The Darkest Minds Recap

Jamie

After an illness sweeps the nation killing most children and leaving the survivors with a distinct set of superpowers, camps are set up to contain them. Despite being one of the most powerful of these mutant kids, Ruby is able to escape the camps. Will she be able to survive, find others like her, and perhaps fall in love before it’s too late? Find out in… The Darkest Minds.

How?! Ruby is just your typical kid… oh you know, besides being a super powerful Orange that can control minds and basically is too powerful to be allowed to live. That’s because after a children-targeted plague swept the Earth all surviving kids ended up with either super smart powers (Green), telekinetic powers (Blue), electrical powers (Gold), mind control powers (Orange), or fire powers (Red). The last two are killed and the rest are sent to camps. Luckily Ruby is able to trick the bad guys and pretends to be a Green until years later when her secret is discovered and she has to be smuggled out of the camp. On the outside she becomes wary of the adults that claim to want to help her and instead takes up with a group of escapees. They are on the road hoping to evade capture and find a mythical camp where similar survivors are able to live peacefully. While Ruby comes to accept that she’ll never see her parents again, they are able to track down where the camp is. Once there Ruby is recognized as one of only two surviving Oranges along with their leader, the son of the President, Clancy. After being taken under his wing everything is pretty great for Ruby until Clancy is revealed to be a power-hungry garbage person. Just when she tries to escape with her friends the military invades the camp (with the help of Clancy Garbageman over there) and they have an all out battle that Ruby wins. Realizing that she needs help to fight Clancy Garbageman she runs to a child army and in the process her friends are hurt, lost, or driven away. But she’s not crying about it (you are!) and she’s ready to lead in the sequel that is 100% being made. THE END.

Why?! For the main characters it’s survival plain and simple. But also survival on their own terms. They don’t want to live in camps, they don’t want to work for an anti-government resistance, and eventually they come to realize they don’t want to be in the survivor’s camp either. They just want to be able to cruise the countryside together in their Nissan minivan. As for the antagonist, it’s mostly revenge. His dear Papa President more or less tortured him after he gained his powers so now he want to take revenge on everyone by ruling the world with an iron fist or something.

Who?! Hail to the Chief. President Gray has taken office. I know there will be an argument whether President Gray should immediately be succeeded by President Gray Jr. in the BMT Hall of Presidents. But I would argue that he clearly installed himself as a dictator and that at that moment the Presidency became a mockery and that just won’t be tolerated. Also quick shout out to Mandy Moore, musician-turned-actress extraordinaire.

What?! Interestingly many reviewers took umbrage at the particularly noticeable product placement for a Nissan mini-van in this film. I actually didn’t notice it because it seemed to me like they were kind of making fun of how not cool the van they drove around in was. Although thinking about it, the defining feature or the van was its super reliability and they all cried when they had to leave the dear van behind. So yeah, I guess when they make a joke about giving a piece of product placement a Viking funeral then they may have stepped a bit too far.

Where?! We spend a large majority of the film in Virginia. In fact it might have been the whole movie for all we know. The beginning and end are both definitely in Virginia. The middle part is more like a road trip film about a gang of besties cruising about in their Nissan mini-van. B.

When?! Somehow a film set in the future after an epidemic doesn’t really even try to give you a year or time that the film is set. Looking very closely at the scan that Ruby is given at the camp I think it reads that her date of birth is October 23, 2004 or at least something close to that. Since we open around her birthday we can assume that this is more or less the date at the start. She then spends the next six years in the camp. Just guessing I think it makes sense that she is ten at the start and 16 for the main part of the film. Placing the film in the year 2020… but this is more or less guesswork. I just wanted to show off that I close read that brain scan. C-.

This movie is a good example of the logical conclusion to the postapocalyptic YA series trend we saw in Hollywood. Everything is vague but also spelled out as if for dumb people (if you are a Blue your eyes glow blue when you use your powers. How convenient for the viewer). All our main characters are good as can be and everyone else is on a gradient of badness. Our chaste main characters totally want to get together but are kept apart by circumstances. Etc. etc. etc. It’s not a good movie, particularly at the beginning and the end, which is straight up laughable. But there is a bit in the center where they are road tripping around as a group of four that I actually kind of dug. They were all likeable and I would have liked that to be the story. A much longer search for the camp only to arrive and find it destroyed by the military or something… but alas, tied to a book series they’ll never finish. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Y’all still like dystopian YA novels right? That’s still a thing and not a genre that will produce two enormous bombs in 2018, right? WRONG. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Around when Mortal Engines became possibly the biggest bomb of the year, here we are watching the old news dystopian YA adaptation disaster. What jabronis! Anyways, I was just hoping the film wouldn’t be aggressively boring. I have to admit … I really wanted to know what made her different. Because protagonists of YA novels have to be different. I can’t help myself, I needed to know!

The Good – Some of the effects look cool. The kid actors aren’t … the worst thing I’ve ever seen. The underlying story is shockingly dark. Like the characters are straight killing people. And not really in self-defense at times … like they just kill people. That part I didn’t really like, but at least it feels a bit different than Hunger Games or Divergent where killing was always given a virtuous excuse.

The Bad – Oh the rest of this film is a catastrophe though. Cliche, boring, a terrible “twist”, a dumb conclusion that sets up for a franchise that will never be. The acting is still terrible, even if it isn’t the worst thing I’ve seen. The entire beginning is just exposition trying to explain the nonsense world. And the biggest crime? She wasn’t even special. She’s just one of two “oranges” that aren’t captive in the world. This is a dumb film that makes you feel dumb with its dumbness.

The BMT – I think the notoriety will depend on how dystopian YA adaptations go from here. I imagine they will try again with something like Netflix soon, as they are quite keen on that demographic, the young teen group which consumes the new horror and romance films they are churning out. If so then maybe this will be one of the last we watch in a year end cycle and this is could be notable? … Otherwise nothing I will forget this movie presently.

You Just Got Schooled – Since this is based on a book I naturally did not bother to read it. Seriously … I never would. I read the entire Divergent series and regret it to this day. But I did go through the full series’ synopses just for you, so let’s blast through some highlights! (1) This book runs much like this movie, but in the end they go to a camp of oranges and ended up escaping and calling on the league after Chubs gets shot. (2) I can’t make heads or tails about this, but something about the President’s son trying to destroy his mother’s research about a cure for their condition. It sounds like Hunger Games Book 3. (3) Jesus Christ, how is there no information about these books. Basically they are now finding out about the cause of the powers they receive and trying to take down the corrupt government … I think. Wowza! What a disaster! They don’t get cured by the way, there is a sequel called Darkest Legacy which follows a different character and everyone still has powers it seems. You’re welcome world.

Welcome to Earf – Mandy Moore starred in The Darkest Minds and Because I Said So with Diane Keaton, who was in Big Wedding with Robert De Niro, who was in Righteous Kill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth! Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – As I previously mentioned: We have real lists now! From the AV Club, Variety, and Rolling Stone. This is the first top 10 from the AV Club since we watched Fifty Shades Freed, so that’s fun. Otherwise surprisingly overlooked. Might get a bit more play now that Mortal Engines is an official box office disaster, it could be groups with that eventually in updated lists in a month.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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The Darkest Minds Quiz

How dark is your mind? I think it is merely a darker mind, but perhaps you contend that it is the darkest mind? Well then en garde for a mind darkness quiz!

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Name the different colors and what powers they denote.

2) Who are Ruby’s three friends and what powers do they have?

3) In the camp how do they detect that Ruby is an orange? There is a specific method which leads her to Mandy Moore.

4) The Children’s League is supposedly helping Ruby, but uh-oh! She learns that they might be up to no good. What does she learn, and what do they actually do/want?

5) What is the twist to the film? They are in Slip Kid’s camp and then …

Answers

The Darkest Minds Preview

Having cast their vigilante personas behind and taken up the mantle of hitmen instead, Jamie and Patrick vow to kill the mysterious Briggs and save Arf Collector once and for all. What do they know about Briggs though? Just that he loves parkour and dogs, which describes literally everyone! “We’re doomed,” Jamie says, shaking his head. “Ah, but you forget,” Patrick counters, “I’ve watched every episode of Murder, She Wrote. It is time to lay our trap!” Donning his cable knit sweater, Patrick bangs out a true crime novel entitled Dog Gone: The Arf Collector Story and calls up his agent who rushes it into production. Watching the online reviews with bated breath their ploy is rewarded with a one star review reading merely  “Not how it happened!” “Quick, trace that IP” Patrick yells, and Jamie smashes away at his keyboard using 1337 h4xx0r skillz as The Prodigy plays at a deafening volume. Sure enough Briggs wrote that review, and they soon arrive at Briggs’ high rise office. Guns blazing they move steadily upwards killing henchmen until they reach the hundredth floor. Opening the door they find Briggs pensively looking out towards the ocean. “By now your reputation precedes you for your detective, hacking, killing, and movie making skills, Bad Movie Twins. Just promise me that you’ll treat Arf Collector with the love he deserves,” and with that Briggs kills himself. Arf Collector barks happily. The Bad Movie Twins did it! But what is this? A mystery novel peeking out of Briggs’ desk? It’s not just good, it is great! “But alas,” Patrick says, “Murder mysteries are totally out right now. Perhaps … if instead the main character was a child with mysterious powers, and the book was instead a YA novel …” That’s right! This week we are watching the newest dystopian YA novel turned mega franchise (they assumed) in The Darkest Minds! A complete box office disaster, The Darkest Minds hopped onto the dystopian YA-novel adaptation right as it was completing its crash, and thus became one of the biggest box office bombs of the year. Let’s go!

The Darkest Minds (2018) – BMeTric: 37.9

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(Really Really low again. I can on one hand say that that is heartening, but at the same time realize that the BMeTric doesn’t distinguish when audiences call something a bad movie because it is boring … actually, something having a high BMeTric early on might literally mean that it can’t please anyone. Which might mean it is either (1) a complete travesty, or (2) boring. Which I guess makes sense.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  When The Darkest Minds book was released in 2012, we didn’t have a government-sanctioned program to separate children from their parents. Conservative adults weren’t attacking teenagers over the issue of gun violence. The movie features a daily broadcast of the president’s lies. Now, that’s just today’s headlines. The environment in which stories like “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent” gained followings has changed, and “The Darkest Minds” has not adapted to survive it.

(Woof. Pretty political take on it, but I guess you can’t really blame them. It is kind of true. The genre has completely collapsed despite the films looking as shiny (and cheesy) as usual. And One explanation for that could be politics. It could also just be that dystopia is out and aliens are in so they should go for aliens now that they are back in … basically stop adapting early 2010 YA novels for a while and pick up a nice Star Wars knockoff.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN8o_E_f9FQ

(Looks pretty intense. I honestly don’t really know what is happening. I am going to guess either the main character is hugely powerful … or can’t control her powers … or she can use all four (or whatever) powers. That is a classic sci-fi thing. The one who can use all four powers! Wow! Wait … am I excited about this?)

Directors – Jennifer Yuh Nelson – (Known For: Kung Fu Panda 3; Kung Fu Panda 2; BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Born in South Korea, she was nominated for Best Animated Feature for Kung Fu Panda 2.)

Writers – Chad Hodge (screenplay by) – (BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Mainly a television writer for things like Wayward Pines and The Playboy Club.)

Alexandra Bracken (based upon the novel by) – (BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: There are now six novels in this series. She wrote he first published novel at 19 while a sophomore at William and Mary College.)

Actors – Amandla Stenberg – (Known For: The Hate U Give; The Hunger Games; Everything, Everything; Where Hands Touch; Rio 2; As You Are; Future BMT: Colombiana; BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Performed with Zander Hawley in the band Honeywater. Their cover of Mac DeMarco’s “Let My Baby Stay” is in Everything, Everything.)

Mandy Moore – (Known For: Ralph Breaks the Internet; Tangled; The Princess Diaries; 47 Metres Down; Saved!; Romance & Cigarettes; Dr. Dolittle 2; American Dreamz; Dedication; Future BMT: Racing Stripes; Love, Wedding, Marriage; Southland Tales; Swinging with the Finkels; How to Deal; Chasing Liberty; Try Seventeen; Hotel Noir; BMT: License to Wed; Because I Said So; The Darkest Minds; Notes: Grew up in Orlando where she was known as the “National Anthem Girl” before being discovered. She literally just got married, November 18th to Taylor Goldsmith.)

Bradley Whitford – (Known For: Destroyer; Get Out; The Post; The Cabin in the Woods; Philadelphia; Scent of a Woman; Adventures in Babysitting; Billy Madison; Saving Mr. Banks; The Client; Awakenings; A Perfect World; The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants; Rex; Presumed Innocent; Kate & Leopold; Bottle Shock; Other People; Unicorn Store; My Life; Future BMT: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise; Masterminds; I Saw the Light; Red Corner; Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory; CBGB; Bicentennial Man; BMT: RoboCop 3; The Darkest Minds; Notes: Was married to Jane Kaczmarek for 16 years. He just got engaged to Amy Landecker last March. You might know him as the bad guy from Billy Madison though.)

Budget/Gross – $34 million / Domestic: $12,695,691 (Worldwide: $41,142,379)

(Wow that’s a complete disaster. The YA novel adaptation scene is a bloodbath at the moment. At least compared to the promise coming off of Hunger Games.)

#61 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

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(Blew up, but now the box office take is just collapsing. The highest grossing film on this list we did for BMT was Eragon (!), and recently we saw Vampire Academy which only did marginally worse overall.)

#8 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated Adjusted chart

(#11 on the unadjusted chart. Narrowly beats out Show Dogs for the worst opening of 2018 for a film released to over 3000 theaters. Really really rough. We’ve only seen five of the top fifteen on that chart, and two of them are from this year!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (21/121): The Darkest Minds does little to differentiate itself in a crowded field of YA adaptations, leaving all but the least demanding viewers feeling dystopian déjà vu.

(Having watched Proud Mary I’m even more concerned. That was boring. This seems merely boring. It is a concern going into the end of the year feeling like we are just ticking boxes unfortunately. Reviewer Highlight: What we’re left with is a Mad-Libs version of a dystopian YA adaptation done by someone who saw half of an X-Men movie on TV once, with no depth, no new ideas, and no point. – Dana Schwartz, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – The Darkest Sklogs (C-)

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(Nah. Not into this. Also why is Ruby kinda disappearing? Having already watched the film I get it… but like… that’s not her power. Anyway, this sucks and doesn’t look very good.)

Tagline(s) – If you’re one of us, come find us. (D)

(I don’t understand this either. Why is this the tagline? It doesn’t really have much to do with the film and it’s not even clever or interesting. Boo.)

Keyword(s) – children; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.0 The Last Airbender (2010); 77.6 Boogeyman (2005); 69.7 Are We There Yet? (2005); 69.1 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998); 68.9 The Haunting (1999); 64.2 Godsend (2004); 63.5 Mr. Nanny (1993); 62.1 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987); 61.9 Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002); 60.9 Cop & ½ (1993);

(Children huh. Boogeyman looks like shit for reals. And I love that two of these films are Hulk Hogan films. It is great.)

Notes – In the book The Darkest Minds, the colors used for categorizing powers are Red (Fire Powers), Orange (Mind Control), Yellow (Electricity), Green (Advanced Intelligence) and Blue (Telekinesis). Yellow however was changed to ‘Gold’ for the film (Oh, this is what we’re getting into huh)

In the books Chubs is a Blue and not a Green like in the movie. (That is a travesty. I’M OUT)

First live-action movie to be directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson.

Peyton Wich and Catherine Dyer also worked together in Stranger Things (2016).

Proud Mary Recap

Jamie

Mary is a hitwoman working for the mob (with a heart of gold) who takes a young boy under her wing out of guilt for killing his family. A mob war breaks out as a result of her actions and things quickly spiral out of control as she attempts to leave the mob life. Will she be able to escape and keep Danny safe before it’s too late? Find out in… Proud Mary.

How?! Proud Mary is totally a hitwoman with a heart of gold. During one of her hits she realizes too late that her target has a young son, Danny, that she has made a orphan. Feeling guilty she begins to follow him around and try to keep him safe, but he ends up working for a rough mobster from a rival gang. When they begin to abuse Danny, Mary snaps, take the kid in and kills the mobster. This begins a mob war that puts everyone in danger and Mary has to try to cover up her own involvement in the hit. Meanwhile the other hitman in the mob, and her former flame, becomes suspicious when he starts to put the pieces together about where Danny came from. The mob boss also starts to take a shine to Danny and begins to groom him to be part of the family. Seeing her chance at escaping the mob world closing and Danny being sucked into it along with her, she makes one final dash for freedom. Unfortunately the mobsters are there first and take Danny as bait. You know what that means! Extended fight scene choreographed to music! Hooray. She indeed kills everyone to the bopping tunes of Proud Mary and everyone in the audience is bopping along too and is like “you know what, I actually kinda like this movie now that I have a sweet soundtrack to the merciless killings I’m witnessing.” They then escape and laugh about how many people they saw die. THE END.

Why?! The biggest question in the movie is Mary’s motivations. It becomes clear that Mary sees something of herself in Danny. She grew up on the street and Benny ended up taking her under his wing and training her as a hitwoman. Now she can’t ever escape. Clearly things were and are heading that way for Danny too and she wants to desperately keep that from happening.

Who?! I wonder what this film would be like if you inserted a Planchet into the middle of it. Just a chubby bumbling fool who just wants to do good by Benny but everyone shits on him. The movie’s already better. Also have to give a shout out to our boy Neal McDonough. *Italian chef kiss* Magnifique.

What?! I believe this film was fully financed as an extended commercial for Maserati… what’s that? It wasn’t? Could have fooled me. That’s because Mary’s Maserati had more character development than our primary antagonist Tom, the slab of meat hitman with a heart of shit. I actually felt more sadness when the car got all shot up and broken at the end than the five hundred people that were killed. But that car kept on trucking… solid Italian engineering.

Where?! Boston, baby. I was trying to find out what towns they filmed in and there were a bunch of articles claiming that the film was made in Boston, but is meant to be set in New York. Ha! Nope. This is Boston through and through, from the MA license plates, to the T rides, to Danny being from Jamaica Plain, and the real time baseball game they attended at Fenway Park (one of those may not be entirely true). B+.

When?! I didn’t espy anything that would indicate when this took place. I guess maybe the summer because Mary never seems particularly concerned or interested in getting Danny to go to school or do anything but sit in her apartment. Although I also feel like there were a lot of jackets… probably means that this is an F.

This movie is just not very good. For the first thirty minutes it was very expository in just trying to set up the story and felt either confusing or boring or both. Once it got past that, though, I liked the mob family dynamic and the two action scenes so it was fine… I guess the young actor was good. He had a little ‘tude (as the kids say)… that’s all I got. You know it isn’t a great BMT film when I can only gather a couple lackluster sentences about it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Every year we go through the worst of the worst of the year … and somehow every year we end up watching weirdo films that no one will remember in a year. Midnight Sun? Death Wish (2018)? Proud Mary? Ain’t nobody gonna have time to watch those in a year. I guess all the more reason to do them now. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Coming off of the small-feeling Midnight Sun I became somewhat hesitant about what appeared to be an equally small Proud Mary. Some bits of the preview suggested the film was a catastrophe, the IMDb rating in particular, but other bits made it seem just not as cool or fun as people wanted. I was hoping it was going to be a fun catastrophe because honestly … usually small bad films that aren’t are just boring.

The Good – The main character is good. The last third of the film gets its engine going and it just crazy enough to be a bit of fun. The film looks polished, even if the direction and writing often isn’t. All things considered remaking Gloria in this vein wasn’t a terrible idea, it was just not executed very well. It isn’t like Gloria is some amazing 80s masterpiece, and the remake feels like it has a point to make as well.

The Bad – The writing is terrible and the film does seem very small. The first third is pretty boring and kind of dumb. The actors besides the main character are either old and don’t seem to care (Danny Glover) or television actors or children and thus don’t really cut it, even for a film trying desperately to be an action film. The action at the end pushed it a bit too far into ludicrousness, not an inch of her car is not covered in a bullet hole and I’m supposed to believe she somehow survived? That’s probably the hardest bit to swallow, that even when they end up stumbling into an interesting bit it still feels like the director missed on how to make everything work.

You Just Got Schooled – Not much to really do here since I didn’t watch Gloria. I should have, but I didn’t. So I’ll just say that Proud Mary being both a song title and a movie title is not at all very rare. Which is surprising. Some of the examples are pushing it (like Ghostbusters, where the song is just the theme for the movie itself), but there are three bad movies which share the name of a song which are worse than Proud Mary by BMeTric. Deck the Halls (the Christmas film starring Matthew Broderick), My Girl 2, and Johnny Be Good (with Anthony Michael Hall). All three of those films are suppose to be terrible, and we’ve seen none of them. So at the moment Proud Mary is the worst film we’ve seen which shares its name with a song title! The more you know.

The BMT – Hmmmmmm. As I reflected on in the intro we do tend to end up watching kind of random films in this cycle for some reason. I don’t think this would make the cut when thinking back on 2018 in bad films in particular. I had had hopes, but unless the director hits it big, or some trend (like remaking 70s/80s films with predominantly black casts) becomes the next big thing, I don’t really see why Proud Mary would stand out for any reason whatsoever.

Welcome to Earf! – This is actually an easy one. Neal McDonough is in Proud Mary and Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, which also stars Chris Klein, star of Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – We have real lists now! From the AV Club, Variety, and Rolling Stone. You may or may not be surprised to learn that we actually haven’t seen many of the films on these lists. Part of that is because we are a bit more strict in our criteria than critics can be (Jurassic World 2 simply does not qualify), but mostly it is because a lot of these films are late summer, most are action films and thus can’t all be done in a cycle, and others are just too small to legitimize … but yeah, I wish these lists came out earlier because it would help a ton in getting a good cycle going.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Proud Mary Quiz

You grew up in an assassinating family, and naturally grew up to be a badass assassin. Buckle into your Maserati, strap on some heat, because you have five high profile targets in your sights … these quiz questions!

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Mary is a hitman and proud of it! How many official hits do we see Mary perform during the film?

2) Danny rips off a dealer in the beginning of the film after the dealer tries to rip him off. How much money does Danny get away with in the end?

3) Mary, Tom, and Benny (Danny Glover) have an interesting relationship and it is no surprise that those three (plus the kid Danny) end up at Benny’s house for dinner. What is their relationship?

4) How does Tom figure out that Benny is the son of the opening hit by Mary?

5) When Tom and Mary wipe out the rival gang (literally just wipe them out, all dead), Mary is injured. Where?

Answers

Proud Mary Preview

Jamie chases after Truth who ran away after revealing that she suffers from Statham’s Disease. They run all the way to the top of the Space Needle and Jamie shouts “Please, don’t do it!” But it’s too late, Truth jumps, only to deploy a base-jumping parachute and land safely at the bottom. They continue this mad dash about town as Truth attempts to keep her adrenaline up and stay alive. “Stop please, there are other ways to keep your adrenaline up,” Jamie pants. “I tried,” Truth responds, “it’s why we were thieves. But you can’t be with a thief. So I have to find another way,” and with that she jumps the Grand Canyon on a rocket skateboard. Just when Truth looks to bungee jump from the Gateway Arch, Jamie is able to grab her, “Look into my eyes. There are other ways to keep your adrenaline up.” She does. She looks deep into Jamie’s eyes and with that they spend the rest of the summer making out so hard (perhaps more? It’s implied) that Truth’s adrenaline never falters. As the summer comes to the close, Jamie falls asleep on the beach after a particularly hard make-out sesh only to awaken to find Truth near death. “I… I just didn’t want to wake you. You looked so peaceful.” Tears are streaming down Jamie’s face. “ Please, do one thing for me,” Truth coughs, “That dog you saved with the cut ear? It wasn’t Arf Collector Von Schnauzer. You have to save the real Arf Collector… he’s working for our boss, Briggs,” and with that Truth dies. Jamie and Patrick donate a small part of their considerable Bad Movie Twins fortune to find a cure for Statham’s Disease and don their hoodies once again to go after Briggs. That’s right! We’re watching Proud Mary starring Taraji P. Henson who plays a hitman with a heart of gold. I feel like this is the yin to the Death Wish yang, which is more like a regular person with a heart of shit. Let’s go!

Proud Mary (2018) – BMeTric: 42.2

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(This is heartening. This felt like one of the films we were kind of forced into because of the chain reaction, but sub-5.0 is pretty amazing. The film might genuinely be pretty terrible, which would be kind of fun.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars –  Screen Gems, the studio responsible for “Proud Mary” was nice enough to make their product almost impossible for me to see before my deadline. Genre films such as this often don’t have critics’ screenings, which is fine, but practically every film nowadays has night screenings. Manhattan has hundreds upon hundreds of movie screens, yet not one of them was playing “Proud Mary” on Thursday. I do not believe this had anything to do with quality; “The Snowman,” which is about 50 times worse than this film, not only gave us all the clues but it also gave us early screenings at every single theater that ran it on its opening Friday.

(I kind of love the hit on The Snowman at the end there. Yeah, the big thing about this film was it wasn’t screened for critics which was somewhat odd considering the reviews ultimately were bad but not terrible (almost 30% on Rotten Tomatoes). So now I have two differing opinions. Critics think its meh. IMDb suggests it is terrible. I’m going with the critics. Who knows, it is possible IMDb is getting brigaded by racists because of the predominantly black cast. It has been known to happen.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ1Zcv54USA

(Like the songs. Hate how they drop the audio out throughout. Just really dumb. I also don’t really get it … it is a remake of Gloria, but the kid is in the trailer for about 4 seconds which is an odd choice. Finally, who wears the most conspicuous blonde wig to a hit? Whatever, this looks dumb.)

Directors – Babak Najafi – (Known For: Easy Money II: Hard to Kill; BMT: Proud Mary; London Has Fallen; Notes: Iranian by birth, but grew up in Sweden as a refugee in the 80s. A huge refugee success story to say the least.)

Writers – John Stuart Newman (story by & screenplay by) – (BMT: Proud Mary; Notes: Wrote on 805 episodes of Days of Our Lives. More recently he wrote for the wildly successful television adaptation of Get Shorty. I hope they get to adapt Be Cool into something good as well (zing).)

Christian Swegal (story by & screenplay by) – (BMT: Proud Mary; Notes: Nothing online about the guy. He does have this very enigmatic website though)

Steve Antin (screenplay by) (as Steven Antin) – (Known For: Inside Monkey Zetterland; Future BMT: Chasing Papi; Gloria; BMT: Proud Mary; Burlesque; Notes: Brother of Robin Antin the founder of the Pussycat Dolls. He was an actor in the 80s, then turned to writing. He adapted the 1980 Gloria into the not-so-well-received 1999 version which is why he has this credit.)

Actors – Taraji P. Henson – (Known For: Ralph Breaks the Internet; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Hidden Figures; The Karate Kid; Four Brothers; Date Night; Think Like a Man; Hustle & Flow; Baby Boy; Top Five; The Good Doctor; The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle; I Can Do Bad All by Myself; Something New; The Family That Preys; Talk to Me; Future BMT: Hair Show; No Good Deed; Think Like a Man Too; Term Life; Larry Crowne; Acrimony; Peep World; Smokin’ Aces; Not Easily Broken; BMT: Proud Mary; Notes: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Has become famous more recently as the star of the show Empire.)

Billy Brown – (Known For: Star Trek; Cloverfield; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Race to Witch Mountain; Lakeview Terrace; Geronimo: An American Legend; The Wild Thornberrys Movie; Future BMT: The Beautician and the Beast; BMT: Proud Mary; Notes: Mostly a television actor, most recently in 68 episodes of How to Get Away with Murder. Apparently the narrator of US Marines commercial.)

Jahi Di’Allo Winston – (Known For: The Upside; BMT: Proud Mary; Notes: Was recently in Everything Sucks!, a television show set in the 90s … which means there are nostalgia based shows set in the 90s now, ooooof.)

Budget/Gross – $14–30 million / Domestic: $20,877,013 (Worldwide: $21,753,365)

(The $30 million probably includes the promotion. Which makes this a pretty big bomb. Which isn’t surprising considering they kind of buried it knowing it wasn’t going to be particularly well received.)

#41 for the Hitman / Assassin genre

proudmary_hitman

(The big boom for the genre was with the Bourne movies. It is just now getting back into the swing of things. That is likely to do with John Wick, there isn’t much else impressive recently. This Means War is strangely the most successful of the BMT films. Not surprisingly the Nic Cage classic Bangkok Dangerous was the least successful.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 28% (18/64): Proud Mary proves Taraji P. Henson has more than enough attitude and charisma to carry an action movie — just not, unfortunately, one this indifferently assembled.

(And I’m back to being concerned. It seems strange it has such bad reviews, but even stranger to see it be one of the worst reviewed films of the year on IMDb. Just seems weird. Reviewer Highlight: “Proud Mary” isn’t a retro action thriller at all, but a staid family drama, and an incredibly boring one at that. – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Proud Mary Keep on Sklogin’ (A)

proud_mary_ver6

(Yup, I like it. Very artistic. Could see this on a wall somewhere of someone who didn’t even watch the film but just likes the poster. Got a unique style, nice balance, and nice color.)

Tagline(s) – Killing for the man every night and day. (B-)

(Play on the song that the title is based on. It’s clever enough, but a little long and clunky. Meh.)

Keyword(s) – hitwoman; Top Ten by BMeTric: 75.2 Elektra (2005); 65.1 The Crow: City of Angels (1996); 58.6 The First Purge (2018); 46.6 Double Impact (1991); 42.2 Proud Mary (2018); 39.6 Haywire (2011); 36.2 Around the World in 80 Days (2004); 35.6 Skyscraper (2018); 29.9 Chek law dak gung (2002); 29.6 Shadowboxer (2005);

(It is too bad Skyscraper didn’t qualify. I just watched it on a plane, and it is some of the silliest shit I’ve ever seen. The Rock climbs hand over hand up a 1000+ foot crane. I’m not joking. He scales the Empire State Building hand over hand basically.)

Notes – Loosely based on the movie Gloria (1980). (Looks interesting. Fun fact is that Gloria, despite being critically acclaimed, is a Razzie winner for Worst Supporting Actor. Plus it was remade in 1999, and that version definitely qualifies.)

This is the second time Taraji P. Henson has played a hit woman. She had a similar role in Smokin’ Aces (2006).

This film reunites Danny Glover and Margaret Avery, who starred together in The Color Purple (1985).

For all the shootings and killings, no police are ever visible in the movie.

Midnight Sun Recap

Jamie

Afflicted with a disease that doesn’t allow her to leave her house during the day, Katie Price has mooned over the boy down the street, Charlie, from afar. When they finally meet they fall madly in love. Katie chooses to withhold her condition from him leading to an accident that worsens it. Can their love survive her inevitable death before… er… it’s too late? Find out in Midnight Sun.

How?! Katie Price lives in seclusion in her house with only her super cool dad and… also super cool best friend for company. You see, she has a rare disorder called XP that makes any contact with sunlight potentially deadly. Growing up she watched the boy next door skateboard around and be super rad and she’d be all like “man, he’ll never like a diseased albeit super hot girl like me. Aw shucks.” On the night of high school graduation she ventures out to play music at the train station by moonlight. Unbeknownst to her, Charlie, her crush, is having an existential crisis right at that moment as he contemplates the recent loss of his swim scholarship following an injury. He’s all like “aw shucks, life must mean more than this small town.” As he mopes about he finds Katie and is instantly smitten. She runs away at the shock of seeing her crush, but a forgotten songbook and Katie’s super cool friend conspire to bring them together again. All of a sudden Katie is going on dates and totes macking on Charlie, her crush! What a dream! When her best friend and dad are both like “maybe tell him you might die if you end up in the sun.” She delays for fear he might run away. They hang out all summer and Charlie help Katie overcome her fear of playing in public and Katie helps Charlie start swimming again and just when they bone on the beach (it’s implied) they stay up all night talking post-coitus (it’s implied!) and Katie end up being exposed to the sun. She’s totally gonna die (for real) and she doesn’t want to put Charlie through that, but he totally loves her and they keep on dating and recording songs and watching Charlie swim until she does indeed die. At the end of the summer Charlie leaves to join his college swim team and as he leaves he hears a song that he helped Katie record become a smash hit on the radio. You know, that last part does seem a bit silly when you write it out. THE END.

Why?! Love, duh. For real, the movie is a story of how love, no matter how brief, makes you a better person. Katie and Charlie are lost at the moment they meet. She lives a nice life, but has never gotten to experience the world, while he is trying to figure out his place in the world. They help each other overcome their difficulties and finally feel whole and able to move forward with life… you know, until she dies.

Who?! I could sit here and talk about Patrick Schwarzenegger and his weird way that he speaks. But instead I’ll highlight a couple songs from Bella Thorne’s upcoming debut studio album. Oh didn’t know she was an actress/singer? Guess you haven’t heard Bitch I’m Bella Thorne

or Pussy Mine

Can we re-edit Midnight Sun so they record Pussy Mine at the end and that’s the song Charlie and Katie’s dad are freaking out about when it comes on the radio?

What?! There actually was a prominent product placement in the film in the scene where Katie is singing at the train station to the delight of train riders young and old. A child comes up and you think he’s gonna give her some money… oh ho, you’d be wrong. She’s getting a bag of delicious peanut M&M’s.

Where?! We get a nice jaunt into Seattle via train to really hammer home the message there are dear, ill-fated love birds reside in a beautiful coastal Washington State town. I feel like It needs to get a B+ simply because you see the Space Needle and Katie’s dad makes sure that Charlie is a Seahawks fan before he takes Katie out on a date. B+

When?! I feel like I need to mark out certain types of seasonal films. Like this is a “summer film.” It details the life of Katie and Charlie in the summer after their high school graduation as they learn the live, sing, swim, and bone on the beach (it’s implied). There are obviously winter, fall, and spring films as well. Also what would be termed “school year” films. C

This movie is fine. I actually had a fairly pleasant time watching it even though I knew exactly what was going to happen at all times. Seems like something that could have had a lot of success on a streaming service, but it went to theaters and somehow that was worse for it. All that being said, Patrick Schwarzenegger very well might be the worst actor we’ve seen in a film. He’s young and he can figure it out, but he needs to decide what look he wants. Does he want the look of “pretty boy with a weird smile that talks weird” a.k.a. the Tom Brady? Cause that’s where he is right now. I’d suggest maybe focusing on action as the strong silent type… who never smiles. Also you can’t think too hard about the film or else it falls apart pretty quickly. We live in a world where Katie has lived in the same town for 18 years and can venture outside at night and yet she never interacts with anyone in town except her dad and best friend. She never went up to Seattle (a short train ride away) or saw a concert (even though she loves music and wants to be a musician) even though both those things are possible to do at night. It’s just… a little unbelievable. Finally, do we really need another film where (it’s implied) that sex=death… we already have the Twilight Saga. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Midnight Sun is about the inevitability of death and how gross it is to exploit a real disease just to create a dumb teen rom-dram. But no joke I still cried a little. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Three things I’m interested in. First, the soundtrack. The girl is supposed to be a musician, so one would hope they but in the effort on the soundtrack. Second, the only striking thing in the preview really was the acting which seems atrocious. I need to see how little Schwarzenegger does. And finally, I’m banking on her dying at the end and that is why she is on the boat in the preview.

The Good – I’m not crying you’re crying you … crying rom-dram loving dummy. For reals though like maybe I’m getting old but I was like “Rob Riggle you gave her a great life, go out there and live!” at the end. The music is solid, especially Charlie’s Song which is actually good enough you can believe it would go viral. The two leads (oh we’ll get to them in the bad section) were at least as awkward as I think they were going for. I kind of wish the film didn’t center around a disease, but if you ignore that I’m honestly not sure what else people want from a teen rom dram. We all want another Breakfast Club, but are things like A Walk to Remember really so bad? Seriously, is it? I’ve never seen it.

The Bad – The acting is dire. Like … really dire stuff. It is rough. Of course it is schmaltzy garbage, but (and I’ll say this once) it is fine. What is the big deal? I now totally understand the RogerEbert.com review, like, 2.5 stars, yeah makes sense. The main thing is, when you look at the preview section above, I easily guessed the film’s entire plot from the end of the trailer. That’s a problem. The other really bad part: Our romantic lead Chris brings chinese food onto a train and is just chowing away. Disgusting. You disgust me. That would smell so bad.

You Just Got Schooled – Naturally, the main thing we are all curious about is Patrick Schwarzenegger’s acting ability (only me and Jamie? … whatever). So I went right to the source, the pinnacle of American art: the music video. Patrick was in the Ariana Grande music video Right There (featuring Big Sean)

 And honestly … I’m desperate to see him attempt a foreign accent. There is something about him which makes me think it would be a disaster. He looks and acts precisely how he looks and acts in Midnight Sun merely confirming that this is how he looks and acts normally. Unfortunately … he’s not the best actor. I’m trying to be diplomatic about it, but I really don’t think he’s a good actor currently. He’s 25 though, plenty of time to grow into some roles.

The BMT – I want to watch more romantic dramas. I feel like if I have a larger stable of experience to draw from I could sit here and tell you ten things that are wrong with it. Instead I’m like half crying and thinking “this ain’t so bad”. It’s a problem I had with horror (since remedied) and I think we tend to go with comedies in this category not surprisingly. I hope this experience makes us look to these types of films more often. Which is kind of crazy to say since Here on Earth is basically the number one best BMT of all time. I think Waiting For Forever ruined our experiences with the genre.

Welcome to Earf – Again, we’ve been going through a rough patch. I used the preview to remind myself that we’ve seen Rob Riggle now both in this and in The Killers with Ashton Kutcher, who was also in The Guardian with Neal McDonough, who was also in Street Fight: Legend of Chun Li with Chris Klein, who was also in Here on Earf! Wow, I forgot about Neal McDonough. That connects a bunch as well, even Zookeeper (via Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2)!

StreetCreditReport.com – There is one respectable list with this one on there and honestly … the criticism is real. I think I’m a little kinder because I’m just generally fine with the grossest aspect of the film (the exploitation of a real disease in a ludicrous manner), but probably because publicizing a disease is usually a good thing. But I understand the criticism. I have a feeling it will be forgotten in the real year-end lists though. It has 21% on Rotten Tomatoes, and has some genuinely fine reviews like the aforementioned RogerEbert.com review from the preview.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs