Conan the Barbarian (2011) Preview

Rich and Poe are hardboiled detectives ready to crack heads and flush crime down the drain (if it wasn’t for all the bureaucratic bullshit at the LAPD). Poe is only 10 days away from retirement and Rich doesn’t play by anyone’s rules so when they are called into the chief’s office and told that they must infiltrate a middle school in downtown LA they want to say no way. Unfortunately they know that despite being nearly 40-years-old they are the only ones hip to what the kids are up to and capable of doing the job. Tossing on backwards caps and some Reebok pumps they skateboard their way into school as a couple of dope tweens. They need to infiltrate the 7th grade Dungeons & Dragons club which is suspected to be a front for dealing a new synthetic drug on the market called DeezNuts. “D&D!” says Rich, “man, that sounds like rulez.” But Poe reminds him that in school, rulez=coolz. True dat. They get dressed in some major nerd attire and enter the world of swords and sorcery as they take the guise of Sorsaron the Barbarian and the powerful Mage, Brawln. Together they infiltrate the gang and start up the campaign that will take these drug-dealing preteens downtown. That’s right! We’re watching the remake of Conan the Barbarian. We already watched Conan the Destroyer for BMT so this will complete the complete Conan set… until the next remake comes out. This was produced by Boaz Davidson, who also produced the Nic Cage classic and BMT HoFer The Wicker Man… man, this guy loves making shitty remakes. Let’s go!

Conan the Barbarian (2011) – BMeTric: 60.7

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(Wow, beautiful curve right there. This is a set it and forget it definitely below average film. Like … a kind of film you can enjoy depending (sub 5.0 is where it starts to get dicey), but also not even close to the average (which is around 6.2))

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Raised by a fearless tribal leader, Conan seeks revenge on the rival who brought death and destruction to his father and community. While on his quest he meets a woman who is being hunted by the same evildoers for her “pure blood.” New look at Robert E. Howard’s pulp-fiction hero may not be intellectually stimulating, but it’s never dull, with great action scenes, visual effects, and two formidable villains: warlord Lang and McGowan, as his sorceress daughter. Extremely violent.

(For the record he gave this the same review as the original, which honestly could very well be fair. The “extremely violent” part at the end is pretty amusing. It doesn’t really get me excited for the film, but it doesn’t make me worried either. Just kind of meh.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1iJZIMddpM

(This soundtrack makes me worried. Kind of right there in the thick of the 300 fad of washed out colors which is just now dying ten years later. It looks terrible, but I will withhold judgment. A Conan film is always about the representation of Conan in my opinion. Momoa looks terrible in the trailer, but we’ll see.)

Directors – Marcus Nispel – (Future BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Pathfinder; Friday the 13th; Notes: He was a very prolific music video director up until 2000. Notably a friend of Arnold Schwarzenegger, he almost directed End of Days.)

Writers – Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (written by) – (Future BMT: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night; Sahara; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Not much information on these guys. They are adapting Mandrake the Magician though, which should be … frankly it sounds like a terrible idea.)

Sean Hood (written by) – (Known For: Cube 2: Hypercube; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; The Crow: Wicked Prayer; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Started his career as a set dresser on Twin Peaks. Is known for horror and swords-and-sandals films.)

Robert E. Howard (character of Conan) – (Known For: Conan the Barbarian; Solomon Kane; Future BMT: Red Sonja; Kull the Conqueror; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Wrote the Conan pulp novels in the 1930s. They are interesting and short, reading either the introduction (which is super weird) or one of the novels involving Belit the pirate queen is well worth the time I think.)

Actors – Jason Momoa – (Known For: Justice League; Braven; The Bad Batch; Bullet to the Head; Road to Paloma; Future BMT: Johnson Family Vacation; Once Upon a Time in Venice; Wolves; Sugar Mountain; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Wrestler turned actor who played Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones.)

Ron Perlman – (Known For: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Pacific Rim; Hellboy II: The Golden Army; Drive; Tangled; Hellboy; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; Alien: Resurrection; Enemy at the Gates; The Book of Life; Blade II; The Spiderwick Chronicles; The Name of the Rose; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; Titan A.E.; The City of Lost Children; La guerre du feu; The Bleeder; 13 Sins; Cronos; Future BMT: Police Academy: Mission to Moscow; The Island of Dr. Moreau; Mutant Chronicles; Sleepwalkers; Bad Ass; Down; The Ice Pirates; Stonewall; Skin Trade; Outlander; Bunraku; Star Trek: Nemesis; Crave; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Conan the Barbarian; Season of the Witch; Notes: Bad movie legend. He announced his intention to run for U.S. President in 2020.)

Rose McGowan – (Known For: Scream; Death Proof; Planet Terror; Grindhouse; Machete; Class of 1999; The Doom Generation; Going All the Way; Fifty Dead Men Walking; Future BMT: Bio-Dome; The Black Dahlia; Ready to Rumble; Jawbreaker; California Man; Paranormal: White Noise; Nowhere; Southie; BMT: Monkeybone; Conan the Barbarian; Phantoms; Notes: Has been in the news a ton recently due to her high-profile battle with Harvey Weinstein over accusations of rape and legal settlements. Probably most famous as a television actress in Charmed.)

Budget/Gross – $90 million / Domestic: $21,295,021 (Worldwide: $48,795,021)

(Wow, catastrophic. Makes sense they scraped plans for the sequel then. That is just astonishingly bad.)

#76 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

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(People do love their fantasy don’t they? As crazy as it sounds the highest ranked BMT film is The Last Airbender of all things. Disney and Harry Potter have dominated the releases.)

#46 for the Revenge genre

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(Kind of gross, but the genre is waning which is … good I think. Revenge isn’t particularly great for anyone usually, right? Need for Speed was the highest ranked BMT film here. This earned less than that crazy Ben-Hur remake!)

#20 for the Sword and Sorcery genre

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(The plot is a little enigmatic, but I guess you could say these come in waves and we are moving out of a wave at the moment. Warcraft is the most recent film listed which seems crazy, but I also am hard pressed to name another Sword and Sorcery in the meantime … kind of sad, it is a fun genre I think.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (34/145): While its relentless, gory violence is more faithful to the Robert E. Howard books, Conan the Barbarian forsakes three-dimensional characters, dialogue, and acting in favor of unnecessary 3D effects.

(I don’t get this consensus. More faithful to the books? The 1982 film is extremely gory and violent. And it wasn’t really the character building that made it great … it very much took the pulp approach to the series. So I don’t really understand the point. Whatever. Reviewer Highlight: Rent the original instead. – Tom Huddleston, Time Out)

Poster – Conan the Sklogarian (C)

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(Oh boy. This is like the artistic version of the legendary Avengers poster. Weird two-color gradient is no bueno and there is just way too much going on. That being said this actually looks somewhat artistic with some nice font and symmetry. Lands back in the middle.)

Tagline(s) – Enter An Age Undreamed Of (D)

(Heh. No thanks.)

Keyword(s) – sword and sandal; Top Ten by BMeTric: 95.9 Meet the Spartans (2008); 85.9 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 82.6 The Legend of Hercules (2014); 76.6 Hercules in New York (1970); 64.7 Eragon (2006); 60.7 Conan the Barbarian (2011); 54.1 Vercingétorix (2001); 53.9 Gods of Egypt (2016); 53.7 Season of the Witch (2011); 52.2 Caligula (1979);

(Vercingetorix is called Druids in the United States and looks … awful. It looks kind of like the cheap Asterix films. Hercules and Caligula are classics though, pre-1980 and a 50+ BMeTric is pretty nuts. And then we’ll have truly mastered the sword and sandal epic … but who are we kidding The Legend of Hercules is the best of the bunch.)

Movie Stub – Conan the Barbarian (2011 film) (C-class) – There is a small note about expanding the critical reception, but it is already quite good. I’m not sure why whomever put that there put it as a public display instead as a plea on the talk page to be honest. Otherwise this looks like a very well maintained page will little (beyond perhaps editing the plot a bit after watching) for me to offer. Good example of the “(YEAR film)” title requirement on wikipedia, because the name is the same as (1) The character from the original pulp novels, and (2) The original 1982 adaptation.

Notes – Jason Momoa enrolled in an intense six-week training program at a stunt and martial arts academy in Los Angeles for his part, while still finalizing negotiations for the film.

Jason Momoa is by his own admission afraid of horses, so all his horse riding scenes had to either be faked or filmed with doubles. (hahaha, this is like the thing about how Gary Busey is allergic to horse saliva and has a rider in his contracts that prohibits them from being on set)

Rachel Nichols had a body double for her sex scene. (As I assume most ladies do)

Arnold Schwarzenegger was offered the role of Corin, Conan’s father, but declined. Schwarzenegger played Conan in the original Conan the Barbarian (1982), of which this film is a remake. (eeeeh, is it a remake though? Or is it a separate adaptation of the pulp novels. I guess we’ll see if the story is the same … because if it is then yeah, it’s a remake)

Jason Momoa and Rachel Nichols would later be offered the roles of Drax the Destroyer and Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). Both turned the roles down, and Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldana, respectively, took them. (huh I wonder why Momoa turns down Drax. Maybe he was already in discussion for Aquaman)

Dolph Lundgren, then Mickey Rourke, were in talks to play Corin, Conan’s father, but Rourke turned it down to do Immortals (2011) before Ron Perlman was cast. (Oh, that reminds me, we need to watch Immortals)

After production on the film was completed, Jason Momoa (Conan) went on to star as Khal Drogo in the first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones (2011). Nonso Anozie, who played Conan’s shipmate Artus, would star as Xaro Xhoan Daxos in the second season of the series.

Ron Perlman, who plays Conan’s father Corin, previously voiced Conan himself in the video game Conan (2007) and the unreleased animated film “Conan: Red Nails”. (Oh … that’s a fun fact)

Kellan Lutz and Jared Padalecki were considered for the lead, which eventually went to Jason Momoa. (Noooooooo, my boy Lutz could have been Conan? And they didn’t just throw money at him?!)

The film was originally rumored to be a remake of the original Conan the Barbarian (1982). It was revealed that the film was not a remake, but a reboot, and it had been intended to be more true to the original stories by Robert E. Howard. (I knew it!)

The ship “Hornet” is a fairly accurate replica of a seventeenth or eighteenth century Chinese junk, especially with its three square sails. (Oh perhaps … only due to its three square sails? I’m skeptical about this IMDb reviewers ship authentication creds)

A “Conan” sequel was abandoned when this film did poorly at the box-office. However, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who played Conan in the original Conan the Barbarian (1982), announced he was to return in the role of Conan, which he last played in 1984, in a long-awaited second sequel “The Legend of Conan”, which will be a direct sequel to the 1982 film. (Wait … it wouldn’t be a sequel to Conan the Destroyer? Also this isn’t happening. Also, I think Conan the Conqueror was the most recent rumored title)

While pre-production, Conan was a temporary title for the film, until it was changed to Conan 3D. Finally, early in December 2010, the title was definitely changed to Conan the Barbarian, as was titled the 1982 film. (Conan 3D is such a bad name)

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Monte Carlo Preview

Monte Carlo (2011) – BMeTric: 37.2

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(Well known plot I’m going to call … the Built-in Fanbase Plot. Don’t worry, I’ll promptly forget it in a week and coin a new term. Basically big Selena Gomez fans (I assume) would rate this a 6.5. People who love (to rate) movies (on the internet like weirdos) though would give it closer to a 5.1. And then once general audiences get a hold of it it is generally moving up to between the two, 5.8. It should roughly stick there, this plot screams “average movie” and 6.0 would be where I would expect such a thing.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Three girls from a small town in Texas spend their savings on a dream trip to Paris. Once there, the girls discover that one of them (Gomez) looks just like a British socialite and use her mistaken identity to their advantage. Cast is attractive and likeable but the story is predictable … and dull. Although its target audience may not notice the poor editing and plot development, this still should have been a better movie. Loosely based on the novel Headhunters by Jules Bass.

(Actually rather harsh of Leonard, I would have thought he would go easy on a movie like this since he is definitely not the target audience as he points out. Dull is a bad word here. Kids’ movies are usually dull which is why we banished them from BMT back in the day (we realized our mistake more recently though). Hopefully as huge Selena Gomez fans we’ll be able to see past the poor editing though.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rxm_bVVhbr8

(“Cordelia gets to play hooky for a few days” … if this line is accurate and they actually agree to swap placed with the British Selena Gomez then this is just Prince and the Pauper, so why make it a Headhunters adaptation? If not then what are they talking about? I’m more confused coming out of the trailer than going in.)

Directors – Thomas Bezucha – (Known For: The Family Stone; Big Eden; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: His last name is pronounced “bazooka”. He used to be a fashion design with Ralph Lauren.)

Writers – Thomas Bezucha (screenplay) – (Known For: The Family Stone; Big Eden; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Has a special thanks on The Way Way Back, probably because he did some initial legwork in getting the script ready to be shot. This article explains it a bit if you search his name.)

April Blair (screenplay) – (BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Mainly a television writer and producer now, including having a writing credit on Sklog favorite Heart of Dixie!)

Maria Maggenti (screenplay) – (Known For: Before I Fall; The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love; Puccini for Beginners; Future BMT: The Love Letter; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: He is attached to an announced Dirty Dancing remake. Guess where it takes place … obviously Peru! Wait what?! And yeah, it is really a remake of the classic Swayze film that takes place in Peru, barf.)

Kelly Bowe (screen story) – (BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: She also wrote Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous starring Jessica Simpson … she has a thing about singers turns actors it would seem.)

Jules Bass (novel) – (BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Go back and watch the trailer … if this is Prince and The Pauper then this credit is nuts. This Jules Bass novel is not Prince and The Pauper. I am officially intrigued by this “adaptation”.)

Actors – Selena Gomez – (Known For: The Big Short; Spring Breakers; Bad Neighbours 2; Hotel Transylvania; Hotel Transylvania 2; The Fundamentals of Caring; Horton Hears a Who!; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; The Muppets; Ramona and Beezus; Rudderless; Future BMT: Behaving Badly; Aftershock; Arthur and the Great Adventure; Arthur 3: la guerre des deux mondes; In Dubious Battle; BMT: Getaway; Monte Carlo; Notes: Just rewatched Getaway, where she is amazing (obvs). She apparently holds 10 Guiness Book of World Records.)

Leighton Meester – (Known For: The Judge; Date Night; Going the Distance; Life Partners; Like Sunday, Like Rain; Future BMT: Hangman’s Curse; The Oranges; Country Strong; The Beautiful Ordinary; BMT: The Roommate; That’s My Boy; Monte Carlo; Notes: From Gossip Girl (so obviously amazing). Like Selena Gomez she has extended beyond acting with a few different singles in the early 2010s.)

Katie Cassidy – (Known For: Taken; The Scribbler; The Lost; Live!; Future BMT: Black Christmas; A Nightmare on Elm Street; When a Stranger Calls; Click; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Plays Laurel on the show Arrow. I know this because … well people seem to have an unreasonable amount of hatred for her. I say unreasonable because any non-zero amount of hatred for a character in a CW superhero show is unreasonable.)

Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $23,186,769 (Worldwide: $39,667,665)

(Not too shabby. Won’t be knocking down doors trying to get Monte Carlo 2 made, but with DVD / cable tie-ins I would imagine they made off fine with the film.)

#34 for the Comedy – High School genre

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(I remember this genre growing up because around 1998 there was a question about where all of the coming of age films went. Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off … the 80s were jam packed with the Hughes films. Can’t Hardly Wait was a breath of fresh air in 1998, and then there was another heyday. So either this current dip is all part of the genre recharging … or more likely they are going straight to VOD at this point.)

#170 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(Perhaps The Big Sick will reignite the genre, but more likely, again, this is a small indie genre or a VOD type deal at this point. Which will make things a bit harder for our Girls Night Out category. But then again … that category is a bit sexist anyways. Our most recently made entry is Blended … man we don’t really watch recent Romantic Comedies.)

#18 for the Summer Girl Power genre

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(These are rare, and … of a type. Material Girls and Bratz are the two films we’ve seen in the genre. The list kind of claims that they just went extinct almost two years ago though. Couldn’t really say why though … but most likely summer tentpoles chased them to earlier in the year.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (36/92): Although it has its charming moments, Monte Carlo is mostly silly, predictable stuff that never pushes beyond the boundaries of formula.

(Juuuuuuuuuuuuust squeaking in there. Which is probably a good sign. Means it is at the very least tolerable as a film. Maybe won’t scratch that Bad Movie Twins Itch, but also won’t put me to sleep hopefully.)

Poster – Monte Car-Sklog (C-)

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(Oooff that’s a rough Sklog incorporation into the title. I like the balance of the poster, but everything else is tough. No clear color, basic font, and too much going on. I feel like I might be going easy on it, but it’s not offensive either.)

Tagline(s) – She’s having the time of someone else’s life. (B)

(Certainly tells us what’s up and is a clever-ish play on a common phrase. A little long for my tastes but does the job.)

Keyword(s) – tied feet; Top Ten by BMeTric: 79.1 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 63.7 The Phantom (1996); 60.8 Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009); 58.7 The Snowman (2017); 57.3 Witless Protection (2008); 56.7 Glen or Glenda (1953); 56.4 Knock Off (1998); 53.4 Sinister 2 (2015); 51.5 Charlie’s Angels (2000); 51.3 Bride of Chucky (1998);

(… What? I need more Billy Zane in my life, but sadly The Phantom doesn’t qualify. The number of very hated films which were kind of reasonably well liked by critics is pretty stunning. Like Popeye. It has a 59% on RT and a 5.2 (which is terrible) on IMDb. I watched some clips of Popeye just to remind myself … woof, it is pretty rough to be honest.)

Notes – Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts were originally the stars of the film, but the producers decided to shoot the film with a younger cast. Kidman also remained on board as a producer. (And then she played Grace Kelly in the also BMT qualifying Grace of Monaco).

Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy, two of the film’s stars, previously worked together on The CW drama, Gossip Girl (2007) (2007).

The production spent four days filming in Paris and two weeks filming in Monaco. The rest of the filming took place in Hungary, with Budapest doubling for Paris and Monte Carlo. Raleigh Studios Budapest was used to substitute for Monte Carlo’s Hotel de Paris for the filming. (Good for Budapest?)

Meg’s first and middle names are the names of two princesses from the English house of Tudor.

It seems unusual, but “Meg” seems to be a nickname derived from the middle name of the character. Her full name, seen in the passport on her arrival in France, is Mary Margaret Kelly. (Huh, that is some great close watching by this IMDb user. This is Bad Movie Twins stuff).

As seen on their passports, the full names of girls are Grace Ann Bennett, Emma Danielle Perkins and Mary Margaret Kelly. (Yiiiiiiissssss, these are the notes I come for)

The first name of Selena Gomez’s character is “Grace” and the last name of Leighton Meester’s character is “Kelly”. Academy-Award winning American actress, Grace Kelly, became Princess consort of Monaco in 1955 when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. In addition to this, Monte Carlo is located in Monaco, and in Gossip Girl (2007), which starred Leighton Meester, her character married the Prince of Monaco. (WHAT? Spoiler for Gossip Girl, but … Blair Waldorf marries the Prince of Monaco in Gossip Girl? That’s cray cray).

The Snowman Preview

Big week for us at BMTHQ as we transition from the adaptation cycle into the second cycle of the year which introduces a new game to BMT. That game is an extension to the wildly popular Mapl.de.map and is basically the International Mapl.de.map. It gets the Backstreet Boys inspired nickname of the Mapstreet’s Map, Alright! This whole venture will start with a focus on Europe with the Sklogs’ backpacking adventure. So we’ll attempt to hit nine films with different European settings and require that each must either be the first film we’ve watched from a particular country OR it must have a higher BMeTric score than whatever currently holds the spot on the map. Obviously the transition must be an adaptation of a book that also takes place in such a European country. And you know what that means. That’s right! We’re watching last year’s The Snowman. Based on the Jo Nesbø novel about an Oslo police officer, Harry Hole, they decided to keep the original setting (all the better for us) of Norway. It’s the first film we’ve watched for BMT that is set in Norway, so easy entry on the map, and I’ve already read the book. So basically NBD from the start. Let’s go!

The Snowman (2017) – BMeTric: 58.2

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(This is basically by definition people voting on IMDb before they saw the film. This ain’t people going to film festivals and being like “hmmm, indeed, what a coherent and affecting crime thriller, I was thoroughly enthralled throughout. Sure to be a box office sensation”. Because 8.0 is hilarious. Who are these … what? Fassbender-heads? What world are we living in where people / robots do this kind of shit?)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  In the year 2075, if man is still alive, if woman can survive, and they start writing histories of 21st century cinema, “The Snowman” will make a very excellent case study. Perhaps by that time sufficient evidence will have been gathered to explain just why a movie assembled by a group of mostly first-rate talents wound up such a soggy, slushy mess.

(Oh snap. I held off from the rest of the review because as much as they tried to avoid it the review started to get mighty close to some spoilers. And honestly, with a soggy slushy mess such as this what things to you have to look forward to beyond the obvious misdirection the filmmakers will inevitably throw at you?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF2Ksrxu_QY

(Hmmm, actually pretty intense. Considering the film is supposed to be rather boring I can’t help but think this is a ruse to get me to watch the film … worked. I even was rather intrigued when the trailer debuted and shocked by just how back the reviews were.)

Directors – Tomas Alfredson – (Known For: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; Let the Right One In; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Brother of Daniel Alfredson who directed two of the The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo films. From Sweden.)

Writers – Peter Straughan (screenplay by) – (Known For: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; The Men Who Stare at Goats; Frank; The Debt; Mrs. Ratcliffe’s Revolution; Sixty Six; Future BMT: Our Brand Is Crisis; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Possibly involved as a frequent collaborator with Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). He was nominated for an Oscar along with his lote wife Bridget O’Connor for that film.)

Hossein Amini (screenplay by) – (Known For: Drive; Snow White and the Huntsman; Our Kind of Traitor; The Two Faces of January; Killshot; The Four Feathers; The Wings of the Dove; Jude; Future BMT: 47 Ronin; Shanghai; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Iranian-British, born to an Iranian diplomat he attended boarding school in Britain and eventually went to Oxford University.)

Søren Sveistrup (screenplay by) – (BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Was the head writer on the original Dutch television show The Killing.)

Jo Nesbø (based on the novel by) – (Known For: Hodejegerne; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: He’s written a number of novels (mainly involving the detective Harry Hole), but also wrote a television series, Occupied. It involves Russia occupying Norway because Norway, citing the environment, tries to stop all oil extraction in the North Sea.)

Actors – Michael Fassbender – (Known For: Inglourious Basterds; Alien: Covenant; X-Men: Apocalypse; 12 Years a Slave; Prometheus; X: First Class; 300; X-Men: Days of Future Past; The Light Between Oceans; Shame; Song to Song; Steve Jobs; Macbeth; Jane Eyre; Eden Lake; A Dangerous Method; Frank; Centurion; Hunger; Haywire; Future BMT: The Counsellor; Assassin’s Creed; BMT: Jonah Hex; The Snowman; Notes: German-Irish he resides in London. He now has a production company called Peanut Productions.)

Rebecca Ferguson – (Known For: The Greatest Showman; The Girl on the Train; Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation; Life; Hercules; Florence Foster Jenkins; Future BMT: Despite the Falling Snow; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Swedish-British, she speaks both languages. She came into the business through modelling.)

Charlotte Gainsbourg – (Known For: Nymphomaniac: Vol. I; Antichrist; 21 Grams; I’m Not There.; I Think We’re Alone Now; Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer; The Science of Sleep; Jane Eyre; Les fantômes d’Ismaël; The Cement Garden; Samba; 3 coeurs; The Tree; Ils se marièrent et eurent beaucoup d’enfants; La petite voleuse; Incompresa; Nuovomondo; Prête-moi ta main; Ma femme est une actrice; Kung-fu master!; Future BMT: Every Thing Will Be Fine; Confession of a Child of the Century; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; The Snowman; Notes: Her father is Serge Gainsbourg, a kind of jack-of-all-trades in the music and art business, notable for producing popular music in a multitude of genres. Her start in the business was somewhat controversial, appearing in a movie where she plays a young girl molested by her father … her actual father directed and starred in this film as the father. So … yup.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $6,700,035 (Worldwide: $43,084,060)

(I would call that a complete disaster. We certainly won’t see another Harry Hole film for a bit. A bit like Cross, which has kind of killed prospects for more Alex Cross adaptations, although I hope that isn’t the case. Despite being … problematic (Alex Cross is written by a very white person, and the protagonist is very much attempting to represent a certain set of black virtues, I’ll leave it at that), I do think a reboot of Alex Cross could touch on some very interesting subjects in the current cultural climate.)

#43 for the Thriller – Serial Killer genre

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(Huh, the genre is all but dead. I actually think this is a two-fold problem. First, with true crime podcasts booming and things like Mindhunters (and Dexter and Hannibal before it) on television the market for serial killers is saturated. Second, will the history of serial killers in film, books, and across all media, there is very little of interest to show in a single 2 hour film. So the thriller has looked elsewhere for their thrills. And honestly … given the reviews it does look like maybe a little 6 episode BBC series would have at least made Harry Hole’s debut a but more coherent.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (12/162): A mystery that feels as mashed together and perishable as its title, The Snowman squanders its bestselling source material as well as a top-notch ensemble cast.

(That isn’t very illumination. So like … boring? Maybe a Review Highlight will help: “The Snowman” is ugly and nasty, but that’s not the worst of it. The worst is that it’s boring and makes no sense. – Mick LaSalle, The San Francisco Chronicle … nope, it sounds like it is mostly boring.)

Poster – The Sklogman (B-)

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(They really missed on this one. Good font and spacing. It’s just… too much white. If you insist on having a white poster you better be more artistic and can’t spoil it like they did here.)

Tagline(s) – Soon the first snow will fall, and the hunt for a killer begins. (D)

(What year is this tagline from? Jesus. Can you make it any longer? I fell asleep halfway through reading it. Not clever, too long, and too explicit with the plot.)

Keyword(s) – snowman; Top Ten by BMeTric: 58.4 The Snowman (2017); 52.9 Christmas with the Kranks (2004); 51.7 Jack Frost (1998); 51.6 Dorm Daze (2003); 49.3 Snow Day (2000); 43.5 Fred Claus (2007); 35.3 Christmas with the Coopers (2015); 32.9 Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011); 31.6 Sint (2010); 29.1 Every Thing Will Be Fine (2015);

(Wow, we really don’t like Christmas movie huh? In reality the issue is that for the past three years we’ve done the year recap cycle to try and get as many of the established worst-of of the year off the docket. And it kind of spoils any possibility of doing a Christmas film … we end up having to do it offseason which is a little weird/)

Notes – Martin Scorsese was originally attached to direct this movie. He remained on board as executive producer.

The film is NOT a remake of The Snowman (1982). It’s based on the 2007 novel Snømannen (The Snowman), the seventh book in Norwegian crime-writer Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole series. (hahahahaha. Obviously)

Michael Fassbender started shooting this movie only two days after wrapping on Assassin’s Creed (2016).

Tomas Alfredson has said that production was too rushed. He came on board late, and reckons that up to 15% of the screenplay was never filmed. Location filming in Norway was shortened so production could move to London, which compromised the story. (Ah yeah, that sounds like a disaster)

Part of the film was shot at The Schrøder Restaurant in Oslo, where Harry Hole is regular guest in Jo Nesbø’s books. Also, according to the book, Harry’s home is at Sofies gate 5, a few minutes walk from Schrøder. (S-s-s-s-s-s-s-ettings)

The Snowman (2017) and Downsizing (2017) were the first two international features shot in Norway to receive funding from the new state incentive program to attract foreign film and TV productions. Togther, the two films spent $24 million in Norway during their Norwegian location shoots. [2016] (And bother were a box office disaster I think)

Jo Nesbø has a cameo in the movie.

All of Val Kilmer’s lines are dubbed throughout the film. According to a Reddit AMA in May 2017, Kilmer disclosed that he had “a healing of cancer,” and his tongue “was still swollen although healing all the time.” (Yeah … )

Although mostly shot in Norway, great care was taken to remove any Norwegian language from the movie. No Norwegian is spoken and anything normally written in Norwegian is changed. This includes newspaper headlines and destinations on public transportation. Norwegian police cars normally have “politi” written on them (meaning “police”) but this was simply removed. (That is very strange as well. I guess, what? They wanted to be able to do reshoots in London or something?)

In the source novel, the police discuss several Swedish serial killers, including Thomas Quick (a.k.a. Sture Bergwall). However, Quick/Bergwall was eventually acquitted of the alleged murders. Brother Sten-Owe Bergwall and lawyer Pelle Svensson wrote books criticizing the Swedish authorities’ handling of the cases.

Apparently, Michael Fassbender bought drinks for the whole crew after a long day of shooting. The next day, rigging electrician Karl Andre Bru walked up to Fassbender and said jokingly, “Thanks for the hangover, man!” Rumor has it Fassbender cracked up and was unable to keep a straight face for the rest of the day. (NOPE! There is no way Fassbender heard that cheesy joke and was like “holy shit, that’s the funniest shit. It is so funny it is ruining my day, that’s how funny it is.” It is just impossible)

The ringtone of Rakel’s phone is cover of Edvard Grieg’s piece “In the Hall of the Mountain King”.

Leading up to the release of the movie, Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang released a series of mock articles in collaboration with Universal, intended to show how the newspaper would normally cover a case like the one depicted in the movie. They included articles about the murder weapon, Harry Hole himself, and grisly details of the antagonist’s murder spree.

The snowmen in the film are made by Norwegian kids in a small town, in collaboration with DesignIce from Trøgstad.

This is the second collaboration between Tomas Alfredson, David Dencik, and Toby Jones. The first was Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). That film had Michael Fassbender as part of the original cast, in the role of Ricki Tarr, but he had to turn it down because of another project.

The film received a “D” CinemaScore. (Which is terrible, but not surprising considering the reviews. A thriller getting such bad reviews is pretty abnormal, mainly because I think you just release straight to VOD normally. I wonder if they had some deal with Norway which required the release)

Rebecca Ferguson shot this film before the press junket for Despite the Falling Snow (2016). In one interview, she talked about just shooting the other film while growing out her bangs (fringe) from this film.

The song “Popcorn” by the group Hot Buttered is playing every time the killer is at another murder scene. Either before a murder or during the setup. (So many music notes)

(Considering the terrible reviews it is somewhat odd that not only was this film not nominated for a Razzie, it wasn’t even pre-nominated if I recall. I would think at least the director would have had a shot.)

Fifty Shades Freed Preview

Perhaps you thought the embarrassment of last year would save us from this year. But no, it is our solemn duty. That’s right! It’s the first BMT Live! of the year and we are finishing the Fifty Shades series with a theatrical viewing of Fifty Shades Freed. Fifty Shades Darker was hands down the worst theater experience of my life and I’m truly dreading this final chapter. Pray for my soul and pray that I’m not viewed as some deviant as I sneak my way in and out of this film after buying tickets to Peter Rabbit or something. Sigh. Let’s go!

Fifty Shades Freed (2018) – BMeTric: 54.1

(Given that this film was only just released I’ll forgo the plots. The original is at 4.1 with 200K votes, the second at 4.6 with 66K, and the third is currently at 4.3 and 10K votes. So I have a theory that the second film is considered better than the first because of the soundtrack, which is kind of shockingly good. I’m very excited to see what they do with the soundtrack for the conclusion to the series.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars –  The problem with the “Fifty Shades” franchise—if it can be called a franchise—is not so much its portrait of a controlling man manipulating his lover past her comfort zone, although earlier installments feature such scenes. The problem is there’s not enough sex and too much … everything else.

(Preach sister! It is a very strange mark of the series that it lacks a certain … how do you say? Uh … softcore pornography that I believe was the main draw of the book series. I wouldn’t know, I read exactly 10 pages of the first book before my mind rejected it and I threw it in the garbage (well … returned it to the library anyways))

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJCc5HRPxYA

(So yeah … so you see all those car chases and the stalker and kidnapping and etc. etc. … that’s what the review is talking about. The film gets all caught up in the “exciting” stuff, it sometimes forgets what most people want is to mainly to see Dornan’s dong. Take a note from Color of Night and give the people what they want!)

Directors – James Foley – (Known For: Glengarry Glen Ross; At Close Range; Confidence: After Dark; The Corruptor; After Dark, My Sweet; Two Bits; Future BMT: Who’s That Girl; Perfect Stranger; Fear; BMT: Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed; The Chamber; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director in 1988 for Who’s That Girl; and in 2018 for Fifty Shades Darker; Notes: A major player in the 80s and 90s he’s been doing a lot of television more recently. Started as a director for Madonna shorts, and ultimately was the best man to Sean Penn when he married her.)

Writers – Niall Leonard (screenplay by) – (BMT: Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed; Notes: E.L James’ husband. He’s been a (mostly television) writer since the 80s including multiple episodes of Monarch of the Glen. He was put in primary control of the script in order to get the second and third film on track under the singular vision of James.)

E.L. James (based on the novel by) – (BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed; Notes: A bestselling author, her story is amazing. Twilight fanfiction to making $100 million in a year.)

Actors – Dakota Johnson – (Known For: The Social Network; How to Be Single; 21 Jump Street; Black Mass; A Bigger Splash; The Five-Year Engagement; For Ellen; Future BMT: Anarchy: Ride or Die; Date and Switch; Goats; Crazy in Alabama; Chloe & Theo; BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed; Beastly; Need for Speed; Notes: According to The Sun Dakota Johnson got into shape for these films by doing hot yoga. Also, she has said that her parents have never seen any of these movies.)

Jamie Dornan – (Known For: Marie Antoinette; Anthropoid; The Siege of Jadotville; Future BMT: The 9th Life of Louis Drax; BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed; Notes: Has recently ruled himself out of starring in any other Fifty Shades films in the future. There aren’t any other books, but maybe he’s worried they are going to Harry Potter this stuff.)

Eric Johnson – (Known For: Legends of the Fall; Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed; The Work and the Glory II: American Zion; Expiration Date; BMT: Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed; Texas Rangers; Notes: Canadian, broke big with Smallville and more recently with The Knick. Continuing his television work he’s joining the sixth season of Vikings.)

Budget/Gross – $55 million / Domestic: $38,560,195 (Worldwide: $135,060,195)

(This is going to smash it. This isn’t even its full strength Valentine’s Day! It made back its budget worldwide already. It is smashing it.)

#49 for the Romantic Drama genre

fiftyshadesfreed_romanticdrama

(Hmmm, so a theory on why the genre totally collapsed in the early 2000s, Spiderman came out and Hollywood was making money hand over fist, so they put anything that didn’t pull down cash on the backburner. Then they discovered, shockingly, that women spend money too, and the genre has found a new life producing Nicholas Sparks books and things like Fifty Shades. We’ll see what they do now that Fifty Shades is almost definitely over. Previous BMT: Fifty Shades Series, Safe Haven, The Lake House, Random Hearts, Endless Love, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Choice, Here on Earth, The Scarlet Letter)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (15/118): Fifty Shades Freed brings its titillating trilogy to a clumsy conclusion, making for a film franchise that adds up to a distinctly dissatisfying ménage à trois.

(Every time. Clumsy conclusion, good conclusion … who cares? I’m just here to sit awkwardly in a theater and feel uncomfortable for two hours. Do you know what I don’t appreciate? The clumsy use of titillating and ménage à trois in this review Rotten Tomatoes … for shame.)

Poster – Fifty Shades Sklogged (B)

fifty_shades_freed_ver3

(This is fine and stylish. I think every entry has been a massive disappointment in the font department, but such is life. Also really a perfect poster for Patrick to photoshop his face onto. Get a smug Sklog Wagon look to the camera on this one and we got gold.)

Tagline(s) – Don’t miss the climax (B)

(This is clever and short, so I have to give it props there. However it is particularly vague on what we are to expect from the plot of the film. So just above average.)

Keyword(s) – wedding ceremony; Top Ten by BMeTric: 68.1 Superman III (1983); 54.1 Fifty Shades Freed (2018); 53.6 Say It Isn’t So (2001); 50.4 Bride Wars (2009); 48.6 Stealing Harvard (2002); 47.2 MacGruber (2010); 47.0 Tomcats (2001); 45.5 When in Rome (2010); 44.3 The Big Wedding (2013); 43.8 Our Family Wedding (2010);

(Oooo I’m loving this list! Although MacGruber is great, so … forget about that one. But Tomcats should definitely be on the radar.)

Notes – Scenes were being filmed in Nice, France at the same time of the Nice terror attacks in July 2016. (Depressing)

There was talk that Jamie Dornan wouldn’t reprise his role as Christian Grey but those rumors were put to rest as of February 25th 2015 when his agent stated he was devoted to the sequels. (Yeah, this is a note for the previous film, they filmed the second and third together … these notes are weird)

Some of the filming was done at Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan’s home. (What?)

Third and final chapter of the Fifty Shades trilogy. (For now, don’t short sell yourself. You can make a fourth, no matter what Dornan thinks)

Dakota Johnson’s fourth consecutive movie to debut on Valentine’s Day weekend. The first was Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), the second was How to Be Single (2016), and the third was Fifty Shades Darker (2017). (Holy shit that is crazy)

Second Dakota Johnson movie to have a Hailee Steinfeld song in its soundtrack. The first was How to Be Single (2016), which also starred Steinfeld’s Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) co-star, Rebel Wilson.

To create Gia Matteo, Arielle Kebbel chose red well-manicured nails to represent the elegant control of her character. As seen on The IMDb Show (2017). (WHAT? You reporting notes from your own goddamned fake show now IMDb? Get out of here! These notes are travesties).

Texas Rangers Preview

A small note prior to this post: Once again we take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews back in 2011/2012 we also decided to provide a preview for the movie as well. This is the fourth in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediate afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Texas Rangers (2001) – BMeTric: 35.0

TexasRangers_BMeT

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(I secretly kind of love this graph. So 5.0 is distinctly below average. Not in the 4’s where you’d know that something is truly amiss, but still low. It stays there. Stuck, as more and more people watch and agree: This movie is very much below average but not … like horrible. No regression to the mean because this movie is already at its mean: 5.0 through and through and forever. Solid like a rock.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Young man joins the recently formed Texas Rangers to avenge the death of his family and becomes an aide to the unit’s enigmatic leader (McDermott). Beautifully mounted widescreen Western isn’t bad, but its story is superficial and derivative. Of the young stars, Van Der Beek fares best, while Molina has fun as a sneering villain. This sat on the shelf for almost two years.

(Right up until the end I was getting a bit scared there. But sitting on the shelf for two years? You think they let a 2.5 / 4 star film sit on the shelf for two years? Luckily we’ve seen this and know Leonard is being forgiving, but still, pretty strong endorsement from Leonard for a genuine stinker here.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTwLLnBbot0

(THE MUSIC. Just amazing. Running through that cast list in the end as well, just making my heart pound. I. Am. Into. It.)

Directors – Steve Miner – (Known For: Warlock; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Lake Placid; House; Forever Young; Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken; Future BMT: Big Bully; Soul Man; My Father the Hero; BMT: Friday the 13th Part III; Texas Rangers; Friday the 13th Part 2; Notes: Wow… I actually had no idea that one of the directors of Friday the 13th also did Texas Rangers. What’s even funnier is that he directed Soul Man, one of the most obviously racist major film releases in history.)

Writers – George Durham (book) – (BMT: Texas Rangers; Notes: Wait… this is based on a book?)

Scott Busby (written by) – (BMT: Texas Rangers; Notes: Now works as a communications consultant through his company The Busby Group.)

Martin Copeland (written by) – (Future BMT: The Heavenly Kid; BMT: Texas Rangers; Notes: Mostly teaches now. Has a PhD from UCLA and teaches there as part of the Writers’ Program.)

Actors – James Van Der Beek – (Known For: Downsizing; Scary Movie; Castle in the Sky; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Varsity Blues; The Rules of Attraction; Angus; I Love You, I Love You Not; Future BMT: The Big Bang; Stolen; Standing Still; BMT: Texas Rangers; Notes: You know who this guy is. Interesting thing I learned from imdb is that he was apparently paid $3 million for Texas Rangers. It earned one-fifth a Van Der Beek at the box office.)

Rachael Leigh Cook – (Known For: Josie and the Pussycats; Nancy Drew; The Baby-Sitters Club; 11:14; All I Wanna Do; The House of Yes; Living Out Loud; The Big Empty; Bookies; The Hi-Line; Future BMT: Blonde Ambition; She’s All That; Carpool; Tom and Huck; Descent; Antitrust; 29 Palms; The Lodger; Scorched; The Family Tree; My First Wedding; Blow Dry; Stateside; BMT: Get Carter; Texas Rangers; Notes: Married to future BMT actor Daniel Gillies who has a starring role in Captivity, one of the worst reviewed films in the torture porn subgenre.)

Ashton Kutcher – (Known For: No Strings Attached; A Lot Like Love; Open Season; Guess Who; Bobby; Future BMT: My Boss’s Daughter; Annie; Dude, Where’s My Car?; Just Married; Reindeer Games; Spread; What Happens in Vegas; Coming Soon; BMT: Down to You; Killers; Valentine’s Day; New Year’s Eve; Cheaper by the Dozen; Jobs; Texas Rangers; The Guardian; Notes: Underrated BMT talent and all around bad actor. Now married to Mila Kunis and living the life.)

Budget/Gross – $38 million / Domestic: $623,374 (Worldwide: $623,374)

(Yeah, so they essentially pulled this from release. Despite being made for so much they only put it out in 402 theaters for 17 days. Smacks of a contractual requirement.)

#66 for the Western genre

texasrangers_western

(Kind of a messy plot, but you can kind of see the genre surge back to life in the early 90s (e.g. Dances with Wolves), and not it is having a bit of a 2010s surge as well. People like westerns, and I want to like them more, but I often find them plodding. I need to put in the work though. Do the homework. I’ll get there.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 2% (1/49): As far as westerns go, Texas Rangers is strictly mediocre stuff.

(I feel like RT is underselling a 2% scoring film. There has to be something profoundly wrong with a film to score that low. Certainly the case here.)

Poster – Texas Sklogs (A-)

texas_rangers_ver1

(I actually think this poster is great. Nice symmetry and color (including the shading of the actors). Slight negative on font, which is OK but not perfect.)

Tagline(s) – Count Your Bullets. (D)

(Uh………………. Wot? I know I’m the boy who cried nonsense with a lot of this BMT stuff but this is nonsense.)

Keyword(s) – texas; Top Ten by BMeTric: 87.2 Crossroads (I) (2002); 83.3 Rollerball (2002); 81.7 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005); 68.5 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013); 64.1 Dr. T & the Women (2000); 63.1 North (1994); 62.4 Ghost Rider (2007); 61.3 Ishtar (1987); 54.0 The Return (I) (2006); 53.0 View from the Top (2003);

(Crossroads! We’ll watch that (again … for the third or fourth time in our lives). Dr. T comes up in a lot of these lists somehow, but alas, it does not qualify. Maybe someday we’ll have an also rans section where we can watch high BMeTric films outside of the scope of BMT.)

Notes – James Van Der Beek had never ridden a horse prior to this movie. (You don’t say)

The film was in development for many, many years. In its earliest stages, it was planned as a directorial project for Sam Peckinpah.

Unused score composed by Marco Beltrami

Joshua Jackson was considered for the role of Lincoln Rogers Dunnison. (They should just remake this movie with all the actors from Dawson’s Creek taking turns in the leading role. An avant garde artistic masterpiece.)

A Dog’s Purpose Preview

Alright, well for all our faithful fans who were worried about the treacherous route we took through the Chain Reaction this year this is the main event. Last cycle we sunk all the way back to 1983 for Jaws 3-D and now we pop back 34 years later to the Dennis Quaid sad-fest A Dog’s Purpose. Probably not at the front of everyone’s mind when it comes to 2017 BMT films, but it is a qualifier and set us up nicely for next year’s chain. It also was for a brief time the most hated film in America when it was alleged that the film engaged in animal cruelty on set. This was ultimately proved incorrect, but it was enough to get the US premiere cancelled. Then everyone forgot about it. I cannot wait to bawl my eyes out watching a dog die over and over again. Sound like a blast. Let’s go!

A Dog’s Purpose (2017) – BMeTric: 9.9

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(I straight up have never seen anything like this before. You can even see that the rating started at literally 1.0, everyone gave it a one. There were actually several days in which the rating was 1.0, but then they shut the page down again because people were piling on (I assume). It then makes its long slow trek to 7.0! This could be the highest rated film we’ve ever done (it isn’t, but it is darn close). Truly bizarre.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  This movie has its moments—no movie with such an adorable array of pooches could not, plus Mr. Quaid, who in addition to being movie-star handsome is also a pretty good actor, sells his fifteen or so onscreen minutes. But the tonal weirdness and the philosophical fallacies and the general level of treacle did not sit very well with me. Then again, I have to admit I’m really more of a cat person

(The reviews for this film as obviously off because they were made literally days … weeks? after the abuse scandal broke. There is a question of whether any abuse happened in the end. But I’m sure I’ll have the same reaction: a little sickly sweet, but overall okay … if I didn’t have my doubts about the intentions of the film. I am much more of a dog person though, so …)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jLOOCADTGs

(I just got diabetes from that trailer. Sickly sweet. And I know I’m going to cry too. I’m not going to like this one at all.)

Directors – Lasse Hallström – (Known For: Hachi: A Dog’s Tale; What’s Eating Gilbert Grape; Chocolat; The Hundred-Foot Journey; Casanova; The Cider House Rules; Salmon Fishing in the Yemen; An Unfinished Life; The Shipping News; My Life as a Dog; The Hoax; Once Around; Future BMT: Something to Talk About; Dear John; BMT: Safe Haven; A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: Swedish. Was nominated for Best Director in 1988, notable as the first time the Best Director category was all non-Americans.)

Writers – W. Bruce Cameron (screenplay & based on the novel by) – (BMT: A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: The writer of the original book. He is in the process of adapting the sequel as well, A Dog’s Way Home.)

Cathryn Michon (screenplay) – (BMT: A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: Has been working with Cameron for his last few movies (Cook Off! and Muffin Top: A Musical). Prior to that she worked mostly on television, so possibly she met him when he worked on 8 Simple Rules.)

Audrey Wells (screenplay) – (Known For: Under the Tuscan Sun; George of the Jungle; The Kid; Shall We Dance; The Truth About Cats & Dogs; Guinevere; Future BMT: The Game Plan; BMT: A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: Seems to be a Kids’ Film and Romantic Comedy writer. She also directed Under the Tuscan Sun, which was her only major directorial effort.)

Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky (screenplay) – (Known For: Monsters vs. Aliens; Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days; Infinitely Polar Bear; The Rocker; The Polka King; Future BMT: Seeing Other People; BMT: A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: You knew there had to be a writing team when there are five writers attached. Wolodarsky producer and wrote for the Simpsons. Forbes produced and wrote for The Larry Sanders Show.)

Actors – Josh Gad – (Known For: Murder on the Orient Express; Beauty and the Beast; Frozen; Marshall; Angry Birds; Love & Other Drugs; Thanks for Sharing; The Rocker; Wish I Was Here; Future BMT: Marmaduke; The Internship; Ice Age: Continental Drift; 21; Crossing Over; BMT: Pixels; Jobs; The Wedding Ringer; A Dog’s Purpose; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor in 2016 for Pixels, and The Wedding Ringer; Notes: Probably in the news recently because of the 25 minute long “short” starring Olaf the snowman that was playing in front of Coco. Also was the star of The Book of Mormon in its original Broadway run in 2011.)

Dennis Quaid – (Known For: The Parent Trap; The Day After Tomorrow; Stripes; The Right Stuff; Traffic; Footloose; The Rookie; Innerspace; Any Given Sunday; Soul Surfer; DragonHeart; Wyatt Earp; Frequency; Enemy Mine; Breaking Away; Dreamscape; Truth; Far from Heaven; Postcards from the Edge; Suspect; Future BMT: Legion; Cold Creek Manor; Yours, Mine & Ours; Beneath the Darkness; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Horsemen; Something to Talk About; Flight of the Phoenix; The Alamo; Caveman; Undercover Blues; Vantage Point; Switchback; Wilder Napalm; Pandorum; All Night Long; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Movie 43; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Playing for Keeps; A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: Has a band called The Sharks, is a five-handicap golfer, and has a pilot’s license. This video makes his band seem … well, I’m sure they have their fans.)

Peggy Lipton – (Known For: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; True Identity; Future BMT: The Postman; Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects; BMT: When in Rome; A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: She was in the original and recent revival of Twin Peaks. Is the mother of Rashida Jones as well, who played Ann Perkins in Parks and Recreation.)

Budget/Gross – $22 million / Domestic: $64,321,890 (Worldwide: $196,200,124)

(Despite the controversy this was a giant success … how strange. For whatever reason I thought this completely bombed after it was torn apart for allegedly abusing dogs. It is weird to think that this would have been a much bigger deal only a year later. It this happened now this shit wouldn’t have even made it to theaters I think.)

#18 for the Controversy genre

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(There were a few from this year here as well, the funniest being The Great Wall for “white-washing”. Controversy films make a chunk of change it turns out. I don’t want to say “outrage culture”, but they’ve gotten a lot more popular since 2000 … just saying.)

#12 for the Dog genre

adogspurpose_dog

(Everyone loves doggies! Well … they like them less since 2010 it seems. Do you know which dog movie came out in 2010? That’s right, Marmaduke. Coincidence? Yuuuuuuup. Anyways, this comes in around 102 Dalmatians, which kind of tells you all you need to know.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 33% (43/130): A Dog’s Purpose offers an awkward blend of sugary sentiment and canine suffering that tugs at animal-loving audiences’ heartstrings with shameless abandon.

(I will almost certainly be crying during this film. If not, then it has failed because I’m a softy. Hopefully it won’t pull at my heartstrings any harder than Bing Bong did in Inside Out… I might melt.)

Poster – A Sklog’s Purpose (B+)

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(Obviously great color and unique framing. Terrible font. Really bad choice. But otherwise I like what they decided to do here. Tells me everything I need to know.)

Tagline(s) – Every dog happens for a reason. (C+)

(Every dog happens… every dog… happens. Huh, that is really not rolling off the tongue. It’s short and gets at the idea of the film, but not super clever and weird phrasing. It seems like they should have been able to do better.)

Keyword(s) – reincarnation; Top Ten by BMeTric: 87.4 The Last Airbender (2010); 80.5 Dragon Wars (2007); 65.1 The Haunted Mansion (2003); 58.6 Jupiter Ascending (2015); 57.3 Little Nicky (2000); 54.0 The Return (I) (2006); 52.9 Lost Souls (2000); 51.4 Jack Frost (1998); 51.3 Tank Girl (1995); 50.3 Mannequin: On the Move (1991);

(Give me a little Fluuuuuuke … wait? No Fluke? I guess not that many people watched Fluke. Fair, but I think the story will have some passing similarities, so I’m still glad I watched Fluuuuuuke.)

Notes – Prior to theatrical release, controversy arose when behind-the-scenes footage surfaced and appeared to show a distressed dog being forcibly submerged into turbulent pool water during filming. As a result of the leaked footage, the filmmakers chose to cancel the U.S. premiere. However, it was announced on February 4, 2017 by the American Humane Association that the footage was misleadingly edited and no abuse had taken place. (I totally forgot about that. Wow.)

Bradley Cooper was originally slated to provide the voice of the titular dog; however, he was ultimately replaced with Josh Gad. (I love this fact. Would it have been the same script?… seems like wildly different choices).

The Maya segment of the film differs from the events in the book. In the book, Maya is a K9 officer who takes over handling Ellie after her first handler Jakob (Carlos in the film) is shot and injured by a kidnapper. In the movie, it is Ellie who is shot – fatally – by the kidnapper, then reincarnated as Tino the Corgi and adopted by Maya, a college student. (Damn, I forgot this was based on a book. I don’t think either of us will end up reading it. Are we losing our edge?).

Dennis Quaid plays adult Ethan, who was once starting quarterback with a full scholarship but was injured. In Everybody’s All-American (1988), Quaid played a star high school quarterback no longer playing. In Any Given Sunday (1999) he played a quarterback past his prime trying to relive his days. (We get it, Dennis Quaid. You love sports).

The Ring Two Preview

You would think that we’ve endured enough punishment after pushing our way through the 4th and 5th entries in a film franchise whose entries routinely run far past two hours. You would be wrong. Enter the horror entry for the 2017 Cycle. That’s right! We’re watching the critically reviled third entry of the Rings franchise, simply called Rings. This film not only includes a well reviewed first entry (The Ring) and a BMT qualifying second entry (The Ring Two), but also many other adaptations and version made in different countries (including a Japanese original that the series is closely adapted from). So we got a lot to work with and at the very least two films to watch. We never learn. It’ll be truly a Thanksgiving miracle when I get through these films. Happy TGivs (as the kids call it) and let’s go!

The Ring Two (2005) – BMeTric: 53.6

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(That is actually a lot more votes than I would think, although I always underestimate how popular horror films are (and this is a sequel to an incredibly famous film to boot). The rating suggests it is bad, but, again, horror fans are a little odd in this sense. I think a “popular” horror film does tend to have a lower rating on average. This is something I would like to explore more next year in my analyses, so hopefully I’ll get some data to actually prove the suppositions I’ve held for a while now.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Fleeing Seattle for the small town of Astoria, Oregon, Watts discovers that the coldhearted ghost of a loveless child is still after her and her son, as well as anyone else hanging around. Slow and overlong, but often delivers the spooky goods, and director Nakata – who made the Japanese Ringu – uses misty Pacific Northwest locations well. Entire cast is good, especially young Dorfman, but not everything makes sense. This is not a remake of the Japanese sequel to Ringu.

(Want to hear something crazy? Leonard gave this one better reviews than the original. Which is shocking because having just rewatched the original I thought it was brilliant. I figured maybe since he apparently likes when the “spooky goods” are delivered it would be because The Ring is indeed quite light on scares (or spooky goods of any kind actually). But nope, it apparently is because it is overlong … despite the second being longer than the first. This officially intrigues me. Being a relative novice concerning JHorror this should be a decent example of something that is kind of inbetween two sensibilities I think. I guess we’ll see.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbHRP43ocWQ

(That does seem spookier than the original. This seems almost like a Jaws / Jaws 2 kind of relationship. In the original Ring you see very little of Samara by design. The film plays out as an investigative journalism movie more than anything else (interestingly). But obviously there is no reason to play a sequel that way as well, so you go for the creepier direct ghost story. I can see how they could fall into the over-explaining trap though, because they seem like they are muddling the rather simple mythos.)

Directors – Hideo Nakata – (Known For: Ring; Dark Water; Kaosu; Future BMT: Chatroom; Ringu 2; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: Director of the original Ring film (Dark Water is also a adaptation of a book by the same author). I think this is his only attempt at making a film in the US.)

Writers – Ehren Kruger (written by) – (Known For: Ghost in the Shell; The Ring; Arlington Road; Future BMT: Scream 3; Blood and Chocolate; Reindeer Games; The Brothers Grimm; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Impostor; The Skeleton Key; BMT: The Ring 2; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2010; and Nominated for Worst Screenplay in 2012 for Transformers: Dark of the Moon; and in 2015 for Transformers: Age of Extinction; Notes: Awarded a Nicholl Fellowship after writing Arlington Road. Wrote uncredited on Scream 4.)

Kôji Suzuki (novel) (as Koji Suzuki) – (Known For: The Ring; Dark Water; Ring; Dark Water; Sadako vs. Kayako; Future BMT: Rings; Ringu 2; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: Most famous for the Ring trilogy (Ring, Spiral and Loop). Dark Water is a short story collection.)

Hiroshi Takahashi (1998 film Ringu) – (Known For: The Ring; Ring; Future BMT: Ringu 2; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: I cannot find anything about this guy on the internet. Just a small wiki stub referring him to vaguely as “J-Horror”.)

Actors – Naomi Watts – (Known For: The Glass Castle; Mulholland Drive; Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance); The Ring; While We’re Young; Lo imposible; Funny Games; King Kong; Demolition; Eastern Promises; 21 Grams; J. Edgar; The Bleeder; St. Vincent; Inland Empire; The Painted Veil; The International; Fair Game; Ned Kelly; I Heart Huckabees; Future BMT: Shut In; Le divorce; Tank Girl; Allegiant; Down; Dream House; The Sea of Trees; Insurgent; Adoration; 3 Generations; The Book of Henry; Stay; BMT: Movie 43; The Ring 2; Diana; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress in 2014 for Diana, and Movie 43; and in 2017 for Allegiant, and Shut In; Notes: Most famous for being the honorary president of Welsh Alliance Division I football club Glantraeth F.C. Was fantastic in the new season of Twin Peaks.)

David Dorfman – (Known For: The Ring; Galaxy Quest; Bounce; Panic; 100 Mile Rule; Future BMT: Drillbit Taylor; The Singing Detective; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: Graduates from UCLA at the age of 17 and Harvard Law at the age of 21. Impressive stuff.)

Sissy Spacek – (Known For: The Help; Carrie; JFK; Hot Rod; Tuck Everlasting; 3 Women; Badlands; The Straight Story; Blast from the Past; North Country; In the Bedroom; Missing; Coal Miner’s Daughter; The Man with Two Brains; Get Low; Affliction; Nine Lives; A Home at the End of the World; Prime Cut; Crimes of the Heart; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Gray Matters; Deadfall; The Mommy Market; BMT: An American Haunting; The Ring 2; Notes: Won an Oscar for Coal Miner’s Daughter. Her daughter is Shuyler Fisk who you might recognize as the female lead in Orange Country with Jack Black and Colin Hanks.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $76,231,249 (Worldwide: $161,451,538)

(That seems solid for a horror film. They might have expected more considering what The Ring did ($130 million domestic), but it isn’t crazy that Ring 2 still sits pretty high up on these horror related lists on box office mojo.)

#20 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(This genre is a-boomin’ these days fueled by the recent hits in Sinister and The Conjuring (and the offshoots from that). There are a ton of stinker in there too (like Rings!), and I think it is starting to react a bit of a saturation point. I wonder if we’ll see a true collapse though. People must love ghost stories, because this has been a giant horror genre for almost 20 years now and it looks to be as popular as ever.)

#5 for the Horror Remake genre

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(The peak from ‘05 to ‘10 is just too good to pass up, it was the golden age of bad movies for a reason. I imagine it’ll come back, but studios seem pretty satisfied with making “sequels” and soft-reboots more than remakes at this point. I think the fact that they couldn’t get any of the Friday the 13th / Halloween / Nightmare on Elm Street / Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes to catch hold made them put other remakes on hold. I think the new Halloween even has become a sequel at this point. It’ll be back. It always comes back.)

#7 for the Remake – Asian genre

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(There were actually several other plots I could have put here, but, like this, most of them just looked like smaller versions of the horror remake plot from above. This one is interesting because you can see how the Ring itself jumpstarted a very short lived craze. The issue is I think that a lot of the original J Horror films from Japan are … not great. Like One Missed Call. And once they burned through the relatively few good options they were left with garbage. Godzilla is that big peak in ‘15 by the way.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (36/184): Ring Two serves up horror cliches, and not even Hideo Nakata, the director of the movies from which this one is based, can save the movie from a dull screenplay full of absurdities.

(The bad reviews seem to note how perplexing the script is and how many leaps of logic are made. Ebert himself specifically notes that you cannot discern the rules surrounding the things that are supposed to scare you. 20% is pretty terrible though.)

Poster – The Sklog Two (B+)

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(It’s got its style and tells a story. The color scheme is at least consistent and the font is original. This has everything I ask for in a poster, in a simplistic kind of way.)

Tagline(s) – Fear comes full circle. (D+)

(Oh Jeez Louise. That is unfortunate… why did you put that in my brain. Concise but pretty much nonsense and straight-up silly.)

Keyword(s) – videotape; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.9 Feardotcom (2002); 75.7 Paranormal Activity 4 (2012); 65.3 Captivity (2007); 63.3 Body of Evidence (1993); 61.3 Blair Witch (2016); 59.8 Seed (2006); 58.9 The Fly II (1989); 54.7 Down to You (2000); 53.6 The Ring 2 (2005); 51.1 Scary Movie 3 (2003);

(Wow, some great stuff there. I’m stunned Blair Witch II isn’t there, and I have to at some point see The Fly II considering the original is both a great classic sci-fi and an example of practical effects not exactly working out so hot. Goldblum just looks hilarious by the end of the film.)

Notes – During the shooting of a carnival scene, locals mistook the set for an actual carnival and wandered in. They were included as extras in the film.

Even with three artists, Daveigh Chase’s (Samara’s) make-up took over five hours to complete.

According to the production notes, there were bizarre incidents on set of life imitating art. On the seventh day, the production office was discovered to have flooded overnight, the result of a burst water pipe. Water is a strong theme in the film. In response, Director Hideo Nakata requested a Japanese purification ceremony be carried out by a Shinto minister, but the strange incidents continued. While on-location, a swarm of bees descended on the prop truck, prompting the immediate evacuation of the department, before the bees left as quickly as they had arrived. For no apparent reason, a five-gallon water jug burst open in the production office kitchen, once again flooding the same room that had flooded earlier. One morning on the Universal lot, a Set Decorator stepped out of the parking garage to discover an antlered buck charging across the asphalt in her direction. Though deer are a regular occurrence in the hills, the similarity to the deer attack in the film is uncanny. (Indeed, y’all don’t sound like crazy people at all)

Copies of the “Cursed Tape” were dropped in public places as a form of promotion. After about five minutes of footage, the viewer is directed to the movie’s website. (Weird, and I don’t like that at all)

When Rachel takes the pills and puts them on the sandwich for Aidan, she crushes the pills into a powder. The medicine bottle has a label that can be seen with the name Tony Bonaventura, who is the Property Master for the film.

There is a reference to a “Dr. Koji” by the psychiatrist. This is a nod to the original writer of the Ring books, Kôji Suzuki.

When Naomi Watts and her son go to the outdoor Astoria Antique Fair Swap Meet, Watts picks through a bunch of used VHS tapes at a vendor’s stand – and all the movies are DreamWorks titles, such as Old School (2003), and Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! (2004). (Gross, all of these notes are dumb and just weird studio crap)

In the scene following the tape burning, when Rachel gets Aiden out of bed, after finding him “soaked and freezing”, after having a nightmare, we can see that the wet part of his bed is ring-shaped.

Feature film debut of Mary Elizabeth Winstead, though she only appears in the unrated version.

Hideo Nakata, was the director of the original film Ring (1998) of which this film’s predecessor is a remake. (Which makes it all the more bizarre this turned out terribly. Although, it is pretty rare for directors from Asian studio hubs like South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong to make a successful jump to Hollywood).

Ryan Merriman, Emily VanCamp, and Kelly Stables all previously appeared in the video short Rings (2005) which served as a prequel to this film.

Contrary to popular belief, this film is not a remake of either Ringu (1998) or Ringu 2 (1999), and follows it’s own unique storyline, as a direct sequel to The Ring (2002).

Hideo Nakata’s directorial debut in America. (I’m not going to count this as a one-and-done, although I don’t think he’s directed an American feature since)