Ed Preview

Steve, Adrestia and Rich stand in a circle. Rich details the prophecy read to him by Brawln and Sorsaron about the portal that he and Poe must close to stop the gamemaster’s ultimate plan. “But then when we got here there was so much chaos that we more or less forgot. Our only idea was to quell the riots with a new salacious entry in the The Platonics Solids Series.” At that Adrestia and Steve look up shocked, “No,” they exclaim, “we need the riots as a distraction!” But before he can run to stop Poe and Det. Halloway, they come around the corner smiling from ear-to-ear. They smooch tenderly before showing off the last copy of The Platonic Solids Series Part II: Love on the Blocks. “Shit,” wails Steve in despair, “this book is lit. The gucci crowd is gonna love it!” Rich and Poe are despondent. Will this mean they’ll miss their only chance to close the portal? “We don’t have time to explore all the parts of this campus,” Poe thinks out loud. “No one could,” Rich follows. Suddenly everyone looks at Steve. “Or at least no person,” Poe says excitedly. Steve looks confused and then a light sparkles in his eye. “I get what you’re putting down,” and with that he gives a shrill whistle. A monstrous alligator bursts out of a nearby sewer in terrifying fashion, but Steve calmly pats it on the head and starts to speak softly, “They don’t call me Alligator Steve for nothing, mates. Perfect cover as there aren’t any rules against alligators playing middle school water polo.” With that he looks into Bessy’s eyes. “Remember, mate. Middle school,” and Bessy responds with a growl that sounds startlingly like “Extreme friendship.” That’s right! We’re taking a dive into the world of animal films by watching a classic of the animals-play-sports genre: Ed, starring Matt LeBlanc. It’s just a simple tale of a small town boy trying to make it to the big leagues… and also a chimpanzee is on the team.

The man stares into the mirror at his face. A robot arm comes up and prods the new flesh. Nearby another man marvels at his robot legs. “Heh heh… Just call me MVP,” he says. “Most Valuable Prosthetics,” the other replies and they cackle with glee. That’s right! As a Bring a Friend companion we are going to rot our brains by consuming MVP: Most Valuable Primate… at least it isn’t Most Vertical or Extreme Primate. Not sure I could have handled that shit. Let’s go!

Ed (1996) – BMeTric: 65.4; Notability: 30 

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(Holy crap that rating is so low. Completely makes up for the fact that less than 10K people have bothered to rate it on IMDb. And the Notability of 30 is kind of crazy. Possibly it is due to a bunch of baseball people being involved in various parts of the production and cameos and stuff? Who knows. This seems like a legendarily bad kids film though.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Nervous pitcher getting his big break on a minor-league baseball team becomes roommate with the club’s new third baseman: a full-grown chimpanzee. Uninspired vehicle for Friends star LeBlanc (and Hollywood debut for award-winning documentary director Couturie). Strikes out as a warm family comedy, though younger viewers may be amused.

(Sounds about right. It is bizarre just how big the film seems given just how dull the storyline seems. Something was really happening in the mid-90s. It seems like a bunch of production companies were flailing about with different niche genres to try and make money.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InqDF8ImCgU/

(Man I remember this trailer! Let’s see, I was like 10 at the time. I remember seeing the film, but I imagine I just caught it randomly on cable at some point after. But who knows, we were decent Friends fans so we might have rented it. I also remember the ice cream scene being disgusting.)

Directors – Bill Couturié – (BMT: Ed; Notes: A documentary filmmaker of some acclaim, winning the oscar in 1989 for best documentary about the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Him and Ken Richards I think might be partners of some kind as they’ve done multiple documentaries together.)

Writers – Ken Richards (story) – (BMT: Ed; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Ed in 1997; Notes: Has only done documentaries besides getting credited for this. He has a few about the life of a soldier in war from both wars in Iraq.)

Janus Cercone (story) – (Known For: Leap of Faith; BMT: Ed; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Ed in 1997; Notes: He wrote the book for the Leap of Faith musical adaptation as well.)

David Mickey Evans (screenplay) (as David M. Evans) – (Known For: The Sandlot Kids; BMT: Ed; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Ed in 1997; Notes: He’s uncredited as the writer of Radio Flyer, but he apparently wrote it initially and sold it for over a million dollars. He also sold The Sandlot for a lot, and has written the sequels as well.)

Actors – Matt LeBlanc – (Known For: Charlie’s Angels; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Future BMT: All the Queen’s Men; Lovesick; BMT: Ed; Lost in Space; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star in 1997 for Ed, Mother, She’s the One, and The Pallbearer; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Ed in 1997; Notes: You know him as Joey from Friends. I know him as Don West in Lost in Space. The first of two major film roles he would have, he mostly has always done television including Episodes.)

Jayne Brook – (Known For: Kindergarten Cop; Gattaca; Future BMT: Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead; Last Dance; Clean Slate; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Ed; Bye Bye Love; Notes: Also mostly television including a major role in Star Trek: Discovery. She did bit parts mostly, this was her only starring role.)

Jim Caviezal – (Known For: The Passion of the Christ; The Rock; The Count of Monte Cristo; Escape Plan; The Thin Red Line; Wyatt Earp; Deja Vu; My Own Private Idaho; Frequency; G.I. Jane; The Ballad of Lefty Brown; Paul, Apostle of Christ; Ride with the Devil; The Stoning of Soraya M.; Midnight Sting; Transit; Future BMT: Ed; Angel Eyes; Long Weekend; Highwaymen; Outlander; The Final Cut; Blue Chips; High Crimes; Unknown; When the Game Stands Tall; Savannah; Notes: Has maintained that his star has faded partially due to his strong religious beliefs (part of why he took the role of Jesus in The Passion of the Christ). He was a genuine movie star from around 2000-2010, but now he kind of seems to do religious films mostly.)

Budget/Gross – $24 million / Domestic: $4,422,380 (Worldwide: $4,422,380)

(How could that budget possibly be right? I guess the animatronic chimpanzee would be pretty expensive … but for real could that possibly be right? That is more than Air Bud made. There has to be some nonsense accounting in there, there is no way anyone thinks Ed is going to make like $50 million.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/16)

(Wow! A true blue zero-percenter! We haven’t seen one of those in years. Let’s write a consensus: Will only amuse the under-10 year old crowd, otherwise it is an unadventurous bore. Reviewer Highlight: Mr. LeBlanc … is so blank that the only impression he makes is of having teeth that are very large and unnaturally white. – Stephen Holden, New York Times)

Poster – Ape-mazing!: The Jack Cooper Story (C)

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(There’s something beautiful and yet sad about this poster. I want to paint it and then destroy the painting. Seriously, though, there is something actually artistic in how things are spaced in the poster and some nice red theme… those two things claw it back to a C rating. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I think I’m getting a bit better at putting my face into poor quality posters. The poor quality also helped in that I didn’t have to worry too much about removing that giant Ed title and getting the grass “just right”.)

Tagline(s) – Minor league. Major friendship. (A+)

(Probably one of the best taglines I’ve come across. I mean… it’s near perfection. The only critique is that you don’t necessarily get a sense that it’s about a chimpanzee, but who cares? Major friendship? Sign me up.)

Keyword – baseball movie

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Top 10: Major League (1989), Moneyball (2011), A League of Their Own (1992), The Sandlot Kids (1993), The Natural (1984), Rookie of the Year (1993), The Perfect Catch (2005), Field of Dreams (1989), Bull Durham (1988), The Rookie (2002)

Future BMT: 50.7 Major League: Back to the Minors (1998), 34.7 The Fan (1996), 32.7 The Scout (1994), 29.1 Rookie of the Year (1993), 27.0 Angels in the Outfield (1994), 23.9 Mr. Baseball (1992), 21.5 Little Big League (1994), 18.6 The Slugger’s Wife (1985), 6.7 The Final Season (2007);

BMT: The Benchwarmers (2006), Ed (1996)

