The 13th Warrior Preview

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

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

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

The 13th Warrior (1999) – BMeTric: 16.6

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#51 for the Adventure – Period genre

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

#15 for the Medieval Times genre

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

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

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

Poster – The Umpteeth Bore-ior (B-)

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

Tagline(s) – Defy fear (C+)

An Ordinary Man…An Extraordinary Journey! (F)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Vampire Academy Preview

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

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

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

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

Vampire Academy (2014) – BMeTric: 48.3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#44 for the Vampire genre

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

#60 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

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

#12 Worst Openings – Saturated Adjusted

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

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

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

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

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

Tagline(s) – They Suck at School (C-)

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

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

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

Notes – Sarah Hyland auditioned over Skype.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conan the Barbarian (2011) Preview

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

Conan the Barbarian (2011) – BMeTric: 60.7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#76 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

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

#46 for the Revenge genre

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

#20 for the Sword and Sorcery genre

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

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

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

Poster – Conan the Sklogarian (C)

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

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

(Heh. No thanks.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monte Carlo Preview

After escaping the mutants of the Greater Chernobyl area (and allowing for the necessary time to mourn the loss of the seven other random European X-treme tourists) Patrick and I decide that we gotta get this backpacking trip back on track. Time to finally get some rest and relaxation in Monaco that we so sorely need. Emphasis on the sore considering the intense pain, chills and open wounds I’ve been experiencing since I was bitten by that mutant (shh, don’t tell Patrick I don’t want him to worry). That’s right! We’re watching the Selena Gomez classic Monte Carlo! While this may not be the worst reviewed film of all time it was certainly hated by those that vote on imdb (read: young white men), so the BMeTric score is inordinately high. Don’t matter much to us since it qualifies and a Selena Gomez film is always welcome into BMT. Let’s go!

Monte Carlo (2011) – BMeTric: 37.2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#34 for the Comedy – High School genre

montecarlo_highschoolcomedy

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

#170 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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

#18 for the Summer Girl Power genre

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

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

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

Poster – Monte Car-Sklog (C-)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Snowman Preview

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

The Snowman (2017) – BMeTric: 58.2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#43 for the Thriller – Serial Killer genre

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

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

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

Poster – The Sklogman (B-)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jo Nesbø has a cameo in the movie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifty Shades Freed Preview

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

Fifty Shades Freed (2018) – BMeTric: 54.1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#49 for the Romantic Drama genre

fiftyshadesfreed_romanticdrama

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

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

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

Poster – Fifty Shades Sklogged (B)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Texas Rangers Preview

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

Texas Rangers (2001) – BMeTric: 35.0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#66 for the Western genre

texasrangers_western

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

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

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

Poster – Texas Sklogs (A-)

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

Tagline(s) – Count Your Bullets. (D)

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

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

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

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

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

Unused score composed by Marco Beltrami

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