Friday the 13th Part 2 Recap

Jamie

What?! Jason’s back!… er… I mean, Jason is here for the first time! It’s five years after the massacre at Crystal Lake committed by Jason’s mother and now Jason (back from the dead or whatever) is out for revenge. A new set of camp counselors are on the scene, but the result is basically the same. Can they survive the encounter with a new monster? Friday the 13th Part II!

Why?! The horror genre is interesting because the motivations have traditionally been vague or nonexistent, especially in the early franchises. Mike Myers was pure evil and out to kill his family, Freddy is pure evil and haunts the dreams of teenagers in his hometown, Leatherface is pure evil and kills those that stumble upon his crazy family. Friday the 13th is a bit different, whereby Jason’s mother kills all who attempt to reopen the camp where her son drowned through negligence. Part II continues the trend in that Jason isn’t just pure evil out to kill anyone who disturbs his peace at the camp, but rather he worships his (now dead) mother and kills those near the lake. He has no ability to discriminate between those that killed his mother five years ago and those that come to the lake in this film. As a result he goes on a rampage. It’s actually a pretty interesting backstory. The motivation for the campers is always the same: survive.

How?! Like, how did Jason kill the campers? In this one there isn’t a huge amount of variety. Mostly it’s stabbing people in the torso or neck. The best kill is the double spear kill through the bodies of two counselors making whoopee (and it gives me the opportunity to use the phrase “making whoopee.”). The third film is really when they started getting creative with the kills.

Who?! Each of the films has a Planchet of sorts. The guy who’s always joking around. This one is no different with Ted played by Stuart Charno, who has bright orange hair and is super skinny. Besides his jokes on jokes on jokes, the most interesting thing about the character is that he survives. Since the setting of the film is a functioning training camp there are like 25 people there. Instead of killing them all they wrote in the fact that most of the crew go out on the town the night of the massacre and don’t return until after the killing has stopped.

Where?! The first film pretty firmly establishes that the camp is located in New Jersey. The setting is bolstered in this one through the name of the training camp: Camp Packanack. This is clearly a play on Lake Packanack located in New Jersey. C+.

When?! The timeline for the series is legendarily screwed up. We know by reference that this film takes place five years after the first. It’s known from the fourth film (apparently) that the first film takes place in 1979. So we have the year of 1984 (which is fun because that means that the film was set in the future as it was released in 1982). I would presume that it’s June give that it’s a training camp for counselors for the upcoming camp season, but fans like to put it in July so that the third film takes place on Friday the 13th. Whatever. That’s what you can get from this film. Look towards Part III’s recap to get a better idea of the exact date. C-.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Friday the 13th Part 2? More like Just Like Halloween 2! We watched the first trilogy of one of the three horror mega franchises, could it live up to the standard set by the first installment of Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street? Let’s just say it gets off to a rocky start. Let’s get into it!

  • The Good – If you like lots of kills, and inventive kills this is the franchise for you it turns out. Halloween had less kills and more tension, and Myers for the most part slashes people (it worked well when he was a kid, why change anything ten years later you know?), and Kruger has that whole supernatural dream thing going. But otherwise … this guy was probably actually my least favorite of the three.
  • The Bad – This installment is a mess. You want to think the ending is a dream? Then did Paul survive? If not what happened to him? Who is Jason, a grown up version of the boy in the lake? Did he not actually die? Is this another boy Mrs. Voorhees raised in the woods? What happened to the kids who went off to the townie bar, I presume they just survived. Why is this never mentioned ever again? For all the low budget gore and dozen or so kill shots, there are so many loose ends after the movie sprints through the last seven teenage deaths that it is a wonder the editor cobbled the madness together.
  • The BMT – Out of the three I honestly think the second is the worst, but no. Too low budget. They made these things on a dime at the time. The entire trilogy predates Elm Street so the only real comparisons you got are things like Halloween 2 which kind of also looks like crap. Elm Street stands with The Thing as far as practical effects are concerned, so for the slasher genre that was (unfortunately a terrible) turning point. Here though they grabbed good looking young actors off the street and filmed it over a weekend basically. And what they made is actually pretty impressive.

Quick Sklogification in honor of this movie just being a mess. Out of the many admirable things in this franchise, one of the best things is watching the evolution of the character of Jason and the lore surrounding the film. But it ended up leaving things a little messy upon reviewing. Is Jason the (un)dead boy from the first film? Is there a psychic aspect to the series with the multiple dream sequences throughout? It is hard to tell. So If I were to propose a rewrite of the original trilogy (and, no, I haven’t seen the remakes) it would go a little like this: Ten years after a massacre at Crystal Lake closed the camp for good a new camp director wants to push against the ghost stories and start anew. But uh-oh, Jason won’t allow this and a massacre on a fateful Friday the 13th occurs. Turns out the instigating event was the death of his mother Mrs. Voorhees at the camp when he was but a boy of ten and he massacred them all and fled to the woods presumed drowned and dead (a little twist on the plot of the original). The lone survivor of the present massacre is taken to a hospital for recovery thinking Jason was killed by a machete. Jason, adopting this machete as his weapon of choice, follows her to the hospital on Saturday the 14th and, as a nod to Halloween 2, goes on a late night murderous rampage through the hospital. Naturally there is a hockey goalie there getting bandaged up after a local game and Jason snags that along the way. The lone survivor is killed, and Jason, again presumed dead, ultimately slinks off into the woods. In the third installment a manhunt has begun for Jason by the local police. Two deputies come across the injured killer and one is killed and the other wounded. The wounded deputy crawls to a cabin inhabited by oblivious teenagers having a party. Jason, in a rage, attacks the house and is ultimately killed by the deputy, the lone survivor of the bloody weekend. Throughout the trilogy the movies start where the predecessor ends, and there is a scattered powerful storm raking across the Crystal Lake region.

Now I’m not saying this is somehow better or the best, but nods to the original, a tighter narrative and lore, nods to Halloween as well (as was initially intended in fact), and no muddled need for the supernatural. Makes me wonder what the remakes are actually like.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

RoboCop 3 Recap

Jamie

Trying to catch up. No probs. Just gonna kick the shit out of this email just like RoboCop does with the bad guys. Woooooo.

What?! RoboCop is back and looking good. Almost as if a totally new actor took over the role. OmniCorp is trying to clear Detroit to make way for Delta City (still), but has to move all the poor people out before it can happen. Can our beloved cyborg hero stop the unjust evictions before the entire city is left as rubble? RoboCop 3!

Why?! As always OmniCorp is trying to build Delta City. This time though there is added motivation as OmniCorp is in deep shit and is getting bought out by a Japanese company. The merger will save the company from complete collapse, but hinges on OCP clearing out Detroit in time to start construction on Delta City. RoboCop’s motivation changed this time… jk! Still the same: Chew bubblegum. Run out of bubble gum. Kick ass. Also, he wants some sweet, sweet retribution for the unfortunate death of his partner, Nancy Allen, who really didn’t want to be in this film (but still wanted to get paid for filming a death scene).

How?! Since OCP has proven to be super inept at building all but one crime fighting cyborg they are just using a group of British(?) mercenaries to clear the city. Unfortunately a band of rebels are making their lives a living hell. They also make a terrible mistake by killing RoboCop’s partner, which leads him to join the rebels in their fight. In the end it’s OCP on one side and the police and rebels on the other. Guess who wins? You’re right! The one with the cyborg killing machine with a shiny new jetpack (a.k.a. shiny new action figure accessory). In the end RoboCop defeats OCP (and a random Japanese cyborg that is 5000x better than RoboCop but still loses) and the city is given independence by the Japanese company. It really wraps up the whole saga in a neat little bow.

Who?! While he wasn’t really comic relief, Bradley Whitford makes an appearance as an OCP executive. Clearly he was honing his Eric Gordon character for Billy Madison because he basically plays the same person. He was the best. In fact, there are a lot of things you can say about RoboCop 3 but it has a pretty dope TV actor cast.

Where?! How many times do we have to say it. RoboCop is Detroit. Detroit is RoboCop. Shouldn’t even have called it Delta City in the film. It’s RoboCop City. Because he owns it. A-

When?! As noted for RoboCop 2, the creator of RoboCop has continually said that the year is the “near future” for the first film and true to form the sequels also seemed to take this approach. Very little about the year the film takes place is provided. We know from the first two that this is in the general vicinity of the late 80’s and early 90’s. More fun is the fact that RoboCop 3 represents the first of the year’s random Xmas films! Yay! This film very clearly takes place around Christmas. Not only are there Christmas decorations EVERYWHERE, but the parents of one of the characters are killed at the beginning of the film and their day of death is shown as December 7th. Perhaps with a very close watch a year could be gleaned like in the first one, but I couldn’t find it. Despite that, this is probably my favorite temporal setting of the three films. C+

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! RoboCop 3? More like RoboCrap-py!!!! (Wow, that just falls right out of it huh?). I watched both RoboCop and RoboCop 2 on a ten hour flight to Vegas (just as the director intended the movie to be consumed, via iPad). Would my gamble of watching the third on the return flight instead of sleeping pay off? Nope, busted. Let’s get into it!

  • The Good – Woof. I’m surprised by how much Robert John Burke looked like Peter Weller once the mask was on. I was happy to see the returning actors as well. This series isn’t something to scoff at, it could have been serious business if it was handled properly.
  • The Bad – Basically everything. The story makes little sense. None of the characters are particularly believable or motivations made clear. The finale is horrible, ditching the bread-and-butter practical effects for a special effect ending that just looks like garbage. RoboCop comes across as much less likeable in this installment. Less robotic somehow.
  • The BMT – This one, yes. For sure. I can kind of see why it is reviled. I would probably put it around 40. If there were more sequels I bet that is where it ends up to be honest. Being the only really bad installment of an iconic series has its downsides.

Here I will go Sequel. They tried and failed to do the remake. Time to go RoboCop 4. Let’s cast, yes the 69 year-old retired PhD, Peter Weller again as the now old RoboCop. Of course he ages! He has a human … face or whatever. He’s too old for this shit, but when Detroit comes under fire by a series of, what appears to be, terrorist attacks, the officers of the Metro West go into the basement and dust off the, now, behind the times relic. Recruiting youthful hackers from a rambunctious gang they retrofit RoboCop with some new toys, and soon he is fit as a fiddle, directive free, and ready to kick some terrorist ass. Can the obsolete become cutting edge? Could the remnants of OmniCorp, scattered to the wind oh so long ago, somehow be connected to this new attack on old Detroit? Can RoboCop find … love? RoboCop 4 (no subtitle, get out of here!), coming next June!

I would watch it. Cheerios, and back to you Jamie!

RoboCop 2 Recap

Jamie

What?! RoboCop is back, Jack! And ready to attack the smack that’s taking over the streets. That’s right! There’s a new drug in town, Nuke, and while the (non-cyborg) police are on strike, no one’s there to stop its rise. OmniCorps aims to use the crisis to launch Delta City with a updated version of RoboCop to patrol the streets. Just hope RoboCop 2 isn’t some insane cyborg killing machine (hint: he is). RoboCop 2!

Why?! The entire aim of the film is for OmniCorp to gain control of Detroit and built Delta City. It’s funny because that’s basically the motivation of all the RoboCop films. They can’t seem to get the goddamned city built. RoboCop’s motivation is the same as well: Kick ass. Take names. Not necessarily in that order.

How?! In the original RoboCop OmmiCorp signed a contract with Detroit to take over the police department and privatize it. Turns out that contract had a clause whereby OminCorp could foreclose on the entire city if it defaulted on the contract. Uh oh! So OmniCorp’s entire plan is to undermine Detroit’s credit, wait for the city to default, stop paying the cops, allow crime to run rampant while they’re on strike, and call it a loss to justify knocking it all down to build Delta City. And the plan would have worked too if it wasn’t for that damned RoboCop. Seriously. They needed more RoboCops to patrol the streets of their shiny new city but couldn’t figure out the secret sauce that made the first one work so well. This time around they try using a newly captured Nuke kingpin as the brain for the robot and feeding his addiction as a means of control. Not a great idea as it goes beserk at the sight of Nuke and RoboCop has to save everyone (obvs). Unfortunately, they decided not to write in how RoboCop beating up a robot in any way solves the city’s financial crisis. We can only presume OmniCorp still ended up owning the city after everyone stopped high fiving and the credits rolled.

Who?! No true Planchet here, but I want to give a shout out to Belinda Bauer, an Australian actress with an unknowable accent. I really couldn’t tell if she was supposed to be American in this film or what. It was one of the worst (read: best) accents we’ve had in a while. Also Willard E. Pugh consumed any and all scenery as the bonkers Mayor of Detroit. Enjoy:

Where?! Detroit, duh. It’s fucking RoboCop. There’s a reason the city is going to have a statue dedicated to him (if the artist ever finishes making it). It’s really the only thing they didn’t mess up with the sequels and remake. In this world there is nothing that can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and RoboCop being set in Detroit. A-.

When?! According to the writer it is set in the “near future” but there is a clear January 1986 calendar in the precinct. There is some evidence presented online about it being set in 2044, but it’s from the book so noncanonical. I prefer the calendar. The month being January also lines up with the fact that the scientists are seen celebrating New Years in the three month span during which RoboCop is built. Why bring up the first film? Because at the Delta City presentation at the end of the second film the president of OCP says that “about a year ago we gave you RoboCop.” From that perspective we can presume that it’s either late 1986 or early 1987. Not incredibly specific but we got something. C-.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! RoboCop 2? More like RoboSlop! Boo! (ohhhhh yeah). We watched the sequel to one of my favorite movies (with some of the best practical effects in the biz), could it hold up to such praise? Nope! Let’s get into it!

