The Astronaut’s Wife Recap

Jamie

Jillian and Spencer have it all. He’s a handsome astronaut, she’s a beautiful astronaut’s wife. That is until a space accident leaves Spencer a little… off. Throwing away his dreams of flying he joins the corporate world in NYC and things go downhill fast. Can Jillian stop the crazy alien version of her husband before it’s too late? Find out in… The Astronaut’s Wife.

How?! Spencer is a handsome astronaut with a beautiful life and beautiful wife (an astronaut’s wife, if you will). But on his latest mission there is an explosion and he and his fellow astronaut barely make it back to Earth alive. Everything seems OK but things still feel a bit off, especially when Spencer decides to quit being an astronaut. Jillian is concerned (he would never quit his job!) and particularly peeved that he has decided to move them to NYC for a big shot job. But when Spencer’s friend dies and the friend’s wife commits suicide they head to the city for a fresh start. But boy howdy, this start is anything but fresh (or even slightly dope) because Spencer has really changed and is starting to scare Jillian, who is already having a tough time adjusting to the highfalutin NYC lifestyle that she hates. When a former colleague of Spencer’s shows up in NYC spouting off what sounds like crazy theories about her husband she is scared, but also intrigued. He more or less is like “he’s a scary ass alien and totally impregnated you with scary twin alien babies,” and she gasps but also believes him. It then becomes a bit of a cat and mouse game between Spencer and Jillian as they both kinda pretend things are OK but also he’s an alien. Finally, after realizing that the ultimate plan is to train their twin alien babies to take over the world with alien technology (this is real) she makes one last effort to kill him and succeeds! Except that the spooky alien inside him jumps from Spencer to Jillian. Oh no! So now she’s a creepy alien with creepy alien twin babies and the world is doomed. THE END.

Why?! World domination, duh. I mean, that’s just what aliens do and Spencer is no doubt an alien. As for Jillian, it’s hard to understand her motivation at times because she also doesn’t entirely know what’s going on. First she thinks about getting rid of the babies and thus foiling Spencer’s plan, but she has trouble doing it. Ultimately it’s a matter not only of survival, but survival for the human race and so she decides to kill him… and fails.

Who?! Gary Grubbs, from the final season of The OC fame, shows up as the director of NASA… which is interesting because that is a position appointed by the President, so we’ll have to keep this is mind when we are building the BMT Cabinet. Otherwise, probably the most notable was the Spouse twins making a very brief appearance as the creepy alien twins ready to destroy the world.

What?! It’s not for sale, but there is a screenworn NASA outfit for Johnny Depp listed on the YourProps site. Probably a museum piece… just not sure what museum. The only only kinda interesting object in the film is the repeated use of a radio both as a weapon and as a means of alien communication. I honestly don’t know whether it is meant to symbolize something or not. Just interesting that old timey radios are seemingly everywhere in the world.

Where?! We start in Florida and pretty quickly head to NYC. Charlize’s character haaates NYC and no wonder since the NYC they present is full of snobs who snidely look down on the idea of being a teacher as something not only beneath them but so utterly disgusting that they have to pretend to see someone they know just to get out of the conversation before they puke. I’m not sure whether to give it a B+ because it’s a pretty solid setting or an F because the setting is more of a caricature than an actual setting. Fine, B+.

When?! It takes place over an entire year basically. The accident occurs and then they move to NYC, she get a new job, gets pregnant and then is maybe like 4 months pregnant or something when the climax of the film occurs. So modestly it’s maybe a full year. I would guess it starts in the spring of one year and then ends in the late winter of the next year. Hard to say though. D as you get some sense of seasons.

I found almost everything in this movie to be exceedingly unpleasant. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very well made film. Surprisingly so, given that the director has not made another film after this writer-director debut. But it actually feels like this was a movie made by an alien (is it possible that that’s the point?) where every scene and interaction is devoid of recognizable human behavior. The scenes in NYC feel like you’re watching like Eyes Wide Shut weirdness as everyone talks and reacts like no one does in real life. Even Jillian and Spencer’s interactions feel really stilted and like they just met, let alone are married to each other. Add in some scenes of sexual and domestic abuse and I was already pretty tired of it all by the time Jillian became an alien herself. Probably for the better. Whatever world they were living in probably deserved to be destroyed by aliens. Couldn’t get much worse. As for Firestorm, it’s a fun super low budget action film that delivers on some pretty spectacular jazz trumpet scenes. Add in some cyborgs (or half-cyborgs, which is a phrase they actually use in the film) denoted by little bits of metallic paint on their faces and I had a reasonably good time watching this. At least a better time than watching The Astronaut’s Wife. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Twins that are destined to doom the human race? What is this, our life story? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I only vaguely knew what this film was about prior to watching it. It is mostly a little weird because it has a pre-Pirates-and-makeup-obsessed Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron the same year as The Cider House Rules in one of those sci-fi films that doesn’t actually seem like sci-fi. It feels more like a drama while being fairly hard science fiction in the end. What were my expectations? As usual with films I’m not super familiar with I was expecting to be bored. Because usually when people don’t bother to watch and review films years later it is because they are boring I think.

The Good – The storyline is a lot better than you might initially think, although there is a reason for that (see the Bad section for a bit more on that). I also thought Theron was quite good. The New York City set pieces work well, although, again, I think there is a reason for that which is a bit unfortunate. You know what? There isn’t much else to say on the good side without getting into the glaring issue with this film, so let’s move on to that. Best Bit: Charlize Theron.

The Bad – This is a total and complete rip-off of Rosemary’s Baby. So much so that I started trying to look up and see whether this was intended as a direct adaptation. It somehow isn’t. Theron even looks kind of similar to Mia Farrow in the role with the same short pixie cut. In both cases you have gaslighting and eerie tracking of the pregnant Farrow/Theron, and in both cases it feels notable that the setting of New York City with its often gothic architectural features take center stage. There is even a suggestion of potential drugging at the moment in which the devil/alien children are conceived. I won’t spoil the endings, but there are similarities there as well. I don’t quite understand what to think about this. Everything good about this film can be pretty directly traced to inspiration from the far superior Rosemary’s Baby so … does that make this film terrible? When nothing it has done is good on its own? Or is it fine, because how could a remake of Rosemary’s Baby really be that bad? I say terrible. Fatal Flaw: Shameless rip-off.

The BMT – I think as far as shameless rip-offs are concerned this might be a crowning jewel. It is incredibly hard to even think about this film on its own without being colored by what you think about Rosemary’s Baby. That’s really really odd. Otherwise it is pretty forgettable, even as a twin film. The twins play a big role, but you don’t see them until the end of the film. Did it meet my expectations? It was not boring. I actually kind of enjoyed this film. It was even a little strange trying to reconcile the two competing thoughts on the film. On the one hand I enjoyed it. On the other, I enjoyed the original, Rosemary’s Baby, more. It is almost ruined purely because the remake is completely unacknowledged.

Roast-radamus – A halfway decent Product Placement (What?) for ice cold Budweiser which I think you see in multiple scenes in the film. Very solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for New York City complete with Gothic themes. I think it has a strong argument for MacGuffin (Why?) for the alien twins who will pilot the experimental EMP deploying spacecraft obviously intended to be used to destroy humanity from within. I’ll skip the twist because I think it was actually pretty good. I think it is closest to Good than anything else.

StreetCreditReport.com – I can’t find a single mention of this on any lists. I can’t even find a single mention of this on worst astronaut / space film lists. This might actually be one of the most pure: “All of the cred comes from the fact that the plotline is about twins” that we’ve done for the cycle. I doubt we ever do The Astronaut’s Wife if there weren’t twins in the film. Or at least … maybe not for decades. Will BMT last for decades more? Am I joking?

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we brought along Firestorm as a friend. No, not the other Firestorm we already watched for BMT. This is a rather obscure 1997 sci-fi film about twins raging against a corrupt corporation trying to manipulate and kill cyborgs. One is a rogue agent of the corporation, the other, well … he plays smooth jazz. In the end they have to aid a revolution and take down the man. YEAH! In reality the film is one of those rather dull straight-to-video films probably most notable for having Robert Carradine in the role as the head of the cyborg army. Oh, and obviously the smooth smooth jazz. But naw, in the end it is probably like a C+. It should be more amusing than it is because of the jazz, but that sustains the story for like 15 minutes before you remember you are just rewatching Cyborg 3: The Recycler.

Twin Analysis – We are creeping ever closer to the end of the twin cycle. This week we had The Astronaut’s Wife which is a difficult one to assess. On the one hand you have a very twin-centric storyline. On the other, the twins don’t actually appear until late into the film. A perfect example of a B twin film. Give it an A for storyline dependence, but a C for actual twinness. As for Firestorm, this is a Bad Company scenario through and through. You see the twins together once in the beginning of the film basically, but soon one of them is killed off for production cost reasons … er, I mean for really important plot reasons. The idea of twins is important to the overall story. Without the protagonists being twins, then there is no infiltration of the bad guy’s company and the plot (for what that’s worth) totally falls apart. But they also get away with, overall, very little twinness in the film itself. I’m going to give it the same grade as Bad Company in the end, an A-. While you did get some split screen action in Firestorm, you had less of a good/bad twin dynamic at play, so it comes out as a wash I think.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Fatal Instinct Recap

Jamie

Ned Ravine is both a cop and a lawyer (hilarious) who gets a new, hot (with a capital H) case from Lola Cain. This is all a ploy to seduce Ned for reasons that will become clear later. Meanwhile Ned’s wife plots his murder while a former defendant also plots revenge. So lots of sex and murder and sex. Find out if hilarity ensues in… Fatal Instinct.

How?! Ned Ravine is the best damn cop in town. He’s never not got his man. It’s just those damn lawyers that are letting them walk. Who are these dastardly lawyers you ask? It’s him… he’s the lawyer. He’s only ever lost one case, the case of Max Shady, and now Max is out on parole and looking for revenge. Meanwhile, Ned’s wife, Lana, is having an affair with the hot and steamy young mechanic who’s not just working on her car (if you know what I mean… it’s sex). They plan to murder Ned and get a big payout from his triple indemnity clause. Also meanwhile, Lola Cain has pursued Ned to take up her case. What is it? A sham, that’s what, because all she really wants is to get into our boy Ned’s dungarees. And boy howdy, does she. But Ned is distraught. What has he done! He loves his wife and tells Lola that they can never be together again. Lola is driven mad and begins to stalk Ned. Lana’s plan comes together and they are able to get Ned onto a train bound for Santa Barbara so that they can get that sweet sweet triple indemnity. Unfortunately for her (fortunately for Ned (and unfortunately for Max Shady)) she mistakes Max for Ned and kills him instead! Ned thinks that she must have known he was in danger and saved his life so he agrees to defend her in court against the charges of murder. He is of course successful (he’s the best, remember) and following this success Ned confronts Lola about her stalking business. She reveals that she and Lana are identical twins, but she had to have plastic surgery after a horrific face accident. Her plan the whole time was to seduce and steal him from Lana. Upon returning home after hearing this news, Ned’s secretary reveals Lana’s murder plot as well and in a climactic battle Lola kills Lana, Ned Kills Lana, and Ned’s secretary kills her murderous husband we just met. Finally, Ned and his secretary smooch a bunch. THE END.

Why?! Well this is a spoof movie so in large part the motivations are besides the point. Ned wants to solve the crimes despite being an idiot. His wife wants to kill him and get money. Lola wants to seduce Ned and cause Lana pain. In the end they all want to kill each other. 

Who?! Rosie O’Donnell goes uncredited, which is notable as she was the link to the previous movie in the chain, Now & Then. My presumption is that is was simply because the role is pretty small, but it is a speaking part so maybe both sides were OK with it going uncredited in the end. The director Carl Reiner also has a cameo as Judge Arugula, which is funny only because the writers clearly thought that naming a character Judge Arugula was funny… not sure why.

