Bio-Dome Recap

Jamie

Bud and Doyle are a couple of idiotic slackers who in the process of getting tricked by their environmentalist GFs get trapped in the local Bio-Dome. Rules are rules and they have to stay in the dome for a year. Can they keep their sanity and their GFs while not totally destroying the environment before it’s too late? Find out in… Bio-Dome.

How?! Bud and Doyle are idiots who only care about partying and the ladies. Their girlfriends, Monique and Jen, are not idiots who care about the environment. So they are pissed when Bud and Doyle pull a juvenile prank to get out of Earth Day. To get back at them they trick Bud and Doyle into going to an imaginary party at a polluted lake. On the way back from the “party” they stop at what they think is a mall in order to urinate, only to end up trapped in the Bio-Dome, a year-long experiment in environmental renewal. The scientists in the dome are aghast, but refuse to risk the purity of their experiment and elect to keep Bud and Doyle as agents of chaos. And chaos they do sow. We are immediately treated to a plethora of music video montages of them destroying the environment, killing animals, and flirting with the two babelicious scientists (their words not mine… or maybe it is my words, the film made me stupider by the minute). Eventually they wreak so much havoc that they are sent into the desert where the kind a door to the outside. Once outside, they plan a giant Bio-Dome bash and soon the once pure experiment is teaming with rowdy partiers, much to the disappointment of Monique and Jen. This drives the main scientist, Faulkner, insane, but the rest of the scientists team up with Bud and Doyle to reverse course and save the day before the experiment ends. Montages galore show us just how Bud and Doyle endear themselves to the world as they steadily move the dome back to homeostasis. On the last day they reach 100%, but are shocked to find that Faulkner has stuck around preparing to blow up the dome when the clock strikes zero. Bud and Doyle track down and stop Faulkner, save the dome, and get some sweet smooches from their GFs. THE END.

Why?! Bold question. Things just kind of happen in this movie. I was shocked at how little set-up and how much coincidence goes into getting Bud and Doyle into the dome. Once there though they still have very little motivation other than trying to stave off boredom. It’s only an hour into a very short movie that they finally decide to save what they’ve already destroyed.

Who?! Bill Clinton’s half brother, Roger, shows up as a college professor at one point. Which is very much in line with the vibe of the film. More notably this film was the first on-screen appearance of Tenacious D, who are shown performing at a party. They got the gig through the director Jason Bloom, who attended UCLA with Jack Black.

What?! This has a pretty good fake product placement. The “Bladder Buster” is a giant soft drink, presumably from a 7-11 type store, which prompts Doyle to have to go to the bathroom and leads to them getting trapped. They then are told the company wants them to sponsor the product, Doyle dreams of the drink, and it’s one of the first things they order when they get out. Very involved fake product. As Patrick mentioned, Jif is one of the real products featured along with Pringles and other junk food.

Where?! Solid setting here, as Bud and Doyle (and their GFs) are students at Tucson Junior College. Arizona is all up in here. And makes some sense as an early 90’s closed ecological system experiment called Biosphere 2 took place in Oracle, Arizona, which is not far at all from Tucson. So likely this is the inspiration for the setting. B+.

When?! Secret Holiday Film Alert! This film starts and ends on Earth Day. And obviously this plays a major role in the very intricate plot of this very intricate film. If it wasn’t for Earth Day would Bud and Doyle have gotten in hot water with their GFs, got pranked by them, and then uh… had to go to the bathroom randomly… so maybe not technically vital to them getting trapped, but still an A. 

The film appears to be written by a child. Or at least the basic concept is. What a coincidence that Bud and Doyle have two hot girlfriends who love the environment, set up an environmental themed prank for the two dopes, and then afterwards choose the environmental themed Bio-Dome for their bathroom break at the very moment that they start the experiment. It’s ludicrous. I then can only assume that the script read “Bud and Doyle destroy Bio-Dome and then Bud and Doyle fix Bio-Dome,” as the rest of the film is 80% music video. The real interesting thing about it is the Pauly Shore-ness of the film and how much control he seemed to have. The whole film fits his personality to a tee and even Stephen Baldwin simply plays a clone of Shore. The opening credits, poster, weird music stuff… everything is Shore-centric. Or at least is going for the pastiche of Pauly Shore (probably the best way to describe the film as a whole). It’s what really differentiates it from his other films. Those feel like real movies starring Pauly Shore. This feels like a Pauly Shore movie. Crazy seeing as this was more or less the end of the line for him (just before his Fox sitcom really put his career in the ground). There is something weirdly magnetic about him, though. That MTV VJ charisma never to be replicated. Patrick?

Patrick

Hello everyone! We got morons! We got farts! We got a Bio-Dome! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Who needs a preview? I’ve seen this film a ton of times in my youth. The preview was interesting in one regard though, apparently Harlan Williams was signed on as one of the stars initially and then the studio was just like “nope, got Pauly Shore, it’s a Pauly Shore film now.” So definitely not written initially with him in mind. What were my expectations? Honestly, I expected to feel profoundly ashamed of myself that I had seen this film. I fully expected the worst gross out humor of the 90s.

The Good – It has an okay message obviously, surrounding environmentalism. It might just trivialize it, who’s to say, but the message is clear. Funny enough, at a time when gay panic in comedies was rampant, the film is amusingly progressive in that regard. Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin joke about making out and being bisexual multiple times during the film. I like some of the actors as well. Pauly Shore has a weird level of charisma, it is undeniable. Best Bit: Probably the message, even though it is pretty muddled, it is somehow even more relevant today.

The Bad – I mean, the soundtrack might be the worst thing I’ve ever heard. So 90s it heard my heart. The film is the dumbest movie I’ve ever seen. Short vignettes with punchlines which are, at best, about farting. Grating acting, a scene which involves the main characters committing sexual assault while cheating on their girlfriends, and a weird mixed message about corporate science (I think?). And the film has the worst title sequence in the history of the film. Do yourself a favor and watch it. Fatal Flaw: This might be the dumbest and most unfunny film ever created, a film whose sole purpose is to deliver Pauly Shore’s bizarre 90s charisma directly into children’s brains.

The BMT – This is a film that if I saw it now without ever having seen it as a kid I would be aghast. It is a perfect BMT comedy in a way. Sure it is unfunny garbage, but it is also weirdly entertaining in its schizophrenic 90s-ness. It is a film that actively makes you dumber and revels in it. Did it meet my expectations? It was way better than I thought. I figured there would be a ton of gay panic jokes and sexual assault, and there was only really one of those things and only once! That’s a huge plus for watching an old comedy. The film is, I think, mostly harmless for being one of the dumbest films you’ll ever watch.

Roast-radamus – There is definitely a moment of Product Placement (What?) for a prominent jar of Jif peanut butter in a scene that is exclusively about farting. And it is a very very good Setting as a Character (Where?) for Arizona which is all over this film, from news reports, to the names of all of the colleges the various characters go to. And a very rare Not-So-Secret Holiday Film (When?) because the film begins and ends on Earth Day! That is a very very special holiday film. Closest to BMT easily, although I’m not sure it’ll get huge play for the Baddies.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I think it is high time for a Sequel to Bio-Dome. It’s been 25 years and Bud and Doyle are ecological celebrities. Open with photoshopped pictures of them at various ecological disasters (and farting). Then smash cut to their mansion where, surprise surprise, they haven’t been living the ecological dream life. Quite the contrary. While out getting some truly bodacious za their mansion falls into the ever encroaching ocean. “Doyle, we have to do something about Global Warming. It has finally affected the one thing we love … us.” And there is only one way to really affect change: Washington. That’s right, Bud is going to run for president with a hard hitting message of “man, Global Warming sucks, let’s, like, do something about it.” From there is a “hilarious” string of skits. Doyle freezing up in the vice-presidential debate. Bud farting during the Democratic primary debate. … Other debate-related hijinx. Bud signing boobs and babies at campaign events. Call backs like Bud and Doyle getting super high on nitrous during a national security briefing, and Doyle having to be vice-president after losing rock, paper, scissors. In the end they win, obviously, but Doyle has to foil the full-Unabomber psycho Faulkner before he assassinates Bud during the inauguration! Finish up with clips showing them farting in Congress and saving the world. Bio-Dome 2: Hail to the Weasel.

Patrick’s IMDb Trivia Section – I think this is a real one, and I can’t believe it isn’t on the Trivia section already … I might add it. He’s my entry for Bio-Dome. Trivia: Throughout the film it is shown that Bud consistently wins rock paper scissor competitions by throwing paper to Doyle’s rock. At the beginning of the film when winning one such competition Doyle must “assume the position” and get hit in the head with an encyclopedia (to get out of Earth Day). At the end of the film Doyle yells “assume the position” and throws a rock to hit Faulker on the head to save the Bio-Dome. Encyclopedia (paper) = Bud. Rock = Doyle. That fact is so fun.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

After We Fell Recap

Jamie

After is back, Jack! And boy are these jokesters in love. Tessa and Hardin are totally into each other. But now Tessa is moving to Seattle and Hardin is super jelly all the time. Add to the mix some more of their tumultuous personal lives and things are pretty rough. Can they stay super steamy in love with each other before it’s too late? Find out in… After We Fell.

How?! Tessa and Hardin are sticking by each other even though Hardin is an alcoholic and they basically don’t talk to each other. They just f-f-f-f-french all night. Tessa is even keeping secret that she is transferring to Seattle in order to stay in school while taking the job at the Big Publishing House (BPH). When Hardin finds out he’s like “but I won’t have any friends,” and he’s right, he won’t. He thought they were heading off to London, but she’s like whatever, I’m going to Seattle. In the meanwhile her estranged alcoholic father comes and stays with them and strikes up a friendship with Hardin. Before moving to Seattle, Tessa and Hardin go to his Dad’s lake house and it’s real sexy until it’s not sexy at all and they get in a big ol’ fight, but everyone knows they are meant for each other. Tessa moves to Seattle and is a real saddo and Hardin finds a journal she left behind that explains to him just how much of a dick he was. Communication! He spends time bettering himself by making friends and getting into boxing and helping out her dad. Hardin comes and apologizes for all the pain he caused her, but for some reason he can’t get over a nightmare he had of Tessa cheating on him. They talk and have steamy sex and he like “you’re right, dreams aren’t real.” He decides to take her to his Mom’s wedding (which he didn’t even want to go to) and while there finds Tessa’s boss, Vance, totally f-f-f-f-frenching his mom (probably shouldn’t have went). After Hardin confronts his Mom, Vance decides the best course of action is to reveal that he’s actually Hardin’s daddio because that’ll probably help a bunch. Hardin and Tessa kiss because they only have each other and their love. THE END.

Why?! Love.

Who?! In what will likely be debated for centuries to come, there is a Jeff Bezos lookalike/cameo in this film that has all the bad movie twins abuzz. Patrick wondered how they got Bezos to even appear. I scoffed at the idea that that was Bezos and in fact just assumed they got a random bald man to get people to ask the question “wait, is that Jeff Bezos?” Point in my favor: why would Bezos be in this film? Point in Patrick’s favor: set in Seattle, so maybe? Wrong, filmed in Bulgaria. Conclusion: no way that was Jeff Bezos.

What?! Patrick was reminiscing about his sweet Sainsbury’s that he’s already mentioned. I will concur that it is fun when a product placement isn’t really seen, but is such a staple of a location that the mere mention is enough to transport the viewer from Bulgaria to London. Movie magic. Really the most prominent product placement is for safe sex. Good on Tessa and Hardin practicing it in a variety of ways throughout the film: condom, morning after pill, birth control. 

Where?! Much like all romantic films of this era, this film takes place in Washington state. It’s basically the triad of modern romance: Bad Boys, Publishing, and Washington State. Not totally sure how publishing even got in there since this all seems to stem from Twilight where Bella wanted to be a [checks notes] wife of a vampire when she grew up… or I guess never grew up or whatever. Got a dash of London in there. Pretty good. B+.

When?! It appears to take place mostly in the Spring because Hardin eventually attempts to transfer to be closer to Tessa but is told he can’t do it because he is too close to graduating. This is more certain with the context of the previous entry in the series, which took place around Xmas and the New Years, so it would seem Tessa’s transfer does occur after holiday break and most of the events of this film is in that second semester. C

I love franchises! It’s kinda my thing now. I’m the franchise guy who loves franchises. I want Tom Cruise to come back and make another Mummy (have I mentioned that before?). And so when we saw that the After franchise keeps on keeping on I was thrilled. The first one was kinda dumb, but any high school or college rom com/dram has a kernel of fun. The shared experience of youth, etc. etc. And then the second one was surprisingly good. Like all about Hardin being tragic and an alcoholic and everyone (rightfully) telling Tessa that it probably won’t work out and she’s going to be hurt and yet they try to make it work like so many people do. It felt real. After We Fell reverted so fast to the immaturity of the first one that it went all the way past it and became an actually bad movie. Hardin and Tessa don’t communicate and instead have what is best described as fake steamy sex in a series of places that no one actually has sex. A boxing gym, a hot tub, and even using ice cubes as an accoutrement. It was all so cartoonish. He’s getting super jelly all the time in over the top ways, while she gets offended when Hardin rightfully says that it’s going to be hard for him to move to Seattle where he doesn’t know anyone and would only have her and be sad. And instead of working that out he’s eventually like “You’re right, I should move to Seattle and you’ll be my entire life.” Gah! It’s a frustrating film and I don’t really see how the fourth isn’t going to be just as frustrating… oh you didn’t know there is going to be a fourth? There is. And apparently a fifth and a prequel. Nevermind! I’m back in! Franchises! As for Woman in the Window, I’ll keep it brief. I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as it was made out to be. Sure it’s tedious and the plot is well worn territory, but the same kind of goes for the book. I enjoyed the book, but it didn’t blow my socks off and I’m not surprised a straight adaptation didn’t surpass it in quality. The movie did have some interesting directorial choices and some good acting, even in the extreme. I guess Patrick is the better judge since he didn’t read the book. I think that may have colored the reviews in some ways. Patrick?

Patrick

Hello everyone! We got drama! We got bad boys! We got bad boys punching four or five people in the face and being like “I’m so broken, fix me”! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – You better believe this qualifies … barely. It basically didn’t. It was, in reality, released to a few hundred theaters a few months ago. But for one day only it was expanded to 1200 theaters. This is probably some contractual arrangement, but that’s all you need. You just need a maximum of 600+ theaters and more than five reviews on Rotten Tomatoes with <40% average. So here we go again. What were my expectations? Uh … bad sex scenes, bad boys punching people, and me remembering why romdrams aimed squarely for that Wattpad fanfic audience are excellently weird bad movies.

The Good – I can’t really explain it, but I really like the main actress in these films. There is just something about her in that why-isn’t-this-a-CW-show kind of way. And I’m going to be honest, that is the only actually good thing about the films. I enjoy Hardin punching multiple people, which is absurd, but it is in no way a good thing, just highly amusing. Best Bit: Langford and it isn’t even close really.

The Bad – This might be the one that jumps the shark for the series. Nothing happens in this film. They don’t really trust each other, but that was already established. The new bit is that she kind of moves to Seattle. They are both still fabulously wealthy (or inexplicably know multiple people who are fabulously wealthy). And I have to say it, this has two of the grossest sex scenes I’ve ever seen put to film. Having sex in your family’s hot tub? Gross. Having sex (as a house guest) in the home gym? Double gross. Just disgusting. Fatal Flaw: Not only are the sex scenes boring, they are also, routinely, disgusting.

The BMT – Why can’t I quit you weird romdrams? They are my shame. I have to watch all of these now. Wattpad is my new favourite production company. But … this isn’t a very good BMT film. This ain’t no Fifty Shades. This wishes it was that. This isn’t even After. I expect better. So next time, when I definitely watch the sequel next year, I expect more After. I’ll be waiting. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, I got multiple punches by a bonafide bad boy. That is enough to sustain me, but I expect more next time from you After. Bring me that drama.

Roast-radamus – Right at the last second a great Product Placement (What?) for Sainsbury’s while they are in London. And a decent Setting as a Character (Where?) for Seattle I think, complete with either Jeff Bezos or a Jeff Bezos lookalike at a party for Vance Publishing, they must be a big deal. This is tough … like do I love this film? Do I hate it? It feels like it is a Bad film because it is, in reality, boring with far too little drama to make up for the thinnest of all possible plots.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – This is tough since there is already a sequel and prequel in the works … I think our only option is a BMT Crossover Episode. And this is going to be a special one. I think we need to assemble the bad boy Avengers. Landon Carter from A Walk to Remember, David Elliot from Endless Love, and Kelley Morse from Here on Earth show up just as Tessa and Hardin land from England. “Hardin, I think we’re going to need your help.” They are part of an elite teen romance punching crew, and you know they are bad boys with hearts of gold. They need to infiltrate a fraternity at the University of Washington, and they need Hardin’s experience with both fraternities and punching. He broods a bunch and secretly reads poetry but also drinks a bunch and the frat bros are like “this guy is deep, we need him in the frat.” And he’s in! In the end they find out the frat is a front for a secret society, and what are they hiding in the basement? None other than Luke McNamara, the Nick Fury of H.O.G. (Hearts of Gold). After springing him he calls on The Skulls to destroy the frat, and slips Hardin a note. “I’m going to call on you again Hardin … you have one of the most powerful hearts of gold I’ve ever seen.” Bad Boys Assemble: Hearts of Gold.

Patrick’s IMDb Trivia Section – A new section for those weeks where I haven’t schooled myself in anything! If you’ve ever read IMDb’s trivia section you’ll know that it can get a little weird. He’s my entry for After We Fell. Trivia: When in London Hardin’s mother suggests he go to Sainsbury’s to get something to eat. Sainsbury’s is one of the most popular grocery stores in the United Kingdom with over 1400 locations in all four countries. Other possible places for Hardin to go would be Tesco, which has over 4000 locations, M&S and Whole Foods (given that they are in London). Hardin doesn’t want to cook, so Iceland would be a poor choice as they specialize in frozen foods. God, I love it. I love it so much I’m going to throw in a bonus Goof: When talking with Vance in the hotel bar at the end of the film Vance can clearly be seen drinking a regular US pint of beer. In England you would either have a larger (~568ml) imperial pint, or a smaller half pint. Took me right out of the film.

Bring a Friend Analysis – For the friend this week we watched Woman in the Window. This was a two sided coin for me. On the one hand, I found the film very difficult to get through. It just felt very long and it all felt like very well-worn territory from much better films. On the other hand, as a person who watched Ice Road on a whim, I do like cheesy thrillers. And by the time they do finally get to the big reveal near the end I was pretty interested in seeing the conclusion to the story. One major issue though … I knew what was going to happen literally five minutes into the film. The instant the kid showed up I was like “he’s the killer and her family is dead.” He hadn’t even killed anyone yet! Well, I guess he had in Boston, but I didn’t know that. So I would say it is a decent enough thriller, beautifully shot, with great set design, and some great performances. If you don’t mind it being extremely rote and easy to predict if you’ve seen any thrillers in your life, then I think it is worth a watch B-.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Quest Recap

Jamie

Christopher Dubois is an American for sure who just wants to do right by the gang of street urchins under his care. After finding himself sold off to a muay thai trainer in the Far East he becomes determined to get into, and win, a big tournament where the prize is a golden dragon. Can he beat the baddie and win the gold before it’s too late? Find out in… The Quest.

How?! Christopher Dubois is a clown who uses his physical clown training to help the children of New York and not to help the local mobsters who want to use his big muscles for their own devices. When this gets him on the wrong side of the law he accidentally stows away on a boat headed to the Far East on which he becomes a prisoner. When some pirates led by Lord Dobbs and his ally Harry pick him up they immediately sell him off to a muay thai trainer. Meanwhile fighters across the globe are getting invites to the Ghang-gheng, a fighting tournament where the prize is a big ol’ gold dragon. Dubois is determined to get in the tournament and win the dragon for the children back home. Falling back in with Dobbs, they intercept Maxie Devine, a boxer invited to the tournament, and a reporter, Carrie Newton. On the trek to the tournament it is eventually revealed that Dubois meant to steal Maxie’s invite and the two have a brawl and a falling out, with Maxie eventually giving Dubois his invite. At the tournament Maxie shows up again only to ask that Dubois legally take his place as he is the better fighter. They give Dubois one shot and if he falls in the first round then Maxie will pay the penalty. From here a bunch of people punch each other. Mostly Dubois wins through sheer determination and Khan, a Mongolian fighter, totally owns everyone. He even straight up murders Dubois’ muay thai frenemy. Dobbs and Harry get spooked by how monstrous Khan is and decide instead to steal the gold dragon using a zeppelin (for real). They are caught and sentenced to death, but Dubois asks that they allow him to fight for their lives. If he wins, he’ll give up the gold dragon for them. Everyone agrees and of course Dubois ends up beating Khan against all odds. Despite not getting the dragon he explains that everything turned out A-OK. THE END.