  • The Good – Their hearts are in the right place. They tried to make a good follow up. To an extent the story is solid, and it does an okay job of taking a new subject (drugs) and running with it. And the practical effects seem pretty okay.
  • The Bad – The villains are not good enough to carry what is a ludicrous story. In the first the villains are just bad people. They fill that supervillain mold from Cobra but also in an interesting manner (with Kurtwood Smith looking as natural in a suit in OmniCorp headquarters as in a trenchcoat blowing Peter Weller’s hand off). In the second, Cain is just kind of a weirdo. They had an interesting villain (Gabriel Damon) in a pre-teen psycho, but waste him in an overly sentimental and brief stint at the top. The entire middle makes you wonder “what is the point?” after much is made of rewriting RoboCop’s directives, only to have him reverse the damage in a matter of seconds.
  • The BMT – Naw. At best it is borderline. As I said, the film isn’t terrible. Just heavy handed, with bad villains, and a precursor too good to live up to. It is interesting to read stuff about the series. It does seem like they were desperate to make RoboCop a franchise. Just never really came together properly.

Hmmmm. Tough to figure out games when I usually do sequels and prequels … this movie already has both. I think I’m going to make up a new game. This I’m going to call Sklog-light. It is something from the movie just watched which perfectly exemplifies something from my recap. This time I’ll flesh out something in the recap which perhaps was not expounded upon enough: RoboCop 2 is heavy-handed. At the end of the film OmniCorp is presenting RoboCop 2 (the evil Cain as a cyborg monster) and we catch a nice glimpse of their new flags:

ocp-nazi

… snazzy. Those couldn’t possibly be alluding to anything. They probably aren’t a crazy Godwin’s Law directly in the viewer’s face. We get it RoboCop 2 writers … OmniCorp is a fascist corporate-government hybrid. Could have toned down the flag. I assume Hitler existed in the RoboCop universe. For a company who seems obsessed with public relations this seems … like a snafu.

I got a whole other recap to write! Plus we are a bit behind. So I’ll leave it there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Big Momma: Like Father Like Son Recap

Jamie

What?! Big Momma’s back! Uh… again! Malcolm Turner is once again the FBI’s #1 cop. While staking-out a big time mobster, Malcolm is surprised by his stepson Trent, who witnesses a murder. Oh no! What are they going to do? Go deep undercover at the Georgia Girl’s School for the Arts, that’s what! Can they hide out long enough to find the evidence they need to put the mobster behind bars? Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son.

Why?! McGuffin alert! While Malcolm is tracking the mobster the audience is made aware that an important thumb drive with important information that’s really important is importantly hidden somewhere important. So when he and his son have to go underground they go to where the thumb drive was hidden (the Georgia Girl’s School for the Arts). It’s a race against time as they attempt to find the drive before the mobsters catch up. Trent also has a B storyline motivation of his own (besides staying alive) in trying to get his music career off the ground, but he first needs to convince his disapproving father than it makes sense to skip college to pursue his dream. But of course that kind of goes to the wayside when they MIGHT DIE.

How?! McGuffins are funny in this way as they really help streamline the motivation. Their importance is so inherent that the ‘how’ revolves around it and hilarity ensues. A big part of the conflict though is that while Big Momma is playing the den mother (and thus isn’t fully trusted by the girls), it turns out that Trent, playing one of the students in drag, is able to ingratiate himself and get more information. Oh how the roles have been reversed. Unfortunately this also leads to Trent falling in love with one of the students! Uh oh! Before it all blows up in their faces they are able to find the drive (hidden in the school’s cherished music box) and subdue the mobsters. And while Malcolm ultimately does gives his blessing to Trent’s music career, it turns out that Trent learned more than just how to survive a mob hit at the Girl’s School. He also learned the value of a good education.

Who?! I wouldn’t say there was a great Planchet in the film, so instead I’ll give a little shoutout to the hoops the filmmakers went through when faced with Nia Long passing on her role as Sherry for this installment. After finding out that Trent got into Duke we get a scene of Malcolm trying to contact Sherry at the spa she’s staying at. No dice though. Apparently the spa is a no cell phone, no contact spa and she’s going to be in isolation for the next few days. Oh really? How very convenient to Nia Long’s schedule. Weirdly there is absolutely no mention of the other child that Malcolm and Sherry had at the end of the second film. Either the child is staying at Big Momma’s for the weekend, is off at boarding school, or there is a very sad underlying story that is never mentioned but Malcolm silently endures every day.

