The Ring Two Recap

Jamie

Samara is back, Jack! Following the events of the first film, Rachel and Aiden Keller move to Oregon to start anew. It’s not long though before the rapidly spreading video virus finds them again and Aiden is possessed by Samara hoping to regain a physical form. Can Rachel battle to save her son and put Samara to rest before it’s too late? Find out in… The Ring Two.

What?! We pick up about 6 months after the events of the first film. Rachel and Aiden have moved to a small Oregon town where Rachel takes over as editor of the local paper. Everything seems to be going well until a report comes in about a disturbing death of a local teen. It sounds eerily similar to Samara’s MO, which Rachel confirms by going to the scene of the crime. Oh no! She’s found them! The next night Aiden dreams of Samara and is totes possessed by her. When Aiden starts to show serious health concerns related to demonic possession (naturally), Rachel seeks to help of her coworker, who immediately is like “WTF, mate. Get this kid to a hospital. And put some more shrimp on the barbie.” Rachel refuses, but when Samara tricks her into almost killing Aiden, her coworker is like “I didn’t sign up for this shit,” and takes control of the situation (or so he thinks). Realizing that she needs to go figure out another piece of the Samara puzzle she finds Samara’s mother, Evelyn, in a psychiatric hospital and is told to listen to Aiden if she wants him to survive. Returning to Astoria she finds that Aiden has violently escaped the hospital and killed her coworker. In her sleep she dreams that Aiden tells her to drown him and so she drugs him and places him in the bathtub after which Samara leaves his body. Hoping to destroy her once and for all she follows Samara to her TV home and locks her back in her well. THE END.

Why?! I mean, Samara is pure evil so we don’t need to delve too deep into her motivations. It would be fun if they were more mundane (Samara just wants that big promotion at work!), but alas she’s just pure evil. As for Rachel she just wants to escape Samara. When that turns out to be impossible, though, she decides that she must trap Samara for good instead.

What?! While there isn’t much product placement in this (probably some cars and stuff), I did find a moment in the very beginning somewhat amusing. The opening deals with the teenager who dies in Astoria trying to convince an unsuspecting girl to watch his copy of the tape. He kinda makes it seem like he’s into her and the whole situation is a date and as part of his seductive dance he asks if she wants a drink. Of course she does, the hottest guy in school seems into her. Duh. Out he pops from the kitchen with what I swear is a SoBe… bad move, dude. SoBe tastes like trash. She was probably already looking for the exits before you even broached the subject of the death video.

Who?! There isn’t really something to go here. No Planchet and no credits of note. So let’s do a short meditation on who Samara is as a monster. In this film we basically get the whole backstory: her mother claimed to be impregnated by a water demon and when the child is born Samara never cries and steadily drives her mother insane. Samara is adopted and continues to drive everyone around her insane with terrible visions. She never sleeps and these visions never stop until Samara is thrown down a well and sealed inside. This limits her influence until Rachel frees her in The Ring allowing her the freedom to attempt to possess Aiden. It really is a solid backstory, particularly the idea that the demon Samara never sleeps and the child she possessed is forever asleep within. I think both Patrick and I would have liked to see them play with that “water demon” idea of it at some point (and also opens a possibility for ultimate closure). But through three entries it’s kept fairly vague.

Where?! I love this setting as it so specifically narrows in on a random town in Oregon that actually exists. Rachel and Aiden move just over the Washington border into Astoria. It’s actually a well known filming location acting also as the setting for The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop. This is a B+, but the whole series borders on an A because of how entrenched in the Northwest it all is.

When?! This is almost a secret holiday film as we get to see some commercials for Memorial Day on TV. That can only really be used for a bound, though, as they are all preparing for an upcoming long weekend without being more specific. We also see a prescription fill date for May 5th so that gives up a nice three week window to work with. Had to work for it. C-.

The first part of this film is horrific. Everything looks cheap and shitty and took a step towards One Missed Call rather than keep up with the slick appearance of the Gore Verbinski original. This culminates in a 20 minute flea market scene that was only horrifying in how dull and terrible it all was. Then a weird thing happens. The film shifts into the well-worn child possession territory and almost immediately becomes much better. There are lots of films ruined by the end (the classic being that the entire film was a dream or something equally dumb), but ruined by the beginning is much rarer. Could it be that we found one of these gems? Maybe. Still a pretty significant step back from the original in almost every way, not just in the beginning. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You are the brilliant mind who brought J-Horror to the American masses. They. Went. Bananas. And you made the big bucks. What’s next for the Golden Boy (that’s what your coworkers call you)? Well … I mean, let’s just make that thing again right? There’s like a sequel and a book and everything, this should be easy … right? Golden Boy! Let’s go!

The Good (Sequel / Prequel / Remake) – The second half of this movie is kind of alright if you like The Ring. It is very similar. A investigative journalist needs to go investigating and encounters a spooooooky ghost. She barely knows what she’s doing and mostly causes trouble until she doesn’t (hooray!). That is the same as the first movie. And if you like thriller investigative films they both work shockingly well in that regard. So let’s imagine a Remake where the beginning of this film isn’t a complete pile of garbage. At the end of the first film Naomi Watts, Rachel, had just helped Samara (whoops) and presumably murdered someone to save her son. Honestly I think you pick up where you left off. She’s discovered the secret to saving oneself from Samara’s wrath, but there is an open question as to how to end Samara once and for all. Her method of saving herself is revealed to the world by Beth, Noah’s live-in girlfriend, which ultimately leads to an ever multiplying virus of tapes spreading across Washington. Rachel chases down as many of them as possible, but the desperate victims start to fight her influenced by the growing power of Samara. Realizing it is too late to stop the spread Rachel goes for the source, the convent that Samara (with demon in tow) was conceived and born. Can Rachel stop Samara? Or will Rachel, like a doofus, end up helping Samara achieve her ultimate desire: to be reborn again into another human vessel?

The Bad (Sklog-cabulary Quiz) – The first half of this film is garbage, but you knew that already. They never bother to address one of the weirdest mysteries of the entire series: why does this little girl demon live on a video tape? What are the rules even all about? Given it can be summed up as “it was an allegory for how technology is slowly killing us all” I think they basically gave that little mystery a pass (beyond perhaps that was her way of passing her “visions” to people far from her well-prison). The movie isn’t scary, although that is kind of expected given the first one wasn’t scary either. And finally, despite liking the second half of the film, it is pretty derivative of many films that came before it. It is basically a run of the mill child gets possessed by a demon tale. For the Sklog-cabulary Quiz I think I’ll note an interesting aspect of both the second and third Rings series which I’ll call:

The Janus Device (n.) – A plot device which acts to split a film into two disparate entities. Each half of the film can be viewed almost independently, often with distinct tones, settings, and plots.

In BMT the most famous Janus Device was from The Guardian where Ashton Kutcher’s graduation from the Coast Guard Academy perfectly splits the film into two parts. The first part sees Kutcher (aka Goldfish) butting heads with Kevin Costner among the sultry Louisiana bayou. The second half sees Kutcher (aka Speedboat) best of pals with Costner among the freezing waters of Kodiak, Alaska. Here you see basically a bunch of throwaway jump scares until Watts son lands in the hospital sick with possession. From there it kicks right back into The Ring territory, complete with changing the setting from Astoria, Oregon back to Seattle, Washington. The movie was clearly just over written by several different crews.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I think this has got legs that go on for days my friends. I am officially a fan of J Horror. I was to watch more and get to know them. And I think I’ll try my very best to get BMT to give that to me. Stay tuned. As far as street cred, well it did get two nomination at both the Golden Schmoes (Worst Film and Biggest Disappointment) and the Stinkers Bad Movie Awards (Worst Sequel and Least Scary Horror Film). But as far as I can tell this kind of flew under the critical radar. I think it is great, whatever.

I’ll leave that there because this one is already enormous. I’ll cover The Ring in more detail in the recap for Rings.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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The Ring Two Preview

You would think that we’ve endured enough punishment after pushing our way through the 4th and 5th entries in a film franchise whose entries routinely run far past two hours. You would be wrong. Enter the horror entry for the 2017 Cycle. That’s right! We’re watching the critically reviled third entry of the Rings franchise, simply called Rings. This film not only includes a well reviewed first entry (The Ring) and a BMT qualifying second entry (The Ring Two), but also many other adaptations and version made in different countries (including a Japanese original that the series is closely adapted from). So we got a lot to work with and at the very least two films to watch. We never learn. It’ll be truly a Thanksgiving miracle when I get through these films. Happy TGivs (as the kids call it) and let’s go!

The Ring Two (2005) – BMeTric: 53.6

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(That is actually a lot more votes than I would think, although I always underestimate how popular horror films are (and this is a sequel to an incredibly famous film to boot). The rating suggests it is bad, but, again, horror fans are a little odd in this sense. I think a “popular” horror film does tend to have a lower rating on average. This is something I would like to explore more next year in my analyses, so hopefully I’ll get some data to actually prove the suppositions I’ve held for a while now.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Fleeing Seattle for the small town of Astoria, Oregon, Watts discovers that the coldhearted ghost of a loveless child is still after her and her son, as well as anyone else hanging around. Slow and overlong, but often delivers the spooky goods, and director Nakata – who made the Japanese Ringu – uses misty Pacific Northwest locations well. Entire cast is good, especially young Dorfman, but not everything makes sense. This is not a remake of the Japanese sequel to Ringu.

(Want to hear something crazy? Leonard gave this one better reviews than the original. Which is shocking because having just rewatched the original I thought it was brilliant. I figured maybe since he apparently likes when the “spooky goods” are delivered it would be because The Ring is indeed quite light on scares (or spooky goods of any kind actually). But nope, it apparently is because it is overlong … despite the second being longer than the first. This officially intrigues me. Being a relative novice concerning JHorror this should be a decent example of something that is kind of inbetween two sensibilities I think. I guess we’ll see.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbHRP43ocWQ

(That does seem spookier than the original. This seems almost like a Jaws / Jaws 2 kind of relationship. In the original Ring you see very little of Samara by design. The film plays out as an investigative journalism movie more than anything else (interestingly). But obviously there is no reason to play a sequel that way as well, so you go for the creepier direct ghost story. I can see how they could fall into the over-explaining trap though, because they seem like they are muddling the rather simple mythos.)

Directors – Hideo Nakata – (Known For: Ring; Dark Water; Kaosu; Future BMT: Chatroom; Ringu 2; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: Director of the original Ring film (Dark Water is also a adaptation of a book by the same author). I think this is his only attempt at making a film in the US.)

Writers – Ehren Kruger (written by) – (Known For: Ghost in the Shell; The Ring; Arlington Road; Future BMT: Scream 3; Blood and Chocolate; Reindeer Games; The Brothers Grimm; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Impostor; The Skeleton Key; BMT: The Ring 2; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2010; and Nominated for Worst Screenplay in 2012 for Transformers: Dark of the Moon; and in 2015 for Transformers: Age of Extinction; Notes: Awarded a Nicholl Fellowship after writing Arlington Road. Wrote uncredited on Scream 4.)

Kôji Suzuki (novel) (as Koji Suzuki) – (Known For: The Ring; Dark Water; Ring; Dark Water; Sadako vs. Kayako; Future BMT: Rings; Ringu 2; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: Most famous for the Ring trilogy (Ring, Spiral and Loop). Dark Water is a short story collection.)

Hiroshi Takahashi (1998 film Ringu) – (Known For: The Ring; Ring; Future BMT: Ringu 2; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: I cannot find anything about this guy on the internet. Just a small wiki stub referring him to vaguely as “J-Horror”.)

Actors – Naomi Watts – (Known For: The Glass Castle; Mulholland Drive; Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance); The Ring; While We’re Young; Lo imposible; Funny Games; King Kong; Demolition; Eastern Promises; 21 Grams; J. Edgar; The Bleeder; St. Vincent; Inland Empire; The Painted Veil; The International; Fair Game; Ned Kelly; I Heart Huckabees; Future BMT: Shut In; Le divorce; Tank Girl; Allegiant; Down; Dream House; The Sea of Trees; Insurgent; Adoration; 3 Generations; The Book of Henry; Stay; BMT: Movie 43; The Ring 2; Diana; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress in 2014 for Diana, and Movie 43; and in 2017 for Allegiant, and Shut In; Notes: Most famous for being the honorary president of Welsh Alliance Division I football club Glantraeth F.C. Was fantastic in the new season of Twin Peaks.)

David Dorfman – (Known For: The Ring; Galaxy Quest; Bounce; Panic; 100 Mile Rule; Future BMT: Drillbit Taylor; The Singing Detective; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: Graduates from UCLA at the age of 17 and Harvard Law at the age of 21. Impressive stuff.)

Sissy Spacek – (Known For: The Help; Carrie; JFK; Hot Rod; Tuck Everlasting; 3 Women; Badlands; The Straight Story; Blast from the Past; North Country; In the Bedroom; Missing; Coal Miner’s Daughter; The Man with Two Brains; Get Low; Affliction; Nine Lives; A Home at the End of the World; Prime Cut; Crimes of the Heart; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Gray Matters; Deadfall; The Mommy Market; BMT: An American Haunting; The Ring 2; Notes: Won an Oscar for Coal Miner’s Daughter. Her daughter is Shuyler Fisk who you might recognize as the female lead in Orange Country with Jack Black and Colin Hanks.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $76,231,249 (Worldwide: $161,451,538)

(That seems solid for a horror film. They might have expected more considering what The Ring did ($130 million domestic), but it isn’t crazy that Ring 2 still sits pretty high up on these horror related lists on box office mojo.)

#20 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(This genre is a-boomin’ these days fueled by the recent hits in Sinister and The Conjuring (and the offshoots from that). There are a ton of stinker in there too (like Rings!), and I think it is starting to react a bit of a saturation point. I wonder if we’ll see a true collapse though. People must love ghost stories, because this has been a giant horror genre for almost 20 years now and it looks to be as popular as ever.)

#5 for the Horror Remake genre

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(The peak from ‘05 to ‘10 is just too good to pass up, it was the golden age of bad movies for a reason. I imagine it’ll come back, but studios seem pretty satisfied with making “sequels” and soft-reboots more than remakes at this point. I think the fact that they couldn’t get any of the Friday the 13th / Halloween / Nightmare on Elm Street / Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes to catch hold made them put other remakes on hold. I think the new Halloween even has become a sequel at this point. It’ll be back. It always comes back.)

#7 for the Remake – Asian genre

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(There were actually several other plots I could have put here, but, like this, most of them just looked like smaller versions of the horror remake plot from above. This one is interesting because you can see how the Ring itself jumpstarted a very short lived craze. The issue is I think that a lot of the original J Horror films from Japan are … not great. Like One Missed Call. And once they burned through the relatively few good options they were left with garbage. Godzilla is that big peak in ‘15 by the way.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (36/184): Ring Two serves up horror cliches, and not even Hideo Nakata, the director of the movies from which this one is based, can save the movie from a dull screenplay full of absurdities.

(The bad reviews seem to note how perplexing the script is and how many leaps of logic are made. Ebert himself specifically notes that you cannot discern the rules surrounding the things that are supposed to scare you. 20% is pretty terrible though.)

Poster – The Sklog Two (B+)

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(It’s got its style and tells a story. The color scheme is at least consistent and the font is original. This has everything I ask for in a poster, in a simplistic kind of way.)

Tagline(s) – Fear comes full circle. (D+)

(Oh Jeez Louise. That is unfortunate… why did you put that in my brain. Concise but pretty much nonsense and straight-up silly.)

Keyword(s) – videotape; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.9 Feardotcom (2002); 75.7 Paranormal Activity 4 (2012); 65.3 Captivity (2007); 63.3 Body of Evidence (1993); 61.3 Blair Witch (2016); 59.8 Seed (2006); 58.9 The Fly II (1989); 54.7 Down to You (2000); 53.6 The Ring 2 (2005); 51.1 Scary Movie 3 (2003);

(Wow, some great stuff there. I’m stunned Blair Witch II isn’t there, and I have to at some point see The Fly II considering the original is both a great classic sci-fi and an example of practical effects not exactly working out so hot. Goldblum just looks hilarious by the end of the film.)

Notes – During the shooting of a carnival scene, locals mistook the set for an actual carnival and wandered in. They were included as extras in the film.

Even with three artists, Daveigh Chase’s (Samara’s) make-up took over five hours to complete.

According to the production notes, there were bizarre incidents on set of life imitating art. On the seventh day, the production office was discovered to have flooded overnight, the result of a burst water pipe. Water is a strong theme in the film. In response, Director Hideo Nakata requested a Japanese purification ceremony be carried out by a Shinto minister, but the strange incidents continued. While on-location, a swarm of bees descended on the prop truck, prompting the immediate evacuation of the department, before the bees left as quickly as they had arrived. For no apparent reason, a five-gallon water jug burst open in the production office kitchen, once again flooding the same room that had flooded earlier. One morning on the Universal lot, a Set Decorator stepped out of the parking garage to discover an antlered buck charging across the asphalt in her direction. Though deer are a regular occurrence in the hills, the similarity to the deer attack in the film is uncanny. (Indeed, y’all don’t sound like crazy people at all)

Copies of the “Cursed Tape” were dropped in public places as a form of promotion. After about five minutes of footage, the viewer is directed to the movie’s website. (Weird, and I don’t like that at all)

When Rachel takes the pills and puts them on the sandwich for Aidan, she crushes the pills into a powder. The medicine bottle has a label that can be seen with the name Tony Bonaventura, who is the Property Master for the film.

There is a reference to a “Dr. Koji” by the psychiatrist. This is a nod to the original writer of the Ring books, Kôji Suzuki.

When Naomi Watts and her son go to the outdoor Astoria Antique Fair Swap Meet, Watts picks through a bunch of used VHS tapes at a vendor’s stand – and all the movies are DreamWorks titles, such as Old School (2003), and Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! (2004). (Gross, all of these notes are dumb and just weird studio crap)

In the scene following the tape burning, when Rachel gets Aiden out of bed, after finding him “soaked and freezing”, after having a nightmare, we can see that the wet part of his bed is ring-shaped.

Feature film debut of Mary Elizabeth Winstead, though she only appears in the unrated version.

Hideo Nakata, was the director of the original film Ring (1998) of which this film’s predecessor is a remake. (Which makes it all the more bizarre this turned out terribly. Although, it is pretty rare for directors from Asian studio hubs like South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong to make a successful jump to Hollywood).

Ryan Merriman, Emily VanCamp, and Kelly Stables all previously appeared in the video short Rings (2005) which served as a prequel to this film.

Contrary to popular belief, this film is not a remake of either Ringu (1998) or Ringu 2 (1999), and follows it’s own unique storyline, as a direct sequel to The Ring (2002).

Hideo Nakata’s directorial debut in America. (I’m not going to count this as a one-and-done, although I don’t think he’s directed an American feature since)

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Recap

Jamie

Years after the vanquishing of Davy Jones, our famed anti-hero Jack Sparrow finds himself on the trail of the Fountain of Youth. In an untrustworthy alliance with the infamous Blackbeard he is being chased by the Spanish and by Barbossa, now in the service of the King. Will they get the treasure before it’s too late? Find out in… Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

What?! We open in England where Jack is in search of a ship to get him back on track to search for the famed Fountain of Youth. He finds that he’s not the only one currently in search of the treasure, as Barbossa, now a profiteer for England, and the Spanish are also in pursuit. Hearing rumors of another pirate posing as Jack Sparrow he comes across a former beau, Angelica, who captures him. Once on board he realizes that his has been taken prisoner in service of Blackbeard, famed psychopath and dear ol’ dad to Angelica. Oh no! Much like characters in an old school adventure game of the past, Jack and Blackbeard need to collect a number of specific items to make the MacGuffin… er… Fountain of Youth work. These include several other MacGuffins, including a mermaid’s tears and some silver chalices. Once they collect these in a series of exciting misadventures and arrive at the Fountain, it turns into an outright brawl between Blackbeard and Barbossa’s crews. This brawl is ended by the arrival of the Spanish who promptly destroy the Fountain as sinful. In a final act of revenge Barbossa mortally wounds both Blackbeard and Angelica. With only one dose of the Fountain left to save either father or daughter, Jack tricks Blackbeard knowing that his selfish ways would doom him and save Angelica. Upon his death everyone is happy because he sucked. THE END.

Why?! This is easily the most straightforward of the Pirates of the Caribbean films and as a result the motivations are also fairly straightforward. Blackbeard wants to cheat his recently foretold death by drinking from the Fountain of Youth, Barbossa wants to kill Blackbeard for sweet revenge, and the Spanish want to destroy the Fountain. So the race is on! As for our hero Jack Sparrow, his motivation doesn’t change much in the series. He’s happy as long as he is sailing the open seas on his beloved Black Pearl, but there is always an undercurrent of a desire for immortality. That’s basically the premise of the first three films: how can Jack Sparrow sail the open seas for eternity? It’s hinted that that’s the reason he wants to get to the Fountain, but this all falls apart once the climactic melee ensues. This motivation is why I’m pretty sure there will be at least a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film.

What?! Each entry in the series seems to ratchet up the MacGuffin level one more notch. By the time they get the fourth one we have a film based entirely on finding the Fountain of Youth that needs several other objects to work. While an ideal MacGuffin is something we don’t know or need to know the actual function of (we obviously know how the reason the Fountain is important in this case), this is still a great set of MacGuffins.

