Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan Recap

Jamie

Nearing the end of our Friday the 13th journey. Officially past the halfway point and quickly approaching Freddy vs. Jason. We’ll have to confront the philosophical question of why we watched through all of Friday the 13th before that entry, but have made no indication that we will do the same for the Nightmare films. Truly a conundrum. Until then let’s just get into some details.

What?! Jason’s back, Jack! After spending some more time chilling at the bottom of Crystal Lake, Jason is inadvertently resurrected… again. He then promptly boards a cruise ship filled with teenagers headed to the Big Apple. Can they take down Jason before he brings a new problem to New York City? Find out in… Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan!

How?! We open on an eerie night on Crystal Lake where a couple teens are looking to get it on. They drop anchor, hit an underwater electric cable, and Jason is electrocuted back to life (as always… or at least per the last few movies). He kills the teens and commandeers the boat. Inexplicably, He is then able to take this boat out of the lake to the Atlantic Ocean where he boards a NYC cruise populated by the recent graduates of a local high school. Most of the characters in the film are teens looking to party, but our protagonists aren’t really into that scene. Rennie is a girl with a troubled past. She had an encounter with Jason as a kid and has been left traumatized. Sean is the son of the captain of the ship. He’s expected to take over the family business of sea captaining, but he’s just not sure he’s up to it/wants to do it. Oh, and they’re also kinda in love or something. Anyway, everything goes to shit. Everyone dies except Rennie, Sean, and other less important people. They escape via rowboat and make it to NYC only to find that Jason has followed them. Uh oh! A chase ensues, ending in the sewers of NYC where Jason is dissolved in a wave of toxic waste… can’t wait to see how he lived through that!

Why?! We keep having to go over this. Jason kills! It’s his job. He punches in, kills some sex-crazed teens, and punches out. Despite the monotony, he loves it. Perfectly satisfied in his workaday position and not looking for a promotion to upper management. While he would appreciate the raise, he doesn’t want to get too far from the day-to-day killing, you know? For the most part this film is without much motivation for the teens, other than to celebrate their graduation in style. Eventually their motivation is to not be killed. Pretty standard for F13.

Who?! The actor who played Sean has made a bit of a career in country music, but he’s more of an actor-turned-musician than the other way around. I’ll instead highlight our animal friend in this film. Rennie’s dog Toby was portrayed by a dog actor named Ace. Ace doesn’t have a huge number of credits, but he was the dog actor in a Canadian TV Show called The Odyssey which featured Ryan Reynolds (Canadian child actor extraordinaire). Show looks weird. Someday we’ll have an animal actor cycle. The credits are fun.

Where?! A+ setting alert! Obviously a good chunk of this film takes place in Manhattan. Most of it takes place off the coast of New Jersey in the Atlantic Ocean. Either way we are pretty clear on where we are the entire time. A+.

When?! Well at least this time we have an idea of when this takes place. I’ve stated a number of times that the timeline for the series is fucked. There are numerous websites claiming that the year Part VIII takes place is anywhere from 1994 to 2004. Since this deals with a high school graduation we can at least be pretty certain this film takes place at the end of May/beginning of June. C+.

There really isn’t anything like the Friday series. We’ve truly gone through a journey with these films. I daresay 2017 will be remembered in BMT lore as The Year of Jason. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan? More like Friday the 13th Part VIII: Barely In Manhattan, amirite?! A director had a vision: take Jason from quaint Crystal Lake and drop him in the most exciting city in the world! And the producers said “great, but we already built this boat set sooooooooo ….” Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – A short rundown of the good in the film. Taking Jason out of his element was a solid idea on paper. Kane Hodder continued to impress as by far the most lively and interesting Jason in the franchise. Decent practical effects here and there. Felt a little bit more like a classic Friday the 13th than the fifth, sixth, or seventh (although that is not necessarily a good thing). As usual I would just kind of remake it as a part of remaking the whole series. I would keep the boat and do all the killing on that instead of ever getting to Manhattan. The close quarters, trapped at sea, nowhere to run. Could very well lead to some tense moments. In the end, a crippled heap of a boat floats into New York harbor, a ghost ship without a trace of Jason to be found. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Cruise Control.

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – What didn’t work: The last bit in Manhattan didn’t work at all. There was a whole storyline about a girl being haunted by Jason due to an interaction she had with him as a child that was mainly stupid. Most of the characters are forgettable, so much so that at one point a teacher remarks “hey shouldn’t we go get the others from the restaurant?” to which another character says “there is no restaurant left” … okay, not sure how he knew that, but that is how the unceremoniously dumped a handful of ripe-for-the-killing teens out of this movie. Anywho, the real issue two-fold: the director/writer overreaching and the studio unwilling to yield on costs. The director has a solid idea on paper, but either didn’t have the resources or the ability to translate it to screen. What resulted was what I would consider the second worst Friday film in the first 8 released, which is pretty bad. I think the main culprit here was sloth. The produced-on-a-dime horror film would fall into a slumber, waiting to be awoken years later by Jason Blum.

