I Spy Preview

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

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(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 These says that trope has been replaced by the bumbling pro.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.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma53Kps06cM

 

(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.)

#54 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre

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(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.)

#18 for the Comedy – Spy genre

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(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.)

#67 for the Spy genre

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(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.)

#62 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

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(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.)

Poster – I Sklog (B+)

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(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

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CHIPS Preview

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

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(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.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IfqqUTW-i4

(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.)

#68 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre

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(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.)

#74 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

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(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.)

Poster – SKLOGS (B)

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(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.

Baywatch Preview

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

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(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.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ5tqzw841s

(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.)

#35 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre

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(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.)

#47 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

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(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.)

Poster – Sklogwatch (C+)

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(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”.

The Beverly Hillbillies Preview

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

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(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.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy0tjb-Gjqw

(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?)

#58 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

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(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!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (7/30): No consensus yet.

(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.)

Poster – The Beverly SklogBillies (C-)

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(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.)

Tagline(s) – Upscale neighborhood, Down-home heart. (B-)

(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.

Car 54, Where Are You? Preview

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

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(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.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kh2_IWz50jM

(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.)

#85 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

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(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+)

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(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)

The Avengers (1998) Preview

I gotta tell you that I’m pretty excited for this next film. I remember when it came out and even as a middle schooler I was like “WTF mate.” It’s been bandied about for BMT before and its time in the sun is finally here. That’s right, we are watching The Avengers! Before you gasp and retire to your fainting couch let me make clear that this is not Marvel’s The Avengers. It is the 1998 adaptation of the 1960’s television show The Avengers. By all accounts the entire post-production for the film was a disaster and resulted in an incomprehensible mess. Released on August 14th (in the midst of the dump months) it is easily the worst film released on that day. Other than The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, it’s really the only qualifying movie for August 14th period.

The Avengers (1998) – BMeTric: 78.4

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(As usual with these types of things it just has gone up and up since IMDb became big-ish. Curiously, the rating has increased a bit over the time period. I have no idea why. Who was just clamoring to go to IMDb to give this a four or whatever? No one.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Retread of the popular British TV show of the ‘60s about two saucy secret agents tries in vain to capture its stylishness and insouciance – but Fiennes is woefully miscast, Connery gives a one-note performance as a bad guy who wants to control the Earth’s weather, and a fine supporting cast is wasted. Thurman is likable enough, but the film is utterly flat.

(Insouciance – noun – casual lack of concern; indifference. Thanks Mr. Maltin, I’ve learned a new word that I would struggle to use in any context. Funny enough he destroyed this movie on his podcast, so where the hell does two stars come from? Also this sounds boring.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgTiFsCMCo4

(Ugh. This trailers insouciance is offensive. You can almost tell they were trying their best to make a trailer out of what is definitely going to be a movie almost entirely constructed from cutting room scraps. This could either be our greatest triumph or literally the most boring moving on the planet.)

Directors – Jeremiah S. Chechik – (Known For: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; Benny & Joon; Tall Tale; BMT: The Avengers; Diabolique; The Right Kind of Wrong; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Director for The Avengers. Weirdly sparse bio for such a oddly impressive short directing career. Has stuck to tv for about twenty years now.)

Writers – Sydney Newman (television series The Avengers) – (BMT: The Avengers; Notes: Extremely influential titan of British television including heading the the BBC for several years. Sadly passed away within a year of this movie coming out.)

Don MacPherson (written by) – (Known For: Absolute Beginners; BMT: The Avengers; The Gunman; Crossing the Line; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Screenplay for The Avengers. What a strange guy. Wrote Crossing the Line in 1990, this in 1998 and then the Gunman in 2015 … nothing much else officially credited. According to wikipedia though it seems like he is the script doctor on a ton of movies and series.)

Actors – Ralph Fiennes – (Known For: The Harry Potter Series, Hail, Caesar!; Spectre; A Bigger Splash; Schindler’s List; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Skyfall; The Hurt Locker; In Bruges; Red Dragon; The Prince of Egypt; The English Patient; The Reader; Maid in Manhattan; The Constant Gardener; Great Expectations; The Duchess; Nanny McPhee Returns; Strange Days; Coriolanus; The Curse of the Were-Rabbit; The Invisible Woman; Quiz Show; BMT: The Avengers; Clash of the Titans; Wrath of the Titans; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Actor and Screen Couple  for The Avengers. Probably most famous for his roles in Schindler’s List, The English Patient and as Voldemort in Harry Potter. Incredible British stage and screen performer with the absolutely incredible real name of Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes)

Uma Thurman – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Nymphomaniac: Vol. I; Kill Bill: Vol. 1; Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief; Gattaca; Kill Bill: Vol. 2; Beautiful Girls; Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind; Dangerous Liaisons; The Producers; Les Misérables; Henry & June; The Adventures of Baron Munchausen; My Super Ex-Girlfriend; BMT: Batman & Robin; Movie 43; The Avengers; Even Cowgirls Get the Blues; Johnny Be Good; Bel Ami; Be Cool; Motherhood; Playing for Keeps; Paycheck; Chelsea Walls; Jennifer 8; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Actress and Screen Couple for The Avengers, Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1998 for Worst Supporting Actress for Batman & Robin, Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1995 for Worst Actress for Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Very famous for her involvement with Tarantino films, her career has been somewhat winding. Once married to Ethan Hawke and Gary Oldman as well.)

Also stars Sean Connery

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $23,384,939

(Enormous, ridiculous, astounding bomb. So bad that it was the keystone to what is widely considered to be one of the worst summers in hollywood history, the summer of 1998.)

#49 for the Action Heroine genre (Just below BMT classic Elektra)

#64 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre (That is a ridiculous ranking coming in below recent bomb Entourage)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (4/82): A TV spinoff that lacks enough energy to spin, The Avengers is an ineptly written, woefully miscast disaster.

(Low energy. A foreboding statement indeed. Everything about these descriptions makes this sound dull. This best have crazy BMstreeT Cred)

Poster – The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Seen (F)

avengers

(This is literally the worst thing that’s ever happened to posters. If (when?) I teach a class on bad movie posters and taglines this will be used as the example for when everything goes wrong. An insane person made this.)

Tagline(s) – Two amazing secret agents. One diabolical madman. Conditions are dark. The forecast is deadly. Tea, anyone? (F, what the hell?)

Saving the World in Style (B-)

(Alright, so I guess both kind of try and get the insouciance across. The first is just … it is the longest tagline. It was like I was reading it forever. At one point I think I fell asleep while reading it, then woke up, made breakfast, and I was still reading it. The second is okay but somewhat meaningless. I mean … I get the insouciance, but not much else.)

Notes – The film’s critical and commercial failure, along with the equally unsuccessful and equally maligned The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), was partly responsible for Sean Connery’s decision to retire from the film business. (As The Cat in the Hat would say: Ohhhh Yeaaaahhhhhhhh!)

Peter Bart’s book “The Gross” covered the film’s unfolding disaster in great detail. Among other facts: Warner Brothers greenlit the film largely on the strength of a star-packed cast and their appreciation of Jeremiah Chechik’s work on Diabolique (1996) and were horrified when seeing what the first cut was like. The first screening took place in front of a “largely Spanish-speaking, working class” audience in Phoenix, AZ who hated the film; the studio then forced Chechik to cut many of his favorite scenes and conduct reshoots; and the final cut went from 115 to 89 minutes and was completely incoherent. The studio even refused to hold further test screenings, or to have an official premiere before the film’s August 1998 release. (holy shit, yes!)

Speaking at the 2006 AFI Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony, Eddie Izzard said that he took a role in the film in order to meet Sean Connery. (ha!)

In the original script the part of Sir August was much smaller but when Sir Sean Connery joined the project he asked for the part to expanded. (Reminds me a little of Bulletproof Monk, where the role of The Bulletproof Monk was nonexistent in the material, but since Chow Yun-Fat was attached it became a main role)

At one point, David Fincher was interested in writing and directing the film with Charles Dance starring as John Steed. (If only there were alternate universes where we could see such a thing)

Producer Jerry Weintraub had hopes for sequels to the film, having spent around a decade trying to get the project green-lit. (Will be interesting to see whether the ending sets up for a sequel)

Awards – Won the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Ralph Fiennes)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Uma Thurman)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Sean Connery)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Jeremiah S. Chechik)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Don MacPherson)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Storm

 sounds like a Bond opening)