Mortal Kombat: Annihilation Preview

In the Z-universe’s most notorious prison, the Robotoronic Jail 3000, two prisoners blow a hole in the prison wall and walk to their freedom while sirens wail. They begin the long walk across the Wasted Land towards Ecumenopolis.

“Keep digging,” whispers Patrick as Jamie attacks the wall with a sharpened spoon. After three weeks they both know it’s time to blow this joint and they’re doing it the old fashioned way. No kung fu hacking or super powers. This is just lean muscle, a spoon, and a stone wall. Well guess what? You done lost, wall. Jamie breaks through into a large air vent and Patrick turns to their friend Kyle who was the muscle to their brains in this terrible place. “Kyle, you’ve been a true friend showing us the ropes and helping us navigate the prison world. I’ll always remember when you took a shiv for me. It’s a memory I’ll cherish.” Kyle nods. “Come with us. Help us figure out our destiny.” Just as Kyle is about to join them in the vent a large gust of winds blows the entrance closed and blows Jamie and Patrick deeper into an underground tunnel. Patrick looks up to where Kyle had been waiting, but Jamie puts a hand on his should. “He’s gone. I’m sure we’ll meet him again. We have to move forward.” Patrick grudgingly nods and looks around at where they’ve landed. It’s a fork in the road. A path to the left and a path to the right. Jamie hesitates, “We must go left, Patrick. Something seems off about the right.” But Patrick is already heading that way, drawn by some force within. Jamie follows, trying to pull him back but a steady wind starts pushing them forward until they are tumbling head over heels. They land in a world unlike Earth. The clouds overhead are gray and move unnaturally fast. A hooded figure stands in front of them. “The wind,” whispers Patrick. “It’s been trying to get us here this whole time,” responds Jamie. The hooded figure speaks. “Welcome to my world, Bad Movie Twins. Are you ready to defend Earth in the tournament of champions?” That’s right! We’re watching Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation to finish the Franchise-zzzzz cycle. These are films we saw in our childhood (obviously), but never got the full BMT treatment. They also serve as the transition to our second cycle of the year: The (Not Quite) Worst Films Ever. These are films that were at one time posted on the wikipedia page for the List of Films Considered the Worst. All such films are listed in the “Talk” section for the page. For people who don’t know the “Talk” section of wikipedia pages are where you can get a glimpse into the minds of crazy people. Let’s go!

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) – BMeTric: 86.9

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(Sub-4.0 is incredible obviously. And that BMeTric. It it the 28th highest BMeTric for any wide release ever! That is pretty impressive. Got to tick those boxes. There are only seven above it we haven’t watched: Disaster Movie, Date Movie, Son of Mask, Vampires Suck, House of the Dead, Street Fighter, and BloodRayne.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Mind-numbing sequel rehashes battle between good and evil for the fate of mankind (yawn). OK visual effects but endless fight scenes and dreadful acting stop film dead in its tracks. Of interest only to American Gladiator fanatics and vidkids with really low attention spans. Remar’ morph from David Carradine-style kung fu sensei to turbo warrior is unintentionally hilarious.

(Vidkids? “Low” attention spans? Some real shade here. Not that the film doesn’t deserve it, I’m like 99% sure it is complete hot garbage, and I can’t wait.)

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

(Redux edit eehhhhhhhh. Hey guys watch out for all of the ninjas. This film looks like complete and utter garbage. And wait, is that the Night Slasher from BMT Hall of Fame inductee Cobra! I think it is. As if I wasn’t amped already.)

Directors – John R. Leonetti – (Future BMT: Annabelle; Wish Upon; Wolves at the Door; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Prominent cinematographer who has intermittently delved into feature directing. He is probably best known for his collaboration with James Wan on the Conjuring universe of films.)

Writers – Ed Boon (video games) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Mortal Kombat; Notes: One of the creators and the game designer of the video game franchise. Also the voice of Scorpion.)

Lawrence Kasanoff (story) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: WTF. This is the Foodfight! guy. We have now completing his screenwriting filmography. But he thought making a new Pixar was easy, failed miserably, and made an extremely unpleasant animated film. Read the Alpha and Omega recap for more information.)

Joshua Wexler (story) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Was 26 years old when we produced and got a story credit on this film! Also got a writing credit on Foodfight! Currently serves as the Chief Executive of Fun (CEF?) for Pure Imagination Studios (not joking))

John Tobias (story) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Mortal Kombat; Notes: One of the two creators of the video game. Not sure why he got a “story” credit on this one and the other creator, Ed Boon, didn’t. He is credited with most of the character development for the first set of games.)

Brent V. Friedman (screenplay) – (Known For: Ticks; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Another writer on Foodfight! He and Bryce Zabel created a show Dark Skies following the success of X-Files and he’s been mostly in TV since then.)

Bryce Zabel (screenplay) – (Known For: Atlantis: The Lost Empire; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Was once a correspondent for CNN before moving to mostly television writing. He was the Chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.)

Actors – Robin Shou – (Known For: Death Race; Future BMT: DOA: Dead or Alive; Beverly Hills Ninja; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Has a degree in Civil Engineering and actually worked for a couple years in the field before quitting and finding his way first into stunt work and then into acting.)

Talisa Soto – (Known For: Licence to Kill; Don Juan DeMarco; The Pope of Greenwich Village; The Mambo Kings; La Mission; Spike of Bensonhurst; Piñero; Future BMT: Spy Hard; The Sunchaser; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Mortal Kombat;  Notes: Married to one of our BMT faves Benjamin Bratt of Catwoman fame.)

James Remar – (Known For: Django Unchained; The Warriors; The Girl Next Door; X: First Class; Ratatouille; What Lies Beneath; RED; Pineapple Express; February; 48 Hrs.; The Phantom; Cruising; The Long Riders; Drugstore Cowboy; The Cotton Club; White Fang; Boys on the Side; Miracle on 34th Street; The Dream Team; Fear X; Future BMT: Psycho; The Unborn; USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage; The Quest; Blade: Trinity; Duplex; Persecuted; Fatal Instinct; Rent-a-Cop; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Renaissance Man; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; Horns; Band of the Hand; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Judge Dredd; 2 Fast 2 Furious; The Clan of the Cave Bear; Wild Bill; Notes: I know him from The Warriors and as Dexter’s dad on the television series Dexter and am shocked at how many BMT films we’ve seen him in. Interesting story is that he was originally cast as Hicks in Aliens but had to be replaced, but you can still see him in some scenes that were too expensive to reshoot.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $35,927,406 (Worldwide: $51,376,861)

(And yeah, that is super duper terrible considering the performance of the original. A complete and utter rejection of this franchise just as it began.)

#33 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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(Just a little below Universal Soldier there. A wonder Showtime didn’t pick it up for series after this (heyyoooooo). On the downswing of martial arts … literally right before Rush Hour and The Matrix blow it up again.)

#21 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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(Just a little below Hitman which is somewhat surprising honestly. I would have imagined that at least some of the other halfway decent video game films would have done better than this. Then again … I did see this film in theaters, so literal morons did spent money on it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (1/40): With its shallow characters, low budget special effects, and mindless fight scenes, Mortal Kombat – Annihilation offers minimal plot development and manages to underachieve the low bar set by its predecessor.

(So close to being one of the worst every 0% films. It would have been top ten for sure. Reviewer Highlight: Never — at least not since the first Mortal Kombat — has tedium been so loud, so full of backward flips and flying fists to the kissers of centaurs from another realm. – Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Poster – Sklog Fight: Liquidation (C)

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(It is the exact same poster… weird. Still bad font, but short and sweet and with a little more pizzazz color-wise. It’s just slightly better than OK this time.)

Tagline(s) – Destroy all expectations. (Lol.)

(Holy shit. Is this a joke? This is a joke, right? I mean, yes. It certainly destroyed any and all expectations people had. Particularly any expectation of another sequel.)

Keyword(s) – warrior; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.0 Meet the Spartans (2008); 94.8 Catwoman (2004); 94.7 Battlefield Earth (2000); 94.0 Dragonball: Evolution (2009); 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.7 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 89.1 The Last Airbender (2010); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 87.6 BloodRayne (2005); 86.9 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997);

(Come out and play. To think. Ten of the top 30 or so worst films by BMeTric have the keyword “warrior”. Useless.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 11) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robin Shou is No. 1 billed in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and No. 6 billed in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 6 + 2 + 2 = 11. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – A third Mortal Kombat film was going to be developed, called “Mortal Kombat: Devastation”. Christopher Lambert, Linden Ashby, Adoni Maropis, Robin Shou, Chris Casamassa, Keith Cooke, and Lynn ‘Red’ Williams were hired to be in the cast as Lord Rayden, Johnny Cage, Quan Chi, Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Jax, respectively. Talisa Soto and Sandra Hess were in talks to reprise their respective roles of Princess Kitana and Lt. Sonya Blade. However, plans for a third film fell through and the film rights went to Warner Bros., which is planning a Mortal Kombat reboot. (Wait … Lambert was going to come back? I don’t believe it)

Ray Park’s first film role was as Rayden’s fight double in this movie. (Darth Maul baby)

Michael Jai White was scheduled to play as Jax, but eventually he got the lead part in Spawn (1997) instead. He would eventually portray Jax in Mortal Kombat: Rebirth (2010) and Mortal Kombat (2011). (Amazing to think that you could say “taking that role in Spawn was a very good move”)

For years, a third Mortal Kombat movie was being developed by New Line Cinema to atone for the poor reception to “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.” mink was hired to direct, and then Russell Mulcahy was hired to replace him. Sean Catherine Derek and Lawrence Kasanoff took turns writing the script, which would have had Johnny Cage resurrected to help the heroes against Quan Chi and a resurrected Shang Tsung. However, according to cast member Chris Casamassa, who would have reprised his role as Scorpion, production was halted when Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of the sets and the film ultimately never happened. (WHAT)

In the film, Jax fitted his arms with “muscle enhancers”; essentially a sort of exoskeleton that quadrupled his muscle capacity. However in the storyline for Mortal Kombat 3 (1995) (One of the shared premises for this film) Jax had his actual arms removed and fitted himself with the bionic arms.

Robin Shou (Liu Kang) and Talisa Soto (Kitana) are the only actors from the first film to reprise their roles. The other main characters are portrayed by different actors. The only other actor to return was Keith Cooke, but as a different character. In the first film, he was Reptile. Here, he portrays Sub-Zero.

Bridgette Wilson-Sampras was offered to reprise the role of Sonya Blade, but then turned it down for the role of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s sister in I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). (Oh yeah … slashers are always a good choice a think, if only for the miniscule chance of becoming a scream queen.)

Both Deron McBee (Motaro) and Lynn ‘Red’ Williams (Jax) are former American Gladiators (1989), and they have a fight scene in this film together. (People must have been going bananas at the time)

Chris Casamassa was to reprise his role as Scorpion, but he was committed to do stunt work in Batman & Robin (1997). (Somehow a movie with a higher BMeTric, what are the odds?)

Featured in Rob Hill’s The Bad Movie Bible. (Hmmm might need to check out, read, and hate this book at some point in the future.)

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Highlander: The Final Dimension Preview

Jamie and Patrick are excited to take part in the Super Duper Commando Project… sounds pretty rad. Unfortunately when they show up there seems to have been a mix up. A gust of wind blew their applications from the accept pile into the reject pile. What a mistake! They are informed that the only open positions are as security guards. Jamie and Patrick shrug. You take what you can get. As they walk around the building they are super duper bored. “If I wanted to be a security guard I would have joined the Security Brigade,” Jamie says resulting in a chuckle from Patrick. Just then a Super Duper Commando backflips his way into their path. “What thuuuuuuu…” Patrick says before they are both kicked out of a window. Shaking off the serious trauma inflicted on their non-Super Duper bodies they return to the security center and find the place in disarray. Turns out a rogue general bestowed the Sword of Power upon one of the Commandos giving him the power of the gods. Sounds totally ridiculous and unbelievable, I know, but like… you better believe it’s happening. Jamie and Patrick look at one another. The head of security is curious, “You boys look like you know something. Out with it.” They look sheepish. “It’s just,” Jamie begins and takes out an ancient scroll, “when we were born it was foretold that we would face a super soldier equipped with the Sword of Power. It was oddly specific to this exact situation.” The head of security is in awe. “Did it say anything else?” Patrick and Jamie look at each other again. “Yes,” Patrick whispers, “It said ‘There can only be one.’” That’s right! We’re getting another notch in the Highlander Franchise belt with our Sci-Fi/Fantasy entry in the cycle, Highlander: The Final Dimension… or is it Highlander: The Magician… or is it Highlander: The Sorcerer? Impossible to tell with the third entry in the series. I’m sure you’re all like ‘But Jamie, don’t you mean last entry in the series. There can’t possibly be a fourth major release in the Highlander series.’ Well you’d be wrong. Highlander: Endgame exists and it is foretold that we will watch it… someday. But not today. Let’s go!

Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994) – BMeTric: 69.4

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(Quite low, but is getting that regression to the mean as one would have expected. Nearly 70+ BMeTric, which is obviously extremely impressive. High hopes.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Conor McCloud, the wanderer from medieval Scotland, does battle in today’s N.Y. with evil fellow immortal from the past, the Mongol magician Cane (Van Peebles). Foolish, badly written piffle is a sequel only to the first film, ignoring the second and the TV series. Lambert is glum, Van Peebles shamelessly hammy. Dozens of unexplained elements, starting with Cane’s perfect English.

(Leonard hates Highlander. The films are rated: 1.5, 1.5, BOMB, BOMB for the first four. Which is insane. The first is actually halfway decent, at least compared to the second! I’m looking forward to the performances now. Seems like it could be something truly to behold.)

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

(I guess it is called “The Sorcerer” in this case. Anywho, this looks terribly cheap. And they kind of give away that he quickens again there. And they also give away that there is a pretttttty sexy sex scene … it’s a wash, this could go either way now.)

Directors – Andrew Morahan – (BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: British. Still is a music video director mostly. His father was a director as well, and his half-sister is an actress.)

Writers – Gregory Widen (characters) – (Known For: Highlander; Backdraft; The Prophecy; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Worked as a firefighter for three years. Witnessed a friend killed by a deadly backdraft which became the basis for the script.)

Brad Mirman (story & screenplay) (uncredited) – (Known For: Forsaken; The Shadow Dancer; Crime Spree; Future BMT: Knight Moves; Resurrection; Truth or Consequences, N.M.; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Body of Evidence; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Body of Evidence in 1994; Notes: Mostly a writer-director now, including a television mini-series called The Confession starring Kiefer Sutherland.)

William N. Panzer (story) – (Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Was the producer for basically every single Highlander property over the years. Died in 2007.)

Paul Ohl (screenplay) – (BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: French, but lived mostly in Quebec. Was in public service most of his life, and wrote multiple novels which I suppose is how he ended up connected to this.)

René Manzor (uncredited) – (Known For: Monsieur N.; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Caught the attention of George Lucas and Spielberg early in his career and wrote on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.)

Actors – Christopher Lambert – (Known For: Highlander; Hail, Caesar!; Bel Canto; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Fortress; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Subway; White Material; To Kill a Priest; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Beowulf; Fortress 2; Southland Tales; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; Mortal Kombat; The Sicilian; Loaded Weapon 1; Gunmen; Knight Moves; Resurrection; The Hunted; Electric Slide; BMT: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Born in the US, although he is French as his father was a diplomat. Was married to Diane Lane, and had a daughter with her.)

Mario Van Peebles – (Known For: New Jack City; Ali; Heartbreak Ridge; The Cotton Club; Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song; How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass; The Hebrew Hammer; Stag; Future BMT: Solo; Exterminator 2; Gunmen; Posse; Submerged; We the Party; Multiple Sarcasms; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Son of the famous director Melvin Van Peebles, whom he portrays in Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.)

Deborah Kara Unger – (Known For: The Game; Thirteen; Crash; Payback; The Way; The Hurricane; Sunshine; The Salton Sea; A Love Song for Bobby Long; The Alibi; Fear X; Stander; One Point O; Shake Hands with the Devil; Hollywood North; Signs & Wonders; Emile; Future BMT:White Noise; The Samaritan; Jackals; A Dark Truth; Keys to Tulsa; Whispers in the Dark; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Silent Hill: Revelation; 88 Minutes; Silent Hill; Notes: Canadian, but she started her career in Australia where she became quite a famous actress before returning to North America.)

Budget/Gross – $26 million / Domestic: $12,303,080

(Absolutely absurd budget. I understand there is a level of set design and special effects involved, but it would have been ludicrous to think they’d recoup that number. It has to involve funny math.)

#97 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

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(Around Dungeons & Dragons. The genre really took off in 2000, likely because they were able to put together films that otherwise would have been impossible to produce with practical effects with the cheaper CGI that had been developed by then.)

#29 for the Sword and Sorcery genre

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(Only In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale did worse among BMT films. The chart gets a bit skewed because The Lord of the Rings made so much money all within a few years of each other. The genre has never really be huge in the number of films produced.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (1/20): No consensus yet.

(My god the consensus would be something else: Cheap looking with absolutely ridiculous performances by Lambert and Van Peebles. Literally like watching a franchise crash and burn in front of your eyes! Reviewer Highlight: As for Van Peebles, he’s quite the ridiculous sight and sound. – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – Skloglander: The Final Dimensional Sorcerer from Space Probably (B-)

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(I have to say I like the clock and how the poster is laid out. The coloring is crazy though and the font is just meh. Tone it down a little and get some sweet Highlander brand font and we might be off to the races.)

Tagline(s) – Centuries ago one man was chosen to protect all that is good. But an enemy from the past has travelled through time to challenge him in the present. (F)

(Bahahahaahaha… … … hahahahahahaha… ha… ah… well that sounds stupid.)

Keyword(s) – sex scene; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.6 The Room (2003); 90.4 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 82.0 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000); 81.9 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 81.2 Sex and the City 2 (2010); 78.7 Jason X (2001); 77.6 Fifty Shades Darker (2017); 77.0 Fifty Shades of Black (2016); 75.8 Fifty Shades Freed (2018); 74.9 Species II (1998);

(Kind of unbelievable there are still films on the table here. Given the number of films with the keyword it isn’t that surprising that all of them are basically above 75 BMeTric which is incredible. All three Fifty Shades films make this list.)

Notes – Deborah Kara Unger did her love scenes with Christopher Lambert herself, declining to use a body double. (Good for her I guess)

The original script for the film was radically different from the finished product in that the flashback sequences to place in early 17th century Scotland and early 18th century England. MacLeod had an Immortal friend in the script named Cavanagh who had similar aspects like Ramirez, The main villain in the script was named Kilvera. The script started depicting what happened with Connor after he buried Heather as well as a scene that revealed that he kills Jack the Ripper who was an Immortal as well. (I understand none of this)

The film is true to the original Highlander (1986) and ignores Highlander II: The Quickening (1991). In Highlander 2, Connor, Ramirez and the Immortals were aliens from the planet Zeist. In the original Highlander, Connor and Ramirez were not aliens from another planet and Highlander 3 takes place 8 years after the original film and is true to the original story and mythology. (Cool? They’re going to fuck it up anyways, so what does it really matter, y’know?)

Christopher Lambert and Mario Van Peebles had both previously starred in Gunmen (1993) and had become good friends.

In early development this was going to be a prequel about Connor arriving in New York at the start of ‘The Gathering’. (That would have been kind of cool. If I recall correctly the original kind of starts as the battle for The Quickening is coming to a close)

Mako plays a similar role to the role he played in Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer (1984). (M’man Mako is in this? Hell yeah)

For the UK VHS and DVD releases, the title was changed to Highlander 3: The Sorcerer, with no extended cut (renegade cut). (This title keeps on coming up and it annoys me. There are like fifty goddamn names for this film)

Hellraiser: Bloodline Preview

Patrick and Jamie start their police careers on Predator patrol. What a joke, right? “If I wanted to chase after aliums I would have joined the Alium Brigade” Jamie says resulting in a chuckle from Patrick. Just then a Predator ninja flips from the shadows and rips a civilian in half. “Jesus Christ!” yells Patrick and they are on the chase. Using their knowledge of the city and their extraordinary endurance, they just barely keep up with the greatest predator the universe has seen. Suddenly the Predator finds itself cornered and Patrick and Jamie pull out their guns. “Freeze, dirtbag,” Jamie says, but as they ready to make the arrest a strong gust of wind knocks the guns from their hands. With that the Predator is upon them and it spells certain doom for our heroes. Suddenly Jamie notices a distinctive birthmark on the mandibles of the Predator. “Wait… Predator? Is that you?” Recognition alights in its eyes. Of course. This must be the same Predator Jamie zoomed across the universe with just months ago. “But Predator, last time I saw you you were slamming Tacoz Fritos Mountain Dew and doing X-treme stuff… killing us isn’t X-treme. Ripping civilians in half isn’t X-treme. What happened?” The Predator looks ashamed and shrugs. “You know what is X-treme?” Jamie asks and the Predator looks up hopeful. “The most X-treme adventure of them all… death.” Jamie holds his breath. Could this really work? Did he want it to work? But he knew it was the only way. Recognition shows in the Predator’s eyes. It nods and pulls out an intricately carved puzzle box. Jamie and Patrick look at each other in horror, “What the fuuuuuuuuuuu…” That’s right! We’re watching the Hellraiser franchise… literally. There were four Hellraiser films released theatrically, and more or less people accept this as the original quadrilogy with the many straight-to-DVD films that followed considered separate. The fourth is the only one that qualifies for BMT as they steadily got worse reviews until arriving at the film that would stop the franchise in its tracks. The trailer is amazing and it’s one of the few BMT qualifying Alan Smithee films ever. I’ve gotten pretty hyped about it. Let’s go!

Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996) – BMeTric: 53.1

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(I shouldn’t be surprised anymore that these things start absurdly low and then rise steadily over time. Horror films have finicky fans so they slam the films which then have nowhere to go but up as general audiences get ahold of them. 50+ and holding steady, so good enough for me.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Pinhead matches wits with a demon lover/cohort, ironically named Angelique (Vargas). Dull and plot-heavy, even if you’re a Clive Barker devotee. Re-caulk your bathtub instead. Followed by five direct-to-video sequels.

(The other films in the series went 2.5, 1.5, and 1.5, so none of them really were well received by Leonard. I guess not a giant surprise since Leonard notoriously hates horror films.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLfpZMAJW3k

(Oooof. That looks like a load of shit. The laser beams. The period pieces. The “Welcome to oblivion” at the end. It is exactly what you expect but don’t want in a horror mega-franchise of the time. Can’t wait.)

Directors – Kevin Yagher – (BMT: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline; Notes: Renowned make-up artist famous for Tales from the Crypt which is where he started directing. His older brother was in the second and third Atlas Shrugged films.)

Alan Smithee – (Known For: Catchfire; Future BMT: An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; BMT: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; Notes: A pseudonym previously used by the Directors’ Guild when a member wished to take their name off of a film. It was popularized by the film An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, so they reportedly retired it, although it has been used since.)

Writers – Peter Atkins (written by) – (Known For: Hellbound: Hellraiser II; Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth; Future BMT: Wishmaster; BMT: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline; Notes: Was a member of The Dog Company, an avant garde theatre group featuring Clive Barker and Doug Bradley.)

Actors – Bruce Ramsay – (Known For: Holes; Alive; Behind the Candelabra; Jacknife; The New Age; Hit Me; Future BMT: Collateral Damage; Brick Mansions; Curdled; Killing Zoe; BMT: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline; Timeline; Notes: Canadian. Made a bizarrely ill-received version of Hamlet which he directed and starred in in 2014 which possibly ended his career?)

Valentina Vargas – (Known For: The Name of the Rose; The Big Blue; La Noche de Enfrente; BMT: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline; Notes: Born in Chile, raised in France, she is trilingual and has played parts in French, Spanish and English.)

Doug Bradley – (Known For: Hellraiser; Hellbound: Hellraiser II; An Ideal Husband; Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth; The Cottage; Book of Blood; Future BMT: Nightbreed; BMT: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline; Notes: Pinhead. Old school friends with Clive Barker he played the character in eight different films.)

Budget/Gross – $4 million / Domestic: $9,336,886

(That is weirdly fine. I mean, it isn’t a lot of money, but it cost almost nothing apparently, so … weirdly fine.)

#302 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(Just watched by far the most lucrative BMT film in the The Nun. This genre has transcended its roots and, like action films, can basically print money at this point. And to think that PG-13 horror used to dominate the genre.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 31% (4/13): No consensus yet.

(The only Hellraiser film that qualifies as, from this point forward they aren’t released in theaters, and previously they were too well received, making it a rarity among horror mega-franchises. Reviewer Highlight: Except for the most undiscriminating gorehound, pic is a pointless mess. – Daniel M. Kimmel, Variety)

Poster – Hellskloger: Sklogline (B)

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(That’s actually pretty good… other than the Earth at the bottom that screams “this movie may or may not be set in space and is thus almost certainly super lame.” They needed to do a little more with the font too.)

Tagline(s) – This year, the past, the present and the future will all meet at the crossroads of hell. (D)

(The poster technically doesn’t have a tagline, but one of the alternates does so I’ll let it slide. If only to say that this one sucks. It’s too long and the “This year” makes it real clunky and hard to even think about.)

Keyword(s) – 22nd century; Top Ten by BMeTric: 67.2 Ghosts of Mars (2001); 53.1 Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996); 50.7 Judge Dredd (1995); 35.0 Dark Planet (2009); 22.0 Alien³ (1992); 21.9 Alien: Covenant (2017); 18.2 Dark Star (1974); 18.0 Space Battleship Yamato (2010); 13.4 Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966); 10.9 Vanilla Sky (2001);

(Been obviously smashing these. The Dalek one is crazy as that is surely a Doctor Who television movie no? Pretty nuts it manages that high of a BMeTric, but then again I guess there aren’t many films with the keyword.)

Notes – Walt Disney Pictures came under fire in the media when they purchased the then controversial and hip Miramax Films. The initial slate of films that Miramax would be releasing under the Disney deal included Hellraiser: Bloodline, Scream, The Prophecy, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and Mother’s Boys. The outcry was due to the fact that Disney would be directly involved in the marketing and release of horror movies.

The US theatrical 1-sheet for the film does not have any credits. This was because original director Kevin Yagher had his name removed and replaced with the Directors’ Guild of America pseudonym Alan Smithee. Fearing this would negatively reflect on the quality of the film, Miramax opted for a credit-free 1-sheet. (Actually a good choice, I wouldn’t even notice)

Adam Scott was grateful for getting cast, citing the film as being a huge deal for booking a real movie, which he took very seriously. He remarked that on his first day to the set, he was shown his chair that was mistakenly labeled as Adam Craig. Scott said it was a nice welcome to Hollywood. Despite the film’s troubled production and box office failure, Scott didn’t care as long as he was working. Later in need of work, Scott even auditioned for the sequel with the hope that the casting directors wouldn’t remember him from the last film and no one said anything at the audition. However Scott suspects someone remembered him as he wasn’t hired for the sequel. (That is awesome)

Editor Randolph K. Bricker was brought in by Joe Chappelle (who was Miramax’s replacement for original director Kevin Yagher) to assemble a completely new cut of the film. This version was the one that was ultimately released in theaters in 1996.

The last “Hellraiser” movie to get a theatrical release. (Ayup)

Though promotional photos of Aristocratic Cenobites wearing white powdered wigs were released in various sci-fi magazines to promote this film, the Cenobites were cut from the finished film, along with Demon Clowns and an entire ballroom fancy dress party as the studio wanted to get to Pinhead’s story sooner.

Was intended to be the final installment of the “Hellraiser” franchise, ending with Pinhead destroyed once and for all. 5 direct-to-video sequels followed. (Whoops)

The film takes place in 1796, 1996 and 2127.

In the Hellraiser films and their legacy, author Paul Kane described his screenplay as ambitious and “one of the best Hellraiser sequels.” The screenplay featured a linear timeline, more special effects, and violent confrontations between Pinhead and Angelique. When Miramax was unwilling to provide a budget to realize the scenes, the film was scaled back. Stuart Gordon, known for his low-budget horror films, was approached to direct but backed out after artistic disagreements. Special effects technician Kevin Yagher was subsequently hired after his cost-saving directing work on Tales from the Crypt for Joel Silver. Yagher was initially hesitant about taking the job, as he did not want to do a retread of the previous installments of the series. However, he was impressed with the script and became enthusiastic after Barker describe his vision for the film. (Awwww, and then he declined to even put his name on it in the end)

Clive Barker acting as executive producer, wanted a fresh turn for the series after two sequels to his original 1987 film. The initial premise for the film, a shape-changing structure used to trap Pinhead, was inspired by the ending of Hellraiser 3 which featured a building whose architecture resembled the Lament Configuration. Barker suggested a three-part film set in different time periods, and Peter Atkins added the Lemarchand storyline, going back to Barker’s novella. Atkins had previously written Hellbound Hellraiser II (1988) and co-written Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992) Atkins and Barker pitched the idea to Miramax who greenlit it without requiring an outline.

Gary J.Tunnicliffe of Image Animation, who had previously worked on Hellraiser III:Hell on Earth (1992) was recruited to perform special effects. Tunnicliffe was worried that director Kevin Yagher would want to perform the effects himself, but Yagher wanted to collaborate with Image Animation and believe their experience with prior films in the series would be valuable. Kevin Yagher only contributed to the Chatterer Beast.

The word Cenobite means a member of a monastic order.

Kevin Yagher: disowned the version with cuts made behind his back due to conflicting artistry ideas. Yagher’s version contained much more graphic imagery, plot, and explained everything that happened in the film. The producers disagreed and demanded Pinhead should appear sooner despite every version of the script up until then having him appear around the 40-minute mark. When Yagher was unable to satisfy he disowned it and never finished filming some final scenes. Joe Chappelle was brought on to finish the film, filming new scenes from re-writes including the narrative framing device. Some scenes of the original script were thus never shot. Joe Chappelle was the studio’s first choice to direct the film, and actually agreed to direct Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) on the understanding that he’d be allowed to direct this film (which he was more interested in) next, but eventually declined the offer due to feeling burned out after the troublesome production of that film. (Wowza, I didn’t realize Halloween and Hellraiser had that connection)

Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment Preview

“That’s right. I’m going to resurrect the all-powerful demon Gigandet,” explains that piece of shit hack Manfred Long. “Legend tells of a great Book of Power that would allow for its resurrection. A book of such literary value that its destruction would leave the world a ruin for lack of artistic inspiration. Your agent has been in it for the long con. He was never sure you would be the one to create the BoP, but when we caught wind of your new YA novel on the Dark Web it became clear. Swamp Monster love interest? Genius. So he prepared to take the manuscript by force and find a buyer, I on the other hand prepared for the arrival of Gigandet. The greatest of all demons.” With that, Manfred Long (that hack) begins to laugh and laugh and laugh. Not willing to let this happen Patrick and Jamie use their twin powers to back flip their way over Manfred Long’s head and kick the gun out of his shitty hands. Manfred is stunned and suddenly another gunshot rings out. He falls as Patrick’s literary agent rises and pulls off his bulletproof vest. A quadruple agent! My God! “Patrick, I’m sorry. I know all along that Manfred Long was a hack and looking to double or triple cross us. His incredibly long expository statement and your fancy moves gave me just enough time to recover and put an end to this.” They shake hands. “There is still one thing I don’t understand,” says Patrick, but his literary agent stops him. “Officer Edwin O’Brien. FBI. Thirty-one years. Retiring tomorrow.” They all chuckle a bit. “I was serious, by the way,” says Officer O’Brien, “Those were some pretty serious moves you put on that piece of shit Manfred Long. If you ever want to give policing a try just give the academy a call and tell them Officer O’Brien sent yah.” That’s right! We’re finally doing it. We’re doing the Franchise-zzzzz cycle right by starting our journey through the Police Academy movies with both Police Academy (as a bonus) and Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment. There are seven films and all of them are terrible enough for BMT. We’ve talked about it long enough! Let’s go!

Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985) – BMeTric: 41.4

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(Pretty consistent over the years, although did venture into 50+ territory for a while. For the IMDb rating 5.7 isn’t nearly as terrible as I’d imagine, although I don’t think people tend to watch it these days unless they are looking to specifically watch … y’know … a Police Academy film. Huge jump in rating though … very very weird, the films are straight up not good!)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Dreadful follow-up to 1984 hit (with different writers and director responsible). There are Dragnet episodes with more laughs than this movie.

(Love the niche burn. For all I know Dragnet was a laugh-riot.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fs3W2Fqkds

(I kind of love that in both cases they end with a gun gag delivered by Tackleberry. But buckle up, another series of loose vignettes involving not particularly well known comedians from the 1980s … joy.)

Directors – Jerry Paris – (Known For: Police Academy 3: Back in Training; BMT: Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; Notes: Won a Primetime Emmy for directing the Dick Van Dyke Show. His son appears in a bit part in the film.)

James Signorelli – (Known For: Elvira: Mistress of the Dark; Easy Money; BMT: Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; Notes: Worked on the film for three weeks before being fired and replaced by Jerry Paris.)

Writers – Neal Israel (characters created by) – (Known For: Real Genius; Bachelor Party; Police Academy 3: Back in Training; Future BMT: Police Academy: Mission to Moscow; Look Who’s Talking Too; Police Academy 6: City Under Siege; Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; BMT: Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; Police Academy; Notes: Now mostly works in TV including a 2012 show called Dog with a Blog… I’d watch it.)

Pat Proft (characters created by) – (Known For: Real Genius; Bachelor Party; The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!; Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult; The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear; Hot Shots!; Hot Shots! Part Deux; Police Academy 3: Back in Training; Brain Donors; Future BMT: Police Academy: Mission to Moscow; Police Academy 6: City Under Siege; Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Mr. Magoo; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Scary Movie 4; Scary Movie 3; High School High; Wrongfully Accused; BMT: Scary Movie 5; Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; Police Academy; Notes: While he wrote pretty much every spoof movie ever, he only directed Wrongfully Accused.)

Barry W. Blaustein (written by) (as Barry Blaustein) – (Known For: Coming to America; The Nutty Professor; Boomerang; Police Academy 3: Back in Training; Future BMT: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; The Honeymooners; BMT: Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; Notes: Primarily known as a writer, he did direct The Ringer.)

David Sheffield (written by) – (Known For: Coming to America; The Nutty Professor; Boomerang; Police Academy 3: Back in Training; Future BMT: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; The Honeymooners; BMT: Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; Notes: Brother of Buddy Sheffield who was the head writer of In Living Color.)

Actors – Steve Guttenberg – (Known For: Home for the Holidays; Cocoon; Short Circuit; 3 Men and a Baby; Diner; The Boys from Brazil; Amazon Women on the Moon; Police Academy 3: Back in Training; The Bedroom Window; Rollercoaster; Zeus and Roxanne; Future BMT: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; 3 Men and a Little Lady; Cocoon: The Return; The Big Green; It Takes Two; High Spirits; Affluenza; Surrender; BMT: Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; Can’t Stop the Music; Police Academy; Notes: The Gutes. Apparently beat out Bruce Willis for the lead in Police Academy. Classic Gutes.)

Bubba Smith – (Known For: Gremlins 2: The New Batch; Police Academy 3: Back in Training; Future BMT: Police Academy 6: City Under Siege; Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; The Silence of the Hams; Stroker Ace; Black Moon Rising; BMT: Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; Police Academy; Notes: Former professional football player that went on to have a pretty solid career in film. Died in 2011.)

David Graf – (Known For: The Brady Bunch Movie; Police Academy 3: Back in Training; Guarding Tess; Citizen Ruth; Irreconcilable Differences; Jing wu ying xiong; Four Friends; The Enforcer; Suture; Future BMT: Police Academy: Mission to Moscow; Police Academy 6: City Under Siege; Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Rules of Engagement; BMT: Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; Police Academy; Notes: Died suddenly at the age of 51 from a heart attack. It was the same age his father died at also from a heart attack.)

Budget/Gross – $7.5 million / Domestic: $55,600,000

(A hugh smash hit given the budget, that is nuts! Given the lists below I had kind of assumed it was a bomb!)

#11 for the Comedy – Bumbling genre

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(So this is also known as the Kevin James genre. This is also by far the least revenue we’ve seen for BMT, but it is also quite old. Arguably once adjusted this is one of the most successful even made. Smashed it in the 80s and 00s, but seems to be waning a bit in popularity. Just wait another two years and it might just come back to be honest.)

#56 for the Comedy – Sequel (Live Action) genre

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(Surprisingly mid-table to borrow a British-ism. Rebounded in the last year, so I imagine will see a few more comedy franchises pop up and die completing the current sequel-cycle.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 29% (4/14): No consensus yet.

(As usual pretty weak, but definitely a less positive take than the first. The consensus is basically “same old same old, although at least this one has Bobcat Goldthwait in it” Reviewer Highlight: They’re not movies so much as variety shows featuring talented young comics. – Paul Attanasio, Washington Post)

Poster – Sklog Skool 2: Flunkin’ Out (B-)

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(I like the darker blue overtone to the whole poster and the framing is more interesting (not to mention the slightly tilted subtitle). Still not the most interesting and they basically write a whole novel for the tagline.)

Tagline(s) – Watch out! They’ve got to clean up the worst crime district in the world. But that’s no problem. They’re the worst police force in the universe. (D-)

(Lol, what? It sounds like a placeholder that they ended up using because they got tired or forgot or something. At least it’s not offensive or something.)

Keyword(s) – blonde; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.2 Epic Movie (2007); 94.6 Batman & Robin (1997); 90.9 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.0 The Hottie & the Nottie (2008); 88.8 House of the Dead (2003); 87.4 Crossroads (I) (2002); 85.6 Piranha 3DD (2012); 84.6 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 82.5 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991);

(Smashing this list obviously. Kind of a weak list though … every movie will have a blond person in it presumably.)

Notes – G.W. Bailey had hoped to return as Lieutenant Harris, but was passed over in favor of Art Metrano as the antagonist in this film and Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986). Bailey instead took a job working with Director Hugh Wilson on Rustlers’ Rhapsody (1985). On a day off, G.W. visited this movie’s set to film an uncredited cameo in the wedding reception scene. He appeared from behind, as the man having his picture taken by the photographer. (Fun fact)

Some original cast members had allegedly complained about losing screentime to the new cast members. At one point, shooting was shut down and a mediator was brought in to mellow the cast. (There weren’t that many new cast member though, just two and they kind of replaced two other cast members who left … I guess they expected to get more screentime than in the first one?)

Tim Kazurinsky was originally only to appear in the opening scene. But Director Jerry Paris enjoyed the chemistry between Kazurinsky and Bobcat Goldthwait, so the character of Sweetchuck was created during filming. (Interesting. Probably the only interesting part of the film)

The only movie in the original Police Academy heptalogy in which Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook) does not appear. After the first film was completed, Leslie was pregnant with a baby daughter, which prevented her from working on this sequel. (That is pretty funny)

Tim Kazurinsky’s character was to be called Mr. Schewchuk, as the name appears on the store window. Jerry Paris changed the name to Sweetchuck, after Bubba Smith flubbed several takes trying to pronounce “Schewchuk”.

Screenwriter Barry W. Blaustein stated that he was approached during production by Bubba Smith (Hightower), who complained about being given a minimal amount of lines, compared to the other actors. The reason for this was that Blaustein had been told by producers that “Bubba couldn’t do dialogue”. (That’s kind of offensive, he’s not that much worse than someone like Winslow to be honest)

The only Police Academy movie to feature Commandant Eric Lassard’s brother, Pete (Howard Hesseman). Howard was asked to reprise his role in later sequels, but he outright refused, saying that he regretted doing this film in the first place. (Ayup, makes sense)

Bill Paxton was offered the role of Zed, but turned it down, because the contract required him to also work in the future sequels. He ended up doing Aliens (1986) instead. (Smoirt)

Despite the fact that no such character exists in the movie, a blonde policewoman appears on the official poster. This was an inside joke made by the producers, as they had also requested that the same “sexy girl” be included on an earlier version of the first film’s poster. (huh)

In an interview prior to the start of production, David Graf said that he would not mind doing a series of Police Academy movies. “I’d do it strictly for the money. (Wife) Kathy and I went to a party at Hugh Wilson’s, and it was all very ritzy, with valet parking, caviar, champagne, all that, and while we were there, surrounded by all that luxury, Kathy and I were talking about how we were going to pay the gas bill. The gas company had told us they were going to discontinue service the next day. I don’t want to be in that position again. So, yes, I would do a series of Police Academies, for money.” True to his word, Graf appeared in all seven of the original Police Academy movies. (Genuinely awesome. One of the better characters in the films IMO.)

Upon being cast as seamstress Chloe Daniels, the love interest of Mahoney, Julie Brown had been told her role was that of a major ensemble player. Julie was later disappointed to learn that several of her scenes with Steve Guttenberg, bar two nearly cameo appearances, had been cut from the final print. (Hmmm, it didn’t really even occur to me that he didn’t have a love interest storyline in this one, funny.)

According to Producer Paul Maslansky , the returning actors and actresses from the original Police Academy (1984) wanted more money to work on the sequel. The above-the-line (principal talent) costs were about one and a half million dollars, including Maslansky’s own fee. (That is incredibly low, I had figured they’d make six figured, but some of them probably didn’t even clear 100K considering how big the cast is, which is weird to think about.)

Steve Guttenberg almost did not return for the sequel, as he was not pleased with the script as originally presented to him. After some re-writes, and a bigger paycheck, Guttenberg was happy to reprise Mahoney. (And then he appeared for two more as well)

In an interview shortly after this film’s release, Steve Guttenberg said that being in a major hit like Police Academy (1984), that earned a lot of money and extremely nasty reviews, was both a help and a hindrance. “There’s an advantage because the film makes a lot of money. But the disadvantage is that they want you to keep doing it again and again. You can get stuck in them. I was very reluctant to do the sequel, but there’s a contract. They’ve got options on me forever, but they’re very understanding about my desires.”

According to Bubba Smith, he made more money from his work on this film alone, than he had earned in ten years of playing professional football. This was due to Bubba having requested a 2 percent piece of the movie’s profits, in lieu of a higher salary prior to shooting. (Noice)

According to Julie Brown, Steve Guttenberg was not very nice to her on set. While filming the street fair scene, where Mahoney takes Chloe on a date by riding the Ferris wheel, Steve refused to go through with their scripted kissing scene, telling Julie that his character would not kiss hers. At Guttenberg’s insistence, the entire romantic subplot with Mahoney and Chloe ended up being deleted from the final cut. (Wowzah, sounds like a dick. I hope there is a better second side to that story for Guttenberg’s sake)

(At around one hour and twenty-three minutes) The monster truck Tackleberry drives away in, with his bride, is Bigfoot 3, the third version of the first ever monster truck built. The truck returns (Bigfoot 6) in Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989), also driven by Tackleberry. (WHAT? That is awesome … does Bigfoot have an IMDb profile?! … It does not, boo)

In Love and War Preview

As Jamie contemplates what to do about The Predator, the creature suddenly looks up and engages its invisibility shield. Damn it, it must has smelled this decaying shark corpse Jamie has been carrying around. Looking around, Jamie spies a skateboard and a backwards baseball cap that must have belonged to a previous victim of the whale and is soon jetting around doing all kinds of ollies and kickflips or whatever. Unfortunately, as is often the case, Jamie is a little too focused on hot dogging and being rad and takes a tumble while attempting a fakie bigspin heelflip. The Predator approaches with laser aimed to kill and Jamie expresses sadness that he was never able to avenge Patrick by killing the Little Old Librarian that brought him to this point. Suddenly The Predator cocks his head in confusion. It speaks some alien language that is translated by the robotics on its wrist. “Did you say Little Old Librarian?” Jamie nods his head yes and the Predator raises his fist in triumph. “The greatest of all prey. Finally I… no, we… shall defeat it,” putting out his hand to pull Jamie to his feet. He blasts a hole in the side of the whale and heaving the decaying corpse of Frang to his should he looks directly into the camera and dramatically says, “Let’s blow this joint. We got a war to fight… bro.” Jamie suddenly has a tingling sensation in his belly and there’s only one thing that could mean: a bromance is a-brewin’. That’s right! This week we are watching In Love and War, that film that everyone remembers and loves starring Chris O’Donnell and Sandra Bullock. It’s based on the true love story of Ernest Hemingway that was the inspiration for a couple of his books. Sounds thrilling. Let’s go!

Hey dummies, expecting a story about Patrick fighting some weird bug or something? Naw, he’s unconscious for this bit. But don’t worry, we are also watching Liz and Dick this week. The Lifetime Original film starring Lindsay Lohan was supposed to be a way for her to slowly reenter the world of acting. Instead everyone just made fun of it and then forgot about it completely. Let’s go!

In Love and War (1996) – BMeTric: 22.3

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(This is something I noticed in previous posts but … Something happened in 2014 with IMDb. I should investigate it honestly. But on exactly January 1, 2014, ratings in general jumped significantly upwards. This is no different. As a matter of fact the rating of the film doesn’t really rise besides that giant 0.3 rating jump on New Years’ Day, 2014. Very much worthy of an investigation I think.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Lumbering catastrophe chronicles Ernest Hemingway’s WWI love affair with Red Cross nurse Agnes von Kurowsky, eight years his senior and the inspiration for the character Catherine Barkley in A Farewell to Arms. Miscast O’Donnell might actually be more credible playing Ernest Borgnine, and the leads have no chemistry. The film leans on what used to be called “scenic values” like a bookie who’s been stiffed.

(“scenic values” …. So, vistas? I think he’s talking about vistas here which is a huge plus for me obviously. Two things. First, the turn of phrase at the end is just bonkers, pump the breaks on that guy Leonard, the bookie ref makes no sense. Second, the casual dropping of Ernest Borgnine, as if I’m supposed to know what that is is ridiculous … I think it is supposed to be a ridiculous suggestion, but it is so far beyond me I just don’t know anymore. This review is astonishing.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVEUGM3Scck

(This is a very old school trailer. If I were to field a guess as to why this film was rejected by critics: It was considered very old fashioned having been directed by a 70-year-old Richard Attenborough, and stars two actors who, I think, are only “good” in very specifically designed roles in Sandra Bullock and Chris O’Donnell. Syrupy sweet nonsense.)

Directors – Richard Attenborough – (Known For: Gandhi; A Bridge Too Far; Chaplin; Cry Freedom; Magic; Shadowlands; Oh! What a Lovely War; Young Winston; Future BMT: Chorus Line; Grey Owl; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Most famous as John Hammond in Jurassic Park I think at this point, although he won the Best Director Oscar for Gandhi, beating out none other than Steven Spielberg for E.T.)

Writers – Henry S. Villard (book) – (BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Became a good friend to Hemingway in Italy during the time the book took place. Joined the US Foreign Service helping to plan the invasion of North Africa in the Second World War, and was the liason to the Free French Forces for the US. Held a multitude of different ambassadorships over the years and lived to the age of 95.)

James Nagel (book) – (BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Co-author to the original book, although I couldn’t find much more about him. Mainlys seems to have produced collections of short stories.)

Allan Scott (screen story & screenplay) – (Known For: The Witches; Don’t Look Now; D.A.R.Y.L.; The Preacher’s Wife; Castaway; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Took over the chairmanship and chief executive position of Macallan-Glenlivet in the late 70s and ran the company until 1996 at which point its market cap had increased 200 fold during his tenure.)

Dimitri Villard (screen story) – (Future BMT: Once Bitten; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Given he founded Jet Set Records, apparently one of the more successful rhythm & blues labels of the era, and established one of the earliest pay television channels in California, he seems to have made movies once becoming rather wealthy. Mostly worked in the 80s, with this film being one of the rare exceptions.)

Clancy Sigal (screenplay) – (Known For: Frida; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Was blacklisted in the 1950s and ended up moving to the UK to work there for decades.)

Anna Hamilton Phelan (screenplay) – (Known For: Girl, Interrupted; Mask; Gorillas in the Mist; Future BMT: Amelia; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Wrote Mask while at Emerson. Ultimately moved to New York City to try acting while continuing to write screenplays, Mask was her only credited acting film role.)

Actors – Sandra Bullock – (Known For: Ocean’s Eight; Gravity; The Proposal; Crash; A Time to Kill; Two Weeks Notice; Speed; Minions; The Heat; The Prince of Egypt; Miss Congeniality; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; While You Were Sleeping; Forces of Nature; The Vanishing; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; The Thing Called Love; Infamous; Wrestling Ernest Hemingway; Future BMT: Premonition; Love Potion No. 9; The Net; Stolen Hearts; Hope Floats; 28 Days; Murder by Numbers; Gun Shy; Practical Magic; Our Brand Is Crisis; Loverboy; BMT:Speed 2: Cruise Control; All About Steve; Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous; In Love and War; Demolition Man; The Lake House; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress, Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for All About Steve in 2010; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Demolition Man in 1994; Notes: Just sold her LA home for around $3 million. Won the Best Actress award in 2010 for The Blind Side.)

Chris O’Donnell – (Known For: Scent of a Woman; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; School Ties; Vertical Limit; Kinsey; Blue Sky; Circle of Friends; A Little Help; Kit Kittredge: An American Girl; Cookie’s Fortune; Men Don’t Leave; Future BMT: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore; The Bachelor; Mad Love; 29 Palms; The Three Musketeers; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Max Payne; The Chamber; In Love and War; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Three Musketeers in 1994; Notes: Somehow has probably become most famous as a television star having been in over 200 episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles.)

Mackenzie Astin – (Known For: Wyatt Earp; The Last Days of Disco; Iron Will; Moments of Clarity; Dream for an Insomniac; Future BMT: How to Deal; The Evening Star; The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human; BMT: The Garbage Pail Kids Movie; In Love and War; Notes: Younger brother to Sean Astin of Rudy and Lord of the Rings fame.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $14,481,231 (Worldwide: $25,372,294)

(I think any way you cut this this wasn’t a huge film. Especially given the note reporting Bullock’s salary as $11 million. That alone suggests this was a pretty big bomb.)

#88 for the Romantic Drama genre

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(This might as well be called Fifty Shades Genre. I have no idea why it died in the early 2000s, but the genre is back and kicking ass again. Midnight Sun is an intriguing one from this year as well.)

#5 for the War – World War I genre

(These films kind of inexplicable come in waves. This is the first bad World War I film we’ve watched. And in general, especially with Wonder Woman just having come out, World War I is having a moment.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (3/27): No consensus yet.

(I’ll make a consensus: At its best with stunning still shots and musical score, but lacking in excitement and acting. Somewhat expected from a lightweight romantic drama unfortunately. Reviewer Highlight: Boring and artificial – Jon Niccum, Lawrence Journal-World)

Poster – In Love and Sklog (C-)

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(Surprising that such a poster would make it to the final copy. Just a screenshot from the film with some lame font text over it. Whatever. Not offensive really, but far from good.)

Tagline(s) – In war they found each other…In each other they found love… (B)

(A little long but I’m picking up what they’re putting down. I’m just a little worried that I think this is original because I haven’t seen taglines exactly like it before… when in reality there are a bunch of taglines out there just like it. If there are I can’t find them.)

Keyword(s) – driver; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.0 The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005); 63.4 Cosmopolis (2012); 56.3 The Transporter Refueled (2015); 50.8 Precious Cargo (2016); 45.8 Johnny Mnemonic (1995); 45.1 Darkness (2002); 41.7 Kaal (2005); 39.6 Would You Rather (2012); 38.4 Overdrive (2017); 36.2 Cannonball Fever (1989);

(Driver? Well I’m excited to eventually watch Cannonball Fever, that should be a complete shitshow of a film with some of my favorite comedic actors of the time at least.)

Notes – This movie’s closing epilogue states: “Agnes von Kurowsky’s long and distinguished career with the American Red Cross continued until the end of World War II. She remained unmarried until she was 36 and lived to be 92. Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1954. One of his great novels, A FAREWELL TO ARMS, was inspired by his experiences in Italy during World War One. He married four times and took his own life in 1961.” (Good to have it written out I guess…)

Several scenes were filmed in or near the Italian village Vittorio Veneto, including the battle scenes. Many of the extras playing the soldiers in the movie were airmen from nearby Aviano Air Base that volunteered to star in the movie.

Sandra Bullock researched her role of Agnes Von Kurowsky by reading her dairies that she kept during the war and reading the love letters between her and Ernest Hemingway.

Agnes Von Kurowsky was the inspiration for the character Catherine Barkley in a Farwell To Arms. (Makes sense)

In real life Agnes Von Kurowsky and Ernst Hemingway never saw each other again after the war. (Fun fact?)

Sandra Bullock was paid $11 million for her role in the film. (That seems … why does that seem unlikely? I guess they wanted the sweet Speed bump)

This film’s opening prologue states: “This film is based on a true story . . . NORTHERN ITALY 1918. Here, during the final year of World War One, Italy was defending itself alone against a massive Austrian invasion. America was one of Italy’s allies but the US Army was already fully committed in France. So President Wilson sent in teams of Red Cross doctors and nurses to boost Italian morale and help care for the wounded. Young men across America responded to the President’s call for further volunteers to drive red Cross ambulances and work in the front line canteens.”

The film takes place from July 1918 to June 1919.

Henry Villard’s own son was the driving force behind getting the film made.

Cannonball Run II Preview

As we enter the bar to put our names in for the high stakes karaoke competition, Patrick and I get a glimpse of the crowd and can see in their eyes that they want a sexy show. Time to pull out all the stops! We fit ourselves into the snuggest jean shorts we can find and show off the goods. Despite our jorts-limited range of motion, the crowd is pleased by the sensual and yet classy dance routine/karaoke masterpiece we perform in perfect unison. Never before has John Mayer’s “Your Body is a Wonderland” rung so true. With chests heaving and jorts soaked with sweat, we exit the stage to raucous applause. The next singer approaches the stage only to have garbage and rotten vegetables thrown at them. “Jamie and Patrick! Jamie and Patrick!” The crowd chants in ecstasy. We return to the stage and perform a three hour encore show. We are showered with record deals, but the big road race awaits and we have no time for overnight success. The emcee of the show approaches and hands us the prize: a golden microphone and enough money for one way tickets back to the States. We look longingly at the stage, but know that this dream will fade, but the friendship we’ve forged fighting to save the world from the Obsidian Dongle, that… is forever. We board the plane and arrive in Delaware just in time for The No Rulez Road Race where rulez are decidedly not coolz. That’s right! We’ve got another double feature this week as we partake in the classic The Cannonball Run series of films. This is part of the chain reaction going from Underclassman. We’re using Cheech Marin to get from that film to Cannonball Run II as he was *check notes* “Tire Store Employee (Uncredited)”… … … hmmmm, stay tuned next week to find out if we have to mend this chain because it sounds like he’s not even in Cannonball Run II. Great. Let’s go!

Cannonball Run II (1984) – BMeTric: 54.8

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(If The CannonBall run rises in such a way that it floats about the transition point from good-to-bad, this is just on the other side, managing to rise up enough to become a significant bad movie choice. Given it was released in the early 80s this is actually a pretty solid achievement.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Sequel to the 1981 box-office hit looks like someone’s bad home movies. Amateurish action comedy with tons of tacky guest-star cameos. What a waste! Final film roles for Martin and Sinatra.

(That last bit is a bit sad. The entire thing is also amusing in that is can be summed up as: this is barely a movie. Coincidentally, that is our most common criticism of films like this, that they are barely-movies and I don’t really know why we watch them.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vT8_gg7VU8

(Joe Theismann! Anyways, this looks like complete garbage as you would expect. Although, I do enjoy that they put Burt Reynolds’ terrible fake laugh into the trailer. It is an important part of his character in these films I feel like.)

Directors – Hal Needham – (Known For: Smokey and the Bandit; Hooper; Future BMT: Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; Megaforce; Stroker Ace; Cactus Jack; BMT: Cannonball Run II; The Cannonball Run; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1983 for Megaforce; in 1984 for Stroker Ace; and in 1985 for Cannonball Run II; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Cannonball Run II in 1985; Notes: His run in the early 80s (aided and abetted by Burt Reynolds apparently) is astounding as his Razzie nominations (back when that meant something goddamnit!) indicate.)

Writers – Brock Yates (characters creator) – (Future BMT: Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; BMT: Cannonball Run II; The Cannonball Run; Notes: Wrote the original screenplay and created the actual Cannonball Run race. It is interesting he doesn’t have a credit on Speed Zone which is often referred to as Cannonball Run III.)

Hal Needham (written by) – (Known For: Smokey and the Bandit; Future BMT: Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; Megaforce; Stroker Ace; BMT: Cannonball Run II; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1983 for Megaforce; in 1984 for Stroker Ace; and in 1985 for Cannonball Run II; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Cannonball Run II in 1985; Notes: He wrote four television (prequel) movies for Smokey and the Bandit. They claim to all have been released in 1994 … so perhaps some sort of vague mini-series.)

Albert S. Ruddy (written by) – (Known For: The Mean Machine; Cloud 9; Future BMT: Bad Girls; Megaforce; The Longest Yard; BMT: Cannonball Run II; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Cannonball Run II in 1985; Notes: Huge producer. He created Hogan’s Heroes and Walker, Texas Ranger as well.)

Harvey Miller (written by) – (Known For: Private Benjamin; Future BMT: Protocol; Getting Away with Murder; BMT: Cannonball Run II; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Cannonball Run II in 1985; Notes: A famous comedy writer he was nominated for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Private Benjamin)

Actors – Burt Reynolds – (Known For: Boogie Nights; Deliverance; Smokey and the Bandit; Bean; Dog Years; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; All Dogs Go to Heaven; The Player; The Mean Machine; Hooper; Sharky’s Machine; Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask; White Lightning; Silent Movie; The End; Semi-Tough; Citizen Ruth; Hustle; Best Friends; Switching Channels; Future BMT: The Dukes of Hazzard; Smokey and the Bandit Part 3; Cop & ½; Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; Delgo; Without a Paddle; City Heat; Stroker Ace; Hotel; Deal; Meet Wally Sparks; The Crew; Rent-a-Cop; The Man Who Loved Women; The Longest Yard; Gator; Physical Evidence; Malone; At Long Last Love; Heat; Stick; Mystery, Alaska; BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Striptease; Driven; Cannonball Run II; The Cannonball Run; Trigger Happy; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for Cop & ½ in 1994; Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Striptease in 1997; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1985 for Cannonball Run II, and City Heat; and in 1989 for Rent-a-Cop, and Switching Channels; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1997 for Striptease; in 2002 for Driven; in 2006 for The Dukes of Hazzard, and The Longest Yard; and in 2009 for Deal, and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; Notes: Y’all know Burt Reynolds. He at one point owned a USFL team (the Tampa Bay Bandits) and ran a NASCAR Winston Cup team with Hal Needham (Mach 1 Racing).)

Dom DeLuise – (Known For: Blazing Saddles; Spaceballs; Robin Hood: Men in Tights; History of the World: Part I; Johnny Dangerously; The Secret of NIMH; Oliver & Company; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; An American Tail; All Dogs Go to Heaven; The Muppet Movie; An American Tail: Fievel Goes West; Fail-Safe; Silent Movie; The End; The Twelve Chairs; The Glass Bottom Boat; The Cheap Detective; Fatso; Future BMT: Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; The Silence of the Hams; Loose Cannons; A Troll in Central Park; Haunted Honeymoon; All Dogs Go to Heaven 2; Wholly Moses!; Happily Ever After; Sextette; Girl Play; The World’s Greatest Lover; BMT: Baby Geniuses; Cannonball Run II; The Cannonball Run; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Haunted Honeymoon in 1987; Notes: Had three sons who all became regular television actors one shows like 21 Jump Street, seaQuest DSV, The Wizards of Waverly Place, and 3rd Rock From the Sun.)

Dean Martin – (Known For: Robin and the 7 Hoods; Airport; Some Came Running; Ocean’s Eleven; The Sons of Katie Elder; Rio Bravo; The Young Lions; Kiss Me, Stupid; Road to Bali; Artists and Models; Bells Are Ringing; Come Blow Your Horn; Toys in the Attic; The Caddy; Scared Stiff; Future BMT: 4 for Texas; BMT: Cannonball Run II; The Cannonball Run; Notes: One of the original Rat Pack, the three main members (Sinatra, Davis, and Martin) all appear in this film.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $28,078,073

(One-third of the gross of the original which … isn’t great. So not surprised they didn’t go for a third.)

#21 for the Car Racing genre

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(Lower than Need for Speed and Driven! The only BMT film which grossed less in Redline, ooooooooooooooof. Died in the 90s, resurrected by The Fast and the Furious among other things.)

#89 for the Comedy – Sequel (Live Action) genre

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(Around Duece Bigelow: European Gigolo. The Highest grossing film we’ve ever seen in this genre is Grown Ups 2. We are still in the process of coming down from a heady high in this genre, we’ll see in the next few years if we rebound. The fact that the only real comedy sequel this year had to be Kickstarted (Super Troopers 2) probably doesn’t bode super well.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 13% (2/15): No consensus yet.

(I’ll just have to make a consensus: An anachronistic, lazy, laugh-free embarrassment. Are you waiting for a punchline? That’s it, this film is garbage. Reviewer Highlight: Cannonball Run II is one of the laziest insults to the intelligence of moviegoers that I can remember. – Roger Ebert)

Poster – The No Rulez Race II: Even Less Rulez (A-)

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(Despite the number of things happening on the poster, I think this kind of works. Nicely balanced, nice yellow adventure film coloring, and some font to boot. Pretty good.)

Tagline(s) – The popcorn is in the lobby. The nuts are on the screen. (A+++++++++++)

(Ahahahahahahaha. Can something be so wrong that it’s right? My god do I love this tagline. When/if Patrick and I write a fake movie about the bad movie twins and their underwater adventure to save the world this will 100% be the tagline. Copyright laws be damned!)

Keyword(s) – chase; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.7 Catwoman (2004); 94.6 Battlefield Earth (2000); 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.5 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 89.5 The Wicker Man (2006); 89.0 The Last Airbender (2010); 88.7 House of the Dead (2003); 86.0 The Avengers (1998); 85.9 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 84.8 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011);

(Smashing chase films. Not even a joke. Just House of the Dead … can we bear another Uwe Boll film?)

Notes – Frank Sinatra’s cameo was his final acting role in a theatrical film, though he would make one final appearance in the television movie Young at Heart (1995). All his other appearances from here on would be in documentaries and retrospectives. (Not a super great conclusion to a career … playing yourself in Cannonball Run II)

Sir Roger Moore later regretted his decision to turn down a role in this film, after finding out Frank Sinatra was appearing. In his autobiography, he states of this, “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but too few to mention.”

Final of the 1970s to 1980s action car stunt comedies for Burt Reynolds. These films included the Smokey and the Bandit and The Cannonball Run film franchises, as well as Stroker Ace (1983) and Hooper (1978). (Box office bomb did it in I assume)

As this movie features Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Shirley MacLaine, it is arguably the final ever “Rat Pack” movie (original Rat Pack members Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford are not in this film). For this movie, it was the final film for Martin and Sinatra. (Don’t call it that …)

Final “Cannonball Run” movie for all of the cast except Jamie Farr, who appeared in the third movie, Cannonball Fever (1989). (I had to look this up … this is called Speed Zone, and is not related to the other films I don’t think)

Jackie Chan appeared as part of a contractual obligation to Warner Brothers. (Ah that makes sense)

Bobby Berosini’s orangutan and Tony Danza appeared in Going Ape! (1981). (Oh …. That makes sense)

Hal Needham, on the first film’s commentary, talked about how Frank Sinatra showed up very early on the set of this film to get his parts shot, and then left before the other actors even showed up. If you watch closely during the office scene, Sinatra is never on film with the other actors. A few times his back is shown with the other characters facing him, but this is a double. (WHAAAAAAAAT)

Burt Reynolds said in 1982, a couple of years before this picture, that he wasn’t going to make any more “car chase” movies. (Then he was shown the big bucks)

On certain original Beta video covers, it stated this movie was the debut of the monster truck Bigfoot in a motion picture, cashing in on the popularity of the truck in the mid 1980s. It’s not true, as Bigfoot first appeared in Take This Job and Shove It (1981). (LOL)

Aside from playing Victor Prinzim, Dom DeLuise also played mob boss Don Cannelloni, who behaves and speaks similar to The Godfather (1972)’s main character, Don Corleone. DeLuise played a similar character in Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), a film directed by his long time collaborator Mel Brooks. He also played a similar character in The Godson (1998). (Yeah, it is the same as in Robin Hood, I recognized that)

Frank Sinatra was not happy with the movie, asking how his character was supposed to win the Cannonball Run after joining it on its final leg. He was under the impression it was a race where the first person across the finish line was the winner, and no one explained you clock in at the start, and clock off at the end. (Wait … did he win? They suggested Tony Danza and the ape did I thought)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Albert S. Ruddy, 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Burt Reynolds, 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Shirley MacLaine, 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Sammy Davis Jr., 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Susan Anton, 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Marilu Henner, 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Hal Needham, 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Harvey Miller, Hal Needham, Albert S. Ruddy, 1985)

The Cannonball Run Preview

NOTE: This is a BONUS BMT this week in preparation for Cannonball Run II. To read up on the continued adventures of the Bad Movie Twins see the Cannonball Run II preview.

The Cannonball Run (1981) – BMeTric: 24.4

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(It is kind of amazing that there was only five thousand votes for a 1981 smash hit film in 2004 or whatever. Very consistent BMeTric, so basically it is rising just one might expect for a crap film slowly gaining votes over time.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Just what civilization needs – more Reynolds car-chase silliness, inspired by the same cross-country road race depicted in The Gumball Rally and Cannonball. Pretty unendurable, despite unusual cast; rumor has it that the one responsible for casting Dino and Sammy as priests is still doing his Hail Marys. Followed by a sequel.

(Hell yeah this was followed by a sequel. I’m quite shocked this is supposed to be so bad. I had it pegged as a not-funny but very successful minor comedy of the 80s more famous for spawning an infamous sequel than anything else. And it seems that actually both are reviled for mostly the same reasons.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2hGFN8NlLQ

(Oh shit they put the fox cartoon at the front of the trailer! Jeez lousie! Farrah Fawcett is looking … a little cold in the early part of that trailer. Terrible trailer, primarily because it muddles the entire plot of the film in my opinion. You obviously can’t fly … like, any transcontinental flight would have crushed those goobers. Just nonsense. Crazy cast, and I’m actually rather surprised that Jackie Chan gets a shout out in the trailer (although this is likely a home video trailer, not theatrical, so it could have been after he was already famous))

Directors – Hal Needham – (Known For: Smokey and the Bandit; Hooper; Future BMT: Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; Megaforce; Stroker Ace; Cactus Jack; BMT: Cannonball Run II; The Cannonball Run; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1983 for Megaforce; in 1984 for Stroker Ace; and in 1985 for Cannonball Run II; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Cannonball Run II in 1985; Notes: Was primarily a stuntman and is well known for training a new generation of stuntmen and pushing for recognition for their work in film. There is a sad tale to the film though.)

Writers – Brock Yates (written by) – (Future BMT: Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; BMT: Cannonball Run II; The Cannonball Run; Notes: The creator of the actual Cannon Ball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. The ambulance in the film was the actual car he drove in the first race.)

Actors – Burt Reynolds – (Known For: Boogie Nights; Deliverance; Smokey and the Bandit; Bean; Dog Years; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; All Dogs Go to Heaven; The Player; The Mean Machine; Hooper; Sharky’s Machine; Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask; White Lightning; Silent Movie; The End; Semi-Tough; Citizen Ruth; Hustle; Best Friends; Switching Channels; Future BMT: The Dukes of Hazzard; Smokey and the Bandit Part 3; Cop & ½; Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; Delgo; Without a Paddle; City Heat; Stroker Ace; Hotel; Deal; Meet Wally Sparks; The Crew; Rent-a-Cop; The Man Who Loved Women; The Longest Yard; Gator; Physical Evidence; Malone; At Long Last Love; Heat; Stick; Mystery, Alaska; BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Striptease; Driven; Cannonball Run II; The Cannonball Run; Trigger Happy; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for Cop & ½ in 1994; Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Striptease in 1997; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1985 for Cannonball Run II, and City Heat; and in 1989 for Rent-a-Cop, and Switching Channels; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1997 for Striptease; in 2002 for Driven; in 2006 for The Dukes of Hazzard, and The Longest Yard; and in 2009 for Deal, and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; Notes: Y’all know Burt Reynolds. Rolling Stone recently called him the last Good Ol’ Boy Movie Star.)

Roger Moore – (Known For: Live and Let Die; Moonraker; For Your Eyes Only; The Spy Who Loved Me; Octopussy; The Man with the Golden Gun; The Wild Geese; The Last Time I Saw Paris; Shout at the Devil; Future BMT: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore; Boat Trip; Curse of the Pink Panther; The Quest; The Saint; A View to a Kill; North Sea Hijack; BMT: Spice World; The Cannonball Run; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Spice World in 1999; Notes: James Bond times seven. A possibly-BMT film The Spy Who Dumped Me comes out this week, an obvious reference to one of his classic works listed above. Interesting that only one of his seven films qualifies … some of them are truly dire.)

Farrah Fawcett – (Known For: Logan’s Run; Dr. T & the Women; The Apostle; Extremities; See You in the Morning; Future BMT: Man of the House; Saturn 3; The Cookout; Myra Breckinridge; BMT: The Cannonball Run; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Saturn 3 in 1981; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Cannonball Run in 1982; Notes: Was married to Lee Majors and appears on television with him on numerous occasions in the 70s. Broke out as a star with Charlie’s Angels in the late 70s.)

Budget/Gross – $16–18 million / Domestic: $72,179,579

(Huge. Top ten film of the year and obviously made a ton. Amazing to be able to make a film with that many stars, that many stunts, and across the US for that little I feel like. What a steal.)

#14 for the Car Racing genre

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(This genre all but died in the 90s although I can’t tell you why (tastes change perhaps, much like the slashed went into a slumber in the 90s?). It is now booming with the Fast and the Furious franchise, which coincidentally are the highest grossing BMT films we’ve see from this genre.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 29% (9/31): No consensus yet.

(The consensus is essentially: They made a terrible bad film, escapism in its purest form … which in a way I guess is fine given it made boatloads of cash. Reviewer Highlight: The Cannonball Run is an abdication of artistic responsibility at the lowest possible level of ambition. – Roger Ebert)

Poster – The No Rulez Race (B-)

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(If you look ahead to the Cannonball Run II tagline and poster it’s a bit of a surprise that they did so much better with both those things the second time around. Perhaps they had a little less shame and just went for it when they got to the sequel. This all looks a little restrained, but still artistic.)

Tagline(s) – You’ll root for them all…but you’ll never guess who wins. (D)

(Blah. I actually straight up don’t like this one. Boring. Check out Cannonball Run II for one of the all-time classic taglines. This could not and does not match up.)

Keyword(s) – competition; Top Ten by BMeTric: 95.9 Meet the Spartans (2008); 83.5 Rollerball (2002); 81.9 You Got Served (2004); 77.6 The Starving Games (2013); 75.0 Daddy Day Camp (2007); 72.8 Driven (2001); 69.7 Recep Ivedik 4 (2014); 68.9 DOA: Dead or Alive (2006); 68.8 Herbie Fully Loaded (2005); 55.9 Snow Dogs (2002);

(I want to get served so badly. All of these are pretty great, we’ll sweep these up easily over the next few years I imagine.)

Notes – Jackie Chan makes one of his first U.S. film appearance. Inspired by Hal Needham’s notion of including bloopers during the closing credits, Chan began a tradition of doing the same in most of his movies, from this point onward.

The movie was originally planned as an action film starring Steve McQueen. After McQueen’s death, the lead went to Burt Reynolds, and the film became a comedy. (Oh … uh, that’s too bad, on both counts)

The ambulance used in the movie, is the actual ambulance that Hal Needham and Brock Yates souped up and raced in the real Cannonball Run. It had been modified with a HEMI engine, that made it go up to one hundred forty-five miles per hour (two hundred thirty-three kilometers per hour), and was equipped with four gas filler holes, so that the required ninety gallons (three hundred forty-one liters) could be pumped quickly. Needham and Yates didn’t win the race (the transmission blew in Palm Springs, California) so Needham kept it in storage for several years, until the time came to make this film. After the movie, he gave it to a church charity, which raised a good deal of money auctioning it off. (That is amazing)

Burt Reynolds became the highest paid actor in cinema history up to that point, for this movie, making five million dollars for four weeks work. (Good for him! Good for him!)

The producers asked the Governor of Georgia, if the crew could shut down the center of a small town, so that a plane could land in the middle of it. The police blocked off the section, in which the plane was to land, and a barrier can be seen in the background. (I mean … yeah you can, it is super amateurish)

To get material for this movie, Brock Yates ran the final Cannonball in 1979. The move cost him his editorial position at Car and Driver Magazine, which has since been reinstated. (Oh wow … that is crazy)

Legendary odds-maker Jimmy the Greek had a cameo in this movie, where he did a scene with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. Jimmy and Dean grew up in Steubenville, Ohio, and were friends since childhood.

The short sequence in the beginning of the film, which involved two animated cars wrecking the 20th Century Fox logo, was created by Hal Needham, who did a similar one for another studio when releasing Smokey and the Bandit (1977). At first, Fox didn’t appreciate the notion of wrecking their logo, but soon found it would be appealing to audiences if it were left in.

Hal Needham and Producer Albert S. Ruddy liked the chemistry of Terry Bradshaw and Mel Tillis so much, that after this film, they tried to sell a pilot to ABC featuring their characters. The head of the network loved the idea, but the day before the meeting was to be held to discuss it, the head of the network was fired, and the project was cancelled. (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)

Burt Reynolds said of the film, “I did that film for all the wrong reasons. I never liked it. I did it to help out a friend of mine, Hal Needham, and I also felt it was immoral to turn down that kind of money. I suppose I sold out, so I couldn’t really object to what people wrote about me.” (Good on you Burt. Good on you)

In one of the earlier scenes in the movie, J.J. McClure (Burt Reynolds) said “Could get a black Trans Am”, and then answers himself, “Naw, that’s been done.” This is a reference to Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and Smokey and the Bandit II (1980), which starred Reynolds, and were directed by Hal Needham, who directed this film. DeLuise co-starred with Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again (1980). (I hate this kind of stuff, but for such a light hearted comedy it makes sense)

Vehicles used in the film: J.J. and Victor are driving a 1978 Dodge Sportsman. Seymour is driving a 1964 Aston Martin DB5. Blake and Fenderbaum are driving a 1977 Ferrari 308 GTS. Terry and Mel are driving a 1976 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna. Marcie and Jill are driving a 1980 Lamborghini Countach LP 400S. The Japanese team is driving a 1980 Subaru DL. The Sheik is driving a 1976 Rolls-Royce Shadow 1. Mad Dog and Batman are driving a 1980 GMC C-35 Pickup. Brad and Shakey are driving a Harley-Davidson Sportster. When Mr. Foyt shows up at the hotel, he’s driving a 1972 Volvo 142. At the opening, Victor is driving a 1973 Honda Civic. The plane that J.J. and Victor are flying is a Maule M 5-235 Lunar Rocket. During the first appearance of Captain Chaos, he and J.J. are driving a 1969 Porsche 911. (I love it)

The moustache worn by Burt Reynolds in this movie was subsequently auctioned for the charity, UNICEF. The auction was held in Geneva, Switzerland, and the winning bid was twenty-five thousand dollars. The identity of the winning bidder was kept secret for many years. In an interview in 2012, the guitarist of the British rock band Queen, Brian May, revealed the winning bidder was Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen. (So it was a fake mustache … or did they like … shave it off and put it on some tape or something)

NOTE: There was a note about this incident here, which I’ve replaced with a link to this article instead. (Super sad. Two years later the disaster on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie would happen. And while still much safer, accidents like what happened on one of the recent Transformers films, still happen)

The names of the characters of Jill and Marcy are never mentioned in this film. In Cannonball Run II (1984), both actresses were replaced, and were called Jill and Marcy, which has been a matter of debate for many years, as to if Jill and Marcy from Cannonball Run II (1984) are even supposed to be the same characters from this movie, or if it’s just to give the original two characters a name for crediting on movie media sites. (They are the same characters. It would be ludicrous if that weren’t the case)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Farrah Fawcett, 1982)