Who?! Have to give a shout out to Author Tim Powers (one of the fathers of Steampunk) who got a “Suggested by” credit for this film on the basis of his pirate adventure novel On Stranger Tides. Apparently the book was a major influence on the Monkey Island games as well. Funny story is that when Disney approached Powers about optioning the book for the fourth film he was surprised because he had thought they had already lifted elements from it for the first film.

Where?! Is the entire Pirates of the Caribbean series an A+? I say no, not precise enough. Like saying Here on Earth is an A+. On top of that they are never specific as to where in the Caribbean they are most of the time. Booo. I deem this a C- only because they are specifically in England at the start.

When?! I’m not going to be able to put an exact date on this, but it is interesting that this film give a basic time frame for the entire series. Takes place during the reigns of King Ferdinand of Spain, King George II, Prime Minister Henry Pelham, and Lord John Carteret. Sets it between 1751 and 1754. That’s a tight D- and funny because the wikipedia page says it takes place in 1750. Read yo history wikipedia. I would place it in 1751.

To finish up the recap I’ll just mention that the first film in the series not to feature Gore Verbinski at the helm really took a step back technologically and overall stuntwork. If there were three things I looked for in a Pirates of the Caribbean film it was cutting edge visual technology, some jokes from our charismatic lead Jack Sparrow, and grand and complex stunts. This basically went backwards on all three. Not great.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Johnny Depp has been calling you day in and day out. Constantly. You don’t want to do it, but you know one thing: Johnny Depp wants his money, and he wants it now. So I guess we’re making a fourth one. Get the giant set piece assembled, we get to deal with this thing again. Let’s go!

The Good (BMulTiverse Theories) – Something about this series gets me every time. I don’t understand it. They all start the same (a giant set piece action scene with Johnny Depp flying around with tons of practical effects), they get more and more ridiculous, Depp is a caricature at this point … but I like it. Something about it entertains me in a different way than Transformers (which at this point just annoys me). I like Penelope Cruz, and I forgot how much Jack Sparrow doesn’t really annoy me (it is perplexing given how other characters, like Mortdecai, are very similar and extremely grating). I didn’t mind the movie, I actually quite liked how they scaled the story back compared to the second and third film. I’m going to introduce a new game here called the BMulTiverse Theory. Similar to Sklognalogy, this looks into a different film and re-imagines what might have been given a different sequence of events. In this case the Pirates franchise reminds me of what I imagine a modern day Indiana Jones would have looked like. Sprawling sets with elaborate practical effects. Magical realism, a charming lead, all presented as a period piece. We’d be sitting at five or six Indiana Jones right now, the stories getting more and more ridiculous. Trust me, it would be the same, and we’d all be complaining about how trite the character of Indiana Jones is at this point.

The Bad (Sklog-cabulary Quiz) – The film is far too long. I love Ian McShane, but Blackbeard failed to bring any of the charm or interest that a villain needs in this series. The entire thing seemed very linear, almost comically McGuffin-esque. Half the characters only speak in order to explain things about the Fountain of Youth as all of the characters directly and unyieldingly march toward this inevitable goal. Let’s try out a new Sklog-cabulary Quiz. For Pirates of the Caribbean I think I’ll note something that is also present in the aforementioned Indiana Jones series, the:

Rube Goldberg Action Sequence – (n.) An action sequence that accomplishes by complex means what seemingly could be done simply.

A mark of the Pirates franchise in which Johnny Depp flies across chandeliers or sword fights on a giant wheel, it is really impressive when done correctly. It actually isn’t really a bad movie trope since you need a crazy amount of money to pull it off, but it is something the sticks out about the Pirates franchise.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – On Stranger Tides won’t really have any legacy, although the franchise as a whole could have a place if a sixth is made. A double trilogy where the second trilogy was torn apart by critics would be rather fun. This actually does have a bit of street cred. It is listed as the 20th worst film of the year here. Otherwise it kind of falls to the wayside in a very very impressive bad movie year. It is the year of Jack and Jill, but just look at the razzies that year. Very impressive lists all around.

I’ll leave it there because we have a whole other recap to get to.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Preview

We hit two of the major action bombs this year for BMT Live! in The Mummy and Geostorm. This left us with a few of the lesser options available for this week. What we ended up landing on might come as a bit of a shock, but with a newly found love of franchises it shouldn’t. That’s right! We’re catching up on the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise with the final two installments (the only two that qualify), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales… wait, is that actually the name of the latest one? Wow, that is not good. The latest entry came this year, six years after the last installment, and while I would have assumed it was a bomb (I barely remember it came out), it still made $800 million worldwide. Feed those international audiences what they want, Disney, and what they want is Johnny Depp. Ugh. Let’s go!

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) – BMeTric: 17.0

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(Decidedly above average from an IMDb rating perspective. Which is a lot more impressive than I thought it would be. My perception had always been that no one likes these films anymore. But 350K votes with a 6.7ish rating is actually fine. Sits around the same place as Quantum of Solace or Armageddon.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Capt. Jack Sparrow (Depp, broader than ever) finds himself on a ship with Blackbeard (McShane) and his daughter (Cruz), which whom he has a checkered history, sailing in search of Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth. Meanwhile, Capt. Barbossa (Rush) is piloting his own vessel on the exact same course. Among the perils they face: a host of alluring but vicious mermaids. More of the same, with a convoluted, often incomprehensible story designed to string a series of large-scale action set pieces together. Not so much a movie as a consumer product.

(Shots fired. Honestly that was probably the pitch: “more of the same, with several large scale action pieces that we know and love. It’ll be great summer fun!” The convoluted plot is actual a surprise given that, arguably, that is where the second and third stumbled. By creating an over complicated plot they weighed down what should have otherwise been light fun with the flamboyant Depp. That is probably my biggest hesitation with that review.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR_9A-cUEJc

(The only thing I remember from that trailer was the sword coming through the door. I think I must have seen it in a theater with 3D glasses on. I actually forgot this was kind of a big 3D release at the time. Looks like okay fun, although, again, I remembered not really understanding the connection to the previous movies at the time.)

Directors – Rob Marshall – (Known For: Chicago; Into the Woods; Future BMT: Nine; BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Notes: He has been nominated for six Tony awards and later an Oscar for Chicago.)

Writers – Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (screenplay & screen story & characters) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Aladdin; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Treasure Planet; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Shrek; The Mask of Zorro; Small Soldiers; The Road to El Dorado; Future BMT: Godzilla; The Legend of Zorro; The Puppet Masters; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; BMT: The Lone Ranger; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for The Lone Ranger in 2014; Notes: Ted Elliot used to spell check Roger Ebert’s movie reviews, and Terry Rossio used to be a machinist. Pretty interesting.)

Stuart Beattie (characters) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; 30 Days of Night; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Collateral; Australia; Tomorrow, When the War Began; Future BMT: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Derailed; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; BMT: I, Frankenstein; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra in 2010; Notes: Australian who attended the same High School as Hugh Jackman. He gets credits because he is the screenwriter for the first film.)

Jay Wolpert (characters) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; The Count of Monte Cristo; Future BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Notes: Also wrote on the original, he is a producer of a number of television game shows including the New Price is Right and New Match Game.)

Tim Powers (novel) (suggestion) – (BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Notes: Writes adventure novels with a sci-fi twist. This novel, On Stranger Tides, was the inspiration for the Monkey Island videos games, which are great, and was directly optioned for this film.)

Actors – Johnny Depp – (Known For: Murder on the Orient Express; Sleepy Hollow; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Edward Scissorhands; Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Corpse Bride; Alice in Wonderland; Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; Black Mass; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Blow; The Ninth Gate; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Platoon; 21 Jump Street; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Finding Neverland; Into the Woods; Future BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Yoga Hosers; The Astronaut’s Wife; Private Resort; The Tourist; Dark Shadows; Alice Through the Looking Glass; Nick of Time; The Man Who Cried; The Libertine; The Brave; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; BMT: Jack and Jill; Mortdecai; Transcendence; The Lone Ranger; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Mortdecai in 2016; Nominated for Worst Actor for The Lone Ranger in 2014; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Alice Through the Looking Glass in 2017; Notes: Kind of easier just to look through recent news for such a big name actor. The biggest current news is that he is playing Grindelwald in the next Fantastic Beasts movie, which is causing quite a stir. Let’s just say he has a weird hairdo and leave it at that.)

Penélope Cruz – (Known For: Murder on the Orient Express; Blow; Vicky Cristina Barcelona; To Rome with Love; Open Your Eyes; Jamon Jamon; Volver; Bandidas; All About My Mother; Live Flesh; Los amantes pasajeros; Broken Embraces; Elegy; Don’t Move; The Hi-Lo Country; Belle Epoque; Future BMT: Sex and the City 2; G-Force; The Counsellor; Woman on Top; Gothika; Nine; Sahara; All the Pretty Horses; Waking Up in Reno; Masked and Anonymous; Grimsby; The Good Night; Fanfan; Noel; La reina de España; Head in the Clouds; Sin noticias de Dios; BMT:Vanilla Sky; Zoolander 2; Captain Corelli’s Mandolin; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress in 2002 for Blow, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and Vanilla Sky; Notes: Married to Javier Bardem (with whom she has two children) who would appear six years later in Dead Men Tell No Tales.)

Ian McShane – (Known For: John Wick: Chapter 2; John Wick; Coraline; Hercules; The Golden Compass; Snow White and the Huntsman; Kung Fu Panda; Death Race; Shrek the Third; The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Hot Rod; Jack the Giant Slayer; Sexy Beast; We Are Marshall; Scoop; Jawbone; Battle of Britain; Bilal: A New Breed of Hero; Cuban Fury; Performance; Future BMT: Agent Cody Banks; The Hollow Point; Grimsby; Case 39; BMT: The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Notes: Probably the funniest thing I’ve heard about him was his response to Game of Thrones fans being all pissy about him spoiling stuff about his (one-off) character in the show: “I was accused of giving the plot away, but I just think get a f—ing life. It’s only tits and dragons.” He has a point.)

Budget/Gross – $410.6 million / Domestic: $241,071,802 (Worldwide: $1,045,713,802)

(That budget can’t possibly be real. It is reported somehow as “gross” on wikipedia which I’ve never seen before. Probably tries to estimate marketing or something? Made a mint worldwide though, so you gotta go for the sequel if people are game. A billion isn’t something to shrug at.)

#44 for the 3D genre

piratesofthecaribbean4_3d

(Came right as the 3D craze his that saturation point. People have declared it dead for years, but it will live on as long as it is a “unique” experience that theaters can offer consumers. The 3D television experiment failed, so it seems like 3D will remain the domain of a theatrical experience for the foreseeable future.)

#7 for the Adventure – Period genre

piratesofthecaribbean4_adventureperiod

(Man they were creating a whole bunch of crap between 2010 and 2015. No wonder they took a breather, they nearly killed the genre. Jungle book brought it back though, plus this take isn’t too shabby at all.)

#5 for the Treasure Hunt genre

piratesofthecaribbean4_treasurehunt

(Reeks of a genre that doesn’t really exist but is just kind of floating around with random people checking it. I still believe in Box Office Mojo, but moments like this make me question whether anything they report is real, or whether it is mostly guessing from the crazy skeleton crew IMDb uses to man that janky website. The genre makes a lot of money it looks like, so that is something.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (85/262): It’s shorter and leaner than the previous sequel, but this Pirates runs aground on a disjointed plot and a non-stop barrage of noisy action sequences.

(Yeah, sounds about right. I’m quite excited about the shorter and leaner part though. It is crazy how long franchise films are these days.)

Poster – Sklog-rates of the Caribbean: On Skloger Tides (D+)

pirates_of_the_caribbean_on_stranger_tides_ver9

(Almost everything is wrong with this. Look at how many things are on this poster? Look at how many different colors. It’s incoherent. Small plus in the unique font.)

Tagline(s) – None (FFFFFFFF)

(Wha? That seems impossible and yet it seems to be so. Unacceptable as always.)

Keyword(s) – pirate; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.2 Epic Movie (2007); 68.7 DOA: Dead or Alive (2006); 65.3 Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005); 63.5 The Phantom (1996); 61.5 Virus (1999); 60.7 Conan the Barbarian (2011); 59.6 Cyborg (1989); 46.2 Double Impact (1991); 40.9 Cutthroat Island (1995); 39.2 Six Days Seven Nights (1998);

(None of them naturally. Cutthroat Island will be done at some point. Double Impact will likely come in some strange Van Damme series we do. And, wow, I totally forgot there was a significant storyline involving pirates in Miss Congeniality 2 … just fantastic.)

Notes – While filming in London in October 2010, Johnny Depp received a letter from a local nine-year old schoolgirl, telling him her classmates needed help to “mutiny” against her teachers. He turned up with almost no warning at the school in full Sparrow outfit, but advised against mutiny. (awwwww, we need less terrible on-set stories, and more wholesome stories in BMT I think)

After Walt Disney’s chairman of 38 years, Dick Cook was fired, Johnny Depp talked to the Los Angeles Times, and said his enthusiasm for the fourth Pirates movie had reduced after Cook left the project. “There’s a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment,” Depp said. “It was all born in that office.” One of the reasons Johnny Depp committed to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), was because he trusted Cook, who supported him while “others at the studio were less than enthusiastic about my interpretation of the character, Dick was there from the first moment. He trusted me.”

During filming in London, a Jack Sparrow impersonator just walked onto the set. The guards did not think to ask for any ID, as he looked so much like the character (Reported in the English papers).

Jerry Bruckheimer gave strict instructions to casting directors that actresses auditioning for the mermaid roles must have natural breasts. During shooting of their scenes, they were not allowed outside until dusk, in order to avoid spoiling their make-up. (haha, gross. Not that that isn’t a legitimate condition to ask concerning an actress expected to appear near-topless as a part of the character, more maybe the idea of the character trait at all … feels gross)

Penélope Cruz was pregnant throughout production, but it wasn’t noticeable until September 2010. As Penélope’s baby bump grew, it caused difficulties in wardrobe, so the producers enlisted the help of Cruz’s younger sister, Mónica Cruz. According to reports, Penélope filmed the close-up shots, while Mónica doubled for her in the long-distance scenes. (Oh, cool. Nice way to accommodate)

Johnny Depp bought new water proof jackets for five hundred crew members on the set, to protect them from the cold weather. He spent a total of 64,200 dollars from his own pocket. (Now that he’s on the verge of bankruptcy I wonder if he regrets such frivolities)

Penélope Cruz was the only choice for the role of Angelica. She agreed to the role without reading the script.

The film does make an actual reference to Blackbeard’s historical death, in which he was beheaded and then had his head hung from the bow of his own ship.

The real-life pirate Blackbeard did indeed have a ship called the Queen Anne’s Revenge. It was a vessel that he’d captured from the French Navy, and renamed.

Johnny Depp said he agreed to star in this film before “there was a script or anything.”

As Jack enters the Santiago, the camera flashes to a skeletal Ponce de León laying on a bed, surrounded by treasure. This is a reference to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland where guests see a skeletal pirate Captain laying in bed, surrounded by treasure. (Always looking for those shouts. Amusing if not the most exciting ride these days)

When making Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), the scriptwriters revealed that they placed the story in a thirty-year environment set loosely between 1720 and 1750. They also said that they did not intend the films to be entirely historically accurate. However, it was revealed that this movie takes place in 1750. (Interesting, will have to try and catch that)

The snake in the jungle scene is a king snake, and references the rhyme about coral snakes. Red on yellow kill a fellow, red on black friend of Jack.

The name of “Syrena” means mermaid in Spanish. The origin of “Syrena” is Greek, from Homer’s epic Odyssey. The songs of “syrenas” used to lure sailors to their island, where they were killed.

The only “Pirates of the Caribbean” film to not receive any Oscar nominations. (Not a surprise, although I guess you could kind of argue they always do a decent costume design job)

The film budget had to be scaled down to no more than two hundred million dollars (the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) budget was three hundred million dollars). This was mandated by studio president Rich Ross (who replaced the fired Dick Cook), in addition to the then 2008 economic slowdown in the U.S. (Jesus, $300M is absurd)

Blackbeard says that his quartermaster sees things before they happen. This is an oblique reference to the character of Fedallah in the novel Moby Dick, the source of various prophecies about the death of his Captain.

As of May 20, 2011, this installment has the second shortest run-time of the franchise, at 136 minutes. (My god, these films are monsters!)

This film is loosely based on the 1988 pirate novel “On Stranger Tides”, by Tim Powers. The novel’s protagonist is a pirate named Jack, but his character is significantly different from Jack Sparrow.

Was denied a release in China because the story line consisted of ghosts, the afterlife, and the supernatural. (As was usual, although I assume this practice is/has changed with China becoming a box office power house)

Barbossa’s ship, the Providence, was portrayed by the H.M.S. Surprise, part of the collection of ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego (www.sdmaritime.org), where it is open daily to Museum visitors. To sail the ship during the filming, Disney hired a crew from among volunteers and staff of the Maritime Museum. Surprise is a 179 foot full-rigged ship. She was built in Nova Scotia in 1970, from original Admiralty plans for the 1757 British 24-gun frigate H.M.S. Rose, for which she was originally named. The ship was purchased in 2001 by 20th Century Fox, and modified to serve as the H.M.S. Surprise, under the command of fictional Captain Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003). The Maritime Museum of San Diego purchased the ship from Fox Studios in 2004, and retained her movie name. In both of her names, the prefix “H.M.S.” (meaning Her (or His) Majesty’s Ship) is an honorary, rather than an official designation, since she does not hold a royal warrant. (Loving those factoids)

Alfred Molina was considered for the role of Blackbeard. (I love Ian McShane, but Alfred Molina would have also killed it I think, although I’m not sure Molina could have sold Blackbeard’s brutality)

The outdoor entrance to the Fountain of Youth, is the Waikapala’e Wet Cave on the north shore of Kauai. Analogous to the film’s magical watery passage to The Fountain of Youth, the cave holds a real submerged (depending on water level) passage, through which explorers can travel, in order to reach an isolated chamber known as “The Blue Room.” Some Hawaiians tell of an actual pirate treasure found hidden in “The Blue Room” by the original discoverers. The pirate treasure (if it ever existed) is gone, but the cave and chamber remain a natural treasure, still accessible to intrepid explorers.

Manos: The Hands of Fate Recap

Jamie

Michael and Margaret are on vacation but become lost in the desert. As night descends they stumble on a ranch where they take shelter only to find strange things afoot. Can they escape the clutches of the evil master, Manos, before it’s too late? Find out in… Manos: Hands of Fate.

How?! Michael, his wife Margaret, their daughter, and their dog are on their way to a ranch for vacation. After taking a wrong turn in the desert they stumble upon a ranch maintained by a satyr (who looks more like a normal person with giant legs than a mythical being) named Torgo. Asking if they can stay the night Torgo warns them that his master, Manos, won’t be happy but Michael insists that they stay there until they can find the ranch in the morning. Almost immediately creepy (but mostly suuuuuppper boring) things start to happen. When Torgo takes a liking to Margaret he goes to his hibernating master and tells him that he has enough wives and this one is his. He incapacitates Michael and imprisons Margaret only to have Manos awaken and plan all of their deaths. After a brief argument on what to do with Margaret and the child they agree that Torgo and Michael must die. Torgo is sacrificed, but when they go to collect Michael and his family they find that they have run into the desert. After a brief escape Michael and Margaret agree that the desert spells certain death and they return to the ranch to ultimately be taken prisoner by Manos for all of eternity. The End.

Why?! Our “heroes” just want a place to stay for the night and directions to the ranch. After Manos reveals himself they only want escape. As for Manos he just wants more wives and people to sacrifice. In fact we get very little insight into what, who, and why he is (but why would we… it was made by a delusional person who didn’t know how to write or make a movie). The only other character is Torgo and he’s just a sad satyr with giant legs that hops about hoping to find a wife. Sad.

What?! Not really sure what to highlight here, so I’m just not going to. This film was basically amateur hour made up of 95% awkward pauses. It’s a film that deserved to disappear forever, but instead lives on in infamy. There is no what in the entire thing. Only a distinct lack of what.

Who?! Michael is played by writer/director Harold P. Warren. He was in the amateur theater scene of El Paso and bet a local screenwriter that he could make a horror film on a low budget… I guess he lost that bet.

Where?! The location is not given specifically, but obviously filmed in El Paso and the location certainly had the feel of the Texas desert. But that won’t cut it for BMT! D.

When?! A film of this level transcends time and space. It is unknowable in so many ways, so to expect any insight into the exact date is far far far too much to expect. F.

So that’s about it. Manos pretty much was as expected. It may be one of the most boring experiences of my life. Almost the entire thing is just people staring at each other not saying a word. In the end I’m not surprised that MST3K made this film famous. Not only can they so effectively use all the dead space in the film, but they can play on how much the film messes with your head. Throughout the film you wonder what the point of the entire thing is and it drives. You. Crazy. By itself though? Just mind melting. Do not recommend and this is part of the reason we generally avoid films like this for the main entries of BMT. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What do you get when you cross an amateur filmmaker / full-time weirdo with a bet he refuses to lose? A boring piece of garbage. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I mean, it is obviously nothing, the film doesn’t make sense or anything. The only really good thing you get out of it is the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode which is often listed as one of the (if not the) best episode of the original run. During that episode the evil scientists end up apologizing for subjecting Joel and the robots (who are often weeping about how boring the movie it) to Manos: The Hands of Fate. It is honestly the only way to make it bearable since they interject during extended sequences of silence. If we were to go Sequel I think I would rather they just do another Mystery Science Theater 3000. Literally, just make the new crew do the same episode in a weird seance-like ritual to resurrection the MST3K of the past. I think it could be fun just because the movie has now been dissected so much since MST3K injected it into the collective consciousness 30 years ago.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – Everything obviously. The acting is ridiculous. The entire thing doesn’t make sense. The lighting is awful. The story is garbage. The acting is ridiculous. The idea is creepy. The story is trash, … wait where was I? Oh yeah, Manos: The Hands of Fate is awful. Don’t watch it (although maybe just watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version and call it a day). The Sklognalogy is strangely obvious: Plan 9 From Outer Space. The same kind of surreal nonsensicalness. The director who is delusional and is making schlock almost as a compulsion. The stilted crazy acting. Weird choices, etc. etc. etc. If Warren, the director / writer / star, had any clout he might have been able to continue making films like a crazy person. Luckily he didn’t have an clout outside of the insurance industry.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The legacy will be merely that we watched a movie we kind of had to watch at some point for BMT. The film, like Plan 9, is mostly boring and actually no fun to watch beyond marveling that such a thing could be created. The street cred though is up the wazoo. There aren’t many reviews online, so perhaps I’m over-blowing it, but this film is, I think, considered among the top 5 worst films ever made. The Room and Plan 9 From Outer Space are for sure there. Then there would be some debate about more modern films like Mac and Me, Ballistic Ecks vs. Sever, etc. But I think it would be hard to box it out of top 5. But that isn’t a good thing necessarily. Bad movies are bad. We want fun bad movies. This is not a fun bad movie. It is a bad movie. Remember that.

I’ll leave the discussion about pre-1980s bad movies for The Bye Bye Man recap, and just end there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Manos: The Hands of Fate Preview

As mentioned in the Bye Bye Man preview, Manos: Hands of Fate doesn’t fit traditionally into BMT because of its pre-1980 release. Buuuuuut, since it is so iconic, we felt like it deserved the real preview / recap respect. Shot in 1966 on a super low budget by a random Texan businessman/amateur theater actor I have no more expectations for this than I would a film like Birdemic. It’s just an amateurish film made by a delusional person that should never have seen the light of day. Will likely be a bore, but that’s what this cycle is all about. Finding out whether these categories are as boring as we assumed when we precluded them. Let’s go!

Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966) – BMeTric: 88.1 (#5 on the IMDb Bottom 100)

ManosTheHandsofFate_BMeT

ManosTheHandsofFate_RV

(Obviously the reason we are here. I’m most interested in that jump in 2013. I found two plausible explanations in the wikipedia page. First there was a kickstarter that year to get a puppet version made. I think that is a bit niche and thus unlikely. That was also the year they announced a prequel being made. I’m more inclined to believe something like that’s when the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode went on netflix, but I don’t really have any evidence for that. A mystery, although likely an extremely solvable one.)

?????? – ??? stars –  ????

(I couldn’t really find a review for this film at all. There are some … but they are about at the level of this blog anyways (and our monthly hits are … not impressive). Rather than confusingly link to something like that let’s marvel at the fact that a film can be as revered at this one and yet no legitimate news source has decided to retroactively review the film. C’mon … that’s weird.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRcGukCdr3c

(I mean … like what the fuck? Just like … what the fuck?)

Directors – Harold P. Warren – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: Often referred to as a fertilizer salesman even though he actually sold insurance at the time of filming.)

Writers – Harold P. Warren (screenplay) – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: Ultimately even though he admitted the film was terrible he remained proud of it and would often where his costume throughout the rest of his life.)

Actors – Tom Neyman – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: I going to be be in some strange revival of the film (Manos Returns) next year, may God help us all.)

John Reynolds – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: Helped to design the trademark “knees” of Torgo in the film, for which he would become (mildly) famous.)

Diane Adelson – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: Became a rather accomplished model after Manos and is currently, seemingly, an antiques dealer.)

Budget/Gross – $19,000 / N/A

(Not real obviously. This film made no money basically only being shown in El Paso, Texas where is was made. The budget it seemingly real at least.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (1/14): No consensus yet.

(I’ll have to make a consensus: Barely a movie, in that soul-crushingly not-fun way we all know and love. Oof. Always though with films like this since all of the reviews are from now. Was a 0% until literally months ago for example.)

Poster – Manos: Sklogs of Fate (F)

manos_the_hands_of_fate

(This certainly didn’t have a poster when released. I think everything online is probably from the post-fame era of the film’s existence. Still an F.)

Tagline(s) – It’s Shocking! It’s Beyond Your Imagination! (F)

(I doubt this had any taglines in reality. It was basically not released so why would it need a tagline. I kept this one as a warning to all those that attempt to pass something like this off as a real tagline. I don’t accept it!)

Keyword(s) – family in peril; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.1 Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966); 57.7 The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007); 17.4 Supremacy (I) (2014);

(NOPE. Hilarious that Seeker comes up in both this and Bye Bye Man in a way though. Although in the most tangential way possible. This movie shares a keyword with it. The Bye Bye Man’s main character’s brother was in Seeker … small world?)

Notes – Cast and crew recall that John Reynolds was on LSD during filming, explaining his confused behavior and incessant twitching in virtually all of his scenes.

The entire film was shot with a hand-held camera that could only record 32 seconds of film at a time. It was also shot without sound; all the lines were dubbed later by two men and one woman. Jackey Neyman Jones cried when she first heard her dubbed voice.

The film had a gala premiere in El Paso. Many local dignitaries attended. Members of the audience began heckling the film during the premiere. Many of the film’s cast and crew sneaked out of the theater before the film ended, to avoid having to admit being part of it.

The only cast members who were paid for their performances were Jackey Neyman Jones, who got a bicycle, and the Doberman, which got a bag of dog food. The rest of the cast was supposed to receive a cut of the movie’s profits, which never materialized. Director Harold P. Warren also gave the crew shares, instead of a salary.

Lighting was limited for the film, which explains the infamous scene in which two cops literally take two steps to investigate, then turn back.

Despite the film’s negative reception, Harold P. Warren was so proud of it that he began wearing the Master’s robe every Halloween. His son Joe Neal Warren has carried on the tradition.

The film was popularized by a 1993 episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (1988), in which Joel and the Bots, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot, go mad while suffering through the film’s endless boredom. The creators of the show called this the worst film that had been featured.

In 2011, Benjamin Solovey found the work print, made from the original 16mm reversal stock. It was in pristine condition. Solovey released the digitally restored film in DVD and Blu-ray formats in October 2015. A new short documentary about the Making of Manos, including interviews with surviving cast members, was included.

The endless driving sequences at the beginning were supposed to have the opening credits over them.

The snake Michael shoots looks a lot better than the rest of the film because it was stock footage lifted from a Disney nature documentary. It’s also why the snake is on purple carpet.

Harold P. Warren only did two takes of each shot. If things didn’t go well, he reassured the novice cast that the magic of Hollywood would fix any errors in post-production.

As filming dragged on and on, the increasingly disgruntled crew began to refer to the movie as “Mangos: The Cans of Fruit”.

Air Bud: Golden Receiver Recap

Jamie

Everything is going smoothly for Josh and his basketball playing dog Buddy until a new man shows up in his Mom’s life. Turning to football to get out of the house he finds that Buddy is just as good at catching a pass as scoring some hoops. Can they team up to win the big game and become emotionally open to his Mom’s new beau? Find out in… Air Bud: Golden Receiver.

How?! When we last saw Josh in Air Bud he was just coming to terms with his father’s tragic death through the magic of his basketball playing dog. Now we jump forward and Josh’s mom is looking for that companionship that has been missing for the last several years. One day while out rollerblading she meets cute the new veterinarian in town and boy howdy do the sparks fly. Josh is pretty confused about all this and turns to football to take his mind off things and get him out of the house when the vet comes over (of course this backfires and only brings them closer. Gah!). Happily taking up the role of backup QB, Josh is thrust into action following a shoulder injury to the starter. Oh no! But they suck! He’ll look like such a loser! But wait! Buddy runs onto the field and helps Josh score a touchdown. Suddenly Buddy is the new star player of the team and no one seems to have an issue with this (even when a dog is chasing kids down to force fumbles… which seems problematic). On the day of the big championship game Buddy is kidnapped by a couple of Russian circus owners (in a completely forgettable subplot), leaving the team to fend for themselves. After going down big, they’re saved when the vet rescues Buddy and brings him to the game. On the final play Josh finds the Air Bud within himself and tosses a Hail Mary to an actual human player for the big win! That’s not the only win of the day either because the vet wins in Josh’s heart and the family lives happily ever after. The End.

Why?! I got to say, you can make fun of this film all you want (and there’s a lot to make fun of… a dog plays on a football team after all), but the motivations in this film are actually touching and done with a nuance that you see surprisingly rarely in kids films. Josh’s entire motivation for playing football is to get out of the house when his Mom’s new boyfriend comes over. He wrestles with the emotions that comes with watching her date again and wondering whether liking this new man in his life is a betrayal to his dead father. Buddy once again helps him find love in the sport and grow to realize that not all change is bad and that just because you love football doesn’t mean you love basketball any less (get it?)… it’s nice.

What?! I barely mentioned the subplot of the film which is a pair of Russian circus owners going around the country stealing talented animals. It is a film ruiner and something that should have just been cut in favor of literally anything else. Why do I mention this terrible storyline in the What?! Section? Because one of the owners gets his kicks by watching the 1976 film Gus about a field goal kicking mule who can kick 100 yard field goals. I ran the numbers and indeed that would make them almost undefeatable. A team averages 12 possessions a game. If they could score three points on each they would average at least 36 points a game! They better add a “No Mules” rule… but leave the question of dogs playing open.

Who?! By the second film the original Buddy has passed away, so his part was portrayed by four different dogs: Chance, Zak, Chase, and Rush (sounds like fraternity buddies at Delta Omega Gamma, boom). Surprisingly none of them reprised their role in the subsequent films.

Where?! Like its predecessor this film is set in beautiful Fernfield, Washington. Of course they bely the Vancouver filming location by the ridiculously Canadian way that everyone says “sorry.” B.

When?! We open on the first day of school and end at the football championship. So we can safely say this runs from September to November… however, no exact date was observed so have to keep this a D+.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! A sad boy sits at home, his mother on a date, his world reeling. The babysitter asks “Do you want to watch a movie?” Fine. What’s this? A sequel to Air Bud? He likes dogs, he liked that movie. Whatever. But the movie speaks to him! He understands! Just because his mother might go on dates or even get married doesn’t mean she doesn’t love him! And he doesn’t need to forget his father! Air Bud 2 you did it!! One problem: he doesn’t like Air Bud anymore because this movie was trash. It’s a wash! Let’s get into it.

The Good (Sequel / Prequel / Remake) – As I hinted at in the intro the film, much like its predecessor, has its heart in the right place. The B-story works. Which, for a kids film is rare. Examples of real B-stories from children’s films: In Old Dogs Robin Williams and John Travolta are trying to sign Japanese baseball players to a sports marketing contract; In Nine Lives Kevin Spacey’s protege is trying to push him out and force a hostile takeover of his company … in what universe are kids interested in such things? Here, the B-story is that a kid’s mother is starting to date again a few years after the sudden tragic death of his father, and the conflicted feelings of what this means in the young boy’s life. That is a real B-story which probably actually did help some poor kid get through a tough time. The guy who plays the coach also is a very well-written character with a great message to give to the kids. I can appreciate those parts outside of the quality of the surrounding film. I want a sequel though. In this long-awaited sequel we find Air Bud finding success in the most unexpected of all places: high finance! When Air Bud shows an uncanny ability to pick stocks, Josh, now a small fry at the biggest investment bank on Wall Street, quickly finds himself climbing the corporate ladder. Trying to keep his secret weapon under wraps he ultimately uncovers a terrible conspiracy: his boss is selling highly leveraged real estate options to the state teacher union pension fund in an immoral get-rich-quick scheme! Uh-oh! Can Josh expose his boss (and get the girl) before it is too late?! He better, because if he doesn’t Air Bud might just do it for him! Air Bud: Board of Direct-Furs!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – The Boris and Natasha-esque bad guys are by far the worst part of this film. They probably would have been cut if not for the fact that the film would then be a svelte, far more entertaining 60 minutes long. The first half of this film has basically no football playing dog which is a tragedy. But its biggest crime is the football itself. A few things: (1) The images of a dog chasing down children in a fun middle school football game is terrifying. Immediately parents would be like “nope, this is actually too far. It was funny for a second, but dogs actually can’t play middle school football”. (2) A kid destroys Air Bud in the championship game and injures him! Insane, but well within the rules set out in the Air Bud universe. (3) The first touchdown by Air Bud should have resulted in a  too many men on the field penalty since he comes off of the sideline to catch the ball. Completely takes you out of the movie. What? Did they line up with ten men to start? Get out of here! I didn’t even get to the announcers, and the bumbling Abbott and Costello-esque fat-and-skinny refs which appear solely for the Championship game. I’m going to go future on the Sklognalogy because I think the closest film I can think of is Little Giants, a staple of childhood viewing for us, but not yet a BMT film. Ludicrous, actually the same B-story (her father dating, and a bonus am-I-not-feminine-enough? tom-boy story … huh, kid’s films are kind of all the same), and the rags-to-riches tale of a down-and-out sports team winning the championship against all odds.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – This could have a solid legacy if it revived our trust in bad kids films. And even then it is probably the most entertainingly bad kids film I’ve seen in quite a while. So it has that going for it. No street cred, but that isn’t a surprise. I was somewhat stunned to see Leonard Maltin even have a review for the film. And people like Ebert tend to pick on the “big boys” of the year like Armageddon. Both films this week with no cred, for shame.

I’ll leave the bring a friend analysis for the Clan of the Cave Bear recap. And, no, I did not feel the need to rewatch Air Bud, which I have seen. So no homework to report. Cheerios,

The Sklogs