What?! For a while I thought maybe the product placements were part of the joke in the film but eventually I just realized all the Pepsi and Papa Gino’s etc. etc. etc. were just regular boring product placements. It’s a little sad actually. Despite all the jokes on jokes they don’t even attempt to integrate the product placements and play with them. Seems a little banal for a spoof film. 

Where?! Clearly takes place in LA, most notably in regards to the train to Santa Barbara that Ned almost gets killed on. They didn’t do as much as they could have with that, but it was clear enough. The only weird thing is that neither Fatal Attraction or Basic Instinct take place in LA… in fact I mostly think of San Fran when I think of erotic thrillers. Again, the appears to be because this is more of a noir spoof than an erotic thriller spoof. B

When?! This is a silly question. Spoof films almost always deal outside of space and time because they are aiming to spoof films from a long time period. In this case it’s even longer as it clearly spoofs films like Double Indemnity (1944) and Basic Instinct (1992). Probably all in all the films spoofed span just about 50 years… so who’s to say when this takes place. Sometimes it seems like the 40’s, sometimes it seems like the 90’s. F.

I have a major gripe with this film. So while I think Armand Assante was incredibly game, the filmmaking is better than it should be, and (after recapping) I appreciated the humor and goofiness of it all… I can’t help but nitpick the aspect that really bothers me about Fatal Instinct. It’s just not a spoof of Erotic Thrillers. There is way more spoofing of the old school noir and hitchcockian thriller genres and that feels a bit stale. At a time when erotic thrillers were literally at their greatest power they left an awful lot on the table regarding what is already a pretty funny genre, really only using Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction as a general scaffold and barely touching any of the other major releases. And I don’t know why. Maybe it’s hard to spoof erotic thrillers. Maybe they’re too goofy to really pull too much from or you’ll get a Poe’s Law situation. But my guess is that they just didn’t have the right people for the job. It was directed by Carl Reiner and it shows in the quality, but he was already over 70 at that point and it makes me wonder if he was just more comfortable with the noir aspects of the script. Hard for me to get around that though. As for Two Much, that film really bothered me (and it’s not just because it’s about a man pretending to be twins, which is a crime against twins everywhere). The main character is entirely and utterly unredeemable. He has pretty much no good qualities about him and represents the lowest type of person. A man who has no backbone and is so weak that he can’t simply break up with a woman he just met who is struggling with her mental health. Instead he bamboozles her and ploys her with alcohol and drugs in order to pursue her sister who he somehow is convinced he is fated to be with (and thus justifies his actions). It is terrible and no wonder a US release was scrapped. It’s a terrible, terrible movie. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The saddest days in BMT are the days we have to watch bad parody films. Weep for us. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Oh boy. There are a number of parody films out there that BMT has yet to touch on. Obviously the numerous Friedberg and Seltzer films, the later Mel Brooks, random crazy ones like the Plump Fiction. This one really went under the radar. I had barely heard of it. I have, on the other hand, watched Cape Fear, Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, and Sleeping With the Enemy within probably the last year or two. So I was ready to see what Carl Reiner had to offer. What were my expectations? Zero laughs, but silliness with no story. Not necessarily to be bored, but it is more of just an exasperating pointlessness.

The Good – I think this film is way funnier than people at the time gave it credit for. At the very least I found myself chuckling at the silliness. It isn’t like Wet Hot American Summer, but there are at least a few fun moments in the film, which is not at all what I was expecting. The Friedberg and Seltzer comedies are just gross and raunchy, this has an innocent silliness to it that I could appreciate. A kind of funny who’s who of early 90s actors, especially the women. I really liked Sherilyn Fenn from Twin Peaks in particular, but then there is also Sean Young who was the police chief from Ace Ventura. Best Bit: Sheer silliness.

The Bad – The film isn’t that funny and the storyline is bizarre. Halfway through you could be forgiven for wondering what exactly the storyline was meant to be. It is somehow partly a copy of several movies (Cape Fear and Sleeping With the Enemy are lifted wholesale for B storylines), but then also a noir Hitchcockian thriller with characters from Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction peppered in. Once you get away from the heyday of the erotic thriller a lot of it just makes no sense. While the film is better than one would think, it still isn’t particularly good, and it certainly isn’t funny. Fatal Flaw: Nonsense noir story.

The BMT – This is, so far, probably the best parody film we’ve done. But that isn’t saying much, we really don’t do that many parody films. Dracula: Dead and Loving it, might end up being the one that beats it in the end, Robin Hood Men in Tights narrowly doesn’t qualify. I do think we managed to watch it at the perfect time for me, I watched a good number of the (more recent) films being referenced. If we had tried to watch it 5 years ago I would have been so lost. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them. At least it wasn’t boring. I don’t think it’ll have much legs in BMT lore, but it’ll probably come up in terms of other more recent parody films we do.

Roast-radamas – A just okay Setting as a Character (Where?) for the clear Los Angeles setting. It is necessary for the Chinatown / general noir feeling, so definitely ends up being a very LA film. I’ll throw Worst Twist (How?) out there as an unfortunately odd and convoluted twin connection. I think I’m going to throw this lightly into the Bad bin because I wouldn’t want to watch it again, I’d rather watch Mafia!

StreetCreditReport.com – I can’t find any list that includes it. The only video I could find including it was just a Siskel & Ebert video whereby they merely gave it two thumbs down, it didn’t make their year end worst of list. And it definitely didn’t even get close to getting onto any worst spoof film lists I could find. Basically this is the definition of mid-table. If not for its twin connection I’m not exactly sure when we would have watched the film. That is 100% its cred, the fact that the plot involves twins.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we watched the barely-not-qualifying Two Much starring Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, and Darryl Hannah. Released to around 500 theaters there was much debate at BMTHQ as to what exactly the qualifications are to be a BMT film, but we finally relegated it to Friend as the traditional cutoff is “wide release” on Box Office Mojo (i.e. 600 theaters). And wowza, is this film a doozy. The main issue is that the main character is a reprehensible monster. We meet him as he is grifting widows during their husbands’ funerals. Later on, because god forbid our “hero” learn anything, he drugs Griffith’s wine so that he can date Hannah later in the evening, but whoops! The sommelier merely thinks he’s a serial rapist and is aghast at the gaul of this monster to rape two women in the same evening by drugging the same extremely expensive bottle of wine at the same restaurant … what is happening in this film!? All of it winds away to its inevitable (happy?) conclusion. Ultimately it feels like an incredibly gross film I can’t stop thinking about … but also one that you can kind of get the gist of just by reading the above paragraph. Glad we watched it though, very strange stuff, this weirdly seems to happen whenever they adapt French farces, they come across as less funny and more gross. B+.

Twin Analysis – Both odd twin films this week. With Fatal Attraction I found myself somewhat distressed as I wondered “wait … is this actually a twin film?” But then right at the last second, phew, they pull it out. Turns out the totally different looking female leads are, in fact, identical twins. One of them just got smashed in the face with a shovel and had to receive radical face altering plastic surgery. Amusing from a twin perspective I guess, but ultimately means the twin factor is a lot less important than one would think. Too bad. C. I think this is about as bad a score as you can get for apparently identical twins playing a major role in a film. Congrats. Two Much on the other hand is an easy peasy F+. Because guess what? They ain’t twins! Antonio Banderas is just pretending to be twins. It is actually a crime against twin-hood. “But Patrick!” you scream, “the twins play such a prominent role in the film!” Yeah I don’t really care about that, they just aren’t twins. Much like clones or robots or shapeshifting aliens it just isn’t the same thing. I gave it the plus because it played a big role in the film, that’s the biggest concession I’ll make. For the record we did this partly because it felt necessary to do a non-twin twin-centric film for the cycle, but rest assured all other films in the cycle do, in fact, feature bona fide twins.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Mrs. Winterbourne Recap

Jamie

Connie Doyle is down on her luck and pregnant. As if things couldn’t get worse she gets in a train accident and is mistaken for the wife of a prodigal son of a wealthy family. Taken in by the eccentric mother and grumpy identical twin brother, she’s in quite the pickle. Can she set things straight (and also maybe get the guy) before it’s too late? Find out in Mrs. Winterbourne.

How?! Connie Doyle comes from a troubled background. At a young age she runs off to NYC and finds herself pregnant. The father, Steve, is a con man asshole and so wandering alone around the city she finds herself mistakenly on a train to Boston. A nice man named Hugh helps her and while palling around with his similarly pregnant wife they get in a terrible train accident. Connie wakes up in the hospital having been mistaken as the wife of Hugh Winterbourne, the prodigal son of an intensely wealthy New England family. While she tries to escape the Winterbourne’s and set things straight, she is also amazed at the wealth and comfort they live in as they pamper the new “Mrs. Winterbourne” and the new grandson. Hugh’s mother, Grace, is particularly taken with the pair, while his identical twin brother Bill is suspicious and cold. Connie is different from the typical Winterbourne ilk and Grace kinda digs it, so she forces Bill to spend time with her. This is wildly (almost unbelievably) successful as Bill falls in love with Connie after spending approximately two hours with her. At the same time he discovers her dark secret and the guilt weighs heavily on him. Connie attempts to leave several more times until Bill makes it clear that their hours together have been the happiest of his life and that he wants to marry her. Through the publicity of the wedding, Steve tracks down Connie and attempts to blackmail her. Distraught, she decides to kill him, but in a truly farcical manner both she and Bill converge on Steve’s hotel room to discover he’s dead. At the wedding the police show up and more farcical things happen, but ultimately it’s made clear that Steve’s new girlfriend was the killer. Having resolved that, Bill and Connie get married and wink at the screen to prepare us for the sequel Meet the Doyles. THE END.

Why?! It’s quite the farce as no matter how hard Connie tries she can’t seem to make it clear that she’s not part of the Winterbourne family. The reason is made pretty clear. While she wants to be truthful, she also wants what’s best for her son (which is wealth and privilege). What is a mother to do? Probably the weirdest motivation is Bill, who seems sullen and distant until he spends a single day with Connie after which it’s love and marriage. Why? I actually don’t know.

Who?! There is an amusing scene where the father of Connie’s baby is watching TV and is laughing at Bobcat Goldthwait and he is being predictably weird in his standup and Steve is laughing at it and I think the point is character development to be like “he’s the kind of guy who laughs at Bobcat” and I kinda love it. Bobcat of course goes uncredited. Connie’s nurse after the accident is played by Paula Prentiss who was a prominent actress who hadn’t made a film in 15 years and her performance is predictably weird… and uncredited.

What?! I’m sure there were some weird semi-50’s props from this film that found their way to a Toronto area dumpster. The only thing that stuck in my mind a bit was the Winterbourne ring representing a special type of prop… one that holds some kind of power over Connie’s transformation in Mrs. Winterbourne. But really it’s just because it’s what seals a connection to the film Two Much which is startlingly similar to this film and yet we decided to watch it next week for some reason. Maybe to enjoy Jeff Fahey having sex on a motorcycle for this week.

Where?! Really fabulous Massachusetts film. We know Connie is heading MA way on the the train and then she is delivered to the Massachusetts manor of the Winterbournes. This would just be OK, but they add in a Tour de Boston in the middle of the film where Connie and Bill walk by Paul Revere’s home and through Boston Common not once but twice. That deserves at least a B+.

When?! I don’t know when this takes place. My guess is Spring and that Connie and Bill rush to a Spring wedding, but hard to say. The film doesn’t really take all that much time really because, as I mentioned, Bill falls in love with Connie in a matter of days and insists on getting married in just a couple weeks… even though this is apparently the widow of his estranged identical twin brother who just gave birth to his nephew. It’s all very bizarre. Would have made more sense if the film took place over a much longer time period while Connie recovered from being in a terrible train accident.

This is certainly a film. It has charm at times, but suffers a little bit with a lead that is a little overmatched by Shirley MacLaine and Brendan Fraser. It also has one of those weird production design choices that makes most of the film feel like it’s set in the 1950’s, while whenever they venture away from Winterbourne manor you realize that it’s the present day. Overall I think I would have said this was just a meh film except that I actually did like the character of Paco. A gay Cuban who was persecuted by his government, he found a place in Mrs. Winterbourne’s household and knows that no matter what problems Connie has she will be accepted there. It’s very sweet and so I’d say this is slightly better than nothing. As for Woman of Desire, phew… hose me down. Jeff Fahey having sex on a motorcycle. Uh yeah, yes please. Yes for sure. You’re saying The Lawnmower man is having sex on a motorcycle? Yah. Add in some truly humorous 90’s concepts of DNA technology in regards to identical twins and I very much enjoyed Woman of Desire. Did I mention Jeff Fahey has sex on a motorcycle? Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Somehow we keep on watching films which would have been pitch perfect for the US Mapl.d.map. First Urban Legend for New Hampshire, and now Mrs. Winterbourne for Massachusetts. We’re on a tour of New England! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I had literally never heard of this film prior to building this twin cycle. It looks like … Change of Seasons? A film that was made. It exists. It has a really famous cast. But it seems impossible anyone actually watched the film at the time. I know that’s wrong because this style of rom com was huge, so obviously there had to be bad versions that were released. You just rarely hear of them I guess. What were my expectations? To be bored. There aren’t many reasons a film like this is slammed by critics, the most common reason is because it is boring.

The Good – Shirley MacLaine and Brendan Fraser are both quite good, especially MacLaine. I also really liked Miguel Sandoval’s storyline as Paco, the Winterbourne’s valet. Great Massachusetts film. And finally, the film is more interesting than I would have immediately given it credit for, it is not nearly as boring as you would expect. If not for a really weak leading actress I think this would have been well received based on MacLaine’s performance specifically. Best Bit: MacLaine.

The Bad – Ricki Lake is so bad in the lead role that it completely sinks the film, it is only saved a tiny bit by how genuine the romance that anchors the plot feels, and I think if the story was better Lake’s performance could be forgiven. The main issue is the storyline is just a huge downer. You bookend the film with two lovely and generous people tragically dying in a train wreck, and a murder of a dirtbag blackmailer. Everything in between is poisoned by just how depressing the core of the story is. Unfortunately there isn’t much to be done, it isn’t quite so easy to just put everyone in comas and call it a day, and I suppose all of this comes from the book. Fatal Flaw: Downer story.

The BMT – Slightly higher that you would think. It is definitely one of the better Big Wedding type garbage rom coms I’ve seen. If someone wanted to watch Mrs. Winterbourne I wouldn’t flat out refuse like with a lot of other films. But the BMT cred is mostly just as a twin film as usual with this cycle. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them by not merely being a boring mess of a film. The fact that there were some truly heartfelt moments, and a whole lotta weird choices made it at least a bit interesting to watch, even if it isn’t a particularly good-bad film.

Roast-radamus – A fantastic Setting as a Character (Where?) for Massachusetts and Boston in particular complete with a walk along the Freedom Trail. And throw out the Worst Twist (How?) for the incredibly obvious twist that Steve’s new pregnant girlfriend murdered him. So obvious in fact that they literally show the woman leaving the motel in the scene before. I think this is closest to Bad … although I could be convinced this is actually a good movie if you ignore Ricki Lake’s performance.

StreetCreditReport.com – I actually did find a blog / old website list from 1996 with Mrs. Winterbourne on it which is kind of amazing. Otherwise I think you throw this on a top 10 worst films set in Boston list. I imagine it could make a list for the worst mistaken identity films. Almost all of its credit, as is usual, is because the film is a twin film, and we love twin films.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we curled up with our old friend Jeff Fahey for what I would consider a rare instant classic for BMT Bring a Friend, Woman of Desire. In the end it shouldn’t be too surprising that most of the friends we watch aren’t actually particularly fun to watch, they are mostly just amusing disasters. This film from a zoomed out perspective is no different, messy, weirdly almost set in South Africa, and kind of dull. But then you get not one, but two Jeff Fahey / Bo Derek sex scenes one of which (wait for it) is performed on a motorcycle parked in Jeff Fahey’s living room. Wait a tick, that can’t be right … but oh, it is so so right. I will remember this film for one thing and one thing alone: Jeff Fahey and Bo Derek have sex upon a motorcycle sitting in Jeff Fahey’s living room. You can’t ever take that away from me. A. I don’t care what anyone else thinks, I would watch that entire film again just for that sex scene. I only wish Jeff Fahey played smooth jazz on a saxophone afterwards. Maybe that’s in the director’s cut.

Twin Analysis – In this case our two movies have the connection that one of the twins is deceased for the vast majority of the film. In the case of Mrs. Winterbourne we have Brendan Fraser playing Bill and Hugh Winterbourne which fall into the Opposite Twin trope with Bill being a straightlaced businessman, and Hugh clearly dressed as a kind of Bohemian hipster type. No split screen, but the fact that they are twins is a huge part of the story, so I’m going to give it a solid A-. Just wish we could have seen Brendan Fraser act opposite of Brendan Fraser. As for our friend Woman of Desire we again have the Opposite Twin trope with Steven Bauer playing Jonathan and Ted, where the eeeeeevil twin has murdered his own brother with the help of his brother’s lover Bo Derek. The twin energy is real here, and incredibly important. As the defense attorney says at the end “the government overlooked one little known fact: twins have the same DNA.” Wait … they did what?! Is that a little known fact? I guess in 1994 you might have to explain to a jury that indeed, the two people who look identical have the same DNA, but that sounds like a screenwriter thinking he’s about ten times more clever than he actually is. I wish Jeff Fahey was the twin though, Bauer actually wasn’t really in the movie as much as you would think. B+, great twin energy, but in a supporting role.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Urban Legends: Final Cut Recap

Jamie

The Urban Legends Killer is back, Jack! And boy… does he still like to use urban legends. Amy Mayfield is a film student looking for a new story. When she gets wind of the events of the last movie she thinks she has her subject. That is until her movie seems to be coming to life. Can she stop the killer before it’s too late? Find out in… Urban Legend: Final Cut.

How?! Amy Mayfield is a promising student in an elite film school. Competing for the coveted Hitchcock Award, she knows she’s gotta have a pretty great story to beat out Travis and other talented classmates. One day while out walking she meets Officer Reese who tells her about the events at Pendleton. Eureka! Time to make a movie. But before she can things start to go sideways almost immediately. First a hyperrealistic scene of one of the actresses ends up among their film, but with the girl now out of town Amy can’t be sure whether she should be concerned. Then Travis ends up tragically killing himself. Everyone is shocked, but no more than Amy who ends up meeting his identical twin brother Trevor who is hoping to figure out what happened. When her cinematographer disappears she asks Reese to get her the security footage of the area. On it she sees his murder but can’t act on it when she is chased by the murderer! Somehow this is all brushed by the wayside and she prepares for her next big scene, recruiting Trevor to hopefully catch the bad guy in the act. This… doesn’t go well as two more of her crew are killed. Distraught Amy and Trevor hole up in her room, but upon waking up alone Amy heads to investigate some suspicious activity. There she finds her friend Vanessa… and the murderer! Oh no! Amy is able to get away, but not before Vanessa is killed. Realizing that everyone who was killed worked on Travis’ film they investigate and realize it was tampered with and suspicion falls on Toby, the only crew member still alive. Kidnapping him, they soon realize he’s not the killer but it’s actually one of their teachers! He’s ready to take his rightful spot in Hollywood by taking Travis’ film and killing all those involved. In a final climactic showdown he is killed and everyone is safe. We end with Amy becoming a big shot director. THE END.

Why?! Amy just wants to get out of her father’s shadow, who was a big documentary filmmaker. The more interesting thing is the bad guy’s plan. So he watches Travis’ film and is like “magnifique” and decides to steal it. But alas… how to deal with all those pesky kids on the crew. I know! I’ll give Travis a bad grade and he’ll commit suicide. Then I’ll murder all the other crewmembers and… pin it on Amy maybe? Because she’s making a film that’s mimicking reality. Uh… sure? And then I’ll take the film to Hollywood and present it as my own! But what if they ask where all the great actors in the film are? Ah yes, well they all tragically died… all of them… coincidentally… no big deal… air tight, man.

Who?! Rebecca Gayheart does show up again in a cameo at the end of the movie, which is an interesting twist given that they had her live at the end of the last film (setting her up as the monster), but then jettisoned her… but then doubled back and brought her back. I guess it wouldn’t make sense for her to come back and start prowling around a random film school, but if they really wanted a franchise they probably would have had to figure out how to do just that.

What?! I do like to point out in horror films the aspects of our “monster” and how it changes. This is an interesting franchise as the murderer is changing, kinda like a Scooby-Doo episode, and must be unmasked. Surprisingly rare when you think about it. In this case they jettison the lame-o puffy winter coat in favor of the fencing mask and they really could have had something there. And at the end they teamed up Brenda and our new baddy so voila, you got this franchise cooking. After that all you’d have to have is a good movie.

Where?! This time they don’t give us that sweet, sweet New Hampshire action. In fact they give us no action at all! Booooo. They just have it set in a random school (really a university in Canada) and expect us to be satisfied. Well I wasn’t. Where is this school? How am I supposed to engage with the narrative if I don’t know where I am. Booo. F.

When?! This is a little clearer than the location as we see that it’s quite cold and there is some implication that they are coming off of Christmas vacation. This is confirmed by a large January calendar in the police station. C+.

This is probably one of the worst horror films I’ve ever seen. They lean even harder into the meta (isn’t it cool?) aspect of the Scream horror revival going so far as to end the film with the filming of “Urban Legends.” But that’s all fine if they had good actors… or anything in the film made sense… or there was a single scare in the entire thing. The most memorable aspect of the film is the killer wearing a fencing mask (good choice, actually), but that plays pretty much no role in the film at all. Everything else is g-g-g-garbage. And just to reiterate… nothing in this film makes sense. Amy sees a murder on security tape and then gets chased by the murderer… and then nothing. She literally goes back to making her movie. At times it seems like they just forgot a horror movie was going on. As for Munchies, it’s a silly movie for silly people, but it had surprisingly fun actors and stuff involved. It wasn’t a total loss given that it more or less came about with someone seeing Gremlins, picking up the nearest phone, and telling whoever was on the other end “Get me a Gremlins.” Then this appeared by magic… and yet it was actually not the worst. So kudos to that. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! More Urban Legends to spookify me around the campfire? Pass some more s’mores! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – The thing that stuck out to me illogically was that the film doesn’t have the same name as its predecessor. Urban Legend versus the plural Urban Legends: Final Cut? Bizarre choice. Why not Urban Legend 2: Final Cut? Or just Urban Legend 2? Whatever. In this one we have a bunch of television actors for the most part. The woman from House, Joey Lawrence of all people, and Anson Mount (who is now headlining a new Star Trek series as Captain Christopher Pike). All interesting actors at the time, but television actors galore usually doesn’t bode super well for a film’s quality. What were my expectations? After using most of the good urban legends I had heard of I expected to see them already scraping the bottom of the barrel with this guy. Worst acting and somehow less scares than the original to boot.

The Good – Really not much this time! The school they chose to film at was quite cinematic. And I guess it is a fine thing to try and give your killer a slightly more versatile and distinct look than the winter jacket from the first film. And they probably made the right decision trying to spin off into a more anthology style horror franchise with small connections (in this case the security guard from the first film is the only returning cast member). I also just generally like Jennifer Morrison. Given her leading role in both House and Once Upon a Time I’m a bit surprised she hasn’t been at least nominated for an Emmy for something. Best Bit: I like slasher films.

The Bad – No scares. Somehow negative scares. It actually made me less scared as I watched it. The acting was really bad as well, the kills were cheap and cheap looking, the twist was amazingly obvious (so obvious it was not obvious since the murderer had a real motive which is fairly abnormal for slashers). You’d think they would take a sequel which was designed around a film school to you know … do some film based urban legends. The tape that kills people for example would actually have been a pretty decent main plot for the film, although I suppose it is asking a lot for them to manage to come out the same year as Ringu and predate the original Ring … still there must have been some video tape based urban legends! Some film based urban legend, a cursed cast, etc. What we got was so light on urban legends it was weird. Fatal Flaw: Not scary, bad kills.

The BMT – The one two combination of Urban Legend and Urban Legends: Final Cut I think might surpass I Know What You Did Last Summer and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer as far as quintessential late-90s bad slashers. The two films are pretty explicitly carbon copies of the vastly superior Scream and Scream 2 (all the way does to the play on them effectively adapting the first film within the second film…). Just not at all tense or scary. Did it meet my expectations? Perfectly. After grasping at some tenuous urban legends in the first film it was obvious they were going to be grasping in the second. I think I would reiterate my main point: pick a single urban legend and just expand that for a sequel. The more diverse kills you try and invent / play off of the worse the franchise as a whole was going to be. And they managed to blow it up after only two films.

Roast-radamus – The original was clearly endorsed by Pepsi. This one though? A very in your face Product Placement (What?) for the Coca-Cola produced Fruitopia! I haven’t thought about that in years. I’m definitely giving a Worst Twist (How?) for the motivation of the very obvious killer: I didn’t get an award like 20 years ago so I’m going to kill a bunch of people now to become famous (better late than never I suppose…). And this one I think is closes to BMT just for being insanely, perplexingly bad for a slasher. Kind of like I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.

StreetCreditReport.com – This doesn’t appear on any lists I could find. A little late maybe (late September), but I imagine the choice was so obvious that a lot of mainstream critics just didn’t bother to see it. I do think this might be the worst slasher film of the late-90s / early-00s, although I would have to mull over the candidates for such a prestigious honor. Most of its cred, in reality, is from the film being a blatant rip off of Scream 2. Somehow they went right back to that well despite it making little sense.

Bring a Friend Analysis – We had a spot of trouble this week with Jamie watching Killer Workout and realizing … wait, this isn’t a twin film (despite what IMDb suggested). So we audibled to Munchies, a Roger Corman film that is quite explicitly a knock off of Gremlins. Like literally, Roger Corman wanted to make Gremlins, the editor of Gremlins wanted to direct a movie, so he was like “hey, can you make a Gremlins for me?”. She did, and the rest was history. Actually, a really fun movie in my opinion. It had just the right amount of self-awareness to make everything pretty entertaining. Also Harvey Korman, Charlie Stratton, and Nadine Van der Velde were all really good in the film I thought, which was shocking. Really cheap looking, but in a funny charming kind of way. And a lot of “that guy” energy with both Robert Picardo, and Paul Bartel in bit parts. Would definitely recommend it if you want to see what Roger Corman was doing in 1987. A. Shockingly fun creature feature.

Twin Analysis – Let’s start with Munchies first I think. In this film, due to budget no doubt, you only see Cecil and Simon Watterman (one a good hearted archeologist with some kooky theories about aliens, and the other an eeeeeevil 80s businessman) interact once. The kicker is Cecil is just Harvey Korman in a bad wig and mustache … and I’m here for it, I love it. Give me more of that evil twin with a mustache trope directly in my veins. It is a really funny idea to probably just get Harvey Korman more screen time (and save some money on paying the main actors in the film), but I think it works really well. They are pretty coy about him being a twin a lot of the time (which is funny and odd). But still a solid A- I think. The twinness is not a necessary part of the film, which would have bumped it up. As for Urban Legends: Final Cut again you never see the films on screen at the same time because one of them dies prior to the introduction of the other. In the end it felt like a giant wasted opportunity. They only vaguely head fake towards the twin being the killer, when that is by far the most interesting option for a fake twist available. If they had really committed to it I think you maybe start getting into A range, but as is I think it is a solid B. Weirdly not at all integral to the plot (he could have just as easily been an estranged brother or best friend), and too many wasted opportunities. But the twins are identical, and ultimately the twinness is at least a part of the film in the end.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Urban Legend Recap

Jamie

Natalie and her gang of college friends are just a bunch of normal college kids. That is until people they know start getting killed and, weird, they all seem to have something to do with urban legends. Despite her warnings, no one believes her and her friends get picked off one by one. Can she stop the killer before it’s too late? Find out in… Urban Legend.

How?! Natalie and her friends at college are shocked when a classmate is murdered. Little do they know that Natalie has a dark secret connection to that classmate (bum bum bum) and soon finds herself amidst a series of bizarre deaths that seem to mimic the urban legends she’s learning about in her urban legends class (you know, that class you take in college… the one all about urban legends). No one believes her though and she begins to suspect everyone. As she tries to shake off the feeling that she’s going crazy her reporter friend Paul starts to take interest in the story when he finds that all the information about their school’s very own urban legend has been scrubbed from the records. Whiffing a conspiracy, he helps Natalie try to make headway, but is soon kicked off the newspaper for his efforts. Despondent and scared, Natalie goes to a party only to have the murders kick up a notch. She attempts to escape with Paul and her friend Brenda but soon starts to suspect Paul and they run away. This all leads back to the school’s spooky abandoned dorm where it’s revealed that Brenda was behind it all! She was the girlfriend of the guy who Natalie and her friend ran off the road with an urban legend prank (who among us…). For revenge she has killed everyone around Natalie and saved her for last. But just as she is going to do it Paul shows up (and really doesn’t do much) but then the school security guard shows up and saves the day. In the end we see Natalie and Paul rushing to get help, only to have to subdue a still-not-dead Brenda (or do they? Bum bum bum). THE END.

Why?! Eventually the motive for the crimes are made abundantly clear through an exposition scene that I think was supposed to play as satire. Brenda even has a projector there to help her explain her motives to Natalie/The Audience. Natalie isn’t purely an audience surrogate, though, she has that whole backstory about killing someone that explains why she’s so paranoid. It’s actually a wild plot point considering you are shown the flashback of their “prank” where they literally are laughing and laughing and laughing like crazy people as they run a dude off the road. It’s weird. The whole film is bizarre at times.

Who?! I think the most notable thing about the cast of this film was the inclusion of Robert Englund aka Freddy Krueger. It’s more than a cameo considering he’s one of the main suspects throughout the film. Interesting inclusion here since unlike what he was famous for this film never spawned a “Jason” or even a “Ghostface.” Kinda botched the monster/killer really.

What?! For any horror film you have to look to the motif. Jason has his mask and machete. Freddy his knives and striped shirt/fedora combo. Mike Myers has the mask. And Urban Legends has the… weird winter coat that everyone seems to own? It’s super lame and the closest thing they got to a distinctive weapon was an ax. Yawn. 

Where?! New Hampshire! Where were you when we were doing What Goes Up for that one on mapl.de.map? This is delightfully set in the Granite State and I loved it for it. It’s very clear, but doesn’t play a huge role in the plot other than the note that the types of urban legends that are discussed in the film often start with “At a college in the Northeast…” B+ 

When?! We do get an exact date on this one as the date of the big party. It’s April 23rd or thereabouts… oddly clear in the film and yet noted no where on the internet (and while crazy, I won’t be renting the movie again to get the exact date). Trust me, though, it was not really all that important of a date other than the fact that it was exact… oh so very exact. B.

This movie is traaaaaash. The acting is terrible and the writing seems like they fished a dusty old slasher script out of a drawer and rewrote the bare minimum to make it a “super cool meta” Scream knockoff. The best that you can say is that they seemed to be having fun while they made it and it’s way better than the sequel. I really didn’t like this movie, but after watching the second one I was getting a bit nostalgic for all the great times I had loving, learning, and learning to love again with my dear friend Urban Legend. But don’t be tricked! This movie is terrible. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We watched not one, but two Urban Legends. Did I ever tell you about the time I was driving home and then it turned out there was an escaped serial killer in the back seat? True story, he chopped my head clean off. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – This one has been kicking around for a while (not least of which because it stars Pacey from Dawson’s Creek), and it is nice to complete another slasher franchise, albeit only two films, in the course of BMT. The only thing I think I ever really knew about it is it’s a knockoff of Scream. And the preview … yeah, it seems like that was the consensus at the time, that this is a knockoff of Scream and therefore bad. Well guess what? As long as I’m spooky scared, I’ll be happy. What were my expectations? A knockoff of Scream. The trailer also looks super late 90s, so I was hoping for a bit of amazing 90s fashion. If it is at all scary I think its a success.

The Good – Uhhhhhhhhhhh. Hm. I think there is a place for the true blue teen slasher film. I like the setting of the college campus, and even recently that ends up as a solid setting for a slasher film (and likely the reason Happy Death Day uses it as a setting as well). I think despite the film becoming a bit of a muddle in production, I really liked the look of the killer with the big winter coat. Something about killers and winter storms (a la Whiteout) works real well for me. Additionally, unlike the sequel they at least drew on some real urban legends, so some of those were good to see on film at least. And finally, I think this is probably the best I’ve seen Tara Reid in a film, she was surprisingly good considering she became somewhat of a punchline soon after. Best Bit: The killer’s design.

The Bad – The film is maybe the least scary slasher I’ve ever seen. And they completely telegraph the killer’s identity to boot. It is like an episode of Psych (or choose some equivalent generic murder mystery show), the main character has a dark secret, she killed a high school boy by accident in an urban legend prack gone wrong. Do you see it? Can you guess who the killer is? That’s right, the high school boy’s girlfriend! And of the cast only one person fits the description and voila, you have your killer 45 minutes into the film. As one would expect, the acting is really bad, and it isn’t well served by the muddled production, plus most of the characters are just garbage humans, making them hard to root for. Fatal Flaw: Predictable and not scary.

The BMT – I think as a twosome the Urban Legend franchise has a lot going for it in BMT history. You have the one-two punch of knocking off both Scream and Scream 2. You have a great concept completely ruined by half-assed production. And you have maybe the least scary two slasher films I’ve seen in a long while. Throw in the sequel being a twin flm and you’re cooking with fire! Did it meet my expectations? For enjoyment? No, the film is not scary and sucks. For a bad film? I guess … it is really bad. Like I-want-to-paint-a-portrait-of-this-film bad. So there is a lot of BMT-ness, just not a lot of “hey watch this movie, it’s hilarious”-ness.

Roast-radamus – Very nice Product Placement (What?) for Pepsi. Just wait until you see this section for the sequel, can anyone say trouble in paradise? Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for the fictional college town of Melbourne, New Hampshire. And a pretty awful Worst Twist (How?) for oooooh nooo my BFF turns out to be a psycho ex-girlfriend of the person I accidentally killed! I think this is closest to Bad in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – It doesn’t make a huge impact on lists. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure, seems like at least some critics would just hate slashers in general. This probably makes so expanded lists for worst 90s slashers. But overall the credit is fully from that Scream knockoff genre that popped up in the late 90s. This series, unlike I Know What You Did Last Summer, is unabashedly a Scream carbon copy, all the way down to a meta narrative playing off of slashers in general. And in the end if you are at all a fan of the Scream franchise this is worth checking out in that context.

I’ll have to leave that here since the Bring a Friend and Twin Analyses will be for the main film watched this week in Urban Legends: Final Cut.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Bad Company Recap

Jamie

CIA operative extraordinaire Kevin Pope is killed while in the middle of trying to obtain a dirty bomb. Realizing that they only have one option, his partner Oakes recruits Kevin’s street hustling, separated-at-birth twin Jake to join the squad. Can he learn to be a spy and get back that dirty bomb before it’s too late? Find out in… Bad Company.

How?! Kevin Pope is a dapper CIA operative with a flair for high class. A real James Bond type. But when our boy Kev goes down moments after making a deal for a dirty bomb the CIA are in a tough spot. Lucky for them (and that’s an understatement), Kevin had a twin that was separated at birth, Jake. Jake is a hustler on the streets of NYC and Kevin’s partner, Oakes, considers it impossible that they could get him up to speed in time. Despite this Jake takes the money the CIA is offering in order to prove that he can provide for his girlfriend. Things… actually go pretty well from there. Jake is a genius like his bro and just never applied himself. In short order the CIA wants to test him and sends him to NYC to impersonate Kevin. Unfortunately he is attacked while there and goes on the run. Only when Oakes lays out the case for why they really need him does Jake rejoin the team and head to Prague. There Jake is shocked to meet up with Kevin’s beautiful girlfriend, Nicole. Going out to dinner with her he realizes that he only has eyes for his girlfriend back home and breaks up with her. At the same time, he is attacked by rival buyers and is able to only narrowly escape. When he meets up with the sellers they are ambushed by the rival buyers and the bomb is stolen. Fortunately they were able to lock it with Jake’s retinal scan, which now is the only thing standing in the way of disaster. Realizing this, the terrorists grab Jake’s girlfriend and hold her hostage. Jake and Oakes go after her and are able to get into an action-packed thrill ride of a shootout with the terrorists and they save everyone thanks to Jake’s big ol’ brains. Later we see Jake and his girlfriend getting married and everything is great. THE END.

Why?! To save the world, duh. Really this is as straightforward as a Bruckenheimer film can be. The bad guy wants money. The good guys want to stop them, despite all the obstacles in the way. Jake also wants to prove to his GF that he’s a man worth marrying and boy howdy, does he ever. So I guess what I’m saying is love isn’t dead and the motivation for this film is love. Awwwww.

Who?! I really do love speculating on uncredited performances. Apparently Charlie Day was in this as a stoner but was uncredited… which makes sense considering I think his scenes were cut. But shockingly Shea Whigham was uncredited despite having a fairly sizable role, particularly at the end where he was one of the heroes. I wonder if maybe there was also something about the cuts to his part that ended up with him going uncredited? Because he clearly was significantly cut out of the film until near the end (where I think it started to be infeasible to do so).

What?! Solid enough MacGuffin in this one, although I often wonder about the strict definition of a MacGuffin. The stereotype is represented best in Pulp Fiction: a briefcase that contains… something of great importance. The audience never even becomes aware of what it is, just that people want it. Sure this is a briefcase, but we more or less are in the know that it’s a dirty bomb and it functions, well, as a bomb. So is that a MacGuffin. I still say yes, but maybe not the best of the best.

Where?! Good settings here with Prague to NYC to Langley, back to NYC, and then back to Prague. Everything is made pretty clear throughout and honestly, I thought Prague looked beautiful. Made me want to go there. Good use of NYC as well considering Jake is a hustler talking about the Knicks, Yanks, etc. all movie. B.

When?! For some reason I had the impression that it was the spring… like April or something. Can’t exactly remember if that was made clear, but Rock is talking up selling Yankees, Knicks, and Rangers tickets I think. And mentions the Masters. Then after he saves the world it’s three months later that he’s getting married on what looks like a beautiful summer day. That’s a solid… D.

Bad Company is a fun, dumb action film that can scratch an itch if you need it to. It really has two fatal flaws. You saw them in big letters on the poster: Rock. Hopkins. I don’t want to be unkind to Chris Rock, but this wasn’t really the movie for him. He seemed a little out of his depth in a role that I think could only have been salvaged by someone like Will Smith. I’m talking Will Smith level star power and charisma and unfortunately there aren’t many people on the planet (ever?) with that. As for Hopkins, this may as well have been billed as Weekend at Bernies 3. I kinda dug his relaxed, seen-it-all CIA attitude at times but… my man, perk up once in a while so we know you’re alive. This could have been salvaged by bigger, more interested stars, but the material was pretty flat for this cast. As for Dragon Hunt, this classic from Up North was probably the first time in my life that I thought, “actually… twins are kinda creepy and real weird.” I didn’t conceive of the possibility that there was a line you could cross with twinness, but the mustachioed martial artist McNaramas were certainly toeing it, if it does exists. The saddest part? Apparently this was a sequel to a film and we weren’t aware of it when we watched it! Noooooooooooooooooooooooo. We’ll eventually have to watch another one! Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Remember back in 2002 when everyone was clamouring for that classic action-comedy team up of Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock? Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I distinctly remember the trailer to this film, because I remember thinking exactly what I was thinking nearly 20 years later when I watched the trailer in the preview: it is so weird that Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock were in an action-comedy spy film together. It truly makes no sense. It is like they put every major Hollywood star, put them in a hat, and pulled out two random names as Joel Schumacher looked on asking “uh … can we rechoose the leads to my film?” and Jerry Bruckheimer just shook his head no. What were my expectations? Pure lunacy I suppose. Although in reality I kind of just imagined that Chris Rock couldn’t hold down a semi-serious spy role and the film would end up just sinking under his performance.

The Good – The actual spy bit of this film is halfway decent. During the first half of the film I definitely was entertained and if it wasn’t for the two leads I would have wondered about why exactly the film was so reviled at the time. If this film was an Amazon Original television show with the premise that the twin of a CIA agent has to be quickly trained up to become a CIA agent himself after his brother is killed (don’t worry, it turns out the brother faked his own death, but that’s season 2) they I think it actually works really well. For real though … how haven’t they remade Bad Company into a television show, it seems like a perfect premise, like Chuck. Despite being completely out of his depth, I do like Chris Rock and he’s faintly amusing in the film. Best Bit: Premise.

The Bad – The performances of Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock are something to behold indeed. Anthony Hopkins appears to have been awoken from a deep slumber just prior to filming each scene he is in. He looks so tired and disinterested, and he’s also just chomping on gum half of the time, it’s insane. Chris Rock on the other hand is just not a good actor. His jokes on occasion land, but mostly it seems surreal that you are watching an actual Joel Schumacher spy film and Chris Rock is just plopped into scenes as if directly off of a stand up set next door. The entire thing is so standard fare, that indeed, the bad performances by the leads end up sinking what would otherwise be … let’s say Safe House. It is like a poor man’s Safe House. Fatal Flaw: Lead performances.

The BMT – It’ll be one among many BMT twin films in the end. I think it’ll have some legs as a bad buddy cop film, a bad Joel Schumacher film, and of course as a film primarily set in Prague (which is awesome and extremely rare it turns out). So it has some BMT notables. That being said, I doubt I would recommend this film or watch this film again beyond telling someone that it is kind of okay if you don’t mind bad acting. Did it meet my expectations? Kind of. It was completely sunk by the performances, but in the end ended up being a bit too coherent to really be a truly great bad film.

Roast-radamus – I’m going to give a rare Prop I Really Want (What?) to Anthony Hopkins’ Harvard University Police hat that he wears throughout the film … I just don’t get it, but I love it. A definitely great Setting as a Character (Where?) for Prague, a rare bad movie locale. A solid MacGuffin (Why?) for the suitcase nuclear bomb that Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins are chasing throughout the film. And just like last week I think this is surprisingly closest to a Good film as far as the superlative categories.

StreetCreditReport.com – For the most part this film missed out on top ten lists for the worst of 2002. But I did manage to find it on a few blogs / listicles websites for worst spy films. So it has a bit of cred there. Obviously it’ll make a list for worst twin films, but I think its biggest claim to fame is as the worst film set in Czechia. So that’s some decent cred.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week as another twin action film, we brought along a very obscure film called Dragon Hunt starring the McNamara twins aka the Twin Dragons. The film appears on a lot of Canuxploitation film lists (see here), and is apparently notable for being the first Canadian martial arts film released to theaters (although I found no evidence it was, in fact, released to theaters). Elsewhere on the internet it was suggested that it is a remake of Twin Dragon Encounter, but a flashback at the beginning of the film makes it clear that it is merely a sequel with a very similar story. A vanity project through and through, the film is oddly much more of a survivalist film than a martial arts film. While the twins do show off kickboxing on occasion, most of the fighting is done with traps, weapons, and eventually firearms. I can’t really say the film is particularly entertaining, it is the kind of small VHS trash that is faintly amusing for about 15 minutes. But the actor known simply as B. Bob, who plays the main villain Jake (who would comfortably fit into any post-apocalyptic straight-to-video film) somewhat saves the film with his strange catchphrases and voiceovers that punctuate what would otherwise be a pretty boring film. C-, it would have been a D without Jake, but it is certainly not a film I’ll ever willingly watch again or recommend. Perhaps the original Twin Dragon Encounters is better. Only time will tell.

Twin Analysis – Alright, As far as Bad Company is concerned I’m going to dock some points because Chris Rock never gets to meet his twin brother in the film, he is killed prior to the CIA picking up his streetwise character. I’ll give some bonus points for the fact that people can kind of tell he’s not actually his brother, and because they play off of the Opposite Twin trope and also the Rich/Poor Twin Separated at Birth trope. Those are some nice trops. A- I think, if only Chris Rock could have got in on some split screen action I think I’d have given it an A, but it has to get a ton of credit for the twin element being so vital to the plot. As for Dragon Hunt the twin aspect isn’t super vital to the plot, and the twins are absolutely dire actors. There aren’t many twin tropes either … it is just incidental that the main actors are twins, it isn’t even in the title of the film. For all that I’m going to give it a B+, just because of how weird these twins obviously are. They’re both martial artists and obviously extremely into their Twin Dragon brand, so much so they made multiple terrible Canadian martial arts films to prove just how awesome they are as people (and twins). If they didn’t come across as the second weirdest twins in the world (after us) the movie would definitely get like a C- twin grade.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Father Figures Recap

Jamie

Peter and Kyle are as different as twins can be. Kyle is a fun loving free spirit, while Peter is a down-on-his-luck sad sack. When Peter finds out that the story about their dead father was all a lie, they set out in search of their real dad. Can they find their dad (and maybe get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Father Figures.

How?! Peter is a divorced doctor who laments how his life turned out. His kid hates him, he does rectal exams all day, and the highlight of his day is watching TV alone. It’s all made worse when at his mother’s wedding he is reminded about the carefree, fun lifestyle of his fraternal twin brother Kyle. The cherry on top is that at the same wedding he finds out the story about his dead dad was all a lie! The man very well could still be alive. With Peter’s world crumbling, Kyle agrees to set off and find their father. First stop, Terry Bradshaw (duh) playing himself and boy does he. He’s ready to accept them into the family until he realizes that while their mom was great in the sack, they weren’t together at the time of conception. Time to head off again. This time to confront Ronald Hunt. The loser criminal doesn’t seem like the best dad, but they still give him a shot. Unfortunately he gets them wrapped up in trying to steal a car. Oops. Time to give up, but while heading to the airport they pick up a hitchhiker who gets them lost in the middle of nowhere. While arguing about the state of things, they almost get killed by a train and realize that all they need is each other… and the magical hitchhiker. So with their new Enterprise Rent-a-car they head off to none other than Worcester, MA (!) where they’ve got a hot tip on another potential dad, Patrick O’Callahan. On the way, Peter has a one night stand with a woman who he is shocked to find was Patrick’s daughter! Uh oh! But Patrick’s twin brother insists it’s not true, because Patrick didn’t have sex before marriage. Instead it must have been Peter and Kyle’s family vet, Dr. Tinkler. They head home to confront him where their mother reveals the truth: they were adopted. She doesn’t know who their father is, but their mother was a young drug addict she was trying to help. Realizing that life is more about what you have and that they have each other, Peter and Kyle team up to start a new billion dollar app and everything is looking pretty good. THE END.

Why?! For a film with a scene of a kid peeing on Owen Wilson, Ed Helms thinking he had sex with his sister, and a weird (but kind of good (but also out of place)) satire of the magical black person trope, it’s a pretty heavy film. It’s very much about finding and understanding your purpose in life and not getting hung up or dwelling on what you’ve lost, what you thought you had, or what you want, but appreciating what you have. Particularly when it comes to family. Peter and Kyle didn’t choose their family, but they realize that their family actually did choose them, and that despite how different they are the love they have is stronger than those differences. It’s really nice… for a film that’s not super great.

Who?! This isn’t Terry Bradshaw’s first BMT rodeo. We know him best from Failure to Launch, and that honestly was a better effort considering he wasn’t just playing a cartoon version of himself. Then there was The Cannonball Run where he played *check notes* Terry… huh… guess I’m not sure whether he was playing himself in that one.

What?! This is actually one of my favorite subtle product placements in recent memory. Peter and Kyle get their rental car destroyed by a train and we see them talking to a man delivering a new one and are all like “that’s for delivering the new rental car.” And I’m like “Ha, Enterprise up in here.” And then in the credits we see under special thanks: Enterprise. Even if you totally explode your car with a train, Enterprise will still deliver a new one.

Where?! Nice solid road trip film starting in Ohio and then going to Florida, New York, and Massachusetts. Finishing with a taste of Hawaii is also perfect. I also can’t really get over that they very specifically head to my old stomping grounds, Worcester, MA. Although I didn’t recognize where they went, so not sure they actually filmed there. B+.

When?! I do not know when exactly this took place. My guess is that it’s early Fall given the wedding setting, the changing leaves in New York, and shift towards sweaters as they journeyed north… yes, I’m insane. My guess is that if we really poured through all the footage we’d find something. Maybe the prop Enterprise Rent-a-car rental agreement has a date on it. F.

To me this seemed like a film that was written by three different people. Or perhaps even existed as three scripts before being merged together. It’s very surprising that there is just one writer considering how quickly and often they vacillate between comedy styles. You’ve got an indie Jeff Who Lives at Home vibe going on, then the next second it feels like Harold and Kumar, and then the next second it’s like Wedding Crashers. It just never seemed like they knew exactly what they wanted to make. As a result even something that could be good, like what I take as satire of the “magical black person” cliche, can get lost and confused in the muddle of everything. But I can’t say the underlying message wasn’t touching, it’s just the journey to get there didn’t come together well at all. As for Twin Sitters, I couldn’t have been more tickled by the bizarre Paul twins and their twin extravaganza of a film. Twins everywhere and they are just muscley freaks of nature with fashion for days. I disagree with Patrick a bit, much better than Santa with Muscles and for one main reason: I kinda liked that the Paul twins weren’t afraid to play stupid. Big muscle guys seem to shy away from that (Hulk Hogan being a prime example). They always want to be big brain business people or scientists. Wrong! Give me some twin dum dums! I love it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Ugh, fraternal twins. Whatever, I guess we had to watch a film with fraternal twins eventually. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – The film has been on our radar for a long while, but for an odd reason: it might have one of the best examples of a terrible movie poster ever! Just look at all of those faces staring out at you from a snow white background. Really just useless garbage. Anyways, modern bad comedies tend to just be boring and no fun, and I doubt this would be any different. It can’t help but end up being wholesome in the end. That fact that it has bad reviews suggests it is boring. What were my expectations? To be bored and to laugh zero times.

The Good – Funnier than I expected, and that is entirely due to Owen Wilson. Something about his exudes charm, and while he is leaning into his vague surfer/stoner hippy schtick in the film, it ends up working (except when they make him anxious and sad in the middle of the film). I think his performance, plus a surprisingly surprising twist involving Katie Aselton, end up saving the back half of the film. Oh and out of nowhere I really liked the diversion involving Katt Williams’ hitchhiker character. There is a weird amount of stuff to like for a film that is really not very interesting. Oh and I secretly liked the silly connections drawn to The World According to Garp right at the end. Best Bit: Owen Wilson.

The Bad – It is indeed pretty not funny and boring, especially the first half of the film. I didn’t really like Ed Helms’ character who was so depressing that he had to end up with a happy ending because it was literally impossible to make him sadder at the end of the film. Terry Bradshaw was awful in the film, and surprisingly so was J.K. Simmons. The entire film felt inevitable. If you could start the film with a better first father than Bradshaw, and then flow right into them being depressed about a near miss there with the Katt Williams hitchhiker character, and skip the middle bit, I think the film ends up much better. Considering it is far too long for a comedy, I’m surprised they didn’t try and reedit it into a leaner film. Fatal Flaw: Trite.

The BMT – I think the only thing this film will be notable for in terms of BMT in the future is that terrible poster. It’ll be the poster child (heyooooo) for “throw a bunch of faces on a white piece of paper and call it a day” style of modern movie posters. Otherwise it might be a small stop on the Owen Wilson bad movie filmography,twin films (fraternal or not), and road trip films maybe. I will probably never watch this film ever again. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them, but in the wrong direction, it was too good. It had a few solid laughs, and the back half was too interesting to be boring.

Roast-radamus – A solid Product Placement (What?) with Dunkin’ Donuts. Turns out both America and existential-journeys-to-find-your-father run on Dunkin’. A great Road Trip (Where?) film covering Ohio, Florida, New York, and Massachusetts, including a ton of driving (and presumably stops at Dunkin’). I do think we have a MacGuffin (Why?) for the search for the ultimate MacGuffin: Dad (awwwwwwwww). I don’t think any of the twists are bad unfortunately. I think this is closest to Good personally. I couldn’t help but be touched by the message being presented, and Wilson was solid.

StreetCreditReport.com – I was looking through all the lists and mainly marvelling that I’ve seen probably a solid 50% of the worst films of 2017 on any given list. That’s pretty impressive given the sometimes random choices some of these lists make (The Only Living Boy in New York is on the AV Club list and Transformers 5 isn’t … what?). Usually I’d say something like “I’m not shocked this film went under the radar” … but I am legitimately shocked that this film wasn’t on any list! And then I realized why, it was a Christmas film! Ah, well rest assured this had cred galore. I think it would have easily made most top 10 lists for the year, and is definitely the worst twin film of 2017. And this is coming from someone who kind of liked the film!

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we brought along another twin-based comedy in Twin Sitters. What a wild career Peter and David Paul had. Twin bodybuilders, they managed to star in four films. The last few are a lot like this where the twins straight up say “we’re big dumb brutes.” What a strange idea of a career, playing character that are almost too dumb to function but big and strong. And the entire film is very twin-centric with the twins baby-sitting another set of twins! The child twins are actually the actors who played the lead child role in Kindergarten Cop which is pretty fun. The entire film is really silly, directed by the actor who played the bad guy’s son in UHF (and Jambi in Peewee’s Playhouse) who also appears in the film. It really is just so dumb it is hard to articulate coherent feelings on. I guess the most interesting thing was the end is a lot like 3 Ninjas with a group of bad guys attempting to infiltrate the house to kidnap the children, and the Paul twins fighting them with household objects. Where did that cinematic trope originate? Looney Tunes? Are the Paul twins just big cartoon characters? Anyways, I bet there are better Barbarian Twin films out there. If I’m being honest, this just feels like a weird knockoff of other films. It feels like Santa With Muscles, so C-, wouldn’t really recommend it unless you are watching all of the Paul twin films or something.

Twin Analysis – I’m going to tell it like it is: fraternal twins start at a C. Sorry, not sorry, it is just the way it is. They might as well be brothers. Anyways, I did like the Polar Opposite Twin trope, that’s a classic. With Helms being an uptight doctor, and Wilson being a very laidback loser who fell ass backwards into money. The twin angle plays a decent sized role in the film as well. Lucky for the film there is an identical twin in the film (one of the potential fathers is an identical twin), and a set of twins at the end. Three twins!! I’m going to give it a B. Much better than I expected. Now, on the other hand we have Twin Sitters! My god, has there ever been a more twin film in the history of twin films. And another fortuitous connection, despite Peter and David Paul being very identical, they also play into the Polar Opposite Twin trope. Now that’s fun! There are, I think, five sets of identical twins in the film (and a set of identical triplets!). I was hoping the bad guy would have also turned out to be a twin, but alas, it was not meant to be. Regardless, I’m going to give this the true A+. They might not be stigmata twins, but this film has so many twins, and the idea of twins, and standing by your twin brother, and twin dynamics, and magical twin abilities … it has it all (as far as twins are concerned)!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Identical Recap

Jamie

Ryan Wade and Drexel Hemsley are identical twins separated at birth. Drexel ends up gaining worldwide fame as a musician, while Ryan struggles with his passion for music and his calling to God. This ultimately results in Ryan making a name for himself impersonating his brother on stage. Can he… uh… live his dream before it’s too late? Find out in… The Identical.

How?! There’s really not much to it. Ryan and Drexel are twins born to very poor parents in the Depression. Hearing a minister speak, they decide that fate is telling them to give one of the babies to the minister and his wife. While Ryan struggles to balance being a good minister’s son and a musician, Drexel rises from poverty to international fame. Ryan becomes a huge fan of Drexel’s without knowing their relationship and when a contest is held to find the best Drexel impersonator he enters and wins. And boy does he! Because an agent sets him up touring the country singing Drexel songs and things are pretty great. Ultimately, the inability to sing his own songs and life on the road bring him back home. Ultimately he finds out about his twin too late, as he tragically dies in a plane crash. But he is able to reconcile this and begin to tour again singing both his brother’s songs and his own. THE END.

Why?! Love… of music. Duh. The motivation is really life. He grows up with music in his bones and spends his life searching for it. Ultimately he finds it, but too late to share it with the only other person who could have understood. In some ways it’s like if Patrick and I were separated at birth and never got to combined our passion for bad movies and give it to the world *shudder* a truly terrible thought.

Who?! You have to highlight the wild story of Blake Rayne, our main character, for this section. The dude basically lived the story and then read the script and was like “wait, this is what happened to me… minus the twin part,” and then got the gig… even though he wasn’t an actor. Basically he entered an Elvis impersonator contest on a dare and won and then spent years doing that.

What?! Didn’t know what to put here, really, but did notice that this won an award according to IMDb. When I checked what it was it was “Worst Picture” from the Houston Film Critics Awards. Which is kinda hilarious that they give it out. In fact they even have nominees. This beat out Blended, Dumb and Dumber To, Left Behind, and Transformers: Age of Extinction. Interestingly, it looks like the category was discontinued starting this year. Must have seen the Smaddies Baddies buzzsaw coming its way.

Where?! This opens in Alabama, where Drexel is born and raised. Ryan is then separated and lives and grows up in Tennessee. That’s where most of the film takes place, besides some roadtrip type stuff while Ryan is on tour. All around pretty solid and plays a minor role in the film given the role of music in the plot. B+.

When?! The twins (feels good writing that) are born in 1935 and so the bulk of the film takes place from the early 50’s into the 70’s. Most of it probably takes place in the 60’s. Not bad given that we get a pretty clear picture of the exact birth date for our main character. Not important though. B.

I might have been able to forgive the film’s interminable length, directionless plot, and weird Elvis knockoff story. I even thought the story was pleasant enough and acting was all around decent. But the music… the music is terrible. I had to spend the entire film listening to these not very good songs play over and over. Sure there were a few halfway decent ones, but I literally thought Ryan’s first “hit” was supposed to be bad so that people would be like “he needs some work, but he’s otherwise good.” But no, it was apparently supposed to be that way. Then the final City Lights song that is supposed to be his crowning achievement is even worse. I’m not sure how you are supposed to make an Elvis knockoff and then write terrible songs to try to sell it. Boo. As for Sorceress, great choice by us. The film is ludicrous and I honestly am shocked it doesn’t get more play in bad movie circles. It is both unpleasant to watch and mesmerizing. A perfect combo. My only thought is perhaps it’s a little too R rated to be part of culture. Perhaps, but I don’t care. The film is Twins to the max and hilarious. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What happens when you mix Elvis impersonators with a heavy dose of Christian film production? Apparently a twin film called The Identical. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I was not looking forward to watching this film. Mainly because the preview made it incredibly obvious that it was a barely-released Christian films. One of the delights of BMT is that we tend to occasionally go out of our comfort zone to watch films where we aren’t really the intended audience. But Christian films? They are almost always boring. The one saving grace perhaps would be Ray Liotta. What were my expectations? To be bored. But perhaps with a healthy dose of Ray Liotta wearing a Ray Liotta mask and cackling at me? A boy can dream.

The Good – The main actor / elvis impersonator was better than you would expect, the expectations being so low as to effectively be non-existent. I can’t decide if Ray Liotta looking like a normal human being is a positive or negative, but his performance was more subtle that a bad movie aficionado would hope as well. It is a very very very twin film, and that has to be a positive. And at least one of the songs I think was halfway decent (Angel of Mine). And Joey Pants is great as usual. Best Bit: Low Expectations.

The Bad – The film is, as expected, a nothing film. It, indeed, had a ham-fisted attempt to insert some pro-Isreal weirdness (specifically a scene where the cast prays for Israel to win the Six-Day War), likely at the bequest of the production company. Most of that stuff is just vaguely amusing (like the “other” twin finding out he’s half Jewish), but on occasion it is so weird as to be jarring. The music is mostly crap. And I could do without one twin dying in a plane crash. Fatal Flaw: Boring nothing film.

The BMT – I’m not sure. In the future I’m sure we’ll have to pick up a bunch of Christian films in some capacity, although I’m not exactly sure how to do that properly. There is a non-insignificant number of “wide” release films, but really just films barely released to 600 theaters and they’ll mostly be like this. Let’s sum up the storyline for most of these films: Man thinks he has the perfect life, man meets adversity he can’t immediately overcome, man questions his faith in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, man has epiphany about what faith really is all about, man achieves actual perfect life. I guarantee like 80% of the films are just that with various forms of adversity plugged in. Did it meet my expectations? Sadly yeah, this film was boring. Not only that, Ray Liotta looked normal and didn’t cackle at me. So overall a disappointment I think.

Roast-radamus – Who What Where When Why How – I think I’m going to count Seth Green as a Planchet (Who?), a character who just kind of gets into trouble and the rest of the cast bemusingly pokes fun at? I can get behind that. A decent Setting as a Character (Where?) for I think both Tennessee (where most of the film takes place for obvious reasons) and Alabama (where the beginning and end up for a bit). Definitely a good Period Piece (When?) for the 50s / 60s setting to coincide with Elvis’s rise. I think the unconscious search for his twin brother counts as a MacGuffin (Why?), f-it. Closest to Bad in the superlatives.

StreetCreditReport.com – The street cred comes from it being a twin film, for it being a weirdo half-biopic of Elvis, and it being a nothing-Christian film. But interestingly 2014 was a big Christian film year. According to Rolling Stone in a 2014:God’s Not Dead, Son of God, Heaven Is for Real, Persecuted, The Identical, Left Behind, and Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas were all released! We’ve now seen three of those and God’s Not Dead will eventually be on the docket, but no wonder no list includes The Identical, it was competing with the notorious God’s Not Dead and Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas!

Bring a Friend Analysis – As a friend this week we reached deeeeeep into the depths of the early 80s Roger Corman filmography to retrieve the absolutely dire Sorceress. Starring Leigh and Lynette Harris (Playboy Playmates) the film had a somewhat notorious production. Explicitly developed to build off of the success of Conan, Jack Hill (who often worked with Corman) was roped in with the promise of a big budget, and Hill thought it could revive his career (instead this would be the last film he would direct). Amazingly, this is actually a lot more similar to The Identical than it appeared at first blush. Hill specifically wrote the script in reference to The Corsican Brothers, which sounds suspiciously similar to moments in The Identical! I can tell you this much: The Satyr in the film is the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen, the Harris twins are not actors, the effects are horrible, and the multiple beastiality and rape scenes and jokes made me very uncomfortable. I would recommend this to no one, and may God have mercy on Roger Corman’s soul for producing this pile of garbage. And yet … I’m very very surprised that this isn’t more well known in bad movie circles (it does seem to be mentioned a lot on grindhouse lists due to it being directed by Hill) because it is like watching a slow motion car crash on screen. I’m going to give it an A. I hate it, but I cannot deny the allure. Somehow it feels like this is exactly the type of films we should be watching for Bring a Friend in general, and yet I never want to watch anything like this ever again. The juxtaposition is tantalizing. It’s the satyr. It is so horrifying that one must understand the demented mind that created it. And I can’t stop thinking about it.

Twins Analysis – How twins-y was The Identical? Extremely!! There were some extreme identical twins. You had identical twins separated at birth, both destined to be songwriting stars in their own right. When one twin dies tragically the other feels the others death instinctively without having to hear of the news. These guys were one step away from being Stigmata Twins. A. I won’t be docking points for not using twins because in most cases it doesn’t make sense. Like here, what? You’re going to go out and find twin Elvis impersonators?! That’s insane. And what about Sorceress. Five words for you: The Two That Are One. The entire plot is about twin destiny and how twins are the only thing that can defeat an evil wizard. Bomb. A-, I docked a bit for the twins being such horrible actors and besmirching the good name of twins.

Cyborg Recap

Jamie

In a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by plague, hope comes in the form of a cyborg carrying a possible cure. A psychotic monster wants to control this cure, while a Slinger, a mercenary hired to protect people, is the only thing that stands in his way. Can he stop the monster and possibly save the world before it’s too late? Find out in… Cyborg.

How?! The world has been ravaged by a plague. All hope has been lost… almost. A cyborg named Pearl has been sent from the CDC in Atlanta to NYC to get information for a cure. On her way back, she is being tracked by Fender, a psycho monster who hopes to control the cure and thus control the world. After losing her bodyguard, Pearl finds Gibson, a slinger, and gets him to help her. Unfortunately Fender catches up and takes Pearl and leaves for Atlanta. Fender and a trailing girl, Nady, go after them. They track them down the coast and reminisce about Gibson’s brief happiness with a woman and her two daughters. They were killed by Fender and the younger daughter taken captive in his gang. When they do finally meet up they do battle and Gibson is able to kill a bunch of people, but just barely escapes with his life. He and Nady are tracked down and Fender crucifies Gibson on a ship. Left for dead he is able to knock down the cross and Nady helps free him. In Atlanta, Gibson again confronts Fender and they battle. Nady is killed and ultimately Gibson is able to kill Fender by impaling him on a meat hook a la Cobra. Indeed, Fender was the disease and Gibson was the cure. JK, the plague was the disease and Pearl, the cyborg, is the cure. Or at least hopefully. THE END. 

Why?! Hope. Humanity. Love. Life. Cyborg. The classics. Obviously, Fender wants power and control in a world dominated by chaos. Pearl wants to help save the world. Gibson, on the other hand, is partly just doing his job, but also wants revenge against Fender for what he did to Gibson’s family.

Who?! Probably one of the more fun athletes-turned-actors. Vincent Klyn, who played Fender, was a professional surfer. From what I can tell, he was a high prospect when he was young in the early 80’s and by the time Cyborg rolled around he was working more as a model and was discovered for the role when he was out surfing one day (if the director Pyun is to be believed). 

What?! I would say the cure for the plague is a reasonable MacGuffin, given the fact that we really don’t know much about the plague or the cure or anything. I mean, apparently there is a plague and the world is in ruins, and continues to be in ruins, because of it and… everyone just walks around no big deal? So what’s the cure for? Is Fender immune? No answers. As for props, JCVD’s necklace is listed here but specifically “is not for sale.” Yeah, wouldn’t want to give up that really cool looking prop from Cyborg. That’s a priceless gem.

Where?! Actually not a setting film. We start somewhere south of NYC heading towards Atlanta, but then get more specific as Gibson attempts to head off Fender in South Carolina where he docks to start inland towards Atlanta. The climactic fight scene takes place in Atlanta, which is even plot appropriate given the CDC’s role in the film. B+.

When?! And weirdly not a very good temporal setting film. Just generally and vaguely set in the future. It’s certainly post-apocalyptic. Can’t you tell because of all the… uh… graffiti, I guess? And the boat they have is all clunky. That’s bad right? Oh and Fender wears chainmail… I mean… right? That means it’s either really old or really in the future. Like, for sure. C.

There are aspects of the film that I was digging. I liked the bad guy and some of the quotes that he was laying down. His whole look was kinda rad too. But that’s more or less where it stopped. The film is ultra silly and looks like garbage. The film studio was basically already out of business and threw this stuff together. Let’s just say, it shows. I will give it some credit in saying that I somewhat understand why they made sequels to the film. The film made money and you can see intriguing angles to the plot to build on. Like some horror franchises where even if the first entry is awful there is sometimes enough momentum to the monster or something to carry into a few more films. As for the sequel (I only watched Cyborg 2), it is fascinating but for an entirely different reason. Angelina Jolie is front and center in her first film role and she is so raw it’s nuts. Also Jack Palance shows why he is a Tango and Cash legend and Billy Drago consumes entire sets. It’s a bit of a fun watch if only for the acting performances. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We got all kinds of robotronic up in here this week. I watched not one, not two, but three Cyborg films! Weep not for me … Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – If I’m being honest, considering how early in his career this was, this looked like just another Van Damme film. The notes somewhat corroborated this, with a troubled production and Van Damme himself re-editing the film prior to release. I was intrigued by the director (a big non-theatrical director) and the bad guy (a professional surfer), so there was some potential. What were my expectations? The usual for post-apocalyptic nonsense from the late-80s: depressing, dreary, and boring. But I would be pretty pleased if we saw some splits and buns from Van Damme, because that’s really all the people want. Give the people what they want!

The Good – There are indeed some splits in the film. Van Damme is, as usual, as good as one would expect, with some fun action sequences. Especially the sequences near the end of the film in Atlanta. The final fight with Vincent Klyn was almost definitely the major bit that Van Damme himself recut, and it indeed is quite effective. And as bad of an actor as Klyn is, he does have a striking look and thus is an decent foe for Van Damme … even if he does kind of look like Bananas from Ghosts of Mars. The stop-motion effects for the cyborg are very Robocop-esque and look pretty cool. Best Bit: Them Splits.

The Bad – The acting is pretty dire, even from Van Damme. It ends up sinking the movie in the beginning because there is nothing to hold the audience’s attention during the first half hour of the film which is just standard boring post-apocalyptic garbage. The entire structure of the film was thrown off by the sheer number of flashbacks. We get it, Van Damme fell in love once, and Vincent Klyn killed his lady love and left him for dead. It is a tale as old as time, and it feels like it was shoehorned in just to pad the run time. The titular cyborg is barely in the film, and the motivation as to why she is a cyborg is non-existent … it makes you wish Van Damme was the cyborg instead. Fatal Flaw: Flashbacks.

The BMT – I think as a whole the series is interesting from a BMT perspective in that I watched the entire trilogy in a very short amount of time. Also the trilogy manages to be three totally different things: a late-80s martial arts film, an early-90s straight-to-video sci-fi knock off, and a truly dire 90s trash apocalypse film. Unfortunately I don’t think any of them are really that entertaining, with the first being the most interesting as an early Van Damme vehicle. I think in the future we’ll have watched more Albert Pyun films and Cyborg will become very relevant to certain Bring a Friend analyses, so it has that going for it. Did it meet my expectations? I’m going to go with no. We did get a sweet split, but I also wish the Van Damme film was a bit more like Timecop in that they trusted JCVD to execute peak JCVD-ness. And I wish the sequel was more of a wild ride as well, but it was pretty boring.

Roast-radamus – I’m liking the Setting as a Character (Where?) for both New York City, Atlanta, and heck, the whole eastern seaboard. Also Boring Post-Apocalypse Hellscape (When?) for a United States which has been destroyed by a plague at some point … I assume in the 90s, it is hard to tell. I love it for the titular MacGuffin (Why?) in that Van Damme is indeed trying to save / protect a cyborg who is attempting to cure the plague using information in her cybernetic brain. I think this is closest to BMT as far as superlatives.

StreetCreditReport.com – There is surprisingly little. I think most of the cred comes from the fact that this film is, in fact, a Masters of the Universe sequel that was adapted into a vague post-apocalyptic film and recast with Van Damme. That’s pretty fun. I also think the connection to Cannon and the insanity that was the bankruptcy of that minor production house gives some interest to the events surrounding the production. Other than that it is probably like top 10 worst wide-release cyborg films ever, so that’s something.

Bring a Friend Analysis – And with any viewing of Cyborg you obviously might as well pop in your VHS copy of Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow starring a very young Angelina Jolie and none other than Jack Palance! This. Film. Is. Bonkers. Is has karate, and cyborgs, and it looks like shit, but then has Billy Drago running around like a lunatic. It dares us to ask: what if the cybernetic beings we create can know love? Anyways, the film is pretty silly with an absolutely atrocious score. There is also the most tenuous of connections with the original Cyborg. Consider: In Cyborg the entire world is plunged into dystopian madness due to a plague that kills off most of the world. By 2074 however (people from the original film could still be alive at this point!!) we’ve not only built society back up, but we’ve managed to perfectly reconstruct the smarmy corporations of late-80s / early-90s America, and we are still (somehow) competing with Japan in the technology sector?! Now that’s a non-sequel if I’ve ever heard it. Jolie and Koteas are pretty fun in their roles, and I love Palance’s weirdo mouth screen nonsense. But the film is sunk just by looking like crap and sagging a ton in the middle. B-. It is only kind of fun as a non-sequel to Van Damme’s Cyborg. Otherwise it is mostly sad. But guess what? I would probably watch it again, just to make sure I genuinely didn’t like it.

You Just Got Schooled – Uh oh, guess what? I watched Cyborg 3: The Recycler! Remember how I said Cyborg 2 was a bit odd because they posit a complete reconstruction of corporate America a mere 75 years after society completely dissolved? Well, turns out that is too expensive for a direct-to-video sequel and we’ve been plunged into a desert-like apocalyptic wasteland again for the final entry in the Cyborg trilogy. Now starring Khrystyne Haje in the Jolie role the film is … well, it really is just kind of about how abortion is wrong? You think I’m joking, but there is a pretty not-so-low-key anti-choice message in this film. Haje learns she’s pregnant with a human child fairly early in the film, but insists that she wants an abortion. Everyone though knows that she should reconsider and that she doesn’t know how much of a miracle this situation is! But luckily, once she sees the face of her child, that motherly instinct kicks in and she chooses to have the child, hoooooooray! Anyhoo, beyond that the film looks like shit and is mostly just boring. Malcolm McDowell is fifth billed but in the film for, no joke, five minutes. Richard Lynch is a fine actor, but his face looks weird and he’s a bit too hammy for my taste. It only really starts once they meet the guy from Gremlins. Even then I just felt like I was wasting my time, both of the previous entries are loads better. C-

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Supernova Recap

Jamie

Nick Vanzant is a recovering addict with a new job as the co-captain of a hospital ship. When a distress signal comes from deep space they make the jump but disaster strikes. It goes from bad to worse when the man they have come to rescue, Karl, turns out to be a psycho. Can they stop Karl and avert universal destruction before it’s too late? Find out in… Supernova.

How?! Nick is a former military pilot with a dark past. Recovering from addiction, he’s taken a post as co-captain of a hospital ship used for deep space rescue headed by Dr. Kaela Evers. A distress signal comes in, but some on board recognize the name and are worried. They make the dimension jump anyway, but the captain’s safety equipment malfunctions during the trip and he is killed. Now in charge, Nick determines that they have just enough time to gather fuel and jump back to safety before crashing into a nearby blue giant star. This would all make for a very boring movie, but luckily for the viewer, and unlucky for them, the man who sent the distress signal crashes on board the ship to spice things up. That’s because he turns out to be a creepy young man, Karl, who snuck aboard a container filled with multi-dimensional matter. One of the crew comes in contact with it and all of a sudden is made younger, faster, and stronger. Nick is concerned and upon further analysis they find that the artifact is a universal bomb meant to destroy civilizations with the gall to open it. Nick goes down to the nearby mining planet to try to find fuel, but is stranded there by Karl, who proceeds to kill everyone with his big multi-dimensional muscles and try to woo Kaele, his former lover from before he got all young and hot again using the alien machine. Can’t stop Nick, though, as he comes back and is able to subdue and trick Karl just long enough to eject him and the artifact into the blue giant. He and Kaela jump back to Earth just in time and learn two things. One, she’s pregnant (from them boning? Maybe. From them dimension-jumping together? Also maybe). Two, the artifact exploded and it’s just a matter of time before it reaches Earth. Am I smelling a sequel? (Hint: I’m not). THE END.

Why?! For most of the film they are just doing their job. They are a hospital ship, they get a distress signal, and regardless of their hesitancy due to the source of the signal they come to the rescue. Once disaster strikes it’s just a matter of survival. Karl’s motivation also seems rather simple. He’s a psycho, he’s always been a psycho, and now he’s under the control of an alien artifact that makes it so his psychotic tendencies could lead to the destruction of the universe. Very cool, Karl.

Who?! As mentioned, this is one of the very very few BMT qualifying films where the director (here Walter Hill) decided to go under a pseudonym. Not Alan Smithee, that was already played out, but Thomas Lee. While Patrick already notes that this will complete the pseudonymous directors for BMT proper, I will note that we will certainly get another as a Bring a Friend with Birds II: Land’s End. 

What?! The alien artifact here is almost certainly a MacGuffin. Even more so that in the other Hellraiser in Space, Event Horizon. This is legit a little glowy pod that everyone is like “woah, this is super powerful and everyone will want it and it can do crazy damage and also make people younger and also contains ninth-dimensional matter.” And then everyone fights over it for an hour. Classic MacGuffin.

Where?! I do believe this is set entirely in deep space. At no point are we really ever sure of where they are except perhaps at the end when I think they jump close to Earth. This is through and through a space movie and nothing else. But that still means something as that setting is super necessary to the plot. A.

When?! Everywhere you look talks about how this was set in the early years of the 22nd century. I don’t necessarily recall how that is know besides maybe context clues (or maybe the presumption that it occurs about 100 years after present day), but I just gotta trust it. I’ll give it a B.

This was a hard film for me to assess. On first blush, I was surprised to see that this film was entirely disowned by the director(s). It had a dark, interesting style with some special effects that were impressive. The plot of coherent, with only a few parts where you could see the heavy post-production work show through (most notably a random sex scene between Nick and Kaela, which really confuses the pregnancy aspect of the end of the film). The last part of the film is not good and starts to veer into Lost in Space territory, with a final battle that just looks silly. But would I have guessed that the movie was considered a well-known disaster? Not really. The second half is straight-up bad and the whole thing is a little too self-serious to have fun with, but otherwise there were things I liked. Would I recommend it? Deary me, no. But it was more of a standard bad movie than I expected, given the reputation. Could it be one of those Ishtar type cases where the drama of the production ended up coloring the reviews at the time? Don’t know, but that’s my impression. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’re going back to outer space and dabbling in Black Holes with Supernova. More like Superdupernova, amirite? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – This film and Event Horizon were always confused in my mind. I could never really remember which was the horror film I found spooky scary, so I avoided both in the end. This isn’t a horror film though, it is a thriller that ended up being a mess and the director disowned it. A few fun facts in the preview though, like how the reshoots were performed by Francis Ford Coppola. That’s fun. What were my expectations? For this film to be cut to shit. Well and truly just butchered in the editing room. It was abandoned by its director and reshot twice … surely the film cannot be remotely coherent.

The Good – For the first half of the film the style, and in particular the sets, are extremely interesting. Like, I was intrigued by the storyline, and the deep space travel, etc. I was also surprised by Spader. I mostly know Spader by his later work, in particular his short stint on The Office, and his speaking style and mannerisms come across as really weird out of context. Seeing that same speaking style coming out of a very young and svelte Spader was jarring, but I couldn’t help but wonder how he didn’t become a major leading man in the early 00s instead of dropping into television. He was quite good. Best Bit: Spader.

The Bad – The film does completely fall apart in the second half. By the end of the film the ship ends up looking like Jason X due to the sheer silliness of what is happening within it … Somehow I liked the ship’s design in the first half, and then ended up feeling lost within a silly set in the second half. It was a weird feeling. The rest of the cast (in particular Peter Facinelli) were quite poor. And while the idea of the film is fine, the ultimate wishy-washy “welp … maybe Earth is going to be destroyed in 250 years … see you later!” ending didn’t help with the feeling that you were seeing only part of a film. Finally, for a thriller it was distinctly non-thrilling. It would have been better served just leaning heavily into horror. Fatal Flaw: Over-edited Nightmare.

The BMT – I think we’ve now completed a pretty solid stable of bad outer space films, and while this is mostly upper mid-table in badness, it still is an interesting note. Probably most notable as a Smithee film. This is, in fact, only the second BMT film where the director used a pseudonym … that sounds crazy, but I think it is because not very many wide release films get disowned in the end. Are there even any others available … let me do the analysis … Yeah, we have now completed all of the disowned BMT films available! Just Visiting and Stealing Home have people with pseudonyms, but I think that was for other reasons, and An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn wasn’t actually released widely. Kind of incredible. That genuinely means Hellraiser: Bloodline was the only (bad) Alan Smithee film ever released widely to theaters. That is insane! Did it meet my expectations? I think so, just for that early 00s shiny spaceship look and Spader being Spader I think it ended up being a pretty funny film to watch.

Roast-radamus – Unfortunately the setting and time period is a bit too vague to actually get any awards I think. Definitely love the MacGuffin (Why?) though for the alien nuclear bomb, and Worst Twist (How?) for the magic alien technology being said bomb designed to kill off other intelligent life in the universe. I think this is easily closest to BMT for the superlatives.

StreetCreditReport.com – The issue with finding lists for films from the 2000s is that you end up finding “worst films of the 00s in total” lists. I couldn’t find it on any of those. I do think this would give “worst black hole / supernova films” lists a run for their money. And I think it could even get to worst space films as well. But it definitely ends up on a short list of non-Smithee disowned films. Walter Hill hates this film. Now that’s some cred!

You Just Got Schooled – The wikipedia article for Supernova noted similarities with this film and the TV movie Alien Cargo! Obviously, I had to complete the trilogy (alongside Event Horizon). Debuting on January 28th, 1999 on UPN’s Movie of the Week (!) the film is actually kind of okay? Cheap looking, but the storyline of a space cargo ship drifting away from the solar system after parts of the crew kill each other in inexplicable anger is actually pretty neat (and indeed, quite similar to Supernova). In the end it turns out the Alien Cargo is a trap likely deployed by a sinister alien race who were attempting to use it to infect and destroy humanity. The most interesting bit is the methods by which Jason London (star of last week’s schooling film The Man in the Moon) helps save the sleeping crew of his cargo ship. C. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are ready to watch an old UPN movie of the week. But also you can almost definitely do worse.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs