Prey for the Devil Recap

Jamie

BMT Live is always a tricky balancing act. On the one hand you want to hit the big bad films when you get the opportunity. You don’t want to pull a “Keeping up with the Joneses.” You know, where you wait so long into a year to watch BMT Live that you end up watching Keeping Up with the Joneses… a comedy film so forgotten that I myself (a person who watched it in theaters), remembers nothing of the experience. At the same time you want a balanced year, one where you don’t just crush out a bunch of action films from January to March and call it a year. So we were in quite the panic as the end of the year approached and major releases were dwindling. Thank god for Halloween. Can always count on at least one horror film that fits the bill. We prayed for it and we got it, Prey for the Devil.

To recap, Sister Ann is a nun working at the major American exorcism school in Boston (you know the one). She really wants to learn, but exorcism is a man’s job and so she settles for being a nurse. One day a young girl comes in and Ann feels a connection. As things spiral out of control for the young patient and Ann is attacked by a possessed elderly patient, the school agrees to let her learn. In particular, the main priest recognizes that she brings something new to the table: the outlook that the possessed could fight back against the demon and not just rely on the priests’ prayers. She works well on an attempted exorcism of the young patient, so another student in the class asks her to help with his sister. He can’t get the church to do an exorcism, so they decide to do an illegal one. Ann uses compassion to try to help and it seems to work! But, uh oh! Turns out it didn’t cause the sister ends up killing herself and Ann is sent back to the convent as punishment. While there she hears that the young girl, who had been released from the hospital, has had a full blow demonic relapse (you know how that goes). Ann knows she can help. Why? Because she realizes that the girl isn’t any ol’ girl… she’s the daughter she gave up when she first ended up at the convent! (What a twist!) She arrives just in time to go down into the school’s dungeon (you know what I’m talking about), save the girl, get possessed herself, and then defeat the demon. NBD. The school agrees to send her to the Vatican for further training, but will she get there safely or will the demons get her first. Find out in Prey for the Devil 2 (probably). THE END.

Ehhhhh, I don’t have much patience for films like this. They all seem kind of the same as anything else you might find on Netflix. Sure maybe it’s a step above the thousand weird Amityville stuff that gets churned out, but really there isn’t much to write home about in this one. It’s got a very obvious twist that is rotely set up and knocked down. The one fun angle is just how ridiculous the whole school is. It’s like Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital from House. Just like super new age hospital… specifically for possessed people. And they have their own set of doctors and ambulances. How do we know? We see the little girl totally kill a whole mess of priests, demonolgists (I presume that’s what they are called) and demon EMT’s. It makes for a very funny last third of the film. We can only assume it takes place in some other universe. Overall just meh, meh, meh.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Some regulatory agency needs to step in here. How are these patients being treated? Are the doctors certified? We are told that numerous patients are deemed lost causes, shipped out of the country to the Vatican, and die. They die! No one is asking any questions about that? Where’s Geraldo with the inside scoop? And it’s not just the patients. The little girl rips apart numerous people. Then kills two or three priests as Ann helps depossess her. Families aren’t asking what happened? Police aren’t interested? Government isn’t organizing a committee? I want a sequel where it’s just a Spotlight style thriller about the investigation into what is happening at this “school.” They sit there asking how a girl who killed between 6 and 10 people walked out a couple days later. Hot Take Temperature: Spicy Garlic. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Prey for the Devil? More like Prey for the Bad Movie Twins! You know what horror fans were clamoring for? Another exorcism film, obviously. Can’t get enough of those. Let’s go!

  • When Jamie and I exited the theater. I posed a question: how many exorcism films had we actually seen for BMT? I thought it was like … ten. Really we’ve seen three others for sure (The Rite, The Nun, The Devil Inside) and there are probably four others that range from “probably not” to “maybe” (Season of the Witch, Bless the Child, Seventh Son, The Haunting in Connecticut). I guess that it is a testament to the genre that watching even four exorcism films feels like watching a dozen …
  • The main thing this film has going for it is the set design is pretty cool. It posits a world where there is an ultra sophisticated possession hospital in the middle of Boston (complete with ambulances) and that is just a thing. That people get possessed and go to the possession hospital when they do.
  • I didn’t think the main character was necessarily good as far as acting, but I liked the arc she went on.
  • Specifically that she’s the Michael Jordan of exorcists, people just overlook her because she’s a woman.
  • That she basically invents the Triangle Offense of exorcism tactics by deciding that the devil is taking advantage of the most devout by preying on their extreme catholic guilt, and so to combat the devil is basically to forgive oneself for the sins you believe you have committed.
  • And in the end they send her off to the National Exorcism League in the Vatican to train up other exorcists and start in on Advanced Exorcism Theory.
  • But the movie is silly and does absolutely nothing new. It generally feels like we’ve seen this film a dozen times so far and it begs for a raison d’etre.
  • Setting as a Character (Where?) for a fictionalized Boston which is all about exorcisms. Worst Twist (How?) option for the obvious and inevitable reveal that the possessed girl is the daughter of the main character, which can be seen a million miles away. Closest to BMT I think, there is something there about it being a very silly exorcism film in the end.
  • I actually do think I’ll have to stop doing the Live Theater Ratings because we now go to the same one each time and it is a solid theater. I guess the only amusing thing about this particular trip was it was a beautiful sunny 70 degree day in October and we roll up to the theater to watch a bad horror film at 1PM on Saturday. I looked into the mirror in the bathroom and asked “Who am I?” before shaking the ennui off and heading in.

Check out the sneaky sequel preview Prey for the Devil 2: Armageddon in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs.

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Prey for the Devil Quiz

Oh boy. So I was possessed (again, I feel like I’ve been possessed a few times in my life), and had like a bunch of hair in my mouth, and then a crazy fist came out! It was nuts. But afterwards I was in such shock that I just plum forgot everything! Do you remember what happened in Prey for the Devil?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We’re at the top exorcism hospital in Boston (if not America!), and our hero, Ann, is a nun. What are and aren’t the nuns at this hospital allowed to do for the possession patients?

2) Well guess what dummies? We got the Michael Jordan of exorcism up in here. What in Sister Ann’s past prepared her for this NEL (National Exorcism League) Championship?

3) Well, cool. Well, you can’t just jump in and dominate excorisming right away. That would be crazy. Good thing there is another person available who is possessed. Who does she try and exorcism first, and what is the result?

4) What one weird trick does the devil not want you to know about excorisms that Ann intuits from being such a good Catholic?

5) How does Ann ultimately defeat the devil who preyed on Natalie?

Bonus Question: Oh boy, aren’t we on tenterhooks after that big surprise ending. But boom, in the mid-credits scene our hero awakens from a dream. Phew. But then her phone rings. Who is it?

Answers

Prey for the Devil Preview

5 Years before (and 36 years later)…

Kyle hears a knock at the door and puts down his glasses. It’s been many years since he saw Partrick and Jamie, but every time he hears a knock he can’t help but think it might be them. As he walks to the door he pats the head of his youngest child, now a teenager and almost out of the house. What will he do when they’ve all left the nest? Perhaps teach. He’s always wanted to teach. When he opens the door there is a man there that Kyle doesn’t recognize. Or… at least he doesn’t think he does. If he didn’t know better he would have thought the man could be Jamie and Patrick’s fraternal triplet. “May I help you?” he asks warily. “Kyle, thank God I found you,” the man says out of breath, “It’s me, Helmut. The Dongle? Do you still have it? It’s our only chance to save Jamie and Patrick.” But before he even finishes talking Kyle’s face has gone blank. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” and calmly closes the door. The knocking continues with more urgency. Kyle sighs and opens the door again. The man opens his mouth, but Kyle stops him. “I don’t know what you want from me. Jamie and Patrick disappeared years ago and took whatever you’re looking for with them. I’ve moved on. So should you.” The man is stunned. He begins to speak, but when he looks around Kyle’s humble home built on love and happiness he shrugs. Anyone could see this is no place for the Dongle. After the man walks away Kyle closes the door, tears just beginning to tumble down his face. “Curse you, Jamie and Patrick. You devils,” he thinks… but he doesn’t mean it. That’s right! Another BMT Live interlude. It’s the last of the year and Halloween time, so you know we had to grab the worst reviewed horror film of the season and go to town. This year it’s Prey for the Devil. Another possession film notch on our belt. Let’s go!

Prey for the Devil (2022) – BMeTric: 15.2; Notability: 12

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 12.0%; Notability: top 12.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 4.9%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Bubble, Moonfall, Firestarter, They/Them, Morbius, Me Time, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Blacklight, Pinocchio, Spiderhead, Deep Water, Umma, Senior Year, The Invitation, The 355, After Ever Happy, Jurassic World Dominion, Samaritan, Persuasion, and 10 more; Higher Notability: Jurassic World Dominion, Black Adam, Pinocchio, Morbius, Amsterdam, The School for Good and Evil, The Bubble, Moonfall, Deep Water, The Man from Toronto, Spiderhead, Don’t Worry Darling, The 355, Where the Crawdads Sing, Blacklight, Samaritan, Paradise Highway, Memory, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Firestarter, and 10 more; Lower RT: Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, After Ever Happy, Me Time, Blacklight, Firestarter, Morbius, Paradise Highway, Home Team; Notes: Small potatoes, but those are the meat and potatoes of Horror in general, so it makes sense. It’ll grow a bit, but 12 notability seems right. There are like 12 people total in the film.

VarietyTwelve years ago director Daniel Stamm was considered in some quarters as having revivified a subgenre with “The Last Exorcism.” That sleeper hit that was no classic, but it took itself seriously in the right ways, as put across by a good cast including the estimable (and still underused) Ashley Bell. Since 2014’s less successful “13 Sins,” he’s been occupied with episodic TV work. Unsurprisingly, his first feature in eight years marks a return to the general terrain that worked for him before.

(Ahhhhhh, so that’s why this film exists. Because Stamm did it before, and they think he can do it again. That makes so much sense.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkEnG6inG4c/

(We’ve seen this film before right? I feel like, exorcism class has been in a film before. A young girl being possessed in exorcism school too right? Is there just general consensus about what exorcism looks like, or is it directly from The Exorcist? So many questions.)

DirectorsDaniel Stamm – ( Known For: The Last Exorcism; 13 Sins; BMT: Prey for the Devil; Notes: German. Has mostly been doing television shows for the last decade (as far as credits are concerned). This is his first feature since 13 Sins in 2014.)

WritersRobert Zappia – ( Known For: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; BMT: Prey for the Devil; Notes: Wrote on Home Improvement, and a bunch of sitcoms originally. Has been doing straight to video and shorts for the better part of two decades as well.)

Todd R. Jones and Earl Richey Jones – ( Known For: Rio; Future BMT: Johnson Family Vacation; BMT: Prey for the Devil; Notes: What a wild set of writers for this film, these guys basically only did kids’ programming until this film, a horror film. Bizarre.)

ActorsJacqueline Byers – ( Known For: Bad Samaritan; Full Out; Blizzard; Ordinary Days; BMT: Prey for the Devil; Notes: Mostly a television actress, she was one of the primary actors in the show Salvation.)

Virginia Madsen – ( Known For: Candyman; Candyman; Dune; Sideways; The Rainmaker; Joy; Better Watch Out; The Hot Spot; The Prophecy; Her Smell; Operation Christmas Drop; Electric Dreams; The Magic of Belle Isle; Ghosts of Mississippi; A Prairie Home Companion; Fire with Fire; The Astronaut Farmer; Dead Rising: Watchtower; Slam Dance; Zombie High; Future BMT: Class; Creator; BMT: Prey for the Devil; The Haunting; Red Riding Hood; The Haunting in Connecticut; The Number 23; Highlander II: The Quickening; Firewall; Hot to Trot; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Sideways in 2005. She, like her brother Michael Madsen, have an interesting tendency of getting character actor parts in huge productions, but also being in terrible small-time productions as well. Interesting careers both of them.)

Colin Salmon – ( Known For: Nobody; The World Is Not Enough; Tomorrow Never Dies; Die Another Day; Match Point; Exam; The Bank Job; Loving Pablo; Zone 414; Blood: The Last Vampire; Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons – The Movie; Immortality; The Statement; Captives; Devil’s Playground; Shank; Clubbed; How to Stop Being a Loser; Freeze Frame; My Kingdom; Future BMT: Resident Evil; Mortal Engines; Criminal; Resident Evil: Retribution; BMT: Prey for the Devil; Alien vs. Predator; London Has Fallen; Punisher: War Zone; Notes: I recognized him immediately. But from what? Midsomer Murders. He was in one episodes, but jokes on you, I’ve seen all of the episodes. Apparently he suggested Brosnan as a good candidate for Bond, he’s a beloved British actor.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $2,800,000 (Worldwide: $2,800,000)

(We won’t really know how it did for a bit, but I would guess it is going to do terribly in the end. I just don’t see how “just another exorcism movie” breaks through. Then again, it might have cost $1 million to make, who knows.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (4/20)

(A consensus: Not scary (but can a PG-13 film really be scary?), this film is merely Exorcist cliches all strung together. We’ve seen this film before … several times.)

Reviewer Highlight: Its dominant thematic threads are at war with one another, shambling around as one story wears the flesh and appearance of another, leaving neither premise wholly intact in a film with the meat stripped from its bones. – Leigh Monson, AV Club

Poster – Cray for the Devil

(I like that this is kind of a classic poster in that it clearly serves a cinema specific purpose. A striking image for people to walk by and be like ‘oh, maybe I’ll see that crazy hair devil movie.’ I just wish it was even more classic with a nice color scheme and better font (although not the worst in that regard). B-)

Tagline(s) – It wants in. (C-)

(Ehhhhh, this is just too generic for me to give it much credit. Could be the tagline for any number of possession films.)

Keyword(s) – year2022

Top 10: The Batman (2022), The Kashmir Files (2022), Top Gun: Maverick (2022), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), The Adam Project (2022), Uncharted (2022), The Gray Man (2022), The Northman (2022)

Future BMT: 63.0 Firestarter (2022), 60.2 Blacklight (2022), 59.6 Jeepers Creepers: Reborn (2022), 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 49.1 Umma (2022), 46.3 The Invitation (2022), 45.6 The 355 (2022), 44.3 After Ever Happy (2022), 44.2 Jurassic World Dominion (2022), 37.4 Memory (2022), 34.2 The King’s Daughter (2022), 20.6 Amsterdam (2022), 7.4 Black Adam (2022), 7.3 Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

BMT: Moonfall (2022), Morbius (2022), Don’t Worry Darling (2022), Prey for the Devil (2022)

(And there we are, BMT Live complete for the year. We will likely watch Firestarter, Blacklight, Memory, After Ever Happy, Jurassic World Dominion, The King’s Daughter and a few more as well. Still not a super great haul (18 at the moment) so we’ll see if a real cycle can be made from that.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Virginia Madsen is No. 7 billed in Prey for the Devil and No. 3 billed in Firewall, which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed) which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => (7 + 3) + (1 + 1) + (2 + 3) = 17. There is no shorter path at the moment.Notes – Ben Cross died of cancer on August 18th, 2020

Notes – Ben Cross died of cancer on August 18th, 2020

1492: Conquest of Paradise Recap

Jamie

Welcome to class, students, today we are learning the history of Christopher Columbus films. There are surprisingly few, which maybe shouldn’t be so surprising because he did some bad shit and I don’t think you can really win. Either you show the horrific stuff and it’s a bummer and no one wants to see it. Or you gloss over the horrific stuff and it’s a bummer and no one wants to see it. Anyway, in 1992 people took the opportunity of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage to throw caution to the wind and make not one but two major Columbus films. Neither were good and so we’ll enjoy another one in the (probably) not too distant future. But is that it? No! There was also a German animated film called The Magic Voyage which starred Dom DeLuise as Columbus and Corey Feldman as Pico, a talking woodworm who eats away at Columbus’ square globe (???), thus convincing him that the world is round… I… uh… wait, why aren’t we watching The Magic Voyage? Oh right, cause we had to watch the major motion picture 1492: Conquest of Paradise. Whatever… 

To summarize, Topher Columbus is a big ol’ dumbo who is like “who are you to say I can’t sail across the ocean and find Asia?” and everyone is like “Uh, math, though?” and Columbus scoffs. But the Queen of Spain likes his bravado and everyone eventually kind of shrugs and says “if he dies, he dies… but if he doesn’t=$$$.” So he gets some boats and a crew and off they set. Everyone starts to get a little wary of their suicide mission until Columbus gets very lucky and they find land. He meets all the natives there and is pretty intrigued with this “paradise” that he has found. They leave a bunch of people there to set things up and head back to Spain. He is hailed a hero and even his skeptics are like “yo, that’s my dude Columbus.” He was also a shrewd businessman, so now he had a big stake in the land he discovered so he gins up support for a huge colonization effort centered on mining gold. When he gets back he finds all the people he left murdered and things start going pretty poorly. He tries to found a capital, but it falls apart, and he starts to meet resistance from his countrymen. There are a lot of tensions with the natives that result in Columbus doing some pretty terrible stuff (but according to the movie he feels really bad about it). He is relieved of his post and imprisoned in Spain, but the Queen has mercy and lets him have another voyage. His reputation is tarnished and he is real sad, but his son convinces him to tell his story, implying that it’ll make him a hero again. THE END.

I was so sure after watching this film that I would read what Ridley Scott thought about it and he would imply that maybe he misjudged the public’s hunger for Columbus content… but no! He basically said that Americans don’t like accents. What?! This movie is like reading a textbook. Maybe that’s why, Ridley. On a positive note, I think it’s beautiful to look at and I appreciate how much care was put into telling the story of Columbus without gross dramatizations. I think the historical inaccuracy accusations levies at it are overblown other than the fact that they show Columbus taking a whole bunch of natives as slaves and bother to have him sadly be like “I wish it wasn’t this way.” Seemed like they were trying to have their cake and eat it too in those moments. Overall, it’s just a little boring for a mainstream movie, but not bad for a movie that you throw on in history class for a little fun. As for Knight Rider 2000, that’s what I’m talking about. This is some real dumb funny stuff. It’s so stupid. It also has one of the greatest credits of all time “James Doohan as himself.” That’s right, they had Scotty from Star Trek do a cameo where everyone is like “OMG! OMG! It’s Scotty from Star Trek.” Every few scenes there was something bizarre on the level of the Scotty cameo to amuse and delight us. I loved it.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Get me some of that sweet Amerigo Vespucci drama. The reason the Columbus films haven’t worked are two-fold. It’s hard to weave a tale around a brutalizing dumbo. But guess what was actually dramatic (and kinda fun): the guy who they named America after. Why? Basically no one knows what he actually did or if he was a big ol’ scam artist liar. He’s even called the “most enigmatic and controversial figure in early American history” (that’s a quote). Uhhhhhh… drama, anybody? Get me that steamy Vespucci erotic thriller where he is hoodwinked by a femme fatale into falsifying letters about his voyages to America… man oh man, I’m getting all steamed up just thinking about it. Hot Take Temperature: Hot… that’s just a hot idea. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! 1492: Conquest of Paradise? More like 149-Snooze: Snooze-quest of Snooze-adise! Amirite? You better be ready for a nap because you are about to get the history lesson you didn’t want or need. Let’s go!

  • This is a history class film. This is a film you would be shown in history class that you had to get a permission slip from your parents because you see some breasts and some people die / get their hand chopped off.
  • It is a cool story I guess. In that a journalist went to Seville and looked over the primary source communications from Columbus about his trips and decided to write a script for a film about Columbus to coincide with the 500th anniversary of his voyage. Cool but boring.
  • Oh, I guess I did mention that: this film is a snooze. I don’t deny that it has qualities. It is usually a good idea to try and make historical films with accuracy (and this at least seemed to attempt to give some historical context to the atrocities committed by the genocidal maniacs that were explorers at the time). It is usually good to give a full telling of the events that occurred in a person’s life. But my god, the film is like an hour too long. Once he goes back to the New World there is just so little additional interesting stuff to tell.
  • Spoiler: Columbus was an idiot who thought the world was much smaller than it provably was at the time. He managed to bother the Spanish crown enough that they gave him some ships to go on his suicide mission to find Asia in precisely the wrong place. He accidentally found not-Asian instead and coincidentally it ended up being juuuuuuuuuust in a spot close enough to Europe that he didn’t die in the process. Good job man. Nailed it.
  • Depardieu is such an interesting actor in that he goes from the hot young actor in France, to a weirdly famous actor in America (somehow), to now … well, now he is an oddly obscure French actor who pops up as a mobster in French television shows because those parts don’t require him to move around much. He’s good in this I thought.
  • I could give or take basically everything else in the film. Beautiful though, so I guess you can give Ridley Scott credit for that.
  • Okay Setting as a Character (Where?) for Spain / the New World I suppose. A+ Specific Year Setting (When?) for the very rare year-in-the-title for a film set in the past. I think that is it. This film is closest to Bad, too boring.
  • Along with a year-in-the-title film from the past, we had to find a year-in-the-title film from the future (much easier). Jamie pointed out the TV movie Knight Rider 2000 was, indeed, set in the distant future of the year 2000 when being made in 1991. This. Film. Is. Bonkers. I watched the pilot for the original series. That is pretty bonkers as well, but it comes across as basically a standard how-solved-it, although very very 80s. This film though (1) is set in San Antonio and is arguably an extended advertisement for the Riverwalk there, (2) has the very important stakes of solving the assassination of the Mayor of San Antonio (?), (3) has an odd 2nd Amendment thing running through the film and (4) purports that Dan Quayle is president of the United States and there was a war with the Philippines and junk. Also, clearly a backdoor pilot for a new Knight Rider series starring Susan Norman and Carmen Argenziano (it feels like precisely the setup for the Highlander Series, except that was picked up). A. I’m definitely down for watching more backdoor pilots as BMT Friends. They are always amusing since they have to set up the premise of the show, but also can’t have huge stakes or else the pilot would waste a big storyline. The assassination of the Mayor of San Antonio. C’mon.

Read about the sequel to 1492: The Conquest of Paradise called 1585: Roanoke. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

1492: Conquest of Paradise Quiz

Oh man, so get this. I was floating my boat to Asian when my boat ran aground about halfway there! Yup, I found a new world, bully for me I guess. Problem is, when my boat hit that sweet new world I fell out and bopped my head! Now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in 1492: Conquest of Paradise?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We meet Columbus as he is just planning on sailing that ocean blue. Where is Columbus (an immigrant to Spain) crashing while trying to get that sweet sweet royal commission?

2) Screw it, I don’t even think they say it in the film, but here’s a question straight from fourth grade history: what were the names of Columbus’ three ships?

3) Once they get to the New World Columbus and Friends meet some Friendly native Americans (nice!). Those natives though, they got something Spain wants. They got something Spain needs. What do they got?

4) What does Moxica (the bad guy … he just looks bad you know?) do that sets off the war with the natives which ultimately results in Columbus being removed as governor of the Spanish New World?

5) In the end an elderly Columbus witnesses a lecture about the New World where the academic elite tell the world that who discovered the New World?

Bonus Question: A dying Columbus cradles a small glass orb. His son approaches. And Columbus struggles he gets out on final world, dies, and the orb smashes to the ground. What is the word?

Answers

1492: Conquest of Paradise Preview

Patrick puts on his glasses, but then remembers that he’s Stallone and has perfect 20/20 vision, naturally. His beautiful mind goes into overdrive and his fingers dance over the keyboard of the Apple IIe that Kyle had set up in his room. With only BASIC available and 64Kb of memory at his disposal, what he is doing is anything but basic. It’s a full blown Jamie simulation. “Hello, Patrick. So glad we can be together again,” the simulation says and the breath catches in Patrick’s throat. It’s perfect. “How can we tell if you are you?” he asks the simulation which cryptically answers “try me.” Patrick thinks long and hard and eventually has an idea. He sets up millions of situations where Jamie and Kyle meet. Try him, they will. He puts the cursor over the program he’s entitled “ConquestOfParadise.exe” and takes a deep breath. Here goes nothing.

“Welcome to the hurt locker,” Kyle says as he pulls off the blindfold he’s had Jamie wear for the trip. Jamie’s knees are quaking at the thought of his worst nightmare, but when his eyes refocus he is surprised to see they’ve arrived at the hottest waterpark in town, The River of Death. It’s 24/7/365 lazy river action at The River of Death. Kyle shrugs and admits it was all a ruse. “Let’s have some fun today… maybe that’ll loosen things up in the ol’ noggin’”. Off they rush and have quite the day. Lazy River Amazon, Lazy River Nile, Lazy River Hudson. By the end of the Danube they are Lazy River pooped. “Oh wait, now I remember what I was thinking,” Jamie says as they walk out of the park. Kyle was right, the stress of time travel really was messing with his head. “His car.”

That’s right! We are conquesting some paradise by watching the Christopher Columbus epic we know and love, 1942: Conquest of Paradise… or at least one of the Christopher Columbus epics we know and love. I’ve never really thought about watching this film, but with Ridley Scott directing it’s worth it. Pairing that up with another film with a year in the title, we are watching Knight Rider 2000. I also never really thought about watching this film, but I’m not sure why. It sounds amazing. Let’s go!

1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) – BMeTric: 19.5; Notability: 50

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 19.6%; Notability: top 4.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 21.1%; Higher BMeT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Body of Evidence, Cool World, Pet Sematary II, Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice, Toys, The Lawnmower Man, Sleepwalkers, 3 Ninjas, Sidekicks, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Freejack, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Beethoven, Aces: Iron Eagle III, Evil Toons, Ladybugs, Dr. Giggles, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, Encino Man, and 29 more; Higher Notability: Toys, Cool World, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Newsies, Freejack, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, The Bodyguard, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Innocent Blood, Universal Soldier; Lower RT: Once Upon a Crime…, Live Wire, Folks!, Frozen Assets, Love Crimes, Year of the Comet, Cool World, Man Trouble, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them, Body of Evidence, Claire of the Moon, Passed Away, Ladybugs, Mr. Baseball, Mom and Dad Save the World, The Distinguished Gentleman, The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, and 28 more; Notes: Surprisingly high Notability there, for a historical epic starring Depardieu at least. Otherwise not a super amount of cred.

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – Still, in its own way and up to a certain point, “1492” is a satisfactory film. Depardieu lends it gravity, the supporting performances are convincing, the locations are realistic, and we are inspired to reflect that it did indeed take a certain nerve to sail off into nowhere just because an orange was round.

(Ebert liked this one as well?! That’s a stunner. I would definitely have thought sheer boredom would have doomed it for him. I can’t imagine it is “good for what it is” in any capacity.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmnLrzG2zKw/

(Is this a real trailer? This film gets a weird hip hop beat trailer, and a “ONE MAN” voiceover. That is insane.)

DirectorsRidley Scott – ( Known For: Gladiator; Alien; House of Gucci; The Last Duel; Robin Hood; Blade Runner; Prometheus; Legend; Thelma & Louise; The Martian; Alien: Covenant; Black Hawk Down; American Gangster; G.I. Jane; Body of Lies; All the Money in the World; Black Rain; Matchstick Men; The Duellists; White Squall; Future BMT: Hannibal; Kingdom of Heaven; Exodus: Gods and Kings; The Counselor; A Good Year; BMT: 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Notes: Nominated for four Oscars (The Martian, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, and Thelma & Louise). His brother Tony Scott was also a big name director.)

WritersRose Bosch – ( Known For: The Roundup; My Summer in Provence; Bimboland; BMT: 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Notes: Wow, so she is Spanish and came across Columbus’ correspondences while in Seville as a reporter. The film was then created specifically to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Columbus landing in the Americas. That’s a crazy story.)

ActorsGérard Depardieu – ( Known For: Life of Pi; Going Places; Hamlet; Last Holiday; Lost Illusions; Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra; La Vie en Rose; 1900; Paris, je t’aime; Maigret; Cyrano de Bergerac; Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar; Green Card; Nathalie…; Let the Sunshine In; How Much Do You Love Me?; Mesrine: Killer Instinct; Jean de Florette; Asterix at the Olympic Games; City of Ghosts; Future BMT: The Man in the Iron Mask; 102 Dalmatians; My Father the Hero; BMT: 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Babylon A.D.; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Cyrano de Bergerac. That was 1990, so this film really is just coming on the heels of that when his cred is sky high with American audiences. It should be said that he’s said in interviews that he has raped people and that things were different in the 80s or whatever. It is pretty nuts. Read his wiki if you are curious.)

Armand Assante – ( Known For: American Gangster; The Road to El Dorado; Smile; Private Benjamin; Little Darlings; Prophecy; The Lords of Flatbush; Dead Man Down; Hoffa; Q&A; Paradise Alley; When Nietzsche Wept; The Match; The Mambo Kings; I, the Jury; Funny Money; Diamond Cartel; The Neighborhood; Chicago Overcoat; The Line; Future BMT: Two for the Money; Unfaithfully Yours; Trial by Jury; BMT: Striptease; Judge Dredd; 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Fatal Instinct; The Marrying Man; Notes: Won an Emmy for Gotti (playing Gotti) and was nominated for Jack the Ripper as well. He’s one of those actors who was huge in the 90s and then just dropped right off into straight-to-video in the 00s almost immediately.)

Sigourney Weaver – ( Known For: Avatar; Ghostbusters; Ghostbusters: Afterlife; The Good House; Alien; The Cabin in the Woods; Aliens; Call Jane; Ghostbusters: Answer the Call; Ghostbusters II; The Village; WALL·E; Holes; Alien³; Galaxy Quest; Alien: Resurrection; Master Gardener; Working Girl; Paul; Annie Hall; Future BMT: Exodus: Gods and Kings; Chappie; You Again; Vantage Point; The Cold Light of Day; Happily N’Ever After; Deal of the Century; BMT: 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Abduction; Notes: Nominated for three Oscars (Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl, and Aliens). The first two were in the same year too. She’s playing like a kid in the next Avatar? It is insanity.)

Budget/Gross – $47,000,000 / Domestic: $7,191,399 (Worldwide: $7,191,399)

(What a disaster. What a complete disaster. But how? How is a realistic film about Columbus making like $100 million?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (7/22): Historically inaccurate and dramatically inert, Ridley Scott’s retelling of Christopher Columbus’ exploits is an epic without grandeur or insight.

(Yeah for a film that wants to be gritty and realistic the stories about them just making stuff up is kind of wild in the end.)

Reviewer Highlight: This $50 million spectacle must be one of the least entertaining epic films ever made. – David Ansen, Newsweek

Poster – 1492: Close Enough

(I like the vibrant colors, but the whole poster seems like a bunch of nonsense. Just like a due with a sword running through some water and some terrible font. C+.)

Tagline(s) – Centuries before the exploration of space, there was another voyage into the unknown. (F is for Funny)

(Wooooooah. Legendary. It’s like a little short story. Really crazy this is the tagline. I like to extend this analogy out a little. It’s like Topher Columbus going around to the US government and being like “Yo, I think Mars is way closer than the math says, let me try to get there.” And then him flying to the moon and being like “Wooooah, I found Mars!” Make that the tagline.)

Keyword(s) – past

Top 10: The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Forrest Gump (1994), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Django Unchained (2012), Gladiator (2000), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Schindler’s List (1993), The Prestige (2006), Shutter Island (2010)

Future BMT: 88.7 BloodRayne (2005), 73.0 The Unborn (2009), 70.4 Texas Chainsaw (2013), 70.2 Black Christmas (2006), 67.4 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 66.0 The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2014), 64.6 The Final Destination (2009), 62.1 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 59.8 Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), 56.8 Robin Hood (2018), 55.1 Annabelle (2014), 54.9 The Quiet Ones (2014), 54.5 Snow Dogs (2002), 53.8 Spy Hard (1996), 53.2 Porky’s Revenge (1985), 52.4 2016: Obama’s America (2012), 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 51.6 Porky’s II: The Next Day (1983), 50.2 Halloween Kills (2021), 50.2 The Last Legion (2007)

BMT: Epic Movie (2007), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), The Fog (2005), Movie 43 (2013), Super Mario Bros. (1993), Glitter (2001), Holmes & Watson (2018), The Master of Disguise (2002), The Legend of Hercules (2014), Grease 2 (1982), The Bye Bye Man (2017), Jonah Hex (2010), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), Wild Wild West (1999), Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994), The Ridiculous 6 (2015), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Black Knight (2001), Chernobyl Diaries (2012), A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), Cool World (1992), The Musketeer (2001), An American Haunting (2005), Apollo 18 (2011), Ishtar (1987), The Curse of La Llorona (2019), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), The Nun (2018), Pinocchio (2002), Bolero (1984), Bones (2001), Shanghai Surprise (1986), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991), House of Wax (2005), Season of the Witch (2011), The Tuxedo (2002), Mannequin: On the Move (1991), Pompeii (2014), Ghost Ship (2002), Assassin’s Creed (2016), The Scarlet Letter (1995), Dolittle (2020), Timeline (2003), The Quest (1996), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Wagons East (1994), The Three Musketeers (2011), Diana (2013), Ben-Hur (2016), Rambo III (1988), Around the World in 80 Days (2004), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), The Blue Lagoon (1980), Cutthroat Island (1995), Texas Rangers (2001), Sucker Punch (2011), Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001), Jobs (2013), Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004), Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Original Sin (2001), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), American Outlaws (2001), Universal Soldier (1992), Winter’s Tale (2014), Harlem Nights (1989), I Dreamed of Africa (2000), Pearl Harbor (2001), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), The Identical (2014), The Chamber (1996), The Marrying Man (1991), Wild Bill (1995), In Love and War (1996), Sleepaway Camp (1983), Gods and Generals (2003), The Lone Ranger (2013), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Halloween II (1981), September Dawn (2007), Young Guns II (1990), Oscar (1991), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Evening (2007), The 13th Warrior (1999), White Comanche (1968), Gangster Squad (2013), Now and Then (1995), A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

Best Options (year-in-title): 19.5 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)

(The best option sub cycle thing is kind of fake. That is, I knew I wanted to do films with a year in the title (aka an A+ film set in the past), but I also knew the option of 1492 already existed. The eventual choice of Knight Rider 2000 was with the knowledge that we obviously also had good straight-to-video / tv movie options for films set in the future as well.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Armand Assante is No. 2 billed in 1492: Conquest of Paradise and No. 3 billed in Judge Dredd, which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in The Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed) which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (2 + 3) + (1 + 1) + (2 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 14. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – The replicas of Columbus’ ships used in the film were built in Spain between 1990 and 1992. In 1992 they sailed the route of Columbus’ first voyage to commemorate to 500th anniversary of the discovery of America. Today they are exhibited in Palos de la Frontera, Spain, and they are visited by approximately 200.000 people each year.

Hans Zimmer was originally chosen to compose the music for the film until Sir Ridley Scott decided to approach Vangelis.

Screenwriter Rose Bosch got the idea for the project when she discovered millions of untranslated parchments while researching an article on Columbus. After joining forces with a French film executive, she finally found an interested director in Sir Ridley Scott, who had always wanted to make a movie about Columbus. Scott agreed to direct the film on one condition: Columbus must be played by Gérard Depardieu. Depardieu was contacted, and eager to take the part.

The film was released in France on October 12, 1992, 500 years to the day after Christopher Columbus’ expedition made landfall in the Caribbean and landed on the island of Guanahani. This was the first land in the New World sighted and visited by Columbus.

The film shot for 16 weeks.

The original title was simply “Columbus”.

This project was concurrently developed with Alexander and Ilya Salkind’s Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) to be released on time for the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage. The Salkinds’ first choice for director for their film was Sir Ridley Scott. Four months after rejecting their offer, Scott started working on a rival “Christopher Columbus” project which ultimately became 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992). As a consequence of this, the Salkinds unsuccessfully tried to sue Scott for stealing their idea. They were forced to drop their lawsuit when it was proved that “1492”s producer Alain Goldman and writer Roselyne Bosch’s first proposal of a Christopher Columbus project predated theirs.

Virtuosity Recap

Jamie

Sometimes I dream of a world where everyone has the very niche interests that Patrick and I have such that a flood of content would exist in those microgenres. It’s like point-and-click adventure games (King’s Quest 37, anyone?), Wheel of Time (Seanchan spin-off series, anyone?), or 90’s erotic thrillers starring Jeff Fahey (sex on a motorcycle, anyone?). Like I want to see the alternate dimension where Sierra Studios is crushing out the SCU and Leisure Suit Larry is played by… well… Jeff Fahey, obviously. The point is that Virtuosity belongs in that world. After Lawnmower Man and Hackers stole our hearts (and Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace stole our brains), I could just gobble up VR films like candy. Delicious Virtuosity candy.

To summarize, Denzel Washington is a former cop serving hard time for killing the terrorist who murdered his family. One of his cop buddies has got him into a secret police training program that is trying to perfect virtual reality, but it’s not going perfectly. In fact, the prisoners are dying. The plug is pulled, but the psychotic serial killer simulation convinces the developer to get him out before he does. Inexplicably this total idiot listens to the bot. Seriously… this computer program had no power and the guy is like “OK, sure” and then after using nanobots to create a body for the dude he’s like “oh, wait, shit that was a bad idea” and runs away. It’s crazy. Anyway, he goes on a crazy crime spree so naturally the police get Denzel and psychologist Dr. Madison Carter on the case… as vigilantes, I guess. Soon they are tracking him across LA as he takes numerous people hostage. They realize that he is enthralled by the limelight and so they are able to track him to a wrestling event, but he somehow sets up Denzel to look like he kills an innocent hostage. He’s sent back to prison, but freed by the killer in an attempt to set off a fail-safe the police put in his body in case he tried to escape (you following this?). But the police don’t fall for it and Denzel and Madison are able to track down the killer who has taken Madison’s daughter hostage. There they take out the killer and use a simulation to trick him into revealing where he’s hidden the girl. Denzel saves the day then smooches Madison (probably, although maybe not right away since that would be in bad taste). THE END.

I kinda dug this movie. It’s a little convoluted with a lot of plot points and motivations flying around in 106 minutes, but I like the vibes. It’s a vibes movie. Crowe is ridiculous and it’s a little hard to see how he got from this to three consecutive Best Actor nominations. But maybe not. The best way to describe him in this film is “game” and another actor that I’ve always thought about that way is Tommy Lee Jones, who is great and definitely hasn’t shied away from being a little wild and crazy in a film. Everything else is fun and looks interesting. My main critiques would be the way they got the killer out of the computer was clever but a little clunky. The motivations didn’t make a lot of sense. And then the end was clever, but it didn’t seem like they could figure out how to successfully pull it off. Could it be?… Not that bad? As for River of Death, I love Dudikoff. Seems like a guy genuinely happy to go out and make these straight-to-video action films that I love. This one, though, is a bit meh. It’s almost too competently made to the point where it hits an uncanny valley between theatrical release and video schlock. Not enough funny dumb stuff… or even just having a little fun with it… you gotta have fun when you’re in the video realm. This didn’t feel like much fun.

Hot Take Clam Bake! I leave a little taste of a Dudikoff hot take I’m working on (and maybe will deploy in the future): Dudikoff should have played Batman. You’re welcome. As for Virtuosity, switch the roles, baby! Oh you’re thinking I mean switch Denzel and Crowe? Oh, no no no. Denzel is perfect in his role as cop-turned-convict-with-a-heart-of-gold. No I mean switch Crowe and Kelly Lynch (who played Dr. Madison Carter). Make the killer a smoking hot blonde. The point is that they can do anything with VR. Most serial killers are big ol’ gross people. Not when you got a computer wizard behind the console. This serial killer is a temptress. Did I just make Virtuosity an erotic thriller? You bet your ass I did. Crowe is now the bookish criminal psychologist who ends up a little too intrigued by the sexy killer. Classic psychologist-killer dynamics at play just before Denzel gets to bust in a blow up the show. I’m loving this. I just paid myself $20 million for this script. Hot Take Temperature: Caribbean Jerk. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Virtuosity? More like Viciosity … get it? Like virtuous versus vicious? Whatever, I didn’t like it anyways. Let’s go!

  • I feel like my impression of this film was mostly that it had notoriously outdated special effects from that Lawnmower Man era of almost being able to do full CGI landscapes, but now it would just look ridiculous. Weirdly, that isn’t really the case. When they are in the virtual world it looks like the regular world. And when they do do full landscapes it looks fine and actually is kind of an interesting contrast between these old school graphics and, basically, the zoot suit Crowe wears prior to him coming to the real world.
  • This film also feels like a film where it is a bit confusing as to how a sequel series hasn’t been considered. Consider this. The generation of artificial life is completely possible. From advanced neural nets which are, for all intents and purposes, perfectly human in behavior. To the nanobot bodies which were perfected during the course of the film. Already there is an interesting premise. What is humanity? What happens when this “lower” life form is inevitably subjugated by humanity? Basically, it could be Westworld, but in the real world. It could be I, Robot, but built from Virtuosity’s ruined shell of an IP. I think it at least would have been worth a shot, but apparently that IP is ice cold.
  • Crowe is ridiculous in this film. Actually terrible, but I’m sure that was intentional.
  • Washington on the other hand is naturally amazing. And I do dig the serial killer / fugitive thing they had going as far as the story. Decent futuristic noir I think.
  • The movie relies on a strained coincidence that not only is the evil terrorist who killed Denzel’s family inside of Crowe, but that this person is also the dominate personality. If not for that it seems inevitable that Crowe would have killed Denzel in cold blood (he is a robot and pretty much invincible) and killed hundreds before being destroyed.
  • Decent Setting as a Character (Where?) for future Los Angeles. And I’ll throw it a tiny Worst Twist (How?) for the finale whereby it looks like Denzel screwed up again and everyone is going to die, but et voilà, actually he did do it, they were just psyching us out for no reason. This film is closest to Good, it is undeniably entertaining and Denzel is good.
  • Since we swapped things a bit and did a future film for the Achievement cycle, we had to go hunting for a non-qualifying film set in the past. Harder than one would think. Originally we were going to watch Titanic: The Legend Continues … a notoriously bad animated film. But I didn’t want to. Instead we settled into our never ending goal of watching every Dudikoff film ever made. This time it was the bizarrely serious River of Death. It opens with a Nazi doctor killing a bunch of people and then betraying Donald Pleasance to escape to the Amazon. Smash cut to the 60s (I think) where Dudikoff is helping a doctor try and cure a disease that only seems to afflict natives there. Spoiler, it actually isn’t true, in the end after defeating the doctor, Dudikoff still has to leave his lady love behind because she has contracted what is effectively super-leprosy which kills those without pure aryan blood. You see, the film is super duper serious. There are some fun things there, but it is naturally brought down by Nazis, disease, and probably-racist depictions of cannibal natives of the Amazon. D. Dudikoff is usually good for a watch, but in this case it just isn’t as fun as him being drunk and fighting terrorists in a submarine / robot office building / train, you know?

You can read all about the Netflix original series Virtuosity 2.0 in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs 

Virtuosity Quiz

Oh boy. So I was in this sweet simulation (web 3.0, amirite?), fighting a sadistic super-killer, when it turns out he cranked my neural sensitivity up to 1000% and fried my brain. Now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Virtuosity?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) At the beginning of the film Denzel is chasing Crowe in the VR universe. Denzel is obviously an excellent detective. How does he know that Crowe is hiding in the sushi restaurant?

2) Oh wow, actually, what a twist! Denzel is a convict. What was he convicted of (you see this revealed slowly throughout the film)?

3) Double uh oh, Crowe now has a body … kind of? What is Crowe’s body made of?

4) Denzel’s out baby! Well, he is if he can find Crowe for the LAPD. Denzel confronts Crowe at two locales prior to the big showdown in the end. Where?

5) In the end Denzel, spoiler, battles and wins against Crowe (who has taken on the personality of his old nemesis). Where, though, did Crowe hide the child he kidnapped?

Bonus Question: In the mid-credits scene Denzel is back on the force babyyyyyyyyyy! He’s the head of the new Virtuosity division which handles the new frontier of super-virtual-criminals in the now commercialized VR world. Well looks like he just got his first case. Who’s the criminal?

Answers

Virtuosity Preview

As Patrick and Kyle walk around the Natural History Museum, Patrick thinks to himself how he really should read more about dinosaurs cause they are rad. Or maybe now that he’s Stallone he should buy a dinosaur. “I have enough money to buy a dinosaur,” he says in wonder. “You sure do, Mr. Stallone. But that doesn’t explain what we are doing here,” Kyle says, his brow wrinkled in confusion. “Oh right!” Patrick remembers, “Uh… like… what if we bury instructions for whenever Jamie appears in the timeline. Then when he shows up you show him where it is.” Kyle considers this, it’s better than the dumb wormhole idea. “But how would I know it’s actually him? You already said that people are after whatever it is I have that can help you… so how do I know it’s not some bad guy pretending.” Patrick ponders for a moment, “You got a ‘puter?” 

Jamie finishes the Italian hoagie he found in Frank Stallone’s fridge. “So do you remember?” Kyle asks. “Remember what?” Jamie asks through the last mouthful of hoagie. Kyle shakes his head in frustration. He had told Kyle that food usually jogs his memory as they tried to figure out how to get him to prove he was Jamie after all. But just like the last ten things they tried, it seemed that Jamie wasn’t interested in that after all. It turns out he just wanted to eat a hoagie. “Don’t you want to get back to being Jamie?” He asks in frustration and the hesitation that Jamie gives to the question tells the whole tale. “All right, that’s it,” Kyle says, throwing his hands up, “you might not want to save the day, but I sure do, so it’s time for your worst nightmare.”

That’s right! We are diving deep into ‘puter madness by watching the megastar vehicle Virtuosity starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. I’ve never seen this film, which seems impossible, but I swear it’s true. Adding to the blockbuster week is the friend River of Death starring megastar (of my heart) Michael Dudikoff. Dudikoff is like my Charles Bronson. Everything he does is just pitch perfect action to the max. I love it. Let’s go!

Virtuosity (1995) – BMeTric: 45.9; Notability: 67

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 7.6%; Notability: top 1.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 23.6%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Vampire in Brooklyn, Showgirls, Fair Game, Jury Duty, Congo, Batman Forever, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Theodore Rex, Judge Dredd, The Babysitter, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Nine Months, The Scarlet Letter, Johnny Mnemonic, Virtuosity; Higher Notability: Batman Forever, Congo, Judge Dredd, Cutthroat Island; Lower RT: The Big Green, National Lampoon’s Senior Trip, Delta of Venus, Theodore Rex, Jury Duty, The Walking Dead, Born to Be Wild, Top Dog, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, The Hunted, It Takes Two, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Bushwhacked, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Fair Game, Vampire in Brooklyn, Canadian Bacon, The Scarlet Letter, Four Rooms, Jade, and 36 more; Notes: Solid notability. This is definitely one of the bigger 90s sci-fi films we were somehow missing. This is Cutthroat Island level which is insane. I should point out that we’ve seen the four bigger ones from 1995. And 12 of 18 films with higher BMeTric. We are really starting to work our way through some year’s top 20 BMeTric films.

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – “Virtuosity” is an example of a struggle that goes on in Hollywood between formula and invention. The movie is filled with bright ideas and fresh thinking, but the underlying story is as old as the hills, right down to a final confrontation on catwalks (there is nothing quite like a catwalk for satisfying scenes in which characters hang by one arm, bash each other with pipes, fall to their dooms, etc.). What redeems “Virtuosity” a little is that even at the end, even in the midst of the action clichés, it still finds surprises in the paradox of a villain that is also a program.

(I like that we’ve hit a lot of films in this cycle that Ebert seems to have some affection for. I wonder if having a definitive time period just makes even trashy films a little bit more entertaining in some way. I don’t know.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEDdaStz4kw/

(Oh boy, they chose the wrong scene to sell the movie IMO. That scene in the mall is horrific. I would, I don’t know, start with indicating that the film stars Denzel Washington. Someday there will be a definitive list of films where someone yells “I am the future!”)

DirectorsBrett Leonard – ( Known For: Man-Thing; The Dead Pit; Triumph; Feed; Future BMT: Hideaway; BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Virtuosity; Notes: Still working, although I can’t say I know most of his recent projects. Is tagged for a film called Dark Star which does not seem to be a remake of the more famous 70s film Dark Star.)

WritersEric Bernt – ( Known For: The Echo; BMT: Virtuosity; Romeo Must Die; Surviving the Game; Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Really not much about him online. Seems to do kind of futuristic or even like genre bending films in a way?)

ActorsDenzel Washington – ( Known For: The Little Things; Roman J. Israel, Esq.; The Equalizer; Inside Man; Training Day; Remember the Titans; The Tragedy of Macbeth; Flight; The Equalizer 2; American Gangster; The Magnificent Seven; The Book of Eli; Fences; Philadelphia; Safe House; Deja Vu; Much Ado About Nothing; The Manchurian Candidate; Glory; 2 Guns; Future BMT: Man on Fire; Fallen; The Bone Collector; John Q; Heart Condition; BMT: Virtuosity; Notes: Won two Oscars (and has been nominated 7 other times) for Training Day and Glory. Also nominated twice for Emmys. Probably up there as a top 10 living American Actor I would think.)

Russell Crowe – ( Known For: Thor: Love and Thunder; The Greatest Beer Run Ever; Gladiator; Robin Hood; Zack Snyder’s Justice League; Man of Steel; The Nice Guys; A Beautiful Mind; Les Misérables; L.A. Confidential; 3:10 to Yuma; American Gangster; Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World; Unhinged; Noah; Body of Lies; State of Play; The Quick and the Dead; Cinderella Man; The Insider; Future BMT: A Good Year; Broken City; Mystery, Alaska; Proof of Life; BMT: The Mummy; Virtuosity; Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Mummy in 2018; Notes: From New Zealand, although he grew up in Australia. Won an Oscar for Gladiator, and was nominated for The Insider and A Beautiful Mind. Notably had some anger issues crop up over the years, specifically he threw a telephone at a hotel employee’s head IIRC.)

Kelly Lynch – ( Known For: Charlie’s Angels; On the Rocks; The Jacket; Drugstore Cowboy; Bright Lights, Big City; Kaboom; Passion Play; Homegrown; Three of Hearts; The Slaughter Rule; Normal Adolescent Behavior; The Visitation; The Frontier; Mercy; Imaginary Crimes; Glass Chin; Warm Summer Rain; Dallas 362; The Beans of Egypt, Maine; The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll; Future BMT: Curly Sue; Mr. Magoo; Rock the Kasbah; Desperate Hours; Heaven’s Prisoners; White Man’s Burden; Joe Somebody; BMT: Road House; Cocktail; Virtuosity; Notes: Still works a bit (she was in the television series Mr. Mercedes for example). Born in Minneapolis, and married to writer Mitch Glazer.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $24,047,675 (Worldwide: $24,047,675)

(Disastrous all things considered. At least you can see where the money went: into the advanced computer graphics used throughout the film.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 30% (10/33): Woefully deficient in thrills or common sense, Virtuosity strands its talented stars in a story whose vision of the future is depressingly short on imagination.

(I guess that makes sense. I’m surprised there isn’t more about the acting (either that it is bad for a good actor like Washington, or good all things considered).)

Reviewer Highlight: Though Virtuosity connects all the dots to give audiences a roller-coaster ride, the movie begets nothing new: It’s stillborn. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Poster – Sklogosity

(You’d think I wouldn’t like this poster, but there is something new and yet classic about its look. I kinda love it. The colors don’t make a lot of sense, but it fits the film in that way. Love the font and the framing is beautiful. A.)

Tagline(s) – Justice needs a new program (C)

(I don’t know what that means. The poster was a hit. This is not. It sounds like a tagline, but it doesn’t have any juice to it. Not clever. Not interesting. Not objectively bad, but just blah.)

Keyword(s) – future

Top 10: The Matrix (1999), Interstellar (2014), Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Avatar (2009), Back to the Future (1985), V for Vendetta (2005), Avengers: Endgame (2019), WALL·E (2008), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Future BMT: 67.0 Thunderbirds (2004), 63.1 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015), 60.6 Child’s Play 3 (1991), 50.8 Johnny Be Good (1988), 48.3 Megaforce (1982), 46.6 Voyagers (2021), 46.4 Mission to Mars (2000), 44.6 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009), 42.3 Red Planet (2000), 40.5 Yor: The Hunter from the Future (1983), 37.0 The Time Machine (2002), 35.2 The Ice Pirates (1984), 33.5 Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983), 33.4 Lockout (2012), 30.4 Mortal Engines (2018), 30.3 Push (2009), 29.9 Jetsons: The Movie (1990), 27.9 Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), 27.8 Total Recall (2012), 25.8 Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991)

BMT: Battlefield Earth (2000), Dragonball Evolution (2009), Rollerball (2002), Barb Wire (1996), RoboCop 3 (1993), Ultraviolet (2006), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002), Jason X (2001), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), After Earth (2013), A Sound of Thunder (2005), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), Double Dragon (1994), Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985), Wing Commander (1999), Ghosts of Mars (2001), Stealth (2005), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Cyborg (1989), Doom (2005), Left Behind: The Movie (2000), Supernova (2000), Lost in Space (1998), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Geostorm (2017), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Æon Flux (2005), Theodore Rex (1995), Judge Dredd (1995), Babylon A.D. (2008), Maximum Overdrive (1986), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Virtuosity (1995), Friday the 13th Part III (1982), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Brick Mansions (2014), Freejack (1992), Gamer (2009), Priest (2011), Solarbabies (1986), 2012 (2009), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), RoboCop 2 (1990), Fortress (1992), Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Soldier (1998), The Postman (1997), Transcendence (2014), Heartbeeps (1981), Predator 2 (1990), Paycheck (2003), Repo Men (2010), Impostor (2001), The Space Between Us (2017), Event Horizon (1997), Demolition Man (1993), Vanilla Sky (2001)

(No sub-cycle here because we were just switching it up in the end and going back to the future! I was screaming Jack style “WE HAVE TO GO BACK!” and Jamie finally relented.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: William Forsythe is No. 5 billed in Virtuosity and No. 5 billed in 88 Minutes, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (5 + 5) + (3 + 1) = 14. If we were to watch The Bone Collector we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – According to Kelly Lynch, she and Denzel Washington were supposed to kiss. However, Washington had the scene dropped because he felt an interracial love scene would hurt the film’s box-office chances.

The ‘Star Trek’ episode shown briefly is Star Trek: The Original Series: The Enemy Within (1966), an episode about Captain Kirk being split into good and evil sides by the transporter.

Amongst the names of serial killers shown in Sid 6.7’s personality profile are David Koresh, Thomas McIlvane, Frederick Cowan, William Bonin, Harvey Glatman, Peter Kuten, William Bryan Cruse, Charles Whitmore, Aileen Carol Wournos, Peter Sutcliffe, Kenneth McDuff, Jesse James, Dr. Glennon Engleman, Harvey Carignan, Dr. Geza de Kaplany, Norman Selby, Juan Peron, Winnie Ruth Judd, Matthew Grimes, Augosto Pinoche, Carl Panzram, Abu Nidal, Ted Bundy, Wesley Allan Dodd, Roger Dale Stafford, Elizabeth Borden, Mark Essex, Billy the Kid, Lynette Fromme, Larry Eyler, Clem Henderson, David Hendricks, Coral Eugene Watts, William McDonald, Richard Trenton Chase, Sirhan Sirhan, Josef Mengele, Ed Kemper, Edward Leonski, John Collins, Julian Knight, John Haigh, Carlton Gary, Vaughn Greenwood, Nicolae Ceausescu, Randy Kraft, Miguel Rivera, Dean Allen Corli, William Suff, Werner Boost, Thierry Paulin, Richard Trenton Chase, David Burke, Donald Harvey, Vernon Butts, Bruno Hauptman, Ralph Jerome Selz, John Duffy, Carl Weiss, Gerald Eugene Stano, Benito Mussolini, Paul Calden, Richard Farley, Ian Brady, Joseph Harris, Hiro Hito, Lynwood C. Drake, Saddam Hussein, Gilles De Rais, Herman Mudgett, Donald Nielson, Robert R. Diaz, and Joe Ball.

Action editor Billy Weber was brought in by Paramount to deliver a new cut of the film, after the initial cut was rejected. For his efforts, he is thanked in the film’s closing credits.

Paramount Pictures considered casting Arnold Schwarzenegger as Parker Barnes, but his hefty price tag quickly put him out of contention.

The music video of “The Photograph Kills” by Russell Crowe & 30 Odd Foot of Grunts was filmed on the set of the film between scenes, which Russell Crowe appears in the music video in costume and in character as Sid 6.7 and the music videos features inserts from the film itself. The song is featured in the scene which Sid 6.5 arrives at Madison’s house to kidnap Karin.

Russell Crowe was added to the cover of later VHS/DVD editions of the film, since he had become a bigger star since the initial release of the film.

One of the objects shown floating in Sid’s virtual world is a bust made from a ribbon-like spiral. This is a direct nod to the illustration work of the pioneering 4-D artist M. C. Escher.

According to William Fichtner, about 80% of his scenes never made the final cut.

Ken Shamrock can be seen fighting in the octagon. Former ufc and wwf champion

Kelly Cuoco plays Kelly Lynch’s daughter.

Pearl Harbor Recap

Jamie

Back in the Age of Darkness (that would be B.B.M.T. by the Stallonian Calendar), Patrick and tried out a few ways to keep connected through long distance film watching. One such effort was essentially what we have in the Chain Reaction. We went back and forth giving each other movies to watch using connections made through the cast of the films. I recall almost none of the films we watched, but I do remember volleying it back to Patrick with Pearl Harbor. He reacted with horrified anger and I think he shot back a real doozy at me, which quickly led the venture into a death spiral. Fortunately we are much more mature than we were back then and BMT will survive this venture into the Bayverse.

To keep it short, Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett are best buds 4 life. They were born to fly and boy howdy do they. Just when Affleck finds his (other) true love in Kate Beckinsale, he’s informed that he’s getting into the action in the RAF. Hartnett is devastated (oh and Beckinsale, too). We see Affleck fly, earn everyone’s respect, and then crash into the ocean. Hartnett is even more devastated (oh and Beckinsale, too). Now both stationed in Pearl Harbor, they run into each other’s arms in their grief. Hartnett is super into it. Beckinsale is more conflicted, but ultimately they make sweet, sad love. Thrilled at this turn of events, Hartnett is super in love and Beckinsale is all like “sure, why not?” Well, maybe because Affleck is back, Jack! That’s right, he survived that ocean crash and has come back for his babe. He quickly catches wind of what’s up and is less than thrilled. He and Hartnett duke it out, but ultimately reach a truce of sorts just as Japan starts the titular attack on Pearl Harbor. Explosions galore as we witness a true feat of filmmaking. After the attack dies down the US plans the Doolittle Raid and guess who’s top of the list? Our boys. The Doolittle Raid is dope and so are Affleck and Hartnett who agree to let bygones be bygones for the good of the mission. They complete the raid and race to mainland China for rescue. There they crash and are captured by Japanese soldiers. Things go sideways and Hartnett sacrifices himself for Affleck and the rest of his crew. As he dies in Affleck’s arms he learns that Beckinsale is going to have his baby. Affleck and Beckinsale get back together and raise Hartnett’s son together and it’s beautiful and we cried. THE END.

I think Pearl Harbor would have rocked for real if they stripped almost everything but the love story. Follow your tagline, bros. You said it right, moments change history, but love changes lives. Make that the focus and a way to frame the actual events. Guess what people don’t love? Interrupting your dramatic love war story to watch Dan Akyroyd sweat out trying to convince Jon Voight that an attack is imminent. Tend to that love story and it will deliver you to drama that the overarching events deserve. Make it more like a classic story and less like a substitute teacher is scrambling for something to throw on the TV in history class. You can also probably tell the story in 2 hours that way. Only problem with my hypothesis is that I really dig the Doolittle Raid, which takes up a lot of time. So Maybe it’s still 3 hours, but you just have a better developed love story. As it is, the film struggles badly at points, but to me it is such an impressive feat of filmmaking that I’m willing to overlook most of that. I think it’s actually a bit underrated. Now it would be like Greyhound or Midway and feel like it was generated on a computer (which it would be). As for Slipstream, I kind of liked it. I expected cheapo trash, but there was real effort and care in the film, and it was actually kind of interesting. It ultimately seemed to suffer more from an inability to get it released so it could recoup even a little bit of the cost. Basically no one got to see it and it slipped into obscurity. It feels a little like Willow. If you caught it at the right time I bet you’d grow up being like “I used to watch this film about a robot and gliders and it was kind of cool,” but no one would know what you are talking about and they’d never make a Disney+ show about it.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Beckinsale should have ended up with Red. First of all, Affleck… kind of a dick. He’s all in love with Beckinsale but is immediately out of there at the faintest whiff of combat. Heroes are fun and sexy, but also crash a bunch (and crash Affleck did, multiple times). Not a great prospect. Second of all, Hartnett is a total weenie. I forgot how little his character does other than be all meek and mumbly. I faintly recall thinking that Beckinsale and him should have ended up together when I first watched the film. Nah, she doesn’t even really seem all that into him even after their sad lovemaking. Finally, Red seems like he’s got swag, man. Like he’s all gawky and weird looking and has a stutter but pulls one of the cutest girls around. He’s always ready for a party and everyone loves him. I’m shipping it. Beckinsale and Red forever, baby. Hot Take Temperature: Blazin’. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Pearl Harbor? More like Love Triangle, amirite? Yeah, that sounds about right. Let’s go!

  • I decided, since I’ve seen this film a few times, to watch it a bit differently. I cut it into 30 minute chunks and watched it how it was originally intended (I assume). As a mini-series.
  • Episode 1: We get a bit of backstory for our main heroes, Ben Affleck and Josh Harnett, involving them as kids. Ben Affleck is a bit of a hotshot, and volunteers to go to England to see some real action, but not before he falls in love and then smirks on a train saying “she loves me.” They are shipped off to Pearl Harbor / England. Grade: A, it actually is a good opening, I like all the people in it.
  • Episode 2: Ben Affleck is still a hot shot … but also “dies”. Everyone is real sad in Pearl Harbor … but also Hartnett is falling in love and things are getting a tad bit triangular. Meanwhile, Japan is planning to blow up Pearl Harbor and US Intelligence is like “dang, if only I were a bit more intelligent I would be able to figure out what Japan is going to do.” Grade: C, boring and mostly filler. Needed more actual action in Pearl Harbor.
  • Episode 3 gets a bit weird. You either have to cut it short, or you go to about when Affleck and Harnett wake up and realize the attack has begun. I think the latter makes the most sense. Affleck comes back, there is a lot of drama, and you see the beginning of the attack (but prior to the realization that it is an attack for most people). Grade: B, good set up and you get to see some action.
  • Episode 4 is obviously the big attack sequence and it is pretty incredible. Huge set pieces, pretty brutal, and culminates in the sweet dogfighting action. You can go right up until the Japanese decide to pull back the third wave and leave the quiet aftermath to Episode 5. Grade: A+, this is where the show would really shine and leave people wondering why the show is 6 episodes instead of 5 with this being the penultimate kicker of the bunch.
  • Episode 5 is the aftermath, but mostly about putting together the Doolittle Raid. Incredible. Just 25 minutes of them being like “we want skinny ladies, these ladies are fat” and stripping parts off of planes. The repeat of “we are going to win this war because there is something special about these American boys” from episode 2 is also fun. Grade: A. I like all the details about Doolittle and how crazy it was. It could have been a movie by itself.
  • Episode 6, the finale which is mostly just the Doolittle raid, and then Ben Affleck crying for 20 minutes. Pretty exciting stuff, even if it is a bit confusing that five Americans seemingly shoot and kill 40 Japanese soldiers in China to escape. B, exciting, but also a tad bit confusing as to the point? I guess it is because Pearl Harbor is actually kind of a downer, so they needed a solid American victory to put a proper button on the film.
  • So here’s the thing. Grades: A, C, B, A+, A, B. That uh … is a good movie? What’s bad about it again? Oh yeah, the C is actually an F if you watch the film straight through and it is way too long for one sitting. Michael Bay, release the Bay Cut mini-series, apparently it makes it better.
  • I’m going for Product Placement (What?) for Coca-Cola which is where they store blood in one sequence. In reality it is more like product placement for America itself, which is Bay’s MO. An A+ Setting (Where?) for Pearl Harbor. And a Specific Date (When?) for it all set around the date that will live in infamy, December 7th, 1941. In the end I’m doing it, this is a Good movie, it gets you going.
  • To go with Pearl Harbor we went hunting for another film about flying and found Slipstream, a very straightforward film set in a dystopian future where there is a stream of high wind that people ride on and everyone lives as nomads or in bunkers. It stars Mark Hamill as the main villain, and he’s great. The story is very weird, involving a robot who wants to go and find other robots to live with, and the consequences of that. It is definitely one of those films where you can tell whoever wrote or produced it was really into ultra lightweight flying and gliding and used this movie as an excuse to film a bunch of totally awesome shots of totally rad airplanes. He must have loved it. If you want an example of how Hamill’s career really turned sideways, this is as good as any, but it is a bit of a downer and feels really “60s British” (if you know what that means). B- I think.

Did you know they made a television movie sequel to the Pearl Harbor Mini-series? Yeah, it was called Pearl Harbor 2: The Manchurian Candidate, you can read about it in the Quiz. Cheerios,

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