Taxi Preview

Alright, this week we transition fully to the Calendar rotation and start in with a comedy. The Calendar is pretty good for BMT street cred, as each film is more or less the worst film released on the day in question. Because of this there is a chance that we will be able to watch a number of 70+ BMeTric films (which is an amazing score). So starting it off right, we dive into the 70.2 BMeTric rated film Taxi starring Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. This is the worst film released on October 6th. Other notable films: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Employee of the Month, and Assassins. All solid BMT, but not 70.2 BMeTric solid.

Taxi (2004) – BMeTric: 70.2


(Boom. Right out the gate a disaster. Barely sticking above that 70 threshold though. Really depends on the rating now (those fits and starts in the trajectory are it jumping between ratings). I was genuinely shocked at this btw. I didn’t really imagine that this film could be this reviled, I barely remember it exists on the good day.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Hotshot cabbie teams up with an incompetent hot-dog cop in this weak action-comedy. Latifah and Fallon are strangers-turned-buddies out to catch a team of bank robbers (who happen to look like supermodels). Not a good showcase for the Queen or for former Saturday Night Live member Fallon. Produced by Luc Besson, based on the 1998 French film of the same name, which he wrote and coproduced. Extended version runs 112m.

(Leonard is a little familiar with Latifah, just calling her “the Queen.” Weird. I don’t really recall that being a common thing people called her. I do like the pairing of “hotshot” and “hot-dog” that Leonard uses here. Could be used for most every buddy-cop film.)

Trailer –

(Huh. Having already watched the French version of this film I can tell you that about 30% of the scenes they showed are from the climax of the film. Including three that are from the very last stunt where they catch the bad guys. Oh shit, spoiler alert. Guess I shouldn’t have revealed that Fallon and Latifah catch them at the end. My bad. Now you won’t be surprised.)

Directors – Tim Story – (Known For: Barbershop; Think Like a Man; BMT: Taxi; Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic Four; Think Like a Man Too; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes: The top grossing African-American director of all time (domestic at least, not sure about worldwide). Actually just retook the top spot from Tyler Perry with Ride Along 2.)

Writers – Luc Besson (earlier screenplay) – (Known For: Lucy; Léon: The Professional; The Fifth Element; Taken; The Transporter; Point of No Return; Transporter 2; La Femme Nikita; The Big Blue; Unleashed; District B13; District 13: Ultimatum; BMT: Taxi; The Transporter Refueled; Brick Mansions; Taken 3; Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard; Transporter 3; Lockout; Arthur 3: The War of the Two Worlds; Arthur and the Invisibles; 3 Days to Kill; Taken 2; The Family; Fanfan; Colombiana; The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc; From Paris with Love; Revolver; Notes: Very influential French filmmaker. Founder of EuropaCorp, a major studio in France.)

Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon (screenplay) – (Known For: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Night at the Museum; Mr. Peabody & Sherman; Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian; Herbie Fully Loaded; BMT:Taxi; Balls of Fury; The Pacifier; Hell Baby; Jessabelle; Reno 911!: Miami; Let’s Go to Prison; Notes: Never nominated for a Razzie, which is a bit of a surprise. Seems lately that Garant has been writing more independent of Lennon. Perhaps because Lennon is busy with the CBS show The Odd Couple. Or should I say the CBS smash-hit The Odd Couple.)

Jim Kouf (screenplay) – (Known For: Rush Hour; National Treasure; Gang Related; Stakeout; BMT: Taxi; Snow Dogs; Operation Dumbo Drop; Another Stakeout; Class; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Notes: Recently in the news after a Puerto Rican film Vasos de Papel was pulled from theaters for being a blatant copy of a film he wrote called Secret Admirer.)

Actors – Queen Latifah – (Known For: Miracles from Heaven; 22 Jump Street; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; Hairspray; Chicago; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Stranger Than Fiction; Ice Age: The Meltdown; The Secret Life of Bees; Juice; Jungle Fever; Bringing Out the Dead; Last Holiday; Set It Off; Brown Sugar; Just Wright; BMT: Taxi; The Dilemma; Scary Movie 3; Pinocchio; Bringing Down the House; Valentine’s Day; The Country Bears; Beauty Shop; The Cookout; The Perfect Holiday; Sphere; House Party 2; Mad Money; What Happens in Vegas; Joyful Noise; Ice Age: Continental Drift; The Bone Collector; Notes: Rapper/hip-hop artist/singer/actress. Has won a Grammy, Emmy, and nominated for an Oscar (Chicago). She’s set up pretty well for potentially completing an EGOT before her career is over.)

Jimmy Fallon – (Known For: Jurassic World; Almost Famous; Whip It; Fever Pitch; Anything Else; BMT: Taxi; Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; Doogal; Jem and the Holograms; Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard; Get Hard; Arthur 3: The War of the Two Worlds; Arthur and the Invisibles; Factory Girl; Notes: Who would have thought that over a decade after making this film together, Gisele would go on The Tonight Show and teach Jimmy how to walk the runway? I wonder if they reminisced about Taxi backstage.)

With a rare appearance from Gisele Bündchen!

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $36,611,066 (Worldwide: $68,895,435 Worldwide)

#14 for the Remake – French genre

(There really aren’t any bad movies on the list besides this one. The more interesting thing is just how far down this is. Below 1989 Three Fugitives? Yeeeeeesh. Wasn’t even really a bomb either, but they must have been planning on more than $36 million domestic)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (11/105): Silly and unfunny remake of a French movie of the same name.

(Wow. RT got real serious on this one. Those are certainly the facts of the matter.)

Poster – Taxi Tilt (C-)


(Likes: Bright yellow base, integration of the title into the scene (clever), and actually provides a lot of visual info about the plot in the scene. Dislikes: Tilt, terrible font and block coloring for all the words on the poster, too basic/not artistic, and the weird foggy background is… not good. Almost a D+, but juuussssst better than that.)

Tagline(s) – He’s armed, but she’s dangerous. (A)

(Out of nowhere Taxi hits on a nearly perfect tagline. Short and sweet? Yup. Clever in some way? Yup. Gives an idea of the plot? Yup. Three for three.)

Notes – Ingrid Vandebosch, one of the female robbers in this film, is married to Jeff Gordon, who has an uncredited cameo in this film. (Athlete film!)

Kevin Bray was originally set to direct, but dropped out. (director of potential BMT films Walking Tall and All About the Benjamins)

Can’t Stop the Music Preview

This week we finally come to the conclusion of our Airball category (pro athletes in film). This also means that we are excited to make the transition to the second cycle of the year. We are proud to announce that this cycle will be… [drumroll] … [more drumroll] … [still drumrolling] … [even more drumroll] … [seems like the drumroll is coming to an end] … [he tricked you, still drumrolling] … [now he’s done] … [JK, still drumrolling] … [and now it’s done] … One and Dones! That’s right, the next cycle will be films where the director never made a feature film prior to or since making the film. It will be the only feature film in their filmography. So for the Scattegories week we were required to find a film that fit both categories. This led straight to a Razzie classico (the week of the Razzies nonetheless) as we were able to watch Can’t Stop the Music, the Village People film that won the first ever Razzie award for Worst Picture. It stars Caitlyn Jenner (at the time of filming Bruce Jenner, of course), Olympic Gold Medal winner in the Decathalon. It was also the only feature film directed by famed television actress Nancy Walker. It’s rare that we find such a perfect transition film, but this time we did. It feels good. Let’s go!

Can’t Stop the Music (1980) – BMeTric: 26.2


(So, now having some experience reading these graphs this actually is indicating that Can’t Stop the Music is, illogically, decreasing in BMeTric over the last 6 years. Why people are feeling compelled to give this higher ratings I wouldn’t dream of speculating on. Regardless, 25+ for a film from 1980 is incredible.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – One or two catchy production numbers aren’t enough to salvage otherwise stiff comedy about the music-publishing biz, though some will feel they have to see what V. People and Jenner are doing in same film. Gay subtext abound, despite eye-boggling profile shots of Perrine.

(Funny little review here. Why does he call them the “V. People” (Patrick’s guess: This was for a newspaper blurb which restricted him to a certain number of characters)? Super strange. I’m also not sure I like Leonard talking about the “eye-boggling” profile shots of Perrine. Getting a little Rhinestone “look at that body” vibe and I don’t like it. Deep cut right there, guys. Deep cut.)

Trailer –

(What… the… fuck.)

Director(s) – Nancy Walker – (BMT: Can’t Stop the Music; Notes: Nominated for Worst Director, Can’t Stop the Music (1980). Much more famous as a television actress she won multiple Golden Globe and Emmy awards for Rhoda and McMillan & Wife)

Writer(s) – Bronte Woodard (written by) – (Known For: Grease; BMT: Can’t Stop the Music; Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay, Can’t Stop the Music (1980). Died in August 1980 6 months prior to “receiving” the Razzie Award.)

Allan Carr (written by) – (Known For: Grease; BMT: Can’t Stop the Music; Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay, Can’t Stop the Music (1980). Won a Tony for La Cage aux Folles in 1984. Well known for his disastrous production of the 61st Academy Awards, which became a laughing stock and destroyed his career.)

Actors – The Village People (BMT: Can’t Stop the Music; Notes: Obviously a highly successful band from the 70s and 80s)

Valerie Perrine – (Known For: What Women Want; Superman; Superman II; Lenny; Slaughterhouse-Five; The Electric Horseman; BMT: Can’t Stop the Music; Maid to Order; Boiling Point; 54; The Amateurs; Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress, Can’t Stop the Music (1980). A former Las Vegas Showgirl.)

Budget/Gross: $20 million / $2 million

(No entry on Box Office Mojo, so all we know is that this was clearly a massive flop. The release of this and another flop Raise the Titanic, both in 1980, are blamed for the failure of the film company AFD.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 7% (1/13), No consensus yet.

(Per usual a film this old just doesn’t have the review numbers to give a solid RT score or consensus. I’ll make one up. Consensus: For those that weren’t convinced that disco was dead, this film just killed it.)

Poster – Can’t Stop the Headache (D)


(Wow. I’m not sure I can even unpack everything on the poster. There are the V. People, NYC skyline, a giant piano keyboard, and showgirls dancing on said keyboard. It’s giving me a headache.)

Tagline(s) – The Movie Musical Event of the 80’s (D)

(It’s 1980! You can’t say that! Booooo.)

Notes – The lead role was originally offered to Olivia Newton-John, who turned it down to do Xanadu (1980). (oooooof, out of the frying pan into the fire!)

Tensions on the set between Walker and Perrine rose to the point where Walker wouldn’t be present for any scene Perrine had to shoot. Cinematographer Bill Butler had to step in to film those scenes

The film was originally entitled Discoland: Where the Music Never Ends! (egad!). But when the disco craze failed just prior to the film’s release, the producers tried to distance themselves from the genre. (Ha! Good luck with that. I’m sure no one suspected that the Village People film was about disco).

The film “won” the very first Razzie® award for Worst Picture. It was nominated for every category of the inaugural Golden Raspberry Awards except Worst Supporting Actor. (That year was literally in the guy’s living room and had waaaay more nominees. It was a super weird year, look it up, I guarantee you won’t recognize most of the films)

Half of the film’s $20 million (US) budget was spent on a lavish world-wide publicity campaign that included spectacular openings across the United States and Europe. (See, this is the stuff I like to hear about. I wonder who got fired for that blunder)

After the movie’s theatrical release, Village People member David Hodo said “When I first read the script, I threw it across the room. I thought it was a piece of crap. It read like one of those stupid old Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney pictures. We didn’t believe in the movie, but no one would listen to us! You can only go on for so long being a joke.” (Poor form, just embrace it, man. Like Jane March in Color of Night, smile and say you liked being in the film so much you didn’t even notice it was bad until it was too late).

Razzie Awards 2005: Nominated for Worst ‘Musical’ of Our First 25 Years

Razzie Awards 1981: Won for Worst Picture, and Worst Screenplay (Bronte Woodard and Allan Carr); Nominated for Worst Actor (Caitlyn Jenner), Worst Actress (Valerie Perrine), Worst Supporting Actress (Marilyn Sokol), Worst Director (Nancy Walker), and Worst Original Song (Jacques Morali, For the song “(You) Can’t Stop The Music”)

White Chicks Preview

As we head into the homestretch of the airball category, we are faced with finding a Razzie nominated film featuring a professional athlete. This is going to be pretty hard, right? Wrong! Not when you have Terry Crews (played for six years in the NFL) on your side! That’s right, we are taking advantage of his comedy filmography and doing the classic Wayans Brothers film White Chicks! It was nominated for five Razzies (Worst Picture, Worst Actress (ugh, for the Wayans Brothers), Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Onscreen Couple), but came up against a juggernaut (Catwoman) and failed to win any of them. I’m pretty excited for this. Let’s go!

White Chicks (2004) – BMeTric: 50.7


(Woah Nelly! Two 50+ BMeTric films in a row? Hose us down! This might be too much to handle. This is actually a nice plot because White Chicks was released right as the internet archive started to store IMDb pages and it is reasonably popular. You can even see the DVD bump right in the beginning.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Two male, maverick FBI agents go deep undercover, disguised as air-headed twin sisters, to flush out a criminal. They’re black but the girls are white, and that’s the central joke. Logic aside (and it certainly is), the heavy-handed comedy is a fragile excuse for the Wayans brothers to do a series of broad, silly riffs, poking fun at stereotypical white people. Unrated version runs 115m.

(Secret twin movie! Secret twin movie! Just like the Antonio Banderas classic Two Much, this begs the question: does a movie where the characters are pretending to be twins count as a real twin movie? The answer is yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I’m so happy. Editor Note: To point out, unlike with Two Much in this case presumably Maitland Ward and Anne Dudek are in fact playing twins. Although I don’t recall whether they specifically mention they are twins in the FBI briefing in the beginning or not. It is a subtle but important difference.)

Trailer –

(They literally look like monsters. How anyone would think they are human beings is odd, especially anyone who knew the girls they were impersonating. I’ll just hang out waiting for the dance scene, which looks amazing.)

Writer/Director – Keenen Ivory Wayans – (Known For: Scary Movie; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; BMT: Scary Movie 2; White Chicks; A Low Down Dirty Shame; Little Man; Notes: Nominated for Worst Director and Screenplay, White Chicks (2004), Littleman (2006). Rose to prominence as the creator of the sketch comedy show In Living Color)

Actors/Writers – Shawn Wayans – (Known For: I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; BMT: Scary Movie 2 (Wri); White Chicks (Wri); Dance Flick (Wri); Little Man (Dir) (Not Found); Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood; Notes: Brother of director Keenen Ivory Wayans.)

Marlon Wayans – (Known For: Scary Movie; Requiem for a Dream; The Heat; The Ladykillers; Above the Rim; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; BMT: Scary Movie 2; White Chicks; A Haunted House; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; A Haunted House 2; Senseless; Dance Flick; Dungeons & Dragons; Norbit; The Sixth Man; Fifty Shades of Black; Mo’ Money; Marmaduke; Little Man; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood; Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009). Originally cast as Robin in Batman Forever.)

(Dual Razzie Notes For Shawn and Marlon: Won for Worst Actor and Screen Couple, Littleman (2006), Nominated for Worst Screenplay, Littleman (2006), Nominated for Worst Actress, Screen Couple and Screenplay: White Chicks (2004). I actually find it rather stunning that of their entire filmography only two movies generated all but one of the Razzie nominations for the Wayne family)

Additional Writers – Michael Anthony Snowden (screenplay) – (BMT: Scary Movie 2; White Chicks; Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, White Chicks (2004). According to IMDB his nickname is FireFly, used to write for South Park)

Andy McElfresh (screenplay) – (BMT: White Chicks; Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, White Chicks (2004). Writes prolifically for late night television. In 2013 he and Kevin Smith co-wrote a Krampus based anthology horror film on Kevin Smith’s podcast, unrelated to the actual Krampus movie from 2015)

Xavier Cook (screenplay) – (BMT: White Chicks; Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, White Chicks (2004), frequent collaborator with the Wayne family)

Budget/Gross: $37 million / $70,831,760 ($113,086,475 Worldwide)

(Smash hit… which is not surprising. Right around the time that Big Momma’s House was also a smash hit. The fifth (!) highest grossing “cross dressing” film of all time. The lowest grossing major release (1000+ theaters)? Connie and Carla (2004)… which I’ve never heard of.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 14% (18/123), Scattershot comedy that’s silly and obvious.

(Wow, RT. That’s all you can give us for a consensus? No clever pun like “Silly gags and poor writing makes this Wayans brothers comedy a drag.” Like I just made that up in five seconds and it’s better than your lame consensus that could apply to a trillion other comedies.)

Poster – Literal Monsters


(Gooo! Again, monsters. This is a great example of the types of posters that I hate, hate, hate. No clear color scheme other than white (and human colored, which is the worst). The font isn’t interesting. The spacing is all off. You know what it reminds me of? The Juwanna Mann poster, which was also the worst. I wonder if it was made by the same guy.)

Tagline(s) – None! (F-)

(No!!! No, no, no, no, no.  I do not accept this. BMT will be shutting down until White Chicks gets their fucking act together and provides a tagline. Nope. Unacceptable.)

Notes – The Miltons was originally intended to be a comical remake of Gone With the Wind in modern day Beverly Hills. After many script revisions, the story settled and became White Chicks. (Is “the story settled” some euphemism for something? So we set out to make this like a modern day Godfather, but then the story settled, yada yada yada Deuce Bigelow).

The original title was the “The Miltons” sounding more like the Hiltons, which they spoofed. (hmmm, I think we may have missed the boat a bit on the cultural reference here)

When The Wilson sisters get out of the airplane, the song playing is a spoof of “Miss Hilton”, a song recorded by The Penfifteen Club for The Simple Life, Paris Hilton’s hit reality show. (yeah, I’m going to cut short the Hilton notes at this point. We get it, they’re making fun of the Hiltons)

Less than a year ago the Waynes said they wanted to do White Chicks 2. (sigh)

Razzie Cred

Razzie Awards 2005, Nominated for Worst Picture, Columbia

Razzie Awards 2005, Nominated for Worst Actress, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, The Wayans Sisters.

Razzie Awards 2005, Nominated for Worst Screen Couple, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, The Wayans Brothers (In or Out of Drag).

Razzie Awards 2005, Nominated for Worst Director, Keenen Ivory Wayans

Razzie Awards 2005, Nominated for Worst Screenplay, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Andrew McElfresh, Michael Anthony Snowden, Xavier Cook

Steel Preview

This week we move onto the film that made this cycle possible. When we dreamed a little dream about pro athletes in film, Steel was the first film to come to mind. One of two leading roles that Shaq enjoyed (the other is, of course, Kazaam), it was top of our list as a must-do. So here we are in our Sci-Fi category ready to do it. Made in 1997, this might be the most forgotten DC comic adaption of all time (willfully so, probably). So forgotten that it’s not even listed on Netflix. Not even like a “Save DVD for when it comes out” button. It just doesn’t show up if you search for it. Not in their database. I’m ready… you ready? Let’s go!

Steel (1997) – BMeTric: 53.8


(Ugh, way to show off Steel. Yeah, we all know you’re going to be ridiculous, you don’t need to show off with your gaudy BMeTric score. It is pretty impressive though, 50+ is amazing).

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Film version of DC Comics’ “Steel” with basketball great Shaq in the title role, as a tall superhero with a heart of gold, wearing a funny metal suit and doing battle with stereotypical enemies of modern civilization. As endearing as Shaq can be, he should definitely not give up his day job.

(Interesting that this didn’t get a BOMB rating. Almost sounds like that half-star is given to Shaq and his endearing qualities.)

Trailer –

(With this and Batman & Robin, 1997 must have been the Year of the Puns. Amazingly it actually looks like they spent a bit of money on the film. Looks like it’ll be at least fun to watch.)

Director(s) – Kenneth Johnson – (BMT: Short Circuit 2; Steel; Notes: He often works the names of friends and family into scripts.)

Writer(s) – Louise Simonson (comic book series) – (BMT: Steel; Notes: Her nickname is “Weezie”. Co-creator of Steel she now writes young adult novels.)

