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

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(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)

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(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

Midnight Sun Quiz

We all know you love teen romantic dramas. You watched The Kissing Booth or whatever, and you’re like Jacob Elordi youz a hottie! I know it, you know it, so sit down and watch Midnight Sun and prepare for this quiz.

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Katie is a girl who doesn’t want to just be known as a disease. But what is that disease called? We know it is that she’s allergic to the sun (basically), but what do they call it? The short name will suffice.

2) But hey, Katie can go outside at night, that’s neat. What does she usually do at night?

3) But then her world gets turned upside down by Charlie, the somewhat morose boy Katie has been in love with her whole life. What makes him so morose? Why isn’t he having a ton of fun with his cool friends?

4) Charlie is just to best. He takes her to parties, and to Seattle to see a concert. But then, uh oh! When they get back from Seattle they go skinny dipping and then Katie sees a little bit of sun. How did she blow it so hard? How did she miss curfew?!

5) Katie passes away from her bad brain, Charlie goes to Berkeley, and Rob Riggle continues his life. Rob Riggle has had a tough life. How did his wife die? Actually, for good measure why not also tell me what he does for a living for a bonus point.

Answers

Midnight Sun Preview

“Truth or Dare, Bad Movie Twins,” Truth says. “Dare,” responds Patrick without hesitation. “We dare you to battle us,” Dare says with a laugh. Patrick and Truth engage in an increasingly tense battle of wits. Twisted twin riddles are thrown forth by Patrick, counterbalanced by Truth Bombs lobbed by Truth. As the furious battle gives way to grudging respect they turn their attention to Dare and Jamie who have decided on a physical confrontation. Twin Chops are counterattacked by Daring Dropkicks. As sweat and blood fly, Jamie can’t help but notice that the fight has become a dance of seduction. Patrick and Truth begin to get uncomfortable with the sexual tension in the room. It is thick in the air and when they look at each other Patrick quickly says “I’m married with four rambunctious kids, actually.” Truth nods. “Me too,” and with a smile and they begin to share pictures of their children. Meanwhile, Jamie and Dare continue fighting with furious passion. Suddenly Dare gets a big creepy smile on her face and asks again, “Truth or Dare, Jamie.” Jamie breathes heavily from exertion, but he knows what’s about to happen. “Truth,” he whispers. “Do you love me?” Dare asks breathlessly. “Yes,” Jamie responds, “Truth or Dare, Dare.” To which she also asks for truth. “Do you love me?” Jamie asks. “Yes,” Dare responds, “But you can’t love me. I have a medical condition called Statham’s Disease.” Jamie gasps. “Of course. It’s why you steal and parkour. To keep your adrenaline up at all times.” Truth lets out a sob and begins to run away. That’s right! We are watching Midnight Sun. A young girl has a very rare disease and a very hot new boyfriend. Will she tell him? Won’t she? Will she definitely die at the end totally Notebook-ing us? I assume so. Let’s get into it!

Midnight Sun (2018) – BMeTric: 12.6

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(Wowza, high rating. It is becoming increasingly obvious that anything below around 20 BMeTric is pretty rough. Which shouldn’t be a surprise. The number of “bad” films a year is debatable, but there were 158 films with IMDb ratings below 6.0 with over 3000 votes released in 2017. Out of any given year I would imagine we should be aiming to watch about 1/5th of those … which would be around 32 films. How many films have over 50 BMeTric? 33 in 2017. Which is why I tend to look to 50 as the general cut off for a guarantee watch. Which is correct I think. Anything below around 35 I imagine you have to look into the detes like with this or Death Wish. It also obviously depends on the genre. Teen rom-drams have inflated ratings and lower vote counts which hurt it … man, I really need to revamp the BMeTric into a real model.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars –  “Midnight Sun” does what it means to do for the people it means to do it for—and that might just be enough. The 12-year-old girls who are the film’s target audience probably won’t realize what it’s derivative of: a little bit of John Hughes and a lot of “Love Story.” “Midnight Sun” also bears more than a slight resemblance to last summer’s Young Adult drama “Everything, Everything,” in which a rare disease supposedly spells doom for a blossoming teen romance.

(I’m actually getting the feeling that this film might be a secretly good film. I’m not the audience, but I think I’ll be able to channel my inner 12 year old and perhaps appreciate what it is trying to do. I hope I’m wrong though and that there is like … a ghost mom or something.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WS-kCiCVEp0

(I have a sneaking feeling of spoilees at the end there because … I mean, they kind of suggest she’s going to die if she’s outside and then at the end she’s outside so … Anyways, I’m getting bad acting vibes from Thorne and Schwarzenegger, but otherwise it looks incredibly sappy.)

Directors – Scott Speer – (Known For: Step Up 4: Miami Heat; Future BMT: I Still See You; Status Update; BMT: Midnight Sun; Notes: Both I Still See You and this can out this year … which is nuts. Was a music video director for years winning a multitude of awards in that industry.)

Writers – Kenji Bando (based on the motion picture screenplay “Taiyô no uta” by) – (BMT: Midnight Sun; Notes: There is little to nothing about the guy, but a Japanese screenwriter who wrote the film this film is a remake of.)

Eric Kirsten (screenplay) – (BMT: Midnight Sun; Notes: Has an unproduced script on the 2012 Blacklist called “The Lighthouse”, otherwise there is literally nothing about this guy in the trades.)

Actors – Bella Thorne – (Known For: Assassination Nation; The Babysitter; The Duff; Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; Stuck on You; The Unbeatables; Future BMT: Amityville: The Awakening; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; Boo! A Madea Halloween; Ratchet & Clank; Big Sky; I Still See You; Finishing the Game: The Search for a New Bruce Lee; BMT: Blended; Midnight Sun; Notes: Was young Taylor Townsend on the O.C.! Has three actor siblings, but she’s the most famous.)

Patrick Schwarzenegger – (Known For: Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse; Stuck in Love; BMT: Grown Ups 2; The Benchwarmers; Midnight Sun; Notes: The son of Arnie! Started with roles in Happy Madison productions, and how he’s all growed up.)

Rob Riggle – (Known For: 12 Strong; The Hangover; 21 Jump Street; Step Brothers; Hotel Transylvania; The Other Guys; Hotel Transylvania 2; 22 Jump Street; Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby; Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life; Big Miracle; Going the Distance; Opening Night; Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story; Future BMT: Dumb and Dumber To; Nature Calls; The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard; Absolutely Anything; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2; Larry Crowne; Night School; Hell and Back; How to Be a Latin Lover; The Internship; Let’s Be Cops; Just Before I Go; Status Update; BMT: Furry Vengeance; Killers; Unaccompanied Minors; Midnight Sun; Notes: Bam. Well known for his (pretty terrible) football comedy skits on whatever channel’s NFL pregame he works for. Was a Marine, but left to become a comedian. Was briefly on SNL before joining the Daily Show.)

Budget/Gross – $2.8 million / Domestic: $9,561,064 (Worldwide: $27,365,467)

(That seems fine. That’s what you need. Just like with Truth or Dare there is a level of safety with films like this since even $10 million, which you can maybe get just from teen girls, the movie probably breaks even.)

#107 for the Romantic Drama genre

midnightsun_romanticdrama

(Fifty Shades of Grey holds the top three highest grossing BMT film in the category. We’ve seen twelve in total, and a number of Nicholas Sparks adaptations which is fun. The lowest grossing BMT film? Surprisingly The Scarlet Letter. Interestingly while the number of theaters the genre occupies has rebounded since 2008, its recent box office success has been lackluster. Possibly could be getting sniped by Netflix originals like The Kissing Booth.)

#48 for the Teen Romance genre

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(Nothing will ever beat Here on Earth (although ooooo Endlesssss Looooooooove got the closest I think). That big peak is very obviously Twilight which is fun, and the genre has entered a relative slumber. It’ll be back.)

#63 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

midnightsun_yaadaptations

(These really fell off a cliff after Hunger Games huh. Definitely an interesting genre and one that will come back (there are a few this year, like Mortal Instruments). I think the favorite of the ones we’ve seen is The Seeker: The Dark is Rising. Great twin film. Also, BTW, this isn’t based on a book. There is a book novelization, but the movie isn’t based on it, it is a remake of a Japanese film.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (12/56): Midnight Sun is a typically manipulative and contrived teen romance that’s unfortunately distinguished by its offensively inaccurate portrayal of a real-life disease.

(Hmmm, that’s actually weirdly promising. I will like to see how weird they go with the disease. The only other thing of interest was whether this was like a Sparks adaptation, and this reviewer seems to have answered my question in the negative. Reviewer Highlight: The authentic Sparks movies at least tend to be howlers, with shamelessly overcomplicated narratives and risible twists. Midnight Sun, on the other hand, is straightforward and trite. – Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club)

Poster – Midnight Sklog (D+)

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(Just like Truth or Dare this went with an arbitrary picture of our main characters for the thrust of the poster, which is bad. But it does have some quirky unique font, which is good. The rest is bad though. Like… I know they’re on a boat, but do you really want a poster where I have to guess that they’re probably on a boat?)

Tagline(s) – Dreams Come True at Night. (C+)

(Hmmmm, sounds like a tagline. It feels like a tagline. Certainly a little cliched, other than the fact that it works better for this film than perhaps the hundred other films it could have been the tagline for. At least it’s short.)

Keyword(s) – father daughter relationship; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.6 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 88.4 Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966); 87.6 BloodRayne (2005); 87.4 Crossroads (I) (2002); 86.9 Left Behind (I) (2014); 86.1 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 86.0 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 85.8 Fantastic Four (2015); 81.9 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 80.3 Littleman (2006);

(So … every film ever? This is literally just a who’s who of terrible movies. And guess what? We watch a lot of bad movies. Even, on occasion, Uwe movies like BloodRayne.)

Notes – -It is based on the 2006 Japanese movie of the same name. (Unavailable for us to watch anywhere. Thank God… I mean, rats.)

Based on the teen novel of the same name by author Trish Cook. (FAKE NEWS! The Trish Cook book is a novelization of the screenplay for this film.)

Truth or Dare Recap

Jamie

A bunch of dum-dums travel to Mexico to party it up one last time (literally). They end up playing a game of Truth or Dare in a spooky abandoned mission (naturally) and awaken a demon that uses the game to torment and eventually kill them one by one. Can they stop the demon before it’s too late? Find out in… Truth or Dare.

How?! I feel like I’ve written this one several times before. A bunch of (kinda douchey) friends are spending one last Spring Break in Mexico drinking and partying. Near the end of their time there they are invited out to a sketchy abandoned mission by a sketchy guy for sketchy reasons, but they follow him there (duh). He asks them to play truth or dare and they oblige because they are dumb. Turns out that he was using them to get more people involved in a demonic game of truth or dare run by a demon trickster. This demon trickster proceeds to torment them by having them reveal their deepest darkest secrets to each other or attempt death defying dares. When one refuses or is unsuccessful they are possessed and kill themselves. Weirdly, a lot of the truths and/or dares actually seem like they are helping the characters. Like they finally confront things in their lives that they’ve so far refused to confront. Like one guy has been scared to come out to his dad but the demon forces him to and he actually seems better for it. More true to himself. Kinda a good guy demon sometimes. Anyway, in the end they track down the source of the demon and find a way out of the game. But the demon is too tricky and smart and outwits them at the last moment. Our final girls are doomed but in a shocking twist (what a twist!) they post a video on YouTube inviting the whole world into the game thus dooming a significant number of people to death. Cooooool. THE END.

Why?! The motivations are where I think they could have played with the concept a little more. Like they have a bunch of people, most of who are objectively terrible, that get caught up in a game of terror with no other motivations other than to survive. Instead of having cartoonish misogynist Ronnie turn out to be a sensitive good guy… he is slaughtered in the first thirty minutes for laughs. Instead of having the fake prescription writing future med student learn the errors of his ways… he is also slaughtered. Instead of the two main characters knowing that while they’ll likely die as part of this game they actually were able to finally be fully truthful with each other after years of hiding their secrets away… they use the internet to turn the world to chaos (presumably). In the end it’s because the trickster demon of course doesn’t want to help them, he not some demon therapist trying to have them communicate better with each other or anything, but at the very least they could have acknowledged that that is kinda what the demon was doing. He helps a kid come out as gay to his homophobic dad for god’s sake!

Who?! I do want to discuss Ronnie a little bit. He’s not a true Planchet as his motivations are not pure (he is clearly a fratty horndog), but he does seem to just want to hang out with our terrible group of main characters and they’re like “gross, Ronnie.” There was opportunity to use him in a more creative way rather than as an obvious first kill… like why couldn’t the main character be dared to hook up with Ronnie but then find he’s actually a good dude and it’s all an act? Nope. Just killed off after his 1000th joke about wanting to bone some hot chick with big bazongas or whatever.

What?! The use of SnapChat, Facebook, YouTube, etc. throughout the film isn’t product placement perse. Seems more like a little signaling to let youngsters know that the writers “get it” and aren’t a couple fuddy-duddy old people. In particular when the main character says that she uses YouTube for videos about her volunteer work and SnapChat if just for fun. Classic. And yes, I used the term “fuddy-duddy” to signal to all the octogenarians that read BMT that I “get it.”

Where?! A nice balance of Mexico and California. They seem to go to the made-up Westlake University in the LA area as evidenced by the quick trips to Mexico, CA license plates, and bars and restaurants located in that area. While obvious it’s not super necessary to the plot. B+.

When?! Obviously around Spring Break, but we are no treated to an exact date. Weirdly our main characters are lured into playing the game by a previous group of players desperate to try to save themselves. It’s clear from some articles we see in the film though that this previous group was playing around June 4th. So we are either expected to believe that they have been continuing to play for almost a year or whatever school these dum-dums go to has Spring Break in the middle of June. I choose neither. They probably just screwed up the timing when making the props or whatever. C+.

I was actually really surprised at how bad this film was. Felt very Rings or Ouija to me and that’s not what you typically get from Blumhouse. They are supposed to deliver high concept horror/thriller, but this literally seems like the lowest, most cliched concept with a terrible script to boot. Patrick pointed out to me that rewrites aren’t generally in the cards for the budgets that Blumhouse are after but… I mean… at some point you have to, right? This was really bad. At moments you could get whiffs of Happy Death Day (which similarly had the main characters be damaged and somewhat unlikeable), but then it would disappear like a mirage. Is it better than Slender Man… eeesh. Probably. But barely and that’s not a good look. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What do you get when you cross Rings with Final Destination? Apparently a really dumb film with a terrible ending … let’s get into it!

The Good – The film looks okay. The concept is also at least original to a degree, with a kind of trickster demon being the crux of the whole thing. It is just Rings, so originality is really only superficial ultimately. I liked the actors even if they were terrible. And I still think I like Blumhouse. I think the concepts they bring to horror and the way they make them is fantastic for the genre and, honestly, I hope that similar things can be done with other flagging genres. Like rom coms, or original sci fi, or fantasy, see what you can do with a small budget and small television actors and see if there is any interest. Although the issue will likely be that horror audiences are dependable, you almost always get at least $10 million from teenagers no matter how bad the film is.

P’s View on the Preview – Everything pointed towards this being a boring PG-13 horror film. The only thing that made me a bit curious was why they added new rules to the game. In the preview it was suggested that you have to do a dare after two truths in a row. That isn’t real. That isn’t a real rule! That is just some made up bullshit to make sure the people in the film didn’t find the most obvious loophole to the stupidest game of all time. I was hoping I was wrong, but I wasn’t. Sigh.

The Bad – This film is not scary, is mostly boring, and the hook is silly to the point of just making my laugh (like The Bye Bye Man). The entire film is predicated on the assumption that no one gives a shit that a handful of people who all know each other are killing themselves and dying and shit. Number one thing people would assume it that these people are all on some crazy drugs, they wouldn’t be running around solving mysteries. The action doesn’t start quick enough, the acting is bad, all of these people are horrible people I don’t care about who make poor decisions and are dumb. If not for the ending I would have just said the film was shiny nonsense like Flatliners, but the ending might be one of the worst shoulder shrugs of an ending I’ve ever seen. It pushes it right into Bye Bye Man level nonsense. Like … I hate this movie? Wait … is this dog poo in my face at the last second three pointer!?

You Just Got Schooled – Do you know what would be fun? Looking through the wiki page on the game Truth or Dare in general. First we have this bonkers 1986 straight-to-video feature. WTF, the writer-director was 18 when it was made! There are also films of the same name in 2011, 2013, and 2017 which is pretty incredible. The game itself seems to date to at least 1712 described thusly: “A Christmas game, in which the commander bids his subjects to answer a question which is asked. If the subject refuses or fails to satisfy the commander, he must pay a forfeit [follow a command] or have his face smutted [dirtied].” It also is similar to the ancient Greek game basilinda where a king would tell him subjects what acts to perform. Fun. Facts.

The BMT – This probably enters the worst endings hall of fame for me personally. Somehow the ending to Rings worked, whereas this just feels like a cop out. I’ll probably also note this as a bigger version of what we saw in The Call starring Halle Berry where the ending flies so totally in the face of how a character acts throughout the film that is it jarring and weird. Otherwise is just stands alongside Slender Man and Bye Bye Man and the like. Supernatural horror churns out a ton of films (five qualifying films this year alone) so it isn’t a surprise we collect them like pokemon.

Welcome to Earf – There was a zero percent chance I was getting any connections without looking up at least the first step. The number one best option would have been The Canyons starring Lindsay Lohan and (for reals, third billed) Nolan Funk … which I’ve seen, but it wasn’t released to enough theaters to count for BMT. So I’ll have to fall back to Sam Lerner who played our first hapless victim Ronnie, and was a child actor in the Jack Black classic Envy with Ben Stiller, who was in Zoolander 2 with Owen Wilson, who was in I, Spy with Eddie Murphy, who was in Norbit with Terry Crews, who was in Blended with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth! Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – Interestingly the cred is a little thin here. It is obviously mentioned in review-based worst of lists (like this one), but elsewhere it seems to be ignored. There are individual reviews lamenting it as one of the worst of the year though. I certainly think it is. But some people seem to disagree about the ending in particular. I think that up until that ending they had a chance to be an Ouija with a decent prequel. Now? Trash.

This film is pretty bad, and now I’ve seen seven films from this year. From worst to best I think I would currently put them at: (1) Fifty Shades Freed (2) Show Dogs (3) Truth or Dare (4) Slender Man (5) Death Wish (6) The Predator (7) Hunter Killer. Stay tuned for an updated list.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

Truth or Dare Quiz

In Truth or Dare a group of teens get challenged by a demon to a game of well … truth or dare. On this website a demon (me) challenged a group of people to a game of Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) When we meet our garbage dump of a hero she is very hesitant to go a-partying in sunny Mexico. What does she have plans to do for spring break instead, and why does she decide to go?

2) In Mexico a man named Carter traps them in a deadly game of Truth or Dare (ah, that’s the name of the movie!). Name as many of the truth/dare as you can.

3) In the end all but two of our seven newcomers to the game die. How did those five (Ronnie, Tyson, Penelope, Brad, Lucas in that order) die? Bonus for the other two players we see die as well.

4) In the end what is the only way the players can end the game?

5) How can the players end the game once the option described above is impossible, and what ultimate decision do they make concerning the game?

Answers

Truth or Dare Preview

In deep pursuit of the parkour thieves who ruined Arf Collector Von Schnauzer’s promising career in dog showery, Jamie and Patrick don their alter egos, the Angels of Death, and become vigilantes of the night. You a criminal? Better watch out cause the Angels of Death might lure you into a criminal trap and totally take you out when you try to do criminal things. Just sitting there thinking about criminal things? Still watch out, they don’t like people thinking about being criminals. Next thing you know you might be doing those criminal things. You trying to stop them from stopping criminals? That’s probably OK if you are the police, but if you are a criminal and want to stop them so that you can continue to be a criminal then watch out! Jamie and Patrick go about their vigilante business for a while until one day they find a cell phone on the ground with a text message that tells them the exact whereabouts of the secret lair of the parkour thieves. What luck! They go to this hideout in an abandoned doll factory and start knocking the bad guys out with their patented Twin Chop®. Their bloodlust cannot and will not be satisfied until those responsible are held accountable. Justice! They finally arrive in the office of the parkour ringleaders and tell them to drop their weapons and give up because justice is there and it’s not square. The two ringleaders look at each other and pull back their hooded sweatshirts. Jamie and Patrick gasp. “My god, they’re beautiful.” Two beautiful ladies are the ringleaders. “Who… who are you?” Jamie stammers. “Ready to play a game?” One responds. “Just call us Truth or Dare,” the other one finishes. That’s right! We’re watching one of the many trash horror films to come out this year, Truth or Dare. Much like Ouija this seems to be an attempt to take something that not really all the spooky (a rousing game of Truth or Dare) and make it super scary spooky. Maybe Hide and Seek is next. Wait, that just might work. Let’s go!

Truth or Dare (2018) – BMeTric: 57.2

TruthorDare_BMeT

TruthorDare_RV

(I’m rather intrigued by how swiftly it seems to be rising. It is still really really low obviously. Sub-5.0 would have put it among the worst of the year, but it is getting to the point where it is perhaps merely “quite bad”.)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –   [T]he joke is on our heroes, but this time, every cruel punchline is seemingly pulled at the last minute. We’re supposed to like these victims, not gasp in horror and delight when they’re compelled to die campy—but bloodless!—deaths by an evil game you play when you’re kinda bored and kinda hormonal, but not imaginative or bold enough to do much about it.  

(Oh shit. Burned. I’m just hoping the film isn’t terribly boring. For the most part do you ever like these people … I’m flashing back to The Gallows now, where everyone was just a complete dick to everyone and you just didn’t give a shit that they were dying.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cgnk3MLw9TM

(Sigh. That just looks like any of the other terrible supernatural horror films we’ve seen. Rings, The Bye Bye Man, Slender Man, etc. And it doesn’t seem to have a hilarious Bye Bye Man I can laugh at. Double sigh.)

Directors – Jeff Wadlow – (Future BMT: Cry Wolf; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; Kick-Ass 2; Never Back Down; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Katie Couric’s nephew. He was interviewed on Today by Katie Couric.)

Writers – Michael Reisz (screenplay by & story by) – (BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Worked on Boston Legal at the time that it won a Peabody Award. Is a prolific voice actor. Was a lawyer prior to entering the entertainment business.)

Jillian Jacobs (screenplay by) – (BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: He first foray into screenwriting (at least credited). Was a producer for Big Brother in 2012, and is writing the upcoming Fantasy Island film which also stars Lucy Hale.)

Christopher Roach (screenplay by) – (Known For: Non-Stop; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Appears to be a writing partner of sorts with Jillian Jacobs. He has produced hundreds of episodes of reality television, and written mostly WWE specials.)

Jeff Wadlow (screenplay by) – (Future BMT: Prey; Cry Wolf; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; Kick-Ass 2; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Wait … literally this entire film’s crew is writing and directing Fantasy Island. Which is also a Blumhouse production. I don’t know if any of Blumhouse’s nostalgia adaptations have worked (or even come out) yet, Jem and the Holograms certainly didn’t.)

Actors – Lucy Hale – (Known For: Scream 4; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2; TinkerBell and the Secret of the Wings; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Won American Junior Competition in 2003, and signed a record deal in 2012. Seems like her acting career is taking off though.)

