“Quick, follow me,” Mr. Big says, pulling Poe through a trapdoor with the gray ninjas close on their heels. “To the plane, the plane,” he says urgently, quickly taking off. Behind them, the gray ninjas have procured a dirigible of some sort and are in hot pursuit. Gunfire crackles around the hull of the small biplane and Poe can tell that Mr. Big is nervous. The little plane can’t take much more heat. He hands the book over to Poe, opens the side window and begins to futilely fire a handgun at the approaching blimp. Finally he sighs and collapses in the pilot’s seat. “We have protected this book for generations. It’s up to you know,” he says somberly, handing Poe the only parachute, “but it’s important to tell you that in reality…” with a whistle, a bullet shatters the side window of the plane and kills Mr. Big. “Noooooo,” Poe screams. His best friend! The blimp sidles up the plane and the gray ninjas reveal themselves as Rich and the gang (duh). “We saved you!” Rich exclaims happily, “and you got the book!” But Poe is not talking to him right now because of the whole killing his best friend business. “What’s that smell?” Rich asks suddenly, wrinkling his nose at the stench. they both look up and see the blimp, sagging sadly, losing air through a small hole in the middle of the giant “G” that spells out its name: The Great Nut. “Huh,” notes Rich before looking down to where they are about to crash land, “looks like we are heading for that island. If we can get across it then it’s just a short trek back to Nic. Should be no prob,” he says cheerily. But that sounds like a fantasy to Poe. That’s right! We’re watching one of the few major 2020 BMT theatrical releases in Fantasy Island. A rare Blumhouse flub, it’s no wonder since they turned a mild 70’s fantasy show into a horror movie for some reason. It should be obvious why we chose the Bring a Friend 2020 nonqualifying film to be paired with Fantasy Island. That’s right, we’re watching the 2020 straight-to-streaming sequel to JCVD’s Sudden Death called Welcome to Sudden Death for some reason. I’m excited. Let’s go!
Fantasy Island (2020) – BMeTric: 64.8; Notability: 25
(Shockingly low IMDb rating which is surprising. I know horror fans are quite harsh no bad examples of the genre, but it is so close to being a horror comedy I’m a little surprised there weren’t more people some of the silliness. High notability I feel like for a Blumhouse film, but maybe that’s the IP effect.)
RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – So yes, “Fantasy Island” is a terrible movie—this probably won’t come as a shock to most people—but more than that, it seems to have been made with absolutely no one in mind. Anyone who might have actually wanted to see a straight-up adaptation of the show will be put off by the way that it lurches into more ostensibly horrific areas. Those in the mood for a horror film will be annoyed by the pedestrian scares and its pilfering from other examples of the genre. Fans of actors like Michael Pena, Maggie Q and Lucy Hale (who is hereby advised to let any further calls from Wadlow go directly to voicemail) will be put out with how thoroughly they are wasted here. Look, I am no “Fantasy Island” fanatic by any means—I’ve only seen two episodes in my life, both of them featuring Michelle Phillips as one of the guest stars, strangely enough—but even it deserved better than this brainless product that’s no sane person’s fantasy of a half-decent movie.
(Yeah, it does seem that it was mostly just incredibly confusing as to why this was chosen to be the adaptation. Once they tacked so far away from the original premise, why not just make it original? It feels like it would have been easy to do. I guess you still want that sweet IP street cred.)
(Pretty good trailer. Still feels weird that this is the direction they decided to take the property. It feels like an empty sci-fi horror film, and very unlikely to satisfy anyone familiar with the property.)
Directors – Jeff Wadlow – (Future BMT: Cry Wolf; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; Kick-Ass 2; Never Back Down; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Like with a lot of Blumhouse stuff he also is a producer on the film. That is typically by design as his salary is probably largely determined by the box office return.)
Writers – Jeff Wadlow (written by) – (Future BMT: Prey; Cry Wolf; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; Kick-Ass 2; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Bloodshot; Notes: Oh, he wrote two of our 2020 films, that’s impressive. Katie Couric’s nephew, he got his start writing and directing short films.)
Christopher Roach (written by) (as Chris Roach) – (Known For: Non-Stop; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Was an executive producer on multiple series of Big Brother, among other unscripted television series. It is interesting that he’s made the leap to scripted films.)
Jillian Jacobs (written by) – (BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Was a producer on Big Brother, so I imagine she is operating as a writing partner with Roach in some capacity.)
Gene Levitt (based upon the television series created by) – (BMT: Fantasy Island; Notes: Created fantasy island, and while he was a writer on a ton of television in the 50s and 60s this was the only one he created and he seemed to have retired right after. He died in 1999.)
Actors – Michael Peña – (Known For: The Martian; The Mule; Fury; American Hustle; Ant-Man; Crash; The Lincoln Lawyer; Dora and the Lost City of Gold; Ant-Man and the Wasp; Million Dollar Baby; Shooter; Tower Heist; End of Watch; 12 Strong; Babel; A Wrinkle in Time; Turbo; The Lego Ninjago Movie; My Little Pony; 30 Minutes or Less; Future BMT: The Vatican Tapes; Extinction; Hell and Back; Vacation; The Calcium Kid; Lions for Lambs; Jexi; Collateral Beauty; Star Maps; Cesar Chavez; The Lucky Ones; The United States of Leland; BMT: Fantasy Island; Battle: Los Angeles; CHIPS; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Gangster Squad; Notes: Born in Chicago, and has starred in character roles in film and on television across the years, like Eastbound & Down. Apparently plays bass guitar, hopefully he starts a band.)
Maggie Q – (Known For: Divergent; Die Hard 4.0; Mission: Impossible III; Rush Hour 2; The Argument; Rogues Gallery; Future BMT: Balls of Fury; The Con Is On; Priest; Allegiant; Slumber; Death of Me; Deception; Insurgent; New York, I Love You; Jekyll Island; BMT: Fantasy Island; Around the World in 80 Days; Notes: Played the lead role in the Nikita remake. Grew up in Hawaii, but ended up becoming a huge star in Hong Kong before breaking out in Hollywood.)
Lucy Hale – (Known For: Scream 4; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2; The Unicorn; TinkerBell and the Secret of the Wings; Future BMT: A Nice Girl Like You; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Was part of the band American Juniors which was assembled on a reality series. Amazingly appeared in The O.C. way back in the day, but most well-known for her leading role in Pretty Little Liars.)
(Still an incredible return on investment. Blum really can’t lose with these things. I wonder if they’ll think about doing another? I mean, in theory they could do the whole again with a new group. Could be a fun franchise if they fix whatever issues it had.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (8/107): Fantasy Island tries to show audiences the dark side of wish fulfillment, but mainly serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of exhuming long-dead franchises.
(“Who is this film for?” seems to be the common question. Not horror fans. Not Fantasy Island fans … so Blumhouse fans? Probably not that either. Reviewer Highlight: Contrived and loony, it feels like someone planted about a half-dozen different scripts all over this Fantasy Island. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Clever. I think that’s a really good poster. Give me a little more on the font front and it might even be a perfect poster. Really artistic and beautiful. Too bad something so nice isn’t associated with a better film. Despite the font I’ll still give it an A. Just not an A+.)
Tagline(s) – Anything you desire. Everything you fear. (A)
(Blumhouse is good at what they do and despite flubbing a bit with the film as a whole you can still see that they know what’s up. Good poster, good tagline. This has the cadence, the length, and the specificity to the film at hand. I like it.)
Top 10: Fantasy Island (2020), Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018), Charlie’s Angels (2019), Star Trek (2009), Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), Baywatch (2017), Addams Family Values (1993), Serenity (2005), State of Play (2009)
Future BMT: 83.1 Inspector Gadget (1999), 79.3 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000), 75.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 69.4 The Flintstones (1994), 67.3 Scooby-Doo (2002), 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 66.4 Yogi Bear (2010), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 65.0 Max Steel (2016);
BMT: Fantasy Island (2020), Baywatch (2017), The Last Airbender (2010), Masters of the Universe (1987), CHIPS (2017), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), The Lone Ranger (2013), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Wild Wild West (1999), Lost in Space (1998), Sex and the City 2 (2010), Æon Flux (2005), The Avengers (1998), Garfield (2004), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), I Spy (2002), Garfield 2 (2006), Marmaduke (2010), Dudley Do-Right (1999), Car 54, Where Are You? (1994)
(My God, we’ve watched so many. And we still have so many to go. And again, no need to remake television series anymore, you can just you know … make the television series again on Netflix or whatever. So it is no wonder it is dying as a mini-genre.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Michael Rooker is No. 8 billed in Fantasy Island and No. 4 billed in Here on Earth => 8 + 4 = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.
Notes – Jason Blum wanted Nicolas Cage to play Mr. Roarke but Cage passed on the role.
The movie is a reimagining of Fantasy Island (1977) in a horror genre, inspired by The Cabin in the Woods (2011) and Westworld (2016).
Principal photography on the film began in January 2019 in Fiji.In October 2018, Michael Peña, Jimmy O. Yang, Dave Bautista and Lucy Hale joined the cast. In November 2018, during an interview, Jeff Wadlow disclosed that Maggie Q, Portia Doubleday and Ryan Hansen had joined the cast, as well as suggesting Bautista may no longer be able to appear in the film. (Huh … I wonder who Bautista would have been. I guess maybe the Rooker role? Or many the army captain)
“You gotta help us!” Poe wails and he, Rich and their new BFFF Kilgorn follow close behind the fleeing ghost. But the ghost is having none of it. “Uh uh. You better back on up. I ain’t no Casper the Friendly Ghost and you ain’t no Ghostbusters and if it wasn’t for the good Lord Jesus I’d punch you square in the faces.” They all can’t help but smile at the ghost and how sassy she is. Suddenly Poe has an idea, “But that’s just it,” he explains, “we are doing this for the good Lord Jesus.” Suddenly the sassy ghost is listening. “You see the Book of Secrets is the devil’s book and we’re going to destroy it.” The ghost ponders for a minute and eventually relents and nods for them to follow. Soon they reach a brightly lit club with a neon sign blinking the words “Hollywood Badass.” Progressive psytrance music blasts each time the door opens and the group knows they have no chance at getting in. Unless… Rich and Poe leap to put their masters of disguise skillz to the test. “Alright, keep cool, I know this club” the big sassy ghosts says, “These disguises have got to be tight. So let’s go over our backstory. I’m Carrie, a gal about town looking for love. You three are my friends. You’re prim and proper Charlotte,” she says pointing to Kilgorn, who beams. “You’re the overworked voice of reason, Miranda,” she says pointing to Rich who acts upset (but is secretly thrilled). “And you’re Samantha,” she growls pointing to Poe. Poe frowns and starts to explain why the ghost is really more the Samantha of the bunch, but stops when he sees the scowl on the sassy ghost’s face. He gives a reluctant thumbs up. That’s right! We’re finally hitting up the classic squeak-quel Sex in the City 2, the one where they go to the Middle East for some reason and their old and married pretty much. We’ve been reluctant, and let’s see if it was for good reason. Let’s go!
Sex and the City 2 (2010) – BMeTric: 79.6; Notability: 67
(An incredibly low rating. And an incredibly high Notability. I should check, but is that because of cameos, or literally just because the IMDb cast list is just enormous. I bet there are a lot of cameos. And now I’m excited.)
RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – Some of these people make my skin crawl. The characters of “Sex and the City 2” are flyweight bubbleheads living in a world which rarely requires three sentences in a row. Their defining quality is consuming things. They gobble food, fashion, houses, husbands, children, vitamins and freebies. They must plan their wardrobes on the phone, so often do they appear in different basic colors, like the plugs you pound into a Playskool workbench.
(I mean, while true that “consuming things” wasn’t necessarily the crux of the show (Carrie has a thing about fashion and shoes, and Samantha works in that industry, but most stories were about, you know … sex and New York City), that definitely was a very obviously strange part of the first film. It is interesting to see how much more it seemed to grate on critics this time around.)
(Wow that really doesn’t show much huh. I guess that is good. Somehow the fact that it is getting more obviously about worshiping consumerism and rich people in general does make its shininess seem … dirty. Also the more I look into this film for the preview the more perplexed I am that they chose Abu Dhabi. It seems like it could have just as easily been Paris, or Morocco, or Tokyo, or Sydney. Tokyo would have probably made the most sense since I think they went to Paris in the later seasons of the show.)
Directors – Michael Patrick King – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Directed 10 episodes of Sex and the City, and both movies. Won two Emmys for his work on the series.)
Writers – Michael Patrick King (written by) – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Wrote 31 episodes of the series. Ultimately went on to create 2 Broke Girls.)
Candace Bushnell (characters from the book by) – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Notes: Has had two of her books made into television series, the other being Lipstick Jungle.)
Darren Star (television series creator) – (Known For: Sex and the City; Future BMT: Teen Agent; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Notes: Notably created and produced Melrose Place, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Sex and the City. His current show is Younger which is in its 7th season.)
Actors – Sarah Jessica Parker – (Known For: Footloose; Mars Attacks!; The First Wives Club; Sex and the City; Ed Wood; Flight of the Navigator; The Family Stone; L.A. Story; Honeymoon in Vegas; Extreme Measures; Strangers with Candy; State and Main; Smart People; Miami Rhapsody; The Substance of Fire; Future BMT: I Don’t Know How She Does It; If Lucy Fell; Striking Distance; ‘Til There Was You; Girls Just Want to Have Fun; Blue Night; Spinning Into Butter; Hocus Pocus; Moving In; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Did You Hear About the Morgans?; Dudley Do-Right; Failure to Launch; New Year’s Eve; Escape from Planet Earth; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 2010 for Did You Hear About the Morgans?; and in 2012 for I Don’t Know How She Does It, and New Year’s Eve; Notes: Won two Emmys for played Carrie in Sex and the City. Had been married to Matthew Broderick since 1997.)
Kim Cattrall – (Known For: Big Trouble in Little China; Sex and the City; The Ghost; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Ice Princess; Horrible Histories: The Movie; Masquerade; Above Suspicion; Meet Monica Velour; The Return of the Musketeers; Ticket to Heaven; Midnight Crossing; Future BMT: Mannequin; 15 Minutes; Porky’s; Live Nude Girls; Unforgettable; Turk 182; The Tiger’s Tail; Rosebud; BMT: Crossroads; Baby Geniuses; Sex and the City 2; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Police Academy; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1991; Notes: Was nominated for an Emmy five times for her role in Sex and the City, but never won. Is somewhat notable as one of the last actors to have been part of the studio contract system.)
Kristin Davis – (Known For: The Knight Before Christmas; Sex and the City; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; Future BMT: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D; The Shaggy Dog; Deck the Halls; Couples Retreat; Nine Months; Holiday in the Wild; Sour Grapes; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Was nominated for an Emmy once for her role in Sex and the City. She was in Melrose Place for one year, but was written out, reportedly because viewer hated her character and they didn’t know what to do with her.)
(That’s a success. I can see why you would look at the reviews and think that they really stretched the concept too far and should quit while they are behind. Also I bet at least one of the actresses would just have no interest at this point.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (34/217): Straining under a thin plot stretched to its limit by a bloated running time, Sex and the City 2 adds an unfortunate coda to the long-running HBO series.
(Uh oh. A bloated running time, how long are these films … they are both 2.5 hours. Shoot. I have to watch 5 hours of Sex and the City this weekend? Reviewer Highlight: It’s an almost avant-garde adventure in aimlessness. – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal)
(While I do not personally find the poster aesthetically pleasing and question the need for a Dutch angle, I also cannot fault them for this poster. You have your four glam girls up front and a little desert and sky to give a taste of that desert heat. Throw in some fine font work and I think it’s doing a job. B.)
Tagline(s) – Carrie on (D)
(I’m glad to see this tagline isn’t on the poster and in fact this is probably one of the few times where I don’t think it needs one. Besides the tagline is trash. The only thing that would make it good is if the person who wrote it revealed that he was actually playing on the desert theme and the fact that they all will carrion for vultures one they succumb to the heat.)
Top 10: The Addams Family (1991), Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006), Addams Family Values (1993), The Addams Family (2019), Star Trek Beyond (2016), Fantasy Island (2020), The Avengers (1998), Dark Shadows (2012), Brüno (2009), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Future BMT: 83.1 Inspector Gadget (1999), 79.3 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000), 75.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 69.4 The Flintstones (1994), 67.3 Scooby-Doo (2002), 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 66.4 Yogi Bear (2010), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 65.0 Max Steel (2016);
BMT: The Avengers (1998), Baywatch (2017), The Last Airbender (2010), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Masters of the Universe (1987), CHIPS (2017), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), The Lone Ranger (2013), Wild Wild West (1999), Sex and the City 2 (2010), Lost in Space (1998), Æon Flux (2005), Garfield (2004), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Garfield 2 (2006), I Spy (2002), Marmaduke (2010), Dudley Do-Right (1999), Car 54, Where Are You? (1994)
(This is a rare instance where I think the plot actually is suggesting this filmmaking trend is well and truly dying. I think it is entirely due to television becoming prestige enough that television series don’t merely have to dream of becoming a major motion picture anymore. When you want to redo a series or make a sequel to a series you just make another series a la Twin Peaks. So I do imagine that in the future we’ll just stop seeing feature films based on television shows and instead we’ll get little 2 or 3 episode seasons instead.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sarah Jessica Parker is No. 1 billed in Sex and the City 2 and No. 2 billed in Dudley Do-Right, 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 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch If Lucy Fell, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 11.
Notes – Kim Cattrall occasionally came to the set wearing a wedding dress for the benefit of the paparazzi photographers, to trick the public into thinking that her character Samantha Jones would get married in this film.
The dress Carrie wears to dinner when Mr. Big picks her up from her old apartment is the same one she wore when apologizing to Natasha, Mr. Big’s ex-wife, for her and Mr. Big’s affair in Sex and the City: What Goes Around Comes Around (2000).
The government of Abu Dhabi did not allow filming, calling the film “too sexual”.
In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Penélope Cruz mentioned that she shot her cameo in two hours. She said that she wanted to do it because she was a fan of the series and Sarah Jessica Parker.
The airport, when the ladies arrive in the Middle East, is not the Abu Dhabi airport. It is the airport of Marrakesh, Morocco, famous as well for its architecture.
In May 2015, Sarah Jessica Parker posted a teasing photo of her with a shopping bag, in order to promote her collaboration with Bloomingdales. However, the photo went viral, when it proved so ambiguous, that several fans believed the photo teased a potential third “Sex and the City” movie. Several online outlets reported the announcement, and an unaware and puzzled Cynthia Nixon, co-star of the show, was asked about it during a live interview. In the end, Warner Brothers Studios had to make an official statement that there was no plans for a “Sex and the City 3”.
“Sex and the City 3” has been discussed, but not yet confirmed. Sarah Jessica Parker went a bit into detail in an interview on Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003), but in 2017 confirmed that it’s “not gonna happen”.
When Samantha makes a comment about Charlotte’s Irish nanny not wearing a bra, she says, “you mean Erin go bra-less”. “Erin Go Bragh” is an Irish saying that means “Ireland Forever”.
Jennifer Hudson’s character didn’t return for this film. Hudson herself still featured in the film, as she recorded the original song “Love is Your Color” for the production.
The film is included on Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list.
The blue Manolo Blahnik pumps that Carrie leaves in the penthouse and that Mr. Big uses as the “diamond to seal the deal” are visible over her left shoulder when she’s in her closet packing for Abu Dhabi.
Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, 2011)
Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble (2011)
Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel (2011)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Liza Minnelli, 2011)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Michael Patrick King, 2011)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2011)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Michael Patrick King, 2011)
Rich walks down the hallway towards the space shuttle. With one of their patented Rich and Poe undercover disguises he is virtually indistinguishable from astronaut Jim McBrawn. The plan is simple: blast into space, take over the space shuttle, take the moon ransom, and then get Poe back. All in a day’s work for Rich… however usually he’s on the right side of the law. But what can you do when a madman has your best friend and his granny hostage? Suddenly Jade runs around the corner. They share a tender kiss and sing John Mayer’s romantic masterpiece Your Body is a Wonderland to each other. Spinning in circles for what seems like hours reminds the world what they are fighting for. Love. The love between a man and a tree monster. The love between a grandson for his foul-mouthed granny. The love between John Mayer and chart-topping hits. As he departs he tells Jade to remind Poe that he’s doing this for family and that he needs to remember to just be himself. Simple as that. The shuttle launches as people around the world look on. Inspiration. Love. Emotion. Explosions. Shortly after entering orbit the shuttles screens all switch to the face of Gruber. “Ah, Rich. You didn’t really think I would trust you with this mission. This has all been a big ol’ trick to get you out of the picture. Have fun with my assassin robot, Assassinbot 3000. He’ll take it from here. Bwahahahaha.” Suddenly Assassinbot 3000 burst into the command module killing all of Rich’s co-astronauts. Rich hopes that Poe gets his message, for it’s looking mighty dire for him and any false move against this robot could leave him… lost in space. That’s right! We’re watching Lost In Space, also from the greatest year in film 1998. This was also on Siskel’s year end worst of the year list with the previously watched Godzilla. Obviously Patrick and I saw this at the time and I recall thinking it was real dumb… and I was 12. So this should be solid. I’m just really hoping that Matt LeBlanc lives up to his billing. Let’s go!
Lost in Space (1998) – BMeTric: 62.9
(Wow, sub-5.0 is so low. It is slowly creeped up, but this will never be anything but 50+ BMeTric. Which is kind of awesome. I had kind of figured it would just be a middling, if-you-were-a-kid-when-you-watched-this-you’ll-like-it kind of deal.
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – In 2058, with the hope of opening a gateway to a new planet for denizens of the overcrowded Earth, a family is launched into space, accompanied by a he-man pilot and the weasley doctor who tried to sabotage the journey. The 1960s TV series is re-created on a lavish scale, bu hurt by crudely episodic story, grim tone, and paper-thin characters. Oldman, curiously, underplays the role of Dr. Smith. Angela Cartwright, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, and June Lockhart, stars of the original TV series, have cameo roles. Also available in PG version.
(Why is this film PG-13 again? Like … it is a children’s film. There is no way around it, the film is a family film through and through, so why make it PG-13? Whatever.)
(Wait … did they just use Star Wars music at the end? Or wait no, it is maybe Indiana Jones with a little sci-fi twist? That trailer is horrible, but I have to say they hit the fact that most of the film is constructed from bad CGI well. It actually looks like they leaned into the cheesy 60s set idea … but in reality they didn’t.)
Directors – Stephen Hopkins – (Known For: The Ghost and the Darkness; Race; Under Suspicion; The Life and Death of Peter Sellers; Future BMT: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child; The Reaping; Blown Away; Judgment Night; BMT: Lost in Space; Predator 2; Notes: Directed 12 of the original 24 episodes of the first season of 24. Was dating Heather Graham at the time of filming.)
Writers – Irwin Allen (television series) – (Known For: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; BMT: Lost in Space; Notes: Producer of the original series. Made the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea series at the same time.)
Akiva Goldsman (written by) – (Known For: I Am Legend; A Beautiful Mind; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; The Client; Cinderella Man; Future BMT: The Dark Tower; Insurgent; Practical Magic; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Batman & Robin; Rings; Lost in Space; Transformers: The Last Knight; The 5th Wave; Batman Forever; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1998 for Batman & Robin; and in 2018 for Transformers: The Last Knight; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill in 1997; Notes: Notable for writing episodes and producing the current Star Trek series Discovery. He is mostly a producer at this point. Batman & Robin immediately preceded this film, oooof.)
Actors – Gary Oldman – (Known For: The Dark Knight; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Leon; The Dark Knight Rises; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; The Fifth Element; Batman Begins; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; True Romance; The Hitman’s Bodyguard; Dracula; Darkest Hour; The Book of Eli; Lawless; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; RoboCop; Air Force One; JFK; Future BMT: The Unborn; Paranoia; Tau; Planet 51; Man Down; Criminal; Criminal Law; The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot; Child 44; Hannibal; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: Lost in Space; Red Riding Hood; The Scarlet Letter; Tiptoes; The Space Between Us; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; Notes: Ha, IMDb has Oldman first? He’s been married five times, and is apparently rather private about his personal life.)
William Hurt – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Avengers: Infinity War; Captain America: Civil War; The Incredible Hulk; Into the Wild; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; The Village; Robin Hood; Mr. Brooks; Dark City; Body Heat; A History of Violence; Syriana; The Good Shepherd; The Yellow Handkerchief; The Big Chill; Altered States; The Miracle Season; Race; Tuck Everlasting; Future BMT: Michael; Trial by Jury; Vantage Point; Days and Nights; Neverwas; BMT: Lost in Space; The Host; A New York Winter’s Tale; Notes: A private pilot, he owns a Beechcraft Bonanza. I feel like actors owning and flying planes never seems to end well though.)
Matt LeBlanc – (Known For: Charlie’s Angels; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Future BMT: Ed; All the Queen’s Men; Lovesick; BMT: Lost in Space; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple, and Worst New Star for Ed in 1997; and Nominee for Worst New Star in 1997 for Mother, She’s the One, and The Pallbearer; Notes: Joey! This is arguably his largest role. He’s continued to have a very successful television career with Episodes and Man with a Plan since 2011.)
Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $69,117,629 (Worldwide: $136,159,423)
(That isn’t good. It is a flop and there is no way a sequel would have been made considering the level of CGI that is on display.)
(The veritable peak of the TV Adaptation genre. Came out the same year as The Avengers, and then everyone collectively realized there are only so many television shows from the 1960s which aren’t cheesy, and weird, and suck.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 28% (23/83): Clumsily directed and missing most of the TV series’ campy charm, Lost in Space sadly lives down to its title.
(They forgot to mention that it is just chock-a-block full of CGI effects without bothering to actually make a movie around it. Reviewer Highlight: A galactic slump of a movie that stuffs its travel bag with special effects but forgets to pack the charm. – Desson Thomson, Washington Post)
(This is so old school. I like the color and the font is fine, particularly the stylized “LS” in the background. The rest is kind of blah.)
Tagline(s) – Danger Will Robinson! (D+)
(Also the website they used for the film. This is not good and basically playing into a property that the target audience in its entirety has no familiarity with in any capacity. I guess it’s short.)
Keyword(s) – spaceship; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.7 Battlefield Earth (2000); 94.1 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 86.4 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 82.2 Skyline (2010); 78.8 Jason X (2001); 74.8 After Earth (2013); 70.3 Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964); 65.2 Thunderbirds (2004); 62.9 Lost in Space (1998);62.6 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987);
(We’ll complete this at some point. We’ll have to be careful with Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, but it is on the worst of all time wiki page, so we’ll bring it along as a friend with like … Fred Claus or something.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Heather Graham is No. 5 billed in Lost in Space and No. 2 billed in Say It Isn’t So, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 5 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 10. There is no shorter path at the moment.
Notes – Despite opening in theaters on April 3, this was the first new film of 1998 to open at #1 at the box office. Titanic (1997) had been at the top spot for the previous 15 weeks, starting in late December. For a short time, the movie was nicknamed “The Iceberg”. (HA)
Dick Tufeld reprises his role from Lost in Space (1965) as the voice of the Robot. (That’s kind of awesome)
All principal actors were contracted to a three-picture option. The film failed to recoup its budget in North America, so plans for a new franchise were scrapped. (Yeah, it was a big enough flop that that was never going to happen … man, what would a Lost in Space 2 have looked like?
The television series Lost in Space (1965) was set in the future of 1997 – the year the film began production.
Gary Oldman was the first member of the cast to sign on, jumping at the chance to appear in a family film.
Matt LeBlanc filmed his role while Friends (1994) was still shooting, and had to fly back and forth between sets several times per week in order to do both projects at the same time. Gary Oldman guest-starred in a couple of episodes with LeBlanc, but director Stephen Hopkins had never seen an episode up to that point.
The first robot in the movie weighed two tons and required eight people to control. (Jesus, it looked like it was made of plastic)
Originally, all surviving cast members of the TV show were meant to have cameo appearances. Dick Tufeld reprises his role from Lost in Space (1965) as the voice of the Robot. Mark Goddard, the original Major Don West, plays the General. June Lockhart, the original Maureen Robinson, plays Will Robinson’s principal. Marta Kristen and Angela Cartwright, the original Robinson girls, play reporters. Ironically, Bill Mumy and Jonathan Harris, the two actors most supportive of the idea of a new movie (as well as the two most popular characters on the show), did not appear in it. Mumy wanted to play the older Will Robinson but the director thought it would be too distracting from the plot to have the original Will play the older Will. Harris was to have played the man who hired, then betrayed, Dr. Smith. In an interview for “TV Guide” prior to the film’s release, it was mentioned that Harris bluntly stated, “I will have you know I have never done a walk-on or bit part in my life! And I do not intend to start.” He announced that if he could not play his own role in the movie, he wanted nothing to do with it – famously being quoted as saying “Either I play Doctor Smith, or I do not play.” He did return as Dr. Smith in a one-hour TV special Lost in Space Forever (1998). (I kind of respect the stance by the Dr. Smith guy. The notion of having the original Will play the older Will is ridiculous. Not because it would be distracting … but because the guy who played Will is probably a terrible actor)
Sean Patrick Flanery was originally cast as Don West, but he was let go while the project was still in rehearsal because it was thought that he too closely resembled William Hurt. The part was also offered to Matthew Perry before it went to his Friends (1994) costar Matt LeBlanc. (Matthew Perry would have been hilarious)
A huge production, this movie occupied 12 separate soundstages when it was being filmed at London’s Shepperton Studios.
In the script the ship with the spiders doesn’t have a name while in the movie it is called The Proteus. You could also notice this later on by watching Older Will’s lips move when he talks about how the spiders survived.
Heather Graham was dating director Stephen Hopkins during filming. (Wow, that is crazy)
Blarp was originally going to be an animatronic puppet in the film, except the puppet didn’t look real enough so it was replaced with a CG puppet. (The CG puppet looks so bad, an incredible decision)
In the original script and movie adaptation, it wasn’t Silicon Graphics who co-sponsored the Jupiter mission, it was Coca-Cola. (WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT)
The movie opens on September 30th, 2058 (two days after Mike Johansen & Naomi Watts’s 90 birthday). This is an allusion to Robinson Crusoe who was stranded on his Island on September 30th, 1659. The Robinsons ultimately owe their name to Crusoe via the Swiss Family Robinson, who were named after Crusoe.
British Band Lighthouse Family recorded the song “Lost in Space” for this film, but the producers decided not to use it. It wasn’t released for 2 months after the films US release. (Amazing)
According to the screenwriter, if this movie did receive a sequel it would have been about the Robinson family making it to Alpha Prime. However, they’d discover that Alpha Prime is already populated with humans because they previously went through a wormhole in the first movie that sends them into the future. There would also have been a sub-plot with Judy Robinson creating a cure for Dr. Smith to prevent the spider infection from turning him into Spider Smith and Penny ending up receiving the same color-changing abilities as Blarp has. (Oh thank God I wasn’t left hanging)
Future Will’s dialogue is entirely dubbed, as Jared Harris did not have the vocal scale to complete the role. (Yeah ………….. I think he couldn’t cover his British accent. It is very weird)
Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (1999)
The Predator screams in rage once he realizes that the wolves are not real but rather holograms that it won’t be able to kill. Blasting the surrounding trees with a laser beam it runs into the trees to find and destroy those that pulled such a trick on him. Jamie is despondent at The Predator’s lack of focus. He thought The Predator would be helpful in his quest, but apparently working with a space monster driven by bloodlust is harder than he first imagined. Suddenly one of the hologram wolves walk by and boy howdy does she walk. “That’s one sexy wolf,” Jamie thinks distractedly as he heaves the rotting corpse of Frang to his shoulder and starts to follow The Predator’s trail of destruction. Clearly the creator of the holograms must be some kind of devious mastermind… to be able to create such a sexy hologram wolf. He shakes his head. Why is his mind so focused on that wolf’s walk that just won’t quit? As he ponders the sexiness of that cartoon wolf he breaks into a clearing where he is confronted by a horrifying scene of gore. The Predator screams to the heavens in the joy of the hunt. Only one of a group of people remains alive, quivering at its feet. Eyes wide with fear the man implores Jamie, “I can help you get whatever you want if you save me from this space monster.” Jamie calms The Predator with a bro hug. The man reveals that he is a space explorer sent back in time with his now dead crew. As a reward for his life he could give Jamie access to his spaceship or laser beam weapons. But Jamie doesn’t need those… he just needs something to defeat one little old librarian. That’s right! We’re watching Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. I never watched any of the franchise so was somewhat unaware just how far we would have to go to get the first qualifying entry in the series. Exciting stuff, but also a shitload of homework for me. Let’s go!
Patrick, Sticks, and Stone go careening down the aisle and into the supermarket. But this ain’t no ordinary supermarket, in this one the brands come to life! What a wonderland, Patrick thinks, imagine how much fun children would have here, laughing and playing with their favorite corporate logos! Beautiful capitalism. Something deep within him starts to stir and he feels compelled to sing. “Ooooh say can you seeeeeee…” All of a sudden Sticks cuts him off, “Hey Patrick … why is this supermarket filled with racist characters?” Patrick looks around. No race, creed, or gender was left unabused in the horrorscape surrounding him. It was a mockery of the red-blooded capitalism Patrick knows and loves. The shopping cart flips and the supermarket disappears (blessedly, seriously it was disturbingly racist and, not surprisingly, filled with farts), and they find themselves on a desert set. “Gosh dern, that’s not bad Patrick. The good news is we’re on the California Desert set which should be close to the LAPD set” says Stones. “What’s the bad news?” Patrick asks hopefully. “We’re going to die of exposure if we don’t find a way out of here,” Sticks growls in reply. Just then a tow truck rolls up and the driver pops his head out, “Y’all want to see some aliens?” Shrugging our shoulders we all clamber aboard the truck and roll out into the desert. That’s right! We’re also watching the William Shatner directed film Groom Lake. Never heard of it? Neither has anyone else, let’s get into it!
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) – BMeTric: 51.9
(Honestly 5.4 is way way lower than I would expect. It is a not good film, but it isn’t complete without merit, and I would have thought fans of the series at least would see the good along with the bad.)
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – The Enterprise crew takes off on an emergency mission when an apparent madman takes over a distant planet and holds its interstellar ambassadors hostage; his motives, however, turn out to be anything by terroristic. Dramatically shakey trek starts off with the case of the cutes, and gets worse before it (finally) gets better. A weak entry in the series. Shatner’s feature-film directing debut; he also shares story credit.
(Leonard knows what I love (semi-colons). BTW this is indeed the lowest rated of all of the Trek films according to Leonard. Funny enough After this he gives every single film (literally) exactly three stars. Out of the twelves films in the 2015 book Leonard gives nine of them three stars. Only voyage home (3 1/2 stars), the motion picture (2 1/2 stars) and this don’t get that rating.)
(This trailer makes the film look like a comedy. It … well, after four it probably makes sense to advertise it that way, but it really isn’t. The story itself is rather serious, perhaps overly so.)
Directors – William Shatner – (BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Star Trek: Generations in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000 for Star Trek III: The, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Notes: One of two films he directed. I get the feeling he didn’t really like directing, and only really did it because Nimoy tried it out for three and four.)
Writers – Gene Roddenberry (creator: based on “Star Trek”) – (Known For: Star Trek Beyond; Star Trek; Star Trek into Darkness; Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek: First Contact; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek: Generations; Star Trek: Insurrection; Future BMT: Star Trek: Nemesis; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Notes: Roddenberry is obviously a television legend. Married Majel Barrett who was famously Nurse Chapel in the original series, Lwaxana Troi in Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and voiced the computer in basically every series.)
William Shatner (story) – (BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Star Trek: Generations in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000 for Star Trek III: The, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Notes: Probably more famous for writing a ton of spoken word poetry.)
Harve Bennett (story) – (Known For: Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Picture of the Decade for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Notes: Died two days before Nimoy. Was at one point attached to a Star Trek Starfleet Academy prequel series which ended up being opposed by Roddenberry and fans alike, and was never made.)
David Loughery (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Nurse 3-D; Lakeview Terrace; Dreamscape; Future BMT: Obsessed; Money Train; Passenger 57; Tom and Huck; The Three Musketeers; Flashback; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Notes: Apparently does uncredited rewrites of a bunch of Joseph Ruben’s films including the “other” WWI film The Ottoman Lieutenant starring Josh Hartnett. Small world.)
Actors – William Shatner – (Known For: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; Miss Congeniality; Over the Hedge; Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Judgment at Nuremberg; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Osmosis Jones; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Airplane II: The Sequel; Star Trek: Generations; Big Bad Mama; A Christmas Horror Story; Kingdom of the Spiders; Free Enterprise; Incubus; Future BMT: The Wild; Showtime; The Devil’s Rain; Loaded Weapon 1; Visiting Hours; Fanboys; BMT: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Escape from Planet Earth; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Star Trek: Generations in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000 for Star Trek III: The, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Notes: He was a classic 60s television actor I would say, back at the time when such things were just as cheap as one would imagine. He clearly loved stage fighting and running, and many of the notes about his directorial effort suggest as much.)
Leonard Nimoy – (Known For: Star Trek; Star Trek into Darkness; Atlantis: The Lost Empire; Invasion of the Body Snatchers; The Transformers: The Movie; Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Them!; The Balcony; Future BMT: Land of the Lost; The Pagemaster; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Zambezia; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Notes: Possibly the most beloved of all television characters in Mr. Spock. He appeared in the rebooted Star Trek films, but, sadly, died a few years ago.)
DeForest Kelley – (Known For: Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Gunfight at the O.K. Corral; The Men; The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit; House of Bamboo; Future BMT: Night of the Lepus; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Notes: Doctor McCoy. Was effectively typecast as the character. Also appeared in the pilot for Star Trek The Next Generation as the 137-year-old McCoy.)
Budget/Gross – $33 million / Domestic: $52,210,049
(Not great. It isn’t that surprising then that they looked to close out the original series cast and move onto more exciting Next Generation films after the sixth film.)
(Shockingly only After Earth has done better for a BMT film. Most of these films are actually really really good at the top, this is no bad movie genre, it is a regular genre. The genre is booming. And I don’t think it is going to stop unless Star Trek and Star Wars actually collapses … neither of which I think is going to happen.)
(We’ve seen Wild Wild West, Baywatch, I Spy, and CHiPs just in the last year! Really getting these things going. This came in way before the big 90s boom. Which makes sense, the Star Trek films weren’t really supposed to exist. The Motion Picture was supposed to launch a new series in the 80s, but they were so lucrative they just went for it, so they really were doing something that even they didn’t seem to think would work: remaking old television series as movie franchises.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (10/45): Filled with dull action sequences and an underdeveloped storyline, this fifth Trek movie is probably the worst of the series.
(Being a big fan of Star Trek myself I’ll get into the personal rankings in the recap I think. But suffice it to say, this was the first of the films which I thought was actually genuinely terrible. Reviewer Highlight – Of all of the Star Trek movies, this is the worst. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
(This is just a really really really good poster. I like everything about it. Can I have this poster hanging in my room? *check if in fact he’s allowed to have this hanging in his room* I’m being told I can’t have this in my room… also I would want a better film hanging in my room. Like Here on Earth.)
Tagline(s) – Adventure and Imagination Will Meet At the Final Frontier (D)
(Ah shit. That sucks. Given that fantastic poster this is a giant disappointment.)
Keyword(s) – captain; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.0 Meet the Spartans (2008); 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 84.6 Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994); 82.7 The Legend of Hercules (2014); 78.1 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999); 74.8 After Earth (2013); 71.5 Wild Wild West (1999); 70.4 Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989); 69.9 Wing Commander (1999); 68.3 Captain America (1990);
(The 1990 Captain America, now that is a terrible film which needs to be brought along with a friend at some point.)
Notes – Enterprise-D corridor sets from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) were used as Enterprise-A corridors in this film. Very few cosmetic alterations were made, so as not to interfere with filming of the television series, which was under way at the same time. (Yeah, likely the Klingon story here is a set up to the treaty in number 6 which is a necessary precursor to Next Generation. Tight. Writing.)
According to George Takei, despite studio pressure to complete the film on time, William Shatner maintained a creative and enthusiastic atmosphere on set. “I have enormous admiration for his ability to block that kind of pressure from seeping on to the set.” Moreover, Takei acknowledged, “despite our sometimes strained personal history, I found working with Bill (Shatner) as a director, to be surprisingly pleasant.” (Yeah, they didn’t like each other, apparently due to some miscommunication about Shatner not being invited to Takei’s marriage, along with Shatner generally just being a hard guy to get along with.).
Originally, Spock and McCoy were to side with Sybok. Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley objected, saying that their characters would never betray Kirk. Gene Roddenberry agreed. (Noice)
Stuntman Kenny Bates is credited with the highest descender fall in the United States, standing in for William Shatner’s fall from El Capitan.
Initially, William Shatner believed that the film would get a positive response. In the morning after the opening night, he woke Leonard Nimoy up to tell him that the Los Angeles Times had given the film a positive review. Soon after, a local television reporter also gave the film a good review, and Shatner recalled that he incorrectly “began sensing a (positive) trend”. He later agreed that the film nearly ended the film franchise, and looking back on the film called it a “failed, but glorious attempt” at a thought-provoking film, that did not come together.
William Shatner, in an interview on E! Entertainment Television, said that David Warner’s character was going to have a prop that consisted of a self-lighting cigarette. According to Shatner, they simply forgot to use it in one of the scenes, even though the prop actually worked, and cost thousands of dollars.
This film contains the first confirmed appearance of Starfleet Marines, an idea Gene Roddenberry wanted, but was unable, to include in Star Trek (1966). The officers accompanying Kirk and crew down to Nimbus III have since been said to be Marines. (coooooool)
DeForest Kelley noted the physicality required for the film and enjoyed doing things that he had not been asked to do in years. “I was very pleased to see that he (Shatner) brought it along in fine style,” he said. Kelley noted that his own ambition to direct had deserted him after seeing difficulties Leonard Nimoy faced directing the previous two Star Trek films.
Leonard Nimoy noted that this was the most physical film in the series, which reflected William Shatner’s energetic sensibility and what he enjoyed doing most on the series – “running and jumping”. (He does love running and jumping. It is incredibly apparent in the original series).
Nichelle Nichols, an accomplished singer and dancer, provided an authentic performance of the “fan dance” routine in this film; she was outraged when her vocals in the scene were later overdubbed in editing without her approval. (She was a singer, she released to albums, although it is unclear whether these are similar to how Shatner released like four spoken word poetry albums).
Laurence Luckinbill (Sybok) is the real-life son-in-law of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, whose Desilu Productions company sponsored the first two seasons of Star Trek (1966). (He’s also in a rather fine episode of Murder She Wrote, Lady in the Lake.)
The Great Barrier effects were created using chemicals, which were dropped into a large water tank to create swirls and other reactions. The same technique was used to create the image of the Mutara Nebula in The Wrath of Khan. (Classic)
William Shatner scheduled the campfire scenes to be the last ones shot, after which the cast and crew had a small celebration before a traditional wrap party later.
This film takes place in 2287.
William Shatner originally wanted Sybok’s horse to be a unicorn, adding a more “mythical” approach to the character, but Gene Roddenberry disapproved of this, saying that this would turn Star Trek into a space fantasy instead of science fiction. (But …. It was a unicorn. Just like, an alien unicorn).
This is the only Star Trek movie to win (or even be nominated for) the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture.
The Sickbay set from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) is used, unaltered in the film, making this the first chronological appearance of the LCARS computer system.
Final film voyage of the complete original crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Although there would be one more film featuring the original cast, Sulu is no longer a member of the Enterprise crew in the next movie, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), being Captain of the U.S.S. Excelsior. (EXCELSIOR!)
Harve Bennett was exhausted by his work on the previous three Star Trek films, and wanted to move on, feeling that he was not part of the “Star Trek” family, and that he had been mistreated by Leonard Nimoy. When William Shatner tried to convince Bennett to reconsider, the Producer insisted on a meeting at his home. After several hours of discussion Bennett agreed to return. Bennett disagreed with several elements of Shatner’s story, feeling that because no one could assuredly answer the question of God’s existence, the ending of the film would never be satisfying. Bennett also told Shatner that the film had the feeling of a tone poem, rather than an adventure story. The studio agreed with Bennett, reasoning that the subject matter could be too weighty or offensive to theatergoers. (I think it legit was supposed to be God at the end then … that is nuts).
A Bandai Nintendo Entertainment System action game was slated to be released in 1989 along with the movie. The game was canceled following the underperformance of the film at the box-office (it barely broke even). A prototype has surfaced and is circling the net as a ROM. This is notable for its many basic spelling errors (example: at one point Scotty is named “Scotto”) and lack of an ending (the game may have been incomplete at the time this was scrapped). (WHAAAAAAT)
Leonard Nimoy recalled William Shatner’s attempts to instruct him in riding a horse, although Nimoy had ridden many horses bareback when playing American Indian roles for Republic Pictures serials.
Harve Bennett blamed part of the film’s failure on the change from a traditional Thanksgiving-season opening, to the sequel-stuffed summer release period, and the diffusion of fan viewership following the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). (Don’t you dare speak ill of Next Generation)
Kirk’s line “All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by” is a quote from the John Masefield poem Sea Fever. Kirk earlier recited the same line in the Star Trek episode The Ultimate Computer.
David Loughery stopped work on the script when the Writers Guild of America went on strike, and the production was further delayed when Leonard Nimoy began working on another project.
The film was produced during the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), making this the first time that a “Star Trek” film was made while a “Star Trek” television series was in production. The same would be true of every subsequent “Star Trek” film up to, and including Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).
When Kirk, McCoy, and Spock are in the brig, Kirk presses a button causing a seat to emerge from the wall. This seat is evidently a toilet (with the lid down) because on the wall there’s a warning that it is not to be used while in spacedock. The giveaway here is that in the US, the restrooms on passenger trains used to have signs saying toilets were not to be used when the train is stopped at a station. This is because there were no holding tanks, and the toilet contents were simply dumped onto the tracks when it was flushed.
Gene Roddenberry was highly critical over the idea of Sybok being Spock’s half-brother. He felt this apocryphal for Sarek to have had a son with another woman prior to his marriage to Amanda. (Yeah basically. Like Michael in Discovery he should have been an adopted son. It would have ultimately lead to a beautiful sort of family for Sarek. An adopted full-Vulcan, an adopted full-human, and he own outside son, the half-vulcan-half-human … can we retcon this?)
Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Harve Bennett, 1990)
Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (William Shatner, 1990)
Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (William Shatner, 1990)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (DeForest Kelley, 1990)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (David Loughery, William Shatner, Harve Bennett, 1990)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture of the Decade (Harve Bennett, 1990)
When Patrick and Jamie arrive in beautiful Delaware City for the big No Rulez Race they are dismayed to find that their teammate, noted speedster and comic superstar Cheech Marin, has totally ditched them. On top of that he broke the chain on their rad three person tandem bicycle that they were going to use to power their way to victory. They hold the pieces of chain in their hands and vow to mend it, but it’s too late and they still got a race to win. In a stroke of genius they decide to split up into two different teams to give themselves a better chance to win and go off in search of a zany gimmick that will lead to victory.
As Jamie walks down the boardwalk he’s nearly run over by a rollerblader looking super sweet. “Watch where you’re going!” He yells and tries to get a police officer’s attention but he is waved off. Just then he gets an idea: no one stops a rollerblader because they are just too cool. What better way to win the No Rulez Race than to do the thing furthest from rulez: rollerblading. He straps on his blades, jumps into his jorts, and skates his way across America bippin’ and boppin’ to sweet tunez. Other teams totes sabotage each other, but no one minds the dude just blading along. Nearly 1 month later he finally blades his way towards the finish line. Every other competitor has broken down weeks ago, but his blades keep on a-going. He looks to his right…
As Patrick stumbles his way out of the nearest tavern he’s nearly run over by a rollerblader looking like a total asshole. “Hey, watch it bub!” He shouts drunkenly and in a stupor. He’s taken the loss of their three-person tandem bicycle hard and has only found solace in the cool refreshing taste of Zima. He is generally terrible at everything now and decides to give up on life. What better way to show the world that you’ve given up than to strap on some blades and attempt to skate your way across America. Nearly a month later and trailing empty Zima bottles the entire way, Patrick approaches the finish line. Every other competitor has broken down, but Patrick has continued ever forwards, his eyes glazed with hate for the world that has abandoned him and his three-person tandem bicycle. He looks to his left…
… they are shocked to see each other right alongside! Patrick’s legs akimbo, he looks terrible. Like some knock-off terrible version of Jamie’s golden rollerblading god. Yet they finish at the exact same time because they are the best twins ever and demand their prize. The organizer reveals that the prize was supposed to be a golden microphone but he lost it months ago in Bolivia. “Like this one?” They ask, pulling out their karaoke prize. “Yup, guess you had it the whole time and this whole adventure was pretty much useless and not worth going through.” Knowing just what to do we sing together with perfect pitch and the microphone opens to reveal another riddle. Good god. “To the desert you must go, and find the final piece you need. A robot spider is your foe, defeat it with your twinzo speed.” That’s right! We’re watching the only major BMT film with a giant robotic spider, Wild Wild West. A true classic of the BMT genre, I remembering seeing it when it came out in theaters with a packed crowd. I was of an age where films were mostly good and never bad, but I do remember feeling that this one was a very strange film. BTW, the reason Cheech Marin abandoned us in this story is he was used as a Chain Reaction but didn’t actually appear in the film at all. IMDb totally screwed us. Anyway, we’ll mend the chain next week. Let’s go!
Wild Wild West (1999) – BMeTric: 71.5
(Very stable around 70+ which is in “legendary” territory. Basically the rating is rising as one would expect with the number of votes coming in. This kind of trend is pretty common with really terrible films that came out before Rotten Tomatoes pages started getting archived. You can’t see the start of the graph basically, but by 2004ish it had already been established as one of the worst films ever made.)
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Rehash of 1960s TV series finds special agents James West (Smith) and inventor Artemus Gordon (Kline) on a special mission for President Grant to capture nefarious bad guy Arliss Loveless (Branagh). Overstuffed with visual gimmickry, but leaden in every way. You can hear the banter landing with a thud every few minutes.
(Sounds about right. Everything you read about this film suggests Will Smith was a major miscast. Is seems to forced a film that should have been westers-sci-fi into a more comedic style. And by doing so things get leaden as Maltin says.)
(Wow. Well, the first half of that trailer actually looked kind of fun. If I was around 13 years old in 1999 and saw that on television I might be excited to see it in theater (hehe … gulp). The second half looks genuinely terrible though, just kind of a mess of bad CGI mostly.)
Directors – Barry Sonnenfeld – (Known For: The Addams Family; Men in Black; Men in Black 3; Addams Family Values; Get Shorty; Big Trouble; Future BMT: R.V.: Runaway Vacation; Men in Black II; The Concierge; BMT: Wild Wild West; Nine Lives; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: Has directed for over 20 years. Recently directed ten episodes of the Series of Unfortunate Events television series.)
Writers – Jim Thomas and John Thomas (story) – (Known For: Predator; Predators; Executive Decision; Future BMT: Mission to Mars; Predator 2; BMT: AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem; Wild Wild West; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; Behind Enemy Lines; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: They haven’t done much credited work, mainly they get story credits for the various Predator adaptations and sequels. Jim Thomas did an article in Empire looking back at Predator though, so they are still kicking around it seems.)
S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock (screenplay) – (Known For: Tremors; Short Circuit; *batteries not included; Heart and Souls; Future BMT: Ghost Dad; Short Circuit 2; BMT: Wild Wild West; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: Claimed their original script was more serious and tried to get their names taken off of the credits. Helped found Stampede Entertainment which made the first four films in the Tremors franchise.)
Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman (screenplay) – (Known For: Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Shrek the Third; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Doc Hollywood; Last Holiday; BMT: Wild Wild West; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 2001; Notes: Comedy writers presumably brought in to punch up the script after they decided to go the comedy route with this film. Their credited work is punctuated with large gaps in working, and I can’t really find much additional information on them.)
Actors – Will Smith – (Known For: Independence Day; I Am Legend; Men in Black; Focus; The Pursuit of Happyness; Men in Black 3; Bad Boys; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; Hancock; I, Robot; Hitch; Enemy of the State; Concussion; Ali; The Legend of Bagger Vance; Six Degrees of Separation; Where the Day Takes You; Future BMT: Made in America; Shark Tale; Suicide Squad; Men in Black II; Bright; Bad Boys II; Collateral Beauty; BMT: After Earth; Wild Wild West; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for After Earth in 2014; Winner for Worst Original Song, and Worst Screen Couple for Wild Wild West in 2000; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for After Earth in 2014; Notes: Y’all know Will Smith. Once a rapper, a television phenom in Fresh Prince, now … he’s bungee jumping over the Grand Canyon on Youtube for his 50th birthday.)
Kevin Kline – (Known For: Beauty and the Beast; No Strings Attached; The Big Chill; A Fish Called Wanda; Definitely, Maybe; Sophie’s Choice; The Hunchback of Notre Dame; The Road to El Dorado; Silverado; Ricki and the Flash; Chaplin; Last Vegas; Cry Freedom; Life as a House; Dave; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Grand Canyon; In & Out; The Conspirator; French Kiss; Future BMT: The Pink Panther; Darling Companion; The January Man; Consenting Adults; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; The Last of Robin Hood; As You Like It; BMT: Wild Wild West; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Wild Wild West in 2000; and Nominee for Worst Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: Y’all know Kevin Kline. His daughter is the musician Frankie Cosmos.)
Kenneth Branagh – (Known For: Avengers: Infinity War; Dunkirk; Murder on the Orient Express; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit; Valkyrie; The Boat That Rocked; The Road to El Dorado; My Week with Marilyn; Much Ado About Nothing; Hamlet; Dead Again; Chariots of Fire; Swing Kids; Henry V; Rabbit-Proof Fence; Mindhorn; Celebrity; Othello; Five Children and It; Future BMT: Frankenstein; Sleuth; BMT: Wild Wild West; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: He had a very obscure uncredited cameo in Avengers: Infinity War. Naturally, he is huge in the Shakespeare scene in London, I saw him in Winter’s Tale … it was fantastic.)
Budget/Gross – $170 million / Domestic: $113,804,681 (Worldwide: $222,104,681)
(Some places argue it made back its money overseas. False, this was a write off of probably $100 million from the pure accounting perspective. But it likely made its money back with advertising and tie-ins surrounding the release.)
(Barely beaten by the first Ride Along for the highest grossing qualifier we’ve seen, although Men in Black II is actually the most successful qualifying example available (same director as Wild Wild West!). The genre got blown out in the early 90s, but has recovered since.)
(The Pirates franchise crushes this one for bad films, and the Three Musketeers (Plaaaaanchet) from 2011 is my favorite. I have a feeling with CGI and 3D printing technology that period films are going to see a boom in the near future and it becomes easier and cheaper to create. I guess we’ll see though. You can definitely see CGI helping the genre come into its own in the late 90s.)
(This is our seventh, and this is by far the most successful bad adaptation we’ve seen, and the most successful qualifying film ever. This kind of marks the end of a giant boom of adaptations. They come out more regularly now (Baywatch and CHiPs are recent examples), but they were just churning them out in the late 90s)
(Peak of the western genre actually, highest grossing qualifying film in the genre. The genre is coming back in style in a major way as well after dying in the late-90s. We’ve seen six westerns now, my favorite being (Hall of Fame) Texas Rangers. Although Jonah Hex is also pretty hilarious.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (22/131): Bombastic, manic, and largely laugh-free, Wild Wild West is a bizarre misfire in which greater care was lavished upon the special effects than on the script.
(The argument in the notes seems to be that the script was overwritten once they got Will Smith (mis)cast in order to make it a comedy. Then they didn’t even do that right and had to do a bunch of reshoots to add even more comedy in because audiences didn’t understand why the movie wasn’t really funny. It sounds like a complete disaster. Reviewer Highlight – The elaborate special effects are like watching money burn on the screen – Roger Ebert)
(Whhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Holy shit. Move over The Avengers (1998) there is a new sheriff in town. That has got to be hands down the worst poster I have ever seen for a major motion picture release.)
Tagline(s) – It’s a whole new west. July ’99. (:D)
(Lol, yes please put this on the poster. Make sure you have that year on there in case someone is confused and thinks the movie might come out in July 2000 or July 2001. This smacks of someone being like “this is truly an event people. When children across America hang this on their walls they want to remember exactly when it came out.”)
Keyword(s) – utah; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.5 Wild Wild West (1999); 55.3 Point Break (2015); 48.6 R.V.: Runaway Vacation (2006); 25.1 Idle Hands (1999); 24.6 Resident Evil: Extinction (2007); 23.9 My 5 Wives (2000); 23.3 Duets (2000); 22.6 Pride and Prejudice (2003); 20.3 The Mountain Between Us (2017); 18.8 Love Me Like You Do (2014);
(I wouldn’t really call Wild Wild West a Utah film unfortunately. The climax takes place there, but the film is kind of roadtrippy in how it moves around. Starts in West Virginia, moves to Washington D.C., goes to New Orleans (for an extended segment), and then they railroad it to Utah pretty directly. But it definitely takes place across a number of different settings. Still, pretty surprising we’ve not seen any of the others on this list.)
Notes – Will Smith turned down the lead role in The Matrix (1999) to star in this movie, being a fan of the television series. He later said this was the worst decision he made in his career. (It was. Although you can’t really say Keanu somehow because I giant star after The Matrix, and Will Smith was slightly more famous than him at that point … but Wild Wild West definitely quickened the pace of Will Smith’s box office downfall)
The film underwent costly re-shoots in an attempt to inject some humor after it was found that test audiences weren’t sure if it was supposed to be a comedy. (It shouldn’t have been)
Though a box-office failure in the U.S. (it managed to turn a profit overseas), it’s commonly joked that the only reason the film earned any money at all is because unaccompanied minors would buy tickets to this film, then use them to sneak into screenings of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) and American Pie (1999). (HA)
Will Smith said that he knew the movie wasn’t any good and he was embarrassed when it earned almost fifty million dollars in its opening weekend. Years later, Smith apologized publicly to Robert Conrad (star of the original television series) and said now that he was older and more experienced, he understood Conrad’s anger and criticism of the film version, as well as Conrad’s refusal to make a cameo appearance in it. (Conrad should have had more input, although maybe he just was opposed to any movie being made)
When Kenneth Branagh was in an articulated metal platform as Dr. Loveless, he actually was seated in the device in a kneeling position. He would have to get up every few minutes and walk around to get the circulation back in his legs, as they would constantly go numb from being in that position for an extended period of time.
When this film swept the 20th Annual Razzie Awards, winning five statuettes including Worst Picture, Robert Conrad, who played James West in the original 1960s television series, accepted three of the awards in person, as his way of expressing his low opinion of what had been done with his source material. (HA, good on Robert Conrad)
Robert Conrad was initially approached by Barry Sonnenfeld to make a cameo appearance as President Ulysses S. Grant. He turned down the offer after reading the script, due to what he felt was its poor quality and lack of loyalty for the original series, on which it was based. (YOU SHOULD HAVE DEMANDED TO BE SCRIPT SUPERVISOR)
The characters of “Spike Guy” and “Knife Guy” were added to the movie and inserted into the climax after test audiences found the heroes fighting only Loveless’ beauties to be very odd. (Ahahahahahahhaha these notes are gold)
Mel Gibson was set to star as James West, and Richard Donner (who had directed three episodes of The Wild Wild West (1965)) was set to direct, with a script by Shane Black, back when Warner Bros. announced the plans to make the movie in 1992. However, they both dropped out and went on to do Maverick (1994). After Gibson dropped out, Tom Cruise was attached to star, before dropping out to star in Mission: Impossible (1996). (Wow, what a journey this had to the screen. Maverick is better … although still a very odd Western)
Belle was originally cast with, and filmed with British actress Phina Oruche. Reportedly, the chemistry needed for the bathtub love scene wasn’t there. The scene was recast and re-shot with Garcelle Beauvais. However, Oruche was not told, and found out she was no longer in the film at the premiere in Los Angeles. (Oh no!)
Kevin Smith has said that the giant spider was producer Jon Peters’ idea for the later-abandoned “Superman Lives” project with Nicolas Cage and Tim Burton. (Yup, a very famous story on podcasts. The entire thing sound so absurd as to be … extremely plausible)
Barry Sonnenfeld, Kevin Kline, Salma Hayek, Will Smith, and in fact half the staff at Warner Bros. hate this film. Hayek in particular thought she was being underused, while Kline considered himself too good of an actor for the finished product. (Kline is too good of an actor for the finished product. So is Branagh actually)
This is the second movie in which Kevin Kline plays both the President of the United States and the man impersonating the President. The first was Dave (1993). (That didn’t even occur to me as I watched the film)
When Will Smith asked his mother what she thought of the film, she replied “You’ve done better, baby”. (Oh no! These notes are amazing)
There was a recurring villain on the television series named Dr. Loveless, but he was a dwarf rather than an amputee, and his first name was Miguelito, not Arliss. (Huh, fun fact)
Ted Levine grew up watching the original television series. Levine said he enjoyed working on the film, but because there were so many writers revising the script, there was no center, causing the story to be all over the place. He attributed that to the film’s failure, as well as Will Smith’s miscasting. (Uh … fair)
According to screenwriters S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock, their original script was rewritten almost entirely from their draft. The duo, who have worked on several films together, claimed their script was heavily rewritten by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman, with further rewrites by an uncredited Jim Kouf, in an attempt to add more action and comedy to a script that was a mostly serious, dialog-driven mystery western. Entire additions, such as the villain, most of the jokes and action scenes, and the entire 3rd act involving the giant spider, were new without their input. Wilson and Braddock tried to get their names taken off from the film after seeing the final product, and they have since refused to work with a major studio because of the experience. (Yeah, the first script sounds much better sadly. Although I’m not sure how much I buy it, Maddock himself claims he tends to drive scripts towards comedy, but perhaps they mean it would be more like Tremors and less like … this.)
At an official 150 million dollars (unofficial 170 million dollars) it stands as the most expensive movie produced by Warner Bros. and the most expensive movie released in 1999.
In 1997, writer Gilbert Ralston sued Warner Bros. over the upcoming motion picture based on the series. Ralston helped create The Wild Wild West (1965) television series, and scripted the pilot episode, The Wild Wild West: The Night of the Inferno (1965). In a deposition, Ralston explained that in 1964 he was approached by producer Michael Garrison who ‘”said he had an idea for a series, good commercial idea, and wanted to know if I could glue the idea of a western hero and a James Bond type together in the same show.” Ralston said he then created the Civil War characters, the format, the story outline and nine drafts of the script that was the basis for the television series. It was his idea, for example, to have a secret agent named Jim West who would perform secret missions for a bumbling Ulysses S. Grant. Ralston’s experience brought to light a common Hollywood practice of the 1950s and 1960s, when television writers, who helped create popular series, allowed producers or studios to take credit for a show, thus cheating the writers out of millions of dollars in royalties. Ralston died in 1999, before his suit was settled. Warner Bros. ended up paying his family between 600,000 and 1.5 million dollars. (Hollywood accounting at its best. Go get your money Ralston)
The locomotive in the film (#25 William Mason) was previously used in The Great Locomotive Chase (1956). “Chase” also featured Virginia & Truckee Railroad #22 “Inyo”, which was used in The Wild Wild West television series. (Train facts! Awesome)
The sequences on both Artemus Gordon’s and Dr. Loveless’ trains interiors were shot on sets at Warner Bros. The train exteriors were shot in Idaho on the Camas Prairie Railroad. The Wanderer is portrayed by the Baltimore & Ohio 4-4-0 No. 25, one of the oldest operating steam locomotives in the U.S. Built in 1856 at the Mason Machine Works in Taunton, Massachusetts, it was later renamed The “William Mason” in honor of its manufacturer. During pre-production the engine was sent to the steam shops at the Strasburg Railroad for restoration and repainting. The locomotive is brought out for the B&O; Train Museum in Baltimore’s “Steam Days”. (Tauton Mass. what what)
In the movie, the Central Pacific’s Jupiter was played by the J.W. Bowker (Virginia & Truckee #21). Now displayed at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, California. The Union Pacific’s 119 was played by the Reno (Virginia & Truckee #11). Now displayed at Old Tucson Studios in Tucson, Arizona. (I. Love. Train facts!)
Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2000)
Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Kevin Kline, Will Smith, 2000)
Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Barry Sonnenfeld, 2000)
Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Jim Thomas, John Thomas, S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman, 2000)
Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Stevie Wonder, Kool Moe Dee, Will Smith, 2000)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Kevin Kline, 2000)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Kenneth Branagh, 2000)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Salma Hayek, 2000)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Kevin Kline, 2000)
While relaxing on the sun-soaked beaches of Monte Carlo, we are finally enjoying the fruits of their long backpacking trip through Europe. My open wound inflicted by the mutants is starting to burn and I have a taste for blood, but let’s not tell Patrick that (Why spoil the vacation?). While I contemplate my newly developed bloodlust, we are approached by a couple of G-Men that look like they mean business. “We have an urgent matter of national security. The President needs you to infiltrate the top secret meeting of high level terrorists in Budapest.” “Why us?” We ask. The G-Men smirk. “Because it’s known that the terrorist organizer is a huge fan of your website and work. He won’t be able to resist letting you into the party.” We both look at each other and know what has to be done, “We are not doing that. That sounds real dangerous.” But after they offer us $10 million dollars we find ourselves hiking to Budapest as newly minted agents of the United States government. That’s right! We’re watching I Spy this week. The Eddie Murphy/Owen Wilson vehicle is the Chain Reaction entry in the cycle jumping from Marmaduke through Owen Wilson. I think everyone forgot this film existed, which is almost a requirement of a BMT film. Let’s go!
I Spy (2002) – BMeTric: 51.3
(Very nice. Since I, Spy came out relatively long ago (relative to the internet archive at least) the most interesting thing to look at was probably whether the rating was still trending towards the mean with extra votes … not. This is a below-average film through and through. Nothing super special (sub-5.0), but decidedly below average.)
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – In-name-only reincarnation of the smart 1960s TV show (which starred Robert Culp and Bill Cosby). Here, Wilson is an inept NSA operative who uses socky prizefighter Murphy as his cover to locate a secret weapon in Budapest. An object lesson in bad screenwriting, with an incoherent story and characters that make no sense; only the occasional comic riffs by Murphy and Wilson keep this from a complete disaster.
(TIL the difference between “object lesson” and “abject lesson”, good to know. Great semi-colon game by Leonard (as usual). I’m quite excited to see the “inept” NSA operative. These says that trope has been replaced by the bumbling pro. See: Brooklyn 99 where the very un-serious Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) seems bumbling, but is in fact an excellent detective. So will be nice to harken back to the bumbling fool paradigm.)
(Hmmm … even the trailer looks dull. I kind of like the style though. Murphy really did have a strange sort of arrogant charm back in the day, and despite the early 2000s terrible styles it still kind of looks cool in a weird way. The CGI looks dumb though.)
Directors – Betty Thomas – (Known For: Private Parts; The Brady Bunch Movie; Doctor Dolittle; Future BMT: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel; John Tucker Must Die; 28 Days; BMT: I Spy; Notes: Part of Second City she was a regular on Hill Street Blues back in the day. She’s done a bunch of television movies more recently.)
Writers – Morton S. Fine and David Friedkin (characters) (as Morton Fine) – (Known For: The Pawnbroker; BMT: I Spy; Notes: Original writers for the original show. Both have been dead for nearly 30 years.)
Marianne Wibberley and Cormac Wibberley (story & screenplay) – (Known For: National Treasure; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; The 6th Day; Future BMT: The Shaggy Dog; G-Force; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Bad Boys II; BMT: I Spy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle in 2004; Notes: Married writing team. Cormac is the son of Leonard Wibberley who wrote the Mouse That Roared and its subsequent sequels two of which were made into rather cooky British films in the 60s)
Jay Scherick and David Ronn (screenplay) – (Known For: Guess Who; Future BMT: The Smurfs; The Smurfs 2; Serving Sara; National Security; BMT: Norbit; Zookeeper; I Spy; Baywatch; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2008 for Norbit; and in 2018 for Baywatch; Notes: Were at one point producers and writers on Spin City. Otherwise they are on quite the recent streak of films. Good for them, go get yo money.)
Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Mulan; Coming to America; Shrek; Shrek 2; Beverly Hills Cop; Trading Places; Tower Heist; Shrek the Third; Shrek Forever After; Life; 48 Hrs.; Dreamgirls; The Nutty Professor; Beverly Hills Cop II; Bowfinger; Doctor Dolittle; Boomerang; Imagine That; Dr. Dolittle 2; Future BMT: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; Vampire in Brooklyn; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man; Beverly Hills Cop III; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; The Distinguished Gentleman; BMT: Norbit; Pluto Nash; I Spy; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child; A Thousand Words; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights in 1990; Winner for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit in 2008; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Nominee for Worst Director for Harlem Nights in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Norbit in 2008; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; in 2009 for Meet Dave; in 2010 for Imagine That; and in 2013 for A Thousand Words; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; and in 2009 for Meet Dave; Notes: Recent reports put him as the third triplet in the Twins sequel that has been announced. Hopefully Arnold’s recent health issues won’t waylay this.)
Owen Wilson – (Known For: Wonder; Cars 3; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Cars; The Royal Tenenbaums; Inherent Vice; Wedding Crashers; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; The Darjeeling Limited; Midnight in Paris; Zoolander; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Meet the Parents; Night at the Museum; Bottle Rocket; Night at the Museum 2; No Escape; Marley & Me; The Cable Guy; Future BMT: Anaconda; Breakfast of Champions; Little Fockers; How Do You Know; You, Me and Dupree; Are You Here; Drillbit Taylor; Masterminds; Hall Pass; Father Figures; Free Birds; Cars 2; Meet the Fockers; The Internship; Behind Enemy Lines; Armageddon; BMT: Zoolander 2; The Haunting; Marmaduke; I Spy; Around the World in 80 Days; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Zoolander 2 in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy; Notes: There were some question recently about why he isn’t in the new Wes Anderson film, but I never really heard the whole story. Can’t wait to see Father Figures though.)
Famke Janssen – (Known For: X-Men: Days of Future Past; X-Men; The Wolverine; X-Men 2; Taken; GoldenEye; X-Men: The Last Stand; The Faculty; Rounders; Lord of Illusions; Celebrity; Jack of the Red Hearts; The Wackness; Love & Sex; Made; The Gingerbread Man; City of Industry; Down the Shore; Turn the River; Noose; Future BMT: The Ten; Once Upon a Time in Venice; House on Haunted Hill; Hide and Seek; Taken 3; Deep Rising; Taken 2; Don’t Say a Word; This Is Your Death; Circus; The Chameleon; BMT: I Spy; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Notes: She’s a big animal rights activist. She was also very critical about her character of Jean Grey being recast for the new X-Men films, annoyed by them allowing Jackman and Stewart to appear and age gracefully while tending to replace women … kind of a fair criticism to be honest.)
Budget/Gross – $70 million / Domestic: $33,561,137 (Worldwide: $50,732,945)
(Bomb. $70 million … actually makes sense. This was right around when Murphy’s salary would have been sinking films that could have otherwise pulled in a modest return. This film should have had a $50 million budget maybe, considering the action sequences.)
(Ha. Really right at the peak of the genre. The Tuxedo came out almost at the exact same time as well, along with Shanghai Knights the next year. Jackie Chan bringeth the genre up, and then it promptly crashed. Go figure. The highest grossing film we’ve seen for BMT is Another 48 hrs.)
(They killed this genre. It also probably also didn’t help that Bond went on a hiatus in 2002. With the rise of Bourne (a less … humorous spy thriller) the comedy possibilities probably went out of the window. Get Smart and then Spy probably brought the genre back … but I think it is dead again. I just don’t really see why a spy based comedy would be interesting at the moment.)
(Again completely died with the (terrible) Die Another Day. People like the Mission Impossible films at the moment, they kind of have that ridiculous Fast & the Furious vibe to it with the charismatic Tom Cruise lending it a bit more cred than, say, Transformers in the Action genre. The Tuxedo is, amazingly, the highest grossing BMT film in the series. Although high grossing spy films don’t tend to be terrible.)
(After the initial 90s swell (with BMT classics like The Beverly Hillbillies) this has been reduced to a kind of dull background noise in the releases every year. Baywatch and CHiPs are recent examples, and The Avengers made just about the same amount of money … rough.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (21/133): Insipid and mirthless, I-Spy bares little resemblance to the TV series that inspired it.
(Big worgs Rotten Tomatoes. Mirthless is the name of the game in bad comedies though, and I’ve heard this is basically laugh free. Reviewer Highlight: As inept as big-screen remakes of The Avengers and The Wild Wild West. – Mark Rahner (Seattle Times) … fat chance, that is impossible.)
(While I like the artistic spacing, font, and how they’ve used colors to wash out the “human” color palette, I find something about it a little cheap. Like I could have made this poster in my free time.)
Tagline(s) – Attitude meets espionage (B)
(Hmmmm, attitude meets espionage… is this a play on something? I’m not sure what I’m supposed to get from mashing these two words together. Seems like a potential classic, sounds-like-a-tagline tagline… that isn’t really a tagline. But it is short and sweet and does what it meant to do.)
Keyword(s) – stealth; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.8 10,000 BC (2008); 64.4 Stealth (2005); 51.3 I Spy (2002); 47.3 American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987); 46.8 American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1990); 46.6 Beverly Hills Ninja (1997); 22.1 Secret in Their Eyes (2015); 21.3 Surviving the Game (1994); 19.2 Tomorrow Never Dies (1997); 18.4 Act of Valor (2012);
(So … the entire American Ninja series? Tomorrow Never Dies, sadly, doesn’t qualify. But it would be nice to see some shitty ninja films. I feel like we still don’t do enough martial arts and western films)
Notes – At the request of director Betty Thomas, actor Darren Shahlavi lost thirty pounds so as to be the same size as Eddie Murphy during the boxing scenes. (what)
Actor-comedian Will Ferrell was the voice of American President George W. Bush when speaking to Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) over the telephone. (That makes sense, given the SNL connection)
The original / earlier draft(s) of the movie’s screenplay had the character of Kelly Robinson, who was later cast with Eddie Murphy, as a basketball player, but due to Murphy’s film industry stature, it was decided to change the character’s sport to boxing, and the character to a boxer. However, the dialogue interchange about the Harlem Globetrotters remained in the script and the finished film. (Wow, that … seems like an oversight)
Initially, star Owen Wilson admitted he was a little nervous about performing opposite comedy legend Eddie Murphy, who was one of his comic idols. Wilson said: “This is the first time I’ve had to work with someone who is so incredible at improvisation. At first, it was difficult to keep up with Eddie. But slowly I started playing off his riffs. I don’t know if that’s what people mean by on-screen chemistry. To me it’s a feeling that you are really in a groove with what the other guy is doing.” (This is an anecdote from a late night appearance for sure)
The characters from the I Spy (1965) source TV series are reversed in this movie version. In the original television series, Kelly Robinson (not Alexander Scott) was the white guy and the athlete, while Alexander Scott was the black guy and the non-athlete. However, in both cases though, the Bill Cosby / Eddie Murphy character was a less experienced spy than the Robert Culp / Owen Wilson character.
The palace of Malcolm McDowell’s character Arnold Gundars, is actually the “Hungarian Royal Palace”, which is also sometimes known as “The Buda Castle”, it having being for centuries home to a number of generations of the royalty of Hungary. (I’ve been there)
The canine in the final scene was actually Famke Janssen’s dog who had the name of “Licorice”. (Great dog name)
Like actor Owen Wilson, actress Famke Janssen got to spar with comedy star Eddie Murphy on screen, a process Janssen, like Wilson, also found daunting at the outset. She said: “There’s a scene in which Eddie and I first meet and he just kept tossing lines at me and I kept going with it. It was really scary, but once I got used to it, a lot of fun as well.” (Whoever was filling up this notes section had just seen or read a giant profile on the film)
The acronym “BNS” stood for The Bureau of National Security. (coooool, I do love facts though)
[NOTE: There are a bunch of notes here which is basically a long profile on the production … just go read the IMDb notes or, better yet, find the source article if you want to learn about it]
In the source I Spy (1965) television series, Bill Cosby portrayed a tennis pro and, for a time, the filmmakers considered making the character of Kelly Robinson in this movie version an international tennis champion. Basketball was also considered, though producer Jenno Topping considered both sports too visually confining for the purposes of a big screen story on an international scale. It was star Eddie Murphy who suggested that his character of Kelly Robinson be a championship boxer, a sport to which he was well suited. Murphy said at the time: “I’ve done some boxing and my father was a boxer, so I already had a background in the sport.” Murphy trained in boxing for several months prior to this picture’s production. Director Betty Thomas said: “Having an actor with a natural ability for a sport was a real asset. It opened up the film in a much more exciting way than tennis or basketball. Having Eddie getting the blows and making the hits had a lot more impact than creating shots in which I would have to rely on stunt doubles.” Stunt Co-ordinator Brent Woolsey added: “Eddie was so coordinated that it made the boxing sequences much easier to execute.” (I left this in though. Pretty interesting that Murphy was boxing at the time).
Principal photography began on 12th September 2001, in Budapest, Hungary. Taking a cue from the original I Spy (1965) television series, producer Andrew G. Vajna decided that this movie version should be set in an “exotic location to create a sense of real excitement in the audience”. Vajna added: “We haven’t seen Eastern Europe used much in action films, especially Hungary. Budapest has been used in movies before, but never as Budapest. It has generally been used as a substitute for Paris or some other European capital. So for the audience it was an entirely new experience. And it just so happens that Hungary is my home.” (Awesome, I do love this fact as well. I’m learning so much about this film … why can’t all of the notes be like this actually? This is super interesting stuff).
The grounds of the Buda Castle were so extensive that the production’s first and second units were filming on either side of the castle at the same time. Producer Mario Kassar said: “It was an amazing feat. In some ways it was surprising that we didn’t trip over each other. Action is taking place on one side, and on the other [director] Betty [Thomas] is tackling all the great character stuff.” (It is enormous … did I mention I’ve been there? Oh I did? Well I went there and just wanted to say I agree with the above statement).
No stunt or acting doubles were used in the scenes where Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) is seen boxing.
First Assistant Director Richard Graves engineered the prototype model of the Switchblade fighter plane from piecing together bits and parts from his son’s plastic jet model kits.
According to the IFC website, “the movie was originally supposed to take place in Prague [in the Czech Republic]. Instead, the movie shot on location in Budapest, Hungary, because the film’s producer, Andrew G. Vajna, lived there” and “was eager to use her hometown as the setting because she had never seen it depicted in a Hollywood movie before.” (Prague would have worked as well. It is pretty rare in films it turns out, no big bad films are explicitly set there as far as we can tell).
It was Eddie Murphy’s idea to sing Marvin Gaye’s famous song “Sexual Healing” for the romantic scene where Special Agent Alex Scott (Owen Wilson) romances Special Agent Rachel Wright (Famke Janssen). In this sequence, Murphy vocally coaches Wilson the words like in the classic story “Cyrano de Bergerac”.
The four short DVD behind the scenes documentaries about the making of this motion picture are entitled: I Spy: The Slugafest (2003); I Spy: Cloak & Camouflage (2003); I Spy: Gadgets & Gizmos (2003); and I Spy: Schematics & Blueprints (2003). (Which is where I assume all of these notes came from)
The name of the title that boxer Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) held was “Super Middleweight Champion”. (These guys have so many facts on here)
The name of the stolen military fighter-plane which had a cloaking device was the “Switchblade”.
The name of the sporting tournament league that boxer Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) competed in was the “Global Boxing League”.
Reportedly, the ending was re-shot Monte Carlo after test audiences stated that they wanted to know what happened to Special Agent Rachel Wright (Famke Janssen) after she betrayed both Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) and Special Agent Alex Scott (Owen Wilson). (Perfecto. We get to literally go from Monte Carlo to Budapest).
Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Eddie Murphy)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Eddie Murphy, Robert De Niro, Owen Wilson)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel
As we officially enter the first cycle of 2018 we will still collect several of the major BMT releases of 2017 that we missed along the way. With that in mind the comedy entry for the cycle was notable for two reasons: it was somehow not the only tongue-in-cheek adaptation of a classic television show released in 2017 (Baywatch being the other) and it had our least favorite trailer of the entire year. That’s right! We’re finally watching CHIPS, based on the television CHiPs, about a couple of bumbling highway cops taking down some baddies while also panicking about their own sexuality. At least that’s what I gathered from the trailer. I’m not looking forward to this. Let’s go!
CHIPS (2017) – BMeTric: 29.5
(Perfect theater-VOD sequence there, complete with matching regression to the mean. Looks like the rating has settled though. 6.0 seems high to me, but what do I know?)
RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars – The action comedy “CHiPS” is a buddy film about overcompensating characters that seems to have also been made by overcompensating comedians, often devolving into the same chauvinism and homophobia that star/writer/director Dax Shepard half-heartedly mocks.
(Oh yeah. Wait until you see the trailer. There hasn’t been this much gay panic since we watched The Medallion. There is a fine line between making light of things and reinforcing things. You have to be quite good to pull it off these days.)
(Oh boy. Just as I remember it. Not one, but TWO different gay panic scenes where Peña’s character cannot handle the thought of getting close to Dax in his underwear. And how did they both end up up the trailer? You’re trying to put your best foot forward… for the love of God tell me this isn’t your best foot. I might have to shut this whole thing down if your other foot is worse.)
Directors – Dax Shepard – (Known For: Hit and Run; BMT: CHIPS; Notes: Mainly an actor, he started doing smaller directing roles more recently, including an episode of Parenthood which he starred in.)
Writers – Rick Rosner (based on the television series created by) – (BMT: CHIPS; Notes: One of the creators of the original television series. Not much about him. Doesn’t help that he shares a name with another Rick Rosner who is … kind of a lunatic. I haven’t listened to the podcast, but the synopsis gives a decent argument for his lunacy.)
Dax Shepard (written by) – (Known For: Hit and Run; BMT: CHIPS; Notes: He is writing a … reboot (?) of the Scooby-Doo movies set to 2020. Also set to direct it would seem. Not sure how the performance of this film affects that.)
Actors – Michael Peña – (Known For: The LEGO Ninjago Movie; Fury; The Martian; Ant-Man; End of Watch; American Hustle; My Little Pony: The Movie; Million Dollar Baby; Shooter; Crash; Babel; Turbo; War on Everyone; Tower Heist; The Lincoln Lawyer; Everything Must Go; 30 Minutes or Less; Observe and Report; The Good Doctor; World Trade Center; Future BMT: The Vatican Tapes; Vacation; Lions for Lambs; The Calcium Kid; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Gangster Squad; Collateral Beauty; BMT: Battle Los Angeles; CHIPS; Notes: He’s struck it big recently with Ant-Man and American Hustle, but he’s been around since the mid-90s doing television work. One of his first gigs was on Homicide, the show that is a kind of precursor to The Wire and introduced the world to John Munch (played by Richard Belzer) who has apparently appeared in 10 different shows!)
Dax Shepard – (Known For: Zathura: A Space Adventure; Idiocracy; This Is Where I Leave You; The Judge; Veronica Mars; Hit and Run; Baby Mama; The Freebie; Future BMT: The Comebacks; The Boss; Employee of the Month; Without a Paddle; Smother; Let’s Go to Prison; BMT: Old Dogs; When in Rome; Cheaper by the Dozen; CHIPS; Notes: Trained with The Groundlings and after 8 years of auditioning got his first paid role on Punk’d.)
Vincent D’Onofrio – (Known For: Jurassic World; The Magnificent Seven; Full Metal Jacket; Men in Black; Escape Plan; Adventures in Babysitting; Sinister; The Cell; Mystic Pizza; The Judge; Ed Wood; Strange Days; JFK; Run All Night; Chained; The Player; Brooklyn’s Finest; Cadillac Records; Kill the Irishman; The Salton Sea; Future BMT: The Break-Up; Feeling Minnesota; Fire with Fire; Ass Backwards; Dying Young; Pawn Shop Chronicles; Impostor; Chelsea Walls; Don’t Go in the Woods; Little New York; The Velocity of Gary; Charlie Countryman; Broken Horses; The Winner; The Blood of Heroes; In Dubious Battle; BMT: Rings; CHIPS; Stuart Saves His Family; Notes: Probably, weirdly, most famous for Law & Order: Criminal Intent, the third best Law & Order series. Well known for being rather intensely method. Plays Wilson Fisk in Daredevil as well.)
Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $18,600,152 (Worldwide: $26,800,152)
(Wow, colossal bomb. Not surprising. Have to be honest, not too worried about 80s TV remakes being abandoned. Some can be fun, but most just seem to be … sad.)
(Oooooooo do these come in waves. Tango & Cash, Another 48 Hrs., The Tuxedo, RIPD, among many many others. The respite was brief it seems with CHIPS, Baywatch and The Hitman’s Bodyguard all coming out this year.)
(This movie ended up near Flipper … Flipper! Joins Beverly Hillbillies, Baywatch, and The Avengers are least among BMT films. The genre had its heyday in the 90s, but still, against all odds, is super strong throughout this century. Seems like this might reverse though with the recent strong tv trend, a good movie ends up building its universe out on the small screen with a television adaptation. A Lord of the Rings adaptation is already in the works.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (18/103): CHiPS abandons the endearing innocence of its source material, using the titular cop show’s premise as a setup for aggressively lowbrow gags that prove only mildly arresting at best.
(Alright … People need to decide how CHiPs is spelled. I feel like it is spelled like the show, but the poster clearly writes the entire title with capital letters, and RogerEbert.com and many critics leave the S capitalized? Oh the consensus, yeah, this seems unpleasantly low-brow.)
(Have to give some props to that font. My God, it’s beautiful. Symmetry is good and color just barely adequate. Other than that there is way too much going on. Tough on the eyes. This could have been amazing if you just kept it simple, CHIPS.)
Tagline(s) – Chip Happens (F-)
(This is actually making me feel a little sick… what did I do to deserve this CHIPS? It’s like they knew I would have to look at it and wanted to hurt me. Well whatever it is I did, I’m sorry. OK? Sorry for all of us.)
Keyword(s) – male frontal nudity; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.3 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 76.4 Fifty Shades Darker (2017); 65.2 Rape Me (2000); 64.2 The Canyons (2013); 64.1 Dr. T & the Women (2000); 60.1 Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005); 59.5 9 Songs (2004); 58.8 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015); 58.0 Srpski film (2010); 57.4 Boxing Helena (1993);
(Dr. T & the Women doesn’t actually qualify. We’ve also weirdly seen Hot Tub Time Machine 2 and The Canyons. We used to watch a lot more bad movies in our free time … I don’t think either deserves a rewatch to be honest.)
Notes – Dax Shepard did most of his own stunts, including the stoppie during the training test.
After the trailer debuted, a rumor stated that Erik Estrada, star of the original CHiPs (1977), blasted the trailer as “pure trash”. Estrada later tweeted he never said that, and said, “Just watched the CHIPS trailer and laughed. Dax Shepard and Michael Peña are great. Cool stunts too.” (Ugh. With something like this the former stars saying it is good or bad isn’t really saying anything. Like … he’s in the movie! Why would he shit on it?)
Dax Shepard originally envisioned the film to be a big budget take with a PG-13 rating but due to budget cuts after signing on, he chose to make the film with an R-rating. (So … cheap nudity and cursing?)
Dax Shepard initially wanted Brad Pitt to play the villain. (I originally wanted Daniel Day Lewis to be the other Bad Movie Twin, couldn’t make it work)
In real life, Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell are married with kids. (Duh. We all know and love their Samsung commercials, obvs.)
On the second day of filming, Dax Shepard performed his nude scene, when Ponch throws him in the bathtub (his genitalia was censored). (Second day seems a bit early)
Erik Estrada: The actor who played Ponch in the TV show appears here as the paramedic who treats Ponch and Jon in the final scene.
The official transition to the Worst of 2017 cycle we start with comedy. In an interesting coincidence we also had one of the worst reviewed comedies of the year released this very week in Daddy’s Home 2 (currently at 16%), but it was not released concurrently in the US and UK. Bummer. So we stuck with our original plan as it was quite the doozy in its own right. That’s right! We’re watching the Dwayne Johnson/Zac Efron vehicle Baywatch. Following the wild success of 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street we were treated to not one, but two unnecessary adaptations of niche 80s/90s shows in Baywatch and CHiPs. Both turned out poorly. Now we get to find out just how poorly Baywatch turned out. Let’s go!
Baywatch (2017) – BMeTric: 46.5
(I kind of love this ratings graph. So you can see it starting high (people who haven’t seen the film but like the idea of the film chiming in like dummies) and then dropping once people actually start seeing it. But that overcorrects a bit, as more and more of the “fans” see it corrects back up. But the interesting bit is that once it drops on VOD the rating goes down again. The mean IMDb rating is somewhere around 6.0 so it basically corrected back to what will ultimately be around its eventual rating of slightly below-average. I just find that fascinating. It is hard to find films that really teeter on the edge of good/bad. To get 70K votes in a few months as well? I’m always stunned by how “popular” current movies are, they get so many more votes than even popular films from the 90s.)
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – [The movie] features long periods of too-sincere homilies about teamwork, weirdly gratuitous brutality (one innocuous character is subjected to a grotesquely grisly death) and an extended corpse-penis joke which, in the dishonorable tradition of “Dirty Grandpa,” subjects a character played by Zac Efron to humiliation in a way that’s not even stealthily homophobic. On the plus side, the movie has a pervading air of crass amiability about it—it’s almost like a two-hour end-credits gag reel. (Nevertheless, it contains an end credits gag reel.) But as I said, if you saw the trailer, you got the best the movie has to offer.
(Hmmmm. So let me get this straight. Two films based on older television series (CHiPs being the other) were released the same year and both were overtly homophobic? The gay panic riddles the CHiPs trailer. They seem to have hidden it well here with Baywatch. Which makes it all the more disappointing.)
(See this actually doesn’t look bad. It at least tries to do what the original did. They at least avoided what CHiPs did which was overtly use three or four gay panic scenes in the advertising. It was to the point where I thought the movie might have been called Gay Panic: The Movie. But I was shocked by the reviews because this trailer looks decent.)
Directors – Seth Gordon – (Known For: Horrible Bosses; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Identity Thief; BMT: Baywatch; Notes: Director of acclaimed documentary King of Kong. Parlayed that into several feature films and a whole mess of television shows, most recently The Goldbergs.)
Writers – Michael Berk and Douglas Schwartz (based on the series “Baywatch” created by) – (Known For: Soul Surfer; BMT: Baywatch; Notes: Also the creators of the Hulk Hogan television series Thunder in Paradise, so basically legends.)
Gregory J. Bonann (based on the series “Baywatch” created by) – (BMT: Baywatch; Notes: See above. Legend.)
Jay Scherick and David Ronn (story by) – (Known For: Guess Who; Future BMT: I Spy; The Smurfs; The Smurfs 2; Serving Sara; National Security; BMT: Norbit; Zookeeper; Baywatch; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Norbit in 2008; Notes: BMT faves. Just got a pilot picked up with the following synopsis: hard as nail female CIA agent gets partners with self-absorbed male agent trained to use sex and seduction to keep America safe… … Bad TV Tuesday, anyone?)
Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (story by) – (Known For: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Night at the Museum; Night at the Museum 2; Mr. Peabody & Sherman; Herbie Fully Loaded; Future BMT: Balls of Fury; Hell Baby; Reno 911!: Miami; Let’s Go to Prison; BMT: Taxi; Baywatch; The Pacifier; Notes: Prolific screenwriters who even wrote a whole book on how best to sell-out in Hollywood. Part of The State and Reno 911!)
Damian Shannon and Mark Swift (screenplay by) – (Known For: Freddy vs. Jason; BMT: Friday the 13th; Baywatch; Notes: This finishes their filmography having just watched the Friday the 13th films they wrote. Writing the upcoming Aladdin film, so they are on the rise.)
Actors – Dwayne Johnson – (Known For: Moana; Fast & Furious 8; Fast & Furious 7; San Andreas; Furious 6; The Other Guys; Central Intelligence; Hercules; Faster; Fast & Furious 5; The Mummy Returns; Pain & Gain; Get Smart; The Scorpion King; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; Snitch; Welcome to the Jungle; Race to Witch Mountain; Gridiron Gang; Future BMT: Tooth Fairy; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Jem and the Holograms; Southland Tales; You Again; Reno 911!: Miami; Planet 51; Walking Tall; The Game Plan; BMT: Doom; Baywatch; Be Cool; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor for Doom in 2006; Notes: Still known widely by his WWE monicker The Rock. He is amazingly one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood now. What he’s got charisma in spades.)
Zac Efron – (Known For: The Disaster Artist; Bad Neighbours 2; Hairspray; Bad Neighbours; 17 Again; The Lorax; We Are Your Friends; The Paperboy; Parkland; High School Musical 3: Senior Year; Liberal Arts; At Any Price; Me and Orson Welles; Future BMT: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates; That Awkward Moment; The Lucky One; The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud; BMT: Baywatch; New Year’s Eve; Dirty Grandpa; Notes: Broke out with the High School Musical Series. Has struggled with substance abuse and alcoholism during his career, but appears to be clean now.)
Alexandra Daddario – (Known For: San Andreas; Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; The Squid and the Whale; Bereavement; Future BMT: Texas Chainsaw 3D; The Layover; The House; Hall Pass; Burying the Ex; The Babysitters; The Hottest State; BMT: Baywatch; The Choice; Notes: Made her acting debut on All My Children. I recognize her more from her various television roles than her movie work.)
Budget/Gross – $69 million / Domestic: $58,060,186 (Worldwide: $177,856,751)
(Not super great domestically, but potentially okay overall. We won’t be seeing Baywatch 2 though. They were obviously expecting a 21 Jump Street level take which is closer to $140/$200 million. Not even close.)
(This is just above the Tom Hanks classic Dragnet. They kind of blew it in 2002 / 2003 by somehow released 11 buddy action films in those two years and audiences rebelled. This included things like future BMT Bad Company starring Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins. It has come back over the past ten years, and is a steady genre releasing three films this year … all terrible.)
(Ah I remember that boom (it included the recently watched Beverly Hillbillies). I feel like I’m continually surprised at how many films are made that are based on television shows. Near Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Otherwise known as the worst one.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (38/201): Baywatch takes its source material’s jiggle factor to R-rated levels, but lacks the original’s campy charm — and leaves its charming stars flailing in the shallows.
(Which is basically what 21 Jump Street did right. They took the ridiculous thing (cops going undercover in a high school) and took it to its logical conclusion (everyone basically doesn’t believe they are actually high school students). Here it doesn’t seem like they took the original’s hook (attractive people in skimpy outfits solve crimes for some reason on a beach) and took it anywhere at all. And that’s a shame.)
(A poster is a delicate thing. You want it to be artistic, tell a story, and sell a product. This seems singularly focused on the last point. The Rock and some hotties (looking at you Efron) are here to save the day and capture your heart. Let’s throw their pics on the poster and put a weird giant wave behind them. That’s about it. That being said, great font game guys. That ‘A’ with the lifeguard station is bomb. I’m putting you above average just for that.)
Tagline(s) – Beaches ain’t ready (D)
(Ohhhh nooooooo. This is like 7 levels too high, guys. Reel it back in. I know the entire movie is based on making something so stupid that it might go all the way around and become good again but this is unfortunate. While this secretly might be a very good tagline. I can do nothing but hate it. Sorry.)
Keyword(s) – lifeguard; Top Ten by BMeTric: 84.2 Piranha 3DD (2012); 61.7 Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004); 54.3 Lovewrecked (2005); 52.9 Aquamarine (2006); 51.3 Sand Sharks (2012); 47.5 Bait (III) (2012); 46.5 Baywatch (2017); 36.7 The To Do List (2013); 34.7 Joe Dirt (2001); 33.5 The Lifeguard (2013);
(Oooo, I like that it isn’t the top. Most of these are kind of crap though. Like Piranha 3DD and Joe Dirt I don’t think will be done in our lifetimes (perhaps our grandchildren will do it on a throwback week for the BMT News Network, BMTNN). The only safe bet is Cody Banks to be honest.)
Notes – Zac Efron gave Dwayne Johnson all the names to call him in the movie, like One Direction. (This sounds like something Zac Efron would say but isn’t true)
In an interview, Priyanka Chopra said that the role of the main antagonist was written for a man, but the director changed the role and the script upon meeting her. (This sounds like something Priyanka Chopra would say but isn’t true)
After scathing reviews poured in from critics and fans alike, Dwayne Johnson tweeted that the film wasn’t made for critics. (This sounds like something Dwayne Johnson would say but isn’t true)
Nina Dobrev, Ashley Benson, Alexandra Shipp, Shelley Hennig, Bianca A. Santos, and Denyse Tontz were considered for the role of Summer. (Nina Dobrev! Of Flatliners and XxX: The Return of Xander Cage fame?)
Robert Ben Garant was going to write and direct the film.
Jeremy Garelick was set to write and direct the film. (love me some alternate directors)
Pamela Anderson also performs a cameo at the very movie’s end but, like the original Mitch Buchanon appearance, all is spoiled from the beginning since their names are listed at the initial credits. (Ha. That’s pretty stupid.)
Cameo…David Hasselhoff appears in a scene with this “Mitch” where they interact and call each other “Mitch”.
Huge decision for us this week. After painting ourselves into a corner with our last Chain Reaction film Hot To Trot, we are attempting to move ourselves into position for the final 2017 cycle of the year. Getting from a 1988 Bobcat Goldthwait vehicle to a major motion picture of today is nothing to be trifled with so we’ve been mapping out our course for months. Unfortunately this means our path is gonna get a little kooky. That’s right! We’re watching The Beverly Hillbillies. Moving through Dabney Coleman we are able to make it to this long forgotten film adaptation of the classic television show about a bunch of hillbillies who strike it rich and move to Cali… hilarity ensues and fish may or may not be taken from their aquatic homes. With that we make our first step to glory. Let’s go!
The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) – BMeTric: 56.7
(It has settled quite nicely into its 50-60 place and, while its rating is quite low, it is showing regression to the mean. Which probably means it is bad, but not amazingly and interestingly bad. And that is less votes than I expected, but in retrospect I’m not sure why I expected more from a movie remake of a show from the 1960s. It is a not very popular, poorly rated film.)
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Big-screen rehash of the corny 1960s TV series, with the backwoods Clampett clan striking oil and moving to Beverly Hills, where they’re prey for sharpie Schneider and his girlfriend (Thompson). The actors are ernest and enjoyable, but the script (by four writers – count’em – four) is more lamebrained than the sitcom ever was, with smarmy sex jokes thrown in for good measure. Even worse, director Spheeris doesn’t know how to stage a gag.
(Oh Leonard, my sweet summer child. Four writers is nothing in today’s bad movies, if I recall The Mummy has something like six screenwriters, as does White Chicks. That is also just credited writers, although I’m sure Leonard accounts for that. I could go for some inappropriately placed sex jokes in what is ostensibly a kid’s movie. Plus poorly directed gags … I think I’m in! At least it doesn’t sound boring.)
(Oof. Just a tad bit too much slow motion for my comedy. I’m liking the early Rob Schneider though. I remember this coming out and the grandmother getting knocked off of the car by the tree limb. Not funny, actually terrifying seeing it now, but it was vivid in my mind. It feels like a cast summary with “from the director of Wayne’s World” stuck in there, so that isn’t great. It probably means it has no plot.)
Directors – Penelope Spheeris – (Known For: Wayne’s World; Suburbia; Future BMT: Senseless; Black Sheep; The Little Rascals; The Kid & I; BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; Notes: Was the daughter of a carnival strongman, and travelled around the country as a child. She primarily now helps with her daughter Anna Fox’s music-themes films.)
Writers – Paul Henning (television series) – (Known For: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Lover Come Back; BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; Notes: Creator of The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres in a sort of Henning Extended Universe (HEU). The series had multiple crossover episodes. His daughter starred in Petticoat Junction and appeared in five episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, that is how common the crossovers were.)
Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Planet of the Apes; The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Mighty Joe; The Jewel of the Nile; The Legend of Billie Jean; Flicka; Future BMT: Desperate Hours; Mercury Rising; The Concierge; Mona Lisa Smile; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; The Beverly Hillbillies; Notes: Hey, we know these guys! A writing team on the very recent BMT Superman IV. I believe in that preview I said I didn’t discover much about them, but I do appreciate they made the second best original cast Star Trek movie (in my opinion, I could give or take the whales personally).)
Jim Fisher and Jim Staahl (screenplay) – (BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; Notes: Residents of Second City Theater and writers for SCTV, they have had pretty illustrious careers in comedy television. Staahl is also an actor, including appearing in five episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm.)
Actors – Diedrich Bader – (Known For: EuroTrip; Napoleon Dynamite; Office Space; Ice Age; Bolt; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Surf’s Up; Recess: School’s Out; Dead & Breakfast; Sassy Pants; Calvin Marshall; Future BMT: Meet the Spartans; Vampires Suck; The Starving Games; Balls of Fury; The Country Bears; BMT: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous; The Beverly Hillbillies; Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike; Notes: Best known for his part on The Drew Carey show back in the day. Most of his childhood was spent in Paris, up until high school.)
Erika Eleniak – (Known For: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial; The Blob; Under Siege; Future BMT: Bordello of Blood; Chasers; Love Stinks; A Pyromaniac’s Love Story; BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; Notes: Was a Playboy Playmate in 1989, and performed in the first two seasons of Baywatch. She currently teaches acting in L.A.)
Jim Varney – (Known For: Toy Story; Atlantis: The Lost Empire; Toy Story 2; Ernest Goes to Camp; Daddy and Them; 100 Proof; Future BMT: 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain; Ernest Goes to Jail; Ernest Saves Christmas; Ernest Scared Stupid; Ernest Rides Again; Wilder Napalm; BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst New Star for Ernest Goes to Camp in 1988; Notes: Ernest! I love Jim Varney. He had a crazy smoker’s voice (which you can hear in the Toy Story films), and it is beyond me how he changed his voice so dramatically for Ernest. That character was initially a part of a series of advertisements in Kentucky, and he basically built a career in comedy out of it. Sadly he passed away in 2000 from lung cancer.)
Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $44,029,386 (Worldwide: $57,405,220)
(Meh. That is a pretty svelte budget though, smart. The horrible reception probably saved us from a sequel, and they had far worst television show adaption ideas waiting in the wings anyways … like Car 54 Where Are You?)
(Right around the new Three Stooges movie (oof) and came out right as the tv adaptation genre was taking off (around the same time as Addams Family Values, the Addams Family probably kicked off the classic tv show adaptation craze to a degree). This is an interesting genre which had its peak prior to the bad movie boom of the early 2000s, this (and not very good slashers) must have filled in the gap between the blockbuster era of the 80s and the 00s bad movie boom right around when all of the smaller production studios were going out of business. Get that cheap IP!)
(Nice, let’s make one: In retrospect this exercise in insensitive stereotyping is shamefully unfunny, … but you might also find yourself enjoying the innocence of the 1960s sensibility in this bad but innocuous television remake. That’s just about all. I should say, I do think Rotten Tomatoes is the best review aggregator around (30 reviews for a movie from 1994? Metacritic doesn’t even have a page for it), but it is kind of weird seeing something like this where literally all of the reviews are from around 2008 and onwards … doesn’t give a great perspective on the actual reception of the film.)
(Dear god, noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!… … … that being said, the spacing is nice and the gold font is well done. Better grade if it didn’t hurt my eyes to look at it. I wonder why blue was chosen as the primary color of this poster.)
(I don’t know what this means. It sounds good. Nice cadence, to the point, and a juxtaposition of up and down. But what is it trying to say? What is meant by down-home… heart?)
Keyword(s) – redneck; Top Ten by BMeTric: 84.1 Piranha 3DD (2012); 78.6 Striptease (1996); 78.5 Torque (2004); 77.4 The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1994); 77.0 Shark Night 3D (2011); 69.1 Postal (2007); 66.8 Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009); 64.5 Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985); 63.1 The Dukes of Hazzard (2005); 60.4 The Final Destination (2009);
(Awesome. I’m digging this list. You got a little comedy, and drama, and action, and horror, and romance. Only missing a true sci fi in there (I guess I would watch a sci-fi film with a redneck character … would be weird though), and it would be a very unpleasant 24 hours, but still a pretty funny marathon there.)
Notes – Buddy Ebsen reprises his role as Barnaby Jones for this film. His last film appearance.
The Clampett’s automobile is a 1921 Oldsmobile. (fun fact)
The name of the retirement home where Granny is held hostage, “Los Viejos”, is Spanish for “The Old People”. (fun fact)
When Granny invites cousin Pearl and all of the family to Jed’s wedding, she says “only the Clampetts, not the Kelloggs or Daggs”. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was one of the original network TV sponsors of The Beverly Hillbillies. Daggs may be related to the other original network TV sponsor, Winston cigarettes, but this is as yet unconfirmed. (That is actually a fun fact. I like that a lot)
When Miss Hathaway dresses up as the blonde nurse her name tag has the name “R. Rigdon” on it. This was a nod to Rhonda G. Rigdon, Assistant to Director Penelope Spheeris during filming. (Man, look at these little nuggets)
Same mansion as The Bodyguard with the late Whitney Houston.
The car’s license plate number in front of Jethro’s truck at the birthday party is 2GAT123. This plate has been seen in various movies and TV shows over the years. Such as Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), Go (1999), Pay it Forward (2000), Mulholland Drive (2001), “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2000), Two and a Half Men (2003), Modern Family (2009), The Boy Next Door (2015), and numerous others. (Wow, we are really getting into movie prop 101 in this thing)
Jim Varney almost did not get the part of Jed Clampett. The studio thought at first he was too identified as Ernest to play a character such as Jed. But in the end Jim impressed them enough with a screen test to get the part. (I would have certainly thought so, but I was also seven at the time and loved Ernest films)
According to Director Penelope Spheeris, Sam Elliot was being considered for the role of Jed Clampett, but ultimately, it was Jim Varney ‘s background in comedy that got him the part.
The big question as we head into the comedy entry of the What the ?!&%*# cycle is what punctuation mark we’ll go for next? It’s a question that we’re going to answer with a question. That’s right, we’re watching Car 54, Where Are You? (the crowd boos vociferously as they realize that we’re not watching Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot). Hold on! Sly Stallone flicks are like gold. You don’t throw gold around willy-nilly. Need to save it for when it’s truly needed. Anywho, the most interesting thing about this film is that it was nearly impossible to find. It is not free or rentable on any streaming service and is not available from Netflix DVD. I was lucky enough to find that there was a single copy in the MN Public Library system up in Mountain Iron, MN (real name, real place. Pop. 2886). Once it arrived in the mail I could see that the DVD was absolutely pristine. I might in fact be the only person to ever watch this film. It’s like they ordered it new just for me. Thank you, local public library system. I love you. Let’s go!
Car 54, Where Are You? (1994) – BMeTric: 42.1
(A classic extreme rating example of these types of plots where despite only having a few thousand votes it still manages an impressive 40+ based solely on its sub-3.0 rating. Kind of cool that you can see the BMeTric go through the inflection. Also like any good street cred BMT film the rating stays solidly low despite increased votes suggesting only bad movie aficionados are watching and reviewing the film at this point.)
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – This retread of the hilarious 1960s TV show about N.Y.C. cops with a hefty Keystone quotient is a woefully embarrassing assemblage of gags that would bring up the read in Police Academy. O’Donnell (her screen debut), Drescher, and Piven acquit themselves well, under the circumstances. Despite presence of Al Lewis – reprising his Schnauzer role from the original Nat Hiken series – this turkey sat on the shelf after completion in 1991.
(Not a BOMB! Not a BOMB! Not a BOMB! And oh wow, I forgot this is a rare example of very delayed wide release films. Leonard tips his hand a bit that he is an old man by doting on the original. I’ve seen clips and it is funny I suppose, but I wouldn’t laugh out loud as you would imagine. This should be an experience though. Makes me truly wonder where the half star comes from … from the actors who acquit themselves well I suppose.)
(From the people who didn’t bring you Lethal Weapon?… that film came out seven years before this one. Weird. Otherwise this just looks like a cheap comedy almost in the same vein as Weekend at Bernies. Looks boring.)
Directors – Bill Fishman – (Known For: Tapeheads; My Dinner with Jimi; BMT: Car 54, Where Are You?; Notes: Mainly a music video director this was a rare foray into features. His videography is impressive, and it isn’t too surprising he was chosen considering the movie was apparently initially supposed to be a musical (see notes below).)
Writers – Nat Hiken (television series) – (BMT: Car 54, Where Are You?; Sgt. Bilko; Notes: He died in 1968 so years before two of his shows (Car 54 and the Phil Silvers Show which became Sgt. Bilko) became movies. Well known as a songwriter as well.)
Erik Tarloff (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Cheetah; BMT: Car 54, Where Are You?; Notes: Chiefly a television writer in the 70s and 80s this marked the end of his Hollywood writing career. He is married to Laura Tyson who was chief economic advisor to the Clinton Administration, and his brother-in-law is Alan D’Andrea a cancer researcher at Harvard Medical School.)
Ebbe Roe Smith (screenplay) – (Known For: Falling Down; BMT: Car 54, Where Are You?; Notes: He wrote Falling Down solo which is kind of nuts. Mostly an actor all the way up to today where he’ll appear on occasion on Portlandia as characters such as Swinger Husband.)
Peter McCarthy (screenplay) – (Known For: Tapeheads; Floundering; BMT: Car 54, Where Are You?; Notes: Not much on him. On variety his news is dominated by his directoral debut Floundering which was released to some acclaim at Sundance with a cast including John Cusack, Ethan Hawke, and Jeremy Piven)
Peter Crabbe (screenplay) – (BMT: McHale’s Navy; Car 54, Where Are You?; Notes: Almost nothing to say about this guy beyond that it appears he parlayed his involvement in this film into another 60s television adaptation McHale’s Navy, so congrats to him for that.)
Actors – David Johansen – (Known For: Married to the Mob; Scrooged; A Very Murray Christmas; Cats Don’t Dance; Glass Chin; Naked in New York; The Tic Code; Candy Mountain; BMT: Mr. Nanny; Car 54, Where Are You?; Freejack; 200 Cigarettes; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; Notes: Started the bands New York Dolls and David Johansen Group in addition to touring under as the character Buster Poindexter producing a total of twelve albums across the three acts. He appeared on SNL six times as Buster Poindexter, and has a surprisingly extensive acting career considering he’s first and foremost a singer.)
John C. McGinley – (Known For: The Belko Experiment; Se7en; The Rock; Platoon; Point Break; Office Space; Identity; 42; Any Given Sunday; Wall Street; Born on the Fourth of July; World Trade Center; Set It Off; Nixon; Kid Cannabis; Shadow Makers; Talk Radio; Mother’s Boys; A Midnight Clear; The Discoverers; Mother; Shakedown; Article 99; Sweet Liberty; Crazy as Hell; Johns; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening (BMT); The Animal; Are We Done Yet? (BMT); On Deadly Ground (BMT); Alex Cross (BMT); Get Carter (BMT); Summer Catch; Stealing Harvard; Car 54, Where Are You?; Get a Job; Wagons East; Wild Hogs (BMT); Three to Tango; Surviving the Game; Hear No Evil; Nothing to Lose; Truth or Consequences, N.M.; Notes: Our seventh McGinley film and we could easily get to ten if we wanted to by adding The Animal, Wagons East!, and Summer Catch. He was on the celebrity version of American Gladiators in 1994.)
Fran Drescher – (Known For: This Is Spinal Tap; Hotel Transylvania; Hotel Transylvania 2; Saturday Night Fever; Ragtime; UHF; Cadillac Man; Doctor Detroit; The Big Picture; BMT: Car 54, Where Are You?; Jack; The Beautician and the Beast; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1998 for Worst Actress for The Beautician and the Beast. Well known for her distinctive voice. I knew her best as Pamela Finklestein from UHF growing up. But her work on TV’s The Nanny is probably her claim to fame.)
Budget/Gross – $10.7 million / Domestic: $1,238,080 (N/A)
(Obviously brutal, but what else would you imagine considering this is a film based on a 60’s television show, it was shelved for three years, and by all accounts was cut to shit. For the number of theaters it was released to (over 600) this is also a ridiculously low number. $2K per theater is just insane.)
(I feel like I shouldn’t be, and yet I am surprised by how many films are based on television shows these days and how successful they are. Probably in no small part due to things like Star Trek. This was on the leading edge of a boom that then settled into a more consistent value overall, and is literally the lowest grossing wide release on the list.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/16): No consensus yet.
(Obviously of special note because it is one of maybe 70 films with 15+ reviews and 0% on rotten tomatoes. I shall make a consensus: Simply not funny and only of note as an example of a truly terrible film. As one reviewer said: If you paid money to see this you are stupid. Coooooold Bloooooooded.)
Poster – Sklog 54, Where Are You? (C+)
(This also seems very 80’s… like the Meatballs poster or something. OK blue and yellow color. OK font. Interesting sketch style. Ultimately too busy to really get a great grade, but not bad.)
Tagline(s) – An Arresting Comedy (D)
(Cliche pun alert. This is more suitable for a review of the film by a time-strapped and not very creative film critic. Nothing more to say. It’s not worth the effort as they clearly didn’t expend any.)
Keyword(s) – number in title; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.9 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 87.8 Battlefield Earth (2000); 84.8 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 83.7 Fantastic Four (2015); 81.1 Movie 43 (2013); 78.6 Sex and the City 2 (2010); 77.4 RoboCop 3 (1993); 76.9 Piranha 3DD (2012); 76.0 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 74.4 Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959);
(We’ve done a few of these, although that isn’t surprising considering something on the order of 5000 films on IMDb have this tag (so basically it has to be real bad to get on the list in the first place). You might be saying “hey wait a minute, Battlefield Earth doesn’t have a number in the title. Bullshit”. But it is also known as Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 which is the title of the book. I wouldn’t necessarily call that official though.)
Notes – John C. McGinley worked on this film and Article 99 (1992) at the same time. He would work on this film Monday to Wednesday and the other film Thursday to Friday. (That seems like it suggested that one or both films were going to be terrible …)
Al Lewis and Nipsey Russell were in the original Car 54, Where Are You? (1961) TV series, playing Officer Leo Schnauser and Officer Dave Anderson, respectively. Here they play the same characters years older, as if this film were a sequel to the original series, rather than the updated and (otherwise) recast remake that it is. (As if the film was a sequel. What a weird choice).
According to a recent interview with John C. McGinley (AV Club’s Random Roles- April 2013), the film was original shot as a musical with full musical numbers. After editing, only two musical numbers remained. McGinley was unsure of why specifically the numbers were cut or by whom, but McGinley mused that he found the film in its’ present form an incoherent mess. (wait …. What? Wait wait wait. This movie is a musical. Wait … what?)
During Gunther Toody’s dream sequence he is wearing the same uniform that was worn by his character in the original show. (fun. fact.)
Awards – Won the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Rosie O’Donnell)