Universal Soldier Preview

This film will we watched as a BONUS to go along with Universal Soldier: The Return. Go to that preview to read the ongoing adventures of The Bad Movie Twins.

Universal Soldier (1992) – BMeTric: 32.9

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(Nearly reached 50 for a second there. Just following along the normal vote-rating trajector up to 6.0. It is a bit surprising it didn’t stall out, but then again, these types of films feel very ironic and ageless it seems. So I would guess the further away from the time in which it was unironically made, the easier it is for people to give it a good review.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Van Damme and Lundgren – well, it’s not exactly Tracy and March in Inherit the Wind. Hunks are well cast as rival cyborgs (in a runaway government experiment, natch) whose human components hated each other during Vietnam. Has the requisite number of explosions. The director slyly keeps the grocery store Muzak going during Lundgren’s one big emoting scene – right after he eats raw meat from a bin. Followed by three “official” sequels and two DVD spinoffs.

(First, Leonard Maltin said “natch” in a review, which is excellent. Second, the Inherit the Wind name drop is sublime. If this review weren’t so long winded I would say it was one of my favorites of his.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7TFssY9ZF0

(That actually seems pretty rad I have to be honest. Just some hunky dudes shooting guns and slaying ladies. 1992 was a simpler time.)

Directors – Roland Emmerich – (Known For: The Day After Tomorrow; Independence Day; Stargate; The Patriot; White House Down; Anonymous; Future BMT: Godzilla; Stonewall; BMT: 10,000 BC; Independence Day: Resurgence; 2012; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Independence Day: Resurgence in 2017; Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Godzilla in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: German. Notably a campaigner for gay rights, global warming, and human rights. He is openly gay.)

Writers – Richard Rothstein (story) – (Known For: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Universal Soldier; Notes: Died in 2018. He retired right after Universal Soldier came out it appears, only receiving things like story or character credits from that point onwards.)

Christopher Leitch (story) – (Known For: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Universal Soldier; Notes: Directed a number of television episodes in the late 2000s, but appears to have retired in 2010.)

Dean Devlin (screenplay) – (Known For: Independence Day; Stargate; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Future BMT: Godzilla; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Independence Day: Resurgence; Geostorm; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1999 for Godzilla; and in 2017 for Independence Day: Resurgence; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: A very interesting career as an actor turned writer turned producer turned director! He directed Geostorm in addition to writing it.)

Actors – Jean-Claude Van Damme – (Known For: The Expendables 2; Kung Fu Panda 3; Kung Fu Panda 2; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Hard Target; Kickboxer; Kickboxer: Vengeance; Sudden Death; Timecop; Breakin’; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; JCVD; Enemies Closer; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Derailed; Cyborg; Knock Off; Welcome to the Jungle; The Order; Double Impact; Legionnaire; Maximum Risk; Replicant; Inferno; Missing in Action; The Quest; Nowhere to Run; Pound of Flesh; Black Water; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Last Action Hero; Bloodsport; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Double Team; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: Y’all know Jean-Claude. The crazy person he portrayed in Bloodsport accused him of not actually being good at martial arts. This, however, is unlikely considering Van Damme had a martial arts career.)

Dolph Lundgren – (Known For: Aquaman; Creed II; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Hail, Caesar!; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Don’t Kill It; Future BMT: Masters of the Universe; Red Scorpion; The Punisher; Black Water; Skin Trade; The Peacekeeper; Showdown in Little Tokyo; A View to a Kill; Dark Angel; Small Apartments; Rocky IV; BMT: Johnny Mnemonic; Universal Soldier; The Expendables 3; Notes: Notable partially for being a karate champion, and having a Masters in Chemical Engineering. He earned a Fulbright scholarship to attend MIT, but decided to become an actor instead.)

Ally Walker – (Known For: While You Were Sleeping; Singles; Happy, Texas; Wonderful World; Future BMT: Kazaam; Bed of Roses; Steal Big Steal Little; BMT: Universal Soldier; Notes: Started out on the soap Santa Barbara. Has had a long successful career in television including Taxi Brooklyn!)

Budget/Gross – $23 million / Domestic: $36,299,898

(Decent I think. At least, not a financial catastrophe. I’m not surprised the next one went straight-to-DVD though. I imagine that was a decision made based on quality, not finances.)

#32 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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(This genre really did just tumble down recently. Likely it is getting sucked into VOD and not getting actual releases. This came out right as the genre started to see significantly less gross per theater which is likely the reason the sequels went to DVD. Sadly the highest earning BMT film is The Last Airbender.)

#35 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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(Robocops and Transformers everywhere! Oh, and Deadly Friend. This came out at a kind of peak of robot films, and since then it has mainly been touch and go. I would guess every year there is some enormous Terminator, or Transformers film, but not very many smaller releases to fill the gaps.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (7/28): No consensus yet.

(I’ll make a consensus: wholly derivative, the audience is just as likely to laugh at as cheer at the repetitive action sequences. Reviewer Highlight: Though the idea is dumb enough to be fun, director Roland Emmerich does the Terminator thing without much style, and the two stars bash into each other but never connect. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Oh no! Robots! (C+)

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(I like the idea but it needs a bit more brightness. Font is terrible and what’s with the circle? Just OK.)

Tagline(s) – The future has a bad attitude. (D+)

Almost human…Almost perfect…Almost under control. (A+)

(It’s like the guy who made the tagline never even watched the film! It’s set in present day! But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he meant the “future of weaponry.” Still bad. The second one is just god damned beautiful. It’s perfection. This is what I want out of a tagline.)

Keyword(s) – soldier; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.3 Epic Movie (2007); 96.0 Meet the Spartans (2008); 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.1 The Last Airbender (2010); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 87.6 BloodRayne (2005); 86.2 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 86.1 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 85.8 Fantastic Four (2015); 82.7 The Legend of Hercules (2014);

(Very nice. We should clean up this very soon. You would think this is just a who’s who of the worst films ever … but I actually genuinely think of soldiers in all of these films. The word is just kind of overly broad.)

Notes – (at around 18 mins) The young couple that Luc reacts to at the Hoover Dam incident are actually the same young couple in the beginning in Vietnam. (I saw that in the trailer, fun)

The production script presented a much darker depiction of the U.S. Military than what eventually ends up on the screen. In the screenplay the Colonel in charge of the Unisol project orders Dolph Lundgren’s character to ruthlessly kill off all the civilian witnesses to his pursuit of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s character. The Colonel also informs the head scientist that the terrorists at the dam were not terrorists at all, but mercenaries hired by the army to provide fake justification for the Universal Soldier program. In the finished film, these scenes are omitted so the witnesses are left unharmed and the gunmen killed by the Unisols at the dam were genuine terrorists. The Colonel and his men are actually heroic figures with a real and valid mission who just want their multi-million dollar Unisol back. Whereas military villains were de rigeur in the post Vietnam 1970s and well into the 80s, by the time of filming the reputation of the U.S. Military was at an all time high following the first Gulf War so it was considered unlikely that the audience would accept them being shown in such a poor light. (Huh cool I guess)

Though they’re all supposed to be American, the Universal Soldiers are played by a Belgian (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a Swede (Dolph Lundgren), and a German (Ralf Moeller). (Their accents are a bit off …)

The last film to be recorded in CDS, an early digital sound format. In the following year of the film’s release, sound technicians had developed DTS. This sound format was apparently of higher audio quality than CDS and has been used in most movie theaters ever since.

The Grand Canyon bus chase was re-edited years later as library footage into Fred Olen Ray’s Critical Mass (2001) produced by Andrew Stevens’ Phoenician Entertainment (a company that specialized in shooting low budget action films around stock footage). (Fun fact)

The small patch worn on the left breast of many of the UniSols is a U.S. Army Air Assault Badge, signifying that the wearer is a graduate of the Air Assault School. (Some guy on the internet knows his patches)

The first screenplay was initially called “Crystal Knights”.

Ralf Moeller and Dolph Lundgren co-starred together in Universal Soldier (1992). Years later, both actors auditioned for the role of Hagen in Gladiator (2000), with Lundgren losing it due to Ridley Scott being unimpressed by his acting and Moeller winning the role. (Damn you Ridley Scott!)

The film takes place in 1969 and 1994. (Good to know)

[NOTE: There is an inordinate number of notes having to do with weapons and weapon accoutrements … I’ve left one in so you can see what I mean]

The highly specialized load bearing equipment worn by the UniSols was custom made by Eagle Industries for the film, including the thigh holster for the Desert Eagle .357 magnum (which also held 2 extra magazines and a Cold Steel Magnum Tanto), the shoulder holster harness for the H&K; MP5K sub-machine guns and the H&K; P9S pistol, extra magazines and grenades. On the opposite thigh, the UniSols are carrying collapsible PR-24 batons.

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Police Academy Recap

Jamie

When our hero Mahoney is given a choice between jail and entering the Police Academy he is dead set on flunking out as quickly as possible. When that is made impossible he is dead set on having as much fun and raising as much hell as possible. Can he have a super fun time before it’s too late? Find out in… Police Academy.

How?! Alright so that really isn’t the plot of this film. Really what happens is that The City has a new mayor who wants to bring down crime and part of that plan is to open up the police academy to all comers (and not just white straight macho males). The police don’t like this. They don’t want women or minorities being police officers and lament the days of yore where they couldn’t be (it’s all obviously very offensive). The police decide to force these misfits out of the academy by making their lives a living hell and forcing them to quit. Enter Mahoney. He is a slacker extraordinaire who specializes in razzing authority. When he has another run in with the law he is given the choice between jail and the academy. He obviously says yes to that dress and enters the police academy with the aim of getting kicked out (fat chance). The rest of the film is the zany antics of these kooky recruits as they run amok on campus and the police officer try to get them to quit. Too bad because these recruits have got guts and won’t give up because they legit want to be officers. Even Mahoney at a certain point realizes that he kinda like his pals and the potential love interest he has met there. Maybe he actually does want to be a police officer after all. Just at that moment though he ends up getting kicked out at the same time that a major riot breaks out downtown and the recruits are sent in as part of the peace keeping crew. Mistakenly sent to the heart of the riot Mahoney and a similarly dishonored recruit Hightower end up playing the heroes and are able to stop the ringleader of the riot. They end up graduating top of the class and gearing up for their First Assignment. THE END.

Why?! There is actually a very clear motivation in this film, which surprised me. Most of the characters truly want to be police officers and have finally been given this chance by the new mayor’s policy. The police officers mostly want to see these recruits quit because they don’t look or sound like the police officers of yesteryear (catch up with the times, bro). These two motivations are the driving force of a lot of the film. But really our main character is Mahoney and he doesn’t care about any of that. He floats around life with a smile on his face just looking to not be too serious and perhaps smooch with a lady here and there. When something gets in the way of his slacker lifestyle he tries to get out of it and quick by pranking people. His only clear motivating factor is to avoid jail and it’s only at the end of the film that he finally realizes that in fact he just might like this police business after all, thus setting up six sequels (duh).

Who?! The most obvious thing is that former NFL star Bubba Smith is one of the main characters in the film and is actually pretty good. Otherwise there are a couple uncredited things on IMDb that are throwing me for a loop. I saw that it was claimed that John Hawkes was in this film in an uncredited part and I was like “I don’t believe you.” But indeed there he was driving a truck and laughing like a maniac. Wow.

What?! Given that the sequel was chock full of product placement it’s a bit of a surprise that the first is not. When they do get the opportunity to get their party on about halfway through the film though the choice is obviously a refreshing Miller High Life. And that stays consistent in the second one as well, so that pretty much turns it around for me. I’m just really into narrative consistency. So now I guess I like Police Academy.

Where?! It’s been a while since we had one but this is purposefully no set anywhere. It is set in The City. None of the license plates have state names on them and it was all filmed in Canada so there isn’t even a place in the US you could say it looks like. There is a weird aspect to the sequel, but I’ll get to that in the other post. F

When?! You think this would be specified by the location would be totally hidden. What I think we’ll come to learn is that the Police Academy series exists outside of space and time. You can never pin down when for time is a flat circle for the police academy. It just is and will ever be. Over and over and over for all eternity.