(Oh wow, only our second one. Honestly the weirdest bit is how consistent baseball movies have always been. They’ve completely disappeared recently … but maybe all sports movies have moved to VOD? I’m trying to think of the last baseball or football movie I’ve seen go to theaters. That was the Affleck basketball movie. It does seem like maybe “sports” movies are getting to be smaller affairs. I’m excited to watch The Fan and Mr. Baseball since I haven’t seen those before.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Matt LeBlanc is No. 1 billed in Ed and No. 3 billed in Lost in Space, which also stars Heather Graham (No. 5 billed) who is in Say It Isn’t So (No. 2 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 3 + 5 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 14. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc’s co-star from Friends (1994), was considered for the lead role. (He ended up being a movie star for a bit in the late 90s and early 00s. He genuinely had never starred in a wide release film until Fools Rush In in 1997, so he might have actually done it if he got it)

Ed watches an episode of Friends (1994), the show that made Matt LeBlanc a star. The scene he watches features Marcel, the pet monkey of one of the characters.

Ed, the chimp, is actually “just a guy in a suit” (according to Matt Leblanc), with a mechanically controlled head. That head made so much noise that all the dialogue in the scenes which included the “chimp” had to be re-dubbed in post-production.

Texas Rangers second baseman Mark McLemore, long time friend of Matt LeBlanc, spent time during off season teaching LeBlanc how to look and play like a major league baseball player.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Rosalie Swedlin, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Matt LeBlanc, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (David Mickey Evans, Ken Richards, Janus Cercone, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, 1997)

Summer Catch Preview

Rich, Poe, and Blaze sit in the stands at swim practice watching the swim team do laps. In mere weeks they had progressed from fist bumps to bro hugs and had just received an invite to the captain Bryce’s latest pre-meet bash. Poe was feeling pretty good about their progress, but Rich was clearly getting antsy. He even almost forgot to pop the second collar on his polo later that evening when they were getting ready for the party. “Bro,” Blaze chastises, “you’re gonna blow up our spot.” But Rich is just excited because he knows that this is the night. Tomorrow all the scouts are gonna be there to see Bryce swim and see if he will be the Olympic champion gold medalist. So tonight he was sure to use the tech Gruber was after. When they get to the party everything is going swimmingly. They are just jamming to tunes and posting pics and vids to Insta and TikTok or some shit. Suddenly they see Bryce go into a back room. “It’s hammer time,” Rich says as they bust into the room. But instead of sweet tech Bryce is just taking boring ol’ steroid. Rich is incensed, “Steroids?! You serious, bro? You go to Seattle Tech. You can’t do better than that?!” But Bryce just shakily asks whether they’re going to turn him in to the Olympic gold medal committee. At that Poe sees an opportunity, “Not if you help us find some sweet tech we’re looking for.” Hope blooms in Bryce’s eyes, “yes, yes. I can help you. I know where to find this tech. The baseball team. They’ve hacked the Gibson and they know how to mathematically win. It’s boring, bro. Real boring… because of the tech.” Blaze, Poe, and Rich look at each other and nod, “looks like we’re playing a little catch.” That’s right! We’re watching Summer Catch, the Freddie Prinze Jr., Matthew Lillard (of Hackers fame), and Jessica Biel classic as the Girl’s Night entry in the cycle. I recall watching this film, but also don’t remember a thing about it. That’s a good sign, right? Let’s go!

Summer Catch (2001) – BMeTric: 53.9 

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(Two in a row! Just like Swimfan this started at a completely astonishing 4.0ish, and has since recovered a bit to barely get to 5.0. I think that is kind of the “bad but normal” range for films that are specifically targeting young women.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Substandard comedy/romance/coming-of-age story set in Cape Cod, with underprivileged baseball player Prinze falling for local rich girl, then having to deal with her snobby father, while tending his budding career. Takes itself too seriously, though Lillard adds welcome comedy relief. Beverly D’Angelo and John C. McGinley appear unbilled.

(Love the shout out for Lillard. His career has made a marked turn around in the last 5 years or so, including The Descendants and a pretty crazy appearance in the revival of Twin Peaks.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dub5wacnpDU

(Alright, so we’ve confirmed babes, bros, and baseball. I’ll be looking for burgers, beers, and any number of other very important bro-tastic B-words.)

Directors – Michael Tollin – (Future BMT: Radio; BMT: Summer Catch; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for a documentary about Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream. Writes and directs all sports stuff, but produces a ton of television including the All That revival this year.)

Writers – Kevin Falls (story & screenplay) – (Future BMT: The Temp; BMT: Summer Catch; Notes: Wrote a good number of West Wing episodes with Aaron Sorkin in the first three seasons. More recently he produced This is Us.)

John Gatins (screenplay) – (Known For: Power Rangers; Kong: Skull Island; Flight; Real Steel; Coach Carter; Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story; Future BMT: Hardball; BMT: Summer Catch; Need for Speed; Notes: Also kind of an actor including in the BMT Hall of Fame film Norbit. He was in Leprechaun 3 and has had a lot more success as a writer.)

Actors – Freddie Prinze Jr. – (Known For: She’s All That; The House of Yes; Brooklyn Rules; Future BMT: Scooby-Doo; Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed; Happily N’Ever After; Boys and Girls; Head Over Heels; Delgo; To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday; Jack and Jill vs. the World; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Wing Commander; Summer Catch; Down to You; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Scooby-Doo in 2003; Notes: Was kind of a movie star for a while, but after that (and his own show, Freddie) I would say he’s best known for his voice work and his podcast Prinze and the Wolf. Weirdly wrote for WWE for a season.)

Jessica Biel – (Known For: The A-Team; The Rules of Attraction; The Illusionist; Cellular; Hitchcock; The Tall Man; Easy Virtue; Ulee’s Gold; Future BMT: Accidental Love; Blade: Trinity; I’ll Be Home for Christmas; A Kind of Murder; Home of the Brave; Planet 51; Next; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Total Recall; The Truth About Emanuel; Elizabethtown; Powder Blue; Shock and Awe; Spark: A Space Tail; The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea; London; BMT: Stealth; Summer Catch; Valentine’s Day; New Year’s Eve; Playing for Keeps; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 2008 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, and Next; and in 2013 for Playing for Keeps, and Total Recall; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry in 2008; Notes: Married to Justin Timberlake. She has a new show coming out called Limetown which is based on a podcast and premiering on Facebook Watch …)

Fred Ward – (Known For: Tremors; Road Trip; The Right Stuff; Escape from Alcatraz; 2 Guns; Silkwood; 30 Minutes or Less; Henry & June; The Player; Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult; Dangerous Beauty; Short Cuts; Southern Comfort; Big Business; Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous; Armoured; Uncommon Valor; Catchfire; Thunderheart; Bob Roberts; Future BMT: Corky Romano; Abandon; The Crow: Salvation; Chain Reaction; Enough; Joe Dirt; Masked and Anonymous; Best Men; Circus; Feast of Love; Equinox; Secret Admirer; BMT: Summer Catch; Sweet Home Alabama; Notes: He was “not Kevin Bacon” in Tremors if you were wondering. A character actor, he’s apparently good friends with Ed Harris.)

Budget/Gross – $34 million / Domestic: $19,753,553 (Worldwide: $19,772,447)

(That is straight up terrible. My God! No wonder we didn’t get Summer Catch 2: Up to the Majors)

#203 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(Naturally on the low end of the many many many Romantic Comedies we’ve seen, around the Down to You … also starring Freddy Prinze Jr. Go figure. This came right as the genre reached maturity, and more recently while the profits still exist the screens the films are released to just aren’t available. But the genre lives on on VOD, with Always Be My Maybe being a recent example.)

#39 for the Sports Comedy genre

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(There really is a strange boom in the 2000s for this genre, which this somewhat predates. This is actually much more akin to classics like Bull Durham, but just mix in the high school romance films of the period, basically. The later ones are like … Wimbledon and Mr. 3000. Maybe people were just itching to rent out stadiums in the 2000s?)

#32 for the Teen Romance genre

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(Beastly is somehow the highest grossing for this category … the big profit in the 2000s is Twilight. And really, this is the one true teen rom com boom. The genre is still going strong somehow, in and out of theaters, with Netflix releasing smash hits like The Kissing Booth as well.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (7/91): A cliched and predictable sports comedy that’s mostly devoid of excitement or laughs, Summer Catch is strictly bush-league.

(Get that garbage pun out of here. They play in a summer league, it is already bush-league. Astonishingly low review score considering the genre shouldn’t have been overstaying its welcome yet … you’d think more people would at least tolerate it as a change of pace. Reviewer Highlight: Stars Freddie Prinze Jr. (strike one), features more male virgins trying to lose it (strike two) and disses the legendary baseball league in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, by filming this mess in North Carolina (strike three). – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Bros, Babes, and Baseball (D+)

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(This is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. Why… why did this happen. It’s very similar to Swimfan but like a thousand times worse. I could have made this.. Wait… did I make this? Did I make this as an example of a terrible terrible poster? The only good thing is that title font. You can always get me with some solid font work and that’s some solid font work.)

Tagline(s) – Are you game? (D)

(Jesus, that’s all you got? It’s got all the aspects of a good tagline, but it’s just so boring and generic. I can’t reward that. It makes me think that this film will also be boring, which I just don’t think is true. This has Matthew Lillard and Freddie Prinze Jr. in it. It might be super lame, but it won’t be boring.)

Keyword(s) – baseball; Top Ten by BMeTric: 86.8 Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004); 86.5 Troll 2 (1990); 86.5 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 78.8 Little Man (III) (2006); 73.6 Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003); 73.4 Species II (1998); 68.6 The Ridiculous 6 (2015); 67.7 Poltergeist (2015); 66.0 Envy (2004); 65.2 Ed (1996);

(I mean. Ed? Yes please. I don’t know why Legally Blonde 2 would have baseball in it, I haven’t seen it. But I suppose we’ll have to remedy that. Maybe it has to do with the big case.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jessica Biel is No. 2 billed in Summer Catch and No. 2 billed in Valentine’s Day, which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 1 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 14. If we were to watch Wicker Park we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Marc Blucas’ character can be seen wearing a Wake Forest basketball cap early in the movie. It is black with a yellow “WF” on the front. Blucas actually attended and played basketball on a full scholarship to Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem North Carolina. He started along with Tim Duncan there. (Cool)

Wilmer Valderrama’s film debut.

The batter at home plate when the camera pans Veterans Field (Chatham’s real home field on Cape Cod) is Hyannis’s Brendan Harris, who made his major league debut in 2004 with the Chicago Cubs.

John Schiffner is the real life coach and manager of the Chatham A’s.

Curt Gowdy and Hank Aaron both make appearances in this film. Gowdy was the NBC play-by-play announcer in the booth when Hank Aaron hit home run number 715 to pass Babe Ruth on April 8th, 1974 in what was then known as Atlanta Stadium (later named Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium). Real-life baseball player, Christopher Rosado (a Boston College graduate), appears briefly as the left-fielder on Ryan Dunne’s team. (This is going to be chockablock full of cameos, I love it)

This marks the third film out of five that Matthew Lillard and Freddie Prinze Jr. have worked on together. The other films are Wing Commander (1999), She’s All That (1999), Scooby-Doo (2002) and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004). (They are best buds)

John McGinley plays a scout for the Phillies named Hugh Alexander. There really was a scout named Hugh Alexander who signed many future MLB all-stars while working for multiple teams during a 64-year career including the Phillies for 16 years. (What are these next-level refs?!)

A pseudo/quasi premier was held in Seattle at the now-defunct theater chain “General Cinemas Pacific Place” in order to coincide with that year’s all-star game. Which happened to be Cal Ripken Jr’s last game/retirement game. (Ooooooo fun fact)