The BMT Legacy – I think the legacy of this film, again, is mainly tied to us having watched the entire franchise in a year. I thought it was slightly better than the Rotten Tomatoes score would suggest, so it probably won’t have the legs, but then again, if we were holding, say, a Friday the 13th Bad Movie marathon, it would be pretty easy to pick out 3, 5 and 8 as the worst three of the franchise. Nice distribution there actually, basically get one or two good ones between all of the flops. So it’s got that going for it.

Time for a StreetCreditReport.com! My new favorite game, so fun I think it might actually end up as a permanent member of my recaps. People love to rank the Friday the 13ths (including us!), and this is typically second to last (this guy has #5 as fifth best though so …), or worst, or worst again, and finally number 9. This random blog ranks movies from specific years, and Manhattan gets number 3 for 1989! Two interesting things. One, it is quite common not to rank Freddy vs. Jason because it is apparently much more of a Nightmare on Elm Street film. We just had this debate ourselves and will likely watch Freddy vs. Jason as a part of this mini-challenge. Two, people really really don’t like number seven (The New Blood)! Which is interesting, because we both dug it and have it quite high in our own personal rankings. We’ll probably go through the Friday the 13th rankings again at the end of the run, but until then …

Cheerios, 

the Sklogs

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood Recap

Jamie

What?! Jason is back, Jack! We last saw Undead Jason trapped underwater in Crystal Lake. Lucky for us (not so much for his victims) he is freed from his watery grave by a telekinetic teenager, Tina. Can our Carrie ripoff stop Jason’s reign of terror before it’s too late? Find out in… Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood!

How?! As always we open on a young teen making her way to Crystal lake. This time, though, Tina’s not there to experiment with drugs and risky sexual liaisons. She’s there to confront her darkest secret: as a child she killed her father by inadvertently using her hidden telekinetic powers. These powers only come out in fits of rage and as a result she’s been cloistered up in a psychiatric ward. Now back at the lake, her nerves are frayed and she accidentally raises Jason from the depths of the lake. Oh no! Meanwhile, a bunch of teenagers are partying it up at a cabin celebrating the birthday of one of their friends. Long story short, loads of teens get laid, loads of teens get high, loads of teens drink refreshing ice cold Pepsi, and loads of teens get killed. Classic. Once pretty much everyone is dead, Tina ends up going mano a mano with Jason. She hangs him, blows him up, and ultimately raises her father from the dead (?!) to pull him to the depths of Crystal Lake once more. Phew. It’s probably over and Jason has definitely died for sure and we won’t ever see him again. The end.

Why?! How many times do I have to tell you? Jason kills! It what he does. He escaped death for the sole purpose of taking out a cabin full of teenagers and I love him for it. As for our Carrie doppelganger, she’s gone to Crystal Lake to confront her feelings of guilt over her father’s death. Many years before, he was killed by Tina in a fit of telekinetic rage over his alcohol-fueled abuse. Tina’s psychiatrist pretends to believe this confrontation will help her, but really he wants to get her telekinetic abilities caught on camera. He seems to think being near the lake will enhance them. Everyone else is just there to die… oh, and to get paid and laid, obviously.

Who?! No comic relief or Planchet (which is odd for a Friday the 13th film). Instead I’ll highlight an interesting cameo by Walt Gorney, who voiced the narrator at the beginning of the film. He’s actually the actor who played the “You’re all gonna die!” old man in the first two films (he was killed in Part II). Strange uncredited cameo. Skipped four films.

Where?! Oh you know where. That’s right! Back in Crystal Lake. Glad that starting with Part VI they seem to realize that sticking with what works (Crystal Lake, Jason kills people in weird and wild ways, breasts, etc.) might be the way to go. New Jersey straight up. B.

When?! The movie starts with a flashback to when Tina killed her father and we are treated to a wonderful close-up of a calendar telling us it’s October 13th. Unfortunately the main thrust of the film has no such luck. I couldn’t find a date and no one online seems to know either. Interestingly, most people seem to agree, given evidence from previous entries and the director’s statements, that this film likely takes place somewhere between 1999-2002… which is hilarious. D+.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood?! More like Friday the 13th Part VII: Hey You Blow! Ayyyyyoooooooooo. Jason has gone from a child, to a man in a bag, to an unstoppable maniac, to a zombie. Stick with unstoppable maniac zombie? Maniac zombie it is! Let’s go!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – The good in this film was that once they made the transition to full blown supernatural (provided the audience is game) they finally allow for a hero to match up with Jason by virtue of her psychic powers. The quality also progressed enough that I was genuinely digging some of the kills and what they did with Jason. If I had my druthers we’d someday see a good v. bad supernatural 80s mega-franchise movie be made. Freddy, Jason, and Michael for sure on the bad team. And I think Tina Shepard is the first Friday the 13th protagonist able to stand against Jason for reals. Do I personally like supernatural slasher films? Not really, but it is hard to stand against Jason who, unlike Freddy or Michael Myers, is built like a tank. Giving a little supernatural edge to the protagonist ended up being kind of fun once they painted themselves in a corner in making Jason a hulking man-beast.

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – Hmm. Let me walk through what I thought was bad here. The main supernatural conceit is cheap and the movie kind of has to hop-skip into it with a weird voiceover (and it still doesn’t really make sense … like, did Jason float over to this lady’s childhood cabin over time or what?). Most of the kills are just kind of dumb, reminiscent of the second and third in the franchise. They still have too many characters, at one point I counted up eleven living characters and realized at least nine more people had to die. It is too much. Not very funny, almost bizarrely sincere in its supernatural turn. Modest complaints honestly. … Maybe envy of the success other horror franchises had had with the supernatural up to that point? This came on the heels of Halloween’s own supernatural turn in 1988 and Nightmare on Elm Street had always been rooted in that. Otherwise maybe just gluttony, more kills, more boobs, more drugs, more sex, more 80’s, more bonkers, to the point where it is hard to even figure out why half of the stuff is in the film in the first place! Yeah, I think it is more gluttony there.

The BMT: Legacy – As we roll through this horror franchise I can only think the legacy of this film is merely that it represents a turn in horror that lead it down to sad path to things like Leprechaun (no offense, I just mean self-awareness to the detriment of the spooky tense slashers of the late-70s and early-80s). But Halloween 4, 5 and 6 will eventually provide BMT with that as well (and in a far worse manner, spoiler alert). This represents something for BMT in general in that this endeavor to watch the entire franchise in a year will definitely lead to more such “mini-challenges” as we’ve dubbed them. And that will eventually control the cycles we choose within a year a lot more closely and will affect at least some of the analyses we do concerning our bad films in general. It is exciting, but the actual legacy of the film I think will be minor.

Huh, I think once I wrote everything down I’ve come to the conclusion this film is better than the critics give it credit for, even if I do think it is a let down from the sixth installment which is surprisingly solid. At least I personally think so. The StreetCreditReport.com is pretty minor. I’ve only ever heard of this installment as the more supernatural one (which could be good or bad). Looking online it gets a mention as having one of the best and one of the worst (the sleeping bag kill, which is also rather famous) kills of the franchise. Otherwise the only major thing I could find was about how they changed the ending to please queasy audience members. For the record I too think the father should have been a rotting corpse at the end.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Redline Recap

Jamie

I realized recently that I was touching on a lot of our obsessions with the 6W’s (MacGuffins, plot twists, settings, cameos, and Planchets), but I had missed one: product placement. Should probably have ended up as the What?! but instead I think I’ll just sprinkle the product placements throughout the email wherever appropriate. Seems like the right thing to do.

What?! Natasha and Carlo find themselves inadvertently embroiled in the dangerous world of underground street racing. When Carlo’s brother is killed and Natasha captured by one of these racing hot shots, Carlo is out for revenge. Can he take the syndicate down, quench his thirst with some sweet Dasani Water, and rescue Natasha before it’s too late? Find out in… Redline!

Why?! Natasha just wants to further her music career. Carlo is just there to watch out for his little brother. However, all this goes out the window when Carlo’s brother succumbs to the overwhelming pressure to win and is killed attempting a risky racing maneuver. The story immediately turns to vengeance as Carlo goes after those responsible. Unlike the other racing bosses (who are fueled only by crippling gambling addictions), our main antagonist is fueled by a combination of lust for Natasha, fear that he’ll be killed over his gambling debts, and his own psychotic tendencies.

How?! Carlo has a simple backstory as he has just returned from the army as a war hero to find his younger brother is racing for an evil gangster. The backstory for Natasha, however, is much denser. She is the daughter of a famous racecar driver killed in a tragic accident. While she herself possesses great talent in the sport, she can’t race as a result of the trauma of that loss. Instead she aspires to be a singer. When an underground racing fat cat sees her talent he tricks and bribes her into racing for him, only to turn around and bet her as stakes in the race against his evil rival. The stories converge when Carlo’s brother and Natasha race each other, Carlo’s brother is killed, and Natasha is taken captive. Carlo wants to kill the evil gangster, but ends up rescuing Natasha instead. When Natasha is subsequently blackmailed into racing they put together a dastardly plan to throw the race and get the gangster killed. Everyone lives happily ever after with huge record contracts, dope sportscars, and all the Dasani they can drink. Hooray!

Who?! Claims abound online that Wyclef Jean scored the film and appeared in a cameo. I don’t remember him showing up but it is credited (or more accurately uncredited) on IMDb. No music credit, though, just a “Thanks.” I did notice that the scumbag of a producer cameoed as a poker player who immediately loses all his money. A little foreshadowing.

Where?! Right off the bat we are treated to a rad street race from LA to Las Vegas, highlighting the two major settings for this film. I would give the main setting title to LA, but Vegas is not far behind. B

When?! I scoured the film twice over trying to find an exact date. There were two potential leads (a close-up of a loan contract and an issue of variety) but the quality of the video and focus of the shot wasn’t good enough to make it out. Maybe someday I’ll figure it out… maybe someday [Jamie says wistfully. A tear trickles down his cheek and tumbles playfully to his well-oiled six-pack abs]. F

Woooooo. Getting those details is like a rad racecar race at 200mph. Exhilarating. My overall impression of the film is that it’s similar to what Patrick and I might end up creating if we were ever tasked with creating a bad film. Everything is horrible, only entertaining from the viewpoint of its horribleness, and a product of extreme hubris. Most people would think it’s just boring and bad… exactly how we meant it to be. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Redline? More like Bad Sign! Amirite? So a predatory lender loves fast cars. But like … in a I-like-to-show-off-my-fast-cars-I-bought-with-my-gross-predatory-lending-profits kind of way. He also likes to show off his girlfriend, a former soap opera star trying to make it big in the industry. Presto! Making a movie is like saying your ABC’s: Action, Boobs, and Cars. What could go wrong!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Cars (maybe, I’m not exactly sure what people who like cars like exactly since I don’t really like cars), but that is about it. I’ll leave all of the things that did go wrong for the next section, but an interesting aspect of this film was how much of a history they managed to give everyone. Right at the end a random guy who we had not seen before pops up and the main character is like “he’s the man who killed my father” WHAT?! So obviously we are doing a prequel called Redline: Warzone. The film finds Carlo and Jason working with their father running a successful race team in NSCRA alongside and against Natasha’s father. Ultimately the movie tells the story of Michael, who is running an illegal gambling syndicate surrounding the sport, fixing the race in which Natasha’s father dies. When Jason’s father threatens to expose Michael, Michael has him killed, but staged to look like a suicide. This is all set alongside the run up to the Iraq war, and Carlo leaves for Baghdad, but not before telling Michael to stay away from Jason. Oh … if only Michael would have listened. We finally get the backstory we were all dying for!

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – Well this is easy: Pride. On the part of the producer who was clearly a lunatic. Now that that is out of the way: The acting in this film is an atrocity, it is so bad you can only kind of notice that the crazy producer put himself in the movie and gave himself like seven lines (I only noticed it because he doesn’t at all look like an actor). The writing is ridiculous. At one point the rap producer Infamous lands his plane on a highway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas … the FAA would like to have a word with you, and the phrase “prison time” was mentioned emphatically. This is the first film in a while where I can call the direction bonkers. A lot of weird transition choices, weird CGI, the cars all look like they are travelling half speed in most shots. So yeah … Basically this is borderline barely-a-movie and it is ridiculous that it exists.

The BMT: Legacy – The legacy of this film is it is somehow quintessentially The Golden Age of Bad Movies. The Golden Age s roughly the Noughties (2000-2010), and I now think this has to do with two factors. First, CGI had made the transition to being very cheap and easy to get. Productions which might have been too expensive to make previously could now safely be greenlit with a manageable special effects budget, meaning more options (in more genres) available to producers. And second, there was a ton of money floating around due to the artificially inflated economy. This isn’t even mentioning the writer’s strike in 2007/2008! Anyways, this movie perfectly encapsulates this era: a producer with a ton of fake money to throw at terrible CGI ultimately making a vanity project that is just trash. Great stuff. That is it’s BMT legacy.

Now as for its StreetCreditReport.com? It … is borderline. It makes its way onto MTV’s worst of list of 2007 (barely), but other than that it typically get nary a whisper from things like the AV Club list I linked to for Epic Movie. From there it just kind of ends up as either first or second on blogs concerning car movies in particular. No Razzie cred … it is kind of a forgotten film. But I think a big part of its cred is in that car racing genre in particular. On occasion a film like 200 M.P.H. which was Direct-to-Video and made by the Asylum sneaks in above it, but this is basically a unanimous worst car racing film ever. That counts for something!

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs

Epic Movie Recap

Jamie

What?! Four down-on-their-luck orphans are taken in by a horrifying Willy Wonka-like monster and escape into the magical world of Gnarnia. There they find a world ruled by the evil White Bitch. Can they take her down and restore freedom to Gnarnia? Find out in… Epic Movie.

Why?! In the beginning the motivation is to escape the evil Willy who wants to maim and disfigure them for the benefit of his delicious candy (true story). Once they escape to Gnarnia through a wardrobe it becomes a direct parody of the Narnia story. So the motivations are pretty much the same as in that film: take down the White Bitch because of destiny or whatever. The White Bitch is just a power-hungry… well… bitch, I guess. Their words, not mine.

How?! I entered this film presuming that we would have a disjointed mess. Instead once the orphans enter Gnarnia the plot just marches through the plot of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe with nary a laugh. Just as in that film, Edward is the only orphan to waiver in the quest to destroy the White Bitch. Instead he mostly wants to bone her and drink the sweet, sweet malt liquor that she can make appear by magic. He ends up imprisoned by her, while the rest of the orphans set off with Harry Beaver (actual name of a character) to the camp of Aslo, a half-man/half-lion warrior. He helps them free Edward, only to be killed in the process, leaving the orphans in charge to do battle with the White Bitch. They then decide to throw a big pre-battle rager where Susan pukes all over everyone for like five minutes. This disgusts their fellow warriors to the point where no one shows up the next day to fight the White Bitch. Obviously on the verge of a major defeat Peter fortunately finds a magic remote control (a la Click) and pauses time, allowing the orphans to kill everyone. They rule over Gnarnia for years, only to stumble on the wardrobe in their old age. Returning to Willy’s house of terror they seem quite happy to be young again, only to be randomly crushed by a giant wheel. The end. Yeesh.

Who?! No Planchet and all the cameos are fake. Kevin Hart has a significant role as an albino monk but decided to go uncredited. Obviously this was so he didn’t sully his good name with this garbage. The only other note is that the band that plays at the pre-battle rager is The Eagles of Death Metal.

Where?! Gnarnia for the most part. Weirdly during the MTV Cribs spoof the location of Mr. Tumnus’s house is given as Gnarnia Hills, California… taking this at face value we can say this is set primarily in California. It doesn’t make me feel good though. C+

When?! Time is irrelevant in this film. In fact all things are irrelevant. Nothing matters. God is dead. F

I found this film to both be better and worse than I expected. As I told Patrick it’s like aliens came to Earth and created a film. They showed it to us and asked, “Good? Laugh?” We were both amazed that they made something that felt like an actual movie at times, but also found the movie terribly sad in how awful it was. How did the poor aliens think this was what we wanted? Where did humanity go so wrong to give them that perception?… sigh… Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Epic Movie? More like Epically Bad! Amirite. That’s a New York Post headline! There was once a time where we indicated we would never watch Friedberg and Seltzer garbage. But when their movies are just about 3 of the top 5 worst movies by BMeTric it starts to become unavoidable. And what an opportunity to earn some well deserved street cred! Let’s go!

The Good (Prequel, Sequel, Remake) – The only bright spot in the film was the cast. There are cameos from some serious comedy heavy hitters (Crispin Glover, Darrell Hammond, Fred Willard to name a few). On top of that the sets and effects are, on occasion, rather impressive. And that’s the rub. I would say Sequel is the guy, Epic Movie 2 could pretty much just play as a spoof of the Marvel/DC cinematic universes, but … the budget just wouldn’t be there. Something like Fifty Shades of Black made $10 million … that ain’t cutting it.

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sins) – This is a zero laugh movie. It might as well have been called Curse-words-and-reaction-shots, because half of the jokes are people cursing and other people looking shocked. On occasion the effects are pretty good … mostly the effects are bad. And the acting is horrible, but what did I expect? The sin isn’t Sloth, a lot of effort was put into this film even if the soundtrack is just a best of the early 2000s track and they default to musical montage at the drop of a hat. Perhaps Envy? Looking wistfully back to the heyday of spoofs lead our intrepid filmmakers to ruin I think. Maybe a bit of that, but ultimately it is their misguided belief that they had the ability to continue a genre that can only be very very good or very very bad. Pride.

The BMT: Legacy – This is the number one BMeTric film of all time. It is dire to watch. It becomes almost confusing as to how such a movie was ever popular. We haven’t seen Date Movie or Disaster Movie but I think Epic movie will ultimately be the one I would be most likely to kick off a BMT Movie Marathon with because the cast is by far the most impressive in this one. There is a legacy, but a legacy with regard to the BMeTric. This movie is #46 as far as IMDb rating is concerned. It isn’t even on the 0% on Rotten Tomatoes list because it is at 2%. But combining popularity and poorly rated creates a mixture that suggests this is the worst film ever (in some hazy way), and ultimately that is what it represents, the BMT formula.

Quick check in from StreetCreditReport.com where we ponder the larger bad movie landscape … and yeah this is a doozy. Friedberg and Seltzer went from being involved with an incredibly popular spoof franchise of the 2000s and beyond (Scary Movie) to overnight being described in such glowing terms as: “Friedberg and Seltzer…are not filmmakers. They are evildoers, charlatans, symbols of Western civilization’s decline…” from Josh Levine of Slate. It was number 2 (behind BMT HoF Norbit) worst film of the year according to the A.V. Club. It is too bad it can’t really claim Worst of the Year honors, Norbit pretty much swept that wherever I looked. But it has the cred.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

10,000 BC Recap

Jamie

Let me transport you back 12,000 years to a time where movies were super boring. That’s right! We watched 10,000 BC. Let’s get into the details.

What?! After most of his prehistoric tribe is captured and taken as slaves by an advanced civilization, D’Leh follows in pursuit in an attempt to rescue his lady love Evolet. Will he rescue Evolet (and more importantly live up to a legend) before it’s too late? Find out in… 10,000 BC!

Why?! In the grand scheme of the plot there are three different reasons for the pursuit. Most obviously it is to rescue the tribe since the remaining tribesmen won’t survive without enough hunters. The second is to rescue Evolet specifically since she is, according to legend, a major cog in the tribe’s future. Without her it is feared that the legend will not come to be. Finally, for D’Leh himself it is because he is in love with Evolet and wants to get her back so he can get laid and paid (classic motivation, really). As for the advanced civilization doing the capturing, all they want is more slaves to build their sweet pyramids.

How?! Early in the film we see Evolet arrive as a child to the tribe. She has blue eyes and their priest determines that she is the future wife of a legendary warrior who will save them when their main food source, mastodons, runs scarce. D’Leh sees Evolet and is instantly smitten. As they grow up they grow to love each other, but no one really thinks D’Leh is the warrior of legend and worthy of her hand (even D’Leh). After the tribe is attacked and captured, including Evolet, D’Leh puts his big boy pants on and goes in pursuit of the attackers, following them across mountains, jungle, and desert. As he travels the many civilizations they encounter determine that D’Leh is their legendary hero and he builds a mighty army. Once he tracks the attackers to the hub of their advanced civilization he uses this army to dispatch their leader. At the very last moment Evolet is killed, only to be Deus Ex Machina-ed back to life. Phew! That was close. They return home, bringing with them new farming techniques that allow for the extended survival of their tribe just as the legend foretold.

Who?! There is literally no humor in this film at all so there is no Planchet. There is a pretty good cameo by Omar Sharif as the narrator of the film (and boy, the narration doesn’t quit). Most important though I need to throw out an Animal Friend Alert for this film. After D’Leh rescues a sabertooth tiger from drowning he is rewarded by the tiger becoming his friend, adding to his legend. They also did this in After Earth with a giant bird and gotta say, still doesn’t work.

Where?! The advanced civilization in this film is almost certainly Egypt. Not only are they building a pyramid and the sphinx in scenes, but the alternate ending that I watched on the DVD makes it pretty clear that the pyramid is the Khafre pyramid. Additionally, D’Leh follows the North Star to get to the civilization, while the tribe’s attackers took boats up a river (the Nile). I would say this safely suggests that the tribe in the film lives somewhere in the Ethiopian Highlands (supported by the fact that the Semien Mountains in that region is the only place where snow regularly falls in Africa and there is a bunch of snow in the film) and they were following The Nile. Boom. Solid sleuthing.

When?! 10,000 BC, duh. That’s an A+ setting even if you can’t get any more specific. Besides, during the film a tribe travels from Ethiopia to Egypt. Likely took a really long time.

That’s way more details than you needed for this snoozefest. A couple solid aspects regarding the tiger friend, but not much else. But I’ll leave that up to Patrick. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! 10,000 BC? I certainly feels like I watching that film for thousands of years! Zing! Roland Emmerich is every so often asked to convert tens of millions of dollars into an impressive looking film. A good film? Well … let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – If there was anything good to say about this film it is that the ultimate villain (a god-like figure building a pyramid in the desert) had some interesting ideas woven into his lore. He’s a weirdo no one is allowed to look at (for no other reason that maybe they’d figure out he was an old man? … unclear. Either that or he was albino … ), they seem to have come from Atlantis. I was kind of digging that a bit. So Prequel duh. Let’s get into 10,000 BC: The Fall of Atlantis. We meet our god like villain when he was, spoiler, a slave in Atlantis! He leads a rebellion and in the process destroys the machinery keeping the sinking continent above the ocean surface. Could be fun … unless.

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – I left you waiting there, … unless the movie was so boring you just didn’t even care about the solid CGI and ultra-polished directoral work. The actors might as well have had no faces they were all charisma sinks, the oppressive voice over basically build a story out of nothing, and I just didn’t care about this stupid hero’s journey we were being slowly spoonfed. The sin is sloth, it made me feel like a waste of life watching his borefest. And no one could even be bothered to punch that script up. Boo! I had such high hopes 10,000 BC, such high hopes for you.

The BMT: Legacy – If anything this is a movie I will look back on as a weird missed opportunity. It is like a better looking Pathfinder, but has none of the absurd actors that entertain you throughout. Instead you have faceless nobodies, a voiceover supplying plot details, and a sagging middle where the protagonist just puts an army together. Maybe it could break out as an example of bad historical details? Like there are domesticated horses 6000 years before they should exist, and man-eating birds in a place that definitely is not New Zealand (among many other things). But I feel like that is it. I specifically don’t want to slog my way through another 2 hours of that I can tell you that much. Blah.

Hmmm, I feel like this needs something else now … Ah, how about a Street Credit Report (dot com)! I thought up this as a kind of extension of the BMT: Legacy. But while that is focused on what the movie meant to BMT, this focuses a bit more on perhaps a more global perception. And interestingly … this appears on a lot less worst of lists that I would expect. But Joe Neumaier has it as his worst film of 2008 for the NY Daily News. It is number 8 on this blog, NME.com. And probably most noteworthy Richard Roeper has it as his number 4. Solid cred I think (phew). It is also blowing my mind that this movie came out the same year as Love Guru … that was one of our first films (#3 in fact). Anywho, cheerios,

The Sklogs

That’s My Boy Recap

Jamie

What?! Donny Berger is a has-been celebrity famous for a lurid affair with his middle school math teacher that produced a love child. Finding himself on the verge of prison for tax evasion, Donny must reconnect with his estranged son just days before his son’s wedding in order to somehow come up with the cash. Will he get the cash and more importantly reconnect with his son before it’s too late? Find out in… That’s My Boy.

Why?! As is the case with all Sandler films it wears its motivations on its sleeves. The cash that Donny must come up with to avoid jail is the MacGuffin of sorts. It forces him to try to reconnect with his son conveniently at a time when his son, Han Solo, is getting married and in the news. I say it’s a MacGuffin “of sorts” because once Donny shows up at the wedding weekend that plot is barely mentioned again until the very end of the film. Donny is having so much fun slumming it with some rich sexual deviants that he seems to forget all about the cash he needs. As for the antagonist of the film, Han Solo’s fiance, she is simply a classic gold digger. Wanting to marry Todd and set herself up for a life of riches even though she doesn’t really love him and cheats on him all the time. Donny to the rescue.

How?! Once Donny shows up at the wedding he he first tries to scam Han Solo into earning him some quick cash by filming a television special. When Han Solo refuses he settles in for the weekend pretending to be Han Solo’s best friend and winning the love and adoration of the bride’s family. Unable to get rid of Donny, Han Solo slowly but surely embraces his estranged dad as they go one increasingly disgusting adventures together. Eventually Han Solo figures out the scam for cash that Donny was running and he boots him out of the wedding only to have Donny discover that Han Solo’s fiance is cheating on Han Solo with her brother. You read that right. That’s the actual storyline. Of course Donny swoops into the wedding, reveals the secret incest, and saves the day. The end.

Who?! I don’t think you could honestly write about this film without talking about the extended Vanilla Ice cameo. He is TERRIBLE. He’s not even playing a character. Just a slight caricature of himself. Still TERRIBLE. Additionally, we have former NFL coach Rex Ryan show up as a Boston super fan accountant. He is also TERRIBLE. Finally, gotta love films within films and we are given a couple scenes from the Donny Berger TV movie starring Ian Ziering as Donny Berger. Good stuff.

Where?! Great settings film. Donny is from Massachusetts and still lives in Massachusetts and Han Solo is getting married on Cape Cod. Mentioned all the time. Only thing that could have made it better was if it was set on Martha’s Vineyard. B.

When?! A little debate here and some suspicion that they changed the temporal setting in post. No debate at all that this is a SECRET HOLIDAY FILM ALERT. There is a wedding announcement paper that shows that Han Solo’s wedding is part of the “Memorial Weekend Weddings” edition. Also mentioned verbally later. Online there are some assertions that it takes place during Patriots Day Weekend. Understandable confusion since a marathon plays a role at the end of the film. It would seem that it may have been edited to match the release weekend as when they talk about the marathon there are several odd edits that suggest that it was indeed referred to as the Boston Marathon at some point. Solid B+ despite the change. Would have been an extra level holiday film if they used Patriots Day though.

Not sure if you could tell, but I got a kick writing Han Solo as one of the characters. Did it as many times as I could. Let’s throw it to Patrick for some BMT straight talk. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! That’s My Boy? More like Oh Boy! Amirite or amirite … right? Adam Sandler is comedy (and box office) gold, and this is in no ways based solely on my film preferences from when I was 13 years old … what could go wrong!? Let’s get into it.

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – This is honestly the most successful Sandler film I’ve seen in awhile. Personally, I can often find things to like in Sandler films (In Blended I thought Barrymore and Sandler continued to have amazing chemistry, and Aniston is charming as always in Let’s Go With It). This is the first one in a while where I thought Sandler himself (goofy voice and all) did an okay job. Sequelize then brother! Let’s fast forward to, you guessed it, Donny Berger and Miss McGarricle’s wedding day which is naturally going to be broadcast live on VH1. But guess who’s here to ruin the show? Donny’s other son and Todd’s half-brother, Luke Skywalker Berger! Can Todd save the day just like Donny did for him? That’s My Boy: Dream Wedding … get it? That was the name of Nick and Vanessa’s reality wedding on TLC … whatever, amazing deep cut.

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – So what was wrong with the film? Boring sagging middle, cursing for the sake of cursing, the usual unnecessary violence, and a terrible ending to the film (perplexing really). And as usual with Sandler films the sin is Greed: he can’t get enough of that sweet product placement you know (in this case Rolling Rock). I’m tempted by Sloth (the jokes are indeed lazy, Vanilla Ice merely acting terribly is supposed to be a joke I think and is meant to sustain a whole chunk of the finale). Predictably unfunny unfortunately.

The BMT: Legacy – This will become merely a footnote in our quest to complete Sandler’s filmography I think. Unlike the last two films we watched, this one isn’t BMT material more because it is slightly too good, and when it is bad it is just kind of loud-swearing bad. Like a 20 I think on the BMeTric scale, definitely bad, but you can kind of get away with liking it and it is not so boring I wouldn’t sit down and watch it again (especially because Samberg is great as usual).

A very very quick Sklognalysis at this point just to, again, mention the other routine feature of Sandler films besides blatant product placement. That’s right! Unnecessary celebrity (usually sports) cameos! In this case an amazingly brutal cameo by Rex Ryan as a Boston-area lawyer helping Sandler out with his legal troubles. Terrible at acting and basically given one job: pretend to like Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. It’s not him that’s bad, to be clear, it is the material. Oh and Dan Patrick is in it as well, but he always is. Booooo!

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs

Wagons East! Recap

Jamie

What?! After a group of settlers realize that the Wild West is super lame they all decide to head back East. Led by a former doctor, Phil, and a wagon master with a secret, Harlow, they strike out eastward much to the chagrin of some city fat cats who will do anything to stop them. Will they evade the traps set by the fat cats and make it back home? Find out in… Wagons East!

Why?! As mentioned above, the settlers have all come to the conclusion that the West sucks balls for one reason or another. It is the entire motivation for the plot of this film. Once they set out, others realize that quitting is OK and the eastward trek goes viral. This spooks a bunch of railroad tycoons and land developers who are about to get a major investment in railroad construction if they can achieve a high enough population in the West. They determine that they must stop the wagons, and thus the trend, by any means necessary in order to preserve the investment.

How?! While all the settlers hate the West, they also don’t want to be seen as quitters. A series of good omens and the arrival of a wagon master, albeit a drunk one, convinces them that quitting is OK and they set out on the trail. The businessmen looking to stop the wagon train first hire a local gunslinger to do the deed, but the wagons evade his traps by pure dumb luck. Even when the wagon train has their own bad luck, such as stumbling into a Native American war camp, they come out unscathed due to the common sense in their quest. The film basically proceeds like this, with more traps evaded and bad luck turning fortuitous. In the climactic scene, the US Cavalry is called in and Harlow challenges the leader to a fight. He wins and the wagon train proceeds without hindrance to St. Louis. If that sounds dumb and boring then you’re not far off.

Who?! No Planchet or cameos/musicians/athletes/presidents in this one. There is a notable character that went uncredited. That’s J.P. Moreland, the land developer that is trying to stop the wagon train. He’s played by Gailard Sartain (what a name!), who we know from most of the Ernest films and television show (usually as the character “Chuck,” although as “Jake (Chef #1)” in Ernest Goes to Camp). Presumably this is a case where he realized how bad the film was and chose to go uncredited, as his part is fairly significant.

Where?! Interesting settings film. We are shown in the beginning that Prosperity is located in the New Mexico Territory. From there they travel vaguely East until arriving in St. Louis. Pretty good all things considered. Not sure I’d count this as a setting that is vital to the plot though… The West isn’t really exact enough and it could have been set in Colorado or Arizona. B-

When?! I usually fear films set in the past or future. They are often satisfied with simply saying “Hey, we’re in the past/future!” and leaving it at that. Wagons East! is fortunately not one of those cases. We get some nice reference years to try to nail down the date. We are told that Phil is a former surgeon in the war. This is presumably the Civil War, so we can place the film sometime after 1865. Later we are told that Harlow led the Donner Party “about 20 years ago.” The Donner Party set out in May 1846, so makes sense that we are looking at about 1866-1867. As for the time of year, I get to set off a little Secret Holiday Film Alert! That’s because while the film is mostly vague on exactly when the wagon train is travelling, we are shown explicitly that they arrive at St. Louis on July 4th! Happy 4th of Jooooo-ly, everybody! B+

Now that you know the ins and outs of all that makes up Wagons East! we can dive into the BMT-ness of the film.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Wagons East!! More like Ragged Least! A parody starring classic comedians and slamming a genre cresting at the peak of its power? What could go wrong? Actually … seriously, what went wrong? Let’s get into it! Oh … and I’m trying something new. A twist to The Good, The Bad, The BMT. Basically they will now function as three minigames. Usually these will be the three that follow. After that, if there was a Homework Sklog-signment or other thing to discuss it will go there, otherwise it will be these three games. Let’s go!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Somewhere buried under the overlong unfunny mess of a production is a simple idea: Westerns are peaking in popularity after a lengthy period without releases in the 80s (Dances With Wolves and Unforgiven won best picture two and four years prior), so it is time to skewer them like Blazing Saddles did before! In that vein I think you could get away with a Reboot. But how you ask? Westerns aren’t really having a moment anymore. Ah, but it wouldn’t be a parody of Westerns … it is a parody of reboots! Complete with CGI Candy teaser at the end! Is that gross and weird or bizarrely brilliant, skewering the resurrection of characters played by now deceased actors in a reboot of one of the worst films ever? There is nothing to salvage here is the point, but like the reported (and abandoned) Men in Black / 21 Jump Street cross-over film, skewering the idea of bullshit crossovers, reboots, and origin stories is in.

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – Here I will try and identify the sin committed to create this film. Greed? Did they want that sweet Western boom money? Pride? In their hubris did they think they knew Westerns so well it would be easy to nail the genre? No … sloth. Produced by a company going out of business they hired people ill-suited for the job resulting in a movie containing almost no humor. Too lazy to rewrite or edit the movie makes no sense. Richard Lewis phones it in, literally wearing an 80’s NYC comedian blazer and mullet. They don’t even bother to give Candy a character (Ebert nailed that in his review). Top to bottom just terrible.

The BMT: Legacy – This movie is too boring to be good, like a ten in the BMeTric. The legacy of this film though is interesting. It is a rarity, a parody of Westerns. Alongside Blazing Saddles, and A Million Ways to Die in the West it comes along only so often. Parodies themselves are somewhat rare. The legacy is that this is literally the worst example of an extremely niche genre. And as such it will always have a place in BMT lore. Even if I never want to watch it again and it makes me sad. It has a place, it is a warning.

I’ll close with a short Sklognalysis as well. Mainly because it is astonishing to me that parody westerns managed to come out exactly 20 years apart right as the genre was cresting. In 1974 Blazing Saddles came out after the glut of Westerns in the late-60s. In 1994 Wagons East in response to things like Dances With Wolves. And in 2014 came A Million Ways To Die in the West. There always seems to be one. So what can we expect in 2034 I wonder. Mull on that.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs