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)

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(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)