Hunter Killer Preview

Jamie and the crew of the USS Rentacar arrive at the train station where they hope to catch the Little Old Librarian. “Which train is the one the terrorists take in the script?” Jamie asks Odin. “The 69:69 to Paris,” he replies. “Nice,” laughs the Predator in his Predator language and slams a spicy frito can of lime-a-rita mountain dew. “Come on that doesn’t even make…” Just then the 69:69 to Paris arrives and the world around Jamie seems to shift… something is seriously wrong. When it snaps back into place the space cops, Jamie, Vikling and his tribe, the entire student body of the Dracula School, The Predator, Captain Chip, a bunch of sexy hologram wolves, and the corpse of Frang pile onto the train. A bone-chilling laugh greets their arrival. “At every step you have shown how stupid you really are,” cackles the Little Old Librarian. “You’re the final piece of the puzzle. Now I will use your twin powers to use the Ivory Socket and control the world. Without Patrick you have no power to stop me, only power that I can exploit.” Jamie falls to his knees in despair. Could it be. Could his twin powers be useless to save the world after all? Suddenly he hears a small voice in his head, “You must still succeed.” He almost… recognizes the voice. Could it be? Without thinking he rushes at the Little Old Librarian knowing that he’ll be too late. He will be destroyed by his own twin powers. Suddenly she gets a distracted look in her eye and asks, “why are those wolves so sexy?” This slight delay gives Jamie just enough time to grab at the Ivory Socket. “Best twins ever,” he whispers as his hand grasps the socket. And then the universe was torn apart.

Patrick, Sticks, and Stones are in the z-movie multiverse version of Hawaii where all the ladies have big bazongas and they make the men go “whoa!”. Stones turns to Patrick. ‘Gosh dern it, use the Dongle! Use your powers! It’s the only way to make us real.” I turn to them tears streaming from my eyes feeling exploited and used. But before I can say a word one of the ladies with big bazongas lands a little aircraft nearby. “Thank God you’re here Sticks and Stones, there are terrorists and snakes and frisbees, oh my!” Their eyes turn pitch black and doll-like and they pull out their bazookas, “Anything I can do to help ma’am,” Stones says tipping his cowboy hat. As the two characters wreak havoc on z-Hawaii Patrick knows he can’t let these two madmen into the real world. Patrick sheds a single tear, for the trust broken, for the friendship lost, for the two people he saw so much of Rich and Poe in, the characters he now knows must be somewhere in a bad-movie multiverse. He zaps away, back among the blowing papers of z-LAPD precinct. How to use the Dongle though? All of a sudden Sticks and Stones appear in front of him, soaked in blood. “B-b-b-b-b-b-but how?!” Patrick cries. “We have a secret,” growled Sticks, “… we’re twins too”. No! What a twist! Patrick zaps to a terrible looking Mount Rushmore set, but Sticks and Stones follow. “Look into your heart gosh dern it, you know it to be true!” cries Stones. Patrick zaps across the world, across the z-movie multiverse, with Sticks and Stones taking chase. They end up back upon the Birdemic beach, winds whipping, all three combatants braced in a battle of Twin Powers. They are too powerful, Patrick knows it, without Jamie to aid in this ultimate twin fight he is going to be torn apart. He grasps the Obsidian Dongle and raises it into the air. “Best twins ever,” he whispers. And then the universe was torn apart.

They blink their eyes and look at each other. Sticks and Stones are gone. The entire crew of the USS Rentacar is gone. For some reason the corpse of Frang is still there filling the submarine they’ve found themselves with the overwhelming stench of decay. That’s right! We’re doing the final BMT Live of the year to watch the submarine instant classic Hunter Killer starring Gerard Butler. With Geostorm last year and Hunter Killer this year it seems like this is becoming an annual tradition that I’ll grow to love. Let’s go!

Hunter Killer (2018) – BMeTric: 3.8

(Pointless to actually show the graphs which will not show much as it literally just came out. We’ll see where it ends up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is just another Geostorm, which is just a shade above 50 BMeTric with a low 5 rating and 70K votes.)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  Butler’s performance—or lack thereof—keeps “Hunter Killer” from breaking any ground in the field of war movies. It’s also an odd time to release a movie that embraces collaborating with the Russians and painting bad and good guys with such broad strokes.

(Usually I would scoff at the political narrative being painted at the end there, but in this case it is pretty interesting. They filmed this ages ago (given Michael Nyqvist died in June 2017 at least over a year ago), so they likely realized oh so late that they had managed to produce an accidentally tone deaf film. Probably part of the reason the release has been moved around so much. Its release could literally be: bury this right when people have kind of forgotten the Russia stuff and are instead interested in the election. Although perhaps that is going a bit far, the release date has been known for six months. Still interesting.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnP_z3qXDCQ

(I have a feeling he doesn’t actually say “submerge the ship” in the movie. If he does that is a huge oversight. The character Butler plays literally has lived on submarines for his entire career. And I don’t think there is a reason to refer to a submarine as a ship instead of a boat. Main complaint: the trailer makes me think the film isn’t set entirely on a submarine, there are like … shootouts with marins and stuff, which doesn’t make me super happy.)

Directors – Donovan Marsh – (Known For: Spud; BMT: Hunter Killer; Notes: Looking at Spud I think it is safe to say Donovan Marsh is South African, and has garnered awards recognition there. I think this is his first non-South African production.)

Writers – Arne Schmidt (screenplay by) (as Arne L. Schmidt) – (Future BMT: Chain Reaction; BMT: Hunter Killer; Notes: Primarily a producer. He used to be a second unit director in the 70s, then produced action films like RoboCop, and this is only his second writing credit, and first non-story credit.)

Jamie Moss (screenplay by) – (Known For: Ghost in the Shell; Future BMT: Street Kings; BMT: Hunter Killer; Notes: Somewhat enigmatic career. Seems like a production house screenwriter, punching up Ellroy’s Street Kings before doing a bunch of uncredited work. He is writing Safe House 2.)

George Wallace and Don Keith (based on the novel “Firing Point” written by) – (BMT: Hunter Killer; Notes: Wallace was a 22 year veteran of nuclear submarines working on the USS John Adams and USS Woodrow Wilson. Keith is a co-writer for historical books, a journalist by trade he has co-written over 23 books in his career.)

Actors – Gerard Butler – (Known For: Den of Thieves; 300; How to Train Your Dragon; Olympus Has Fallen; How to Train Your Dragon 2; RocknRolla; Reign of Fire; Tomorrow Never Dies; Coriolanus; Nim’s Island; Beowulf & Grendel; Mrs Brown; Dear Frankie; Harrison’s Flowers; The Cherry Orchard; Future BMT: Dracula 2001; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Tale of the Mummy; The Ugly Truth; A Family Man; The Game of Their Lives; Machine Gun Preacher; BMT: Movie 43; Geostorm; Gods of Egypt; The Bounty Hunter; Timeline; Gamer; Playing for Keeps; London Has Fallen; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for The Bounty Hunter; and in 2017 for Gods of Egypt, and London Has Fallen; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble for The Bounty Hunter in 2011; Notes: Scottish. I would describe his career as almost shameless. He’s been in every manner of action film and solidified his stature as a leading man for any kind of film. Bankable and reliable, I enjoy my yearly terrible Butler film.)

Gary Oldman – (Known For: The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Dracula; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Leon; Darkest Hour; The Hitman’s Bodyguard; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Batman Begins; Le cinquième élément; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; True Romance; Lawless; The Book of Eli; RoboCop; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; JFK; Air Force One; Future BMT: The Unborn; Lost in Space; Paranoia; Tau; Planet 51; Man Down; Criminal; Criminal Law; Quest for Camelot; Child 44; Hannibal; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: Red Riding Hood; The Scarlet Letter; Tiptoes; The Space Between Us; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; Notes: It is shocking to me how many bad films Oldman has been in. He goes from major series (Batman, Harry Potter), to weirdo indie film (Tiptoes), to bad kids Sci-Fi (Lost in Space) to everything in between. Impressive (if kind of shockingly bad in parts) resume.)

Common – (Known For: The Hate U Give; Smallfoot; John Wick: Chapter 2; Now You See Me; American Gangster; Girls Trip; Wanted; All About Nina; The Tale; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; Selma; Rex; Date Night; Run All Night; Happy Feet Two; Just Wright; X/Y; Love Beats Rhymes; Future BMT: Suicide Squad; Every Secret Thing; Terminator Salvation; Entourage; The Odd Life of Timothy Green; Smokin’ Aces; Street Kings; LUV; Being Charlie; BMT: Movie 43; New Year’s Eve; Hunter Killer; Notes: Was a rapper in the mid-to-late 90s debuting as Common Sense in 1994. From Chicago, he then go into acting in the early 2000s and would guess, like Mos Def, ended up being more well known for than in the end.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / N/A

(Almost inevitably a gigantic bomb. Only made $6 million opening weekend, so $15 million would be generous for domestic take. And worldwide it was only in theaters for a hot second, so likely very little from there as well.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 36% (29/80): Much like the submarine in its story, Hunter Killer cruises the murky action depths, following a perfunctory course into territory that’s been charted many times before.

(We were watching this keenly to see if it would qualify. I’m rather delighted that it looks like it will in the end. Getting a good-bad film at the end of October makes for a much more relaxing winter cycle. Reviewer Highlight: All the actors are sunk by playing caricatures prone to spitting out leaden, often unintentionally humorous dialogue. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Hunter Killer for the Red October (A-)

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(Just fantastic. Yes it is clearly trying to connect this film to the classic Red October, but I don’t care. I do care that they used a terribly unoriginal font. That docks it a little.)

Tagline(s) – Start a Battle to Stop a War (A)

(I think I like this too. Gives some idea of the plot. It’s short and sweet and gives some clever juxtaposition. I could have gone for a little pun. But this is pretty solid.)

Keyword(s) – gunfight; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.7 Catwoman (2004); 94.7 Battlefield Earth (2000); 88.8 Street Fighter (1994); 86.1 The Avengers (1998); 83.8 RoboCop 3 (1993); 82.5 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 81.7 Ultraviolet (2006); 81.2 Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992); 80.7 xXx²: The Next Level (2005); 79.4 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009);

(Gunfight eh. We’ll finish this off haaaaaaard. I would guess that Stop of My Mom Will Shoot will be on the table for a Stallone Day at the very least.)

