Urban Legend Recap

Jamie

Natalie and her gang of college friends are just a bunch of normal college kids. That is until people they know start getting killed and, weird, they all seem to have something to do with urban legends. Despite her warnings, no one believes her and her friends get picked off one by one. Can she stop the killer before it’s too late? Find out in… Urban Legend.

How?! Natalie and her friends at college are shocked when a classmate is murdered. Little do they know that Natalie has a dark secret connection to that classmate (bum bum bum) and soon finds herself amidst a series of bizarre deaths that seem to mimic the urban legends she’s learning about in her urban legends class (you know, that class you take in college… the one all about urban legends). No one believes her though and she begins to suspect everyone. As she tries to shake off the feeling that she’s going crazy her reporter friend Paul starts to take interest in the story when he finds that all the information about their school’s very own urban legend has been scrubbed from the records. Whiffing a conspiracy, he helps Natalie try to make headway, but is soon kicked off the newspaper for his efforts. Despondent and scared, Natalie goes to a party only to have the murders kick up a notch. She attempts to escape with Paul and her friend Brenda but soon starts to suspect Paul and they run away. This all leads back to the school’s spooky abandoned dorm where it’s revealed that Brenda was behind it all! She was the girlfriend of the guy who Natalie and her friend ran off the road with an urban legend prank (who among us…). For revenge she has killed everyone around Natalie and saved her for last. But just as she is going to do it Paul shows up (and really doesn’t do much) but then the school security guard shows up and saves the day. In the end we see Natalie and Paul rushing to get help, only to have to subdue a still-not-dead Brenda (or do they? Bum bum bum). THE END.

Why?! Eventually the motive for the crimes are made abundantly clear through an exposition scene that I think was supposed to play as satire. Brenda even has a projector there to help her explain her motives to Natalie/The Audience. Natalie isn’t purely an audience surrogate, though, she has that whole backstory about killing someone that explains why she’s so paranoid. It’s actually a wild plot point considering you are shown the flashback of their “prank” where they literally are laughing and laughing and laughing like crazy people as they run a dude off the road. It’s weird. The whole film is bizarre at times.

Who?! I think the most notable thing about the cast of this film was the inclusion of Robert Englund aka Freddy Krueger. It’s more than a cameo considering he’s one of the main suspects throughout the film. Interesting inclusion here since unlike what he was famous for this film never spawned a “Jason” or even a “Ghostface.” Kinda botched the monster/killer really.

What?! For any horror film you have to look to the motif. Jason has his mask and machete. Freddy his knives and striped shirt/fedora combo. Mike Myers has the mask. And Urban Legends has the… weird winter coat that everyone seems to own? It’s super lame and the closest thing they got to a distinctive weapon was an ax. Yawn. 

Where?! New Hampshire! Where were you when we were doing What Goes Up for that one on mapl.de.map? This is delightfully set in the Granite State and I loved it for it. It’s very clear, but doesn’t play a huge role in the plot other than the note that the types of urban legends that are discussed in the film often start with “At a college in the Northeast…” B+ 

When?! We do get an exact date on this one as the date of the big party. It’s April 23rd or thereabouts… oddly clear in the film and yet noted no where on the internet (and while crazy, I won’t be renting the movie again to get the exact date). Trust me, though, it was not really all that important of a date other than the fact that it was exact… oh so very exact. B.

This movie is traaaaaash. The acting is terrible and the writing seems like they fished a dusty old slasher script out of a drawer and rewrote the bare minimum to make it a “super cool meta” Scream knockoff. The best that you can say is that they seemed to be having fun while they made it and it’s way better than the sequel. I really didn’t like this movie, but after watching the second one I was getting a bit nostalgic for all the great times I had loving, learning, and learning to love again with my dear friend Urban Legend. But don’t be tricked! This movie is terrible. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We watched not one, but two Urban Legends. Did I ever tell you about the time I was driving home and then it turned out there was an escaped serial killer in the back seat? True story, he chopped my head clean off. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – This one has been kicking around for a while (not least of which because it stars Pacey from Dawson’s Creek), and it is nice to complete another slasher franchise, albeit only two films, in the course of BMT. The only thing I think I ever really knew about it is it’s a knockoff of Scream. And the preview … yeah, it seems like that was the consensus at the time, that this is a knockoff of Scream and therefore bad. Well guess what? As long as I’m spooky scared, I’ll be happy. What were my expectations? A knockoff of Scream. The trailer also looks super late 90s, so I was hoping for a bit of amazing 90s fashion. If it is at all scary I think its a success.

The Good – Uhhhhhhhhhhh. Hm. I think there is a place for the true blue teen slasher film. I like the setting of the college campus, and even recently that ends up as a solid setting for a slasher film (and likely the reason Happy Death Day uses it as a setting as well). I think despite the film becoming a bit of a muddle in production, I really liked the look of the killer with the big winter coat. Something about killers and winter storms (a la Whiteout) works real well for me. Additionally, unlike the sequel they at least drew on some real urban legends, so some of those were good to see on film at least. And finally, I think this is probably the best I’ve seen Tara Reid in a film, she was surprisingly good considering she became somewhat of a punchline soon after. Best Bit: The killer’s design.

The Bad – The film is maybe the least scary slasher I’ve ever seen. And they completely telegraph the killer’s identity to boot. It is like an episode of Psych (or choose some equivalent generic murder mystery show), the main character has a dark secret, she killed a high school boy by accident in an urban legend prack gone wrong. Do you see it? Can you guess who the killer is? That’s right, the high school boy’s girlfriend! And of the cast only one person fits the description and voila, you have your killer 45 minutes into the film. As one would expect, the acting is really bad, and it isn’t well served by the muddled production, plus most of the characters are just garbage humans, making them hard to root for. Fatal Flaw: Predictable and not scary.

The BMT – I think as a twosome the Urban Legend franchise has a lot going for it in BMT history. You have the one-two punch of knocking off both Scream and Scream 2. You have a great concept completely ruined by half-assed production. And you have maybe the least scary two slasher films I’ve seen in a long while. Throw in the sequel being a twin flm and you’re cooking with fire! Did it meet my expectations? For enjoyment? No, the film is not scary and sucks. For a bad film? I guess … it is really bad. Like I-want-to-paint-a-portrait-of-this-film bad. So there is a lot of BMT-ness, just not a lot of “hey watch this movie, it’s hilarious”-ness.

Roast-radamus – Very nice Product Placement (What?) for Pepsi. Just wait until you see this section for the sequel, can anyone say trouble in paradise? Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for the fictional college town of Melbourne, New Hampshire. And a pretty awful Worst Twist (How?) for oooooh nooo my BFF turns out to be a psycho ex-girlfriend of the person I accidentally killed! I think this is closest to Bad in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – It doesn’t make a huge impact on lists. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure, seems like at least some critics would just hate slashers in general. This probably makes so expanded lists for worst 90s slashers. But overall the credit is fully from that Scream knockoff genre that popped up in the late 90s. This series, unlike I Know What You Did Last Summer, is unabashedly a Scream carbon copy, all the way down to a meta narrative playing off of slashers in general. And in the end if you are at all a fan of the Scream franchise this is worth checking out in that context.

I’ll have to leave that here since the Bring a Friend and Twin Analyses will be for the main film watched this week in Urban Legends: Final Cut.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Urban Legend Quiz

Whoa! Last thing I remember I was chilling on campus while a bunch of gnarly urban legend murders were happening. Scary! But I don’t remember if they caught the guy or anything … do you remember what happened in Urban Legend?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Right up top, can you name the urban legends featured in the film?

2) Our second victim (Joshua Jackson aka Pacey from Dawson’s Creek) isn’t recognized as a victim initially because he is thought to be on a trip. Where was he supposed to be going?

3) On campus there is a closed down dorm due to a spooky event that happened there that was covered up. What was the event?

4) It is revealed that Robert Englund got his professorship through not-so-academic means. How?

5) In the end, why did the killer do what the killer did?

Answers

Urban Legend Preview

“Hey Poe, what’s wrong? Looks like you saw a ghost.” Rich’s mouth has run dry at the sight of none other than Helmut Gruber. He leaps to his feet and tackles him to the ground, handcuffing him to the desk. “What the hell are you doing Poe?” the captain asks incredulously. “Let DETECTIVE Heinerich Gruber up and get to work.” Detective? Heinrich? Rich needs to get out of here and fast, but before he can leave the chief grabs his arm and stops him. “I know this is hard, but do this for Rich. The fact is that we no longer think his death was a freak dressage accident. We think it’s… murder.” Everyone gasps. Murder? But why? “For this,” the chief says and turns on a projector. On the screen is the Obsidian Dongle. Gasps ring out again. “That’s right,” the chief says, “Rich had gotten close to a seller of the Dongle. You think you can keep it cool and get this done?” Rich stops rubbing his chest and nods his head. In the car he and Gruber discuss the plan. A quick karate chop to the neck should do it. When they enter the abandoned cement factory where the deal is supposed to take place they are greeted with a gruesome scene. “Is that… the seller?” Rich asks. Gruber nods and gulps, taking in a man pinned to the wall by an arrow, his blood smeared on the wall, “Sincerely, The Sparrow.” Rich ponders for a moment. Sparrow… arrow… he turns to Gruber and asks again how Rich was killed. Gruber sighs, “Like you heard, a freak dressage accident. He got tangled in the reigns of his horse and literally rode until he couldn’t anymore.” My god, Rich thinks, we’ve got a serial killer on the loose. That’s right, we’re doubling up and crushing the Urban Legend(s) franchise. While the first is totally bereft of twins (mistake), the sequel is twin centric. Hopefully the twins are used for good instead of evil. But there’s only one way to find out. Let’s go!

Poe looks at the twin dragons circling the smoking mountain. If that’s the way back to help Rich then that’s where he will go. “How?” he asks his twin protectors. They look at each other and nod, “To defeat the twin dragons you must have strength.” Poe thinks for a moment, “So like a killer workout routine?” But the twins laugh. “No,” they say, still shaking their heads, “food… it’s munchies time.” That’s right! We’re pairing up our horror cycle with the Gremlins super-knockoff Munchies where they literally hired the editor of Gremlins and told her to make another one. Let’s go!

Urban Legend (1998) – BMeTric: 45.7; Notability: 34 

(While it is rising, this has a much lower rating that I would expect. Considering how 90s nostalgia works I would have expected people to eventually get over the comparisons to Scream and embrace it as a silly send up of Horror tropes as well. It might eventually reach mediocrity, but it still seems like the consensus is the film just isn’t that good.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – “Urban Legend” is not art. But for its teenage audience, it serves the same purpose, which is to speed the meeting of like minds. Everybody knows how it works: The guy puts his arm casually around his date’s shoulders. Onscreen, Natalie/Brenda, etc., goes poking around in the abandoned campus building where the massacre took place years ago. The Creep Chord blasts out of the Dolby speakers, everyone jumps, and if in the confusion his hand slips south, well, who says cable will ever replace the theatrical experience?

(Oh Roger, you rascal. Much like a lot of critics it feels like Ebert might have mixed feelings on the slasher as the genre. But this review truly sounds like Ebert is at the very least game to learn the tropes of the modern slasher. And it sounds like he mostly understands the purpose of something like Urban Legend, and also how it is an inferior version of the truly fun / interesting slashers of the time.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4d1_D90BwU/

(Really good concept for a slasher film. It is actually a little bit amazing it hadn’t been done in the slasher heyday of the 70s and 80s. I have to say, playing up the Englund appearance was solid, I would have easily been sold for this film just from that, as silly as it looks.)

Directors – Jamie Blanks – (Future BMT: Valentine; Long Weekend; BMT: Urban Legend; Notes: Pitched for I Know What You Did Last Summer, but the directing jobs had already been filled. Producer Moritz then tagged him for the next slasher in Urban Legend. Is now a composer for film in Australia.)

Writers – Silvio Horta (written by) – (Future BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; BMT: Urban Legend; Notes: Nominated for an Emmy as a writer for Ugly Betty. Was a consultant for P-Valley this year, although he sadly passed away last January.)

Actors – Jared Leto – (Known For: Fight Club; Blade Runner 2049; Requiem for a Dream; American Psycho; The Thin Red Line; Dallas Buyers Club; Girl, Interrupted; Panic Room; Mr. Nobody; Lord of War; How to Make an American Quilt; Lonely Hearts; Prefontaine; Future BMT: Alexander; Black and White; Suicide Squad; Chapter 27; The Outsider; Switchback; Basil; BMT: Urban Legend; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Suicide Squad in 2017; Notes: Was mostly a star in the late 90s despite winning an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club in 2014, and playing the Joker in 2016. The lead singer and songwriter for the band Thirty Seconds to Mars, which amazingly had a number two album in 2018 and several number one singles on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart.)

Alicia Witt – (Known For: Dune; Mr. Holland’s Opus; Two Weeks Notice; Citizen Ruth; Last Holiday; The Upside of Anger; Cecil B. Demented; Liebestraum; Bodies, Rest & Motion; Fun; Playing Mona Lisa; Future BMT: Bongwater; Peep World; Four Rooms; I Do; BMT: Urban Legend; A Madea Christmas; 88 Minutes; Vanilla Sky; Notes: Did a bunch of Hallmark Christmas movies in the mid-2010s. She’s also a musician, although there is little information about whether she’s charted in any meaningful way.)

Rebecca Gayheart – (Known For: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood; Scream 2; G.B.F.; Pipe Dream; Future BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Jawbreaker; Harvard Man; Nothing to Lose; Shadow Hours; BMT: Urban Legend; Notes: Was a model and at one point engaged to Brett Ratner. Is married to Eric Dane, although they filed for divorce in 2018. Convicted of vehicular manslaughter in 2001 and sentenced to probation in the accidental death of a boy in Los Angeles.)

Budget/Gross – $14,000,000 / Domestic: $38,072,438 (Worldwide: $72,527,595)

(Not exactly a Scream performance, but it still shows why pretty bad slasher schlock can be such a draw for production companies. $14 million in young actors and fake blood and you can make money hand over fist.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (12/56): Elements of Scream reappear in a vastly inferior vehicle.

(Ah interesting. Perhaps this is a little hindsight creeping in, but I guess it is understandable to view this as merely a copycat of Scream as that had temporarily resurrected the teen slasher genre. Both I Know What You Did Last Summer and this seem to have a pretty distinct premise though. Reviewer Highlight: It’s just a weary sigh over how Scream’s juicy archness has already turned into boilerplate. – Ty Burr, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Keith Urban Legend

(There is just a lot going on here. I appreciate the effort and the artistry on this one, but it’s very busy. Some nice color and spacing. Needs a distinctive font. FInally, is this somehow a play on breaking a mirror gives you bad luck? Anyway, interesting but not necessarily in a good way. C+.)

Tagline(s) – What You Don’t Believe Can Kill You. (C)

(I was trying to figure out whether this was a play on a phrase and apparently yes. “What you don’t know can’t hurt/kill you,” which is probably more commonly heard in reference to like “What Mom doesn’t know won’t kill her.”. A phrase so entrenched that cultural touchstone Murder She Wrote played on it for Episode 22 of Season 12 What You Don’t Know Can Kill You… what I’m saying is that this is taking mediocre to an entirely different level.)

Keyword – slasher flick

Top 10: Truth or Dare (2018), Unfriended: Dark Web (2018), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Candyman (1992), Halloween (2018), Scream 4 (2011), Hostel (2005), Scream 2 (1997), Happy Death Day (2017), Child’s Play (2019)

Future BMT: 82.8 Prom Night (2008), 82.5 Halloween: Resurrection (2002), 72.6 Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017), 69.3 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), 68.8 Black Christmas (2006), 68.4 Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), 65.9 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), 64.3 Valentine (2001), 63.6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 61.7 My Soul to Take (2010);

BMT: Truth or Dare (2018), Urban Legend (1998), Friday the 13th (2009), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), Friday the 13th: Part III (1982), Friday the 13th: Part 2 (1981), Jason X (2001), Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

(The genre has certainly been relegated to things like Shudder in recent years, although Blumhouse has busted out a few (which would also mean low notability as they operate on a shoestring budget). The big bump around 2004 I think might be things like Hostel where there was a flurry of torture porn all of a sudden. You can also see how it died in the mid-90s before Scream.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 7) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Alicia Witt is No. 1 billed in Urban Legend and No. 2 billed in 88 Minutes, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 = 7. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – When Paul and Natalie walk into the hidden room in Professor William Wexler’s office, a puppet of Freddy Krueger can be seen just before they see the axe. Robert Englund, who played Professor William Wexler, played Freddy Krueger in the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” films.

The killer’s outfit is based on the fact that the film was originally planned to be set in the middle of winter. When the weather was too warm, it was decided to drop the winter aspect of the storyline, rather than fake snow in all the outdoor scenes, and dress all of the extras in winter outfits, but they kept the killer’s costume. (Well it certainly was initially supposed to be winter because one of the characters goes on a ski trip to Vermont, but yeah, the date is supposed to be around April 27th during filming. Weird they didn’t change the ski trip at least)

The SUV driven in the beginning, was originally supposed to be a Land Rover. It was changed to the Ford Expedition (the largest 4×4 available at the time), because the filmmakers discovered they couldn’t swing an axe inside of a Land Rover. (I don’t believe it, this had to be product placement, that is ludicrous)

Brenda is seen wearing a blue ribbon around her neck at the end of the film, as this is a minor reference to another urban legend about a girl whose head falls off if she removes the ribbon around her neck.

Joshua Jackson (Damon Brooks) cranks his car before he takes Natalie to “that” spot in the woods. When it cranks, the radio plays Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait” from Dawson’s Creek (1998) also starring Jackson. (Booooooooooooooooooooooooo)

The book sitting on the desk in Professor William Wexler’s desk in his class, is “The Vanishing Hitchhiker”, which is one of the seminal texts on urban legends. (He is an urban legend professor after all)

Danielle Harris (Tosh) was a smoker at the time and thrilled to be allowed to smoke while working. She quickly realized that shooting scenes while smoking meant that she was going to have to smoke cigarettes for hours all day while they shot. She eventually got sick of it and quit smoking.

Rebecca Gayheart got sick after eating Pop Rocks all day for the classroom scene.

Julian Richings who plays the “Weird Janitor” later had a recurring role as “Death” on “Supernatural” (2005), the first season of which was mostly based on urban legends.(Huh … I might have to check that out actually)

At the end when students are recounting the events and one comments “Yeah and Brenda was the girl from the Noxema commercial ” – Rebecca Gayheart (Brenda) WAS the Noxema girl in the commercials at that time. (This is all very Scream which is pretty dumb)

Filmed at the same university as “Killer Party” (1986), another campus-set slasher. Incidentally, both films feature a costume party at a fraternity, characters being targeted by a masked killer, and an urban legend about murder at an abandoned dormitory. (Huh, now I REALLY have to watch that one)

The film was inspired by the huge success of “Scream” (1996), and whereas that film was a self-aware satire of horror film tropes, this one is a self-aware satire on urban legends. The film’s negative reception was a result of many critics finding the film to have been an imitation of “Scream”.

The film’s fictional location is Melbourne, New Hampshire. Director Jamie Blanks home city is Melbourne, Australia.This film co-starred two of Hollywood’s most iconic mass murderers. Brad Dourif, who portrays Chucky in the “Child’s Play/Chucky” films, and Robert Englund, who played Freddy Krueger in the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” films.

The Blue Lagoon Recap

Jamie

Em and Richard are a couple of crazy kids marooned on a tropical island. Fending for themselves they grow up together and eventually (beautifully, magically, truly, madly, and deeply) fall in love and start boning. Will they get rescued and ruin their perfect tropical utopia… uh… before it’s too late? Find out in… The Blue Lagoon.

How?! Em and Richard are on a trip to San Fran to start a new life with Richard’s father (Em’s uncle… just to be clear). Or are they? That’s because the ship catches fire and they are stranded on a deserted tropical island that is somehow not on any maps… which is never explained… like a lot of things in this film. With only the ship’s cook, Paddy, for company they learn to survive and live peacefully on the island until one night when Paddy swims off drunk and turns up dead. Sadly they take the boat and find a secluded blue lagoon to start anew. Growing up together they are pretty rambunctious, but also learning about themselves and life and love and the world and everything and it’s beautiful and natural. Richard is kinda crushing on Em and Em is kinda crushing on Richard, but their love is so natural that they aren’t sure what to do about it. That is until Em is almost killed when she steps on a poisonous fish and Richard nurses her back to health. From that point their natural and beautiful love blossoms all while they contemplate the existence of other people on the island and the concept of rescue from their beautiful love paradise. A short time later things start changing for Em and she ends up having a baby. They happily raise the youngster and everything is beautiful and natural and even when a ship arrives bearing their father/uncle looking for them they look at the ugly, unnatural thing and walk away. Happy to continue their life they go off to another part of the island, but end up drifting away and losing their oars. Cornered by a shark and facing certain death they sadly all eat poisonous berries and wait for sweet relief. A ship eventually arrives and finds them and when they check if they are alive they say yes, but sleeping… but they are probably dead (or are they?). They are. THE END.

Why?! Why do the birds sing? Why do bees make honey? Why are there so many creepy films like this? There just are and this film just is. Em and Richard simply live and through their natural, beautiful lives a natural, beautiful love blossoms and they naturally and beautifully bone. Ya dig?

Who?! It’s occasionally interesting to look at the child actors in a film. But only occasionally, as often they aren’t in much besides the film on hand. Here we have several youngsters portraying younger version of the main cast. Interestingly the young Brooke Shields/Em is portrayed by Elva Josephine who also appeared in a couple other possible BMT films. I say possible because early 80’s films can be tricky to figure out whether they were even poorly reviewed… like is Author! Author! a BMT film? Impossible to tell.

What?! Hard to do anything typical for this section so I’ll just highlight the fact that this film is rife with dropped plot lines. Like there is a whole setup for the tiny island they are on to be occasionally visited by natives of another island in order to pray to a god and perform human sacrifice. This, of course, never comes to any climax. No confrontation. No resolution as to how or why or where these natives are coming from. Nothing. That’s just solid storytelling.

Where?! We ended up determining that this was allowed for the Exotic Setting cycle primarily because Oceania would be quite bare if we didn’t start making up new places for the mapl.de.map. So welcome to the Creepy Sexy Blue Lagoon. It’s located somewhere off of South America in the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy the creepy, sexy fun. B, but only because while the setting is obviously vital, it’s not very specific by design.

When?! Somehow the most interesting part of this film was trying to figure out when this all took place. Patrick did some research and it seemed to line up with sometime in the late 1800’s. Then the second film goes ahead and lets us know that the shipwreck at the beginning of this film takes place in 1882 and covers 15 years from then till 1897. Good to know for my year-by-year film timeline where I try to get film set in every year for all eternity. D-

I guess I expected worse. Is that possible? I thought this would be extremely uncomfortable viewing given the reputation of the film, but it just turned out to be merely boring. It really does serve the stated purpose: chaste, “natural” love of two people who know nothing but the island they grew up on (arguably less than that). Basically the Adam and Eve story down to them eating from forbidden/poisonous fruit at the end. And despite casting a 14-year-old Brooke Shields, you could see all the camera tricks they were using to switch out body doubles for particular scenes. It’s biggest crime is the overall portrayal of love itself, which is so wildly dumb and unrealistic that you wonder if people were insane in the 70’s and 80’s. It’s hard to imagine who this film was for. Certainly not me. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Ooooooooo, Natural Loooooooooooooorve. That’s sung to the same turn as Endless Love. Don’t worry about it. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I think these two films have always been on the radar for us. This is somewhat notable as one of the original Razzie films, and for the way they had to film due to Brooke Shields being 14 at the time. This is also technically one of the first non-qualifying BMT films we’ve done in years and years. It doesn’t technically qualify because there is no official record of how many theaters it was released to. Rest assured though, the film allegedly made over $50 million, so there is absolutely no way it wasn’t a wide release if that is true. So we’ve ruled that it counts at BMTHQ, two votes to zero, a unanimous decision. What were my expectations? I mean, I guess I hoped it was going to be merely boring. I feared that it was going to be a super creepy and exploitative film with a half naked 14-year-old model running around.

The Good – If you don’t mind the slow late-60s / early-70s style pacing to the film, then you could probably sustain yourself on the vistas alone. It is a beautiful film no matter how you cut it. I liked some of the characters, like Paddy. And overall the storyline was a fairly realistic version of what they could have done. There is a version of this movie that descends into madness, with cannibal natives and pirates and all kinds of stuff. They resist that and keep the film laser focused on *gulp* … Natural Love.

The Bad – The film is sooooooooo boring. Nothing happens in this film. It is a whole lotta montages, and fishing, and walking through jungles, and rowing. A bunch of animal reaction shots and vistas. That’s it. The two leads are awful, although Shields could be forgiven, and by all accounts became a serviceable actress in the 90s. The Natural Love story ages extremely poorly … there was a time when things like this and Endless Love and other films show you some weirdo version of “young love” and I just don’t get it. It could not come across as creepier. Ultimately the film is merely okay (if boring) and then just craps out right in the end when they just … float off into nothingness to die? Great. At least we get a wild eyed Mr. Feeny at times, floating about looking for his long lost son Richard.

The BMT – I think this has a poor legacy in the end. Mainly because the sequel has loads more cred. If this actually explicitly said it was set in like Fiji, it would have immediately had a ton of Setting longevity. Instead it has to be set on an uninhabited island only vaguely near Fiji (if you believe the book). I think I prefer ultimately to remember Return to the Blue Lagoon over this one. Did it meet my expectations? I think so. It was boring, and wasn’t so creepy I felt like I was committing some sort of crime. I’ll call that a win. It certainly could have gone the other way quite easily.

Roast-radamus – Definitely a solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for the uninhabited and unidentified Palm Island where both films take place. You really get to know these places by the end of things, you know? And why not, let’s give it a Worst Twist (How?) for the family drifting slowly off to sea, deciding to kill themselves, and then in an incredible coincidence getting saved (? Turns out not to be the case in the sequel, but whatever) right at the last minute by Mr. Feeny. And I think this has an okay shot at Bad if anything for being boring.

StreetCreditReport.com – There is no way you can really find lists for films from 1980. But the cred comes from the film winning the first ever Worst Actress Razzie for Shields. If this came out a few years later I don’t think she wins, instead she would have gotten the not-yet-developed-and-now-defunct Worst New Star, but whatever. It is probably one of the worst shipwreck films as well … the issue with all of this is that no matter how much cred you want to get it, Return to the Blue Lagoon will always beat it out!

You Just Got Schooled – There have been several adaptations of The Blue Lagoon over the years, and luckily The Blue Lagoon from 1949 is available on YouTube. This film is a wild departure from the 1980 film and original 1904 novel it seems (it appears that the 1980 is a very very faithful adaptation of the book). It takes place maybe 20 years after the setting of the novel, and there is a big interlude in the middle in which two criminals come to the island and attempt to trick Michael into getting pearls for them. The sequence is somewhat similar to the sequence in Return to the Blue Lagoon, in which outsiders come to the island and the traumatic experience dissuades out heroes from attempting escape from the island for a time. Somewhat constructed from a series of vignettes, I do think this was a slightly more successful version of the story. The religious undertones seem to serve a story of the downfall of man through the thirst for knowledge a bit better when it is slightly more explicit (all the way down to Eve causing the downfall of Adam, yikes!). It probably helps that it seems more genuine in a film from 1949 as well, as there is no possibility the movie was made just to show half naked young women running about. C+. A bit boring in the end, but an interesting contrast to the overly faithful 1980 adaptation here.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Blue Lagoon Quiz

Oh boy, you see, what happened was I was making fun of my best shipwreck friend Brooke Shields and she threw a coconut at me and bopped me on the head with it! I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in The Blue Lagoon?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Richard and Emmeline Lestrange are travelling with Richard’s father Arthur through the South Pacific, but boy howdy does their boat get in trouble and they have to abandon ship. How are Richard and Emmeline related and where were they headed?

2) Richard and Emmeline are shipwrecked with the ship’s cook Paddy, who gives them two “laws” to live by. What are these two laws?

3) How does Paddy die?

4) What traumatic event brings the, now grown up, Lestranges closer together to begin their “natural love” romantic relationship?

5) How do they end up drifting out to sea, possibly dying in the process (it is unclear whether they are dead at the end of this film, although it is clarified in the sequel)

Answers

The Blue Lagoon Preview

“Oy, mates!” screams Alligator Steve as he hops down from Bessy and greets Rich and Poe. Apparently, in the scuffle with the gamemasters he also fell through the portal and ended up back in his homeland. “All for the best,” he says with a wink. He watches in amusement as Tiniman’s army moves quickly away through the fire desert. With a slap on the back he invites Rich and Poe back to his village where they partake in some traditional shrimp on the barbie and hear the legend of their giant alligator friends. It’s all very exciting and interesting. “Do you think, Steve,” Poe asks, “that maybe we are supposed to help you win this war? That that’s the purpose of this part of the game?” But Steve isn’t so sure. The gamemasters seemed mighty suspicious of their behavior back at the school. “War is war, mates. You don’t want any part of it. Take Bessie and head out to the islands,” he says pointing to some beautiful tropical islands off the coast. “No will find you there. You will live a beautiful natural life full of natural beauty and wonder. It’ll be a magical time that everyone will be interested in because of how beautiful it is. And perchance you will find love there with the beautiful natural denizens of the island and it will be beautiful and natural and not creepy because how could something so beautiful and natural be creepy, right?” …. right. They try to convince him that they don’t need Bessie, but Steve is insistent that he’ll be alright. There’s a reason they call him Lil’ Bessie, mighty warrior. Just before they leave Rich and Poe look back at Steve one more time and ask hesitantly, “so this definitely isn’t a weird, creepy place, right?” That’s right! We’re watching the double feature of The Blue Lagoon and The Return to the Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields and Milla Jovovich, respectively. Panned at the time by critics for a variety of reasons they’ve mostly been remembered as films about nude young people falling in love on an island… which isn’t a great look. They are both set on an undiscovered island in the Pacific, which was good enough for us. Let’s go!

The Blue Lagoon (1980) – BMeTric: 39.0; Notability: 17 

(Huh … I can’t really think of setting something like this with 2012-2014 shooting up and then levelling off after. I can’t really explain that. The rating is really a lot higher than I would have expected … I would have thought this would be in the low 5.0s at highest. So maybe a good sign for it being at least vaguely interesting?)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Remake of the 1949 film is little more than softcore cinema for the heavy-petting set, as two children become sexually aware of each other after being shipwrecked on an island for several years. Nestor Almendros’ photography can’t save it. Followed over a decade later by Return to the Blue Lagoon.

(Yes this seems like a fair review. The entire series just seems like an exercise in seeing how far some people could go to making a film where teenagers have sex on screen … turns out it isn’t very far, they (blessedly) show very little throughout the series in the end.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nC0EdXk_2g/

(Lol the VHS tracking. That legit seems like Rochelle, Rochelle, an erotic journey from Moscow to Minsk … but in real life. Wait … I think I have a totally different perspective on this film now. It could be my Rochelle, Rochelle.)

Directors – Randal Kleiser – (Known For: Grease; Flight of the Navigator; Honey, I Blew Up the Kid; White Fang; It’s My Party; Getting It Right; Future BMT: Lovewrecked; Big Top Pee-wee; Summer Lovers; BMT: The Blue Lagoon; Notes: A television director in the 70s his career took off after he landed Grease. He was nominated for an Emmy for The Gathering in 1978 starring Ed Asner.)

Writers – Henry De Vere Stacpoole (based on the novel by) – (Future BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; BMT: The Blue Lagoon; Notes: Born in 1863 he was a ship’s surgeon for forty years and was considered an expert in the South Pacific where his novels tended to take place.)

Douglas Day Stewart (screenplay by) – (Known For: An Officer and a Gentleman; Future BMT: Thief of Hearts; BMT: The Scarlet Letter; The Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; Notes: An Officer and a Gentleman (for which he was nominated for an Oscar) was based on his life. I think The Scarlet Letter killed his career as he hasn’t really written anything since.)

Actors – Brooke Shields – (Known For: The Other Guys; Pretty Baby; Hannah Montana: The Movie; The Midnight Meat Train; Freeway; Alice, Sweet Alice; Chalet Girl; Freaked; The Muppets Take Manhattan; Daisy Winters; King of the Gypsies; Future BMT: The Bachelor; Black and White; Cannonball Fever; The Hot Flashes; BMT: Furry Vengeance; Endless Love; The Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for The Blue Lagoon in 1981; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Sahara in 1985; Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Speed Zone in 1990; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1982 for Endless Love; and in 1985 for Sahara; Nominee for Worst Actress of the Century in 2000 for Endless Love, Sahara, and The Blue Lagoon; and Nominee for Worst Actress of the Decade in 1990 for Cannonball Fever, Endless Love, Sahara, and The Blue Lagoon; Notes: Notably was 14 during filming and they had to use a body double extensively during the film. Was mainly famous as a model, and was briefly married to Andre Agassi. Also starred in as the titular Susan in Suddenly Susan for which she was nominated for two Golden Globes.)

Christopher Atkins – (Known For: It’s My Party; 13th Child; Future BMT: The Pirate Movie; BMT: The Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for A Night in Heaven in 1984; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Listen to Me in 1990; Nominee for Worst Actor for The Pirate Movie in 1983; Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for A Night in Heaven, A Night in Heaven, Listen to Me, Listen to Me, The Blue Lagoon, The Blue Lagoon, The Pirate Movie, and The Pirate Movie; and Nominee for Worst New Star of the Decade in 1990 for A Night in Heaven, A Night in Heaven, Listen to Me, Listen to Me, The Blue Lagoon, The Blue Lagoon, The Pirate Movie, and The Pirate Movie; Notes: His first film role, he became a TV movie star in the 90s, and was in the third Blue Lagoon film.)

Leo McKern – (Known For: The Omen; Ladyhawke; A Man for All Seasons; Omen II: Damien; The French Lieutenant’s Woman; Ryan’s Daughter; Help!; The Mouse That Roared; The Day the Earth Caught Fire; X the Unknown; The Shoes of the Fisherman; Molokai; King & Country; Children of the Damned; BMT: The Blue Lagoon; Notes: Australian, he had an incredibly long career, although he stopped taking roles in the 90s and died in 2002. He was Rumpole in the British television program Rumpole of the Bailey from 1978 to 1992.)

Budget/Gross – $4.5 million / Domestic: $58,853,106 (Worldwide: $58,853,106)

(That is a giant success. Such a big success I’m actually skeptical of that number … it kind of makes no sense when I think about it. $60 million? To watch a boring film about people lost on an island? And then you don’t make a sequel for 12 years? I’m not really buying it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (2/22): A piece of lovely dreck, The Blue Lagoon is a naughty fantasy that’s also too chaste to be truly entertaining.

(All of the reviews are really along those lines. That we should be ashamed of ourselves for wanting to see the ultra-sexual version promised … but that ultimately you end up being equally disappointed that we got the opposite of that. Reviewer Highlight: The Blue Lagoon is the dumbest movie of the year. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – The Creepy Sexy Lagoon

(My god, what mad man would look at that poster and be like “yup, nailed it. I gotta see that film. It is both horrible aesthetically and practically. Were they aiming to put the entire novel on the poster hoping that huge Blue Lagoon fans would come a-running? This is nonsense. D-. Getting a bump from whatever that terrible font is. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I feel like I shouldn’t bleach my hair and get a perm. The font was actually quite fun to recreate if a little arduous. This poster is bonkers, but easier to mock than you would think.)

Tagline(s) – A story of natural love. (C-)

(Having already watched the film, I find this tagline curious. It really does seem like they want to lure people in under the guise of titillation. And yet the film is so tame that I can’t really imagine that was actually the purpose. Not offensive though… not structurally as a tagline, at least.)

Keyword – shipwreck

Top 10: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), Titanic (1997), Dunkirk (2017), Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Midway (2019), Aquaman (2018), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Life of Pi (2012)

Future BMT: 68.1 The Darkest Hour (2011), 56.0 Ri¢hie Ri¢h (1994), 42.2 Pan (2015), 39.4 Into the Blue (2005), 34.0 Robinson Crusoe (2016), 33.9 Shark Tale (2004), 33.1 Leviathan (1989), 31.0 Rugrats Go Wild (2003), 27.7 Insurgent (2015), 22.8 After the Sunset (2004);

BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Point Break (2015), Ghost Ship (2002), Fool’s Gold (2008), Godzilla (1998), Pompeii (2014), Lost in Space (1998)

(Titanic is the big on there, but then Cast Away is in 2000, so really it had a moment from maybe 1997 to 2005 or whatever. We are actually watching The Darkest Hour coming up, so that’s exciting.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Brooke Shields is No. 1 billed in The Blue Lagoon and No. 3 billed in Furry Vengeance, which also stars Brendan Fraser (No. 1 billed) who is in Escape from Planet Earth (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 4 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Extraordinary Measures we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – After seeing the movie, John Gibbons, a herpetologist (reptile scientist) at the University of the South Pacific, realized that the iguanas that appeared in the film were a distinct species that had never been seen or documented by scientists before. Afterward, he visited Nanuya Levu, the Fiji island where the movie was made, and named the species the Fiji Crested Iguana.

Most of the nude scenes depicting Emmeline Lestrange include a body double. Brooke Shields always had to have her hair glued to her chest for the other scenes. (Makes sense considering the next note…)

Brooke Shields was only 14 when the movie was made.

Brooke Shields’ original body double broke her back. Her replacement was originally hired to catch or train dolphins; she was the right body type, so she was used as a nude double. (She broke her back? That … is crazy)

It was the director’s original concept to have the two grown characters play the entire film in the nude, which scared off many actors (including Jennifer Jason Leigh, who was the first choice for the female lead). After Leigh passed on the project, the producers offered Diane Lane and Willie Aames the film after screen-testing them together in Mexico, where Lane was shooting a Western, but the pair discussed the nudity together after the crew left and called a few days later to say they wouldn’t do the film, either. With shooting set to begin in a matter of days, the desperate director agreed to let Shields make the film predominantly clothed, with a body double employed for the nude scenes. With that settled, the casting director returned to the thousands of audition tapes they had made over the course of a year, and decided Christopher Atkins would be all right if he permed his hair to look more savage. (Ha … I mean the only amusing note is that he had to have his hair permed)

The double for Christopher Atkins was initially one of the seaplane pilots flying staff and crew from the Fiji mainland to the island where the movie was shot. He did most of the nude scenes with Brooke Shields’ double as well as a few of the minor stunts.

Although the movie had a lukewarm reception in the US and was disliked by a great many critics, it is a highly popular nostalgic movie in countries like Romania and Hungary, as well as in Brazil, and is frequently rerun on television. (Huh, was it just kind of cheap movie they could run on television?)

Carrie Fisher turned down the role of Emmeline Lestrange due to her commitment with Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980). (Good)

Sean Penn lost out to Christopher Atkins on the final day of auditions for the role of Richard Lestrange. (Ugh … good)

This was the ninth most popular film of 1980 at the US and Canadian box offices. (Which is why it was definitely a wide release film, despite there not being any data on how many theaters it was released to)

The novel on which the film is based was inspired by the classic French novel “Paul et Virginie” (1788), by Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. (Huh, so it is a movie based on a book that was also based on a different book?)

This film is listed among the 100 Most Amusingly Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson’s book “The Official Razzie Movie Guide”. (That book is a rough read let me tell you, just really poorly put together)

Christopher Atkins claimed that after this movie came out, every role he was offered contained a nude scene that “wanted to show off” his buttocks. (HA)

Included on Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list. (Makes sense)

In the US the film was given an “R” rating, and in the UK it was given the AA rating before getting a 15 certificate upon its VHS release for its graphic nudity and sexual content. However, when it was released in New Zealand, it was given the R13 rating, which was changed to PG when it was released on VHS. It was also given the PG rating in Australia.

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Cinematography (Néstor Almendros, 1981)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brooke Shields, 1981)

Crocodile Dundee II Recap

Jamie

Crocodile Dundee is back, Jack! And boy is he still having trouble adjusting to life in the Big Apple. When Sue gets caught up in a dangerous story about Colombian drug traffickers, it’s up to Mick to save her and save the day. Can he stop the bad guys with his powers of the Australian outback? Find out in… Crocodile Dundee II.

How?! Crocodile Dundee is living it up in NYC. But it’s not all that fun just hanging out. It’s time to get a job and boy howdy is that a hoot. That is until Sue’s ex-husband/journalist gets her embroiled in a dangerous expose about a murderous Colombian drug lord. Oh no! When Sue is kidnapped, it’s up to ol’ Croc D (as the kids call him) to jump into the fray with the help of some bee-boppin’ teen troublemakers. He’s able to snag Sue back and escape to the Australian bush. On his territory the drug lord is at a disadvantage and Crocodile Dundee makes them look silly at every turn. He’s able to slowly pick apart their crew until they take them all out and Sue and everyone is safe. Long live, Crocodile Dundee! Wait… is this seriously all this movie is about? Let me look back on my notes… yup. This is literally the entire plot of the film. THE END.

Why?! Hmmm, well this is more like a situation than a real motivation. Crocodile Dundee and Sue would have probably just kept on living their lives if it wasn’t for the pesky Colombian drug lord. It’s almost like they wrote a film where the entire motivation was Crocodile Dundee wanting to get a job, but then realized that that’s more like an SNL sketch and not a real movie. So then they added in the life or death stakes of international drug smuggling (naturally).

Who?! It’s always funny to find all the different types of people to feature for this category. We highlighted Nobel Prize winning characters for god’s sake. But I rarely highlight the kid actors in a film. Usually it’s not particularly notable. Here, though, there are a few kids that Crocodile Dundee shows off to and one of them is Tatyana Ali. It was her first role ever and she didn’t appear in another feature film until… Kiss the Girls! Woooooaaahhhhhh.

What?! There isn’t much to say for this. When Crocodile Dundee shows off his patented Croc D Never-Miss Throw, he uses the classic red and white can of a delicious coke. Not only do the colors pop on the screen, but it’s refreshing too. But not a super great entry for this one… that has to wait for the third film. Hoooo weeeee.

Where?! All the Crocodile Dundee films are pretty good for setting. The first was a fish out of water tale of an Australian man from the bush being dropped in NYC. Now he’s gotten his feet in NYC, but must save Sue by bringing the Colombian drug lord to the bush. So now the drug lord is the fish out of water… and Crocodile Dundee is the dynamite. A

When?! Oh, I don’t know. It feels like the summer. He’s out fishing in the Hudson and the like. But I don’t think it was made very clear. It’s like Croc D (as the kids call him) exists outside of time. He’s just ambling through his day dealing with whatever animals cross his path.

There are definitely some positives for the film. Like Sue and Croc D (as the kids call him) still have that sexy charm that we know and love. He’s also still funny being the laid-back tough Australian. But the plot really lacked and they didn’t really know what to do for the sequel other than just retread a tired 80’s plot. It’s almost more like a TV pilot than an actual movie. It also doesn’t help that there are some truly bonkers potentially offensive jokes sprinkled throughout. But then again, I think it was the same case with the first film (and spoiler alert, the third film). I still don’t think the film is that bad considering the characters are still the same. But also nothing to write home about… or even write much about in a recap. This has got to be some record for brevity in a BMT post. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If I made this movie I would call it Crocodile Dundee: Back to the Bush. Just so you’re like “whoa, I’m so happy they are going back to Australia!” You know? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – This has been a long time coming. I watched Crocodile Dundee ages ago and, no surprise, I loved it. A surprisingly good film. You’d think it would be kind of cheesy and dumb, but nope. Rather heartfelt stuff. Obviously the third one is the premier BMT prospect, but maybe this one could be bad as well? We’d just have to watch and see. What were my expectations? More of the same I suppose. It is the most plausible explanation, once the shine of the originality of the first film wears off what you are left with is just a boring retread.

The Good – The last maybe 30 minutes of this film is actually quite charming and fun. It is nice seeing Crocodile Dundee in his element owning big city losers in the outback. A little odd to say considering the entire film franchise is based around the concept of a fish out of water. The character is just more fun when he’s in water, what can I say? While the acting can get a bit dicey, I thought the bad guy was pretty good. He exudes a very menacing calmness that combines with his obvious arrogance well. And I think Hogan and Kozlowski have as good of chemistry as ever.

The Bad – The story is just like … a different story with Crocodile Dundee inserted into it? The original was literally just a romantic comedy between the two leads taking place in Australia and New York City (in a reverse of this film). But here, seemingly unable to think about what to do with Dundee, they just decide to involve him in an international drug smuggling conspiracy. Why? Hogan complained in interviews about how he didn’t want Dundee to just become James Bond, but then why did you write the first sequel as basically a knockoff James Bond?! It is truly bizarre and almost sinks the entire film. The middle bit is very weird as well involving a very nice man named Leroy Brown, and a comic Warriors-esque gang of youths. Oh and the inevitable homophobic joke that also pokes fun at suicide.

The BMT – This film is a lot better of a BMT that I would have expected. The entire storyline is insane. Like … why is Crocodile Dundee battling a drug kingpin again? Weird choice. It’ll be overshadowed by the third film for sure, but maybe it shouldn’t be. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them. I expected a boring retread, and instead I got an insane international drug kingpin story! There are just enough weird bits (the gang in particular in the middle of the film out of nowhere) to sustain the film until you get to Australia. Once you get to Australia the film actually is kind of good.

Roast-radamus –  I think there is a pretty strong Setting as  a Character (Where?) for New York City and Australia. The double team is actually pretty great, and they make rural Australia seem a lot more welcoming and beautiful than a lot of Americans probably think. I do think there is a minor Product Placement (What?). No, not for Australia. Well, not directly. All three films seem to be subtle commercials for Fosters (it’s Australian for beer don’t you know?). There is a pretty awesome MacGuffin (Why?) involving pictures of the drug kingpin literally murdering a man in the open. The entire plot of the film hinges on Dundee getting involved in that nonsense. It’ll be closest to Good but I don’t think it’ll get there. As I said, it is actually a pretty good BMT because it is so weird at times.

StreetCreditReport.com – Sorry Crocodile Dundee II, you got no cred! At least, I don’t think this film was particularly poorly regarded at the time, just kind of meh. All of the cred comes from the third film at this point. Without the third film I bet we would have watched the two Crocodile Dundee films, thought the second wasn’t that bad, and wondered why a third wasn’t made. It is the second worst Crocodile Dundee film, so it has that going for it.

You Just Got Schooled – I’m going to skip this bit because no joke no one in this film seems to be in a non-qualifying film to watch. Check out the Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles recap to read my review of the original film.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Kiss the Girls Preview

As Rich and Poe approach an encampment with Sorsaron and Brawln they reflect on the walk through the waste. It sure was a walk to remember during which Poe met a wandering beauty and fell in love only to have her perish due to a rare medical condition. It was all very sweet and yet devastating. But no need to dwell on the past, time to focus on the future and the task at hand. As they peer down toward the camp they are told that the gamemaster spoke of the goblins within as thieves who stole a magical crown that would help Sorsaron and Brawln escape back to their dimension. “The Crown of Blizarion?” asks Rich and the centaur nods his head, “You’ve also heard of its power? Get it for us and we’ll take you to the school.” Rich and Poe are confused as to why everything feels so familiar and yet slightly different, but agree to the task nonetheless. First off they must ingratiate themselves with the goblins. While Rich wants to mesmerize and bewilder with their chiseled abs and spectacular dance moves, Poe has a different idea. A short time later they bust into camp. “Police!” they shout and the goblins freeze, demanding to know what they’ve done wrong. “How about a little thing called… MURDER!” shouts Rich waving his gun wildly around the crowd. The goblins gasp and implore them to help find the real culprit, for they are innocent. Rich and Poe agree and ask to take a quick look around, particularly in places where people hide things. The goblins sigh with relief, “thank you, officers. What are your names?” At that Rich and Poe look at each other. “Uh… well… this is Officer Chriss and I’m Officer Cross. Officers Chriss and Cross.” That’s right! We’re diving (back) into the world of Alex Cross only seven years after watching Tyler Perry play the character in Alex Cross. This time should be better as we get the precursors Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Both star Morgan Freeman and had considerably better reviews than the later adaptation, but still bad enough for us. I’m ready for some thrills and/or chills. Let’s go!

Kiss the Girls (1997) – BMeTric: 16.1; Notability: 50 

KisstheGirlsIMDb_BMeT

KisstheGirlsIMDb_RV

(Honestly, given the rest of this preview, that 6.6 is right on target. It seems like maybe at the time it wasn’t very well received, but some of the reviews feel like maybe it actually wasn’t that bad.)

RogerEbert.com – 3.5 stars – When the film is over and we know all of its secrets, there’s one we’d like to know more about: What exactly is the dynamic of the relationship between the two most twisted members of the cast? But being left with such a question is much more satisfactory than being given the answer in shorthand Freudian terms. What we’re also left with is the real sense of having met two very particular people in the leads. Freeman and Judd are so good, you almost wish they’d decided not to make a thriller at all–had simply found a way to construct a drama exploring their personalities.

(This actually might legit be the best review we’ve ever features on a recent BMT film! Basically, Freeman and Judd are good actors and it is a fine thriller … so why does everyone seem to hate this film? Hinteresting. Methinks I’m going to enjoy this film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiHGk64-eNE/

(I like this old school trailer. Also a bit surprising that they manage to give away a good chunk of the film, but then don’t touch on The Gentleman Caller. So they manage to restrain themselves possibly as a red herring to distract the audience from realizing the two killers are distinct people initially.)

Directors – Gary Fleder – (Known For: Homefront; The Express; Runaway Jury; Future BMT: Impostor; Don’t Say a Word; Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead; BMT: Kiss the Girls; Notes: Primarily has stuck to television more recently, and is primarily a producer at this point. Homefront I think was his most recent feature release in 2013.)

Writers – James Patterson (novel) – (Known For: Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life; Future BMT: Along Came a Spider; BMT: Alex Cross; Kiss the Girls; Notes: He started as an advertising executive for Burger King.)

David Klass (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Desperate Measures; Walking Tall; Emperor; BMT: Kiss the Girls; Notes: Has produced and written a handful of Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes.)

Actors – Morgan Freeman – (Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Seven; Batman Begins; Unforgiven; Lucy; Oblivion; Deep Impact; Now You See Me; Olympus Has Fallen; War of the Worlds; Million Dollar Baby; Wanted; Going in Style; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; RED; Gone Baby Gone; The Lego Movie; Bruce Almighty; Future BMT: Evan Almighty; Just Getting Started; Edison; The Nutcracker and the Four Realms; Eye for an Eye; Chain Reaction; The Contract; Ben-Hur; Momentum; Last Knights; Along Came a Spider; High Crimes; Now You See Me 2; Harry & Son; Feast of Love; Levity; That Was Then… This Is Now; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Dreamcatcher; The Bonfire of the Vanities; London Has Fallen; Hard Rain; Transcendence; Angel Has Fallen; Kiss the Girls; Notes: He became so concerned about the decline in honeybees that he turned his 100+ acre estate into a bee sanctuary.)

Ashley Judd – (Known For: Heat; Divergent; Olympus Has Fallen; Natural Born Killers; A Time to Kill; Frida; A Dog’s Way Home; Bug; De-Lovely; Dolphin Tale; Simon Birch; Smoke; Barry; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; Animal Attraction; Dolphin Tale 2; Ruby in Paradise; Helen; Normal Life; Come Early Morning; Future BMT: Tooth Fairy; Eye of the Beholder; Allegiant; Insurgent; The Identical; Kuffs; Good Kids; High Crimes; Flypaper; Big Stone Gap; Double Jeopardy; The Passion of Darkly Noon; Crossing Over; Where the Heart Is; Trafficked; BMT: Twisted; Kiss the Girls; Notes: IT was rumored that she would run for Senate in Kentucky where she went to college, but ultimately decided not to.)

Cary Elwes – (Known For: Bram Stoker’s Dracula; The Princess Bride; No Strings Attached; Saw; Liar Liar; Twister; The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn; Hot Shots!; Robin Hood: Men in Tights; Glory; The Jungle Book; Ella Enchanted; A Christmas Carol; Shadow of the Vampire; Lady Jane; Whisper of the Heart; Porco Rosso; The Cat Returns; Another Country; The Cat’s Meow; Future BMT: The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure; Behaving Badly; Black Christmas; Saw 3D; Edison; The Alphabet Killer; Billionaire Boys Club; Days of Thunder; The Crush; The Chase; Collection; Sugar Mountain; The Bride; The Queen of Spain; The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot; Factory Girl; Delhi Safari; Being Charlie; BMT: New Year’s Eve; Georgia Rule; Kiss the Girls; Notes: Was recently features in the third season of the smash hit streaming television program Stranger Things.)

Budget/Gross – $27,000,000 / Domestic: $60,527,873 (Worldwide: $60,527,873)

(That’s not great I don’t think. You would have expected more from a Morgan Freeman vehicle in the late 90s. Bad thrillers though probably had terrible word of mouth back in the day.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 29% (9/31): Detective Alex Cross makes his inauspicious cinematic debut in Kiss the Girls, a clunky thriller that offers few surprises.

(Surprises? This must have come out right when a few thrillers really smashed the Twist-y McTwist side of thrillers out of the park. As a matter of fact Primal Fear did come out the year prior. Reviewer Highlight: Even those engrossed by the build-up here are likely to kiss off the rest after suffering through Girls’ groaner of a wrap-up. – Mike Clark, USA Today)

Poster – Kiss the Sklogs (C-)

kiss_the_girls

(Ha. Well… this is less than a stellar effort. Looks like Alex Cross is going to battle a spooky ghost or something. Only good thing is the pop of color that ghost brings with it. But also not offensive.)

Tagline(s) – A detective is searching for a deadly collector. His only hope is the woman who got away. (D)

(They chose the wrong tagline for the poster. This is too long and not clever. It’s just telling us what the basic premise of the film is… and wasting our time in the process. It is still at least understandable.)

Keyword – serial killer

KisstheGirls_serial killer

Top 10: Joker (2019), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Pulp Fiction (1994), Zodiac (2007), Heat (1995), Shutter Island (2010), Split (2016), Glass (2019), Seven (1995), American Psycho (2000); 

Future BMT: 74.3 Psycho (1998), 68.4 Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), 65.9 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), 64.3 Valentine (2001), 63.6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 62.4 The Hills Have Eyes II (2007), 59.1 Child’s Play 3 (1991), 57.6 Sorority Row (2009), 55.8 Jury Duty (1995), 51.1 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010); 

BMT: The Snowman (2017), Kiss the Girls (1997), Friday the 13th (2009), Basic Instinct 2 (2006), Cobra (1986), Leprechaun (1993), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Zoolander 2 (2016), Color of Night (1994), Alex Cross (2012), Righteous Kill (2008), Species II (1998), Untraceable (2008), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Jade (1995), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Twisted (2004), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), 88 Minutes (2007), Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Bless the Child (2000)

(For a bit I wondered if notability tailing off like that was a quirk of the underlying data, but I don’t think so. I legitimately think “thrillers”, much like horror, went through a popularity boom and bust in the late-90s and early 2000s. They now mostly got to VOD with smaller big names. This was one of the big ones in the 90s though.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Morgan Freeman is No. 1 billed in Kiss the Girls and No. 5 billed in Transcensdence, which also stars Paul Bettany (No. 2 billed) who is in Firewall (No. 2 billed), which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 5 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 17. If we were to watch Chain Reaction, Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Ashley Judd took kick-boxing lessons from stuntman David Lea before filming. She insisted on doing many of her own stunts, but the studio finally put their foot down, when she wanted to leap off a 150 foot waterfall. A stuntman, wearing a wig, made the jump instead, narrowly missing the rocks as he plummeted through the falls to the water below. (Uh … yeah you can see it, he gets really close. I can’t believe they put it in the movie)

Gillian Anderson was initially going to play Dr. Kate McTiernan during her hiatus from The X Files (1993). (Huh interesting. They are the exact same age)

At one point, Denzel Washington was to star, but he had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts, and Morgan Freeman was brought into the project. (That would have been a cool Alex Cross)

A split diopter lens is used in the final kitchen scene. The two-shots show both characters in sharp focus, even though one is much farther from the camera. Normally, one or the other would be out of focus. But a half-width lens placed in front of the camera’s main lens adjusts the focal plane of one side of the scene, allowing close and distant subjects to appear sharp. Brian De Palma often uses this filming technique. (Yeah … it is really old school. I was watching an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and they got the same effect but clearly there is some digital way to do that because instead of being weirdly fuzzy and looking like shit in my opinion, it looks super smooth.)

It was during the making of this film that Ashley Judd was subjected to sexual harassment by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. She would finally open up about the ordeal in 2017. (Gross!)

Campus officials at the University of North Carolina refused to agree to allow filming on campus in Chapel Hill, because of the subject matter of the film. Hence the only UNC-Chapel Hill campus scenes are the flyover shots. There is one other scene shot on UNC’s campus. After the flyover shot of Duke Chapel, the next scene is the detectives car turning onto Medical Drive in Chapel Hill.This can be seen by the sign behind the tree which is the old School of nursing sign on Columbia street.

Whenever Casanova speaks from the shadows, as well as in the opening credits, it is Tony Goldwyn’s voice being heard. Goldwyn’s voice was used to throw the audience off the trail so the unveiling of the real killer at the end would be more of a surprise. Goldwyn’s Casanova voice is easily distinguishable from Cary Elwes’ affected Casanova voice, which Ruskin uses as he is revealed as the real killer at the film’s close. As a result, when Rudolph is shouting at the hidden Casanova, Tony Goldwyn is essentially arguing with himself. (Yup, you can tell they are too totally different voices, it was an odd stylistic choice. Why not just have Elwes use his own British accent?)

MythBusters (2003) proved that it is nearly impossible for the muzzle flash of a gun to cause a room full of natural gas to explode.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) Recap

Jamie

Leatherface is back, Jack! Or am I just (re)imagining it? When a group of friends find themselves trapped by a sadistic family of murderers led by Hoyt and his nephew Leatherface, they must try to escape with their skin intact. Can they find a way out (and finally take down the family) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003).

How?! We open on a backcountry road of Texas. A group of teenage-to-mid-thirties teenyboppers are on their way to a concert after visiting Mexico for some illicit fun. They include couple Kemper and Erin (who is obviously pregnant, but this seems to be abandoned part way through the film), Andy and his new hitchhiker boo Pepper, and jokester Morgan. When they see a young woman wandering the road they pick her up only to have her pull out a gun and kill herself. They try to find the police but are directed to an old mill, where a creepy kid directs Kemper and Erin even further into the wilderness to an old house. There, Kemper is taken by Leatherface, one of a family of psychos that prey on ne’er do wells like them. Freaked out, Erin gets Andy to go back with her and search for him, resulting in him also getting captured. She runs back to a van only to have a crazy cop, Hoyt, come and brutalize them and arrest Morgan. Erin and Pepper try to drive away, but Leatherface tracks them down and kills Pepper. Erin runs into the woods, but is taken in by a couple of other creeps and drugged. She wakes up with the psycho family, who explains to Erin (aka the audience) about everything that is going on. She’s put in the basement where she finds Morgan and is helped by the creepy kid to escape. They get to an abandoned house where Morgan sacrifices himself to help Erin get away. She makes it to the slaughterhouse where she is able to subdue Leatherface and escape to a truck. In a final climactic scene she is able to steal back a baby that the family has taken and get Hoyt’s cop car. She kills Hoyt with the car and escapes to freedom, thus ending The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Big Question: wait… this actually isn’t that bad, right?

Why?! Unsurprisingly the motivations in horror films get real weird the longer the series goes on. So we get a little breather with the reboot as they get to start over. Here they add in the wrinkle that the family doesn’t just kill and eat people, but also steals their children to raise as their own… in fact, it’s not till the prequel that they make it clear that they even eat them. Additionally, they goad Leatherface into murderous rage by invoking his childhood bullying due to his skin condition. So that’s slightly different than the previous films.

Who?! There are a couple Special Thanks that maybe seem music related. But I think the most notable thing for this film might end up being something that we focus on for a future cycle or just for this portion of the recap: the narrator. Here we get some opening and ending narration that is done by none other than John Larroquette. And you might be like “Wow, how did they get superstar John Larroquette to narrate this film?” Well… it’s because he narrated the original. Say whaaaaaaaaaa?!

What?! There apparently was several attempts at product placement for this film, but they didn’t come to fruition. It’s explained on the director commentary, but we unfortunately didn’t listen to it. While researching that I also stumbled across a book that posits that this film is a shift in the series to more erotic objectification male bodies rather than female. Which is interesting because Biel spends the latter half of the film running around in a tight white t-shirt in a rainstorm. But perhaps that’s a clash between director (Nispel – who directed Pathfinder and the new Conan and stuff) and producer (Bay).

Where?! It’s actually starting to get boring just writing over and over that these films are A+ films. Obviously set in Texas, obviously in the title, and obviously plays a role in the film given the isolation and backwoods characterization of the psycho family. 

When? I do have to give the new films some BMT props for really nailing down the timeline. They make it abundantly clear that it’s August 18th, 1973 when the events of the film take place. It’s an interesting quirk of Texas Chainsaw Massacre that they seem to feel compelled to keep the film set in the 70’s in the reboot. It’s not like when they rebooted Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street that they were like “no, it has to be set in the 80’s”. I think for that reason only it crosses from B+ to A-.

While this is not my type of movie, I actually kind of appreciated that they made some changes and choices that were unexpected. I really just expected a rehash of the original with increased gore (people forget that the original really doesn’t have much gore). Instead they added different reasons for how the kids get ensnared, a whole new family, and seemed to consciously eschew certain classics that had been a part of every Chainsaw film up to that point. Like I was truly shocked when there wasn’t a family dinner scene. This may in fact be the only film in the series without one. Add to that some pretty OK acting and if you allow for the fact that these movies generally exchange gore for scares (not a great exchange in my opinion) then I think this actually isn’t all that bad. I daresay it’s maybe even a little underrated in reaching BMT qualification. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We just couldn’t get enough of our friend Leatherface. Can he redeem his honestly pretty bad turn as horror icon from the original quadrilogy (or is that a trilogy plus a remake … it is hard to tell)? You’ll just have to read to find out. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Everything about this preview screams: Patrick you will hate this. Every bit of it suggests it is a sadistic horror film focused on gore. Which is, quite literally, my least favorite sub-genre of horror. So I don’t know what to say, I was going in ready to be disappointed. What were my expectations? To be disgusted and disappointed. I’ve grown to love horror films over the last few years, but really it is mostly the eerie ones focused on hauntings and curses and evil demons and such that I like. The goofy slashers are fun and can be some of the best the genre has to offer, but some time in the 2000s they veered off course into gore. I expected to be very upset coming out of this film.

The Good – I actually wasn’t upset by this film. The R-rated cut is, for the most part, tame enough that I could handle it. It was mainly the Ermey parts that got on my nerves (he was fine, his character was just a bit distasteful, and not in the “I’m a cannibal” kind of way). Overall, surprisingly, the film is a pretty decent reimagining of the classic. At the very least it isn’t nearly as bad as one could have expected. And that’s good. Oddly the very warm sepia look works for 70s / August / Texas, I was practically sweating watching the film.

The Bad – This film is bad in precisely the ways you would think it is bad. It is basically a reimagining of a classic horror film, and that always begs a question (why?). And it is a genre that I would guess only a small portion of the general population genuinely enjoys (gory horror, which some call sadistic horror). There are definitely goofy parts (Leatherface wearing Eric Balfour’s face). And there are definitely weird storyline choices (the hitchhiker and baby are good narrative decisions, but end up requiring a lot of explanations to build a coherent story). But as I said, this is all expected in my opinion. It was basically the least bad it could be.

The BMT – All of that being said it feels like they actually managed to get through this film relatively unscathed. It didn’t damage itself too much trying to reimagine a classic. It built up Leatherface and the family effectively. In an alternative universe this is a pretty decent jumping off point to a larger 2000s Texas Chainsaw Massacre series. But that wasn’t meant to be it seems. Did it meet my expectations? Maybe my constitution is hardening, but I actually didn’t think the film was too bad. I think there was maybe only one moment where I thought the gore was over the top (the suicide scene). Otherwise I handled it pretty well. Which is definitely a plus for the film.

Roast-radamus – Obviously, yet again, we got a Setting as a Character (Where?) with the A+ setting of Texas. And Period Piece (When?) for the clear and present 70s set piece. I don’t think it’ll get much of the other options unfortunately. No real twists or turns or anything, this kids are just here to die by the hands of Leatherface. I don’t think it’ll get Good either, it is too gross, and that is the closest it would have come to those awards. Pretty sparse options in my opinion.

StreetCreditReport.com – Not surprisingly given it got a very rare thumbs down (zero stars) from Roger Ebert, but it beat out some solid competition to be declared his number one worst movie of 2003. Even crazier is that both that video and the Rolling Stone list from that year included Masked & Anonymous, a film that appears to have only been released to 25 theaters which I had never heard of. Wild stuff. Regardless, that thumbs down is all the cred you need.

You Just Got Schooled – I was sitting around last Friday really not wanting to watch this movie when I stumbled onto a horror series which I had meant to watch: Happy Death Day. And perfect, there are two of them available. I knew the vague concept for the first one already (horror Groundhog Day), and it didn’t disappoint for the most part. I like the main actress, I liked the kind of amusing way she goes about trying to solve her own death, and I liked that the film acted as a kind of inventive-kill-buffet at times. But the twist was pretty telegraphed (if you paid attention), and I wish they hadn’t made the time loops semi-persistent (giving her a finite number of loops to get things right basically). It worked well enough, but I’m a bit surprised they decided to go with a direct sequel instead of maybe reworking it into an amusing television premise or something. It seems like they could’ve squared the circle a bit and come out with something even more fun using a rebooted format. I liked it though. Solid B.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) Quiz

Huh, the last thing I remember I was running away from a psycho with a chainsaw and then I found so real nice ladies who gave me some tea … but I can’t remember anything after that. Do you remember what happened in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Where are our unfortunate group of teens coming from, and where are they going to before getting waylaid by Leatherface’s psycho family?

2) How do the kids get tied up into Leatherface’s family in general, what sequence of events puts them at the old Mill where they first meet the Hewitt family?

3) Can you describe the Hewitt family? The different members we meet throughout.

4) How do the four teens die?

5) Who’s baby does Biel save at the end of the film?

Answers