The Guardian (1990) Recap

Jamie

A young LA couple hire a nanny to take care of their young son but, while great with the child, she unfortunately turns out to be a tree spirit monster that literally feeds children to trees. Can they stop her from… feeding their child to a tree before it’s too late? Find out in The Guardian (1990).

How?! After moving to LA and having a baby Kate and Phil decide to hire a nanny so they can both continue to work. After their first choice dies in a tragic and highly suspicious bike accident, Camilla, their second choice, moves in and is wonderful. They seems like quite the cozy family, you know other than the fact that Camilla is in fact a tree witch who sacrifices babies to a tree. Oops. But at least the tree is super far away and hard to get to… oh wait, it’s basically in their backyard. Double oops. When Phil starts to have weird dreams about Camilla and their next door neighbor is killed by a pack of wolves randomly (for real) Phil starts to have some suspicions. It’s only after getting a call from a woman who tells him in great detail exactly how Camilla stole her baby and sacrificed it to a tree does he finally decide that it’s time for her to go. Unfortunately Camilla doesn’t think so and she transforms into a monstrous tree creature and attempts to take the baby against their will. After unsuccessfully trying to kill her by running her over with a car, Phil takes a chainsaw and runs into the forest where he does battle with the tree (I’m seriously not joking. This is real). He’s able to injure the tree enough for Kate to overpower the tree monster witch nanny and send her back to… Hell, I guess. I’m not sure where she’s actually from. THE END.

Why?! It’s become a trend that the motivations of the antagonists are always much more interesting than the main characters. Mostly protagonists do things for justice or love. Same here. Phil and Kate just love their baby. As for the tree nanny, she’s scouring the greater LA area looking for babies that are just on the verge of ripeness (apparently just about four weeks, according to this movie… which by all accounts in the definitive source). At that point she can sacrifice them and the tree gets that sweet baby juice so it can keep living and make Camilla stronger.

Who?! I thought for sure that such a small film wouldn’t have anything of interest for these categories. I was wrong as Def Leppard drummer Frank Noon played one of the wildly stereotypical punks that get killed by the tree (how scary. I super scared of that tree). He’s actually had a long career in TV and film.

What?! I do occasionally like to highlight some specific plot devices these films use when there isn’t anything to note otherwise (and there really isn’t here). I probably should do it more since I’m sure there have been some hilarious Chekhov’s Guns thrown around. Anyway, we do have a pretty solid Deus Ex Machina here as the film spends a long time telling us how amazing the tree monster nanny is at taking care of children to the point where it would be hard to imagine what would make Phil and Kate decide that their wonderful nanny was a tree monster… apparently a call from a stranger who happens to own a Hansel and Gretel children’s book you dreamed about once. Good enough for me, “get the fuck out of here, wonderful nanny! You are clearly a deranged tree monster in disguise. I have been given all the clues needed.”

Where?! As implied above this is a great example of late-80’s, early-90’s Los Angeles, which honestly seems like one of the weirdest places on Earth. These films make it seem like a totally foreign land full of complete weirdos living in crazy houses… about 400 ft from a giant, ancient tree that a nanny feeds babies to. B+

When?! While we can’t get an exact date from it, Phil and Kate do mention that the baby is a Libra and was born in October. Considering a majority of the film takes place between when the baby is 2 and 4 weeks old, we can assume that it’s end of October into November. Part of me thinks that this is probably hinting that the baby will be four weeks just around Halloween… but that’s just me wishing it were so. C+.

I feel like Friedkin fell into all the trapping of a Color of Night and yet somehow made a less ridiculous film, despite basing the entire premise of his film on a nanny that feeds children to trees. It’s literally “what if I made Hansel & Gretel except set in cocaine fueled LA instead?” and yet he swam out of it with a film that is certainly bad, but also has a ton of kinda weird visual stuff going on (which I can appreciate). Pretty easily the worst part of it all is the actual storytelling and acting. Everything seems to just float along until the main character gets a call from someone who is like “your nanny is a tree monster” and he’s like noooooooo, I 100% believe you despite there being no evidence for this being the case and it’s also insane. Then he runs into the forest and has to literally battle nature with a chainsaw and try to cut down her tree before it’s too late. It’s actually kind of amazing in a literal metaphor kind of way. I’m not sure I didn’t kinda dig it. But it’s hard to tell. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! For the second time we’ve watched a film called The Guardian for BMT. This time it was the one with the creepy tree nanny. I know there is nothing scarier than a creepy tree nanny. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I was actually genuinely excited for this film. It was a genre I traditionally haven’t watched a ton of (horror), and a sub-genre which was very weird (nature horror? Religious horror?), from a director who is known for one of the greatest religious horror films ever (The Exorcist, which I hadn’t seen prior to watching The Guardian either). There was literally no frame of reference going into the film. None.

The Good – I think the fact that mid-way through the film the main character strikes a woman across the face and my reaction wasn’t a shock or horror it was “yeah!” is a testament to Friedkin’s ability to make me think of Seagrove’s character as a non-human monster despite looking like a young woman throughout. I do think that at the very least Friedkin was up to the task even if ultimately the film was a losing effort on his part. The practical effects at times were also decent.

The Bad – The film looks cheap, and has cheap acting (beyond, I think, Seagrove). While eerie the film still falls short. First by resorting to kind of gorey nonsense horror, and later by not pulling out the cool makeup effect earlier and instead using the (fairly weak) wolf scene. For something like this you don’t really have to be scary, but it just wasn’t very spooky at all. Even the idea of a nanny who manages to get away with giving fake references twice (at least) from same company where a baby went missing months prior just doesn’t really fly.

The BMT – Eh I don’t think so. I’ll certainly add it to my horror film repertoire, but I don’t think this is a BMT film really. I think we’ll get to that more in the awards predictions as well. There just is not very much meat on the bone. The film is honestly a bit too good in some respects, definitely a bit too weird and interesting, for me to call someone up and tell them to watch this bad movie. There is very little reason to watch this as a bad movie in the end, unless you are a huuuuuge Friedkin-head.

Roast-radamus – There is a very tiny Setting as a Character (Where?) here for Los Angeles. I wish I could say it was a secret holiday film, but despite taking place around Halloween (the baby was an October baby they say, and is only two weeks old) there is no actual evidence of that fact in the film. Does the tree count as a MacGuffin … I don’t think so, because people aren’t trying to obtain it, it doesn’t really drive the plot. The very tiny setting is really it, I don’t think it gets a Good, Bad, or BMT nod in the end. See, the film really brings very little to the table.

StreetCreditReport.com – First I will just say this film has at least some cred. It was on an end of the year worst of list for Siskel and Ebert. So a reviewer watched this film and thought “that was terrible”. Otherwise I can find no evidence this film exists let alone was considered bad at the time. In my defense though, it is basically impossible to search for The Guardian as it is the name of a giant British tabloid.

Good Movie Twins – Prior to The Guardian I had seen Friedkin’s The French Connection, which I quite liked. But I had never seen The Exorcist. So I popped that in and I have to say I loved it. The film takes on a 70s style as you would expect, the story initially just follows the daily lives of our characters to lend insight into their personalities, which has been how I tend to feel 70s cinema operated from my limited experience. The young priest is very compelling, a conflicted man who loses his mother and is in crisis just as he is enlisted to battle a demon on Earth. Linda Blair and especially Ellen Burstyn were amazing. Bringing a religious horror element up against a very (almost overly) scientific analysis of Regan is a crux of many horror films to this day, specifically in J-Horror where demons and spirits often exploit or inhabit the newly technological world we live in. You can see elements of The Exorcist in The Guardian as well, just from a pagan perspective instead. There the modern yuppie culture is infiltrated by the ancient almost unknowable evil that is Camilla and they do battle with what sometimes feels like nature itself. Consider the storyline in which Camilla wants Kate to continue breastfeeding Jake instead of using formula. Nature versus the modern sensibilities of child-rearing. It kind of makes me wish the end of the film was Phil hacking the tree apart with an ax, an idea of returning to a more natural state (an ax instead of a chainsaw) to destroy the natural evil that is the tree. Horror films are great.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Guardian (1990) Quiz

Oh man. Last night I go soooooo drunk, and then woke up naked in a tree. It was real strange. I vaguely remember The Guardian had the same storyline, it must have been hilarious. Can you help me remember?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning we see the creeeeeepy nanny taking care of two children, a young boy and a newborn baby, while their parents go off for the weekend. What story is the young boy reading?

2) Months later we meet a young advertising writer, Phil, and his wife Kate newly arrived in Los Angeles for a job opportunity. Where did they live previously?

3) This young couple decides to have a baby, and in the meantime also make some very good friends. Phil’s two bosses come over for dinner parties, but also Ned Runcie who lives nearby and has taken a shine to their nanny Camilla. What unique relationship does the couple have with Ned?

4) The climax of the film comes when Phil receives two messages on his answering machine concerning the nanny. What were these messages?

5) During the film how many people do we see the tree / nanny kill?

Answers

The Guardian (1990) Preview

Hats backward and cargo shorts a-baggin’, Rich and Poe skateboard their way to the Italiano Arcade & Pizzeria to smash on some video games and eat some ‘za. They immediately own a bunch of middle schoolers in Super Mario Bros 3 like some video game wizards and make their way to the top of the social pyramid. There are some dope tweens around, but they are by far the dopest. “Haven’t seen you two around here before. You guys sure can whiz on the j-stick,” one of the kids say, “they call me Toad, who are you?” Rich steps up, “I’m Big M and this is my bro LJ. We’d mash the ‘cade all day, but our Granny is a real lamester. You chilling me?” Toad nods and laughs while Poe tries not to cry. That’s his beloved Granny they’re talking about. Nobody calls her a lamester. Rich continues, “but maybe that’s not the worst thing, you feelz? We heard some real slippery things going on around here.” Toad looks a bit nervous, “Yeah, real canopy thang. But it’s just Elivira, the new nanny. Everyone else is icy.” Rich and Poe look at each other. Elvira? That doesn’t sound like Gruber. They looks around but Poe can’t see anyone that looks suspicious. “Rich, I don’t think this is working… Rich?” Rich is staring off into the distance. The crowds part between him and the most beautiful woman in the world. She flips her golden hair to the side and beckons to him. He floats towards her… the seductive and super creepy nanny who looks both ageless and yet thousands of years old. His mind is telling him to resist, but he has eyes only for this scary witch nanny and the creepy tree she’s sitting in. Wait, what? That’s right! You knew right from the start when I was talking about witch nannies and creepy trees that there was only one film I could be talking about. Let’s say it all together. The Guardian (1990). Of course. That film that everyone knows. Well at least one person knew about it and his name was Roger Ebert and he hated this film. In fact he said it was one of the worst he had ever seen. Good enough for us. Let’s go!

The Guardian (1990) – BMeTric: 31.9

TheGuardianIMDb_BMeT

TheGuardianIMDb_RV

(The rating feels really low for a film from the early 90s and for a film I’ve never heard of. Even after the regression that is pretty astonishing. It really must be a terrible horror film. Getting a little excited here.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Yuppie couple hires a nanny for their newborn child, but we know there’s something odd about her: she feeds babies to a tree in a nearby gully. Friedkin’s first return to horror after The Exorcist has a few good scenes, but a ludicrous story and a hormorless approach. Seagrove is very good in an almost unplayable role. Cowritten by the director from the novel The Nanny by Dan Greenburg.

(I probably knew this was based on a book and forgot to be honest. Everything in this preview is about Friedkin. He really squandered a lot of his good will by 1990 it seems. He only really directed sporadically after 1985.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbl1b664ivk/

(‘Member the Exorcist? Me too … member that thing where William Friedkin was the director … cool me too.’ I literally have no idea what this film is about or what it is beyond a horror film made by the director of the Exorcist. Should I watch the Exorcist then? It feels like a good extra homework assignment.)

Directors – William Friedkin – (Known For: The Exorcist; The French Connection; Killer Joe; To Live and Die in L.A.; Cruising; Sorcerer; Bug; The Boys in the Band; Rampage; The Brink’s Job; Future BMT: Jade; Deal of the Century; The Hunted; Blue Chips; Rules of Engagement; BMT: The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Cruising in 1981; Notes: Given he directed The Exorcist it might be surprising to know he grew up Jewish, became agnostic, and then is clearly a Christian in some capacity given recent quotes.)

Writers – Dan Greenburg (novel & screenplay) – (Future BMT: Private Lessons; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Was married to Nora Ephron ages ago. His son was the kid in Lorenzo’s Oil.)

Stephen Volk (screenplay) – (Known For: The Awakening; Gothic; Future BMT: Octane; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Famously wrote and directed Ghostwatch, a fake documentary which played on the BBC which confused a bunch of people who thought it was real. It was banned from replay for a decade.)

William Friedkin (screenplay) – (Known For: To Live and Die in L.A.; Cruising; Rampage; BMT: The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Cruising in 1981; Notes: Cruising was considered by many as anti-gay, and the film was protested by the gay community at the time of production)

Actors – Jenny Seagrove – (Known For: Local Hero; Another Mother’s Son; Moonlighting; Future BMT: Run for Your Wife; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Long time partner of Bill Kenwright who is an actor and … the chairman of Everton F.C. since 2004? Still works as an actress, although not as often.)

Dwier Brown – (Known For: Field of Dreams; House; Red Dragon; Gettysburg; To Live and Die in L.A.; The Cutting Edge; Reunion; Future BMT: House II: The Second Story; Mom and Dad Save the World; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: If you’re racking your brain trying to figure out who he was in Field of Dreams, he was Kevin Costner’s father at the end.)

Carey Lowell – (Known For: Leaving Las Vegas; Licence to Kill; Sleepless in Seattle; Fierce Creatures; Future BMT: Club Paradise; Love Affair; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: You’d know her from Law & Order, she was on the order side of things, as a DA.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $17,037,887

(Probably not great … although you could make these things for less than a million around this point in time, so maybe it turned as profit.)

#233 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

guardian_rratedhorror

(It feels like this came at a peak of the genre in the late eighties. Kind of went on a bit of a hiatus after. Still having a moment now, especially with It Part 2 coming out this year, should be good for R-rated horror.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (2/9): No Consensus

(Nice I get to make a consensus: Hysterically funny … wait, it was supposed to be a horror film? Reviewer Highlight: Maybe after years of banging his head against the system Friedkin decided with “The Guardian” to make a frankly commercial exploitation film. … give us a break. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – The Guardian Not Starring Kevin Costner (B+)

guardian

(Too many words and the image itself is a bit small, but I’m digging the simplicity of it and the coloring. The font isn’t the worst either. Good effort.)

Tagline(s) – Tonight, while the world is asleep… an ancient evil is about to awaken. (F)

(I literally don’t understand this… when? Tonight? Is that like… when I’m watching the movie or is the film set over a single night during which the ancient evil awakens? Neither? Cool cool cool. Just one more thing. Would it have mattered if that ancient evil awoke while everyone was awake? No? Interesting.)

Keyword(s) – baby; Top Ten by BMeTric: 92.6 Date Movie (2006); 92.1 Son of the Mask (2005); 91.0 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 84.0 Baby Geniuses (1999); 76.3 Junior (1994); 75.9 In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011); 74.7 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 73.9 Look Who’s Talking Too (1990); 70.6 The Animal (2001); 69.0 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013);

(Shit. I have to watch The Animal for a third time. Maybe Jamie will appreciate it more given it stars someone from Survivor. [Editor’s Note: I will])

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 24) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Xander Berkeley is No. 10 billed in The Guardian and No. 6 billed in Seeking Justice, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 10 + 6 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 24. If we were to watch Savage Islands we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Jenny Seagrove was unhappy with the film’s constant re-writes, and wanted to make a completely different film. She said to The Guardian in 2007: “It was about this druid nanny who became a tree. I begged Universal to make it about a real nanny who kidnaps babies. ‘No, no, we can’t do that,’ they said, ‘the thirty somethings in America won’t come and see the film.’ I said, ‘I think you’re completely wrong; this film is total fantasy, and it’s just awful.’ Two years later The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992) was released, so I rang up my friend at Universal and he said, ‘Don’t. Don’t even talk about it, you were right.’ ” (haha)

Was to originally be directed by Sam Raimi, but he left the project early to direct Darkman (1990). Producers brought in William Friedkin, and the project suffered through several re-writes sending co-writer Stephen Volk into a breakdown. Friedkin eventually took over the writing duties. (oooooooooooof)

William Friedkin’s first horror movie in seventeen years since The Exorcist (1973). (Maybe a mistake)

One of only two feature films that William Friedkin wrote nothing about, positive or negative, in his memoir The Friedkin Connection (see also Deal of the Century (1983)).

A new effects crew was brought onto the scene after the initial tree failed to work mechanically. The new team constructed a tree that held 500 gallons of fake blood and detachable bark. (oh no, haha)

The delivery scene used real footage of an actual live birth. (oh no … I would just say haha here, but that would feel redundant)

The film was released three years after its source novel “The Nanny” by Dan Greenburg had been published in 1987. (Fact: I did not read this book)

The movie’s dark villain, Camilla (Jenny Seagrove), is included in the compilation film Boogeymen: The Killer Compilation (2001).

A cable television version of the film is not billed to William Friedkin, but to Alan Smithee, a generic name which is used by directors when they don’t want to be associated with a picture. This, despite the fact that Friedkin claims on the film’s audio-commentary he never heard of such a version. There are two versions of “The Guardian”: the theatrical cut, credited to Friedkin, and a modified cut, credited to Smithee. The Smithee cut has never been released on home video or DVD, and has only been shown on cable. It includes new scenes, including another scene in the hospital, different dream sequences, a scene of the nanny waking the wife up and alternate angles for other scenes. Also, the ending of the cable cut is different and omits much of the gore. (Oh wow, that is kind of cool. They cut a version and clearly didn’t ask him about it. Sounds like we can’t get it though)

Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert named the picture one of his “Most Hated Films” of all-time. (Noice, it is on his end of the year worst of list so …)

One of three movies with “The Guardian” title made during the modern era of Hollywood. This supernatural horror movie was made and released around six years after the 1984 action crime thriller The Guardian (1984) and sixteen years before the sea rescue drama The Guardian (2006). (We have now watched two for BMT. Martin Sheen’s 1984 film doesn’t have any reviews. That sounds like I have to cook up 5 fake reviews to get this onto Rotten Tomatoes …)

Super Mario Bros. Recap

Jamie

Mario and Luigi are just a couple of plumbers trying to make ends meet in Brooklyn. When Luigi meets the love of his life, Daisy, only to have her taken through an interdimensional portal to Dinohattan the bros follow after her. Can they stop King Koopa from merging the dinosaur and human worlds (and find love) before it’s too late? Find out in… Super Mario Bros.

How?! In the midst of a string of kidnappings of women, two Brooklyn plumbers, Mario and Luigi, are just trying to get by. When a beautiful researcher, Daisy, who is excavating some strange fossils in a local construction site catches Luigi’s eye things seem like they are looking up. That is until she is becomes the next victim of the kidnappers. Even weirder is that Mario and Luigi witness Daisy getting dragged through what looks like a solid rock wall, but in actuality is a portal to another dimension (oooooooo). Luckily they grab Daisy’s necklace before she is dragged through because it turns out to be the key to everything (more on that later). Refusing to lose his chance at totally smooching this pretty lady, Luigi jumps in right after and Mario is not far behind. They find themselves in Dinohattan, an alternate dimension where the dinosaurs never went extinct, but instead evolved into intelligent humanoids themselves. This realm is ruled by the eeevil King Koopa, who needs Daisy’s necklace in order to make complete the meteorite that split the dimensions millions of years ago. By completing the meteorite he will merge the two dimensions and he can use his advanced deevolution technology to take over the world (bwawawawa). Hearing that the plumbers have the necklace, Koopa puts out an APB. Before they can be arrested, though, they are mugged and the necklace is taken. Once arrested, they are told the entire intricate MacGuffin-centric plan but totes escape before Koopa can do anything about it. Ending up in the wasteland they are helped by some of Koopa’s toadies (and now defectors) to get back into the city and locate the necklace. Almost immediately after getting it back, though, Koopa’s lady love Lena gets the necklace and decides that actually she wants to rule the world and goes off to use it on the meteorite. Mario and Luigi decide it’s time to rescue Daisy (and all the other kidnapped girls) and infiltrate Koopa’s building and take everyone out like the Super Mario Bros that they are. Once outside Mario confronts Koopa, while Luigi and Daisy confront Lena, who immediately is killed when she attempts to merge the dimensions. While the dimensions are briefly merged Koopa deevolves Mario’s biggest rival into a chimpanzee before Luigi and Daisy remove the necklace and Koopa is dispatched. Dinohattan rejoices, Daisy’s dad is reevolved from a fungus into a humanoid by unknown means, and Luigi and Mario return to their own dimension. Luigi is real bummed because he doesn’t get to smooch Daisy, but is surprised when she returns to let them know about their next great adventure in the sequel. THE END… or is it? (it is). Believe it or not this is me being brief… the plot is a disaster.

Why?! Major MacGuffin Alert over here. In fact, I’m going to call it right now. This is the best MacGuffin in the history of BMT. I’d have to go back through all our films to confirm it, but the Meteorite Necklace is kind of a perfect level of stupidity. You see, King Koopa really wants this Meteorite Necklace that Princess Daisy has. Why? Because it’s part of the meteorite that sent the dinosaurs into an alternate dimension. By putting the meteorite back together he’ll be able to merge dimensions because… why not. Obviously that would be the case. But that’s not all. Even if he had the piece of the meteorite he wouldn’t be able to merge the dimensions. Why? Because only Princess Daisy would be able to do that and survive the power surge (?). Again… why? I literally have no idea. Because it was laid down in an ancient scroll probably. Or maybe… like Princess Daisy’s mom was actually human and so she’s the offspring of both dimensions and thus can bridge the gap… I just made that up, but good enough for me. Everyone else is motivated by love (awwwww).

Who?! Weird musician-turned-actor in this as Toad was played by a guy by the name of Mojo Nixon, a psychobilly musician who’s heyday was in the early 90’s. He appeared a few films around this time… in fact this isn’t the first film we’ve seen him in. He was also in Car 54, Where Are You? I should also mention that Lance Henriksen has a very brief cameo as the Mushroom King after he is reevolved back into a… mushroom human, I guess. Never a real explanation why he even reevolves either. It just kinda happens at the end.

What?! Again, one of the greatest product placements in BMT history. So good that I remember being puzzled by it even when I watched this film as a child. In the climactic scene where the Super Mario Bros take out Koopa with a Bob-omb we get a very clear shot of the bottom of the bomb’s feet… which for no explainable reason are emblazoned with the Reebok logo. Magnifique.

Where?! Brooklyn, baby. In both dimensions Brooklyn/NYC exists and plays a prominent role in the action. The best part is that they actually give some pretty clear details of Dinohattan and the world that it exists in. Apparently it’s a small inhabitable city surrounded on all sides by a wasteland that covers the rest of the planet… which is exactly how Patrick and I describe the Z-Universe in our ongoing Bad Movie Twins saga. Great minds. A-.

When?! My guess is that this is actually identifiable given that there are a number of prop newspapers with news stories regarding the missing Brooklyn girls. I just couldn’t catch a clear glimpse of a date on them, but they exist. I just need to scour the dark web for some of those sweet sweet props. F.

There are moments in my life where I know I’m watching a first ballot HoF film. This was one of them. It is truly the crowning BMT achievement in multiple categories close to our BMT hearts. The MacGuffin is a masterpiece, the product placement is inexplicable, and the stories behind the production may very well be a case study in how arrogance and ego mixed with cynicism and disillusionment mixed with greed comes together into a perfect BMT film. They weren’t trying to make a BMT film, they were trying their damndest to make a hit, and yet they produced something that is so odd and weird and nonsensical that it became beautiful. A beautiful piece of trash. The only good thing about it was how invested it seemed that Bob Hoskins was in an obviously terrible role… and then I learned he was drunk the whole time and didn’t give a shit. Give the man an Oscar. I could not tell. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! For about two years now we’ve allowed ourselves to rewatch movies for BMT. Now, I thought Batman & Robin was going to be the quintessential example of why this is a good thing. Apparently I forgot about Super Mario Bros. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Everything I remember about the film and everything I heard about it subsequently kind of focuses on the set design of Dinohattan. All of the cast hated the two directors, and part of why the two directors were being insufferable was because they were being limited in their vision of a surreal alternate dimension Mushroom Kingdom. I noted during the Double Dragon recap that these two movies are kind of the same: let’s adapt this video game, but since we are a bit light on story … uh, it is also post-apocalyptic. I was intrigued and very very excited due to all three prospects.

The Good – In an alternate dimension this film is fantastic and ushers in a wave of bizarre metaphorical adaptations of video games. There is something just so bold and brash in the vision. The leads are solid I think, at least as good as you would hope given the material. Dinohattan in all of its misguided glory is kind of amazing, and tells you a lot about how films were being made in that sweet spot of the late 80s / early 90s. Finally, Yoshi is a very very impressive puppet, right before Jurassic Park killed the need for cinematic puppets once and for all.

The Bad – The story makes no sense. The fan service is off the chain. It is completely operating on the level of “well we have this script that is just a sci-fi post-apocalyptic film … how much Super Mario shit do we need to add to it to make it a Super Mario film again?”. Hopper is awful, just awful in the King Koopa role. It is clear the directors were out of their depth, the script was re-written daily, and Nintendo was offering no guidance. It is awful … even if it is incredibly fun to watch.

The BMT – The film is somehow one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, and a cinematic achievement. I absolutely expect to watch this film many more times in my life. I will show my children this film. They will watch it with me. And guess what? When they are like 30 years old they’ll say “What was that weird Mario film we watched with dad those twelve times when we were kids? Jesus, you want to watch that again in our holo-cinema, Robo-Butler?”. This is the first film in a while that might make the Hall of Fame simply on bad movie merits alone. It will endure for BMT.

Roast-radamus – Last week we had evil Laurel & Hardy, and this week let’s go with Evil Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Who?) because this film is somehow almost definitely a rip off of Hamlet, and the two cousins of King Koopa play R and G for sure. One of the best Produce Placements (What?) we’ve had in a while with Reebok sponsoring the grand finale bom-bomb. Naturally a small Setting as a Character (Where?) for Brooklyn and alternate reality Brooklyn (Dinohattan) which is pretty great. It actually literally is a character, as the Mushroom Kingdom is covered in Princess Daisy’s father who was de-evolved into a fungus. We have a fantastic MacGuffin (Why?) in the meteorite shard which will somehow merge the two dimensions back together. And finally I think this has a good shot at both the BMT award this year, and also an eventual Hall of Fame in the future, but we’ll see. That’s five years away. Very impressive award potential though.

StreetCreditReport.com – Obviously Siskel and Ebert put this in their worst of list of this year. Normally that would be well and good as far as street cred is concerned. Rifftrax has it on their worst of the 90s list at number 3. Gamestop puts it at number 13 on their worst video games list. And variety put it maybe at number one (but it seems to be in no particular order) as a top 7 worst video game films list as well. This has the cred. Up the wazoo as they say.

You Just Got Schooled – Another video game film, another speedrun. Well, not precisely. In this case it is Mario 64 TAS (tool-assisted super-run) involving not pressing the A button (at all) in the final level. But how you might wonder, well take a look at the video:

Basically the computer is just pressing B, manipulating its environment, and pausing to eventually get all of the red stars and defeat Bowser. Obviously this can only be done via computer, but still pretty impressive. The entire game can in theory be done with a single half-A press, which I understand to be that you come into the game with A pressed down and merely release it at a single point in the game to achieve the only jump currently required in the entire game. If that video intrigued you I would suggest watching the previous video he uploaded (it is in the description), and reading that description. It explains a bunch about how the B jump works. Other videos explain the pausing mechanisms, and other junk. And Games Done Quick (summer event is June 23rd to 30th) does a few TAS breakdowns as well which is the only reason I know anything about this. And there you have it, you’ve been schooled on deeeeeeep Mario 64 super-run knowledge.

And that’s it. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Super Mario Bros. Quiz

I had this very strange dream. I entered the world of Super Mario, but … like it was just a generic post-apocalyptic thing instead of being anything like the video game. I can’t remember anything else. Can you help me out?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film we are introduced to Mario Mario, Luigi Mario, and Princess Daisy who all, for whatever reason, live in real world Brooklyn. Daisy is tangled up with an eeeeeeeevil real estate developer over a construction site in Brooklyn. Why?

2) And how do the Mario Bros. get all mixed up in Daisy’s mess?

3) Dinohattan looks a lot like New York City … but filled with human dinosaurs, really dangerous, and covered in fungus. Wait … why is it covered in fungus?

4) Describe the path of the MacGuffin Meteorite shard from the instant we see it in the film.

5) What is King Koopa’s plan with the MacGuffin Meteorite?

Answers

Super Mario Bros. Preview

“Stop!” Shouts Poe, “or my grandma will shoot.” The mailman freezes as he spots Granny toting a comically large pistol. He backs away and speeds away in his car. Poe smirks at Granny, “what am I gonna do with you, you foul-mouthed old bat?” Granny smirks back, “you’ll finish your goddamn supper and we’ll watch Murder She Wrote.” Poe shrugs, “I guess this is what I get for retiring from the force early and moving to New Orleans to help you out. But sometimes… I just want another piece of the action.” Just as he closes the door a knock rings out. Granny is pissed and raises the pistol. “No wait,” Poe says softly, “I know that knock…” Just as he suspected Rich is there leaning against the porch. “You ready for another piece of the action, partner?” Poe is already shaking his head. He’s not a police officer anymore, he gave that up. It’s against the rules. Rich laughs, “Rulez? You really did retire. That’s too bad. Too bad you and Granny will end up dead.” He turns, knowing Poe can’t leave it at that. “Oh you haven’t heard,” Rich says snidely, “Helmut Gruber escaped and he’s out for revenge.” Poe stares in disbelief. Gruber? But he’s dead… isn’t he? Apparently not. With gritted teeth Poe asks quietly, “where is he?” Rich smiles. “He’s holed up in an arcade downtown.” Poe grabs his jacket but Rich stop him, “Woah partner, we’ll be too conspicuous heading down like this.” Poe grins and soon they are dressed like a couple of dope tweens ready to infiltrate the arcade and show Gruber what’s what. “Oh and Rich?” Rich says with a sly smile, “Better bring your Granny. These tweens need adult supervision.” And with that he cocks his gun. That’s right! We are finally watching an all-timer in Super Mario Bros. This was the first major motion picture based on a video game and oh what a start it was. Not only was it adapted as a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action film, but it looked real dumb to boot. It’s also appropriate timing for us to watch as it looks like Pokemon Detective Pikachu officially broke the 26 year long streak of video game adaptations being rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. It stands at 63%. Baby steps. Let’s go!

Super Mario Bros. (1993) – BMeTric: 84.7

SuperMarioBrosIMDb_BMeT

SuperMarioBrosIMDb_RV

(Ah, I actually don’t think this shows a regression. What is happening here is that the rating is basically 3.9 for the last 7 years. That jump in 2014 happens right on January 1st. And that jump is really consistent across movies (but you only notice it in really bad films I think … I can’t remember). Look back at Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. That’s a regression. This … this is sitting right at 3.9ish for like a decade. That is what I’m talking about when I say a truly bad film won’t regress to the mean.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Super, indeed! This overblown, effects-laden turkey chronicles the convoluted story of the title boys from Brooklyn (Hoskins, Leguizamo), plumber-siblings who go up against the villainous King Koopa (Hopper), a semi-human dinosaur who instigates the kidnapping of Daisy (Mathis), a princess who possesses a magical meteorite fragment. This listless film has far less appeal than the video game that inspired it.

(First, my god the hyphens! I love you Leonard. There are three hyphens in this review. Second, the review is just a description of the film and then a little “not interesting” at the end. And third … 1.5 stars? Where does the 0.5 come from. Classic Leonard. Classic.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtMZKYnLg5c/

(Oh shit the music!!!!! Is this real? They literally showed a major bit of the end of the film in that trailer? The theory surrounding trailers for films really was wild back then. It was just “anything goes as long as it generates interest”. One of the worst trailers I’ve ever seen. Bar none.)

Directors – Annabel Jankel – (Known For: Tell It to the Bees; D.O.A.; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Both Jankel and Morton were known for their music video work and for create Max Headroom. This film basically ruined their directing careers. Tell It to the Bees was Jankel’s first big directing job since Super Mario Bros. … it was in 2018.)

Rocky Morton – (Known For: D.O.A.; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Jankel and Morton got divorced in 2005. Both won Emmys for NBC’s Friday Night Videos which was basically MTV on basic cable … which apparently was a thing in the early 80s.)

Writers – Parker Bennett (written by) – (Known For: The Thief and the Cobbler; Future BMT: Mystery Date; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Was a writer and cartoonist for Playboy at one point.)

Terry Runte (written by) – (Known For: The Thief and the Cobbler; Future BMT: Mystery Date; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Apparently he has a credit for this YouTube video … which has like 24 views? Wild wild stuff.)

Ed Solomon (written by) – (Known For: Men in Black; Now You See Me; Charlie’s Angels; Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; Imagine That; What Planet Are You From?; Leaving Normal; Future BMT: The In-Laws; Mom and Dad Save the World; Now You See Me 2; Levity; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Is apparently writing the new Bill and Ted as well. And was married to John Cleese’s daughter for a long while.)

Actors – Bob Hoskins – (Known For: Snow White and the Huntsman; Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Brazil; Enemy at the Gates; Doomsday; Pink Floyd: The Wall; Mermaids; Paris, je t’aime; The Long Good Friday; Balto; Unleashed; The Cotton Club; Vanity Fair; Nixon; Made in Dagenham; A Christmas Carol; Inserts; Hollywoodland; Mona Lisa; Beyond the Sea; Future BMT: Son of the Mask; Maid in Manhattan; Michael; Outlaw; Live Virgin; Heart Condition; Hook; Shattered; Den of Lions; Stay; BMT: Spice World; Super Mario Bros.; Garfield 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Son of the Mask in 2006; Notes: Died due to complications with Parkinson’s in 2014. Claims to have never had an acting lesson in his life.)

John Leguizamo – (Known For: John Wick; John Wick: Chapter 2; Romeo + Juliet; Carlito’s Way; Chef; Moulin Rouge!; Ice Age; The Lincoln Lawyer; To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; The Infiltrator; Titan A.E.; Die Hard 2; Land of the Dead; Sisters; American Ultra; Executive Decision; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Casualties of War; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Nancy; Future BMT: The Honeymooners; Spawn; The Counsellor; Collateral Damage; The Pest; Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie; Anarchy: Ride or Die; Ice Age: Collision Course; What’s the Worst That Could Happen?; The Fan; The Babysitters; The Hollow Point; Miracle at St. Anna; Out for Justice; Repo Men; Empire; Revenge; Jekyll Island; Love in the Time of Cholera; Kick-Ass 2; Ice Age: Continental Drift; Whispers in the Dark; Rage; A Pyromaniac’s Love Story; Spun; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; The Happening; One for the Money; Gamer; Righteous Kill; Ride Along; Notes: A noted comedian in the early 90s doing character impersonations. Has been doing mostly television recently including a role in Bloodline.)

Dennis Hopper – (Known For: Apocalypse Now; True Romance; Cool Hand Luke; Waterworld; Easy Rider; Blue Velvet; Speed; River’s Edge; Rebel Without a Cause; Hang ‘Em High; Giant; True Grit; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2; The Other Side of the Wind; Land of the Dead; Rumble Fish; Black Widow; Hoosiers; The Pick-up Artist; Edtv; Future BMT: The Crow: Wicked Prayer; Big Fat Important Movie; Hell Ride; Boiling Point; Chasers; Space Truckers; Meet the Deedles; Knockaround Guys; Swing Vote; The Blackout; Memory; My Science Project; Queen of Blood; Sleepwalking; The Trip; Straight to Hell; Flashback; Search and Destroy; 10th & Wolf; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Alpha and Omega; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Waterworld in 1996; Notes: Was a child actor, and then had a very rocky film career due to substance abuse. He created, directed, and starred in Easy Rider which is credited in ushering in the anti-establishment movement in Hollywood of the 1970s.)

Budget/Gross – $48 million / Domestic: $20,915,465

(Catastrophic. I’m actually a bit surprised it didn’t do better. You’d think a good number of video game fans would have been tricked into going to the film during the opening weekend. I would have thought it would have ended at like … $40 million maybe? On the other had it was 1993.)

#27 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

supermariobros_videogameadaptation

(Our 18th video game film, driving quickly towards a 20th film (like …4% of BMT is video game films). The genre is really booming recently. And with Detective Pikachu I think there is a distinct possibility Nintendo will end up as the driving force in upping the quality overall.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (8/38): Despite flashy sets and special effects, Super Mario Bros. is too light on story and substance to be anything more than a novelty.

(A delightful novelty IMO. That percentage is a lot higher than I would expect for what is likely considered one of the worst films ever (although it isn’t on the wiki page interestingly enough …). Reviewer Highlight: As everyone knows, arcade-style diversions are not known for strong, original narratives or well-developed characters. In that sense, this film is worthy of its inspiration. – James Berardinelli, ReelViews)

Poster – Super Twin Time (B+)

super_mario_bros

(I almost always default to the poster featured on IMDb, but for whatever reason they chose to use some foreign poster… I suspect because it looked so stupid that they thought it was funny? Hard to say. This was the primary theatrical poster I think and it’s actually fine. I wish it wasn’t so dark and they gave it some pop with the green and the red, but it’s nicely stylized and actually makes a very not cool thing look kinda cool with some nice spacing and font.)

Tagline(s) – This Ain’t No Game! (A)

(Clever. Good one to use on the first adaptation too as I think later on I would have thought it was a little generic and vague to constitute a good tagline. Here though I think it’s working.)

Keyword(s) – based on video game; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.4 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.9 House of the Dead (2003); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 87.7 BloodRayne (2005); 87.1 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 86.2 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 84.7 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 79.7 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 73.5 Far Cry (2008); 70.0 Wing Commander (1999);

(I kind of forget we haven’t officially seen Street Fighter for BMT. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen the film multiple times. We just used to not do filmes we’ve seen before for BMT. Now we do that quite frequently for good reason, so it’ll eventually come up, maybe in some ill-fated decision to watch every JCVD film ever made or something.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: John Leguizamo is No. 2 billed in Super Mario Bros. and No. 3 billed in Ride Along, which also stars Ice Cube (No. 1 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 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) => 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Hook, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – In his 2007 autobiography John Leguizamo states he and Bob Hoskins hated working on the film and would frequently get drunk to make it through the experience. Both men apparently knew the movie would turn out bad, so they simply tried to make the best of it. He also stated he felt one of the biggest reasons the movie turned out the way it did was because the directors wanted a more “adult” movie while the studio, considering the source material, was looking for a children’s film.

During a chase scene, Bob Hoskins broke his finger when the van’s door slammed on his hand. For the rest of the film, Hoskins is wearing a cast that was painted pink to look like a hand. (Having just watched it, I never noticed it)

Bob Hoskins didn’t know that the film he was making was based on a game, until his son asked him what he was working on. When Hoskins mentioned the film’s title, his son immediately recognized it and showed Hoskins the game on his own Nintendo.

An article in “Spy” magazine claimed that the script was being rewritten so many times during production that the actors stopped paying attention to these daily rewrites.

Although Bob Hoskins said that this is the worst film he ever made, his son Jack Hoskins is a fan of this film, praising his dad’s performance. He said that he was too young to understand the poor reviews and now that he’s old enough, he doesn’t care. He quoted on the film’s fan website “SMBArchive.com”: “If there’s anyone reading this, please understand that it’s no one’s intention to ruin the classics. One last thing; if you remember your past enjoyments, then it would definitely keep your childhood memories alive and safely locked in your head forever.”

The “De-evolution” guns seen at the end of the film are simply repainted versions of the Super Nintendo light gun accessory, the “Super Scope.” (Awesome. I’m serious … that’s awesome)

After the film bombed at the box office, Nintendo never produced any more live-action theatrical films based on their video game franchises. A “Metroid” film was put into development, but never went past pre-production. (They still haven’t. They have at least one film in production, another Super Mario film, but it is CGI I believe … which will probably work out better)

Dennis Hopper explained why he did the film – “I made a picture called Super Mario Bros., and my six-year-old son at the time – he’s now 18 – he said, ‘Dad, I think you’re probably a pretty good actor, but why did you play that terrible guy King Koopa in Super Mario Bros.?’ and I said, ‘Well Henry, I did that so you could have shoes,’ and he said, ‘Dad, I don’t need shoes that badly.'” (Sick burn)

The Yoshi puppet was capable of making 64 separate movements due to 200 feet of cable crammed inside its 3 foot tall structure. In all, no less than 9 puppeteers were used to operate the Yoshi puppet. (Yes, it was possibly the last great puppet animatronic since the film came out the same year as Jurassic Park. The CGI afterwards likely killed the industry. There might be other good examples, the Lost World or something, but 1993 marks the point where puppets weren’t the first thought in a directors mind on how to create a lifelike fictional animal.)

An early draft of the script shows that Bowser only disguises himself as a human in his first two scenes, the Princess character is named Hildy and Bowser wants to marry her in attempt to obtain the Crown of Invincibility with which to take over the Mushroom Kingdom. Actual game enemies such as Piranha Plants and Thwomps make appearances, Toad accompanies the Mario Bros. throughout their journey as a main character, a baby dinosaur named Junior thinks Mario is his mother, Luigi gets Raccoon Power at one point, one of Bowser’s lackeys (a possible prototype for Kamek) tells Mario “Your Princess Is in Another Castle”, Mario and Luigi sing a song for Bowser, Bowser ends up falling into a pit of lava… In other words, this draft is much more faithful to the games. (Yeah … that sounds like it would be absolutely terrible though)

Dennis Hopper described the film’s production – “It was a nightmare, very honestly, that movie. It was a husband and wife directing team who were both control freaks and wouldn’t talk before they made decisions. Anyway, I was supposed to go down there for five weeks, and I was there for 17. It was so over budget.”

In a 2011 interview with The Guardian, Bob Hoskins described the film’s production – “It was a f*ckin’ nightmare. The whole experience was a nightmare. It had a husband-and-wife team directing, whose arrogance had been mistaken for talent. After so many weeks their own agent told them to get off the set! F*ckin’ nightmare. F*ckin’ idiots.” (These two notes are eerily consistent)

Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario’s creator, stated, “[In] the end, it was a very fun project that they put a lot of effort into,” but also said, “The one thing that I still have some regrets about is that the movie may have tried to get a little too close to what the Mario Bros. video games were. And in that sense, it became a movie that was about a video game, rather than being an entertaining movie in and of itself.” (… what? It is nothing like the games.)

Rocky Morton reflected on the movie in 2016 as a “harrowing” experience. He explained that he and Annabel Jankel, along with the rest of the cast, agreed to make the movie based on the script originally written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, which focused on Mario and Luigi’s complicated but loving family dynamic that they had developed in the absence of their parents. However, just a few weeks before shooting was to begin, the studio financing the film demanded significant rewrites to make the film more childlike and comedic. The final result, according to Morton, was a script that was not at all like the script that he, Jenkel, and the cast had signed on to film, and that the tone of the new script was not at all compatible with the sets, which had already been built. Morton also reflected that he felt very uneasy being put in the position of having to defend the new script. In addition, working with Dennis Hopper was “really, really hard. Really hard. I don’t think [Dennis Hopper] had a clue what was going on.” Despite describing the overall experience as humiliating, Morton is proud of the film considering the chaos created as a result of the late and unexpected script rewrites. (Hmmmmmmmmmmmm)

Allegedly due to drinking on set, John Leguizamo was hit by a car, breaking his leg. You can even see the cast in some shots of the movie. (Jesus!)

This was the first Hollywood film directly based on a specific video game property. (And it went swimmingly)

John Leguizamo was annoyed that he wasn’t allowed to ad-lib in the film.

Parker Bennett and Terry Runte submitted a script represents the early transition from the original fantasy-oriented take to the more grounded sci-fi take of the final film. They felt that the story was never funny, scary or outlandish enough, so to make it more compelling they sought to focus more on Mario and Luigi’s relationship, to develop Daisy into a more proactive character and to expand Koopa’s plot so that it would also endanger Earth. However, the pitch still contains various fantastical elements, including Mario and Luigi being icons of a “prophecy,” a magical talking book that aids them on their quest and a mushroom-infested world complete with a castle. The sci-fi concept of a parallel world inhabited by humanoid dinosaurs is essentially only retrofitted onto the fantasy story already written. (What the hell? That was the “brilliant” story everyone was gutted to see changed?)

Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel were hired to direct the film, based on their work on Max Headroom (1987).

Lead creatures designer and supervisor Patrick Tatopoulos was aware of the concurrent Jurassic Park (1993) production, so consciously designed the dinosaurs more cute and cartoony with inspiration from Beetlejuice (1988).

Producers from Jurassic Park (1993) visited the set and were so impressed with the Yoshi puppet they briefly considered hiring its engineers for a second Jurassic Park creatures shop. (Yeah this is the thing I had heard, that they were still kind of figuring out whether they wanted to go animatronic for the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, but the CGI eventually won out)

Despite its box office failure and troubled production, Roland Joffé remains proud: “It’s not that I defend the movie, it’s just that, in its own extraordinary way, it was an interesting and rich artefact and has earned its place. It has strange cult status.” (This is absolutely true. It is one of the most baffling things you’ll ever watch. Just extraordinary that it exists at all)

Greg Beeman was attached to direct and development had already moved into pre-production, but the failure of Beeman’s recent Mom and Dad Save the World (1992) led to his dismissal by nervous producers. (Now that is an absolutely awful film … weirdly the carnivorous mushrooms would have been a decent idea for goombas in this film)

Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot Recap

Jamie

Det. Joe Bomowski is on edge when his overbearing mother comes to town. When his mom witnesses a murder and he’s faced with hosting her until the case can be solved he takes matters into his own hands. Can he solve the case and get rid of his mom (and perhaps find love) before it’s too late? Find out in… Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.

How?! It’s just not Joe’s week. First he gets in a wild shootout during a sting operation, then his girlfriend/boss (you read that right) breaks up with him because he’s an immature man-child, and then his overbearing mom comes the visit. Gah! Women! Am I right? Anyway, after his mom ruins his gun in a failed attempt to clean it she heads off to the bad part of town to buy him a new one. Unable to get a gun due to a waiting period she heads around the corner to buy some heavy duty illegal firearms out of the back of a van. Illegal transaction being what they are she finds herself in the middle of a shootout and subsequent murder investigation. Wanting to get her son a leg up for a promotion, she decides to withhold information (Probably ain’t going to work given that he’s been carrying on an inappropriate relationship with his immediate superior… oh, and he’s a bad cop). As a result she kinda forces him to team up with her and they start to uncover a (not so) intricate insurance fraud conspiracy. You see a company had all these (illegal?) guns. Wanting to double dip they faked a warehouse fire, collected the insurance, and then were going to turn around and sell them on the black market. Joe figures all this out with the help of his mom and even while navigating his personal relationships, growing a little as a person, and learning to live and love again, he is able to track the bad guys down. They attempt to escape to South America, but are confronted by Joe’s mom. Taking her with them (but, why?) Joe is forced to make a daring rescue, while his trigger-happy mom saves the day with the help of her gun. In the end Joe gets engaged and his mom heads home as her work there is done… you know until they start having babies and she has to come back for the sequel Stop! Or My Grandma Will Shoot. THE END.

Why?! Love. Obviously. The love of a mother for her child, the love of a bachelor for his independence, and the love of money for an anonymously eeevil business person. The funniest thing to dive into is the business person, just because they seemed to be so lazy with that part of the plot. He’s a business person who had an insurance claim on a shipment of guns and weapons. Being geniuses they decide to double dip and burn down the warehouse so they can turn around and sell the weapons on the black market. Unfortunately for them some of the people involved steal some of the guns and sell them on the street, where they are discovered and immediately traced. After that everything goes to shit. I am 100% certain this is also the plot of a Michael Dudikoff film. It just has to be. It’s so vague.

Who?! Some early(ish) roles for some actors that became well known, most notably Ving Rhames who has a very minor speaking role as “Mr. Stereo,” for real. Most important though is that I love when animals get credits. A lot of films will not actually give a credit for animals, even when they are pretty prominent parts of the action. Here though they have a credit for Pixie, who played Estelle Getty’s little Yorkie. Only credit Pixie got.

What?! There are a number of product placements in this film but I think Cocoa Puffs is the best one. He’s forced to eat it as part of a large breakfast prepared by his mother. This of course gives him an upset stomach. Why did I like this one the best? Well after discussion with Patrick he pointed out that normally Stallone writes into all his films that his character is a health nut, which allows his to provide sage dietary advice to all his coworkers and potential love interests. Since he didn’t write this film, he is eating Cocoa Puffs. Must have killed him inside.

Where?! This is a pretty good LA film as it plays into the plot a little bit. Like Stallone grew up in New Jersey with his mother and when he got old enough he escaped, moved as far away from her as he could, and become a police officer. Where is far away from New Jersey? LA of course. That’s more backstory, though, and not much in the actual film. A-.

When?! Second film in a row where it takes place in large part in a police station and yet I couldn’t for the life of me determine anything close to an exact date. I’m really pretty sure that for all these films there is a way to find this stuff out, but perhaps I would need to start getting in contact with propmasters and writers on the films. Yeah that’s what I’ll do. I’ll become a crazy person. Perfect. F.

This is probably one of the worst written films we’ve watched. It’s almost like one of those bikini car wash films or something. Everything is two-dimensional and the premise of the film has to keep on getting reset in order to get to feature length. One moment you’ll see Stallone realizing that his mom isn’t that bad and maybe she is just trying to help and the next he’s screaming “She’s going to kill me!” Just over and over and over. The interesting thing is that I thought Estelle Getty was actually kinda fun and charming as the overbearing mom. Stallone was really overreacting… she just seemed like a regular mom (with some characteristics ratcheted up slightly for laughs). Apparently this was one of Ebert’s critiques even as he noted that they seemed scared to make her an actual nightmare, but instead landed on a fairly likable character. The biggest problem I had with the film was Stallone’s love interest who is supposed to be his boss but is written like a two-dimensional, marriage-obsessed, needy stereotype. It’s insulting. She’s a lieutenant in the LAPD! You couldn’t make her even a slightly strong character? Instead she spends the movie wringing her hands over whether this dope is going to stop being a dope and love her? Terrible. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Stallone looked over at Schwarzenegger’s Kindergarten Cop and was “I’ll have what he’s having, but way worse and nobody will like it.” Well, Hollywood can dish that out in spades. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I needed something, anything, that suggested this was something other that a cynically made one-note comedy. ANYTHING. Because if it was what the trailer suggested, then there was never any hope for this. And without hope … what is BMT really? Where would we really be if we just walked directly into a film that offered no laughs and no entertainment. WHERE?!

The Good – The movie is yet another film that you can kind of call quaint. The further you get from the cash-grab cynicism it was obviously made with, the more it just kind of seems like a weird cop-based sitcom from the 60s. This hard-boiled LAPD detective has a new roommate … his mother! And boy are they an odd couple! I liked Getty, who played the mother. Stallone was mildly amusing. I can at least see why people are giving it better reviews as time goes on, it was far far less aggravating than I expected. I think that is a testament to Estelle Getty, she’s such a cute little old lady!

The Bad – The film is trash and should never have been made. “Hard pass” should have been the only two words the screenwriter heard from the instant the mere concept was put forward. It is sad it was made. It was also not funny (despite claiming to be a comedy). And the B-story was a complete nothing. Some jabroni wanted to commit some light fraud by burning down a warehouse full a guns, yada yada yada, he killed like a dozen people and tries to flee to Mexico. Like … okay? And the love life storyline is tacked on … and no one looks very good after that one. The detectives are harassing their female superior officer, and Stallone’s boss/girlfriend’s actions towards her subordinate in Stallone is wildly inappropriate. Of all of the cop-plus-something movies, I would guess this is the worst one … but that isn’t a surprise when your formula is cop-plus-his-mother. Wait … I forgot about the cop-plus-a-literal-dinosaur film we saw a few years ago …

The BMT – Somehow cop-plus-something films are a sub-genre. A ridiculously specific sub-genre, but a bad movie sub-genre nonetheless. And I think it is just ridiculous enough to either be brought up again on its own as just a dumb 90s comedy, or as a combo with Theodore Rex, the aforementioned cop-plus-a-literal-dinosaur film. It really is a great sub-genre, and we should find a time to fit in one of the many cop-plus-a-dog films that obviously qualify for BMT.

Roast-radamus – I think this qualifies for a Setting as a Character (Where?) for LA, it plays a huge part. There is kind of a new category here for Evil Laurel & Hardy (Who?) for the skinny and fat guy comedic combo bad guys who are always joshing each other and sneezing and stuff … legit, weirdly an amazing thing in film now that I think about it. That is probably it though, unfortunately they decided against having the mother ultimately be the bad guy in what would have certainly been the worst twist ever. Sigh, what could have been.

StreetCreditReport.com – Weirdly most of the 1992 lists for some reason ignored this. Luckily Roger Ebert was all over this as the time. “`Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot’ is one of those movies so dimwitted, so utterly lacking in even the smallest morsel of redeeming value, that you stare at the screen in stunned disbelief.” … so I take it you didn’t like it Roger?

You Just Got Schooled – On the DVD for the film there is a short 5 minute documentary (advertisement really, although I’m not sure where it would be shown … these days it would be one of the earlier commercials that play in a theater before the trailers) operating as a making of clip. It was interesting. Nothing much more than what the trailer gives you, except you can see Sly just razzing Getty the entire time. It is pretty impressive. He’s telling off color jokes (like how they just unfroze her because he needed some ice cubes for a drink … get it, she’s old) and Getty clearly is just loving it. There are like 30 parts where he’ll say something a little inappropriate and then she’ll laugh and give him a little punch. You can really see the charisma of Sly at the time, and also a bit of how smart he probably actually is, he was really coming at her quick with one-liners. I wish there were more of these things for the bad movies we watch, it makes me appreciate even more the genuine dynamic Getty and Sly had in the film.

And that’s it. Cheerios,

The Sklogs