Where?! After switching the film setting to LA for the second film they jump right back to the original setting of Georgia for the final installment. It’s actually a super solid setting as they make clear that Malcolm works at the Atlanta FBI unit and then, of course, they hide out at the Georgia Girl’s School for the Arts. Prefecto. B.

When?! I actually don’t think there was an exact time spelled out. Certainly in the Spring, since Trent gets an acceptance letter from Duke at the beginning of the film. Would guess we’re talking about the beginning of April, but still not clear. D.

You got the dets, now get the truth.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Big Momma Like Father Like Son? More like Big Momma, This Franchise is Done! We completed the Big Momma Saga, could anything live up to the heady heights of the first? The second didn’t, but three times the charm right? Nope! Let’s get into it.

  • The Good – The rapping/music in the film is pretty solid. Somewhere deep within this film is another film not starring Big Momma that is actually halfway decent. The story is a lot tighter than you would think considering. I really liked Faizon Love.
  • The Bad – The fat suit got worse again! His/Her face looks just terrible. Just terrible. Moving Big Momma to an all girls school is just again moving the character to another setting. It doesn’t feel like a Big Momma movie, it just feels like another movie with Big Momma as the main character … you know? The third movie probably has the lowest of lows for the franchise with a simply awful Cleveland Shuffle twist ending.
  • The BMT – Again, not 60+, but 40 maybe. Above average. In the discussion for worst of the year it came out, but not stand out. Disappointing though. I would not be excited for Big Momma’s House Party now, I would just be skeptical that Martin Lawrence could even pull off something resembling entertainment within the bounds of this franchise. This franchise I fear is dead.

Sigh. We’ll end with a new-ish game (more like it is just a mix of Remake and Sklogification): Sklog Casting, where I recast the film to try and fix some of its flaws. In this case this movie feels like another movie, like how Big Momma’s House 2 is just the Pacifier with Big Momma. It’s just that the movie this one is based on hasn’t been made yet. So let’s do it: Ice Cube is an FBI agent who, along with his son, witness a mob hit and go undercover in an all-girls performing arts school. These girls have real talent, but Ice Cube and his son (both in drag) can teach them a thing or two about spitting hot fire. This time we go full musical with a very entertaining mix of classic pop with hip hop. It would be a solid movie (Leonard Maltin suggests as much in his review for Like Father Like Son), and c’mon … Cube in drag? C’mon.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Big Momma’s House 2 Recap

Jamie

What?! Big Momma is back! Just when it seemed like Malcolm Turner had settled down and was out of the game for good, he’s drawn back in for one last case. The main suspect is in need of a nanny and you know what that means! In order to catch the crooks, Big Momma gotta take care of the cooking, cleaning, and three darling kids. Big Momma time!

Why?! The bad guys are aiming to create a computer virus that would allow access to all the high-level intelligence systems in the nation. This program will be sold to the highest bidder (hint: it’s not a good guy). Malcolm needs to stop them, but that’s not all. He’s about to be a new father and needs one last thrill before settling into his life as a desk-jockey, suburbanite. If there’s one thing Big Momma is, it’s full of thrills.

How?! While Malcolm is forbidden from taking part in the mission, he goes over the heads of his superiors and learns that the suspected computer virus creator is looking for a new nanny. Disguised as Big Momma he proves once again that he’s the best agent they have and gets the job. It’s just what Big Momma do. At first he’s like fuck these kids, fuck this house, and fuck their tiny Mexican dog that watches telenovelas and drinks tequila (not joking). But, just like in Nine Lives, he soon comes to realize that the only true way to succeed is to stop trying so hard to be a good agent and just focus on being the best goddamn nanny the family has ever had. Once he does that he stops the bad guys in the nick of time. Phew!

Who?! Ugh! Worst. Planchet. Ever. Zachary Levi is ostensibly the comic relief in this film, but I assure you he is not. I’ve never wanted a character to disappear more than him in this film. Everything he said or did was unnecessary and unfunny. Should have just replaced him with another Big Momma… Note to self: make film with two Big Mommas. Oh wait, they already did and we watched it! Hooray!

Where?! Los Angeles, baby. We even get a couple intertitles telling us when we’re at the “Los Angeles FBI” and the “Orange County FBI.” With some beach scenes to boot, that’s good for an easy B.

When?! Never? And yet… always? That’s all you can presume from what is shown to the viewer. I literally scoured every frame for a hint as to when it took place. I stopped only when I found myself trying to decipher a scrap of newspaper flying through a frame. My conclusion? The piece of paper belonged to The Times-Picayune, a New Orleans paper, which is where Big Momma’s House 2 was filmed but not set. Don’t know why the family had old issues of The Times-Picayune lying around their Los Angeles house. Kinda shatters my suspension of disbelief and movie magic. We can make a broad statement that it’s at the end of the school year, right before summer. But that’s about it. D-.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Big Momma’s House 2? More like The Pacifier starring Vin “Big Momma” Diesel. Oh so long ago we watched the original Big Momma’s House, and it was glorious. Could the sequel stand up? Nope. Let’s go!

  • The Good – The storyline is at least somewhat more believable that the first. The kid actors are rather impressive: Chloe Grace Moretz? Kat Denning? Pretty solid picks. I have a weird soft spot for Big Momma … I don’t know why, but I do find the character heartwarming in a weird way.
  • The Bad – I think the fat suit got worse since the first one, something with the face seems to just get worse with each passing film. They really really didn’t give Nia Long enough to do, it is like Ride Along all over again, very talented actresses left to either spoil the guy’s fun or be eye candy. The biggest crime though … the story doesn’t feel original or like a Big Momma story. It feels like The Pacifier with Big Momma dropped into it. Kind of like Die Hard 5, which was just a generic action movie in Russia story with John McClane dropped into it. I guess I don’t really know what else to do with Big Momma except turn her into Ernest (oooo she’s going to camp now!), but it came across as soulless and thus less enjoyable.
  • The BMT – I don’t think it is a 60+ BMeTric. That is legendary. It is like a 40. It is a bad movie. It looks bad. It has a lot of bad jokes and isn’t once funny. But it needs a hook to make the leap. In the first one the hook was that Martin Lawrence literally tricked people who knew who Big Momma was that this ludicrous melted candle of a fat suit was a real person (the White Chicks disease: they-look-like-monsters-itis). This had nothing to really get it to where it needed to be. Too bad.

It has been a while since I “fixed” (aka Sklogified) a movie. Do you know what else was missing from this film? Paul Giamatti, whose character just disappeared from the sequel. My fix? Get a young guy in as a replacement. He’s obsessed with Big Momma. He’s been improving the suit. When Big Momma is hired as a nanny who has too many tasks to complete within a day what does Lawrence do? Gets his young FBI protegee in to clean the entire house while Big Momma is out or asleep. Oh oh oh oh oh … As Jamie said, Two Big Mommas! The young gun has his own suit and they use it to allow Lawrence to go out on assignment while the young guy has to pretend (terribly) that he’s the real Big Momma! Think Too-da-loo scene from Mrs. Doubtfire, that is the level of trickery that this young guy has to go through during the film. The movie immediately makes more sense too. Like, Lawrence becomes the nanny and then just complains incessantly about doing house work … it’s your fucking job. This way you avoid that weird aside as well. Boom. Fixed. 100% on RT, Oscar for Lawrence, you’re welcome.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Independence Day: Resurgence Recap

Jamie

First post of the new year and we get to dive into a holiday classic. Happy New Year everyone and Happy Fourth of Joooool-eye!

What?! It’s been twenty years since Independence Day and the War of 1996. Humans have used alien technology to make immeasurable advances, but nothing could have prepared them for the next invasion. Will this next generation of fighters not go quietly into the night, not vanish without a fight, live on, and survive to celebrate humanity’s… Independence Day: Resurgence!

Why?! You may be wondering why the aliens are back just twenty years later after getting their alien butts handed to them. Turns out before Will Smith totally rocked them they were able to send out a distress signal to the super mother ship. They’re coming back for vengeance and to sap on our planet’s sweet, sweet molten core. This vengeance comes in the form of a 3000 mile long ship that is so large it totally fucks everything up with its gravity. The motivation for the humans is even simpler: survival.

How?! The aliens’ plan is to take us out, eat our planet’s core, and leave it an empty husk for the interstellar vultures. The humans’ plan is more complicated. That’s because on our own we are straight up screwed. Fortunately there is a rebel alien species that also received the distress signal and comes to our rescue. After first blowing its ship to smithereens (oops) we are able to salvage the powerful alien entity from the wreckage (in the form of a giant white orb). This orb is feared by the enemy aliens as it represents a much more advanced species capable of taking them downtown charlie brown (in the galactic sense). Teamed up with our ally we are able to lure the alien queen from the safety of the mothership and stop the drilling of our core. For this is the only way to safely set up the third film in the trilogy that everyone is obviously clamouring for (though lately Emmerich doesn’t seem super confident in it happening).

Who?! I had an existential crisis about the Who category recently. I started to think that there just weren’t enough Planchet-type characters in this world and I might need to take it in a different direction. Independence Day: Resurgence was a philosophical salve for that wound. I counted no less than five separate Planchets. We had Floyd (a nerdy auditor or something), Dikembe Umbuntu (a kooky African warlord), Papa Levinson (Jeff Goldblum’s extra Jewish father), Dr. Okun and his life partner (back from the dead and faaabbbbbuulllous), and my personal favorite Charlie Miller (BFFs with Liam Hemsworth’s character and a truly classic Planchet). The Who category is back baby! A+++ effort by the writers (one of which was one of the Planchets, Floyd!)

Where?! Kind of a hard question. If you had to pick one location it would be Area 51 in Nevada. Most time was spent there and the best fight scene took place nearby. However, we also have to give a shout out to the Moon, central Africa, and the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, all of which hosted key scenes of the film. Kind of an amazing set of locations. B+ effort using intertitles and everything.

When?! A+ alert! Took place on Independence Day, 2016. Straight up getting it in the title. NBD.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Independence Day: Resurgence? More like …. Resplendent Day 2? Independence Day Boo? I feel like my brain is broken, this is like the fourth week in a row with wizzeak puns. Anywho, we watched a sequel to a beloved Sci Fi adventure from 1996, how could it possibly live up to the expectations? We’ll let’s see:

  • The Good – I thought this movie was … surprisingly cogent. It was surprisingly entertaining. The Independence Day stalwarts are still pretty good actors. And the direction was pretty solid. The movie was average in literally every possible regard. Which is surprising. A ton of people think this movie is the worst of the year. For me it was just shy of not that bad.
  • The Bad – The use of Goldblum’s father (Judd Hirsch) was atrocious. His story makes no sense (am I wrong or do they suggest he drove literally across the country in a school bus through the film? [NOTE: I was wrong, he was in LA and he was struck by the wave caused by the giant ship’s gravity, not the ship landing]) and could also have been completely cut from the film with no impact. Same goes for the Russian drillers. The young actors are all either anonymous or terrible. The story is ludicrous in a couple different way, but most obviously in that it requires several enormous exposition dumps in order to clear up the plot debris that floats alongside the gravity of the 3000 mile alien ship.
  • The BMT – And yet I was entertained. I would gladly watch a third. I would gladly watch a well made show (don’t half ass some NBC thing, but like Showtime or HBO or something? I’d go for it). I do not personally think this is a BMT film. People think this might be the worst of the year! I find that nuts. This is like a 10 tops for me.

The Sci-Fi glory that is this movie inspired me to bring back a rare game: Sklogbusters our scientific mythbusting segment vaguely started for the movie Bats and their giant cave cooling refrigeration unit. In this segment we ask: What do the aliens want with the core and does it make sense that it was their goal in the first one anyways? The key question is: Does it actually contain enough energy to really matter for a ship that size (a 3000 mile long disc)?

To start some back of the envelope calculations (BMT does not guarantee the accuracy of these figures). Let’s assume it is a perfect disc and that it is 8:1 diameter to thickness (because). We also know it is hollow inside, so let’s say it has a hull thickness equivalent to a battleship, and the density of transparent aluminum (Star Trek references all up in here) and you get a mass of about 4 * 10^17 kg I think. Ignoring almost all physics let’s just use 62 MJ / kg as the energy needed to get the spaceship back off of the earth and away from the planet. Using the heat capacity here magma has a heat capacity of 41 J / mol / K, and the core is about 5000 K. Iron is 0.056 kg/mol so each kg of Fe would provide about 4 MJ.

And that is where the figure doesn’t really add up for assuming the core is being used to propel the spaceship back off of the Earth. You need 62 MJ / kg to get each kg of fuel off of the planet, but the heat only provides 4 MJ and the radiation isn’t much at all. Which leads to only one conclusion: fuel is not the reason for the sweet sweet core sucking power of the aliens. Perhaps with wormhole technology travelling the universe is trivial. And perhaps it is, instead, the iron itself they want. They wanted the core to “grow their technology” and for energy. Why not to build dyson spheres? Would make the most sense since they appear to have cold fusion in this universe. I think there is only one moral to this story: questioning and interrogating garbage Sci-Fi science is a waste of time, because I am forced to declare this myth plausible since the technological advances of the alien race appear to be so advanced as to be unknowable. Sigh.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Nine Lives Recap

Jamie

What?! Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) is a high powered business man who only cares about one thing: his brand (get it?). After getting a cat as a present for his daughter, a freak series of events leaves his body in a coma and his spirit trapped in the cat! What a cat-astrophe! Can he learn to love and live as a cat before his business is sold and he loses his family forever? Nine Lives!

Why?! The primary impetus in the film is that Tom Brand is a shitty guy and needs to change. He loves his family, but doesn’t show it very well and appears to love his business and himself more than them. So the mysterious pet store owner, Mr. Purrrkins, turns him into a cat to teach him lesson. Basically, if he can’t learn to live as a cat in his own house, then he can’t learn to love and will remain a cat forever.

How?! It isn’t really made particularly clear how being a cat will teach Spacey to love or what he had to do to be free. He is just told to act like a cat. However by the end of the film you come to understand that it’s more about being there for the people in his family when they need him (just like a cat is… or whatever). He plays with his daughter and comes to understand that simply being there is what she needs. He snuggles with his wife and comes to understand that he needs to be a comfort for her when she needs comforting. And finally he comes to understand that he needs to recognize his grown son for the skills and loyalty that he has ignored for so long. Throughout the film the son is dealing with a fairly complex business scheme that the COO of Brand’s company has undertaken in the absence of Tom (just what the kiddos are craving in a film: intricate business talk). Only by truly understanding his son’s contributions to his success is he finally able to be free.

Who?! I’ll give a little shoutout to Talitha Bateman, who played the daughter of Tom’s first wife from a new marriage. Not only is she already a BMT veteran (playing Teacup in The 5th Wave), but she had one of the better running gags in the film. It becomes clear that she is a minor internet celebrity and posts amusing videos to a youtube-type channel. It’s an unacknowledged subplot of the film and even initiated my favorite joke of the film (where a security guard tasers his partner in the testicles while trying to catch Tom as the cat… can’t go wrong tasering testicles).

Where?! Pretty standard New York City fare. We get direct confirmation of the setting, numerous license plates, and even some GPS map visuals. However it is definitely not integral to the plot. Could have been Chicago pretty easily. C+.

When?! There is nothing that explicitly tells you the date. Did I give up? No! Scouring the film I found a scene on a bus with an extra reading a New York Times. The front cover clearly indicates that it was the April 2nd, 2015 issue. A vast majority of New York City dwellers will be reading the current issue so we can say that the film takes place on or around April 2nd, 2015. I’m the best. D-.

One last quick note about Nine Lives. It is the newest edition of Chris Klein’s Number Line, where we try to collect integers that appear naturally in a film’s title. This is the 17th such title that we’ve watched (Patrick’s Note: We watched the 17th title a mere week before the beginning to 2017? Coincidence or a sign from above?). It’ll end the day that Chris Klein himself makes a number line title… so it’ll never end. Hooray! I’ll also make a visual for this game for the site at some point. For now you just have to trust me.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Nine Lives? More like Weak Try (haaaaaaalf-rhymes. Nine Lives is a surprisingly hard rhyming trick). We watched Nine Lives, a movie where Kevin Spacey is a cat. I slide head first into second with the lowest of low expectations, let’s go!

  • The Good – This movie isn’t as bad as you would think. Merely by not having Kevin Spacey act like a cat and instead put him in a movie-long coma it was a major win. Things are a bit fun, but it’s a kids’ movie. Do you like kids’ movies? I don’t. So I didn’t really like this movie. No skin off my back.
  • The Bad – Basically this movie immediately jumps in the middle of a very adult story of corporate power brokerage. It is boring to me, let alone kids who just want to see a cat run around. The CGI cat looks terrible. This is also not a body switch movie. Kevin Spacey does not run around acting like a cat. That was definitely in the original script, but they clearly cut it in order to get better talent all around. He is in a coma during the movie, and thus never acts like a cat. Mistake for entertaining Patrick, smart move in making this movie tolerable.
  • The BMT – There are a ton of things going for this movie from a BMT perspective. It has a terrible CGI animal; to the point where Kevin Spacey was probably on set for two days, and in the studio for two more, and that was his shooting schedule. They definitely made back their money from LG and Lexus in product placement. And this is a classic example of mixing two genres: why are kids interested in high level corporate sabotage again? Oh yeah, they aren’t, why is that literally half of this movie then? It is BMT, but just by being a great example of: (1) Body switch that isn’t body switch, (2) mixing an adult storyline into a kids movie, (3) product placement, (4) star power that was on set for fifteen seconds total. It is solid. But not as bad as you would think.

Obviously let’s go for a Prequel/Sequel/Remake and obviously we are doing a sequel. I will call it Ten Lives. The cat from Nine Lives is living out his ninth life with the Spaceys when sadly it is time to say good bye. But nay, after winning in the business world and winning with his family, there is only one last thing Kevin Spacey needs to conquer … the afterlife. Travelling through hell Kevin Spacey learns exactly how much his earthly success means for his soul. Spoiler alert: Not much!! Upon finding Mr. Fuzzypants can he convince Cat St. Peter that their furry friend deserves a tenth life? Find out in Ten Lives!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs