Here on Earth Recap

NOTE: This was an original recap from 2012 for the film Here on Earth. In a way it started the modern BMT recap, although it would still be another year before our email recap was more than a few notes. It originally included a good number of self-hosted video bits, but I’ve removed them to avoid any possibility of legal issues, and tried my best to get across the intent of each of them. But … just look at how long it is! Yeah, I had a job back then and everything. I think I wrote this in an hour long manic state of ecstasy. Enjoy!

Recap

Well boys and girls, it is with sadness that I have to report that Bad Movie Thursday has ended. What you all didn’t know was that BMT was just a pretense for me and Jamie’s search for the perfect movie, the one movie to unite the world in peace. That search ended last Thursday when we watched Here on Earth, nay! When it allowed us to view its beauty, its majesty … its message. Guided by LudaChris Klein himself we walked the shores of heaven and laughed in childlike wonder as he gently explained how the world can be, how it will be, once we pass along his message to the unconverted. Robert Frost said it best when …

Now that that is over, BMT has not ended, but it might as well have because all others can only hope to be a shadow of its greatness. It had everything, a soundtrack that reads like Best of the 90s: Vol 12, constant unnecessary slo-mo, a rich versus poor dynamic that never quits, and some of the absolute worst (read: best) performances put forth by Chris Klein and Leelee Sobieski. Meanwhile, Josh Harnett acts circles around everyone involved and they close by (spoiler alert!) Notebooking us with a surprise cancer diagnosis and death. Holy shit, needless to say it’s all I’ve been thinking about for the past couple of days. Buckle your seatbelts, and if you didn’t watch it they you should pencil in some time.

“Story”line

So we open with a little acoustic guitar riff and shots of a sweet car getting driven through the quaint town of Putnam, Massachusetts. You immediately know the dynamic of the town because as it passes through poorville Sobieski’s says: “somebody’s lost” because none of us Poory McPoors are buying a car like that. Rolston is a prep school that is, on the other hand, extremely wealthy as one can see from the fact that people row there.

The car arrives are Rolston and whoooooweeee is the principal mad. He tries to relate to Chris Klein because his father isn’t coming to graduation, but Chris goes all screw-you-old-man-you-don’t-know-me and pretends he doesn’t care because his father is making mad stacks of cash for him. He also puts down his whole class by calling them whining children. They conclude with Klein strutting about and riffing with his friends about how many ladies they’d all get with his car. With a flourish he reveals that he stole his car keys from the principal and they are going to take a little joy ride that night.

This is where things get interesting. Klein decides they’re all going to Mable’s Table where all the townies are hanging out. For some reason all the Rolston kids are terrified of going into this diner. Reminds me of my home town where all of the tourists are afraid to come to the local bar because the townies will beat the shit out of them. You know what I’m talking about Jamie. Leelee’s there with Hartnett and his friend (dubbed Mathew Lillard Jr. for his sweet bleach blonde hair and extreme sidekickness). Leelee basically tells Hartnett that it’s ovah babyyyyyy by not writing their name on the Lover’s Wall and instead takes over for her sister waiting tables. Her fear of commitment is disconcerting to Hartnett, but he’s in high school so he rolls with it.

Klein and his friends enter and Klein proceeds to verbally accost poor Leelee. Like no joke he pretty much sexually assaults her. She immediately falls in love with him (natch). We are later led to believe that Leelee falls in love with his heart, in reality we can read between the lines and I think she just kind of likes assholes and Hartnett was just too nice for her. Plus just hear these smoove lines by Klein: “What’s good here besides the help?” “Do you really make your own ice cream” “How does one make you own ice cream” Note the accent on cream in those last two. I thought Klein was just saying it weird … now I’m wondering whether it is sexual innuendo. If it is that is supremely creepy. Harnett conducts his first acting lesson of the night and Chris Klein responds by calling all the townies poor. It is quite a speech. But hey guys …. He has a good heart.

A scuffle ensues and Klein basically tells Hartnett his girlfriend is probably going to dream of him tonight. The actual word is “fantasy file” which isn’t a real phrase. Klein speeds off and Hartnett, on principle, decides to race him. This inevitably results in a huge explosion that destroys Mabel’s (no one is hurt). It would have been a much different movie if someone had died, like Sleepers style. Klein and Hartnett go to prison. They are enemies, but for survival they become reluctant allies and then friends. I’m going to call it Shawshank Redemption 2: Rich and Poe. In this version of the script Klein’s character is ironically called Poe and Harnett’s is ironically called Rich. This may also be a Fox Family series in which Poe is forced to move in with Rich and comedy ensues, they’re such an odd couple!

Anyways. Now we get to see how justice is really served in small town USA … the same way as everywhere else, in a courtroom. Klein has Nerd Alert McGee as his lawyer (complete with bow tie) who’s all like: “excuse me, but can’t my client just pay everyone a ton of money and we can lay this matter to rest?” And the judge basically responds “what world do you live in where what you said makes any sense?” Regardless, the judge decides that they’re going to have to do something different with these boys and makes them rebuild Mabel’s Table and thus Klein must live in Hartnett’s house! Everyone seems satisfied although it does seem to dawn on them that Mabel’s Table is one of the dumbest restaurant names they’ve ever heard in their life.

As an aside: the movie would have been better if Hartnett put his and Leelee’s name on the Love Wall. In the movie Leelee just kind of gets all grumpy and starts cheating on Hartnett with Klein and generally acts pretty terribly towards him. In my version Hartnett tries to make up with her and when he claims they’re on the Love Wall she can say “you burned the Love Wall down.” I never got the sense she drifted from Hartnett because of that incident (which would have made more sense), but rather out of boredom making her intentions, while perhaps more real, a bit muddied. Whatevs.

Klein moves into Hartnett’s house and his disgust with the poor accommodations is palpable. He sees a rat and everything and we feel for him because of the sheer poorness of the house. Hartnett tries to make Klein milk some cows but Klein doesn’t do peasant work and walks out. Good call by Klein, if his servants every found out he milked a cow they would probably demand wages and whatnot. Meanwhile, Leelee has inexplicably made up with Hartnett because he fails adorably at making noises with a blade of grass and then a mysterious knee injury is revealed. Afterward we get some sermon from a priest and Matthew Lillard Jr. grosses everyone out by making out with his girlfriend who runs her hands through his frosted tips never realizing how much she will regret her high school choices in the future.

And then we get it. Chris Klein monologue #1. I think it is in his contract that he gets at least 2.5 monologues a movie, so the director made up a valedictorian speech he had to miss because he’s a dipshit. It is … well it’s just Birches by Robert Frost basically. Are you kidding me? How did I not know about this when I graduated high school, this would have definitely been my speech, and no one would have been the wiser (although I would have been booed off stage …. Worth it). Leelee sees the whole thing and is intrigued to say the least.

Leelee macks the mack by bringing Klein a sandwich, everyone enjoys some solid 90s Yo Mother jokes, and then Hartnett and Klein get into a scuffle. You know it is a movie because Hartnett, who sports some sweet bird arms and is built like a scarecrow, defeats Klein, who appears to have just finished up a really worthwhile cycle of anabolic steroids. Hartnett has a heart to heart with his mother who points out that Klein might as well be an orphan so cut him some slack. In this scene Hartnett “plays” the piano. In reality piano noises just play during a close up shot of his face. It’s pretty funny how little they tried here, but if Hartnett can actually play the piano they did him a disservice.

And then we get two amazing scenes in a row. First, Leelee pretty much jumps Klein. This flirty banter is amazing. Two notes. One, Klein is shirtless which was inevitable. Two, the beginning of that scene was ridiculous. Leelee stares lustily at Klein’s bod and says “I’m hot … … … … … I’m going to get something to drink.” It sounds like she’s drunk. It actually reminds me of that video of the Brady Bunch where the one kid was stoned for a scene. The scene is similar to how me and my wife met. I was working hard during college orientation (shirtless, natch). She came over to get a drink and that was all the opening I needed. Hook-line-and-sinker. I call that move the Charlie Nash Interpol because it makes the girls go crazy.

The second scene is then their date, which is also amazing. It’s in a ballpark and they pretend to play baseball and stuff. Sobieski is the worst and also cannot even fake throw a baseball which is hilarious. They talk about life and love and then make out. Klein’s clinching line is the inexplicable: “I was just wondering if there was mustard or …” referring to the sandwich she gave him hours ago. Oscar snub that year for sure. Since my wife doesn’t read these recaps she doesn’t know that this is happening, this is going to be a date we have. And I’ll force her to read lines with me and reenact the whole thing. We’ll break up for a bit, but she’ll forgive me. I’ve trapped her.

We move quickly from here. Leelee’s family is super concerned Klein is a hit-it-and-quit it guy from Rolston. Ironically, after they do have sex, it is Leelee who ends up dying almost immediately after. Sobieski breaks it to Harnett that … well nothing really. Not great life choices here for m’girl Leelee. Poor Hartnett is just getting dragged along. This is followed by a revolting scene in which Klein kisses a bunch of Leelee’s body parts (a creepy focus is on the feet) and calls them states. Florida is her feet, North and South Carolina the knees. The belly button is Maryland. And, because he’s a classy guy, he skips over New York and New Jersey, her breasts, for New England, her face. The closing line “Massachusetts welcomes you” by Leelee completed the amazing performance.

The following scene gives us our first glimpse of Sobieski running which she is somehow worse at than throwing fake baseballs. Upon seeing this Klein’s response should have been “Are you sure you were a track athlete? Didn’t focus on the ‘field’ aspect of those sports?” Sobieski then explains to Klein that she’s going to the dance with Hartnett. Klein naturally doesn’t understand, and neither do we. There is a very confusing schedule outlined here as well: The dance has fireworks. Klein wants to meet up after but Sobieski is going to Cape Cod. So let me get this straight. The fireworks, which probably start around 9pm, will end and then Sobieski will immediately drive to the Cape from Western Massachusetts …. Yeah that isn’t happening. Lucky for everyone this plan is never mentioned ever again. Regardless, it is assumed by everyone that Leelee is attracted to Hartnett’s superior acting skills because anyone could see that Klein is objectively more attractive.

Klein is upset about this development, but accepts his fate gracefully … Oh wait … nevermind. Instead he gets shitfaced and dances with a bunch of cows. The dance sequence could only be trumped by Sobieski trying to dance, but they wouldn’t let that happen would they? Klein goes to the dance drunk and gets wrecked by Hartnett. Classic. This time the fight is a bit more fair since Klein is absolutely falling-down drunk at this point. Klein instantaneously sobers up and decides to pack it in and leave. He asks Leelee to go with him. She practically burst out laughing, but he saves it by tacking “for the weekend” onto the end. Sobieski is mulling it over when Hartnett shows up. She makes the unfortunate decision to break the news in this fashion “I can’t go … *Hartnett looks happy, 3 more beats* … With you [Hartnett]” Hartnett then bursts into tears. After this particular scene everyone should have stopped filming because Hartnett is too good. He is a legit actor. Leelee and Klein should have felt embarrassed and just called off the rest of the shoot while they recast the leads. Sobieski then hops on the bus and drives off to Boston.

At the Klein Estate Sobieski pokes fun at Klein by asking about the Butler. Klein nonchalantly explains that it is Fourth of July so he’s not here. No joke, just kind of says Jeeves got the night off. Klein wants to see if there is food in the house (there obviously is … you live in a mansion), but Sobieski runs off to embarrass herself by lying in Klein’s mother’s suicide tub. Lucky for the world that action results in this monologue which I call “Mi Mama”. It is a heartfelt display by a very alone and all but abandoned young man. I’m all in now, you’ve hooked me finally. There is only one thing you could do to screw this up, but you wouldn’t do that, right? WRONG. Sobieski dance sequence to bumping 90s tunes. They have a nice fake rain going in the monologue scene. You can always tell a good fake rain, it comes in weird sheets. Must have only had the mansion for the night.

And now for the conclusion, Klein’s absentee father returns and tells him to get his act together before he heads off to Princeton. Princeton alums shake their head in shame. MIT gets Buschemi from Armageddon and Nic Cage from National Treasure, Princeton gets ………. Chris Klein in Here on Earth. Leelee arrives home and they find out she’s been hiding doctor appointments. Leelee meets up with Klein and challenges him to a race. In the real world Klein would defeat her easily, in this movie she takes a substantial lead (there is evidently something magically efficient about swinging her arms wildly from side to side). All of a sudden the movie goes into slo mo and she falls. Klein carries her back and she gets the surprise cancer diagnosis. Klein accuses her of quitting when she can’t get treatment. “You’re just going to die?” Her response of “I’m going to live …. Just not as long as you” doesn’t help.

Hartnett tells Klein to get it together (I agree). We get a sweet montage with Sobieski dying, and Klein looking forlornly at some roses and a picture of Sobieski. We finally conclude at the grand opening of Mable’s Table where Klein shows up, sweeps Sobieski off her feet, and carves their name on the new Lover’s Wall. As Jamie pointed out, it would have been much better if he instead carved in “Fuck Cancer”, but it dawned on me later that I don’t think the movie was intended to be a comedy. Klein gets to give the eulogy. I think he just ended up giving his graduation speech, but it was hard to tell.

Conclusion

What is there left to say. This goes into the pantheon for sure. Chris Klein once again showed himself to be worthy of the Nic Cage Jr. crown. All he needs is an Oscar so that he’ll be able to get jobs for the rest of his life. Sobieski plays a character who is most notable for making poor life choices and getting cancer … they could have given her a bit more to work with in my opinion. Josh Hartnett was amazingly good, didn’t really falter despite having Chris Klein chewing the scenery during every take. There really isn’t anything else to say. Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, Battlefield Earth, Here on Earth. Those are now my top three of BMT history. ‘Nuff said.

Here on Earth Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the last in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A very special OG recap will follow, which represents somewhat the beginning of the modern BMT recap. A new recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately after that to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Here on Earth (2000) – BMeTric: 43.4

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(I find it pretty astonishing that the rating is just so low. There aren’t very many votes (which certainly plays into it), but it still is pretty amazing for what is at its core a fairly innocuous teen drama film … that is outside of the fact that we are obsessed with this film.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Spoiled preppy Klein falls for small-town girl Sobieski while rooming with her boyfriend’s family for the summer. Fateful teen romantic triangle is strictly by-the-numbers. Sobieski gets points for radiantly dangling two hunky guys along; if she were any more angelic she’d explode.

(Ha! Leonard identified one of the main sticking points of the entire film (Leelee’s character is kind of a dick for stringing Hartnett along when it was clear their relationship was done at the beginning of the film), and then dismisses it as a positive for Leelee. Go for it Leonard. Yeah, why shouldn’t Leelee get hers?!)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t8WI3bW8NA

(“Hey rich boy, come and get it!” Oh snap, that is some real sidekickness. And Klein looks jacked, I almost forgot just how jacked he was in this film. EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS TRAILER IS AMAZING. I’m having reverse Vietnam flashbacks here … does that make sense? Like I’m flashing back to the ecstasy of watching this film for the first time. Phew, I cannot wait.)

Directors – Mark Piznarski – (BMT: Here on Earth; Notes: Primarily a television director. Directed the first two episodes of Veronica Mars. The character of Stosh “Piz” Piznarski was named after him.)

Writers – Michael Seitzman (written by) – (Known For: North Country; BMT: Here on Earth; Notes: Basically immediately transitioned to television. Ultimately created Code Black which just ended this year.)

Actors – Chris Klein – (Known For: American Pie; American Reunion; We Were Soldiers; Just Friends; American Pie 2; Election; American Dreamz; Future BMT: Authors Anonymous; Day Zero; BMT: Rollerball; Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Say It Isn’t So; Here on Earth; Notes: He had a pretty public substance abuse issue which, it seems, he has kicked (good for him). Just had his second child.)

Leelee Sobieski – (Known For: Eyes Wide Shut; Never Been Kissed; Public Enemies; Deep Impact; Joy Ride; Walk All Over Me; Max; A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries; My First Mister; Future BMT: Jungle 2 Jungle; Branded; The Glass House; Finding Bliss; BMT: The Wicker Man; In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Here on Earth; 88 Minutes; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 2009 for 88 Minutes, and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Notes: Wow, all BMT films we’ve seen her in are now in the Hall of Fame. Her mother was a film producer and then became her manager when Leelee went into acting.)

Josh Hartnett – (Known For: Black Hawk Down; Sin City; The Virgin Suicides; The Faculty; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; 30 Days of Night; Lucky Number Slevin; O; Oh Lucy!; Resurrecting the Champ; Stuck Between Stations; Future BMT: The Black Dahlia; 40 Days and 40 Nights; Town & Country; Time Traveller; Wild Horses; Pearl Harbor; August; 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain; Bunraku; Blow Dry; The Ottoman Lieutenant; BMT: Hollywood Homicide; Here on Earth; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Pearl Harbor in 2002; Notes: Effectively retired ten years ago when he moved back to his native Minnesota, but broke back onto the scene with Penny Dreadful.)

Budget/Gross – $15 million / Domestic: $10,522,168 (Worldwide: $10,873,148)

(Unfortunately a disaster. So unlikely we’ll see a Here on Earth Expanded Universe (HoEEU). Which is too bad. I want to see what happened to … like, Leelee’s ancestors in the same town? I’m actually somehow selling myself on this idea … Netflix? Call me.)

#102 for the Romantic Drama genre

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(This is like a teen version of Nicholas Sparks film, which obviously the most enticing three words in Hollywood: teen Nicholas Sparks. Why would this genre die in the 2000? I don’t know, I think this comes up every time we do this plot. Maybe they got pushed out by some other genre or big budget fare?

#47 for the Teen Romance genre

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(Oooooooooh Endless Loooooooove is my second favorite of this genre. Was a late 80s genres, which surged again in the 2000s and is now sitting pretty these days. What happened in 2007ish? Twilight.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (12/69): Critics say Here on Earth’s weakness comes from its script. The story may appeal to young teenage girls, but it suffers from being overly sentimental and formulaic. The cinematography, however, is lovely in how it captures its Minnesota setting.

(It is impossible to be overly sentimental. Also … Oh I’m stewing now. It is obviously not set in Minnesota! It is set in Massachusetts. Ridiculous oversight. Reviewer Highlight – Makes the similarly themed Love Story seem positively sophisticated by comparison. – Lou Lumenick, New York Post)

Poster – Here on Sklog (A+)

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(I have this poster hanging in my house. It is like a beautiful watercolor, a dream. Zero complaints.)

Tagline(s) – NONE! (FFFFF)

(I’ll make one! Uh … “Earth’s the right place for love” there I did it! Phew, that was … much harder than I thought it would be. The logic is that that is a line from Birches by Robert Frost which plays a big role in the film. The film is a love story and thus illustrates a main plot, while sounding somewhat okay. It also takes place on the planet Earth.)

Keyword(s) – diner; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.5 The Wicker Man (2006); 84.8 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011); 78.0 Grease 2 (1982); 76.2 AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem (2007); 76.0 Ouija (2014); 73.7 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 73.1 Howard the Duck (1986); 72.2 Cell (I) (2016); 71.5 Bewitched (2005); 69.2 Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (2011);

(Grease 2 has somehow completely avoided our scrutiny despite, obviously, being one of the worst of an entire decade. Diner is also a nonsense keyword, but whatever.)

Notes – Melissa Joan Hart was considered for the role of Samantha.

This movie is mentioned in the song “Wonder (If She’ll Get It)” by the band Superchick.

Cobra Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the fourth in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Cobra (1986) – BMeTric: 42.3

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(This is a movie which I think is becoming more popular as the years go on. I can say this straight out: the movie is nuts, but in a very 80s “this is nuts, but maybe also brilliant” kind of way. To be honest, I’m a little surprised the film hasn’t reached 6.0 yet.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Once more, Stallone wraps himself in the American flag and fights for the greater glory of mankind by going after criminal vermin; this time, he’s a cop. Typical low-grade action fare, where all the other cops are stubborn dummies, and all the bad guys are repellent creeps. Some good action sequences.

(The last throwaway line of “Some good action sequences” feels like an insult. Like Leonard is pitying them and throwing them a bone after this complete evisceration. Also, Leonard … you know I love semicolons. Don’t tease me like that, you devil.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoGoSu4NEyo

(I’m in. Although I have to say that the trailer is way too serious for its own good. Like obviously the film took itself too seriously, that’s the fun of it, but you can at least make it seem like it’s not just Sly mumbling to people the whole time and slamming Coors. Also, his license plate says AWSOM 50. Gotta mention it because it’s so stupid.)

Directors – George P. Cosmatos – (Known For: Tombstone; Of Unknown Origin; Future BMT: Shadow Conspiracy; Leviathan; Rambo: First Blood Part II; The Cassandra Crossing; BMT: Cobra; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Notes: Rumor is that Sly actually directed the film and Cosmatos ended up as more of a producer. No info as to whether the same might be true of Rambo II.)

Writers – Paula Gosling (novel) – (BMT: Fair Game; Cobra; Notes: Fair Game and Cobra are adapted from Gosling’s novel A Running Duck. Cobra is crazier and better, Fair Game might as well not exist.)

Sylvester Stallone (screenplay) – (Known For: Creed II; Creed; Rocky; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Rocky Balboa; Rocky II; First Blood; Homefront; Cliffhanger; The Lords of Flatbush; F.I.S.T; Future BMT: Staying Alive; Rocky V; Rambo III; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rocky IV; BMT: Driven; Rhinestone; Cobra; Over the Top; The Expendables 3; Notes: From ‘82 to ‘88 Stallone didn’t star in a film he didn’t also get a screenwriting credit for. And a ton of the films are brilliant. And then he stumbled and is basically just an old man action star at this point, although he is writing Rambo 5.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Creed II; Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Creed; Rocky; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Rocky Balboa; Escape Plan; Rocky II; First Blood; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Cliffhanger; Antz; Bullet to the Head; Cop Land; Death Race 2000; The Lords of Flatbush; Future BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Escape Plan II; Staying Alive; Rocky V; D-Tox; The Specialist; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Avenging Angelo; Rambo III; Daylight; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Backtrace; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Oscar; Rocky IV; BMT: Driven; Zookeeper; Get Carter; Rhinestone; Judge Dredd; Cobra; Over the Top; The Expendables 3; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Demolition Man; Notes: Still smashing the gym at the age of 72, this time to prep for Rambo 5. A bad movie legend if there ever was one.)

Stallone Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actor for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Winner for Worst Actor in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1989 for Rambo III; and in 1993 for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Spy Kids 3: Game Over in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Cobra, Cobra, Lock Up, Lock Up, Over the Top, Over the Top, Rambo III, Rambo III, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rhinestone, Rocky IV, and Tango & Cash; Nominee for Worst Director for The Expendables in 2011; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1986 for Rocky IV; in 1987 for Cobra; in 1989 for Rambo III; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1994 for Cliffhanger; and in 2002 for Driven; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1987 for Cobra; in 1988 for Over the Top; in 1990 for Lock Up, and Tango & Cash; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for The Specialist; in 1996 for Assassins, and Judge Dredd; in 1997 for Daylight; in 2001 for Get Carter; and in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999;

Brigitte Nielsen – (Known For: Creed II; Beverly Hills Cop II; Future BMT: Red Sonja; Rocky IV; BMT: Cobra; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst New Star for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst New Star for Red Sonja in 1986; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 1986 for Red Sonja; in 1987 for Cobra; and in 1990 for Bye Bye Baby; Notes: Married Sylvester Stallone a year prior to this film, likely around the time Rocky IV came out. The Great Dane, she was Danish and noted for her height.)

Reni Santoni – (Known For: Rain Man; Groundhog Day; Can’t Hardly Wait; Dirty Harry; The Brady Bunch Movie; Private Parts; Doctor Dolittle; Bad Boys; Bright Lights, Big City; The Package; Dr. Dolittle 2; The Pick-up Artist; The Pawnbroker; Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid; Cat Chaser; Enter Laughing; The Battle for Anzio; Future BMT: 28 Days; Summer Rental; Brewster’s Millions; BMT: Cobra; Notes: His IMDb claims he was a professional baseball player prior to becoming an actor, although there are no stats concerning his career (which makes it unlikely it would have been in the United States at least). Played a cop in a Murder She Wrote episode centered around a baseball team though.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $49,042,224

(Basically broke even I would think. Makes a bit of sense it didn’t get a sequel, although that would have been fun.)

#19 for the Off-Screen Couples On-Screen genre

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(Vanilla Sky, Cobra, The Marrying Man, Gigli, and Shanghai Surprise are the BMT films that fit the bill. Stunt casting might have become more of a thing in the late 90s with the advent of the 24-hour news channel, and again in 2010ish although that was just Twilight basically. Nowadays it seems to more likely be couples just deciding to do it instead of an actual stunt, like with A Quiet Place.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (3/18): No consensus yet.

(The film is structured around an idea of super criminals which has since, rightfully, become a dirty word. The criminal which claims that they are the future, and that the justice system cannot stop them, and the cop who says “I am the law” and murders them all the same, screw due process, the process is broken! It is pretty disgusting if the entire thing didn’t play out like a joke half the time. Reviewer Highlight: The film trades on the same technique used by books that attack pornography by printing examples of the dirty pictures. Cobra pretends to be against the wanton violence of a disintegrating society, but it’s really the apotheosis of that violence. – Nina Darnton, New York Times)

Poster – I AM THE LAW (A)

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(I kind of inexplicably love this poster. Something about the matte colors. It feels like a painting, and a painting I want in my house … like, this represented America in all its macho super-violence, this represents something terrible and loveable about us in some way.)

Tagline(s) – Crime is the disease. Meet the Cure. (A)

(Again, I love it, but in a kind of psycho ridiculous way. Like for reals, people used to think super criminals were going to be a thing forever, and that we needed Judge Dredd (for reals) in our lives. That was a thing. And this movie represented that on a mainstream level, and this tagline perfectly conveys this. Somehow it works in both 1986 and 2019 in two totally different ways.)

Keyword(s) – psychotronic; Top Ten by BMeTric: 68.2 Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982); 62.8 The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961); 60.4 Space Mutiny (1988); 59.4 Red Sonja (1985); 57.7 Ghoulies (1984); 53.7 Casino Royale (1967); 52.9 Faces of Death (1978); 52.8 Starcrash (1978); 52.7 The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? (1964); 52.7 The Green Inferno (2013);

(What the f-in f! Anyways, that is a crazy keyword. Psychotronicdenoting or relating to a genre of films that typically have a science fiction, horror, or fantasy theme and were made on a low budget. This isn’t that really, although it does have the vibe. Not surprisingly most of these are Mystery Science Theater 3000 films and do not qualify.)

Notes – A very rare workprint of the movie is available amongst fans. Although most copies are in poor quality, it has approximately 30 to 40 minutes of footage not available in any other version. It also has all of the X-rated material removed from the final release. (Huh … I’ll just put this here to remind me to check this out later)

When Sylvester Stallone was signed to play the lead in Beverly Hills Cop (1984), he did a lot of work on the screenplay, turning it into an action extravaganza that the studio couldn’t afford. He eventually left Beverly Hills Cop and channeled his ideas for that project into this movie.

Body count: 52, and 41 of them are killed by Cobra. (Jesus Christ!)

Most 1980s action heroes were called John (ex. John Rambo, John Matrix, John McClane). The hero of this film is named Marion, after John Wayne, the epitome of the cinematic tough guy.

Some of the cuts made to avoid an X-rating include: the first murder victim having her hands severed; an extended autopsy scene, including lingering shots of naked and mutilated bodies; a longer death for Ingrid’s photographer Dan, including a shot of him slipping on his own blood while trying to escape; more deaths of the townspeople during the climax, including a person getting hit in the face with an ax. (Wowza, and here I thought it was going to be a 20 minute hardcore sex scene starring Sly)

The film was considered a box-office disappointment at the time, especially compared to Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) and Rocky IV (1985). However, it grossed $12,653,032 on its opening weekend, which was the largest opening weekend in the history of Warner Brothers and The Cannon Group at the time. It also earned over $160 million worldwide, against a budget of $25 million dollars (along with marketing costs). That opening weekend was the 2nd best for any film in 1986, trailing only that for _Stark Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)_. It also got lumped together with Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), which also opened wide on May 23, 1986. (That worldwide number is pretty nuts considering it apparently only make $50 million domestically. I can’t imagine it was very common for the international yield to outstrip the domestic yield in the 80s)

At one point during filming Sylvester Stallone complained to cinematographer Ric Waite that they were falling behind and that he and his crew needed to work harder. Waite responded by saying that maybe if Stallone “gets his hands off Brigitte Nielsen ass and stops showing off to his bodyguards maybe they wouldn’t have problems with time”. Although Stallone was shocked that somebody would talk to him that way he did tone down his ego but after a few weeks he returned to his old egotistical behavior. In the same interview where he mentioned this, Waite also said that despite his huge ego Stallone had a great sense of humor. He also confirmed a rumor that Stallone was the true director of the film, calling credited director George P. Cosmatos a good producer, but a bad director. (Oh shit)

The original rough cut was over two hours long. Due to concerns it might not be a hit, the final cut was 87 minutes, thereby increasing the number of screenings per day. Some of the more violent scenes were also cut to avoid an X-rating. A great deal of plot detail was either removed or sped up while most of the violence and nearly every death was edited or depicted off-screen, resulting in numerous continuity errors.

Director Nicolas Winding Refn is a huge fan of Cobra. In Refn’s cult movie Drive (2011), the main character has a toothpick in his mouth in some scenes. This is Refn’s homage to the opening scene of Cobra where Cobretti has a matchstick in his mouth. (The first part sounds correct, the second part sounds like there is a toothpick in someone’s mouth which is totally normal and not usually a “homage”)

The custom 1950 Mercury driven by Cobretti in the film was a car actually owned by star Sylvester Stallone. The studio produced stunt doubles of the car for use in some of the action sequences, such as the jump from the second floor of the parking garage. (Cool)

The movie was based on a novel “Fair Game” by Paula Gosling. In 1995, William Baldwin and Cindy Crawford made Fair Game, which was based on the same novel by Gosling. Just like Cobra, Fair Game was re-edited by Warner Bros. in post production, but in Fair Game’s case it was due to the test audience disliking the original cut. (Because it is a garbage film)

The knife used by the Night Slasher character was made for the film by knife designer Herman Schneider. Sylvester Stallone had asked Schneider to create a knife that audiences would never forget. (I don’t recall what it looks like, so … didn’t work)

Brian Thompson auditioned seven times for his role before he was hired. On his fourth audition he met Sylvester Stallone and both he and the director thought that Thompson was too nice to play the role of Nightslasher. But after a screen test he immediately got the job. Thompson repeatedly asked Stallone about his character Nightslasher, like how Stallone would want Thompson to play him, character’s background, his reasons for doing what he’s doing, but Stallone wasn’t interested in explaining Thompson’s character and he basically told him that he is evil because he is evil. In an unfortunate surprise for Thompson, when filming of the movie was finished, director George P. Cosmatos told Thompson, “You could have been good if you had listened to me.” (He is right and wrong. Sly was correctly reading the times with the psychopath killer and the fascination the public had with such things. It is seen in slashers like Michael Myers, and rolled into some of the erotic thrillers in the early 90s as well. But Cosmatos is ultimately correct, a psychopath is a psychopath which is pretty boring.)

The first draft of Sylvester Stallone’s script had lot of differences from later drafts and the film. These include opening shootout taking place in movie theater instead of a grocery store and lot more people getting killed, Cobra mentioning how some psychopath he was trying to catch killed his girlfriend, additional big action sequence taking place during night on a boat where Cobra and Ingrid are hiding when they get attacked by Nightslasher’s cult members but Cobra and Gonzalez manage to kill them all, and different ending in which it’s revealed that Monte was actual leader of the New Order cult and when he tries to kill Ingrid he gets shot and killed by Cobra.

The Stan Bush song “The Touch” from The Transformers: The Movie (1986) was originally written for this film. (Whaaaaaaaa?)

The Paula Gosling novel ‘Fair Game’ on which “Cobra” is based is also called ‘A Running Duck’. When the movie came out Sylvester Stallone allegedly wanted the novel reissued with himself credited as the author. Ms. Gosling declined the offer. (Oh, I can’t imagine why …)

Sylvester Stallone was a fan of John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band and approached them about doing a song for the film. The song “Voice of America’s Sons” was written for the film, and John Cafferty had contributed to the Rocky IV (1985) soundtrack as well. (Jam out to this)

Sylvester Stallone said he got the idea for the LAPD’s “Zombie Squad” from a real-life Zombie Squad in Belgium, comprised of cops who go out at night and handle crazed criminals on their own terms. (WHAT. I can’t find anything about that shit online)

The submachine gun used by Marion Cobretti in the final showdown with biker gang is a Jati-Matic. Cobretti uses a custom Colt Gold Cup National Match 1911 in 9mm using Glaser Safety Slugs, a frangible bullet.  (These notes were much much longer before I cut them down, look up the details yourself if you are interested)

Santiago Segura has claimed that this movie was the inspiration for his well-known character Jose Luis Torrente, main star of Torrente, el brazo tonto de la ley (1998) and sequels, that he conceived as a parody of the 80s action movies. In fact, the title is a spoof of Stallone’s movie, since then in Spain Cobra was titled as “Cobra, el brazo fuerte de la ley” (Cobra, the strong arm of the law). (Huh, this would be a great homework opportunity. According to wikipedia, José Luis Torrente is an ugly, bald, overweight, dirty, corrupt, lying, fascist, racist, and chauvinistic retired cop … sounds about right.)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brigitte Nielsen, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Brian Thompson, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Sylvester Stallone, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brian Thompson, 1987)

Gods and Generals Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the third in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Gods and Generals (2003) – BMeTric: 17.1

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(It concerns me that this film is actually rising over time. Not because the rating is rising, that is natural as the vote count increases. No. I’m concerned because anyone is deciding to watch a horrible 4 hour film … why? I guess Civil War enthusiasts, which I suppose might explain the rising score.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Writer-director Maxwell’s prequel to Gettysburg is not in the same league but does manage to capture some of the sights, sounds, and personalities of the Civil War’s early years, with an emphasis on the South. Lion’s share of the story is devoted to Lang’s pious “Stonewall” Jackson. Telling vignettes and vivid battle scenes make up for some ponderousness, speechiness, and overlength (it’s even longer – 231m. – on video). Film’s backer, media mogul Ted Turner, has a cameo as a Confederate soldier. Based on the Jeff Shaara novel.

(Amazingly if you watch the director’s cut the film is an astonishing 4 hours and 40 minutes. When I watched it for the first time I remarked “I’ve forgotten what it was like to not be watching Gods and Generals. I’ve been born, lived, and died while watching this film.” Leonard is being kind, or it was a review of the time, because the film is an achievement in ponderousness, there is no more ponderous film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxPXrrZ8bJU

(Hmmmm. Hmmmmm. Hmmmmm. I wonder which side is fighting for God’s glory and which for his kingdom on earth …. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.)

Directors – Ron Maxwell – (Known For: Gettysburg; Little Darlings; Future BMT: Copperhead; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Notable somewhat for his incredibly long production periods. The intention, as of 2013, was to write and direct a Joan of Arc movie. But it is somewhat unclear what happened with that plan.)

Writers – Jeff Shaara (book) (as Jeffrey M. Shaara) – (BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: The son of Michael Shaara who wrote Gettysburg, which this film is a prequel to. He also wrote a sequel called The Last Full Measure.)

Ron Maxwell (screenplay) (as Ronald F. Maxwell) – (Known For: Gettysburg; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Exclusively writes and directs historical epics financed by Ted Turner.)

Actors – Stephen Lang – (Known For: Avatar; Hostiles; Tombstone; Don’t Breathe; Braven; Public Enemies; Manhunter; Gettysburg; The Dinner; The Men Who Stare at Goats; The Hard Way; Tall Tale; Band of Robbers; Last Exit to Brooklyn; Gridlocked; White Irish Drinkers; Project X; Pionér; The I Inside; Twice in a Lifetime; Future BMT: Eye See You; A Good Marriage; The Nut Job; Shadow Conspiracy; In the Blood; Another You; Guilty as Sin; Mortal Engines; The Amazing Panda Adventure; Trixie; Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You; Band of the Hand; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Fire Down Below; Gods and Generals; Notes: His father was a noted businessman and philanthropist who left the entirety of his $150 million fortune to charity upon his death.)

Robert Duvall – (Known For: The Godfather; Widows; Apocalypse Now; The Godfather: Part II; The Road; The Natural; Jack Reacher; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Judge; Deep Impact; Falling Down; MASH; Open Range; We Own the Night; Crazy Heart; Secondhand Lions; Network; True Grit; Sling Blade; Thank You for Smoking; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Something to Talk About; Days of Thunder; Wild Horses; Lucky You; The Handmaid’s Tale; Gone in Sixty Seconds; In Dubious Battle; Seven Days in Utopia; Breakout; Jayne Mansfield’s Car; BMT: The Scarlet Letter; Gods and Generals; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Newsies in 1993; Notes: Won an Oscar for Tender Mercies. Was good friends with Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman whom he went to acting school with.)

Jeff Daniels – (Known For: The Martian; Looper; Speed; Dumb and Dumber; State of Play; The Hours; Steve Jobs; Pleasantville; Terms of Endearment; 2 Days in the Valley; Gettysburg; Arachnophobia; The Squid and the Whale; Away We Go; Blood Work; Ragtime; Good Night, and Good Luck.; Because of Winn-Dixie; Traitor; Heartburn; Future BMT: Space Chimps; My Favorite Martian; RV; Dumb and Dumber To; Allegiant; 101 Dalmatians; Mama’s Boy; The Butcher’s Wife; All the Rage; Super Sucker; The Catcher Was a Spy; Paper Man; The Answer Man; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Married his highschool sweetheart and lives in his home state of Michigan helping to support economic development there.)

Budget/Gross – $56 million / Domestic: $12,882,934 (Worldwide: $12,923,936)

(Catastrophic. But then again Gettysburg didn’t do much better. I’m fully convinced Ted Turner just loves the Civil War and doesn’t care. Also they probably have a racket whereby every school in America buys a copy of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals and thus the film is profitable before it even releases … I’m only half joking, that sounds plausible to be honest.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (10/121): Filled with two-dimensional characters and pompous self-righteousness, Gods and Generals is a long, tedious sit. Some may also take offense at the pro-Confederate slant.

(Some might take offense … at the pro-Confederate slant. Yeah I can imagine that might rub some people the wrong way. Reviewer Highlight: Four hours including the intermission, I felt like I was seeing the Civil War in real time for awhile there. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper)

Poster – Sklogs and Generals (B-)

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(Neither the worst nor the best. I think the imagery is stirring but wish they had done it a bit more artistically. Looks a little sloppy. Odd font, but unique.)

Tagline(s) – The nation’s heart was touched by…. (D+)

An unforgettable story of the Civil War, from the Director of “GETTYSBURG” (D-)

(Obviously the second one is a classic trash just trying to get those Gettysburg fanatics in the seats. At least it tells me the story is unforgettable. Which is true. I’ll never forget how terrible it was. The first is merely bad. So you’re telling me the nation’s heart was touched by a gigantic civil war that tore the country apart? Interesting.)

Keyword(s) – george washington character; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.5 Wild Wild West (1999); 17.1 Gods and Generals (2003); 16.5 The Manchurian Candidate (2004); 12.0 Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014); 6.6 The Patriot (2000); 2.2 John Paul Jones (1959); 0.2 Janice Meredith (1924); 0.0 George Washington’s First War: The Battles for Fort Duquesne (2003);

(Noice, although I’m skeptical there was a George Washington character in Wild Wild West all things considered. As a matter of fact, why would George Washington be in Gods and Generals? Or The Manchurian Candidate. Weird stuff. Usually I would replace a dumb keyword like this, but I’m mostly just fascinated.)

Notes – Some scenes were filmed on Robert Duvall’s estate in Virginia, which was the site of some Civil War skirmishes.

Martin Sheen was in the Washington, D.C. area the week of September 11th filming scenes for The West Wing (1999). He was prepared to fly the Tuesday morning Dulles to LAX flight if Warner Brothers agreed to his demand for one million dollars to reprise his role of Robert E. Lee from Gettysburg (1993). It was only because Warner Brothers passed, that Sheen was not on Flight 77 the morning of September 11. (Wow)

The majority of the Civil War re-enactors in the movie volunteered to be in the movie without pay. In return, the production company agreed to donate at least five hundred thousand dollars to preservation of a Civil War battlefield. (Cool I guess)

The wide shots of the Union infantry advancing towards the stone wall during the Battle of Fredericksburg were not set up nor filmed as visual effects shots. However, due to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the subsequent travel concerns and military reserve call-ups, the film’s re-enacting unit had drastically shrunk in number. This was not fully evident until the wide shots were viewed in post-production. Visual Effects Supervisor Thomas G. Smith had to digitally create over seventeen thousand low-resolution CGI soldiers, and then map out individual speeds for them: running, walking, or crawling wounded. He then added three thousand dead soldiers to scatter around the shot. (Kind of sad actually, that they didn’t get to do what they originally envisioned due to a national tragedy)

Kevin Conway often cites reprising his Gettysburg (1993) character, Sergeant Buster Kilrain, in this film, as part of the reason he turned down a supporting role in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which would have prevented him from shooting this film. (Oof)

Originally given an R-rating by the MPAA for extended battlefield violence and gore. Director Ron Maxwell either shortened or cut out entirely the most objectionable scenes in order to get the film down to a PG-13 rating. (But I assume he added twice as much footage of Jeff Daniels ordering people into the proper battle formation? Can’t let the movie be too long)

The film mostly omits a few of General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson’s eccentricities, but makes sly reference to them. The real Stonewall Jackson rode with a hand raised at all times, as he felt it was necessary to balance his bodily humors. In the film, Jackson suffers a wound to one hand, and spends a scene riding in that manner, ostensibly to staunch the bleeding. In addition, the real Jackson, according to legend, sucked on lemons incessantly in the belief that it was essential to his health. In the film, he presents lemons as a gift to the fiancée of his junior officer, and enjoys the resultant lemonade for its tartness. (What a weirdo)

Russell Crowe was the first choice to play Stonewall Jackson. Crowe expressed initial interest but eventually declined, citing a need to return to Australia and take a break from movie making. The role was then offered to Stephen Lang, who was already signed and rehearsing to reprise his Gettysburg (1993) character of General George Pickett. Billy Campbell took over the Pickett role.

Ted Turner put up the entire sixty million dollar budget of the film personally.

Although Robert E. Lee was a highly regarded officer in the U.S. Army, his dislike of slavery, and lukewarm approach to secession, combined with some early reverses while in command of the Virginia militia, took him out of consideration for field command in the Confederate Army. Instead, he was made an advisor to Jefferson Davis. He was named to command the Confederate Army outside of Richmond in 1862, when General Joseph Johnston was wounded, because Davis did not want General Pierre Beauregard in command.

A subplot involving John Wilkes Booth and his actor friend Henry T. Harrison (from Gettysburg (1993)) had to be cut from the film in order to get a wide release. The entire battle of Antietam was also deleted. In all, nearly two and a half hours of the film never made it to final print. (Jesus Christ. Director’s Director’s Cut of 6 hours incoming)

The intermission was actually included in the print and was almost an entire reel of black film. Theaters added light cues at the beginning and end of it. (Weird)

Unlike Producer Ted Turner’s previous American Civil War movies Gettysburg (1993) and Andersonville (1996), this movie was a major failure at the box-office and among the critics. The movie returned only twelve million out of its sixty million dollar budget. History buffs were angered by some obvious historical inaccuracies in its depiction of some of the major characters, despite the movie’s promoting its historical authenticity (Stonewall was not shot in the hand at the start of the war, Lee’s ascension to the position of the leader of the Confederate army happened slightly differently, et cetera.). Some critics even accused the movie of historical revisionism in favor of the Confederacy, due to the film’s somewhat glorified depiction of the Confederate Generals, and downplaying the importance of the issue of slavery in the conflict, since it focuses more on the states rights issue instead. (Yeah … they do seem to like the Confederates in the film)

Jeff Daniels reprised the role of Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain from Gettysburg (1993). Tom Berenger had been asked to reprise the role of James Longstreet, but declined, and was replaced by Bruce Boxleitner.

Stephen Lang also appeared in Gettysburg (1993). However, he does not reprise his original role from “Gettysburg”, that of Major General George E. Pickett. Instead, he played Lieutenant General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, who died two months prior to the momentous clash in Gettysburg. Billy Campbell took over the role of Pickett. (Honestly someone bigger should have been Stonewall, but whatever)

Ron Maxwell spent all of 2002 editing, re-editing, test screening and touching up the film. It went from six hours to three hours and five minutes, to three hours and thirty-seven minutes time and again. (Jesus, it was six hours!)

According to a report on CNN.com, Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV) and George Allen (R-VA), Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and former Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) all make small appearances in this film. “Wet plate” photographs of these politicians in full Civil War attire are available online. (Weird and wild stuff)

Gettysburg (1993) was based on author Jeff Shaara’s father’s classic novel, “The Killer Angels”. After the critical and commercial success of the film, Jeff was approached about the possibility of continuing the story, finding someone to write a prequel and sequel to The Killer Angels. Because of this, Jeff Shaara has used his father’s historical fiction approach to the American Revolution, the Mexican-American War, another Civil War Trilogy in the West, and both World Wars. (Good for Shaara I guess, get yo money)

Ted Turner is a huge Civil War buff. He financed two more films on the subject, Gettysburg (1993) for theatrical release, to which this movie is the prequel, and Andersonville (1996), a successful and acclaimed television movie about the worst and most notorious Confederate P.O.W. camp for captured Union soldiers in the entire war. (I knew it!)

A Sound of Thunder Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the first in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

A Sound of Thunder (2005) – BMeTric: 72.0

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(Oh those sweet summer children who gave this good reviews initially. It is a bit shocking that it is that high actually. The CGI alone I would have imagined would have dropped it into the 3’s.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In Chicago, 2055, a company takes expeditions back in time to hunt dinosaurs. Precautions are taken, but (of course) something goes wrong, and a tiny change in the past sends alterations down through time that our heroes try to set right. Misguided expansion of Ray Bradbury short story with mediocre effects and a confusing script. It’s easy to see why this stayed on the shelf so long. Filmed in 2002.

(“Mediocre effects” is extremely kind even in 2005. Final Fantasy: Spirits Within was released in 2001 and this is like … five years prior to that level of quality. And they had full creates in CGI. It is too much. It just look like garbage. It sat on the shelf, I believe, because they were trying to finish the really bad looking CGI.)

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

(The beginning is pretty crazy. I understand why they put it in there, but that isn’t part of the film. And weirdly the CGI doesn’t look that bad in the trailer. Which makes sense, you’re trying to trick people into seeing the film.)

Directors – Peter Hyams – (Known For: 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Stay Tuned; Sudden Death; Outland; Timecop; Capricorn One; Running Scared; The Star Chamber; The Presidio; Enemies Closer; Hanover Street; Narrow Margin; Future BMT: The Musketeer; End of Days; The Relic; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for End of Days in 2000; Notes: One of the few writer/directors of major films who also serves as his own cinematographer.)

Writers – Ray Bradbury (short story) – ((Known For: Fahrenheit 451; Moby Dick; Something Wicked This Way Comes; King of Kings; It Came from Outer Space; The Illustrated Man; The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit; Future BMT: Fahrenheit 451; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: A close friend of both Ray Harryhausen (who was best man at his wedding) and Gene Roddenberry. Perhaps the greatest American Science Fiction writer.)

Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (screen story & screenplay) – (Future BMT: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night; Sahara; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Penned a first draft of the long-awaited and always-upcoming Uncharted film based on the Playstation video game.)

Gregory Poirier (screenplay) – (Known For: Rosewood; Future BMT: Tomcats; The Spy Next Door; See Spot Run; Gossip; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; A Warrior’s Tail; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: Born in Hawaii, and apparently wrote a draft for Superman Returns.)

Actors – Edward Burns – (Known For: Saving Private Ryan; The Holiday; 27 Dresses; She’s the One; The Brothers McMullen; Friends with Kids; Confidence: After Dark; The Fitzgerald Family Christmas; Sidewalks of New York; The Groomsmen; Newlyweds; Future BMT: Life or Something Like It; Echelon Conspiracy; 15 Minutes; Man on a Ledge; Ash Wednesday; No Looking Back; BMT: One Missed Call; A Sound of Thunder; Alex Cross; Notes: Has a brother Brian Burns with whom he owns a production company called Irish Twins … presumably because they are, in fact, brothers born within a calendar year.)

Ben Kingsley – (Known For: Schindler’s List; The Jungle Book; Iron Man 3; Shutter Island; Operation Finale; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Hugo; Ender’s Game; The Dictator; Knight of Cups; War Machine; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Dave; Lucky Number Slevin; Gandhi; The Walk; Sexy Beast; Transsiberian; House of Sand and Fog; Future BMT: BloodRayne; Thunderbirds; The Last Legion; War, Inc.; The Ten Commandments; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Collide; Suspect Zero; Slipstream; Rules of Engagement; Self/less; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; An Ordinary Man; The Ottoman Lieutenant; BMT: The Love Guru; A Sound of Thunder; Species; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2007 for BloodRayne; and in 2009 for The Love Guru, The Wackness, and War, Inc.; Notes: Ferdinand Kingsley, his son, is a notable television actor, including an appearance in Doctor Who.)

Catherine McCormack – (Known For: Braveheart; 28 Weeks Later; Spy Game; Dangerous Beauty; Shadow of the Vampire; Magic in the Moonlight; The Tailor of Panama; The Journey; The Land Girls; Strings; Renaissance; Dancing at Lughnasa; Born Romantic; Future BMT:The Weight of Water; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: A British actress who appears to have more recently been performing in the theatre, including work with the Royal Shakespeare Company.)

Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $1,900,451 (Worldwide: $11,665,465)

(A truly catastrophic bomb. As a matter of fact, if you dug into it, it might actually be one of the worst box office bombs in history, or at least since 2000)

#78 for the Creature Feature genre

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(The lowest grossing film we’ve done in the genre. After this it is pretty obvious everyone looked around at each other and said “yup, that’s about enough of those for now, we should wait a bit before tricking people into watching more of these.”)

#77 for the Future – Near genre

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(2012 is by far the most successful BMT film of the genre. It has blown up since 2010, plausibly because we still are in a dystopian kick. I’m surprised Hunger Games doesn’t qualify as Near Future as I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what actually kick started things in 2012.)

#48 for the Time Travel genre

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(Only Timeline and this amazingly. There are plenty in the future though (heyyyyooooo, get it?). Unfortunately Timecop doesn’t qualify, but we do get to watch The Time Machine again …)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (6/99): Choppy logic and uneven performances are overshadowed by not-so-special effects that makes the suspension of disbelief a nearly impossible task.

(Somewhat oddly most of the reviews don’t seem to mention the special effects. Which makes me wonder if they actually watched the film. It is literally the craziest thing you’ll see (unless you watch hundreds of bad films … it is still top ten craziest thing I’ve seen in a BMT film, no joke). Reviewer Highlight: So perfect in its awfulness, it makes one seriously consider a theory of unintelligent design. – Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – A Sklog of Thunder (C+)

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(I hate the font. It looks super silly and I don’t think it gets across anything important about the film. The red hand and butterfly is interesting, although perhaps feels more like a horror film? I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. I like the style outside of the writing, so I’ll go above average for it., even if it looks a bit cheap)

Tagline(s) – Some Rules Should Never Be Broken. (D)

(First, it sounds like a tagline, but it isn’t. It is a tautology. Of course there are rules that should never be broken. They are rules. Second, what is even the rule being broken here? The butterfly effect rule? The sound of thunder rule? Neither. The actual rule broken? Don’t turn off the biofilter on your time machine … yeah, I’m not sure the tagline is getting that across. But it sounds nice, so it isn’t an F.)

Keyword(s) – time travel; Top Ten by BMeTric: 73.8 The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006); 72.0 A Sound of Thunder (2005); 71.4 S. Darko (2009); 67.7 Black Knight (2001); 65.8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993); 62.9 Lost in Space (1998); 62.6 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 59.1 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015); 58.1 The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007); 53.1 Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996);

(The Seeker doesn’t have time travel according to Box Office Mojo, but whatever. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III though, now that is a ridiculous and pointless film.)

Notes – Renny Harlin was fired from the production, because he made a creative decision that made Ray Bradbury very unhappy, and this film’s producers decided to support Ray Bradbury.

One major reason for the film’s long delay is that the original production company went bankrupt during post-production, and there simply wasn’t money to finish the film. (Which is why the CGI is absolutely the worst thing you’ll ever see)

Production was slowed when severe floods in the summer of 2002 in the Czech Republic caused considerable damage to the set.

This film was originally set for release in 2003.

Spota’s supermarket is a reference to director Peter Hyams’s wife’s family name.

The T.A.M.I. acronym stands for “Time Alteration Manipulator Interface”

When Hatton (Ben Kingsley) receives his clients after their time safari, he likes to compare them with great explorers: Marco Polo, Columbus, Armstrong… and he also says “like Brubaker on Mars”, remembering a future (past for him) conquest of the Red Planet. Brubaker was the name of the commander of the Mars expedition in the film Capricorn One (1977), also directed by Peter Hyams. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?)

Based on the short story A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury

Pierce Brosnan and director Renny Harlin were originally attached to this film. (See above note about Harlin)

The film takes place millions of years in the past and in 2055. (I can’t wait to see if that 2055 is made explicit, I honestly cannot remember)

A video game based on the film was released for the Game Boy Advance. It also had been considerably delayed, and ended up coming out slightly before the film, in March 2005. It was an overhead shooter with some driving stages, and included support for co-op and deathmatch multiplayer via link cable. A third-person action-adventure shooter based on The Thing (2002) engine was being developed by Computer Artworks for BAM! Entertainment for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, but ended up being cancelled. Its plot differed from that of the film: the changes in the course of evolution were not an accident, but acts of terrorism caused by a Luddite cult. The “present” time was also changed to 2038. The game was to have nine missions taking place in both the past and present. Real-life bands would have been hired to provide the music. (I have to definitely never play that game because that would be a huge waste of time)

The change in the timeline is caused by a single butterfly. This probably alludes to the so called “butterfly effect” in which a small change in one state of a system can result in large differences in a later state.

Texas Rangers Preview

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

Texas Rangers (2001) – BMeTric: 35.0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#66 for the Western genre

texasrangers_western

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

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

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

Poster – Texas Sklogs (A-)

texas_rangers_ver1

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

Tagline(s) – Count Your Bullets. (D)

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

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

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

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

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

Unused score composed by Marco Beltrami

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

88 Minutes Preview

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

88 Minutes (2007) – BMeTric: 37.1

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(Wow, I think this is a first. It regressed down from what appears to be roughly above-average rating on IMDb. No wonder its BMeTric is so low. I cannot believe it has over fifty thousand votes and a rating of around 6.0, that is truly mind-boggling.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Dreadful thriller about a forensic psychiatrist (and professor) who’s received an all-too-palpable death threat from a man he helped send to Death Row (McDonough). Lumbering, heavyhanded theatrics and clumsy attempts at suspense make this a total waste of time.

(aaaaaaaaaye I see what you did there Leonard. 88 minutes … a waste of time. I got you. This is what I live for though. Heavyhanded theatrics. If anything says good-bad thriller or drama it is heavyhanded theatrics. I want dolly zooms all over my film, I want rending of clothes, chewing of scenery. You’ve given me everything I need to know Leonard … this is why 88 minutes is great (from what I recall).)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUCd805JDJk

(The bird’s nest they tricked Al Pacino into wearing on his head is absurd. Tick tock doc. Tick tock! Getting me amped. He got a guuuuuuuun ….)

Directors – Jon Avnet – (Known For: Fried Green Tomatoes; Future BMT: Righteous Kill; Up Close & Personal; Red Corner; The War; BMT: 88 Minutes; Notes: Not sure if this ended his feature directing career, but it was the last film he directed. He produces and directs a lot of television. His filmography is tripping me out, he does a lot of scripted television for his own channel WIGS previously funded by YouTube and digital exclusive, so a lot of his credits are shows I’ve legit never heard of with giant stars in them. Like this.)

Writers – Gary Scott Thompson (written by) – (Known For: Fast & Furious 8; Furious 6; Fast & Furious 7; Fast 5; Future BMT: Hollow Man; BMT: The Fast and the Furious; 2 Fast 2 Furious; 88 Minutes; Fast & Furious; Notes: If you can’t tell he wrote the original Fast and The Furious (the rest are character credits). He also created the show Las Vegas, and wrote the show Taxi Brooklyn (the American show based on the French film Taxi which was remade into the Fallon and BMT classic Taxi!))

Actors – Al Pacino – (Known For: The Godfather; Heat; The Godfather: Part II; Scarface; The Devil’s Advocate; The Godfather: Part III; Insomnia; Ocean’s Thirteen; Donnie Brasco; Scent of a Woman; Glengarry Glen Ross; Dog Day Afternoon; Danny Collins; Dick Tracy; Carlito’s Way; The Insider; Any Given Sunday; Serpico; Cruising; Dabka; Future BMT: The Son of No One; Misconduct; Revolution; Righteous Kill; Two for the Money; Stand Up Guys; Bobby Deerfield; BMT: Jack and Jill; Gigli; 88 Minutes; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Jack and Jill in 2012; Nominated for Worst Actor in 1986 for Revolution; and in 2009 for 88 Minutes, and Righteous Kill; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Gigli in 2004; Notes: Y’all know Al Pacino. Let’s go with a nice BMT themed fun fact for him: for a bit he was in both the best rated film on IMDb (The Godfather) and the worst rated film on IMDb (Gigli).)

Alicia Witt – (Known For: Dune; Two Weeks Notice; Mr. Holland’s Opus; Last Holiday; The Upside of Anger; Cecil B. DeMented; Citizen Ruth; Liebestraum; Bodies, Rest & Motion; Fun; Playing Mona Lisa; Future BMT: Urban Legend; Peep World; Bongwater; Four Rooms; BMT: Vanilla Sky; A Madea Christmas; 88 Minutes; Notes: Born in Worcester, MA. She is also a rather accomplished pianist and has gone on tour with Ben Folds and others.)

Leelee Sobieski – (Known For: Eyes Wide Shut; Public Enemies; Deep Impact; Never Been Kissed; Roadkill; Max; Walk All Over Me; My First Mister; A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries; Future BMT: Jungle 2 Jungle; Branded; The Glass House; Finding Bliss; BMT: The Wicker Man (HoF); In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (HoF); Here on Earth; 88 Minutes (HoF); Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress in 2009 for 88 Minutes, and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Notes: Her filmography is a lot more impressive that I would imagine considering she will have been in four of the first fifteen BMT Hall of Fame films. I think she’s taken a bit of time off from acting as she is now a mother of two. Was previously married to Matthew Davis who is best known as the jerk boyfriend of Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $17,213,467 (Worldwide: $32,593,385)

(Bombtastic. Stunning that they’d spend $30 million on a weird thriller starring Pacino, but he had a bit more … clout at the time I think. Just not good.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (6/122): 88 Minutes is a shockingly inept psychological thriller that expertly squanders the talent at hand.

(“Talent” … Pacino. You are referring to Pacino. I love Leelee and McDonough, but they are BMT all stars. To put in another way: This will be, along with In the Name of the King A Dungeon Siege Tale, Leelee Sobieski’s third Hall of Fame BMT film (Wicker Man is the other). And along with I Know Who Killed Me this is also McDonough’s third (Street Fighter Legend of Chun Li is the other). That is amazing. So the cast might not be the tops … all I’m saying.)

Poster – Eighty-Sklog Minutes (C-)

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(I actually kind of hate this poster. The stylization comes across as cheap and half-assed. The red letters are kind of embossed in a weird way as well. We’ve had posters similar to this before and we came to the same conclusion: it looks cheap.)

Tagline(s) – Jack Gramm has 88 minutes to solve a murder. His own. (D)

(I also kind of hate this. It repeats the title (strike one). It is kind of expectedly inevitable, in that of course the “twist” on the tagline is that it is his own murder (strike two). And I don’t even like the name of the main character. I can’t even figure out why I hate all those things so much. I gave a little bump from an F because it at least tells me something about the movie.)

Keyword(s) – serial killer; Top Ten by BMeTric: 81.0 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 78.9 Basic Instinct 2 (2006); 78.8 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 78.2 Feardotcom (2002); 76.8 The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1994); 76.2 I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998); 74.1 Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005); 73.9 Species II (1998); 73.5 Psycho (1998); 72.9 Zoolander 2 (2016);

(I wonder if the Deuce Bigalow 2 note is a spoiler … is that part of the storyline or a one off joke. I’m intrigued. Otherwise we’ll likely watch all of those .. maybe not Psycho unless we are rolling through a remake cycle of something. Nice list though, those are some real bad horror / thriller films. Shout out to fellow Hall of Fame inductee I Know Who Killed Me.)

Notes – The film runs in “real time” meaning that at the moment Jack Gramm is first told he has only 88 minutes to live, the remaining running time of the motion picture until the identity of the person who set Gramm up is exactly 88 minutes. (yiiiiiiissssss. From what I recall they don’t make a big deal out of this, it was just kind of a fun trick)

The movie trailer of the film reveals parts of scenes that failed to reach the final cut, most obvious of which were flashbacks of the trial convicting Jon Foster. (I wish this movie was called 888 minutes so I could just live inside of it. Let’s get a tv series going, call me Netflix)

Was scheduled for release in 2005 but the release date was pushed back numerous times. (awesome)

Jon Avnet replaced James Foley as director. (Probably at the last minutes, and I thank him for it)

Filmed on campus at the University of British Columbia and in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Al Pacino)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Leelee Sobieski)