Gangster Squad Preview

Patrick drags himself, broken and bleeding, onto the highway shoulder. His captors would be back, but he just needs a second to think. Just then a dark limousine pulls up and an intimidating figure rolls down the window. “So you escaped. Good,” the man says, chomping down on a cigar, “that makes our lives a little easier. Get in.” Patrick hesitates, but when he looks back up the highway he sees Lost and Found’s truck driving erratically back down the road in search. Hopping in he asks the man who he is and why he was following him. “We have a mutual friend in Nic… Nic Cage,” he says as Patrick’s heart leaps. “He still holds out hope that you two can save the world. I’m not so sure, especially after you so easily fell into Sticks and Stones’ trap. But you don’t let down Nicky. Not in this world… or any other.” Patrick’s blood has run cold… Sticks and Stones… no wonder they seemed so familiar. “You’re with my squad now, so relax,” he finishes as he and his companions load their guns. That’s right! We’re using Anthony Mackie from Runner Runner to go to Gangster Squad starring… everyone basically. It was a classic style-over-substance critique for the film that dropped it into BMT territory and we pounds like BMT tigers going after BMT prey. Let’s go!

Jamie zooms through the air, taking his hanglider to the limit. As he skirts the highest building in New Angeles he sees a figure lean out of one of the windows. Jamie happily waves at him, but stops when he sees the crossbow. His beautiful hanglider takes an arrow her majestic wing and only through the immense power of his biceps and pilot skills is he able to land safely. Steam rises from the street and neon lights flash as his hanglider companion slides out of the mist on a skateboard. Jamie’s heart sinks when he sees the gun in his hand. “Welcome to the future,” the man says, “Where you either fight… or you die.” That’s right! We are pairing the Sean Penn Gangster Squad with the Chris Penn futuristic martial arts (?) film Future Kick. It starred one of the best kickboxers of all time, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, and is about kickboxing robots. Don’t think there’s more to say than that. Let’s go!

Gangster Squad (2013) – BMeTric: 14.7 

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(Ooooo the first one in a while that started really high and is regressing down instead of up. I do know that there are fans of this film, mostly due to the stellar cast.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  In 1949 L.A., police chief William Parker (Nolte) hires square-jawed WW2 veteran Brolin to assemble an elite team that will work under the radar to bring down ferociously ambitious gangster Mickey Cohen (Penn, in an outlandish performance), who wants to take over California. Garishly colorful but ludicrous, despite a promising start; a comic-book rendering of a fascinating true story as reported by Paul Lieberman in his book of the same name. Worth a glance for Maher Ahma’s stylish production design.

(Well I got my semi-colon so I can’t complain. An absolutely epic review though which honestly mostly just describes the film? Like, the actual review boils down to: Penn is crazy, the film is ludicrous, but worth a watch just for the production design alone.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlbN5cQKZik/

(I AM THE FUTURE! It does look very stylish, and I like the song. But it also looks a little too badass for its own good. Showing the true story of taking down crooks using their own criminal ways is one thing … but this is arguable the glorification of extrajudicial punishment which is a whole other thing. But we’ll see.)

Directors – Ruben Fleischer – (Known For: Zombieland; 30 Minutes or Less; Future BMT: Venom; BMT: Gangster Squad; Notes: Is married to Emma Stone’s publicist, Emma Stone introduced them. They got married in 2012, so all of that definitely happened prior to Fleischer presumably casting Stone in this film.)

Writers – Will Beall (written by) – (Known For: Aquaman; BMT: Gangster Squad; Notes: Was a story editor for Castle for years, and then developed the Training Day show as well. He is tapped to write the up coming Conan sequel starring Schwarzeneggar.)

Paul Lieberman (book) – (BMT: Gangster Squad; Notes: He wrote for the Los Angeles Times for 24 years, which is where he researched and wrote the book the movie is based on.)

Actors – Sean Penn – (Known For: Mystic River; Fast Times at Ridgemont High; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; The Tree of Life; The Game; Angry Birds; I’m Still Here; The Thin Red Line; Being John Malkovich; Carlito’s Way; Risky Business; 21 Grams; U Turn; Fair Game; Milk; Bad Boys; Taps; Dead Man Walking; This Must Be the Place; At Close Range; Future BMT: It’s All About Love; The Weight of Water; All the King’s Men; Hugo Pool; Crackers; BMT: Shanghai Surprise; The Gunman; Gangster Squad; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Shanghai Surprise in 1987; Notes: Somewhat notably gave David Spade a tattoo somewhere outside of New York (he wasn’t licensed) during SNL. Recently he gave Spade a second tattoo as well.)

Ryan Gosling – (Known For: Blade Runner 2049; The Big Short; First Man; Remember the Titans; La La Land; The Notebook; Drive; The Nice Guys; Crazy, Stupid, Love.; Blue Valentine; The Place Beyond the Pines; The Ides of March; Fracture; Only God Forgives; Song to Song; Lars and the Real Girl; Half Nelson; The Believer; The Slaughter Rule; Future BMT: Murder by Numbers; All Good Things; Stay; BMT: Gangster Squad; Notes: Was a child actor, primarily with Beaker High and Young Hercules, and has been nominated for two oscars.)

Emma Stone – (Known For: The Favourite; Superbad; Zombieland; La La Land; The Help; The House Bunny; Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance); Crazy, Stupid, Love.; The Amazing Spider-Man; Easy A; The Amazing Spider-Man 2; Friends with Benefits; The Croods; Irrational Man; The Interview; Battle of the Sexes; Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping; Magic in the Moonlight; The Rocker; Future BMT: Aloha; Unlikely Hero; BMT: Movie 43; Marmaduke; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Gangster Squad; Notes: Won the oscar for La La Land. Broke out with Superbad which was genuinely her first feature film.)

Budget/Gross – $60–75 million / Domestic: $46,000,903 (Worldwide: $105,200,903)

(Not good, although that isn’t that far off from the budget for Rambo 4 and the eventual gross, and for some reason Stallone places $100 million worldwide as the market for the success of a “small-ish” film. So maybe this is a success … less opportunity for product placement in a period piece though.)

#24 for the Crime Time genre

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(Weirdly of the now six crime films we watched, this is the highest grossing. This came right at the peak of the post-2008 financial collapse boom in crime based films. You can discuss the psychology of that trend amongst yourselves.)

#9 for the True Crime genre

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(The first true crime film we’ve watched. Other potential options: The Black Dahlia, Texas Killing Fields, King of Thieves, and Wonderland (2003). We could just polish those right off.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (64/202): Though it’s stylish and features a talented cast, Gangster Squad suffers from lackluster writing, underdeveloped characters, and an excessive amount of violence.

(Stylish seems to be the name of the game here. And I knew it! Excessive amounts of violence is code for “I feel uncomfortably with how they seem to be glorifying extrajudicial punishments here.” Dollars to donuts.)

Poster – Gangster Sklog (A-)

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(This is checking off a lot of boxes for font, spacing, and look. A little too stylish for its own good maybe and dark in tone, but I think they are doing an homage to an era of film I’m probably not knowledgeable enough about to really appreciate. Still good though.)

Tagline(s) – No names. No badges. No mercy. (A+)

(Uhhhhhh, yah. This is what I want. All day every day give me that clear, concise, and clever tagline with flow for days. This is pretty much perfect.)

Keyword(s) – police vigilantism; Top Ten by BMeTric: 83.1 RoboCop 3 (1993); 58.5 The Mod Squad (1999); 58.5 Alex Cross (2012); 55.6 Leatherface (2017); 54.6 Max Payne (2008); 51.7 The Crow: Salvation (2000); 48.0 Samurai Cop (1991); 46.3 Machete Kills (2013); 45.8 Edison (2005); 42.8 Exit Wounds (2001);

(I’ve actually seen Machete Kills, it is awful. I think I watched it outside of BMT for the Razzies or something. We’ll finish these up at some point )

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Nick Nolte is No. 3 billed in Gangster Squad and No. 4 billed in Zookeeper, which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 3 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 4 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Stay, The Island, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – In the movie, the Gangster Squad is assembled to go after Mickey Cohen. However, in real life Chief W.H. Parker set up the squad to prevent other gangsters from taking over Cohen’s rackets after Cohen went to prison on income tax evasion. Whenever the squad learned that out-of-town gangsters were coming to Los Angeles to try to set up new operations, the Gangster Squad would kidnap them, beat them up (some rumors say torture) and then send them back to wherever they came from with the warning that if they ever returned, they would be killed. (Fun facts)

There are two surviving members of the original gangster squad, and they, along with relatives of the deceased members, came to visit the set.

De’aundre Bonds’ first film role in ten years. He served ten years in prison for manslaughter. (There is no additional information about the killing, but good for him, seems to still be acting a bit)

Two of the reasons Ryan Gosling decided to make the movie was because he wanted to act in a scene with Sean Penn and shoot a Tommy gun. He was disappointed when he found out he didn’t have any scenes with Sean Penn. (I guess that means he shoots a Tommy gun)

Nick Nolte, who portrays Chief W.H. Parker, previously played the leader of the gangster squad in Mulholland Falls (1996). (WHAT)

Robert Patrick lost 30 pounds for the part, in order to look more like a “cowboy”. (Weird, but okay)

The big nightclub in the film was originally an old furniture store that was converted. Bellflower, CA–where this was shot–was hit hard by the 2007 recession, and the production company was able to take over a main street in the city and turn it into period Los Angeles.

The film is based on a series of L.A. Times articles that were turned into a book written by Paul Lieberman. He turned those stories into a book..

Ryan Gosling’s character makes a joke where he pretends that the only famous Mickey he has heard of is Mickey Mouse. As a child, Gosling starred in MMC (1989). (Huh, I wouldn’t have caught that)

Ryan Gosling agreed to join the film in exchange for the studio financing his directorial debut Lost River. (B-b-b-b-b-b-ut I thought he wanted to shoot a Tommy gun!)

Nick Nolte portrays Police Chief W.H. Parker. The real W.H. Parker was in his mid-40’s during the time this movie is set. Nick Nolte was 71 years old when the film was released. (He also sounds like he has smoked all of the cigarettes in the world)

The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2010 Blacklist; a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year.

Body count: 59.

The movie culminates in a giant shootout at the hotel in which dozens of gangsters are mowed down by Tommy guns. The leader of the squad, Jack O’Mara (Josh Brolin) assaults Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) and arrests him for murder. In real life, Mickey Cohen was arrested for tax evasion. Also, by the time Cohen was imprisoned in 1961, the real Jack O’Mara was retired and watched the trial as a civilian.

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Sleeping with the Enemy Preview

Rolled up in the carpet in the back of the semi, Patrick is disoriented. Normally in such a situation either he or Jamie would wriggle free of their binding and then free the other. But alas, Jamie is gone and the ropes containing Patrick’s raw athletic ability seem tight… almost too tight. Getting an idea he slowly dribbles sweat over his rippling abs into the rope. As it swells the tension becomes too great and the rope breaks! Ha! Who needs stupid Jamie anyway. Unrolling himself he comes face to face with a beautiful lady. “Hey!” says Patrick, “If you were back here the whole time why didn’t you help me?” But as a sultry smile graces her lips he realizes exactly why, “oh, you’re the enemy aren’t you?” She simply nods, but her eyes are telling him that maybe she’s thinking about him in a more friendly way. He looks at his wedding ring and thinks of his children. Jamie would sure come in handy for this part. Putting on a stylish hat to complement his shirtless bod and wrangler jeans, he winks at her and asks, “but maybe we can be more like frienemies.” That’s right! We’re watching Sleeping with the Enemy, the Julia Roberts thriller about the husband from hell. This is one of those films that has a bit of a cult following presumably because it played on cable TV back when people either watched cable TV or stared at a wall (legends say). Always nice to get a star vehicle. Let’s go!

Teamed with the dark figure, Jamie is able to dispatch the mailmen with ease. It’s like there’s some telepathic link with the man, but Jamie shakes off his unease. “Hiya, bro. I’m just trying to find my way back to New Angeles and could use a ride. You got another pair of those sweet RBlades?” The man grimaces but quickly turns it into a friendly smirk. “I’ll do you one better… bro,” he hisses as he reveals a totally pimped out hang glider. “Cool,” Jamie breathes as he buckles up for the ride of his life, “This is going to be T.N.T.” That’s right! We’re pairing the Julia Roberts entree with an Eric Roberts dessert in T.N.T. That of course stands for Tactical Neutralization Team. And lest you think that some lame backronym… there actually was a Tactical Neutralization Team in the Air Force. So… jokes on you (and probably us because we’re watching this film). Let’s go!

Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) – BMeTric: 25.7 

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(Wow this really actually genuinely made a comeback. That is more than regression to the mean, because that usually regresses to around 6.0 or a little higher. It is a little higher, but the trajectory is suggesting people actually like this film more now I think.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Practically suspense-less thriller about a young woman who flees from her brutal husband and tries to start life anew in Iowa. Unabashed star vehicle for Roberts (complete with “cute” montage set to the oldie “Brown-Eyed Girl”) is relentlessly predictable.

