Gods and Generals Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to 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 before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the third in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Gods and Generals (2003) – BMeTric: 17.1

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(It concerns me that this film is actually rising over time. Not because the rating is rising, that is natural as the vote count increases. No. I’m concerned because anyone is deciding to watch a horrible 4 hour film … why? I guess Civil War enthusiasts, which I suppose might explain the rising score.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Writer-director Maxwell’s prequel to Gettysburg is not in the same league but does manage to capture some of the sights, sounds, and personalities of the Civil War’s early years, with an emphasis on the South. Lion’s share of the story is devoted to Lang’s pious “Stonewall” Jackson. Telling vignettes and vivid battle scenes make up for some ponderousness, speechiness, and overlength (it’s even longer – 231m. – on video). Film’s backer, media mogul Ted Turner, has a cameo as a Confederate soldier. Based on the Jeff Shaara novel.

(Amazingly if you watch the director’s cut the film is an astonishing 4 hours and 40 minutes. When I watched it for the first time I remarked “I’ve forgotten what it was like to not be watching Gods and Generals. I’ve been born, lived, and died while watching this film.” Leonard is being kind, or it was a review of the time, because the film is an achievement in ponderousness, there is no more ponderous film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxPXrrZ8bJU

(Hmmmm. Hmmmmm. Hmmmmm. I wonder which side is fighting for God’s glory and which for his kingdom on earth …. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.)

Directors – Ron Maxwell – (Known For: Gettysburg; Little Darlings; Future BMT: Copperhead; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Notable somewhat for his incredibly long production periods. The intention, as of 2013, was to write and direct a Joan of Arc movie. But it is somewhat unclear what happened with that plan.)

Writers – Jeff Shaara (book) (as Jeffrey M. Shaara) – (BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: The son of Michael Shaara who wrote Gettysburg, which this film is a prequel to. He also wrote a sequel called The Last Full Measure.)

Ron Maxwell (screenplay) (as Ronald F. Maxwell) – (Known For: Gettysburg; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Exclusively writes and directs historical epics financed by Ted Turner.)

Actors – Stephen Lang – (Known For: Avatar; Hostiles; Tombstone; Don’t Breathe; Braven; Public Enemies; Manhunter; Gettysburg; The Dinner; The Men Who Stare at Goats; The Hard Way; Tall Tale; Band of Robbers; Last Exit to Brooklyn; Gridlocked; White Irish Drinkers; Project X; Pionér; The I Inside; Twice in a Lifetime; Future BMT: Eye See You; A Good Marriage; The Nut Job; Shadow Conspiracy; In the Blood; Another You; Guilty as Sin; Mortal Engines; The Amazing Panda Adventure; Trixie; Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You; Band of the Hand; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Fire Down Below; Gods and Generals; Notes: His father was a noted businessman and philanthropist who left the entirety of his $150 million fortune to charity upon his death.)

Robert Duvall – (Known For: The Godfather; Widows; Apocalypse Now; The Godfather: Part II; The Road; The Natural; Jack Reacher; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Judge; Deep Impact; Falling Down; MASH; Open Range; We Own the Night; Crazy Heart; Secondhand Lions; Network; True Grit; Sling Blade; Thank You for Smoking; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Something to Talk About; Days of Thunder; Wild Horses; Lucky You; The Handmaid’s Tale; Gone in Sixty Seconds; In Dubious Battle; Seven Days in Utopia; Breakout; Jayne Mansfield’s Car; BMT: The Scarlet Letter; Gods and Generals; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Newsies in 1993; Notes: Won an Oscar for Tender Mercies. Was good friends with Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman whom he went to acting school with.)

Jeff Daniels – (Known For: The Martian; Looper; Speed; Dumb and Dumber; State of Play; The Hours; Steve Jobs; Pleasantville; Terms of Endearment; 2 Days in the Valley; Gettysburg; Arachnophobia; The Squid and the Whale; Away We Go; Blood Work; Ragtime; Good Night, and Good Luck.; Because of Winn-Dixie; Traitor; Heartburn; Future BMT: Space Chimps; My Favorite Martian; RV; Dumb and Dumber To; Allegiant; 101 Dalmatians; Mama’s Boy; The Butcher’s Wife; All the Rage; Super Sucker; The Catcher Was a Spy; Paper Man; The Answer Man; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Married his highschool sweetheart and lives in his home state of Michigan helping to support economic development there.)

Budget/Gross – $56 million / Domestic: $12,882,934 (Worldwide: $12,923,936)

(Catastrophic. But then again Gettysburg didn’t do much better. I’m fully convinced Ted Turner just loves the Civil War and doesn’t care. Also they probably have a racket whereby every school in America buys a copy of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals and thus the film is profitable before it even releases … I’m only half joking, that sounds plausible to be honest.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (10/121): Filled with two-dimensional characters and pompous self-righteousness, Gods and Generals is a long, tedious sit. Some may also take offense at the pro-Confederate slant.

(Some might take offense … at the pro-Confederate slant. Yeah I can imagine that might rub some people the wrong way. Reviewer Highlight: Four hours including the intermission, I felt like I was seeing the Civil War in real time for awhile there. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper)

Poster – Sklogs and Generals (B-)

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(Neither the worst nor the best. I think the imagery is stirring but wish they had done it a bit more artistically. Looks a little sloppy. Odd font, but unique.)

Tagline(s) – The nation’s heart was touched by…. (D+)

An unforgettable story of the Civil War, from the Director of “GETTYSBURG” (D-)

(Obviously the second one is a classic trash just trying to get those Gettysburg fanatics in the seats. At least it tells me the story is unforgettable. Which is true. I’ll never forget how terrible it was. The first is merely bad. So you’re telling me the nation’s heart was touched by a gigantic civil war that tore the country apart? Interesting.)

Keyword(s) – george washington character; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.5 Wild Wild West (1999); 17.1 Gods and Generals (2003); 16.5 The Manchurian Candidate (2004); 12.0 Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014); 6.6 The Patriot (2000); 2.2 John Paul Jones (1959); 0.2 Janice Meredith (1924); 0.0 George Washington’s First War: The Battles for Fort Duquesne (2003);

(Noice, although I’m skeptical there was a George Washington character in Wild Wild West all things considered. As a matter of fact, why would George Washington be in Gods and Generals? Or The Manchurian Candidate. Weird stuff. Usually I would replace a dumb keyword like this, but I’m mostly just fascinated.)

Notes – Some scenes were filmed on Robert Duvall’s estate in Virginia, which was the site of some Civil War skirmishes.

Martin Sheen was in the Washington, D.C. area the week of September 11th filming scenes for The West Wing (1999). He was prepared to fly the Tuesday morning Dulles to LAX flight if Warner Brothers agreed to his demand for one million dollars to reprise his role of Robert E. Lee from Gettysburg (1993). It was only because Warner Brothers passed, that Sheen was not on Flight 77 the morning of September 11. (Wow)

The majority of the Civil War re-enactors in the movie volunteered to be in the movie without pay. In return, the production company agreed to donate at least five hundred thousand dollars to preservation of a Civil War battlefield. (Cool I guess)

The wide shots of the Union infantry advancing towards the stone wall during the Battle of Fredericksburg were not set up nor filmed as visual effects shots. However, due to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the subsequent travel concerns and military reserve call-ups, the film’s re-enacting unit had drastically shrunk in number. This was not fully evident until the wide shots were viewed in post-production. Visual Effects Supervisor Thomas G. Smith had to digitally create over seventeen thousand low-resolution CGI soldiers, and then map out individual speeds for them: running, walking, or crawling wounded. He then added three thousand dead soldiers to scatter around the shot. (Kind of sad actually, that they didn’t get to do what they originally envisioned due to a national tragedy)

Kevin Conway often cites reprising his Gettysburg (1993) character, Sergeant Buster Kilrain, in this film, as part of the reason he turned down a supporting role in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which would have prevented him from shooting this film. (Oof)

Originally given an R-rating by the MPAA for extended battlefield violence and gore. Director Ron Maxwell either shortened or cut out entirely the most objectionable scenes in order to get the film down to a PG-13 rating. (But I assume he added twice as much footage of Jeff Daniels ordering people into the proper battle formation? Can’t let the movie be too long)

The film mostly omits a few of General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson’s eccentricities, but makes sly reference to them. The real Stonewall Jackson rode with a hand raised at all times, as he felt it was necessary to balance his bodily humors. In the film, Jackson suffers a wound to one hand, and spends a scene riding in that manner, ostensibly to staunch the bleeding. In addition, the real Jackson, according to legend, sucked on lemons incessantly in the belief that it was essential to his health. In the film, he presents lemons as a gift to the fiancée of his junior officer, and enjoys the resultant lemonade for its tartness. (What a weirdo)

Russell Crowe was the first choice to play Stonewall Jackson. Crowe expressed initial interest but eventually declined, citing a need to return to Australia and take a break from movie making. The role was then offered to Stephen Lang, who was already signed and rehearsing to reprise his Gettysburg (1993) character of General George Pickett. Billy Campbell took over the Pickett role.

Ted Turner put up the entire sixty million dollar budget of the film personally.

Although Robert E. Lee was a highly regarded officer in the U.S. Army, his dislike of slavery, and lukewarm approach to secession, combined with some early reverses while in command of the Virginia militia, took him out of consideration for field command in the Confederate Army. Instead, he was made an advisor to Jefferson Davis. He was named to command the Confederate Army outside of Richmond in 1862, when General Joseph Johnston was wounded, because Davis did not want General Pierre Beauregard in command.

A subplot involving John Wilkes Booth and his actor friend Henry T. Harrison (from Gettysburg (1993)) had to be cut from the film in order to get a wide release. The entire battle of Antietam was also deleted. In all, nearly two and a half hours of the film never made it to final print. (Jesus Christ. Director’s Director’s Cut of 6 hours incoming)

The intermission was actually included in the print and was almost an entire reel of black film. Theaters added light cues at the beginning and end of it. (Weird)

Unlike Producer Ted Turner’s previous American Civil War movies Gettysburg (1993) and Andersonville (1996), this movie was a major failure at the box-office and among the critics. The movie returned only twelve million out of its sixty million dollar budget. History buffs were angered by some obvious historical inaccuracies in its depiction of some of the major characters, despite the movie’s promoting its historical authenticity (Stonewall was not shot in the hand at the start of the war, Lee’s ascension to the position of the leader of the Confederate army happened slightly differently, et cetera.). Some critics even accused the movie of historical revisionism in favor of the Confederacy, due to the film’s somewhat glorified depiction of the Confederate Generals, and downplaying the importance of the issue of slavery in the conflict, since it focuses more on the states rights issue instead. (Yeah … they do seem to like the Confederates in the film)

Jeff Daniels reprised the role of Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain from Gettysburg (1993). Tom Berenger had been asked to reprise the role of James Longstreet, but declined, and was replaced by Bruce Boxleitner.

Stephen Lang also appeared in Gettysburg (1993). However, he does not reprise his original role from “Gettysburg”, that of Major General George E. Pickett. Instead, he played Lieutenant General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, who died two months prior to the momentous clash in Gettysburg. Billy Campbell took over the role of Pickett. (Honestly someone bigger should have been Stonewall, but whatever)

Ron Maxwell spent all of 2002 editing, re-editing, test screening and touching up the film. It went from six hours to three hours and five minutes, to three hours and thirty-seven minutes time and again. (Jesus, it was six hours!)

According to a report on CNN.com, Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV) and George Allen (R-VA), Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and former Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) all make small appearances in this film. “Wet plate” photographs of these politicians in full Civil War attire are available online. (Weird and wild stuff)

Gettysburg (1993) was based on author Jeff Shaara’s father’s classic novel, “The Killer Angels”. After the critical and commercial success of the film, Jeff was approached about the possibility of continuing the story, finding someone to write a prequel and sequel to The Killer Angels. Because of this, Jeff Shaara has used his father’s historical fiction approach to the American Revolution, the Mexican-American War, another Civil War Trilogy in the West, and both World Wars. (Good for Shaara I guess, get yo money)

Ted Turner is a huge Civil War buff. He financed two more films on the subject, Gettysburg (1993) for theatrical release, to which this movie is the prequel, and Andersonville (1996), a successful and acclaimed television movie about the worst and most notorious Confederate P.O.W. camp for captured Union soldiers in the entire war. (I knew it!)

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Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason Preview

The Predator uses the puzzle box to open a portal to Hell as Jamie and Patrick look on in horror. He gives a bodacious war cry and immediately runs through to begin the hunt. Shaking in their Uggs, Jamie and Patrick await what monstrous creation will emerge from the portal. They stare in awe as two ladies step through. One is a sultry minx in a red dress, her smokey eyes turn Jamie’s legs to jelly. The other has a book under her arm and is wearing glasses. She’s a total nerd, but suddenly she takes off her glasses and she’s also super sexy! But she was wearing those glasses! Who could have guessed? “Woah, I’m in love, bro,” says Jamie and Patrick is shocked. “Uh, those are obviously demons. We should just close the portal,” he says, but Jamie isn’t ready to go. “Hi there ladies… is there anything a couple of hunky muscle-bound guys like us could help you with?” They giggle and Patrick shakes his head is despair. “Oh yes,” says the sexy lady, “I am a sultry minx who has trouble with the truth, but you still love me because I’m bad for you.” The nerdy sexy lady steps forward, “And I’m a lawyer that you could grow old with, but you just can’t decide between us.” Jamie turns to Patrick “I just can’t decide between them. What do I do?” Patrick is stunned, “What?! They are clearly demons trying to trick you.” Jamie sits on the floor and puts his head in his heads. He pulls out a small book. “Give me a moment, ladies. I have to work out my feelings. And there is only one person that can help me with that… and that’s myself.” And with that he writes Dear Diary… That’s right! This week we continue our franchise-Zzzzzzz cycle with a very rare romantic comedy franchise. The original Bridget Jones’s Diary was a well-received British smash hit. Bridget Jones’s Baby was also a critical and box office darling. Uh … what happened dudes? Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason … seems like replacing the superfluous “‘s” with a colon was the mistake? I guess we’ll see. Let’s go!

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) – BMeTric: 33.3

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(An extremely interesting comeback. I … can’t imagine why? The comeback came long before the third film came out. Maybe that is why the third film came out though? Because the producers knew the film was gaining new life on VOD or something? Very confusing. But the BMeTric is still solid, so whatevs.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Pointless sequel to the hit romantic comedy, centering on the title character’s involvement with boyfriend Firth and ex-suitor Grant and her endless mishaps. Appeal of the original has largely evaporated, with likable, pleasingly chunky Bridget transformed into a charmless dunce. Only comes alive when Grant is on-screen, which isn’t often enough. Co-scripted by Helen Fielding, based on her published sequel to Bridget Jones’s Diary.

(Too bad. I’ve seen the first one and she really is likeable. Although … she is also super dumb in the first one? One of the main points is that she doesn’t follow the news and is kind of a clumsy idiot. Perhaps times will have changed … because Hugh Grant’s character is certainly much more of a garbage person when viewed from 2019.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nS0zrDOsy98

(Oh … yeah that does seem like it is kind of just a rehash of the first. And in order to rehash the first Bridget Jones has to necessarily regress a bit in her character … classic blunder to be honest.)

Directors – Beeban Kidron – (Known For: To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; Used People; BMT: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Notes: British, and married to Lee Hall who is a famous British writer.)

Writers – Helen Fielding (novel & screenplay) – (Known For: Bridget Jones’s Baby; Bridget Jones’s Diary; BMT: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Notes: Author of the Bridget Jones series. She was married to a long-time Fox Producer Kevin Curran.)

Andrew Davies (screenplay) – (Known For: Bridget Jones’s Diary; Brideshead Revisited; The Tailor of Panama; Circle of Friends; B. Monkey; BMT: The Three Musketeers; Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Notes: )

Richard Curtis (screenplay) – (Known For: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again; Love Actually; About Time; Notting Hill; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Bridget Jones’s Diary; The Boat That Rocked; War Horse; Bean; Mr. Bean’s Holiday; Trash; The Tall Guy; BMT: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Notes: Very famous in British television circles for his adaptations of novels into mini-series.)

Adam Brooks (screenplay) – (Known For: Definitely, Maybe; Nappily Ever After; French Kiss; Wimbledon; Beloved; Future BMT: Practical Magic; The Invisible Circus; BMT: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Notes: Canadian, more recently has written the television series Imposters.)

Actors – Renée Zellweger – (Known For: Dazed and Confused; Jerry Maguire; Chicago; Cold Mountain; Bridget Jones’s Baby; Bridget Jones’s Diary; Me, Myself & Irene; Bee Movie; Cinderella Man; Monsters vs. Aliens; Miss Potter; Reality Bites; Appaloosa; White Oleander; Leatherheads; Down with Love; Nurse Betty; Liar; Love and a .45; One True Thing; Future BMT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; The Bachelor; Shark Tale; Case 39; The Whole Truth; Empire Records; 8 Seconds; BMT: New in Town; Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Notes: Notable early in her career for having a kind of baby / squinty face, and unfairly criticized more recently for apparent plastic surgery (when I literally think she has just aged). Bridget Jones’ Baby has lead to somewhat of a resurgence which is nice.)

Colin Firth – (Known For: Mary Poppins Returns; Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again; Love Actually; Kingsman: The Golden Circle; Kingsman: The Secret Service; Mamma Mia!; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; The King’s Speech; Kursk; Nanny McPhee; The English Patient; Bridget Jones’s Baby; Bridget Jones’s Diary; Shakespeare in Love; A Single Man; The Mercy; The Happy Prince; A Christmas Carol; Genius; Dorian Gray; Future BMT: The Last Legion; The Accidental Husband; Gambit; St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold; What a Girl Wants; Trauma; St. Trinian’s; Hope Springs; Main Street; Arthur and Mike; Before I Go to Sleep; BMT: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Devil’s Knot; A Thousand Acres; Notes: Y’all know Darcy. Actually probably most famous for that Pride & Prejudice role. Won an Oscar for The King’s Speech.)

Hugh Grant – (Known For: Love Actually; Cloud Atlas; The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; Paddington 2; Notting Hill; About a Boy; Sense and Sensibility; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Bridget Jones’s Diary; Two Weeks Notice; Florence Foster Jenkins; Bitter Moon; The Remains of the Day; Music and Lyrics; I’m Still Here; Sirens; Maurice; Mickey Blue Eyes; The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!; The Lair of the White Worm; Future BMT: Nine Months; An Awfully Big Adventure; BMT: Did You Hear About the Morgans?; Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Notes: Extremely British. Somewhat notable for being caught with a prostitute in the 90s and the subsequent PR tour.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $40,226,215 (Worldwide: $262,520,724)

(Huge international success, but the domestic take probably did make them hesitate on the third. They shouldn’t have, the third I think was a huge success as well.)

#72 for the Comedy – Sequel (Live Action) genre

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(Below Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous which is pretty rough. Came right at the mid-00s peak for sequels. We just exited the most recent peak which was more short lived. And I’m sure we’ll be entering the next big boom soon enough.)

#111 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(Around Something Borrowed which is interesting. Right in the middle of the very long Romantic Comedy heyday. The genre looked to be sequestered to VOD more recently, but I think Crazy Rich Asians might lead to a bit of a resurgence.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (42/155): Edge of Reason is a predictable continuation to the Bridget Jones story, with too much slapstick and silliness.

(Yeah, predictable sounds about right. Reviewer Highlight: The humiliation of Bridget Jones is done so many times that it’s not funny and it’s not clever and it’s not interesting. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper)

Poster – Bridget Jones: Annihilation (C+)

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(This has got a lot of things working against it: predominantly white background, lazy font, and large pictures of people front and center. However, I do like the balance and it’s clever in how it uses the tagline.)

Tagline(s) – Same Bridget. Brand new diary. (B)

Big Lawyer. Big Liar. Big Problem (A+)

(Both of these are pretty good. The first is to the point and really more of a “from the makers of…” taglines where they just want to assure everyone that they are getting what they paid for. But at least done in a clever way. The second is near perfect. Short and sweet, uses repetition and a set of three, and gives an idea of the dilemma at the heart of the film.)

Keyword(s) – thailand; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.5 Stealth (2005); 52.1 Bangkok Dangerous (2008); 51.4 Ong-bak 3 (2010); 46.8 Elephant White (2011); 43.6 Only God Forgives (2013); 43.5 The Meg (2018); 42.6 Mechanic: Resurrection (2016); 42.5 Braddock: Missing in Action III (1988); 42.1 The King and I (1999); 41.2 The Hangover Part III (2013);

(That is kind of a great list even though a few don’t qualify. The animated King and I is probably the most interesting as it is the weirdest. I guess you don’t really see when animated films go awry.)

Notes – In the book, Bridget Jones is obsessed by the actor Colin Firth from the BBC TV series Pride and Prejudice (1995), and even gets to meet him for an interview. This plot-line is omitted from the film, where Firth actually plays her love interest Mark Darcy. They did, however, film the interview scene with Colin dressed in his street clothes, and Renée Zellweger in character. The scene is included in the DVD extras. (That is mildly amusing. I wonder if they cast Firth in the first place in part because this character trait would have been known. Edge of Reason, the book, was written prior to the original film’s release.)

During an appearance on Oprah, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth revealed the scene of them fighting each other was not choreographed.

The role of Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) only had a very small appearance in the book. The character was so memorable and popular that his part was extended specifically for the movie.

Hugh Grant is just a day older than Colin Firth.

During the filming in Thailand, the cast stayed on Nai Yang Beach, close to the airport in Phuket. They often drank at the little shack bars down on the beach, especially ‘Mama Mia’s’. In 2004, all of those bars and restaurants were destroyed in the Tsunami. The pianist at the JW Marriott in Phuket, Stuart Hopkins, who was also a regular at the bar made extensive attempts to contact the cast. In June 2005, a large package arrived for his attention. It was from Renée Zellweger containing many things such as T-shirts, caps, and a big movie poster signed by herself and other cast members. Over the years the bars on the beach were re-built, and the poster still hangs proudly in Mama Mia’s bar as of August 2009. (Cool I guess)

Bridget makes a comment about Mark wearing a wet shirt. Colin Firth made a famous scene playing Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (1995) where he appeared to Elizabeth Bennet in a wet shirt after swimming in a lake.

Drug smuggling is a very serious offense in Thailand, even more serious than murder. The rationale is that a murder might result in one death where drugs kill hundreds. (Yeah, don’t get yourself into a broken kingdom situation)

The poem Daniel quotes to Bridget on the boat while in Thailand is a translation of the famous “Phra Aphai Manee”, a famous epic poem about a hero/ prince who, among other things, wooes and marries many princesses. The part he quotes is when Phra Aphai Manee wooes his head wife, Suwan Malee.

Sally Phillips was pregnant with her second child during filming.

With a budget of $40 million, this is the most expensive film in the ‘Bridget Jones’ trilogy.

Earned $8.7 million in its 530-theater opening weekend, setting the record of the highest-grossing limited release opening weekend. This record was broken seven years later by Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011), which earned $12.8 million in its 425-theater debut.

The book that Jed and Shazzer read on the plane is “The Beach” by Alex Garland that also partially takes place in Thailand. (Starring Leonardo DiCaprio)

The producers originally asked Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) director Sharon Maguire to return for this film, but she told them that she had no interest whatsoever in directing it. Renée Zellweger’s personal choice for director was Nigel Cole, but the producers agreed that a woman should direct, and hired Beeban Kidron instead. Maguire would return as director for the second sequel, Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016), though. (Hmmmmmmmm, and the second sequel was good ….)

Plans to have George Clooney appear in a cameo as himself were dropped. (Good)

BBC newscaster and presenter of University Challenge Jeremy Paxman makes a short cameo appearance (greeting Hugh Grant’s character Daniel Cleaver in passing and complimenting him on his show) in a scene that was filmed in one continuous shot, which required numerous retakes and took a long time to do. He commented that he usually covered the entire world news in the time it took to film this short sequence for a film.

Janey Osbourne is played in this film by Lucy Robinson, who, as Louisa Hurst, one of Charles Bingley’s sisters, co-starred with Colin Firth (as Fitzwilliam Darcy) in the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice, based on the book of the same name by Jane Austen. The Bridget Jones books and films are modernized versions of the same book by Austen. (Well … surely only the first one is. Still, it explains the bold move to make Firth play both characters and name them both Darcy.)

A Sound of Thunder Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to 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 before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the first in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

A Sound of Thunder (2005) – BMeTric: 72.0

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(Oh those sweet summer children who gave this good reviews initially. It is a bit shocking that it is that high actually. The CGI alone I would have imagined would have dropped it into the 3’s.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In Chicago, 2055, a company takes expeditions back in time to hunt dinosaurs. Precautions are taken, but (of course) something goes wrong, and a tiny change in the past sends alterations down through time that our heroes try to set right. Misguided expansion of Ray Bradbury short story with mediocre effects and a confusing script. It’s easy to see why this stayed on the shelf so long. Filmed in 2002.

(“Mediocre effects” is extremely kind even in 2005. Final Fantasy: Spirits Within was released in 2001 and this is like … five years prior to that level of quality. And they had full creates in CGI. It is too much. It just look like garbage. It sat on the shelf, I believe, because they were trying to finish the really bad looking CGI.)

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

(The beginning is pretty crazy. I understand why they put it in there, but that isn’t part of the film. And weirdly the CGI doesn’t look that bad in the trailer. Which makes sense, you’re trying to trick people into seeing the film.)

Directors – Peter Hyams – (Known For: 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Stay Tuned; Sudden Death; Outland; Timecop; Capricorn One; Running Scared; The Star Chamber; The Presidio; Enemies Closer; Hanover Street; Narrow Margin; Future BMT: The Musketeer; End of Days; The Relic; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for End of Days in 2000; Notes: One of the few writer/directors of major films who also serves as his own cinematographer.)

Writers – Ray Bradbury (short story) – ((Known For: Fahrenheit 451; Moby Dick; Something Wicked This Way Comes; King of Kings; It Came from Outer Space; The Illustrated Man; The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit; Future BMT: Fahrenheit 451; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: A close friend of both Ray Harryhausen (who was best man at his wedding) and Gene Roddenberry. Perhaps the greatest American Science Fiction writer.)

Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (screen story & screenplay) – (Future BMT: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night; Sahara; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Penned a first draft of the long-awaited and always-upcoming Uncharted film based on the Playstation video game.)

Gregory Poirier (screenplay) – (Known For: Rosewood; Future BMT: Tomcats; The Spy Next Door; See Spot Run; Gossip; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; A Warrior’s Tail; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: Born in Hawaii, and apparently wrote a draft for Superman Returns.)

Actors – Edward Burns – (Known For: Saving Private Ryan; The Holiday; 27 Dresses; She’s the One; The Brothers McMullen; Friends with Kids; Confidence: After Dark; The Fitzgerald Family Christmas; Sidewalks of New York; The Groomsmen; Newlyweds; Future BMT: Life or Something Like It; Echelon Conspiracy; 15 Minutes; Man on a Ledge; Ash Wednesday; No Looking Back; BMT: One Missed Call; A Sound of Thunder; Alex Cross; Notes: Has a brother Brian Burns with whom he owns a production company called Irish Twins … presumably because they are, in fact, brothers born within a calendar year.)

Ben Kingsley – (Known For: Schindler’s List; The Jungle Book; Iron Man 3; Shutter Island; Operation Finale; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Hugo; Ender’s Game; The Dictator; Knight of Cups; War Machine; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Dave; Lucky Number Slevin; Gandhi; The Walk; Sexy Beast; Transsiberian; House of Sand and Fog; Future BMT: BloodRayne; Thunderbirds; The Last Legion; War, Inc.; The Ten Commandments; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Collide; Suspect Zero; Slipstream; Rules of Engagement; Self/less; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; An Ordinary Man; The Ottoman Lieutenant; BMT: The Love Guru; A Sound of Thunder; Species; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2007 for BloodRayne; and in 2009 for The Love Guru, The Wackness, and War, Inc.; Notes: Ferdinand Kingsley, his son, is a notable television actor, including an appearance in Doctor Who.)

Catherine McCormack – (Known For: Braveheart; 28 Weeks Later; Spy Game; Dangerous Beauty; Shadow of the Vampire; Magic in the Moonlight; The Tailor of Panama; The Journey; The Land Girls; Strings; Renaissance; Dancing at Lughnasa; Born Romantic; Future BMT:The Weight of Water; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: A British actress who appears to have more recently been performing in the theatre, including work with the Royal Shakespeare Company.)

Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $1,900,451 (Worldwide: $11,665,465)

(A truly catastrophic bomb. As a matter of fact, if you dug into it, it might actually be one of the worst box office bombs in history, or at least since 2000)

#78 for the Creature Feature genre

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(The lowest grossing film we’ve done in the genre. After this it is pretty obvious everyone looked around at each other and said “yup, that’s about enough of those for now, we should wait a bit before tricking people into watching more of these.”)

#77 for the Future – Near genre

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(2012 is by far the most successful BMT film of the genre. It has blown up since 2010, plausibly because we still are in a dystopian kick. I’m surprised Hunger Games doesn’t qualify as Near Future as I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what actually kick started things in 2012.)

#48 for the Time Travel genre

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(Only Timeline and this amazingly. There are plenty in the future though (heyyyyooooo, get it?). Unfortunately Timecop doesn’t qualify, but we do get to watch The Time Machine again …)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (6/99): Choppy logic and uneven performances are overshadowed by not-so-special effects that makes the suspension of disbelief a nearly impossible task.

(Somewhat oddly most of the reviews don’t seem to mention the special effects. Which makes me wonder if they actually watched the film. It is literally the craziest thing you’ll see (unless you watch hundreds of bad films … it is still top ten craziest thing I’ve seen in a BMT film, no joke). Reviewer Highlight: So perfect in its awfulness, it makes one seriously consider a theory of unintelligent design. – Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – A Sklog of Thunder (C+)

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(I hate the font. It looks super silly and I don’t think it gets across anything important about the film. The red hand and butterfly is interesting, although perhaps feels more like a horror film? I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. I like the style outside of the writing, so I’ll go above average for it., even if it looks a bit cheap)

Tagline(s) – Some Rules Should Never Be Broken. (D)

(First, it sounds like a tagline, but it isn’t. It is a tautology. Of course there are rules that should never be broken. They are rules. Second, what is even the rule being broken here? The butterfly effect rule? The sound of thunder rule? Neither. The actual rule broken? Don’t turn off the biofilter on your time machine … yeah, I’m not sure the tagline is getting that across. But it sounds nice, so it isn’t an F.)

Keyword(s) – time travel; Top Ten by BMeTric: 73.8 The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006); 72.0 A Sound of Thunder (2005); 71.4 S. Darko (2009); 67.7 Black Knight (2001); 65.8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993); 62.9 Lost in Space (1998); 62.6 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 59.1 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015); 58.1 The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007); 53.1 Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996);

(The Seeker doesn’t have time travel according to Box Office Mojo, but whatever. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III though, now that is a ridiculous and pointless film.)

Notes – Renny Harlin was fired from the production, because he made a creative decision that made Ray Bradbury very unhappy, and this film’s producers decided to support Ray Bradbury.

One major reason for the film’s long delay is that the original production company went bankrupt during post-production, and there simply wasn’t money to finish the film. (Which is why the CGI is absolutely the worst thing you’ll ever see)

Production was slowed when severe floods in the summer of 2002 in the Czech Republic caused considerable damage to the set.

This film was originally set for release in 2003.

Spota’s supermarket is a reference to director Peter Hyams’s wife’s family name.

The T.A.M.I. acronym stands for “Time Alteration Manipulator Interface”

When Hatton (Ben Kingsley) receives his clients after their time safari, he likes to compare them with great explorers: Marco Polo, Columbus, Armstrong… and he also says “like Brubaker on Mars”, remembering a future (past for him) conquest of the Red Planet. Brubaker was the name of the commander of the Mars expedition in the film Capricorn One (1977), also directed by Peter Hyams. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?)

Based on the short story A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury

Pierce Brosnan and director Renny Harlin were originally attached to this film. (See above note about Harlin)

The film takes place millions of years in the past and in 2055. (I can’t wait to see if that 2055 is made explicit, I honestly cannot remember)

A video game based on the film was released for the Game Boy Advance. It also had been considerably delayed, and ended up coming out slightly before the film, in March 2005. It was an overhead shooter with some driving stages, and included support for co-op and deathmatch multiplayer via link cable. A third-person action-adventure shooter based on The Thing (2002) engine was being developed by Computer Artworks for BAM! Entertainment for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, but ended up being cancelled. Its plot differed from that of the film: the changes in the course of evolution were not an accident, but acts of terrorism caused by a Luddite cult. The “present” time was also changed to 2038. The game was to have nine missions taking place in both the past and present. Real-life bands would have been hired to provide the music. (I have to definitely never play that game because that would be a huge waste of time)

The change in the timeline is caused by a single butterfly. This probably alludes to the so called “butterfly effect” in which a small change in one state of a system can result in large differences in a later state.

The Darkest Minds Preview

Having cast their vigilante personas behind and taken up the mantle of hitmen instead, Jamie and Patrick vow to kill the mysterious Briggs and save Arf Collector once and for all. What do they know about Briggs though? Just that he loves parkour and dogs, which describes literally everyone! “We’re doomed,” Jamie says, shaking his head. “Ah, but you forget,” Patrick counters, “I’ve watched every episode of Murder, She Wrote. It is time to lay our trap!” Donning his cable knit sweater, Patrick bangs out a true crime novel entitled Dog Gone: The Arf Collector Story and calls up his agent who rushes it into production. Watching the online reviews with bated breath their ploy is rewarded with a one star review reading merely  “Not how it happened!” “Quick, trace that IP” Patrick yells, and Jamie smashes away at his keyboard using 1337 h4xx0r skillz as The Prodigy plays at a deafening volume. Sure enough Briggs wrote that review, and they soon arrive at Briggs’ high rise office. Guns blazing they move steadily upwards killing henchmen until they reach the hundredth floor. Opening the door they find Briggs pensively looking out towards the ocean. “By now your reputation precedes you for your detective, hacking, killing, and movie making skills, Bad Movie Twins. Just promise me that you’ll treat Arf Collector with the love he deserves,” and with that Briggs kills himself. Arf Collector barks happily. The Bad Movie Twins did it! But what is this? A mystery novel peeking out of Briggs’ desk? It’s not just good, it is great! “But alas,” Patrick says, “Murder mysteries are totally out right now. Perhaps … if instead the main character was a child with mysterious powers, and the book was instead a YA novel …” That’s right! This week we are watching the newest dystopian YA novel turned mega franchise (they assumed) in The Darkest Minds! A complete box office disaster, The Darkest Minds hopped onto the dystopian YA-novel adaptation right as it was completing its crash, and thus became one of the biggest box office bombs of the year. Let’s go!

The Darkest Minds (2018) – BMeTric: 37.9

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(Really Really low again. I can on one hand say that that is heartening, but at the same time realize that the BMeTric doesn’t distinguish when audiences call something a bad movie because it is boring … actually, something having a high BMeTric early on might literally mean that it can’t please anyone. Which might mean it is either (1) a complete travesty, or (2) boring. Which I guess makes sense.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  When The Darkest Minds book was released in 2012, we didn’t have a government-sanctioned program to separate children from their parents. Conservative adults weren’t attacking teenagers over the issue of gun violence. The movie features a daily broadcast of the president’s lies. Now, that’s just today’s headlines. The environment in which stories like “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent” gained followings has changed, and “The Darkest Minds” has not adapted to survive it.

(Woof. Pretty political take on it, but I guess you can’t really blame them. It is kind of true. The genre has completely collapsed despite the films looking as shiny (and cheesy) as usual. And One explanation for that could be politics. It could also just be that dystopia is out and aliens are in so they should go for aliens now that they are back in … basically stop adapting early 2010 YA novels for a while and pick up a nice Star Wars knockoff.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN8o_E_f9FQ

(Looks pretty intense. I honestly don’t really know what is happening. I am going to guess either the main character is hugely powerful … or can’t control her powers … or she can use all four (or whatever) powers. That is a classic sci-fi thing. The one who can use all four powers! Wow! Wait … am I excited about this?)

Directors – Jennifer Yuh Nelson – (Known For: Kung Fu Panda 3; Kung Fu Panda 2; BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Born in South Korea, she was nominated for Best Animated Feature for Kung Fu Panda 2.)

Writers – Chad Hodge (screenplay by) – (BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Mainly a television writer for things like Wayward Pines and The Playboy Club.)

Alexandra Bracken (based upon the novel by) – (BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: There are now six novels in this series. She wrote he first published novel at 19 while a sophomore at William and Mary College.)

Actors – Amandla Stenberg – (Known For: The Hate U Give; The Hunger Games; Everything, Everything; Where Hands Touch; Rio 2; As You Are; Future BMT: Colombiana; BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Performed with Zander Hawley in the band Honeywater. Their cover of Mac DeMarco’s “Let My Baby Stay” is in Everything, Everything.)

Mandy Moore – (Known For: Ralph Breaks the Internet; Tangled; The Princess Diaries; 47 Metres Down; Saved!; Romance & Cigarettes; Dr. Dolittle 2; American Dreamz; Dedication; Future BMT: Racing Stripes; Love, Wedding, Marriage; Southland Tales; Swinging with the Finkels; How to Deal; Chasing Liberty; Try Seventeen; Hotel Noir; BMT: License to Wed; Because I Said So; The Darkest Minds; Notes: Grew up in Orlando where she was known as the “National Anthem Girl” before being discovered. She literally just got married, November 18th to Taylor Goldsmith.)

Bradley Whitford – (Known For: Destroyer; Get Out; The Post; The Cabin in the Woods; Philadelphia; Scent of a Woman; Adventures in Babysitting; Billy Madison; Saving Mr. Banks; The Client; Awakenings; A Perfect World; The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants; Rex; Presumed Innocent; Kate & Leopold; Bottle Shock; Other People; Unicorn Store; My Life; Future BMT: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise; Masterminds; I Saw the Light; Red Corner; Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory; CBGB; Bicentennial Man; BMT: RoboCop 3; The Darkest Minds; Notes: Was married to Jane Kaczmarek for 16 years. He just got engaged to Amy Landecker last March. You might know him as the bad guy from Billy Madison though.)

Budget/Gross – $34 million / Domestic: $12,695,691 (Worldwide: $41,142,379)

(Wow that’s a complete disaster. The YA novel adaptation scene is a bloodbath at the moment. At least compared to the promise coming off of Hunger Games.)

#61 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

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(Blew up, but now the box office take is just collapsing. The highest grossing film on this list we did for BMT was Eragon (!), and recently we saw Vampire Academy which only did marginally worse overall.)

#8 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated Adjusted chart

(#11 on the unadjusted chart. Narrowly beats out Show Dogs for the worst opening of 2018 for a film released to over 3000 theaters. Really really rough. We’ve only seen five of the top fifteen on that chart, and two of them are from this year!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (21/121): The Darkest Minds does little to differentiate itself in a crowded field of YA adaptations, leaving all but the least demanding viewers feeling dystopian déjà vu.

(Having watched Proud Mary I’m even more concerned. That was boring. This seems merely boring. It is a concern going into the end of the year feeling like we are just ticking boxes unfortunately. Reviewer Highlight: What we’re left with is a Mad-Libs version of a dystopian YA adaptation done by someone who saw half of an X-Men movie on TV once, with no depth, no new ideas, and no point. – Dana Schwartz, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – The Darkest Sklogs (C-)

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(Nah. Not into this. Also why is Ruby kinda disappearing? Having already watched the film I get it… but like… that’s not her power. Anyway, this sucks and doesn’t look very good.)

Tagline(s) – If you’re one of us, come find us. (D)

(I don’t understand this either. Why is this the tagline? It doesn’t really have much to do with the film and it’s not even clever or interesting. Boo.)

Keyword(s) – children; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.0 The Last Airbender (2010); 77.6 Boogeyman (2005); 69.7 Are We There Yet? (2005); 69.1 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998); 68.9 The Haunting (1999); 64.2 Godsend (2004); 63.5 Mr. Nanny (1993); 62.1 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987); 61.9 Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002); 60.9 Cop & ½ (1993);

(Children huh. Boogeyman looks like shit for reals. And I love that two of these films are Hulk Hogan films. It is great.)

Notes – In the book The Darkest Minds, the colors used for categorizing powers are Red (Fire Powers), Orange (Mind Control), Yellow (Electricity), Green (Advanced Intelligence) and Blue (Telekinesis). Yellow however was changed to ‘Gold’ for the film (Oh, this is what we’re getting into huh)

In the books Chubs is a Blue and not a Green like in the movie. (That is a travesty. I’M OUT)

First live-action movie to be directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson.

Peyton Wich and Catherine Dyer also worked together in Stranger Things (2016).

Death Wish (2018) Preview

As Jamie and Patrick eat some mega ice cream cones and take in the wonderful doggies at the Premier Dog Show they just feel thankful that they don’t have to deal with any vampires or interdimensional cops for a moment. Just time to relax to the max and wear some rad sunglasses while taking in all that Nashville,TN has to offer. As the show is wrapping up and the world famous Arf Collector Von Schnauzer is about to win again (duh), the #1 dog in the world is snatched up by a bunch of thieves who parkour their way out of the arena. Jamie and Patrick shake their heads at each other as if to say “Here we go again.” Hot on the trail of the parkour fiends they eventually corner them in a darkened alleyway. “Let him go, scumbags, and we might not have to use our twin powers on you.” Laughing, the head thief grabs Von Schnauzer and makes the tiniest nick in his ear. “Bwahaha, he shall never win another show again,” and they grab his diamond studded dog collar and parkour out of the alley. Concerned only for the safety of Von Schnauzer, Jamie and Patrick rush over. He’s fine, but his economic livelihood had taken a serious hit. With tears streaming down their faces both Jamie and Patrick lift the hoods of their sweatshirts simultaneously to declare, “you just created some twin vigilantes, mother…” That’s right! We’re watching Death Wish, the Bruce Willis remake of a Charles Bronson classic. It’s supposed to be terrible and offensive and more or less a walking advertisement for guns. Great! Let’s go!

Death Wish (2018) – BMeTric: 20.0

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(I probably shouldn’t be terribly surprised that this film is basically “above average”, but I still, somehow, am. It is pretty interesting that what I would call “average” gets a 20 BMeTric. I think this does, ultimately, make sense. The way we do it currently kind of suggests a 20 is very borderline, and could either be a good or bad movie. I tend to specifically hunt for 50+, with 25+ kind of representing a minor cutoff. The rating will tumble as well.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  Eli Roth’s remake of “Death Wish,” starring Bruce Willis as a surgeon tracking the criminals who murdered his wife and put his daughter in a coma, is either the film we need right now or the film we absolutely don’t need. It depends on whether you think the movie’s self-aware take on vigilante daydreams speak deep and eternal truths about manhood, or reheat macho white guy fantasies of urban badassery that were questionable when Charles Bronson first incarnated them back in 1974.

(Yeah … that is basically what it seems like. The author of the book was pretty upset about the original somewhat glorifying vigilante justice. To bring it back during what could be described as a mass shooting epidemic seemed to require a delicate hand. Which doesn’t exactly describe Eli Roth.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsPLw7I06eY

(Poor music choice I think. Definitely comes across as very pro-vigilante. I’m glad they tipped the shock jock part as that is quite a large part of the film in general, and also probably its worst aspect for me. I think you have to be ready to buy into morning zoo nonsense to really “accept” the film as it is presented.)

Directors – Eli Roth – (Known For: The House with a Clock in Its Walls; Inglourious Basterds; Hostel; Cabin Fever; Hostel: Part II; Grindhouse; Future BMT: Knock Knock; The Green Inferno; BMT: Death Wish; Notes: Arguably ushered in an era of torture porn in horror films. Played The Bear Jew in Inglourious Basterds.)

Writers – Joe Carnahan (screenplay by) – (Known For: The A-Team; The Grey; Stretch; Narc; Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane; Future BMT: Smokin’ Aces; Pride and Glory; BMT: Death Wish; Notes: One of the writers for Bad Boys for Lif3 … you didn’t read that wrong, the third Bad Boys film has the number three instead of an “e” in the word “life”. Is the brother of Matthew Michael Carnahan.)

Brian Garfield (from the novel by) – (Known For: Death Wish; The Stepfather; Hopscotch; Future BMT: Death Wish V: The Face of Death; The Stepfather; Death Wish 4: The Crackdown; Death Wish 3; Death Wish II; Stepfather II; Death Sentence; BMT: Death Wish; Notes: Grisham credits him for helping him write The Firm via his Ten Rules For Suspense Fiction.)

Wendell Mayes (based on the 1974 motion picture by) – (Known For: The Poseidon Adventure; Death Wish; Anatomy of a Murder; In Harm’s Way; The Spirit of St. Louis; North to Alaska; Von Ryan’s Express; The Enemy Below; Advise & Consent; Future BMT: Monsignor; BMT: Death Wish; Notes: Died in 1992 and hadn’t written anything of consequence since the early 80s. Interesting that he would get a credit here as it is arguably just a re-adaptation of the book.)

Actors – Bruce Willis – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Split; The Sixth Sense; Unbreakable; Die Hard; Sin City; Le cinquième élément; Moonrise Kingdom; Twelve Monkeys; Looper; Death Becomes Her; Die Hard 4.0; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Ocean’s Twelve; RED; The Expendables; Grindhouse; Planet Terror; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; Alpha Dog; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Too; Vice; The Cold Light of Day; The Prince; Extraction; Lay the Favorite; Breakfast of Champions; Precious Cargo; Cop Out; First Kill; Once Upon a Time in Venice; Fire with Fire; Perfect Stranger; Marauders; Acts of Violence; Striking Distance; Reprisal; Rock the Kasbah; The Story of Us; Blind Date; Mercury Rising; Loaded Weapon 1; Billy Bathgate; Surrogates; Sunset; The Jackal; Last Man Standing; Armageddon; Tears of the Sun; Hostage; Four Rooms; Grand Champion; BMT: North; A Good Day to Die Hard; Color of Night; The Whole Ten Yards; The Bonfire of the Vanities; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Hudson Hawk; Death Wish; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Winner for Worst Actor in 1999 for Armageddon, Mercury Rising, and The Siege; and Nominee for Worst Actor in 1992 for Hudson Hawk; and in 1995 for Color of Night, and North; Notes: Y’all know Bruce Willis. Most of the recent news is about him selling a home in Idaho for $5+ million, and his vintage hot rod just went up for auction. It doesn’t look like he is having financial issues, although his recent film choices suggest otherwise perhaps. He has five daughters from his two marriages.)

Vincent D’Onofrio – (Known For: Full Metal Jacket; Jurassic World; The Magnificent Seven; Sinister; Men in Black; The Cell; Mystic Pizza; Escape Plan; Ed Wood; JFK; The Judge; Adventures in Babysitting; Brooklyn’s Finest; Strange Days; Kill the Irishman; Run All Night; The Player; El Camino Christmas; Cadillac Records; Chained; Future BMT: Fire with Fire; The Break-Up; Feeling Minnesota; Ass Backwards; Hustlers; Dying Young; Impostor; Chelsea Walls; The Velocity of Gary; Don’t Go in the Woods; Staten Island; The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman; Broken Horses; In Dubious Battle; The Winner; The Salute of the Jugger; BMT: Rings; CHIPS; Stuart Saves His Family; Death Wish; Notes: Can’t get enough of the D’Onofrio. Best known for his early role in Full Metal Jacket and then later for his long running lead role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. It’s been a veritable D’Onfrissance lately with CHIPS, Rings, and Death Wish in the last year or so.)

Elisabeth Shue – (Known For: Battle of the Sexes; The Karate Kid; Back to the Future Part II; Piranha 3D; Leaving Las Vegas; Back to the Future Part III; Adventures in Babysitting; Mysterious Skin; City of Angels; Tuck Everlasting; Soapdish; Hope Springs; Heart and Souls; Deconstructing Harry; Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story; The Trigger Effect; Gracie; Hamlet 2; Twenty Bucks; Underneath; Future BMT: Behaving Badly; House at the End of the Street; Hollow Man; Hide and Seek; The Saint; Palmetto; Molly; Link; Don McKay; BMT: Cocktail; The Marrying Man; Death Wish; Notes: The always beautiful Elisabeth Shue actually graduated from Harvard with a degree in Government. Nominated for an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $34,017,028 (Worldwide: $34,017,028)

(Wait … the budget was $30 million? Why? What a disaster. Who decided that was a good idea?)

#15 for the Action Remake genre

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(Rollerball, Get Carter, Point Break, and Red Dawn are the big four. And we’ve seen three of those already! Action remakes are in a lull, probably because most action films are either franchises or adaptations at the moment, so there isn’t much room to remake the classic action films of … the 90s I guess? All of the remakes on this list are 70s and 80s, and the list is also surprisingly short, so maybe there just is no need to remake action films or something.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (24/141): Death Wish is little more than a rote retelling that lacks the grit and conviction of the original — and also suffers from spectacularly bad timing.

(You know, I think this nails it (against all odds). It really is the conviction that manages to win you over a bit with the original. Here it seems like it is trying to play both sides. Winking when trying to convince itself it isn’t gross, and being gross when it wants its target audience to cheer. Reviewer Highlight: Vigilante dad rock. – Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com)

Poster – Gun Porn: The Movie (A)

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(This font is perfection. It’s exactly the type of creativity that I’m looking for. I also like the staging and artistry of the poster with a hit of red as the dominant color. Still needed a small bit more for the A+, but this is very good.)

Tagline(s) – How Far Would You Go To Protect Your Family? (F)

(I give this an F for the fact that it is terrible and has nothing to do with the film. Bruce Willis’ family is killed/seriously injured in a botched robbery while he is at work. So… how does becoming a vigilante after the fact “protect his family?” Also, even if he had a shitload of guns at the time, he wasn’t home, so… Oh, and also if the night had went as planned then he and his family would have been out to eat together when the robbery occurred, so guns would have played no factor other than being something that might have been stolen in the robbery… I need to stop because this is nonsense.)

Keyword(s) – remake; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.6 The Wicker Man (2006); 89.0 The Last Airbender (2010); 86.9 Left Behind (I) (2014); 86.1 The Avengers (1998); 85.8 Fantastic Four (2015); 85.1 The Fog (2005); 84.5 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 83.7 Rollerball (2002); 82.6 Inspector Gadget (1999); 82.2 Prom Night (I) (2008);

(Well … Super Mario Bros. isn’t a remake … and neither is Inspector Gadget really. So Prom Night is the only one we are missing. Hooray? This keyword is a mess and makes me wonder why I even bother.)

Notes – During a torture scene, Bruce Willis comments saying it’s “the most pain a human can endure before going into cardiac arrest”. This was discovered by scientists of Unit 731 (a covert biological and chemical warfare R&D; unit of the Imperial Japanese Army during WW II) who experimented with various ways to torture someone without killing them by actually torturing prisoners of war. (ugh)

Eli Roth spent a lot of time with Chicago detectives to get the details of the police district (station) correct. In the film in the corner of an open murder case board appears a card that says “We’re gonna need a bigger board,” a reference to the famous Jaws (1975) line “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” This was something Roth actually saw on a board in the police captain’s office. (ugh)

Eli Roth wanted the film to be a modern, contemporary take on the story and used morning radio DJs Sway in the Morning and Mancow Muller as a Greek chorus to comment on the violence and function as the film’s moral compass. Roth wanted the scenes to feel totally authentic, and sent them the situations and let the DJs film and direct themselves and comment how they would naturally as if it was happening. Roth also used viral videos, memes, and the urban gossip site mediatakeout, which director Roth is a fan of. Roth wanted to show the reactions the way they would really happen, making the point that tragic violence becomes a internet meme within hours. (Oh god, I’m going to hate this film)

Originally set to star Sylvester Stallone, however Stallone backed out after “creative differences” and to work on other projects. (Honestly would have made a whole lot more sense with him)

Although not credited, Dean Georgaris re-wrote the screenplay from page one with director Eli Roth. There were nine writers on the screenplay by the final shooting draft, and the Writer’s Guild ultimately decided to give Joe Carnahan sole credit despite the fact almost none of his dialogue remained in the final version of the film. (The mystery of the writer’s guild)

In the original Death Wish (1974), Charles Bronson’s Paul Kersey character’s profession was an architect. In this remake, Bruce Willis’ Paul Kersey character’s profession is now a surgeon. (Which I believe is in the original book? Although I could be wrong)

Eli Roth cast Camila Morrone in the lead role of Jordan Kersey despite her never having acted in a feature film before. Roth met Morrone with her mother Lucila Solá in 2011 at the Ischia Global Film Festival, and Roth thought she would be perfect for the role. After shooting the movie, Morrone signed with agency WME and booked two other films. (Wait … who is this person? No seriously … who is this person?)

Eli Roth met with Chicago musician Chance the Rapper before shooting to discuss violence in Chicago and talk about possibly collaborating on the film musically. Although the collaboration did not happen, Chance’s brother Taylor Benett’s appears in the opening montage of radio calls, talking with Sway in the Morning about violence in Chicago. (coooool)

Eli Roth and actress Camila Morrone did the “snowball challenge” all throughout shooting during the cold, snowy winter. The challenge was to ask a serious question during a scene but then suddenly throw a snowball in the other’s face and post it on social media. Roth was nearly always the recipient of said snowball, posted to Morrone’s 1 million fans on social media. (Jesus, these notes are nuts? And why are there so many of them? Because it is a Roth film?)

After the debut of the film’s first theatrical trailer, it sparked criticism from left-wing journalists and film critics, with many criticizing the film as “alt-right” and “racist”, due to the film’s premise and setting. (Which is probably is though? Like … even the original film is pretty much exactly that?)

This is a remake of Death Wish (1974) which was widely considered to be star Charles Bronson’s breakout role as a major action hero.

When the original was made in 1974 New York was the murder capital of the United States and had one of the highest crime rates. When this version was made murders and in New York their murder rate and crime rate had significantly dropped and Chicago had become the city with the highest murder and crime rate in the country setting records in 2016 and 2017 and a record over a three year span from 2016-2018.

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.)

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)