This film was just as incredibly offensive as pretty much every 80’s comedy is at this point. A number of the established police officers are outspoken racists and sexists. The film is rife with gay panic. Even our hero Mahoney throws around a few homophobic slurs here and there. A major plot point is that the head of the academy mistakenly gets a blowjob from a prostitute hiding within a podium while he’s giving a speech (for real). It’s already crazy but then when he looks back at the podium Mahoney pops out and he goes into a tailspin. The thought that he received a mistaken blowjob from Mahoney makes this otherwise dumb and loveable character insist that they figure out some way to kick him out of the academy. It’s a bizarre and long gay panic joke. Anyway the only redeeming thing you could say about the humor was that generally the bad qualities are confined to the antagonists. The recruits are all colors and creeds after all, so they are pretty much fully tolerant of each other. Still, though, Mahoney does come off poorly as he spies on ladies in the shower and sexually harrasses a fellow cadet. Always strange to watch an 80’s comedy now. Other than I laughed a couple times and I can see why at the time some people liked it I guess. Funny enough it reminded me a lot of the film CHIPS… except that was made today and boy did it not work anymore. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Remember when the mayor allowed anyone into the police academy and we all became gross misogynists and homophobes? No? Well in the alternative universe of Police Academy we did apparently. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – When I told my father-in-law I was watching this film he was somewhat aghast. Because in his estimation Police Academy was on the same level of Airplane! The reviews disagree obviously, but it is definitely interesting. Bill Clinton apparently loves all of these films. Growing up things like Spaceballs (58% on Rotten Tomatoes) and Robin Hood Men in Tights (43% on Rotten Tomatoes) were films I watched multiple times a year, so it has to just be the times we live in. I guess I was ready to see why Police Academy because such a hit in that it spawned 6 sequels.

The Good – Guttenberg is very charming in the film, to the point where despite him being an objectively terrible person you still kind of like him. The ensemble cast is put together well and is well used top to bottom it feels like, they all serve a somewhat interesting purpose in the original film. This is less of an Airplane! and more of a discount-Stripes in reality. If you like Stripes, then this is a pretty good version of that type of movie I think. I also secretly love how Guttenberg plays to blowjob gag … you’d have to watch the movie to know what I mean, but that part holds up surprisingly well.

The Bad – My god, the homophobia, the misogyny. I know I shouldn’t be shocked, but it is shocking. Guttenberg sexually harasses and (possibly) assaults ladies throughout the film (but they love it don’t they? You salty dog you), everyone just cannot believe that there are gay clubs in Big City USA (and if you don’t watch out the big burly gay men will dance with you! The horror, the horror). It is on occasion played for a solid laugh, but mostly is just really dated and gross. The main issue otherwise is that the film just doesn’t seem to really have a plot. It is a cut rate Stripes. A bunch of jokers go to the Police Academy, shenanigans etc. etc., they are semi booted from the program, they have a big (somewhat self-inflicted) adventure where they become heroes. It just doesn’t have nearly the comedic chops to pull it off (and Stripes nearly doesn’t, the third act is an honest to god catastrophe!).

You Just Got Schooled – Did you know that they made two Police Academy television shows? Did you know you can watch the pilot for the 1997 live action one on YouTube complete with commercials? My main takeaway: Commercials from 1997 were wild, and also I watched too much television when I was like 10 because I remember every single one of these commercials (literally). Oh the show? Not shockingly terrible. I’m not surprised it got cancelled, but it isn’t actually as brutal as you might think. It is silly, but also kind of funny if you aren’t too concerned with it having any kind of continued story … well, except for the entire pilot hinging on the cadets beating a motorcycle gang in a ice hockey game. It is an hour long, the acting all sucks, the gags all suck, and the writing sucks. It is shocking what people would put on television in the 90s. This is 1997! Let’s just say it isn’t exactly competing with Frasier and Seinfeld for the Comedy awards.

The BMT – Of all of the franchises we could do, this is the one I think that is the most important. In the 80s there were plenty of franchises that were driven into the ground. The most notorious were horror franchises, like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. But comedy film franchises usually don’t grow so large. The Earnest films and Beethoven films are kids films and thus logically transition nicely to straight-to-DVD. The only equivalent I can think of is the American Pie franchise in the 2000s. Even then, it is beyond crazy that Guttenberg in particular is in the first six of these films! They were cash cows and everyone knew it and have openly stated that that is why they acted in them. It is kind of fantastic.

Welcome to Earf – Kim Cattrall is in both Police Academy and Bonfire of the Vanities with Morgan Freeman, who was the narrator of Conan the Barbarian (2011) with Ron Perlman, who was in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – While not actually in the list Police Academy gets a shoutout in this 10 worst list of 1984, which suggests it is a possible borderline honorable mention. Its real claim to fame is as a franchise where it basically redefined what a “franchise” meant. The fact that it is on that list which is obviously heavily skewed towards recent films still mentioned it at number three says everything you need to know about how important Police Academy is as a bad franchise.

Still got one more of these to do. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Police Academy Preview

This film was watched as a BONUS along with Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment. Look for that preview for the continued adventures of the Bad Movie Twins.

Police Academy (1984) – BMeTric: 14.4

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(Wow dropped from a 30 BMeTric to a sub-15 which is crazy. Why are people all of a sudden thinking this film is funny? Guttenberg is charming perhaps, but genuinely funny? I find it hard to believe.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Generally good-natured comedy (with typical ‘80s doses of sexism and tastelessness) about a group of weirdos and misfits who enroll in big-city police academy. Winslow’s comic sound effects are perfect antidote for slow spots in script. Followed by far too many sequels, a TV series, and an animated TV series.

(I think this is generally the accepted belief. Winslow and Guttenberg are both serviceable with Winslow’s machine gun sound effect stealing the show at times. Glad he shouted out the sexism and junk, it is fine that that was what the 80’s was like, but we can acknowledge that that shit ain’t funny anymore. Amazing homophobia though as well, gay panic up the wazoo.)

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

(That is basically it. A series of 80s slapstick vignettes with no real discernible story. Have fun.)

Directors – Hugh Wilson – (Known For: The First Wives Club; Blast from the Past; Guarding Tess; Future BMT: Burglar; BMT: Dudley Do-Right; Police Academy; Notes: Just passed away this last year. Won a Primetime Emmy for writing a show he produced called Frank’s Place.)

Writers – Neal Israel (screenplay & story) – (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; Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; BMT: Police Academy; Notes: Previously married to Amy Heckerling who directed European Vacation, Clueless, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Look Who’s Talking Etc.)

Pat Proft (screenplay & story) – (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; Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; High School High; Wrongfully Accused; BMT: Scary Movie 5; Police Academy; Notes: Actually wrote The Star Wars Holiday Special. Wow.)

Hugh Wilson (screenplay) – (Known For: Blast from the Past; Guarding Tess; Future BMT: Stroker Ace; Burglar; Down Periscope; BMT: Dudley Do-Right; Police Academy; Notes: There is a claim on IMDb that he has a screenplay that is going to be produced that is about the first police force assembled in the Middle Ages with an alternate title of Police Academy: 1123… chew on that.)

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; Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; The Big Green; It Takes Two; High Spirits; Affluenza; Surrender; BMT: Can’t Stop the Music; Police Academy; Notes: The Gutes. IMDb says he turned down the lead in Big and Ghostbusters. Classic Gutes.)

G.W. Bailey – (Known For: Goodfellas; Runaway; Short Circuit; Home on the Range; Q & A; 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; Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; Mannequin; Burglar; Warning Sign; BMT: Police Academy; Notes: High school classmates of Janis Joplin and Jimmy Johnson.)

Kim Cattrall – (Known For: Big Trouble in Little China; Sex and the City; The Ghost; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Ice Princess; Masquerade; The Return of the Musketeers; Rosebud; Above Suspicion; Meet Monica Velour; Ticket to Heaven; Midnight Crossing; Future BMT:Sex and the City 2; Mannequin; 15 Minutes; Porky’s; Unforgettable; Turk 182; Live Nude Girls; BMT: Crossroads; Baby Geniuses; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Police Academy; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1991; Notes: Do yourself a favor and read her IMDb trivia because it’s bonkers. I’ll just note that it claims she was one of the last actresses to work on a studio contract. Which is a little nuts.)

Budget/Gross – $4.1 million / Domestic: $81,198,894

(Jesus, hugh hit obviously. No wonder they kept going back to the well time and time and time and time and time and time and time again.)

#6 for the Comedy – Bumbling genre

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(This thing beats out modern Kevin James films like Paul Blart 2! That is crazy! It was made in 1984, once you adjust for inflation this must be one of the highest grossing bumbling comedies ever!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (7/18): No consensus yet.

(Juuuuust on the border. It actually just fell below the threshold after they added the Roger Ebert review in April. Given it was a pure 0-star Thumbs Down I suppose it is appropriate it finally gets its due. Reviewer Highlight: Now comes without any doubt the absolute pits of this genre, the least funny movie that could possibly have been inspired by Airplane! or any other movie. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.)

Poster – Sklog Skool (C)

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(I do not like this. Not because I don’t like the animated stylings or anything (see my assessment of the sequel’s poster) but because I don’t like the white border, none of the police officers are really even doing anything interesting, and the amount of text is not good. The font is at least somewhat unique.)

Tagline(s) – The new police recruits. Call them slobs. Call them jerks. Call them gross. – Just don’t call them when you’re in trouble. (C)

What an institution! (B-)

(Obviously the first is just too long to give a decent grade. Can’t do it. But I like the repeat of “call” and it ends on a clever note. The second isn’t the most clever, but it is short and sweet with a slight double entendre. So best of the bunch.)

Keyword(s) – big breasts; Top Ten by BMeTric: 57.4 Derailed (2002); 53.7 Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986); 46.6 Three – III (I) (2005); 38.0 Sheena (1984); 37.7 Flesh Gordon (1974); 28.6 Gor (1987); 28.0 Greta – Haus ohne Männer (1977); 26.4 Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders (1990); 26.1 American Assassin (2017); 25.8 The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982);

(Fun fact: Police Academy 3 doesn’t even qualify … yet. At some point they’ll add some extra review to move it down again. I actually assume that in about 3 years the BMeTric for Police Academy 3 will plummet, given that is what is happening to all the other Police Academy films.)

Notes – Director Hugh Wilson stated that when it came time to film the driving scene with Hightower at 4:30 a.m., the actor originally cast as the angry driver was found passed out drunk in the trailer, so Hugh himself ended up playing the role of the angry driver, into whom Hightower crashes.

In addition to playing Jones, Michael Winslow also supplied the voice for all public address announcements heard at the academy. (Fun Fact)

Producer Paul Maslansky got the idea for this movie during the production of The Right Stuff (1983). A group of police cadets arrived to help with crowd control for the filming of a street scene. When the cadets piled out of the buses to take their posts, they were diverse; men, women, tall, short, black, Asian. They did their jobs so terribly, that Maslansky found it humorous, asking the sergeant, “Are these all going to be future San Francisco’s finest?” The sergeant told him “We have to take anyone who applies into the academy for training–but we can flunk them out in two weeks.” It started Maslansky thinking, “What if they don’t want to be flunked out? What if some guy or girl wants to stay in?” That night, Paul wrote a two-page treatment and gave it to executive producer Alan Ladd Jr., who loved the idea and agreed to develop the movie. (That is pretty awesome. Basically how old Hollywood used to work, just randos writing treatments and making boatloads of cash.)

The location used as the Academy campus was known as the Mimico Lunatic Asylum or variations thereof until 1911, and Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital from 1964 to 1979. It was acquired by Humber College in 1991, after being mainly used as a site for filmmaking between 1979 and 1991. It is now a renovated and active educational institution. (Fun Fact)

In the DVD “Making of” documentary, Marion Ramsey says she came up with Hooks’ voice by reading the description of her character in the script, and recalling the time she met Michael Jackson. The voice is a parody of Jackson. She also recalls that in the moment where Hooks exclaims “Don’t move, Dirtbag!” the sound techs were used to recording the “meek” voice and were surprised when she said the line so loud. (Huh, that is actually a lot more thought that I thought would have went into it)

The “shoe polish on the megaphone” originated from a prank played on British Director Michael Winner on the set of one of his movies. Hugh Wilson decided to use the gag, after he heard the story from a crew member. (Coooooool)

This is one of few films, to which Roger Ebert gave zero stars, but it was also a very rare zero-star review where Ebert didn’t castigate the film for being depraved or immoral or diseased (something he had made a point of doing in most zero-star reviews, such as those for “Caligula”, “I Spit on your Grave”, and “Death Wish II”. He just said it was a would-be comedy that not only had zero laughs but didn’t even try to make the audience laugh. (Ha)

Marion Ramsey was asked to wear a fat suit for her role as Hooks, with the idea that Hooks’ boot camp training would have rendered her slim by the end of the film. Due to time constraints, the scene showing Hooks after her weight loss was removed from the final cut. By the time work on the sequel began, producers changed their minds, opting instead to have Marion remain wearing the fat suit, in order to garner audience sympathy for her character. A brief shot of “slim” Hooks remains in the film, however, as a close-up of Marion without the fat suit is seen during the graduates’ march at the end of the film. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?)

The only Police Academy movie that was given an R-rating, and also the most successful of the franchise at the box office.

The term “Tackleberry” has become a standard in the private security industry to denote an officer who is inordinately fond of firearms and other high-tech equipment. (Ha makes sense)

According to the cast and filmmaker commentary, it was Producer Alan Ladd, Jr. who came up with the idea of having Mahoney be the recipient of the “podium gag” at the end, after watching dailies of Lassard’s podium scene. (A very strange scene indeed)

Steve Guttenberg mentions in his biography, “The Guttenberg Bible”, that Donovan Scott filmed home-movies during filming. According to Guttenberg, there is a “very funny, touching, and unreleased documentary that he made of the shoot.”

Steve Guttenberg said of Mahoney in a 1984 interview, “I think he’s a party guy. He doesn’t really know what he is going to do with his life. But it is kind of hard to talk about him because he is not exactly a deep character. I really hate when actors get interviewed, and they have just starred in The Love Boat (1977) or something, and they go on for a month about motivation and character analysis. Police Academy set out to be light entertainment, and that is what it is.” (Boom. Roasted losers. Guttenberg is a gross but charming character which is probably the best part of the first two films)

Fackler’s wife riding the hood of her spouse’s car, to prohibit him from joining the police academy, (with Mrs. Fackler ultimately catapulted with an abrupt stop) was the start of a comedic tradition with the film series: The Parody On A Parody. Like so many gags, this one would be “recycled” for Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986): Now, with Fackler riding the hood of his car to prevent Mrs. Fackler from joining the Force; complete with the couple being spotted from the interior of a limousine, as well as a hubcap coming off of the car as it backed out of the driveway. (Ooooof. Parody of a parody is terrible)

In the party scene, Tackleberry is seen to play the saxophone. In real-life, David Graf actually was an accomplished saxophone player. (There is no other reason he would)

This film is regularly played on television in the United Kingdom, during the Christmas period. The film’s only Christmas reference is the tune heard during Hooks’ driving test; “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”. (HA, Secret holiday film?)

The role of Commandant Eric Lassard was also written with Leslie Nielsen in mind. (Uh you can tell)falign

Garfield Recap

Jamie

Garfield is living it up with his owner Jon, eating lasagna and hating mondays. When Jon unexpectedly comes home with a new dog, Odie, Garfield is none too happy and aims to get rid of him. This ultimately leads to Odie going missing and falling into the clutches of the evil Happy Chapman. Can Garfield get Odie back before it’s too late? Find out in… Garfield: The Movie.

How?! Garfield and Jon are best friends even though Garfield is always making snide comments about what a loser Jon is. In another trip to the vet designed on wooing Jon’s crush, Liz, he misinterprets what he thinks is a request for a date and mistakenly adopts a dog, Odie. Oh no! Jon once again shows that he is a loving, caring owner of animals and seamlessly integrates Odie into his family, but Garfield is less than thrilled. He pushes Odie, smacks Odie, and embarrasses him in a dance-off in order to show dominance. This of course only leads to Odie winning a big dog show when he dances his little heart out to Hey Mama by the Black Eyed Peas (obviously). A judge at the show, the evil Happy Chapman, wants to use Odie to spring to fame, but Jon is having none of it. Soon thereafter though Garfield tricks Odie into running away and Happy is able to get his clutches on him as a result. Garfield kind of realizes that he was an asshole and goes to rescue Odie in Anonymous City. In a thrilling climax Garfield is able to stop Happy from taking Odie on a train to NYC and they all dance together as one big family. THE END.

Why?! I actually admire Garfield for keeping this story simple (and at a slim 80 minutes). No Garfield isn’t discovered by a Hollywood agent and whisked off to the fast-living ways of LA. No he doesn’t have to foil some jewel thieves trying to steal a diamond he accidentally ate. He just doesn’t like Odie (classic) and wants to get rid of him. When he succeeds at this, though, he realizes that what he did wasn’t right and aims to correct it.

What?! There are piles and piles of product placements in this film. The biggest is pretty easily Petco, which is the only one that plays a role in the pot. Not only does Jon come home loaded to the gills with solid Petco products when he adopts Odie, but the big dog show is also sponsored by the company. God there are so many more, though. A true smorgasbord.

Who?! Secret Twin Film! Yay! It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally we rack another one up for the good guys. Or I guess in this case the bad guys since the twins in question are the evil Happy Chapman and his news broadcaster twin brother. Also have to point out that if we had never seen Be Cool, where the Black Eyed Peas give a performance as part of the plot of the film, we would definitely have used this film to get Apl.de.ap for the map. All the members of the Black Eyed Peas are seen on TV showing a music video for Hey Mama. Fantastic.

Where?! Normally I would just say that this takes place in a purposefully unidentified Midwestern city that is likely a stand in for Indiana (given the origins of the comic), give it a D- for at least specifying the Midwest during a news broadcast and leave it at that. However, I do have to note that Wikipedia and many other places online seem to insist that this film takes place in LA. While it was obviously filmed in LA (duh), it very clearly states in the film that this is set in the Midwest. Two very different things. I just don’t know how such slanderous lies start on the internet.

When?! Ha, you think they’re going to specify a date in a film that goes out of its way not to identify where it takes place. No way. This is an F and I dare anyone to try to prove me wrong… seriously, if anyone else wants to close-watch Garfield and find when it takes place that would be helpful.

This movie is actually pretty much as good as one can expect from such a film. Sure it has dancing animals and lame product placement, but it’s also only 80 minutes long and stays pretty true to the snark of Garfield as a character. I could imagine having to go see this with my child and actually coming out not minding it all that much. While it is similarly derivative to Marmaduke, it more or less doesn’t fall into many of the same trappings that that film did. I give it a hardy “meh.” Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Garfield is a big old fat cat and Jon Arbuckle is his anti-body shaming owner. Will Jon get the lady? Will Garfield eat some lasagna? Will Stephen Tobolowsky’s eeeeeeevil plan to make Odie famous get foiled? I mean … yeah, we watched a kids’ film. Let’s get into it!

The Good – When they say a kids’ film is innocuous the movie they have in mind is Garfield. They introduce the character in his element, they focus the movie on Odie’s origin story (which fans have been clamoring for for years …) and really don’t venture out of Garfield’s Midwestern box. Good move. The actors are all game, and shockingly Garfield’s CGI looked fine most of the time IMO. It looks terrible when he dances obviously, but when he’s walking around he looks surprisingly good compared to what I expected.

Ps View on the Preview – In the preview I couldn’t help myself in wondering why Murray was even in the film. Sure, Lorenzo Music is dead and sounds a lot like Murray, but replacing voice actors is a somewhat trivial thing and it was still somewhat of a wonder that they decided they needed a big name when the Garfield character already had a distinct voice. But … I think Murray brought a lot to the role. His warmth, charm, humor whatever you want to call it, something about it worked really well. This ain’t a Owen Wilson in Marmaduke situation.

The Bad – I kind of still wish they had downgraded Garfield’s voice and upgraded Meyer, who is probably a weaker part of the film. The story is just on the cusp of being too light. Any and all dancing sequences are just awful and they are almost relentless, the entire story concerning Odie involves the animals dancing. I don’t really have other complaints about the film. Even the B story (Jon in love with the vet) is straight from the comics, and Tobolowsky’s eeeeevil twin (twin film!) is just low-level enough to work as an antagonist to a literal cat.

Get Yo Rant On – To be frank I don’t really think I have a rant this week. This film doesn’t really have one. I’ll just quickly note here that this franchise is probably one of the last good examples of the cartoon character thing where you can tell they have strings pulling boxes, or blankets around, and Breckin Meyer has to pretend to pet Garfield and stuff. It looks real bad. Like you can kind of see the seams of the film. If you watch something like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone you can see it too (BTW not a very good film, kind of weirdly old fashioned for the time it was made).

The BMT – Nope, but mainly because the film is too good. The 15% on Rotten Tomatoes must reflect the times more than anything else, because it is shockingly low. It’ll go hand in hand with the sequel, which is a kind of logical conclusion to the fish-out-of-water comic strip adaptation, but the first one I think can merely be thought of as better than one would expect.

Welcome to Earf – Jennifer Love Hewitt was in Garfield and I Know What You Did Last Summer with Freddie Prinze Jr. who was in Wing Commander with Matthew Lillard who was in In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth! Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – Probably the most cred you can find for the film comes from the anecdote about Bill Murray not realizing it wasn’t a Joel Coen film (it is a Joel Cohen film). Otherwise it usually gets on lists concerning movies based on cartoons, or bad CGI. But I stand by my point: at times Garfield looks surprisingly good all things considered, it only kind of looks bad when you reflect back on it or freeze the film.

We’ll save the A Talking Cat!?! chat for the sequels’ recap.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Preview

Jamie awakens to find himself hanging by his feet in the rafters of the old mansion. “I know it’s a shock being a vampire and all,” says a voice. Turning to his side Jamie sees a young vampire smiling back at him. “But don’t worry. The name’s Odin and I’ll help you learn all the coolz vampire rulez at Dracula School.”  Jamie does love rules, but he also knows that the librarian could be back at any moment to squeeze his twinzo powers out of him. “I’ll pass bro,” he says, pausing momentarily to turn his hat backwards, “I gotta find my brother, Patrick.” “Well maybe I can help you,” Odin replies, “you see we’re both Larbagios, those are vampires made by other vampires. We are mortal enemies of Hedgermias, those are vampires who made themselves vampires. There are also Royeldrums, those are vampires that were always vampires. We all fight and can never love unless bound by the Oaths of Keldronia, for otherwise our blood lust will overtake us and we will become Hedgermias. Thus we must be pure and remember that the flesh is sacred…” Rolling his eyes Jamie interjects, “Wish I could stay but look at the time…” As he turns to leave Odin suddenly transforms before his eyes into a large dog. “I didn’t get to the useful part yet,” the large dog says, “Larbagios can also transform into animals.” Oooo, that is helpful. With such a power Jamie will be able to sneak right by that librarian and start figuring out where Patrick is. Concentrating real hard he feel himself transform. Looking down he sees a mass of orange hair and black stripes. Great, a big ol’ fat orange cat. Not super inconspicuous, but it’ll have to do. That’s right! We’re (finally) watching Garfield and Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.

Patrick is mesmerized by the terrible teenage witch rap dance, unaware of time slipping away from him. Days pass, his lips cracked with dehydration, his mind lost in the glorious inanity he is viewing, his body dying. All of a sudden the door explodes, splinters showering Patrick and awakening him from his daze, bullets zip and crack, raining down on all manner of teenage witch and wizard. “LAPD! You have the right to remain dead,” a grizzled officer growls. Another officer, dressed in overalls with no shirt, shakes his head, “Gosh dern it Sticks, this was supposed to be an easy in and out job, just grab the kid and let’s get outta here!” The grizzled officer grabs Patrick roughly. “You’re welcome punk, Stones and I just saved your mind.” They drag Patrick through the front door and … onto another set? This one is dressed up as an alleyway. They drop Patrick into a pile of garbage, Sticks and Stones look at each other and nod, “Light’er up” says Stones. As they gleefully firebomb the witch’s house set, black doll eyes gleaming, Patrick’s mind begins to clear. Just then an alley cat walks by. “You don’t belong here” the cat says with a wink, and walks off. Wait … A talking cat!?! What is this place? That’s right! We’re also watching A Talking Cat!?!!

We move forward in the Bring A Friend cycle to watch two films that involve talking cats. That’s because Garfield is in fact a talking cat!?! We used to avoid films like Garfield (and the BONUS Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties) thinking they were “just for kids” and not worth our time. We eventually realized that that was patronizing and decided to give them a chance… and they turned out to mostly be not worth our time. But sometimes they can be fun. Here’s to hoping! As for A Talking Cat!?! It’s is a film!?! The verdict is still out. It certainly exists and it will play in front of our eyeballs, but it’s hard to say how or why this film(!?!) has become something of a cult classic. Even leading to a podcast A Talking Cast!?! Which broke down the film minute-by-minute. Jesus. What a week. Let’s go!

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006) – BMeTric: 61.8

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(It is pretty shocking to see how close these two movies are in both IMDb rating (5.0 now) and in Rotten Tomatoes score (15% and 11%). Just more of the same I guess … but in England or whatever.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  While tagging along with Meyer on a trip to London, Garfield is mistaken for a look-alike cat who’s come into a big inheritance. Minor but amusing. Alternate version runs 86m. Advertised as Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.

(What a short review. And basically reads, again, as: innocuous but secretly boring but also blessedly short. Which I guess i’m down with …)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLTnQko_Lz4

(Oh God. This looks terrible. Why would they do this? The original was so charming in how … local they kept it! Keep Garfield in … Indiana or wherever he lives.)

Directors – Tim Hill – (Known For: Muppets from Space; Future BMT: Alvin and the Chipmunks; Hop; Max Keeble’s Big Move; BMT: Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Notes: Developed Spongebob Squarepants, and turned to directing on shows like KaBlam! Amazingly it seems like he got the Muppets from Space as his first major directorial job. Seems like a big get.)

Writers – Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow (written by) – (Known For: Toy Story; Future BMT: Daddy Day Camp; Evan Almighty; Money Talks; Goodbye Lover; BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Cheaper by the Dozen; Notes: Apparently they are working a project with Jamie Foxx and David Bautista called Groove Tails involving mice in a competitive dance competition … or something.)

Jim Davis (comic strip “Garfield”) – (BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Notes: Has an organization employing over 50 artists that work on the Garfield brand in general, managing its image and overall finances. He is currently an adjunct professor in Indiana.)

Actors – Breckin Meyer – (Known For: Clueless; The Craft; Road Trip; Can’t Hardly Wait; Rat Race; The Insider; Escape from L.A.; Go; Herbie Fully Loaded; Josie and the Pussycats; Kate & Leopold; Prefontaine; Dancer, Texas Pop. 81; Blue State; Future BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Rebound; 54; Caffeine; Touch; Tail Lights Fade; BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Pinocchio; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for Pinocchio in 2003; Notes: Has been doing some television recently. Particularly Designated Survivor and is slated to star in The Fix on ABC it looks like.)

Jennifer Love Hewitt – (Known For: Tropic Thunder; Can’t Hardly Wait; Heartbreakers; Future BMT: Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit; Delgo; The Suburbans; The Truth About Love; House Arrest; Jewtopia; Telling You; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; The Tuxedo; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Notes: Just posted a flashback to some red carpet moments of her posing with her ex Carson Daly. Married to her The Client List co-star Brian Hallisay.)

Billy Connolly – (Known For: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; Brave; Pocahontas; The Last Samurai; A Series of Unfortunate Events; Open Season; What We Did on Our Holiday; White Oleander; Muppet Treasure Island; Mrs Brown; Fido; Still Crazy; Quartet; The Return of the Musketeers; The Man Who Sued God; The Impostors; Beautiful Joe; An Everlasting Piece; Future BMT: Gulliver’s Travels; Beverly Hills Ninja; Indecent Proposal; The X Files: I Want to Believe; The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day; Wild Oats; Who Is Cletis Tout?; BMT: Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Timeline; Notes: Scottish singer turned comedian. Was a vocal opponent of Scottish independence in 2014.)

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $28,426,747 (Worldwide: $141,702,264)

(This is a little closer to not being worth it, but probably still profitable. Still, the trajectory suggests a severe budget cut would be needed to make a third, plus I don’t think Murray was game at that point, this was only the second sequel he had ever done after all.)

#49 for the CGI Star genre

garfield2_cgistar

(This hits right before things really took off. I was actually pretty impressed with the CGI of Garfield in the previews I watched, which was surprising. Marmaduke was, as a more recent example, an actual dog which was just modified via CGI.)

#31 for the Family – Talking Animal (Live action) genre

garfield2_talkinganimal

(Marmaduke is number 29 on this list, so it hits right there as one would expect. I have a feeling I will still like this more than Marmaduke, although I guess both buy in heavily to the Cartoon Fish out of Water.)

#27 for the TV Cartoon (Live Action) genre

garfield2_basedoncartoons

(While the original was a little ahead of the peak for the genre, this guy hit right before I really got saturated. The weirdest film we’ve seen on this list I think is Aeon Flux.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (8/74): Strictly for (very) little kids, A Tale of Two Kitties features skilled voice actors but a plot that holds little interest.

(Oooooof. Very little kids. I guess the original seemed like it was just for kids as well so … makes sense? Reviewer Highlight: The best thing that can be said about Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties is that the movie isn’t quite as bad as its name. – Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle)

Poster – Talking Animals 2: Destination: London (C+)

garfield_a_tail_of_two_kitties

(Both the first and second film seem to buy into the mostly white, very simplistic style that I generally don’t like. Still love the font and nice symmetry. But overall just meh.)

Tagline(s) – Too much of a good thing is even better. (C-)

(Technically there isn’t a tagline on the poster, but I liked this extra one enough to include it. It’s just such a weird play on a common phrase. So innocuous and not connected to the film in any way. As generic of a sequel tagline as you could make.)

Keyword(s) – cat; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.7 Catwoman (2004); 92.4 Date Movie (2006); 88.9 Vampires Suck (2010); 86.2 The Cat in the Hat (2003); 84.4 Movie 43 (2013); 82.5 Inspector Gadget (1999); 82.5 Home Alone 3 (1997); 81.8 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 80.4 One Missed Call (2008); 78.4 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000);

(Date Movie doesn’t reeeeeally seem like a cat film, which is too bad. The keywords from IMDb really are the worst.)

Notes – Garfield is one of two characters who have been portrayed by both Bill Murray and the late Lorenzo Music. The other is Dr. Peter Venkman of the “Ghostbusters” series. (It is kind of silly they didn’t just get a voice actor to to this … why do you need a big name to voice Garfield again? Considering they already had a very distinctive voice for Garfield, just get somehow who can to a passable job.)

Billy Connolly admitted in an interview that when he was offered the role of Lord Dargis in this sequel, he wasn’t aware that the first Garfield (2004) movie existed. (ha)

Castle Carlyle is really Castle Howard in North Yorkshire. Brideshead Revisited (1981) was filmed at the same castle. (Yiiiiis, these are the fun facts I come for)

Along with Ghostbusters II, this is only the second sequel of one of his movies, Bill Murray has appeared in. (WHY)

Tim Curry the voice of Prince and Bill Murray the voice of Garfield were both originally considered to star in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) as Eddie Valiant and Judge Doom. But they both got replaced by Bob Hoskins and Christopher Lloyd. (Good choice. What a classic)

Roger Ebert’s review of this movie was written in first person as Garfield. (Alright … oh wow it is a horror show)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Prequel or Sequel (2007)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Excuse for Family Entertainment (2007)

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)

Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid Recap

Jamie

When a company discovers that a rare flower is the key to eternal life they send a group of scientists to find it. They hire a boat to go into a remote region of Papua New Guinea but soon find themselves trying to escape a large number of giant anacondas. Will they get out before it’s too late? Find out in… Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid.

How?! A bunch of scientists are totes excited about a chemical they’ve discovered in a flower called the blood orchid that will greatly extend life. Unfortunately this flower only blooms once every seven years or some shit and only in a remote area in Borneo. They head on out there, hire a boat, and then wonder whether they’ve heard this story before because it sure is ringing some bells. Anyway, they are sailing smoothly along until flooding looks like it is too bad to continue. “No way!” says a definitely-not-evil scientist and offers the captain some more money to continue on. This is a mistake as they immediately go over a waterfall. With their boat trashed they have only one option: trek through the jungle to try to find help. This is also a mistake as they begin to be eaten by giant anacondas… which makes no sense but whatever. Eventually they find their way to a village that has been ravaged by anacondas and they use the remnants of the huts to build a raft. However, the evvvviiiilll scientist is like “No way!” and kills one of the crew and steals the raft. Once again the only recourse is to trek through the jungle to steal the raft back and once again this is a mistake as several more people are eaten by anacondas. Finally they corner the evvviiiillll scientist in the blood orchid garden who falls like a dumbo into a writhing mating ball of anacondas (their words, not mine). They then blow up all those snakes and jet away on their raft. THE END.

Why? MacGuffin. baby! They just want that sweet, sweet blood orchid to make bank on a drug that extends life. Interestingly, unlike the first anaconda film they also provide a reason that the snakes are so huge. Since the blood orchid extends life and anacondas continue to grow bigger over time they are huge because they feed on the orchid. Unfortunately they never explain how anacondas are in Indonesia. It really seems like they wrote a random python movie and then were like “yo, wait. You remember that smash hit that came out seven years ago? What if…”

What?! A+ MacGuffin here as it even appears in the title of the film! The Blood Orchid is so classic that you could use it as a joke to exemplify a terrible and hilarious title to a film. Like Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. Or actually the recent Speed 2: Cruise Control. We are kind of on a subtitle roll at the moment.

Who?! Despite a rather large animal part in this film for a monkey named Kong, we unfortunately didn’t get a credit for Kong himself. We did get a credit for a monkey trainer named Tim Williams. He trained animals on the BMT films Cradle 2 the Grave, Failure to Launch, Transformers, and Zookeeper (an underrated classic). Training that gorilla to sing Apple Bottom Jeans must have been really hard.

Where?! It is very clearly set in Borneo… they say it a whole bunch. We also get a map that places it clearly in the Indonesian area of the island. Just a great great great mapl.de.map location. Although it makes no sense as anacondas are not indigenous to Indonesia. Or even anywhere outside of the Americas. Really this should have been giant reticulated pythons (already the largest snakes in the world). B+.

When?! There is nothing more I could have wished for than for this to be a secret holiday film. Like they’re floating up the river and one of the doctors remarks that he can’t believe he’s spending Christmas in Borneo. As it is, the best we get is one of the technologists saying that he’s missing a Knicks game so October to April (I’m not including playoffs since it’s the Knicks. BOOOOOOM!). F.

This fits nicely into a certain type of BMT film we stumble upon rather frequently (most recently Righteous Kill). It’s a film that by all accounts should have been a direct-to-video release, but somehow made it onto the release schedule. In this case it was probably just an opening in the schedule and they thought “what the hell, the first one did really well.” All things considered this should have just ended up on video and we shouldn’t have ever seen it. But we did… and it’s kind of boring. I will say that there is a level of insanity (especially at the end) that could be entertaining at times. The production quality just wasn’t there. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Remember that film you made like … 5 years ago? No, you remember it, is had Ice Cube and a big snake or something. Wasn’t it popular? Screw it, let’s make a sequel. Let’s get into it.

The Good – I learned why you don’t watch borderline-straight-to-video sequels to films made in the mid-2000s. There is an adorable monkey in the film. They really flesh out the Anaconda mythos (joking, read the rant).

P’s View of the Preview – Generating the preview the thing that really struck me was how everyone in the film was television actors. So watching what one could put together with a television budget, cast, and (honestly) plot was going to be interesting. Oh, and of course just how Borneo the film is is always a fun settings time. This is one of those films I just never really imagined I would watch … it was shocking to realize it is nominated for a Razzie and thus an inevitable addition to BMT.

The Bad – Where to even start with this pile of garbage. The story involving magic flower anti-aging medicine is dumb. The CGI is awful. The obvious evil scientist twist is obvious. They say mating ball multiple times. They far too quickly dispatch the best character in the film, the boat named Bloody Mary … it is a surreal experience watching such a pointless film. It is hard to even put into words how very strange I found this film. How was this released to theaters and not just directly to the SyFy channel?

Get Yo Rant On – This is like the Halloween franchise problem all over again. There is no need to explain why Anacondas are big. They are big snakes. Reports (probably apocryphal) of enormous Anacondas have been reported throughout history. So why invent some magic flower as a MacGuffin which doubles as a bizarre explanation for why there are big snakes? No one cares. Why can’t Michael Myers just want to kill Laurie Strode … wait, wrong movie, one second … Why can’t I just have a big snake that likes to kill humans for sport without getting into why this snake is big? End Rant.

The BMT – This could end up being the most pointless sequel I’ve ever seen … is that a reason for being though? I guess. I can’t imagine ever recommending this film for anything. It just isn’t very fun … besides them saying “mating ball” like sixteen times … which is pretty awesome I have to admit. But no, terrible BMT film in my opinion.

Welcome to Earf – I need a little help to get started. So main badass Johnny Messner it turns out  is in The Whole Ten Yards with Natasha Henstridge who was in Ghosts of Mars with Ice Cube who was in Anaconda which we know we can get back to Here on Earth with … but for posterity, Anaconda has Owen Wilson who was in I Spy with Eddie Murphy who was in Norbit with Terry Crews who was in Blended with Adam Sandler who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!!

StreetCreditReport.com – Nothing! Not that surprising. Who cares about the second Anaconda film? It kind of barely exists. I would have hoped it could make some worst sequel list, but not really. No hope with creature feature lists since there are a million terrible SyFy films available. How did this thing get nominated for a Razzie?

We did indeed watch both films for this installment, so the only other real homework I could have done would be the two straight-to-video sequels they made … thanks but no thanks.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs