Red Sonja Preview

“How… how are we talking to you?” Rich asks the small squirrel that has appeared in front of them. “Destiny,” it whispers in importance, dancing excitedly on its tiny feet, “it is foretold in the ancient scroll. Come.” Its eyes are shining and it hurries off, occasionally turning back and beckoning them forth. Rich and Poe shrug their shoulders. What’s one more adventure? Besides, Nic Cage needs saving and this, however bizarre, is their best lead. Upon arriving at the squirrel’s tree they see that word has already spread, for hundreds of squirrels are there chattering amongst themselves. A gray, wizened squirrel waddles up with a little tiny knobbly cane and it’s all very sweet and Rich and Poe both think it’s very cute. “It has been foretold,” the old squirrel wheezes, “in the ancient scroll,” it continues pulling out the cutest, tiniest scroll and unrolling it. Thank god they don’t have to read it themselves because it’s so little and tiny and they’d need tiny cute glasses to read it, which the old squirrel has. He clears his throat and reads, “It is foretold in this ancient scroll that there will come a time where the great one will fall ill and a pair of twins will arrive to seek out the cure. The Great Nut that will be broken and through its shattering will clear the bowels of humanity.” The bad movie twins frown. “And with a mighty expulsion of putrid air and waste, which is foretold in this scroll, the world will be empty and the movement satisfactory.” The old squirrel hacks and coughs with the effort of speaking and really this whole thing is a little less cute once it’s all laid out like that. Recovering, it squeaks out a final, “Destiny,” before waving them away. That’s right! We’re watching the Conan the Barbarian adjacent sword and sandals film Red Sonja starring a new-on-the-scene Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold (but not playing Conan for some reason). Let’s see if 35 years have aged this fantasy action film into a fine wine. Let’s go!

Red Sonja (1985) – BMeTric: 60.0; Notability: 33 

(Surprisingly low. I guess I’m not surprised it has been rising with the number of votes though. I feel like these cheesy 80s properties are ripe for cult status. Very high notability given though considering it looks like garbage.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Spectacularly silly sword-and-sorcery saga with female lead, based on pulp writings of Robert E. Howard (of Conan fame). Might amuse juvenile viewers, but only point of interest for adults is deciding who gives the worse performance, Nielsen or villainess Bergman. Schwarzenegger has a brief guest spot.

(I don’t think Arnold’s guest sport is all that brief. I think he’s in like half the film. This feels like a review that was written much closer to the time of the film’s release. Somewhat interesting that he gave the same score to Conan the Destroyer, which was a genuinely terrible film from what I can recall.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUHsZEo4I24/

(They basically go all out on “THIS IS A CONAN FILM” … but he’s Lord Kalidor don’t worry about it. Man they really don’t make films like this anymore. It is basically a pulp novel come to life!)

Directors – Richard Fleischer – (Known For: Soylent Green; Tora! Tora! Tora!; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; Fantastic Voyage; The Vikings; 10 Rillington Place; Compulsion; Mr. Majestyk; The Boston Strangler; Barabbas; See No Evil; The Last Run; The Narrow Margin; Violent Saturday; Future BMT: Amityville 3-D; The Jazz Singer; Doctor Dolittle; Mandingo; Million Dollar Mystery; The Incredible Sarah; BMT: Red Sonja; Conan the Destroyer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for The Jazz Singer in 1981; Notes: )

Writers – Robert E. Howard (based on the character created by) – (Known For: Conan the Barbarian; Solomon Kane; Future BMT: Kull the Conqueror; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Red Sonja; Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Sadly killed himself on the night his mother died when he was 30 years old. Was friends with H. P. Lovecraft and one of the Lovecraft Circle.)

Clive Exton (written by) – (Known For: 10 Rillington Place; Isadora; Future BMT: The Awakening; BMT: Red Sonja; Notes: His last major motion picture. He wrote 21 episodes of Poirot, which is great and I highly recommend.)

George MacDonald Fraser (written by) – (Known For: Octopussy; The Three Musketeers; The Four Musketeers; The Return of the Musketeers; BMT: Red Sonja; Notes: Created Harry Flashman, the bully of Tom Brown’s School Days. The character appeared in the film Royal Flash starring Malcolm McDowell.)

Roy Thomas (comic book) (uncredited) – (Known For: Logan; Fire and Ice; BMT: Red Sonja; Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Wrote for a bunch of comic companies, but probably most notably Marvel. Credited on Morbius, and Captain Marvel among many others because of that. Wrote three sword and sorcery films in 1983, 1984, and 1985.)

Barry Windsor-Smith (comic book) (uncredited) – (BMT: Red Sonja; Notes: Notably wrote on the Weapon X storyline for Marvel comics in addition to the Conan the Barbarian comics.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: Terminator: Dark Fate; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; The Terminator; Total Recall; Commando; Predator; Dave; True Lies; Kindergarten Cop; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; Conan the Barbarian; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Escape Plan; The Running Man; Twins; Welcome to the Jungle; The Last Stand; The 6th Day; Maggie; Future BMT: Hercules in New York; Junior; Collateral Damage; Jingle All The Way; End of Days; Cactus Jack; The Iron Mask; Eraser; Terminator Genisys; Last Action Hero; The Kid & I; BMT: Batman & Robin; Red Sonja; Raw Deal; Sabotage; Around the World in 80 Days; Conan the Destroyer; The Expendables 3; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1983 for Conan the Barbarian; in 1994 for Last Action Hero; in 2000 for End of Days; and in 2001 for The 6th Day; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1998 for Batman & Robin; in 2001 for The 6th Day; in 2005 for Around the World in 80 Days; and in 2015 for The Expendables 3; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The 6th Day in 2001; Notes: A little odd he gets top billing in the film. Anyhoo, he just had heart surgery, but is in recovery and feeling “fantastic”. Arnold is the best.)

Brigitte Nielsen – (Known For: Creed II; Beverly Hills Cop II; Future BMT: Rocky IV; BMT: Red Sonja; Cobra; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst New Star for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst New Star for Red Sonja in 1986; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 1986 for Red Sonja; in 1987 for Cobra; and in 1990 for Bye Bye Baby; Notes: Famously was engaged to Sly Stallone during Rocky IV and then married soon after. She’s famously 6’1’’ which is part of the reason they approached her for this film.)

Sandahl Bergman – (Known For: Conan the Barbarian; All That Jazz; Airplane II: The Sequel; Hell Comes to Frogtown; Future BMT: Xanadu; The Singing Detective; Mame; BMT: Red Sonja; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Red Sonja in 1986; Notes: Oddly, much like Arnold, she played two different characters in this and the original Conan the Barbarian. Apparently she was originally asked to play Sonja … I wonder with Arnold and her in the two leading roles whether they would have more explicitly suggested they were Conan and Valerie.)

Budget/Gross – $17.9 million / Domestic: $6,948,633 (Worldwide: $6,951,415)

(Yeah that’s a disaster. I’m not sure I believe the nearly $20 million budget though, but perhaps that explains why they pumped the brakes on King Conan, the third film that was eventually turned into Kull the Conqueror … oh yeah I forgot we have a final Conan film to watch!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (4/26): Dull, poorly directed, and badly miscast, Red Sonja is an uninspired conclusion to Schwarzenegger’s barbarian trilogy.

(Most reviews appear to lament how miscast Nielsen is, and how if she were the least bit charming or funny the film would end up being a light romp. Instead it is a deathly serious disaster. Reviewer Highlight: Red Sonja returns to those olden days when women were women and the menfolk stood around with funny hats on until called forth to be whacked at. – Variety)

Poster – Red Skloga

(Yes. … … oh you want more? This fits a mold that makes my brain happy and I wish I could go back in time, ask for a large poster for my room, and hang it there because it’s cool. It feels like the cover of a book I’d read and it would be kinda terrible but also I’d like reading it. So I don’t even think I can give an unbiased opinion on this so I’ll rate it J. Stands for “Jamie likes this.”)

Tagline(s) – A woman and a warrior that became a legend. (C-)

(Bringing me down to Earth. I can judge this without bias and I don’t like it because it’s bad. It’s too long and doesn’t flow. It isn’t clever and is kinda vague.)

Keyword – sword and sorcery

Top 10: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Troy (2004), Dune (1984), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Princess Bride (1987), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), 300 (2006), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), Stardust (2007)

Future BMT: 65.9 Highlander: Endgame (2000), 53.2 The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990), 50.6 Your Highness (2011), 49.7 The Last Legion (2007), 46.9 Kull the Conqueror (1997), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 44.4 Wrath of the Titans (2012), 42.9 Hercules (1983), 41.2 Clash of the Titans (2010), 34.4 Il mondo di Yor (1983);

BMT: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), Hellboy (2019), Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), The Last Airbender (2010), Conan the Barbarian (2011), Masters of the Universe (1987), Seventh Son (2014), The 13th Warrior (1999), Eragon (2006), Conan the Destroyer (1984), Red Sonja (1985), Season of the Witch (2011), Dungeons & Dragons (2000), In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)

(I mean … I wouldn’t count the Harry Potter films personally. But certainly the genre had a moment with Lord of the Rings in the early 00s. And now they are having a big moment on television with Game of Thrones and now the upcoming Wheel of Time (which I hope is good), a reboot of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and things like The Witcher. NeverEnding Story II is a wild one from the BMT list.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Arnold Schwarzenegger is No. 1 billed in Red Sonja and No. 4 billed in Expendables 3, 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) => 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 13. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character was originally intended to be a reprisal of Conan, star of the comic book in which Red Sonja first appeared, but the film did not have the rights to this name. An unofficial explanation endorsed by fans is that Kalidor is one of Conan’s “traveling names,” a common feature of multi-national mythical/legendary heroes such as Zeus (a.k.a. Jupiter) and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Gandalf (a.k.a. Mithrandir). (Oh, I just thought they were trying to get that Conan sheen while not having to deal with it being a Conan movie explicitly. Weird they didn’t have the rights)

Arnold Schwarzenegger eschews this movie as one of his worst, yet he (laughingly) claims that it’s an excellent disciplinary tool for his children. “I tell them, if they get on my bad side, they’ll be forced to watch Red Sonja (1985) ten times in a row. It must be working, because none of my kids has ever given me much trouble.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger signed up for a glorified cameo, as a favor to producer Dino De Laurentiis. Much to his surprise, he was on the set for four weeks, three weeks longer than expected. He discovered after watching a rough cut of the movie that his role had been expanded to co-star, thanks to crafty angles and multiple cameras. Soon after, Schwarzenegger decided to terminate his 10-year contract with De Laurentiss. (Ha! See I knew the Maltin note was kind of wrong. He’s in like half the movie.)

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brigitte Nielsen had an affair during filming. (Future wife of Sly … I wonder if there is any bad blood about that stuff)

Sigourney Weaver was considered for Red Sonja. (That would have been amazing)

It is commonly believed that Robert E. Howard created the character of Red Sonja in one of his Conan short stories. He actually created Red Sonya, who appeared in “Shadow of the Vulture,” a story set in 16th-century Turkey with no Conan connections. She was the namesake of the famous “Red Sonja” who first appeared in a Conan comic book written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Barry Windsor-Smith.

A remake was announced in 2009, with Robert Rodriguez directing and Rose McGowan to star as Red Sonja. When Conan the Barbarian (2011) failed at the box office, Rodriguez and McGowan backed out of the project. As of 2015, the remake is in development hell. (… but Rose McGowan was the bad guy in the 2011 Conan film … I don’t get it)

Sandahl Bergman was initially cast as the title character. She decided to portray Queen Gedren to help avoid typecasting. (Poor decision, would have been cooler with the Conan connection there)

It took Dino De Laurentiis almost a year to find an actress “Amazonian” enough to play the title character. Eight weeks before production was set to begin, he saw Brigitte Nielsen on the cover of a fashion magazine. The 21-year-old native of Helsingør, Denmark, in Milan for a modeling job, soon found herself on a plane heading for Rome and a successful screen test.

On a 2015 episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, soap opera actress Eileen Davidson revealed that she auditioned for the role and was actually runner-up to Brigitte Nielsen.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brigitte Nielsen, 1986)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brigitte Nielsen, 1986)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Sandahl Bergman, 1986)

Dolittle Preview

As the chamber melts away, the craggy dry peaks of The Waste shine through the blistering walls. John Travolta screams in rage as a tower of melting rocks fall on top of him and Rich and Poe hear his final plea, “never forget meeeeeeee.” Together, as brothers, Rich and Poe step out into the light to their freedom. Just then they hear a weak voice behind them, “Bad Movie Twins.” They turn and see the badly burned face and upper torso of Nic Cage sticking out of the melting ruin. There is a twinkle in his eyes and a smile plays through a painful grimace. “I always knew you two would save the world… together,” he whispers, putting out a shaky hand. Rich and Poe take it. “You… you knew the whole time, didn’t you?” they ask. It must be, even though if you really think through it it probably doesn’t make much sense. “Of course,” he croaks, “I knew the only way to stop him was to get you two in the game… and now… you must help me… I’m gravely injured… there is only one cure for my condition… it’s all explained… in… *gasp*… journal… *cough*… and…” and with that he faints. Rich and Poe are badly shaken. They wonder what could possibly be in Nic Cage’s Journal (all rights reserved) that could bring someone back from so close to death. More importantly they wonder how they are going to find something they didn’t even know existed before now. “You looking for that journal?” they hear from a tiny voice. They look around but don’t see anyone. “No, down here,” it says again and when they look down they gasp in astonishment. Looks like this is the start of another wondrous bad movie twins adventure. That’s right! We are starting right in on another adventure as we do one of the only essential BMT films of 2020. What was shaping up to be a stellar BMT year was thrown by Covid, but not before delivering Robbie D. Jr. and Dolittle into our laps. Let’s walk the walk and talk the talk with the animals. Let’s go!

Dolittle (2020) – BMeTric: 44.3; Notability: 60 

(Ha, that early rating. If that isn’t some sort of proof that there are attempts to manipulate online polls early in a film’s release, then I’m not sure what is. I mean … why would early viewers of this films be like “yes! 7 out of 10, nailed it” when every indication is that the film is an unmitigated disaster. A notability of 60 is absolutely huge though, I suppose that’s what happens when you have a giant ensemble cast of famous actors providing voices.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – It’s hard to know what, exactly, went wrong here. The concept is fine, even the adaptation is fine: eccentric doctor who can talk to animals goes on a series of madcap adventures! Sure! Nothing wrong with that! Hugh Lofting’s popular children’s book series, published in regular intervals during the 1920s and ’30s (with a couple of books of previously uncollected stories appearing posthumously), has been adapted many times before, for film, for television, animated, live action, etc. The “property” has been its own little franchise for a century now. But “Dolittle,” with Robert Downey Jr. in the eponymous role, is a wild whirlwind of a mess, without any coherence, without even a guiding principle. … “Dolittle”‘s post-production was troubled and turbulent, with other directors brought in to do last-minute surgery (if you believe the reports), and three weeks’ worth of re-shoots. That speaks to pretty severe problems. The release date was pushed back for months (usually an ominous sign). None of this would matter, though, if the confusion didn’t show so clearly on the screen.

(You know, right up until I read this review I had kind of forgotten about that. I knew about the infamous dragon fart scene at the end. But I forgot that mostly the film was slammed by critics for being so obviously edited from a pile of disjointed scenes and a complete mess of a production. Should be interesting if, indeed, it is as wildly obvious that is suggested by this review.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEf412bSPLs/

(Oh my god, I forgot about the co-opted song … one of the worst examples of it I think. It is too bad Robert Downey Jr. does the weird accent, because without it and the horrible song choice the film merely looks like a shiny kids’ movie. With those two elements though you kind of know it is going to be a disaster.)

Directors – Stephen Gaghan – (Known For: Syriana; Gold; Future BMT: Abandon; BMT: Dolittle; Notes: Directed one of the James Bond Heineken commercials. The partnership is somewhat notable in that Heineken has effectively paid the entirety of the production cost of several of the films, so hundreds of millions of dollars. Heineken claims that their internal numbers suggest the deal has netted them billions in extra revenue. Win win I suppose.)

Writers – Stephen Gaghan (screenplay by) – (Known For: Traffic; Syriana; Havoc; Future BMT: Abandon; The Alamo; Rules of Engagement; BMT: Dolittle; Notes: Won an Oscar for writing for his work on Traffic.)

Dan Gregor and Doug Mand (screenplay by) – (Known For: Magic Camp; Most Likely to Murder; BMT: Dolittle; Notes: Were writers for How I Met Your Mother most notably I think. Are tapped to write Rookie of the Year (which I assume is a remake of the 90s classic) and a live-action Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers film.)

Thomas Shepherd (screen story by) – (BMT: Dolittle; Notes: He has no notable credits and such a generic name as to make it impossible to search for information on him … I’m going to guess he’s like 20 and was given a first pass at the screenplay before handing it over to the writing team above.)

Hugh Lofting (character created by) – (Known For: Doctor Dolittle; Dr. Dolittle 2; Future BMT: Doctor Dolittle; BMT: Dolittle; Notes: Doctor Dolittle was created as part of illustrated letters to his children from the trenches of World War I. Moved to Connecticut after the war.)

Actors – Robert Downey Jr. – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Zodiac; Avengers: Infinity War; Spider-Man: Homecoming; Sherlock Holmes; Avengers Assemble; Iron Man; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Captain America: Civil War; Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows; Iron Man Three; Iron Man 2; Tropic Thunder; The Incredible Hulk; Weird Science; Chef; Natural Born Killers; The Judge; Back to School; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; Future BMT: The Shaggy Dog; Johnny Be Good; Black and White; Gothika; In Dreams; Air America; The Singing Detective; Lucky You; One Night Stand; Friends & Lovers; Girls Just Want to Have Fun; Hugo Pool; Up the Academy; Eros; Due Date; U.S. Marshals; Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus; Tuff Turf; Moving In; Too Much Sun; BMT: Dolittle; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars (Tropic Thunder and Chaplin). Has played Iron Man for over a decade. This was his first non-Tony Stark role since 2014.)

Antonio Banderas – (Known For: Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Spy Kids; The Skin I Live In; The Mask of Zorro; Frida; The Laundromat; Philadelphia; Pain and Glory; Haywire; Shrek 2; Femme Fatale; Knight of Cups; Shrek the Third; Once Upon a Time in Mexico; Desperado; Ruby Sparks; Acts of Vengeance; Shrek Forever After; Puss in Boots; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Future BMT: Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World; Machete Kills; The Other Man; Never Talk to Strangers; Play It to the Bone; Gun Shy; The Body; The Big Bang; The Legend of Zorro; Two Much; Thick as Thieves; Automata; Original Sin; Of Love and Shadows; Assassins; Justin and the Knights of Valour; Imagining Argentina; Four Rooms; Black Gold; Life Itself; The House of the Spirits; The Music of Silence; BMT: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Dolittle; The Expendables 3; The 13th Warrior; Notes: Was married to Melanie Griffith for nearly 20 years. Was a famous actor in Spain before transitioning to Hollywood in the early 90s.)

Michael Sheen – (Known For: Nocturnal Animals; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Alice in Wonderland; Tron; Apostle; Midnight in Paris; Blood Diamond; How to Build a Girl; Far from the Madding Crowd; Frost/Nixon; Kill the Messenger; The Queen; The Four Feathers; Brad’s Status; Wilde; The Damned United; Bright Young Things; Othello; Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer; Resistance; Future BMT: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Slaughterhouse Rulez; Admission; Home Again; Laws of Attraction; Mary Reilly; The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box; Alice Through the Looking Glass; Underworld: Rise of the Lycans; My Last Five Girlfriends; Underworld: Evolution; Jesus Henry Christ; Passengers; Underworld; Kingdom of Heaven; Music Within; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; Dolittle; Timeline; Notes: Welsh. He played Motzart on Broadway around 2000 which is when his career took off. Has also found television success with Masters of Sex.)

Budget/Gross – $175,000,000 / Domestic: $77,047,065 (Worldwide: $245,229,088)

(I mean … terrible, a huge bomb if you believe that budget. But not the biggest bomb in the world, and not nearly as bad as I was expecting. Maybe benefited from being one of the only films to be released majorly to theaters in 2020.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (31/227): Dolittle may be enough to entertain very young viewers, but they deserve better than this rote adaptation’s jumbled story and stale humor.

(All of the reviews are about the reshoots. Everything from how you can tell the story is cut up into a mish mash of ideas, to how Robert Downey Jr. never seems to be facing the camera when he speaks with all of this lines seemingly re-recorded. Reviewer Highlight: It really is horribly inert, and every time Downey opens his mouth to say something unintelligible, the film dies a bit more. – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)

Poster – Dr. Skloglittle

(I don’t love it mostly because it’s just a lot going on. I like an artistic theme, a color scheme, a triple beam lyrical dream… you know? But it’s got some nice font and the layout is good. So not terrible either. B-)

Tagline(s) – He’s just not a people person. (A-)

(This is certainly clever and all that. Just always a little weird to have a tagline like this where you probably have to be considerably older than the audience to even understand what’s going on with it. It’s a strange concept to think that an adult would look at the poster, chuckle at the tagline, and then when they take their kids to the movies they look and say “maybe Dolittle… it had a fun tagline.”  But again, clever, short, and a play on the plot. Overall pretty good.)

Keyword – live action and animation

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Casper (1995), Jumanji: The Next Level (2019), Jurassic Park (1993), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), The Lion King (2019), Maleficent (2014)

Future BMT: 76.5 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011), 75.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 67.3 Scooby-Doo (2002), 64.0 Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004), 60.0 Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007), 54.5 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (2015), 53.6 The Smurfs (2011), 53.3 The Smurfs 2 (2013), 49.0 Hop (2011), 46.7 Men in Black: International (2019);

BMT: Dolittle (2020), Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), Pixels (2015), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), The Cat in the Hat (2003), Kangaroo Jack (2003), Cool World (1992), Eragon (2006)

(Ascendant in the 90s, a little too much in the 00s, and now just settled as a normal part of all levels of filmmaking. That’s how I interpret that plot. The Scooby-Doo films are probably the big ones we are missing from the BMT list.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 21) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Antonio Banderas is No. 2 billed in Dolittle and No. 1 billed in Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, which also stars Talisa Soto (No. 5 billed) who is in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (No. 2 billed), which also stars Robin Shou (No. 1 billed) who is in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li (No. 6 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 2 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 1 + 6 + 2 + 2 = 21. If we were to watch Assassins, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Originally titled “The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle.” It was shortened in August 2019.

Robert Downey, Jr. based his character on Dr. William Price, an eccentric Welshman. Dr. Price is now a revered historical figure in Wales – there’s even a statue of him in his hometown of Llantrisant.

This is Robert Downey Jr.’s first non-Iron Man role since The Judge (2014).

This movie was originally going to be released on May 24, 2019 by Universal Pictures, but was moved to April 12, 2019 to avoid competition with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019). It was later pushed back again to January 17, 2020.

When the movie rights went up for auction, several studios went to bid before Universal Pictures got the rights. Amongst them were Sony and Twentieth Century Fox, with the latter having previously produced three theatrical movies based on the Dr. Dolittle series.

The cast includes five Oscar winners: Rami Malek, Jim Broadbent, Dame Emma Thompson, Octavia Spencer, and Marion Cotillard; and four Oscar nominees: Robert Downey, Jr., Antonio Banderas, Ralph Fiennes, and Kumail Nanjiani.

Originally, Randy Newman was the first choice to score this movie, seeing how his uncle Lionel Newman had involvement with Doctor Dolittle (1967).

To differentiate from his earlier British characters, Robert Downey, Jr. decided to use what he described as a “passable” Welsh accent for his version of Dr. Dolittle.

Universal Pictures drafted in Seth Rogen as a consultant during pre-production when the studio executives realized that re-shoots would be necessary.

The name of Rassouli, the King of Pirates is a likely reference to Mulai Ahmed er Raisuni. Known as Raisuli to most English speakers, he was a leader of the Jebala tribal confederacy in Morocco at the turn of the twentieth century. While regarded by foreigners and the Moroccan government as a brigand, some Moroccans, especially amongst the Jebala, considered him a heroic figure, fighting a repressive, corrupt government, while others considered him a thief. He was considered by many as “The last of the Barbary Pirates” though Barbary Coast piracy had ended by the middle of the nineteenth century. A fictionalized version of him was played by Sir Sean Connery in The Wind and the Lion (1975).

In Doctor Dolittle (1967), Chee-Chee was Judy the Chimpanzee.

Mrs. Winterbourne Preview

“What do you mean ‘nursery rhymes’?” asks Gruber incredulously. But Rich nods his head, he means just that. The man they were meeting, Robin, killed by an arrow, and signed “The Sparrow.” And to drive home the point he tosses a classic Tommy Thumb book into Gruber’s lap. He flips through the pages and raises his eyebrows. “It’s pretty spot on… same with Rich, riding a horse until he can’t no more. Alright, I buy it. It’s super lame, but I buy it. So where are we going now.” Rich stops the car and points to his apartment. “Oranges and Lemons. Starts with a candle putting me to bed, ends with a chopper chopping off my head. But that’s not gonna happen… you won’t let it,” and he looks straight at Gruber who’s eyes grow wide. It’s a terrible plan for a terrible serial killer, but they have no choice. They must get the Dongle. Hours later Gruber is hiding in the closet and Rich is in his sleeping cap with a glass of warm milk in his hands. He’s quite cozy in his cozy clothes and slowly… slowly… slowly his eyelids begin to droop… when suddenly *creeak* a step is heard on the stairs. Gruber stiffens, Rich blows out the candle and the room goes dark. Suddenly a scream rings out and Gruber leaps from the closet. Was he too late? Did he miss his chance? When he flips on the light the murderer is standing over the bed with an axe plunged deep into the sleeping Rich. Gruber prepares to blow him away, but suddenly Rich has the killer in a headlock, the figure in the bed having been quickly crafted from some nearby papier-mache. Rich smirks, “Drop it, dirtbag… or should I say, Dr. Summersly.” That’s right, we are jumping straight into what is likely the best twin-centric romantic comedy that is truly just good clean fun (I presume there are some… less savory twin-centric “romantic” films out there). It stars Brendan Fraser and boy, does it seem not that exciting. Let’s go!

Slurping down his third Dr. Pepper infused pork rind sandwich, Poe is starting to feel a bit sick. But if this is the only way to defeat the dragons then he must. “Is this enough munchies? Are we ready” he asks queasily. But his twin protectors chuckle and keep eating. Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye he sees a glimmer of jade. A woman in green is fleeing and there is something… familiar. Something… irresistible about the glimpse he just got. Dropping his pork rinds he begins pursuit. That’s right! At least we can have some fun with the Friend as we are taking in Woman of Desire, a steamy Jeff Fahey classic tale of seduction. Jeff Fahey… steamy… a little redundant. Let’s go!

Mrs. Winterbourne (1996) – BMeTric: 17.5; Notability: 28 

(Pretty high rating. This is a normal bad 90s film I think. Around 30 notability. A low 6.0s IMDb score. It actually is just barely off from perfectly average for a qualifying film I would bet. For BMeTric that’ll be 20-25, and for notability I’ve mentioned 30 is very much what you expect for a bad film in general … maybe means this will be bland, average, and boring.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – Brendan Fraser is solid as the lover who sees through deception and out the other side. And there are some nice moments with Paco (Miguel Sandoval), the gay Cuban chauffeur, who considers himself a Winterbourne of sorts, and tells the weeping Connie, “If bad things are going to happen, let them happen here.” “Mrs. Winterbourne” has the kind of plot that might have distinguished an old Hollywood tearjerker, and in fact, it did: “No Man of Her Own” (1950) with Barbara Stanwyck. It is an old-fashioned, manipulated romantic melodrama, where coincidence is a condition of the universe. Because it is light and stylish and good-hearted, it is quite possible to enjoy, in the right frame of mind. But I am not sure it is worth the effort of putting on your shoes and going out to the theater. This is more of a movie to see on video, on an empty night when you need something to hurl at the gloom.

