Two of a Kind Recap

Jamie

We open in Heaven… seriously… where God is like “Earth is dunzo” but some angels convince him to give it another chance if a miracle happens. So God is like, “Fine, I’ll spare it if total trash human, Zack, becomes a not trash person.” The angels are sad, cause Zack is trash. Can Zack be redeemed (and perhaps even get the girl?) before it’s too late? Find out in… Two of a Kind.

How?! God is ready to dump Earth. Just trash it, cause it’s garbage. But the angels beg him to give Earth one more try. So he’s like, “Fine, if that guy over there miraculously turns out to be a good person then I won’t trash Earth.” When we look down, that person is John Travolta and we are like “shit.” That’s cause he’s Zack and he’s an inventor in debt with the mob. In order to get the money he owes he decides to rob a bank, but the teller, Debbie, has different ideas. Seeing a juicy opportunity she gives him a bag of trash and takes the money herself. Distressed and still on the run, Zack tracks down Debbie and despite being a total creeper is able to woo her and start a romantic relationship. Meanwhile, The Devil has joined the game and begins to try to mess with Zack’s journey to salvation. Things come to a head when, after a nice time out on the town together, The Devil has led the mobsters to Debbie’s apartment. Even after they escape, he has also led the police there with a tip about the bank robbery. Using the temptations of El Diablo, the police are able to get Zack to turn on Debbie. She refuses to turn on Zack and with the help of the angels is able to beat the rap. Realizing that Debbie never betrayed him, Zack has a change of heart and chases after Debbie. At the same time The Devil realizes that if Zack actually does lose and God destroys the Earth then he’s out of a job, so he orchestrates taking Debbie hostage. Realizing he’s in love Zack jumps in front of a bullet for Debbie, but miraculously survives. Thus we fulfill the requirements of the bet and Earth is saved. Hooray. THE END.   

Why?! I have two readings of this film. One is that Travolta is simply a survivor. Always running and scrambling to live (and invent) another day. That’s his motivation and the distillation of his character, so when he reverses course and takes a bullet for ONJ it’s truly a miracle. That’s the way I like to read it. I do wonder, though, whether the extensive God/Devil/Heaven/Angels storyline is pointing more towards a strained Adam and Eve metaphor. That Travolta and ONJ are simply human, no better or worse, who are able to be tempted by the Devil into their bad deeds.

Who?! Once again ONJ is pretty charming and puts out some bangers for an otherwise very strange movie. Like check out Twist of Fate. Daaaaaang. I just added that to my running playlist. Otherwise, it’s notable that Gene Hackman voices God and goes uncredited. Sometimes you can get a sense of why someone goes uncredited. In contemporaneous reviews everyone appears to assume it’s because he knew the film wasn’t good and decided not to take the credit.

What?! This has one of the craziest product placements (or probably not even product placements) I can remember. When Zack and Debbie have their grand date on the town, we see them on a ferry eating a box of Chicken Delight… a major chicken franchise in the US until 1971, when a legal victory for franchisees resulted in the owner pulling out of the US, leaving the franchisees to fend for themselves. By 1983 (and onto today) there would have just been the independent franchises left. So can’t really be a product placement. Maybe the director liked Chicken Delight, or maybe they felt it gave the film an NYC feel. Fun one though.

Where?! Given my reading of the film in the Why section I think there might be a chance this is more of an NYC specific film that one might first imagine. Could it have been set in LA? Sure, but given the time period I do wonder whether the miracle-of-miracles had some more special meaning coming in the form of an NYC dweller. A man living day to day, always scrambling, surviving like a cockroach. So I’m tempted to give it an A-.

When?! Not really many clues here other than a general sense that it’s summer in the cit-ay. In particular ONJ’s roommates are a couple of jokesters dead set on getting out to Fire Island to “catch some serious rays.” They are actually pretty mean about it too, huffing and puffing about missing their train out there after having to help Debbie following the bank robbery. C-

I think somewhere deep in this film there is something that might be worthwhile. There are moments between Olivia Newton-John and Travolta where you can see a little spark and you wonder why on earth they decided to a) muddle everything up with unnecessary and boring God vs. The Devil shenanigans and b) make Travolta a trash caricature of a person. Just slim this whole thing down: Travolta is a down-on-his-luck inventor who has fallen deep into the underbelly of NYC after crossing the wrong people. In a moment of desperation he robs a bank, but is duped by an equally desperate teller. After finding each other they go on the run and rediscover their own humanity. I mean, that’s the crux of the film, and yet this very serious concept is buried under a mound of silly fluff. You don’t even get to understand Travolta’s character because it’s mostly played for a laugh. Just play into the innate charm of ONJ and Travolta and let the steamy action carry you. They did the opposite and I guess it’s kind of fun in a stupefying way. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’ve got Travolta! We’ve got ONJ! What more could you need or want?! Well … a script would be nice, but them’s the breaks. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – If I got one chance to look at the post of this film and guess the plot I would have never guessed “two pieces of garbage fall in love while God tries and decide whether humanity is worth saving” … huh? We couldn’t just get a meetcute between Travolta and Olivia Newton-John and call it a day? What were my expectations? I don’t know. The film looks like it is barely a movie. Or maybe more accurately it looks like a television movie masquerading as an actual film. That usually means boring, but sometimes things like Can’t Stop the Music just end up being so silly and bizarre they are kind of okay. So who knows. I wish it was a musical though.

The Good – Bit here and there involving Travola and Newton-John falling in love are pretty okay. It all comes across as a television movie, but that isn’t actually that bad, it just means it looks cheap and is a bit trite. Travolta can play a surprisingly good heel at this point in his career. He is a believable grifter piece of garbage. Actually, Newton-John does too, although her character is far far more redeemable than Travoltas. Best Bit: The romance probably, they do pair up well.

The Bad – The whole thing with God and the Devil fighting over these two people concerning the fate of the world is amateur hour. It feels like the movie does need a hook, but this ain’t it brother, even if the angels and devil are fun in their own bizarre way. Travolta is a genuine piece of trash in the film. Every time you think he’s going to turn a corner and be a little good, he ends up revealing even further depths of his garbage heart. It actually ends up sinking the film. The whole thing would be trite nonsense if he was a normal human being. But he is instead a garbage man and it becomes incredibly hard to root for his redemption. Fatal Flaw: Travolta’s character is a big ol’ pile of trash.

The BMT – This film goes into a group of bad movies which are basically television movies that were released to theaters. Maybe you can track these back to holdovers from the pre-blockbuster era or something. And Travolta obviously rockets to the top of the BMT Villains list with his character of Zack … am I joking, or am I deathly serious? Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, it is a television movie which is pretty fun. It feels like an 80s episode of Touched by an Angel or something, like a soft pilot, but somehow released to theaters. That’s fun.

Roast-radamus – A very surprising Product Placement (What?) for Chicken Delight, and I’ll let Jamie get into that a bit more. A very solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for NYC which you see in multiple montages, and Newton-John is trying to break out on Broadway. And an entry for Worst Twist (How?) for the obvious life sacrifice by Travolta at the end to save the world. Closest to Bad I think, but I could be convinced of its BMT-ness as well.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I might have to add BMT Crossover Episode as an official category as I’m finding those delightful recently. This time, guess who we are adding to the cast? That is right, 90’s era Steven Seagal! He’s back as Sasha Petrosevitch, and he’s been called upon by God to do deep cover in Hell to try and figure out what that rascal Beasly is up to. Naturally, Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are along for the ride as they are good friends with all of the angels and Beasly and stuff. Sasha finds out that Beasly has been trying to find out the location of a stash of combination television/VCR players that was hidden before a real bad dude died and went to hell, but the bad guy (played by Brian Cranston, remember this is the 90s) isn’t giving up the secret. Can Sasha pry the secrets to the stash (and the afterlife) before Beasly gets the loot and destroys the world economy with cheap combination television/VCR players? Find out in Three of a Kind: Full Past Dead.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Soul Survivors Recap

Jamie

Cassie is off to college for one last hurrah with her boyfriend, Sean. But when a car accident leaves him dead she feels like she’s going crazy. Add to that a hovering ex-boyfriend, an antagonistic BFF, Sean’s spooky ghost, and a whole lotta creepy guys following her and she really feels insane. Can she uncover the truth before it’s too late? Find out in… Soul Survivors.

How?! Cassie and Annabel are BFFs going off to college. Tagging along for the first weekend is Cassie’s ex-boyfriend, Matt, and her new boyfriend, Sean. It’s a pretty boring weekend until Annabel suggests a weirdo rave and everyone is like coooool. Off they go where they dance the night away having a grand old time. At the end of the night a jealous Matt convinces Cassie that he needs one last kiss (you know, for closure) and she’s like, fine. But, uh oh! Sean saw and he’s a bit jelly. In the car they fight and a distracted Cassie ends up crashing. A few weeks later Cassie is mourning the death of Sean at school. She is struggling to keep up with her classes, Annabel is like ‘get over it’, and she’s starting to see ghosts and a couple of real creepy dudes she recognizes from the night of the crash. Fearing some sort of occult conspiracy and feeling like she is being chased she ends up fainting and being saved by a kind priest. The next day Matt arrives and starts to care for her in a definitely not creepy way… for sure not a hovering weirdo. Anyway, Cassie continues to see the creepy dudes everywhere and even starts to get a suspicion that Matt is in cahoots with the creepy dudes. Ultimately after a bunch of other nonsense happens and despite her fears about Matt, she asks him to drive her home. Instead he takes her back to the rave place and she’s like “what thuuuuu,” and tries to escape. It’s then that she (and we the audience, who never saw this coming for sure) learn that all the events of the film have been but a dream (what a twist!). A dream occurring in the final moments of Cassie’s life in the hospital after the crash. It’s all led to this question: does she want to live? And she’s like hellllll, yeah. Check out her boyfriend. He’s Casey Affleck… Ben Affleck’s brother. So… uh… yeah… she wants to live. THE END.

Why?! I mean, I could be snide and say, “seriously, what was the point of this totally ridiculous movie that meant nothing because none of it actually happened?”… and I will. But I’ll also say that the point is really about life and love and what makes someone want to live. Matt and Annabel are also fighting for their lives but in the end they are seduced by the weirdo rave people because they promise better things for them (for Matt it’s being with Cassie, for Annabel it’s being free). Cassie though has Sean waiting for her and that is what she chooses.

Who?! There are a couple credits that go to “Jump Rope Twins” which I don’t really recall much about in the film. I went back and looked and literally it’s just some twins in a school yard that are jumping rope… not a hallucination or anything. Cassie just sort of smiles at them and goes on her way. Weird. But at least this can now win Best Twin Film award.

What?! This is a pretty major twist. In fact it’s one of the holy grails of what we are looking for in a BMT twist-em-up. Some of the best of all time have employed this tragic mistake of a plot device (i.e. I Know Who Killed Me), so always a treat. Bonus points for being obvious from the jump.

