The Hustle Recap

Jamie

Josephine Chesterfield is a conwoman extraordinaire living it up in the south of France. But when a less refined conwoman, Penny Rust, strolls into town they decide their isn’t room for both of them. They set up a contest to con a bumbling tech entrepreneur out of money, winner takes France. Can they con (or be conned?) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Hustle.

How?! Setting: French Riviera, Objective: Deception. That’s what life is all about for Josephine who, with the help of a local policewoman, takes monetary advantage of the many wealthy men who pass through her world. Unfortunately that world is about to be rocked by Penny Rust, a loud Australian bore whose rough exterior hides a cunning ability to dupe unsuspecting men. Josephine first tries to get rid of Penny by steering her to a different resort town. When that doesn’t work she gets her arrested and plays hero by freeing her and getting her on a one way ticket out of town. Finally, she takes Penny under her wing and mentors her in a game whereby they trick a man into proposing to Josephine only to have Penny, dressed as some kind of insane monster woman, scare them away, leaving behind the engagement ring. But when she insists that Penny go unpaid she leaves in a huff and everything seems great, right? Wrong! That’s because Penny is still hanging around cramping Josephine’s style. Only one thing left to do: a con-off. They pick a bumbling young entrepreneur, Thomas, as the mark and off they go. Zany adventures abound as Penny pretends to be blind and Josephine a prominent doctor. Oh boy oh boy. It sure is zany. Long story short it all predictably ends with Josephine and Penny becoming the marks (what a twist!) as Thomas turns the tables on them and steal their money out from under them. They are all angry until Thomas returns to rope them into joining up with him for even bigger better schemes (in the sequel? No? OK). THE END. Big Question: Did Thomas actually invent the app YaBurnt that Penny gushes over… because she clearly implies it’s real… so did he invent a popular app as part of a small potatoes con scheme?

Why?! Cash money, baby. Somewhere in the middle of the film Josephine makes some argument about how it’s really about using the fact that men underestimate women against them, but really everyone is just in it for the lettuce. The green. The cheddar. Dollah dollah bills y’all.

Who?! I love when there is a little story with a credit. Here we have a Special Thanks for Christian Louboutin and you’re all like ‘the shoes?’ Yes, apparently he got a Thanks credit for providing the shoes that Anne Hathaway wore for the film. I like that.

What?! There is quite a bit of product placement in this film, mostly regarding the fashion mentioned above (you want to buy Anne Hathaway’s shoes? Too late). But easily the most prominent is how Anne Hathway organizes her life with a variety of Apple products. You too can orchestrate elaborate cons with the help of an iPad!

Where?! Like the original film this is very French Riviera centric. In particular Beaumont-sur-Mer. We get those sites, we get those sounds, and really I don’t think this could be set anywhere else given the original.

When?! We got rescued by a last minute intertitle. Right after Thomas offers to partner with our leading ladies we flash forward “6 months later” where we see the end of a three-person caper they are pulling off in London. What do we see in that scene? A large Christmas decoration on the bank of the Thames. Last second Secret Holiday buzzerbeater! B.

I’m not sure I understand why this exists. It’s almost a shot-for-shot remake of a classic comedy… except every change they made (and there weren’t many) was for the worst, in particular a plot hole the size of the French Riviera. As mentioned in my big question I just can’t figure how it’s possible for Thomas to orchestrate a con which involves pretending to be a tech entrepreneur of a wildly popular app. The inventor of the app would be featured somewhere in the news… or have his picture somewhere on the internet, particularly since Penny estimates that the popularity of the app would make him immensely rich. Do they do no research? Not even a double check that the guy is who they think he is before going full bore on an all out con job of the dude? It’s leads to only one conclusion: they are in fact terrible con artists… or I guess two conclusions: this is a terrible film. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We are fully into the 2019 cycle now watching a critically panned comedy, The Hustle. It is I who will be conned by this movie? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – A remake of a classic 80s comedy is always foreboding, but this maybe could work? I mean, it obviously didn’t since we’re watching it for BMT, but there was an original movie, Bedtime Story starring Marlon Brando, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels seems to just be that, but with 80s comedy … so why not Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with 2010s comedy? I don’t really see why not. Plus with the gender swap you can sidestep comparisons with Steve Martin. What are my expectations? A not-funny, lazy, cynical piece of garbage. Why? Because there is no explanations for why a film that is mainly comedians pretending to be overly posh should be a disaster otherwise. It can only be because it isn’t funny and makes people sad.

The Good – I like Anne Hatheway a lot, I think the character she created here works very well, specifically the accent which she specifically designed to make you wonder if she was just an American pretending to be British. There is a single laugh in the film (Train Bitch) which I guess is above average? The vistas! How could I almost forget the vistas! There are wonderful vistas. I also think it is genuinely well directed. Evokes a bit of the old 60s British model work (but with CGI) I think … I think that makes sense.

The Bad – It is a lazy piece of garbage. Every single beat of the film is incredibly predictable AND is it just a shot for shot remake of the original! The biggest offender being that you can’t help but immediately know the tech millionaire is just another con man, which then kind of ruins the film. Saves me from saying Alex Sharp is bad since he is kind of supposed to be acting that way? He’s far more entertaining in the brief bit at the end where he is an exotic animal smuggler from Texas. It also somewhat loses the thread at points. Probably the weirdest bit is that set up a training montage and a Lord of the Rings grift (which is pretty fun to be honest) but all of that takes maybe 15 minutes? The rest of the film ends up kind of drowning in setting up the “big” tech grift which itself is a giant plot hole. Like … did Alex Sharp actually invent the app or did Hatheway just not do any research into him? I’m sure Jamie will get into that more.

The BMT – I will forget about this film in about 15 seconds, and blessedly there is little chance it’ll get the sequel it was desperate to set up at the end of the film. This film, The Intruder, and Countdown is giving me a sense of dread about bad movies. All of them seem to be … overly workshopped? That’s what it feels like at least. Like they reshot, recut, and re-edited everything 100 times via studio intervention and what you get is passively entertaining (at least not really boring or laughably bad), but mostly shiny garbage. Did it meet my expectations? Sigh, yeah. You can’t open a box marked A Shiny Piece of Cynical Garbage and be surprised when inside there is a shiny piece of cynical garbage. Cynical is probably not the right word … just worthless vaguely entertaining studio nonsense? Whatever, I can’t even be bothered to think this through further.

Roast-radamus – Great Setting as a Character (Where?) for the French Riviera, a classic of the original as well. Some very minor Product Placement (What?) as well with some Apple computer tech stuff floating around. Obviously Worst Twist (How?) for the final twist that Alex Sharp somehow invented an app worth billions and is also the grandson of the most famous grifter in the world. That’s wild. It will in contention mostly for Live!, but unlikely to be considered for the other tree awards.

StreetCreditReport.com – Again, it is a bit too early for all of the lists to be complete, but it did get a shoutout on this Looper article. And also this very strange looking iDaily article. It’ll probably win a few Razzies because it is a pretty high profile target in the end. And it is somewhere among the worst con-man films as well (actually as noted in the preview it is probably the worst film that is actually primarily about con-men).

You Just Got Schooled – You know I had to do it, because I had somehow managed to never see Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in my life. And I’m glad I did, because I lost a looooot of respect for The Hustle after watching it. The film isn’t just a remake, it is a carbon copy of the original! It makes no sense to do it this way because you are now competing with Steve Martin toe-to-toe on comedy chops alone. And you’ll lose that every time. The movie is an A+, just watch that instead of The Hustle. How would I have done The Hustle? I would have made the two leads Bill Hader and Anne Hatheway. Keep Hatheway’s character of the rich con woman who resent men for thinking they are smarter than her. And give Hader Steve Martin’s character’s attitude than it was about time men got a chance to take money from rich women. And have the battle be applied to a rich couple. No con man twist at the end, just then make them realize they kind of fancy each other instead (and they also get twice the money, since they got to con both the husband and the wife). Close with them in Morocco performing a con that sounds suspiciously like the plot of The Man Who Knew Too Much. Big bang boom, flawless Jimmy Stewart impression by Hader (in case you were wondering why I cast him). Call me in the morning Netflix, I’m done.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Hustle Quiz

So I was pulling off this sweet con when all of a sudden I slipped on a slippery floor, crashed into the wall, and a vase bopped me right on the ol’ noggin’. Long story short I think I have a massive concussion, because I don’t remember a thing about The Hustle. Do you?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Prior to becoming Hatheway’s protege, Wilson is seen committed three cons. What are they? What is Hatheway’s con when we are introduced to her?

2) What big con do Hatheway and Wilson pull off together (i.e. what are both of their parts, and what is the code name for the con)?

3) What was the app that Alex Sharp invented called / what did it do?

4) When trying to con Alex, Wilson pretends to have what affliction? How does Hatheway butt into the con?

5) In the end how much money does Alex Sharp steal from both of them? Also what is his relationship with Medusa, the extremely famous female con artist?

Answers

The Hustle Preview

Jamie and Patrick watch as Square HQ burns to the ground. “There’s no way Sticks and Stones got out, right?” Jamie asks, but even he can’t get his hopes up. A part of him knows that though they totally crushed Sticks and Stones’ groins rendering them seemingly incapacitated, they will be back to haunt them again. It was not their time to die. With that they thank the Rambos and turn to go. Jamie reaches out to the power in Patrick and *boop* they’re back in their apartment in Brooklyn. They discuss the future of the Rich and Poe project and how they now realize that they can only accomplish their goals together. “But you know what, making the bad Rich and Poe film can wait,” Patrick says, “this adventure through space and time to defeat Sticks and Stones shall be our final Rich and Poe masterpiece.” With studios knocking down their doors for the next Rich and Poe installment it’s not hard to get a meeting with all the big names in town, but when they finally sit down and are about to sign on the dotted line they hesitate. Is this film not their magnum opus? The film that will detail their life and passion? Be their legacy? Will they just let some big shot actors stroll in and again tie for the Best Actor Oscar? No! “We have one demand,” they say and the studio head chuckles. The franchise is a worldwide phenomenon and they will give them anything: gold. Yachts. Gold yachts. Name it. “We want to star,” Jamie and Patrick state to the shock of the studio head. He hesitates, “star? For real? Are you… are you hustling me?” That’s right! We’re watching the 2019 remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Hustle starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson. I only know one thing about this film: it’s always playing on about 50% of the video screens on airplanes. People can’t get enough of The Hustle when they have very few other options. Let’s go!

The Hustle (2019) – BMeTric: 48.1; Notability: 25

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(You know … first the BMeTric is very high for a film that came out so recently. Could just be weirdo Dirty-Rotten-Scoundrel fans kicking off online, who knows. But the notability is really low I feel like. Big comedies should typically have big guest stars … this is why I need to do some genre analyses for notability. I have no feel for the metric yet. I like it though, very interesting stuff.)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  “The Hustle,” a con comedy starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, is light and slight and utterly forgettable as soon as it’s over. It is the kind of movie you watch on an airplane—perhaps on the way to someplace luxurious and relaxing like the South of France, the film’s setting—while falling in and out of naps.

(So pretty meh. Hmmmmmm, was there really not a better more interesting comedy to watch here. Quickly checking my notes suggests it was Madea or this so … well at least with this I have an excuse to watch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_j5hwooOHVE/

(I don’t know, that seems kind of like fun. I do need to watch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels though. I’ll be missing something if I don’t at the very least watch that one (if not the original as well))

Directors – Chris Addison – (BMT: The Hustle; Notes: Was a main cast member of The Thick of It, which in the US was semi-adapted into Veep (which he produced and also directed 13 episodes of).)

Writers – Stanley Shapiro (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Operation Petticoat; Pillow Talk; That Touch of Mink; Lover Come Back; Come September; For Pete’s Sake; BMT: The Hustle; Notes: Died in 1990, has the credit via Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He won an Oscar for Pillow Talk.)

Paul Henning (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Lover Come Back; BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; The Hustle; Notes: Died in 2005, also has the credit via Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He was nominated for an Oscar for Lover Come Back.)

Dale Launer (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: My Cousin Vinny; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Ruthless People; Future BMT: Eddie; Love Potion No. 9; Blind Date; BMT: The Hustle; Notes: Son of actor S. John Launer. He claims to have written the line “dead on balls accurate” for Mona Lisa Vito in My Cousin Vinny. Appears to have been retired since the mid-90s.)

Jac Schaeffer (screenplay by) – (Known For: TiMER; BMT: The Hustle; Notes: A writer on the upcoming Black Widow film and WandaVision Disney+ television show. Appears to maybe be the only original writer credited for the film.)

Actors – Anne Hathaway – (Known For: The Dark Knight Rises; Interstellar; Les Misérables; Ocean’s Eight; The Devil Wears Prada; Brokeback Mountain; Alice in Wonderland; Love & Other Drugs; The Princess Diaries; Don Jon; Colossal; The Intern; Get Smart; Rio; Ella Enchanted; Rio 2; Rachel Getting Married; Becoming Jane; Havoc; Neko no ongaeshi; Future BMT: Serenity; The Princess Diaries 2; Passengers; Song One; Alice Through the Looking Glass; Don Peyote; The Other Side of Heaven; BMT: Bride Wars; The Hustle; Valentine’s Day; Notes: Married to Adam Shulman, and is expecting their second child relatively soon.)

Rebel Wilson – (Known For: Jojo Rabbit; Isn’t It Romantic; Pitch Perfect; Bridesmaids; Pain & Gain; Pitch Perfect 2; How to Be Single; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Bachelorette; Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie; Future BMT: Pitch Perfect 3; A Few Best Men; Grimsby; Small Apartments; Struck by Lightning; Ice Age: Continental Drift; BMT: Ghost Rider; The Hustle; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Notes: Her two sisters appear to have competed in The Amazing Race Australia at some point, which is fun. Although they only managed two episodes.)

Alex Sharp – (Known For: To the Bone; How to Talk to Girls at Parties; BMT: The Hustle; Notes: Won a Tony in 2015 for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.)

Budget/Gross – $21 million / Domestic: $35,417,038 (Worldwide: $95,017,038)

(That is actually probably pretty good. Although I’m sure the expectation was higher, you’d maybe want $50 for a comedy, but worldwide that isn’t horrible.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (21/149): The Hustle’s stars might make an effective comedy team in a different setting, but this gender-flipped remake of a remake adds little beyond its feminine twist.

(Hmmmm that doesn’t sound great. Neither does all the reviews suggesting it feels super long because it is boring. Like this one … Reviewer Highlight: Even with a running time of 93 minutes, The Hustle felt about an hour too long. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times.)

Poster – The Hustle and Bustle (B-)

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(Striking poster. Truly awful font. And a classic case of really just using the stars for the marketing and not really needing the poster to tell a story. Obviously smart, when that’s your strength. Bumping it up because the color really does draw the eye. Very memorable.)

Tagline(s) – They’re giving Dirty Rotten Men a run for their Money. (D)

(God damn it. Why? Why would you willingly draw even more comparisons to the classic comedy that you are remaking? Also, is that really the audience you are trying to draw in? People who know what Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is? Don’t you want young people or something? I just really hate self-referential taglines.)

Keyword – con-artist;

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Top 10: Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019), A Simple Favour (2018), The Big Lebowski (1998), The Hustle (2019), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017), Ocean’s Eight (2018), Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Now You See Me (2013), Catch Me If You Can (2002), Zootropolis (2016); 

Future BMT: 87.9 Street Fighter (1994), 44.8 The Pest (1997), 43.0 Dunston Checks In (1996), 41.0 Boiling Point (1993), 40.1 What’s the Worst That Could Happen? (2001), 38.3 The Nut Job (2014), 36.8 The Brothers Grimm (2005), 36.5 House Party 2 (1991), 35.2 Duplex (2003), 34.4 My Best Friend’s Girl (2008); 

BMT: The Hustle (2019), The Three Musketeers (2011), Striptease (1996), Maximum Overdrive (1986), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993)

(The lull from around 2004 to 2014 is interesting. 2014 is basically Focus and Now You See Me. The early 2000s is basically Ocean’s Eleven and its various knock-offs. I think out of all of the future BMT The Pest is probably the weirdest and most interesting since against all odds I’ve already seen that film. Looking at the BMT list this is the first movie where a con is front and center to the plot of the film. Looking back at the future options, those do seem rare.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Anne Hathaway is No. 1 billed in The Hustle and No. 1 billed in Bride Wars, which also stars Kate Hudson (No. 2 billed) who is in Mother’s Day (No. 3 billed), which also stars Jennifer Aniston (No. 1 billed) who is in Just Go With It (No. 2 billed), which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 20. If we were to watch Serenity, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – Because the film’s PG-13 rating was originally an “R,” Rebel Wilson had to go out and argue with the board that the film was no raunchier than similar comedies that had received PG-13 ratings featuring male actors. Her efforts prevailed.

Anne Hathaway said in an interview on Good Morning America (aired on 5/7/19) that she avoided performing a traditional English accent for this film. She said that audiences know she’s American and could potentially scoff at her numerous English characters. So, because her character Josephine is a con artist, Hathaway performed as if maybe Josephine is not actually English at all but speaks in an English accent as another con.

On the Stephen Colbert show Anne Hathaway revealed that her ad lib line “Well that was unexpected” was based on a time when her father was given the wrong medicine and had to sleep it off in her apartment. He slipped and fell in the bathroom and hit his head. While she was alarmed and asking if he was all right, said “Well that was unexpected.”

Filmed in Mallorca.

The airport scene is filmed at Farnborough Airport in front of the terminal building. (That’s in London BTW, for private jets basically)

This is advertised as a remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) starring Steve Martin, Michael Caine and Glenne Headly. “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” is actually a remake of Bedtime Story (1964) with Marlon Brando, David Niven and Shirley Jones. (Interesting, I’ll want to watch both of those I imagine, sigh)

Alex Gaumond, the actor playing the Waiter on the Train featured at the beginning of the official movie trailer, is an Olivier Award nominated actor who starred in the stage adaptation of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” at the Savoy Theatre, in London’s West End. In the stage production, he starred opposite Robert Lindsay and played the role of Freddy Benson, which was played by Steve Martin in the original 1988 movie Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), and by Rebel Wilson in this remake.

Countdown Recap

Jamie

Quinn is just a nurse looking to do a good job, but when a creepy new app tells her she’s going to die in two days (and she has reasons to believe it just might be true) she has to pull out all the stops to save herself and her sister from it’s technohorror devices. Can she stop this real spooooky app from killing her? Find out in… Countdown.

How?! There a new app out there that’s all the rage with the kiddies. That’s because it tells you when you’re gonna die, and guess what? It’s kinda right. Oh no! So when Quinn hears about this from one of her patients she can’t help but check it out herself and finds to her horror that she only has three days left to live. Double oh no! Realizing that it says she’ll die on a family outing to her mother’s grave she cancels only to have the phone say she broke the user agreement for the app. Soon she’s getting all haunted by demons and her phone is acting all crazy and the doctor at the hospital is sexually harassing her and she blamed herself for her mom’s death and her sister also opens the app and finds out that she’s going to die at the same time as Quinn. Gah! What’s a girl to do in this crazy world? While trying to get a new phone without the app she meets Matt, a cute guy who is in the same predicament. They go on a quest to solve their problem. First stop: a kooky priest who tells them that it’s all a curse that can be broken by causing or preventing someone’s death. Second stop: the phone store guy who totes hacks the app and confirms that it’s indeed a curse. Third stop: her sister’s house so they can form a power trio ready to rock and roll. Unfortunately Matt immediately dies on their first attempt to break the curse. Oooops. Uh, so I guess Quinn better go kill that creepy doctor instead. Vigilante justice! But the demon itself gets in the action and stops them. Only one thing left to do: grab some drugs and overdose, thus distracting the demon and saving your sister. Then smash open that Chekhov’s narcan and be revived to live a long fulfilling life… or will they. Bum bum bum. Big Question: the classic, how long did it take for the demon to code his app? The film actually nicely sidesteps this by totally ignoring it… correct choice.

Why?! Not to die, duh. As for the bad guy (a literal demon), well it’s also pretty boring in that way. He’s a demon! Really the most interesting question is why it uses an app for its evil scheme. Perhaps it realizes the scary truth: that the demon itself isn’t the most horrifying aspect of life… it’s our addiction to our phones. Yah dig?

Who?! It’s been a while since we had a solid uncredited performance. But Countdown did have one that popped out. That’s because Austin Zajur, who is the wisecracking kid in the opening scene of the film, went uncredited here. None of the other kids did and he probably had the most lines of any of them… so why? Why uncredited? A true curiosity.

What?! There are some mild product placements in here (doordash is one mentioned off hand I think). But everything is harder with a LIVE film. Instead I will reiterate the heavy-handedness of the Chekhov’s Narcan. Whoever decided that they needed to set up the narcan scene by explicitly establishing its use on screen in an earlier scene made a huge mistake. It just made everything that followed that much more obvious and predictable.

Where?! I’m sure this is clear if I could stop the film during the showing and really inspect a few things. But alas, it’s hard to do that LIVE. I’m gonna give this an incomplete. There is a chance that it’s more than obvious when we rewatch the film in prep for Countdown2.0.

When?! This I actually did catch. At the end of the film we see Quinn visiting the grave of her mother. They read a newspaper regarding events surrounding the creepy doctor, so it all points to it being not that long after the end of the film. We see the grave, April 2nd if I’m remembering correctly, and Quinn says “Happy birthday mom.” So I think this takes place in early Spring. But don’t hold me to this, C+.

I generally enjoy horror films. Even the bad ones we watch for BMT. This is definitely not the worst we’ve endured. It’s biggest issue is how predictable it is. We get a random scene in the beginning of the film of Quinn helping revive someone from an overdose using narcan and I’m sitting there being like “why in the hell did the filmmakers think the film needed this sce…ohhhhhhhh.” And so I sat there waiting for her to use narcan in some way to survive. The same goes for the sexual harassment storyline. Even if you don’t watch horror films this all is obvious… it’s more like “screenwriting 101” going on. As they say, if you see narcan in the first act, it better be used in the second act. Chekhov’s narcan. But on the positive side, I felt like they did a good job with the creepiness of the visuals and monster design. It actually looked good, which isn’t always the case, even when the film as a whole isn’t that scary. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! As has become tradition we ventured out into the crisp autumn air to watch a not-scary horror film with a bunch of teenagers. Literally, it is one of the things I look forward to the most each year, which is demented. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – This film looked ultra dumb. An app that kills you? That is like a parody horror film trailer from SNL or something. And when it turned out that for real, it’s an app that kills you? I’m in. I will gladly watch the shitty jump scares (probably) wash over me as they set up their sequel that is never going to be made. Let’s do it. What are my expectations – Absolute best case scenario is The Bye Bye Man where there is some evil thing that looks ridiculous and makes you laugh. Worst case is Flatliners where it is just kind of eerie, shiny, and cynically made. Let’s hope for that best case.

The Good – I actually appreciate the construction of the film more than I would expect. While I disliked the idea of the priest character, I did appreciate that they tried to lampshade it a bit (like … why would almost any priest know anything about demons in reality? They wouldn’t, and they go to quite the length to explain that to the audience). I burst out laughing when they set up Countdown 2.0 at the end, the sheer gall of it made me actually love the idea. Bring it on, I’ll go see the Countdown franchise’s latest garbage horror film every year, why not? As for the one non-ironic thing I liked about it: I liked the creature design in the end. It is hard to create a creature that is scary, unique, and doesn’t look like shit, but they mostly managed to do that which is cool.

The Bad – The entire film is a predictable mess. In order to use the anti-narcotics drugs in the end to save Quinn they felt the need to create a whole scene showing it being used. In order to legitimatize Quinn trying to kill Dr. Rape (not his name, although that would have been appropriate heyyyyooo) they had to explain quite clearly (twice) that the curse is broken if someone dies earlier than expected. Beyond that it also isn’t that scary, although credit where it is due, the opening kill was well done. I also think there were far too few kills in the film. Thinking on it the answer is what? Three? Three actual kills in the film (this doesn’t count the main character watching someone die in a YouTube video). That’s pretty weak.

The BMT – It is an annual tradition, the bad horror film. I would put this above Slender Man (which was boring) and below The Bye Bye Man (which was hilarious). Something like Rings is a decent comp maybe? A film which is obviously not good, but there are kernels of good ideas in it so I’m glad I watched it. Did it meet my expectations? Not entirely, but I did enjoy enough of it, as I said, that I’m not upset I spent the money to see it in theaters. See you next year not-scary-horror-film.

Roast-radamus – Hmmm, I presume the film is set in Los Angeles, but I didn’t actually catch it. I will give a small non-award shoutout to the temporal setting which is fairly unique: it literally gives you a running clock such that you know precisely when every event takes place. Do we give awards for Chekov’s Blank (What?)? I think we do, and Chekov’s Narcan is waaaaaay up there. And I’ll give it a Worst Twist (How?) nod for it just telling you multiple times how the entire movie is going to operate. The actual twist is that she kills herself with a massive dose of morphine (I assume) and then can be brought back to life right after. And it’ll be in the running for the Live! Award as well.

StreetCreditReport.com – It would be tough for it to get on any lists since it just came out, but it did find a place at the bottom of this rundown. Other than that we can only wait. I doubt it’ll get many awards as people will effectively forget about it in a week or so (plus it is a box office success which isn’t very fun to poke fun at in the end). But I would imagine it’ll end up in some top 5 worst horror films of 2019 lists eventually, I bet genre fans hate it.

BMT Live Theater Review – Ah, back to Vue, this time in the very posh Westfield shopping center. They showed this in a very intimate 30-40 person theater on the top floor of the mall, which actually worked very well. I got one of the last tickets for the 5PM showing (phew) and the theater was packed with teenagers looking for thrills. And scream and gasp they did, much to my delight (it was fun hearing people squirm and shriek at times). The highlight of the showing? When the main character very clearly explains “Hey, I’m trying to kill this guy because it’ll break the curse, remember? Remember when the priest character told us that before?” and the entire theater just gasps with a loud “Ohhhhhhhhhh, yeah” … what movie are you watching?! They’ve explained this like four times. It definitely made me wonder a bit about how people actually watch movies, it just seems crazy one could pay so little attention to not get that without it being explained. B+, loved the small theater with the packed audience, but Vue Westfield is also pricey with about 30 minutes of ads before the showing. Hurts the viewing experience IMO.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Countdown Quiz

Well, it is a classic story. I downloaded an app which said I would forget everything about the movie I was watching in three minutes. Obviously, I laughed at it … but now I’m a bit freaked out, I really can’t remember what happened in Countdown! Do you?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Our hero Quinn is a smart lady with a lot to live for and a lot to celebrate. At the beginning of the film the creepy doctor throws her a little party and wants to take her on a completely professional date. What are they celebrating?

2) After the killer app takes control of Quinn’s life she tries to delete it at a phone help desk where she meets Matt, a young man with a haunted past. Who is haunting him and why?

3) How many people die from the killer app during the course of the film?

4) Of the five people whose fates we know about, how were they all supposed to originally die and how did they break Countdown’s user agreement?

5) Why does Quinn and her sister individually blame themselves for their mother’s death?

Answers

The Intruder Recap

Jamie

After scoring the big deal at work, Scott and Annie go looking to buy a house in Napa. They meet Charlie, who is looking to unload his million dollar family home and it seems like a match made in heaven. But soon it becomes clear that it’s a match made in hell because Charlie is a total nutso psycho. Can they stop Charlie before it’s too late? Find out in… The Intruder.

How?! Scott and Annie are the perfect couple. They are smart, beautiful and super rich and so we all identify with them and love them. They are looking to make their perfect lives complete by buying a multimillion dollar mansion in Napa and lo and behold Charlie is selling his dream house at this very moment. They pull the trigger and soon they are making that mansion their home. One problem though, Charlie is totally nuts and super weird and shows up at the house all the time being nuts and weird. Soon he’s doing all this creepy stuff around the house and Scott starts to suspect that Charlie may not be all that he seems. This paranoia puts stress on their marriage and soon it becomes clear that Charlie is seeing a little opening to get his house back and it involves wooing Annie and giving Scott the boot. Fed up, Scott confronts Charlie and then almost immediately gets run off the road while jogging (hmmm, wonder who did that?). Now totally freaked Scott insists that his friend go and make sure that Charlie isn’t wooing his wife while he’s laid up in the hospital. Wrong move, bro! Cause he gets an axe in the chest courtesy of Charlie. At this point, Annie is even a little creeped by Mr. Murder over there and it all culminates with her realizing that (spoiler alert!) he actually never left the house at all! He was living in some tunnels under the property like some Rambo. What a twist! In a final confrontation, Scott and Annie do battle with Charlie Rambo and totally blow him away in a ripoff of Sleeping with the Enemy (topical). THE END. Big Question: Was Charlie like… eating their food? I just really want to know more about how exactly he was living under their house for months… like… did he have a working toilet? Wouldn’t they have heard it? Lots of questions.

Why?! Well, Scott and Annie just want to live and have a happy marriage. Charlie… now that guy has a plan. What we learn is that he had a failing business built on lies that put him millions of dollars into debt. In order to pay off his debts he had to sell his house. But he’s not leaving (oh no) instead he’s gonna hang around long enough to woo Annie despite giving off sexy grandpa vibes (at best) and then marry her (?) and get his house back (???). It’s all very vague because he’s nuts.

Who?! While I was obviously tempted to use Dennis Quaid here as an actor-turned-musician, I restrained myself and will instead highlight Alvina August, a minor side actress in the film, who is also an aspiring singer… … never forget, though.

What?! One of the side characters sure does love his Audi, but really the star of this film is Recover 180°. Scott works on advertising for the drink several times in the film. They even show a full commercial for it. It’s actually a clever idea. Make your main character an advertising executive and then you can literally show entire commercials without anyone batting an eye. 

Where?! Superb San Fran/Napa setting. I think they could have gotten away with a New York City/NYC suburb dynamic. But that might be it. If they really wanted that A they would have probably had to have the house be a vineyard or something. Or have Scott be a tech entrepreneur rather than in advertising… you know, still giving it an A.

When?! Secret Holiday Film… kinda. This is like a roadtrip through time because after Scott and Annie buy the house we get a clear Thanksgiving scene and then some preparations for Christmas. If I had to choose I would say that Thanksgiving is the dominant as we get a rare thanksgiving dinner scene. Not a huge number of those in BMT films. A-.

This movie is mostly a pile of cliches built around rich people with rich people problems… alright, well maybe having Dennis Quaid living in some tunnels under your house isn’t exactly a rich person problem, but still. Really the only thing that this had going for it was that Dennis Quaid is off the hook and is snacking on scenery left and right. I’d also argue that the twist is fun, but also pretty standard, being in the same vein as “the call is coming from inside the house.” Except in this case it’s “the Quaid is coming from inside the house.” I personally felt like the film is more watchable than really thrilling or scary… but that still means it’s watchable. As for P.U.N.K.S., standard kids film made only mildly interesting by continual product placement, Randy Quaid putting on a full “nerd” character, and some wild character work by a couple of the kid actors… like one of the kids was super into health food… I have no idea why or what the joke actually was. It was pretty bizarre. As if Sly Stallone wrote the film or something, amiright? Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I do remember when I rented my new apartment and discovered the landlord living under the house in a weirdo crawl space … I mean, it’s fine I still lived there, have you seen the rental market recently?! It’s as insane as my weirdo landlord! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I legit barely remembered this film existed when we chose it for the 2019 cycle. But Dennis Quaid as a psycho? I’m in. The cast did make me wonder if I was the target audience for the film … so did all the reviews which suggested it was made for people who wanted to shout at the characters in theaters. But I’m game, I’m always game to try new things. What are my expectations? I expect to see Dennis Quaid as a psycho. The more of a psycho he can be the better. I’ll probably be pretty unsatisfied if people aren’t like “Why is this pyscho around all the time?” though, I don’t know if I could bear it.

The Good – I liked Dennis Quaid. No offense to the other actors in this film, but Quaid seemed like the only genuine “film” actor in the film … we’ll get to that in the Bad section, sorry. I liked the creepy hole Dennis Quaid apparently lived in, that was a fun reveal. I kind of wish that reveal plus battling Quaid in this house he knows inside and out was more like 50% of the film, but the end is pretty fun for as short as it lasts.

The Bad – First, the film isn’t very thrilling, just kind of eerie. Second, the actors aren’t really that good, like they are all television actors, which is fine … for a thriller that is fine I think. Third, the actual last second ending in which the main character killed Dennis Quaid in cold blood after totally unarming him is a bit unsavory. It isn’t like The Call level offensive, but it is a bit bothersome. But hey, it was pretty much the only thing the film had going for it. It is quite literally going to be the only thing I’ll remember from this film in two weeks … well, that and Dennis Quaid screaming “NO!” which will haunt my dreams forever.

The BMT – Hmmmm, no. I think I like the idea of the film more than the film itself. I like this as the future mold for streaming titles. You make like … 100 of these films and a bunch of them are going to be good. Keep them a-comin’ is what I think. I’ll watch all the bad ones too. Did it meet my expectations? Sadly, much like all of the bad reviews for this film, I have to agree with the critics: the female lead in the film, Meagan Good, is just waaaaaaay too calm with Charlie wandering around and pretending he has anything to do with this house anymore. Every moment he shows up everything he says and does screams “I am a lunatic who is trying to steal your life/house/family” and yet she keeps on being like “He’s harmless”. If not for that I would say yes because I like Dennis Quaid’s psycho, people just needed to not pretend he wasn’t the biggest creeper in the world.

Roast-radamus – He isn’t a Planchet, but Scott’s friend Mike is something else … he’s the guy who’s such a doofus that you just don’t care when Dennis Quaid kills him, and he’s kind of great at it. I’ll give a shoutout for some great Product Placement (What?) with the main character driving his sweet Audi around all of the time. Very minor, but very a propos Setting as a Character (Where?) with the start-up scene in San Francisco and the solitude of Napa playing a huge part in the film. Obviously this ends up up for a Live Smaddies Baddies, but I doubt it’ll actually get any of the big awards in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – This film came out long enough ago that it is on a few worst of lists already. Looper agrees with the critics in saying Quaid is good but the film is bad. Something called iDaily has it at 9 … and possibly is just aggregating Rotten Tomatoes data? I think this will go down as one of the worst … creepy homeowner selling his house, but still living in it and being creepy films ever made. For real, it’ll be number one.

Bring a Friend Analysis – Phew, the final friend of the year. The Intruder stars Dennis Quaid. And everyone knows his much more famous older brother Randy. I’m only kind of joking, that was probably at one point true. Randy Quaid started to slip a bit into obscurity after Independence Day in 1996. By 1999 he was staring opposite Henry Winkler in the genuine straight-to-video children’s film called P.U.N.K.S. In this film the son of Randy Quaid is worried about his genius father (Randy acting like a nerd-alert) having a heart attack while testing his super-strength machine for the eeeevil Edward Crow (Winkler). So he assembles his friends (the P.U.N.K.S.) to steal the invention and take Crow down. It has a decent anti-bullying message, but is cheesy with some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen. A young Jessica Alba was fun to see as Samantha, as was Patrick Renna whom some would know as Ham in The Sandlot. C+, I found it a pleasant enough watch, but ultimately kids’ films are just a bit too weird to stomach routinely.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Intruder Quiz

Oh man, so last night I discovered that my landlord was living under my apartment like a weirdo. But then … the last thing I remember was him attacking me and then nothing. Huh. Do you remember what happened in The Intruder?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Scott and Annie are living the high life in the start-up scene of San Francisco. Killing it, natch. What does Scott do for a living?

2) But Annie wants to start a family (natch) and she’s got her eye on moving out of the big city to the quiet life of Napa Valley. That’s where they meet Charlie and his beautiful home. What is the name of Charlie’s estate?

3) One of the many things that Scott does that annoys Charlie is that he won’t abide by guns, whereas Charlie loves to hunt. Why doesn’t Scott like guns?

4) During the course of the film Charlie claims he is or will be living in two different places. Name them, and also where has Charlie actually been living this entire time?

5) While investigating the age old question “what’s the deal with Charlie, the weirdo who used to own my house?” Scott discovers that Charlie had gotten into two major bits of legal trouble culminating in him having to sell the house to Scott. What did Charlie do? What’s the deal with Charlie?!

Answers