(Nice I guess. Yeah, that is probably the best we could have hoped for a film like this. I would take melodrama ten times out of ten, over “this film is aggressively boring, I fell asleep during it.”)

Trailer –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukQ9SfY2gJo 

(The music!!! The voiceover!!! This trailer is incredible. Also, how the hell don’t they go with a coma, how do they start the film with two people and an unborn child perishing? Also, I distinctly remember McLaine doing the cigarette trick … it is either from this trailer when I was ten, or something she does in other movies.)

Directors – Richard Benjamin – (Known For: Mermaids; The Money Pit; Racing with the Moon; Little Nikita; My Favourite Year; Future BMT: Marci X; Made in America; My Stepmother Is an Alien; City Heat; Milk Money; BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: Basically his last hurrah as a director, he was also a pretty big actor in the 70s. Was nominated for a Golden Globe for The SunShine Boys in 1975. His wife appears uncredited as the nurse in this film.)

Writers – Cornell Woolrich (novel) – (Known For: Rear Window; Phantom Lady; Cloak & Dagger; The Bride Wore Black; Mississippi Mermaid; The Window; The Leopard Man; No Man of Her Own; Union City; Future BMT: Original Sin; BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: Kind of a sad story. Lived with his domineering mother for much of his life. After taking care of her during a lengthy illness he was burned out after she died and basically just drank himself to death in the subsequent 10 years or so. His funeral went unattended, and he bequeathed a scholarship to Columbia named after not himself, but his mother.)

Phoef Sutton (screenplay) – (Future BMT: The Fan; BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: A producer and writer on Cheers, he has written a bunch of Darrow & Darrow mysteries for the Hallmark Channel more recently. He won two Emmys for his work on Cheers.)

Lisa-Maria Radano (screenplay) – (BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: Hosts a podcast called the American Fashion Podcast which appears to be a weekly podcast about the fashion industry.)

Actors – Shirley MacLaine – (Known For: Steel Magnolias; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; The Apartment; Terms of Endearment; Ocean’s Eleven; Being There; In Her Shoes; Bernie; Noelle; Two Mules for Sister Sara; Around the World in 80 Days; The Trouble with Harry; The Children’s Hour; Sweet Charity; Postcards from the Edge; The Last Word; Irma la Douce; Defending Your Life; The Turning Point; Some Came Running; Future BMT: Bewitched; The Little Mermaid; Wild Oats; A Smile Like Yours; The Evening Star; Closing the Ring; Bruno; Elsa & Fred; What a Way to Go!; BMT: Cannonball Run II; Rumor Has It…; Valentine’s Day; Mrs. Winterbourne; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Cannonball Run II in 1985; Notes: Amazingly nominated for six Oscars, and is the older sister of Warren Beatty (she changed her name because people had trouble pronouncing it).)

Ricki Lake – (Known For: Hairspray; Cry-Baby; Working Girl; Hairspray; Serial Mom; Gemini; Last Exit to Brooklyn; Cabin Boy; Cecil B. Demented; Where the Day Takes You; Inside Monkey Zetterland; Future BMT: Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Cookie; Park; BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: Had her star turn in Hair in the 80s, and then transitioned into a television talk show host in the 90s amid attempts to break into film (while also having a bunch of weight loss/gain issues if I recall).)

Brendan Fraser – (Known For: The Mummy; Crash; The Mummy Returns; George of the Jungle; Bedazzled; Journey to the Center of the Earth; Blast from the Past; School Ties; Gods and Monsters; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; Dogfight; The Quiet American; A Case of You; The Passion of Darkly Noon; Still Breathing; Twenty Bucks; Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy; The Twilight of the Golds; Future BMT: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor; Eye for an Eye; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; The Nut Job; California Man; Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star; The Scout; Son in Law; Inkheart; Airheads; Hustlers; HairBrained; Extraordinary Measures; The Last Time; Gimme Shelter; The Air I Breathe; With Honors; BMT: Furry Vengeance; Dudley Do-Right; Monkeybone; In the Army Now; Escape from Planet Earth; Mrs. Winterbourne; Now and Then; Notes: A huge star in the 90s, his career was somewhat waylaid by his divorce in the late 00s combined with just generally being an aging action star. Has revived his career somewhat with a few good television turns in The Affair and Doom Patrol.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $10,082,005 (Worldwide: $10,082,005)

(Wow, how was this film made for $25 million? I don’t get where the money could have went. Surely not to the cast. It is literally just to rent a mansion for two months? I don’t understand. Big bomb if true.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (3/30)

(Noice, I get to make a consensus: The type of film that relies on the lead actress to keep the it afloat … Ricki Lake is not that actress. Reviewer Highlight: The plot remains joyless in its contrivances. – Janet Maslin, New York Times)

Poster – Mrs. Winterboring

(This is not a movie I want to watch. Did they paint a picture and just put it in the middle of the poster. This whole thing is pretty terrible, but at least they gave it a little pop with the color and the font. Still… C- at best.)

Tagline(s) – The story of a girl who is going from filthy to rich (B)

(I appreciate this. I appreciate the effort. A little mean to refer to Ricki Lake as filthy… I mean, she was perhaps down on her luck, but not covered in filth or anything. But I think I like it despite the fact that it’s probably twice the length it should be.)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), The Great Outdoors (1988), House of Wax (2005), Despicable Me 3 (2017), A Cinderella Story (2004)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 57.9 House of Wax (2005), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 52.0 The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 36.2 A Cinderella Story (2004), 31.0 It Takes Two (1995);

BMT: Jack and Jill (2011), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), Father Figures (2017), Pluto Nash (2002), Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), The Identical (2014)

(Let’s see. We have The Astronaut’s Wife, Double Impact, and House of Wax coming up. So by the time we are finished here we would have gone from two “twins” films to nine. Beyond those nine actually the rest are rather dubious twin films as well.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Shirley MacLaine is No. 1 billed in Mrs. Winterbourne and No. 5 billed in Cannonball Run II, which also stars Burt Reynolds (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 5 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 5 + 1 + 5 + 4 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Extraordinary Measures we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Despite having already lost 125 lbs, Ricki Lake was required to lose an additional 20 lbs before filming could begin.

Matthew McConaughey was considered for the role of Bill/Hugh Winterbourne. (Would have been his second twin film in BMT at the very least)

Based on a book “I Married a Dead Man”

The Musketeer Preview

Wha-wha-wha… Sirs Sklogsalot? Where, and more importantly when, are they? “It’s… it’s August 12th, 2031, right?” Rich asks earnestly, stating the exact date very clearly. But their fellow knight Sir Bangarang just guffaws, “Right. 2031. As if, bro. It’s totally September 23rd, 1326. Pretty rad, right?” Rich and Poe’s heads are spinning. 1326? Why does it feel like… not that. Like this is all so fake… as if someone made it. “It’s falling apart,” Poe whispers to Rich, “we’re near the end and it’s all crashing down.” Rich nods and the end will be a battle for everything within them. Their souls, but most importantly the Obsidian Dongle and thus… Earth. “Where are we going?” Rich asks Bangarang, walking besides his horse. “Ha. Classic Sklogsalot. The castle, duh. The King is waiting and he’s none too happy. Nope. Better to just bite the bullet and get it over with. Face the music and all that. Lame, but I’m not the one who tried to kill him, amiright?” Rich and Poe’s faces blanch. This ain’t sounding so good. Maybe time to scram, but just when they are looking to book it Bangarang turns on them and pulls an uzi from under his armor. The gamemasters really half-assed this one. “Just come along quietly, Sklogalots. I’m getting too old for this shit.” Just then a whistle is heard from the surrounding trees. Bangarang looks around, suddenly concerned, and then turns and breaks out into a trot as several people backflip their way out of the forest. “Who are you?” Rich and Poe ask, admiring their flashy blue velour suits. “We are French,” they say matter of factly. “We saved you, so you are part of our crew. You are our… how do you say… Planchet?” That’s right! We are finally watching the Justin Chambers vehicle The Musketeer. This is the super rad martial arts interpretation of the Three Musketeers that literally everyone was clamouring for. We flooded the streets for calls for more Musketeer IP but now with karate! Swing around on ropes, we begged. Can they fight while on ladders? We asked. And so we received. The Musketeer. Let’s go!

The Musketeer (2001) – BMeTric: 55.7; Notability: 29 

(You can see the nice inflection in ‘11 and indeed, it seems like over the last few years films have reached a different stable point in vote growth. I feel like I need to do a new meta analysis on notability, because I would have thought this would have been a bit higher … but it also seems like most major films get between 25 and 35. But it is hard to tell.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – Peter Hyams’ “The Musketeer” combines traditional swashbuckling with martial arts in a movie where the men wear plumes in their hats but pounce like crouching tigers and scheme like hidden dragons. No wonder; the choreography of the fight scenes is by Xin-Xin Xiong–not a name on every tongue, I grant you, but he is one of the top action designers in Hong Kong. … I cannot in strict accuracy recommend this film. It’s such a jumble of action and motivation, ill-defined characters and action howlers. I am not even quite sure if Richelieu and Febre are on the same side, or if there are three or even four sides in the story. But the banquet scene is a marvel of art design. The action scenes are wonders to behold. And when Tim Roth vows vengeance on the man who blinded him, I for one believe him.

(An amazingly ok review from Ebert here. I think by 2001 he had fully entered his “it’s good for what it is” phase, which I personally rather appreciate. Watch the old “Worst of” shows for Ebert from the late 80s and early 90s and you’ll see him tear a film like this apart. By 2000 I think he became more appreciative of people just doing their thing.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFnSmS-SUXQ/

(This is one of the best-bad trailers ever made. If you show this trailer to anyone without pretense I have to assume their minds would melt. It doesn’t seem real. The moment where the narrator says “with fight choreography by …” as if I’m supposed to know who that is, and (worst yet), as if I’m supposed to think bringing wire-fu to The Three Musketeers is the most incredible idea ever conjured into existence … I love it. I’ve been waiting to watch this movie just based on this trailer for literally years.)

Directors – Peter Hyams – (Known For: Stay Tuned; Timecop; 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Hanover Street; Outland; Running Scared; Capricorn One; The Presidio; Sudden Death; Narrow Margin; Enemies Closer; The Star Chamber; Future BMT: End of Days; The Relic; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; The Musketeer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for End of Days in 2000; Notes: Has three sons. One was the director of Universal Soldier: Regeneration (for which Peter was cinematographer). One is the CEO of Indeed. And the last is the rap battle promoter Lush One. Read the notes on him below, this film was legitimately his career’s last gasp.)

Writers – Alexandre Dumas (novels) (as Alexandre Dumas père) – (Known For: The Count of Monte Cristo; The Three Musketeers; The Return of the Musketeers; La Reine Margot; The Four Musketeers; The Three Musketeers; The Count of Monte Cristo; The Iron Mask; Future BMT: The Three Musketeers; The Man in the Iron Mask; BMT: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; The Musketeer; The Three Musketeers; Notes: I don’t think I need to explain who Alexander Dumas is … but let’s appreciate that he is, in fact, credited as writing the novel that Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li is “based on”. Snooping around this seems potentially fake, but some places suggest maybe it is a vague adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo? Bizarre.)

Gene Quintano (screenplay) – (Known For: Police Academy 3: Back in Training; Sudden Death; Future BMT: Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Operation Dumbo Drop; King Solomon’s Mines; Loaded Weapon 1; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: Was a salesman who worked with the director Tony Anthony which is how he got into film. Wrote a good number of the Police Academy films. The Musketeer was effectively his last major production. Hyams and him worked on Sudden Death together.)

Actors – Justin Chambers – (Known For: Lakeview Terrace; Liberty Heights; Leo; Future BMT: The Wedding Planner; The Zodiac; Broken City; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: You would know him as reformed bad-boy Dr. Alex Karev on Grey’s Anatomy. He left the show this year, and you would not believe the arc they gave his character! No spoilers, but it is juicy drams, and fans are NOT happy.)

Catherine Deneuve – (Known For: Dancer in the Dark; Belle de Jour; The Brand New Testament; The Truth; The Hunger; Repulsion; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; Pola X; Persepolis; Les Demoiselles de Rochefort; 8 Women; Tristana; Indochine; A Cop; Hustle; Mississippi Mermaid; Once Upon a Time; The Last Metro; Time Regained; A Christmas Tale; Future BMT: O Convento; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: Chosen as one of the 100 sexiest stars in history by Empire magazine in 1995, and from 1985 to 1989 she was the model for Marianne, the national symbol of France.)

Mena Suvari – (Known For: American Pie; American Beauty; American Pie 2; American Reunion; Slums of Beverly Hills; Becks; Stuck; Edmond; Brooklyn Rules; The Dog Problem; Future BMT: The Rage: Carrie 2; Loser; Beauty Shop; Trauma; Domino; You May Not Kiss the Bride; Sugar & Spice; Live Virgin; The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; Sonny; Caffeine; The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson; Standing Still; Factory Girl; Nowhere; Spun; Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children; BMT: The Musketeer; Rumor Has It…; Kiss the Girls; Notes: She now does mostly television (like American Woman and American Horror Story) and non-theatrical / television films. Notable for the sheer number of works with the word “American” in them that she’s been in.)

Budget/Gross – $40,000,000 / Domestic: $27,073,640 (Worldwide: $32,533,802)

(For the actual production company I imagine this was a disaster, and I also imagine they totally blamed the director in the end. According to the notes the distribution was sold for $7.5 million so cleary the companies that distributed it did fine. That is a lot more money, especially domestically, than I would have thought.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (11/99): Hong Kong inspired action sequences take center stage in this latest Three Musketeers adaptation. Unfortunately, the oversimplification of the story and an uncharismatic lead character leave the movie flat.

(How dare you slander Justin Chambers like that! He’s Grey’s Anatomy mega-star Justin Chambers!! Reviewer Highlight: Musketeer’s fight scenes are underlit, overmiked, and appallingly edited, with none of the spacious grace that even routine Asian action flicks get right. Worse, the narrative scenes make less sense. – Ty Burr, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Câble-fu

(This ain’t your daddy’s Three Musketeers. I think that comes across in this poster, although a bit busy. Nice font, nice color scheme. Needs a little bit more of an artistic touch to get the feeling of motion across. But not the worst. B.)