(Suspense-less would be bad. That’s all I’m here for. The rest of it I don’t really see as criticism … so what if it is a star vehicle for Roberts. She was one of the big up and coming stars of the time. Just a strange idea, although maybe that came across more cynically back when this review was written.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcQqsrf2gik/

(WOW, they start the trailer like it is a romantic comedy! That is a crazy way to advertise what is legitimately a thriller, and then by the end it looks like a horror film complete with creepy John Carpenter synth music. Nope, don’t like it.)

Directors – Joseph Ruben – (Known For: Dreamscape; Return to Paradise; True Believer; The Stepfather; Future BMT: Money Train; The Forgotten; The Good Son; The Ottoman Lieutenant; BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy; Notes: He’s amazingly still working having directed The Ottoman Lieutenant in 2017, a rare WWI movie.)

Writers – Nancy Price (novel) – (BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy; Notes: This appears to basically be her only novel. She has a few others, but nothing significant. Amazingly this film was made within four years of publication.)

Ronald Bass (screenplay) – (Known For: My Best Friend’s Wedding; What Dreams May Come; Rain Man; Stepmom; Waiting to Exhale; The Joy Luck Club; When a Man Loves a Woman; Black Widow; How Stella Got Her Groove Back; Gardens of Stone; Future BMT: Amelia; Entrapment; Passion of Mind; Dangerous Minds; Snow Flower and the Secret Fan; Before We Go; Snow Falling on Cedars; BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy; Notes: Apparently very prolific employing his own team of research assistants to help him out.)

Actors – Julia Roberts – (Known For: Wonder; Steel Magnolias; Notting Hill; Charlie Wilson’s War; Ocean’s Eleven; My Best Friend’s Wedding; Pretty Woman; Mystic Pizza; Closer; Ocean’s Twelve; Erin Brockovich; Stepmom; August: Osage County; Flatliners; Ben Is Back; The Pelican Brief; Michael Collins; Runaway Bride; The Player; Conspiracy Theory; Future BMT: Full Frontal; Ready to Wear; Love, Wedding, Marriage; I Love Trouble; America’s Sweethearts; Eat Pray Love; Something to Talk About; Mary Reilly; Larry Crowne; Smurfs: The Lost Village; Dying Young; Secret in Their Eyes; Mona Lisa Smile; Fireflies in the Garden; Grand Champion; Hook; BMT: Valentine’s Day; Mother’s Day; Sleeping with the Enemy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 1997 for Mary Reilly; and in 2017 for Mother’s Day; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Hook in 1992; Notes: Somewhat notorious early in her career for leaving Kiefer Sutherland at the altar and running away with his friend Jason Patric. Her niece Emma Roberts has herself become rather famous.)

Patrick Bergin – (Known For: Free Fire; Ella Enchanted; Patriot Games; Mountains of the Moon; Map of the Human Heart; The Boys & Girl from County Clare; Silent Grace; Future BMT: Eye of the Beholder; The Invisible Circus; Strength and Honour; Love Crimes; Age of Kill; The Wee Man; BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Sleeping with the Enemy; Notes: I kind of used up all my fun facts on Lawnmower Man 2 … he was apparently at a Dog Festival in Dublin with his dog Kayla the other day, that’s fun.)

Kevin Anderson – (Known For: Risky Business; Charlotte’s Web; Hoffa; Heaven Is for Real; Salomé; The Night We Never Met; Firelight; In Country; Liebestraum; Miles from Home; Orphans; Eye of God; Future BMT: Rising Sun; BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy; A Thousand Acres; Notes: Has portrayed both JFK and RFK which is apparently quite rare.)

Budget/Gross – $19 million / Domestic: $101,599,005 (Worldwide: $174,999,005)

(That is a massive success. Obviously they kind of stopped releasing these to theaters over the years, possibly because it is so difficult to capitalize on the success … like it isn’t like you’re going to make a sequel or anything.)

#2 for the Thriller – Psycho / Stalker / Blank from Hell genre

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(Easily the highest grossing bad film. And amazingly the only other one that grossed over $100 million besides Fatal Attraction. Amazing. The wave-like pattern is nice. Like they just regurgitate the same thriller ideas over and over every ten years.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (7/33): A game Julia Roberts gives it her all, but Sleeping with the Enemy is one stalker thriller that’s unlikely to inspire many obsessions of its own.

(Obsession feels like an odd way of putting it … like, this is a domestic abuse situation, and one more about control and paranoia at that. Not really an obsession right? Whatever. Reviewer Highlight: There are good performances all through the movie, but the filmmakers don’t keep faith with their actors. – Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Sleeping with the Frienemy (C+)

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(Very odd. Looks more like a book cover (spoiler alert on the tagline). Font is weird and bland and even the spacing is a little jarring. I’m not sure what to think… I think I appreciate it?… Like how I appreciate modern art.)

Tagline(s) – She is a stranger in a small town. She changed her name. Her looks. Her life. All to escape the most dangerous man she’s ever met. Her husband. (D)

(If I wanted to read a book I would have went to my local public library.)

Keyword(s) – psychopath; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.9 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 83.9 The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011); 82.7 Prom Night (I) (2008); 82.3 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 82.2 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 79.7 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 79.3 Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994); 78.9 Jason X (2001); 75.0 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 74.5 The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) (2015);

(Noice. All basically horror films as you would expect. Highlander II and Speed 2 out of nowhere. Speed 2 is a weird one as well. Dafoe was a psycho? He was a man who was made sick by his job seeking revenge on the corporation who screwed him over … is that a psycho? That is just a weird take on that character.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Julia Roberts is No. 1 billed in Sleeping with the Enemy and No. 2 billed in Mother’s Day, which also stars Jennifer Aniston (No. 1 billed) who is in Just Go With It (No. 2 billed), which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Hook, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Julia Roberts caused a controversy after she left Abbeville, South Carolina, where the film shot some location work. She said the place was “a living hell” and a “horribly racist” town and she would never return there. (Holy shit!)

Julia Roberts’ lead female role in Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) was originally written for Jane Fonda. (Really? Huh, it works really well for Roberts)

The name Laura chooses for herself is connected to her past life. The first name of Sarah means Princess, which is what Martin used to call her, and the last name of Waters symbolizes Laura’s supposed drowning. (Cool)

Julia Roberts, aged 22 when the film was shot in spring 1990, became the youngest actress to earn a seven-figure fee for a single performance. (She deserved it, this movie made bank wholly supported by her main performance and not much else)

It was Patrick Bergin’s idea to use composer Hector Berlioz’s song, one of his favorite pieces of music, as Martin Burney’s song of choice. (I liked it … although it seemed a bit over wrought in the end)

At the time director Joseph Ruben was hired, Kim Basinger was attached to the project as Laura Burney. She ultimately turned down the part, though, feeling she wasn’t right for the role. The character in the end was cast with Julia Roberts. (Kimmy B could have been good there, just a bit after her Batman role)

When this movie was submitted to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)for a rating it was given a rating of NC-17. An NC-17 rated film can only have limited advertisement in the US and many theaters will not show an NC-17 rated film. So to make a profit, the movie had to have a rating of R. In order for the MPAA to give this film an R rating, several seconds of the first sex scene between Martin and Laura had to be cut. The version of this film with the entire sex scene is known as the International version which was seen in the UK and other parts of Europe. (Huh, none of the sex scenes were crazy, and that is pretty crazy in retrospect)

[There was a long note here about Bergin’s potential sociopathy which just seemed a bit too speculative for my liking]

Upon its release, the movie ended an eleven week and almost three-month reign of Home Alone (1990) at the top of the North American box office. Both pictures were from the same 20th Century Fox.

The stars that were originally attached to the film’s lead roles were Kim Basinger, Sean Connery and Aidan Quinn. (Sean Connery would have been amazing).

The use of Berlioz’ “Symphonie Fantastique” is appropriate since the piece is a programmatic symphony depicting a young man, under the influence of opium, dreaming that he kills his girlfriend, is executed and ends up in hell. (Cool)

The film was made and released about four years after its source novel of the same name written by Nancy Price had first been published in 1987. (That is quick!)

The scene that Ben’s students are rehearsing when Martin spies on the class is from the play ‘The Seagull’ by Anton Chekhov.

The Lawnmower Man Preview

Meanwhile… Poe and Brock are getting psyched for the big championship game. Suddenly Poe watches in alarm as the lawnmower men around the field stop in unison, their eyes suddenly glassy and unseeing. “Lawnmower Men,” Poe whispers while Brock stares on in shock. “Lawnmower Men? It can’t be. They… they are just silly legends used to scare kids.” But no, they are real and something has brought them out of their slumber. Poe suddenly realizes what it is and turns to Brock, “It’s Rich. He needs my help.” One of the other players begins to protest, but Brock stops them, “If you need my help, you have my bat, bro.” And they seal the deal with a Predator Handshake. That’s right! In celebration of the 500th BMT film (say what?!) we are also watching The Lawnmower Man and Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace. The sequel has been on my bad movie bucket list forever because it actually seems impossible that it got released to theaters. But it did and we couldn’t have asked for a better pairing for this celebration than the hacking computer technobabble extravaganza of Hackers and the Lawnmower Man franchise. Let’s go! 

The Lawnmower Man (1992) – BMeTric: 49.5 

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(Solidly below average. If it gets a few thousand more votes it could creep back up above 50, and that seems pretty appropriate given everything I know about it now.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Scientist Brosnan needs a guinea pig for hitherto failed experiments in drug therapy and computer instruction; who better than the grinning mental defective who mows his lawn? At least the pyrotechnics at the end (simulating “virtual reality”) are full of visual buzz. Fahey in a blond wig is really tough to take. Has nothing to do with the Stephen King short story it’s ostensibly based on.

(As usual Leonard teases me with his semi-colon work, he’s a true artist. And then “hitherto”? Now I’m really into it. This review is also somehow a novel, it is incredibly long, and I love it. He clearly just hated this film.)

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

(NOT FROM THE IMAGINATION OF STEPHEN KING. That is very very specifically not the case. That trailer makes the film look a lot more interesting that I suspect it ultimately will be.)

Directors – Brett Leonard – (Known For: Feed; T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous; Future BMT: Man-Thing; Virtuosity; Hideaway; BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Notes: Also a major music video director at the time. Won the 1994 MTV Music Award for best video for Peter Gabriel’s Kiss That Frog.)

Writers – Stephen King (title only) (credit removed following lawsuit) – (Known For: It; Pet Sematary; The Shawshank Redemption; The Shining; Stand by Me; Pet Sematary; The Green Mile; Gerald’s Game; The Mist; Carrie; 1922; Misery; The Running Man; Christine; Carrie; Cujo; The Dead Zone; Creepshow; Silver Bullet; 1408; Future BMT: Cell; The Rage: Carrie 2; The Mangler; Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice; Sleepwalkers; Graveyard Shift; The Dark Tower; Children of the Corn; Riding the Bullet; A Good Marriage; Thinner; Firestarter; Creepshow 2; The Night Flier; Needful Things; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; BMT: Dreamcatcher; The Lawnmower Man; Maximum Overdrive; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Maximum Overdrive in 1987; Notes: This is a hilarious credit (apparently removed). I’ve read The Lawnmower Man short story by Stephen King and it has literally nothing to do with this film… I haven’t even see this movie but I guarantee you that.)

Brett Leonard (screenplay) – (BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Notes: He actually did kinda start the Cyber genre with The Lawnmower Man. Only major feature writing credit.)

Gimel Everett (screenplay) – (BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Notes: Producer who worked with Leonard on a number of credits. Died in 2011 at the age of 60.)

Actors – Jeff Fahey – (Known For: Alita: Battle Angel; Grindhouse; Machete; Planet Terror; Silverado; Wyatt Earp; Too Late; Psycho III; Body Parts; Sushi Girl; White Hunter Black Heart; Future BMT: Urge; Stranded; Impulse; BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Notes: Has had a very interesting life traveling the world and doing dance, then theater, and then film.)

Pierce Brosnan – (Known For: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again; The World Is Not Enough; Mrs. Doubtfire; Mamma Mia!; The Foreigner; The World’s End; GoldenEye; Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief; Mars Attacks!; Die Another Day; Tomorrow Never Dies; No Escape; The Ghost; The Thomas Crown Affair; Final Score; Seraphim Falls; Spinning Man; The Long Good Friday; The Tailor of Panama; The Mirror Has Two Faces; Future BMT: I Don’t Know How She Does It; Urge; I.T.; Survivor; Dante’s Peak; Lessons in Love; The Love Punch; Laws of Attraction; Salvation Boulevard; Nomads; The November Man; After the Sunset; Live Wire; Love Affair; A Long Way Down; The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot; The Only Living Boy in New York; Grey Owl; A Christmas Star; BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Mamma Mia! in 2009; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The World Is Not Enough in 2000; Notes: They just announced he is going to be working with Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams in a comedy film focused on the Eurovision Song Contest. I highly recommend Eurovision, it is hilarious.)

Jenny Wright – (Known For: St. Elmo’s Fire; Near Dark; Pink Floyd: The Wall; The World According to Garp; A Shock to the System; The Chocolate War; I, Madman; Future BMT: Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory; Queens Logic; BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Notes: Apparently people don’t even know where she currently is as they attempted to locate her for a Near Dark reunion unsuccessfully. Was apparently involved with Nic Cage for two years.)

Budget/Gross – $10 million / Domestic: $32,100,816

(That is an astonishingly high number. I’m going to assume that that is partially because the Stephen King name actually carried a lot of cache at the time. And it is absolutely no wonder they were already considering a sequel by the time the VHS was released (see the notes))

#135 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(This predates most of the other R-rated Horror films that have some out which have become a very on trend genre of late.)

#9 for the Virtual Reality genre

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(Oh wow, I kind of didn’t realize both this and Hackers were put into this genre. That is awesome. We’ve officially doubled the number of Virtual Reality movies we’ve seen for BMT.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 35% (14/40): The Lawnmower Man suffers from a predictable, melodramatic script, and its once-groundbreaking visual effects look dated today.

(Basically all the reviews say that it is cheesy and the only thing it really has going for it are the special effects which admittedly dazzled at the time. Reviewer Highlight: So loosely based on a Stephen King short story as to constitute fraud, The Lawnmower Man goes right to the bottom of a growing list of failed King adaptations. – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – The Lawnmower Man: Inspired by Stephen King’s The Lawnmower Man (B-)

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(This entire thing is silly. Look at that poster. It is literally a man mowing grass with a giant eye in the sky with a… gyroscope? In the center? What are you supposed to think this film is about? Spacing is fine, as is the color scheme. The font is unfortunate and I know in my heart they could have done better.)

Tagline(s) – God made him simple. Science made him a god. (A-)

(I like this. Tells me what’s up and does it in a clever way. It’s a little long, but you get what you pay for.)

Keyword(s) – virtual reality; Top Ten by BMeTric: 82.8 Spy Kids 3: Game Over (2003); 78.9 Jason X (2001); 67.2 Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996); 55.7 Stormbreaker (2006); 54.6 Soldiers of Fortune (2012); 52.0 Let’s Be Evil (2016); 51.9 Surfer, Dude (2008); 49.5 The Lawnmower Man (1992); 47.3 Open Windows (2014); 46.3 Kill Switch (I) (2017);

(Two of the ten! I quite like that. None of the other one except maybe Spy Kids 3 are on our radar.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 26) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Dean Norris is No. 7 billed in The Lawnmower Man and No. 3 billed in Death Wish (2018), which also stars Bruce Willis (No. 1 billed) who is in The Whole Ten Yards (No. 1 billed), which also stars Natasha Henstridge (No. 4 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 7 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 26. If we were to watch I Don’t Know How She Does It, If Lucy Fell, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – New Line Cinema had obtained the rights to the Stephen King short story “The Lawnmower Man”, and the producers also had an unrelated script called “Cyber God”. They simply placed King’s title on the production of “Cyber God”. King was furious at this abuse of his name, and he sued the studio to have his name and title removed from the film and promotion. They refused, until the studio was ordered to pay ten thousand dollars and full profits. (Yeah that makes more sense than actually thinking this was an adaptation)

The scene where the cop (Troy Evans) says that the missing piece of the dead man is in the bird bath, is the only thing in the movie that was taken from Stephen King’s short story.

The eight minutes of computer generated effects took seven people eight months to complete on a budget of five hundred thousand dollars. (Wow, impressive)

It was discovered through FBI tapes that this was former Waco cult leader David Koresh favorite movie

Several of the symbols Jobe (Jeff Fahey) sees flying at him, during his first VR treatment, are demon evocation seals taken from the infamous Key of Solomon.

A remote controlled lawnmower was specifically built for the movie. In another movie adapted from a Stephen King story, Maximum Overdrive (1986), a remote controlled lawnmower chases a teenager. (And in yet another movie everyone almost dies in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids! due to a remote controlled lawnmower)

Dr. Angelo’s line “I’ve decided to take my work back underground”, was used as a sample in the intro track for the Music For The Jilted Generation album by The Prodigy. (Yet another connection to Hackers, Voodoo People from that album is on the soundtrack)

There are three video games based on the movie. Scrolling action game The Lawnmower Man (1993) for Game Boy, Genesis, and Super Nintendo, loosely follows the plot of the movie. FMV adventure game The Lawnmower Man (1993) for DOS, Macintosh, and SEGA CD, uses clips from the movie, and is a direct sequel to the movie, since Its plot begins where the movie ends. Adventure game Cyberwar (1994) for DOS and PlayStation is a non-FMV sequel to the FMV game.

The Guardian (1990) Preview

Hats backward and cargo shorts a-baggin’, Rich and Poe skateboard their way to the Italiano Arcade & Pizzeria to smash on some video games and eat some ‘za. They immediately own a bunch of middle schoolers in Super Mario Bros 3 like some video game wizards and make their way to the top of the social pyramid. There are some dope tweens around, but they are by far the dopest. “Haven’t seen you two around here before. You guys sure can whiz on the j-stick,” one of the kids say, “they call me Toad, who are you?” Rich steps up, “I’m Big M and this is my bro LJ. We’d mash the ‘cade all day, but our Granny is a real lamester. You chilling me?” Toad nods and laughs while Poe tries not to cry. That’s his beloved Granny they’re talking about. Nobody calls her a lamester. Rich continues, “but maybe that’s not the worst thing, you feelz? We heard some real slippery things going on around here.” Toad looks a bit nervous, “Yeah, real canopy thang. But it’s just Elivira, the new nanny. Everyone else is icy.” Rich and Poe look at each other. Elvira? That doesn’t sound like Gruber. They looks around but Poe can’t see anyone that looks suspicious. “Rich, I don’t think this is working… Rich?” Rich is staring off into the distance. The crowds part between him and the most beautiful woman in the world. She flips her golden hair to the side and beckons to him. He floats towards her… the seductive and super creepy nanny who looks both ageless and yet thousands of years old. His mind is telling him to resist, but he has eyes only for this scary witch nanny and the creepy tree she’s sitting in. Wait, what? That’s right! You knew right from the start when I was talking about witch nannies and creepy trees that there was only one film I could be talking about. Let’s say it all together. The Guardian (1990). Of course. That film that everyone knows. Well at least one person knew about it and his name was Roger Ebert and he hated this film. In fact he said it was one of the worst he had ever seen. Good enough for us. Let’s go!

The Guardian (1990) – BMeTric: 31.9

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(The rating feels really low for a film from the early 90s and for a film I’ve never heard of. Even after the regression that is pretty astonishing. It really must be a terrible horror film. Getting a little excited here.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Yuppie couple hires a nanny for their newborn child, but we know there’s something odd about her: she feeds babies to a tree in a nearby gully. Friedkin’s first return to horror after The Exorcist has a few good scenes, but a ludicrous story and a hormorless approach. Seagrove is very good in an almost unplayable role. Cowritten by the director from the novel The Nanny by Dan Greenburg.

(I probably knew this was based on a book and forgot to be honest. Everything in this preview is about Friedkin. He really squandered a lot of his good will by 1990 it seems. He only really directed sporadically after 1985.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbl1b664ivk/

(‘Member the Exorcist? Me too … member that thing where William Friedkin was the director … cool me too.’ I literally have no idea what this film is about or what it is beyond a horror film made by the director of the Exorcist. Should I watch the Exorcist then? It feels like a good extra homework assignment.)

Directors – William Friedkin – (Known For: The Exorcist; The French Connection; Killer Joe; To Live and Die in L.A.; Cruising; Sorcerer; Bug; The Boys in the Band; Rampage; The Brink’s Job; Future BMT: Jade; Deal of the Century; The Hunted; Blue Chips; Rules of Engagement; BMT: The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Cruising in 1981; Notes: Given he directed The Exorcist it might be surprising to know he grew up Jewish, became agnostic, and then is clearly a Christian in some capacity given recent quotes.)

Writers – Dan Greenburg (novel & screenplay) – (Future BMT: Private Lessons; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Was married to Nora Ephron ages ago. His son was the kid in Lorenzo’s Oil.)

Stephen Volk (screenplay) – (Known For: The Awakening; Gothic; Future BMT: Octane; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Famously wrote and directed Ghostwatch, a fake documentary which played on the BBC which confused a bunch of people who thought it was real. It was banned from replay for a decade.)

William Friedkin (screenplay) – (Known For: To Live and Die in L.A.; Cruising; Rampage; BMT: The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Cruising in 1981; Notes: Cruising was considered by many as anti-gay, and the film was protested by the gay community at the time of production)

Actors – Jenny Seagrove – (Known For: Local Hero; Another Mother’s Son; Moonlighting; Future BMT: Run for Your Wife; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Long time partner of Bill Kenwright who is an actor and … the chairman of Everton F.C. since 2004? Still works as an actress, although not as often.)

Dwier Brown – (Known For: Field of Dreams; House; Red Dragon; Gettysburg; To Live and Die in L.A.; The Cutting Edge; Reunion; Future BMT: House II: The Second Story; Mom and Dad Save the World; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: If you’re racking your brain trying to figure out who he was in Field of Dreams, he was Kevin Costner’s father at the end.)

Carey Lowell – (Known For: Leaving Las Vegas; Licence to Kill; Sleepless in Seattle; Fierce Creatures; Future BMT: Club Paradise; Love Affair; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: You’d know her from Law & Order, she was on the order side of things, as a DA.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $17,037,887

(Probably not great … although you could make these things for less than a million around this point in time, so maybe it turned as profit.)

#233 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(It feels like this came at a peak of the genre in the late eighties. Kind of went on a bit of a hiatus after. Still having a moment now, especially with It Part 2 coming out this year, should be good for R-rated horror.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (2/9): No Consensus

(Nice I get to make a consensus: Hysterically funny … wait, it was supposed to be a horror film? Reviewer Highlight: Maybe after years of banging his head against the system Friedkin decided with “The Guardian” to make a frankly commercial exploitation film. … give us a break. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – The Guardian Not Starring Kevin Costner (B+)

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(Too many words and the image itself is a bit small, but I’m digging the simplicity of it and the coloring. The font isn’t the worst either. Good effort.)

Tagline(s) – Tonight, while the world is asleep… an ancient evil is about to awaken. (F)

(I literally don’t understand this… when? Tonight? Is that like… when I’m watching the movie or is the film set over a single night during which the ancient evil awakens? Neither? Cool cool cool. Just one more thing. Would it have mattered if that ancient evil awoke while everyone was awake? No? Interesting.)

Keyword(s) – baby; Top Ten by BMeTric: 92.6 Date Movie (2006); 92.1 Son of the Mask (2005); 91.0 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 84.0 Baby Geniuses (1999); 76.3 Junior (1994); 75.9 In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011); 74.7 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 73.9 Look Who’s Talking Too (1990); 70.6 The Animal (2001); 69.0 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013);

(Shit. I have to watch The Animal for a third time. Maybe Jamie will appreciate it more given it stars someone from Survivor. [Editor’s Note: I will])

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 24) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Xander Berkeley is No. 10 billed in The Guardian and No. 6 billed in Seeking Justice, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 10 + 6 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 24. If we were to watch Savage Islands we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Jenny Seagrove was unhappy with the film’s constant re-writes, and wanted to make a completely different film. She said to The Guardian in 2007: “It was about this druid nanny who became a tree. I begged Universal to make it about a real nanny who kidnaps babies. ‘No, no, we can’t do that,’ they said, ‘the thirty somethings in America won’t come and see the film.’ I said, ‘I think you’re completely wrong; this film is total fantasy, and it’s just awful.’ Two years later The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992) was released, so I rang up my friend at Universal and he said, ‘Don’t. Don’t even talk about it, you were right.’ ” (haha)

Was to originally be directed by Sam Raimi, but he left the project early to direct Darkman (1990). Producers brought in William Friedkin, and the project suffered through several re-writes sending co-writer Stephen Volk into a breakdown. Friedkin eventually took over the writing duties. (oooooooooooof)

William Friedkin’s first horror movie in seventeen years since The Exorcist (1973). (Maybe a mistake)

One of only two feature films that William Friedkin wrote nothing about, positive or negative, in his memoir The Friedkin Connection (see also Deal of the Century (1983)).

A new effects crew was brought onto the scene after the initial tree failed to work mechanically. The new team constructed a tree that held 500 gallons of fake blood and detachable bark. (oh no, haha)

The delivery scene used real footage of an actual live birth. (oh no … I would just say haha here, but that would feel redundant)

The film was released three years after its source novel “The Nanny” by Dan Greenburg had been published in 1987. (Fact: I did not read this book)

The movie’s dark villain, Camilla (Jenny Seagrove), is included in the compilation film Boogeymen: The Killer Compilation (2001).

A cable television version of the film is not billed to William Friedkin, but to Alan Smithee, a generic name which is used by directors when they don’t want to be associated with a picture. This, despite the fact that Friedkin claims on the film’s audio-commentary he never heard of such a version. There are two versions of “The Guardian”: the theatrical cut, credited to Friedkin, and a modified cut, credited to Smithee. The Smithee cut has never been released on home video or DVD, and has only been shown on cable. It includes new scenes, including another scene in the hospital, different dream sequences, a scene of the nanny waking the wife up and alternate angles for other scenes. Also, the ending of the cable cut is different and omits much of the gore. (Oh wow, that is kind of cool. They cut a version and clearly didn’t ask him about it. Sounds like we can’t get it though)

Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert named the picture one of his “Most Hated Films” of all-time. (Noice, it is on his end of the year worst of list so …)

One of three movies with “The Guardian” title made during the modern era of Hollywood. This supernatural horror movie was made and released around six years after the 1984 action crime thriller The Guardian (1984) and sixteen years before the sea rescue drama The Guardian (2006). (We have now watched two for BMT. Martin Sheen’s 1984 film doesn’t have any reviews. That sounds like I have to cook up 5 fake reviews to get this onto Rotten Tomatoes …)

The Postman Preview

Jamie and Patrick enter the cocktail party at Colonel Stanley Von Freed’s posh ski chalet dressed in tuxedos and looking dapper. They scope the scene and begin to mingle with the crowd. Masters of smalltalk they express dismay at the latest news out of the Asian markets and hint at promising developments at their racehorse farm. Hands touch arms and laughter rings out until they realize they’ve been cornered by several sultry minxes eyeing them hungrily. They can’t be distracted. Patrick signals to the jazz band and a funky beat begins to play. Stripping to the waists, Jamie and Patrick perform their award winning breakdance routine that the New York Times deemed “the essence of pure masculinity.” Through a combination of hip thrusts and backflips Jamie and Patrick dispatch the sultry minxes and amongst fading cheers abscond upstairs. In the master bedroom they find a safe and hold their breath as they try the lock. It’s already open! Inside? Nothing. “Ah yes, I wondered why you two were here. Simple party crashers? I think not. You are looking for the medallion.” Out of the darkness Colonel Von Freed leans forward, his sad eyes searching Jamie and Patrick. Patrick speaks hesitantly, “We… we need it… to save the world.” The Colonel sighs, “of course you do, but what is there to save? This world is already dead.” Jamie steps toward the Colonel. “Come with us and find out what’s left to fight for.” The Colonel looks between them and for a moment a light shines in his eyes, “Who… who are you two?” he shakes his head, “It was taken. Long ago. By a fraudster who pretended to be my mailman. He took it to The Waste. We’ll find it there.” They shake their heads. Of course. Exactly where they started. That’s right! We’re watching what is considered one of the biggest bombs in film history, The Postman starring (and directed by) Kevin Costner. Good thing I definitely have three hours to kill this weekend, otherwise it would have been pretty annoying to watch … Let’s go!

The Postman (1997) – BMeTric: 32.5

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(Wowza, up to 6.0. I can imagine it ages well. Costner seems like he has to be a competent director, so perhaps once you have some distance and are choosing to watch this 3 hour epic is probably skewing things upwards a bit. By all accounts this films is)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Long, boring, pretentious allegory about an itinerant performer in the post-apocalyptic future who passes himself off as a U.S. mail carrier. In that guise, he personifies hope for several isolated communities who’ve been beaten down by the cruel tactics of a demagogue (Patton, in a one-note performance). A well-meaning (but complete) misfire. That’s Costner’s son in the film’s final shot; one daughter plays a mail carrier, the other sings “America the Beautiful.” Mary Stuart Masterson appears unbilled.

(It feels like Maltin really slams films who strive to be something great and completely fail. Pretentious and boring. I can see it. I mean … you don’t hear much more about this film except that it is long and boring.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BC8FxxvXYTY/

(Wow, even the trailer is long, boring, and pretentious. I’m being serious, that felt like the longest trailer in the history of film.)

Directors – Kevin Costner – (Known For: Dances with Wolves; Open Range; BMT: The Postman; Razzie Notes: See the acting category Notes: An oddly limited directing career considering he won an Oscar with his first effort, and Open Range was well received as well … maybe he hates it. Nope.)

Writers – David Brin (novel) – (BMT: The Postman; Notes: His novel Startide Rising, part of his Uplift series, won the Nebula award in 1984, the year before he published The Postman (which was nominated for a Hugo and Nebula award))

Eric Roth (screenplay) – (Known For: A Star Is Born; Forrest Gump; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Ali; Munich; The Good Shepherd; The Insider; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; The Horse Whisperer; Wolfen; The Onion Field; Suspect; Mr. Jones; The Drowning Pool; Future BMT: The Concorde… Airport ’79; Lucky You; BMT: The Postman; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for The Postman in 1998; Notes: Was sadly a victim of Bernie Madoff losing his retirement fund in the grift.)

Brian Helgeland (screenplay) – (Known For: A Knight’s Tale; L.A. Confidential; Legend; Mystic River; Robin Hood; 42; Green Zone; The Taking of Pelham 123; Conspiracy Theory; Payback; A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master; Blood Work; Future BMT: The Sin Eater; 976-EVIL; Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant; Assassins; BMT: The Postman; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for The Postman in 1998; Notes: Was a fisherman in New Bedford, MA for a short time before driving cross country to Hollywood.)

Actors – Kevin Costner – (Known For: The Highwaymen; Molly’s Game; Man of Steel; Hidden Figures; Dances with Wolves; Waterworld; The Untouchables; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Mr. Brooks; No Way Out; Field of Dreams; Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit; JFK; Open Range; Bull Durham; Silverado; The Big Chill; Draft Day; Thirteen Days; Wyatt Earp; Future BMT: The New Daughter; Play It to the Bone; Dragonfly; The Bodyguard; 3 Days to Kill; Message in a Bottle; Swing Vote; Criminal; Revenge; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Black or White; The War; BMT: Rumor Has It…; The Postman; 3000 Miles to Graceland; The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for The Postman in 1998; Winner for Worst Actor, and Worst Remake or Sequel for Wyatt Earp in 1995; Winner for Worst Actor for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1992; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1993 for The Bodyguard; in 1996 for Waterworld; in 2000 for For Love of the Game, and Message in a Bottle; and in 2002 for 3000 Miles to Graceland; Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Wyatt Earp; and in 2002 for 3000 Miles to Graceland; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000; Notes: Y’all know Kevin Costner. He has seven children. The oldest is 34 and the youngest is 9. Quite the range.)

Will Patton – (Known For: Halloween; Remember the Titans; No Way Out; American Honey; The Mothman Prophecies; After Hours; Copycat; Desperately Seeking Susan; Rex; The Client; Brooklyn’s Finest; Silkwood; A Mighty Heart; The Scent of Rain & Lightning; Meek’s Cutoff; Wendy and Lucy; The Rapture; Jesus’ Son; A Shock to the System; In the Soup; Future BMT: Code Name: The Cleaner; Breakfast of Champions; Fled; The Fourth Kind; The Puppet Masters; Entrapment; The November Man; Knucklehead; Trixie; Gone in Sixty Seconds; The Punisher; The Canyon; Inventing the Abbotts; Boarding School; Armageddon; Everybody Wins; The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: The Postman; Notes: Has narrated over forty audio books. Also … how is this first Will Patton film we’ve done? That is insane.)

Larenz Tate – (Known For: Crash; Girls Trip; Ray; Menace II Society; Dead Presidents; Love Jones; Why Do Fools Fall in Love; Future BMT: Biker Boyz; A Man Apart; Waist Deep; BMT: The Postman; Notes: Both of his brothers are also actors, although neither of them have worked much as actors in the last ten years.)

Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $17,626,234

(Two in a row, some great box office bombs recently. Unfortunately I think late-90s box office bomb might be the same as saying it is long and boring)

#56 for the Future – Near genre

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(Right at a little peak in futuristic films, and right near other weird ones like Soldier which came out in 1998. Booming now. A genre which feels like it only gets bigger as cheap CGI becomes readily available.)

#87 for the Sci-Fi – Adventure genre

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(Star Wars has this genre a-booming again. Somehow The Postman made less money than Battlefield Earth, so let that sink in for a bit.)

#52 for the Sci-Fi – Based on Book genre

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(I can’t believe Jumper is the highest grossing BMT film for this sub-genre. I’m starting to get these graphs. They are all just variations on the same graph: sci-fi films from 1990 to present. The shapes are all kind of the same.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (3/35)

(I’ll have to make a consensus: So earnest it somehow loops back around and becomes a joke. So long you’ll forget what it’s like to not be watching The Postman. Reviewer Highlight: Star/director Kevin Costner’s futuristic folly The Postman is so loopy that, for a while, one wants to shield it from a critical storm that has already begun. – Mike Clark, USA Today)

Poster – Postman: The Scorch Trials (C-)

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(There is just too much going on. There is another version without the American flag and that’s better but still not the best. Everything is off about this, but not offensively bad. Also… like who wants to see this? Costner is a major star but even at the time I feel like people would look at this and be like “so we just watching him wander in the desert. No thanks.”)

Tagline(s) – The year is 2013. One man walked in off the horizon and hope came with him. (C-)

(Way too long, but love the specificity of the year considered that we have now blown by it. Ages like a fine wine. Also it hints at the incredible cheesiness of the film and I admire that. But still not good.)

Keyword(s) – drifter; Top Ten by BMeTric: 84.9 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011); 75.5 Anaconda (1997); 63.4 I, Frankenstein (2014); 60.8 Conan the Barbarian (2011); 51.0 Graveyard Shift (1990); 49.8 Frogs (1972); 46.3 Cabin Fever (2002); 46.0 Ator the Invincible (1982); 43.7 The Dark Tower (2017); 43.6 Coyote Ugly (2000);

(This can be split up into three groups. The “so bad we had to watch them” starts it off. Then three horror films. Then three kind of off the wall selections. Coyote Ugly is a funny one. Sometimes I forget that qualifies.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Kevin Costner is No. 1 billed in The Postman and No. 2 billed in 3000 Miles to Graceland, which also stars Kurt Russell (No. 1 billed) who is in Tango and Cash (No. 2 billed), which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Love Happens, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – The actors did their own stuntwork on the rope bridge scene and Kevin Costner, a skilled equestrian, did his own horse-riding. He also performed the cable cart scene himself, with the cart winched through the air by helicopter.

Kevin Costner’s children all appear in the film.

Tom Petty mentioned back in 1982 while filming the video for his song “You Got Lucky” (a post apocalyptic themed story) he wanted to do a small part in a futuristic movie. He said he wanted to portray a post war character, which he finally did in this movie. (ugh, what a terrible story)

The area of Metaline Falls, Washington (where a lot of the filming took place) did not have much to offer for housing film crews (like hotels) so many of the crew stayed at local campsites, rented rooms from locals. Kevin Costner rented a house from a resident of the nearby town of Ione, Washington. The stars and crew treated the locals very kindly even when approached for autographs when eating in local restaurants. (Sounds like fun)

Residents of an apartment building in Metaline Falls, Washington were paid to have their windows blown out during the “Hannibal at the gate” scene that takes place in Benning. The apartments were later repaired and cleaned up, returning them to new.

The Postman’s fake president was named “Richard Starkey”, the real name of Ringo Starr. (Ah, I didn’t get that)

An open mining pit in Tucson was used in the movie. It was one of the largest film sets ever dressed, at least two miles wide, and 1200 feet deep to create Bethlehem’s camp. Engineers looked over the drawings for buildings of the future to see if they were structurally sound. They built Bridge City on the face of the dam that supplies half of Seattle’s power. (These are cool notes)

Visual effects supervisor Tricia Henry Ashford was fired several weeks before the end of production and replaced by storyboard artist David J. Negron Jr.. This was reportedly due to various “creative differences” between her and Kevin Costner; she wanted most of the effects to be done in post-production, while Costner wanted them to be done in-camera and on-location.

In the sequence where Kevin Costner’s character names Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr) as President, he continues with another reference to The Beatles by telling the assembly “It’s getting better. Getting better all the time” from the band’s song “Getting Better”. (Also didn’t get that one)

We never learn The Postman’s real name.

The crew referred to the film as “Dirt World”.

Tom Petty plays himself. When The Postman and Abby met The Mayor of Bridge City (Tom Petty), The Postman says to him “I know you. You’re famous.” (Well … I guess if he was supposed to be like 60 in those scenes.)

At one point, this was in development as a project for Ron Howard, with Tom Hanks set to star. (I don’t believe it)

The Postman (1997) takes place the same year as another post apocalyptic movie – John Carpenter’s Escape From L.A. (1996). Both films take place in the year 2013. (Extended universe!)

It was the extras that referred to the production as “Dirt World”. This was never to be spoken within earshot of Kevin Costner, because he would fire anyone he heard saying it. (Ah I get it, like Waterworld … that’s pretty good)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture of the Decade (2000)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Jim Wilson, Steve Tisch, Kevin Costner, 1998)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Kevin Costner, 1998)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Kevin Costner, 1998)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Eric Roth, Brian Helgeland, John, John Wilson, 1998)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (John Coinman, Joe Flood, Blair Forward, Maria M. Machado, Jono Manson, 1998)

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!)

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.)