Notes – One of Michael Nyqvist last films before his death in 2017. (You might know him as the main character in the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie)

Leading actor, Gerard Butler, sailed aboard the USS Houston (SSN 713) from May 6th to May 9th with director Donovan Marsh for research purposes. They discovered some nuances of a real operating submarine and submarine crew in an attempt to make the movie/script more realistic. (Good, I want that shit to be real for reals)

On June 16, 2015 the Alaska Dispatch News (ADN) reported that after Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed legislation essentially ending the state’s film subsidy program the producers of Hunter-Killer canceled all previously planned efforts to film exteriors for the project in Alaska. (Boom, take that Alaska!)

While aboard the Houston, Butler slept in the XO’s quarters. The director, Donovan Marsh, slept in the enlisted crew’s quarters. (To get both experiences, I get it)

Tony Scott was at one point set to direct. (I.e. at one point someone said into the air “I wonder if Tony Scott would consider directing this”)

While the Russian Captain Andropov mentions his former trainees, one of the names is Alexei Vostrikov – this is Harrison Ford’s character from K-19: The Widowmaker (2002), also a submarine captain. (NO)

McG was also considered for director. (I.e. McG called them up and asked if he could direct the film please)

The Russian submarines are referred to as “Akula” in the film. This is the correct NATO reporting name for the Russian Shchuka-B class of submarine. However, there is a much larger ballistic missile submarine using the “Akula” name referred to by NATO as “Typhoon”. A fictitious “Typhoon VII” was the eponymous ship in “The Hunt for Red October”. Oddly enough the Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) used in both movies was called the Mystic and was actually out of service as of October 1st, 2008 making this either a goof on the part of the movie or dramatically changing the timeline out of the present day. (Alternative timelines bro. In this timeline Butler personally oversaw the rehaul of the Mystic DSRV thus making it available for use in the present day.)

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The 15:17 to Paris Preview

As the Space Cops pile into the space ship they lay it all out there. “Officer Libby, the Little Old Librarian you know and hate, used to be part of a major gang of corrupt cops. They would steal cocaine from evidence, use it to help write action movie screenplays in volume, ultimately sell the rights to a small number of them of which only one or two would actually be made, then have them taken out of their creative control and turned into something that they no longer recognized,” Jacobs sneers, spitting in disgust, “a truly devious plot by a truly devious cop. It is well known that she hoped to use the power of the Socket to play out the plot of one of those screenplays and create mass chaos to take over the world. So all we have to do is figure out which screenplay she want to see made by the ultimate film studio… life. Simple right?” He says as he pours 430 screenplays out of a burlap sack. Knowing they’ll never get through all of the screenplays in time Jamie gets an idea and they zoom back to Dracula School. With the help of the vampire students they start to make their way through the screenplays and boy howdy is it tough sledding. “Why do so many of these involve vigilante justice?” Asks one student. “This is the second sex scene I’ve read involving a dude ranch.” Says another, eyes glazing over. “Huh, this is interesting,” says Odin, “this also is mostly about vigilante justice and certainly has a dude ranch sex scene but… it also says ‘based on a true story’ at the front. Does anyone remember when a vigilante ninja cop stopped a bunch of cowboy terrorists on a train to Paris?” That’s right! We are transitioning to the final cycle of the year. As tradition dictates this is a cycle consisting of only films released in 2018. Previously this was to make sure we were up-to-date for Razzies season, but now it’s so we are up-to-date for Smaddies Baddies season. We start off with The 15:17 to Paris, which somehow hits two numbers on the Periodic Table of Smellements and is an A+ setting for both place and time (kinda). It also is a super strange experimental film that Clint Eastwood with the actual heroes of the event playing themselves… sounds like a tough watch. Let’s go!

Patrick, Sticks, and Stones sneak around to the back of the z-movie multiverse LAPD precinct. That’s weird, Patrick thinks, isn’t the whole reason they came and got him because the LAPD wanted to come and save him? Sticks and Stones have a wild look in their eyes as they jimmy the lock and start towards the evidence locker. “It’s just in here, gosh dern it, hurry up before they catch us,” Stones says. Patrick is super duper slow on the uptake and following them around like an idiot. He hopes those other ninja cops come soon, because his mind is feeling fuzzy again, and Sticks and Stones are starting to creep him out all of a sudden. When they reach the evidence locker Sticks blasts the lock with his glock, growling “I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it.” They pull out the Obsidian Dongle. Wait … what a twist! It wasn’t destroyed after all! Right then the samurai cop and his very tall partner come around the corner. “Stop right there you ne’er-do-wells! Patrick, they are insane they only want you for your twin powers, your ability to control the Dongle, and want you to bring them to the real world!” Patrick looks at them dumbly … “What?” The samurai cop comes at them with a katana ready to strike. Without thinking Patrick grabs the dongle and thinks “Take me and Sticks and Stones to … Hawaii?” And boom, his twin powers blast them to Hawaii. Well … the Z-movie multiverse version of Hawaii which was roughly the same except all the girls have big bazongas. “All these girls have big bazongas,” Patrick says. That’s right! We’re watching Hard Ticket to Hawaii, a B-movie with an A+ setting. Made by Andy Sidaris, I dare to say this is his most famous BBB (Bullets, Bombs, Babes) film, well known for its skateboarding and frisbee antics … and fine, the bodacious babes. Let’s go!

The 15:17 to Paris (2018) – BMeTric: 52.5

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(Loving that VOD bump. The rating is shockingly low. It didn’t even start high with all of the Eastwood-heads getting in there, it just started below-average and is now shockingly low. The BMeTric is astonishing all things considered. How bad can the acting actually be?!)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  The movie’s greatest virtue, which might be enough to make it a critic-proof hit no matter what, is its poker faced sincerity. … A lot of U.S. moviegoers are going to feel seen by this film, and that’s a net gain for American cinema, which is supposed to be a populist art form representing the body politic as it is, not merely as the industry wishes it could be. If only someone could’ve heroically intervened to save this movie.

(Can’t say I disagree with the sentiment. There is room for gently jingoistic nonsense just like there is room for gory horror, cynical comedy, and sex-crazed teen romps. But certainly it looks like Eastwoods speed and very peculiar choice to cast three non-actors in the lead roles made this one very much non-critic-proof.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC_lnyn2R2Q

(The army, God, the American Dream, and heroes babbbbbbbyyyyyyyyy. The voiceover is a bit odd in the middle. As a matter of fact it feels like the film is desperately trying to cover up the fact that the main actors can’t, in fact, act. Which is a solid choice.)

Directors – Clint Eastwood – (Known For: American Sniper; Mystic River; Unforgiven; Gran Torino; Million Dollar Baby; Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; The Bridges of Madison County; Changeling; The Outlaw Josey Wales; Space Cowboys; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; Absolute Power; Invictus; J. Edgar; A Perfect World; Jersey Boys; Hereafter; Blood Work; High Plains Drifter; Letters from Iwo Jima; Future BMT: The Rookie; BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: Well known for talking to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention. I kid (although he did do that for real). His directing style might be called … rushed. Although arguably that is intentional. But clearly competent and efficient, churning out films like Woody Allen churns out scripts.)

Writers – Dorothy Blyskal (screenplay by) – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: She worked on Sully with Eastwood, and then ended up getting recruited to adapt the book the film is based on while working as a production assistant on Logan. I didn’t read it, but here is an interview detailing her career trajectory.)

Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, Jeffrey E. Stern (based on the book by) – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: These are the three heroes of the story, they wrote the book and then ultimately starred in the subsequent film in what Eastwood called an “interesting experiment”.)

Actors – Alek Skarlatos – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: He was in the US Army National Guard. Finished in third place on Dancing with the Stars. He is currently running for a position in local politics in Oregon according to wikipedia.)

Anthony Sadler – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: Not much info on wiki beyond detailing the attack. He was the civilian of the bunch, having been childhood friends with Skarlatos and Stone.)

Spencer Stone – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: He was in the US Air Force. Two months after the attack he was stabbed outside of a nightclub and almost died.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $36,250,957 (Worldwide: $57,050,957)

(It did … poorly. That isn’t even really fine, it was poor. Given they didn’t have to pay three leads though, where did the money go?)

#22 for the Terrorism genre

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(Swordfish is the only other film we’ve seen. This is, amazingly, the highest by BMeTric. Collateral Damage with Schwarzenegger is next up I think. By the way the note at the bottom is pretty excellent: NOTE: Movies such as Die Hard, Under Siege, Speed and The Rock are not being counted as their villains for the most part are about getting money or are disgruntled former employees. For it to be a “”Terrorist”” movie, the central action has to occur to promote a cause or for destruction’s sake.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (35/149): The 15:17 to Paris pays clumsily well-intentioned tribute to an act of heroism, but by casting the real-life individuals involved, director Clint Eastwood fatally derails his own efforts.

(YAH THINK? It is an astonishing and immediately ill-advised choice. You don’t really flippantly make a movie. Although given how Eastwood directs, maybe he genuinely thinks you can. Reviewer Highlight: Performances in Eastwood films are usually uneven, but here his hands-off directing style shows no mercy … – Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club)

Poster – Bonjour, je suis American. Ça va? (A)

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(I actually enjoy this poster quite a bit. Artistic, black-and-white with red accents, and a unique font for a little spin.)

Tagline(s) – A true story. The real heroes. (D)

In the face of fear ordinary people can do the extraordinary (C+)

(The first one more or less confirms that this is likely just an experiment that Eastwood thought would be interesting to try, so it’s not particularly interesting. The second is good and hits all the marks, but is just too cliched to get a high grade. Probably 30% of all films made could have that tagline. I guess not Exit Wounds, since Steven Seagal is anything but ordinary.)

Keyword(s) – train; Top Ten by BMeTric: 93.2 Gunday (2014); 86.1 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 82.5 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 80.7 xXx²: The Next Level (2005); 79.4 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 79.0 Torque (2004); 77.7 Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008); 77.5 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002); 72.8 Jonah Hex (2010); 72.5 Cell (I) (2016);

(Nooooo never Gunday. Never. As a matter of fact once you nix that, the other two missing films don’t qualify both being above 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. So arguably we are, in fact, done with the top train films as far as BMT is concerned. In reality it would probably be better to just filter out non-qualifying films … but whatever.)

Notes – The first person to tackle the terrorist on the train was a Frenchman. He later turned down the Légion d’honneur and asked to remain anonymous because he feared reprisals from other Islamists living in France. (Oh shit, that’s pretty cool)

Director Clint Eastwood enlisted the actual Americans who took down the terrorist to play themselves in this movie: Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone. (As we heard above, this was a terrible idea.)

Roughly eight weeks after the Thalys train attack, Spencer Stone was stabbed in the back several times by James Tran, outside a downtown Sacramento night club. Stone suffered wounds to his lungs, liver and heart, and he had to undergo emergency open heart surgery. In 2017, Tran was found guilty of attempted murder, causing great bodily injury and the use of a deadly weapon and was sentenced to nine years. Stone was quoted in the Sacramento Bee newspaper, saying, “At the end of the day, I forgive the guy. We all make stupid decisions, some dumber than others. I hope he learns from it.”

The plot tagline says “3 U.S. Airmen,” but only Spencer Stone is in the Air Force. Alek Skarlatos is Army National Guard and Anthony Sadler is a civilian.

This is the 36th feature film to be directed by Clint Eastwood. (He pumps these out)

Clint Eastwood was attached to direct The Ballad of Richard Jewell since 2014 but dropped out in 2016 to do Impossible Odds as his next directorial project after finishing Sully (2016). The project wasn’t ready yet and needed more time in development, meaning that Eastwood needed another project. He decided to sign on to helm this project as his next directorial film.

An image of Clint Eastwood’s face from Pale Rider (1985) appears on a character’s t-shirt.

Many of the professional actors in this film are better known as sitcom stars: Tony Hale and Judy Greer were both in Arrested Development, Jenna Fischer in The Office, Thomas Lennon in Reno 911!, and Jaleel White in Family Matters. (So basically this is a bunch of amateurs, and then a bunch of television actors … this sounds like it shall go swimmingly)

Exit Wounds Preview

“Where are we going?” Jamie says as he drags the corpse of Frang through the forest with hologram wolves nipping at his heels. Captain Chip strides boldly where he has presumably gone before with The Predator snacking on some Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell behind him. Suddenly a massive spaceship comes into view. “Here it is. Now tell me where to point this thing,” Captain Chip says, one arm slung over the shoulder of his new bro, The Predator. “We’re trying to find a Little Old Librarian before she can use a weapon called the Ivory Socket.” Captain Chip’s mouth falls open, “did you say Little Old Librarian? Finally revenge shall be mine,” he exclaims with a gleam in his eye. We all pile into the spaceship and off zoom into the stratosphere. Focused for mere moments, Captain Chip and The Predator are soon competing to see who can zoom the fastest across the nighttime sky. While they are preoccupied Jamie wonders to himself how the world has turned so upside down. Could the impact of the Obsidian Dongle’s destruction have caused more problems than first imagined? Also, why are these hologram wolves so sexy? Suddenly there are flashing lights behind the spaceship and a police rocket pulls them to the side. When the Space Cops approach the window and ask why they were going so fast Jamie spills the beans about their urgent mission to defeat the Little Old Librarian. “Did you say Little Old Librarian?” Says one of the Space Cops to the other, “That sounds like our girl, Jacobs.” Jacobs leans closer, “you may know her as the Little Old Librarian, but we know her as Officer Libby… the dirtiest Space Cop in the universe.” That’s right! We’re watching Exit Wounds starring Steven Seagal and DMX. I honestly have no idea what it’s about. All I know is that it stars a soon-to-be past his prime Steven Seagal and DMX and Tom Arnold and seems to have been created in a BMT lab. This is the Games portion of the cycle as this film is on the Calendar for March 16th. Oh, glorious day. Let’s go!

Patrick, Sticks, and Stones ride out into the desert. “It is weird that we don’t really see anyone else around, right? People have to live here, like … actors?” Patrick still didn’t really understand how the Z-movie multiverse worked. Stones’ eyes well up with tears. “Gosh dern it, they do. But they all end up like us. They can’t help but end up like us.” Sticks growls a woeful assent. “You mean, cops?” Patrick says dumbly, like a real dummy he has no idea. What a fool! Just then glowing alien ships begin to descend. “There they are, aliens for sure” says the truck driver. Large spotlights roam the sky, clearly projected from a nearby airbase, a group of people dance a mesmerizing dance a few hundred yards away. As the truck driver whoops and howls, stripping his clothes off to frolic in the desert, Patrick begins to follow. “Naw, it ain’t worth it son.” Stones says, “We just need to get to LA. No time for fake alien gobbledygook. Gosh dern it, it is enough to drive a man insane I tells ya.” Patrick begins to scramble back into the truck. “No. We don’t need that anymore” Sticks growls. Sticks and Stone gaze at Patrick with an insane look. “Use your twin powers,” they say in creepy unison, their eyes glazing over, doll-like and hard. Patrick laughs, “You guys are real weird,” and zap, they are in Los Angeles on a police precinct set, papers blowing around them, the din of the criminals raging against the overwhelmed cops ringing in the distance. Outside there is a very tall black police officer, and a white officer with a katana. “Gosh dern it, it’s Wash and Hoops. I … I, uh, owe them money, let’s go around the back.” Sticks says quickly. That’s right! We’re also watching Samurai Cop!

Exit Wounds (2001) – BMeTric: 45.8

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(The fact that it went down first is pretty amusing. It is basically: Phase 1 – Seagal-heads watch it and think “this is pretty bad”, Phase 2 – Regular action fans get a hold of it and think “this is really bad”, Phase 3 – Regular people get a hold of it and basically think “a bad rating is 6 stars right? I’ll give it that”.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Blah actioner with aging, ever-wooden Seagal playing a tough loner cop who tangles with some on-the-take colleagues. Rapper DMX adds life to the proceedings as a mysterious drug entrepreneur. All too familiar, but the target audience might not mind.

(Give me ‘dem hyphens Leonard!! I’m heartened to hear DMX brings some life to the film. There is a reason we tend not to do Seagal films (they are usually garbage), so maybe there is some special sauce here.)

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

(Wholley spoils the twist of the film! WHAT THE HELL BRO?! Also they frame the story incorrectly. When he says that DMX worked for internal affairs he isn’t actually talking to DMX, he’s talking to someone else. Such a weird trailer.)

Directors – Andrzej Bartkowiak – (BMT: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Doom; Exit Wounds; Cradle 2 the Grave; Romeo Must Die; Notes: We did it boys, we finished Andrzej Bartkowiak’s BMT filmography. Seems to be a very accomplished cinematographer when he isn’t directing garbage.)

Writers – Ed Horowitz (screenplay) – (BMT: On Deadly Ground; Exit Wounds; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for On Deadly Ground in 1995; Notes: You can see his full resume online, he did a bunch of theater more recently in California, so possible that is kind of what he does now.)

Richard D’Ovidio (screenplay) – (Known For: The Call; Future BMT: Gallows Hill; The Forger; BMT: Thir13en Ghosts; Exit Wounds; Notes: Went to UMass where he got a degree in Economics.)

John Westermann (novel) – (BMT: Exit Wounds; Notes: I don’t understand. The book this movie is based on is free, doesn’t have any reviews on Amazon, and doesn’t have a plot summary anywhere … why was this even optioned?!)

Actors – Steven Seagal – (Known For: Machete; Under Siege; Executive Decision; Above the Law; Future BMT: The Patriot; Half Past Dead; The Foreigner; Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; The Glimmer Man; Hard to Kill; Marked for Death; Out for Justice; Contract to Kill; China Salesman; BMT: On Deadly Ground; Fire Down Below; Exit Wounds; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for On Deadly Ground in 1995; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1995 for On Deadly Ground; in 1998 for Fire Down Below; and in 2003 for Half Past Dead; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Executive Decision in 1997; and Nominee for Worst Original Song, and Worst Screen Couple for Fire Down Below in 1998; Notes: He is effectively a Russian citizen now … somehow not at all shocking.)

DMX – (Known For: Top Five; Future BMT: Belly; BMT: Exit Wounds; Cradle 2 the Grave; Romeo Must Die; Never Die Alone; Notes: Just got released from prison having served a one year sentence in a tax fraud case.)

Isaiah Washington – (Known For: Out of Sight; Dead Presidents; True Crime; Clockers; Bulworth; Crooklyn; Love Jones; Welcome to Collinwood; Dead Birds; The Washington Snipers; Get on the Bus; Stonewall; Go for Sisters; Future BMT: Girl 6; Strictly Business; The Moguls; BMT:Hollywood Homicide; Ghost Ship; Exit Wounds; Romeo Must Die; Notes: My God, this cast is just filled with amazing people. Anyways, Mo’Nique just released a video where she claims she has evidence that Isaiah Washington was blackballed from Grey’s Anatomy based on a lie. Juicy. I’ll save judgement until I see the evidence I guess.)

Budget/Gross – $33 million / Domestic: $51,758,599 (Worldwide: $79,958,599)

(Pretty good. Kind of surprising this ended up being Seagal’s last theatrical release considering it did fine. But then again, he sounds like a nightmare to work with so who knows.)

#19 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

exitwounds_martialarts

(Ah, I yearn for the days of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. Alas, I think Martial Arts films are a bit out of fashion, and when they are made I bet they go VOD. Someday we might just have to search those out.)

#4 for the Cop – Dirty genre

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(This made more money than Cop Land which is a travesty. Not many qualify it looks like. The next one down is Street Kings.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (21/65): It probably goes without saying that Exit Wounds is loaded with plotholes and bad dialogue. Critics also note that Seagal has aged rather badly.

(Ha! The subtle “critics note” there feels like Rotten Tomatoes covering their asses. Like, people are saying … we’re not saying, we’re just saying that other people are saying you look broke down, Steven. Reviewer Highlight: It doesn’t take long to see that Seagal has not spent his layoff getting buff and into fighting trim. – Todd McCarthy, Variety)

Poster – What if Like … People Were the Real Guns, You Know? (A+)

exit_wounds_ver1

(This is what I’m talking about. We got some polish, some bold colors, some distinctive font. We got a gun with faces in it and people at the muzzle. This literally checks off every box on what I want out of a poster. I don’t care what you think, I’m a big fan.)

Tagline(s) – What Can Two Men Do Against A Gang Of Crooked Cops? Whatever It Takes. (F)

This Is Gonna Hurt (C-)

(The first is long and not clever and makes my head hurt when I think about it. The second is short and sweat. Still not clever or very interesting, but I appreciate it. Especially compared to the first one.)

Keyword(s) – heroin; Top Ten by BMeTric: 70.5 The Animal (2001); 56.5 The Lords of Salem (2012); 54.3 The Informers (2008); 52.5 Nude Nuns with Big Guns (2010); 52.0 Bangkok Dangerous (2008); 49.1 Abandon (2002); 45.8 Exit Wounds (2001); 44.8 Contracted (2013); 41.9 What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? (2004); 38.8 Observe and Report (2009);

(I wonder if What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? Actually has a story related to heroin, or … if they misspelled heroine when plugging in the keyword. Regardless, no joke, these are all garbage. The Animal has one moment where he finds heroin in a guys butt and it gets the keyword? It is just terrible.)

Notes – Eva Mendes (who called this a “terrible movie”) said her dialogue in this film was entirely re-dubbed by another actress. Mendes says she learned of this when she attended the premier with her family and realized “…Something was wrong. Something was just off.” She says the producer later explained to her that her voice was replaced because she “didn’t sound intelligent enough.” Mendes told Jon Stewart on The Daily Show (1996), “A Steven Seagal film, and I didn’t sound intelligent enough?!” (Ha, that’s misogynistic. Mainly because DMX is supposed to be as or more intelligent than her in the film, both of them are millionaire computer scientists)

In an interview with Huffpost Live, Tom Arnold claimed that Steven Seagal fell into the water while filming a scene on his character’s houseboat: Seagal had opted to shoot the scene without rehearsal and mistakenly exited through the wrong door, leading him to drop into the bay.

DMX did not enjoy working with Steven Seagal, describing him as a “dickhead”. (HA! I wonder what he thought of Jet Li)

Filming in Toronto was delayed again when David Vadim was arrested and charged with committing a sexual assault on a wardrobe technician on the set. (WHAT. Gross.)

According to Stephen Quadros, the fight scene between Steven Seagal and Michael Jai White was not choreographed in advance; Seagal and White ad-libbed it during production. (Wait … the one with the swords? Yeah … I don’t believe you)

During filming in Hamilton, a van was being towed along a street upside-down as part of a chase scene; stuntman Chris Lamon and another man were supposed to roll safely out, but Lamon apparently struck his head, and died six days later. Todd Schroeder suffered a concussion in the same incident. The scene was re-shot with the van moving slower and the stuntmen placed differently. (What?! Someone died on this film too? What a mess)

The opening action sequence which was actually part of the re-shoots was inspired by similar action sequence from screenwriter Jeffrey Boam’s rejected script for fourth Lethal Weapon film which he wrote in 1995, and which had main heroes of Lethal Weapon films, Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh, fighting against neo-nazi terrorists in L.A. Producer Joel Silver remembered the action sequence from the script and he was the one who decided to add it in Exit Wounds.

Anthony Anderson joked that his main purpose in the film was to make DMX look good. (As per usual m’man. Anderson is another guy accused of sexual assault multiple times. What a gem of a cast we have here)

Michael Jai White and Steven Seagal first worked together in 1993, on a Japanese soup commercial. (I wish I would find that commercial but alas I cannot)

Steven Seagal’s last film to have a wide theatrical release. (Noice)

Jill Hennessy said being in this film was “one of the best times in my life.” (Not Law and Order. Tough look for Law and Order)

The bridge attack scene; with the Happy Face helicopter, was shot on the Centre Street Bridge in Calgary, Alberta. The 85-year-old bridge had been closed for close to a year for restoration when the Exit Wounds crew came to town, so there was much concern from nearby residents when things started blowing up on the bridge. About six months later, long after the bridge had been re-opened, there was a major controversy in Calgary when the producers requested the bridge be closed again for retakes.

This was Steven Seagal’s return to movies after a three-year absence. It was a new Seagal – he slimmed down, updated his wardrobe, and ditched his trademark ponytail. (He did look much more reasonable and not ridiculous I thought)

Andrzej Bartkowiak, Isaiah Washington, DMX and Anthony Anderson all worked together in Romeo Must Die (2000). (And DMX and Anthony Anderwon and Tom Arnold and Bartkowiak also made Cradle 2 the Grave!)

The film bares little resemblance to the novel it is based on by ex-cop-turned-novelist John Westermann. (Not surprising)

This was Steven Seagal’s first go at wire work in a movie. (Well, it was made in 2001, prime time for wire work)

In Love and War Preview

As Jamie contemplates what to do about The Predator, the creature suddenly looks up and engages its invisibility shield. Damn it, it must has smelled this decaying shark corpse Jamie has been carrying around. Looking around, Jamie spies a skateboard and a backwards baseball cap that must have belonged to a previous victim of the whale and is soon jetting around doing all kinds of ollies and kickflips or whatever. Unfortunately, as is often the case, Jamie is a little too focused on hot dogging and being rad and takes a tumble while attempting a fakie bigspin heelflip. The Predator approaches with laser aimed to kill and Jamie expresses sadness that he was never able to avenge Patrick by killing the Little Old Librarian that brought him to this point. Suddenly The Predator cocks his head in confusion. It speaks some alien language that is translated by the robotics on its wrist. “Did you say Little Old Librarian?” Jamie nods his head yes and the Predator raises his fist in triumph. “The greatest of all prey. Finally I… no, we… shall defeat it,” putting out his hand to pull Jamie to his feet. He blasts a hole in the side of the whale and heaving the decaying corpse of Frang to his should he looks directly into the camera and dramatically says, “Let’s blow this joint. We got a war to fight… bro.” Jamie suddenly has a tingling sensation in his belly and there’s only one thing that could mean: a bromance is a-brewin’. That’s right! This week we are watching In Love and War, that film that everyone remembers and loves starring Chris O’Donnell and Sandra Bullock. It’s based on the true love story of Ernest Hemingway that was the inspiration for a couple of his books. Sounds thrilling. Let’s go!

Hey dummies, expecting a story about Patrick fighting some weird bug or something? Naw, he’s unconscious for this bit. But don’t worry, we are also watching Liz and Dick this week. The Lifetime Original film starring Lindsay Lohan was supposed to be a way for her to slowly reenter the world of acting. Instead everyone just made fun of it and then forgot about it completely. Let’s go!

In Love and War (1996) – BMeTric: 22.3

InLoveandWar_BMeT

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(This is something I noticed in previous posts but … Something happened in 2014 with IMDb. I should investigate it honestly. But on exactly January 1, 2014, ratings in general jumped significantly upwards. This is no different. As a matter of fact the rating of the film doesn’t really rise besides that giant 0.3 rating jump on New Years’ Day, 2014. Very much worthy of an investigation I think.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Lumbering catastrophe chronicles Ernest Hemingway’s WWI love affair with Red Cross nurse Agnes von Kurowsky, eight years his senior and the inspiration for the character Catherine Barkley in A Farewell to Arms. Miscast O’Donnell might actually be more credible playing Ernest Borgnine, and the leads have no chemistry. The film leans on what used to be called “scenic values” like a bookie who’s been stiffed.

(“scenic values” …. So, vistas? I think he’s talking about vistas here which is a huge plus for me obviously. Two things. First, the turn of phrase at the end is just bonkers, pump the breaks on that guy Leonard, the bookie ref makes no sense. Second, the casual dropping of Ernest Borgnine, as if I’m supposed to know what that is is ridiculous … I think it is supposed to be a ridiculous suggestion, but it is so far beyond me I just don’t know anymore. This review is astonishing.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVEUGM3Scck

(This is a very old school trailer. If I were to field a guess as to why this film was rejected by critics: It was considered very old fashioned having been directed by a 70-year-old Richard Attenborough, and stars two actors who, I think, are only “good” in very specifically designed roles in Sandra Bullock and Chris O’Donnell. Syrupy sweet nonsense.)

Directors – Richard Attenborough – (Known For: Gandhi; A Bridge Too Far; Chaplin; Cry Freedom; Magic; Shadowlands; Oh! What a Lovely War; Young Winston; Future BMT: Chorus Line; Grey Owl; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Most famous as John Hammond in Jurassic Park I think at this point, although he won the Best Director Oscar for Gandhi, beating out none other than Steven Spielberg for E.T.)

Writers – Henry S. Villard (book) – (BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Became a good friend to Hemingway in Italy during the time the book took place. Joined the US Foreign Service helping to plan the invasion of North Africa in the Second World War, and was the liason to the Free French Forces for the US. Held a multitude of different ambassadorships over the years and lived to the age of 95.)

James Nagel (book) – (BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Co-author to the original book, although I couldn’t find much more about him. Mainlys seems to have produced collections of short stories.)

Allan Scott (screen story & screenplay) – (Known For: The Witches; Don’t Look Now; D.A.R.Y.L.; The Preacher’s Wife; Castaway; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Took over the chairmanship and chief executive position of Macallan-Glenlivet in the late 70s and ran the company until 1996 at which point its market cap had increased 200 fold during his tenure.)

Dimitri Villard (screen story) – (Future BMT: Once Bitten; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Given he founded Jet Set Records, apparently one of the more successful rhythm & blues labels of the era, and established one of the earliest pay television channels in California, he seems to have made movies once becoming rather wealthy. Mostly worked in the 80s, with this film being one of the rare exceptions.)

Clancy Sigal (screenplay) – (Known For: Frida; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Was blacklisted in the 1950s and ended up moving to the UK to work there for decades.)

Anna Hamilton Phelan (screenplay) – (Known For: Girl, Interrupted; Mask; Gorillas in the Mist; Future BMT: Amelia; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Wrote Mask while at Emerson. Ultimately moved to New York City to try acting while continuing to write screenplays, Mask was her only credited acting film role.)

Actors – Sandra Bullock – (Known For: Ocean’s Eight; Gravity; The Proposal; Crash; A Time to Kill; Two Weeks Notice; Speed; Minions; The Heat; The Prince of Egypt; Miss Congeniality; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; While You Were Sleeping; Forces of Nature; The Vanishing; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; The Thing Called Love; Infamous; Wrestling Ernest Hemingway; Future BMT: Premonition; Love Potion No. 9; The Net; Stolen Hearts; Hope Floats; 28 Days; Murder by Numbers; Gun Shy; Practical Magic; Our Brand Is Crisis; Loverboy; BMT:Speed 2: Cruise Control; All About Steve; Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous; In Love and War; Demolition Man; The Lake House; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress, Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for All About Steve in 2010; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Demolition Man in 1994; Notes: Just sold her LA home for around $3 million. Won the Best Actress award in 2010 for The Blind Side.)

Chris O’Donnell – (Known For: Scent of a Woman; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; School Ties; Vertical Limit; Kinsey; Blue Sky; Circle of Friends; A Little Help; Kit Kittredge: An American Girl; Cookie’s Fortune; Men Don’t Leave; Future BMT: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore; The Bachelor; Mad Love; 29 Palms; The Three Musketeers; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Max Payne; The Chamber; In Love and War; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Three Musketeers in 1994; Notes: Somehow has probably become most famous as a television star having been in over 200 episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles.)

Mackenzie Astin – (Known For: Wyatt Earp; The Last Days of Disco; Iron Will; Moments of Clarity; Dream for an Insomniac; Future BMT: How to Deal; The Evening Star; The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human; BMT: The Garbage Pail Kids Movie; In Love and War; Notes: Younger brother to Sean Astin of Rudy and Lord of the Rings fame.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $14,481,231 (Worldwide: $25,372,294)

(I think any way you cut this this wasn’t a huge film. Especially given the note reporting Bullock’s salary as $11 million. That alone suggests this was a pretty big bomb.)

#88 for the Romantic Drama genre

inloveandwar_romanticdrama

(This might as well be called Fifty Shades Genre. I have no idea why it died in the early 2000s, but the genre is back and kicking ass again. Midnight Sun is an intriguing one from this year as well.)

#5 for the War – World War I genre

(These films kind of inexplicable come in waves. This is the first bad World War I film we’ve watched. And in general, especially with Wonder Woman just having come out, World War I is having a moment.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (3/27): No consensus yet.

(I’ll make a consensus: At its best with stunning still shots and musical score, but lacking in excitement and acting. Somewhat expected from a lightweight romantic drama unfortunately. Reviewer Highlight: Boring and artificial – Jon Niccum, Lawrence Journal-World)

Poster – In Love and Sklog (C-)

in_love_and_war

(Surprising that such a poster would make it to the final copy. Just a screenshot from the film with some lame font text over it. Whatever. Not offensive really, but far from good.)

Tagline(s) – In war they found each other…In each other they found love… (B)

(A little long but I’m picking up what they’re putting down. I’m just a little worried that I think this is original because I haven’t seen taglines exactly like it before… when in reality there are a bunch of taglines out there just like it. If there are I can’t find them.)

Keyword(s) – driver; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.0 The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005); 63.4 Cosmopolis (2012); 56.3 The Transporter Refueled (2015); 50.8 Precious Cargo (2016); 45.8 Johnny Mnemonic (1995); 45.1 Darkness (2002); 41.7 Kaal (2005); 39.6 Would You Rather (2012); 38.4 Overdrive (2017); 36.2 Cannonball Fever (1989);

(Driver? Well I’m excited to eventually watch Cannonball Fever, that should be a complete shitshow of a film with some of my favorite comedic actors of the time at least.)

Notes – This movie’s closing epilogue states: “Agnes von Kurowsky’s long and distinguished career with the American Red Cross continued until the end of World War II. She remained unmarried until she was 36 and lived to be 92. Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1954. One of his great novels, A FAREWELL TO ARMS, was inspired by his experiences in Italy during World War One. He married four times and took his own life in 1961.” (Good to have it written out I guess…)

Several scenes were filmed in or near the Italian village Vittorio Veneto, including the battle scenes. Many of the extras playing the soldiers in the movie were airmen from nearby Aviano Air Base that volunteered to star in the movie.

Sandra Bullock researched her role of Agnes Von Kurowsky by reading her dairies that she kept during the war and reading the love letters between her and Ernest Hemingway.

Agnes Von Kurowsky was the inspiration for the character Catherine Barkley in a Farwell To Arms. (Makes sense)

In real life Agnes Von Kurowsky and Ernst Hemingway never saw each other again after the war. (Fun fact?)

Sandra Bullock was paid $11 million for her role in the film. (That seems … why does that seem unlikely? I guess they wanted the sweet Speed bump)

This film’s opening prologue states: “This film is based on a true story . . . NORTHERN ITALY 1918. Here, during the final year of World War One, Italy was defending itself alone against a massive Austrian invasion. America was one of Italy’s allies but the US Army was already fully committed in France. So President Wilson sent in teams of Red Cross doctors and nurses to boost Italian morale and help care for the wounded. Young men across America responded to the President’s call for further volunteers to drive red Cross ambulances and work in the front line canteens.”

The film takes place from July 1918 to June 1919.

Henry Villard’s own son was the driving force behind getting the film made.

Jaws: The Revenge Preview

Jamie is spirited away by Vampiro to the nearest Viking settlement, all the while grumbling about the threat of the little old librarian. “You must forgive me,” he implores, “I never thought this day would come.” Upon arriving at the settlement Vampiro whispers in the ear of their leader Vikling. Vikling stares in astonishment and beating his spear against his shield summons the warriors of his clan to kneel. “He has come, the destined warrior. He shall defeat Vlurg, the Viking scourge of Vikling.” Jamie is led with knees a-quaking down to a seaside cave which serves as the home of Vlurg. Tiptoeing in he comes face-to-face with the most terrible creature he has ever witnessed. It’s got horrific teeth and a full six-pack. Its nicely muscled legs are well proportioned to its bulging biceps. It is like a giant, horrific looking Dwayne Johnson. Just a true specimen of a monster. It smiles sickly and takes a step forward but catches its toe on a rock and trips. In a crazy freak accident it falls and snaps it neck, instantaneously killing it. Dragging the corpse from the cave Jamie is cheered. “You have defeated Vlurg! Now we can use Vlurg as bait for the monstrous Frang. For it is your destiny to defeat Frang for Vikling. You don’t even want to know what Frang is… I’ll give you a hint: It’s a giant shark.” Jamie can only sigh sadly. That’s right! We’re finally finishing the Jaws franchise with Jaws: The Revenge. Apparently it’s now the case that the shark is stalking the Brody family and follows them down to the Caribbean to kill once again. This is the worst plot imaginable and yet the most ludicrous parts of the novelization (the shark was cursed by a Voodoo woman with a grudge against the Brody’s!) didn’t even make it into the film. Let’s go!

A stunned Patrick stares at Stick and Stones, his mouth agape. “What is the Z-Movie Multiverse?” Sticks and Stones visibly relax, their corruption seeming to be glossed over by a much more interesting question. “Gosh dern it. Well, you see, the world you come from is one universe among many. The one your buddies Rich and Poe come from is the Bad Movie Multiverse. That’s where the Obsidian Dongle came from originally, and it connects all of the bad movies that ever were and ever will be. This? This is a slightly … less polished universe, the Z-Movie Multiverse. Where all of the borderline unwatchable garbage comes from. Something happened to send you here, and we’re here to help send you back. You don’t belong here. Get it?” Patrick stares blankly at Sticks and Stones. “Wait … Rich and Poe are real?!” “Enough talking,” Sticks says gruffly and grabs Patrick and throws him through the next door onto a beautiful beach set. “Just watch for the birds.” Patrick looks around at the weird hovering CGI birds, unmoving and non-threatening. “This place is so weird.” He says, knocking one of the birds down easily and wandering down the beach after Sticks and Stones. That’s right! We are also watching Birdemic: Shock and Terror. One of the worst films ever made, this not-really-a-film has become a cult classic alongside Troll 2 and The Room among bad movie aficionados. Let’s go!

Jaws: The Revenge (1987) – BMeTric: 88.6

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(Below 3.0 is absolutely crazy. Not that surprising that the rating is going up with the votes … except usually with truly worst-films-ever type deals people are literally seeking out the film to try and see a terrible film, so sometimes it stays really low. So maybe it doesn’t really quite fit into that category.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Watchable but mediocre retread of Jaws, the fourth time around, with Gary as the widow of sheriff Scheider (from the original film) who’s convinced the great white shark is deliberately seeking out and killing off members of her family. Marginal movie sunk by stupid, abrupt finale; Caine wasted in frivolous supporting role.

(Watchable … is an interesting word to use here. Everywhere else I’ve heard it is literally so dumb it is unwatchable. I’m also surprised this isn’t a BOMB. This is one of the worst reviewed films of all time, so it does seem like Leonard is going a bit light here.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnYzwUkm-PY

(This is a real television spot. There is also a crazy “trailer” on youtube, but the music choice (Blondie’s One Way Or Another) suggests that it is probably fake. So I’ll stick with this one. It is … fine. The conceit of Jaws hunting this one family down is ludicrous though since “Jaws” is killed at the end of each and every one of these films. One more and they might have gone full Halloween and made some story about a cult creating a super-Jaws to attack the family which would have been amazing.)

Directors – Joseph Sargent – (Known For: White Lightning; The Taking of Pelham One Two Three; Colossus: The Forbin Project; MacArthur; Future BMT: Nightmares; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Jaws: The Revenge in 1988; Notes: Directed of the more famous original Star Trek shows (The Corbomite Maneuver). Was directing from the 1950s, with this being his last non-TV movie of his career.)

Writers – Peter Benchley (characters & novel) (uncredited) – (Known For: Jaws; Jaws 2; The Island; Future BMT: The Deep; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Jaws 3-D; Notes: Was a speechwriter for Lyndon Johnson, he wrote the novel Jaws that the entire series is based on.)

Michael De Guzman (written by) (as Michael de Guzman) – (BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Jaws: The Revenge in 1988; Notes: Was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for the TV movie Caroline? (Also directed by Sargent). This was his only non-TV movie of his career.)

Actors – Lorraine Gary – (Known For: Jaws; Jaws 2; Car Wash; Future BMT: 1941; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Jaws: The Revenge in 1988; Notes: Has been married for 62 years! Her and Sidney Sheinberg got married when they were 19 and 22 respectively. She declined a spot in acting school to study political science at Columbia. This was her last film, she had retired in 1979, but came out of retirement to reprise her classic role in Jaws.)

Lance Guest – (Known For: The Last Starfighter; Late Phases; Future BMT: Halloween II; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Notes: Has done a lot of theater, including a somewhat notable role as Johnny Cash most recently that he has seen some acclaim for.)

Mario Van Peebles – (Known For: New Jack City; Ali; Heartbreak Ridge; The Cotton Club; Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song; How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass; The Hebrew Hammer; Stag; Future BMT: Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Solo; Exterminator 2; Gunmen; Posse; Submerged; We the Party; Multiple Sarcasms; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Notes: Son of Melvin Van Peebles, who is widely credited for helping to create the Blaxploitation genre. Has a B.A. in Economics.)

Budget/Gross – $23 million / Domestic: $20,763,013 (Worldwide: $51,881,013)

(Like … not bad. But at that point Jaws had become a punchline. It ended up (somewhat oddly) representing the 80s trope of running series into the ground. This is despite the fact that the horror series like Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street did that way better than Jaws ever could. And yet it was Jaws that was made fun of in Back to The Future Part II.)

#26 for the Christmas – Setting Only genre

jaws4_christmassetting

(From the (very incomplete) list, we’ve only seen Getaway. It is interesting that they seem to have been a major thing in the 80s and early 90s, but their ability to pull in the big bucks seems to have waned over the years.)

#51 for the Creature Feature genre

jaws4_creaturefeature

(Literally just watched two of these in the Anaconda Series. The Predator is coming out this week, so it seems somewhat likely we could go back-to-back as well. I couldn’t say why it waxes and wanes … maybe it takes a bit to reload and look around for the new tech needed to really kick start the genre every couple of years.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/34): Illogical, tension-free, and filled with cut-rate special effects, Jaws 4 – The Revenge is a sorry chapter in a once-proud franchise.

(Was it a once proud franchise? When? After the second and before the third when they explicitly sold out to become a giant advertisement for Seaworld? Reviewer Highlight: The shark models have so little movement that at times they seem to be supporting themselves on boats, instead of attacking them. Up until the ludicrous final sequence of the movie, the scariest creature in the film is an eel. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Watch Out! I’m a Big Ol’ Shark and Imma Gonna Get’cha! (A-)

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(OK… I love this poster. I would put this up on my wall. Both because it’s fun and it’s also funny because you’re not sure whether the shark or the person is out for revenge… the idea that the person is out for revenge is already hilarious. But the idea that the shark is out for revenge is even funnier.)

Tagline(s) – This time… It’s personal. (FFFFFFFFFFuck)

(That is crazy. It’s straight up a joke. Like someone got tired, suggested it as a joke, and then had it taken seriously.)

Keyword(s) – 1980s; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.6 Jaws: The Revenge (1987); 86.5 Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003); 86.0 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 85.5 Jaws 3-D (1983); 82.3 Glitter (2001); 81.1 Sex and the City 2 (2010); 76.2 Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989); 74.7 Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach (1988); 73.2 Howard: A New Breed of Hero (1986); 72.3 Caddyshack II (1988);

(Kind of a funny mix of films that are set in the 80s and films that were actually just … made in the 80s. We are actually definitely going to finish this list … and I don’t even think it’ll take that long. I have absolutely no idea why Sex and the City 2 would have this keyword attached.)

Notes – This is one of British screen legend Michael Caine’s notorious “paycheck pictures”, along with The Swarm (1978), Ashanti (1979), Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979), The Island (1980), The Hand (1981) and Blame It on Rio (1984). When Caine was asked about this movie in an interview, he answered, “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.” (classic anecdote … how did he survive making five paycheck films in four years though?)

Lorraine Gary’s final film, and her first film role in eight years.

The movie’s main tagline “This time it’s personal” was parodied in Back to the Future Part II (1989) where the fictional “Jaws 19”, directed by Max Spielberg, has a movie poster that says, “This time it’s REALLY personal!”. The phrase “This time it’s personal” has since become a clichéd tagline for several sequels. (Deserved there … although Back to the Future Part II must have been on their game. These two films were released in the same year)

Michael Caine accepted his role after seeing only the first line of the script, which was, “Fade in: Hawaii”. Caine had wanted to shoot a movie in Hawaii for a while. (lol)

The original script features a cameo for Richard Dreyfuss’s character from the original Jaws (1975), marine biologist Matt Hooper. In Hooper’s scene, he calls the Brodys and is greeted on the phone by Thea, who knows him as “Uncle Matt”. Hooper is established as being close to Michael and Carla, who calls him “my second favorite marine biologist”, and he gives them his condolences about Sean’s death. Hooper and Michael discuss their careers, the late Martin Brody, and Hooper’s once spending Christmas with the family, with Martin dressed as Santa Claus. The scene ends when Michael heads off to summon Ellen to the phone to talk to Hooper.

Roy Scheider was offered a cameo, but declined, stating “Satan himself could not get me to do Jaws part 4”. Reportedly, if Scheider had accepted the bit part, the shark would’ve killed his character at the start of the movie. The end result has Scheider in the film through archive footage from the original film that is inserted during some scenes in the film.

This film is listed among the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in John Wilson’s book “The Official Razzie® Movie Guide.”

The only movie in the franchise which doesn’t take place in the summertime. The first Jaws takes place around July 4th, Jaws 2 takes place in June, Jaws 3 takes place at some point in the summertime, and this movie takes place around Christmas and New Year’s (Secret holiday film?)

According to this film, the events that occurred in Jaws 3-D (1983) never took place, which would explain why Mike did not marry Kathryn, and why he isn’t working as an engineer at SeaWorld, and this also would explain why Sean now works as a Deputy in Amity Island, as if he never moved to Colorado. (HA)

Would be one of Judith Barsi’s last films before her untimely death, at the age of ten, one year after this film’s release. Lance Guest, who plays her on-screen father Mike Brody, served as one of her pallbearers at her funeral. (Oh gosh, that is a terrible story)

Bruce the Rubber Shark was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor in this film, thus making him the first animal nominated for one. (Probably the first not-real thing as well)

Michael Caine said: “Won an Oscar, built a house, and had a great holiday. Not bad for a flop movie.” He was paid 1.5 million dollars for seven days work in the Bahamas, and the schedule was so tight, that the producers were unable to spare him, so that he could attend the Oscar ceremony, and he went on to win the Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar for Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

Mario Van Peebles wrote his own part.

Michael Caine is the second actor to follow up an Academy Award-winning performance with a Razzie Award-nominated performance in a Jaws (1975) sequel. The first was Louis Gossett, Jr., who won an Oscar for An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), and then was nominated for a Razzie for Jaws 3-D (1983). (Amazing. Why did I not remember that Louis Gossett, Jr. won an Oscar?)

Set mostly in the Bahamas, the film’s storyline includes its Junkanoo Festival, previously known to movie-goers from also featuring in the earlier James Bond movie Thunderball (1965). The annual parade is also featured in the later movie After the Sunset (2004). (Bahamas baby. We are a-traveling the Caribbean)

Mostly set in the Bahamas, the bulk of the movie was filmed on Oahu, Hawaii’s North Shore, near Turtle Bay, and on the northeast side of the island.

Director Joseph Sargent briefly looked into the possibility of producing the movie in 3-D, and contacted the company who had supplied the cameras for Jaws 3-D (1983). However, they told Sargent that they could not guarantee the cameras would work reliably in the climate of the Bahamas, and so the idea was scrapped. (Good)

Comedian Richard Jeni considered this the worst movie of all time, and built a substantial portion of his stand-up comedy act around it. (Lol here’s the link)

On the TV Tropes site, the film, specifically the novelization, is the Trope Namer for Voodoo Shark, defined as an attempt in a story to explain away a plot hole, except that it falls flat, because the explanation itself is a plot hole, and which ends up raising more questions. The name of the trope refers to the novelization of the film, which explains the shark’s motivations as being the result of a curse by a voodoo witch seeking revenge on the Brodys after a scuffle with Michael. (HOLY SHIT THEY DID HALLOWEEN IT!)

According to ‘Rating the Movies,’ “After a miserable theatrical showing in the U.S., the film was given a new ending for its European release.” The ending is the version where when the shark is stabbed, the shark is blown to pieces (using three shots from the first movie). This ending also has Jake (Van Peeples) floating around after the shark’s destruction. When the film was released to video in North America, the European ending was used. When AMC aired Jaws: The Revenge in the early 2000s, they would show the American ending where the shark is stabbed, bleeds profusely, then sinks. As of 2014, however, AMC shows the European ending, rather than the American one. This often leads to confusion for viewers on the original ending, when watching a re-run on television. (Wowza, that is a bit nuts)

The shark’s head exploding is explained when Jake throws an explosive, that’s powered by electrical impulses into the shark, before he is grabbed by the shark and taken under the water, and later when the shark is impaled by the broken bowsprit in the exact spot where the bomb is, it ignites the bomb, which causes the shark’s explosive demise. (I’ll leave that there, that is ludicrous)

Awards: Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Visual Effects (Henry Millar, 1988)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Joseph Sargent, 1988)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (1988)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Lorraine Gary, 1988)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Michael Caine, 1988)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Joseph Sargent, 1988)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Michael De Guzman, 1988)

The 13th Warrior Preview

Patrick and Jamie are transported to the Top Hat Land, the land of the Top Hat Man. Their tale of how they met, battled, earned a grudging respect for, and ultimately became good friends with the Top Hat Man is a really exciting tale full of adventure and good humor. Maybe someday you’ll get to hear it… it’s really great. Too bad this is a different story. They walk into Top Hat Man’s kitchen where he is doing his morning sudoku over a warm cup of the blood of innocents. He looks at us with surprise. ‘Oh hi, guys. I didn’t expect you. You need something?” Boy howdy, do they. “I need to escape the horrorscape that I’m trapped in before I am destroyed by the many terrors I’m encountering,” says Patrick. “And I need to totally own this vampire in a dance-off,” says Jamie. The Top Hat Man ponders while consuming one of his recently captured souls of the damned. “Hmmm, I’m only a simple all-powerful demon my guys. I think I can maybe do one of those things. Which should I do?” When Patrick open his mouth to ask for rescue from his dire situation he is quickly interrupted by Jamie, “I want to learn the Top Hat Dance to put this piece of shit Vampiro to shame.” Patrick winks out of existence. When the Top Hat Man finishes the Top Hat Dance Jamie realized it’s not that much different than the patented Twin Dance he and Patrick have mastered. “Seems pretty obvious in retrospect, Top Hat Man. Guess I didn’t really need your help in the end. But nice seeing you.” Jamie winks out of existence.

Back in Dracula School, Jamie pulls out all the stops in performing his sensual yet classy dance routine. Vampiro is stunned. He falls to his knees and stammers, “Just as the Viking legend foretold…” That’s right! This week we’re watching The 13th Warrior. It is the classic story of a Middle Eastern emissary caught up in a Viking war that we know and love. It was well known at the time of release for being totally recut and reshot after test audiences responded poorly to it. It ended up sitting on the shelf for almost a year before finally being released in 1999. Let’s go!

Back in the alleyway set Patrick reappears. Now that he thinks about it he kind of wishes he had also asked to learn the Top Hat Dance, although he doubted it was better than their patented Twin Dance anyways. Nearby Sticks and Stones, unaware that he has returned, are finishing the end of a heated conversation. “Gosh dern it! We lost him! If our corrupt police captain who wrapped us up in all of that corruption with that corrupt city official finds out, that’s it! No more corruption money for us, Sticks and Stones, the most corrupt cops in the Z-Movie Multiverse.” At that moment Sticks notices Patrick. “He’s back” he growls, “how much of that did you hear?” That’s right, we’re also watching Edison (Force). Known either as simply Edison or Edison Force, this star-studded film (featuring Morgan Freeman, Justin Timberlake, and *cough* Kevin Spacey) was shelved for one year before being quietly released as a direct-to-DVD feature. Let’s go!

The 13th Warrior (1999) – BMeTric: 16.6

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(Wowza that 2011 inflection! It is so steep there! I think this kind of confirms one of the original theories I had about all of this. The 13th Warrior is exactly the type of film people outside of the US would end up voting a ton on. So it is very likely that is why the vote count increased so dramatically at that time.)

Leonard Maltin – 3 stars –  In ancient times, exiled Arabian nobleman Banderas travels with some Norsemen to their homelands, there to face possibly supernatural nighttime marauders, who eat their victims. Sturdy, action-packed adventure with horror overtones, realistic but in the heroic tradition, shot on spectacular Canadian locations. Based on Michael Crichton’s novel Eaters of the Dead, itself inspired by true travel writings and the medieval tale of Beowulf.