Jon Bogdanove (comic book series) – (BMT: Steel; Notes: Comic book writer. His son’s name is Kal-El. Co-creator of Steel.)

Kenneth Johnson (written by) – (BMT: Short Circuit 2; Steel; Notes: Most famous for the television shows V and Incredible Hulk.)

Actors – Shaquille O’Neal – (Known For: He Got Game; The Year of the Yao; CB4; The LEGO Movie (Not Found); BMT: Kazaam; Blended; Steel; Grown Ups 2; Scary Movie 4; Jack and Jill; Good Burger; When in Rome; Blue Chips; Freddy Got Fingered; The Smurfs 2; The Wash; The Kid & I; Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, Blended (2014); Nominated for Worst Actor, Steel (1997); Nominated for Worst New Star, Blue Chips (1994). Someday he hopes to be nominated for writing and directing as well (fine, I made that up))

Budget/Gross: $16 million / $1,710,972

(Woah. That’s an incredible bomb. If you assumed that it wasn’t released in many theaters you’d be wrong. Over 1200. The 78th worst opening ever for a wide release film. Right ahead of Marci X… you know, that film that people remember.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 12% (3/25), Steel is a badly-acted movie that indulges not only in superhero cliches, but also the sappy TV-movie-of-the-week ones.

(Everything points to this being essentially Theodore Rex, but actually released to theaters.)

Poster – Dutch Angle Moon Poster


(Shaq is on this poster twice. It’s like they made a Matryoshka doll of posters. The main poster contains a smaller poster in the middle. Love the color. Love the font. I dig this poster.)

Tagline(s) – Heroes don’t come any bigger. (B-)

Man. Metal. Hero. (D+)

(I usually only grade the tagline that’s on the poster, but in keeping with the nested nature of the double poster, there are inexplicably two separate taglines. It’s almost like the first tagline is Shaq’s tagline and then the second tagline is for the movie. Neither are particularly good, but the second one is straight nonsense. Just words. And pretty boring words at that.)

Notes – Shaquille O’Neal had to do all of his own stunts; the producers were unable to find a 7’1″ stunt double for him. (awwwww hell yes)

Writer/director Kenneth Johnson revealed in a SlashFilm interview that he originally wanted Wesley Snipes to play Steel but Warner Bros. felt that casting Shaquille O’Neal would help sell more toys and merchandise. (In the alternate universe in which this swap occured I wonder if they regretted their decision…)

Conan the Destroyer Preview

This week we continue our athlete-turned-actor cycle with the Chain Reaction category. Last time we watched Around the World in 80 Days, so we have an obvious next step in Conan the Destroyer through Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is the sequel to Conan the Barbarian which we both loved, and a film that appears to be universally abhorred by fans of the original. It notably costars Wilt Chamberlain in his only major motion picture role. It’s pretty much the quintessential athlete-inexplicably-starring-in-a-film film. Greasy Arnold fighting monsters straight out of Krull? Yes please. There’s not much more to say than that. Let’s go!

Conan the Destroyer (1984) – BMeTric: 33.4


(This is actually much higher than I expected. I already watched the first film and loved it… how could they really mess the second one up so badly? Seems so easy not to. For some weird reason the rating for this movie has been moving up substantially. I think it, again, has to do with this somehow being popular with kids when growing up … maybe)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Lumbering attempt to pit Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age hero against very derivative special effects – leading to ridiculous climax.

(So is it just worse special effects? That seems strange. I wouldn’t even say the special effects were a big reason why I liked the first Conan… it was more the writing and the character… so did they fuck that up? I’m so confused.)

Trailer –

(I wouldn’t say that’s the worst trailer in the world for a Conan film. A few too many sidekicks in this one perhaps. But nothing in there that makes me especially worried… maybe it is that it just looks like shit now.)

Director(s) – Richard Fleischer – (Known For: Soylent Green; Tora! Tora! Tora!; Fantastic Voyage; The Vikings; The Boston Strangler; Mr. Majestyk; 10 Rillington Place; The Narrow Margin; Barabbas; Compulsion; Violent Saturday; BMT: Conan the Destroyer; Red Sonja; Doctor Dolittle; The Jazz Singer; Mandingo; Amityville: The Demon; Notes: Nominated for Worst Director, The Jazz Singer (1980 with Sidney J. Furie). Won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for Design for Death, which was written by Dr. Seuss. Seriously.)

Writer(s) – Roy Thomas (story) – (Known For: Fire and Ice BMT: Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Notable in the comic book world for his work at Marvel. Inducted in the Comic Hall of Fame.)

Gerry Conway (story) – (BMT: Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Also a big part of the comic book world. Worked at Marvel with Roy Thomas.)

Stanley Mann (screenplay) – (Known For: Eye of the Needle; The Collector; The Mouse That Roared; Circle of Iron; BMT: Conan the Destroyer; Firestarter; Meteor; Tai-Pan; Red Sonja; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Screenwriting for the Collector (1965). Died 3 weeks ago at the age of 87.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: Terminator 2; The Terminator; Terminator 3; Predator; Total Recall; True Lies; The Last Stand; Conan the Barbarian; The Running Man; Commando; Kindergarten Cop; The 6th Day; Escape Plan; Red Heat; Maggie; The Expendables 2; The Expendables; BMT: Last Action Hero; End of Days; Twins; Eraser (Dir); Jingle All the Way; Batman & Robin; Conan the Destroyer; Collateral Damage; Junior; Terminator Genisys; Red Sonja; Raw Deal; The Expendables 3; Sabotage; Hercules in New York; Around the World in 80 Days; Notes: Won for Worst Razzie Loser of Our First 25 Years. Nominated for Worst Actor, End of Days (1999), Last Action Hero (1993), Conan the Barbarian (1982). Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, The Expendables 3 (2014), Around the World in 80 Days (2004), The 6th Day (2000), Batman & Robin (1997). Mind boggling that he’s been nominated 8 times and never won anything besides worst actor for the first 25 years.)

Budget/Gross: $18 million / $31,042,035

(Modest hit. The 14th highest grossing “sword and sorcery” film of all time. The lowest (#31)? In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. As if there was ever a doubt )

Rotten Tomatoes: 26% (6/23)

(RT is able to do an OK job with this old one. No consensus though, so I’ll make one up. Consensus: Arnold is so greasy and muscled and his muscles are so greasy and sexy… what was I talking about? )

Poster – Looks and Reads Like a Novel


(Meh. Similar to the first one. Pretty good, all things considered. I wish IMDb listed that full paragraph on the poster as a tagline.)

Tagline(s) – The Darkest Side of Magic. The Strongest Side of Man. (B+)

(I like this quite a bit. I prefer when there are three things in a list though, so not perfect.)

Notes – After the phenomenon of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Universal thought Conan the Destroyer (1984) would make more money if it were family entertainment. Schwarzenegger argued against this change but they overruled him. Director Richard Fleischer agreed with Schwarzenegger, but complied with Universal’s wishes to make Conan the Destroyer (1984) more like a comic book. (Oh that is a serious change. The source material for Conan is very pulpy and the almost grindhouse feel of the original plays into that well. Here must be where it really went wrong. Making this more family friendly with humor and stuff would be really, really, really, really, really dissapointing.)

Wilt Chamberlain’s first and only credited film role. (That’s why we’re here boys)

Arnold Schwarzenegger recently confirmed Conan the Conqueror is moving forward. Previously it was suggested that the sequel would totally ignore this disaster area (methinks this is a good idea Arnold).

The original screenplay for the film became the graphic novel Conan: The Horn of Azoth (which I now officially want to read).

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Preview

Alright, so there are many BMT weeks where as Thursday approaches I wait in anticipation for the day to finally arrive. Where I have an inkling that I’m about to watch a film that will go down in the anals of BMT history (pun most definitely intended). This is not one of those weeks. This is more like a week where Patrick and I try desperately to replace the film that we’ve foisted upon ourselves through our strict combination of genre/cycle and ultimately fail. In this case finding a pro athlete featured in a bad chick flick that we haven’t already seen produced only one (!) viable choice. That choice is What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Apparently Dwyane Wade is featured as … something… in the film. I really don’t care. I hate that we have to watch this film and I have to read (?) the book for my BMTsolution. Damn it! Let’s go!

What to Expect When You Might be Expecting (2012) – BMeTric: 36.7


(Decently stable. Nothing really interesting except that it seems like it should stay in the 35-40 range. Definitively BMT.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars – Overlong, multi-character comedy about the pressures and problem of pregnancy, adoption, and impending parenthood featuring a likeable (and exceptionally attractive) cast. Rings hollow at first but gains traction as the script eschews cheap laughs and hews closer to real-life, relatable experiences. “Inspired by” the best-selling nonfiction book of the same name by Heidi Murkoff.

(Eschews and hews in the same sentence?! Not to mention a stellar “p” alliteration run at the start. Leonard was really indulging himself. I’m really glad that he put “Inspired by” in quotes. Because I definitely “read” this book in preparation for BMT.)

Trailer –

(Huh… well that wasn’t as unpleasant as I thought it would be. I like a lot of the people in the cast and the guy group had some funny lines. Looks like it could be a better version of Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve.)

Director(s) – Kirk Jones – (Known For: Everybody’s Fine; Nanny McPhee; Waking Ned Devine; BMT: What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Notes: An accomplished commercial director, he won the Silver Lion at Cannes in 1996 for his Heinz advertising campaign. Going to be the director of the upcoming Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.)

Writer(s) – Heidi Murkoff (books) – (BMT: What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Notes: I genuinely cannot believe she actually has a credit. The book is considered one of the most influential books of the last 25 years)

Shauna Cross (screenplay) – (Known For: Whip It; BMT: If I Stay; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Notes: Former roller derby participant, she wrote the book (and screenplay) for Whip It. Is credited for writing Bad Santa 2.)

Heather Hach (screenplay) – (Known For: Freaky Friday; BMT: What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Notes: Has won multiple awards for Freaky Friday and the musical adaptation of Legally Blond. Wikipedia claims her daughter’s name is HarperCollins, also the publishing company which published her novel Freaky Monday (a sequel to Freaky Friday).)

Actors – Cameron Diaz – (Known For: The Mask; There’s Something About Mary; The Holiday; Bad Teacher; Shrek; Being John Malkovich; Gangs of New York; Shrek 2; Charlie’s Angels – Full Throttle; The Box; Knight & Day; My Sister’s Keeper; Charlie’s Angels; Vanilla Sky; Shrek the Third; BMT: What Happens in Vegas; The Other Woman (BMT); What to Expect When You’re Expecting; The Sweetest Thing (BMT); Sex Tape (BMT); A Life Less Ordinary; Gambit; Annie (BMT); Feeling Minnesota; The Invisible Circus; Slackers; Keys to Tulsa; The Counselor; Notes: Won for Worst Actress, The Other Woman / Sex Tape (2014); Nominated for Worst Actress, What Happens in Vegas (2008), Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003); Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress, Annie (2014))

Budget/Gross: $40 million / $41,152,203 ($84,384,002 Worldwide)

(Solid hit. I love when Box Office Mojo has a niche genre that you can look through. This is the ninth highest grossing “Pregnancy” film of all time. The lowest grossing wide-release film in the genre? The Brothers Solomon. As if there was ever a doubt.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 21% (29/132), The cast is stocked with likable performers, but What to Expect When You’re Expecting is too disjointed — and too reliant on stock rom-com cliches — to live up to its distinguished literary namesake.

(Uh oh. Disjointed is exactly what you don’t want with a movie based on a pregnancy information guide. A bit surprising though considering the movie only has two main screenwriters. It isn’t like 15 scripts were (necessarily) smashed together into a monster script. I’m ready to devour rom-com cliches though.)

Poster – There are Fifteen People on this Poster


(Disorienting, too many colors, I like that the letters are slanted because it would make Patrick’s job harder if he spoofed the poster, but that’s about it. Also, there are like three too many pregnancy puns going on. Speaking of…)

Tagline(s) – It’s too late to pull out now. (Uh… … … wot?)

(Egad! That’s… unexpected. Don’t get me wrong, the tagline is fantastic. It’s short. It’s clever. It tells you a little about the plot using a solid double entendre. But it feels like it might be a bit at odds with the target audience and the sentiment of the film. Just a tad. [My wife’s take: “That’s too crude. I don’t like it.” Told yah.])

Notes – Elizabeth Banks and Jennifer Lopez are the only actresses cast as pregnant women who have children in real life; Lopez gave birth to twins, Banks has two sons via a surrogate. Cameron Diaz, Anna Kendrick, and Brooklyn Decker have never had children. (While I personally don’t care, it is a weird casting move I feel like)

Based on the popular series of pregnancy guides by the same name. As of 2011, more than 14.5 million books have been sold.

Razzie Awards 2013: Brooklyn Decker (also for Battleship) and Jennifer Lopez each Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress

The Chamber Preview

Alright, so we move forward to our Horror/Thriller section. This has always been a troublesome category for thrillers. What makes a thriller a thriller and not an action film? Or when does a thriller become not thrilling enough and float off as the dreaded drama? Hard to tell. For the most part we’ve erred on the side of Horror. The Aaaiiiirrrrbbbbaaalllll! cycle made it easy to pick Thriller, though. Hard to believe, but there are no ex-athletes that have appeared in a major horror film. So instead, we are watching the Grisham adaptation called The Chamber that costars Bo Jackson (yes, that Bo Jackson). I not only get to enjoy a thrilling tale of law and justice, but I get to read the book too. Let’s go!

The Chamber (1996) – BMeTric: 19.6


(I know! What a strange early plot. Indeed. What appears to have happened is that the movie was at 5.7 on March 8th 2005, then it suddenly dropped to 5.3 with a huge influx of votes on May 9 2005, which is then just as suddenly corrected by April 12, 2006 including a massive purge of votes! Incredible. Why does some entity hate The Chamber so much? It was probably John Grisham just creating new accounts over and over to downvote it)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Young lawyer feels impelled to defend a Mississippi death row inmate, convicted of a racist/terrorist bombing years ago, because the man is his grandfather. Reopening this volatile case causes pain and hardship for all involved. Curiously unmoving (and talky) adaptation of the John Grisham best-seller. O’Donnell is earnest but unconvincing; Hackman never successfully disappears into the role of a racist pig.

(Well guess what Leonard? I think this review is curiously unmoving and talky. So there. The talky bit doesn’t bode well. Think could be a snoozefest. Get my sleep on. Also, a little preview on the BMTsolution: the book is pretty talky as well. Although, it was moving. So maybe that’s what the movie missed.)

Trailer –

(I was pretty out on the trailer until the very end. Lawyers filing briefs and finding themselves in danger. Classic Grisham. But when Chris O’Donnell is running and crying and running? I’m in.)

Director(s) – James Foley – (Known For: Glengarry Glen Ross; The Corruptor; At Close Range; Two Bits; BMT: Perfect Stranger; Fear; The Chamber; Who’s That Girl?; Notes: Nominated for Worst Director, Who’s That Girl (1987). Was offered to direct Purple Rain. Was Sean Penn’s best man when he married Madonna. Yes, yes, and yes.)

Writer(s) – William Goldman (screenplay) – (Known For: The Princess Bride; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Misery; Maverick; All the President’s Men; The Ghost and the Darkness; Marathon Man; Chaplin; A Bridge Too Far; Absolute Power; Hearts in Atlantis; The Stepford Wives; BMT: Dreamcatcher (BMT); The General’s Daughter; Wild Card; Memoirs of an Invisible Man; The Chamber; Year of the Comet; Notes: Famously advised Damon and Affleck on Good Will Hunting (he denied credit, although rumors claim his contributions included telling them to scrap the entirety of the back half of the film involving Will working for the FBI). Also, Redford famously disliked his script for All the President’s Men and tried to replace it with a version written by Bernstein (he mostly failed). Won Oscars for that and Butch Cassidy. Wrote both the book and screenplay for The Princess Bride.)

Chris Reese (screenplay) – (BMT: The Chamber; Ghost Dad; Notes: Nothing on him anywhere. Perhaps the author of Ghost Dad is a ghost himself. That’s where he got the inspiration for the film. What a twist!)

Actors – Gene Hackman – (Known For: The Royal Tenenbaums; Unforgiven; Enemy of the State; The French Connection; The Conversation; Mississippi Burning; Superman; Crimson Tide; Runaway Jury; Superman II; The Quick and the Dead; Hoosiers; The Poseidon Adventure; Get Shorty; The Firm; Heist; The Replacements; The Mexican; The Birdcage; Bonnie and Clyde; Absolute Power; Young Frankenstein; No Way Out; Wyatt Earp; BMT: Behind Enemy Lines; Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; The Chamber; Welcome to Mooseport (BMT); Loose Cannons; All Night Long; Full Moon in Blue Water; Two of a Kind; Notes: Somewhat notably retired after Welcome to Mooseport. Writes Western novels (to some acclaim). Val Kilmer claimed he was going to be in Top Gun 2, but that turned out to be Val Kilmer being Val Kilmer)

Budget/Gross: $50 million / $14,551,359 ($22,540,359 Worldwide)

(Just an estimated budget, but it is a notable bomb. Barely hanging on to its place in the top 200 worst openings for a 2000+ theater release. Currently in 193rd place. Just behind it: Stephen King’s Thinner and Maximum Risk starring JCVD. All three of those films were released within weeks of each other in 1996.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 12% (3/25), No consensus yet.

(No consensus because it’s too old. So I’ll just make one up: Dumb movie for dumb people. If you like this then you’re dumb.)

Poster – Two Giant Faces


(Classic, classic, classic movie poster. I like it a lot. The colors, the actors, the words. All of them work for me.)

Tagline(s) – Time is running out. (D)

(Huh… this almost seems like a tagline for a different movie. There is no pun here. This is simply a statement. I think I hate it. When combined with the title it makes some sense. The Chamber, time is running out. Gas chamber, execution, struggle against time. It is just an explanation of the plot though and doesn’t get me excited.)

Notes – The character of Rollie Wedge was beefed up considerably from the novel with the aim that Jack Nicholson would play him. Things didn’t quite go according to plan and the part went to the lesser known actor, Raymond J. Barry, instead. (This is a horrible plan)

During the execution scene at the end of the film, one of the members of the crowd cheering and holding scenes at the prison holds up a cardboard sign reading, “suck gas, evildoer”. This is the trademark battle cry of Darkwing Duck, from the Disney TV series about a duck superhero who uses a gas weapon against criminals. (What? Why is this happening? How does this happen?).

Firestorm Preview

For the action film in our Aiiiirrrrrbbbbaaalll!! category (films featuring/starring athletes) I’m sure most of you thought Simon Sez starring Dennis Rodman was a sure slam dunk. But sometimes BMT eschews the most common choice to forge ahead on the road less travelled… and sometimes we forget that Simon Sez exists. Wherever the truth lies, we are actually watching Firestorm starring Howie Long this week. That’s right! The Howie Long. From those Radioshack commercials (and I guess he also played for the Raiders or whatever). This should be fun. Let’s go!

Firestorm (1997) – BMeTric: 27.2

(As one would expect. As the votes steadily increase so does the BMeTric. I do wish I had time dependent data, then I could actually see how this BMeTric is changing through time. My guess is that this is in reality quite stable and has hovered in the 25 range for a while.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Wily con Forsythe and cohorts have pulled off a prison escape, incinerating a Canadian forest as their “cover.” This makes the job of smoke jumpers (who parachute into difficult fires) all the more risky. By-the-numbers script is fashioned as an action vehicle for athlete Long, who suggests what Ed Harris might look like if he couldn’t move his facial muscles.

(Hard slam by Leonard. You hear that Howie? That’s your Hollywood dreams going up in smoke. This doesn’t sound enjoyable btw.)


(Anyone else f-in amped?! Yo Smokejumpaaaaaah! Howie throws all kinds of lumberjack tools around. There is terrible CGI. He’s riding a rad motorcycle. He gets the girl (duh). They say the name of the film in the trailer. It. Has. Got. It. All.)

Director(s) – Dean Semler – (BMT: The Patriot (with Steven Segal); Firestorm. Notes: Acclaimed Cinematographer from Australia known for Dances with Wolves and the Max Mad series. The second unit director for Super Mario Bros, and recently the cinematographer for Paul Blart 2. Can’t make this shit up.)

Writer(s) – Chris Soth (written by) – (BMT: Firestorm. Notes: Author of “Million-Dollar Screenwriting”, he is a prolific script doctor apparently authoring over 40 screenplays. This is his only credited work.)

Actors – Howie Long – (Known For: Broken Arrow; That Thing You Do! BMT: 3000 Miles to Graceland (seen it); Firestorm. Notes: Also known for being an NFL Defensive End for the Raiders. This will complete his BMT filmography for us.)

Budget/Gross: $19 million / $8,165,212

(Oooooooooof. In what universe does a Howie Long vehicle earn like $40 million at the box office? Who was in charge of this?)

Rotten Tomatoes: 12% (3/25), No consensus yet.

(As a stand in for the consensus I’ll just give you this: “The action movie for which the term ‘by-the-numbers’ might have been coined.” Solid. I’m up for a by-the-numbers Howie Long action bonanza)

Poster – Crazy Eyes Howie (C)


(I liked this poster because of giant crazy-eyes Howie staring into my soul. He’s seen some shit man. He’s a smokejumper. It is pretty by-the-numbers though.)

Tagline(s) – Fight fire with fire. (F)

(Is Howie Long “fire” here? Why do I get a sneaking suspicion this tagline makes absolutely no sense. Someone had a Big Book of Cliches and just picked one from the chapter entitled “Fire”.)

Notes – First cinema feature of Barry Pepper. (of Battlefield Earth fame!)

Veteran parachutist Keith Perepelkin died after his main chute failed during a stunt where he jumped from a helicopter onto “Squamish Chief” in British Columbia, Canada. The stunt was performed in violation of the Canadian filming permit. (Oh that’s sad. It is always sad to see stunt people get hurt)

The film was originally set up at the now defunct Savoy Pictures. When Savoy had the project, the film was going to be more epic in scale, with comprehensive visual and computer effects. Savoy even offered Sylvester Stallone $20 million to star, which he accepted. However, the studio went bust before the film was made. Twentieth Century Fox picked up the script from “turnaround” and fashioned it into a more intimate, smaller budgeted movie as they were looking to only spend $30 million dollars on the picture. (Oh wow, that is super interesting stuff. Now I get to watch this with Stallone in mind.)

Juwanna Mann Preview

This week is Juwanna Mann. I vaguely remember this film coming out and being appalled. Didn’t seem to make sense that anyone, anywhere thought it was a good idea and I was like 14. This makes it perfect for the comedy entry in the Aiiirrrrbbbaaallllll! cycle. In Juwanna Mann we have a plethora of active (at the time) NBA talent featured. Rasheed Wallace? Vlade Divac? Dikembe Mutombo? Yes, yes, and yes. Ball don’t lie, baby. Ball don’t lie. For those keeping track, Juwanna Mann is indeed part of the (366) Days of Bummer. June 21st in the books. Yay! Let’s go!

Juwanna Mann (2002) – BMeTric: 37.4


(This trajectory makes sense because the movie came out in 2002, so the number of votes were still in the initial rise a few years later presumably. Despite a rather drastic increase in the IMDB rating (4.0 to 4.5 in the last three years, why?), the score has settled in quite nicely at around 40, which is what I would expect I think.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Egocentric basketball star torpedoes his own career and no one in the NBA will hire him – until he disguises himself as a woman and joins a female team. Naturally, he’s attracted to one of his colleagues – and predictably, he suffers a crisis of conscience as the experience turns him into a better man. This is Tootsie light – or is it tootsie dark? Similarities to that classic comedy are superficial at best. Several real-life sports figures appear as themselves.

(That “tootsie dark” joke is a little passé Leonard. I would say he should scrap that one in future editions but there are no more future editions. Too late. “Several real-life sports figures appear as themselves” is the most important takeaway from all this.)

Trailer –

(Woah. That starts off with some really bad jokes. Like the stamp joke seems to belong in a spoof and not a film that purports to be set in a real world. And then he’s dancing with some twins and he yells “I got to rethink cloning.” I love the use of the word “rethink” in that joke. The implication being that Jamal has thought long and hard about the biomedical ethics of the process… but then these hot twins got him all confused! After that I blacked out and didn’t get to see the rest of the trailer. I presume it’s pretty much the same as Big Momma’s House.)

Director(s) – Jesse Vaughan – (BMT: Juwanna Mann; Notes: A 27-time emmy award winner (mostly news and sports) before directing his one and only feature film in Juwanna Mann)

Writer(s) – Bradley Allenstein (written by) – (BMT: Who’s Your Caddy?; Juwanna Mann; Notes: This entire thing is fascinating. Here’s an article about Juwanna Mann. Basically it seems like Vaughan got attached because Allenstein knew Steve Oedekerk, who worked on In Living Color with Vaughan. I have a feeling they were attempting to do this on the cheap hoping for a fast and decent return.)

Actors – Miguel A. Núñez Jr. – (Known For: The Return of the Living Dead; Life; Lethal Weapon 3; Black Dynamite; BMT: Juwanna Mann; Scooby-Doo; Street Fighter (seen it); The Adventures of Pluto Nash (seen it); Meet Dave; Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (seen it); Leprechaun 4: In Space (seen it); Notes:  Was at one time a telemarketer for the Lakers. Was cut out of Lethal Weapon where he had a fight scene with Mel Gibson.)

Budget/Gross: $15,600,000 / $13,670,733 ($13,802,599 Worldwide)

(So close to breaking even! Surprisingly there is little of interest in the actual release numbers. Not the worst release ever, but not very good.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 9% (8/83), With its tired premise, Juwanna Mann’s jokes fall flat.

(This is the saddest RT consensus I’ve ever seen. Couldn’t even get up enough to throw a cheesy pun at us? Unless “fall flat” is a play on words… is it? I don’t think it is… but is it? Nah… or maybe… nah.)

Poster – Double Basketball Photoshop Nightmare


(This may be the worst poster we have had since we started including it in the email. Dear God. Everything I hate is included in this one. Avert your eyes, it’s hideous. Why is he standing on a giant basketball? Why is everyone perched upon the title like clipart? Why isn’t Juwanna Man in the center of the poster? Is it because his head would hit the bottom two names? WHY ARE THERE SEVEN PEOPLE LISTED ON THIS POSTER?! I’M LOSING MY MIND)

Tagline(s) – The only way he can stay pro, is to play (like) a girl. (F)

(Oh my God! Could this film from concept to advertising campaign represent the nadir of filmmaking? I can’t even read this with a straight face. It is awful. Was this film a tax scam or something?)

Notes – Kevin Pollak has said that when he signed on to the film, Will Smith was set to star. (haha, in what universe do you live Kevin Pollak?)

Tyra Banks was originally cast as Michelle Langford. (alrighty then)

Chris Tucker turned down the lead role. (good for you Chris Tucker)

Found a full section on this film in the book “Sports Heroines on Film.” Spoiler Alert! Gives away the fact that Juwanna Mann gives an impassioned speech to his teammates in the film! Which is like an anti-spoiler. Makes me even more excited.

Lock Up Preview

To celebrate the inception of the new calendar we will be ending the year with a Stallone Day! So, Happy Stallone Day! There won’t be a Stallone day for several years so relish it. As usual we would like for the film to not only star Sylvester Stallone, but to also lead nicely into the first cycle of the 2016 calendar. We have discussed and debated it and decided that the first cycle will be called Aaaiiiirrrrbbbbbaaallllll! and will be movies that feature (or hopefully star) former or active professional athletes. Without further ado, the first Stallone Day in history will be the 1989 classic Lock Up which features Sly Stallone as Frank Leone and Frank McRae in the role of Eclipse. McRae appeared in 6 games for the Chicago Bears in 1967. Let’s go!

Lock Up (1989) – BMeTric: 15.4


(Not bad for a 1989 film. Still not super high. I believe this has a bit of cult popularity associated with it playing on cable through the 1990’s. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the score was slightly deflated. Patrick’s Note: It most certainly is. The rating in 2004 was 5.4, it is now 6.3 on IMDB. It has clearly dropped significantly recently.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – With six months to go on his sentence, convict Stallone gets abducted from his country-club cell and transported to a hellhole run by old Hun-like adversary Sutherland. Missing are Linda Blair, John Vernon, a lesbian guard, and 15 gratuitous showers; you do get a body-shop montage backed by Ides of March’s ”Vehicle.” Bottom of the world, ma.

(Hun-like? What a weird thing to say. Guess Leonard really wanted to figure out the most tasteful way of saying that Sutherland is like a Nazi in the film. Then the whole review goes off the rails. I had to look up what the second sentence means. I guess he’s making a reference to the exploitation film Chained Heat. Finally, I have no idea why he makes a White Heat reference at the end. Maybe the end of the film is similar to the end of that film? Bar none the weirdest Maltin review I’ve ever read.)

Trailer –

(Uh… yes please. That looks amazing. It’s like a full movie of just the prison escape scenes from Tango & Cash.)

Director(s) – John Flynn – (Known For: Rolling Thunder; Best Seller; BMT: Lock Up; Out for Justice; Brainscan; Notes: Died in 2007, and was in the Coast Guard. Studied journalism at UCLA under the tutelage of Alex Haley, the author of Roots.)

Writer(s) – Richard Smith (written by) – (BMT: Lock Up; Notes: Recently passed away. He apparently did some work on a couple of the James Bond films and wrote a novel published in 2010)

Henry Rosenbaum (written by) – (Known For: ; BMT: Lock Up; The Dunwich Horror; Hanky Panky; Notes: Nothing of interest about him. Weird.)

Jeb Stuart (written by) – (Known For: Die Hard; The Fugitive; Next of Kin; Vital Signs; Blood Done Sign My Name; Hart’s War; BMT: Another 48 Hrs.; Lock Up; Just Cause; Fire Down Below; Leviathan; Switchback; Notes: Wrote an early draft of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Rocky; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Escape Plan; First Blood; Rocky Balboa; Rocky II; Rocky IV; Antz; Demolition Man; Rocky III; Cliffhanger; Cop Land; Bullet to the Head; Nighthawks; Creed; Death Race 2000; Spy Kids 3-D – Game Over; Shade; Victory; F.I.S.T. BMT: The Expendables 3; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Judge Dredd; Rocky V; Tango & Cash; Assassins; Daylight; The Specialist; Cobra; Grudge Match; Over the Top; Driven; Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Lock Up; Get Carter; Oscar; Rhinestone; Zookeeper; Rambo; D-Tox. Notes: Won for Worst Actor, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992); Rambo III (1988); Cobra (1986); Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rocky IV (1985); Rhinestone (1984). Nominated for Worst Actor, Bullet to the Head (2012), Escape Plan (2013), Grudge Match (2013); Get Carter (2000); Daylight(1996); Assassins (1995), Judge Dredd (1995); The Specialist (1994); Get Carter (2000); Oscar (1991); Rocky V (1990); Lock Up (1989), Tango & Cash (1989); Over the Top (1987); Cobra (1986). Won for Worst Supporting Actor, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003). Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, Driven (2001); An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997). Won for Worst Actor of the Century. Won for Worst Actor of the Decade (1980’s). Geez Louise. And that’s just for acting.)

Budget/Gross: $24 million / $22,099,847

(A definitive bomb for Stallone. This was smack in the middle of a disastrous run of films for him so he might have just started to wear out his welcome. After First Blood in 1982 he followed with Staying Alive, Rhinestone, Rambo II, Rocky IV, Cobra, Over the Top, Rambo III, Lock Up, Tango & Cash, Rocky V, Oscar, and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Oof.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 16% (2/12), No consensus yet.

(Never trust the RT on a movie this old (like Weekend at Bernie’s is a downright mediocre film according to RT). It’s nice that it’s low, but the Razzie recognition, Leonard Maltin review, and BMeTric are more important in this case.)

Poster – Black and White


(Looks pretty cheap but I guess the artistic take is nice. I’ve seen this same poster with red coloring on the letters and/or sky, which I like a bit more. But this seems official.)

Tagline(s) – How much can a man take…before he gives back? (D+)

How many times can a man be pushed to the wall…before he goes over it? (C-)

Stallone…behind bars? Not for long. (Hah)

He is only six months away from freedom. But a warden obsessed with revenge wants to take his future away. (D)

(I usually just grade the tagline that is found on the poster (which I consider official), but there isn’t one on the main poster and these are too good not to grade. They are all either too long or bonkers insane. The first and second use super weird phrasing to make their point. The third is hilarious… I can hear Stallone saying those words. The fourth is classic 70’s/80’s tagline.)

Notes – The cast includes real inmates of Rahway State Prison which is also known as East Jersey State Prison as it is located in Rahway, New Jersey, USA. A number of the prisoners appear as extras and background artists in the movie. (This is the prison I taught at in New Jersey. It’s got a very distinctive look. I wonder if I’ll recognize some of the places they show.)

The movie was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards at the 10th annual ceremony including Worst Picture, Worst Actor – Sylvester Stallone and Worst Supporting Actor – Donald Sutherland, but the film failed to take home a Razzie in any category.

First starring role of actor Tom Sizemore.

Actor Frank McRae, who participates in the football game sequence, had actually played gridiron as an NFL (National Football League) defensive tackle during the 1967 season playing six games for the Chicago Bears. (There it is).

Danny Trejo: As a gang member of Chink’s gang. (Keep a lookout)