Where?! It’s hard to pin down in a fun kind of way. From the license plates in the beginning they are from Illinois. They are heading East since Matt is tagging along on his way to Harvard, while Sean has to then fly out to California. Given the name of the college (Middleton) I presumed it was some play on Middlebury and we are in the Northeast. All checks other than Sean saying he’ll be 2000 miles away in CA. Likely just an estimate, but pretty vague overall. Interesting too that we see the characters drinking some Goose Island at one point that totally gives away they they filmed in Illinois and Indiana. D, cause it is fun to try to figure out.

When?! I agree with Patrick that it does appear that there is a September 2001 calendar indicating that the film takes place around September 26th. However, I would like to also point out that that’s bullshit. It’s also clear that she took her midterm on the 19th of some month. So she had a midterm on September 19th? Also there are children that jump out screaming trick or treat in costumes… in September? Also… ALSO… it’s all a dream. So this doesn’t matter. B… I mean it’s still a secret holiday film even if it’s a secret dream holiday film.

This is as close to not being an actual film as we get. Narratively it resembles a baffling dream more than a horror film and indeed about four seconds into the film you can be pretty sure none of it is actually happening. “It was all a dream,” is such a bad movie twist that you rarely actually see it in the wild, and yet… Soul Survivors exists. They probably should have just trashed it at some point. The acting wasn’t good, the story was a mish-mash of nonsensical sequences held together by a thread (or perhaps not held together at all), and ultimately the twist meant everything was meaningless. So of course I loved it! It is a truly horrid piece of BMT cinema! A relic of the Scream high school/college horror bonanza that (rightfully) barely qualified for BMT as a wide release. I’m a real sucker for a high school/college setting, but even that couldn’t rescue this dog poo. Like Half Past Dead from last week I think this film will get some play at the year end awards, but for very different reasons. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We got spooky ghosts. We got a barely-there Luke Wilson. We got (checks notes) Melissa Sagemiller. We got Soul Survivors! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – For a bit while reading the preview I thought “uh oh … this looks like a trite horror film from the 2000s.” But it does have a lot of cred. Top 10 BMeTric for 2001, a sub-10% on Rotten Tomatoes, a BOMB by Leonard Maltin. It is doing everything you want it to do. What were my expectations? I was obviously hoping for a The Fog (2005) situation, but secretly dreading that it was actually just going to be boring.

The Good – Hmmmmmmmmmm. Nothing I don’t think. I literally can’t think of a single thing they did well in this film, which is kind of mind blowing to think about. The only thing maybe is the goth aesthetic they have going for it? That is a very late-90s to early-00s thing and in a way it is a bit charming to see on screen 20 years later. Best Bit: Goth aesthetic.

The Bad – My god, let me count them. The two main actors aren’t as good as their supporting actors. It cribs from about five different horror films (not all of them good). The soundtrack is an abomination. Maybe back in 2001 it was a different story, but I made a YouTube playlist from the soundtrack to get a feeling for it and wooooooooof. Let’s just say I’m not a fan, a lot of death metal or whatever that genre is and I’m just not a fan. The bad guys are also just a weird choice, and the direction makes the film feel chopped to shit and borderline incomprehensible. I would call it incomprehensible, but because all of the ideas are stolen from other films it is actually pretty easy to follow. Fatal Flaw: Dare I? I do, the soundtrack makes me sad and I hate it, sorry.

The BMT – There is a long list of bad stuff and I got into it a bit, but the film is very flat and just kind of happens while you sit there wondering when they are going to reveal that she is in a world between life and death … because about 20 minutes in it is abundantly obvious that that is where it is going. It is a really bad horror film, but also not so bad that I would want to watch it again, so where does that leave us? With a flat kind of boring but genuinely dog poo in my face film I think. Notable for the year, but probably not to BMT overall. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, blessedly not as boring as it could have been. Just enough interestingly bad choices to keep me a bit entertained.

Roast-radamus – Eagle eyes Jamie with the Bad Movie Twin (Who?) as well for jump rope twins which I’ll add here for posterity. A fun Setting as a Character (Where?) for Middleton College, which is somewhere within driving distance of Chicago. A weird Super Secret Holiday Film (When?) because we see Trick or Treaters … but it is also by all accounts September, but also a dream? Which brings us to obviously the worst of the Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that it was all a dreaaaaaaaam. Otherwise just closest to BMT I think, as I said, just enough bizarre choices to keep viewers entertained.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Are you ready for that Sequel / crossover that no one was asking for? That’s right, we get to see what happened to Sasha Petrosevitch in Half Past Dead in the time between when he is shot and almost killed and when he becomes Half Past Dead! He goes to the in-between world where Ja Rule keeps trying to get him to stop jacking cars and come back to life with him, and his dead wife is smooching on him and trying to get him to stay with her in this definitely-not-death-ghost-world. All the time he’s getting back into Akito, dropping the pounds, and feeling better about himself every day. Could death be so bad when you look and feel so good and are smooching your wife every day? But in the end with the help of Ja Rule he realizes he has unfinished business in the real world, smooches his wife, and returns to the land of the living. Soul Survivors 2: Dead O’Clock.

You Just Got Schooled – At a loss for Melissa Sagemiller bangers I had to just turn to a similarly gothy film from the era, The Craft which I had never seen. The cast is stacked though. Neve Campbell (who says “sooory” with such a thick Canadian accent I didn’t even need to check that she is Canadian), Fairuza Balk (from The Waterboy), Robin Tunney (about to hit her apex with Supernova and Vertical Limit), with Christine Taylor and Skeet Ulrich in smaller roles! That’s a pretty solid cast top to bottom right there. And the film is good. I liked the good vs. bad witch thing they got going, and they didn’t bother really dealing with hanging a franchise off of it like they definitely would have these days. B+. Holds up well even 25 years later.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Half Past Dead Recap

Jamie

Sasha Petrosevitch is deep undercover with the FBI. How deep? Well he’s sent to the advanced prison Alcatraz 2 ahead of the execution of Lester McKenna. Low and behold a gang of terrorists take over the island and hold a Supreme Court Justice for ransom. Can Sasha make sense of all this craziness and stop them before it’s too late? Find out in… Half Past Dead.

How?! A lot is going on in this film. A LOT. At first we see Sasha as the partner in crime of Nick, a criminal in deep with the mob. When they are caught, Sasha takes a bullet for him and is dead for like five minutes… not sure why that’s important actually. Anyway, eight months later they find themselves back together in Alcatraz 2 just before the first major execution at the prison. Lester McKenna is ready to die for stealing $200 million in a bank robbery that left five people dead. He’s real sorry for everything and even the Supreme Court Justice who sentenced him comes to see him because she knows he changed… There’s even some weird sexual chemistry between the two and I was into it. Lester wants to talk to Sasha for some reason and while they are chit chatting about life and death a bunch of terrorists led by 49er One, who works for the prison, parachute in. They take down the security protection and with a big storm brewing isolate the prison. As they grab Lester and the Justice as hostages they nearly kill Sasha, but he escapes in time to start doing his classic Steven Seagal Under Siege shit. He’s moving around the prison all nimbly bimbly, kills a bunch of the terrorists, and even manages to get Lester away from the terrorists. After gathering an army of fellow prisoners with Nick, they set up a trade: Lester for the Justice. Lester even tells Sasha where all the gold is because he recognizes that Sasha doesn’t want it for himself. But the switch is actually a switcheroo! The terrorists get both Lester and the Justice and, after a major fire fight between the prisoners and the terrorists, manage to escape in a helicopter. Sasha is like “FBI, get me a helicopter.” They chase after them and when they catch up the terrorists push the Justice out of the helicopter. Sasha leaps out after her while the terrorists realize that they were also victims of a real twist-em-up. Lester is wearing a bomb! They explode just as Sasha is able to parachute down and save the Justice. Later we see that Sasha found the gold and helped get Nick released. Hooray! THE END.

Why?! This is almost an 80’s/90’s film in its motivations. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a bad guy talk about how doing good pays shit and he’s going to get what he deserves by doing bad. Blah blah blah. Have fun being a fugitive, Morris Chestnut. As for Sasha, he’s really in it to get revenge for the death of his wife. It’s such a minor aspect of the film that I didn’t even mention it in the recap, but yeah, he’s undercover and using Nick to get closer to his boss who was responsible for her death. At the end he offhand mentions that, oh, by the way, I got him. As always it feels like Seagal is just riffing some of these things at times and the director just has to be like, “whatever, sure his wife died, fine.” 

Who?! Obviously Ja Rule is a principal actor in this guy, but he’s not the only musician-turned-actor. Kurupt is also featured for a little comic relief and had a surprisingly substantial acting career. The only interesting credit here (besides a rare Supreme Court Justice character) is that Michael Bay got a Special Thanks for allowing the use of some establishing shots from The Rock… apparently he was good friends with the director of this that directly ripped off his own film. Didn’t seem to care, which is kinda cool of him.

What?! A little bit of a MacGuffin twist since Lester is more the MacGuffin himself. They need his sweet, sweet knowledge of where the treasure is and so the Supreme Court Justice is used as a pawn in the game. All kinds of trades and switcheroos going on, not to mention Seagal being such a bro that Lester willingly gives up the treasure location (thus removing his MacGuffin status) and blows himself to smithereens. Word up to Lester.

Where?! Alcatraz 4 Life, baby. I actually wonder whether this could be the only film set on Alcatraz (so not just shown briefly) that qualifies for BMT. It’s possible, but I’ll have to do my research. This obviously makes the film an A… pretty fundamental to the plot that this all takes place at Alcatraz 2. But it’s also not really a great California or even San Francisco film. Funny that there are places that can transcend their surroundings.

When?! The film has an excessive number of intertitles, so we are informed that the events take place, in total, over 9 months. Likely from early Spring to Fall. However, the more interesting aspect is that this clearly takes place in the future. Not only is there an Alcatraz 2, but news reports we are shown say that giant sharks are being caught and the ice caps have completely melted. That bumps you to a B-.

I cannot believe this was released to theaters. There was a very brief moment at the beginning of the film where I thought, “wait, are Steven Seagal and Ja Rule actually acting? Is this going to be a better than expected film?” The answer came fast and furious in the very next scene where they are both being sent to Alcatraz 2… nuff said. After that it is a blatant The Rock rip-off cranked up to 12 (only because The Rock was already cranked to 11). It’s only fitting that Seagal and his band of merry prisoners take on parachuting x-treme terrorists hell bent on taking a Supreme Court Justice hostage. It’s also fitting that this lunacy was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back of Seagal’s career. It is a very, very fun (and very, very, very dumb) action film, which make it a prime candidate for BMT. This should be making some noise at the Smaddies Baddies this year. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Steven Seagal is back!!! We are very very slowly moving through his filmography. In another ten years we’ll be through them I think. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – With this film we will officially be more than halfway through Seagal’s BMT filmography! BMT! BMT! BMT! Watching the preview and stuff just got me amped to watch Steven Seagal in a durag in prison. It is everything a little boy could dream of. What were my expectations? I guess rap music and Steven Seagal shooting guns because he’s too lazy to do much real fighting anymore since he was already fat at this point? Those were my expectations. If I recall correctly Exit Wounds in particular was pretty boring, and this came out after that, so there was definitely some risk we were officially seeing a direct-to-video Seagal film by accident.

The Good – The setting of Alcatraz is genuinely hilarious. To come out in 2001 and posit an idea where the U.S. Government / California decided a good use of money was to revamp the island prison of Alcatraz into a super duper max prison where they have a specialized highly efficient execution machine … I’m at a loss for words. The absurdity makes it go all the way past bad and it becomes good again. I love it. I’m in love with it. In a weird way I was also kind of into both Nia Peeples and Ja Rule. The energy they bring to the movie works well for what it is I think. Best Bit: Alcatraz babyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

The Bad – Steven Seagal? Steven Seagal is bad. It is ludicrous what he was doing with himself and his characters at this point in his career. I have no idea what he is thinking with these choices. There is zero doubt in my mind he was the one who said he was going to wear a durag. The entire end scene where Seagal blows up a helicopter at what appears to be 10,000 feet and then skydives with one parachute to save a Supreme Court Justice … yes, all of this happened!! The movie is absurd, and in a way it is delightful. But there is no doubt about it: this is a terrible film by almost any standard. Morris Chestnut as television-level sociopath spouting on about how he “feels nothing and could kill everyone in this room without feeling anything” isn’t helping matters. Fatal Flaw: Late stage Steven Seagal. This film has terminal Steven-Seagal-itis.

The BMT – Heeeeeeeeeeell yes. And I’m as surprised as anyone. I kind of had a feeling it was going to be pretty fun to watch because of the setting (Escape Plan-level nonsense prison films are almost always highly amusing to watch), but there was always that I-don’t-know-what-is-happening-in-Exit-Wounds possibility for this film. But no, they stuck to the (escape) plan and kept us in crazy-Alcatraz-2.0 and everything worked out for the better in my opinion. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them! And that is a shock. I think this is the last Steven Seagal film that was released to theaters, so I was very much expecting it to actually be secretly boring.

Roast-radamus – There is such a good Planchet (Who?) named Twitch (played by the rapper Kurupt) that he becomes the star of the direct-to-video sequel (more on that later)! A very very good Setting as a Character (Where?) for Alcatraz 2.0, the super duper max robot prison Steven Seagal is sent to. Huge MacGuffin (Why?) film with the $200 (or whatever) million dollar bounty of gold the soon-to-be-executed prisoner hid somewhere. And a solid Worst Twist (How?) for the not-so-subtle twist that Steven Seagal is an undercover agent, and not, in fact, a hardened criminal mastermind (who’da thunk it?!). Obviously closest to BMT and a spectacular list of superlatives to boot.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I mean, there are so many possibilities. Steven Seagal’s character is a deep cover agent for the FBI, so I’m thinking Prequel. It would star Kellen Lutz as a young Sasha Petrosevitch, a master of Akito, and FBI agent extraordinaire as he attempts to infiltrate a gang who is trying to pull off the biggest heist in history: steal all of the gold in Fort Knox. The plan is to set off a large-scale attack in the area, all while getting themselves sealed in Fort Knox posing as army officers. But how will they get out? Tunnels and motorcycles of course. Petrosevich has posed as their explosives expert (because he is … an explosives expert I mean), and is now on the inside. But is he willing to blow the tunnels, bury the gold, and kill his new found friends in the process? Nope, but is he willing to get into a high speed boat chase down the Mississippi River once they all successfully escape and bring his buddies to justice. In the end he gets the gold (and the girl, is that wedding bells and foreshadowing I hear?) and accolades galore … but the celebration is cut short when the news reports that Lester McKenna just stole a boatload of gold in a simultaneous heist across the country. Lutz looks at his captain like “here we go again” and laughs. Quarter Till Dead is maybe the best title in the universe and no one can tell me otherwise.

You Just Got Schooled – Naturally, after watching this film I was just jonesing for more of that sweet Half Past Dead action with Half Past Dead 2. The film starts off with crackling energy by featuring Twitch and the warden from the first film exchanging words on Alcatraz 2.0 and I’m like “wait, are they actually going to set it on Alcatraz, that’ll be expensive”. But alas, my fears were realized when Twitch intentionally gets himself sent to a supermax prison in (checks notes) Missouri so that they no longer have to pay for a single ocean vista. The storyline is basically that Twitch wants to escape to find the second half of the aforementioned gold stash, and Bill Goldberg (from the WWE) is a prisoner with a heart of gold who needs to save his daughter during a prison riot. Yada yada yada, they save the day, Twitch gets paroled, Goldberg gets $80 million in gold, everyone lives happily ever after. Well, except for me, since I wasted two hours watching Half Past Dead 2. C+. The film is garbage, but saved by the setting. Like a homeless man’s Prison Break, there is something fun about cheesy prison movies, what can I say.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Son of the Mask Recap

Jamie

The Mask is back, Jack! Tim Avery just wants to be an animator. His wife just wants a baby. Loki just wants his mask back. These dreams all come together when Tim finds the mask, impresses everyone at work, and conceives a son… of the mask. But Loki is still after them. Can they stop Loki (and learn to raise a baby!) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Son of the Mask.

How?! Tim Avery is a giant, terrible man child. His wife is wildly successful and wants to have a baby, but he’s like, “No, I’m a giant terrible man child and I have to become a successful animator so I can make any child of mine proud of me.” So instead he sets out trying to chase his animation dreams. Things are not going well until one day his dog brings home the mask and Tim is like, dope. When a costume party at work rolls around he is scrambling for a costume and decides to use the mask. You better believe is all the rage at the party where he dances, sings, and jokes his way into everyone’s hearts. That night he makes sweet sweet mask love to his wife who obviously becomes pregnant. His boss is also pregnant… with ideas about how great it would be for Tim to make a show about the mask. Enter writer’s block. With the stressors of a new job, new kid, and no idea where the mask went, Tim is struggling to juggle all his responsibilities. His wife (still wildly successful) has to go on a trip and things start to get pretty hairy. That’s cause his dog is jealous of the baby and uses the mask it found to terrorize everyone. The baby is also totally maskified and so he gives it right back to the dog. Meanwhile I forgot to mention that Loki is looking for the mask and enters the fray trying to take everyone out. There are a bunch of silly battles and shit and eventually Loki gets the baby and demands the mask in exchange. Tim and his wife show up and Tim (as the Mask) battles Loki for his son, which ends when Tim takes his mask off and his son, feeling his paternal love, runs to him. Loki attempts one more time to kill them, but is stopped by Odin who, convinced of the joys of fatherhood, reconciles with Loki. Hooray. They all live happily ever after. THE END.

Why?! Much like Freddy Got Fingered the plot is driven by the main character man-child and his dreams of becoming an animation superstar. All the meanwhile his son wants to get rid of Tim, the dog wants to get rid of the baby, and Loki just wants the mask. This is all resolved by the end after wasting everyone’s time.

Who?! Some fun ones here. The baby is portrayed by twin actors, as is common with child actors. Neither baby went on to do anything after this which makes sense… they were babies. Bear the Dog portrayed Otis and he did appear in a few other films, but this was by far the biggest. Which also reminds me that the original Mask had one of the greatest dog actors of all time. Just another thing this sequel totally whiffed on.

What?! Of course the titular Mask is a pretty famous MacGuffin. Here more so than in the original, even, as Loki is specifically after it the entire film. Some reviews talk about extensive product placement in this film, but really the only one I remember is at the beginning of the film where Jamie Kennedy is playing a Game Boy Advance. Specifically he is playing Mark Kart: Super Circuit.

Where?! The Mask in general takes place in a fake comic book world. The large city in the original is called Edge City. In this one the mask travels to a smaller city called Fringe City, which seems generally more idyllic. So really this doesn’t take place anywhere and they did a good job making it seem that way by filming in Australia. Looks kooky. B+, even though it’s fake.

When?! Solid time setting at the beginning of the film with the whole crux of Tim’s professional career riding on the big big big Halloween party at work. From there the timeline gets crazy. He impresses so much at work that he gets a big show deal, but it appears to be a full year later and they are just presenting the very beginning of a pitch to investors. I mean his wife got pregnant, had the baby, and is leaving Tim alone with the baby and he still hasn’t even drawn the pitch for his cartoon. Nuts. A-.

I rewatched The Mask in preparation for watching this film and boy, there might not be a better example of how far you can miss the mark on a sequel. It takes about five seconds of the original film to realize that Jim Carrey was born to play the Mask and there are zero other people that could have made it all work… so of course the film replaces him with a crazy faced Jamie Kennedy, a cgi dog, and a cgi baby. At that point it was over. There was no saving the film. Even if the whole thing wasn’t also filled with juvenile humor and an odd Norse mythology throughline it would have failed spectacularly. And it did. It was actually hard to sit through. Dog poo to the moon. I think the only thing I think might be OK is the general premise of growth and paternal love involving Tim and Odin/Loki. I mean… that’s not the worst message to see put to screen. Tim does end up being a good dad. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We are watching a true blue modern bad movie classic. That’s rare, we usually watch exclusively garbage even by bad movie standards. You’re welcome. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Kids’ movie? Classic top 10 worst films of all time candidate we somehow didn’t watch in the first ten years of BMT? Looks like dog poo in my face? That’s right, it is (finally) time for Son of the Mask! The best fact from the preview was that someone won a cameo in The Mask 2 from Nintendo Power, but then when the movie got canceled he ended up with $5,000 instead of waiting for a part in this film … good choice. What were my expectations? Dog poo in my face. Directly in there. Mostly just because it is a kids film.

The Good – Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. There is a kernel of a maybe okay kids’ movie in this film that has absolutely nothing to do with The Mask. Loki is a trickster punished to have his essence placed into a something (specifically NOT a mask) and himself trapped on Earth as an immortal for 1000 years or whatever. And then, just as he is supposed to get his essence back, it gets placed into a cartoonist’s baby. The baby does a bunch of classic cartoon stuff, and drives the father crazy. And in the end Loki learns to love Odin again, and Odin learns to accept Loki for who he really is (awwwwww). That is basically this movie, but cut all the nonsense about The Mask out (and no dog). That’s a maybe okay movie, right? Doesn’t sounds horrible. Best Bit: Loki I think (played by Alan Cummings).

The Bad – Anything where you can tell this was a semi-aborted sequel to The Mask. I’m pretty convinced that this film was only halfway made as a sequel to The Mask, the other half being the fight between the baby and the dog which forms the core of the storyline. And I don’t mean any real offense … but Jamie Kennedy is really really bad in this. It is like he is playing someone who is really really dumb, but then this person is also supposed to be responsible and smart and talented. But he seems really dumb, and Kennedy plays the character that way for some reason. If there was an inverse Oscars for Worst Makeup in Film History this would win for The Mask makeup. Also it basically just uses the dancing baby CGI thing from The Daily Show. How did this stuff get worse in the ten years between the two films? It makes no sense. This film is really bad, I recommend it to no one. Fatal Flaw: It being a sequel to The Mask makes me sad.

The BMT – Dog poo in my face obviously. Obviously. … Obviously, right? It is, but I will maintain that there is a kernel of something in there. I was a bit surprised the storyline was as normal as it ends up being. It is somewhat coherent with a normal weird-B-story (like all the best bad kids films do). So it has that going for it. Appropriately terrible. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, but since I would also never ever watch this film again, I bet it doesn’t really end up doing much as far as BMT history is concerned.

Roast-radamus – Solid Product Placement (What?) for the Game Boy Advance at the beginning of the film. Definitely a decent Secret Holiday Film (When?) for having their bit Halloween party at the beginning of the film. Obviously this is an A+ MacGuffin (Why?) for the titular mask, which is a solid claim to fame, especially for a kids’ film. This is obviously closest to BMT, it is appropriately insane as far as makeup and CGI is concerned.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I think the movie itself gives you the idea of what this should have been: a cartoon. As a matter of fact they already had a Mask cartoon in the mid-90s, presumably as they were trying to get Carrey back for a sequel. Here though you make a direct sequel to the cartoon series, but posit that after spending years as the mask, something indelible occurred with Stanley Ipkiss, he changed in some way. And so, as he happily retires the mask and settles down into some happy years as a mild-mannered bank manager, his new baby boy ends up taking on some of The Mask powers. In fact, the child has become, in some way, the son of Odin himself. In the first episode Odin comes down and offers to take his son to Asgard to be raised among a people who won’t fear his powers, but Ipkiss, using the powers of The Mask, decides to instead raise him himself and reign in his mischievous ways in an attempt to guide him to using his powers for good (much like Ipkiss in the original film eventually did). Would have been a fun concept I think, but the one thing is it has to be a cartoon! The live-action stuff only works with Carrey and he wasn’t down. Son of the Mask still works well as a title, or maybe The Mask Jr.

You Just Got Schooled – Of course in order to actually assess Son of the Mask I needed to rewatch The Mask. For those who don’t remember, Jim Carrey had an absurd 1994 where he starred in The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, and Ace Ventura in a single year. A tour de force. The Mask I remember being rather disappointed with. No longer! Having now watched it with an adult brain and without heaps of expectations the film is pretty awesome. Maybe one of the better comic book movies starring a normal person / sans superheroes? And Jim Carrey is amazing. It is an abomination that they thought they could make The Mask 2 without him … it makes no sense. He’s a living breathing cartoon character! And you replaced him with Jamie Kennedy. Just the worst. Not this film though. The Mask is great. A. Loved rewatching it.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Mannequin: on the Move Recap

Jamie

Hollywood is back, Jack!… oh and the mannequin or whatever. When a supposedly cursed mannequin turns out to be an actually cursed princess (and she’s hot stuff to boot) Jason’s got to figure out what to do in the name of love. Can he defeat the wicked sorcerer who’s come looking for the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… Mannequin: On the Move.

How?! Back in Middle Earth or some shit a Prince is totally into a peasant woman, Jessie. But before they can run off together they are caught by the Queen, whose sorcerer curses the woman for a thousand years. As long as she wears the cursed necklace (that can only be removed by her true love) then she’ll be a statue. Anywho, flash forward 999 years later and under the guise of a worldwide tour, the evil sorcerer’s descendant plans to take the mannequin away (specifically to Philadelphia) just in time for her to become human again so he can steal away to Bermuda with her. Enter Jason (who looks startlingly like the Prince) a man about town just trying to do his best at his new job at the department store of the first film. He’s placed under the guidance of Hollywood (finally! Some connecting fibers to the first entry) in order to plan the big presentation about the cursed mannequin. When the mannequin is almost destroyed in transit, Jason saves her and is shocked to find that she appears to be momentarily alive. Intrigued, he hangs around the mannequin and finds he can remove the necklace no prob and proceeds to teach this totally hot former mannequin all about the modern world. They are totally in love and Jason is dancing and making breakfast and all that jazz when Jessie decides to try on her necklace and becomes a statue again. Uh oh! Jason is confused and real sad and so he brings the mannequin back to the store. But Hollywood also inadvertently takes off the necklace (guess the rules changed all of a sudden) and Jessie is on the move once again. The sorcerer is suspicious and have the police help get Jessie back and have Jason arrested. But that just won’t do. Hollywood stages a jailbreak and soon they are in the midst of the big presentation where Jason and Jessie confront the sorcerer. In a panic he attempts to escape with Jessie in a hot air balloon (obviously), but Jason plays hero, put the necklace on the sorcerer’s neck and pushes the statue out of the balloon. Hooray! THE END.

Why?! Love. It’s all about true love. The confounding part is the sorcerer. Really in the beginning of the film it’s not like the sorcerer is all “in 1000 years if you don’t find true love you will become human and have to love my descendant” so I’m not really sure what his plan is. Steal treasure and take Jessie to Bermuda where… what? She’ll look at how gross you are and be like no thanks? Just steal the jewels and leave… why do you even need the mannequin lady? You can probably find plenty of women who will love you for your jewels and treasure.

Who?! Lots of dual roles here. Jason, the sorcerer, and Jason’s mom are also part of the set up of the film. A lot of recaps and synopses get a little confused whether they are meant to be reincarnations of the same people (which is understandable since that’s more in line with the original film’s story). Even Hollywood gets to play a random bouncer at one point. They were just loving the multiple roles.

What?! Some nice MacGuffins in here. While Jessie herself is a MacGuffin of sort, I don’t love when people are MacGuffins. Doesn’t seem right. But the necklace she’s wearing definitely is one. No one really cares how it works and in fact it seems to bend its own established rules throughout the film. Jason is the only one that can take it off Jessie? Not so fast, we need Hollywood to take it off for a gag. So after a thousand years it just wears off? Well apparently the main bad guy thinks it’ll force her to fall in love with him. Why? I don’t know and I don’t care. MacGuffin. Should note that there is a bunch of product placement here since it’s set in a department store and all, but the MacGuffin is more important.

Where?! Philly of course. Probably the most pleasant surprises of these films is how hard they lean into the Philadelphia setting. You have to admire it (I know we do). I wish more films did this, just lean heavy on being all about the Dallas-Fort Worth scene. Really play up the Salt Lake City sights and sounds. You got a movie about a guy who finds out he can telepathically communicate with dogs? How about a guy who finds out he can telepathically communicate with dogs… in Nashville? B+

When?! I do not know. All I know is that probably the opening scene takes place in the year 992 A.D. Let’s see what we got going on then… hmmm, according to Wikipedia not too much. I’m sure there was, just not a lot is recorded in detail being several centuries before the printing press. So it seems like it’s not out of the question that a peasant girl was turned into a mannequin around then. Mannequin: On the Move. “Plausible” – Jamie from BadMovieTwins.com. C+ just fo funsies.

I’d like to think there is a perfect trilogy out there of films where the first entry is already off the rails and then it gets a sequel that is even more off the rails and makes you wistfully remember the first entry as if it’s some lost masterpiece. Certainly the Weekend at Bernie’s series fits the bill with its voodoo magic twist in the second film. This similarly enters the twilight zone with its cursed necklace and hot air balloon finale. It’s not even like the films are all that unpleasant really, they are just really really really dumb and have two of the worst set ups I can recall for major motion pictures. Anyway, I’ll leave it at that: harmless for the most part (well maybe the stereotypical nature of Hollywood’s character is a little harmful) and not really so much worse than the original I think… but they are both stupid so not sure that says a lot. The real conclusion is that we are now in pursuit of the third film of this ilk. We better get thinking. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Now this is a Mannequin on the Move! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – The explicit setting in a fictional country? Hollywood Montrose in a triumphant return? Cursed necklaces? Bad German-esque accents? Did I mention that Hollywood Montrose makes a triumphant return?!?! Having watched the first film, and then the trailer for the second I was pretty excited for this guy. What were my expectations? A bananas film about mannequins on the move, and a healthy dose of Hollywood Montrose!! Sock it to me.

The Good – I know that the characterization of Hollywood Montrose is a problem, but I can’t help but like him in his own insane 80s way. He is a living breathing “Jordan Peele from the Gremlins 2 sketch” … like, Jordan Peele explicitly based on the character off of Hollywood Montrose right? Also in its own weird way the acting between the two leads works for me. It isn’t good acting, it just feels genuine. Probably because the film was shot without an actual script or something. Really good Philadelphia film as well. Best Bit: Hollywood Montrose.

The Bad – The Germans and the Count are just exasperating. I can’t handle any of the junk they are doing throughout the film. The plot is also hard to deal with since, for whatever reason, the main character Jason never seems to realize that all he has to do is pull off the magic necklace and then everyone would be able to see that Jessie is a human being. The set up (and all the stuff with the fictional Germanic country) is also just the worst, I don’t really get why they couldn’t just run back the Pygmalion idea in the end. Fatal Flaw: Horrid caricatures all over the place (and somehow I’m not talking about Hollywood Montrose).

The BMT – Jamie nails it on the head, this is Weekend at Bernie’s 2. I don’t even remember the plot of that film, the only thing I remember is being horrified and that there was a voodoo magic dancing scene with a corpse. Rest assured the entire Mannequin saga is going to boil down to the first one seeming kind of okay, and the second one having a ridiculous hot air balloon ending involving german people. I’ll forget everything else. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, I mean, Hollywood Montrose was Hollywood Montrose and the whole thing was absurd. What more could I ask for really?

Roast-radamus – Yet again a very solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for Philadelphia. They even roll down the main road in Midtown in order to get some genuine Philly Cheesesteak. There is definite potential for MacGuffin (Why?) for the Mannequin aka Jessie herself. Everyone wants her, only Jason can have her because of love (awwwwww). Very much closest to BMT in the end.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Obviously since Emmy is a former mannequin she couldn’t possibly have half-mannequin children, right? WRONG. They have a son Paul who has been given the task by his architecture firm to build the Connecticut suburban town New Paphos. Going to the half-built New Paphos, everything is falling apart! The eeeeeevil Richards is back as the planning commissioner for Southern Connecticut, and he wants nothing more than to see Paul fail. But with the help of the new school teacher who has arrived early, Paul and her whip the town in shape just before Richard’s contrived deadline. And guess what else? They fall in love! The film is Son of the Mannequin, and it does feature a cameo by Andrew McCarthy, but they couldn’t get Kim Cattral.

You Just Got Schooled – As should be obvious Mannequin is, of course, an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion which itself was based on the mythological figure of Pygmalion who fashioned a beauty from stone and fell in love with her. I read both, although the myth was just a short section of Ovid’s Metamorphoses I think. The play is pretty short and readily available for free from Project Gutenberg and the like. It is very good, although obviously it has nothing to do with Mannequin. It is actually very much like the myth in that a man “creates” a woman, falls in love with her, the end. Mannequin is about a man who creates a woman which is then inhabited by an Egyptian soul and then he saves his department store from a hostile takeover … slightly different. I would recommend the play though for anyone with a few hours to spare, it is, at the very least, interesting for its Victorian setting. A.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Mannequin Recap

Jamie

Jonathan Switcher is a true artist who just can’t seem to hold down a job. That is until his most prized creation (a beautiful mannequin) shows up in a store window. This begins his wild ride as a top display window creator. (Oh and also the mannequin comes alive only for him and he’s in love with it.) Can they stop the dastardly rival store before it’s too late? Find out in… Mannequin.

How?! Jonathan Switcher just crafted his masterpiece. A paragon of artistic achievement. A mannequin? Wha-wha-whaaaa. While he can’t get his bodacious mannequin out of his head, he also can’t hold down a job due to his artistic vision. Wandering the streets, no job, no girlfriend, no hope he suddenly happens upon his mannequin queen in the window of a store. Oh, glorious day! He shows up the next day and through some quick thinking he gets on the good side of the owner of the store. She insists he get a job and soon he’s working alongside the mannequin herself. What a dream! And what’s even more fantastic is that the mannequin also turns out to be a cursed Egyptian princess, Emmy, who comes alive when Jonathan and her are alone (not making this up). Now they are rocking out together and totally in love, not to mention that Jonathan has found his true calling as a display window creative. Soon he’s the talk of the town and the crosstown rivals, who are also hoping to buy their store, are ready to swipe Jonathan away. With the help of his ex-girlfriend and the smarmy manager of the store, they are able to figure out that the mannequin is the key to it all. They swipe Emmy and Jonathan and his pals are soon in hot pursuit. It’s a classic 80’s action sequence that ends with Jonathan rescuing Emmy from an industrial shredder. As a result Emmy no longer is cursed to only be alive for Jonathan and everyone is like “Woah, that lady was a mannequin but now she’s just a hot alive person,” and Emmy and Jonathan smooch a bunch. THE END.

Why?! Love, and that’s not even a joke. While I like to compare the film to the ludicrousness of Weekend at Bernie’s, that film was much closer to the greed-is-goodness of the 80’s ideal. This is all about Emmy not being forced to marry and instead find true love. Now the bad guys… those guys are just about greed being good.

Who?! There is an interesting Producer aspect to this film. Joseph Farrell was an executive producer. At the time he was the founder and chief executive of NRG, the original market testing firm in Hollywood. He basically created the focus group. Apparently he stepped in on this film to prove that the method really worked and made significant changes (hiring McCarthy was one). Despite it being BMT it was a big success and got us Mannequin 2: On the Move. So thank you, Joseph Farrell.

What?! Unfortunately Emmy herself is the MacGuffin here. Everyone wants and needs her, but the audiences could care less about that. They just want them sweet smooches between Emmy and Jonathan. I also do believe this was the one where Patrick and I spied a Dunkin Donuts coffee in the background of a scene and exclaimed “Mannequin runs on Dunkin” and it was pretty great.

Where?! You can read articles online where people suggest this is one of the substantial Philly settings of all time. The gist of the argument is that Mannequin really does take you around Philly and reiterate the setting of Philly and celebrate Philly to an extent that you just don’t see very often. Obviously it’s not going to compete with Rocky, but it is a surprisingly strong setting film/franchise. B+.

When?! I really would have thought this could have been a secret holiday film cause everyone knows that the holidays are prime display window season. The rival company could have been all like “We need him, Christmas is just around the corner,” and that would have done. But the real issue is that I just don’t really remember if there was a specific time mentioned… and I blame the movie itself by not setting it during Christmas. F.

Mannequin is pleasant enough once you get past the set up. It opens with a totally unnecessary and poorly acted scene set in “ancient Egypt” in order to set up the (also totally unnecessary) plot point that Emmy is an Egyptian princess trapped in the mannequin’s body until she is able to find true love. They should have learned a thing or two from Xanadu and just rolled with Emmy being alive because of the power of art/love or whatever. But beyond that it’s just a silly farce a la Weekend at Bernie’s. Similar to that film it really mostly suffers by reputation. When your concept is that a man falls in love with a mannequin who comes to life only when they are alone (a concept that would likely be frowned upon by today’s standards), you are playing a bit behind the eight ball… much like if, you know, you came up with a film where a couple of dopes have to pretend their boss is alive for a weekend and parade around with his corpse… kinda like that. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Mannequin? What, does this Mannequin not even know how to move? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I think the most startling thing was realizing that despite no one mentioning this fact, the mannequin is actually from ancient Egypt. I had just figured she was, you know … a magic mannequin or something. But then only Leonard Maltin talks about the whole beginning in Egypt. Still totally different than the set up to the sequel, but a lot closer than most of the preview would suggest. What were my expectations? I only really expected Kim Cattrall to be amazing as usual. Otherwise I was excited for (1) a dance sequence, and (2) just how 80s everything was going to be. So I knew I would at least be entertained by that.

The Good – Kim Cattrall is, as expected, very charming in the film, and mostly saves it from just being forgettable 80s nonsense. The way they play into the silliness of the concept is also very winning, and Hollywood Montrose as a character might be offensive by some standards these days, but I think it ends up being the right tone of ridiculousness. That isn’t to say the film works because the plot is nonsensical, but there are good performances, and it is less self-serious than one might think going into it. Best Bit: Kim Cattrall.

The Bad – It feels like Spader and Carole Davis were in a totally different movie, the aforementioned self-serious Mannequin … which now that I think about, I’ll definitely be writing a pitch for in the later Remake section. I think the major strike against the film is that it is virtually plotless. A guy can’t hold down a job, ends up finding a magic mannequin … uh, I guess he foils the B-plot of a takeover of a Philadelphia department store? Wait, is that actually the plot of the film? See, it slides off your brain like water off of a mannequin’s slick exterior. Fatal Flaw: Nothing story.

The BMT – I think this film is better than it has any right to be. And I think given the second film, it ends up being far more enjoyable that you would think given that as context. As far as BMT is concerned, this is exactly the type of film you forget actually qualified until one day you check Rotten Tomatoes and it is sitting at 40% and no longer qualifies. Then you thank god for giving you the instinct to watch the film while it was still considered bad. Did it meet my expectations? The dance sequence is b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-bonkers, and makes the movie worth watching just for that. Well … I guess in reality it makes it worth finding that specific clip on Youtube. Still, so very very 80s.

Roast-radamus – Some solid Product Placement (What?) with Mannequin running on Dunkin’ (Donuts), and Carnival Cruises doing one of the window displays at the department stores (uh, big pull for a down-on-its-luck department store to get their window display sponsored by Carnival, but whatever). Really nice Setting as a Character (Where?) for Philadelphia. Which is bigger for Philadelphia, the Mannequin Cinematic Universe, or Rocky? Let the debate rage. In the end I think this is closest to Good.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I already mentioned it, I’m doing the gritty Remake of the Mannequin franchise. Jonathan Switcher is a happy-go-lucky artist creating ou-of-this-world mannequin creations for local department store Prince & Company in 80s Philadelphia. He has a wonderful life and a wonderful wife and couldn’t be happier. That is, up until the eeeevil Richards, a corporate raider hell bent on owning Prince & Company once and for all, sends thugs to work Switcher over and accidentally kills his beloved wife Emmy! Descending into madness and grief Switcher goes to the department store and fashions an exact replica of Emmy from the mannequin displays, and as he prays to god to take him and return Emmy, she … comes alive? He’s horrified, but maybe, just maybe this is a sign. He asks Emmy who killed her and she reveals it was Richards! His old nemesis did this! Hell bent on vengeance, Switcher and Mannequin Emmy take out Richards’ thugs, and work their way up to a showdown at Richards’ corporate headquarters. As Switcher shoots down Richards in cold blood he turns to his lady love to find her to be a mannequin once more. Was it all in his head? Or did the vengeance release her restless soul from its terrestrial prison? You’ll have to wait for the sequel to find out. Now called The Mannequin.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Recap

Jamie

Michael Bryce is back, Jack! And boy is he still a bodyguard (kinda). Reeling from the events of the first film, Michael is on a spiritual journey. Too bad, cause in crash the Kincaids who get him entangled with all kinds of bad stuff, including a dastardly plot by Aristotle Papadopoulos. Can they stop him before it’s too late? Find out in… The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.

How?! Michael Bryce just can’t get his mojo back. Despite saving the day in the first film, he has struggled to retain his AAA bodyguard license. A vacay is in order to get his head on straight. But suddenly he is whisked away from his Italian paradise by Sonia Kincaid and roped into helping him free his old frenemy Darius. Things immediately go sideways, though, when it’s revealed that they’ve stepped into the middle of a sensitive Interpol investigation of a plot by a Greek mastermind to take down the European power grid and sow chaos as revenge for Greek sanctions (I know, I know, no one cares, neither did we). Anyway, in exchange for them not all going to jail they agree to help entrap the Greek tycoon. Darius and Sonia are fighting the whole time and Michael is whining/unconscious like 50% of the time and basically they are in a load of trouble so Michael turns to the only person he knows that could help: his father. His father is a total bodyguard legend and their relationship is strained since he doesn’t really think Michael is very good. Despite this his father agrees to help and sends them on their way. But oh oh! It’s a trap! They are captured by the terrorist who is revealed to be an old flame of Sonia’s, Aristotle Papadopoulos. Sonia turns against them in favor of Aristotle (oh no!) and so we are back with out buddies Michael Bryce and Darius Kincaid at last. The dream team is back! They don’t give up and infiltrate Aristotle’s yacht where he is drilling into the power grid. They stop the drill, Michael takes down his father in a bodyguard battle, and Kincaid kills Aristotle. All in a days work for our favorite comedy-action duo. THE END (or is it? (probably… right?))

Why?! Money… oh, you mean within the film. This is actually the biggest problem with both the first film and the sequel. They feel the need to go in depth with some pretty dumb and not funny in the slightest set-ups. I think maybe the joke is just how seriously they take going through the minute details of how Aristotle wants to get back at the EU for sanctions by taking down the power grid and creating a hotbed for riotous violence. Or maybe it’s not a joke and they really did feel like they needed to explain all that. Regardless I didn’t care. Bryce wants to get his AAA rating back and Kincaid just wants to have fun… oh and Sonia wants a baby. Great.

Who?! The director Patrick Hughes shows up in a cameo, which is always fun. What’s also fun is that after making (the real bad) Expendables 3 as his directorial debut he proceeded to strike gold with the hitman theme with these two films… so much so that his next film is called The Man From Toronto and no joke appears the be basically the same film. A jokester teams up with an assassin. Wow.

What?! Always fun when a product placement gets some play in the film reviews. Here there seems to be some grumbling about Ryan Reynolds’ gin brand Aviation Gin being shown a surprising number of times in the film. I didn’t notice nor did I know he had a gin brand, but now that I know it’s my new gin of choice (I don’t really drink gin).

Where?! There are a few different settings but the primary one is Italy. Really solid Italy film as they do appear to jet set across the country without ever totally leaving it. They of course have to keep telling you where you are in Italy since they mostly didn’t film there. Lots of Croatia standing in for Italy which tells me one thing: Croatia is beautiful. B+

When?! Always very difficult when we watch something live. Can’t pause it as I stare closely at a screen trying to discern whether a hospital admission form says 8/2006 or 3/2006 or whatever. So I can’t really remember if there was anything specific about the time of year and I don’t remember a holiday being mentioned. Gotta give it an F for now.

I actually really enjoyed the first film quite a bit. The buddy cop (ish) set up was fun, Ryan Reynolds had some interesting quirks to his characters, and Sammy L. was refreshingly lively. My big gripe was that the entire set-up made no sense and was unnecessary garbage that they could have hand waved away but instead did the exact opposite by going into even more details (that made even less sense). But still, enjoyable time at the cinema. Unfortunately they didn’t get the memo that the fans just wanted them to roll it right back and give them more of the same. Slop that basic plot back into my trough, please. But alas, instead they made Bryce all weird and angsty (and mostly unconscious), had Kincaid barely speak to Bryce, and ratcheted up the Sonia to an 11. Kinda gummed up the works. Add on top a somehow even more convoluted and unnecessary plot and I guess I was surprised at how disappointed I was… just run it back! But no. That would have been too easy. At least I got to sit in a theater and watch it. That was fun… everyone else seemed to be having a fine enough time so that’s nice. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’re back at it with some BMT Live!!!!!!!! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I had figured originally that The Hitman’s Bodyguard was a play off of a very specific subgenre of bodyguard / assassin films. It kind of is and kind of isn’t. The more interesting thing after watching the original is that the director described Ryan Reynolds’s character as a “endlessly suffering fool” which … is not at all what he was in the first film? That certainly didn’t bode well. What were my expectations? I guess for it to be the same film as the original but minus the few scant laughs which made that film merely mediocre instead of bad.

The Good – I think there is always room for silly comedy-genre films. In this case it is mostly a comedy-spy film in a way? It is okay at being that. There are car chases, and European vistas, and a bad guy who wants to do some nonsensical scheme, etc. etc. It has the pieces to do the things it needs to do to be the thing it wants to be. If this was the first film in the series it wouldn’t necessarily have been good, but without the context I also think it is a bit better than it actually is. Best Bit: Vistas.

The Bad – This is the worst of all possible worlds for a sequel to a movie that was actually pretty fun in my opinion. The first floats completely on the charming interactions between frenemies Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, it has a few solid laughs, and is pretty fun. The second instead decides Ryan Reynolds is a doofus, and (no offense to Salma Hayek) inserts a weird foil right in between any amusing interaction between the two leads (the only good part of the first film!). The plot ends up convoluted as well, with an insane plot to destroy Europe involving a deep sea drill and a computer virus. I hated this film. I understand why people would like it, but I hated it. Fatal Flaw: The anti-Hitman’s Bodyguard, somehow the antithesis of that somewhat charming film.

The BMT – I think this might be one of the finer examples of the people involved in a film managing to completely misunderstand what made the original good. They managed to lean entirely into the wrong thing (Ryan Reynolds’s character getting injured) and away from the very easy right thing (Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds banter). I really don’t get it. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them. I would have assumed the film was just call backs and boring nonsense (like Zoolander 2 for example), but instead it is a pretty amusing example of production dropping the ball on a successful comedic conceit.

Roast-radamus – I think there is a strong argument for Planchet (Who?) for Ryan Reynolds in this one, which is bizarre to say, but he kind of exists only so that Hayek and Jackson can dunk on him while the plot happens around them. Obviously a ton of Product Placement (What?) for things like Aviation Gin and various car brands. A great Setting as a Character (Where?) for Italy in particular which this film is predominantly based. A solid MacGuffin (Why?) with the undersea electricity junction off the coast of Italy where a diamond-tipped deep sea drill is going to plant a virus and destroy Europe. And finally a crazy Worst Twist (How?) for the very obvious “Hayek and Jackson are going to adopt Reynolds at the end” that you could see coming from about half hour away. As one can tell from this list of superlatives this is closest to BMT.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – You want to hear my plotline for a Remake? Let’s see how we can fix this disaster. What made the first film great? The banter between Reynolds and Jackson. So jump forward a year, Jackson is still a hitman, and feels obligated to help out Reynolds because he saved his life (it’s the Hitman’s Code or whatever). So Reynolds has been using him to help him in his business, Jackson will take out hitmen who are trying to get his high profile targets, and Reynolds has now shot to the top of the Best Bodyguard list for 2021. But as Jackson has been warning Reynolds, he probably shouldn’t be helping Reynolds out so much because other hitmen aren’t going to take kindly to one of their own helping out a bodyguard. Thus a big hit is put out on Jackson, and so he needs a bodyguard to help him get to the main Hitman Headquarters to plead with the Head Hitman for leniency. Bing bang boom, we are back with the same rough conceit as the first film, except building out the bodyguard-hitman fictional universe a bit. In the end, naturally, it turns out the Head Hitman was the one who put out the hit, and Reynolds and Jackson need to kill him first to save Jackson. And in the end Jackson becomes the Head Hitman with Reynolds realizing that he needs to go his own way without Jackson’s help in his bodyguarding duties, it is the true bodyguard way. Simply called The Hitman’s Bodyguard 2.

You Just Got Schooled – Quick one to review The Hitman’s Bodyguard which I’ve been talking about a lot in the recap already. The good is that the leads are very charming and the banter between them is pretty amusing. The European setting works well, and I got a few good laughs out of it. The bad is mostly that the film is a bit long (two hours which is at least 15 minutes too long) with maybe one too many action scenes, especially near the end of the film. I’m not surprised it was quite successful, but as should be obvious, I was quite surprised that they decided to bring in good-in-small-doses Hayek character to the forefront in the sequel. Anyways, a solid B comedy I think, I would have been pretty delighted to watch this on an airplane for example.

BMT Live Theater Review – We were back in theaters masked up in an almost entirely empty auditorium. There isn’t much to say, I checked out an Odeon in South London and was pretty impressed with the facilities overall. It was a giant auditorium which made it kind of sad to watch a movie with like twelve other people, but there is still a pandemic going on, so what can you do? One thing I will say is this: my god movies are loud in theaters. I think since I haven’t been in one in over two years I forgot about that. Insanely loud at times. B+ I liked the theater, but am starting to get ready to see some weird horror film in a packed house again.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Halloween II (1981) Recap

Jamie

Michael Myers is back, Jack! And boy is he angry at his sister (spoiler alert). After the events of the first film, the unstoppable Myers continues his horror spree in the town of Haddonfield. He eventually tracks his ultimate victim, Laurie Strode, to the hospital. Can she stop the maniac before it’s too late? Find out in… Halloween II.

How?! Following the events of the first film, Haddonfield, Illinois is scrambling to figure out what happened. Laurie Strode is in shock and is transported to the local hospital where she is quickly sedated. Forget about her for the next hour, cause it’s the Loomis show everyone. He’s scrambling aroundt being like “he’s goddamn evil!” and “we gotta stop him” and basically acting like a total maniac. Good news and bad news comes with the Loomis show. The bad news is that he inadvertently kills a kid in town that he thinks is Myers. Ooops. The good news is that he does convince people that he’s still alive and they track down Myers. They find that he broke into a school and left curious occult markings and stuff. Suddenly he realizes it! Laurie is Michael Myers younger sister who was put up for adoption after Michael killed her older sister. Her name was changed and no one ever talked about the fact that she was a Myers. Myers is tracking Laurie, which can mean only one thing: the hospital. There, Myers is already killing pretty much everyone. Eventually Laurie wakes up and in a panic begins to evade the killer. She eventually gets out but can’t get a car started to leave. Just then she sees the police and Loomis show up and they are able to save her from Myers before leading him into an operating room. Loomis is stabbed while Laurie is able to blind Myers. In his dying moments (or are they?) Loomis tells Laurie to flee and lights a tank of gas on fire, totally exploding Michael Myers. THE END.

Why?! With the revelation that Laurie was in fact adopted and was the sister of Michael, this colors almost all the motivations from not only this film, but also the original film. In the original it is set up that Michael Myers is mostly interested in the memory of the sister that he killed and the family home that Laurie is seen dropping a key off at. It appears he becomes fixated on Laurie as a result of the random happenstance, right? Wrong, apparently. Just a coincidence… and maybe he just kinda magically is drawn to her by pure evil will. Otherwise it seems to make little sense that he would actually know that Laurie is his sister (secret adoption and name change and all)… this is all to say that Laurie just wants to survive and Myers just wants to kill (but more specifically wants to kill he remaining sister (which still makes no sense)).

Who?! I do like to talk a little bit about the monsters when we watch the entries of horror films, just to note how they change. I think I kinda forgot how consistent Myers was (besides the sister thing). Always an unstoppable force of evil from the get go. The one minor thing they add, that becomes a major thing, is a connection to Celtic occult lore… which ends up kinda ruining everything. Besides that, Dana Carvey shows up in a non-speaking role for like five seconds.

What?! Love it when a sequel really embraces the product placement. Here everyone is constantly asking each other if they might like a refreshing Coke. What does the guy in the hospital do to try to be sweet to Laurie? “Hey, I’m gonna go grab you a Coke.” Honestly, don’t blame them. What’s the only thing that can stop Michael Myers in his tracks? That cool refreshing taste of a Coca-Cola.

Where?! Unlike the revisionist history of Nightmare on Elm Street, this series was always set in the midwest, specifically the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois. I wouldn’t say Illinois is required for the plot or anything, but it is made clear, so I’ll say a B+. It really makes it lame that Nightmare went Ohio at the end. Would have been nice if the major horror franchises were East Coast (Friday the 13th), West Coast, and Midwest. Zombies would eventually take the Southern region as their own.

When?! Right off the bat we can throw out an A+ Time Setting Alert on this guy. Set on Halloween and cha, it just might be important to the plot. It is a different kind of horror franchise though, since usually the films still sorta stick the everything being set in the year that the film is actually released. Obviously not the case here. If the first film was set in 1978, then the second one is as well. So really a period piece.

This is certainly a worse movie than I remember from the first time I watched it. It has far too much Loomis (who really started to annoy me even by the end of the first film) and far too little Jamie Lee Curtis, who spends much of the film in a coma. I also still can’t really understand why they made Laurie his sister. It has never made sense and never will make sense. But at least Carpenter doesn’t pretend like it was the plan the whole time. Even he kinda thinks the twist is dumb and only did it because they needed a new storyline for the sequel. Despite this, I think overall the film comes out on the plus side as far as horror films go (not to mention horror sequels). I still like the hospital setting quite a lot and the kills are a nice mix of gory and silly. It makes me wish they made one more for a trilogy to finish the full Halloween night of mayhem. As for The Birds II: Land’s End, it actually lived up to expectations a bit. It’s a little slow going at first, but you can get by with just how much of a total dick one of the characters is and also just how much of a rip-off of Jaws the whole set up is. Shame, really, for a classic film to have a sequel reduced to a boilerplate rip-off decades later. But really the payoff is the end, which is just a batshit crazy scene of mayhem where people are full body burning left and right. Wasn’t expecting how enjoyable the experience would be. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We are continuing to collect the films I’ve already seen before. I think I’ve seen Halloween II a few times. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – At one point I decided I just wanted to watch a full horror series without waiting for BMT and so I consumed most of the Halloween series in the span of a few months. The preview is a revelation about the second Halloween though. At the time I was like “oh weird they continued the story and it was okay”, but the preview makes it clear Carpenter mostly did the film reluctantly and also forced them to make it gorier because he figured that was the direction horror in particular had gone between 1978 and 1981. I was genuinely surprised at how much of a hand Carpenter had with the odd direction the franchise took after the classic first film. What were my expectations? Well, I had seen the film before and mostly liked it. Given that it is, in fact, a bad movie, I figured with more horror franchise knowledge under my belt I would probably think it was a bad film like the critics did.

The Good – I do like the setting a lot. The setting of the hospital was a genius maneuver instead of running back the same suburban setting from the first film. I was somewhat surprised to realize just how much connective tissue from the first to the second there is, in particular the surprisingly varied methods of killing people and the way Michael displays the bodies all are very similar to the first film. The final full body burn is very impressive. Best Bit: The hospital setting.

The Bad – I cannot understand or believe how little they give Jamie Lee Curtis to do in this film. She basically doesn’t move or talk in the first hour of the film, and then mostly limps around barely being able to scream for the rest. Loomis is a jerk and dumb and I had forgotten how lame his character was until he ended up being the star of the film when outside of the hospital. Speaking of which, too much of the film takes place outside of the hospital, it should have all been inside the hospital with Loomis only showing up at the end. The kills in this one feel far more exploitative, and I think the entire thing would have been better served by a similarly slow and methodical pace of the first. Fatal Flaw: Too little Curtis.

The BMT – Yup, I can transparently see all of the issues this film had now that I know the rhythms of an 80s horror franchise. It tries to ratchet up the gore, but it feels exploitative. It fails to leverage its star, favoring a dialogue-less monster instead, which never works. It has far too much filler with Loomis wandering around. And then the twist is awful. And amazingly, from what I can glean, all of those decisions were Carpenter’s … I guess it makes sense given he didn’t want to so a second Halloween film, he wanted to do an anthology series instead. Did it meet my expectations? Absolutely. I kind of liked this film the first time I watched it. This time? I can transparently see all of the things they failed to do to keep the franchise going.

Roast-radamus – A solid Product Placement (What?) for the obviously placed Coca-Cola machines seen in the hospital. A very excellent Setting as a Character (Where?) for Haddonfield, Illinois which is where all of the original Halloween films take place (as that is where Michael Myers grew up and where he killed his sister in 1963). And an A+ Temporal Setting (When?) for the film taking place mostly on Halloween Night, 1978 (explicitly that year as it is explained that it is precisely 15 years after he killed his sister). Mostly closest to BMT I think, in that isn’t isn’t unpleasant to watch, just bemusing.

Prequel, Sequel, Remake – I think with a lot of sequels your best bet is a Remake. Mainly I think the key is setting it entirely in the hospital. Show Loomis finding the body missing and telling Laurie that the killer is still out there and to not let the doctors knock her out, that he’ll get there as soon as possible to prevent Michael from finding her. Then introduce the late-night skeleton crew at the hospital. From that point it is mostly the same as the film, except now Laurie is conscious and actively trying to rally the staff to defeat Michael because she knows he’s there somewhere. We see the staff picked off one by one (after they find the security guard missing … curious), and the remaining survivors corralled further and further into the dark hospital unable to escape. In the end Laurie and the young EMT friend find the staff killed and displayed like the girls in the first film, and just as Michael finds them Loomis comes bursting through the door and incapacitates Michael once again. Loomis explains that the police arrested him, suspicious as to how much he knew about Michael during the events of the first film, but they were convinced once the hospital’s phone lines were found to be cut. This sets up a concluding sequel which would take place entirely within the Myers home. Still called Halloween II.

You Just Got Schooled – Obviously I had to rewatch the classic Halloween (1978) prior to watching this film. And yeah, it is a classic for a reason. It is a lot different than the other films in the series though (even the second). It basically invents the Unstoppable Force as far as killers go (that might not be precisely true, but I think it is a plausible claim at least). But then the film takes absolute ages before anyone is killed. Mostly Myers can be seen stalking some of his victims and waiting around before finally starting to kill them. It works because it is not really a “slasher” film as the genre has now been defined. I also get why later entries in the series ended up going with the more early kills and more evenly paced kills. A. The film is, as I said, a classic and is probably one of my favorite horror films. Curtis is, in particular, amazing in the film.

Bring a Friend Analysis – Wow, this is getting long, but I can’t not talk about The Birds II: Land’s End. I hadn’t seen the original prior to the viewing, but did catch up on that as well (obviously a great film and quite a bit different than I imagined, I thought it took place on an island like Jaws). I think the makers of Birds II took to heart the idea of animals attacking during an otherwise intriguing family drama a little too much. The sequel is 95% the story of a family dealing with tragedy, and 5% “oh, wait, I forgot about the birds, quick put some birds in there for a second.” The film would have been boring except that the local newspaper editor/photographer, Frank, is an insatiable horndog who can’t stop hitting on Ted’s wife May even after being told multiple times about Ted’s difficulties dealing with the death of Ted and May’s son. It is just an incredibly aggressive and unyielding display which captured my interest in the most BMT way. B. Unusually high, but I think the combination of it being a made-for-tv sequel to a beloved film, and Frank makes for a film that as crazy as it sounds I would willingly watch again. Wild stuff.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Young Guns II Recap

Jamie

Billy the Kid is back, Jack! And boy howdy is it… a movie that was made. As the authorities in New Mexico try to reign in the remnants of the Regulators, they start arresting the whole gang, inadvertently bringing them back together. Back on the run, they are pursued by an old ally, Pat Garrett. Can they escape before it’s too late? Find out in… Young Guns II.

How?! Unfortunately this film is bookended by a weird sequence that supposes that the conspiracy theory that Billy the Kid survived to old age is true (hint: it’s not) but whatevs. We learn that after the events of the first film (which we all know by heart), Billy the Kid continues his wild ways with a new crew. Unfortunately, Doc Scurlock and Chavez are brought back into the mix as the authorities of New Mexico try to arrest and do away with Billy the Kid and his associates. Seeing the writing on the wall, Billy makes a deal with the Governor to get a pardon, but is arrested instead. As a result he doesn’t just escape jail, he also frees Doc and Chavez for one more go around. Like the asshole that he is, Billy promises that they’ll escape to Mexico, but instead leads the new gang around having fun. Meanwhile a former member of the gang, Pat Garrett, is offered the job of sheriff in order to hunt down Billy and the gang. He pursues them to a house of sin, where through trickery Billy and the gang escape again. Soon thereafter the gang learns that they were never heading to Mexico, but it’s too late… Garrett is there and most of the gang is killed trying to escape, including Chavez and Doc. Billy is captured and even though he ends up escaping he is sad to find the gang dead and scattered. Eventually cornered by Garrett again, Billy begs to just let him go on to Mexico and eventually he relents (confirming the conspiracy story). Thus Billy the Kid lives happily ever after… until the sequel! THE END.

Why?! Who knows. Billy the Kid is portrayed as a rambunctious kid with no plan and a death wish (which mostly just results in the deaths of everyone around him). There is no reason for anything in this film. They aren’t trying to get money or anything… just kinda a general sense of revenge and doing crazy stuff. At least the first had some reason for the events. Here Billy just comes off like a crazy asshole.

Who?! The funnest fact of all is that Jon Bon Jovi and Tom Cruise appear unbilled in the first Young Guns film. Even funner is that Jon Bon Jovi apparently was so thrilled with the experience that he came back for more, appearing unbilled and in Young Guns II AND did all of the songs for the soundtrack AND that was his debut solo album! The more I write about it the crazier it all seems. I can only assume that he and Estevez were like super pals or something.

What?! I think most people were probably put off by the scene where Billy the Kid decides to put away his childish ways and grow up, but then takes a swig of Mountain Dew and winks at the camera. But I thought it was a bold acting choice by Estevez. There is also a surprising number of props for sale for a film that pretty much everyone forgets exists… like check out this wanted poster for Doc that is apparently authentic and unfortunately sold out for the low, low price of $145.

Where?! New Mexico, baby. Very solid setting given that the state is somewhat rare and it’s kind of mentioned all the time. Historically necessary to the plot as well… I mean, I think I have to give this a solid A.

When?! Since this is a historical film, you would have to assume it sticks to the idea that this all took place in 1881. The bookends apparently take place in 1950, meaning that Emilio Estevez in old man makeup is portraying a… like 90 year old. Alright, that’s crazy town. What is he, Clint Eastwood? A-.

It’s super weird to realize that in the late 80’s there weren’t just major Westerns being made, but like hip and rad Westerns starring dope teen heartthrobs. The first film is a much better representation of that as it’s a tale of revenge (classic) and honestly, other than some funny opening sequences of everyone being like “wahoooo, shoot some guns,” is played pretty straight with solid acting all around. Estevez’s take on Billy is in particular quite good and there’s some funny bits in there as well. The sequel though lacks all of that purpose. No more revenge. No nothing really other than Billy and the gang getting hunted down. And they don’t even pay that off. Instead they just lean into the conspiracy that he was still alive. They could have made the film about how Billy had to die. He was a shooting star that was destined to fall. But nah, nothing matters and he’s alive as an old man in bad old man makeup looking like Jean Claude Van Damme a la The Quest. Don’t worry about the plot of the film because he survived and is just a shitty old man that led all his friends to their deaths… so I guess I’d sum it up by saying I wish it had something interesting to say and then maybe it wouldn’t have been totally forgotten to time. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I cannot wait until they make Old Guns to finish up this trilogy (it is more likely than you think …). Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – My perception of this film was that it was going to be like … electric guitars and a “young actors version of a western in 1990”. Which admittedly would have been amazing and rad. The trailer and original film told a different story. As the original film was pretty good, I was intrigued as to why the second was considered so bad. What were my expectations? I guess for it to just be the first movie again? A tale as old as time as to why a sequel to a successful film ends up being panned by critics.

The Good – The acting in the film is still good, especially Estevez who I think created quite an interesting character with his giggly psychotic Billy the Kid (in both films). I would have been pretty skeptical, given how the first film ended, that they would have had much of a “true” story to tell in the second, but there was quite a lot to work with given the events that lead up to Billy the Kid’s death. And yeah, the true story aspect was interesting. During both films I found myself reading a ton of Billy the Kid history on wikipedia, and they seemed like they did a decent job with both films in the end. Best Bit: Interesting historical story.

The Bad – The worst part was probably the bookends (which you could maybe tell they knew about at the time since there is nary of whisper of old-man-Estevez in the marketing material), the dumb story of a con man pretending to be Billy the Kid in the 50s is just not very interesting. The film also just feels very muddled. They want to have this lingering question of Billy being alive at the end, when the actual interesting bit was the manhunt a la Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The whittled down ensemble is much less impressive in the second, and they also unnecessarily kill a bunch of them when that didn’t happen in real life which was annoying. Fatal Flaw: Bookend segments.

The BMT – As we go through sequels I think we’ve managed to capture quite a few films which had great / surprisingly good initial films and terrible / surprisingly bad sequels. That is obviously the trope, but it makes me wonder whether that is anomalous in BMT history. Anyways, this is a bad western, which is a rarity. But, it is also a little too genuine to be fun, so I doubt I’ll ever revisit it. Did it meet my expectations? It mostly defied them. I expected them to crank up the electric guitar to 1000% and lean into all of the worst bits of the first and create an abomination. Instead it was an interesting movie with decent acting which just failed to be well made and really sunk itself with the bookend segments. I wonder if it wouldn’t have been BMT at all without those bookends … we’ll never know.

Roast-radamus – Basically only can get Setting as a Character (Where?) for New Mexico … long ago we did The Host as New Mexico, a movie I genuinely just don’t remember the plot of. Why didn’t we do this movie? Anyways, closest to Good I think.

Prequel, Sequel, Remake – The obvious answer to the question is Prequel, as that is really the only place you can go with it. Prior to the first film you have Billy the Kid, orphan, gunslinger, and genuine psycho just starting out in life. Fifteen, working in a boarding house for food, and stealing whenever and whatever he can get his hands on. The story would mainly focus on his time in and around Bonita where he is stealing horses for a living and gaining his original Kid Antrim name, and several run ins with the eeeeeevil Francis Cahill (fictionalized, probably just a dick … I’ve read just the Wikipedia page). The film culminates with him shooting Cahill, turning himself in, and then, realizing his life is already over, laughing and escaping. The end of the film is him in a saloon in Lincoln County and asking someone who the dapper gentleman is. “Oh, that’s John Henry Tunstall, he raises cattle.” The end. Obviously it is called Youngest Gun.

You Just Got Schooled – And that is a perfect introduction to the review of the original Young Guns. First, I’ll say that I quite enjoyed the film. I was surprised that it is an actual western. I figured it was going to be a silly electric-guitar faux-western or something given the brat pack cast. And the story is very interesting. If you trust Wikipedia it seems like quite a good telling of the Lincoln County War which I hadn’t really heard of before as I hadn’t ever really read up on Billy the Kid before. Estevez’s performance in particular is really rather good. I’ve mentioned it a few times, but his psychotic giggling is just pitch perfect for a character where you are like “wait … is this guy a sociopath?” … he is. B+. Kind of like Wyatt Earp, it is a film mostly interesting because of its historical context, but enjoyable if you like westerns I think.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Problem Child 2 Recap

Jamie

Junior is back, Jack! And boy is he still a problem. After moving with his dad, Ben, to the divorce capital of the world, Junior is distressed to find his daddio is the object of affection for the villainess Lawanda. Teaming up with frenemy (and fellow problem child) Trixie, can Junior stop the potential wedding between Ben and Lawanda before it’s too late? Find out in… Problem Child 2.

How?! Junior and his dad, Ben, just need a change of scenery. Enter the Divorcee Capital of the US (Orlando?) where Ben is not just in demand, but literally an indescribable hunk. To make matters worse his grandpa shows up having lost everything in a bum business deal and is super lame. Junior is not happy about this unlikely turn of events and begins to act out again. He ruins a lemonade stand, he blows up a barbeque, and hypnotizes Grandpa’s dog, etc. etc. etc. As each of his dad’s hot dates show up, Junior finds creative, and often dangerous, ways to get them out of the picture. Little does he know that a storm is a-brewin’ in the form of the local bank owner. Oft-married (and oft-divorced) Lawanda has her eyes on the prize that is Ben Healy and will destroy all in her path to get him. Turns out Ben likes being waited on hand and foot by a rich, beautiful lady, and they get engaged. Even Grandpa is thrilled with the potential financial windfall that is heading the family’s way. Despondent, Junior finds a kindred spirit in another problem child, Trixie, and is excited to find that her mom is pretty dope and should probably be with his dad instead. They team up to ruin the wedding in a variety of ways. When this doesn’t work they instead just roll a giant boulder down the aisle and squash Lawanda, but not before she reveals her true colors to Ben. Ben is like “phew, thank god I didn’t marry that lady before a boulder squashed her,” and instead smooches Trixie’s mom. Then, realizing an opening when he sees one, Grandpa swoops in and starts smooching Lawanda. Finally (and this is real, so prepare yourselves), Trixie and Junior light a firecracker, shoot it into the wedding cake, it proceeds to fly up into the air and land on Grandpa and Lawanda, who then are shocked to find that Grandpa’s dog has made a giant poop. THE END. 

Why?! That sweet cash, baaabbbbbyyyy. This sequel has no purpose other than to make money for everyone involved with no regard for human life or decency. I guess Ben Healy wants to get married again so that Junior has a mom, but Junior just wants fun dad time with the World’s Best Dad. In the end they split the difference and seemingly live happily ever after.

Who?! Twin film alert! There are not one, but two sets of twins in the film. Junior has a set of twins as neighbors named Dolly and Madison, which appears to be a joke on the Hostess brand of food. Either than or a joke about the First Lady of the US. There is also a brief commercial shown where Grandpa is in a hot tub with twins. Those actresses actually have appeared in a number of BMT qualifying films so look forward to seeing them again.

What?! I think the obvious winner here is the Love Rock, which is like a meteorite or something that crashed near the town and has a heart shaped, red-colored indentation on it. People make wishes on it. Unfortunately this is not a prop I’m seeing for sale, nor did they decide to make it a permanent fixture in Orlando, so presumably it was destroyed. I would have never let that happen.

Where?! It’s odd to encounter these films that have very clear settings sprinkled throughout the internet that are impossible to identify in the actual films. In this case, Problem Child 2 is apparently set in Oregon… that would be mystifying to anyone that actually watches the movie. It’s clearly shot in Orlando and Patrick astutely pointed me to some places (e.g. a phone book) where this is confirmed… so isn’t this set in Orlando? Usually when this happens it’s because in an interview the creators said it was set in Oregon, or the script sets it in Oregon, or someone one time thought it was set in Oregon, or a slight chance it’s actually set in Oregon and we missed it. But I don’t think so. I think this is set in Orlando. C-.

When?! I don’t recall seeing a specific time for the film, but it appears to be set right at the beginning of school. At least when Junior shows up at school and is skipped a few grades he ends up in class where the teacher is going around the classroom finding out what level everyone is operating at as if it’s just off of summer vacation. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. C+.

Oooooooooooof. This is dog poo in my face. In fact it’s the giant dog poo at the end of the film right in my face. It is bizarre to an extreme degree, which at times can be fun. Like the carnival scene which descends into an absurd amount of puke flying around the screen on par with an SNL sketch. Otherwise, they destroyed every single spark of charm that remained from the first one and the actor playing Junior regressed to near unwatchability (presumably due to a combination of a bad script and a poorly chosen director). Add in a good dose of toilet humor and this is just no fun and somehow, despite dropping the problematic aspects of the first film, feels way more gross and unpleasant. You can really just watch the very end of the film (described above) to get the full picture of what this terrible, terrible film is all about. I honestly wonder how John Ritter got through it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Problem Child was the surprise smash hit comedy sensation of 1990. Run it back!!!!! We’re going again. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I’m 90% sure we owned Problem Child on VHS when we were growing up. Problem Child 2 on the other hand … I think I just saw it several times when it was on cable. I’ve definitely seen it that way, because I also know that they cut out the two scenes involving comically large piles of dog shit. What were my expectations? Well I was hoping for it to be a surrealist delight like the first film. I fully expected it to be an unfunny surrealist nightmare though. I didn’t even like this film as a kid I don’t think.

The Good – Not much. I think the acting is still pretty solid given all the material they are working with. On occasion you get whiffs of the same charming weirdness from the first film (the scene with the animal control officers is amusingly odd for example). The film is worse in every respect compared to its predecessor though so it is difficult to point to anything as actually good with that comparison available. Best Bit: John Ritter.

The Bad – The film is grotesque in precisely the way that critics slammed the first one for (incorrectly I think). There is literally people drinking piss, the aforementioned giant piles of dog shit, a scene with so much vomit that the joke is merely the sheer volume of vomit in the scene, medical mutilation, and animal cruelty. The film is aggressively unfunny, so much so that it mostly ruins the scant charm of the lead child actor in the process. And obviously, when asking for a sequel, it was necessary to revert all character growth as well which is a shame. The whole thing feels like exactly what the film critics thought the first Problem Child was, when in fact they hadn’t seen anything yet. Fatal Flaw: Grotesque body humor.

The BMT – A marvel of our childhood at the very least, I’m quite glad I finally got to see these films back-to-back. They compliment each other very well. The first is a somewhat misunderstood not-really-kids’ movie. The second is the monstrosity that happens when you mix that formula with a cynical cash grab. They are beautiful in a way. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, although I wish the second film was less gross. I would never dare to watch the film again just because it is just so gross to watch. No so with the first.

Roast-radamus – Maybe our first Twin Film (Who?) of the year for the neighbor twin girls that Junior antagonizes. Some decent Product Placement (What?) for things like Uhaul throughout. And a minor Setting as a Character (Where?) for Florida as the phonebook prominently suggests that they are, in fact, in the Orlando area. Wait a second, is that why there are so many divorcees and cougars around? I just got that. Closest to Bad I think.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Since we are going to ignore the direct-to-video third film, let’s go with a Sequel. Junior is all grown up, thirty, and divorced. He worked for his ex-wife’s father so obviously his insurance career is in shambles as well. Adrift he is moping around when who shows up? His step-grandmother Lawanda, with his 9-year-old uncle Ben in tow. It turns out his grandfather, now 90, had left Lawanda for a younger woman and with the kid. Well, like nephew-like-uncle I suppose, because the kid is a nightmare! He terrorizes the neighborhood, wreaking havoc on Junior’s life as he tries to win his wife back. Through Ben, Junior meets a well meaning teacher at the local elementary school and they hit it off. Vengeance on his father-in-law is had, lessons are learned, and Junior and Ben decide to have a go at being a family with Junior officially adopting Ben from Lawanda. Problem Child Generations. Exclusively released to local libraries on VHS.

You Just Got Schooled – I was thinking I would skip this part, but what the hey, I decided to watch The Bad Seed (1956) which the writers of Problem Child claimed the film was vaguely based on (but as a comedy). It is hard to assess old films, this one in particular is two hours, but in reality is a neat 90-minute film where they decided to tell-not-show a bunch of stuff that would have been left unsaid in a a film made in the 80s or 90s. The film is a weird inspiration because the child is the polar opposite of Junior. In The Bad Seed Rhoda is an 8-year-old girl who has a severe temper, appears older and wiser than her age, and is a compulsive liar. A textbook sociopath (given the definition at the time I assume). Junior on the other hand delights in telling you that not only did he do the things he’s accused of, he laughs uncontrollable about it and would do it again with glee. Junior I think would be considered precocious more than anything else. Rhoda is a monster. I liked the movie, but it is slow going, and you’ll get the idea they are going after about 2/3rds of the way through. B, a solid 50s “horror” film in the end.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs