After Preview

Adam Banks is horrified by the latest demands by Jamie and Patrick. “They are monsters,” he whispers in shock, “I can handle them being proud of what they’ve made. But this is just greed. We need something on them, Rod. Some scandal that will let us fire them.” With that he orders Rod back to the set with a scandalous new member of the cast.

Jamie looks deep into the eyes of Leighton Vanderschmidt, cast opposite him as the Ghost of Christmas War. Apparently when Banks heard about the demand for a ghost he insisted that Leighton be cast, which was fine by them… she is by all accounts boffo box office. The spooky character is meant to evoke the fleeting nature of life and love, but Jamie isn’t yet sure the message is getting through. Mostly they’ve just done a whole bunch of kung fu and made out. Nice. Looking around Jamie starts to think that perhaps it is getting through because everyone on set looks truly horrified. Likely due to existential dread. With shooting done for the day he turns and runs directly into Patrick, who spills a half-eaten cake onto his costume. “Jeez Louise, my costume is ruined,” Jamie snaps, stamping his foot. “Here let me help with that,” Leighton chimes in. How charming. She escorts him to her trailer and proceeds to help clean up all the cake. Jamie notices just how scandalous this must look, them alone in Leighton’s trailer, him pantsless, ruined cake everywhere. Gee, he sure does hope that no one is conveniently taking pictures at this moment through the open window, because that would be quite the scandal. But he waves off the eerie feeling… he’ll cross that bridge when he comes to it. That’s right! We’re watching the 2019 teen romance After, based on a book that started as One Direction fanfiction. It tells the story of a goodl girl who just can’t resist the mysterious bad boy in town (who also can’t resist her). Oooo, forbidden love. It had me at One Direction fanfiction. Let’s go!

After (2019) – BMeTric: 46.5; Notability: 18 

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(Tumbling quite nicely. Didn’t open that high as well. On a nice streak for the Notability. Shows how a lot of the bad movies you find in the late 2010s end up being those films with relatively few famous crew. Makes sense from a business perspective, throw a flier out there using a shoestring budget.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – “After” opens with some narration about how certain moments in life seem to define a person, and from there, the clichés pretty much don’t stop. If there’s a defining moment in the life of Tessa Young (Josephine Langford), it’s either meeting, initially being annoyed by, falling in love with, being heart-broken by, or reuniting with Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin).

(Ha! Pretty solidly destroying the entire concept of the film there. I am not looking forward to this though. Seems like it is going to mostly be frustrating.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZAdcWHuCmY/

(DRAMA. That is what they should have called the movie: Drama and Rain: The Movie. So much rain and drama. It is making me all excited, but in that special BMT kind of way.)

Directors – Jenny Gage – (BMT: After; Notes: She produced and directed a documentary called All This Panic about girls coming of age in Brooklyn. Makes sense she would be tapped for this adaptation.)

Writers – Tom Betterton (screenplay by) – (BMT: After; Notes: Gage’s husband. I’m sure this was part of some rewrites, but he seems to have worked alongside her quite closely throughout her career.)

Tamara Chestna (screenplay by) – (BMT: After; Notes: Seems to be working on a similarly themed film for Netflix called Moxie. Was an assistant to a producer (I think) on Last Holiday. Seems to have bounced around across a bunch of production studios.)

Jenny Gage (screenplay by) – (BMT: After; Notes: The director. Her and her husband probably were able to rewrite the script once she was put on board.)

Susan McMartin (screenplay by) – (Future BMT: Son in Law; BMT: After; Notes: A very successful television writer, she wrote 58 episodes of Mom and 15 episodes of Two and a Half Man along with being a producer on both shows.)

Anna Todd (novel) – (BMT: After; Notes: This film was created as a fanfiction involving One Direction. It was the first book she ever wrote.)

Actors – Josephine Langford – (Future BMT: Wish Upon; BMT: After; Notes: Younger sister of Katherine Langford who we have not seen in a BMT film yet.)

Hero Fiennes Tiffin – (Known For: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; Private Peaceful; Bigga Than Ben; BMT: After; Notes: Nephew of Ralph Fiennes which is why he was hired to play a young Tom Riddle in Harry Potter. Went to school nearby where I currently live in London which is amusing.)

Khadijha Red Thunder – (BMT: After; Notes: Doesn’t seem to even have a wikipedia page … well she’s slated for the sequel, so maybe she’ll get one soon. Very weird.)

Budget/Gross – $14,000,000 / Domestic: $12,138,565 (Worldwide: $69,497,587)

(Solid worldwide success. Much like horror films it is pretty easy for teen romances to make money since you don’t have to pay much to make them.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (6/35): Tepid and tired, After’s fun flourishes are let down by its generic story.

(Uh oh. Usually I like something like “An unmitigated disaster that is more laughable than sexy” … those are usually more entertaining. Hopefully it is indeed very laughable and not very sexy. Reviewer Highlight: The real problem with After is that it’s a lifeless slog of thinly written clichés, one that’s missing the charismatic spark of the actual One Direction boys. – Caroline Siede, AV Club)

Poster – Teen Romance Sklog-daption (2019) (A) 

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(My god, it’s beautiful. Not only is it actually a fine example of a poster (interesting font, overall color scheme, and sexy spacing to really let us know we’re in for a steamy ride), but it’s like a romance novel front cover on steroids. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.)

Tagline(s) – After Your First, Life is Never the Same. (B)

(First… love? God I hope they mean first love. But you know they’re implying virginity. I think this is fine. Could be more clever, but it has a cadence to it and it feels right.)

Keyword – high school senior

After_high school senior

Top 10: After (2019), Superbad (2007), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), Varsity Blues (1999), Central Intelligence (2016), The Girl Next Door (2004), 21 Jump Street (2012), Project X (2012), 17 Again (2009), The Spectacular Now (2013); 

Future BMT: 27.4 Senior Trip (1995), 17.6 Varsity Blues (1999), 15.8 Inventing the Abbotts (1997), 13.2 Tuff Turf (1985); 

BMT: After (2019), Project X (2012)

(Not much here, and honestly not many good keywords for this one yet. Project X is a very high school senior thing, but this one … aren’t they in college in After? Whatever.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 22) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Selma Blair is No. 3 billed in After and No. 3 billed in Down To You, which also stars Freddie Prinze Jr. (No. 1 billed) who is in Summer Catch (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jessica Biel (No. 2 billed) who is in Valentine’s Day (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 1 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 22. If we were to watch Feeling Minnesota, Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 18.

Notes – Hardin’s copy of Wuthering Heights is the copy that Anna Todd has had since she was a teenager.

Was originally a One Direction fanfiction on a website called Wattpad. (Oh my, that’s excellent)

The original After trilogy gained over 1 billion reads on Wattpad. (No!)

Josephine Langford admitted in an interview that she read the first few chapters of After on Wattpad several years before being cast as Tessa. (Oh don’t admit that! Say you tried to read it, but it was incomprehensible trash. How are we going to have seen multiple fan fiction adaptation for BMT. How did this happen?)

The rights to the film were originally sold to Paramount. However, Anna Todd wanted more freedom when it came to adapting the film. The rights were then given back and eventually sold to Aviron.

Josephine Langford only had about a week or so to prepare for her role as Tessa Young. She read the book(s) and the script while on a plane. (Cheap as ffffffff)

Before being a novel, After was a fan fiction on the website Wattpad where some of the characters’ names were based on the members of One Direction: Hardin = Harry Styles; Zed = Zayn Malik; Landon = Liam Payne; Nate = Niall Horan; Logan = Louis Tomlinson.

The full After series includes After, After We Collided, After We Fell, After Ever Happy, and Before (HA! Before takes the cake)

The Curse of La Llorona Recap

Jamie

Anna Garcia is recently widowed and barely keeping it together with a couple kids at home and a stressful job as a caseworker. It also doesn’t help when she gets totally cursed by an aggrieved mother who blames her for the death of her children. Can she get rid of that spooky scary curse before it’s too late? Find out in… The Curse of La Llorona.

How?! Anna Garcia is having a tough go of it. Her husband was recently killed in the line of duty, she’s raising a couple of kids solo, and her job as a caseworker is pretty stressful to boot. It gets even more stressful when she visits one of her cases and finds the woman’s children locked in a closet and the mother claiming that she’s protecting them from evil. Spooky. But she ain’t buying it and gets those kids under protective care… or does she? Because later that night they are found drowned and the mother blames (and goes ahead and curses) Anna for their deaths. Soon Anna’s own children are seeing a spoooooooky ghost of a weeping lady who wants to hug them really really hard… until they die. Everywhere they look they are seeing (and feeling the burning touch) of this ghost lady and they’re like “get out of here, ghost lady.” Recruiting an exorcist that specializes in La Llorona (as this spooky ghost is known) they prepare for a final showdown. In the process La Llorona is all like “gimme dem kids” and they are all like “no” except the exorcist who is kinda like “sure, but only because it’s a trap.” In the end they do battle with the demon and using her own necklace charm against her they are able to totally own that ghost and everyone lives happily ever after. THE END… or is it? It is. Big Question: I personally would love to know how much was added or changed to fit this in the Conjuring Universe.

Why?! Lots of motivations here, besides the main characters who mostly just don’t want to die. La Llorona herself killed her children because her husband had an affair and left her. Thus she is cursed for all eternity to wander the earth crying and searching for her children. So she just wants her kids… awwww. As for Patricia, it’s a pretty straight forward case of her blaming Anna for the death of her children. So then she curses her right back. Like a psychopath she has no remorse for this until near the end of the film… like come on… you cursed her innocent children to die.

Who?! This could be an interesting addition to the Who repertoire in noting that Marisol Ramirez played our movie monster La Llorona in this film. Sometimes this can be a great boon for an actor, so perhaps when we’re watching La Llorona X in 25 years we’ll be like “Marisol Ramirez is really why I keep coming back.” 

What?! Again, somewhat horror specific, but a movie monster also often has some sort of object that is its weakness. Dracula 2000 helpfully explained why draculas don’t like sun (he was Judas hung at sunrise) and why he drinks blood (he was Judas and Jesus stuff or whatever). Here La Llorona can’t cross seed from the Fire Tree (the tree that witnessed her kill her children) and is ultimately killed (?) when she is stabbed with a cross made from the tree. If only there would be twelve of these films so we can understand where her power to control electricity comes from (introduced in the fourth installment).

Where?! Really nice California and Los Angeles specific setting. Works well with the actual La Llorona legend and would have been a nice one for a map considering how sneaky important it is. Only critique is that it rains far to much in the film for it to actually be LA.

When?! The best we get is a “1973” intertitle at the beginning of the film and the fact that school is in session and no holidays in sight. So Fall or Spring probably. Still, intertitle is good and an official period setting is enough to scratch out a B. That being said, I think this film might be the least effort ever taken to make a film look like it’s set in the 70’s.

Having just watched Countdown (and objectively more ramshackle production than this one) I can’t believe I’m going to say this but… this might be worse. It is not scary and has terrible monster design… which are two of the most important aspects of a horror film. So a failure on those two things is not a good look. It also is so shoehorned into the Conjuring Universe that they may as well have had an intertitle telling the audience “Somewhere in the Conjuring Universe.” Even the 1970’s setting seems like a complete afterthought. All that being said I did like the general look and feel of the film and so it wasn’t like it felt silly like Countdown or Slender Man or The Bye Bye Man. So a generally pleasant watch. Just surprisingly bad. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I got spooky scared by La Llorona which tried to steal my two children. But I was like “No, you can’t have them you spooky ghost!” … Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Y’all know I like the Conjuring Universe. Kind of no matter what they do honestly. I like the idea of a connected spooky universe where hauntings are real. While the spin-offs seem to be hit-or-miss, I still ended up liking The Nun. So what the heck, I might have liked this, who knows? What were my expectations? I’m just hoping it gives an interesting ghost backstory. It is always nice when you can imagine the demon coming back and teaming up with other demons (like in The Conjuring 2) to make this extra spooky.

The Good – I thought the team up of the main character as a case worker and the ex-priest operating with the more mystical American legend worked quite well. Thinking about it, it is kind of a perfect team to handle Central/South American hauntings (whereas the Conjuring guys seemed to operate in the Northeast US / Europe style haunting). I’m sure this is the intention, and I kind of hope they follow through with that idea because it is fun. I’m also glad they didn’t give Linda Cardellini a love interest, it works quite well with her as a single mother. I also liked that they had the ghost attach itself to the family. Nicely counter to The Conjuring where the ghost explicitly haunted the house.

The Bad – The film is a mess. There seemed to be an inkling of a morality tale in the La Llorona legend, and they introduce it briefly, but then abandon that quickly. The monster design is terrible. Not scary, and not interesting. A boring backstory for the ghost, which is all you really care about with The Conjuring in the first place. Pretty standard story with The Conjuring spin-offs: too much time spent setting everything up, and not enough actually giving effective scares.

The BMT – I would watch a bad Conjuring film every year if they want to give it to me. I love the extended Conjuring universe. It is a very cool idea, and even when it flops (like this one) you still get one or two cool nuggets that could be interesting in a future movie. I can’t wait for The Conjuring 3, good or bad. Did it meet my expectations? Nope. Without that interesting backstory for La Llorona the tension leaks out of the story. You want that backstory because it gives that dramatic tension, that maybe the audience will be able to figure out the key to La Llorona’s weakness that the main characters don’t have the information to figure out, and then finally do right at the end. Give me some of that! Instead it was a whole lotta nothing.

Roast-radamus – A very quick Setting as a Character (Where?) with Los Angeles playing a dual role. First, with a large Mexican population, it serves as a way for La Llorona to enter the US market. And second, I personally think La Llorona’s connection to water is meant as a comment on the city in the desert a la Chinatown. The eeriness of seeing storms in the desert I think is intentional. While a period piece, there isn’t a holiday for a When call is unlikely. I’ll give a minor MacGuffin (Why?) for Cardellini’s two children as the only thing La Llorona wants. And it’ll enter into the Live discussion for 2019 films, but I don’t think it’ll make it.

StreetCreditReport.com – La Llorona was already notable for bringing in the least money for any of the wildly successful Conjuring films. Otherwise I can’t really find it on the few lists that exist so far. I don’t think it’ll get any razzie nods as it isn’t a high profile target. I guess it could end up being the worst Conjuring Universe film ever when all is said and done, but who knows, the Conjuring Universe could last forever!

You Just Got Schooled – Having watched most of The Conjuring films (and Annabelle preventing us from watching that particular offshoot immediately) I decided that it was time to really do some homework. Up until a few years ago we tended to ignore homework, so looking through I quickly found a BMT film, The Haunting (1999), where I had never watched the original (and it was about a spooooooky ghost as well, convenient). Watching the original 1963 The Haunting, which Spielberg called the scariest film ever made, … well it wasn’t scary, but it was interesting and a pretty cool precursor to The Conjuring. The idea of a house just being evil is something the likes of Stephen King tend to use as well, most famously in The Shining. And the cast of characters (including Russ Tamblyn of West Side Story fame) is also well put together. Despite predating modern horror in many respects, it is a worthwhile watch as so many haunted house films seem to draw on the ideas put forth in The Haunting specifically. I’m thinking that 2020 will be a BMT Projects year, and one nice project would be to watch all of the homework I’ve put off before, so buckle up for more tangentially related You Just Got Schooled sections in the future. A- for The Haunting, probably not above average for quintessential horror from the 60s, but still really good.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Curse of La Llorona Quiz

Alright, the last thing I remember I heard a woman crying, went to go check it out, and now I’m haunted by a g-g-g-g-g-g-ghost! She knocked me over the head though and I can’t remember anything else. Do you remember what happened in The Curse of La Llorona?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Anna and her two children live in 70s LA as she toils away in Child Protective Services. Recently widowed, Anna is having a tough time of it, with problems at work and home. What was her husband’s profession?

2) At a crime scene Anna’s son ventures out to sneak a peek at some dead bodies (normal …), but instead sneaks a peak at La Llorona! Uh oh! Why is La Llorona haunting Anna and her children?

3) What seems to be La Llorona’s modus operandi? How does she haunt/kill her victims?

4) As explained by our ex-priest hero, there is only one thing that can stop La Llorona in her tracks. There is also another thing he calls “anti-venom”. What are these two things?

5) There is only one connection to the main Conjuring Universe in the film, do you remember what it is?

Answers

The Curse of La Llorona Preview

Rod sets up behind a large plant with some pretty snazzy spy tech. Everyone probably assumes that the badass private eye is just a pretty face, but it’s the 21st century and he’s now a technological wizard too. So far he hasn’t gotten anything particularly incriminating against Jamie and Patrick. It’s almost been three weeks and all he’s seen them shoot is several hundred takes of Jamie running down an alley. “But what do I know,” he thinks, as he levels the camera on Jamie.

Jamie gets the sense that someone’s watching him, but when he turns his head nobody’s there… how strange. He shakes his head and goes back to watching the latest set of dailies from 4Rich’r 4Poe’r: Dimension: Time. Patrick walks in carrying a plate of croissants and joins him. The cast is dope, the script is bomb, and the French Riviera is beautiful this time of year, but they both feel like something is missing. Helicopter cruise ships? No they already got those… a sixth bad guy? Perhaps, but everyone knows once you get past five antagonists it’s really diminishing returns at that point. Again the hairs raise on Jamie’s neck and he’s now certain that someone is watching him. He ain’t afraid of no ghosts and with a signal to Patrick they backflip their way off the couch and surprise the spy with their patented Twin Chop. “Rod?” Patrick asks, surprised to see their go-to private eye splayed on the ground. Embarrassed, Rod explains the situation. Jamie and Patrick stare stormily at him and tell him to go back and tell Adam three things: 1. Double their salary. 2. They now get final edit. 3. The bad guy is now a ghost. Rod stares at them in horror. That’s right! We’re hitting up one of our favorite horror franchises (seriously) with the latest entry in The Conjuring Universe. The Curse of La Llorona is only tangentially related to Annabelle, but that’s enough to get our butts in the seats… that and some not very good reviews. Let’s go!

The Curse of La Llorona (2019) – BMeTric: 48.1; Notability: 13 

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(Dropped like a stone after early positive reviews presumably from die-hards. Mid-5s is about right for a bad horror film, so I expect nothing less than a disappointingly banal film in the end)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Perhaps the film’s most grievous sin is that it isn’t very scary. … [I] wonder if part of the reason the Garcia family lacked cultural ties was an attempt to appeal to all U.S. Latinos, but in losing that cultural specificity, I lost the connection to what makes our ghost stories “ours.” While it was fun to watch a big budget horror movie finally play in the fertile grounds of Latinx superstitions, I wish we had a better reason to break out our sage.

(Hmmmmm, that criticism actually makes a ton of sense. La Llorona is very specifically Mexican so mixing cultures does seem to kind of water that down.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALhy6XTpMlk/

(I think on the one hand the trailer is good because it doesn’t give away much and doesn’t give away a lot of the scares presumably since it focuses on the first time they meet Mrs. Llorona. On the other hand it doesn’t seem scary at all, and the monster design looks lame. So that isn’t good.)

Directors – Michael Chaves – (BMT: The Curse of La Llorona; Notes: A young director who was tapped for this and also, now, Conjuring 3. He did a few shorts, including a Billy Eilish music video, so perhaps that’s what convinced the producers.)

Writers – Mikki Daughtry (written by) – (Known For: Five Feet Apart; BMT: The Curse of La Llorona; Notes: Not much about her, although I found the 2013 Blacklist where her and Iaconis has a screenplay entitled “Elsewhere”.)

Tobias Iaconis (written by) – (Known For: Five Feet Apart; BMT: The Curse of La Llorona; Notes: It seems like Mikki Daughtry and him have been a writing team since 2013, so it is extremely likely they have had their fingers in tons of scripts over the years without credit. Prior to that pair up though he managed a writing credit on Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia.)

Actors – Linda Cardellini – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Green Book; A Simple Favour; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Brokeback Mountain; Legally Blonde; The Founder; Kill the Irishman; Super; The Lazarus Project; Welcome to Me; Return; Future BMT: Scooby-Doo; Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed; Strangeland; Good Burger; Daddy’s Home 2; Daddy’s Home; Dead Man on Campus; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; American Gun; BMT: The Curse of La Llorona; Hunter Killer; Notes: The star of Freaks and Geeks, she’s managed a very long Hollywood career mostly in comedy.)

Raymond Cruz – (Known For: The Rock; Training Day; Clear and Present Danger; Alien Resurrection; Under Siege; Bound by Honor; Gremlins 2: The New Batch; Broken Arrow; Havoc; The Substitute; Maid to Order; Dead Again; Future BMT: Collateral Damage; Operation Dumbo Drop; Man Trouble; Out for Justice; Up Close & Personal; BMT: The Curse of La Llorona; Notes: He was Tuco in the early seasons of Breaking Bad. A consistent character actor it seems.)

Patricia Velasquez – (Known For: The Mummy; The Mummy Returns; Committed; Future BMT: Beowulf; Turn It Up; Mindhunters; BMT: The Curse of La Llorona; Notes: Venezuelan, she grew up poor and has mainly been a model in her career.)

Budget/Gross – $9,000,000 / Domestic: $54,733,739 (Worldwide: $122,133,739)

(A huge success, as all horror films seem to be. This continues the Conjuring Universe dominance though, which I like because I somehow like all of these films. Go figure.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 29% (51/176): Content to coast on jump scares rather than tap into its story’s creepy potential, The Curse of La Llorona arrives in theaters already broken.

(Boo, sounds like The Nun. It seems like a consistent problem with these spin-offs. That all of the set up, and lore building sinks things, so maybe La Llorona 2 or Nun 2 can save those spin-offs. Maybe bodes well for Conjuring 3 though. Reviewer Highlight: …we were cursed with the annoying and shrieking but not even close to terrifying La Llorona. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – The Curse of Los Sklogronos (B+)

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(What a very strange poster. I guess props to them for trying something different. I would have thought they would do something similar to The Nun, but boy they went for it. Not real scary though… slightly creepy. I do like the framing and the little twist on the font. Nice touches. Certainly tells a story… almost too much of one.)

Tagline(s) – She Wants Your Children (C-)

(Huh… just kinda putting it out there. Well, no. She can’t have them. Does she want anything else? It almost feels like one person worked on the poster and the tagline and was like “perfect” after their first draft. “She Wants Your Children.” Nailed it. It’s true.)

Keyword – spin off;

TheCurseofLaLlorona_spin off 

Top 10: Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019), Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), Men in Black: International (2019), Rogue One (2016), Venom (2018), The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016), Bumblebee (2018), Ocean’s Eight (2018), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009); 

Future BMT: 68.1 Supergirl (1984), 62.7 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014), 59.5 The Mod Squad (1999), 54.6 Annabelle (2014), 42.9 Men in Black: International (2019), 40.8 Planes (2013), 40.8 Beauty Shop (2005), 35.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), 29.9 The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016), 27.8 Pokémon: The First Movie (1998); 

BMT: X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), The Nun (2018), The Curse of La Llorona (2019), Elektra (2005), Wing Commander (1999)

(I at one point posited a theory that the ‘08 financial collapse made Hollywood retreat to only the safest of the safe bets and out of that grew a very safe business where low-risk properties, like sequels and spin-offs, dominate. Looking at this plot I now think that could have been a coincidence. It will be the story of the ‘10 though, that of universes, sequels, and spin-offs and whatever feelings you have about that.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Linda Cardellini is No. 1 billed in The Curse of La Llorona and No. 6 billed in Hunter Killer, which also stars Gary Oldman (No. 2 billed) who is in Lost in Space (No. 1 billed), which also stars Heather Graham (No. 5 billed) who is in Say It Isn’t So (No. 2 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 6 + 2 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 20. If we were to watch Mindhunters we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – This is the second film in the Conjuring Universe to not feature, or reference, Ed and Lorraine Warren. It’s also the first spin-off to feature an antagonist who didn’t appear in the main film series.

Raymond Cruz’s first top-billed role in a film, after consistently playing minor roles in television.

The first of two movies in The Conjuring Universe to be released in 2019. The second is “Annabelle Comes Home”. This is the first time two movies in The Conjuring Universe are released in the same calendar year. The “Annabelle” movies are also referenced in “The Curse of La Llorona”. (Wait … the movies are? Oh no, I bet it is like a Raggedy Ann film type thing, since that is what Annabelle is supposed to be I think)

The lowest grossing movie in The Conjuring Universe. (Still made absolute bank, it has a $6 million budget!)

Tony Amendola, who portrayed Father Perez in Annabelle (2014), reprises this same role in this film. (Oh fun)

Shaft (2019) Recap

Jamie

Shaft! That bad mother-shut-your-mouth is back, Jack! And he is ready to rumble… with his son?! Gulp. Can this odd couple pairing team up to solve the mysterious death of one of Shaft Jr.’s friends (and perhaps even get the girl(s)) before it’s too late? Find out in… Shaft (2019).

How?! After years of estrangement from his private eye father for reasons of safety (and because Shaft is kinda a dick), Shaft Jr. has made his way from MIT (what, what!) all the way to the FBI. But when one of his friends turns up dead under tragic and suspicious circumstances, he seeks out his father to help infiltrate the underbelly of his native NYC. Immediately the elder Shaft is incredibly problematic. Apparently years of unsafe sex and alcohol have rotted his brain and he has been reduced to spewing constant “kids these days” style humor mixed with homophobia. Truly a sad state of affairs. But despite his clear brain disease elder Shaft is still able to help Shaft Jr. (who also kinda sucks) figure out what’s going on. In fact his friend didn’t die of an accidental overdose, but instead was killed as part of an elaborate cover-up for a drug ring. Locking and loading and showing everyone just how cool guns are (ladies love ‘em), they go in and not only get all the evidence of this drug ring, but also blow away everyone. Murder is fun and so is being a man. He then tells the man to suck it and goes to work with his dad and grandpa in the private eye business. Shaft! Big Question: Like… what happened? Like… seriously?

Why?! Shaft Jr. actually goes way above the call of duty to solve the mysterious death of his friend. He could have just accepted the accidental overdose story, but he keeps digging and I guess that’s because he’s a Shaft and because he loved his friend (awww). The bad guy is a drug dealer. He likes to deal drugs. Because it makes him money.

Who?! Method Man shows up in a fairly minor part. The part’s more like something that would go to a character actor than a cameo for a musician-turned-actor. But I guess that’s what Method Man is at this point. He’s an actor getting regular work in TV and movies.

What?! It’s hard to say that all the techmology in the film is even product placement. The amount that Shaft Jr. uses his iPhone and Apple laptop is probably reflective of how much a person actually would be using it. And yet I don’t think it can be said enough just how much advertisement Apple gets from films like this where they just want a generic snazzy tech storyline to “update” an old classic for the new generation.

Where?! NYC all the way. That would have been the biggest slap in the face if the film opened and it’s revealed that Shaft has moved to Atlanta. Or like is vacationing there and is always like “I’m on my vacation!” whenever something bad happens. But no, still NYC thank god. A.

When?! The toxicology report for Shaft Jr.’s friend is dated 10/29 for when the sample was collected. So everything takes place around then, which makes sense given the attire that everyone is wearing. But it’s tough. Wouldn’t be surprised if that is contradicted elsewhere in the film. C+

I enjoyed the original Shaft and then surprisingly had a lot of fun watching the 1999 version with Samual L. (bolstered by a stellar cast). As a result my brain pretty much melted when I started watching this film. They turned what was a fun and funny action film into a modern comedy like Central Intelligence. The acting is dire. The script is dire. My outlook on life was dire. When Samuel L. finally showed up I was relieved. Unfortunately his character, while occasionally still fun, was often reduced to unpleasant jokes that made me feel bad (since they were the only remotely funny things in the film). He became the butt of the joke, but also not enough to totally write off the fact that you have an incredibly problematic character as your hero. It is tragic and I did not like it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I secretly love 1970s hard-boiled detective films. The other thing I like? Remakes/sequels to those 1970s films that make me regret liking the original film! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – A few months ago I went to Brighton Pride with a friend of my wife’s and it was very fun. People naturally know I love bad movies (because I tell them this constantly), and so this friend, who also likes bad movies, had a huge recommendation: Shaft (2019). He described it as Boomer Humor distilled. Which obviously made me excited. Also there was a ludicrous The Guardian review about precisely that. What was I expecting? I mean … that? Homophobia, out-of-touch, unpleasant humor that made me sad. That’s just about it.

The Good – I think if this was just Ride Along 3 and they didn’t feel the need to explain how a stereotype from the 70s could still exist in the modern world then the film would just be “meh”. The film looks good, and it wasn’t as unpleasant as I expected. That is actually the big shock. I fully expected to feel the same was as with Death Wish, and I didn’t. The film is silly, and they make it abundantly clear that Shaft is an asshole who pushes away everyone around him and can barely have a relationship with his adult son. So that’s a positive.

The Bad – This movie is terrible before Shaft plays a big part in it. The acting is awful. The storyline is tired. And the entire thing might as well be Ride Along 3, or CHIPS 2, or whatever. There is very little besides the presence of Samuel L. Jackson to even suggest it is a Shaft film. And then you can list off the fact that the film is indeed pretty stupid about generational conflict in general. It isn’t super unpleasant because Shaft Jr. might as well be saying “Ok, Boomer” whenever Shaft says yet another dumb thing, but it is still distressing that maybe people think such jokes could be construed as funny.

The BMT – I think this makes me ever more confident that watching movie series is a rather fun thing to do. Time consuming, but still fun. Otherwise, I guess I’ll throw this in with CHIPS as a kind of weird update to something from pre-90s that doesn’t really seem all that necessary. Did it meet my expectations? Weirdly I think The Guardian slightly overblew how terrible Shaft seems in the film. Sure it is immature how little he thinks of Millennials, but his Millennial son gives as good as he gets and it seems more like they are trying to straddle two different audiences (older audiences who liked the 70s Shaft, and younger audiences they are hoping to draw into the action/comedy bit).

Roast-radamus – You can make a decent argument for Setting as a Character (Where?) obviously for NYC. I also think the Apple advertisements in the film is just enough to sneak in consideration for Product Placement (What?). I wish there was a better MacGuffin or a hilarious Planchet to deal with. It’ll maybe get consideration for Live, but I bet there are five better 2019 films as well.

StreetCreditReport.com – Now that we are so close to December there has to be a few lists of bad movies to populate. The main credit I think comes from the eviscerating reviews that came out at the time. That Guardian piece went semi-viral, people are my workplace specifically mentioned it to me. Other than that it gets a shout out in some YouTube videos and the Looper piece which has mentioned most of the films we’ve been watching so far for the 2019 cycle.

You Just Got Schooled – There are a lot of Shaft to deal with. There are three original films, a film from 2000, and also a television show (which in reality was a series of television movies that ran in the 70s). For this specific film I decided to watch the original, the 2000 sequel, and save the other Shaft-canon for another time. I very much enjoyed the original, which indeed had the feel of The French Connection, and Roundtree is great. But I also agree with Ebert, the weakest part of the film is that at times Shaft seems to go out of his way to bait the white cops around him for no real reason. Apparently the other original films ends up shedding this specific characteristic of Roundtree’s character. The 2000 sequel is also pretty good. At times it is pretty silly and very 90s, with a particularly poor performance by Lee Tergesen (of Oz fame), but Samuel L Jackson is pitch perfect in the role, and Christian Bale ends up as an amusingly smarmy racist real estate heir. I liked both of those movies and no doubt will like the other films once I get around to them. B+ as far of BMT homework goes I think.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Shaft (2019) Quiz

Alright, last thing I remember I was macking the mack with all the sweet ladies down in NYC (ballllllllin’), and then I just knocked out by the shenanigans of my millenial (ugh!) son! I’m sure I have a concussion, can you help me remember what happened in Shaft (2019)?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Back in the 80s Shaft went and had himself a beautiful baby boy, Shaft Jr. … and then they moved away and he basically never saw him again for 30 years. What event caused his girlfriend and son to move away?

2) Now that his son is all growed up he’s living in NYC as well. What is his son’s job? Bonus point if you can tell me where his son went to college as well.

3) But uh oh! Jr.’s bestest friend contacted him out of the blue and wants to reconnect, but before they can he died tragically. What is his friend’s job, and how did he die?

4) Through thorough and definitely not completely illegal and inappropriate investigations, Jr. and Shaft discover something nefarious going on with the local mosque and grocery store. What is the plot and why is this a huge problem for Jr.?

5) In the end, who was responsible for all of the events of the film, and why? Why did he hate the Shafts oh so much?!

Answers

Shaft (2019) Preview

Adam Banks, the producer of the latest Rich and Poe film, sits sweating as he watches Jamie and Patrick rant and rave around his office. Having already relented in allowing them to star in the film, he is shocked to hear that they now want to do their own stunts too. These stunts involve jumping between two helicopter cruise ships hovering over the blue waters of the French Riviera and Banks just isn’t sure he can insure it. He’s also not sure helicopter cruise ships exists. “Then invent one,” Jamie screams, “how much did our last film make?” He remarks with crossed arms waiting silently for a response. Banks mumbles the well known 2.3 billion dollar figure. “Then use is,” Jamie snidely remarks. There have been grumblings at the studio that this is some elaborate scheme set up by the auteurs to get out of there 20 film contract early, but Banks isn’t so sure. It seems to him that they have simply gone insane. Finally he relents and orders the helicopter cruise ships to be constructed. Once Jamie and Patrick are safely on the corporate jet back to the French Riviera he buzzes his secretary to set up a meeting ASAP. A few hours later Banks sits with a man dressed in dark glasses and a leather duster. “Rod, I need your help. I’ve got a delicate matter that needs some… discretion.” The man smiles, “Well Banks, you know that there’s only one thing I do better than discretion,” Banks nods and Rod finishes, “Sex is what I’m referring to.” And Banks nods again, “great well, really just discretion needed on this one.” At that they rise and shake hands. “You know, Rod, you really are one bad mother…” But Rod interrupts him “shut you’re fucking mouth.” That’s right! We are watching the 2019 entry in the Shaft saga that we were all scrambling for. Everywhere we went all we heard was “gee whiz I sure do hope we get a Shaft for a new generation.” Well we asked, they delivered in a neat BMT package. Gives us a chance to watch the original and the Samuel L. Jackson 2000 entry to get uptodate on the franchise, which is exciting. Let’s go!

Shaft (2019) – BMeTric: 19.6; Notability: 31

ShaftIMDb_BMeT

ShaftIMDb_RV

(Genuinely strange. Usually things go the other way. Usually fans of the film come in hot with above average ratings during the initial theatrical run, and then it drops afterwards. This time people seeing it in theaters seem to hate it, but then it has stood steady at a pretty above average 6.4. I don’t really know what to make of that. Probably just need to wait a little longer for things to clarify.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars –  This movie is “ruin your childhood” bad, right down to the hideous auto-tuned end credits song they chose to use instead of the original “Theme From Shaft.” I say this flick Shaft is a bad movie. Shut yo’ mouth.

(Somehow this review is a lot kinder than I imagined it would be. Most reviews can be boiled down to “Ok, Boomer”. Mainly because whole scenes are (apparently) devoted to women lusting over Shaft shooting a bunch of people and making fun of Millenials … so just ruining your childhood seems like a step up in that context.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD41XdWcmbY/

(Sigh. So I know someone who’s seen this and he describes it as Boomer Humor. Now, I don’t hold prejudices against any movie. I’m happy to watch any film no matter how far from the intended audience I am. As Shaft says, I’m an equal opportunity stare-in-stony-silence-at-not-funny-films … person. But so far that guy seems right, so this is going to be one long film. Sigh.)

Directors – Tim Story – (Known For: Think Like a Man; Barbershop; Future BMT: Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic Four; Think Like a Man Too; BMT: Taxi; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Shaft; Notes: He kind of has an amazing career. Everything from small indie films, to giant comic book blockbusters, and now he’s attached to Tom & Jerry, Ride Along 3, and Monopoly in the next few years! I look forward to watching many Tim Story films for the next decade to come.)

Writers – Kenya Barris (written by) – (Known For: Girls Trip; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; BMT: Shaft; Notes: Childhood friend of Tyra Banks, he created the whole Black-ish series.)

Alex Barnow (written by) – (BMT: Shaft; Notes: A television writer almost exclusively. He wrote for a ton of shows including Family Guy and The Goldbergs.)

Ernest Tidyman (based upon the character John Shaft from the novel by) – (Known For: Shaft; The French Connection; High Plains Drifter; Shaft; Shaft in Africa; Shaft’s Big Score!; BMT: Shaft; Notes: I … did not realize it was a book series. He wrote seven Shaft novels between 1970 and 1975.)

Actors – Samuel L. Jackson – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Spider-Man: Far from Home; Pulp Fiction; Avengers: Infinity War; Captain Marvel; Goodfellas; Jurassic Park; Inglourious Basterds; Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace; Django Unchained; Kong: Skull Island; The Hateful Eight; Coming to America; Kingsman: The Secret Service; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith; Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children; Avengers Assemble; Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones; Unbreakable; Future BMT: Cell; The Spirit; Freedomland; Kite; Barely Lethal; Meeting Evil; Oldboy; Reasonable Doubt; Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Home of the Brave; The Samaritan; No Good Deed; Sphere; Amos & Andrew; Cleaner; The Legend of Tarzan; Loaded Weapon 1; Zambezia; The Exterminator; The 51st State; Rules of Engagement; Johnny Suede; Basic; Strictly Business; Glass; Country of My Skull; One Eight Seven; Life Itself; Gospel Hill; BMT: xXx²: The Next Level; Twisted; Jumper; Shaft; Notes: Still going strong at 70. He’s only a little younger than Richard Roundtree who plays his father in the film. He’s starring in a film called The Banker this year as well which will get a limited theatrical release in December.)

Jessie T. Usher – (Known For: Almost Christmas; Beautiful Boy; Future BMT: InAPPropriate Comedy; When the Game Stands Tall; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Shaft; Notes: Kind of came up with guest spots in television, and then broke out with Independence Day: Resurgence. Also starred in the critically acclaimed The Boys television show this year.)

Richard Roundtree – (Known For: Seven; What Men Want; Brick; George of the Jungle; Shaft; Speed Racer; Shaft; Maniac Cop; Q; Shaft in Africa; Original Gangstas; Shaft’s Big Score!; Man Friday; Once Upon a Time… When We Were Colored; Future BMT: Boat Trip; Corky Romano; City Heat; Earthquake; Antitrust; Inchon; BMT: Steel; Theodore Rex; Shaft; Notes: There was a Shaft television “show” from 1973-1974 as well which he starred in. In actuality they were seven television movies, which is rather intriguing.)

Budget/Gross – $30–35 million / Domestic: $21,360,215 (Worldwide: $21,360,215)

(That isn’t good. But it released internationally on Netflix which was probably worth a few million … I don’t know, I’m not in the business. I guess I’m saying this probably lost money, but just not that much.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (38/119): Decades removed from the original, this multi-generational Shaft struggles to keep its characters interesting — or anything other than uncomfortably outdated.

(“Uncomfortably outdated”. That right there is 100% the reason we are watching this film. I am very intrigued by the reactions people have had to this film, it is all over the place. Reviewer Highlight: Ultimately, the only truly retro thing about this weirdly reactionary potboiler is its politics. – Keith Watson, Slate Magazine)

Poster – One Bad Mothersklogger (B)

shaft

(I like how artistic it is down the font and coloring. A little weird that they are apparently introducing a new generation of shaft but he’s pushed all the way off to the side. I also deduct it some points for an inordinate amount of whitespace. Looks odd.)

Tagline(s) – More Shaft than you can handle. (B+)

(I do appreciate a dick joke, particularly when used to advertise a multimillion dollar product. Really elevating the medium of dick jokes. Otherwise it is fine… better than average.)

Keyword – surname as title

Shaft_surname as title

Top 10: Hook (1991), Shaft (2019), Tolkien (2019), Constantine (2005), Snowden (2016), Lincoln (2012), Rambo (2008), Winchester (2018), Zoolander (2001), Salt (2010);

 Future BMT: 47.2 Winchester (2018), 34.1 Sgt. Bilko (1996), 22.6 Youngblood (1986), 14.7 Hook (1991); 

BMT: Shaft (2019), Rambo (2008), Gigli (2003), Jobs (2013)

(Nothing super big pops out in the graph, but the keyword kind of tickled me. I did it for Rambo as well, but not with the new expanded keywords section. Shocking that there are only eight examples. You can’t even make a cycle yet, but you are actually shockingly close if the Transitions and Chain Reaction films lined up.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Samuel L. Jackson is No. 1 billed in Shaft and No. 3 billed in Jumper, which also stars Michael Rooker (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 4 billed) => 1 + 3 + 5 + 4 = 13. If we were to watch Amos & Andrew we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – There is only a 6 year age difference between Richard Roundtree (Shaft I) and Samuel L. Jackson (Shaft II). This is humorously acknowledged in the film when Roundtree rhetorically asks, “How come you look 20 years older than my gray ass?”

This film will be released on Netflix streaming services internationally.

In Shaft (2000), Richard Roundtree’s John Shaft I was referred to as John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson)’s uncle. In the 2019 movie, John Shaft I is John Shaft II’s father.

At one point in the film Samuel L. Jackson tells his son that he got a real Super Bowl ring from L.T., referring to former NFL player Lawrence Taylor. This is also likely a reference to the previous Shaft (2000) in which Taylor appeared, although he was not playing himself but an actual character in the film.

At the time of the film’s release the main three actors ages are as follows: Roundtree 76, Jackson 70, and Usher 27.

In 2019, as the trailer made clear, all three generations of the family members named John Shaft exist in the Warner Bros-New Line Cinema-Netflix sequel confusingly also entitled “Shaft”. Further to add confusion, with three lead characters sharing the same name, from the original MGM version, the family tree relationships are broken down as; Richard Rountree as (uncle/great-uncle) John Shaft, Samuel L Jackson as (nephew/father) John Shaft (Senior/II from RR version), and Usher as (great-nephew/son) John Shaft (Junior/II from SLJ version/III from RR version).