Tagline(s) – As you’ve never seen it before. (C)

(Why not just go with The ain’t your daddy’s Three Musketeers? It is what you’re trying to say and at least people would have been like “lol, WTF” rather than just shrug at the cliche of it all. I need more from my taglines. This is short and gets the point across, but there isn’t any heart… no love… you know?)

Keyword – historical fiction

Top 10: Django Unchained (2012), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Titanic (1997), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Dunkirk (2017), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Wonder Woman (2017), Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Assassin’s Creed (2016), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

Future BMT: 55.6 Robin Hood (2018), 41.8 Young Einstein (1988), 37.2 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), 36.9 The Great Wall (2016), 27.5 The Legend of Tarzan (2016), 27.5 Inferno (2016), 27.4 47 Ronin (2013), 21.8 Yellowbeard (1983), 20.5 Live by Night (2016), 20.4 The Three Musketeers (1993);

BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Assassin’s Creed (2016), The Three Musketeers (2011), Wild Wild West (1999), Red Riding Hood (2011), Jonah Hex (2010), The Scarlet Letter (1995), The Musketeer (2001)

(I think next on the docket had to be Robin Hood. Like The Three Musketeers it is a story that just gets made and made and made, presumably because the rights are in the public domain or something. There must be hundreds of versions of Robin Hoods. That peak at 2016 is interesting, there does seem to be an inordinate number of historical fiction films that came out then. I wonder why.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 25) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Mena Suvari is No. 4 billed in The Musketeer and No. 8 billed in Rumor Has It…, 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) => 4 + 8 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 25. If we were to watch The Wedding Planner, and Two for the Money we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – D’Artagnan did really exist. His name was Charles de Batz and was called D’Artagnan when he arrived in Paris probably because he was coming from the south-west of France (where the movie was partly shot) and where there is a little city called Artagnan.

The first film that Director Peter Hyams had directed without his long time editor Steven Kemper, who vowed not to work with the Director after the last few films he had directed which included End of Days and The Relic were too darkly lit and shot causing editorial problems. (Wow!)

The first film the Director Peter Hyams did not work with his usual composer John Debney. Debney had composed the music for Sudden Death, The Relic and End of Days for Hyams.

Universal Pictures teamed up Miramax Films to buy the film’s North American and U.K. rights for only $7.5 million, and the film was very profitable for both companies.

Return to the Blue Lagoon Preview

“Oy, mates!” screams Alligator Steve as he hops down from Bessy and greets Rich and Poe. Apparently, in the scuffle with the gamemasters he also fell through the portal and ended up back in his homeland. “All for the best,” he says with a wink. He watches in amusement as Tiniman’s army moves quickly away through the fire desert. With a slap on the back he invites Rich and Poe back to his village where they partake in some traditional shrimp on the barbie and hear the legend of their giant alligator friends. It’s all very exciting and interesting. “Do you think, Steve,” Poe asks, “that maybe we are supposed to help you win this war? That that’s the purpose of this part of the game?” But Steve isn’t so sure. The gamemasters seemed mighty suspicious of their behavior back at the school. “War is war, mates. You don’t want any part of it. Take Bessie and head out to the islands,” he says pointing to some beautiful tropical islands off the coast. “No will find you there. You will live a beautiful natural life full of natural beauty and wonder. It’ll be a magical time that everyone will be interested in because of how beautiful it is. And perchance you will find love there with the beautiful natural denizens of the island and it will be beautiful and natural and not creepy because how could something so beautiful and natural be creepy, right?” …. right. They try to convince him that they don’t need Bessie, but Steve is insistent that he’ll be alright. There’s a reason they call him Lil’ Bessie, mighty warrior. Just before they leave Rich and Poe look back at Steve one more time and ask hesitantly, “so this definitely isn’t a weird, creepy place, right?” That’s right! We’re watching the double feature of The Blue Lagoon and The Return to the Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields and Milla Jovovich, respectively. Panned at the time by critics for a variety of reasons they’ve mostly been remembered as films about nude young people falling in love on an island… which isn’t a great look. They are both set on an undiscovered island in the Pacific, which was good enough for us. Let’s go!

Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991) – BMeTric: 50.6; Notability: 21 

(Wait, this one also has that same 2012-2014 inflection. Looking through other films it really doesn’t seem that common. Just wait for this theory: The Blue Lagoon: Awakening, the totally unrelated third film made by Lifetime … came out in 2012. So when that came out people went and watched the whole series, and rated the film. That is blowing my mind.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  The two-year-old son of Lagoon 1’s deceased parents is rescued by a ship carrying a widow and her year-old daughter; circumstances (read: cholera) force the trio onto another tropical island, so the kids can eventually partake in PG-13 prurience.

(There are so many amazing things in this review. Calling it “Lagoon 1” with the number 1 is amazing. The semi-colon quickly followed by “read: cholera” … there is just something so charmingly quirky and shrunk down about the entire review. The BOMB designation is shockingly rare, so that’s super fun.)

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

(Hahahahahahahahah it was the first film to explore natural love? More like it was the first film to show 20 minutes of uninterrupted underwater dick shots. Oh gosh, “I’ve become one” they put that in the trailer? Out of innocence comes the most sensual love of all? Yiiiiiiikes. Guys, this one might be a doozy.)

Directors – William A. Graham – (Future BMT: Change of Habit; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: Was a prolific television director in the 70s and 80s, getting nominated for an Emmy for a television movie about Jim Jones. Was in the Navy and an avid sailor, which is maybe why he was tapped for this.)

Writers – Henry De Vere Stacpoole (book) – (Future BMT: The Blue Lagoon; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: Was able to retire after the success of The Blue Lagoon and write fiction full time. He occasionally wrote under the name Tyler De Saix.)

Leslie Stevens (screenplay) – (Known For: The War Lord; The Left Handed Gun; Incubus; Future BMT: Sheena; Gordy; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Sheena; and in 1992 for Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: A Navy brat, he ended up writing for Broadway. Created the late 90s revival of The Outer Limits before dying in 1998.)

Actors – Brian Krause – (Future BMT: Sleepwalkers; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: He starred in the Bandit series of television movies which act as a prequel to Smokey and the Bandit. Cristopher Atkins  (the star of the original Blue Lagoon) was in the first of those films. He played a main role in the series Charmed in the late 90s.)

Milla Jovovich – (Known For: The Fifth Element; Dazed and Confused; Zoolander; Paradise Hills; He Got Game; A Perfect Getaway; Chaplin; Stone; The Claim; Dummy; Future BMT: Future World; Resident Evil: Retribution; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter; Anarchy: Ride or Die; Survivor; Resident Evil: Afterlife; Two Moon Junction; The Fourth Kind; No Good Deed; The Million Dollar Hotel; Resident Evil: Apocalypse; Kuffs; Resident Evil: Extinction; Bringing Up Bobby; Joan of Arc; A Warrior’s Tail; Dirty Girl; Shock and Awe; Resident Evil; BMT: Ultraviolet; Zoolander 2; Hellboy; Return to the Blue Lagoon; The Three Musketeers; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 2000 for Joan of Arc; and in 2013 for Resident Evil: Retribution; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Fifth Element in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: Her daughter Ever Anderson was just cast as Wendy in the new Peter Pan film.)

Lisa Pelikan – (Known For: Circle; Julia; Swing Shift; It’s My Party; Future BMT: Ghoulies; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: Was at one point married to Bruce Davison (the Senator from X-Men), and has going to be a dancer, but a surgery cut her career short and she went into acting.)

Budget/Gross – $11,000,000 / Domestic: $2,807,854 (Worldwide: $2,807,854)

(Somehow a huge bomb! I guess back in 1980 people were much more willing to watch a film of this style. And then this one came out and was roughly the same 12 years later … and people just had zero interest.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/30): Despite its lush tropical scenery and attractive leads, Return to the Blue Lagoon is as ridiculous as its predecessor, and lacks the prurience and unintentional laughs that might make it a guilty pleasure.

(A zero percent is really really rare. I think this summary might have missed a bit of the point of why it was universally derided: this is the same as the previous film, but as a big dose of cynicism as it is (at least perceived to be) a cash grab. Reviewer Highlight: The sincere idiocy of this film really has to be seen to be appreciated — not that I think there is any need for you to see, or appreciate, it. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.)

Poster – Return to the Creepy Sexy Lagoon

(Much better than the first film’s poster. I like the orange sunset tones and Brian Krause’s face nicely conveys the plot of the film: bad acting. Wish the font was better and maybe this would have jumped past mediocre. B-. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: There we go, I love when I really get to color my face a crazy color. I have to assume there is a way to do this while keeping the whites very whit (like Jovovich’s eyes and teeth) … probably a filter. I think my pale complexion would end up registering as “tooth colored”.)

Tagline(s) – The story of natural love continues… (D)

Alone… wild… untamed… (B+)

(Hahahaha, that second tagline is quite hilarious. There certainly would be some things wild and untamed on that island… I’m talking about their hair… I’m saying they’d be wildly ungroomed… Anyway, the first tagline is stupid. The second one is actually OK… you know, if it actually had anything to do with the chaste, totally not wild love story of this franchise.)

Keyword – tropical island

Top 10: Jurassic Park (1993), Moana (2016), Jurassic World (2015), Cast Away (2000), Serenity (2019), The Thin Red Line (1998), The Beach (2000), Ice Age (2002), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)

Future BMT: 39.0 Club Dread (2004), 34.0 Robinson Crusoe (2016), 14.7 The Beach (2000);

BMT: Serenity (2019), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)

(Small keyword obviously. The Beach is the big one. BTW you can notice it more here, but yeah, The Blue Lagoon technically doesn’t qualify for BMT because technically there is no confirmation that it was released to 600+ theaters in the US. But it also made like $60 million apparently, so it was definitely a wide release. But it means it won’t show up in any analysis.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Milla Jovovich is No. 1 billed in Return to the Blue Lagoon and No. 1 billed in Ultraviolet, which also stars Cameron Bright (No. 2 billed) who is in Godsend (No. 4 billed), which also stars Rebecca Romijn (No. 2 billed) who is in Rollerball (No. 3 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 = 16. If we were to watch Joan of Arc, Hook, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – Milla Jovovich said that this is the worst movie she has ever done.

First starring role of Milla Jovovich.

Milla Jovovich said of this movie, “I think that the idea of falling in love on a deep and spiritual level without the distractions of the material world will always be appealing.”

When she was 13, during her days as a teenage fashion model, Milla Jovovich had been hailed by critics as “The New Brooke Shields .” Shields played Emmeline Lestrange in The Blue Lagoon (1980), to which this film is a sequel.

On Taveuni Island in Fiji, production designer Jon Dowding began work on the movie’s main set pieces 60 days before the cameras began rolling. Having served as the art director on The Blue Lagoon (1980), Dowding welcomed the opportunity to expand and improve upon his work from the earlier film. Both Dowding and his wife, wardrobe designer Aphrodite Kondos, drew extensively upon the cultures of Oceania for the design elements of the film. Dowding said, “In addition to the rich cultural influences of Fiji, Australian aborigines, New Guinea, Micronesia, Melanesia, the Marquesas and Easter Islands, we made every attempt to use raw materials found on Taveuni in the construction of the props, sets and costumes”.

Although it was touted as a sequel to The Blue Lagoon (1980), many reviewers criticized it as more of a remake than a sequel.

Nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards at the 12th annual ceremony in 1991. It was nominated for Worst Picture and Worst Director –both for William A. Graham; Worst Screenplay–Leslie Stevens; and two for Worst New Star–one each for Milla Jovovich and Brian Krause. It didn’t win in any category.

Taveuni in Fiji, the only land mass in the world that the international date line runs through, proved in the end to be a challenging but rewarding filming location of singular beauty. Cast and crew alike traveled countless miles on the island’s only thoroughfare, bouncing along an unpaved dirt road with harrowing curves to reach filming sites. Equipment was hauled in on stretchers through thick jungles and brought in on barges through dangerous coral reefs for some of the less accessible locations.

The novel this film is based on, “The Garden of God” by Henry De Vere Stacpoole , was published in 1925. (Oh … so it is based on a sequel of some sort? I figured it was literally a vague sequel to the adaptation of Stacpoole’s novel)

Final film of director William A. Graham. (… final feature film)

Filmed on Taveuni, one of 300 islands in the Fiji archipelago. With an average of 400 inches of rain a year, Taveuni is usually overgrown with magnificent greenery and is rightly referred to as Fiji’s “Garden Island”.

The production team was concerned about preserving the island’s ecological balance during the making of the movie. When they expressed concerns that a mile-long path that had to be cut through thick jungle vegetation–to get equipment to one of the more difficult locations–might harm the local ecology, the chief of the local village assured them that it would grow back within a matter of months. (That’s pretty cool)

The movie’s opening prologue states: “The South Pacific Ocean 1897. Fifteen years before our story begins, two children were shipwrecked on an uncharted island. The little boy and girl grew up alone in this lost paradise. As man and woman, they discovered a pure and natural love. In time, a child was born. But in a tragic accident, they were driven out to sea away from their island. Drifting for days, they believed that their lives and the life of their baby were at an end. Then a passing vessel drew near . . . “. (Yup that is the original movie)

Despite scenes of nudity and near nudity involving Milla Jovovich, the film was advertised as a “family-friendly” movie. (Gross! I do not enjoy that at all!)

Takes place in 1897 and 1912. (Okay, I wonder if they explicitly indicate that date for when they were rescued in the first film)

With the commencement of filming in June 1990–which is the dead of winter in Fiji–nature began to become a major “player” in the production. Director William A. Graham said, “When we first visited the island in early 1990, the weather was perfect. As soon as we began filming, we quickly learned why Taveuni is called the ‘Garden Island’. It rained for two weeks straight, which would certainly account for the lush tropical foliage.” Despite the adversity of working under less-than-ideal conditions at first, Graham remained undaunted and came out of it with his sense of humor intact: “The reason you have a 70-day shooting schedule on a film like this, as opposed to 40 to 50 days, is that you attempt to anticipate the unpredictability of nature. While we didn’t get the puffy clouds and blue waters everyone expected initially, the island presented us with a whole other kind of beauty. Nature exerted an undeniable force in the making of this movie, which the film journalists will probably give me credit for. I can see it now: William A. Graham wisely avoided the clichéd postcard look of paradise’.”.

While based on the novel sequel, “The Garden of God” the only thing “Return to the Blue Lagoon” shares with that book is the very opening where Richard and Emmeline are dead and the baby is rescued by the crew. In fact, in the novel, Arthur Lestrange himself decides to stay on the island with Baby Paddy (called Dick M) and dies while taking a walk, his body never being found. (That’s morbid)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (William A. Graham, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (William A. Graham, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Leslie Stevens, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Milla Jovovich, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brian Krause, 1992)

The Blue Lagoon Preview

“Oy, mates!” screams Alligator Steve as he hops down from Bessy and greets Rich and Poe. Apparently, in the scuffle with the gamemasters he also fell through the portal and ended up back in his homeland. “All for the best,” he says with a wink. He watches in amusement as Tiniman’s army moves quickly away through the fire desert. With a slap on the back he invites Rich and Poe back to his village where they partake in some traditional shrimp on the barbie and hear the legend of their giant alligator friends. It’s all very exciting and interesting. “Do you think, Steve,” Poe asks, “that maybe we are supposed to help you win this war? That that’s the purpose of this part of the game?” But Steve isn’t so sure. The gamemasters seemed mighty suspicious of their behavior back at the school. “War is war, mates. You don’t want any part of it. Take Bessie and head out to the islands,” he says pointing to some beautiful tropical islands off the coast. “No will find you there. You will live a beautiful natural life full of natural beauty and wonder. It’ll be a magical time that everyone will be interested in because of how beautiful it is. And perchance you will find love there with the beautiful natural denizens of the island and it will be beautiful and natural and not creepy because how could something so beautiful and natural be creepy, right?” …. right. They try to convince him that they don’t need Bessie, but Steve is insistent that he’ll be alright. There’s a reason they call him Lil’ Bessie, mighty warrior. Just before they leave Rich and Poe look back at Steve one more time and ask hesitantly, “so this definitely isn’t a weird, creepy place, right?” That’s right! We’re watching the double feature of The Blue Lagoon and The Return to the Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields and Milla Jovovich, respectively. Panned at the time by critics for a variety of reasons they’ve mostly been remembered as films about nude young people falling in love on an island… which isn’t a great look. They are both set on an undiscovered island in the Pacific, which was good enough for us. Let’s go!

The Blue Lagoon (1980) – BMeTric: 39.0; Notability: 17 

(Huh … I can’t really think of setting something like this with 2012-2014 shooting up and then levelling off after. I can’t really explain that. The rating is really a lot higher than I would have expected … I would have thought this would be in the low 5.0s at highest. So maybe a good sign for it being at least vaguely interesting?)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Remake of the 1949 film is little more than softcore cinema for the heavy-petting set, as two children become sexually aware of each other after being shipwrecked on an island for several years. Nestor Almendros’ photography can’t save it. Followed over a decade later by Return to the Blue Lagoon.

(Yes this seems like a fair review. The entire series just seems like an exercise in seeing how far some people could go to making a film where teenagers have sex on screen … turns out it isn’t very far, they (blessedly) show very little throughout the series in the end.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nC0EdXk_2g/

(Lol the VHS tracking. That legit seems like Rochelle, Rochelle, an erotic journey from Moscow to Minsk … but in real life. Wait … I think I have a totally different perspective on this film now. It could be my Rochelle, Rochelle.)

Directors – Randal Kleiser – (Known For: Grease; Flight of the Navigator; Honey, I Blew Up the Kid; White Fang; It’s My Party; Getting It Right; Future BMT: Lovewrecked; Big Top Pee-wee; Summer Lovers; BMT: The Blue Lagoon; Notes: A television director in the 70s his career took off after he landed Grease. He was nominated for an Emmy for The Gathering in 1978 starring Ed Asner.)

Writers – Henry De Vere Stacpoole (based on the novel by) – (Future BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; BMT: The Blue Lagoon; Notes: Born in 1863 he was a ship’s surgeon for forty years and was considered an expert in the South Pacific where his novels tended to take place.)

Douglas Day Stewart (screenplay by) – (Known For: An Officer and a Gentleman; Future BMT: Thief of Hearts; BMT: The Scarlet Letter; The Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; Notes: An Officer and a Gentleman (for which he was nominated for an Oscar) was based on his life. I think The Scarlet Letter killed his career as he hasn’t really written anything since.)

Actors – Brooke Shields – (Known For: The Other Guys; Pretty Baby; Hannah Montana: The Movie; The Midnight Meat Train; Freeway; Alice, Sweet Alice; Chalet Girl; Freaked; The Muppets Take Manhattan; Daisy Winters; King of the Gypsies; Future BMT: The Bachelor; Black and White; Cannonball Fever; The Hot Flashes; BMT: Furry Vengeance; Endless Love; The Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for The Blue Lagoon in 1981; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Sahara in 1985; Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Speed Zone in 1990; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1982 for Endless Love; and in 1985 for Sahara; Nominee for Worst Actress of the Century in 2000 for Endless Love, Sahara, and The Blue Lagoon; and Nominee for Worst Actress of the Decade in 1990 for Cannonball Fever, Endless Love, Sahara, and The Blue Lagoon; Notes: Notably was 14 during filming and they had to use a body double extensively during the film. Was mainly famous as a model, and was briefly married to Andre Agassi. Also starred in as the titular Susan in Suddenly Susan for which she was nominated for two Golden Globes.)

Christopher Atkins – (Known For: It’s My Party; 13th Child; Future BMT: The Pirate Movie; BMT: The Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for A Night in Heaven in 1984; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Listen to Me in 1990; Nominee for Worst Actor for The Pirate Movie in 1983; Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for A Night in Heaven, A Night in Heaven, Listen to Me, Listen to Me, The Blue Lagoon, The Blue Lagoon, The Pirate Movie, and The Pirate Movie; and Nominee for Worst New Star of the Decade in 1990 for A Night in Heaven, A Night in Heaven, Listen to Me, Listen to Me, The Blue Lagoon, The Blue Lagoon, The Pirate Movie, and The Pirate Movie; Notes: His first film role, he became a TV movie star in the 90s, and was in the third Blue Lagoon film.)

Leo McKern – (Known For: The Omen; Ladyhawke; A Man for All Seasons; Omen II: Damien; The French Lieutenant’s Woman; Ryan’s Daughter; Help!; The Mouse That Roared; The Day the Earth Caught Fire; X the Unknown; The Shoes of the Fisherman; Molokai; King & Country; Children of the Damned; BMT: The Blue Lagoon; Notes: Australian, he had an incredibly long career, although he stopped taking roles in the 90s and died in 2002. He was Rumpole in the British television program Rumpole of the Bailey from 1978 to 1992.)

Budget/Gross – $4.5 million / Domestic: $58,853,106 (Worldwide: $58,853,106)

(That is a giant success. Such a big success I’m actually skeptical of that number … it kind of makes no sense when I think about it. $60 million? To watch a boring film about people lost on an island? And then you don’t make a sequel for 12 years? I’m not really buying it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (2/22): A piece of lovely dreck, The Blue Lagoon is a naughty fantasy that’s also too chaste to be truly entertaining.

(All of the reviews are really along those lines. That we should be ashamed of ourselves for wanting to see the ultra-sexual version promised … but that ultimately you end up being equally disappointed that we got the opposite of that. Reviewer Highlight: The Blue Lagoon is the dumbest movie of the year. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – The Creepy Sexy Lagoon

(My god, what mad man would look at that poster and be like “yup, nailed it. I gotta see that film. It is both horrible aesthetically and practically. Were they aiming to put the entire novel on the poster hoping that huge Blue Lagoon fans would come a-running? This is nonsense. D-. Getting a bump from whatever that terrible font is. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I feel like I shouldn’t bleach my hair and get a perm. The font was actually quite fun to recreate if a little arduous. This poster is bonkers, but easier to mock than you would think.)

Tagline(s) – A story of natural love. (C-)

(Having already watched the film, I find this tagline curious. It really does seem like they want to lure people in under the guise of titillation. And yet the film is so tame that I can’t really imagine that was actually the purpose. Not offensive though… not structurally as a tagline, at least.)

Keyword – shipwreck

Top 10: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), Titanic (1997), Dunkirk (2017), Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Midway (2019), Aquaman (2018), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Life of Pi (2012)

Future BMT: 68.1 The Darkest Hour (2011), 56.0 Ri¢hie Ri¢h (1994), 42.2 Pan (2015), 39.4 Into the Blue (2005), 34.0 Robinson Crusoe (2016), 33.9 Shark Tale (2004), 33.1 Leviathan (1989), 31.0 Rugrats Go Wild (2003), 27.7 Insurgent (2015), 22.8 After the Sunset (2004);

BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Point Break (2015), Ghost Ship (2002), Fool’s Gold (2008), Godzilla (1998), Pompeii (2014), Lost in Space (1998)

(Titanic is the big on there, but then Cast Away is in 2000, so really it had a moment from maybe 1997 to 2005 or whatever. We are actually watching The Darkest Hour coming up, so that’s exciting.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Brooke Shields is No. 1 billed in The Blue Lagoon and No. 3 billed in Furry Vengeance, which also stars Brendan Fraser (No. 1 billed) who is in Escape from Planet Earth (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 4 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Extraordinary Measures we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – After seeing the movie, John Gibbons, a herpetologist (reptile scientist) at the University of the South Pacific, realized that the iguanas that appeared in the film were a distinct species that had never been seen or documented by scientists before. Afterward, he visited Nanuya Levu, the Fiji island where the movie was made, and named the species the Fiji Crested Iguana.

Most of the nude scenes depicting Emmeline Lestrange include a body double. Brooke Shields always had to have her hair glued to her chest for the other scenes. (Makes sense considering the next note…)

Brooke Shields was only 14 when the movie was made.

Brooke Shields’ original body double broke her back. Her replacement was originally hired to catch or train dolphins; she was the right body type, so she was used as a nude double. (She broke her back? That … is crazy)

It was the director’s original concept to have the two grown characters play the entire film in the nude, which scared off many actors (including Jennifer Jason Leigh, who was the first choice for the female lead). After Leigh passed on the project, the producers offered Diane Lane and Willie Aames the film after screen-testing them together in Mexico, where Lane was shooting a Western, but the pair discussed the nudity together after the crew left and called a few days later to say they wouldn’t do the film, either. With shooting set to begin in a matter of days, the desperate director agreed to let Shields make the film predominantly clothed, with a body double employed for the nude scenes. With that settled, the casting director returned to the thousands of audition tapes they had made over the course of a year, and decided Christopher Atkins would be all right if he permed his hair to look more savage. (Ha … I mean the only amusing note is that he had to have his hair permed)

The double for Christopher Atkins was initially one of the seaplane pilots flying staff and crew from the Fiji mainland to the island where the movie was shot. He did most of the nude scenes with Brooke Shields’ double as well as a few of the minor stunts.

Although the movie had a lukewarm reception in the US and was disliked by a great many critics, it is a highly popular nostalgic movie in countries like Romania and Hungary, as well as in Brazil, and is frequently rerun on television. (Huh, was it just kind of cheap movie they could run on television?)

Carrie Fisher turned down the role of Emmeline Lestrange due to her commitment with Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980). (Good)

Sean Penn lost out to Christopher Atkins on the final day of auditions for the role of Richard Lestrange. (Ugh … good)

This was the ninth most popular film of 1980 at the US and Canadian box offices. (Which is why it was definitely a wide release film, despite there not being any data on how many theaters it was released to)

The novel on which the film is based was inspired by the classic French novel “Paul et Virginie” (1788), by Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. (Huh, so it is a movie based on a book that was also based on a different book?)

This film is listed among the 100 Most Amusingly Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson’s book “The Official Razzie Movie Guide”. (That book is a rough read let me tell you, just really poorly put together)

Christopher Atkins claimed that after this movie came out, every role he was offered contained a nude scene that “wanted to show off” his buttocks. (HA)

Included on Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list. (Makes sense)

In the US the film was given an “R” rating, and in the UK it was given the AA rating before getting a 15 certificate upon its VHS release for its graphic nudity and sexual content. However, when it was released in New Zealand, it was given the R13 rating, which was changed to PG when it was released on VHS. It was also given the PG rating in Australia.

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Cinematography (Néstor Almendros, 1981)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brooke Shields, 1981)

The Twilight Saga: New Moon Preview

As Rich and Poe walk down the hallway with the teacher, Ms. Halloway, they wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into. If this was a The Substitute scenario they should be bashing skulls and taking names by now. “Maybe we’re missing a crime… a murder to solve?” Poe ponders. Ah, a The Substitute 2: School’s Out scenario… definitely possible, Rich agrees. “You know we can stop this ruse, right?” Ms. Halloway says behind them. They slowly turn and attempt to sputter out an excuse, but Ms. Halloway just smirks and flips open a badge. “Det. Halloway, BMTPD. You boys are a little late to the party.” What a twist! But how could she have seen through their bulletproof nerd alert disguises. “Well, you are both forty years old,” she explains, “and as a cop it was easy to connect the dots from there.” Clever girl. “I’ve been working undercover on the case for two years and you two stroll in and nearly blow the whole thing on day one. Lucky for you I know these kids and I know what they want.” Rich and Poe’s hearts leap, perhaps this is the break they need. “Love.” Rich is deflated. Love is lame. What about bashing skulls? What about patented Twin Chops, backflips, and abs. Pffff. Love. But Poe’s eyes are shining and he steps closer to Ms. Halloway. “What if I told you I know a little something about that.” He steps even closer. “You ever heard of a book called The Platonic Solids Series Part I: Outside the Box?” he asks breathily, inches from Ms. Halloways quivering lips. “It’s… it’s my favorite book,” she replies in a whisper, her bosom heaving and breath bated in anticipation. And with that they begin to make out… hard. That’s right! We are finally dipping our toes in the mother of all teen love triangle romances with the second Twilight film The Twilight Saga: New Moon. This is also one of only two qualifying films. So we are leaving the series hanging, but hopefully not for long. I’m ready for the steamy vampire-werewolf romance extravaganza. Let’s go!

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) – BMeTric: 78.1; Notability: 63 

TheTwilightSagaNewMoonIMDb_BMeT

TheTwilightSagaNewMoonIMDb_RV

(Quite intriguing how low that is. I assume that is mostly because of the demographics of the people who vote on IMDb. I remember this movie mostly just being boring. That doesn’t feel sub-5.0 to be, but we’ll see.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – The characters in this movie should be arrested for loitering with intent to moan. Never have teenagers been in greater need of a jump-start. Granted some of them are more than 100 years old, but still: their charisma is by Madame Tussaud.

(Ooooooo, so maybe it is just so boring that it ends up being really really terrible! Because one star is really really low as well. This is precisely how I remember this.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNi-ebCWXos/

(Oh, I love you so much Bella. Oh, I love you so much Edward. Let’s die together, that would be super romantical wouldn’t it? Oh … that’s my impression of Twilight. Nailed it.)

Directors – Chris Weitz – (Known For: American Pie; The Golden Compass; Operation Finale; About a Boy; A Better Life; Future BMT: Down to Earth; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for About a Boy. Apparently he was uncredited on American Pie, presumably because he was just helping his older brother to direct it.)

Writers – Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay) – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Future BMT: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Step Up; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2010 for The Twilight Saga: New Moon; in 2011 for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; in 2012 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; and in 2013 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Notes: Wrote the entire series. A legend of television, she produced and wrote on Melrose Place, The O.C., and Dexter among many many others.)

Stephenie Meyer (novel) – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Future BMT: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; The Host; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 in 2013; Notes: Wrote the novels. Apparently the idea for the storyline came to her in a dream, the idea of a vampire being in love with a human woman while thirsting for her blood.)

Actors – Kristen Stewart – (Known For: Charlie’s Angels; Underwater; Twilight; Into the Wild; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Snow White and the Huntsman; Zathura: A Space Adventure; American Ultra; Panic Room; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Adventureland; Still Alice; Cafe Society; The Runaways; On the Road; Personal Shopper; Certain Women; Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk; J.T. LeRoy; Clouds of Sils Maria; Future BMT: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Cold Creek Manor; The Messengers; Catch That Kid; Equals; Seberg; Cell K-11; Anesthesia; Fierce People; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; Jumper; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 2013 for Snow White and the Huntsman, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 in 2012; Nominee for Worst Actress for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2010 for The Twilight Saga: New Moon; and in 2013 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Notes: Notably had an affair with the director Rupert Sanders, which caused her initial breakup with Robert Pattinson. She is bisexual and has mostly been in relationships with women recently.)

Robert Pattinson – (Known For: The Lighthouse; The King; Good Time; Twilight; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; The Lost City of Z; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; High Life; Waiting for the Barbarians; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Vanity Fair; Water for Elephants; The Rover; Maps to the Stars; Cosmopolis; Damsel; Life; The Childhood of a Leader; Future BMT: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Bel Ami; Queen of the Desert; Little Ashes; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for Remember Me, and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; and in 2013 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Twilight Saga: New Moon in 2010; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2012 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; and in 2013 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Notes: He is going to be The Batman. During his entire Twilight period he would have amusing interviews where he would appear bemused about the various odd storylines from the film, look them up.)

Taylor Lautner – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Future BMT: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Tracers; Run the Tide; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; The Ridiculous 6; Abduction; Grown Ups 2; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Valentine’s Day; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 in 2013; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and Valentine’s Day; and in 2012 for Abduction, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Grown Ups 2 in 2014; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2010 for The Twilight Saga: New Moon; and in 2012 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Notes: Been moving more into prestige television recently, specifically was in Cuckoo for the past several years.)

Budget/Gross – $50,000,000 / Domestic: $297,816,253 (Worldwide: $711,020,081)

(Obviously, a huge success. One of the most successful series in cinema history. Single-handedly made vampires a huge thing again.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 28% (64/227): The Twilight Saga’s second installment may satisfy hardcore fans of the series, but outsiders are likely to be turned off by its slow pace, relentlessly downcast tone, and excessive length.

(This is what I remember. Just Bella moping about depressed for an hour and a half. Reviewer Highlight: The boys preen while the girl sulks. And pouts. And sulks. And pouts. – Richard Roeper, RichardRoeper.com)

Poster – The Platonic Solids Series Part 2: Love on the Blocks (C)

twilight_saga_new_moon

(Gonna be honest. I don’t really like that. The colors are drab and otherwise just the usually human mess. Some OK font, but even the spacing seems off. Like there is too much space around them.)

Tagline(s) – The Next Chapter Begins (F)

(Blah, boo. Give me something more than that. I spent more time thinking up the “Love on the Blocks” subtitle for the fake second book of our fake teen romance series.)

Keyword – vampire

TheTwilightSagaNewMoon_vampire

Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), Twilight (2008), The Lost Boys (1987), I Am Legend (2007), Hellboy (2019), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Underworld: Blood Wars (2016), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012)

Future BMT: 89.4 Vampires Suck (2010), 87.9 BloodRayne (2005), 72.2 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), 51.1 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010), 48.6 Sleepwalkers (1992), 43.9 Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), 43.8 Priest (2011), 42.2 Transylvania 6-5000 (1985), 41.8 Bordello of Blood (1996), 40.8 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003);

BMT: Hellboy (2019), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), Vampire Academy (2014), Queen of the Damned (2002), Dracula 2001 (2000), Ultraviolet (2006), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Dudley Do-Right (1999)

(The crescendo is right after the Twilight books hit it big, they were trying to capture that fanaticism. It has, naturally, kind of slip away recently as one would expect. I’m excited for … Priest. That has been on the docket for years.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Taylor Lautner is No. 3 billed in The Twilight Saga: New Moon and No. 2 billed in Ridiculous Six, 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) => 3 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 15. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Just before Jacob almost kisses Bella, he says “Kwop kilawtley”, which means “stay with me forever” in Quileute.

Each member of the wolf pack had to have papers proving their Native descent. Chaske Spencer is Lakota (Sioux), Bronson Pelletier is Cree-Metis, Alex Meraz is Purepecha (Tarasco), Kiowa Gordon is Hualapai, and Tyson Houseman, who was discovered at an open casting call, is Cree.

After months of speculation and rumors, director Chris Weitz and the novel’s author, Stephenie Meyer, confirmed on her official website that Taylor Lautner would be reprising his role as Jacob Black. It was doubted as the filmmakers feared he would not be able to become fit enough in time. However, he was given the go-ahead after gaining 26 pounds of muscle.

Summit Entertainment greenlit this sequel one day after Twilight (2008) had opened in theaters.

The Italian sequences were shot over a period of 4 days. Red was deliberately kept out of the color palette until the Italian sequences.

While Carlisle is cleaning Bella’s wounds after the party, when he burns the blood-soaked gauze, the gauze forms the flower that is present on the New Moon book cover.

When Michael Sheen was cast as Aro, he had no clue of who the character is nor what are his characteristics. He learned as much as he could including the character’s back story from his daughter Lily Mo Sheen who is a fan of the series.

Contrary to scheduling conflict claims, Catherine Hardwicke turned down directing this film because the release date set by Summit (exactly one year after the first film’s release) would not allow her to have enough time to work on the script. With Hardwicke out, the studio scrambled in looking for a replacement director until producer Wyck Godfrey had to turn to his friend Chris Weitz who eventually agreed to do the film.

“New Moon” is Robert Pattinson’s favorite book in the Twilight series.

Ashley Greene wore a different wig than the one she wore in Twilight (2008), to portray Alice Cullen. She also cut her hair quite short so that it could fit under the wig.

A vampire’s diet is revealed by the color of the eyes – the Cullens feast only on animal blood and therefore have topaz eyes, whereas the Nomads and the Volturi have red eyes indicating they feast upon human blood.

The town of Voltera was chosen because of its uncanny resemblance to the Italian town described in Stephenie Meyer’s novel. The only difference was that its main square lacked a fountain which production designer David Brisbin duly had built from wood.

Every song that appears in the film and on the soundtrack is original and written specifically for the film.

The film is included on Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, 2010)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Robert Pattinson, 2010)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel (2010)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Melissa Rosenberg, 2010)

The Island of Dr. Moreau Preview

“A clue!” exclaims Detective Cross (a.k.a. Poe) looking closely at a shrub. The goblins, Sorsaron, and Brawl all gasp as they too notice the map hanging in the branches. A map that appears to show the exact burial spot of the Crown of Blizarion. “Hmmm, convenient,” concurs Detective Criss (a.k.a. Rich). Everything seems to have lined up quite nicely for the detectives. They didn’t have to break out even one patented Twin Chop or standing backflip… suspiciously convenient. As they make their way to the supposed hiding spot of the crown Rich has a sudden realization. “What if, my dear Cross, the crown was never stolen at all?” Everyone is puzzled at the theory, but Poe is picking up what he’s putting down, “Ah, you mean…” suddenly he whirls on Sorsaron and Brawln, “they were the culprits in the first place!” (what a twist!) Sorsaron gulp and babble nervously but break under the drop-dead gorgeous minds of the detectives. “Stupendous,” Brawln marvels, “and exactly what we hoped would happen.” Rich and Poe are confused and only become more bewildered as Brawln unburies the Crown and easily snaps it in half. “A mere bauble,” he explains, “but necessary to prove to the goblins that you were capable of the real task.” (what a double twist!) “You see,” he continues, “long ago the gamemaster stole something from the goblins, something that would close the well worn path that brought us here. This something would return us to our world and defeat the gamemaster, thus saving your world as well. It’s what we in the biz call a… win-win.” Rich and Poe are intrigued. “What and where?” they ask. “The Staff of Gabragorn,” Sorsaron explains, “the Isle of Killmore. But be careful, the Honorable Dr. Killmore… is quite insane.” That’s right! We are watching a true classic in The Island of Dr. Moreau. I remember watching this as a kid and finding it pretty creepy. I’m sure I’ll be less creeped out now that I’m older. *Takes a looks at some screenshots of the animal-humans* Nevermind. This is based on the book by H. G. Wells, which has been adapted a couple of times for film. It also feels like we’re getting close to someone thinking it’ll be a good idea to adapt again… excellent. Let’s go!

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) – BMeTric: 73.1; Notability: 47 

TheIslandofDrMoreauIMDb_BMeT

TheIslandofDrMoreauIMDb_RV

(It is actually a bit confusing that it is arriving significantly above the low-4.0s. That is obviously insanely bad. But this film is insanely bad. I’ve seen it multiple times in pieces on cable. It is so weird and bad.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Heavy-handed retelling of H.G. Wells’ novel, as Thewlis is rescued at sea and brought to Dr. Moreau’s island, where he’s horrified to discover experiments turning animals into humans. Grotesque in the extreme, obvious, and ultimately pointless, but Brando devotees will want to check out his flamboyantly silly performance, and makeup buffs should admire Stan Winston’s remarkable creations.

(I enjoy that Leonard managed to find the good among the bad here. Obviously 1.5 stars is very bad, but there are absurdly amusing things to see in the film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJP3cb2RcII/

(Holy shit! We’ve been having a debate for like four days about what year this takes place. The Wikipedia page suggested 2010, but nowhere in the actual movie did it seem to say it. The script, which you can find online (I have no idea if it is real) suggests the year is 2007. But then, here it is. This trailer says 2010. As the only explicitly public mention of a date I would assume the 2010 date it thus canon. Wild.)

Directors – John Frankenheimer – (Known For: Ronin; The Manchurian Candidate; Seconds; Seven Days in May; The Train; Grand Prix; Birdman of Alcatraz; Black Sunday; 52 Pick-Up; French Connection II; The Iceman Cometh; The Challenge; All Fall Down; The Fixer; The Young Savages; The Fourth War; Future BMT: Reindeer Games; Prophecy; Year of the Gun; Dead Bang; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: A good friend of RFK, he was originally reported to have also been shot at the Ambassador Hotel the night RFK was assassinated.)

Richard Stanley – (Known For: Color Out of Space; Hardware; The Theatre Bizarre; Future BMT: Dust Devil; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: Was fired four days into production, the details of which is described in the documentary about the making of this film.)

Writers – H.G. Wells (novel) – (Known For: War of the Worlds; The Time Machine; The Island of Dr. Moreau; The Invisible Man; The War of the Worlds; Dead of Night; Island of Lost Souls; First Men in the Moon; Things to Come; The Invisible Man Returns; The Invisible Man’s Revenge; Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man; The Passionate Friends; The Man Who Could Work Miracles; Future BMT: Empire of the Ants; The Food of the Gods; Village of the Giants; The Time Machine; War of the Worlds: Goliath; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Notes: Y’all know H.G. Wells, a quintessential voice in science fiction literature. His grandson, Simon Wells, directed The Time Machine.)

Richard Stanley (screenplay) – (Known For: Color Out of Space; Hardware; The Theatre Bizarre; Future BMT: The Abandoned; Dust Devil; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: Color Out of Space is the adaptation of the story by notorious racist H.P. Lovecraft which stars Nic Cage. It is supposed to be quite good, and that it likely the kind of crazy visuals Stanley wanted to bring to this film which got him fired.)

Ron Hutchinson (screenplay) – (BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: He’s written a crazy amount of television. I think he was a producer who was probably brought in to adapt Stanley’s script on the fly after he got fired. Just a guess.)

Actors – David Thewlis – (Known For: Legend; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas; Wonder Woman; The Big Lebowski; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1; The New World; The Theory of Everything; Seven Years in Tibet; War Horse; RED 2; DragonHeart; Macbeth; Naked; James And The Giant Peach; The Zero Theorem; Anomalisa; Future BMT: The Omen; Regression; London Boulevard; The Fifth Estate; Justice League; Total Eclipse; The Trial; The Inner Life of Martin Frost; BMT: Basic Instinct 2; The Island of Dr. Moreau; Timeline; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2007 for Basic Instinct 2, and The Omen; Notes: )

Marlon Brando – (Known For: The Godfather; Apocalypse Now; Superman; Last Tango in Paris; The Score; A Streetcar Named Desire; On the Waterfront; Guys and Dolls; Candy; One-Eyed Jacks; Don Juan DeMarco; The Missouri Breaks; Mutiny on the Bounty; The Wild One; The Freshman; The Chase; Sayonara; A Countess from Hong Kong; Viva Zapata!; Julius Caesar; Future BMT: Christopher Columbus: The Discovery; Free Money; The Formula; The Brave; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1981 for The Formula; and in 1993 for Christopher Columbus: The Discovery; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: )

Val Kilmer – (Known For: Jay and Silent Bob Reboot; Heat; Top Gun; True Romance; Willow; Real Genius; Tombstone; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; Top Secret!; The Prince of Egypt; Song to Song; Deja Vu; Kill the Irishman; The Doors; The Ghost and the Darkness; MacGruber; Bad Lieutenant; The Missing; The Super; Palo Alto; Future BMT: Twixt; The Traveler; Alexander; Red Planet; Planes; Delgo; 5 Days of War; Hard Ca$h; The Real McCoy; Masked and Anonymous; The Saint; At First Sight; Mindhunters; 10th & Wolf; Wonderland; Stateside; Summer Love; BMT: The Love Guru; The Island of Dr. Moreau; The Snowman; Batman Forever; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for The Saint in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1997 for The Ghost and the Darkness, and The Island of Dr. Moreau; and in 2005 for Alexander; Notes: )

Budget/Gross – $40,000,000 / Domestic: $27,663,982 (Worldwide: $49,627,779)

(Unmitigated disaster. I’m actually a bit surprised they managed to make the film for less than $50 million, this has a Cutthroat Island level disaster vibe to me, but it is only a modest financial disaster.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 24% (8/33): Timid and unfocused in its storytelling, The Island Of Dr. Moreau is more lackluster misfire than morbid curiosity.

(Rotten Tomatoes trying to make clear this film is not so bad it’s good. I’m pretty happy with a misfire honestly, the disastrous production is funny in itself. Reviewer Highlight: )

Poster – The Island of Dr. Sklogenstein (C+)

island_of_dr_moreau_ver2

(I like the green. Very Rosemary’s Baby. Needed better font and probably needs to do a bit more to convey what the audience is in for (hint: it’s a wild ride). But have to give Brando props. Always impressive when an actor manages to be on the poster twice.)

Tagline(s) – Through DNA experimentation Dr. Moreau has upset the balance of nature. By turning animals into humans, he’s turned heaven into hell. (D-)

(I can actually imagine that Brando wrote this himself. That’s not a good thing. It’s insane. Bumped it from an F just because it does have strange mesmerizing cadance to it.)

Keyword – mutant

TheIslandofDr.Moreau_mutant

Top 10: Suicide Squad (2016), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Deadpool 2 (2018), Deadpool (2016), Logan (2017), Annihilation (2018), Toy Story (1995), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989), Overlord (2018)

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 87.9 BloodRayne (2005), 84.5 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005), 78.6 Superhero Movie (2008), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 62.4 The Hills Have Eyes II (2007), 57.6 The Fly II (1989), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.0 Graveyard Shift (1990), 50.0 Masters of the Universe (1987);

BMT: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Super Mario Bros. (1993), I Am Number Four (2011), Epic Movie (2007), Judge Dredd (1995), Double Dragon (1994), Chernobyl Diaries (2012), Troll (1986), A Sound of Thunder (2005)

(This is a really fun plot. You can see how mutant films prior to 2000 were like this. The Fly, Double Dragon, Judge Dredd. The mutants are kind of monster bad guys. And then in 2000 you get X-Men and all of the comic book films where they are the good guys in much larger films. I’m skeptical Honey, I Shrunk the Kids has a “mutant” in it though.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Val Kilmer is No. 2 billed in The Island of Dr. Moreau and No. 1 billed in Batman Forever, which also stars Tommy Lee Jones (No. 2 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 3 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 15. If we were to watch At First Sight, and The Replacement Killers we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – After being fired by the studio, original director Richard Stanley was rumored to have prevailed upon the makeup crew to turn him into one of the background mutants, so that he could at least keep tabs on the making of his dream project. He supposedly did not unmask himself until the wrap party. (That’s insane)

Marlon Brando wore a small radio receiver to aid him remembering his lines. Co-star David Thewlis claimed “He’d be in the middle of a scene and suddenly he’d be picking up police messages and Marlon would repeat, ‘There’s a robbery at Woolworths’.” (A British joke BTW. There was surely filmed in some remote jungle somewhere, right?)

Val Kilmer described the shoot as “crazy”. Marlon Brando was still recovering from his daughter’s suicide. The day production started, the French government set off an underwater atomic bomb near Tahiti, where Brando owned an atoll. Kilmer turned on the TV and learned that he was getting divorced. Two days later, the studio fired director Richard Stanley due to their concerns over the film’s direction. John Frankenheimer who was hired to replace Stanley, clashed with Brando, Kilmer, and studio executives from the start about the film’s direction. (This is all in the documentary I’m going to eventually watch about this film)

When Val Kilmer encountered Richard Stanley during the wrap-party, he apologised for costing the director his job. Marlon Brando later offered to compensate Stanley. To his regret, he didn’t take it.

Richard Stanley had spent four years developing the project, only to be fired after four days.

Richard Stanley had been offered his full fee on condition that he left the production quietly and did not speak about his sacking, so his disappearance caused consternation at New Line, who feared he might try to sabotage the filming. His removal also predictably sent shock waves through the cast and crew. An outraged Fairuza Balk stormed off the set after a heated exchange with the New Line executives, and then reportedly had a production assistant drive her all the way from Cairns to Sydney – a distance of some 2500 km- in a rented limousine. However, by her own account, Balk’s agent then warned her in blunt terms that the studio would ruin her, and that she would never work in films again if she broke her contract, so she was soon forced to return to the set.

Richard Stanley said of Val Kilmer: “He’d do [the lines] but he’d throw it all away. And he kept insisting on odd bits and pieces of his wardrobe that didn’t make sense, like a piece of blue material wrapped around his arm. It was like, ‘Why is that around his arm, and will he take it off?'” (It is crazy that these notes seem to suggest Kilmer was worse than Brando during the shoot)

Marco Hofschneider’s part was originally much bigger. His role was cut down because Val Kilmer didn’t want to be upstaged by him. Then Marlon Brando became obsessed with Nelson de la Rosa, the world’s smallest man, and insisted the script be revised. Some of Hofschneider’s scenes were given to De La Rosa. (WTF!)

Due to the many problems with the production, and the evident ongoing attempts by both Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer to sabotage it, the location shooting eventually stretched from a scheduled six weeks to almost six months, and the atmosphere on the production became almost a mirror of the plot of the movie, with the long-suffering cast and crew becoming more and more alienated by and hostile towards its megalomaniacal co-stars and their tyrannical director.

Rob Morrow spent a couple days on set to shoot his scenes as Edward Douglas but became unhappy with the production and its increasing lack of direction. Wanting to get back home to Los Angeles for his family, Morrow called New Line Cinema chairman Bob Shaye and pleaded to be released from the role, which Shaye honoured.

When David Thewlis arrived onset, Marlon Brando said to him, “Go home, David. This is not a good film to work on. It’s cursed”.

Val Kilmer felt obligated to ask Marlon Brando’s permission to “impersonate” him for the scenes where Montgomery imitates Moreau.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Marlon Brando, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Edward R. Pressman, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Val Kilmer, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (John Frankenheimer, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Richard Stanley, Ron Hutchinson, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Marlon Brando, Nelson de la Rosa, 1997)

Along Came a Spider Preview

As Rich and Poe approach an encampment with Sorsaron and Brawln they reflect on the walk through the waste. It sure was a walk to remember during which Poe met a wandering beauty and fell in love only to have her perish due to a rare medical condition. It was all very sweet and yet devastating. But no need to dwell on the past, time to focus on the future and the task at hand. As they peer down toward the camp they are told that the gamemaster spoke of the goblins within as thieves who stole a magical crown that would help Sorsaron and Brawln escape back to their dimension. “The Crown of Blizarion?” asks Rich and the centaur nods his head, “You’ve also heard of its power? Get it for us and we’ll take you to the school.” Rich and Poe are confused as to why everything feels so familiar and yet slightly different, but agree to the task nonetheless. First off they must ingratiate themselves with the goblins. While Rich wants to mesmerize and bewilder with their chiseled abs and spectacular dance moves, Poe has a different idea. A short time later they bust into camp. “Police!” they shout and the goblins freeze, demanding to know what they’ve done wrong. “How about a little thing called… MURDER!” shouts Rich waving his gun wildly around the crowd. The goblins gasp and implore them to help find the real culprit, for they are innocent. Rich and Poe agree and ask to take a quick look around, particularly in places where people hide things. The goblins sigh with relief, “thank you, officers. What are your names?” At that Rich and Poe look at each other. “Uh… well… this is Officer Chriss and I’m Officer Cross. Officers Chriss and Cross.” That’s right! We’re diving (back) into the world of Alex Cross only seven years after watching Tyler Perry play the character in Alex Cross. This time should be better as we get the precursors Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Both star Morgan Freeman and had considerably better reviews than the later adaptation, but still bad enough for us. I’m ready for some thrills and/or chills. Let’s go!

Along Came a Spider (2001) – BMeTric: 21.1; Notability: 49 

AlongCameaSpiderIMDb_BMeT

AlongCameaSpiderIMDb_RV

(Actually still quite good. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a big contingent of people who forgive the film because of Freeman. Even acting in terrible movies he is usually good and elevates the material.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – A few loopholes I can forgive. But when a plot is riddled with them, crippled by them, made implausible by them, as in “Along Came a Spider,” I get distracted. … [Y]ou [are] gonna be talking when you come out of this movie! Saying things like “but why . . .” and “if she . . .” and “wouldn’t he . . .” and “how come . . .” as you try to trace your way back through the twisted logic of the plot. Here’s a sample question. Dr. Cross mentions a $12 million ransom and later explains that the person he was talking to should have known it was $10 million but never said anything. And I’m thinking, should that person have even known about the ransom at all? Well, maybe, if . . . but I dunno. There are places in this movie you just can’t get to from other places in this movie.

(Haha, riddled with plotholes. It isn’t what you want with your early-2000s thriller. As he says, if the killer is interesting you forgive a few, but when there are too many it ends up taking all the fun out of figuring things out.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kswRbwYqn3k/

(Ohhhhhhh snap, I think you can see the aborted ending in the trailer. That scene where the daughter and the parents are hugging by the water isn’t in the film. In the film it all ends at night at a barn. Also, they very much indicate that the President of the United States is involved. He is not, it is the son of the Russian Ambassador.)

Directors – Lee Tamahori – (Known For: Die Another Day; The Edge; The Devil’s Double; Once Were Warriors; Mahana; Future BMT: Next; Mulholland Falls; BMT: xXx: State of the Unionl; Along Came a Spider; Notes: From New Zealand, started as a photographer and then transitioned into the film business as a boom operator.)

Writers – James Patterson (novel) – (Known For: Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life; BMT: Alex Cross; Kiss the Girls; Along Came a Spider; Notes: He apparently came up with the slogan Toys R’ Us Kid.)

Marc Moss (screenplay) – (BMT: Alex Cross; Along Came a Spider; Notes: Was also uncredited on Kiss The Girls doing a continuity check / re-write or something. So he’s been involved in writing all three films.)

Actors – Morgan Freeman – (Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Seven; Batman Begins; Unforgiven; Lucy; Oblivion; Deep Impact; Now You See Me; Olympus Has Fallen; War of the Worlds; Million Dollar Baby; Wanted; Going in Style; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; RED; Gone Baby Gone; The Lego Movie; Bruce Almighty; Future BMT: Evan Almighty; Just Getting Started; Edison; The Nutcracker and the Four Realms; Eye for an Eye; Chain Reaction; The Contract; Ben-Hur; Momentum; Last Knights; High Crimes; Now You See Me 2; Harry & Son; Feast of Love; Levity; That Was Then… This Is Now; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Dreamcatcher; The Bonfire of the Vanities; London Has Fallen; Hard Rain; Transcendence; Along Came a Spider; Kiss the Girls; Angel Has Fallen; Notes: He owns a jazz club in Mississippi, and learned to fly at the age of 65.)

Michael Wincott – (Known For: The Count of Monte Cristo; The Crow; Ghost in the Shell; Alien Resurrection; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Treasure Planet; Born on the Fourth of July; Knight of Cups; Dead Man; The Doors; Strange Days; Hitchcock; The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Basquiat; What Just Happened; Talk Radio; Before Night Falls; Curtains; Seraphim Falls; Forsaken; Future BMT: Metro; The Sicilian; The Three Musketeers; 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: Along Came a Spider; Notes: Is the brother of Jeff Wincott who we’ve seen as Jeff Devreaux in the two Universal Soldier television sequels.)

Monica Potter – (Known For: Saw; The Last House on the Left; Con Air; Without Limits; A Cool, Dry Place; Future BMT: Head Over Heels; Bulletproof; Patch Adams; Martha – Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence; BMT: Along Came a Spider; Notes: Starred in over 100 episodes of the television show Parenthood, she has mostly focused on television in her later career.)

Budget/Gross – $60,000,000 / Domestic: $74,078,174 (Worldwide: $105,178,561)

(Hmmm, I wonder why they felt the need to double the budget. It isn’t like this film is particularly more complex than the first. At least the way they adapted makes it pretty straightforward.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 31% (39/125): Derivative and contains too many implausible situations.

(Wait a second … this one did better review-wise than the first? That doesn’t make much sense. I’ve read Along Came a Spider, it is effectively unadaptable, which means it is either a terrible adaptation, a terrible movie, or both. Reviewer Highlight: Like a paperback plucked from a counter at an airport, Spider is an impulse buy of a film, a time killer that will neither tax your brain nor challenge your memory. – Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today)

Poster – Along Came a Spiderman (B)

along_came_a_spider

(I think this is solid. Although maybe a little too close to their faces. Back it up a bit. Also could have done with some sweet font.)

Tagline(s) – The game is far from over. (D-)

(That is decidedly mediocre. When did the game even start? What game are we talking about? Is this somehow a continuation of the previous film. This is a very confusing choice… but blessedly short. It’s just a few words away from being an F.)

Keyword – ransom

AlongCameaSpider_ransom

Top 10: Tropic Thunder (2008), The Big Lebowski (1998), Fifty Shades Freed (2018), In Time (2011), Captain Phillips (2013), Inherent Vice (2014), Angels & Demons (2009), The Rock (1996), A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014), All the Money in the World (2017); 

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 73.5 Snatched (2017), 62.1 Half Past Dead (2002), 50.3 Son of the Pink Panther (1993), 46.4 The Wash (2001), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 41.5 Excess Baggage (1997), 39.7 Pink Cadillac (1989), 39.3 That Darn Cat (1997), 35.2 City Heat (1984); 

BMT: Fifty Shades Freed (2018), Along Came a Spider (2001), The Avengers (1998), Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005)

(This I think is even more straightforward than the serial-killer one. This is basically just showing the trajectory of kidnapping thrillers. And indeed, they have tailed off as VOD absorbed most of the schlock that genre has to offer.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Morgan Freeman is No. 1 billed in Along Came a Spider and No. 5 billed in Transcensdence, which also stars Paul Bettany (No. 2 billed) who is in Firewall (No. 2 billed), which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 5 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 17. If we were to watch Chain Reaction, Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – When Alex is looking through Jezzie’s computer, there is an article on the Casanova Killer from the previous film, Kiss the Girls (1997).

The ending for the film was re-shot, due to poor test audience reception. (Oh God, I wonder what the original ending could have been)

The film takes place over the course of a few days, but in the novel the story takes place over approximately two years. Also, in the book Alex Cross is 38 years old with two kids, whereas in the film he is in his mid to late fifties.

The film’s title comes from its source novel by James Patterson. The title is taken from a nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffet”. The early Cross novels were all named after nursery rhymes (Jack and Jill, Pop Goes the Weasel, etc.), while the later ones used Cross’ name in the title, either in a punning context (Cross Fire, Double Cross, etc.) or a matter-of-fact one (The Trial of Alex Cross, The People vs. Alex Cross, etc.) (Huh, I didn’t know that, I kind of like how it splits it up into eras)

Gary Soneji’s prosthetic makeup and affected British accent make him look and sound like actor David Thewlis. (It really really really does)

Kiss the Girls Preview

As Rich and Poe approach an encampment with Sorsaron and Brawln they reflect on the walk through the waste. It sure was a walk to remember during which Poe met a wandering beauty and fell in love only to have her perish due to a rare medical condition. It was all very sweet and yet devastating. But no need to dwell on the past, time to focus on the future and the task at hand. As they peer down toward the camp they are told that the gamemaster spoke of the goblins within as thieves who stole a magical crown that would help Sorsaron and Brawln escape back to their dimension. “The Crown of Blizarion?” asks Rich and the centaur nods his head, “You’ve also heard of its power? Get it for us and we’ll take you to the school.” Rich and Poe are confused as to why everything feels so familiar and yet slightly different, but agree to the task nonetheless. First off they must ingratiate themselves with the goblins. While Rich wants to mesmerize and bewilder with their chiseled abs and spectacular dance moves, Poe has a different idea. A short time later they bust into camp. “Police!” they shout and the goblins freeze, demanding to know what they’ve done wrong. “How about a little thing called… MURDER!” shouts Rich waving his gun wildly around the crowd. The goblins gasp and implore them to help find the real culprit, for they are innocent. Rich and Poe agree and ask to take a quick look around, particularly in places where people hide things. The goblins sigh with relief, “thank you, officers. What are your names?” At that Rich and Poe look at each other. “Uh… well… this is Officer Chriss and I’m Officer Cross. Officers Chriss and Cross.” That’s right! We’re diving (back) into the world of Alex Cross only seven years after watching Tyler Perry play the character in Alex Cross. This time should be better as we get the precursors Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Both star Morgan Freeman and had considerably better reviews than the later adaptation, but still bad enough for us. I’m ready for some thrills and/or chills. Let’s go!

Kiss the Girls (1997) – BMeTric: 16.1; Notability: 50 

KisstheGirlsIMDb_BMeT

KisstheGirlsIMDb_RV

(Honestly, given the rest of this preview, that 6.6 is right on target. It seems like maybe at the time it wasn’t very well received, but some of the reviews feel like maybe it actually wasn’t that bad.)

RogerEbert.com – 3.5 stars – When the film is over and we know all of its secrets, there’s one we’d like to know more about: What exactly is the dynamic of the relationship between the two most twisted members of the cast? But being left with such a question is much more satisfactory than being given the answer in shorthand Freudian terms. What we’re also left with is the real sense of having met two very particular people in the leads. Freeman and Judd are so good, you almost wish they’d decided not to make a thriller at all–had simply found a way to construct a drama exploring their personalities.

(This actually might legit be the best review we’ve ever features on a recent BMT film! Basically, Freeman and Judd are good actors and it is a fine thriller … so why does everyone seem to hate this film? Hinteresting. Methinks I’m going to enjoy this film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiHGk64-eNE/

(I like this old school trailer. Also a bit surprising that they manage to give away a good chunk of the film, but then don’t touch on The Gentleman Caller. So they manage to restrain themselves possibly as a red herring to distract the audience from realizing the two killers are distinct people initially.)

Directors – Gary Fleder – (Known For: Homefront; The Express; Runaway Jury; Future BMT: Impostor; Don’t Say a Word; Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead; BMT: Kiss the Girls; Notes: Primarily has stuck to television more recently, and is primarily a producer at this point. Homefront I think was his most recent feature release in 2013.)

Writers – James Patterson (novel) – (Known For: Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life; Future BMT: Along Came a Spider; BMT: Alex Cross; Kiss the Girls; Notes: He started as an advertising executive for Burger King.)

David Klass (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Desperate Measures; Walking Tall; Emperor; BMT: Kiss the Girls; Notes: Has produced and written a handful of Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes.)

Actors – Morgan Freeman – (Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Seven; Batman Begins; Unforgiven; Lucy; Oblivion; Deep Impact; Now You See Me; Olympus Has Fallen; War of the Worlds; Million Dollar Baby; Wanted; Going in Style; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; RED; Gone Baby Gone; The Lego Movie; Bruce Almighty; Future BMT: Evan Almighty; Just Getting Started; Edison; The Nutcracker and the Four Realms; Eye for an Eye; Chain Reaction; The Contract; Ben-Hur; Momentum; Last Knights; Along Came a Spider; High Crimes; Now You See Me 2; Harry & Son; Feast of Love; Levity; That Was Then… This Is Now; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Dreamcatcher; The Bonfire of the Vanities; London Has Fallen; Hard Rain; Transcendence; Angel Has Fallen; Kiss the Girls; Notes: He became so concerned about the decline in honeybees that he turned his 100+ acre estate into a bee sanctuary.)

Ashley Judd – (Known For: Heat; Divergent; Olympus Has Fallen; Natural Born Killers; A Time to Kill; Frida; A Dog’s Way Home; Bug; De-Lovely; Dolphin Tale; Simon Birch; Smoke; Barry; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; Animal Attraction; Dolphin Tale 2; Ruby in Paradise; Helen; Normal Life; Come Early Morning; Future BMT: Tooth Fairy; Eye of the Beholder; Allegiant; Insurgent; The Identical; Kuffs; Good Kids; High Crimes; Flypaper; Big Stone Gap; Double Jeopardy; The Passion of Darkly Noon; Crossing Over; Where the Heart Is; Trafficked; BMT: Twisted; Kiss the Girls; Notes: IT was rumored that she would run for Senate in Kentucky where she went to college, but ultimately decided not to.)

Cary Elwes – (Known For: Bram Stoker’s Dracula; The Princess Bride; No Strings Attached; Saw; Liar Liar; Twister; The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn; Hot Shots!; Robin Hood: Men in Tights; Glory; The Jungle Book; Ella Enchanted; A Christmas Carol; Shadow of the Vampire; Lady Jane; Whisper of the Heart; Porco Rosso; The Cat Returns; Another Country; The Cat’s Meow; Future BMT: The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure; Behaving Badly; Black Christmas; Saw 3D; Edison; The Alphabet Killer; Billionaire Boys Club; Days of Thunder; The Crush; The Chase; Collection; Sugar Mountain; The Bride; The Queen of Spain; The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot; Factory Girl; Delhi Safari; Being Charlie; BMT: New Year’s Eve; Georgia Rule; Kiss the Girls; Notes: Was recently features in the third season of the smash hit streaming television program Stranger Things.)

Budget/Gross – $27,000,000 / Domestic: $60,527,873 (Worldwide: $60,527,873)

(That’s not great I don’t think. You would have expected more from a Morgan Freeman vehicle in the late 90s. Bad thrillers though probably had terrible word of mouth back in the day.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 29% (9/31): Detective Alex Cross makes his inauspicious cinematic debut in Kiss the Girls, a clunky thriller that offers few surprises.

(Surprises? This must have come out right when a few thrillers really smashed the Twist-y McTwist side of thrillers out of the park. As a matter of fact Primal Fear did come out the year prior. Reviewer Highlight: Even those engrossed by the build-up here are likely to kiss off the rest after suffering through Girls’ groaner of a wrap-up. – Mike Clark, USA Today)

Poster – Kiss the Sklogs (C-)

kiss_the_girls

(Ha. Well… this is less than a stellar effort. Looks like Alex Cross is going to battle a spooky ghost or something. Only good thing is the pop of color that ghost brings with it. But also not offensive.)

Tagline(s) – A detective is searching for a deadly collector. His only hope is the woman who got away. (D)

(They chose the wrong tagline for the poster. This is too long and not clever. It’s just telling us what the basic premise of the film is… and wasting our time in the process. It is still at least understandable.)

Keyword – serial killer

KisstheGirls_serial killer

Top 10: Joker (2019), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Pulp Fiction (1994), Zodiac (2007), Heat (1995), Shutter Island (2010), Split (2016), Glass (2019), Seven (1995), American Psycho (2000); 

Future BMT: 74.3 Psycho (1998), 68.4 Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), 65.9 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), 64.3 Valentine (2001), 63.6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 62.4 The Hills Have Eyes II (2007), 59.1 Child’s Play 3 (1991), 57.6 Sorority Row (2009), 55.8 Jury Duty (1995), 51.1 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010); 

BMT: The Snowman (2017), Kiss the Girls (1997), Friday the 13th (2009), Basic Instinct 2 (2006), Cobra (1986), Leprechaun (1993), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Zoolander 2 (2016), Color of Night (1994), Alex Cross (2012), Righteous Kill (2008), Species II (1998), Untraceable (2008), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Jade (1995), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Twisted (2004), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), 88 Minutes (2007), Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Bless the Child (2000)

(For a bit I wondered if notability tailing off like that was a quirk of the underlying data, but I don’t think so. I legitimately think “thrillers”, much like horror, went through a popularity boom and bust in the late-90s and early 2000s. They now mostly got to VOD with smaller big names. This was one of the big ones in the 90s though.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Morgan Freeman is No. 1 billed in Kiss the Girls and No. 5 billed in Transcensdence, which also stars Paul Bettany (No. 2 billed) who is in Firewall (No. 2 billed), which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 5 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 17. If we were to watch Chain Reaction, Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Ashley Judd took kick-boxing lessons from stuntman David Lea before filming. She insisted on doing many of her own stunts, but the studio finally put their foot down, when she wanted to leap off a 150 foot waterfall. A stuntman, wearing a wig, made the jump instead, narrowly missing the rocks as he plummeted through the falls to the water below. (Uh … yeah you can see it, he gets really close. I can’t believe they put it in the movie)

Gillian Anderson was initially going to play Dr. Kate McTiernan during her hiatus from The X Files (1993). (Huh interesting. They are the exact same age)

At one point, Denzel Washington was to star, but he had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts, and Morgan Freeman was brought into the project. (That would have been a cool Alex Cross)

A split diopter lens is used in the final kitchen scene. The two-shots show both characters in sharp focus, even though one is much farther from the camera. Normally, one or the other would be out of focus. But a half-width lens placed in front of the camera’s main lens adjusts the focal plane of one side of the scene, allowing close and distant subjects to appear sharp. Brian De Palma often uses this filming technique. (Yeah … it is really old school. I was watching an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and they got the same effect but clearly there is some digital way to do that because instead of being weirdly fuzzy and looking like shit in my opinion, it looks super smooth.)

It was during the making of this film that Ashley Judd was subjected to sexual harassment by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. She would finally open up about the ordeal in 2017. (Gross!)

Campus officials at the University of North Carolina refused to agree to allow filming on campus in Chapel Hill, because of the subject matter of the film. Hence the only UNC-Chapel Hill campus scenes are the flyover shots. There is one other scene shot on UNC’s campus. After the flyover shot of Duke Chapel, the next scene is the detectives car turning onto Medical Drive in Chapel Hill.This can be seen by the sign behind the tree which is the old School of nursing sign on Columbia street.

Whenever Casanova speaks from the shadows, as well as in the opening credits, it is Tony Goldwyn’s voice being heard. Goldwyn’s voice was used to throw the audience off the trail so the unveiling of the real killer at the end would be more of a surprise. Goldwyn’s Casanova voice is easily distinguishable from Cary Elwes’ affected Casanova voice, which Ruskin uses as he is revealed as the real killer at the film’s close. As a result, when Rudolph is shouting at the hidden Casanova, Tony Goldwyn is essentially arguing with himself. (Yup, you can tell they are too totally different voices, it was an odd stylistic choice. Why not just have Elwes use his own British accent?)

MythBusters (2003) proved that it is nearly impossible for the muzzle flash of a gun to cause a room full of natural gas to explode.