Basic Instinct 2 Preview

This week we move right back into our Calendar cycle for the Razzie entry. Since the calendar is amazing and affords us amazing choices for movies each week, we of course were able to choose a past Razzie Worst Picture winner! That’s right, we are watching 2006’s Basic Instinct 2! Quite literally the sequel that no one was asking for (and perhaps many begging Hollywood not to make). Released on March 31st, it beat out The Skulls for the honor. Thank God. We’ve (obviously) already seen The Skulls. Let’s go!

Basic Instinct 2 (2006) – BMeTric: 72.4

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(Obviously considering the current score it isn’t too shocking that the historical profile is pretty mundane. And now that we know all about the regression to the mean even the vote/rating plot is kind of boring. Reaching 4.0 is kind of expected. Up to 4.3 is starting to get a bit above average. It could be because of the recent erotic thriller comeback … but nah, probably just random.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Long-gestating sequel to the notorious 1992 hit isn’t the embarrassment you might have expected – or hoped for. What should have been high camp is instead a rather dull psychological-sexual thriller in which slippery novelist Catherine Tramell is up to her old tricks in London when a male companion turns up dead in her car. Did she or didn’t she? Stone makes the best of this and looks sensational while the impressive British cast tried hard to keep it afloat.

(Wow, I was not expecting the classic two star Maltin for this one. I like his creeper comment on how good Stone looks, keep it up Maltin. Dull is bad, but perhaps he was so distracted by the gorgeous magnificence of Stone that he couldn’t focus on the enthralling psycho-sexual thrill-ride that was this film? We’ll have to see.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhNFW1AXLOg

(My God. So 2006, the music, the way they shot London, the crazy car stunts in the middle of a purported erotic thriller. The entire thing almost seems like a parody of itself in a weird way. Like they made a trailer for a fake movie sequel for April Fools Day.)

Directors – Michael Caton-Jones – (Known For: This Boy’s Life; Doc Hollywood; Rob Roy; Memphis Belle; City by the Sea; Scandal; BMT: Basic Instinct 2; The Jackal; Notes: He has bad-mouthed this film and Sharon Stone several times in interviews over the years and openly admits he only did it for the money. Despite this, he does a commentary for the film, which is very exciting. Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2007 for Worst Director for Basic Instinct 2)

Writers – Leora Barish (written by) – (Known For: Desperately Seeking Susan; BMT: Basic Instinct 2; Notes: Currently resides in New York and runs a sustainable farm school for vetrens. Won the Razzie Award in 2007 for Worst Screenplay for Basic Instinct 2)

Henry Bean (written by) – (Known For: Internal Affairs; The Believer; Deep Cover; Noise; Almayer’s Folly; BMT: Basic Instinct 2; Notes: Also directed The Believer and wrote a novel adapted from his screenplay. Won the Razzie Award in 2007 for Worst Screenplay for Basic Instinct 2)

Joe Eszterhas (characters) – (Known For: Basic Instinct; Jagged Edge; Betrayed; F.I.S.T.; Telling Lies in America; Music Box; Hearts of Fire; Children of Glory; BMT: Basic Instinct 2; Showgirls; Sliver; Jade; Nowhere to Run; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Flashdance; Notes: Bad movie legend. He started his career in journalism, but was mired in some controversy, including losing a ‘false light’ case in front of the Supreme Court. Won the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Supporting Actor, Worst Screenplay, Worst New Star, and Worst Original Song for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Won the Razzie Award in 1996 for Worst Screenplay for Showgirls; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1996 for Worst Screenplay for Jade; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1994 for Worst Screenplay for Sliver; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1984 for Worst Screenplay for Flashdance)

Actors – Sharon Stone – (Known For: Alpha Dog; Casino; Basic Instinct; Total Recall; The Quick and the Dead; Lovelace; Antz; Bobby; Broken Flowers; Above the Law; Fading Gigolo; The Mighty; Stardust Memories; Irreconcilable Differences; The Muse; Beautiful Joe; Bolero; BMT: Catwoman; Basic Instinct 2; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Sliver; Cold Creek Manor; The Specialist; King Solomon’s Mines; Diabolique; Action Jackson; Intersection; Simpatico; Gloria; Sphere; Last Action Hero; He Said, She Said; Deadly Blessing; Last Dance; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Casino. Bad movie legend, as you can see from her Razzie street cred. Frequent visitor to the fair island of Martha’s Vineyard.)

Sharon Stone Razzie Cred: Won the Razzie Award in 2007 for Worst Actress for Basic Instinct 2; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2005 for Worst Supporting Actress for Catwoman; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2005 for Worst Screen Couple for Catwoman; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2000 for Worst Actress for Gloria; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1997 for Worst New Star for Diabolique, and Last Dance; Won the Razzie Award in 1995 for Worst Actress for Intersection, and The Specialist; Won the Razzie Award in 1995 for Worst Screen Couple for The Specialist; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1994 for Worst Actress for Sliver; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1988 for Worst Actress for Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold

Also stars David Morrissey and David Thewlis (Remus Lupin in Harry Potter)

Budget/Gross – $70 million / Domestic: $5,971,336 (Worldwide: $38,629,478)

(Oh my … oh … oh my. That is not great. That is just … not very good.)

#33 for the Thriller – Erotic genre

eroticthrillerAnalysis

(Sigh, if only I lived in the early 90’s once again. Fatal Attraction (1987) and Basic Instinct (1992) ushered in a heyday of erotic thrillers including BMT legend Color of Night (1994). The waves in the graph are interesting, like they saturate the market and then feel a cooling off period. And each wave smaller than the last. A slowly dying genre. But one I hope to see revived once again in the future. Until then though, enjoy one of the worst I suppose)

#43 for the Thriller – Serial Killer genre

serialkillerthrillerAnalysis

(oooof, what was our fascination with serial killers in the 2000s? The show Dexter was right in there as well. This comes right before one last hurrah in the genre before a complete and utter collapse. And recently (The Following, Hannibal) the genre has gotten play in a little wave, but is probably dying again. Looking through things it was basically the Saw series sustaining that, and looking at the actual money being made the genre is kind of moving to microbudget/VOD releases I think. The movie, incredibly, marks an attempt at two 90s genres that are both now on the brink of total collapse. Fascinating.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (10/150): Unable to match the suspense and titilation of its predecessor, Basic Instinct 2 boasts a plot so ludicrous and predictable it borders on “so-bad-it’s-good.”

(Sorry, I’m getting a bit distracted by what appears to be a typo in the consensus there. Apparently “titillation” is spelled with two L’s. Very very odd. Sign me up for a ludicrously plotted erotic thriller all fucking day though.)

Poster – Sklogal Instinct 2 (C-)

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(Just like with The Day the Earth Stood Still I think it’s generally a mistake to have a skewed perspective in the poster (which is the effect that the weird shadow creates). I do like the idea that the poster is from the point of view of someone getting murdered and we are looking through his half-closed eyelids. Interesting and artsy and polished in that way. The brown tone isn’t great and too much going on, though, so overall slightly below average. If they had kept it a bit simpler it probably would have gotten a much better grade.)

Tagline(s) – Everything interesting begins in the mind. (F… I think.)

(I can’t believe this ended up on the poster… what does it mean?! It’s an unsolvable riddle. This is one of the worst and most incomprehensible taglines I’ve ever seen for a film.)

Keywords – psychiatrist top 10 BMeTric examples: 73.9 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), 72.4 Basic Instinct 2 (2006), 71.5 Halloween: Resurrection (2002), 68.3 Psycho (1998), 66.6 Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), 62.8 Abduction (2011), 61.3 Pulse (2006), 56.9 Dr. T and the Women (2000), 55.9 Poltergeist III (1988), 54.5 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

(I shouldn’t have been so surprised to see all the horror films on the list. Psychology, of course, often plays a prominent role in horror. Either in the form of dealing with past trauma or by those attempting to understand the machinations of madmen. The Halloween series, interestingly, often has both. Donald Pleasence plays a prominent role in five of the Halloween films, whereas in the long running series the “survivors” of each movie often deal with the psychological aftermath in subsequent movies. Not a pure keyword, but interesting.)

Notes – Michael Douglas declined to reprise his role from the original movie, admitting that he felt he was too old for the part. (yah think?)

Robert Downey Jr. was set to star but had to drop out when he was charged with drug possession. Kurt Russell was attached at some point but bailed out because he felt uncomfortable with the nudity. Pierce Brosnan refused to play the male lead role because of distasteful elements. Bruce Greenwood was set to star but dropped out because he hadn’t been signed on yet and feared the actors strike. Benjamin Bratt was banned by Sharon Stone for not being a good actor. (Poor Benjamin Bratt. Also, these casting choices must go back a while. RDJr. hasn’t been busted for drug possession since 2001)

Before agreeing to perform the full-frontal nude scene, Sharon Stone invited a friend over to watch the original Basic Instinct (1992). During the film, Stone, by her own admission, stripped down totally naked and asked her friend if she could “still pull it off.”

Rupert Everett publicly expressed his anger after being turned down to star opposite Sharon Stone by MGM CEO Chris McGurk for being “pervert who would never be accepted by the American public in this role”.

The film was originally intended to be made in 2000. (there we go)

Sharon Stone agreed to reprise her role of Catherine Tremell in a “pay or play” arrangement, meaning she got fully paid, whether the film would ultimately be made or not.

Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, Gabriel Byrne, Javier Bardem, Benicio Del Toro, Viggo Mortensen and Aaron Eckhart were all in the running to star opposite Sharon Stone at one point. (So many people considered and yet they ended up with David Morrissey… huh)

David Cronenberg was in talks to the direct the film for some time. John McTiernan was set to direct after Cronenberg bailed out due to producer Mario Kassar banning him from using his own cinematographer, production designer, and the rest of his usual team. (sound like a lot of people were banning other people)

Awards – Won the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sharon Stone)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Prequel or Sequel

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Leora Barish, Henry Bean, Joe Eszterhas)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (David Thewlis)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Michael Caton-Jones)

Material Girls Preview

You know we need a clean slate after a terrible film like The Fog. Just gotta pick something that’s not too bad and not too good. Just middle of the road… … … JK! We are watching Material Girls starring Hilary and Haylie Duff! A Girls Night Out travesty sure to destroy our will to live. The Calendar cycle is truly a wonderland of BMT Street Cred. This film was released on August 18th and beat out the likes of Mortal Kombat and Accepted to hold the spot for that day. The fact that it was actually released is a minor miracle in itself (and in 1500 theaters no less). Let’s go!

Material Girls (2006) – BMeTric: 68.3

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(The rating plot for this is unbelievable. So unbelievable I had to do an entire BMT:CSI:SVU (We’re the Special Victims) on it. To add a bit to that post: First, I find the votes/rating trajectory interesting for another reason, it has that distinctive 2011 inflection point in the IMDb votes. But not only that, it has the same inflection in the ratings plot and the BMeTric plot! You can’t move that rating without votes, so it makes sense, but I think that is a first and kind of an amazing example of regression to the mean and how IMDb likely expanded their user base around 2011. Second, the fact that this almost has a 70+ is absurd. The Calendar just keeps on giving street cred, thanks Calendar.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Two spoiled cosmetics industry heiresses lose their money after a controversy involving face cream and a disfiguring skin disease. Forced to suffer indignities like riding the bus and wearing last year’s fashions, they eventually learn the value of hard work and fight to reclaim their company’s reputation. This movie glorifies the “high life” while praising its heroines for transcending it. Filled with absurdities, but fast paced, colorful, and painless.

(Two stars!? Color me shocked. I love how Leonard goes to this length to critique a film like Material Girls, especially when he takes umbrage with the hypocrisy of the plot. It’s Material Girls Leonard. I don’t think they cared. Also a note: this plot is hilariously similar to that of Catwoman starring Halle Berry. [Patrick’s Note: TWO STARS?!?!])

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT_mqkj9ht4

(We will see if this trailer lasts. There was another one which was apparently taken down or something. Oh yeah, this movie looks like a non-movie and awful and I do not look forward to this viewing experience.)

Directors – Martha Coolidge – (Known For: Real Genius; Valley Girl; Rambling Rose; BMT: Material Girls; The Prince and Me; Out to Sea; Angie; Notes: Saaaaay Whaaaat? Real Genius for reals? She was the first female president of the DGA.)

Writers – John Quaintance (written by) – (Known For: Aquamarine; BMT: Material Girls; Hot Pursuit; Notes: Showrunner in television. Executive produced Whitney, Ben and Kate, Undateable, and Workaholics.)

Jessica O’Toole and Amy Rardin (written by) – (BMT: Material Girls; Notes: Writing partners, most of their credits are for An American Girl stories. Co-executive producers of the shows Selfie and Jane the Virgin.)

Actors – Hilary Duff – (Known For: The Lizzie McGuire Movie; Playing by Heart; Human Nature; Bloodworth; BMT: Material Girls; Agent Cody Banks; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; The Perfect Man; Cheaper by the Dozen (BMT); War, Inc.; A Cinderella Story; Raise Your Voice (Seen in); Stay Cool; What Goes Up (BMT); Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2007 for Worst Actress and Screen Couple (Material Girls), Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2006 for Worst Actress (Cheaper by the Dozen 2, The Perfect Man), Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2005 for Worst Actress (A Cinderella Story, Raise Your Voice). Former Disney star and also a musician. Currently on the show Younger.)

Haylie Duff – (Known For: Napoleon Dynamite; The Lizzie McGuire Movie; BMT: Material Girls; I Love Your Work; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2007 for Worst Actress and Screen Couple (Material Girls). Currently does a lot in cooking with a blog, television show, and book called Real Girl’s Kitchen.)

Also stars Anjelica Huston as the eeeeeevil Fabiella (I assume she’s the bad guy)

Budget/Gross – $15 million / Domestic: $11,449,638 (Worldwide: $16,907,725 Worldwide)

#22 for the Summer Girl Power genre – Late Summer (July/August) Girlpower. Ever since Clueless, appealing to the young female audience in July and August has proved quite profitable.

summergirlpowerAnalysis

(Funny that it almost made its money back domestically despite being a gigantic bomb. Not the worst “Summer Girl Power” film of all time. That would be Undiscovered starring Ashlee Simpson which we are definitely watching for BMT. That looks like the worst. Yay! Once again though we are looking at a film in a “dying genre”. Whether this is with how boxofficemojo defines genres there hasn’t been a summer girl power movie since 2010 and this movie appears at the tail end of its existence (sorry for how the plot looks, there are just not than many summer girl power movies so it gets a little jumpy). My guess is that “girl power” movies now tends to come out later, think Hunger Games, but they were amazingly and consistently profitable for a while there.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 4% (2/54): Plagued by paper-thin characterizations and a hackneyed script, Material Girls fails to live up to even the minimum standards of its genre.

(You mean the minimum standards of the “Summer Girl Power” genre? This is truly one of the lowest reviewed films of the 2000’s probably.)

Poster – Double Trouble (D-)

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(There are four rules of thumb for posters: don’t use white as the principal color, don’t feature people without artistic modification, employ some symmetry, and jazz up the font. This (nearly) fails all of them. On top of this, the Duff sisters are on the poster twice(!). It’s like Shaq in the Steel poster (unlikely connection). Only didn’t get an F because of the lipstick “I” in the title.)

Tagline(s) – It’s A Short Trip From The Penthouse To The Poorhouse. (C-)

(… … Oh sorry, I fell asleep while reading that tagline. Too long, needs to be more clever, and needs another “p” word to get some nice alliteration pop.)

Notes – Written for Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen. (Obviously)

This is the first film that both Hilary Duff and Haylie Duff are in together. (Obviously)

Hilary improvised many lines and moments in the film, Coolidge noted on the DVD commentary. Among others, Hilary came up with the Lucy walk when the girls are dressed up as Sassy maids and added the reference to women having their own buses in Japan when the sisters are riding the public transit on the spot. (Can. Not. Wait. To listen to the commentary)

Based on Sense and Sensibility, a novel by Jane Austen. (“Based” might be a strong word here)

Awards

Nominated Razzie Award Worst Actress Hilary Duff Haylie Duff

Nominated Razzie Award Worst Screen Couple Hilary Duff Haylie Duff

The Fog (2005) Preview

Leaving The Avengers behind, we make our way to the Horror/Thriller category of the calendar. Unfortunately, the calendar is woefully bereft of thrillers so this is really just  a horror category. With that in mind, why not choose one of the worst reviewed horror films released in the 2000’s? That’s right, we’re doing the remake of The Fog from 2005. The original was directed by one of my favorite directors of all time John Carpenter, so at the very least we’ll get to enjoy watching that before being disappointed by the new version. It’s the most BMT film released on October 14th, beating out Elizabethtown, Domino, Exit to Eden, and (most interestingly) the 2011 prequel of The Thing. A different John Carpenter material made (terribly) for the modern world. What are the chances that it would be released on the exact same day 6 years later? Let’s go!

The Fog (2005) – BMeTric: 76.4

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(So I have a theory. The past few weeks we’ve hit the 70+ BMeTric hard, and the plots have looked amazingly similar. Cat in the Hat, Taxi, The Avengers, this … they don’t half ass it. They go balls to the wall and hit that 70+ hard. Really I think that is the key. When Jack and Jill came out, for example, everyone knew this was a catastrophe (it sits pretty at 80+ these days). I think that these are movies that just seem like a bad idea on paper and then double down with terrible execution to boot. And yet … out of those four doesn’t The Fog kind of stand out? Seems like an outlier, like it doesn’t belong? For me I barely remember this thing. I wonder why people were so immediately against the film (2.9 rating early on is absurd). I have theories … see the box office section below for more. I finally put the votes/rating chart up because why? Why would The Fog’s rating rise over time? All part of the weird world of IMDb user ratings)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – A dense fog from the Pacific creeps over a Northwest seaside village, bringing with it murderous, vengeful ghosts. Lame remake of John Carpenter’s 1980 movie alters the plot slightly but is no improvement. Carpenter and his longtime partner Debra Hill produced this. Alternate version also available.  

(This sounds like a 1.5 star review considering Leonard already didn’t like the original all that much (2.5 stars). For those that are interested, the alternate version is an unrated widescreen edition that includes a director’s commentary that I may or may not have ordered through my local library system [Editor’s note: little old library ladies seemingly don’t know what unrated means. I. Am. Furious].)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWH1WlzXbko

(Not sure what I’m supposed to get out of that trailer besides the fact that Antonio Island is perpetually shrouded in darkness. Not even sure who the main characters are.)

Directors – Rupert Wainwright – (BMT: The Fog; Blank Check; Stigmata; Notes: Say whaaaaaaaaaaaat? You telling me staple-of-the-sklogs-childhood Blank Check was (1) a bad movie, and (2) directed by the guy who directed The Fog? Count me in, this movie is definitely amazing. An apparently prolific music video director he was featured on the British Millionaire Matchmaker.)

Writers – Cooper Layne (screenplay) – (Known For: The Core; BMT: The Fog; Notes: Saaaaaaaaaaay Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? You telling me staple-of-the-sklogs-late-night-movie-watching-indulgences The Core was (1) a good movie, and (2) written by the same guy who wrote The Fog? Count me double in, this movie is definitely double amazing. There isn’t much more about him besides that he had a small part in Coneheads.)

John Carpenter (1980 screenplay) – (Known For: Halloween; They Live; Escape from L.A.; Escape from New York; The Fog; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Prince of Darkness; Assault on Precinct 13; Assault on Precinct 13; Eyes of Laura Mars; Dark Star; BMT: The Fog; Halloween: Resurrection; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Ghosts of Mars; Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; Halloween 5; Halloween; Black Moon Rising; Halloween II; Notes: A lot of these credits are for this kind of stuff, remakes. But BMT classic Ghosts of Mars is pretty special. Honestly, Halloween, Escape from New York and especially his directing credits like The Thing are all remarkable both as films, but also for their mind blowing practical effects. I can say without hesitation he is one of my favorite filmmakers of all time.)

Debra Hill (1980 screenplay) – (Known For: Halloween; Escape from L.A.; The Fog; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; BMT: The Fog; Halloween: Resurrection; Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; Halloween 5; Halloween; Halloween II; Notes: One of the most famous female producers of her time she worked with Carpenter on many of his early films. Was serving as producer of The Fog right around when she was diagnosed and subsequently died of cancer sadly.)

Actors – Tom Welling – (Known For: Draft Day; Parkland; BMT: The Fog; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Cheaper by the Dozen; Notes: Owns (or maybe owned) a house on Martha’s Vineyard (what, what) where he was married. Probably best known for playing Superman on Smallville.)

Maggie Grace – (Known For: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Taken; Knight and Day; Faster; The Jane Austen Book Club; BMT: The Fog; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Taken 3; We’ll Never Have Paris; Lockout; Taken 2; The Choice; Notes: Best known for running really weird in Taken… oh and for her work on Lost.)

Also stars Selma Blair who is becoming a BMT staple with The Sweetest Thing and Down to You in her repertoire.

Budget/Gross – $18 million / Domestic: $29,550,869 (Worldwide: $46,201,432 Worldwide)

(Actually looks OK just by the numbers, but it was considered a pretty big disappointment when it came out. Just a year before The Grudge was able to make $187 million worldwide on a smaller budget, so I think that’s what they had in mind. That obviously did not happen.)

#32 for the Horror Remake genre

TheFogAnalysis

(Bam, new plot. I made this to explore my theory on why this movie was so destroyed in BMeTric. Using a windowing method, it sums up the number of theaters showing movies of this genre on a date plus or minus a year from a date in time (blue). And also the gross per theater for these movies (over their entire domestic run, green). The Fog is shown as a dashed red line in time. Hypothesis: This movie was the last straw for horror movie fans for remakes of 80’s films. And the plot bears this out! The genre was almost born in 2000 and grew to a plateau right when The Fog came out. And right as the gross was a-tumbling. It has since appeared to almost die as a genre. But I think this is a product of the blockbuster (Star Wars, Marvel, DC, etc.) dominating and saturating the theaters over the last five year. But we’ll see. Regardless I am convinced this is part of the reason this movie was thoroughly destroyed on IMDb (and thus the BMeTric), horror fans are … particular and love to vote on IMDb it seems. Right around future BMT classics The Eye and One Missed Call as well)

Rotten Tomatoes – 4% (3/68): The Fog is a so-so remake of a so-so movie, lacking scares, suspense or originality.

(I feel like this and Taxi have the funniest RT consensuses. Just very matter-of-fact despite summing up two of the worst reviewed releases of the decade. Maybe it was just a sign of the times. Before they started shoehorning puns into everything.)

Poster – The Meh (C-)

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(Just meh. A bit boring, needs to pick a color other than grey, and the font is too easy to turn into the spoof poster of The Sklog. Also, where’s my tagline? Bullshit. I would have put it down into D+ range, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with it, just nothing good.)

Tagline(s) – None. (F)

(There are taglines from DVDs and stuff, but there is no official tagline from the poster or major advertising. Unacceptable.)

IMDb Keyword – fog

(I had to note this little guy. Both of the Silent Hill BMT classics make this very prestige-ish list. Get it? … The Prestige is number one on the list).

Notes – Selma Blair did almost all of her own stunts. For her underwater scenes, she spent 12 hours in a water tank, with only short surface breaks, for two days straight. (… I don’t believe you)

In between takes in Vancouver, press were granted access to the set. During Selma Blair’s interview, director Rupert Wainwright made a joke she didn’t like. In response, Blair reached into her shirt, pulled out a rubber “falsie,” and flung it across the conference room at the director, deadpanning, “That’s the Adrienne Barbeau part of the role.” (wat)

Before Tom Welling was cast, actors considered for Nick Castle included David Boreanaz, Jesse Metcalfe, Matthew Davis, Henry Cavill, Adam Garcia, Michael Cassidy, Oliver Hudson, and Peter Facinelli. Matthew Fox and Ben McKenzie, were also considered for the role and met with the director, but due to conflicting television schedules they did not read for producers. (If only the charmless walking mannequin that is Henry Cavill would have been in this, perfecto)

Fergie (of The Black Eyed Peas) was attached to play Stevie Wayne before a last-minute conflict prevented her contract from closing. (Well they lost a fan here. Everyone loves musicians and especially Black Eyed Peas in any major motion picture. The more the better and this film is worse for that egregious casting misstep. Unforgivable)

Maggie Grace beat Emilie de Ravin, her Lost (2004) co-star, for the role of Elizabeth. (And with that we end, what a loss for Emilie de Ravin)

The Avengers (1998) Preview

I gotta tell you that I’m pretty excited for this next film. I remember when it came out and even as a middle schooler I was like “WTF mate.” It’s been bandied about for BMT before and its time in the sun is finally here. That’s right, we are watching The Avengers! Before you gasp and retire to your fainting couch let me make clear that this is not Marvel’s The Avengers. It is the 1998 adaptation of the 1960’s television show The Avengers. By all accounts the entire post-production for the film was a disaster and resulted in an incomprehensible mess. Released on August 14th (in the midst of the dump months) it is easily the worst film released on that day. Other than The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, it’s really the only qualifying movie for August 14th period.

The Avengers (1998) – BMeTric: 78.4

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(As usual with these types of things it just has gone up and up since IMDb became big-ish. Curiously, the rating has increased a bit over the time period. I have no idea why. Who was just clamoring to go to IMDb to give this a four or whatever? No one.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Retread of the popular British TV show of the ‘60s about two saucy secret agents tries in vain to capture its stylishness and insouciance – but Fiennes is woefully miscast, Connery gives a one-note performance as a bad guy who wants to control the Earth’s weather, and a fine supporting cast is wasted. Thurman is likable enough, but the film is utterly flat.

(Insouciance – noun – casual lack of concern; indifference. Thanks Mr. Maltin, I’ve learned a new word that I would struggle to use in any context. Funny enough he destroyed this movie on his podcast, so where the hell does two stars come from? Also this sounds boring.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgTiFsCMCo4

(Ugh. This trailers insouciance is offensive. You can almost tell they were trying their best to make a trailer out of what is definitely going to be a movie almost entirely constructed from cutting room scraps. This could either be our greatest triumph or literally the most boring moving on the planet.)

Directors – Jeremiah S. Chechik – (Known For: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; Benny & Joon; Tall Tale; BMT: The Avengers; Diabolique; The Right Kind of Wrong; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Director for The Avengers. Weirdly sparse bio for such a oddly impressive short directing career. Has stuck to tv for about twenty years now.)

Writers – Sydney Newman (television series The Avengers) – (BMT: The Avengers; Notes: Extremely influential titan of British television including heading the the BBC for several years. Sadly passed away within a year of this movie coming out.)

Don MacPherson (written by) – (Known For: Absolute Beginners; BMT: The Avengers; The Gunman; Crossing the Line; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Screenplay for The Avengers. What a strange guy. Wrote Crossing the Line in 1990, this in 1998 and then the Gunman in 2015 … nothing much else officially credited. According to wikipedia though it seems like he is the script doctor on a ton of movies and series.)

Actors – Ralph Fiennes – (Known For: The Harry Potter Series, Hail, Caesar!; Spectre; A Bigger Splash; Schindler’s List; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Skyfall; The Hurt Locker; In Bruges; Red Dragon; The Prince of Egypt; The English Patient; The Reader; Maid in Manhattan; The Constant Gardener; Great Expectations; The Duchess; Nanny McPhee Returns; Strange Days; Coriolanus; The Curse of the Were-Rabbit; The Invisible Woman; Quiz Show; BMT: The Avengers; Clash of the Titans; Wrath of the Titans; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Actor and Screen Couple  for The Avengers. Probably most famous for his roles in Schindler’s List, The English Patient and as Voldemort in Harry Potter. Incredible British stage and screen performer with the absolutely incredible real name of Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes)

Uma Thurman – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Nymphomaniac: Vol. I; Kill Bill: Vol. 1; Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief; Gattaca; Kill Bill: Vol. 2; Beautiful Girls; Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind; Dangerous Liaisons; The Producers; Les Misérables; Henry & June; The Adventures of Baron Munchausen; My Super Ex-Girlfriend; BMT: Batman & Robin; Movie 43; The Avengers; Even Cowgirls Get the Blues; Johnny Be Good; Bel Ami; Be Cool; Motherhood; Playing for Keeps; Paycheck; Chelsea Walls; Jennifer 8; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Actress and Screen Couple for The Avengers, Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1998 for Worst Supporting Actress for Batman & Robin, Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1995 for Worst Actress for Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Very famous for her involvement with Tarantino films, her career has been somewhat winding. Once married to Ethan Hawke and Gary Oldman as well.)

Also stars Sean Connery

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $23,384,939

(Enormous, ridiculous, astounding bomb. So bad that it was the keystone to what is widely considered to be one of the worst summers in hollywood history, the summer of 1998.)

#49 for the Action Heroine genre (Just below BMT classic Elektra)

#64 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre (That is a ridiculous ranking coming in below recent bomb Entourage)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (4/82): A TV spinoff that lacks enough energy to spin, The Avengers is an ineptly written, woefully miscast disaster.

(Low energy. A foreboding statement indeed. Everything about these descriptions makes this sound dull. This best have crazy BMstreeT Cred)

Poster – The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Seen (F)

avengers

(This is literally the worst thing that’s ever happened to posters. If (when?) I teach a class on bad movie posters and taglines this will be used as the example for when everything goes wrong. An insane person made this.)

Tagline(s) – Two amazing secret agents. One diabolical madman. Conditions are dark. The forecast is deadly. Tea, anyone? (F, what the hell?)

Saving the World in Style (B-)

(Alright, so I guess both kind of try and get the insouciance across. The first is just … it is the longest tagline. It was like I was reading it forever. At one point I think I fell asleep while reading it, then woke up, made breakfast, and I was still reading it. The second is okay but somewhat meaningless. I mean … I get the insouciance, but not much else.)

Notes – The film’s critical and commercial failure, along with the equally unsuccessful and equally maligned The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), was partly responsible for Sean Connery’s decision to retire from the film business. (As The Cat in the Hat would say: Ohhhh Yeaaaahhhhhhhh!)

Peter Bart’s book “The Gross” covered the film’s unfolding disaster in great detail. Among other facts: Warner Brothers greenlit the film largely on the strength of a star-packed cast and their appreciation of Jeremiah Chechik’s work on Diabolique (1996) and were horrified when seeing what the first cut was like. The first screening took place in front of a “largely Spanish-speaking, working class” audience in Phoenix, AZ who hated the film; the studio then forced Chechik to cut many of his favorite scenes and conduct reshoots; and the final cut went from 115 to 89 minutes and was completely incoherent. The studio even refused to hold further test screenings, or to have an official premiere before the film’s August 1998 release. (holy shit, yes!)

Speaking at the 2006 AFI Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony, Eddie Izzard said that he took a role in the film in order to meet Sean Connery. (ha!)

In the original script the part of Sir August was much smaller but when Sir Sean Connery joined the project he asked for the part to expanded. (Reminds me a little of Bulletproof Monk, where the role of The Bulletproof Monk was nonexistent in the material, but since Chow Yun-Fat was attached it became a main role)

At one point, David Fincher was interested in writing and directing the film with Charles Dance starring as John Steed. (If only there were alternate universes where we could see such a thing)

Producer Jerry Weintraub had hopes for sequels to the film, having spent around a decade trying to get the project green-lit. (Will be interesting to see whether the ending sets up for a sequel)

Awards – Won the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Ralph Fiennes)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Uma Thurman)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Sean Connery)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Jeremiah S. Chechik)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Don MacPherson)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Storm

 sounds like a Bond opening)

Taxi Preview

Alright, this week we transition fully to the Calendar rotation and start in with a comedy. The Calendar is pretty good for BMT street cred, as each film is more or less the worst film released on the day in question. Because of this there is a chance that we will be able to watch a number of 70+ BMeTric films (which is an amazing score). So starting it off right, we dive into the 70.2 BMeTric rated film Taxi starring Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. This is the worst film released on October 6th. Other notable films: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Employee of the Month, and Assassins. All solid BMT, but not 70.2 BMeTric solid.

Taxi (2004) – BMeTric: 70.2

Taxi_BMeT

(Boom. Right out the gate a disaster. Barely sticking above that 70 threshold though. Really depends on the rating now (those fits and starts in the trajectory are it jumping between ratings). I was genuinely shocked at this btw. I didn’t really imagine that this film could be this reviled, I barely remember it exists on the good day.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Hotshot cabbie teams up with an incompetent hot-dog cop in this weak action-comedy. Latifah and Fallon are strangers-turned-buddies out to catch a team of bank robbers (who happen to look like supermodels). Not a good showcase for the Queen or for former Saturday Night Live member Fallon. Produced by Luc Besson, based on the 1998 French film of the same name, which he wrote and coproduced. Extended version runs 112m.

(Leonard is a little familiar with Latifah, just calling her “the Queen.” Weird. I don’t really recall that being a common thing people called her. I do like the pairing of “hotshot” and “hot-dog” that Leonard uses here. Could be used for most every buddy-cop film.)

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

(Huh. Having already watched the French version of this film I can tell you that about 30% of the scenes they showed are from the climax of the film. Including three that are from the very last stunt where they catch the bad guys. Oh shit, spoiler alert. Guess I shouldn’t have revealed that Fallon and Latifah catch them at the end. My bad. Now you won’t be surprised.)

Directors – Tim Story – (Known For: Barbershop; Think Like a Man; BMT: Taxi; Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic Four; Think Like a Man Too; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes: The top grossing African-American director of all time (domestic at least, not sure about worldwide). Actually just retook the top spot from Tyler Perry with Ride Along 2.)

Writers – Luc Besson (earlier screenplay) – (Known For: Lucy; Léon: The Professional; The Fifth Element; Taken; The Transporter; Point of No Return; Transporter 2; La Femme Nikita; The Big Blue; Unleashed; District B13; District 13: Ultimatum; BMT: Taxi; The Transporter Refueled; Brick Mansions; Taken 3; Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard; Transporter 3; Lockout; Arthur 3: The War of the Two Worlds; Arthur and the Invisibles; 3 Days to Kill; Taken 2; The Family; Fanfan; Colombiana; The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc; From Paris with Love; Revolver; Notes: Very influential French filmmaker. Founder of EuropaCorp, a major studio in France.)

Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon (screenplay) – (Known For: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Night at the Museum; Mr. Peabody & Sherman; Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian; Herbie Fully Loaded; BMT:Taxi; Balls of Fury; The Pacifier; Hell Baby; Jessabelle; Reno 911!: Miami; Let’s Go to Prison; Notes: Never nominated for a Razzie, which is a bit of a surprise. Seems lately that Garant has been writing more independent of Lennon. Perhaps because Lennon is busy with the CBS show The Odd Couple. Or should I say the CBS smash-hit The Odd Couple.)

Jim Kouf (screenplay) – (Known For: Rush Hour; National Treasure; Gang Related; Stakeout; BMT: Taxi; Snow Dogs; Operation Dumbo Drop; Another Stakeout; Class; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Notes: Recently in the news after a Puerto Rican film Vasos de Papel was pulled from theaters for being a blatant copy of a film he wrote called Secret Admirer.)

Actors – Queen Latifah – (Known For: Miracles from Heaven; 22 Jump Street; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; Hairspray; Chicago; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Stranger Than Fiction; Ice Age: The Meltdown; The Secret Life of Bees; Juice; Jungle Fever; Bringing Out the Dead; Last Holiday; Set It Off; Brown Sugar; Just Wright; BMT: Taxi; The Dilemma; Scary Movie 3; Pinocchio; Bringing Down the House; Valentine’s Day; The Country Bears; Beauty Shop; The Cookout; The Perfect Holiday; Sphere; House Party 2; Mad Money; What Happens in Vegas; Joyful Noise; Ice Age: Continental Drift; The Bone Collector; Notes: Rapper/hip-hop artist/singer/actress. Has won a Grammy, Emmy, and nominated for an Oscar (Chicago). She’s set up pretty well for potentially completing an EGOT before her career is over.)

Jimmy Fallon – (Known For: Jurassic World; Almost Famous; Whip It; Fever Pitch; Anything Else; BMT: Taxi; Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; Doogal; Jem and the Holograms; Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard; Get Hard; Arthur 3: The War of the Two Worlds; Arthur and the Invisibles; Factory Girl; Notes: Who would have thought that over a decade after making this film together, Gisele would go on The Tonight Show and teach Jimmy how to walk the runway? I wonder if they reminisced about Taxi backstage.)

With a rare appearance from Gisele Bündchen!

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $36,611,066 (Worldwide: $68,895,435 Worldwide)

#14 for the Remake – French genre

(There really aren’t any bad movies on the list besides this one. The more interesting thing is just how far down this is. Below 1989 Three Fugitives? Yeeeeeesh. Wasn’t even really a bomb either, but they must have been planning on more than $36 million domestic)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (11/105): Silly and unfunny remake of a French movie of the same name.

(Wow. RT got real serious on this one. Those are certainly the facts of the matter.)

Poster – Taxi Tilt (C-)

taxi

(Likes: Bright yellow base, integration of the title into the scene (clever), and actually provides a lot of visual info about the plot in the scene. Dislikes: Tilt, terrible font and block coloring for all the words on the poster, too basic/not artistic, and the weird foggy background is… not good. Almost a D+, but juuussssst better than that.)

Tagline(s) – He’s armed, but she’s dangerous. (A)

(Out of nowhere Taxi hits on a nearly perfect tagline. Short and sweet? Yup. Clever in some way? Yup. Gives an idea of the plot? Yup. Three for three.)

Notes – Ingrid Vandebosch, one of the female robbers in this film, is married to Jeff Gordon, who has an uncredited cameo in this film. (Athlete film!)

Kevin Bray was originally set to direct, but dropped out. (director of potential BMT films Walking Tall and All About the Benjamins)

Eragon Preview

So this week is also an extra special week. No, we are not watching Bulletproof Monk again. Instead we are here to celebrate watching 300 BMT films! It’s a sad day when you can say you are almost to the point where you have an entire year of bad movies under your belt, but we are getting mighty close. We only started the website recently, so you can’t see much of our thoughts on a majority of these films, but trust me we watched them… we certainly did (Jamie says, staring wistfully into the distance). We are sticking to the Stallonian Calendar for this milestone and watching Eragon as the Sci-Fi/Fantasy entry in the one-and-done director cycle. Directed by Stefen Fangmeier, a visual effects artist from ILM that got a chance to direct the film as his first (and last) feature. This one’s got everything: a book it’s based on, a movie that horrified its core fanbase, a failed franchise, and a director’s commentary to listen to in our free time. Perfect as #300. Let’s go!

Eragon (2006) – BMeTric: 62.4

Eragon_BMeT

(Look at that beauty. Took a few months to hit 50 and then never looked back. I’m actually shocked it didn’t get any play for the Razzies because I remember this getting hit hard when it came out. Although it did get some play at the last Stinkers Awards (remember those? Weirdly enough neither do I. And it was much more well known than the Razzies for like 20 years). Anyways, the score suggests I should be rolling down the aisle Pompeii style. Do not make such promises BMeTric, my heart can only take so much.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Orphaned farm boy finds a mysterious egg that hatches the last of an extinct breed of magical dragons. The boy, the dragon, and his world-weary, wise old mentor travel across magical lands to save the oppressed people of his home kingdom from an evil king and his henchman wizard. Scenery is pretty and CGI effects are fine, but the movie is a patchwork quilt of conventions borrowed from other fantasy films and stories (with none of their entertainment value). Based on the first in a series of popular books by Christopher Paolini.

(Oh dear, Leonard. You clearly know this is based on a book series written by a 15-year-old kid. Did you not think the story was going to be a patchwork quilt of conventions borrowed from other fantasy material? Otherwise he seems pretty OK with the film. Things are looking up.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZRHO0d9Nao

(Anyone else amped?! Yeah. Dragons bro! Killing it. Can’t wait for the second and third in the Inheritance trilogy. Get to see that sweet Malkovich Con-Air crazy come out. Boom.)

Directors – Stefen Fangmeier – (BMT: Eragon; Notes: Accomplished visual effects artist nominated for three Oscars in the field for Twister, The Perfect Storm, and Master and Commander. Spent most of his career at ILM before leaving to try directing with Eragon. Since then he has sporadically done visual effects work, most recently on future BMT Allegiant.)

Writers – Peter Buchman (screenplay) – (Known For: Jurassic Park III; Che; BMT: Eragon; Notes: Started as a playwright in Seattle and caught a break when one of his plays was purchased by Scorsese, prompting a move to LA. Another script of his caught the eye of Spielberg who hired him for Jurassic Park III.)

Christopher Paolini (novel) – (BMT: Eragon; Notes: Doesn’t talk about the film adaptation much other than to say that he’s grateful it was made and that a film is the vision of the filmmaker and the book the vision of the artist, so both need to be enjoyed separately. Nice outlook.)

Actors – Ed Speleers – (Known For: Howl; A Lonely Place to Die; BMT: Eragon; Plastic; Notes: Now probably best known as a regular on Downton Abbey. Was on the shortlist for John Boyega’s part in Force Awakens.)

Also stars Dungeons and Dragons legend Jeremy Irons

Budget/Gross – $100 million / Domestic: $75,030,163 (Worldwide: $249,488,115)

(Worldwide success, but lackluster domestic haul is probably why it didn’t spawn the franchise that I’m sure the studio wanted. The 29th highest grossing young adult adaptation of all time. The worst wide-release? A vampire movie called Blood and Chocolate… which I don’t remember coming out, but stars Legends of Oz and Evening BMT hall of famer Hugh Dancy (that’s what he’s known for right?).)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (20/124): Written by a teenager (and it shows), Eragon presents nothing new to the “hero’s journey” story archetype. In movie terms, this movie looks and sounds like Lord of the Rings and plays out like a bad Star Wars rip-off. The movie spins the tale of a peasant boy who is suddenly entrusted with a dragon and must, with the help of a mentor, train, grow strong, and defeat an evil emperor. The way the critics picture it, the makers of Eragon should soon be expecting an annoyed phone call from George Lucas.

(Right off the bat hitting at the author. In fairness, he did not write the film. Also, harping on something because it “ripped off” Star Wars simply because it has a character who must grow strong and fight an evil-doer is hilarious. Is there any fantasy film or book where that isn’t the plot? Are they also going to be getting annoyed phone calls from Bobby Jordan?)

Poster – Yup … That’s a poster. (C-)

eragon_ver7

(Let’s see. I kind of like the symmetry. The color scheme is okay (I wish it wasn’t just generally blue and blah), but otherwise, again, uninspired. I think that might be the theme of the day boys and girls. Uninspired. This film feels uninspired. We do continue our streak of bomb fonts though. Look at that, impossible to fake!)

Tagline(s) – You are stronger than you realize. Wiser than you know. What was once your life is now your legend. (D)

Riders Wanted (D+)

As Darkness Falls, The Last Dragon Will Choose Its Rider. (C+)

(I am less than impressed with all of these. The first is two long and, honestly, try and read it and allow your mind to naturally parse that monster … it doesn’t make sense. The second is fun, but is more suited to a fun kids animated film like How to Train Your Dragon. The last is probably the best, it is just uninspired. And “darkness falls” seems a bit misplaced to me, but I can’t really put my finger one it … well, nothing solid in the lot.)

Notes – Many fans of the book were upset at Stefen Fangmeier’s decisions to take out crucial characters and plot lines.

Plans were made to adapt the other books in the series, but they were dropped.

Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart were offered the role of Brom, but turned it down because of their commitment to X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). (and probably because they thought it was going to be terrible …)

Alex Pettyfer was offered the role of Eragon, previous to the casting of Ed Speleers. Pettyfer said he had turned down the role partly because Eragon was filmed in Budapest and he’s afraid of flying. (Nooooooooooo. My sweet sweet Pettyfer. It is only a few days by train to Hungary. Even if he was in the US at the time there is a boat that takes ten days to England. Easy peasy. What a BMT Disaster!).

On Deadly Ground Preview

Alright, onto this week. Once upon a time a boy named Steven Seagal stumbled inadvertently into fame after giving an aikido demonstration for a bunch of Hollywood talent execs hopped up on cocaine (probably). They thought it was totally kick ass and immediately allowed him to star in five major motion pictures, culminating in Under Siege (a wild success). After reading The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump (probably) he was all like “I have leverage” and was like “I totally won’t do Under Siege II unless you let me direct my next film.” The execs were horrified. They needed the sweet, sweet Under Siege II dollars to fuel their obsessive speedboat collecting habits. So they said yes and he made a little movie called On Deadly Ground and everyone in the world lived happily ever after. That’s the story of our next film. The only directorial effort by the late, great Steven Seagal (Patrick’s Note: Steven Seagal is not dead). He apparently decided not to direct again because how can you improve at something you’ve perfected? We now get to watch his perfection. Let’s go!

On Deadly Ground (1994) – BMeTric: 62.8

OnDeadlyGround_BMeT

(BMT University Alert! Months ago I postulated that an adjustment to the BMeTric needed to be made, a Genre Adjusted BMeTric (GABMeT, the first part of an adjusted BMeT+), in order to account for the fact that Horror films have a small bizarrely devoted fanbase who watches everything and is perfectly willing to throw out ratings on IMDb. It artificially inflates the BMeTrics of Horror films and leaves us baffled. I’m going to say it now: Seagal is the same. His straight-to-video film from 2015 has 2000 votes on IMDb … 2000! How?! Who watches these things?! Baffling. So this is probably like … a 40 in my Seagal Adjusted BMeTric (SABMeT). Book it.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – After the critical/popular success of Under Siege, Seagal was allowed to direct this fast-fader about the raping of Alaska’s interior by an oil company run by evil Caine. Spiritual mumbo-jumbo halfway through look like an outtake from The Doors, and the star’s anticlimactic final speech (and the obligatory wrist-snapping) had fans bolting for the exits. Caine looks as if he’s undergone cosmetic surgery by Dwight Frye.

(Leonard should have just stopped at “evil Caine.” No need to say more. I’m in. He then descends into film nerd jokes that only he would get. I do not understand either The Doors reference or the Dwight Frye thing. Finally, I can’t wait to enjoy Seagal’s anticlimactic speech. I feel like BMT was built on anticlimactic speeches.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyD_6_jFB8A

(I wonder if this is the only case of the White Savior trope being used in reference to the inuit people? Probably. Love, love, love the line “I’m gonna reach out and touch somebody here.” Bwhahahahaha.)

Director(s) – Steven Seagal – (BMT: On Deadly Ground Notes: For Razzie info see below. His lone directorial debut. It is said that he got to do this because he agreed to be in Under Siege II: Dark Territory. This was a small production until Seagal was attached at which point its budget ballooned.)

Writer(s) – Ed Horowitz (written by) – (BMT: On Deadly Ground; Exit Wounds; Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, On Deadly Ground (1994); Teaches at UCLA and is known for his work with Segal in addition to writing for La Femme Nikita.)

Robin U. Russin (written by) – (BMT: On Deadly Ground; Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, On Deadly Ground (1994); Teaches as University of California Riverside and the author of Screenplay: Writing the Picture.)

Actors – Steven Seagal – (Known For: Machete, Executive Decision, Under Siege, The Perfect Weapon, Above the Law; BMT: On Deadly Ground, The Patriot, Half Past Dead, Fire Down Below, Ticker, The Foreigner, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory,  Into the Sun, The Glimmer Man, Exit Wounds, Maximum Conviction, Hard to Kill; Notes: For Razzie info see below. We all know Seagal. We rode that sweet high-octane martial arts wave from the late eighties, through the 90s, and (like many a-wave rider) became a parody of himself in the 2000s. He is still making movies, but basically straight-to-video stuff. His fanbase does appear strong though judging by the number of IMDb votes his recent movies receive (that I’ve never heard of, let alone seen). Make yo money Seagal, haters gonna hate.)

Razzie Info for Segal: Won for Worst Director, On Deadly Ground (1994); Nominated for Worst Actor, On Deadly Ground (1994), Fire Down Below (1997), and Half Past Dead (2002); Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, Executive Decision (1996); Nominated for Worst Original Song, Fire Down Below (1997) For the song “Fire Down Below” (!!!!!! He genuinely helped write that song!)

Also stars Michael Caine!

Budget/Gross: $50 million / $38,590,458

(Oooooooooooof. Why does this movie cost $50 million? Why would they give that to Seagal for his directoral debut? How much of that budget went to ‘splosions? Hopefully a lot. In reality Seagal probably gave most of it to Caine and himself and then laughed all the way to the bank.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 10% (3/30), No consensus yet.

(Bah, I’m going to give it a consensus. Not even evil Michael Caine can save this disastrous directorial debut. Explosions galore, but ultimately underwhelms.)

Poster – Bob Ross-esque (B-)

ondeadlyground

(There is something mesmerizing about this poster despite it being a bit crowded. I like the title font and really like the tones. Seagal’s giant orange face mixes nicely with the burning building and the sunrise and all that fades picturesquely into the darker background. It’s like a painting that Bob Ross would have painted. I can’t stop staring at it. This means something…)

Tagline(s) – His Battle To Save The Alaskan Wilderness And Protect Its People Can Only Be Won… (D)

(… On Deadly Ground. Let me just finish that little guy for you. Way too long. Almost a perfect example of informative, but boring. And stupidly incorporating an already stupid title into the tagline, just not a good look all around.)

Notes – The final scene when Forrest Taft gives the speech about the oil companies and air pollution, was originally 11 minutes long. Audiences complained that it was overlong and preachy. The scene was re-edited before release. (fuck you audiences, do you think I can find this?)

There were allegations that Michael Caine and Steven Seagal didn’t get along. However, in Caine’s memoir, The Elephant To Hollywood, he stated that he liked working with Seagal and the crew, but hated filming in Alaska, even joking that “On Deadly Ground” was an apt title. (This has been settings facts, brought to you by Jamie’s weird obsession)

Steven Seagal agreed to appear in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995) if Warner Bros. allowed him to direct this film. (good deal bro)

After Warner offered Steven Seagal the directorial reins for this film, then titled Rainbow Warrior, the budget blew out when bigger and more explosive action scenes were written into the screenplay. Warner turned to indie production company Largo Entertainment to share some of the cost. In return, Largo would get the international rights to the film. However, after Under Siege (1992) opened, and performed beyond Warner’s expectations, Warner decided to fully finance the film themselves.

On Deadly Ground was not Steven Seagal’s first choice to make his directorial debut. He was initially offered the mafia drama “Man of Honor” as a starring/director/writer vehicle by Twentieth Century Fox and Morgan Creek Productions, but cost overruns, and Fox’s unwillingness to plonk down $30+ million dollars for the film, forced the pic to shutdown, just weeks away from filming.

Razzie Awards 1995, Won for Worst Director, Steven Seagal

Razzie Awards 1995, Nominated for Worst Picture

Razzie Awards 1995, Nominated for Worst Actor, Steven Seagal

Razzie Awards 1995, Nominated for Worst Actress, Joan Chen

Razzie Awards 1995, Nominated for Worst Screenplay, Ed Horowitz, Robin U. Russin

Razzie Awards 1995, Nominated for Worst Original Song, Mark Hudson, Klaus Meine, For the song “Under The Same Sun”.