Fifty Shades Freed Preview

Perhaps you thought the embarrassment of last year would save us from this year. But no, it is our solemn duty. That’s right! It’s the first BMT Live! of the year and we are finishing the Fifty Shades series with a theatrical viewing of Fifty Shades Freed. Fifty Shades Darker was hands down the worst theater experience of my life and I’m truly dreading this final chapter. Pray for my soul and pray that I’m not viewed as some deviant as I sneak my way in and out of this film after buying tickets to Peter Rabbit or something. Sigh. Let’s go!

Fifty Shades Freed (2018) – BMeTric: 54.1

(Given that this film was only just released I’ll forgo the plots. The original is at 4.1 with 200K votes, the second at 4.6 with 66K, and the third is currently at 4.3 and 10K votes. So I have a theory that the second film is considered better than the first because of the soundtrack, which is kind of shockingly good. I’m very excited to see what they do with the soundtrack for the conclusion to the series.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars –  The problem with the “Fifty Shades” franchise—if it can be called a franchise—is not so much its portrait of a controlling man manipulating his lover past her comfort zone, although earlier installments feature such scenes. The problem is there’s not enough sex and too much … everything else.

(Preach sister! It is a very strange mark of the series that it lacks a certain … how do you say? Uh … softcore pornography that I believe was the main draw of the book series. I wouldn’t know, I read exactly 10 pages of the first book before my mind rejected it and I threw it in the garbage (well … returned it to the library anyways))

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJCc5HRPxYA

(So yeah … so you see all those car chases and the stalker and kidnapping and etc. etc. … that’s what the review is talking about. The film gets all caught up in the “exciting” stuff, it sometimes forgets what most people want is to mainly to see Dornan’s dong. Take a note from Color of Night and give the people what they want!)

Directors – James Foley – (Known For: Glengarry Glen Ross; At Close Range; Confidence: After Dark; The Corruptor; After Dark, My Sweet; Two Bits; Future BMT: Who’s That Girl; Perfect Stranger; Fear; BMT: Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed; The Chamber; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director in 1988 for Who’s That Girl; and in 2018 for Fifty Shades Darker; Notes: A major player in the 80s and 90s he’s been doing a lot of television more recently. Started as a director for Madonna shorts, and ultimately was the best man to Sean Penn when he married her.)

Writers – Niall Leonard (screenplay by) – (BMT: Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed; Notes: E.L James’ husband. He’s been a (mostly television) writer since the 80s including multiple episodes of Monarch of the Glen. He was put in primary control of the script in order to get the second and third film on track under the singular vision of James.)

E.L. James (based on the novel by) – (BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed; Notes: A bestselling author, her story is amazing. Twilight fanfiction to making $100 million in a year.)

Actors – Dakota Johnson – (Known For: The Social Network; How to Be Single; 21 Jump Street; Black Mass; A Bigger Splash; The Five-Year Engagement; For Ellen; Future BMT: Anarchy: Ride or Die; Date and Switch; Goats; Crazy in Alabama; Chloe & Theo; BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed; Beastly; Need for Speed; Notes: According to The Sun Dakota Johnson got into shape for these films by doing hot yoga. Also, she has said that her parents have never seen any of these movies.)

Jamie Dornan – (Known For: Marie Antoinette; Anthropoid; The Siege of Jadotville; Future BMT: The 9th Life of Louis Drax; BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed; Notes: Has recently ruled himself out of starring in any other Fifty Shades films in the future. There aren’t any other books, but maybe he’s worried they are going to Harry Potter this stuff.)

Eric Johnson – (Known For: Legends of the Fall; Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed; The Work and the Glory II: American Zion; Expiration Date; BMT: Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed; Texas Rangers; Notes: Canadian, broke big with Smallville and more recently with The Knick. Continuing his television work he’s joining the sixth season of Vikings.)

Budget/Gross – $55 million / Domestic: $38,560,195 (Worldwide: $135,060,195)

(This is going to smash it. This isn’t even its full strength Valentine’s Day! It made back its budget worldwide already. It is smashing it.)

#49 for the Romantic Drama genre

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(Hmmm, so a theory on why the genre totally collapsed in the early 2000s, Spiderman came out and Hollywood was making money hand over fist, so they put anything that didn’t pull down cash on the backburner. Then they discovered, shockingly, that women spend money too, and the genre has found a new life producing Nicholas Sparks books and things like Fifty Shades. We’ll see what they do now that Fifty Shades is almost definitely over. Previous BMT: Fifty Shades Series, Safe Haven, The Lake House, Random Hearts, Endless Love, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Choice, Here on Earth, The Scarlet Letter)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (15/118): Fifty Shades Freed brings its titillating trilogy to a clumsy conclusion, making for a film franchise that adds up to a distinctly dissatisfying ménage à trois.

(Every time. Clumsy conclusion, good conclusion … who cares? I’m just here to sit awkwardly in a theater and feel uncomfortable for two hours. Do you know what I don’t appreciate? The clumsy use of titillating and ménage à trois in this review Rotten Tomatoes … for shame.)

Poster – Fifty Shades Sklogged (B)

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(This is fine and stylish. I think every entry has been a massive disappointment in the font department, but such is life. Also really a perfect poster for Patrick to photoshop his face onto. Get a smug Sklog Wagon look to the camera on this one and we got gold.)

Tagline(s) – Don’t miss the climax (B)

(This is clever and short, so I have to give it props there. However it is particularly vague on what we are to expect from the plot of the film. So just above average.)

Keyword(s) – wedding ceremony; Top Ten by BMeTric: 68.1 Superman III (1983); 54.1 Fifty Shades Freed (2018); 53.6 Say It Isn’t So (2001); 50.4 Bride Wars (2009); 48.6 Stealing Harvard (2002); 47.2 MacGruber (2010); 47.0 Tomcats (2001); 45.5 When in Rome (2010); 44.3 The Big Wedding (2013); 43.8 Our Family Wedding (2010);

(Oooo I’m loving this list! Although MacGruber is great, so … forget about that one. But Tomcats should definitely be on the radar.)

Notes – Scenes were being filmed in Nice, France at the same time of the Nice terror attacks in July 2016. (Depressing)

There was talk that Jamie Dornan wouldn’t reprise his role as Christian Grey but those rumors were put to rest as of February 25th 2015 when his agent stated he was devoted to the sequels. (Yeah, this is a note for the previous film, they filmed the second and third together … these notes are weird)

Some of the filming was done at Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan’s home. (What?)

Third and final chapter of the Fifty Shades trilogy. (For now, don’t short sell yourself. You can make a fourth, no matter what Dornan thinks)

Dakota Johnson’s fourth consecutive movie to debut on Valentine’s Day weekend. The first was Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), the second was How to Be Single (2016), and the third was Fifty Shades Darker (2017). (Holy shit that is crazy)

Second Dakota Johnson movie to have a Hailee Steinfeld song in its soundtrack. The first was How to Be Single (2016), which also starred Steinfeld’s Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) co-star, Rebel Wilson.

To create Gia Matteo, Arielle Kebbel chose red well-manicured nails to represent the elegant control of her character. As seen on The IMDb Show (2017). (WHAT? You reporting notes from your own goddamned fake show now IMDb? Get out of here! These notes are travesties).

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Batman & Robin Recap

Jamie

Batman is back, Jack! The new baddies in town are Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Bane. Can Batman and Robin work together (perhaps with a little help from Batgirl) to take them down before it’s too late? Find out in… Batman & Robin.

How?! While Batman and Robin struggle to learn to work as a team a new bad guy has risen and is stealing all the diamonds in sight. His name is Mr. Freeze and he requires his body to be kept at a super low temperature at all times due to a lab accident. The diamonds he steals both power a cryogenic suit he wears and fund his continued research into curing his wife of MacGregor’s Syndrome. In a wild coincidence Alfred has just come down with MacGregor’s Syndrome and is steadily dying (if only someone was doing some research into curing that!). His niece Barbara comes to visit and basically disappears for most of the movie. At the same time a researcher in a Wayne Enterprise funded botany lab is accidentally turned into a powerful plant-human hybrid called Poison Ivy who vows revenge on Bruce Wayne. These two baddies converge on a trap laid by Batman at a fundraiser featuring the showing of a large diamond. While Mr. Freeze attempts to steal the diamond, leading to his capture, Poison Ivy demonstrates her ability to pit Batman and Robin against each other through the use of pheromones. After Poison Ivy breaks Mr. Freeze out of Arkham, Batman and Robin learn to trust each other again and go after her. Remember Barbara? She’s back and is now Batgirl for some reason. Great. They all converge on Poison Ivy’s hideout and take her out like it ain’t no thang. They then go after Mr. Freeze and totes crush him too and save Gotham from getting frozen. Having captured Mr. Freeze they then remember that he can cure Alfred and they’re like, “What up, give us the cure,” and Mr. Freeze is all like “OK.” They then cure Alfred and everyone laughs and they ask Barbara to stay because she is a vital and interesting character for the series. THE END.

Why?! Batman and Robin are same old, same old. As for Batgirl, she dropped out of school and is trying to earn money to free Alfred from his servitude before he dies. Only after he accidentally reveals Batman’s secrets to her does she understand the importance of his work and decide to take part (not really for justice or anything). Poison Ivy wants to kill everyone basically because she wants Mother Earth to fight back against the human race that is killing it. Finally, Mr. Freeze is the weirdest character we have in the series because he’s not really insane. He steals the diamonds because he needs them for his suit and research. It’s actually pretty confusing. Just help the dude. He’s sick and just wants to do valuable research. He doesn’t even want to kill Batman until Poison Ivy tricks him into thinking Batman killed his wife.

What?! Another Batman film, another case of an almost product placement. When Poison Ivy seduces Batman and Robin at the charity auction they get in a bidding war ending with Batman pulling out the official Batman credit card. It should have of course been a Visa or MasterCard or something. But no. It just says Batman on it… wonder what the bank makes of the fact that Bruce Wayne keeps paying Batman’s credit card bills.

Who?! Coolio appears in this film in a comically minor role. It may be my favorite example of a musician-turned-actor in the history of film. Also notable is Vivica A. Fox playing the hot love interest (?) of Mr. Freeze for exactly 12 seconds before unceremoniously being ejected from the film. It’s actually unclear why she is even in the film at all.

Where?! Gotham, duh. But in seriousness Gotham doesn’t have a location in this iteration of the Batman adaptations. This is pretty clear from the license plates that simply read “Gotham” at the top. In the comics there have been a number of hints dropped that it’s in New Jersey, which is apparently made explicit in Suicide Squad. Exciting. F.

When?! While Batman Forever was an amazing settings film, this film did turn out to purposefully obscure when this took place as well. To the point where an invitation to an event is clearly shown with no indication of where or when the event takes place… terrible planning. F.

This movie is terrible, but not nearly terrible as everyone seems to make it out to be. It is pretty obviously rushed and put together in a slapdash kind of way. This is best demonstrated by Batgirl who is forgotten for long stretches of the film in what was apparently unhappiness by the studio at her having gained some weight and them forcing Schumacher to cut her scenes… which is really just sad. This and the excessive use of quips and puns by Mr. Freeze is what seems to have set it apart in people’s minds when thinking about bad films. But I was somewhat shocked at how coherent it was given all that. Yes it strayed pretty far into the goofy side of Batman, but not really much further than Batman Forever already had. I truly blame the quips… and maybe that time that all the bad guys played hockey and then Batman and Robin did too and then the NHL had to fold (I think). Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What do you get when you cross a deluded director trying to make a live action cartoon, and the Dark Knight himself? The highest BMeTric of all time, that’s what. Let’s go!

The Good (Pop Quiz Hot Shot!) – The film is shockingly coherent given its reputation. It is also ludicrously fun, way beyond it has any right to be. I think the bright spot across the entire Burton-Schumacher series is that the performances are usually great, and Uma, Clooney, and Arnold all do rather well (despite the puns). And without further ado: Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

  1. When Poison Ivy and Bane interrupt the charity bachelorette auction they are dressed as what animal?
  2. When Robin is frozen at the end of the opening heist how long does Mr. Freeze claim Batman has to thaw him to prevent his death?
  3. Barbara Wilson (Batgirl) comes to Gotham after dropping out of what fictional school in England?
  4. When Alfred contracts MacGregor’s Syndrome he composes a cd detailing Bruce Wayne and his secret identity to be delivered to his brother in India. What is Alfred’s brother’s name?
  5. Both Robin and Barbara Wilson enter a underground motorcycle street race. Robin, naturally, has a Robin painted on his helmet, what is painted on Barbara’s helmet?

A tougher one this week which I think is indicative of a film with a rather simple plot line. Just trivia, but I hope someone who had recently finished the film could get two or three, the last two are tough for sure.

The Bad (Homework Sklog-signment) – The writing is, as usual, sloppy. The movie is too cheesy for its own good. The sick Alfred storyline is just not a great one, worst personal issue Bruce Wayne goes through in a series which is kind of excellent at exactly that. But … it is hard to judge, but it is easier to explain with a Homework Sklog-signment. I watched all four Burton-Schumacher films and I have to say: the Burton ones are kind of messy, dark, and not very fun. They are good, especially the second, but not head and shoulders above the others like I expected. Forever is actually fine if you can get past Lee and Carrey acting like idiots. And this one, while terribly cheesy, is actually a lot more fun than I remembered … but it is hard to tell how much watching this film multiple times when I was ten has warped my mind. It is a danger of re-watching films for BMT. If I saw this movie clean I probably would have been rolling on the floor laughing, but I knew every beat before it happened, so nothing surprised. Nothing was shocking. I think it is a problem.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – This could, eventually, mark a turning point for BMT, possibly for the better. I think there is a clear issue with watching a movie we’ve seen before. It distracts from the analysis. Perhaps we need to consider recruiting others into the fold for a guest review? We’ll have to have a think on whether this is a problem or not. I’ll just leave this here if you ever thought to doubt the cred on this one.

I’ll forgo the detail in the adaptation grade to lighten things up, but I think it is a C+, too silly given how Batman evolved in the 80s basically. Worse than Forever, but, given how Batman is just straight murdering people in the first two, not bad relatively to the Burton films. The answers to this week’s quiz are: (1) Gorillas, very impressive costumes actually; (2) 11 minutes, which was later referred to in the climax of the film as the time it would take for everyone in Gotham to die as well; (3) Oxbridge, an intentional mix of Oxford and Cambridge; (4) Wilfred Pennyworth; (5) A very creepy looking angel.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Batman Forever Recap

Jamie

While Batman struggles to guide a young orphan, Dick Grayson, whose parents deaths he feels responsible for, Two-Face terrorizes Gotham and a new nemesis, The Riddler, rises. Can he stop the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Batman Forever.

How?! Let me set the scene: Batman is still the coolest cat in Gotham. He’s slaying it with a smoking hot Dr. Chase Meridian (both as Bruce Wayne and as Batman) and torching Two-Face daily. Unfortunately even the worst bad guys get lucky and Two-Face is able to kill Dick Grayson’s family in a botched bombing attempt. So while Bruce Wayne takes in and struggles to connect with the loner orphan who reminds him so much of himself, he allows for a much more competent bad guy, The Riddler, to rise. Using Two-Face’s criminal enterprise (he’s otherwise useless), The Riddler is able to take over Gotham through the sale of a 3D TV type technology which is wildly popular (in what is the least realistic aspect of the film). This technology not only turns the denizens of Gotham into mindless consumer zombies (not sure I’m picking up on this metaphor, wish it was a little heavier) but supplements the smarts of The Riddler, making him the smartest man in the world. After deducing that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same The Riddler kidnaps Chase and baits Batman (and his new sidekick Robin) into a final showdown… which Batman immediately wins. Oh and Two-Face dies in an embarrassing way because his character is an embarrassment. The End.

Why?! Batman exists because of his parents’ deaths. Same with Robin. Plain and simple. They are out for justice. Two-Face wants to kill Batman because he didn’t prevent acid from being thrown into his face… which seems a little vain. I understand that it’s not fair that Batman didn’t save you but you gotta deal with it man. The Riddler wants to kill Bruce Wayne because he dismissed him as a crazed lunatic when he worked at Wayne Enterprises… granted Wayne was correct about that, but still.

What?! The original Batman franchise is notable for stepping as close to product placement without actually getting all the way there. Case in point, in the beginning of Batman Forever Batman tells a concerned Alfred that he’ll “get drive thru” for dinner. I waited with bated breath to see the Batmobile zoom through a McDonalds drive thru and snag a greasy bag of snacks. Instead… nothing happened. I could have sworn that I remembered Batman zooming through a drive thru. Turns out that was tied into an actual commercial that aired on television and not in the film itself. Didn’t want to soil the Batman brand I guess.

Where?! Gotham, duh. See: recap of Batman & Robin. It’ll tell you all you need to know. F.

When?! You would think this would be an F, since almost everything is obscured in this series, but it’s actually a Secret Holiday Film Alert! That’s right! This film takes place on and around Halloween as evidenced by The Riddler and Two-Face ambushing Alfred wearing Halloween costumes and pretending to be trick-or-treaters.

This entire series is much worse than I remembered it being. Two-Face is pretty easily the worst character in the entire series and it really dives deep into the camp with The Riddler given that the rest of the film is played straight. But while the highs didn’t seem as high as maybe I used to think as a kid, the lows also didn’t seem as low. The entire Burton directed/produced series took Batman to an extreme that I don’t think aged particularly well, but also can be appreciated for the ambition and vision that it had. Just doesn’t work anymore.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! This year we have decided to hit up some of the old faves from our youth to really give them the proper BMT treatment. Batman Forever has it all, Jim Carrey with ridiculous orange hair, Jim Carrey in a sparkly green jumpsuit, Jim Carrey in a sparkly silver jumpsuit … honestly, Jim Carrey off-the-wall performance was really the only thing I remembered about this film. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Pop Quiz Hot Shot!) – I liked Kilmer in this, it was kind of shocking trying to evaluate all of the Batmans across the series. They were all actually kind of good in their own way and for what they were asked to do. At least Carrey’s performance is insane, otherwise Tommy Lee Jones’ horrible Two-Face would have dragged to movie completely down. There is a lot to like in this movie, I think it is actually not that much worse than Burton’s two films despite what critics say. Mainly it is just that the Burton-Schumacher Batmans as a whole are quite a bit worse than I remembered them being. Trying out a new segment called Pop Quiz Hot Shot! which will posit a few questions, try and play along at home!

  1. Nicole Kidman’s Dr. Chase Meridian (great name) gives Bruce Wayne a dream doll that is meant to protect his dreams. From which country did this doll come from?
  2. Throughout the movie Bruce Wayne is haunted by the memory of his parents’ wake in which he sees a leather bound book sitting atop a table in Wayne Manor. What book is this and/or what writings did it contain?
  3. Throughout the film you see Two-Face toss his famous coin into the air. What is displayed on both sides of this coin?
  4. Prior to becoming Robin, Dick Greyson discovers the batcave is hidden behind a locked door near the main staircase in Wayne Manor. What did Alfred claim was behind this door earlier in the film?
  5. While trying to decide on his super-villain persona Edward Nigma rejects four possibilities before settling on The Riddler. Name any of these four options.

If you watched the film recently I think the first four questions are possible. The fifth is tough and is the only one I probably wouldn’t have gotten myself. Check below to see how you did!

The Bad (Too Sklog; Didn’t Watch) – The movie is just kind of written sloppily, the plan by The Riddler and Two-Face is probably the best scheme in any of the four Burton-Schumacher Batman films, but it manages to basically make no sense because of how it is presented. Two-Face is a horribly designed villain played lazily by Jones. In trying to brighten up the dingy Gotham in the Burton films Schumacher loses some of the charm of the series (even though I do think he made the series more fun in the process). Somehow the worst final fight of a series which had exactly zero satisfying villain fight scenes. Another new segment! In Too Sklog; Didn’t Watch I’ll try and highlight a single portion of the film that really embodies what makes this a great bad movie. For Batman Forever it is definitely the scene where Two-Face meets The Riddler:

Watch these five minutes of film … it tells you everything about what makes this film both ludicrously entertaining, and just complete garbage at the same time.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I don’t think this has legacy beyond maybe being a great example of the fleeting nature of BMT. This film wasn’t BMT qualified a month ago, and now it is, this is legit the first time I’ve seen that happen for sure for a film that wasn’t just released. Batman Forever somehow escaped street cred, although that is likely because, as this list points out, it is so disposable people barely remember it. Jones makes a list for worst performances by good actors though. And let’s just say, some people didn’t give Forever as much slack as I did in this rewatch.

I’ll leave a small Adaptations Grade here: oddly, among all of the Burton-Schumacher Batman films this is probably the best adaptation. First, unlike the Burton films Batman isn’t running around violating his one rule and killing people. Second, it gets that dingy gothic look while also being garish and colorized when it needs to for the villains. For this one I think I would give it a B. I’ll leave the homework assignment for the Batman & Robin recap.

The answers to this week’s quiz are: (1) Malaysia; (2) His father’s journal, Bruce Wayne was upset knowing his father would never write in it again; (3) The statue of liberty’s head, scratched out on one side; (4) The silverware closet; (5) The Puzzler, The Gamester, Captain Kill, and Question Mark Man.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Batman & Robin Preview

Big week highlighting one of the few changes the BMT Board of Directors (BMTBD) proposed for the year. That was to try to bring in some of the many major bad movies that we had watched prior to BMT and as a result never gave the full BMT treatment. Originally such films were totally excluded from consideration. No more! So for the SciFi/Fantasy/Other category of the adaptation cycle we went straight for the crown jewel. That’s right! We’re bringing the single highest scoring BMeTric film of all time, the critically reviled superhero film Batman & Robin. We obviously watched this as kids and probably didn’t even think it was all that bad (we were like 11, so I’m not sure I had ever watched a film and thought it was bad). Let’s see if it holds up (holds down?) on a rewatch. Also have to note that Batman Forever qualifies (RT 39%) so it will be included as a bonus. Let’s go!

Batman & Robin (1997) – BMeTric: 94.5

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(That, boys and girls, is the highest BMeTric in existence. Nearly 200K IMDb votes and a sub-4 rating, it is incredibly, almost impossibly, poorly rated. Let it sink in.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Batman #4 spotlights two colorful villains, Schwarzenegger’s lusty Mr. Freeze and Thurman’s deliciously nasty Poison Ivy, who (for different reasons) want to destroy Gotham City, but even their antics can’t sustain an overlong, episodic film in which the “story” often makes no sense. Clooney is OK but unremarkable as Bruce Wayne/Batman, ditto for Silverstone as the new Batgirl. The action and effects are loud, gargantuan, and ultimately numbing.

(He gave a better review to this one compared to Batman Returns! Incredible. Maltin doesn’t like “dark” things, at least that is what he complains about with the early Burton films. Hell, he gave The Dark Knight two stars! He thought Batman & Robin was better than The Dark Knight. Because of “colorful” villains basically.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RBXypX4qWI

(How did Uma Thurman end up doing this and The Avengers? The trailer is actually pretty cool. It looks like a cartoon, sure, but there isn’t really a good reason that that is a bad thing. Gotham looks cool. Arnold seems like he could work as an intimidating villain. I don’t know. I kind of expected the trailer to be garbage, but it isn’t really garbage, it is surprisingly compelling I think.)

Directors – Joel Schumacher – (Known For: Flatliners; The Lost Boys; A Time to Kill; St. Elmo’s Fire; Falling Down; Phone Booth; The Client; Flawless; Tigerland; Town Creek; Veronica Guerin; Cousins; Future BMT: Bad Company; Dying Young; The Incredible Shrinking Woman; 8MM; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Trespass; The Number 23; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director for Batman & Robin in 1998; Notes: In a recent Vice article, Schumacher said “Look, I apologize,” Schumacher told me in a phone interview last week. “I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that.” Good times.)

Writers – Bob Kane (Batman characters) – (Known For: Justice League; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Batman Begins; The LEGO Batman Movie; Batman; Batman Returns; The LEGO Movie; Batman: The Killing Joke; Batman: The Movie; Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders; Future BMT: Suicide Squad; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; BMT: Catwoman; Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Notes: The creator the Batman Character. There are a ton of articles about Bob Kane and his relationship with Bill Finger, the co-creator of Batman. Let’s just say it isn’t a super happy tale, although Finger is getting more credit now than he did in his time.)

Akiva Goldsman (written by) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; I Am Legend; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; Cinderella Man; The Client; Future BMT: Lost in Space; The Dark Tower; Practical Magic; Insurgent; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Batman & Robin; Rings; Transformers: The Last Knight; The 5th Wave; Batman Forever; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominated for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill in 1997; Notes: There is only so much to say right? He is currently overseeing the Ology book series adaptation with other heavy hitters like Michael Chabon on his staff.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: True Lies; Kindergarten Cop; Total Recall; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; Killing Gunther; Predator; The Terminator; Escape Plan; The Expendables; Aftermath; Conan the Barbarian; The Expendables 2; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; The Running Man; Commando; Welcome to the Jungle; The Last Stand; Maggie; The 6th Day; Red Heat; Future BMT: Hercules in New York; Junior; Red Sonja; Jingle All the Way; Collateral Damage; End of Days; Twins; Cactus Jack; Eraser; Last Action Hero; Terminator Genisys; The Kid & I; BMT: Batman & Robin; Raw Deal; Sabotage; Around the World in 80 Days; Conan the Destroyer; The Expendables 3; Notes: Former governor of California his marriage to Maria Shriver famously fell apart when it was reported he had fathered a child with their former housekeeper. I didn’t realize it, but the child is 20-years-old and goes to Pepperdine.)

George Clooney – (Known For: Tomorrowland: A World Beyond; Ocean’s Eleven; From Dusk Till Dawn; Gravity; Hail, Caesar!; The Men Who Stare at Goats; The Thin Red Line; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; Burn After Reading; Ocean’s Thirteen; Up in the Air; Ocean’s Twelve; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Spy Kids; The Descendants; Money Monster; The American; Michael Clayton; Out of Sight; The Perfect Storm; Future BMT: Return of the Killer Tomatoes!; The Monuments Men; The Good German; BMT: Batman & Robin; Notes: Once the world’s most eligible bachelor, he’s found love with his wife Amal. And guess what? They had twins! A son and a daughter, so fraternal, but still, that’s pretty good.)

Chris O’Donnell – (Known For: Scent of a Woman; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Kinsey; Vertical Limit; School Ties; Blue Sky; Circle of Friends; Kit Kittredge: An American Girl; A Little Help; Cookie’s Fortune; Men Don’t Leave; Future BMT: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore; The Bachelor; Mad Love; 29 Palms; In Love and War; The Three Musketeers; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Max Payne; The Chamber; Notes: He’s one of the guys whose career was potentially derailed by this disaster. But he seems like he’s doing okay having starred in all 168 episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles. I saw the pilot and him and LL Cool J tear it up, so there we go.)

Budget/Gross – $125 million / Domestic: $107,325,195 (Worldwide: $238,207,122)

(An absolute disaster at the time. Movies like this are more common these days, but at the time the budget was mind-blowing, so not making it back at the domestic box-office was crazy. I’m sure they made a mint on toy sales though.)

#64 for the Comic Book Adaptation genre

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(The same as above. The largest two we’ve seen for BMT are Fantastic Four and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies … did we watch those for BMT? I think we saw the first one for BMT, but not the second. Which is weird, because I’ve definitely actually seen the second. I must have watched it on a plane.)

#61 for the Superhero genre

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(There really isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said about the genre in the Batman Forever preview. Let’s just say that we’ve had a few gems in our time watching the dregs of Superhero films. You remember Elektra? You remember that piece of garbage? We need to watch a few of these too, like Blankman. Blankman is crazy.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (9/86): Joel Schumacher’s tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that’s too jokey to care much for.

(Hmmm, kind of surprising it isn’t below 10%. I do like the consensus though, I think it very much rings true with what can go wrong with the jokey superhero paradigm. It works fine for Marvel, but this is the logical conclusion of the style and it can get ugly.)

Poster – Sklogman and Sklogin’ (D-)

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(This is horrific. This is where you can take the Batman Forever poster (good) and make what seems to be mild changes and dive straight into F territory. Too many colors and too much going on. That being said still has the font… so maybe just narrowly missing that The Avengers F level… barely.)

Tagline(s) – Strength. Courage. Honor. And loyalty. On June 20, it ALL comes together… (D)

(It’s like a child wrote this. I really don’t like it… the more I look at it the more I hate it and I better just grade it before I give it an F.)

Keyword(s) – bat; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.5 Batman & Robin (1997); 72.5 Are We Done Yet? (2007); 67.8 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 65.9 Bodyguard (2011); 64.5 Bats (1999); 63.6 Dracula 2000 (2000); 57.3 Little Nicky (2000); 55.4 Batman Forever (1995); 49.5 The Order (2003); 41.3 City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold (1994);

(I modified this one a bit, but I do like the ultimate list … I wonder is any of these guys are concerning like a baseball bat? Not an animal bat. City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold is the greatest title for a film of all time as well.)

Notes – Most of the scenes with Batgirl, played by actress Alicia Silverstone, were cut out because Silverstone had gained a few pounds during production and the wardrobe team had to refit her costume. When the press discovered the news, they slammed Silverstone’s weight gain and mocked the actress for being “too fat” to fit into her costume. As a result, director Joel Schumacher publicly defended Silverstone during interviews and press meetings, joking “What is this girl’s big sin – that she ate some pizza?” When the press continued to taunt Silverstone’s weight gain, mostly from female journalists, Schumacher again intervened and lashed out at the reporters that taunted her. Schumacher went on record about the weight gain to one magazine by saying: “”It was horrible. I thought it was very cruel. She was a teenager who gained a few pounds – like all of us do at certain times. I would confront female journalists and I’d say, ‘With so many young people suffering from anorexia and bulimia, why are you crucifying this girl?'” Alicia Silverstone Batgirl in this movie is the only time Batgirl was ever shown on screen for a live action Batman movie. (Huh. Makes Schumacher sound like a decent dude. That story kind of sucks)

Due to the difficulty and large amount of time it took to remove the Batman suit, George Clooney reportedly urinated in his suit on at least one occasion. (Jesus Christ these notes)

George Clooney has been known to refund people who saw this film. (I would rather watch the film with him in his house. That would be an experience. I don’t need money back)

In later interviews, director Joel Schumacher would blame studio pressure to make the film more “toyetic” (i.e., a showcase for marketable toys and games), and in a “making-of” documentary on the DVD, apologized to disappointed fans.

Final film of wrestler Jeep Swenson (Bane), who died two months after the film’s release. (Oh no, that is awful. Died of heart failure at 40.).

Joel Schumacher had several meetings with Warner Bros. to get them to reconsider letting him do another Batman movie. Schumacher wanted to take the film back to its darker roots and make a “Batman: Year One” movie. Schumacher wanted to cast Kurt Russell as a young Commissioner Gordon and would have had Selina Kyle as a young, beautiful African-American woman living in the ghetto. However, Warner Bros. decided not to rehire Schumacher and the Batman film franchise remained in development limbo for years until Batman Begins (2005). (Probably a fine decision all things considered. Schumacher would have been poison regardless)

Last Batman film viewed by Batman creator Bob Kane. He would die one year after the release of this film. This is also the last film which Kane worked as project consultant.

Mr. Freeze says 27 “ice puns” throughout the movie. (This is why we watch bad movies)

Voted as the #1 in Empire magazine’s “50 Worst Movies Ever” (February 2010). (Streeeeeeeeet credit report dot coooooooom)

In the evidence room at the prison where Freeze is held and before Bane breaks in, both the Riddler’s and Two-Face’s outfits can be seen. (Noice)

In an interview the cast members were asked what item from filming they would like to take home with them. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he would be taking Mr. Freeze’s armor home, Uma Thurman said that she wanted Ivy’s floral throne, and Elle Macpherson said that she just wanted a cap or something with the “Batman & Robin” logo before anyone else. When asked, George Clooney said he wanted Elle Macpherson. (ha … kind of creepy though)

After filming was completed, Arnold Schwarzenegger went in for heart surgery. Because studios were anxious about insuring Schwarzenegger in one of their action movies, he couldn’t get work again until End of Days (1999). (Huh, didn’t know that. Interesting story.)

The only film in the original series in which Tim Burton had no involvement during the development stages (he directed Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), and worked as producer in Batman Returns and Batman Forever (1995)).

After the poor reception of Batman & Robin, several Batman projects were considered to substitute for the next Batman movie. One was a direct sequel, Batman Unchained written by Mark Protosevich. The second was an adaptation of the graphic novel, Batman: Year One. The last was a live-action adaptation of Batman of the Future (1999). None of those projects came to fruition, instead the franchise was rebooted with Batman Begins (2005). (These notes are really good)

Arnold Schwarzenegger is reputed to have earned $25 million for playing Mr. Freeze.

Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to reprise the role of Conan for “Conan the Conqueror”, which was rewritten as Kull the Conqueror (1997), to star as Mr. Freeze in the film. (Too bad. That film would have probably been terrible)

The Oxbridge Academy, Barbara’s fictional university in England, is really a combination of the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. Oxbridge is used jokingly in American pop culture to refer to any British college graduate. (British people to refer to the two colleges as such. It is often a boon to hire an “Oxbridge” graduate)

Uma Thurman and Elle MacPherson both went on to have children by Arpad Busson who refused to marry either of them. (Wow, I’ll leave that as the last note. Keep it classy IMDb note makers)

Awards

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Alicia Silverstone)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Peter Macgregor-Scott)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Chris O’Donnell)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Uma Thurman)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Joel Schumacher)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Akiva Goldsman)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Billy Corgan)

Batman Forever Preview

Big week highlighting one of the few changes the BMT Board of Directors (BMTBD) proposed for the year. That was to try to bring in some of the many major bad movies that we had watched prior to BMT and as a result never gave the full BMT treatment. Originally such films were totally excluded from consideration. No more! So for the SciFi/Fantasy/Other category of the adaptation cycle we went straight for the crown jewel. That’s right! We’re bringing the single highest scoring BMeTric film of all time, the critically reviled superhero film Batman & Robin. We obviously watched this as kids and probably didn’t even think it was all that bad (we were like 11, so I’m not sure I had ever watched a film and thought it was bad). Let’s see if it holds up (holds down?) on a rewatch. But first we have some homework to do! That’s right, Batman Forever qualifies (RT 39%) so it will be included as a bonus here. Let’s go!

Batman Forever (1995) – BMeTric: 55.4

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(Sacre Bleu! That … it is so beautiful. It is the most steady unwavering below average IMDb ratings I’ve ever seen. It is pristine. Shhhhh, don’t scare it away, just appreciate that you get to appreciate it.)

Leonard Maltin – 3 stars –  Kilmer makes the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne his own in this well-written sequel in which the Caped Crusader battles Two-Face (Jones) and The Riddler (Carrey) while attempting – at least for a while – to resist the advances of a sexy psychologist (Kidman). He also acquires a partner in O’Donnell (as Robin), and it’s this aspect of the film – the character relationships – that give it solidity. The loud, razzle-dazzle special effects are overkill. Ed Begley, Jr., appears unbilled.

(Wow, that is a pretty solid review. Better than most that’s for sure. I’m not sure “well-written” is how I would describe the film from what I recall, but this does get me a bit more excited about the whole affair.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROLvjRB4E_Q

(Besides how over-the-top both of the villains looks that trailer is actually quite good. It even makes the whole Robin introduction make a bit more sense: Batman is fighting two villains and thus needs a partner … makes sense to me.)

Directors – Joel Schumacher – (Known For: Flatliners; The Lost Boys; A Time to Kill; St. Elmo’s Fire; Falling Down; Phone Booth; The Client; Flawless; Tigerland; Town Creek; Veronica Guerin; Cousins; Future BMT: Bad Company; Dying Young; The Incredible Shrinking Woman; 8MM; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Trespass; The Number 23; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director for Batman & Robin in 1998; Notes: Started his career with the Brat Pack and then adapting Grisham novels. Has been openly gay throughout his career.)

Writers – Bob Kane (characters) – (Known For: Justice League; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Batman Begins; The LEGO Batman Movie; Batman; Batman Returns; The LEGO Movie; Batman: The Killing Joke; Batman: The Movie; Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders; Future BMT: Suicide Squad; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; BMT: Batman & Robin; Catwoman; Batman Forever; Notes: Original creator of Batman. Died in 1998 having acted as a consultant on all of the Burton/Schumacher Batman films.)

Lee Batchler and Janet Scott Batchler (story & screenplay) – (BMT: Batman Forever; Pompeii; Notes: Married screenwriting team. They wrote the first pass with Robin Williams in mind which was subsequently re-written by Goldsman.)

Akiva Goldsman (screenplay) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; I Am Legend; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; Cinderella Man; The Client; Future BMT: Lost in Space; The Dark Tower; Practical Magic; Insurgent; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Batman & Robin; Rings; Transformers: The Last Knight; The 5th Wave; Batman Forever; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominated for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill in 1997; Notes: Incredible career which we touched on in several previews already. Is an executive producer on the upcoming Dark Tower television series … good luck.)

Actors – Val Kilmer – (Known For: Heat; Top Gun; True Romance; Song to Song; Tombstone; Willow; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; Deja Vu; The Prince of Egypt; The Doors; Top Secret!; Real Genius; Palo Alto; Felon; Kill the Irishman; MacGruber; Bad Lieutenant; The Missing; The Ghost and the Darkness; Pollock; Future BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; The Snowman; Twixt; Alexander; The Traveler; Red Planet; Planes; 5 Days of War; Hard Ca$h; Delgo; The Real McCoy; At First Sight; Masked and Anonymous; The Saint; Mindhunters; Wonderland; 10th & Wolf; Stateside; Summer Love; BMT: The Love Guru; Batman Forever; Notes: His health reports are quite strange. It seems like he had throat cancer which is why he didn’t do any films for two years. He was back this year with The Snowman … but tabloids are still pushing stories about his cancer spreading to his brain and being terminal? Just super weird stuff. He at one point denied having cancer and then said “I’ve had a healing of cancer” … what?)

Tommy Lee Jones – (Known For: No Country for Old Men; Captain America: The First Avenger; Lincoln; Jason Bourne; Men in Black; The Fugitive; Natural Born Killers; Men in Black 3; JFK; Space Cowboys; Small Soldiers; The Homesman; Love Story; Under Siege; In the Valley of Elah; The Client; The Company Men; Blue Sky; The Missing; Volcano; Future BMT: Man of the House; Wings of the Apache; The Hunted; Men in Black II; Black Moon Rising; The Family; Blown Away; Criminal; Double Jeopardy; Rules of Engagement; U.S. Marshals; Just Getting Started; Emperor; BMT: Batman Forever; Mechanic: Resurrection; Notes: Famously the college roommate of Al Gore. Also played Offensive Guard on the undefeated Harvard football team that played in the famous 29-29 game.)

Jim Carrey – (Known For: The Truman Show; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; The Bad Batch; Dumb and Dumber; Ace Ventura: Pet Detective; A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Mask; Bruce Almighty; Man on the Moon; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Liar Liar; Yes Man; Me, Myself & Irene; Earth Girls Are Easy; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; The Cable Guy; I Love You Phillip Morris; A Christmas Carol; Peggy Sue Got Married; Horton Hears a Who!; Future BMT: Dumb and Dumber To; Pink Cadillac; Once Bitten; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone; Fun with Dick and Jane; Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls; Kick-Ass 2; BMT: Batman Forever; The Number 23; Notes: One of the many breakout stars of the television show In Living Color and went on to be one of the most famous comedic actors in the world. Despite winning two Golden Globes he has never even been nominated for an Oscar. Also noted crazy person.)

Budget/Gross – $100 million / Domestic: $184,031,112 (Worldwide: $336,529,144)

(Basically nothing by today’s standards. Kind of amazing, but the first Burton one was the highest grossing of the three. Forever actually did better than Returns.)

#39 for the Comic Book Adaptation genre

batmanforever_comicbookadaptation

(Basically Superman and Batman kicked off a chain of comic book films that peaked in 1995 and then collapsed. Spiderman rejuvenated the genre which is now averaging 64 thousand theaters a year … considering you kind of max out at 4K theaters, or roughly 16 comic book movies in a calendar year at one point. Steel and Barb Wire are kind of the lowest of the lows for the genre)

#38 for the Superhero genre

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(Same as above although it is kind of interesting to see that we are at a peak for superhero films, but not for comic book movies. Makes sense, the set of comic book movies almost entirely contains the set of superhero films.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (24/61): Loud, excessively busy, and often boring, Batman Forever nonetheless has the charisma of Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones to offer mild relief.

(This actually went from 40% flat to just a shade below this year! Rotten Tomatoes scores change unfortunately. The extra review was a short review from CNN in 1995, it just hadn’t been recovered yet. We had to jump at the chance to do the film though, one more good review and it won’t qualify.)

Poster – Sklogman Forever (B)

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(I wish they had done more to tone down the colors brought in by the different characters so that there was a little consistency, but otherwise this is a well laid out poster that gives us everything we need to see without going overboard. Font is even given a unique spin. I like it.)

Tagline(s) – Courage now, truth always…. (B-)

(Apparently this is from the trailer and ended with “Batman Forever.” Which may or may not be obvious. It’s a good cadence and sounds like a tagline, but dips a little into the generic zone. Also I like my taglines on the poser. Just a preference.)

Keyword(s) – partner; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.5 Batman & Robin (1997); 68.0 Double Team (1997); 67.8 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 61.4 Exposed (III) (2016); 58.2 Alex Cross (2012); 55.4 Batman Forever (1995); 54.6 Jungle 2 Jungle (1997); 51.1 The Mummy (2017); 51.0 Twisted (I) (2004); 50.9 Scream 3 (2000);

(Interesting. We need to watch Vampire in Brooklyn for sure, tick off another Murphy film. This is somewhat of an enigmatic one though, basically all cop / batman films … so what does partner in Jungle 2 Jungle mean?)

Notes – According to Jim Carrey, he did not get along with Tommy Lee Jones, who told him that he hated him and his films. (Sounds about right)

Jim Carrey’s original idea – to shave a question mark into his scalp – had to be scratched as he was due in court to finalize his divorce. (Jeez, that is a dark reason)

While Tim Burton was still slated to direct the film, Micky Dolenz was considered to play The Riddler. After Burton dropped out, Robin Williams was offered the role by Warner Brothers, but refused due to being bitter about being used as “bait” to lure Jack Nicholson to commit to play the Joker in Batman (1989).

Michelle Pfeiffer was considered to reprise her role as Catwoman.

In the first Batman (1989), District Attorney Harvey Dent was played by Billy Dee Williams. Williams accepted the role with the knowledge and expectation that Dent would eventually become Two-Face. He reportedly had a clause put into his contract, reserving the role for him in any sequels, which Warner Bros. had to buy out, so they could cast Tommy Lee Jones. Williams would eventually voice the character in The Lego Batman Movie (2017). (Huh, I guess I understand wanting a bigger name in there, but that would have been pretty fun maybe)

Dick Grayson suggests “Nightwing” for a hero name. This was the name used by the adult Dick Grayson in the comic books.

Before deciding not to don the cape and cowl for a third time, Michael Keaton met with Joel Schumacher and declined to join the project after deciding that he did not like the direction in which Schumacher was looking to take the franchise. In the brief time that Tim Burton was still considering doing a third Batman film, Riddler was the only villain that he planned on using. The idea of using Two-Face did not come up until Schumacher joined the project.

While learning to twirl a cane, Jim Carrey reportedly broke around a dozen prop canes and some of his trailer furniture.

The Batmobile was usually driven by stunt drivers, but Chris O’Donnell insisted on driving it himself in the joyride scene. He crashed it into a curb, and dented a fender. (nice)

Val Kilmer and Joel Schumacher clashed during filming. Schumacher described Kilmer as “childish and impossible”. According to Schumacher, Kilmer refused to talk to him for two weeks.

Val Kilmer and Jim Carrey became good friends during filming. They bonded over the deaths of their fathers.

Tommy Lee Jones was Joel Schumacher’s first choice for the role of Two-Face after working with him in The Client (1994). Jones accepted the role because his son Austin, eleven at the time, said Two-Face was his favorite character.

Joel Schumacher’s decision to put nipples and enlarged codpieces on the Bat-costumes, as well as an earring on Robin caused controversy – it even bothered Batman creator Bob Kane. Schumacher said he wanted the costumes to have an anatomic look, while the earring was supposed to make Robin more hip. He also claimed that the basis for the Batman and Robin suits came from statues of the gods of ancient Greece. (Joel Schumacher everyone!)

Robin’s costume is not the classic costume of the comics that Dick Grayson wore, but it is based on the costume worn by the third Robin, Tim Drake. This costume was introduced in 1990, and it is rumored that Tim Burton had a hand in designing it.

So heavy was his Batsuit, that Val Kilmer lost five pounds filming the opening fight scene alone. (NOPE, that fact is fake. FAKE)

Will Shortz, “puzzlemaster” on National Public Radio and editor of the New York Times crossword puzzle, created the Riddler’s riddles. (Wow)

Tim Burton said “I always hated those titles like Batman Forever. That sounds like a tattoo that somebody would get when they’re on drugs or something. Or something some kid would write in the yearbook to somebody else. I have high problems with some of those titles.” It is rumored that Burton was considering the title Batman Continues while he was still slated to direct.

For the scene where Chase Meridian is visited by Batman on her balcony at night, Nicole Kidman was not wearing any clothing underneath the white silk sheet, with which she was covering herself. (But why?)

William Baldwin was reported to be considered for the role of Batman. Other names considered for the part before Val Kilmer was cast included Daniel Day-Lewis, Kurt Russell, Alec Baldwin, Ethan Hawke, Ralph Fiennes, Tom Hanks, and Johnny Depp. (TOM HANKS)

Olympic gymnast Mitch Gaylord was a stunt double for Chris O’Donnell. (That is BMT legend Mitch Gaylord to you)

Joel Schumacher said in an interview about Val Kilmer “Val did me two great favors when I wanted him to be Batman, he said yes. Then he created a situation which allowed me not to have him play Batman again, they were both happy, happy instances for which I will always be grateful”. (Cooooooold bloooooooded)

Unlike the two Tim Burton Batman films, this is not scored by Danny Elfman. Also, unlike those two, this film features original songs performed by multiple artists. The trailers for this film and Batman & Robin (1997) feature Elfman’s score from Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), however. (Oh I didn’t know that)

The handgun Two-Face uses throughout the movie is a chrome plated Benelli mp95e. (gun facts, a staple of any good IMDb trivia section)

Awards – Nominated for the Oscar for Best Cinematography (Stephen Goldblatt)

Nominated for the Oscar for Best Sound (Donald O. Mitchell, Frank A. Montaño, Michael Herbick, Petur Hliddal)

Nominated for the Oscar for Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing (John Leveque, Bruce Stambler)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Bono)

Marmaduke Recap

Jamie

It’s a big dog in a new city when Marmaduke moves from Kansas to LA. Can this dog navigate the cliques at the local dog park, help his owner get the bg marketing deal done, and maybe get the girl? Find out in… Marmaduke.

How?! Marmaduke is loving life in Kansas with his family, the Winslow’s. How do we know? Why he talks directly to the camera of course. Great! When the patriarch of the family, Phil, gets a new high-powered marketing job offer in Cali the family is pretty skeptical, Marmaduke most of all, but takes the risk anyway. Phil is tasked with getting a big deal done with Petco to market an organic dog food nationwide and is pretty stressed. Meanwhile Marmaduke finds himself relegated to the “mutt” clique at the dog park and is harassed relentlessly by the alpha dog Bosco and crushing hard on the local hottie Jezebel. With the help of his friend Mazie, a rad dog surfing competition, and a staged fight with his cat friend Carlos, Marmaduke breaks through with the cool crowd. Hooray! At the same time Phil continues to struggle with his work-life balance. This is further thrown out of kilter when Marmaduke throws a huge rager and ruins the house. Sent to the back yard as punishment Marmaduke runs away thinking he’s just a bad dog  and no one loves him anymore. A distraught Winslow family goes off in search (his garbage plot point of a job be damned) only to find Mazie and Marmaduke sucked into a sinkhole (for real). Jumping in after him (like an idiot), Phil almost dies but I guess it’s cool because he doesn’t and saves Marmaduke instead. A video of Phil saving Marmaduke goes viral, Petco loves it and gives him the big deal, and everyone lives happily ever after. THE END.

Why?! At its essence the film is a high school comedy (about a giant gangly dog that literally doesn’t fit anywhere) meaning that the motivation is primarily to fit in. Marmaduke wants to be part of the cool crowd and most of the plot centers on how he goes about accomplishing that. Only at the end does he realize that friends are what truly matters, not being cool. The rest of the plot and motivations are meaningless kids film garbage to the highest degree.

What?! The obvious candidate is Petco, which is the name brand associated with Phil’s big marketing deal all the kids can’t wait to hear more about. Enough with the cute talking puppies! How will Phil figure out how to expand a regional brand to the middle of the country?! Gah!

Who?! The film is Fergalicious… what’s Fergalicious? Well apparently its definition is “make them boys go loco.” I certainly went loco once I found out that Fergie from our beloved Black Eyed Peas voiced the temporary love interest of Marmaduke. Not sure why the rest of Black Eyed Peas weren’t represented in the voice cast. I was less loco about that.

Where?! Caaaalllifffoorrrnia. Early contender for Location as a Character award for next year’s Smaddies Baddies. This is about California all day and every day and even has a scene where Marmaduke watches an episode of The OC in preparation for his big move… it was terrible but also reminded me how much I liked The OC so I was OK with that. A.

When?! I believe Marmaduke exists outside of time. Really there were few spots to even look for a date as we were mostly dealing with dogs that have little use for time. I didn’t see one, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one. Still, it currently stands at an F.

Not unexpectedly this movie is a pile of trash meant to get kids in the theater (but who cares what they think or care after than. Also welcome to hell, parents.). Much like Nine Lives, this boasts a ridiculous storyline that aims to interest kids in… pet food marketing? It really begs the question why kids films often have plots that are more boring than a car commercial. What isn’t questioned is our wisdom in bringing kids films back in the BMT fold. They are ridiculous and good for a bunch of bad movie tropes that I sorely missed: 1. Fart jokes 2. People getting hit in the balls 3. Inexplicable music videos 4. Things that are mildly racist. Children are basically a bunch of terrible people laughing at the misfortune of others and it can be fun sometimes to harken back to when we too were blissfully ignorant of how terrible we are as people. Not so fun when the film is Marmaduke though. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Oh what a life I live. A wonderful family, a good job, and, of course, a fun and exciting hobby to keep me occupied. Watching bad movies is a breeze. I wonder what we are watching today … Marmaduke? … Welp, it was a good run boys, pack it in. Sigh, why can’t I quit you BMT? Let’s get into it.

The Good – I liked Judy Greer, and William H. Macy in this. And the voice cast is off the chain. Other than that this movie is a big pile of dog poo shoved forcefully into my face. So, no, I refuse to discuss anything else “good” about this film. As somewhat of a departure I’m actually going to skip a game here so that I can write a longer remake in the next section.

The Bad (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Pheeeew giant doggie. Let’s see, the story line is a classic A/B kid’s combo. The A story is that of Marmaduke, a dog from the Midwest just trying to find a place in his new home of Los Angeles. The B is that of a man trying to build a better life for his family as the marketing director for a dog food company. Why kids would have any interest in B I have no idea. The animated animals look terrible, like really bad. The jokes aren’t funny. The story makes little sense. The film ends with an aggravating sequence of Lee Pace saving Marmaduke and everyone living happily ever after. But I have to Remake it. I have to. In my remake the fundamental storyline is roughly the same, Lee Pace is a marketing director for a dog food brand who is trying to woo Midwestern customers. He loves his dog Marmaduke, despite the fact that he never listens to him, and within the inner monologue it is revealed that Marmaduke is basically afraid of everything and that is why he never listens to his owner. This also makes him an outcast at the dog park: he is a gentle giant who tends towards fear, and that gets him bullied. But Lee Pace’s new client loves Marmaduke: he is so goofily large. They insist that Marmaduke be in the commercial. This interferes with Marmaduke’s social status because the alpha dog in the park is the top dog actor in Los Angeles. Combine this with the fact that Marmaduke runs wild after trying to be coaxed into a trick during the commercial shoot and this dooms Lee Pace’s chance at making a good impression with his boss. Marmaduke, sad about his owner being mad at him and his friends all feeling betrayed by his sudden celebrity, decides to run away. When Marmaduke sees his friend-dog get swept away in a river he jumps after her realizing only his bravery can help his friend. Stuck in the roiling river Marmaduke is afraid and doesn’t know what to do, but there is his owner yelling for Marmaduke to trust him and to “come”. Marmaduke loves his owner, and takes the plunge, trusting that following his orders will save his life, which it does. Lee Pace convinces the dog food company that featuring “real” dogs in their ads is what will convince Midwestern owners to buy their food. The dog park rejoices because now all of the dogs, not just the beautiful purebreds, get to share in the Hollywood dream. The End.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – This piles in with things like Furry Vengeance, Nine Lives, and Dudley Do-Right for sure. It is probably best paired with Nine Lives because of how they use a very not-kid friendly B-plot to propel the story illogically forward. Someday I think we’ll kind of cut through our issues with kids’ films and really get to dig into them a bit, and Marmaduke, being objectively bad and having that B-plot adults can latch onto, would be right up there as some of the best-worst we’ve seen. As for street cred, I think kids’ films can kind of duck under the fray a bit. But Marmaduke did make the AV Club list for the year, so that is actually pretty impressive all things considered.

As far as adaptations I’m not sure what to say. The original strip is just kind of about a big dog … so they nailed that I think. Not to toot my own horn, but I think the remake I proposed would have done a bit better job at least highlighting Marmaduke being too big and uncooperative for the owner to handle, which … is kind of all the strip is about really. I would give the adaptation a C-, it is fine, it is passing, but it doesn’t even really get the one thing it needed to get right right, so I have to punish it for that.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Marmaduke Preview

I actually did not mind watching our previous film The Women. Unfortunately that means we’ll inevitably turn around and do some film that’s a giant pile of dog poo in our face. Not looking like it’ll be any different here. For the Chain Reaction we are jumping from A Dog’s Purpose through it’s star Josh Gad straight into another dog-centric film. That’s right! We’re watching Marmaduke! What should have been a slam dunk success (what kid doesn’t like talking animals?) turned out to be a critical and financial train wreck (hooray?). In it Josh Gad played *squints at casting sheet* Bandana Dog… huh. Alrighty. This film is of course about the titular great dane from the old comic strip that essentially asks the question: what if you had a dog that might be just a little too big? Presumably big laughs as he gets into all kinds of zany situations… sigh. This is gonna be a tough one. Let’s go!

Marmaduke (2010) – BMeTric: 66.4

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(So sometimes it is hard to tell: is that regression to the mean? Or is it basically people who didn’t watch the movie shitting on it in 2010 and then forgetting about it (allowing people who have watched the film to give it a more appropriate 4/10 review)? A combination of both actually makes the most sense. With regression to the mean you aren’t regressing to the overall mean (although I sometimes use it that way). You are regressing to the film’s mean rating. The early reviewers might be more discriminatory (or more lax) than the general population, but eventually with enough votes it will get to where it is truly meant to be. This suggests the film is bad (a rating of 4 is objectively bad), but that it wasn’t nearly as bad as the initial reactions suggest (a rating of 2 is an all time bad film). Sounds innocuous to be honest, which doesn’t not bode well for the Bad Movie Twins.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Fans of the long-running comic strip by Brad Anderson and Phil Leeming may be surprised to learn that Marmaduke, the humongous Great Dane who often tests the patience of this “two-legger” owners, speaks in a lazy hipster voice (supplied by Wilson) that suggests a California stoner. Unfortunately, that’s one of the very few novelties in this otherwise derivative, unimaginative comedy that relies heavily on the intermingling of human actors in thankless parts and CGI-tweaked live animals voices by familiar actors. Strictly kid stuff.

(Oh no, strictly kid stuff. I want to point out something: this is one of the longest reviews I’ve ever seen in a Leonard Maltin book. In other reviews they will insert abbreviations awkwardly, seemingly just to get them a character or two shorter. Why would Marmaduke be allowed this luxurious review length? No idea.)

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

(Dance scene alert. That better be during a post-credits bloopie reel. Loving the music, loving the setting (California is basically a character), and loving the Black-Eyed Peas shout with Fergie getting ludicrously high billing. Everything about this suggests I will hate-love this film.)

Directors – Tom Dey – (Known For: Shanghai Noon; Future BMT: Showtime; BMT: Marmaduke; Failure to Launch; Notes: Interesting that he has almost nothing in the pipeline. Did a commercial reel which landed him at Ridley Scott’s production company, which lead to his (almost exclusively) directorial career.)

Writers – Tim Rasmussen and Vince Di Meglio (written by) – (Future BMT: Smother; BMT: Marmaduke; License to Wed; Notes: Interesting. They are writing partners it looks like. But Di Meglio is also a visual artist on a number of films including Miss Congeniality and Hansel & Gretel.)

Brad Anderson and Phil Leeming (comic) – (BMT: Marmaduke; Notes: Brad Anderson and Phil Leeming created the original strip. Anderson created it, and Leeming helped for the first ten or so years of its run.)

Actors – Owen Wilson – (Known For: Wonder; Cars 3; Wedding Crashers; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Cars; Inherent Vice; Midnight in Paris; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; The Royal Tenenbaums; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Zoolander; Night at the Museum; No Escape; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; Marley & Me; Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian; The Darjeeling Limited; The Cable Guy; Meet the Parents; She’s Funny That Way; Future BMT: Anaconda; Breakfast of Champions; I Spy; Little Fockers; How Do You Know; You, Me and Dupree; Are You Here; Drillbit Taylor; Masterminds; Hall Pass; Free Birds; Cars 2; Meet the Fockers; The Internship; Father Figures; Behind Enemy Lines; Armageddon; BMT: Zoolander 2; The Haunting; Marmaduke; Around the World in 80 Days; Notes: Y’all know Owen Wilson. Has had a working relationship with Wes Anderson throughout both of their careers. Shanghai Dawn with Jackie Chan is currently in the works.)

Judy Greer – (Known For: War for the Planet of the Apes; Jurassic World; Ant-Man; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; The Village; Tomorrowland; 13 Going on 30; 27 Dresses; Love & Other Drugs; Our Souls at Night; The Descendants; Carrie; What Women Want; Three Kings; Wilson; Adaptation.; Lemon; Neko no ongaeshi; Grandma; All We Had; Future BMT: Cursed; The Wedding Planner; Jawbreaker; Love Happens; Kissing a Fool; Peep World; Elizabethtown; Addicted to Fresno; I Love Your Work; Entourage; The Amateurs; Men, Women & Children; BMT: Marmaduke; Playing for Keeps; Notes: If you saw her you’d recognize her, she is a well known comedic character actor. I know her best as Kitty from Arrested Development. She had her directorial debut, A Happening of Monumental Proportions, in early 2017.)

Lee Pace – (Known For: Guardians of the Galaxy; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; Lincoln; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; The Fall; The Good Shepherd; A Single Man; Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day; The Program; Infamous; The White Countess; Ceremony; Future BMT: The Resident; 30 Beats; The Book of Henry; BMT: Marmaduke; When in Rome; Notes: Maybe most well known for his television work, including the lead in Pushing Daisies. He was a dwarf in The Hobbit franchise, and owns a farm.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $33,644,788 (Worldwide: $83,761,844)

(I wouldn’t say it is a bomb, but they would have wanted to crack $100 I think. Especially considering how well the Chipmunk franchise was doing around this time. These things are so easy to make I can kind of understand why you just dump it and move onto the next one honestly.)

#26 for the Dog genre

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(I’m going to field a guess here: I think the basically seven year gap in Dog movies after 2010 was partially a reaction to Marmaduke and Beverly Hills Chihuahua, partially that films like those ended up going direct-to-VOD after 2010, and partially because big kids’ films started just using cheap animation instead of animals at the time. Fascinating stuff. And A Dog’s Purpose was the first Dog movie we watched for BMT as far as I can tell. And I love dogs.)

#28 for the Family – Talking Animal (Live action) genre

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(Hot to Trot was also our firsts. 2017 really was a year of firsts for BMT. This came right at the peak, like the tippy top before the fall. Again, I think it is because talking animal movies are released to VOD now. Why would you bother going to a theater to watch Garfield 5 when the kids are going to be distracted anyways and your house is quiet and comfortable? Kind of inevitable that big releases like this would eventually die off, not really worth it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (9/100): Dull and unfunny, Marmaduke offers family filmgoers little more than another round of talking animals and scatological humor.

(Brutalized. Yeah, this is kind of why we shy away from the family friendly affairs here at the BMT Media Empire HQ. Dull, unfunny, kid humor. Almost never a rewarding combination. I’m kind of loving the very matter of fact Reviewer Highlight: Lines like “Get your bark on,” “Who let the dogs out?” and “Cowabarka” abound. Many of the jokes revolve around excretory functions. – Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post)

Poster – Marmasklog (F)

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(I do not like the contrasting blue and red colors there. Jarring and frankly ugly. And don’t pretend Marmaduke is too big for the title to be on the poster, you are just depriving people like me from seeing what garbage font the graphical design intern painstakingly chose during their lunchbreak. No one called him “the Duke”, everything about this makes me angry actually.)

Tagline(s) – Live Large (C-)

(We get it: Marmaduke is a big dog. Then again, wasn’t that the point of the comic strip? Wasn’t it just about a dog that was just too big for the house and family to deal with? So … fine I’ll bump it up to a passing grade … barely.)

Keyword(s) – great dane; Top Ten by BMeTric: 66.8 Scooby-Doo (2002); 66.4 Marmaduke (2010); 62.9 Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004); 33.6 The Other Woman (2014); 32.2 Good Boy! (2003); 29.6 Committed (I) (2000); 24.0 Teenage Cave Man (1958); 16.8 The Heat (I) (2013); 13.3 Oliver & Company (1988); 10.8 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001);

(Huh … well a lot of those don’t qualify, but still a little nuts this is the first Great Dane film we’ve seen. The Scooby-Doos have to happen because they are on the Calendar though.)

Notes – The film has the distinction of featuring two dog farts, three urine gags, two hits to the groin, one animal belch, two record scratch moments and two uses of the phrase “Who let the dogs out?” (This IMDb user is doing the Lord’s work)

Twin dogs were used for the titular character. (Twin film!!!)

Ron Perlman was originally cast as the voice of Chupadogra, but for unknown reasons, Sam Elliott took over the role.

Amanda Seyfried was the first choice for Mazie.

In the original comics, Marmaduke never talked. (uuuuuuugh)

In 2010, George Lopez, who does the voice of Carlos, the cat, was accused of being extremely rude to a fan and refusing to take a picture with her. The fan turned out to be a Mexican radio show personality and she had taken the incident to live radio.Mexican radio show personality, La Vozalona (Marlene Quinto), as part of the Mexican radio show, “El Show de Don Cheto”, said that she had met George Lopez at a Cuban restaurant. When she saw that he had finished eating and was on his way out, she approached him near the exit of the restaurant. While he was taking a picture with a fan, she had asked to take a picture with him, to which she said he became very rude and disrespectful. She had to wait and was told that “even Mexicans have manners and say please”. Confused, La Vozalona said she told Lopez she was a big fan and one of his many followers on Twitter. In response, Lopez told her to shut up and take the picture. La Vozalona said she told Lopez to stop being rude or else she would “burn” him on talk radio. He responded with a, “What, you think I care?”.This was very surprising for many and many considered Lopez a big hypocrite for the incident, considering he had also been criticizing and ridiculing _CHiPs (1977)_ star ‘Erik Estrada’ for many years. This prior incident, like his most recent, was for not shaking his hand and refusing to sign an autograph, while Estrada filmed an episode of CHiPs near Lopez’s neighborhood. (Do I leave this in the preview? It seems so crazy that this long-winded story is on the Marmaduke page, … like it has nothing to do with Marmaduke. Why is it here? It is just so crazy I can’t stop thinking about it … I hope it gives someone else as much confusion-joy)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (George Lopez)