Blue City Recap

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of the Black & Blue Bicycle where we watched Blue City and Fifty Shades of Black in one week. The two recaps are separate but go together. Here is a link to the Fifty Shades of Black Recap]

Jamie

Prepare for a extra juicy post this week. That’s because we watched two films! A black and blue bicycle of Blue City and Fifty Shades of Black. I doubt anyone has actually heard of Blue City. It only has 755 votes on IMDb and its popularity ranking is so low that it comes in behind the 1986 gymnastics film American Anthem. This Italian Terminator rip-off is ranked higher for God’s sake!

As we all know (“You’re a crazy person,” the crowd chants in unison). Yup, I’m a crazy person. So I obviously read the book that Blue City was based on (that obviously no one has heard of either). It is a boilerplate noir thriller. Our hero returns from war to find his estranged dad murdered. With nothing to lose, he descends into the darkest corners of the city to find his father’s killers and bring them to justice, even if it costs him his life. Blue City! As far as an adaptation goes it was a pretty solid example of how some of the best films get made. Find a book of middling quality but with a solid story, tighten the screws, add some meat, and voila! Did it succeed? Ha! No. Lots of changes, merging of character, change of setting (more on that later), etc. etc. etc. But in most cases the changes were simply to try to clean up the seedy characters you are meant to root for. A general brat pack-ification of the material. As for the film itself I actually wasn’t totally disappointed by it. I’ll let Patrick discuss its finer points, but there were some bonkers MonoSklogs being thrown around and some crazy editing/directorial choices. While somewhat boring, it gave me enough to provide sense of peace with what would have otherwise been an odd choice for BMT considering just how unknown it is.

Taken in tandem is the longest post we’ve had since… well actually probably not that long ago. Still, I’ll try to keep the Settings 101 brief…ish. Blue City had a very interesting setting. The book was purposefully set nowhere. Our hero arrives in “The City” without acknowledgement of which state he is in. There is mention of Chicago being somewhat close and that The City was a big tire and rubber center, so I guess it’s a take on Akron, Ohio. But a fake state capital is explicitly mentioned, so that confirms the N/A setting for the book. The movie on the other hand was working hard for its setting. That production designer has so many “Blue City” signs and decals my head was spinning. However, the true setting was only shown once: on the side of a police car where it said “Florida” above the Blue City Police department shield. While there are a lot of mentions of Miami being nearby, there wasn’t enough to float it above C. Similarly, you can almost get an exact date for the temporal setting from a calendar on the wall and a visit to a graveyard (April 1985), but didn’t play a role and wasn’t exact. C- or maybe a C.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Blue City? More like Real Shitty! We completed the Black and Blue Bicycle, which means you’re going to get two, so let’s try and keep them each shorter. Let’s go!

  • The Good – It is an okay crime story with okay acting from Caruso and an interesting fictional grimy southern setting. I could see someone accidentally watching the film and not realizing it was incredibly reviled upon release.
  • The Bad – Nelson and Sheedy, woof! Sheedy in particular was just atrocious in this film, it kind of threw me. This was also probably an editor’s nightmare, it came across as just kind of cut to pieces and barely 80 minutes, the first time directing was exposed there. The story is also just unpleasant with undesirable characters thrown around with little regard for how they would eventually have to resolve the story.
  • The BMT – Naw, again, just kind of a blah, boring crime film with terrible characters and action that hasn’t aged particularly well. A 10 would be right in line, definitely poor, but never popular enough to make it a hit.

And I’m thinking Sequel for this one. Billy Turner, now a long time Florida politician running for Governor, is assassinated at a campaign stop in his hometown of Blue City. With no suspects and no hope his son Jim Turner returns to try and untangle the threads that tied his father to the dark underbelly of the town that tore his family apart. Was it corruption that felled Billy Turner at his moment of triumph, or is that yet another lie surrounding his tragic death? Blue City: Legacy. I’m hearing through the grapevine that I’m writing the screenplay and John Krasinski is attached to the lead role of Jim Turner.

That’s it, cheerios,

The Sklogs

Fifty Shades of Black Preview

See the preview for Blue City to see an in depth explanation of the Black and Clue Bicycle Transition. This is the second leg and first BONUS of the year (something that was far more typical years back and something that will likely make a comeback real soon …). We are going spoof comedy, and this time we spoof previous BMT film Fifty Shades of Grey! Let’s go!

Fifty Shades of Black (2016) – BMeTric: 59.7

fiftyshadesofblack_bmet

fiftyshadesofblack_rv

(The number two movie for the year according to the BMeTric after Zoolander 2. Very impressive graphic and extremely consistent rating. Always relaxes me to see such consistency, love it.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  But I will say this for “Fifty Shades of Black”: It made me laugh more often than I did in “Dirty Grandpa.” That is to say, I laughed more than once. And you really can’t ask for more than that in January.

(Really tough to pull out a quote for this guy. But the gist: This movie is terrible, but there is method to the madness in a way and when you cut through it it does give you a few hearty chuckles, which is better than most terrible comedies. So there’s that. Take that for what you will because the guy who basically liked it still gave it only a half star above the lowest review possible … so yeah.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1pOTTcdRO8

(Some funny stuff in there. Probably all of the funny bits actually. Pretty solid trailer though right? Really good side-by-side with the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer I feel like. That’s impressive. What more could you ask for out of a trailer? Can you tell I’m nervous about how boring and terrible this film is going to be.)

Directors – Michael Tiddes – (BMT: Fifty Shades of Black; A Haunted House; A Haunted House 2; Notes: Looks like he got in with the Wayans after executive producing Dance Flick (which was written by them). His only credits are these three films right in a row, and his next film looks to be one of the first non-spoof comedies for Marlon Wayans (as the star, the last was probably Littleman) in a while called Naked.)

Writers – Marlon Wayans (written by) – (Known For: Scary Movie; BMT: Littleman; Scary Movie 4; Fifty Shades of Black; Scary Movie 2; Dance Flick; A Haunted House; A Haunted House 2; White Chicks; Scary Movie 3; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2010 for Worst Supporting Actor for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Won for Worst Actor and Screen Couple, Littleman (2006), Nominated for Worst Screenplay, Littleman (2006), Nominated for Worst Actress, Screen Couple and Screenplay: White Chicks (2004). Ahhhh. Well, what is there to say that we didn’t say for White Chicks. The guy is pretty prolific and can turn a profit on a buck. This looked to be a flop, but he has a strong network of comedians around him, enough to challenge (and win seemingly) the Scary Movie franchise for modern spoof movies.)

Rick Alvarez (written by) – (BMT: Fifty Shades of Black; A Haunted House; A Haunted House 2; Notes: Not much about this guy online, but he is also writing Marlon Wayans’ next project Naked. I would assume he is Marlon Wayans writing partner of sorts.)

Actors – Marlon Wayans – (Known For: Requiem for a Dream; Scary Movie; The Heat; The Ladykillers; Above the Rim; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; BMT: Norbit; Dungeons & Dragons; Littleman; Fifty Shades of Black; Scary Movie 2; Dance Flick; Marmaduke; A Haunted House; A Haunted House 2; White Chicks; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Mo’ Money; The Sixth Man; Senseless; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; Notes: Again what more is there to say. Here’s to hoping him and Shawn get back together for another White Chicks-esque comedy soon.)

Kali Hawk – (Known For: Bridesmaids; Get Him to the Greek; Celebrity; BMT: Fifty Shades of Black; Couples Retreat; Peeples; The Perfect Match; Answers to Nothing; Notes: I knew her to some extent from the television show New Girl where she played Shelby. A comedian she performed for Last Comic Standing and was cast in the pilot for a reboot of In Living Color which did not go to series (which explains how she became involved with this project I suppose))

Also stars Fred Willard who has been in a multitude of spoof movies over the years.

Budget/Gross – $5 million / Domestic: $11,686,940 (Worldwide: $21,164,799)

(That seems … okay. Not great, but considering its budget okay. But one of the worst for Marlon Wayans ever. It is actually amazing: you can almost predict his success with the spoof movies. Scary Movie: $140 domestic; Scary Movie 2: $70 million domestic; Haunted House: $40 million domestic; Haunted House 2: $17 million domestic; Fifty Shades of Black: $11 million domestic. Basically just halve it each time. Amazing.)

#48 for the Comedy – Spoof genre

spoof_48

(Right near #50 Dracula Dead and Loving It which was Mel Brooks’ last spoof movie. The spoof genre had a pretty sustained run from 1990 to 2005 and then there is just boom time (with much less money …) for a brief period and now we are kind of back to 1980s levels. That boom is when Friedburg and Seltzer re-entered the spoof game. They wrote the first Scary Movie and then Zucker (who continued the series) and them competed for that brief period until the genre flamed out. A similar thing happened recently with the Wayans who basically killed off the Scary Movie franchise with A Haunted House. The spoof genre is an interesting beast because so many people have fond memories of it, and almost all of those fond memories are from the 80s like Airplane! Perhaps we could see a re-emergence of the idea in a few years now that the three big groups aren’t likely to try and enter the game and suck all of the available funding. We’ll see.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (3/43): Wildly erratic even for a spoof movie, Fifty Shades of Black bears the unfortunate distinction of offering fewer laughs than the unintentionally funny film it’s trying to lampoon.

(Haha, wow. Well, it might be boring, but like A Haunted House and A Haunted House 2 I’m sure it’ll end up being slightly underrated in the end. Critics never give the needed leeway with the inherent hit-or-miss comedy that comes out of what might as well be improv. Kind of like SNL skits turned into movies. They aren’t really good, but they are never as bad as the reviews suggest, you just need to roll with the misses.)

Poster – Fifty Sklogs of Sklog (B+)

fifty_shades_of_black_ver2

(Woah! Scandalous. It’s actually a really good poster. Look at the symmetry. Look at the bold red background. Which they didn’t put so many characters on it and the font could be a little less boring. But still quite well done. If you look at the notes or are a fan of James Bond you might know that this is also a spoof of the poster for For Your Eyes Only with Roger Moore.)

Tagline(s) – Once you go black, you never go gray. (A)

Way shadier than gray. (C)

(The second one doesn’t really work. Yes it gives a hint of plot and it’s concise. But otherwise not clever in the least. I think the first one is great. Clever, got some cadance, kinda spoofs Fifty Shades of Grey in itself. It’s damn good.)

Keyword(s) – reference to ryan gosling; Top Ten by BMeTric: 59.9 Fifty Shades of Black (2016); 19.6 Maps to the Stars (2014); 14.0 Vaterfreuden (2014); 1.0 Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014);

(Well … that was a crap as I expected it to be. How is that the number one keyword. Ridiculous IMDb, ridiculous)

Notes – The poster of the cast between a woman’s legs is a spoof of the iconic poster for the Roger Moore Bond film For Your Eyes Only (1981). Jane Seymour starred in Roger Moore’s first Bond film Live and Let Die (1973). (Yup)

This is King Bach’s (Andrew Bachelor) second movie. His first being We Are Your Friends (2015). (Ooooof another incredibly poorly received film)

This film also does a parody about the artist, The Weeknd, who has a song in Fifty Shades of Grey. In this movie he goes by Weekday and looks like the artist The Weeknd.

Unlike A Haunted House and its sequel, this film follows very close to the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. (Bullshit. Haunted House was Paranormal Activity and Haunted House 2 followed Sinister as well. All of the Scary Movies follow specific movies as well. Bullshit.)

Blue City Preview

Hoo wee. I’m actually pretty excited for the end of the cycle this time around. Why? Because our transitions have typically turned into an attempt to find a film that matches both the current cycle and the upcoming cycle. However this time our current cycle is films of 1986 and the upcoming cycle are films of 2016 (potential Razzies). Uh oh! No film can both be of 1986 and 2016. What to do? Obviously the only solution is to punish ourselves by watching two films for transition. The transition will be done using two film (one from 1986 and the other from 2016) that have some other property in common. In a way the two film form a small cycle of their own (a bicycle if you will). For this transition we are going to use the final Worst Picture nominee Blue City (never heard of it? Nobody else has either) and the Wayans Bros. spoof Fifty Shades of Black. The bicycle is the “black & blue” cycle. Get it? It’s amazing. So for our preview will we post information for both these films and have to watch both for this week… we are so goddamn good at this whole obsessive bad movie watching! (Patrick’s Note: And at making watching bad movies feel like a chore!) Let’s go!

Blue City (1986) – BMeTric: 14.0

bluecity_bmet

bluecity_rv

(Oooof less than a thousand votes. Kind of a wonder it even manages 14.0 BMeTric, but 4.0 is pretty rough as far as rating is concerned. That low it makes sense it will look linear (which is roughly in line with the vote count). It will basically take off if it could ever even sniff the rough inflection vote point which is currently near-ish to 3000 votes.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Perfectly awful film about wiseguy kid who returns to Florida hometown after five years, discovers that his father was killed, and vows to avenge (and solve) his murder. Senseless and stupid; Nelon’s unappealing character seems to possess a one-word vocabulary, and the word isn’t fudge. Based on a good book by Ross Macdonald.

(Oooooof. The bomb probably comes from this movie being perfectly boring. Leonard is on tip top semicolon game as usual. I like the idea of an unappealing character, after the interestingly okay characters we saw in Keeping Up with the Joneses, it will be fun to see people just drop the ball completely in that regard. Get ready for some F-booooooooooooombs.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9GIsyUgwxE

(Certainly old school and left un-updated from presumably VHS pre-trailers. Does it get me excited though? No. The acting looks sub-sub-par, the soundtrack is poised to be a travesty, and it just looks old. The only hope for this not being boring is that Nelson looks fun in the action scenes they teased. Tenuous.)

Directors – Michelle Manning – (BMT: Blue City; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Director for Blue City. Producer with John Hughes for Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, in 1997 she transitioned to president of production for Paramount where she still works. This is her one and only directing credit. Makes sense though, Nelson and Sheedy means a close connection to Hughes in general. I wonder if she just did not enjoy directing.)

Writers – Ross Macdonald (novel) – (Known For: The Moving Target; The Drowning Pool; BMT: Blue City; Notes: aka Kenneth Millar (Macdonald is a pen name). Most well known for his character Lew Archer. Blue City is his third novel written in 1947 and is one of only six novels which are not Lew Archer. Too bad, I would have liked to see Judd Nelson As ….. Lew Archer!)

Lukas Heller (screenplay) – (Known For: The Dirty Dozen; What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?; The Flight of the Phoenix; Monte Walsh; Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte; Damnation Alley; The Killing of Sister George; Too Late the Hero; BMT: Flight of the Phoenix; Blue City; Notes: German screenwriter died a few years after this film was released. The father of Zoe Heller who wrote the novel Notes on a Scandal which was made into a film with Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett.)

Walter Hill (screenplay) – (Known For: Aliens; The Warriors; Alien³; 48 Hrs.; Undisputed; Streets of Fire; Red Heat; The Getaway; The Driver; The Long Riders; Southern Comfort; The Streetfighter; Wild Bill (BMT); The Drowning Pool; The MacKintosh Man; Hickey & Boggs; BMT: Another 48 Hrs.; The Getaway; Last Man Standing; Blue City; Notes: Directed previous BMT films Bullet to the Head and Wild Bill (which now has a 41% on RT. [Editor’s note: that’s bullshit. I guarantee some of those are duplicates]). Extremely illustrious career and is credited with bringing back the western to an extent. He claims all of his movies are westerns at heart, stripping down to a world beyond normal avenues of social control.)

Actors – Judd Nelson – (Known For: The Breakfast Club; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; St. Elmo’s Fire; New Jack City; The Transformers: The Movie; BMT: Steel (BMT); Airheads; The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day; Blue City; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1988 for Worst Actor for From the Hip and in 1987 for Blue City. Part of the Brat Pack and partially known for several more recent television roles like Suddenly Susan.)

Ally Sheedy – (Known For: X-Men: Apocalypse; The Breakfast Club; Little Sister; WarGames; St. Elmo’s Fire; Short Circuit; Bad Boys; Welcome to the Rileys; High Art; Only the Lonely; Life During Wartime; Betsy’s Wedding; Twice in a Lifetime; Sugar Town; Happy Here and Now; BMT: Short Circuit 2; Man’s Best Friend; Maid to Order; Blue City; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1991 for Worst Supporting Actress for Betsy’s Wedding; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1990 for Worst Actress for Heart of Dixie and in 1987 for Blue City. Another member of the Brat Pack. Was for years married to the nephew of my hero Angela Lansbury, but they sadly filed for divorce in 2008.)

David Caruso – (Known For: First Blood; An Officer and a Gentleman; Session 9; King of New York; Proof of Life; Kiss of Death; Mad Dog and Glory; BMT: Jade; Hudson Hawk; Twins; Blue City; Thief of Hearts; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1996 for Worst New Star for Kiss of Death, and Jade. Actually famous for being the main character in CSI: Miami and NYPD Blue. I do not remember him from Hudson Hawk.)

Budget/Gross – $10 million / Domestic: $6,947,787

(Ooof, that would be a bomb. I had never heard of this film before, so this is no surprise at all.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/4):

(I had to add that in myself because you need at least 5 reviews to actually get a rating from rotten tomatoes. I’ll just copy this dire review’s brief recap: A dull disaster from start to finish. … Another review kind of derisively bashes the film for having Nelson pretend he is gay in the film. Because it kind of suggests Nelson is gay in real life? Always interesting to see a guy who just kind of never acknowledges rumors like that (see Kevin Spacey), and is seems like Nelson hasn’t because there is almost nothing online suggesting it is anything more than rumor.)

Poster – Sklog City (D+)

blue_city

(I really do not like this poster on almost every level… but that font. I can’t quit you poster font.)

Tagline(s) – It’s below Miami and above the law. (B-)

The coolest heat you’ll ever feel (D)

(Haha. This one is both kind of amazing and pretty much the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s got that 1980’s joie de vivre. The second one skips the amazing and lands directly in stupid.)

Keyword(s) – police; Top Ten by BMeTric: 92.7 Batman & Robin (1997); 89.5 Catwoman (2004); 84.6 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 82.6 Street Fighter (1994); 80.5 Home Alone 3 (1997); 79.3 House of the Dead (2003); 77.3 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 77.1 RoboCop 3 (1993); 75.8 Inspector Gadget (1999); 75.0 Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994)

(amazing list. There are also over 100 pages on IMDb of films with this keyword and 564 films with a BMeTric over 20! Reminds me that we have to watch all of the police academy films at some point.)

Notes – Actress Jenny Wright originally was cast in the lead female role of Annie Rayford which in the end was played by Ally Sheedy.

The movie’s two top billed lead stars, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy, were at the time the movie was made and released, part of a then young group of American actors who were known as “The Brat Pack”, a term which referenced the earlier group of American actors who had been known as “The Rat Pack”.

The movie was nominated for 5 Golden Raspberry Awards at the 7th Golden Raspberry Awards Ceremony in 1987. These included Worst Picture, Worst Director (Michelle Manning), Worst Actor (Judd Nelson), Worst Actress (Ally Sheedy) and Worst Supporting Actor (Scott Wilson) but failed to win a Razzie in any category. (Amazing how reviled this movie I’ve never heard of seemed to be)

The make and model of the motorcycle that Billy Turner (Judd Nelson) rode was a 1978/79 750cc Triumph Bonneville T140E. This motor-bike is apparently the same one that was seen in the earlier movie An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) which was also produced by the same Paramount Pictures studio that made Blue City (1986). (Now that is a fun fact. I love this for some reason)

The film was made and released about thirty-nine years after its source Ross Macdonald novel of the same name had been first published in 1947. (Get ready for the book review woooooo)

This is the only film directed by Michelle Manning. (One and done director, oh how far we have come since that delightful cycle earlier this year)

The movie’s marketing connected with the then current hit TV series Miami Vice (1984). This was manifest in the film’s main tagline which read: “It’s below Miami and above the law”. The fictional “Blue City” of the film’s title was, like Miami, set in the state of Florida, where the city of Miami is situated. (huh, also a pretty fun fact)

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (William Hayward, Walter Hill)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Judd Nelson)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Ally Sheedy)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Scott Wilson)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Michelle Manning)