(A true rarity. Two and a half stars is pretty common in my opinion, Leonard Maltin is pretty gentle with a lot of reviews. But three stars points to this being possibly genuinely enjoyable. Maybe he just loves the visuals more than he hates the muddled story.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui7GUCzlBTM

 

(I. Am. Getting. Amped. Although you can totally see why this is considered a complete mess of a production, so … I guess we’ve got that going for us. It isn’t surprising that the critics tend to say it looks nice, but is thin on plot. This trailer proves that: it looked nice, but hey, guess what, you don’t need a plot in a trailer.)

Directors – John McTiernan – (Known For: Predator; The Hunt for Red October; Die Hard; The Thomas Crown Affair; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; Future BMT: Medicine Man; Last Action Hero; Nomads; Basic; BMT: Rollerball; The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Last Action Hero in 1994; Notes: Known for including unsubtitled foreign language dialogue in his films. Born into the biz, but basically retired after Basic.)

Michael Crichton – (Known For: Runaway; Westworld; Coma; The First Great Train Robbery; Future BMT: Physical Evidence; Looker; BMT: The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Twister in 1997; Notes: Basically stopped directing after the 80s. This is literally his only credit after 1989 for directing and it is via uncredited reshoots. Just nuts.)

Writers – Michael Crichton (novel) – (Known For: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; Jurassic World; Jurassic Park; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Twister; Jurassic Park III; Runaway; Westworld; Disclosure; Coma; The First Great Train Robbery; The Andromeda Strain; The Terminal Man; Future BMT: Congo; Sphere; Rising Sun; Looker; BMT: Timeline; The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Twister in 1997; Notes: Probably my favorite thing about Crichton is his kind of obvious hatred of scientists (at the very least his penchant for making them pure evil). They always know what is best, but their hubris ends up nearly destroying the world. What disasters!)

William Wisher (screenplay) – (Known For: Terminator 2: Judgment Day; The Terminator; Future BMT: Exorcist: The Beginning; I.T.; Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist; BMT: Judge Dredd; The 13th Warrior; Notes: Had bit parts in both Terminators and The Abyss … so probably knows James Cameron quite well.)

Warren Lewis (screenplay) – (Known For: Black Rain; BMT: The 13th Warrior; Notes: He is credited as contributing to the 1969 film Latitude Zero. This seems extremely unlikely as it is 20 years prior to his other credits and would make him 70 years old at the very very least. But I can’t find additional information on his birthdate or age anywhere.)

Actors – Antonio Banderas – (Known For: Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Shrek 2; Shrek Forever After; Shrek the Third; Spy Kids; Philadelphia; Desperado; The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water; Knight of Cups; The Mask of Zorro; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Acts of Vengeance; Frida; La piel que habito; Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams; Once Upon a Time in Mexico; The 33; Bullet Head; Puss in Boots; Black Butterfly; Future BMT: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D; Machete Kills; Play It to the Bone; Never Talk to Strangers; The Other Man; The Legend of Zorro; The Body; The Big Bang; Original Sin; Gun Shy; Two Much; Autómata; Assassins; Of Love and Shadows; Justin and the Knights of Valour; Four Rooms; Imagining Argentina; Black Gold; BMT: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; The Expendables 3; The 13th Warrior; Notes: Was married to Melanie Griffith for nearly 20 years. He looked pretty swanky with his new GF at the Starlite Gala though.)

Diane Venora – (Known For: Heat; Romeo + Juliet; The Insider; The Cotton Club; True Crime; F/X; Ironweed; The Substitute; Hamlet; Wolfen; Bird; The Young Girl and the Monsoon; Looking for an Echo; Future BMT: Megiddo: The Omega Code 2; All Good Things; The Jackal; Surviving Picasso; Stateside; Three Wishes; BMT: The 13th Warrior; Notes: Originally a theater actor. She even was reportedly fired from the show Thunder Alley because she was playing the part like she was on Broadway.)

Dennis Storhøi – (Known For: Zwei Leben; BMT: The 13th Warrior; Notes: Norwegian actor. Nearly all of his credits are productions in Norway. It is hard to tell, but it is possible this was his one foray into an American production.)

Budget/Gross – $85–160 million / Domestic: $32,698,899 (Worldwide: $61,698,899)

(Yeah the budget numbers are all over the place according to the IMDb notes. It is probably in the $115 million range prior to marketing. Regardless one of the largest bombs in history.)

#51 for the Adventure – Period genre

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(Only narrowly beats out The Three Musketeers (2011) which is … embarrassing. Had a bit of a lull, but it is kind of struggling to reassert itself. Kong: Skull Island and The Jungle Book suggest that there is still an audience for something like this … if it is attached to a known quantity.)

#15 for the Medieval Times genre

13thwarrior_medieval

(Our highest grossing. In kind of a lull now. Possibly because of things like Game of Thrones eating away a bit at its audience? Didn’t help that that King Arthur film bombed hard.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 33% (29/88): Atmospheric, great sets and costumes, but thin plot.

(Thanks Rotten Tomatoes, Jesus. Could you maybe give me less to work with here. So basically … eye candy with literally nothing behind it? Whatever, this movie is going to be boring I bet. Reviewer Highlight – With a budget said to be more than $100 million, it displays a lot of cash on the screen, but little thought. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – The Umpteeth Bore-ior (B-)

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(Did a little NYPost with that one. Not the best of the posters, but it’s what’s on IMDb so I default to that. I kind of like the spacing and all the pieces to this one including some font work. Should have played up the orange tones. Give it a little fire.)

Tagline(s) – Defy fear (C+)

An Ordinary Man…An Extraordinary Journey! (F)

(Two versions of the poster exist with these two different taglines. They should have burned one of them… I’ll let you guess which one. Defy fear is fine (although almost a tongue twister to say and mostly nonsense). The second one is… not good.)

Keyword(s) – arab; Top Ten by BMeTric: 62.5 Bitch Slap (2009); 61.7 Ishtar (1987); 54.9 Cannonball Run II (1984); 53.6 Best Defense (1984); 49.7 The Sin Eater (2003); 46.3 Legionnaire (1998); 44.3 American Dreamz (2006); 41.3 2012 (I) (2009); 38.8 Bad Kids Go to Hell (2012); 38.7 The Delta Force (1986);

(Oooooof what a keyword. Anyways, All of these sound awful and I want to see none of them. I also am unsure what 2012 has to do with arabs. Ishtar is fine, but Cannonball Run II is straight up racist. This keyword is bonkers.)

Notes – In accordance with the book, John McTiernan’s version of the Wendol’s mother was an old woman, which was filmed with veteran actress Susan Willis. When Michael Crichton took over and did the reshoots, it was decided that brutally killing off an old lady did not reflect very well on the heroes. Crichton decided after the fact to make her younger, sleeker and tougher. In the final released film, Wendol’s mother is played by actress Kristen Cloke (uncredited), but the final credits still list Susan Willis as the Wendol’s mother (although she is nowhere to be seen in the final cut). (This movie seems like a gem …)

Graeme Revell had composed a complete original score when the movie was slated to be released as “Eaters of the Dead” in 1998. But after the film was deemed unwatchable during test screenings, Michael Crichton took over the project and rejected Revell’s original score and brought in Jerry Goldsmith to rescore the film, renamed “The 13th Warrior.” (Unwatchable …)

Although rumors persist that ‘The 13th Warrior’ was one of the most expensive movie flops ever with a budget of $160m (the figure given on the-numbers.com for its combined production and marketing costs), the producers claimed that the actual cost of the film before marketing was $90m. In the U.S. The 13th Warrior grossed $32,698,900 and only $61,702,600 worldwide. (So a giant bomb, got it)

The film omits an explanation of who the “mist monsters” actually are. In the novel, author Michael Crichton reveals they were the descendants of the Neanderthals.

One of the Viking ships used in the movie is now to be found in the Norwegian pavilion in the EPCOT-center, Walt Disney World, where it is used as a playground for kids. The Disney-company is also the owner of Touchstone Pictures that made the movie. (Fun fact)

Since Michael Crichton published his novel “Eaters of the Dead” in 1976, the basis of this film, it has become regarded as one of the most notorious hoaxes in Librarianship Circles. The Ahmad Tusi Manuscript that Crichton referenced in his bibliography as being the source of this story, is completely made up. The name of the translator Fraus Dolus is in fact two Latin words meaning both ‘hoax’ and ‘fraud’. The University of Oslo, where this manuscript is supposed to be kept, have (since the book was published), on an annual basis had to send out letters telling enquirers that they have been the victim of a hoax. (That’s pretty good, have to give Crichton credit there, that is hilarious)

Adapting “Beowulf” for his novel and then for this movie, Michael Crichton changed some of the original names for ones that sounded similar: Beowulf is here named Buliwyf, Hygelac becomes Hyglak, the Grendel transformed into the Wendol, etc. (So yeah … this is just Beowulf?)

Originally titled ‘Eaters of the Dead’, the film went through several re-edits after test audiences did not react well to the initial cut. After re-shooting several key scenes with Michael Crichton taking over as director, the title was changed to ‘The 13th Warrior’. The budget, which was originally around $85 million, reportedly soared to more than $110-115 million before principal photography wrapped. With all of the re-shoots and promotional expenses, the total cost of the film was a rumored $160 million. (Wow. That is nuts)

When Ibn Fahdlan (Banderas) and Melchisidek (Sharif) enters the tent at the beginning of the movie the latter speaks Greek which eventually leads to a conversation with the viking Herger (Storhoi). Melchisidek speaks Greek, and though Herger obviously understands Greek he responds in Latin which Melchisidek fortunately understands.Though it is not stated why a Northman could understand both Latin and Greek as there were no official connection between Scandinavia and Byzantine in the 10th century, the logical assumption would be that Herger learned the languages due to him taking part in the viking raids/travels into modern day Russia (where the first scenes are filmed) and from there south into what was then the Byzantine Empire. The dominant language of the Byzantium realm was Greek with Latin as a second language. The vikings made at least one attempt at conquering the capital of the Byzantium Empire. (Whaaaaaaa, there are like a thousand notes like this on IMDb each one more confusing than the last)

Was filmed two years before its eventual release date, which had been pushed back several times. (And that is why we are watching it, for reals)

The idea of 13 warriors is taken from Scandinavian myths regarding the danish king Hrolf Kraki (Pole-Ladder). The legend goes that Hrolf Kraki had an entourage of 12 warriors (like Buliwyf in the film) and in some versions, one of them is Bödvar Bjarki, a hero who shares parallels with the hero Beowulf. Some scholars has suggested that the story of Bödvar Bjarki is simply another version of the story of Beowulf. (Very interesting stuff)

In John McTiernan’s original cut there was no final duel between Bulywyf and the leader of the Wendol. (Huh, then why add it in?)

Director Stuart Gordon first optioned the rights from Michael Crichton’s book in the early 1990s and generated a lot of interest in the project, before ‘Martha Coolidge’ (QV) got interested before John McTiernan was ultimately actually hired to direct it. (Sounds like a real prize …)

Vampire Academy Preview

Cradling the child in his arms, Jamie brings her out of the cave and into his life. Having spent most of her childhood in the care of a giant robotic spider she has a lot to learn, but you know what? So do they. It’s a classic Old Dogs situation up in here as Jamie and crazy Uncle Patrick teach her how to swim and bike and laugh all the while getting into zany situations. They eventually put their party animal ways behind them and take accounting jobs at their father’s firm. It may not be the most glamorous job, but it’s a stable living and the benefits are good. As they wave goodbye to her on her first day of school, a single tear falls from their eyes. The Ivory Socket and Obsidian Dongle begin to glow a deep amber, “The final MacGuffin… it was within us the whole time. It was… love.” Knowing that it’s finally time, they place the pieces together. In a flash of light the universe is torn apart…

Blinking his eyes, Jamie awakens to find the little old librarian staring down into his face. “Hee hee hee, we did it. It is destroyed and the Socket is mine. No longer will the power of the Dongle stand in my way.” It was a set up from the jump! Jamie wails in anguish and begins to cough up blood due to his many mortal wounds. “No,” the librarian screeches, “you must live and help me use the Socket. I must have your twin powers.” He can feel her dragging him through the darkness until they come upon a large house in the woods. A man opens the door. “Another one, Lucretia? If I must.” He smiles, revealing large fangs. That’s right! We’re watching Vampire Academy!

Blinking his eyes, Patrick awakens unharmed on what is clearly a terribly built house set on a soundstage, a teenager in a shoddy witch costume sits across from him in the sparsely dressed living room. “I’ll get you my pretty,” she plagiarizes shoddily, “but not before I show you my dance grooves!” As she bips and bops around Patrick becomes confused. The display was terrible, what was the point? “Top this, top that, top that, top that, top that …” the witch’s song reverberates inside his skull. Where is he? What is happening? Top what? … Top “that” of course. Slowly and impassionately the witch is joined by other similarly dressed characters, and Patrick’s mind begins to slip away. Patrick wonders how he could have thought the dance was bad, it was wondrous. It was … everything. A slow small smile forms on the witch’s face. “Top that,” she whispers … That’s right! We’re also watching Teen Witch!

That’s right! We’re transitioning to our next cycle of the year where we are bringing along some z-movie friends to pair with our normal BMT selections. So we got a little teen angst mixed with the supernatural for the much anticipated cult classic Teen Witch and the much less anticipated box office flop Vampire Academy. This will be mirrored by Patrick being sent to the z-universe through the power of the Dongle and, ooooooh boy, we’re pretty excited about it. Let’s go!

Vampire Academy (2014) – BMeTric: 48.3

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(Kind of amazing that it took three months for it to drop … actually now that I say that it is perfectly reasonable that it took three months. Prior to the three month mark most voters would have been the kind of people who watched Vampire Academy in theaters. After three months you start getting people who watched it on DVD or VOD who are far less likely to be kind to the film.)

Leonard Maltin – 3 stars –  Vampire princess and her best friend / protector return to their prep school in the Rockies. Soon, it’s clear that someone or a group is trying to kill them – but who? And why? Unexpectedly witty, entertaining comedy-drama is well acted and explains its complicated mythology clearly, more or less. Main problem for the viewer is sorting out the hunky boyfriends. Deutch is particularly good as the wisecracking, spunky heroine. Screenplay by Daniel Waters of Heathers fame, brother of the director; based on the YA novel by Richelle Mead.

(More or less … MORE OR LESS. Shocking review from Leonard here. Having read the novel … there is a zero percent chance they explain the mythology properly. It is completely incomprehensible, even when gathered slowly across 300 pages.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1ERrnYunBg

(Oooof. That looks like quippy garbage … but I could maybe see why the target audience could like it I guess. It gives that classic movie perception of high school … but with vampires … hooray?)

Directors – Mark Waters – (Known For: Mean Girls; Freaky Friday; The Spiderwick Chronicles; Just Like Heaven; Mr. Popper’s Penguins; The House of Yes; Future BMT: Head Over Heels; Bad Santa 2; BMT: Vampire Academy; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Notes: Daniel Waters’ (the screenwriter of this film) brother. He is also married to Dina Spybey-Waters who is a very accomplished actress in her own right.)

Writers – Richelle Mead (novel) – (BMT: Vampire Academy; Notes: Ridiculously prolific writer having written around 30 novels in the last ten years. Was an 8th grade teacher when she sold her first book, then retired to write full time.)

Daniel Waters (screenplay) – (Known For: Heathers; Batman Returns; Happy Campers; Future BMT: Sex and Death 101; The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; BMT: Vampire Academy; Hudson Hawk; Demolition Man; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay in 1991 for The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; and in 1992 for Hudson Hawk; Notes: He wrote the screenplay for Heathers while working in a video store.)

Actors – Zoey Deutch – (Known For: Set It Up; The Disaster Artist; The Amazing Spider-Man; Before I Fall; Everybody Wants Some!!; Flower; Beautiful Creatures; The Year of Spectacular Men; Roxxy; Future BMT: Why Him?; Good Kids; BMT: Vampire Academy; Dirty Grandpa; Notes: Lea Thompson’s daughter, she is involved in a number of activist causes, including Planned Parenthood.)

Lucy Fry – (Future BMT: The Darkness; Bright; The Preppie Connection; Now Add Honey; BMT: Vampire Academy; Notes: Australian. Apparently earned a purple-belt in karate this year.)

Danila Kozlovsky – (Known For: Hardcore Henry; Dovlatov; BMT: Vampire Academy; Notes: Born in Russia he entered and graduated from their Sea Corps in 2002. He then won the Belyy Slon (White Elephant / Best Actor) from The Russian Guild of Film Critics in 2005, and the Zolotoy Orel (Golden Eagle / Best Actor) from The National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Russia in 2013.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $7,791,979 (Worldwide: $15,391,979)

(An unmitigated disaster. Looking at the genres as well this is universally just one of the worst box office performances in quite a while. I gigantic bomb no matter how you cut it.)

#44 for the Vampire genre

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(Not that much more than Transylvania 6-5000 which is … not great. We’ve only seen one other vampire films (Queen of the Damned) which is crazy. Came right at the end of the Twilight vampire boom.)

#60 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

vampireacademy_yaadaptations

(Aaaaaaand comes right at the beginning of when they oversaturated the YA adaptation genre. Eragon is the best and … this is the lowest we’ve seen! The lowest that qualifies is the absurdly named Blood and Chocolate … what the fuck is that?)

#12 Worst Openings – Saturated Adjusted

(Wow. It is still number 16 based on actuals which is incredible. Along with the claimed budget I imagine that stopped any discussion of a franchise right quick.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (8/52): Though it may appeal to its built-in fanbase, Vampire Academy’s Twilight-meets-Mean Girls conceit borrows lazily from its predecessors and offers few laughs or thrills to complement its overstuffed backstory.

(Oooof. Does make sense though, they really do have to do a bit of world building to somehow establish why/how a vampire academy exists (as opposed to something like Divergent, where the backstory is mostly kept a mystery). Reviewer Highlight – This is a garbage heap of weak quips – J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader)

Poster – The Rich Person School for Attractive Vampires (C+)

vampire_academy_blood_sisters_ver2

(Wait, for real? This is like an ad you’d see for like Vitamin Water or something… this isn’t an ad for Vitamin Water is it? IS IT??? Bold colors and artsy but bad font and boring. Overall middle of the road with a bump for being a little different.)

Tagline(s) – They Suck at School (C-)

(At the time this ironic embrace of what would be considered a cheesy pun would have been perceived as cool and “hip” (as the kids say). We are likely at the point where we’ve graduated from this to something else, but I’m not rad enough to know what that something is. Sincerity?… Is sincerely writing terrible puns now funny? I don’t know. Anyway, I don’t see irony when reading these things. I just see a not very good pun used moderately well as a tagline.)

Keyword(s) – vampire; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.9 Vampires Suck (2010); 87.5 BloodRayne (2005); 81.7 Ultraviolet (2006); 78.0 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 72.1 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011); 69.1 Stan Helsing (2009); 69.0 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 68.1 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 63.7 Dracula 2001 (2000); 63.6 Dudley Do-Right (1999);

(Hmmmmmm, I’ve seen all of the Twilight films (huge oversight in retrospect, although I guess I wouldn’t mind watching them again). All of these are premo though, kind of amazing they’ve managed to make so many hugely terrible vampire films recently.)

Notes – Sarah Hyland auditioned over Skype.

Although the movie did not perform very well at the worldwide box office ($15,391,979 against a $30 million budget) director Mark Waters was eager to give the franchise a second chance in the form of a sequel (Vampire Academy: Frostbite). Studio Preger Entertainment agreed to fund the film on the condition that Mark Waters could get fans to raise the necessary $1.5 million on their own in proof of their support of the film. An indiegogo campaign was started and ran from August 2014 to September 2014. Fans were only able to raise $254,500 by the end of the month, thus leading to Preger Entertainment canceling plans for a sequel. (My god. This is both hilarious and tragic).

Lucy Fry did not receive a callback for the first casting. When the producers started accepting self-tapes she submitted one that landed her a studio callback.

The psi-hounds were originally filmed using trained dogs, but director Mark Waters was not happy with the way they looked. They were replaced with CGI dogs, modeled off a drawing author Richelle Mead made for Waters. (I bet they don’t look hilariously terrible at all)

To prepare for their roles as Dhampir novices and guardians, Zoey Deutch, Cameron Monaghan, and Danila Kozlovsky underwent rigorous training sessions and workouts. (Watch out, we got regular Tom Cruises over here … Awww, I feel bad about that joke, you guys did work hard I bet)

Dimitri is a big fan of westerns, hence his trademark duster coat. He can be seen reading western novels and several posters are visible in his room. (That’s embarrassing)

Richelle Mead: The author can be seen walking past the doors just after Mr. Meissner’s class. (Fun fact)

After Rose Hathaway sedates Headmistress Kirova, before saving Lissa Dragomir, Kirova says, “I could have been a model. A man in Milan gave me his card when I was 16.” Kirova was played by Olga Kurylenko who was a model and began her career in Paris at age 16. (Whaaaaaaaaa?)