Why?! For the children, obviously. Who wouldn’t look at The Quest starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and think, “Well obviously he needs a really good reason to fight in this tournament… perhaps a long introductory scene where he’s a clown who creepily lives with and cares for a gang of street urchins.” All the rest are pretty standard motivations, but JCVD’s are pure insanity.

Who?! There are a number of former fighters and stuff in this, which makes sense. The most interesting is Koji Kitao, the Japanese sumo wrestler. He has kind of a sad story in that he rose to prominence in sumo wrestling at a young age and was granted the title of Yokozuna even before winning a major championship. After that there was a lot of turmoil with him and never did win that championship before getting unceremoniously ejected from the sport. He then became a wrestler and stuff. He later started coaching sumo, but it was a wild journey.

What?! Pretty good MacGuffin action in this guy with a giant golden dragon as the prize for the tournament. The obvious quibble is that it’s not a MacGuffin at all. It clearly has no power other than making someone rich and making waves in the gold market. So it’s no mystery or anything. It’s just money. But whatever, it’s big and gold and everyone wants it.

Where?! The best parts of the film are in NYC where Dubois operates his clown/street urchin business (which sounds a bit sketchy). But that’s pretty brief. The rest are in Thailand then in the Lost City (which is allegedly in Tibet). If I controlled the film I would have had him travel all the way to Thailand and then travel to the Lost City which turns out to be… in NYC?! Whaaaaaa? That’s right in the sewers of NYC and then all the street urchins can come and cheer him on. Three thumbs up from me. A-.

When?! The internet says that it’s set in 1925. I think that must be right because everywhere says it, but I can’t remember if JCVD just says it in his weird old man voice or if it’s given to us as an intertitle. But whatever, that’s the best we’ll do cause the whole film takes place over several months and I don’t think the invitation has a date on it. C because I honestly can’t remember when they mentioned it. When something like that is so pervasive, even in contemporary reviews, it makes me wonder if it was in the press kit or something.

I have always unabashedly loved this movie. From the opening JCVD in old man makeup to the ending JCVD in old man makeup, it’s a feast of JCVD as auteur. I’ve always thought that films like this give you a look into someone’s brain. Just like a book gives you insight into the types of things an author thinks about. Clearly here JCVD thinks “They asked me to direct! Well what do I want to direct? I guess Bloodsport because that was great and made me famous,” and then “wait, it’s too similar to Bloodsport, let’s make it so I have to win the tournament to save some kids.” And the funniest part is that the Bloodsport portion is easily the best part of the film. It’s silly in an 80’s kind of way, which makes sense as it’s just a remake of a 1988 film, but fun. The rest is fun, but mostly because it is so crazy. Even if you don’t watch the entire film, just watch the bookends with JCVD in old man makeup. It’s straight out of a TV movie or something. I love it. Patrick?

Patrick

Hello everyone! We got Van Damme! We got Van Damme pretending to be American! We got Van Damme directing himself pretending to be American!!! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – You better believe I’ve seen The Quest before. The stories from the preview are pretty funny though. Moore straight up dunks on Van Damme and the entire production and basically says the second unit director did the entire thing. Also they were actually sued by the Bloodsport guy (who won!) for just copying the Kumite. Awesome. What were my expectations? Popcorn stains all over my shirt because I was going to be so entertained by Van Damme’s excellent kickboxing skillz.

The Good – Uh everything? More seriously though, once they get to the tournament having the film devolve into just a guy-from-this-place vs guy-from-that-place as a showcase of fighting styles is a brilliant idea and works super well. This is exactly the same reason Mortal Kombat works as well and it is absolutely how all of these kinds of films should operate. Mini-bosses, boss fights, and tournaments. It rarely fails! Best Bit: This film is just a video game like Street Fighter and you don’t even need to know anything besides that Van Damme has a heart of gold and deserves to win that giant gold dragon.

The Bad – This might actually be the worst directed film I’ve ever seen. Everything from the wonky Dutch angles all over the place, to the cheap looking sets and ludicrous set up in fake-NYC. The whole thing is just absurdly amateurish, as one would expect from the amateur director Jean-Claude Van Damme. Do yourself a favor and watch just the open scene with Van Damme in terrible old man makeup. It is the greatest! Fatal Flaw: They allowed non-director Jean-Claude Van Damme to write a script and direct a film starring himself. The definition of a blank check given to a person who has no idea what to do with that level of power.

The BMT – If I were to choose a single film to embody the Mind of a Madman / Blank Check type of filmmaking … well, I would choose Battlefield Earth. But the second choice would easily be this film. It is the perfect combination of ludicrously entertaining and astonishingly bad. I love this film. I’ve watched it multiple times and will watch it many more times. A future Hall of Fame lock. Did it meet my expectations? There were so many popcorn stains on my shirt I had to just throw it in the garbage. Worth it, I bought a The Quest shirt off of Etsy to replace it.

Roast-radamus – I love it as a Setting as a Character (Where?) for Tibet, although that can’t really go onto the map I don’t think, decently Thailand as well. I’m going to throw it a bone and give it a small MacGuffin (Why?) for the mysterious not-Kumite invitation / giant gold dragon, even though it really doesn’t meet the definition. Whatever, this film just deserves a lot of awards. BMT for miles and miles, I think it could easily win this year.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Oh I think this definitely deserves a serious Remake for television. Imagine it. You set it up with three episodes of (1) what he needs money for,  (2) how he finds out about the tournament, (3) getting to the tournament. Then four rounds of fights are the next four episodes with some serious martial arts action. Then a final episode where Van Damme leaves as the winner (without the money like in the movie) vowing to return the following year to defend his title and win the money. The second season is him winning the tournament and the money. The third he hears his protege has entered and returns to the Lost City to coach him. The fourth is a Tournament of Champions. And the final season is him realizing that he must stop the tournament by banding up with the foes-with-hearts-of-gold he’s met in the prior four seasons to take on the army the Lost City has assembled from the champions of the past. Boom, an easy five season order. Call me Van Damme, we’ll discuss the contract.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Bulletproof (1996) Recap

Jamie

Archie and Keats are BFFs and small-time criminals. Turns out though Keats was actually Carter, an undercover cop looking to use Archie to get to drug kingpin Colton. Now Carter is tasked with bringing Archie to LA to testify against Colton and oooohhhhhh boy… there will be hijinks. Can Carter and Archie beat the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Bulletproof.

How?! Archie is a small-time crook and Keats is the only man he trusts. So of course he wants to get him in on the easy money he can make working for drug kingpin Frank Colton. When the first job rolls around, though, Archie is shocked and dismayed to find out that Keats is Jack Carter (not to be confused with John Carter… who is from Mars), an undercover cop. Things go south quickly and Archie accidentally shoots Carter in the head and escapes. After years of intensive rehab where we see Carter meet and fall in love with his physical therapist (sure that won’t be relevant in any major way), Carter returns to the force. His first job? Escort Archie back to LA to testify against Colton. Carter is pissed, of course. Archie shot him in the head after all. But what should be a simple flight back to LA turns into a fiasco when Colton’s men ambush their plane which ultimately leads to a crash landing in the desert. Carter isn’t having any of Archie’s shenanigans, even though Archie insists that he didn’t mean to shoot him in the head. Ultimately they are able to make their way to a local motel where they spend the night in the honeymoon suite waiting for Carter’s reinforcements. But there must be a mole! Cause Colton’s men catch up with them no problem and only with the help of the motel’s kooky manager are they able to escape. Carter insists that they need to rely on law enforcement, but Archie is sure that Colton has bribed everyone. Archie is proved right when they meet up with the FBI in LA only to have them turn out to be dirty too. They escape again and Carter is finally able to deliver Archie to the police station. A short time later he gets a call from Carter informing him that they’ve kidnapped his GF and to bring Archie if he wants her back. Carter takes Archie to Colton only to find that mole was his GF the whole time! What a twist! There is a climactic battle and Archie takes a bullet for Carter and then kills Colton. Assured that they have enough evidence without Archie and their friendship having been mended, Carter lets Archie go. THE END.

Why?! Huh, I guess I really didn’t think about this when I was watching it. Carter is just doing his job. Colton is a bad guy who wants money and doesn’t want to go to jail. Archie… well he is a criminal because he doesn’t know how to do anything else (according to him). There isn’t any crazy scheme or motivation for anyone. Even Carter and Archie aren’t really looking to mend their friendship. That’s more circumstantial.

Who?! We got a Pro Wrestler Alert! Colton’s main thug is played by Jeep Swenson Jr. who wrestled in the 80’s. He has all kinds of fun trivia about him. Like how he was brought in for a widely panned WCW pay-per-view event as part of the Alliance to End Hulkamania as The Final Solution, and then had to be hastily renamed The Ultimate Solution due to the Nazi context of that name. He also had the Guinness Book record for bicep size. Sadly he was a big time steroid user and died very young.

What?! I do enjoy figuring out what soda is sponsoring our movie of the week. We got ourselves a Pepsi product in Bulletproof. Most prominently we see Carter and Archie sapping on some Slice and Mug Root Beer respectively, while watching a TV with a large Pepsi logo propped up next to it. I love the choices. Too obvious if they are drinking Pepsi, give them something different.

Where?! Solid enough LA movie and made a bit more solid by a clear “Arizona Highway Patrol” arrest for Archie which leads to him having to be transported across state lines to California. Other than the general cop business, though, I wouldn’t say this is a super setting or anything. Just solidly clear. B

When?! The whole story takes place over an unspecified (but probably pretty long) time since Carter has to recover from being shot in the head. But even beyond that I believe we are left in the dark about when everything takes place. Doesn’t help that we are in Arizona and LA where there aren’t any seasons to anchor ourselves to. F

Bulletproof is a shockingly paint-by-numbers buddy cop(ish) film. It’s very similar to 48 Hrs. in the set up, with a cop teamed up with a criminal making for some hijinks. But instead of pairing a foul-mouthed, offensive, not funny cop with a comedian criminal, here they pair two comedians up and it’s just more generally offensive. It is a relic of its times. The homophobic jokes come fast and furious, mostly from Sandler, although some of it seems a little winking. Still, it certainly makes your head spin to see how much of the script relies on something as mundane as the possibility that Wayans and Sandler might have to share a hotel room. Woooaaah. The twist is pretty dumb too, relying on the audience to forget that Wayans happens to always tell his (not so) random physical therapist girlfriend everything that he and Sandler are up to. Although I did kinda like the fakeout where Sandler reveals that he knows the police chief is dirty, prompting Wayans to punch him in the face, only for Sandler to later admit he misheard his name. Anyway, the film is 25 years old, but feels 35, and not nearly fun enough to make up for its problems. Patrick?

Patrick

Hello everyone! We got Sandler! We got … wait, I’m getting this strange sense that he’s supposed to be Charles Grodin. Eh, whatever, Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Jamie name dropped 48 Hrs. but I watched Midnight Run a few years ago and as I was watching it I thought “what a second … isn’t there an old Sandler film with an eerily similar premise.” Yes, yes there is. This is one of three Sandler films from the 90s I hadn’t seen. A true rarity. What were my expectations? An unfunny carbon copy of Midnight Run … if I had read Jamie’s thing beforehand maybe I would have thought of 48 Hrs. though.

The Good – There are some Sandler classics in the film. It is a bit bizarre how late into the 90s it came out and just how off the radar it is as a “Sandler” comedy in that regard. Uh … oh man. Here’s the issue. This is a very actor driven film. And I like all of the actors in the film in general. But there might actually not be a film in which these people are given less to do. So I literally think that is it. Best Bit: There are some okay Sandler improvs.

The Bad As usual with bad comedies from the 90s this is mostly a nothing movie that is kind of saved by some EXTREME gay panic. And by saved I mean it is very offensive, but much like The Medallion you can study this film in a museum and be like “yes, quite. Comedy was horrible in the 90s.” That gives it the tiniest bit or worth in the end. But just watch 48 hrs. or Midnight Run. Both are far better and are “80s problematic” which can be a lot more fun that “90s problematic.” Fatal flaw: An unfunny nothing movie.

The BMT – This is a pretty rare breed: I would recommend this to no one. For some people it will be extremely offensive. For those that aren’t offended, the movie isn’t funny and is maybe the worst Sandler film of the 90s (and there are a lot of them). So it does something pretty incredible: it really couldn’t possibly satisfy anyone. Did it meet my expectations? Sadly, yes. It really is just an unfunny version of three different better comedies from the 80s.

Roast-radamus – This must be where Sandler learned his mastery of Product Placement (What?) because there were sodas all over this thing (just kidding, he was always a master, just look at his co-star Snack Pack from Billy Madison). A solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for both Arizona and LA and arguably a decent roadtrip film as well. There actually is a funny MacGuffin (Why?) with the mysterious documents or whatever that Sandler knows about and just so happens to know exactly where in Caan’s mansion they are as well. Amusingly bad Worst Twist (How?) for the inevitable reveal that the girlfriend was the leak the whole time. And yeah, this is definitely a Bad in my book.

Sequel, Prequel Remake – I mean I can’t resist! We got a BMT Crossover Episode! Because you know that since Wayans was shot in the head that Sasha Petrosevich wants him on the Half Past Dead team. But this is going to be an issue, because you see, Moses isn’t half past dead. So he’s tagging along, and everyone is like “who is this jabroni and why is he here?” So Moses takes it into his own hands and shoots himself in the head … but whoops, he actually killed himself! But God, knowing the Half Past Dead team needs him, sends him down to be the literal angel on Keats’ shoulder. And with the combined one-and-a-half powers of the afterlife on their side they kick some serious butt. Sasha, though, can’t stand Moses, and relegates them to their own division in Seattle. It’s called Half Past Dead: Holy Moses! and it is also a spin-off television series (obviously).

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Recap

Jamie

Resident Evil is back, Jack! And this time it’s serious. Claire is heading back to Raccoon City to see her bro and look into some disturbing rumors about the Umbrella Corporation and her hometown. From there things go to shit and zombies are everywhere. Can they fend off the zombies before it’s too late? Find out in… Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City.

How?! Claire and Chris Redfield grew up in an orphanage in Raccoon City where they saw first hand some of the disturbing things going on in the town. While Chris went on to join the police force in town thanks to a mentor within the Umbrella Corporation, Claire escaped. But when she gets wind of how Umbrella poisoned everyone and then fled the town, leaving it all in ruins, she returns to uncover the truth. In a wild coincidence she arrives at the very moment that everything falls apart. People start to become zombies and her brother is sent out with a police force to check out some of the creepy goings-on at a secluded mansion. Claire makes her way to the police station where she find a rookie Leon and the cowardly police chief holed up trying to figure out what to do. The police chief had tried to escape town, but Umbrella has closed off the borders and is ready to destroy the town in order to contain the virus they have accidentally poisoned the town with (oops). They realize their only hope is to get to the police chopper and so the chief leads them to the orphanage, which is secretly connected to the mansion via a tunnel system. At the orphanage, Claire is reunited with Lisa Trevor, a girl horribly disfigured by Umbrella’s experimentation. Lisa saves Leon and Claire from a Licker (sorry cowardly police chief, you obvs had to die) and points them to the mansion. Meanwhile over at the mansion, everything has completely fallen apart. Numerous members of the police force die immediately and the chopper is destroyed. Turns out one of their team members, Wesker, is also a total traitor and he heads off to get his hands on the necessary evidence/virus materials to hand over to a mysterious organization. When he tries to kill the scientist responsible for the experiments and take the virus he is stopped by Chris. Unfortunately the scientist injects himself with a super duper virus and becomes a giant monster. Claire and Leon arrive and they team up with the good guys to escape on an underground train. They seem to be home free until the monster shows up (boo). But don’t worry, Leon has a rocket launcher. They escape just as the town is destroyed. THE END.

Why?! Survival. It’s a survival game after all. Umbrella’s motivation is corporate greed, baby. They want that sweet green while not paying to dispose of their industrial waste. Oh and also they want to make super soldiers, but can’t seem to figure it out without turning people into horrific mindless monsters. It’s funny that these super soldier mutant zombies are such a huge part of their business model that they are able to poison the whole town with its runoff. Not sure even the government needs a zombie virus at that scale.

Who?! Neal McDonough Alert! Don’t use that often enough. He’s one of the more fun parts of the second half of the film in that he turns into a giant monster which requires the CGI artists to render a giant monster that vaguely looks like Neal McDonough. Always funny looking. Like how the Hulk has to always look a little like Mark Ruffalo. Just one other oddity is that Marina Mazepa shows up here as Lisa Trevor… we just saw her as Mary in The Unholy. She’s really taking the contortionist horror corner right now.

What?! Mild product placement here and there. Pepsi seems to be the beverage of choice in Raccoon City. No wonder it’s a dying town. A-yo. I also liked the 1998 specific product placement dropped in as a wink to the audience. Like the PalmPilot that one character uses. There also was some hay made amongst fans about how Claire drove a Harley in the film… not sure why.

Where?! There has always been a bunch of theories of where Raccoon City is. In the novelization of the video game they apparently came out and said it was in Pennsylvania. Other theories placed it in Missouri. The first film series seem to place it in Michigan, or at least used Detroit as a backdrop. All this doesn’t matter as it’s a fake setting and I like precise, fake settings OK. A+ fake setting. Particularly since putting “Raccoon City” in the title of a film is ludicrous.

When?! Always a little hard to keep track of these things when you see them live in theaters, but I do believe the intertitle set this on September 30th, 1998… although can’t remember if that date was given pre-midnight and so most of the movie would have taken place on October 1st or something. All good though. Solid B+.

I was excited for this film. I thought the trailer was cool and I’m always secretly a little bit excited when there is the possibility of a new(ish) franchise on the horizon. Even that Tom Cruise Mummy film.. Give me Mummy 2! I’ll eat it up… give me more Tom Cruise as a mummy (spoiler alert Tom Cruise turns into a mummy in the film). Anyway, the beginning of Raccoon City doesn’t disappoint. I thought it was creepy and fun and brought the franchise back to its horror roots. It was also helped by the fact that it was evoking all kinds of memories about the original video game that I didn’t even know I remembered. Nostalgia fan service was working on me. But then it just kinda kept on going and going and never getting anywhere. More specifically never getting to the mansion. By the time we get there everything is going so fast with (at that point mostly unnecessary) fan service flying past that I almost wished they would have made a three hour movie rather than tried to cram everything together in 100 minutes… almost. By the time they get to the ending nothing makes sense, not least of which is their use of a Deus Ex Rocket Launcher to blow away the bad guy at point blank range while miraculously not harming any of our heroes. Nice first half, brutal second half, overall a little disappointing. Patrick?

Patrick

Hello everybody! One last Omicron filled theatrical experience for old times sake? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Ah, the last BMT Live of the year. I was really really hoping this would qualify because it really seems like a fun throwback bad blockbuster. And conveniently, considering I’ve never seen any of the Anderson Resident Evils, it is a totla reboot. People seemed down on the trailer, but it seemed decent enough. At least very fanservice-y which can be good. What was I expecting? Well I was hoping for it to be chockablock of Resident Evil refs. Because I actually have played the first two games.

The Good – I genuinely liked the first half of the film. It was, indeed, filled with decent Resident Evil references, and the zombie stuff was cool. It just felt like they did a very good job getting the core story of Resident Evil onto the screen. The Mansion in particular looked great … although you don’t get to spend much time in it. And I can never say now to a little Neal McDonough in my life. Best Bit: The set design, basically, very much fanservice oriented.

The Bad – The back half of the film is a mess including what I think might be the worst action scene I’ve ever seen (fighting zombies viewed solely with muzzle flashes and the light from a lighter … nonsense for minutes at a time). Also the motivation eventually gets really muddled since they have to get everyone to the same place (the train) by the end, but there isn’t a very good reason for the people in the police station to know about that or to get there. And as a horror film it just falls flat. Fatal Flaw: I think combining the first two games did a lot of harm to how they were trying to tell the story.

The BMT – I didn’t totally hate this film, but it certainly suffered from the same issues as most video game adaptations: poor motivation and muddled storytelling. I really wish it was just the first game because the mansion really did look cool. But alas, we can’t always get what we want. But sometimes, we just might get what we need (a bad movie to watch in theaters at the end of the year). Did it meet my expectations? It was actually quite a bit better than I expected. Still bad because it was two movies in one, but still, better than the rating would suggest.

Roast-radamus – One of the first Planchet (Who?) in a long while, with the rookie cop who just can’t do nothing right and everyone dunks on throughout the film (he even redeems himself right at the end like all good Planchets should). Definitely some funny Product Placement (What?) for Pepsi, all from 1998 very very specifically. A great A+ Fictional Setting (Where?) for Raccoon City. Obviously no good video game can do without a sweet MacGuffin (Why?) in the form of the super secret T-Virus that everyone wants to get their hands on. I think this is closest to BMT even though I’m really tempted to call it good.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I think the best bet for the franchise at this point is thinking through it as a television Reboot. The mansion really is too large to deal with in a single film and was always going to cause problems (even if you didn’t combine it with the second film). It just feels like to get the snake and the shark and the garden (with the creepy plant people) with all of the back ground would work well for an 8 episode show. Two episodes to set up why they are going to the mansion. Two episodes of initial exploration. Two episodes of generally fleshing out the lore and building up to the penultimate episode. And then a final reveal and initial confrontation, with the final episode being the boss battle and realization that it isn’t over. Just called Resident Evil. The second season is then subtitled RCPD and it includes flashbacks to establish background on Umbrella. It always should have been a television series. They even hired television actors for the movie! NOTE: I just learned there is a television show in the works at Netflix … I wonder if it was intended to supplement this film or is going to re-adapt the mansion.BMT Live Review – Since I’m back (baby), I went to the very nice Framingham Dine-In AMC at about 12:45PM. Got 30% off for the matinee and only four other people in the theater, although two of them were ultra annoying during the previews. Just talking full volume throughout. They’re just previews, but it was still very distracting as I was getting settled into the movie. Otherwise flawless experience. The theater is really nice. I don’t love “dine in” (as I find it distracting), but for the matinee since no one was eating it was fine. Probably the last theatrical experience for the next three months at least I would venture, but we’ll see. A.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Head Over Heels Recap

Jamie

Amanda falls too hard and too fast. When her latest relationship fizzles she finds an apartment with a group of supermodels and meets a local fashion exec, Jim. At first she thinks he might be a murderer, then just a liar, and it’s revealed he’s an undercover FBI agent and she’s in mortal danger! Can she help him stop the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Head Over Heels.

How?! Amanda gets weak at the knees at the merest hint of love at first sight. Generally this has steered her wrong as her latest beau is caught cheating. Out on love, and out of an apartment, she finds a new place with a group of kooky supermodels. She meets a neighbor across the street, Jim, who is pretty hunky (in a Freddie Prinze Jr. kind of way) and spies on him from her adjacent apartment window. After a big party she is shocked to see what appears to be Jim murdering a lady. That’s no good. She calls the police and tries to confront him, but ultimately ends up going out with him and deciding he’s an OK dude (despite the possibility that he murdered a lady). Things are going great until the body of the lady that she thinks Jim murdered is reported discovered in the newspaper. She goes to confront Jim at his place of work only to find that he’s actually an undercover FBI agent investigating a fashion company as a front for the Russian mob. And worse, the head honcho had already become suspicious of Amanda and scoped out her apartment and roommates. They are all in danger! They are captured by the mob and it seems to spell certain doom for them, but luckily the roommate supermodels use their feminine wiles and fashion sense to not only seduce and subdue their guard, but reveal that the mob is smuggling diamonds through fancy fashion wear. They race to a local fashion show to confront the head of the mob and take him down. Amanda is pretty down on the fact that Jim (real name Bob) is such a liar, but after a little while they get back together and totally smooch. THE END.

Why?! Good question. Love, like usual. Amanda just wants to make sure the latest guy she’s into isn’t a murderer. Jim wants to solve the big case around the Russian mob using a fashion company to launder money through illegally imported diamonds. So pretty rad motivations for him… just a bit misplaced in this romantic comedy where it literally comes out of nowhere.

Who?! The models in the film are actually models, so that’s mildly interesting. Also fun to see Timothy Olyphant show up in a very small part as Amanda’s cheating boyfriend. But really the star of the show is our animal actor Tanner, playing Hamlet the Great Dane. At least according to wikipedia. Even imdb doesn’t have that, so not sure where they are getting that information.

What?! I don’t think product placements in this film were super great. A camera here, general NYC advertisements there. There is an interesting prop in the film, which is the painting that Amanda is restoring. Apparently it is a severely damaged Titian’s The Bacchanal of the Andrians (which her boss calls a piece of crap). Funny because she then paints Freddie Prinze Jr’s face into it. Hope you asked the Prado if that was OK.

Where?! Good example to add to the NYC as a character film list. Amanda works at the Met restoring art and so that plays a role…. And now that I think of it, that’s really it. Wow. Obviously the presence of three supermodels would somewhat limit which city they are in as well, but still. As I watched the film I was always thinking “Ah, NYC.” Yet overall, not much city in there, except as background. B+. 

When?! This was a fun one. Amanda is wondering what happened to the girl she thought Jim killed. It was never reported in the newspaper and no body was found. But then, uh oh! A body is found, screaming from the September 4th issue of the New York Post. It’s been a while since we’ve had a nice, clear, not obvious setting. B.

This is a really weird movie. I actually feel like the main actors are fine and the love story is cute enough in the small moments. Everything else, though, is extreme. The supermodels are extreme and play like a slapstick comedy (which I guess this ultimately kinda was). The film shifts from Amanda interested in Jim, thinking Jim is a murderer, dating Jim after thinking he’s not a murderer, and finally launches into the third act where Jim is an undercover cop and they are in peril while solving a major crime. Amanda works as an art restorer at the Met surrounded by her lesbian bestie and three old ladies that rattle off jokes like a comedy trio. It really feels like a film primarily from the female perspective written by a bunch of dudes. And surprise, it is. I have fun watching this kind of stuff, but not sure other people will. Patrick?

Patrick

Hello everybody! Oh, what’s that, my new fake American accent! How does it sound? Good, or did I bottle it? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Now this is a film I had never heard of until we watched it. A Freddie Prinze Jr. film I had never heard of?! Indeed, as shocking as it seems it is true. The trailer for this seems wild. Some of them seriously suggest FPJ is a serial killer! Others make it clear he is, in fact, an FBI agent or spy or something. Boring. I wanted him to be a serial killer. What were my expectations? Oddly the reviews were halfway decent. So my expectations are a film with a nugget of a good idea which falls apart in the second half.

The Good – I really liked Monica Potter in the film. And I liked the idea that people genuinely start to think she’s a supermodel because she is, in fact, very beautiful, but also hanging around with other supermodels. It just works somehow. FPJ is not a good actor, but he is, as usual, very charming. And it is stunning how late into the film they reveal the (very obvious) twist, which I also appreciate. Best Bit: Monica Potter I think.

The Bad – The second half does really fall apart, especially with back-to-back supermodels getting farted on / shit poured on them. Not the best jokes. The twist is very obvious, and also there are moments where it veers into the nonsensical (FPJ is going to a completely dark baseball field in Central Park to coach Little League? How isn’t there already practice happening, and how late is this practice?). Fatal Flaw: The second half of the film starts running out of clever things to do.

The BMT – Besides getting us ever closer to the FPJ complete filmography this is not one for the BMT Hall of Fame. It is actually a little too good I think, especially in the first half. But otherwise, like most comedies, it just ends up being forgettable and a little too crude in the second half. Did it meet my expectations? I’m not sure I would have agreed with the critics of my own accord, but I do understand why the first half is considered okay by a bunch of critics. It is certainly better than the second half.

Roast-radamus – Fantastic Setting as a Character (Where?) for NYC all the way down to Monica Potter having the same job as Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters II (Right? Wasn’t she also a restorer at the what amounts to The Met?). And a solid Worst Twist (How?) for the very very obvious reveal that FPJ is an FBI agent. I think this is closest to Good.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – You have to do a Sequel right? It is five years later, Amanda and Jim have a kid, and they live in France where Amanda restores art at the Louvre. Jim works in the U.S. Embassy … or so Amanda thinks. One night, some men enter their apartment, and Amanda and Jim narrowly escape, and Jim has to reveal that actually he’s a CIA agent and it looks like his cover has been blown. They have to get to Rome ASAP to get extracted. What luck though, the supermodels are in France for a show and off to Milan next. Disguising Amanda as a supermodel, again, and Jim as their manager they first get into some hijinx in the Alps and then cross over to Milan, where the bad guys catch up to them and seriously ruin the show! A high speed chase through the streets of Rome, Amanda shows off some of her spy skillz she picked up. “Where did you learn that?!” Jim says, “I thought it might come in handy someday if you ever got back into the spy game,” she retorts (wink). In the end they are extracted, and Jim apologizes and asks where to next. “How about Moscow, I hear their museum is looking for a restoration expert.” FPJ with the knowing look in the camera, a smooch, boom. Head Over Heels 2: Super Spies.

I’m back baby! … I’m just going to keep on saying Cheerios, sorry not sorry,

The Sklogs

The Unholy Recap

Jamie

Gerry Fenn is a formally famous journalist reduced to reporting on fake supernatural new stories. But one story starts to seem a bit… to real. A young deaf girl has been cured by visions of “Mary” and quickly gains followers through other miraculous healings. The church is all in, but Fenn is suspicious. Can he stop “Mary” before it’s too late? Find out in… The Unholy.

How?! Gerry Fenn was a crazy famous reporter. So crazy famous that he got caught up in writing fake stories to chase that fame. Flash forward a few years and he’s a down-and-out drunk working for a hoax news site on commission. When his latest story falls through he’s pretty angry, but coincidentally finds a strange kern doll in the field he’s in. It’s real creepy so naturally he smashes it so that he can make up a supernatural story to sell. Later that night he finds a girl out in the field where the doll had been. She’s Alice, the niece of the local priest and is deaf and mute… or at least was. Suddenly with visions of the Virgin Mary she can speak! She starts preaching the word of Mary and Fenn is right in the middle of the action. He’s the only one she trusts cause he truly believes. He saw the miracles with his own eyes. Meanwhile Alice’s uncle is suspicious and after doing some research is attacked and killed by a demonic presence. His death is ruled a suicide, but Fenn knows otherwise. Suddenly the one that Alice trusts most is having his own doubts. When Alice suggests a giant, widely televised sermon to preach the word of Mary, Fenn knows time is running out. He sneaks into the church and discovers the truth. Mary isn’t the Virgin Mary at all. She’s just some rando Mary who happened to be in leagues with the Devil. El Diablo! He rushes to the sermon just in time to convince everyone to have doubts about Mary. You see he made it all up cause he’s a liar and he’s done it before. Everyone is like yeah that makes sense. Suddenly Mary explodes onto the scene and is ready to roast Fenn but Alice sacrifices herself for him, killing Mary in the process. Fenn begs God to save Alice and indeed he does. It’s a miracle. God exists. THE END.

Why?! Well Mary is evil. Fen is a big ol’ liar trying to make it back to the top of the journalism game. This story is a bit opportunistic for him, but ultimately he sees the error of his ways. I think that’s really about it. Horror films are usually pretty straightforward this way.

Who?! Always fun to discuss a horror film’s monster in this section, particularly when we can anticipate the UCU (Unholy Cinematic Universe) rolling out over the next few decades. Mary Elnor is our devil witch and she is nicely spooky with real creepy claws and a mask nailed to her face. She was portrayed by Marina Mazepa, who was apparently a contortionist on America’s Got Talent. Makes sense cause you gotta contort if you are in leagues with the devil. It’s the rule.

What?! Jeffery Dean Morgan’s Sony camera that he totes around and records everything with actually gets some play in reviews from this film. I think people are just shocked to see a reporter using a camera to film their interviews and are like “no way.” But I feel like that’s pretty realistic. What is he gonna have? A camera man following his around? He’s freelance.

Where?! It’s made pretty clear that this is set in the boonies of Western MA. Always fun when they make up a fake place too. Here they are living it up in Banfield, Massachusetts. Nice. That is a legitimately real sounding place. And somehow also not a real town anywhere in America. Cool. I would have called the place Codchester just for laughs.

When?! They don’t make a clear statement on when everything is set, even though they show a full Wikipedia page written up for the event! The only hint we really get is that a magazine cover detailing one of the miracle healings appears to be the Spring 2019 issue. And since everyone is all bundled up in MA you can imagine it is pretty early Spring. Maybe March. C.

Sigh. No one will remember this film. I wonder if it even would have been a major release without a studio needing something to fill an early slot as theaters opened back up. It’s really a cheap looking film that holds very few scares. Not entirely their fault, as I understand it, since they were struggling with some intense covid limitations for the entirety of filming. The concept is OK… the idea of a demonic presence taking on the guise of the Virgin Mary and luring unsuspecting souls into devil worship. But it can’t really pull it off. One fun thing is that Cary Elwes shows up as a Boston priest who has the deepest Boston accent possible… and by Boston accent I mean whatever it is that is coming out of Elwes’ mouth. It’s some funny shit. Patrick?

Patrick

Hallo iedereen! I’m in Amsterdam on my way to America (so no more ‘ellos unfortunately, as I’ll be slipping back into my (now fake) American accent). We’ve got (uh)holy visions all up in here. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – There was some debate about which horror film to do from this year. It was basically between this and Separation. On the one hand Separation has a 7% on Rotten Tomatoes (my god!). On the other, The Unholy was a far bigger film with actual actors in it. Tough to choose, but we went with The Unholy. I was stunned to realize it was based on a book. More on that later. What were my expectations? Rote religious “horror” with maybe jump scares? That is what the reviews all say. That if you’ve seen a few religious horror films you will have already watched this film.

The Good – From a storyline perspective it is really interesting. I’m actually not that bothered by the lack of scares (even the jump scares are lame), and the rote storytelling. I actually found it all pretty interesting as a simple dramatic story. There really isn’t that much more to say. The story is really thin. I guess maybe the set design was also impressive. The final set piece with the Mass in the tent seemed well done. For a horror film with an incredibly low body count (3) and no scares, it didn’t seem all that bad. Best Bit: The underlying story is at least somewhat interesting.

The Bad – Here’s the thing, the book was written in 1983. A time where, presumably, there was a lot more simple acceptance of religious ideals, or at least almost everyone would have grown up with some religious education. A cynical ambitious journalist accidentally stumbling onto genuine miracles and demons in 2021 though? I feel like they could have hit the point home a bit more that Gerry Fenn never believed it to be true, and just how stunned and scared he is to realize that not only was he not merely propagating a hoax, but instead genuinely party to a demonic presence. I think Gerry is far too quick to be like “sweet I saw a miracle, this is going to be awesome for my career!” That is my biggest critique from a story perspective. The other glaring thing is that Cary Elwes’s Boston accent is absurd. At times a bad Boston accent, at times straight up Irish, and at times New York. Horrible. Fatal Flaw: I think it failed to update the core story for the nearly 40 year gap between the book’s publication and movie’s production which makes it ring false.

The BMT – Throw it on the pile of other religious horror I guess. I think this is one of the better ones, but I also have no doubt that I will never think of or watch this film again. Maybe one claim to fame could be that it is an adaptation of a book by a pretty famous horror writer from England I had never heard of. So if I end up reading a few of his books that could be a fun origin story for that. Did it meet my expectations? It actually didn’t even really have that many jump scares. I will say that to suggest having seen other religious horror is to have seen this film is a bit unfair. This seems a bit OG in that regard since it is an adaptation, and the fundamental “twist” is far more interesting than I think they give it credit for.

Roast-radamus – A very nice Setting as a Character (Where?) for Western Massachusetts (presumably, I guess it could be anywhere in Massachusetts, but I think it must be Western Mass). And I’ll lob out a Worst Twist (How?) for just how they muddle things with “Mary” and the Virgin Mary and all that. Is it a twist? Debatable, but I’ll toss it out there. I think this is closest to Good maybe.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – The Prequel is always the way to go with bad horror films. Made a bad Ouija movie? Well, let’s go back to the 70s and it’ll be weirdly good. Made a bad Annabelle film? Well, what about if we did the origin story we should have done in the first place? Works every time, by which I mean it worked the two times I remember. The origin story here is about Mary obviously. You twist it on its head a bit right? She’s a devout Christian in Puritan Massachusetts, but then is assaulted by the townspeople of Banfield and left for dead. Rescued by a witch she is consumed with the desire for revenge, and uses her knowledge of the divine to corrupt them, kill them, and ultimately condemn their souls to torture within her Dark Realm. Her revenge complete, an innocent attempts to bring her back to the light, for God is capable of all forgiveness, but Mary refuses, vowing to consume the blighted Earth and destroy God himself with her resulting power. Venturing into Mary’s Dark Realm, our hero saves the town priest who is able to kill Mary and trap her soul in a Kern Baby. See, you got a little anti-hero for Mary, but then ultimately she becomes too far gone. The Unholy: Original Sin would be the name there. The third film takes place after the first and would be about Alice learning that Father Hagan’s soul is trapped in the Dark Realm and she too has to venture forth to battle Mary once more to save him in The Unholy: Dark Realm.

You Just Got Schooled – We’re back babyyyyyyyy! I could have read the book the film was based on (Shrine), but instead I read James Herbert’s first (and very short) novel The Rats. Immediately very fun in that you get a lot of descriptions of run down 1970s East London. The story is also pretty fun just because it is pretty similar to Night Shift by Stephen King in some ways, which was written in 1970 it seems. Herbert also made a book called The Fog which is also just about poisonous fog creeping into a town. The point I’m making is that these original books seem to be very archetypal, stories which are more campfire tales projected onto a particular setting / characters. And there is something fun about seeing a period of horror literature that was still publishing shorts and installments into magazines like Cavelier and Penthouse. The book itself is a bit odd. Very disjointed because it doesn’t tend to really follow the main character much for a good chunk of the book. Instead, it is more just showing bits of East London and rats attacking. It is also a bit odd because it is speaking on the degraded nature of East London from a time long enough ago that it is hardly recognizable. East London is still “grimy” maybe, but it is also pretty hipster and multicultural now. Anyways, fun short book anyways, if a bit rote. B.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Snake Eyes (2021) Recap

Jamie

Snake Eyes is rebooted, Jack! This time he’s all young and hip and not yet totally anonymous. Hell bent on exacting revenge for the death of his father, Snake Eyes finds himself mixed up in a conflict within an ancient Japanese clan.. And Cobra… and GI Joe’s for sure. Can he get revenge and stop them all before it’s too late? Find out in… Snake Eyes (2021).

How?! Snake Eyes has so much angst. That’s cause he watched his father die at the hands of a man known as Snake Eyes. Now he’s taken on that moniker and he’s ready to… well basically be sad. It’s been a hardscrabble life for young Snake Eyes, who gets recruited by the Yakuza after showing off his fighting skillz as a MMA fighter. But when a fellow worker, Tommy, is revealed to be a traitor Snake Eyes can’t stand to murder him in cold blood and instead helps him escape. For his trouble he is rewarded with Tommy’s loyalty. Turns out Tommy is actually the heir to a big time Japanese clan and wants Snake Eyes initiated into the clan. Everyone is like, what this dope? And also they are super suspicious. Turns out they are all right because (spoiler alert!) it was all a ruse and Snake Eyes is still working for the Yakuza in exchange for information about his father’s murderer. The Yakuza big boss, Kenta, is working with Cobra and ultimately wants what he believes is his: the clan’s MacGuffin, the Jewel of the Sun. Snake Eyes is like, whatever, fine, just get me my father’s murderer and proceeds to pass the first two initiation tasks for the clan (which honestly seemed not that hard, I could probably have done them). But the third task is all about some big ass snakes that can sense when someone isn’t pure of heart (now that’s more like it!), Snake Eyes fails and is expelled. But he’s learned enough as he’s able to return and steal the Jewel of the Sun. In exchange he is delivered his father’s murderer, but ultimately relizes that friendship > bloodlust (aww) and heads back to the clan to help them fend off Kenta. Now armed with the Jewel, Kenta is formidable, but with the help of a GI Joe they are able to get the Jewel back. Tommy attempts to use the jewel against Kenta, but Snake Eyes is the one to defeat him by luring him into the big ass snake pit (yeah!). Tommy is exiled for trying to use the Jewel and vows revenge against Snake Eyes, while Snake Eyes is recruited to the Joes. THE END.

Why?! Big ol’ MacGuffin Alert. Not often do you get a classic of the genre. In this case the Jewel of the Sun is an uber powerful weapon that everyone wants. So powerful that the clan can never use it, it must only protect it. This turns out to be simply the ability to shoot flames at people. So like a flamethrower? Sure I could see that being pretty great in feudal Japan, but like… really anyone can have a flamethrower nowadays. Anyway, Snake Eyes wants revenge and the bad guys want power.

Who?! Gotta love a pro wrestling acting debut. Mojo Rawley appears briefly as Snake Eyes’ opponent in a street fight. He’s actually had a pretty good career in the WWE. He also had a cup of coffee with a couple NFL teams as well, which would get him called a “Former Professional Football Player” on The Bachelorette, so that’s good enough for me.

What?! I talk about the MacGuffin, but more as an object of desire and less about an object in itself. It’s an orange glowing piece of rock that acts as a flamethrower for those that wield it. The story we are told is that the sun goddess sent it down to Earth as a test and that the clan was tasked with protecting it and specifically to never use it. So… it’s a meteorite… like in Super Mario Bros.?

Where?! We get a bunch of real rad intertitles telling us where we are, but we are primarily in Japan (with a brief moment in Los Angeles). I would say that it’s a pretty good Japan setting given that it’s steeped in Japanese lore. But it also mostly takes place in a fake dojo and so doesn’t have the feel of Tokyo or anyplace real. So just a B.

When?! Hmmm. Usually I can venture a guess here, but this is a weird one. It has the feeling of taking place outside of time and it could probably be anytime. This is almost certainly an F. I highly doubt there is actually any indication of when this takes place because there isn’t a need to… it’s just a dumb film with a bunch of dumb fake stuff happening in a fake place at a fake time. The end.

You’d think that after already trying to start up a GI Joe Cinematic Universe (GIJCU) and more or less falling on their faces with some pretty dumbo paint-by-numbers actioners earlier in the decade that people would have learned their lesson. Apparently not cause this is a straight up mid 2000’s dumbo action film centered around a 1990’s MacGuffin. All of it is dumb and (even worse) pretty boring. That’s not mentioning a nice, glaring example of a BMT classic. My guy Henry Golding can’t hold down an American accent to save himself. It just ain’t happening and they needed to quickly pull a JCVD and say he was American but had an accent for some reason. Anyway, I was pretty shocked to find myself decidedly not entertained by this movie and instead walked away scratching my head about how it ended up somehow overrated. It’s actually a bit upsetting. One thing I’ve learned over the years of BMT is to embrace the beauty of the franchise. The story you can build across movies, even if it’s all kinda stupid. I would hope this continues and we see more… but also they have to do a bit better than this. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We got a backdoor pilot for a GI Joe reboot! We got ninjas! We got a film which is about just one GI Joe, but before he actually got to do anything interesting with the GI Joe’s … Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – One of the rare 2021 films to get a wide release and bad reviews, we just had to save it for the end of the year run down. I didn’t really know much about the film going in. I didn’t even really know if it had anything to do with GI Joe. Which was fun. What were my expectations? I guess shiny garbage. Is this second dying? Isn’t every bad movie that comes out now just shiny garbage? I can’t really tell there have been so few in the last 2 years.

The Good – I liked the actors. All of them I think did a very good job with the material given. And a lot of the action is pretty cool (except for one aspect of it, which I’ll get to in the Bad section). But honestly, that is it. Nothing else in this movie is worth the time spent watching it. Not a single think. Best Bit: The actors are charming enough that I hope to see all them in other stuff in the future.

The Bad – The film is nonsense. Pure, utter nonsense. Such nonsense that I’m tempted to call the whole thing dog poo in my face … but can I go so far? It feels like that should be reserved for really unredeemable piles of trash. This ain’t that, because the actors are fine and the action is kind of cool. Speaking of which, wire-fu man. Also looks like trash. The action looks so good when it is hand to hand stuff, and all of a sudden people are jumping twenty feet in the air and everything looks ridiculous. Didn’t even need the speed-up suits from the first GI Joe film. Fatal Flaw: The film makes no sense and that makes my brain angry and my heart sad. 

The BMT – It is weird to watch a disjointed franchise going through multiple reimaginings in BMT, but I think we might get there with GI Joe. If they ever decide to make a drastically different version of GI Joe again we’d have watched multiple reboots of a property mostly live in BMT. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah. Yes, it is shiny garbage, but this is more than that. This is truly a bad film. And really what more can I ask for in the end.

Roast-radamus – A very good Product Placement (What?) right in the nick of time, with Storm Shadow sipping on some Johnny Walker Black (the most eeeevil of all the Johnny Walker whiskies) during the mid-credits scene. A great international Setting as a Character (Where?) for Japan which is a surprisingly rare setting for bad movies. And a fabulous MacGuffin (Why?) for the glowing orange gem which, it turns out, lights people on fire. Closest to BMT I think, being mostly redeemed through its connection to GI Joe and all of the baggage that entails.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I mean, a prequel is pretty lame. I think it is time to bring back our old friend, the BMT Crossover Episode. Snake Eyes has almost died a few times now, so Sasha Petrosevitch sends out his elite Half Past Dead Investigative Unit (HPDIU) to see if he qualifies for Half Past Dead duty (and you bettah belieb he does). You better watch out because the Half Past Dead crew now has a ninja on board. “I ain’t Aikido, but it’ll do,” Sasha smirks. “That sounds like a challenge.” says Snake Eyes. Aikido versus … karate I assume? I don’t know martial arts very well, but it’s obviously a draw. “You done well kid,” Sasha says with his eyes. The first mission? We have a little issue with a Cobra offshoot called Asp which is trying to resurrect Donny Johnson’s essence into a robot body (remember this is GI Joe, so literally anything is possible). Sasha and Snake Eyes ain’t having that. In the end with a Aikido-karate fusion, they destroy Robo-Chestnut in the nick of time and save the day. GI Joe: Half Past Dead: Ninja Resurrection.

A few more and You Just Got Schooled will be back with a vengeance! Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Tom and Jerry Recap

Jamie

Tom & Jerry are back, Jack! But also for the first time. They are just a cat and mouse in the big city trying to make their way and that involves living/working in a hotel and disrupting a totally cool wedding that everyone cares about. Can they save the wedding that they are destined to disrupt before it’s too late? Find out in… Tom & Jerry.

How?! You’d think this film would be mostly about Tom and Jerry, but you’d be wrong. It’s actually about Kayla, a young woman trying to make it in the big city but who just can’t seem to catch a break. After Tom and Jerry get her fired from her latest job she ends up accidentally (but not really) stealing the identity of a qualified job applicant for a position at a swanky hotel. Turns out they need a temporary manager to take care of the extra workload from the biggest wedding of the year! Finally! A film that gets what kids are clamoring for: celebrity wedding talk. Almost immediately, though, things go awry when Jerry is spotted having taken up residence in the hotel. Egad! That won’t do. When Kayla encounters Tom messing around in the hotel she thinks of the solution: a cat to get the mouse. Antics ensue as Tom gets rid of (or at least thinks he gets rid of) Jerry in a variety of zany ways. Meanwhile, Kayla endears herself to the big time celeb couple Ben and Preeta and draws the suspicion of the full time hotel manager Terrence. After Tom and Jerry create a gigantic scene in the hotel lobby the blame is placed on Terrence, who is kicked to the curb in favor of Kayla. With the wedding getting crazier and crazier, Kayla makes a deal with Tom and Jerry. Learn to get along on a big day out in the Big Apple and they can stick around the hotel. Unfortunately they cause a ruckus on the trip and Terrence gets his hands on them. He ultimately orchestrates a gigantic disaster at the wedding. The wedding is ruined! Sad about her job, but really mostly sad that Ben and Preeta seem to have broken up as a result of the wedding fiasco, Kayla, Tom and Jerry put their heads together to produce a scaled down wedding of their dreams. Ben and Preeta live happily ever after, Kayle gets a job out of it, and even Terrance turns out OK. THE END.

Why?! Love of course… or maybe that wouldn’t be obvious for a Tom and Jerry film. But that’s the point here for the primary plot of the film. Kayla mostly wants a job though, and she seems like a capable gal, so that’s good. Tom and Jerry just want to exist and yet the world doesn’t care for them for the most part. Sad really.

Who?! Tom and Jerry get credited as themselves, which is only possible because they don’t speak. Still weird though. Interestingly Tom does sing in the film and that is done by T-Pain. Not even the only musician in the film either. The artist Nicky Jam voices a rough and tumble back alley cat. Animation is the best.

What?! I think the obvious winner here is the intense sneaker talk between Kayla and a fellow hotel employee, Cameron. He’s always wearing fly Nikes, she’s always commenting on his fly Nikes. Deftly lets you know that they are meant to be with each other. Now that’s character development! 

Where?! The Big Apple, NYC. Solid setting from the jump as Tom is seen riding the subway and playing piano in Central Park. From there it deviates a little bit by focusing a bunch on the big wedding, but we can’t forget the cityscape montage of Tom and Jerry having a grand old time with each other at all the sites and sounds of NYC. Probably a B+ because it could have been any number of cities.

When?! My guess is Spring/Summer given the wedding, although not sure exactly how clear that is made. I thought the best case was to figure out what baseball game Tom and Jerry attended with each other and then nail down the date. Apparently, though, there are people even weirder than me out there that already did that leg work. Apparently the clip from the game is a July 29th, 2018 game. So not sure that actually helps D.

This movie is a mix of inexplicable choices and surprisingly funny writing. Early in the film we see Tom, a piano playing animated cat, pretending to be a blind piano playing animated cat. When it’s revealed that he is in fact not blind a person in the crowd screams in disgust, “Hey! He’s a regular cat playing the piano.” That’s funny, and there are a bunch of actually funny lines. I chuckled and I laughed here and there, which is more than I can say for a bunch of a films we watch. And yet 75% of the film is about a big ol’ wedding and drones and dope shoe talk and popping champagne bottles. I understand the desire to have a film be about something… anything… even when you are writing a film for children who will likely not remember most of the film. It makes sense that The Son of the Mask is about the unshakeable love of a father for his child. But also, maybe don’t drown the film in the trials and tribulations of a young lady’s search for a job and celebrity weddings. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We got Tom! We Got Jerry! We got … Kalya and mostly a movie about a wedding I think … Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Oh boy was I not looking forward to this. I think one of the more shocking things is there haven’t been more classic cartoon films. It was almost 30 years since the one and only Tom and Jerry feature film prior to this one. They are old fashioned, but it still feels like making an attempt at updating them is worthwhile. What were my expectations? Kids’ film. But then again, the trailer makes it abundantly clear that the B-plot for this one (a wedding) is, in fact, the A-plot, which is always fun.

The Good – The B-plot can go miles and miles and miles and milessssssssss. It is, indeed, the only redeemable feature of the film. And not because it is actually good. Oh no, it is a travesty. But precisely because of that I didn’t feel like I was completely wasting my life while watching this film. I thought the actors were game as well, although very clearly they have very very little to work with in the end. Best Bit: B-plot babyyyy, gotta love it.

The Bad – Most things. I mean, it’s a kids’ film. Half the jokes are about dogs taking massive dumps in New York City, but then the main drama is about a woman not being able to communicate with her soon-to-be spouse … I’m sure that storyline translates perfectly to the 5 year olds watching this film for Tom and Jerry to beat each other up. More of that was needed. It just feels like when you have shallow characters like Tom and Jerry that trying to go the Pixar route of introducing real emotional weight and adult themes is doomed to fail. Go the other way and make an actual cartoon kids film. Fatal Flaw: Somehow also the B-plot. Tom and Jerry are so shallow that in order to introduce anything of consequence is to inevitably sideline them to secondary characters.

The BMT – Just throw it in the pile of bad kids’ films we’ve watched. I suppose it’ll go down as somewhat notable as a 2021 film since there is going to be something on the order of ten total qualifying films in the end. Did it meet my expectations? While the B-plot was a delight, in the end it was kind of sad seeing Tom and Jerry sacrificed on the altar of the B-plot.

Roast-radamus – The film is chockablock full of Product Placement (What?) if you are eagle eyed, specifically Jerry’s house is filled with junk. Really nice Setting as a Character (Where?) for New York City, and inevitable twist for a film like this. I think I’ll leave it at that, my memory is failing a bit since I couldn’t take notes while watching this one. Closest to Bad for sure.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – The most natural option is a Prequel, not least of which because I already detailed the sequel idea in the quiz (and it is excellent). The prequel takes us back to the unnamed suburb where it all started. Tom as the loving cat of an elderly woman, and Jerry as his nemesis mouse who only wants to cause him trouble. Oh right, we need a storyline … uh, I guess the woman’s house is being foreclosed on by an eeeeeeevil bank manager, and Tom and Jerry decide to team up to really cause him a lot of trouble at his bank. With all of the call backs you would hope for all of the big T&J-heads out there, but specifically the big fans of the original film. So, basically the call back is that Tom gets enamored with music at some point in his bank-related antics and that’s when he decides he is going to move to New York City. Well, really, the old woman, grateful to have her house saved, gets a kitten which Tom has zero interest in dealing with. And since animals are intelligent enough to have the right to vote in this world, he moves out. Thus begins the saga of Tom and Jerry around the world. Tom and Jerry: Bank Antics. The name does evoke that classic Saturday morning cartoon feeling doesn’t it?

And once again, skipping the schooled section in an attempt to catch up on things. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Halloween III: Season of the Witch Recap

Jamie

Michael Myers is… oh… uh… nevermind. But it’s still Halloween and when Dr. Dan Challis sees something crazy happen at the hospital he works at, you better believe he’s on the case. His investigation takes him to a toy factory where he uncovers a deadly plot. Can he stop the crazy toy fiends before it’s too late? Find out in… Halloween III: Season of the Witch.

How?! Dr. Dan Challis is going through some stuff. He’s having trouble with his ex-wife, he’s a full-blown alcoholic, and yet, somehow he’s still a practicing doctor. One out of three ain’t bad. When a mysterious man comes into his ER one night and proceeds to be murdered by a strange, emotionless man who commits suicide by lighting himself on fire, Dr. Challis is intrigued. He’s even more intrigued when he gets a load of the man’s beautiful daughter, Ellie. You thinking what Dr. Challis is thinking? Road trip! They head off the last place Ellie’s dad was seen alive: Santa Mira, CA, home of Silver Shamrock, the maker of the most popular three Halloween masks. The masks are the talk of the world, particularly given the live, big giveaway planned for Halloween night. Anyway, once in town things start to go sideways. Not only is the town run like a police state where people are having mysterious accidents left and right, but when they go to tour the factory they are shocked to find Ellie’s father’s car there. Uh oh! Before they can get out of dodge, Ellie is kidnapped and Dan has to make his way back to the factory to save her. Of course he is immediately captured because (spoiler alert!) the whole place is run by automatons and you def can’t escape their robot clutches. Before he is to be killed, Dan is told the full plot: Cochran, the owner of the factory, has stolen a piece of stonehenge (yup) and is using its dark powers to energize microchips in the halloween masks. On the night of the giveaway they will be activated and all the children turned into gross bugs and snakes and stuff for ye old pagan ritual. Dan is horrified and luckily is able to escape his bonds and rescue Ellie. They then infiltrate the main command center where they activate the power of stonehenge and turn it against Cochran. Dope. On their way home Dan is trying to figure out how to stop the broadcast when Ellie turns out to be a total robot. Fiend! He destroys her and in a last ditch effort is able to stop most (but not all) the broadcasts. THE END.

Why?! Didn’t I just tell you? Stonehenge, pagan ritual, it’s witchcraft, baby! They are all witches… or… well, Cochran is a witch and the rest are robots. But that’s besides the point because the motivations in this thing are amazing. Oh and Dan just wants to get with Ellie and Ellie can’t seem to get enough of this mess of an alcoholic doctor. Good for both of them.

Who?! Halloween II’s Michael Myers, Dick Warlock, father of BIlly Warlock, shows up here as a robot assassin. That’s kind of fun. That also allows me to contemplate this entry’s monster: Cochran, played by Daniel O’Herlihy. He’s an Oscar nominee, so I’m sad to say the film that caught my eye in his filmography is 1986’s The Whoopie Boys… a film I only know because a poster for it shows up in Hot Rod. Largely forgettable in this, though. He comes off quite pleasant for a witch hellbent on sacrificing a whole bunch of kids to pagan gods.

What?! It’s actually a little hard to find real props from the film. Almost everything is replicas. The masks would be the real prize. There are three of them: a witch, a skull, and then a pumpkin (which looks way worse than the other two and no one would want). Somehow this is enough variety for the entire world to go crazy for them. They were created by Don Post, who pioneered latex masks. He made the Shatner mask that ultimately became the Michael Myers mask, which also proved very difficult to replicate.

Where?! This is set near San Francisco, with the factory in Santa Mira, California. It’s a made-up town that has shown up quite a bit in fiction. Makes sense as it sounds real. The town is an important setting with a crazy Irish-centric origin story and the like. Certainly fun so I’ll give it an A-.

When?! Another A+ for the franchise. Interestingly this takes place for a full week leading into Halloween night. The first two Halloween’s take place over a single Halloween night and I know at least a couple of the sequels take place just on Halloween (for that’s when Michael Myers awakens from his pagan slumber). So it would be curious if this is also an outlier in the series, since it takes place on several non-Halloween days.

I kinda came around to the consensus on this, similar to how I changed my tune a little on Halloween II. I think now I would say I like Halloween II a little less than I did originally and Halloween III a little more, but I still prefer the former to the latter. It’s an interesting film, though, and I think without the baggage of Halloween could have attained some level of cult status. It’s got some good gross out effects, some solid B acting, and a weird robot/witch storyline that would lend itself to people really falling in love with it. Not to mention that you can have a lot of fun comparing it to Willy Wonka. Cochran is an eeevil Wonka and his automatons are oompa-loompas… it’s a fun concept to think about. I personally think it lacks some pace and has some really obvious and glaring plot holes. So it’s hard to seriously consider it amongst the franchise behemoth that it carries in name only. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We got Halloween! We got Celtic legends! We got … wait, is that old man supposed to be Michael Myers? I’m so confused. Let’s go!

P’s View of the Preview – Spoiler alert! I’ve seen this film. I may have even seen it a few times. It is a weird movie that is nothing like the other Halloween films, but I hope this time I’ll get a bit more out of it since I’ve seen most of the Halloween films at this point, and I’ve also watched a ton more horror films from the 70s and 80s at this point. What were my expectations? Maybe for it to be good? People think it is good online it seems. It seems hard to believe since I’ve seen it and it wasn’t good. But maybe once I appreciate the context more I’ll pick up some nuggets of joy.

The Good – There is something very interesting about the main character. Definitely a terrible family man. An alcoholic doctor. A sleeze. And, in the end (we hope) a hero. Truly a different type to the “final girl” that pervaded slashers at the time, but then again, weirdly, the film isn’t a slasher. And the lore! Amazingly the lore with Celtic legends and their connection to Halloween ended up being a huge part of Halloween four through six (at least). I did appreciate that a lot more this time around. Best Bit: I think the main character with all his various complications.

The Bad – I mean, the film is an odd one. It comes across as a cheap 1970s horror film from England or something. Looks cheap, with no scares. Makes not much sense, has weird characters, seems to look to a depressing ending as a potential redeeming feature (a la The Mist). And overall since they retreat directly to Myers in the sequels ends up seemingly out of place in the major franchise records. It is amazing that they didn’t just release the next movie as Halloween 3 and change the name to merely Season of the Witch, leaving the film as a fun factoid in the annals of horror history. Fatal Flaw: It just isn’t scary and cheap looking.

The BMT – Had to be done. Amusingly, it currently doesn’t qualify. But assuredly it did when we watched the film. So take that rulez! I don’t think this will be the most fun Halloween film to watch by a long shot though. The films get real weird first after this one (maybe because of this one, bringing in all of the Celtic/Halloween lore to the series). Still fun. Did it meet my expectations? Nope. I expected to come to the film with fresh eyes and be like “oh how little did I know back then!” But naw, the film just isn’t a particularly good horror film. Weird and fun in its own way. But not scary or even that eerie.

Roast-radamus – Halfway decent Product Placement (What?) for Miller, which people seem to be sucking down throughout the film. And a solid (and odd) Setting as a Character (Where?) for California, and Santa Mira specifically. And then the natural A+ Holiday Setting (When?) for Halloween. I think it is closest to Good despite what the recap above might suggect.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – This film could have an interesting Reboot of sorts. Take it to something like Shudder, and reboot the series as Halloween Legacy or something. Go with the original vision: a series of tales, all taking place on Halloween, tied together via a general connection to the Celtic spookiness of the original pagan holiday. The second to last episode is Season of the Witch, which is effectively this story, except without the robots and masks. Instead it is a evil Willy Wonka basically. He makes Halloween candy. All of the kids love him. Every year he brings children to the factory for a tour, but this year something weird is happening. He seems insane. And the coup de grace? The whole affair for years and years would be to slowly poison the population with his candy. All it will take is a signal through everyone’s phone to kill them all and complete the ultimate bloodshed which will (in his mind) be such a great sacrifice to his pagan gods as to grant him immortality. Can Charlie and Grandpa Joe stop him before it’s too late? Probably, but you’ll have to subscribe to Shudder to find out. Halloween Legacy Episode 9: Season of the Witch. Not going to lie, I would watch it.

I think I’ll leave it without the schooled section in an attempt to catch up. Cheerios,

The Sklogs