolific French video game developer Cryo (also known as Cryo Interactive Entertainment) released on PlayStation “Virus: It is Aware”, their action/horror third person shooter tie-in video game that was very loosely based on this movie. The game immediately fell into obscurity. (Oh did it, because I think I’m playing it this weekend …)

Originally set for a Summer 1998 release, the film’s release was eventually pushed to January of 1999.

Chuck Pfarrer explained in an interview that the comic book was based on the script that he wrote in the early-’90s. Because of the special effects that the script called for, it was impossible to make the script into a movie at that time, and he handed it to Dark Horse Comics who published it in 1995. Several years later, when special effects technology had caught up, Pfarrer revised the original script. (Oh interesting, I wonder if I can get my hands on a copy of the comic)

In the beginning when the Captain (Donald Sutherland) is aiming a pistol at Baldwin he is holding a British Webley .455 caliber. It was the standard sidearm of the British army from 1897-1963.

Director John Bruno is a visual effects artist known for his frequent collaborations with director James Cameron.

Little Nicky Preview

Jamie, Patrick, and Rachel sit around the apartment racking their brains. What could they possibly do to stop the cyborgs’ plans? The cyborgs have the Dongle and will blast them to hell once their plan comes to fruition and Rich & Poe are dead. “What do the kids like these days? Once you’ve hooked the kids they won’t dare give the film bad reviews. Voila, Rich & Poe don’t die,” queries Patrick. Jamie ponders for a moment and being hip with the kidz he suggests a warm Rich themed blanket and a delicious cup of Poe brand tea, “the perfect combination. Just like Rich & Poe are the perfect combination of bad guy stopping power.” Patrick holds up his hand in exasperation. He gets it. “What about muscle shirts and muscle milk,” he brainstorms, “muscle everything cause Rich & Poe are all about muscles.” Jamie nods but then stops when he sees Rachel shaking her head in disgust. “Bopping tunes?” throws out Jamie, which gets the OK from Rachel. Not to be outdone Patrick throws out the unparalleled experience of Rich & Poe: The Video Game: VR: Legends Never Die. Now Rachel is intrigued. Jamie fleshes out his thoughts with a wiki-wild-wild-west banging hook and an internet shattering music video which mixes Thriller with TikTok or whatever shit kids are doing now. Rachel stops them and lays it out: “what about both?” and Jamie and Patrick’s mouths fall open. “The FMV Rich & Poe: The Music Video Game VR Experience: Legends Never Die starring Jason Derulo,” The say together and high five. Game changer. It’s going to be a lot of work, though, as Patrick takes the brunt of the coding and Jamie dives right back into the Rich & Poe book to make sure the tie-in is tight. “Welcome to hell,” says Patrick. That’s right, we go from some banging tunes right into an unparalleled video game experience with the Adam Sandler classic Little Nicky. What? You didn’t know that Little Nicky had a video game? Well it did and Patrick beat it. Deal with it. Let’s go!

Little Nicky (2000) – BMeTric: 57.7; Notability: 85

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.8%; Notability: top 2.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 20.3% Higher BMeT: Battlefield Earth, Dungeons & Dragons, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Urban Legends: Final Cut, Highlander: Endgame, 102 Dalmatians, Big Momma’s House, Supernova; Lower RT: The in Crowd, Battlefield Earth, Bless the Child, Lost Souls, Turn It Up, The Skulls, Urban Legends: Final Cut, Dungeons & Dragons, Supernova, I Dreamed of Africa, Ed Gein, Screwed, The Ladies’ Man, The Watcher, Boricua’s Bond, Highlander: Endgame, Boys and Girls, Get Carter, Hanging Up, Whipped and 22 more; Notes: That is an incredibly high Notability, especially for a comedy. This is the pinnacle for Sandler clearly, the moment where, coming off of Big Daddy, he seemingly could do no wrong … until he did.

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – All of this is kinda fun, and some of it more than that. I can see how “Little Nicky” could have worked, It’s just that Sandler, at the center, is a distraction; he steals scenes, and we want him to give them back. He’s 35 now. I know you can play an adolescent all of your life (consider Jerry Lewis), but isn’t it time for us to see the real Adam Sandler? When I met him, I thought to myself, this guy has movie star potential.

(Little Nicky is definitely the moment where it seemed like Sandler regressed from what I remember. Big Daddy showed a level of growth for the man-child character from Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison … but then Little Nicky is like he was trying to go back to that lazy silliness instead of keeping an emotional core to the films or progressing. Amazing that Ebert gave it 2.5 stars!)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0jhAYDiFwo/

(My god, even the trailer is awful. Also, it is really weird that they couldn’t or wouldn’t make a trailer that showed the actual storyline of the film. It makes it seem like the brothers go after Nicky to bring him back to Hell, but it is the exact opposite, Nicky is going after his brothers to bring them back to Hell. Weird.)

Directors – Steven Brill – (Known For: Hubie Halloween; Walk of Shame; The Do-Over; Sandy Wexler; Future BMT: Drillbit Taylor; Mr. Deeds; Without a Paddle; Heavyweights; BMT: Movie 43; Little Nicky; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for Movie 43 in 2014; and Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Little Nicky in 2001; Notes: Was a comedy partner with Marc Maron in college. Is a consistent director for Happy Madison films through the current Netflix contract.)

Writers – Tim Herlihy (written by) – (Known For: Happy Gilmore; Hubie Halloween; Billy Madison; The Wedding Singer; Future BMT: Mr. Deeds; Bedtime Stories; The Waterboy; Big Daddy; BMT: The Ridiculous 6; Little Nicky; Grown Ups 2; Pixels; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2000 for Big Daddy; in 2001 for Little Nicky; in 2014 for Grown Ups 2; and in 2016 for Pixels; Notes: Adam Sandler’s college roommate and, obviously, co-writer. Worked on Saturday Night Live with Sandler as well.)

Adam Sandler (written by) – (Known For: Happy Gilmore; Hubie Halloween; Billy Madison; Hotel Transylvania 2; The Week Of; Sandy Wexler; Future BMT: You Don’t Mess with the Zohan; Eight Crazy Nights; The Waterboy; Big Daddy; BMT: Jack and Jill; Going Overboard; Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; The Ridiculous 6; Little Nicky; Grown Ups 2; Grown Ups; Notes: Y’all know Adam Sandler. It is the 25th anniversary of Happy Gilmore, so there are a bunch of news stories about the potential for a Happy Gilmore sequel … that seems unlikely.)

Steven Brill (written by) – (Known For: Walk of Shame; Future BMT: D3: The Mighty Ducks; Ready to Rumble; D2: The Mighty Ducks; The Mighty Ducks; Heavyweights; BMT: Little Nicky; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for Movie 43 in 2014; and Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Little Nicky in 2001; Notes: This was basically the last film he wrote for Happy Madison. I assume he moved into a more exclusive Director / Producer role afterwards.)

Actors – Adam Sandler – (Known For: Happy Gilmore; Uncut Gems; 50 First Dates; Hubie Halloween; Billy Madison; Murder Mystery; The Wedding Singer; Hotel Transylvania; Punch-Drunk Love; The Do-Over; Anger Management; Hotel Transylvania 3; The Meyerowitz Stories; Spanglish; Funny People; Hotel Transylvania 2; The Cobbler; The Week Of; Reign Over Me; Future BMT: Coneheads; You Don’t Mess with the Zohan; The Hot Chick; Eight Crazy Nights; Mr. Deeds; Mixed Nuts; Bulletproof; Bedtime Stories; Airheads; The Waterboy; Click; Big Daddy; The Longest Yard; Dirty Work; Men, Women & Children; BMT: Jack and Jill; Going Overboard; Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo; The Ridiculous 6; Zookeeper; Little Nicky; Grown Ups 2; Pixels; Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; Grown Ups; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Just Go with It; Blended; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay, Worst Actor, Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Jack and Jill in 2012; Winner for Worst Actor in 2000 for Big Daddy; in 2012 for Just Go with It; and in 2013 for That’s My Boy; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2000 for Big Daddy; in 2001 for Little Nicky; in 2012 for Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; and in 2014 for Grown Ups 2; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1997 for Bulletproof, and Happy Gilmore; in 1999 for The Waterboy; in 2001 for Little Nicky; in 2003 for Eight Crazy Nights, and Mr. Deeds; in 2008 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; in 2014 for Grown Ups 2; in 2015 for Blended; and in 2016 for Pixels, and The Cobbler; Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for The Cobbler in 2016; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2008 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; in 2012 for Just Go with It; and in 2013 for That’s My Boy; Notes: Was Nominated for a Golden Globe for Punch-Drunk Love. I’m surprised he didn’t get one for Uncut Gems as well. Next year he has what appears to be another serious role in Hustle, about a washed up basketball coach who discovers a prospect in China. Could be interesting.)

Patricia Arquette – (Known For: True Romance; Toy Story 4; Holes; Boyhood; Uncle Buck; Lost Highway; Ed Wood; Bringing Out the Dead; A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors; Holy Matrimony; Otherhood; The Indian Runner; Flirting with Disaster; Fast Food Nation; Nightwatch; Human Nature; A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III; Girl in Progress; Prayer of the Rollerboys; Future BMT: Stigmata; Goodbye Lover; Beyond Rangoon; BMT: Little Nicky; Tiptoes; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Little Nicky in 2001; Notes: Won an Oscar for Boyhood in 2015. From the Arquette acting family, and was married to Nicolas Cage for six years.)

Harvey Keitel – (Known For: Inglourious Basterds; Pulp Fiction; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Taxi Driver; The Irishman; Red Dragon; Isle of Dogs; Reservoir Dogs; From Dusk Till Dawn; Moonrise Kingdom; National Treasure; Thelma & Louise; Get Shorty; The Piano; Youth; The Two Jakes; Fatima; Sister Act; The Last Temptation of Christ; Future BMT: Little Fockers; Arthur and the Invisibles; The January Man; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; BMT: The Ridiculous 6; Little Nicky; Be Cool; Rising Sun; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Last Temptation of Christ in 1989; Notes: We just say him in Rising Sun. Let’s just see what he’s got on the docket for next year: He’s playing Meyer Lansky about the  National Crime Syndicate.)

Budget/Gross – $85,000,000 / Domestic: $39,464,775 (Worldwide: $58,292,295)

(Oh that’s a disaster. I’m pretty sure Sandler has something like ten comedies which made over $100 million, so this was seems like it must have been a serious come down. The three films surrounding this were $160 million, $80 million, and $130 million domestic … so yeah, this was a terrible showing for Sandler.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (25/115): Despite the presence of a large, talented cast, the jokes in Little Nicky are dumb, tasteless, and not that funny, and Adam Sandler’s character is grating to watch.

(Yeah, basically all of the reviews boil down to: Sandler has never been more annoying, thanks, I hate it. Reviewer Highlight: Where’s Sandler in all this? Lost in gimmicks that smack of desperation. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Little Snickers

(Woof. And I’m not just saying that cause there is a dog on the poster. There are… a lot of colors on that mess. And yet a shocking amount of empty space. I’ll give a minor point for the font, which is not totally generic. But I also have to say that the off-center bench is a real problem. It messes with your head. Why not even that sucker out? D.)

Tagline(s) – If Your Father Was The Devil And Your Mother Was An Angel, You’d Be Messed Up Too. (Spoiler Alert!)

Be unafraid. Be very unafraid. (C+)

(Double tagline poster. The first one is far too long and a real spoiler alert. It’s kind of supposed to be a surprise who Nicky’s mom is and they just say it. The second one is fine I guess, in that it actually is a tagline. Doesn’t really roll off the tongue though.)

Keyword – hell

Top 10: Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Love Actually (2003), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), As Above, So Below (2014), 2012 (2009), Hercules (1997), Constantine (2005), Inferno (2016), Hellboy (2019), Little Nicky (2000)

Future BMT: 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 63.2 The Haunted Mansion (2003), 57.1 The Lazarus Effect (2015), 56.9 A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989), 56.1 Spawn (1997), 50.0 The Sin Eater (2003), 35.8 Hideaway (1995), 27.5 Inferno (2016), 26.6 As Above, So Below (2014), 21.6 The Shack (2017);

BMT: 2012 (2009), Hellboy (2019), Little Nicky (2000), Event Horizon (1997), Doom (2005), Silent Hill (2006), The Golden Child (1986), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

(Hmmm, I wonder why there is potentially less of a prevalence of “hell” as a concept in film. Could be something with appealing more widely to a global market. I can’t wait to watch the Nightmare on Elm Street series. I love watching just a ton of horror films all in a row.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Adam Sandler is No. 1 billed in Little Nicky and No. 1 billed in Jack and Jill, 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) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 10. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – When Jon Lovitz was on the celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (1999) in 2000, he promoted this movie, and mentioned some of the co-stars. Interestingly, host Regis Philbin has an uncredited cameo as himself, but never mentioned to Jon Lovitz or the audience that he’s in the same movie. (Ha! He’s also a boss in the Game Boy Color game. Stay tuned for my review of that in the Recap)

Adam Sandler’s real life dog, named Meatball, is the son of the dog that played Mr. Beefy in this movie. Meatball was Adam Sandler’s best man at his wedding.

Carl Weathers reprised his role of “Chubbs” from Happy Gilmore (1996), though he is not credited for the role a second time.

This is the fourth Adam Sandler film to have a love interest with the initials “V. V.,” with Patricia Arquette as Valerie Veran. The first was Billy Madison (1995) (Veronica Vaughn); the second was Happy Gilmore (1996) (Virginia Venet); and the third was The Waterboy (1998) (Vicki Valencourt).

Dana Carvey (Referee) broke his ankle while filming the Harlem Globetrotters basketball game scene, and ended up on crutches. (What!)

Adam Sandler’s wife Jackie plays the redheaded angel Jenna.

Harvey Keitel replaced Dustin Hoffman in the role of Satan.

During the closing credits, flashes of the character’s whereabouts are explained. When they explain Nicky’s mom (Reese Witherspoon), a picture still of her is shown saying “Mom immediately fell in love with her new aerobics instructor, Chris Farley.” Giving a tribute to Chris, who died three years before the film, in 1997. The aerobics reference is referring to his classic skit on Saturday Night Live (1975) that will always be hilariously remembered. Adam, and the rest of the Saturday Night Live (1975) gang, were great friends with Farley.

Adam Sandler expressed in one of his songs that this movie was his father’s favorite film featuring Adam.

When Adrian (Rhys Ifans) makes Nicky (Adam Sandler) get hit by the bus, the blood spatter on John (Jonathan Loughran) and Peter’s (Peter Dante’s) shirt says “666”.

When Nicky makes the basket at the basketball game, you can see “666” on the shot clock above the hoop.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor of the Decade (Rob Schneider, 2010)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Adam Sandler, 2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette, 2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Steven Brill, 2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler, Steven Brill, 2001)

Sliver Preview

Jamie and Patrick creep around the water fountain of the local mall and espy Pretzel Stand Rachel doling out hot, fresh pretzels. “So what’s the plan, again? I’m not sure I understand,” Jamie says, pulling uncomfortably as his tie, his muscles nearly popping the buttons on his shirt. “Ok, so Rachel is in the book,” explains Patrick, “just like St. Mary’s Church. So our doppelgangers must have left something with her… some bread crumb on the trail to wherever this leads. So it’s your turn to buy a piping hot pretzel and… you know… see what happens.” Jamie arches an eyebrow, unconvinced, while Patrick shrugs. It’s worth a shot. Jamie ambles up to Rachel and from the distance Patrick sees him lean over and say something probably super sauve. They laugh at a joke and Rachel swats him playfully. Excellent. With that she takes off her apron and beckons Jamie to follow her, who quickly flashes a thumbs up to Patrick. What the hell? Jamie didn’t get a clue? Not a slip of paper with some page number on it? Where the hell are they going? Patrick continues to follow the pair as they head through the park. They skip stones on the pod, spend some time in the museum, ride bicycles in the rain, and finally settle in for some gelato at a hip gelato spot. Why is Jamie going on a full on date when they need to be tracking down their diabolical fiends? And why are laughing and living so much? Finally Jamie and Rachel head towards a tall building on the edge of the park. Patrick’s had enough and hurries to catch up. Time to stop whatever erotic thrills Jamie might have on his mind and get this investigation back on track. That’s right! We’re replacing sci-fi in the cycle this year. While we love sci-fi, it’s also a genre that can fit in action, horror, etc. So we removed it as a standalone and replaced it with Achievement Unlocked. What that means is that we will attempt to go after a certain subtype of film this year in that slot. This year that subtype will be the Thrills and Chills of the 90’s. So of course what exemplifies 90’s fun like a 90’s erotic thriller. Enter Sliver, based on the book by Ira Levin. It’s about a big ol’ building that’s probably some metaphor for a penis or something. Let’s go!

Sliver (1993) – BMeTric: 58.0; Notability: 46 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 3.2%; Notability: top 18.9%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 5.7% Higher BMeT: Super Mario Bros., RoboCop 3, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Leprechaun, Mr. Nanny, Cop & ½; Higher Notability: Last Action Hero, Hocus Pocus, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, RoboCop 3, The Meteor Man, Rising Sun, Coneheads, We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story, Loaded Weapon 1, Life with Mikey, Son of the Pink Panther, The Pickle, The Three Musketeers, Indecent Proposal; Lower RT: RoboCop 3, Son of the Pink Panther, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Mr. Nanny, Hexed, Best of the Best II, Carnosaur, Father Hood, Weekend at Bernie’s II, Calendar Girl; Notes: Existed mostly as a sub-5.0 film so not at all a surprise it kills the BMeTric. This is actually one of the more impressive statistical performances for a BMT this year, so I hope it is a good BMT.

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Stone moves into a tall, slender, and luxurious Manhattan apartment building with a history of unusual deaths. Writer Berenger pursues her, though she’s more interested in Baldwin; however, she soon comes to suspect one of the two is a killer. Robert Evans’ handsomely produced sex-and-murder mystery (emphasis on sex) was severely damaged by reshooting (which changed the identity of the killer), but Joe Eszterhas’ script was already pretentious and exploitative. From Ira Levin’s novel.

(That is a huge review for the Leonard Maltin books. So basically, glossy, cut-to-ribbons, and pretentious. Sounds like quite the erotic thriller …)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdSIyG6euDY/

(I think that is actually a really compelling trailer. The idea of moving into an apartment, where someone is watching you at all times and manipulating the entire building, and perfect murders are staged as accidents by this all knowing eye? What is still pretty relevant in our far more technologically advanced age today.)

Directors – Phillip Noyce – (Known For: Salt; Clear and Present Danger; Patriot Games; Above Suspicion; Dead Calm; Rabbit-Proof Fence; Blind Fury; The Quiet American; Catch a Fire; Heatwave; Echoes of Paradise; Newsfront; Backroads; Future BMT: The Saint; The Giver; The Bone Collector; BMT: Sliver; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Sliver in 1994; Notes: Australian. The Quiet American had an Oscar nominated performance, and he’s still going strong in both movies and television.)

Writers – Ira Levin (novel) – (Known For: Rosemary’s Baby; The Stepford Wives; The Boys from Brazil; Deathtrap; A Kiss Before Dying; Bunny Lake Is Missing; Critic’s Choice; No Time for Sergeants; Future BMT: The Stepford Wives; A Kiss Before Dying; BMT: Sliver; Notes: Nominated for a Tony for his play Deathtrap. Started in anthology television like Lights Out.)

Joe Eszterhas (screenplay) – (Known For: Basic Instinct; Jagged Edge; F.I.S.T; Showgirls 2: Penny’s from Heaven; Betrayed; Music Box; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Telling Lies in America; Hearts of Fire; Big Shots; Szabadság, szerelem; Checking Out; Future BMT: Showgirls; Nowhere to Run; Flashdance; BMT: Basic Instinct 2; Sliver; Jade; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actor, Worst New Star, and Worst Original Song for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; Winner for Worst Screenplay for Showgirls in 1996; Winner for Worst New Star for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1984 for Flashdance; in 1994 for Sliver; and in 1996 for Jade; Notes: Born in Hungary, he was originally a journalist, most notable at Rolling Stone. Got into screenwriting after writing Charlie Simpson’s Apocalypse which a studio executive loved.)

Actors – Sharon Stone – (Known For: Basic Instinct; Casino; Total Recall; The Quick and the Dead; The Disaster Artist; Alpha Dog; The Laundromat; Lovelace; Antz; Broken Flowers; Above the Law; Deadly Blessing; Bobby; Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold; Life on the Line; The Mighty; Stardust Memories; Mothers and Daughters; Fading Gigolo; A Little Something for Your Birthday; Future BMT: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Cold Creek Manor; King Solomon’s Mines; Diabolique; Action Jackson; Intersection; Gloria; Sphere; He Said, She Said; Last Dance; Last Action Hero; Year of the Gun; BMT: Catwoman; Basic Instinct 2; Sliver; The Specialist; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 1995 for Intersection, and The Specialist; and in 2007 for Basic Instinct 2; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1988 for Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold; in 1994 for Sliver; and in 2000 for Gloria; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Catwoman in 2005; and Nominee for Worst New Star in 1997 for Diabolique, and Last Dance; Notes: Stone was still on the rise at this point. She would be nominated for an Oscar in 1996, get married in 1998, and her major stardom would be over by 2000.)

William Baldwin – (Known For: Forgetting Sarah Marshall; Backdraft; The Squid and the Whale; Flatliners; Born on the Fourth of July; Internal Affairs; Bulworth; Aftermath; Curdled; Maximum Impact; Noise; Three of Hearts; Relative Values; Adrift in Manhattan; Welcome to Acapulco; Park; The Broken Key; Dino Time; You Stupid Man; Say Nothing; Future BMT: Virus; BMT: Fair Game; Sliver; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Sliver in 1994; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Fair Game in 1996; Notes: You could argue this is right at the beginning of him almost being a legit movie star. He would star in eight films in the 90s, but then his leading career would be over by 2000. The second youngest of the Baldwin brothers.)

Tom Berenger – (Known For: Inception; Platoon; Training Day; Major League; The Big Chill; Faster; Born on the Fourth of July; Gettysburg; Sniper: Ultimate Kill; Supervized; Quad; Mr. Goodbar; The Sentinel; D-Tox; Deadly Pursuit; Eddie and the Cruisers; The Dogs of War; The Substitute; Fear City; Someone to Watch Over Me; Future BMT: Major League II; Chasers; Sniper; Shattered; Rustlers’ Rhapsody; BMT: Sliver; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Sliver in 1994; Notes: He would do Sniper, Sliver, Gettysburg, Major League II, and Chasers in a three year span as his second peak as an actor. Nominated for an Oscar for Platoon.)

Budget/Gross – $30–40 million / Domestic: $36,300,000 (Worldwide: $116,300,000)

(Failed domestically to some extent, but I would bet they were reasonably happy with the international take. Erotic thrillers really were cooking at the time.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (3/27): Sliver is an absurd erotic thriller with technobabble and posits prime Sharon Stone as a professional book nerd.

(Well, I don’t know if we really need to posit anything about Stone. She’s an editor at a publishing house, and I think quite believable in the role. At least the same believability as Robin Wright being a journalist in Message in a Bottle. Now whether she would be attracted to Baldwin however… Reviewer Highlight: Sharon Stone goes cold in this botched thiller-maybe from the effort of pretending that her character, a beauteous book editor, would fall for the preening young computer wizard played by the vacant-and-proud-of-it William Baldwin. – Michael Sragow, New Yorker)

Poster – In Your Endo

(The artistic effect of this is good. And the colors are stark, particularly with the font work. I think in each of its parts I like it, even if the whole seems a bit confused. So can’t go much lower than a B-. I wish it meshed a bit more. I can’t stress how hilarious the names on the poster are for an erotic thriller. It’s like “Sharon Stone, nice. Billy Baldwin, uh, ok. Tom Berenger, lol what?”)

Tagline(s) – You like to watch… don’t you

(I’m trying to figure out just how good this one is. It’s obviously a play on the concept of the film, but also plays on the very idea of an erotic thriller. So even though it’s not a fun pun like I generally like, it might be the cleverest tagline I’ve come across. I’m going to do it. A+.)

Keyword – ambiguous ending

Top 10: War Dogs (2016), Shutter Island (2010), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Interstellar (2014), Inception (2010), Joker (2019), The Dark Knight (2008), Titanic (1997), American Psycho (2000), Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Future BMT: 63.7 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 63.0 Blair Witch (2016), 56.8 The Transporter Refueled (2015), 53.6 Lost Souls (2000), 26.6 Broken City (2013), 21.3 The Warrior’s Way (2010), 21.2 The First Power (1990), 19.5 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), 19.3 Now You See Me 2 (2016), 7.5 The Thirteenth Floor (1999);

BMT: Serenity (2019), Fast & Furious (2009), Rambo: Last Blood (2019), Ghost Ship (2002), Countdown (2019), Death Wish (2018), Truth or Dare (2018), Queen of the Damned (2002), Sliver (1993), Jason X (2001), Alone in the Dark (2005), The Devil Inside (2012), Never Die Alone (2004)

(I wonder how much of the peak is because of “twist” endings like The Sixth Sense, and surprise endings like Blair Witch? Hard to tell from the lists. I am excited for The First Power, a film I’ve never heard of where a murderer named Patrick comes back to life to kill again!)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sharon Stone is No. 1 billed in Sliver and No. 3 billed in Catwoman, which also stars Frances Conroy (No. 5 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 4 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 5 + 4 + 5 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – According to Phillip Noyce, Sharon Stone and William Baldwin disliked each other and demanded that their scenes be filmed separately whenever possible.

While filming a kissing scene, Sharon Stone bit William Baldwin’s tongue with such force that he couldn’t talk properly for days afterwards.

During filming, a crew was sent to Hawaii to film an active volcano for the opening credits. During the flyover, the volcano erupted, and the helicopter carrying the crew crashed. No one was killed, but all film was lost. The opening credit scene is referenced in the film by the crystal volcano in Zeke’s Room. (I think this was supposed to be the ending as well)

As part of the re-shot ending, Tom Berenger and Polly Walker were required to film a scene wearing S&M gear. Both actors refused as this wasn’t in their original contract, so the scene had to be filmed by doubles. (And … isn’t in the film from what I remember?)

Johnny Depp and Val Kilmer turned down the role of Zeke Hawkins. (Kilmer would have been cool)

The script originally called for full male frontal nudity, but William Baldwin changed his mind after the scenes had been shot. (hmmmmmm)

Joe Eszterhas’s original ending was incomprehensible to test audiences and an alternate ending had to be quickly devised and shot. Eszterhas cracked out five different endings in three days. (So apparently this was the reveal that Stone is in the helicopter with Zeke indicating that she bought into his lifestyle or something)

Sharon Stone signed for the lead for $2.5 million.

Ira Levin was reluctant to sell the rights to his book. He had only been pleased with the movie adaptation of Rosemary’s Baby (1968) out of all the attempts to film his novels. When producer Robert Evans, who had produced Rosemary’s Baby, got wind of this, he sent Levin a copy of Roman Polanski’s autobiography, with all the mentions of Evans’ salvaging the film highlighted. The ploy worked and Levin sold the rights to Evans for $250,000.

The helicopter crash in which Mike Benson (II), Chris Duddy and pilot Craig were involved, was documented in the 6th episode of the 2nd season of I Shouldn’t Be Alive (2005). (Huh cool)

Kurt Russell turned down the role of Jack Lansford. (Also a better choice … this entire film outside of Stone seems like B-movie second-choices)

According to his autobiography, producer Robert Evans initially wanted Roman Polanski to direct the film. Since Polanski will not return to the United States, Evans planned on having a second unit director shoot some footage of New York, whilst Polanski would direct the film in Paris. (gross)

The original script called for a different ending in which Zeke (William Baldwin) turns out to be the killer, but was re-shot when it fared poorly with test audiences.

Written by Ira Levin, author of Rosemary’s Baby, there are similarities: both are set in an expensive New York City hotel (albeit this one is super modern, the other is old style) that the main character, a woman, moves into; the woman meets a friendly resident who dies not long after meeting them; there is a secret (or two) hidden within the building and its inhabitants that takes the entire film for her to learn about.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Robert Evans, 1994)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (William Baldwin, 1994)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sharon Stone, 1994)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Tom Berenger, 1994)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Colleen Camp, 1994)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Phillip Noyce, 1994)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Joe Eszterhas, 1994)

Dungeons & Dragons Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. But first it has to defeat Stone Cold in a head to head battle for the final spot! The Boz versus Jeremy Irons, the battle you’ve all been waiting for. Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poster – Faces & Sepia Tones

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

Tagline(s) – This is no game. (B+)

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

Keyword – dragon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Silent Hill: Revelation Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. But other people might just say we want to watch Kit Harington struggle with an American accent while being chased by Triangle Head. Enjoy!

Silent Hill: Revelation (2012) – BMeTric: 65.6; Notability: 30 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 2.8%; Notability: top 46.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 4.1% Higher BMeT: Piranha 3DD, LOL, The Devil Inside, Paranormal Activity 4, The Apparition, ATM, Chernobyl Diaries; Higher Notability: Battleship, Red Tails, This Means War, Dark Shadows, Total Recall, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Red Dawn, Wrath of the Titans, Resident Evil: Retribution, The ABCs of Death, Man on a Ledge, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike, The Watch, Underworld: Awakening, Girl Most Likely, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, The Babymakers, Gambit, and 10 more; Lower RT: One for the Money, The Apparition, Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike, Playing for Keeps, The Cold Light of Day, The Devil Inside, So Undercover, Fire with Fire, The Babymakers; Notes: Sitting around 5.0 with that many votes is pretty impressive.I think the BMeTric is the most impressive as far as cred. Obviously also a notably bad video game film.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  When her father (Bean) disappears, teenager Clemens and a high school friend (Harington) enter a mysterious town of Silent Hill, which she’s been warned about It’s the gateway to a bunch of weird other dimensions (or something) with monstrous beings calore … and it has something to do with her past. Colorful but drab, lots of visual effects but boring, and never scary. This sequel is a waste of time. Based on the video game.

(Wow, these days when I can just snap up Ebert review semi-automatically, the Maltin review is a rare treat. And to hit a BOMB with one? That is a great time. Maltin notoriously doesn’t like horror films, so for him to say it isn’t scary is something indeed.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f06VJSsh8II/

(It is incredible … you can tell that Kit Harington has a terrible accent in the trailer. In the absolute most important scenes he just sounds vaguely Welsh or something (which I suppose is what might happen when a British person does a terrible American accent). In a way it looks really cool … but it also looks cheesy because you know once you are watching it it’ll just be laughable.)

Directors – M.J. Bassett – (Known For: Rogue; Solomon Kane; Future BMT: Deathwatch; Wilderness; BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; Notes: His commercial career is almost entirely horror (and not a lot of television as well). He started out as a wildlife photographer and documentary maker before breaking out with Deathwatch.)

Writers – M.J. Bassett (written by) (as Michael J. Bassett) – (Known For: Rogue; Solomon Kane; Future BMT: Deathwatch; BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; Notes: Writes most of what he directed, including Rogue, which, by the way, stars Megan Fox of all people.)

Laurent Hadida (adapted by) – (BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; Notes: The only thing he is credited as writing. He seems to mostly be a producer, so I would guess he helped with translating Silent Hill 3 into a screenplay and did just enough to warrant a credit.)

Hiroyuki Owaku (story “Silent Hill 3”) (uncredited) – (BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; Notes: Was involved in Silent Hill 2, 3, and 4. I’m actually a bit surprised that there were really only ever four numbered titles in that series.)

Keiichiro Toyama (video games) (uncredited) – (BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; Notes: Also worked on Silent Hill, although it seems like he is not more heavily involved in a series called Gravity Rush.)

Actors – Adelaide Clemens – (Known For: The Great Gatsby; No One Lives; To the Stars; The World Made Straight; Wasted on the Young; The Automatic Hate; Future BMT: Generation Um…; Certainty; BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Notes: Australian. Currently she is in the Edie Falco series Tommy.)

Kit Harington – (Known For: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Brimstone; Testament of Youth; Spooks: The Greater Good; Future BMT: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan; BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; Pompeii; Seventh Son; Notes: Looks like he’s involved in the upcoming Eternals film for the MCU, so he’s transitioning to the big time.)

Sean Bean – (Known For: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; Wolfwalkers; The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; Possessor; Troy; The Martian; GoldenEye; National Treasure; Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief; Ronin; Patriot Games; Mirror Mirror; Equilibrium; The Field; North Country; Black Beauty; Black Death; Dark River; Caravaggio; Future BMT: Soldiers of Fortune; The Hitcher; Outlaw; Drone; Flightplan; Don’t Say a Word; Essex Boys; Anna Karenina; The Island; Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV; BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; Jupiter Ascending; Pixels; Silent Hill; Notes: A voice in Wolfwalkers which is the hot new animated film of 2020. Famously dies in a huge number of the films he appears in and currently is in the Snowpiercer television show.)

Budget/Gross – $20,000,000 / Domestic: $17,529,157 (Worldwide: $55,362,705)

(Not bad. Whoever took over the franchise made a correct choice. The original made about twice as much on twice the budget, but I think this is more definitely near a break-even point all things considered. Horror is meant for low budget to get that risk-reward going.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (6/60): Mediocre effort even by the standards of video game adaptations, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D features weak characters and an incomprehensible plot with a shortage of scares.

(Brutal consensus. “Bad even for a video game film” isn’t what you want when there have basically never been a good video game film ever. Reviewer Highlight: It confirms once again that with the notable exception of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, a film that feels like a videogame is never a positive development. – Nathan Rabin, AV Club)

Poster – Silent Sklog: Revolutionaries in Smell-O-Vision

(So I’m of two minds here. On the one hand I love the unique perspective, the unique custom font, and the contrasting fire vs. ghoulish green coloring. On the other, the 3D-ness of it makes it feel dated, it is really busy, and it just looks like a movie I don’t want to watch. I’m going to go with a straight B because I have garbage taste maybe? Something about it says I like it, I guess because it is really unique.)

Tagline(s) – This Halloween prepare for a 3D ride through hell. (F)

(This though I hate. You could write this about any horror film that comes out in October basically (as long as it’s in 3D I suppose). Like, why ride? Why not something more video game-y? This tagline feels more Haunted Mansion, not Silent Hill.)

Keyword – alternate reality

Top 10: Tenet (2020), Avengers: Endgame (2019), Interstellar (2014), Inception (2010), The Matrix (1999), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Watchmen (2009), Groundhog Day (1993), The Golden Compass (2007), Doctor Strange (2016)

Future BMT: 61.6 Soul Survivors (2001), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 51.1 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010), 40.8 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), 38.9 House II: The Second Story (1987), 36.5 The One (2001), 36.0 Premonition (2007), 31.7 White Man’s Burden (1995), 30.4 Arthur and the Invisibles (2006), 30.1 Mirrors (2008);

BMT: Howard: A New Breed of Hero (1986), Sucker Punch (2011), Event Horizon (1997), The Cat in the Hat (2003), Super Mario Bros. (1993), Flatliners (2017), Cool World (1992), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), Silent Hill: Revelation (2012), Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike (2012), A Sound of Thunder (2005), Alex & Emma (2003)

(For real though, they really did seem to like alternative realities in 2010 didn’t they? Must have been when CGI was cheap and they could do full CGI monsters adequately or something. I’m excited for the Resident Evil series eventually, which we always put off because, you know, it is six movies.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Deborah Kara Unger is No. 7 billed in Silent Hill: Revelation and No. 6 billed in 88 Minutes, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 7 + 6 + 3 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Suspect Zero, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – Red Pyramid is a full body costume that was blended at Roberto Campanella wrists, requiring only 25 minutes of preparation for each scene, as opposed to the three hours it took in the first film.

For the scene of the goldfish “dying”, the crew placed the fish in specially prepared water that would cause the animals to fall asleep, creating the appearance of a dying animal without actually causing them any harm. (cool)

Kit Harington admitted trying to play the Silent Hill games for research but quit because they were too scary for him.

When it came time to work with Carrie-Anne Moss, an unexpected dynamic occurred on set between her and the lead Adelaide Clemens. At base camp, Moss was pleasant in her conversations with Clemens, but once they both arrived on set, Moss changed. As Adelaide Clemens describes, “She ceased any contact and kept a two meter distance from me. I did not fully realize this distancing until we started shooting; she came over and put her hand on my chin and I’ve never felt a more intense invasion of personal space. I just shuddered. It was fascinating and powerful.”

All the monsters in the film, with the exception of the Mannequin Spider which was completely CGI, were practical effects done on set with stunt performers portraying the creatures. The creatures would later be enhanced with CGI effects.

After the release of the film, Bassett apologized to any fans disappointed with the film on his blog and has remained uninvolved in the Silent Hill series since then.

Roger Avary was originally set to write the film and had actually begun writing a draft when he was sent to jail for gross vehicular manslaughter and two felony counts of causing bodily injury while intoxicated. The film was then delayed until the studio hired M.J. Bassett in Fall 2010 to write and direct. (For those curious he did eventually serve a year in jail, and appears to have just begun getting movies made again)

Konami’s marketing for the film in Japan included a special ramen to tie in with the theatrical release.

The first film had underperformed below expectations at the box office (grossing only $99 million against a $50 million budget) and received generally negative reviews, leading Sony to sell the sequel rights to Universal and a reduced budget of $20 million.

M.J. Bassett stated in a interview at New York Comic-Con that due to shooting in 3D he was not able to use hand-held camera or Steadycam.

One of the very few mainstream films where the character of Sean Bean does not die (although he does die in a dream).

The mannequin storeroom scene happened earlier in the script, occurring immediately after Douglas is killed by the Missionary. This makes more sense because the mannequin storeroom is in the mall.

The Legend of Hercules Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poster – The Legend of Smirk-ules

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

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

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

Keyword – sword and sandal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Roommate Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poster – The Roomsklog

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

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

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

Keyword – psycho thriller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exit to Eden Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (1/18)

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

Poster – Brexit to Eden

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

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

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

Keyword – bdsm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feature debut for Penthouse Pet Sandra Taylor.

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

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

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

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

Fantasy Island Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poster – Fancy Tree Island

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

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

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

Keyword – based on tv series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congo Preview

Poe describes the beautiful road trip that he and Mr. Big would take, bonding over their shared interests of Tetherball and early 20th century Bildungsroman literature. Starting in Sacramento, California (for obvious reasons) they would proceed north through Idaho and continue straight on to Saskatoon. “Would we be able to stop at the Western Development Museum?” Mr. Big asks dreamily. Poe nods, “Darn tootin’. Wouldn’t be a trip to Saskatoon without it and we might even splurge for one of those old timey photos where we dress up in old western clothes.” Mr. Big frowns. He knows that Poe is really just saying these things because he wants to get the Book of Secrets… but he can’t help but tell him meekly to continue describing the road trip. “You’d think we’d be heading straight to Winnipeg at this point… but you’d be wrong. Cause we’re continuing east,” Poe explains. “No,” whispers Mr. Big, “you don’t mean…” but Poe nods, “The ‘Ware.” Mr. Big looks at him startled, “You’d take me to… Delaware?” And Poe shrugs his shoulders, “it seems only appropriate after you were so kind to let me into The Skulls.” With tears in his eyes Mr. Big walks over to Nic Cage’s Journal (all rights reserved). He picks it up, kisses it and brings it over to Poe. “I thought this,” he says waving to the large ornate chamber, “was The Skulls,” his voice cracking with emotion, “but today you proved that The Skulls… was inside you the whole time.” Just as he is about to hand the book over they are surrounded by people in gray ninja gear and lasers. “Give us the book,” one of them says. Poe, realizing what is happening, begins to speak up but it’s too late… the laser beams start a-flyin’. That’s right! If I mention laser beams there is only one film I’m thinking about. “Entrapment?” you ask… OK, two films. The other is Congo. The major film release where a lady mows down grey gorillas with a laser. Celebrate for us on this very momentus 25th anniversary of the release of Laser Gorillas aka Congo. Let’s go!   

Congo (1995) – BMeTric: 54.3; Notability: 81 

(It has a really low IMDb rating. It used to have a BMeTric of like 65 too! And a notability of 81? My god, when was the last time we had a film with that high of a Notability? I just checked and we haven’t done an 80+ since 2019 (where we actually did quite a few of them). I am very much looking forward to just how big of a disappointment this must have been.)

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – “Congo” is a splendid example of a genre no longer much in fashion, the jungle adventure story. Perhaps aware that its material was already dated when Stewart Granger made “King Solomon’s Mines” in 1950, the filmmakers have cheerfully turned it into an action comedy, and the actors have gone a step further, treating it like one of those movies like “Beat the Devil” that is a put-on of itself. The result is not a movie that is very good, exactly, but it’s entertaining and funny. False sophisticates will scorn it. Real sophisticates will relish it.

(Shots fired at the end. This feels like right around when Ebert started to consider things “good for what they are” and became a bit less pretentious (to use a loaded term) about things. This is pretty soon after Arachnophobia which is, by all accounts, a genuine horror comedy, so I could definitely see Marshall going back to the tongue-in-cheek creature feature well.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icu59hembVk/

(The thing I remember from the trailer was the guy stumbling down the stairs. It made me think it was a horror film. It isn’t a horror film and you barely see the gorillas in the end. Good trailer though regardless, even shows off the laser weapon.)

Directors – Frank Marshall – (Known For: Alive; Eight Below; Arachnophobia; BMT: Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Congo in 1996; Notes: Married to Kathlene Kennedy he has an interesting career having worked as a producer for LucasArts before leaving to form his own production company (with his wife) and begin directing.)

Writers – Michael Crichton (novel) – (Known For: Jurassic Park; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; Jurassic World; Twister; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Jurassic Park III; Westworld; Disclosure; Runaway; The First Great Train Robbery; The Andromeda Strain; Coma; The Terminal Man; Future BMT: Sphere; Rising Sun; Looker; BMT: Congo; Timeline; The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Twister in 1997; Notes: Almost 6’9’’, and married 5 times. He famously submitted an essay written by George Orwell in graduate school where he studied English which got a B-, and he quit soon after. He also trained to be a doctor and quit right after qualifying.)

John Patrick Shanley (screenplay) – (Known For: Moonstruck; Doubt; Alive; Joe Versus the Volcano; The Thief and the Cobbler; Five Corners; Future BMT: The January Man; We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story; BMT: Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Congo in 1996; Notes: Won an Oscar for Moonstruck and a Tony for Doubt. He also was nominated for an Emmy for Live From Baghdad. No apparently Grammy aspirations so his EGOT hopes are probably non-existent.)

Actors – Laura Linney – (Known For: Love Actually; The Truman Show; Nocturnal Animals; Primal Fear; Mystic River; Arthur Christmas; Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; Falling; Searching for Bobby Fischer; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; The Squid and the Whale; Dave; Absolute Power; Genius; The Mothman Prophecies; Kinsey; The Roads Not Taken; Mr. Holmes; Breach; You Can Count on Me; Future BMT: The Other Man; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows; Hyde Park on Hudson; The Nanny Diaries; The Fifth Estate; Man of the Year; Sympathy for Delicious; The Hottest State; The City of Your Final Destination; Maze; Lush; The Life of David Gale; BMT: Congo; Notes: Nominated three times for an Oscar (You Can Count on Me, Kinsey, and The Savages). Also the star of The Big C which she won an Emmy for.)

Tim Curry – (Known For: The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Clue; The Hunt for Red October; Annie; Charlie’s Angels; Times Square; FernGully: The Last Rainforest; Kinsey; The Cat Returns; Muppet Treasure Island; The Rugrats Movie; Rugrats in Paris; The Wild Thornberrys Movie; The Shout; Future BMT: Scary Movie 2; McHale’s Navy; Fly Me to the Moon; Valiant; Rugrats Go Wild; Christmas in Wonderland; The Shadow; The Pebble and the Penguin; Loaded Weapon 1; Ritual; Burke and Hare; The Secret of Moonacre; The Three Musketeers; Legend; Oscar; Bailey’s Billion$; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; Passed Away; BMT: Garfield 2; Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Congo in 1996; Notes: Was nominated for three Tony awards and an Emmy in his career. Had a stroke a few years ago and is now confined to a wheelchair, but he has started doing voiceover work again which is something he had become very famous for in his career.)

Dylan Walsh – (Known For: We Were Soldiers; Nobody’s Fool; Secretariat; Loverboy; Blood Work; Edmond; Betsy’s Wedding; Future BMT: The Stepfather; Authors Anonymous; Where the Heart Is; BMT: Congo; The Lake House; Notes: Ended up as a big name television actor starring in Nip/Tuck and Unforgettable and now does short stints on things like Blue Bloods and Law & Order.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $81,022,101 (Worldwide: $152,022,101)

(That’s actually a decent amount of money, although they were obviously looking for that Jurassic Park money. So in that sense maybe less of a bomb and more of a disappointment as expected.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (11/51): Mired in campy visual effects and charmless characters, Congo is a suspenseless adventure that betrays little curiosity about the scientific concepts it purports to care about.

(I’m not sure what scientific concepts they are referring to here. Is it the giant diamonds from King Solomon’s Mind which illogically are the only things that can produce a laser weapon? Or perhaps the killer ape guardsmen? Or the sign language gorilla robot arm? Reviewer Highlight: The entire tone of the book has been transformed from tension to tongue-in-cheek with dismal results. – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Goril-lazer Beamz

(The poster already tells you the film’s gonna be nuts. It’s just a giant fake gorilla face with a bunch of computer code on it and the dutchest of all dutch angle titles. I’m not sure what I would even think if I saw this in a movie theater. It’s bold, that’s for sure. But probably not in a good way. C)

Tagline(s) – Where you are the endangered species (B+)

(But this is solid. Congo… where you are the endangered species. Yeah that’s kinda nice. Flipping things around on you with the image of the gorilla. Telling you that you’re in for an adventure of derring-do. I dig it.)

Keyword – gorilla

Top 10: Red Sparrow (2018), Dolittle (2020), Green Book (2018), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017), 2012 (2009), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), Sing (2016), Zookeeper (2011), King Kong (2005), Trading Places (1983)

Future BMT: 72.1 The Last Exorcism Part II (2013), 54.8 Evan Almighty (2007), 48.9 The Omen (2006), 40.4 Hollow Man (2000), 34.1 The Tourist (2010), 28.8 Buddy (1997), 28.4 Baby’s Day Out (1994), 27.5 The Legend of Tarzan (2016), 27.1 The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981), 21.9 Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995);

BMT: Dolittle (2020), 2012 (2009), Zookeeper (2011), Congo (1995), Old Dogs (2009), King Kong Lives (1986)

(There weren’t very good keywords this time for some reason. I have seen most of these, which maybe Ace Ventura 2 being the one I’m most excited for. The plot doesn’t tell me much except maybe that in the 2000s with CGI technology it became a lot easier to put gorillas in films.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 23) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Ernie Hudson is No. 3 billed in Congo and No. 6 billed in Miss Congeniality 2 Armed and Fabulous, which also stars Sandra Bullock (No. 1 billed) who is in Demolition Man (No. 3 billed), 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) => 3 + 6 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 23. If we were to watch The Nanny Diaries, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – Ernie Hudson stated that playing the character “Captain Munroe Kelly” is his personal favorite from his career. (He does seem to have a great time with it)

Executive producer and director Frank Marshall originally intended to use the computer work pioneered on Jurassic Park (1993) for the gorillas, but opted for models, as the computers weren’t capable of reproducing hair. (Yeah, it was a bit too early for that)

The “diamonds” used for the scenes during the climax of the movie were actually Herkimer Diamonds borrowed from the Herkimer Diamond Mines of Middleville, New York. They are doubly-terminated (two-ended) quartz crystals that are found in only two places in the world. They were the only gems that would look enough like diamonds and be that large. As a kind of tribute, Tim Curry’s character’s first name is “Herkermer” (his character does not appear in the Michael Crichton novel upon which the movie was based). (Wait … he isn’t in the book?! What a crazy character to add)

The part of the 727 pilot was played by musician and pop icon Jimmy Buffett. (huh)

Executive producer Frank Yablans had been involved in this project since its inception. Michael Crichton had pitched his idea for a modern-day King Solomon’s Mines to him, before he had even written the novel. Yablans liked the idea so much that, without Crichton’s authorization, he sold the movie rights to Twentieth Century Fox in 1979, a year before the book was published. The technology to create the apes was not available at the time, however, and the project never materialized. During the production of Jurassic Park (1993), Crichton was impressed with the dinosaurs that Stan Winston’s studio had created. Producer Kathleen Kennedy (who produced both movies) suggested using Winston again for the apes, and suggested the project itself to her husband, executive producer and director Frank Marshall, and Crichton agreed. This resulted in Yablans, Marshall, and Kennedy collaborating on this movie.

Although the movie mentions King Solomon’s Mines, it bears several key points in common with “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar”, the book and movies based on it.

There are rumors of a deleted scene where one of the gorillas, in a pivotal scene in the movie, wields a laser gun. Nobody is sure if these rumored scenes exist, but YouTube channel Funhaus has started an investigation after discussing it on their movie podcast. (This feels like a dumb Mandela Effect thing. People who say this 25 years ago probably has smushed Amy fending off the evil gorillas using her sign language translator, with Laura Linney shooting lasers at them right after)

Composer Jerry Goldsmith was originally brought on-board when this movie was being conceived in the 1980s. When it went into production again in the 1990s, James Newton Howard was hired to write the score. Howard composed the tribal chant used in this movie, but had to back out of the project. Goldsmith was then brought back on-board.

In addition to Amy, Stan Winston Studio created twelve genetically mutated gray gorillas for Congo, eight of which were built as fully articulated hero heads and suits. To initiate the design of the twelve grays, Chris Swift rendered a series of drawings. Stan Winston then gave key artists at the studio the opportunity to design and sculpt one unique character each. Because the grays were a fictional, mutant breed of gorillas, the sculptors enjoyed a lot of creative freedom in devising their designs. 

Rather than re-create the features of a mountain gorilla, the studio had instructions to design Amy so that she would more closely resemble the ‘cuter’ lowland gorilla.

Stan Winston’s crew lifecast the main Amy performer, Lorene Noh, at the studio, then sculpted Amy over her lifecast. From that sculpture, the crew created a ‘hero’ Amy head that was covered in silicone skin and hand-tied hair. It was one of the first times the studio would use these new silicone formulas, rather than foam latex, for a character.

Fred Thompson turned down a key role. (Ha, definitely the eeeeevil corporate telecom CEO)

Problems with the grays in the design stage only intensified when the characters started shooting. The mine in which the Grays’ scenes were set was essentially a large, empty cavern of red rock. There was no foliage of any kind, and without it, director of photography Allen Daviau was unable to justify the kind of dappled lighting that would have gone a long way in making the grays look more authentic. “In any kind of creature work,” Stan Winston commented, “so much of its success depends on the lighting and setting those characters are in. I wasn’t at all happy with the Grays’ environment. That big red cave didn’t allow for interesting or dramatic lighting at all.”

One of the most critical elements for bringing Congo’s gorillas to life was the performances of the actors and actresses inside the suits. Under the direction of veteran gorilla performer Peter Elliott, it took approximately six months of intensive rehearsal for Lorene Noh and Misty Rosas to become Amy, and for the gray gorilla actors to become mutant primates.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Kathleen Kennedy, Sam Mercer, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Tim Curry, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Frank Marshall, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (John Patrick Shanley, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Jerry Goldsmith, Lebo M., 1996)