Tyler Posey – (Known For: Men of Honor; Future BMT: Yoga Hosers; Maid in Manhattan; Collateral Damage; Legendary; BMT: Scary Movie 5; Truth or Dare; Notes: The son of long time television actor John Posey, who is vaguely famous for playing the original Danny Tanner in the Full House pilot. Tyler and John both star in Teen Wolf.)

Violett Beane – (Known For: Slash; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Oh shit, she’s in everyone’s favorite show! That’s right, God Friended Me!! Was also a major character on The Flash.)

Budget/Gross – $3.5 million / Domestic: $41,254,705 (Worldwide: $94,841,481)

(My God. Yeah, Blum has this down. I can’t say it is a particularly pretty model at times, but it certainly harkens back to the early 80s when a cheap camcorder, a dozen willing teen actors, and a mask could make you a cool hundred million for $30K. Like … I doubt Truth or Dare 2 would happen, but does it need to happen really? They just made $100 million!)

#57 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

truthordare2017_supernaturalhorror

(I guess we haven’t looked recently, but it is pretty nice to see how popular genres operate in this regard. It isn’t necessarily that you make more money per theater. It is that you are in more theaters that tend to mean your genre is having a moment. Also these I think have been getting cheaper as well. We’ve seen 19 of these. Hmmm, what could be our twentieth? I wish I could tell you it would be Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, but it is going to be The Nun. Spoiler alert.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (21/141): Truth or Dare’s slick presentation isn’t enough to make this mediocre horror outing much more frightening than an average round of the real-life game.

(Slick presentation … that’s intriguing maybe. That points to maybe the director having an interesting idea. Although this review suggests otherise. Reviewer Highlight: It does nothing to cleanse Mr. Wadlow of the lingering stench of his 2013 effort, “Kick-Ass 2.” Even so, some setups can be unwittingly funny. – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times)

Poster – 2 Rich 2 Poe: The Return of Truth and Dare (D+)

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(It’s daring but in a bad and not good at all way. Really I can’t say there is anything I like with this poster other than the boldness of choosing a weird poster with a giant pink question mark on it. That’s enough to move it a little out of the basement though.)

Tagline(s) – The Producer of Happy Death Day and Get Out invites you to play. (F)

(No.)

Keyword(s) – forced suicide; Top Ten by BMeTric: 57.2 Truth or Dare (I) (2018); 45.7 Unfriended (2014); 41.7 Village of the Damned (1995); 38.6 The Boogey Man (1980); 34.8 Little Evil (2017); 30.7 Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013); 30.4 Marked for Death (1990); 30.3 By the Gun (2014); 30.3 Crawlspace (2012); 30.1 Push (2009);

(Huh, interestingly rich keyword it looks like. Obviously all horror films (or thrillers maybe). And bam, got the best one apparently. Although … wouldn’t The Happening count?)

Notes – The menacing grin that comes with the killing Truth or Dare force is nicknamed the Willem Dafoe grin, and is in part inspired by his menacing smile and the facial disfigurement of the Gustavo Smile. (I had to look it up, thinking it was a real thing. Dafoe plays Gustavo in a short I think, but whatever)

The actors had to mimic the facial structure of the Calux smile prior to the CGI rendering of the face itself. (I guess Calux is a demon or something? All the pictures are basically of The Joker though, it seems fictional)

The game Truth or Dare has existed by record for centuries, with earliest history as 1712 suggesting origin in being a Christmas questions and commands game. (fun facts)

The mission in Rosarito, Mexico does not exist and is actually a constructed set on a managed soundstage. (Cool)

Jeff Wadlow pitched nothing but the title and opening sequence to Jason Blum to get him to sign on to the film. (Well I can’t wait until the opening sequence then)

Jeff Wadlow had been drawing scary grins since high school and after becoming acquainted with snapchat and the face altering filters became inspired to give the entity Calux such a grimace as he takes control of the characters.

Released on Friday the 13th like the previous Blumhouse teenage slasher film “Happy Death Day” (2017), which also bore a PG-13 thematic rating despite featuring the unexplicit murder of teenage protagonists and mild, grisly demises.

An Unrated version of the film was released featuring more gruesome death sequences of the characters, prolonged dare sequences at the Rosarito Mission in the beginning and a racier sex scene between Lucy Hale’s Olivia and Tyler Posey’s Lucas. (Hope we got that, since the theatrical cut is PG-13 I think)

The warped faces caused by the force are edited to resemble the bizarre morphs of Snapchat and various phone photo application filters, particularly the Big Eyes, Big Mouth filter. (Huh, that is one way to keeps costs down)

The film was initially going to be released on April 27, 2018, but in January 2018 the release was moved up two weeks from its original release date of April 27, 2018 to April 13, 2018. This was likely done to avoid competition with the highly anticipated “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) which is set to be released on April 27, 2018. (I mean … maybe. They, maybe surprisingly, probably do have considerable audience overlap)

The brand of cigarettes the girl at the beginning of the film asks the cashier for are the same brand smoked by The Smoking Man in the TV Series “The X-Files”. (lol, okay, these notes are starting to push it a bit)

Stars Hayden Szeto and Morgan Lindholm previously appeared together in the unreleased short film Never Have I Ever (2016) .. also centered around a popular party game. (That’s ridiculous)

The first Blumhouse feature marked in title by Jason Blum’s distributing company handle. (Oh that is interesting though, got a bit of cache it looks like)

The game itself operates by rules: 1. The option.of Truth amongst the players can only be selected twice before the game automatically sets the next selected participant to do Dare. 2. The game passes along from group to group. 3. The game’s truth aims at turning others against one another, and establishing complete honesty of character 4. Dares are physically dangerous challenges that usually resulting in severe bodily harm or death. 5. Refusal of the options results in immediate grisly death. (Number two is bullshit)

The library scene in which the game forces Olivia to reveal Markie’s frequent affairs on Lucas pays homage to actress Lucy Hale’s role as Aria Montgomery on “Pretty Little Liars” (2010-2017), in which her character was harassed by an anonymous game playing assailant entitled A, who would on occasion turn the protagonists of the show against each other and have Hale’s character reveal other’s affairs. (I don’t care about this note except to say that yet again we have a horror film going to the library. Y’all best not besmirch the library)

Death Wish (2018) Recap

Jamie

When Dr. Paul Kersey’s wife is killed and daughter seriously injured in a botched robbery he becomes obsessed by the idea of getting justice in a world filled with injustice. He buys all kinds of guns and starts killing people. Will the police be able to stop this madman before it’s too late?… wait, that’s not what this is about!?! Find out in… Death Wish.

How?! Dr. Paul Kersey has the perfect life, the perfect daughter, the perfect wife, and the perfect deadbeat red herring of a brother. They are all having a perfect time not fighting or killing people until one day a botched robbery leaves his wife dead and daughter in a coma. With his sense of justice broken, Paul gets a gun by illicit means and begins to practice using it. One day he ventures into a bad part of town and upon witnessing a crime in progress proceeds to murder a couple of people. We are meant to wonder whether these people perhaps deserved to be murdered by an armed vigilante (hint: no). Anyway, high off satisfying his bloodlust, Paul continues to look for opportunities to kill people. He eventually finds another target in a drug dealer named the Ice Cream Man and the legend of Paul’s anonymous persona The Grim Reaper grows. Apparently though, Paul was actually just using those people as target practice (cool) because he then stumbles upon a clue that leads him to those responsible for the destruction of his family and that immediately becomes his primary focus. He proceeds to murder all of those people, but is injured in trying to kill the ringleader, Knox. Just at that moment his daughter awakens from her coma so he knows he’ll have to stop killing people without remorse. So he sets up the bad guys for one final climactic battle and blows them all away with legally purchased firearms. The police come and are like “Cool beans, bro.” THE END.

Why?! Paul wants revenge plain and simple. But since he doesn’t know who harmed his family he takes out his vengeance on those that he can find. Unlike the original this is all thrown away when he gets the opportunity to kill those that are responsible for the crime against his family. It’s made pretty clear, pretty quickly that he will stop once he gets his true vengeance.

Who?! Several prominent radio hosts appear in this film to demonstrate “serious arguments” about the merits of a serial killer roaming the streets of Chicago. A real life Dexter is prowling about and Sway and Mancow have to sit there and be like “But like, isn’t this serial killer good because he kills bad dudes or something?” Obviously Mancow was actually defending that idea because he is trash while Sway chose to go uncredited.

What?! Watches come up often in BMT action films, usually to identify someone on surveillance video (Exit Wounds), identify that someone is corrupt (Baywatch), or just to look super rad (The Expendables series). So when Bruce Willis had a couple watches stolen in this film I was like *product placement alert*. I turned out to be wrong though as I didn’t realize that by being in so many action films Bruce Willis has himself turned into a watch fanatic. So those two watches? A Rolex Yacht-Master and Panerai Radiomir straight out of his personal collection. Wowzer.

Where?! ChiTown, baby. Obviously this film uses the tragic gun violence in Chicago to further its pro-vigilante narrative, which is great. On a positive note they go out of their way to give a super exact address for Paul’s house: 20 Dorset Rd., Evanston, IL. A.

When?! We also get an Exact Date Alert for this guy as Paul gets a look at the murder board in the office of the detective working his wife’s case. They spell out explicitly that the murder occured on 26th of April, 2017 at 8:36 PM and so all events are centered around that. A.

This movie is obviously bad and not because it is a poorly made film. Sure the acting is some rough stuff most of the time, but the film itself is polished and adeptly made. It’s bad because it has a terrible message made for terrible people. The original film is actually more shocking in how explicitly it plays with the idea of an upper-class white professional being confronted by a world of crime that has generally not touched him in his life. We get a picture of a broken man whose only pleasure in life is the notoriety he gets from lashing out at the anonymous criminals who wrecked his family because he knows he will never see true justice. You get a sense that he assumes he will die in this pursuit, but when confronted with arrest instead he gives it up. In the new film this is all thrown away. Yes, Bruce Willis is lashing out, but in a much more “white knight” type of way. For example, he finds the Ice Cream Man because a young patient of his has been hurt by him. In the end even this is thrown away for a more cliched storyline where Bruce Willis hunts down those responsible for the original crime. While this is supposed to make it all the more palatable for a viewer it made it worse in my view because it seemed like they were trying to make me be like “yeah, vigilantes are good.” They aren’t. Sorry. Also it’s necessarily built on a pyramid of coincidences that cheapened whatever terrible message they were going for. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Bruce Willis wishes for only one thing. Well … fine, first he wishes for an easy paycheck that requires little to no acting. But a close second comes “death”. He’s got that death wish bro. Let’s get into it!

The Good – It ended up being a little kinder to the main character about his motivations (nearly all of the people he killed had something to do with his wife’s murder) in this current film. It is obvious when they do it, but they also manage to do an okay job with head faking you with the brother, and also explaining how Willis avoids detection by the police.

P’s View on the Preview – What else could you possibly care about with this film? I needed to see how weirdly pro-vigilante it ended up being and whether it was just wink-wink pro-gun, or blatant with catering to that audience. I will never begrudge whatever film tastes people have, and if that is seeing over-the-hill action stars shooting large guns at people then so be it. But that plus vigilante worship was going to be a one way ticket to me disliking this movie. So that’s all I really cared about.

The Bad – The film comes across as far more pro-vigilante than the original. The original you can kind of see he’s a monster who gets off on it. He doesn’t even bother to try and figure out who hurt his family. He kind of just dumps his daughter in a hospital eventually to go blow randos away. In this one he’s killing people he knows hurt his family and the public and police are both kind of rooting for him. It is weird shit. Bruce Willis just sleepwalks through the entire film as one would expect. None of the bad guys have motivations beyond “I want to kill innocent people for money please.” Like … a smash and grab B & E crew would typically just run when people come home, not wait around to get themselves a murder conviction. But whatever.

You Just Got Schooled – Hey a real one. So I did watch the original Death Wish which was … still weird. The background as I understand it is very similar to Dirty Harry. The original concept was meant to condemn a universal evil (vigilantism for Death Wish, cops working outside the rules with Dirty Harry), but ultimately either because of interference or general mismanagement both muddle things enough that audiences were like “these guys are awesome!” In both cases the creators were horrified and wrote a sequel directly condemning the actions. With Magnum Force (Dirty Harry 2) it is pretty explicit: the dirty cops are the bad guys, they are Dirty Harry but without the charm or protagonist shield. I think you have to get it: working outside the rules makes everyone less safe not more. As for Death Wish 2, the book makes it pretty obvious in exactly the same way (the main character has to hunt down a copycat vigilante to stop the madness), but apparently the films just ignore that and eventually Charles Bronson is blowing up gangbangers with bazookas … so lesson not learned. Did I like the original Death Wish? I thought it was interesting, like I thought the original Mechanic was interesting. But I’m not sold on Bronson. He comes across as an old school Seagal basically, you can’t believe they exist in the world without people constantly exclaiming “Who is this weirdo?!” Still excited to watch the rest of the series though.

The BMT – Ehhhh, I love that it has opened the door for the entire Death Wish series. Charles Bronson is one of those old school actors which seems influential in how someone like Steven Seagal eventually shaped his career. But would 2018 Death Wish stand on its own? Only in a gross way. I would have preferred to pair it with Peppermint, but that hadn’t been released to DVD at the time of viewing. Then I would have emphatically gushed about its influences on BMT as the first ever non-series BONUS ever. Instead I will will it from my brain and forget I ever watched it.

Welcome to Earf – A shockingly tough one, I had to remind myself that Bruce Willis was in both Death Wish and A Bonfire of the Vanities with Morgan Freeman, who narrated Conan the Barbarian with Ron Perlman, who starred in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – It makes lists based on critic score at least. And it does get some major cred from the mere fact that is was notoriously poorly timed, as noted here. And a film like this could have passed under the radar is not for that I think. But because of the terrible timing it managed to get number five on Kermode’s midseason list which is pretty impressive. It’s got the cred we love to see.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs