Uh oh, I got into a crazy bad car accident and my whole family was killed. I also don’t really remember what happened because I sustained a bad concussion in the process. Do you remember what happened in Replicas?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) In the beginning of the film a donor comes in to Keanu’s clinic to get his new body. Who is this donor, and what happens to him?
2) Well, no time to dwell on failure (even though if I fail a few more times the entire company I work for it going to go under … whatever), time to hit the beach! Where is the family going on vacation?
3) Whoops, Keanue killed his whole family (whoops!). Well … obviously don’t call the police, instead just clone them all! Except for the youngest one. Why can’t he clone the youngest one?
4) Keanu it turns out operates like a rare gemstone. Pressure makes diamonds! Under extreme pressure to both resurrect his family and resurrect his flailing research project, Keanu buckles down and thinks up some gnarly algorithms. How does Keanu solve the issue with the robots destroying themselves?
5) In the end Keanu and robo-Keanu part ways. What do each do with their lives?
“We’re so sorry,” Patrick says solemnly through a mouthful of pie. Jamie echoes the words blandly, all the while picking at his fingernails. Angel is stunned. While he agrees that his character’s death will be emotional and raw for the audience, he had been led to believe his character was going to take a larger role in the series going forward. The feedback for his work was fantastic and his star seemed only to be rising. But suddenly it had fallen and there was nothing he could do about it. “Do you need me to film a death scene at least,” but Jamie seems bored and just says they’ll “do it in post using CGI or something.” Angel sighs and leaves. “Finally,” Jamie says with relief, “we can get back to work without Angel distracting us and ruining everything.” He looks sideways at Patrick who apparently hasn’t heard him. They were each reacting to the pressure of production in different ways… “you think you might want to slow down on the pie, bro?”
“Angel has what?!” Banks screams into the telephone. My god, they are out of control. The only good thing in the production and they have to get envious and fire the poor guy. Banks is panicked. Three weeks from the premier and they aren’t even wrapped filming! Not to mention that Patrick has managed to stress eat his way to 60 pounds overweight. Looking at Rod’s pictures from set he’s barely recognizable. He buzzes his assistant. “Get Chris Klein on the phone.” If these idiots are going to pout and eat this picture into the ground, Banks isn’t going to go down without a fight. And that means only one thing: he’s gotta somehow replicate the Rich and Poe magic himself and fast. That’s right! We’re watching Replicas, the Keanu Reeves Sci-fi flick that bombed at the box office early in the year. At the time it seemed to portend a ripe BMT harvest for the year. Little did we know that a drought was on the horizon. Let’s go!
Replicas (2019) – BMeTric: 44.6; Notability: 13
(The fact that it opened that high is incredible. What kind of bizarre PR team is hitting the IMDb page for a film that was delayed for release by two years which is an almost inevitable January bomb? That is just crazy.)
RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – Here’s a fun game to play to keep your mind from truly wandering during a bad film: try and figure out exactly when the movie you’re watching went rotten. Was it a script that never should have been purchased? A concept that no one could have made work? Or did the problems start in pre-production, perhaps with the wrong cast or tech team being hired? Maybe the whole thing went to hell during production with a director who couldn’t manage tone or actors who checked out early? Or some bad films are tragically destroyed in post-production, sliced up in the editing bay. This is the game I played while watching the truly dreadful “Replicas,” and I went with “All of the above.”
(… I do the same thing to be honest. It always seems pretty easy to see where things went awry. Usually it is the director since his job often boils down to organization. And disorganization results in the most dire of situations: a boring bad movie.)
(Huh … so cloning and like … memory stuff? This seems very sci-fi and also very not good. I’m vaguely intrigued.)
Directors – Jeffrey Nachmanoff – (Known For: Traitor; BMT: Replicas; Notes: His brother is Dave Nachmanoff, a singer. Jeffrey accompanied him on his album Threads of Time.)
Writers – Chad St. John (screenplay by) – (Future BMT: Peppermint; BMT: Replicas; London Has Fallen; Notes: Writing the next Tim Story and Kevin Hart film My Own Worst Enemy)
Stephen Hamel (story by) – (Known For: Henry’s Crime; Future BMT: Siberia; BMT: Replicas; Notes: Executive Producer of John Wick. He writes a lot of the films his production company produces, but not all of them. Mostly has production gigs lined up it seems.)
Actors – Keanu Reeves – (Known For: Toy Story 4; The Matrix; John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum; John Wick; The Replacements; John Wick: Chapter 2; The Matrix Reloaded; Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Between Two Ferns: The Movie; The Neon Demon; Point Break; The Devil’s Advocate; The Bad Batch; Always Be My Maybe; Destination Wedding; Constantine; Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure; Speed; To the Bone; Dangerous Liaisons; Future BMT: Knock Knock; Exposed; Siberia; Even Cowgirls Get the Blues; The Watcher; Generation Um…; Chain Reaction; Feeling Minnesota; 47 Ronin; The Whole Truth; Youngblood; Matrix Revolutions; Sweet November; Street Kings; A Very Bad Day; BMT: The Day the Earth Stood Still; Replicas; Johnny Mnemonic; The Lake House; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1996 for A Walk in the Clouds, and Johnny Mnemonic; in 1997 for Chain Reaction; and in 2002 for Hard Ball, and Sweet November; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1994 for Much Ado About Nothing; and in 2001 for The Watcher; Notes: Ya’ll know Keanu. He played a French-Canadian in Youngblood, and it is bar none the worse accent I’ve ever heard.)
Alice Eve – (Known For: Bombshell; She’s Out of My League; Star Trek into Darkness; Men in Black 3; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Please Stand By; Starter for 10; Cold Comes the Night; Stage Beauty; Decoding Annie Parker; Some Velvet Morning; Future BMT: Sex and the City 2; ATM; The Con Is On; Misconduct; Dirty Weekend; Criminal; The Raven; The Decoy Bride; Entourage; Untogether; Crossing Over; Before We Go; BMT: Replicas; Notes: Daughter of Trevor Eve who was Jonathan Harker in Dracula with Frank Langella. Has two different colored eyes.)
Thomas Middleditch – (Known For: The Wolf of Wall Street; Zombieland: Double Tap; Godzilla: King of the Monsters; Kong: Skull Island; The Other Guys; Tag; The Kings of Summer; The Final Girls; The Campaign; The Rebound; Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie; Being Flynn; Joshy; Entanglement; Future BMT: Once Upon a Time in Venice; Fun Size; Search Party; The Bronze; The Brass Teapot; Splinterheads; BMT: Replicas; Notes: Starred in the hit comedy Silicon Valley on HBO, and … Verizon ads, I think it was Verizon.)
Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $4,046,429 (Worldwide: $9,206,925)
(That has to be Hollywood accounting. The robot looks so bad in the film that they must have spent $0 on any of the CGI. So did they just pay Keanu $29 million or something?)
Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (5/53): Equal parts plot holes and unintentional laughs, Replicas is a ponderously lame sci-fi outing that isn’t even bad enough to be so bad it’s good.
(Ha, it is just one giant plot hole, got it. Reviewer Highlight: The filmmakers manage to avoid every potentially interesting choice for far dumber, and far more inexplicable, conclusions. – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times.)
(This literally makes the movie look like it’s about Keanu and his robot replica probably battling each other in hand-to-robot-hand combat. But, spoiler alert, that is not the case. Nice organization, interesting font, and OK color scheme. It’s fine.)
Tagline(s) – Some Humans Are Unstoppable (A+)
(I think this very well might be The Avengers (1998) of taglines. It is complete and utter nonsense and I don’t know how you put that on the poster. So bad that it became an A+ again because it’s so stupid. My brain hurts trying to even comprehend what they were thinking.)
Top 10: Gemini Man (2019), Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Logan (2017), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), Annihilation (2018), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), Tron (2010), Cloud Atlas (2012);
Future BMT: 54.7 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 46.4 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), 46.2 Machete Kills (2013), 37.3 Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), 37.0 Morgan (2016), 36.3 Gemini Man (2019), 35.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), 27.8 Pokémon: The First Movie (1998), 24.6 Resident Evil: Extinction (2007);
BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Replicas (2018), Hitman: Agent 47 (2015), Judge Dredd (1995), Æon Flux (2005), The Avengers (1998), Babylon A.D. (2008), Ultraviolet (2006), Species II (1998), Pluto Nash (2002), Godsend (2004)
(My God … we’ve seen so many of them! There appears to be a surge of clone related films. I wonder if the sour taste from Attack of the Clones has finally left everyone’s collective minds and clones are cool again.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Keanu Reeves is No. 1 billed in Replicas and No. 1 billed in Lake House, which also stars Sandra Bullock (No. 2 billed) who is in Demolition Man (No. 3 billed), which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 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) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.
Notes – The story and screenplay for REPLICAS was developed at Keanu Reeves and Stephen Hamel’s production company Company Films. Hamel writes the majority of all the stories produced there.
Filmed in August 2016, but not released in the United States until January 2019. (Wow, why even release it?)
Nicolas Cage turned it down before it goes to Keanu Reeves (It does seem like a Nic Cage film)
Agent Mike Banning is back, Jack! And guess what? He’s still saving the President. When an attempted assassination goes wrong, leaving only the President and Banning alive, suspicion lands sqaurely on Banning. Can he reveal the vast conspiracy, stop the bad guys, and save the President (again) before it’s too late? Find out in… Angel has Fallen.
How?! We open on a broken and beaten Banning. He’s popping pills, struggling with the physical and mental trauma from his direct involvement with several national emergencies, and trying to figure out what’s next for him and his family. And it’s not so different for his fellow war veterans, for example check out his friend Wade Jennings who is definitely not a bad guy. Wade is just lamenting the lack of use of private military contractors by the US, NBD. Anyway, shortly thereafter Banning is out fishing with the President when a massive assassination attempt via face recognizing drones is carried out. Only Banning and the President are able to survive, thanks to his quick thinking, but both are seriously injured. When Banning comes to, he’s the prime suspect thanks to an almost comical amount of physical and electronic evidence he’s left behind of his alleged activities. As the definitely-not-evil Vice President takes the oath of office, Banning is taken into custody, only to be freed moments later by a bunch of black ops soldiers. Using his skillz to kill them, Banning discovers that they are employees of Jennings (My god! How unexpected!). He then leads authorities on a multistate chase before disappearing into the West Virginia mountains where he hides out with his *bum bum bum* estranged father (what a twist!). Jennings’ squad continues in hot pursuit and Banning’s dad is a total maniac with the explosives and saves the day. Meanwhile the FBI, finally getting the hint that maybe Banning is innocent, tracks down Jennings and his entire plot hatched with the Vice President (My god! Whodathought!) blows up in his face. Realizing that he really just wants to kill the President and Banning and then move offshore he heads to the hospital where the President is. Banning also heads there in order to warn everyone what’s going on. There is a climactic shootout and Banning totally tricks those dopes and kills Jennings in hand-to-hand combat. It ends with Banning getting promoted. THE END… or is it? It is, for now. Big Question: Why frame Banning? Why not kill Banning and frame someone who isn’t a superhero?
Why?! Interestingly we do get some motivation for Banning. While dealing with the consequences of the concussions and injuries he’s suffered in the line of duty he has to seriously consider whether it’s all worth it (particularly since he’s battling some addiction issues at the same time). Less interestingly this really doesn’t get resolved adequately at the end. As for the bad guys, well they lament to loss of lucrative military contractor work for both monetary reasons and for macho “we’re lions!!!” reasons.
Who?! I mean it goes without saying, crank up that Hail to the Chief. We inaugurate President Trumbull into the BMT Hall of Presidents. Former Speaker of the House and then Vice President, he’s come a long way. I was just really hoping that at the end of the film he would ask our boy Mike Banning to be his VP. The only thing to legit get me excited for the sequel.
What?! You know you have a good product placement when people online are baffled by its presence. In this case Banning uses the cell phone lifted from one of the bad guys and its… Apple? …Samsung? Nope. They have a OnePlus cell phone, a phone somewhat popular outside of the US but rarely seen here. Maybe this is a subtle hint that the mercenary soldiers are not American… or maybe they were just filming in Eastern Europe.
Where?! Obviously a chunk of this will take place in D.C., but I was pleasantly surprised when it was made very clear that our boy Banning heads into the mountains of West Virginia in order to track down his estranged father. I didn’t even remember what we used for West Virginia for the mapl.de.map, but then I checked and it was the greatest film of all time, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D… so that wins. A-, just slightly necessary to the plot.
When?! Couldn’t find anything for the time. Clearly it’s Fall as it’s cold but not that cold. President Trumbull mentions the G20, implying its coming up shortly, but that’s not something that happens at regular intervals. I think we could figure it out, but I didn’t. F.
Either we’ve hit some level of bad movie watching where our beautiful minds can piece together anything remotely trite or cliche, or this film is on some whole other crazy level of predictability. There was a moment early in the film where I thought, “you know what, this isn’t half-bad” but then it veered away from the fun action in order to start putting together the pieces of the overarching plot, which was pretty boring… because I already knew the plot. The bad guys may as well have been twirling their evil mustaches and yet we had to wait for the film to “reveal” them to us. Worse, the final action scene actually looked super silly, which was weird because the other action scenes in the film were pretty good. Obviously not as offensive as the last film but also not as much of an improvement as I secretly hoped. I’d say a little overrated seeing as it qualified for BMT by the slimmest of margins. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! A bunch of baddies want to kill the President and need a fall guy. But who to choose. How about the one that foiled two international plots to kill the president before? What are the chances he’ll do it a third time? Pretty slim if my terrible grasp of probability theory is correct. Let’s get into it!
P’s View on the Preview – Don’t think for a second I wasn’t excited to hear they were going to complete this trilogy. I was only slightly disappointed to hear it was no longer the spiritual successor to Air Force One (it was originally supposed to be set on Air Force One). Fake presidents, explosions, hand-to-hand combat, maybe some light racism? Count me in. What was I expecting? The second film in the series was actually an incomprehensible trainwreck. So … uh, more of that please? I hope the nameless SAS agent returns and still remains nameless during this film as well.
The Good – Ripping off The Fugitive is rarely a bad idea as that film is obviously excellent. We learn a lot about the dangers of concussions, and private military forces, and Russia meddling in elections. There are lots of explosions, only some of which look like CGI garbage. And I like Morgan Freeman. It is actually rather straightforward: this is the kind of shiny action film that mimics (in inventiveness) old straight-to-video trash except with a big budget. Somehow, Gerard Butler just makes these at will, it is incredible.
The Bad – The movie is just kind of trashy. The long lost father, the “twist” of the vice-president being behind the plot (which I guessed while watching the trailer months ago … and don’t tell me it was intentional, they distort his voice during the film to hide the fact), the guy who’s just about to retire, the broken everyman hero. We’ve seen this all before. You can lob as many current messages at me as you want, it doesn’t change the fact that this is a story I’ve seen before, and a story that is more like a bad season of 24 than a $40 million film.
The BMT – We have to complete the BMT Trilogies. There is just nothing to be done about this fact. And that will be its enduring message for BMT. That we do our homework, we don’t skimp, no matter how joyless the money-grubbing sequel they produce. Did it meet my expectations? No, it was not nearly as entertaining as the craziness that is London Has Fallen. The only way something like this is entertaining is if the production really seemed to have been struggling. This seemed easy breezy. So easy in fact that Gerard Butler didn’t even feel the need to get into shape (that will be the one time I’ll body shame Gerard and mention his weight … for real though he looks fat).
Roast-radamus – I think it has a pretty strong Setting As a Character (Where?) game with basically Washington D.C. and the surrounding area, plus West Virginia. It kind of rockets up to the top of the Worst Twist (How?) list for me, because … for real, Vice-President Kirby is so obvious of a villain that I guessed it the instant I saw him in the trailer. The trailer! And then it probably doesn’t really have a shot at, but will be on the short list for, BMT Live! (2019).
StreetCreditReport.com/ – Ah finally, we have some lists. This didn’t make the AV Club list, but it did make the list from The Wrap at number 8. Considering it barely qualified for BMT that is actually pretty good. It’s cred comes from a franchise with diminishing returns though. It doesn’t even sniff Gerard Butler’s personal worst-of list even.
You Just Got Schooled – You know what is a movie I’d never seen? White House Down. It is pretty good if overly long. At least it isn’t as schmaltzy as Olympus Has Fallen. A lot of the jokes landed and a few out-of-nowhere references were actually used effectively. Specifically, although I knew President Jamie Foxx survived, I had forgotten about the pocket watch right up until he pulled it out with the bullet in it. Also the flag waving by Lucy Hale managed to go so far into bad territory that it went back around and became ironically good. The thing is, the entire world they built would never be suited for sequels, unlike Olympus Has Fallen which was already a super agent film set in the terror-around-every-corner world of 24. So while White House Down is fun, it always seemed destined to be a one time adventure. Which is fine. B-, glad I watched it, but I won’t watch it again.
Quite literally a huge part of this story is just how many concussions the main character has. I barely remember my own name, let alone what happened in this film. Do you remember what happened in Angel Has Fallen?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) What piece of legislation does President Morgan Freeman announce at the beginning of the film?
2) What is the vice-president’s (spoilees!) plot to kill the president? And why does Wade Jennings go along with it?
3) Why does the FBI think Mike Banning tried to kill the president?
4) Where does Mike’s estranged father live?
5) What position is Mike promoted to at the end of the film?
Jamie stares in shock as Patrick slams the newspaper down in front of him. The headline screams “Cake-Fueled Scandal Rocks Rich and Poe Production” and that’s not the only thing screaming. “You know the immense pressure I’m under, Jamie?” Patrick screams, chowing down on another slice of banana cream pie. But Jamie waves him off, “you know this is nothing. You were there. You saw it all happen.” But that’s not the point. Sure, Patrick knows the truth, but the studio doesn’t and they’re starting to hear words like greedy, arrogant, and unprofessional being thrown around. Worst of all, Jamie is getting a reputation as an all around bad boy character, while Patrick is being called difficult. Difficult! He’s not difficult. Everyone else is difficult! “Why don’t you take a week off,” Patrick suggest, “go to the ski chalet and relax to the max,” and Jamie nods. Besides he can get some b-roll of some avalanches for the big climactic snowboarding shootout. While he’s away Patrick begins production with the new sidekick they wrote, Angel. Overweight, bumbling, and an overall fool they spend the movie totally owning him for his bumbling ways. Patrick and Jamie know the character is a perfect way to show just how cool and rad their own characters are by juxtaposing them against his total lameness. When Jamie returns, the set is abuzz. Everywhere he turns he hears “Angel is so funny,” and “next breakout star.” Confused he confronts Patrick who is also beside himself. Apparently everyone loves the helpful idiot. When a new gossip article links Angel and Leighton Vanderschmidt it’s the final straw. They can’t have his star outshine theirs. There’s only one thing to do: Angel must go down. That’s right! We’re watching Angel Has Fallen. While not the worst reviewed film of the year, it’s a sequel to the terrible London Has Fallen, so that basically made it a shoe-in. It was also helpful that it fit the chain reaction section through Gangster Squad’s Nick Nolte. Let’s go!
Angel Has Fallen (2019) – BMeTric: 17.4; Notability: 33
(The IMDb rating is a lot higher that I think I would expect. I guess I don’t really expect people to go to bat for a nothing sequel to a franchise full of nothing … but unlike horror, action films have their staunch defenders I guess.)
RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – [K]ey moments, like any scene featuring great character actors like Tim Blake Nelson and Lance Reddick, are raced through with negligible conviction and even less inspiration. If this type of no-brow entertainment is your thing, you may find something to like in “Angel Has Fallen,” but that doesn’t mean you need what these guys are reselling.
(Many other review sites were a bit kinder than this, but I think this is probably accurate. More or less they are saying that it’s bad, without giving in to the “good for what it aims to be” syndrome that we see all over the place nowadays.)
(I remember seeing this trailer and actually thinking “shit, this might actually not be that bad.” In some ways this turned out to be true. But it still qualified and the denizens of the BMTverse rejoiced.)
Directors – Ric Roman Waugh – (Known For: Shot Caller; Snitch; Felon; BMT: Angel Has Fallen; Notes: Long time stuntman. Did the stunts on the likes of Teen Wolf Too, Gone in 60 Seconds, Sudden Death, and Double Dragon)
Writers – Robert Mark Kamen (screenplay by) – (Known For: The Karate Kid; The Fifth Element; Taken; The Karate Kid; The Karate Kid Part II; The Transporter; Transporter 2; Lethal Weapon 3; Bandidas; Kiss of the Dragon; The Warriors Gate; Taps; A Walk in the Clouds; Future BMT: The Next Karate Kid; The Karate Kid Part III; The Transporter Refueled; Taken 3; Transporter 3; Taken 2; Colombiana; Gladiator; BMT: Angel Has Fallen; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Karate Kid Part III in 1990; Notes: Long time collaborator of Luc Besson. After the success of The Fifth Element he was asked to join him in creating a studio in Europe. I presume this is EuropaCorp.)
Matt Cook (screenplay by) – (Known For: The Informer; Patriots Day; Triple 9; Future BMT: The Duel; BMT: Angel Has Fallen; Notes: Seems to have burst onto the scene with three different films made in 2016.)
Ric Roman Waugh (screenplay by) – (Known For: Shot Caller; Snitch; Felon; BMT: Angel Has Fallen; Notes: He’s actually written every film he’s directed other than his first, Exit, which looks like a Cinemax film which he eventually went credited as Alan Smithee.)
Creighton Rothenberger (story by & based on characters created by) – (Known For: Olympus Has Fallen; BMT: London Has Fallen; The Expendables 3; Angel Has Fallen; Notes: Met writing partner Benedikt in screenwriting class and they eventually got married. Love is alive!)
Katrin Benedikt (story by & based on characters created by) – (Known For: Olympus Has Fallen; BMT: London Has Fallen; The Expendables 3; Angel Has Fallen; Notes: They are now divorced and will likely not be writing partners now… love is dead.)
Actors – Gerard Butler – (Known For: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; Olympus Has Fallen; 300; Den of Thieves; How to Train Your Dragon; The Vanishing; Tomorrow Never Dies; RocknRolla; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Reign of Fire; Nim’s Island; Coriolanus; Beowulf & Grendel; Mrs Brown; Dear Frankie; Harrison’s Flowers; The Cherry Orchard; Future BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Tale of the Mummy; The Ugly Truth; The Game of Their Lives; A Family Man; Machine Gun Preacher; BMT: Movie 43; Dracula 2001; Geostorm; Gods of Egypt; The Bounty Hunter; Timeline; Gamer; Playing for Keeps; London Has Fallen; Angel Has Fallen; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for The Bounty Hunter; and in 2017 for Gods of Egypt, and London Has Fallen; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble for The Bounty Hunter in 2011; Notes: One of the greatest actors of all time. Part of the Hollywood A-list as evidenced by his invite to Mark Burnett’s holiday party. So suck on that, Gerard Butler haters.)
Nick Nolte – (Known For: Cape Fear; Tropic Thunder; Warrior; 48 Hrs.; The Thin Red Line; Noah; Hulk; Run All Night; Hotel Rwanda; The Player; The Spiderwick Chronicles; Over the Hedge; Parker; U Turn; The Deep; Paris, je t’aime; New York Stories; Hateship Loveship; A Walk in the Woods; The Company You Keep; Future BMT: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore; Breakfast of Champions; Return to Sender; I Love Trouble; Arthur; Simpatico; The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; Nightwatch; Blue Chips; Angel Has Fallen; Three Fugitives; Trixie; Mulholland Falls; Everybody Wins; Asthma; Neverwas; BMT: The Ridiculous 6; Zookeeper; Another 48 Hrs.; Gangster Squad; Notes: Has maybe the most famous mugshot in the world. Was also sentenced to 45 years in prison in the 60s for counterfeiting, but the sentence was suspended.)
Danny Huston – (Known For: Wonder Woman; Game Night; The Aviator; Children of Men; Robin Hood; Stan & Ollie; Newness; Leaving Las Vegas; Marie Antoinette; 30 Days of Night; 21 Grams; Big Eyes; The Kingdom; The Constant Gardener; Edge of Darkness; Hitchcock; The Proposition; Made in Dagenham; The Conspirator; The Congress; Future BMT: IO; Stolen; Wrath of the Titans; Clash of the Titans; All I See Is You; Boogie Woogie; Birth; Pressure; The Warrior’s Way; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; Anna Karenina; The Professor; Fade to Black; BMT: The Number 23; Angel Has Fallen; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Notes: For a hot second he was a director in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Made The Maddening, an erotic thriller starring Burt Reynolds, which is described as a “creepfest” on Wikipedia.)
(That actually seems pretty okay. You’d want a bit more domestically, and for an action film you’d hope to punch $100 million there as well. But overall they probably made a bit of money out of it … Angel Has Fallen 2?)
Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (68/174): Cut from the same rough cloth as its predecessors, Angel Has Fallen rounds out a mostly forgettable action trilogy in fittingly mediocre fashion.
(Technically speaking, I think the second film was less than mediocre, making this film more of a return to form than a fittingly mediocre conclusion. I personally was hoping for more offensive garbage, but we can’t all get what we wish for. Fortunately this just snuck in for BMT. Reviewer Highlight: Angel Has Fallen is a film in search of a soul. It doesn’t find it, but the effort is appreciated. – Clarisse Loughrey, Independent (UK))
(Weird. I would think I would like this a lot, but I don’t. The color and the framing are fine, but the font makes this look like an ad for a TV show. I need quality, Angel Has Fallen.)
Tagline(s) – The Hero Becomes the Fugitive (C)
(Not into it. I need it to flow. This is clunky and weird. It’s short and it explains the plot, but that a tagline does not make. I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity here too. Like America’s Greatest Hero is now America’s Most Wanted. Or something like Husband. Hero. Fugitive. Works better for me.)
Top 10: Angel Has Fallen (2019), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Glass (2019), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Logan (2017), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003);
Future BMT: 82.7 Home Alone 3 (1997), 69.8 Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017), 68.5 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), 65.9 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 63.5 Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001), 63.4 Poltergeist III (1988), 62.7 Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983), 62.6 Blair Witch (2016), 61.9 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 60.8 The Karate Kid Part III (1989);
BMT: Angel Has Fallen (2019), Batman Forever (1995), The Expendables 3 (2014), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), RoboCop 3 (1993), Superman III (1983), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994), Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011), Ernest Goes to Jail (1990)
(I’m now genuinely wondering if we can make a full cycle out of just third part films … and wait … is 1995 to 2000 so weird forgotten time of original filmmaking? Why aren’t they completing those sweet trilogies at that point. Maybe … with the small studios starting to go under in the early 90s a lot of the crap third parts were relegated to straight-to-video / cable maybe? Interesting theory at least.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Gerard Butler is No. 1 billed in Angel Has Fallen and No. 1 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 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 15. If we were to watch Kingdom Come we can get the HoE Number down to 11.
Notes – Production on the film has been delayed by three months, to allow Gerard Butler time to recover from an injury he received while riding his motorcycle. (Pretty dumb)
Piper Perabo replaced Radha Mitchell as Leah Banning, Mike’s wife, who Mitchell played in the previous two movies. (… I did not realize they had switched actresses, I had just kind of assumed it was Piper Perabo before)
Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman are the only two actors reprising their roles for this installment. Thus, being the only two actors to appear in all three “Has Fallen” movies.
Gerard Butler stated that this film will be darker and more character driven than either of its previous installments, even going so far as to compare it to “Logan” (2017). He also expressed hope that this will be the final installment in the “Olympus has Fallen” series.
Nick Nolte played the role of an Ex-Vietnam War veteran in this movie. In real life, he never had a chance to go to Vietnam war due to a felony case years before. However, he felt incomplete for not being able to do so since at that time, he felt obligated to fight in Vietnam War as a young man.
In Olympus Has Fallen (2013), Morgan Freeman portrayed the Speaker of the House, and in London Has Fallen (2016), he became Vice President. In between the second film and this one, his character has been elected as President of the United States. This marks the second time of Freeman as President, after he played President Tom Beck in Deep Impact (1998). (Fake presidents are amazing!)
All three films in the series have been distributed by different studios. FilmDistrict distributed Olympus Has Fallen (2013); Gramercy distributed London Has Fallen (2016); and Lionsgate distributed Angel Has Fallen (2019). (That actually seems weird)
Reportedly, there were no plans to have Aaron Eckhart return and play the role of the president, as the first two films are set over the course of seven years and the maximum time for a U.S. president is two terms (exactly eight years, unless the person becomes president in the last two years of the term). So Morgan Freeman took over the role instead. (Always made sense anyways)
Had almost half the production budget of Olympus Has Fallen (70 million) with a substantially smaller 40 million.
Tessa is just an innocent good girl ready to study her way through college like the good girl that she is. But, uh oh! Her first week there she meets bad boy Hardin and he’s destined to change her life. Can she fix the broken bad boy (and perhaps even find love with him) before it’s too late? Find out in… After.
How?! Tessa is a good girl who just wants to study and not party. But when she shows up at college and finds herself with a bad girl roommate her mom is like “no way, what if you become a bad girl?” but Tessa reassures her and goes with the flow. Almost immediately, though, she crosses paths with her roommate’s bad friends, which includes bad boy Hardin. He’s all cool and British and has tattoos and is definitely not Harry Styles. Tessa’s high school boyfriend is also a little concerned, but rolls with it, which is kinda mature of him really. Out of nowhere, Hardin is like “let’s hang out” and they go to a lake and make out and Tessa is all like “woah.” But still Hardin acts all weird when his friends show up so Tessa is still pretty sure he’s bad to the bone. But one night, unfortunately when her boyfriend is visiting, she gets a call that Hardin is having a tough time and when she goes to console him they end up spending the night in each other’s arms (but in a totally innocent way). This of course blows up her relationship with her boyfriend and also with her mom, who demands she stop seeing Hardin or she’ll be disowned. Hardin is like “but I love you” and instead of breaking up they get an off-campus apartment together and totally smooch and love on each other all semester. Eventually, after helping Hardin through his father’s wedding to his new wife, Tessa and him have sex with each other and it’s beautiful and the audience cried. Also at this point we’re like “wait, she’s not a bad girl… instead is he… a good guy?” and we think the answer is yes. Wrong! Because just after that Hardin starts acting weird again and Tessa finds out this entire thing has been a Pygmalion scenario! Oh no! Hardin bet his friends that he could make Tessa fall in love with him. What a bad boy! Tessa once again buckles down, reunites with her mom, and gets a prestigious summer internship. Just as the school year ends she gets an essay written by Hardin where he professes his love and reveals that he’s a good guy after all and they totally smooch by a lake. THE END. Big Question: Is Hardin in fact a good guy or a bad boy? The answer will likely be revealed in one of the several sequels.
Why?! Come on. Love, duh (awwwww). That is the only motivating factor in the entire film for our main two characters. Hardin was damaged by his father’s alcoholism early in his life and so that makes it hard for him to accept love, but Tessa gets him through it. It’s beautiful.
Who?! We get a legit musician-turned-actor in this with Pia Mia making her feature debut as Tristan. She actually released a number of singles this year, but probably her biggest song is still the 1995 song Do It Again. Bitter Love from this year was pretty big though. Probably riding that After wave to success.
What?! None of the usual suspects make an appearance here, which is surprising. The only even mild thing is a Chekov’s game of Truth or Dare, but really isn’t that more an indictment on the predictability of it all? One important note is that this film is based on a book. I listened to seven chapters one day while cleaning my house, naturally, and it is unfortunate. Even more importantly though is that the original version with the Harry Styles main character is still available on Wattpad. So there’s the link so you can never click on it.
Where?! We get a nice shot of downtown Atlanta and then some pretty clear signage around campus regarding Rossmore University of Atlanta where Tessa and Hardin attend. We even get an aquarium date at the famous Georgia Aquarium. Sooooo… why weren’t they slamming refresshing Coca-Cola’s left and right? F… JK, B+.
When?! A little bit of a road trip through time as we pretty clearly ride the emotional roller-coaster that is Tessa’s freshman year at college. The beginning of the film is the first day of school (end of August, likely) and we end at the end of term with her set to intern at Vance Publishing. So wait… are we going to get three more sequels?! Sequels, Please! B.
I actually had my hopes pretty high for this one coming off the BMT success of the Fifty Shades franchise. There were a number of reviews that suggested the film may cross the line in the portrayal of an abusive relationship in a romantic light (which Fifty Shades certainly did), however this turned out to not really be true. Sure both Hardin and Tess have some family issues, but really their relationship isn’t that bad… just immature. You’d think that would mean I was disappointed, but I wasn’t. It is laughable fluff with some really bad acting, a predictable storyline, and a sequel on the horizon. Honestly, who doesn’t like a good girl trying to tame the bad boy story? Always room for a little Dylan-Kelly/Brenda action in my life. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! After I got done watching this film I thought to myself, “this is the craziest Friedberg and Seltzer film I’ve ever seen …” Let’s get into it!
P’s View on the Preview – How exactly did we come to a point where we have watched two different romantic dramas based on fanfiction. Sure, Fifty Shades was such a phenomenon you can sometimes forget it was Twilight fanfiction, but this was One Direction fanfiction! What were my expectations? I honestly had no idea what to expect. I had no idea what the storyline of the film was beyond girl-meets-bad-boy even. I could only hope that it would bring me the same delight Midnight Sun did for me last year.
The Good – I genuinely liked the lack of drama they brought to the main character’s non-romantic life. You have a good girl, she doesn’t drink, she doesn’t do drugs, she doesn’t have sex, she’s an academic star. But then, uh oh, she goes to college and meets a bad boy and … well she still doesn’t drink, or do drugs, and is still an academic star. Fine she has sex, but after like months of dating her live-in boyfriend. The lack of drama is definitely a bad thing in areas (we’ll get to that), but I kind of like that they portrayed a young adult’s college love life for what it is: typically not that impactful on your life as a whole. Most people’s college relationships don’t ruin their lives it turns out, no matter how “broken” this British bad boy is. The main actress is good, the vistas are beautiful, and we get a decent message from our main dork Noah which boils down to: “no hard feelings, people change, that’s literally what everyone does in college, being friends is fine”. Despite being a dork Noah is dropping some knowledge on Tessa.
The Bad – No offense to the Fiennes family but Hero doesn’t do it for me in this role. As he growls cliches, and declares that love is dead, I don’t think to myself “look at this tragic broken man, if only a woman would come along and fix his broken heart with her romance” … I instead laugh and wonder whether Fiennes had read the script before taking the role. The lack of drama does feel like it fails when it comes to the main relationship. They are literally soul mates. They are both such extreme literary weirdos in exactly the same way that everyone around them would have been like “kiss already” in real life. He is immediately quoting Wuthering Heights and debating Pride and Prejudice with her, it is crazy. Maybe hide his literary genius for a bit, or give him a crippling vice. As a watered down The Spectacular Now anyways, just make him an alcoholic! Anything! Any drama whatsoever would have been nice before we get to the weird Cruel Intentions rip-off and resolution in the last ten minutes.
The BMT – It didn’t really fit anywhere in the good or bad section … but it is so incredibly predictable that authors who write fanfiction would have a bizarre fascination/love for the book publishing industry. In Fifty Shade where does Anastasia work? A book publishing office. Where does Tessa get an internship at the end of this movie? A book publishing office. I genuinely almost squealed with delight when she walked through that book publishing office door! Last year I said I wanted to watch more RomDrams because I felt like they made me cry instead of allowing me to honestly critique them because I lacked the viewing experience. It looks like we are getting there, because I was laughing throughout this film and found it to be a BMT delight! Looking forward to the sequel. Did it meet my expectations? It surpassed them honestly. This film is a cartoon, and how it revelled in its cliche never failed to make me laugh. “I’m broken” Hardin whispers, and I whisper back, “aren’t we all?”, a tear welling in my eye.
Roast-radamus – You know what? I’m going to give a shout-out to my main dork Noah as a Baxter (Who?). Maybe not a traditional Planchet, but it is kind of close, and the term already exists for romance film. His sole purpose is basically to be dunked on by Hardin’s dumb friends, cheated on, and dumped so that Tessa can get with her bad boy in the end. And a small Worst Twist (How?) for the fairly obvious Cruel Intentions twist thrown in at the very last minute to stir up some late drama. I genuinely think this has a good shot as a Live nomination, at least from me. It was that delightful.
StreetCreditReport.com – I’ve lost a bit of faith with the online worst-of lists. I think I have to wait a bit for something like the A.V. Club to put out a definitive list. That should happen fairly soon, last year the list came out on December 11. For now I’ll just say it’ll definitely be top 5 worst fanfiction adaptations. And I would throw it into the mix for worst Romantic Drama of the decade I think, it is just that amusingly terrible, but I would really have to generate a list to know where it would likely land.
You Just Got Schooled – You’ve heard me talk about it, and yet I had never seen it until now. Cruel Intentions. It is now a cult classic, but was not particularly well received at the time, it seems because it was kind of smarmy? Amazing cast in retrospect. Selma Blair is … quite bad. And so, weirdly, is Phillippe, who is so weird you can’t actually imagine women hopping into bed with him unprompted. But if you look past that the story is amusing. And the ending is actually really shocking and good. It makes the whole ride worthwhile. Basically, the fact that After uses the premise of Cruel Intentions as its twist is almost more insulting given the fact that Cruel Intention’s own twist is so shocking and great. B+. I wish the acting was a bit better, but the film is really fun and the ending is amazing. It puts After to shame.
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
(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.)
(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.)
(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)
(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.)
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)
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?
‘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.
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?
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
(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.)
(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.)
(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)
(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.)
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)