Dracula 2000 Preview

“Gruber?” Rich whisper, but instead of the mad man one of the groundskeepers steps into view. Suddenly the man’s suit glows blue and a virus begins to download onto their computer. Poe and Brock rush into the room out of breath. “Stop! Rich… the groundskeepers. They are lawnmower men.” A gasp goes through the room. How could such monstrous beings be hiding right under their noses? No wonder Gruber wanted the tech so badly. A virus that controls lawnmower men would be devastating. Rich turns to his colleagues. “Now I understand. It’s so obvious. Gruber wanted us to find the virus, once we found it it activated the lawnmower men who then came and downloaded the virus from our computer. It’s all a frame job. Made to look like we released lawnmower men on the world.” My God! It’s all so clear! The lawnmower men cackle in glee as they run forwards and jack into the internet and enter cyberspace. Just then Poe has an idea. “Get me the virus file and a laptop. It’s time to get spectechular.” They all high five at his appropriate use of teen lingo. Putting on some sweet VR head gear they all get hacking and hack like they’ve never hacked before. Finally they find the garbage file and isolate the virus. “Tell me the name,” Poe yells, “we need to understand the code and then we can jack into cyberspace and take it down.” Rich reconstructs the degraded file and gasps, “It’s a money-making scheme meant to bleed the school dry of funds before escaping to the Caribbean.” It’s Poe’s turn to gasp as he understands the implications, “you don’t mean…” But Rich nods, “It’s a Dracula Virus. FangTime2000. And we’re on the hook. It’s time to jack in.” That’s right! We are going back in time to the far past of 2000 where just adding that number to a film’s name meant you were in for a wild ride. No better exemplified than with Dracula 2000, which attempted to move the well-worn property into the new millennium. We’ve been eyeing this one mostly for the opportunity to see a tiny Gerard Butler when he was just a wee lad. Jonny Lee Miller gave us the opportunity. Let’s go!

Meanwhile… having subdued the security guards using their country bumpkin disguises the two hooded figures finally remove their hoods. Gasp! It’s Sticks and Stones! The wiley Z-universe twin cops. On brand, they are up to no good and gaze upon their final destination: the BMTVerse Jackdrive. They activate the screen and up pops their BMTverse partner in crime. “We’re ready to jack in, Dr. Vampiro.” That’s right! We’re watching Dracula 3000 as the delightful pairing for the Bring a Friend cycle. This is a terrible film that makes me sad to even think about watching. Yay! Let’s go!

Dracula 2000 (2000) – BMeTric: 64.0 

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(Extremely consistent which is a good sign. As usual I feel like what this means is that over time people are still looking at this film and thinking “this is garbage”. Sub 4.0 is really low. Promising.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Miller heads to New Orleans to save a sweet young thing from the charms of cinema’s most famous bloodsucker (Butler). Perhaps the only film in history that manages to get its producer’s name, lead character and release date all in the official title, this modern-day take on the vampire classic shows why some characters are best left in their own era. Has a few good moments and better performances than you might expect. Followed by two direct-to-video sequels.

(Oooof, no Oxford comma Leonard? That is really just too bad, I’m a huge proponent of the Oxford comma. Whatever, I don’t think Leonard watched this film, this review is too generic. A few good moments? Naw, I bet this movie is garbage. Just speculating.)

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

(My God, this looks like the rudest tudest late-90s / early 00s trash remake in history. Just spit right in the face of Dracula fans. I cannot wait, this is going to be so dumb.)

Directors – Patrick Lussier – (Known For: My Bloody Valentine; White Noise: The Light; BMT: Dracula 2000; Drive Angry; Notes: Started as a television editor, specifically on MacGyver. His son is also involved in film editing.)

Writers – Joel Soisson (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Trick or Treat; Future BMT: Piranha 3DD; Highlander: Endgame; Cam2Cam; BMT: Dracula 2000; Notes: Wrote the straight-to-video sequel Hellraiser: Hellworld. His wife Claudia Templeton often cameos in his films.)

Patrick Lussier (story) – (Future BMT: Terminator Genisys; BMT: Dracula 2000; Drive Angry; Notes: Also wrote straight-to-video sequels Dracula II: Ascension and Dracula III: Legacy. Despite the different names they are indeed sequels to this film.)

Actors – Gerard Butler – (Known For: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; 300; Den of Thieves; Olympus Has Fallen; RocknRolla; How to Train Your Dragon; The Vanishing; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Tomorrow Never Dies; Reign of Fire; Nim’s Island; Coriolanus; Beowulf & Grendel; Mrs Brown; Dear Frankie; Harrison’s Flowers; The Cherry Orchard; Future BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Tale of the Mummy; The Ugly Truth; A Family Man; The Game of Their Lives; Machine Gun Preacher; BMT: Movie 43; Dracula 2000; Geostorm; Gods of Egypt; The Bounty Hunter; Timeline; Gamer; Playing for Keeps; London Has Fallen; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for The Bounty Hunter; and in 2017 for Gods of Egypt, and London Has Fallen; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble for The Bounty Hunter in 2011; Notes: His home was apparently destroyed in the Woolsey Fire, all of the recent news is dominated by press concerning his soon-to-be-released Angel Has Fallen.)

Justine Waddell – (Known For: The Fall; Mansfield Park; Killing Bono; Future BMT: Thr3e; Anna Karenina; BMT: Dracula 2000; Notes: Daughter of Gordon Waddell former captain of the Scottish rugby union team.)

Jonny Lee Miller – (Known For: Trainspotting; T2 Trainspotting; Mansfield Park; Byzantium; Melinda and Melinda; Afterglow; Endgame; The Flying Scotsman; Future BMT: Dark Shadows; Hackers; Mindhunters; Plunkett & Macleane; Love, Honour and Obey; BMT: Dracula 2000; Æon Flux; Notes: Star of Hackers, he is English and dropped out of school at 17 to pursue acting.)

Budget/Gross – $54 million / Domestic: $33,022,767 (Worldwide: $47,053,625)

(Not good. I’m stunned it had a 50+ million dollar budget at this point in time. That is really high, and for what? A remake of one of the classically overdone tales in cinema history. This is like how they keep making Robin Hood films that almost always bomb / suck.)

#128 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(Came right at the end of an initial peak. As far as gross goes, it comes in right around Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter … which is not a very good look. That movie was the 3rd sequel of a cheap 80s horror franchise. This cost $50 million dollars.)

#25 for the Vampire genre

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(Our fourth vampire film for BMT. This came before the Twilight boom, but I’m pretty surprised at how consistently vampire films have been made throughout history.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 18% (12/68): This retelling trys [sic] to offer a different spin on the origin of Dracula. Unfortunately, there’s nothing here audiences haven’t seen before.

(That misspelling is just incredible. And now I’m getting a bit concerned this is just going to be boring. I still have hope this will be completely trash. Reviewer Highlight: A thudding, suspense-free montage of unshocking shock effects and more severed heads than toppled during the French Revolution. – Stephen Holden, New York Times)

Poster – Spectacula 2000 (B+)

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(I like the feel of it. The color and framing particularly. The font is less interesting, but has a kind of shine to it. Overall pretty solid stuff.)

Tagline(s) – The Most Seductive Evil of All Time Has Now Been Unleashed in Ours. (D)

(If I wanted to read this much I’d buy a book. Also this is nonsense. Just stop reading it. It’s just gonna make less and less sense.)

Keyword(s) – number in title; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.8 Battlefield Earth (2000); 90.4 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 89.8 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 86.4 Troll 2 (1990); 85.9 Fantastic Four (2015); 85.9 Piranha 3DD (2012); 84.6 Movie 43 (2013); 83.9 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005); 83.8 The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011); 83.0 RoboCop 3 (1993);

(Oh shit. Well we have to watch Piranha 3DD at some point (it will be unpleasant). Human Centipede is never happening though. It is amazing how many terrible films have numbers in the title. I like the inclusion of Battlefield Earth which is sometimes subtitled “A Saga in the Year 3000”.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Gerard Butler is No. 1 billed in Dracula 2000 and No. 1 billed in The Bounty Hunter, which also stars Jennifer Aniston (No. 2 billed) who is in Just Go With It (No. 2 billed), which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Must Love Dogs, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – The name of Van Helsing’s antique business, “Carfax Abbey” is also the name of house Dracula moves into in Bram Stoker’s book “Dracula”.

The line in the film where Jonny Lee Miller playing Simon Sheppard says, “Never, ever fuck with an antiques dealer,” was a line the actor would say on set as a joke. The director liked it and incorporated it into the scene. (Oh no!)

Dracula says, “I don’t drink… coffee,” in one scene. This is a spoof of “I never drink… wine” from Dracula (1931).

Script doctor Scott Derrickson told the story of how he got the job working on this film. Harvey Weinstein called him, saying, “I just bought this script, called, ‘Dracula 2000’.” Derrickson replied, “Oh, yeah? Is it good?” Weinstein replied, “It stinks!” Derrickson asked, “So why did you buy it?”, and Weinstein replied “Because it’s called, ‘Dracula 2000’.” Derrickson did the re-write, which Weinstein discarded. Ehren Kruger did the next rewrite. (Jesus Christ)

The typeface used on the title screen is a variation of the same typeface used on the first release of the Dracula novel in 1897. (Cool)

Nathan Fillion plays a priest in this movie. He would also go on to play Caleb, an evil Priest on the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) (Must be a young Nathan Fillion)

The doctor who screams as Dracula approaches him in the police station is named Dr. Seward, a reference to the Book. (Cool)

The character Lucy Westerman’s name is a reference to the character Lucy Westenra from Bram Stoker’s book. She is in the movie, as in the book, the best friend of the main character Mina (book)/Mary (movie). (Alright, it is starting to feel like the writers just read the book and shoehorned a bunch of shit in this thing)

Gerard Butler was given a break from filming The Cherry Orchard (1999) so that he could play Dracula in “Dracula 2000”.

Director Patrick Lussier remarked in an interview that the Father Uffizi character played by Jason Scott Lee in Dracula II: Ascension (2003) and Dracula III: Legacy (2005) was originally written into this film. (Huh, so a more direct sequel than I thought)

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Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace Preview

Meanwhile… Poe and Brock are getting psyched for the big championship game. Suddenly Poe watches in alarm as the lawnmower men around the field stop in unison, their eyes suddenly glassy and unseeing. “Lawnmower Men,” Poe whispers while Brock stares on in shock. “Lawnmower Men? It can’t be. They… they are just silly legends used to scare kids.” But no, they are real and something has brought them out of their slumber. Poe suddenly realizes what it is and turns to Brock, “It’s Rich. He needs my help.” One of the other players begins to protest, but Brock stops them, “If you need my help, you have my bat, bro.” And they seal the deal with a Predator Handshake. That’s right! In celebration of the 500th BMT film (say what?!) we are also watching The Lawnmower Man and Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace. The sequel has been on my bad movie bucket list forever because it actually seems impossible that it got released to theaters. But it did and we couldn’t have asked for a better pairing for this celebration than the hacking computer technobabble extravaganza of Hackers and the Lawnmower Man franchise. Let’s go! 

Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996) – BMeTric: 67.2 

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(Holy shit! That is really low. How does it only have 67 BMeTric? I guess 8000 votes it really really low, which is itself rather astonishing. This is blowing my mind.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Moron-turned-genius Jobe is back, still intent on ruling the world from cyberspace. This involves ruthless billionaire Conway, reclusive computer expert Bergin, docter Pouget, and young O’Brien, returning from the original film. The plot is both complicated and simpleminded, and aimed primarily at teenage computer fans – but the standardized Blade Runner future, routine action, and only intermittent computer graphics will likely leave them as disinterested as everyone else. Aka: Lawnmower Man 2: Jobe’s War.

(WHAT? This got a better review than the first one? Well I am now intrigued. Also this review is somehow longer than the review for the first one, which was already an epic that is uncharacteristic of Leonard. Of all the movies to become verbose over, the Lawnmower Man franchise?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MubmJ2jwvOM/

(To think, these two trailers came from a Stephen King short story that really doesn’t have much to do with either storyline. This thing is wild and reminds me of Highlander 2: The Quickening. Gloriously cheap sci-fi nonsense. Sock it to me.)

Directors – Farhad Mann – (BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Notes: Mostly a television and commercial director, it kind of suggests he developed Max Headroom, although he’s only credited as the director of the pilot.)

Writers – Farhad Mann (story & screenplay) – (BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Notes: Appears to mostly director British Crime procedurals like Murdoch Mysteries.)

Michael Miner (story) – (Known For: RoboCop; RoboCop; BMT: RoboCop 3; Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; RoboCop 2; Notes: Wait one second … we finished Miner’s filmography? That is awesome. A self-described technophobe.)

Actors – Patrick Bergin – (Known For: Patriot Games; Free Fire; Ella Enchanted; Map of the Human Heart; Mountains of the Moon; The Boys from County Clare; Silent Grace; Future BMT: Eye of the Beholder; Sleeping with the Enemy; The Invisible Circus; Love Crimes; Age of Kill; The Wee Man; Strength and Honour; BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Notes: A former math teacher in Ireland, he also had a top 10 hit song in Ireland called The Knacker. I’m sorry, but that is awful.)

Matt Frewer – (Known For: Watchmen; Hercules; 50/50; Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Dawn of the Dead; The BFG; The Meaning of Life; The Fourth Protocol; A Home at the End of the World; Twenty Bucks; Weirdsville; Foreverland; Future BMT:Supergirl; Riding the Bullet; Cannonball Fever; Senior Trip; Going the Distance; Spies Like Us; Frankie & Alice; BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Ishtar; Pixels; Notes: A significant voice and television actor now. He’s Big Russ in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (the neighbor) and also interestly enough was Max Headroom, which makes sense considering the director.)

Austin O’Brien – (Known For: Apollo 13; The Baby-Sitters Club; Future BMT: My Girl 2; The Lawnmower Man; Last Action Hero; BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Last Action Hero in 1994; Notes: Mostly a child actor. He was in the (non-qualifying) Prehysteria!)

Budget/Gross – $15 million / Domestic: $2,409,225

(Aaaaaaand, there is it. Play stupid games, win … a catastrophic box office bomb. There is an important lesson here: when you make a sequel hot garbage sometimes people don’t want to go see it no matter how rad it is.)

#18 for the Virtual Reality genre

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(YES, three for three! We went from having seen two films to having seen five in this category. Wait a second, I have to check something … there are nine total qualified films, of which we will have actually only seen four after this because Vanilla Sky is a rare non-qualifying film we did for BMT once. Still almost halfway through the genre now.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (1/9)

(I’ll have to make a consensus … Oh, wait, there are only two reviews with actual snippets and it seems like Rotten Tomatoes’ full review links are broken, so I can’t make one. Weirdly one of the two Top Critics was the only good review basically saying the special effects were okay. Reviewer Highlight: Mowing the lawn might be more involving than watching this subpar sci-fi sequel, which manages to be complicated and witless at the same time. – Andy Seller, USA Today)

Poster – The Lawnmower Man 2: Inspired by The Lawnmower Man: Inspired by Stephen King’s The Lawnmower Man (C-)

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(Wow. So they just reused the same poster but made it even sillier (and removed Stephen King’s name, obviously). What could you possibly think this film was about if you didn’t already know?! Downgraded because it’s a blatant rip off.)

Tagline(s) – God made him simple. Science made him a god. Now, he wants revenge. (F)

(Oh for God’s sake. At this point they should have just stopped making the film. Unacceptable.)

Keyword(s) – psychotronic film; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.8 Battlefield Earth (2000); 94.6 Batman & Robin (1997); 92.2 Son of the Mask (2005); 91.1 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 89.8 The Wicker Man (2006); 89.2 Vampires Suck (2010); 89.2 Jaws: The Revenge (1987); 89.0 House of the Dead (2003); 88.6 Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966); 86.5 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987);

(Psychotonic – denoting or relating to a genre of films that typically have a science fiction, horror, or fantasy theme and were made on a low budget. That does seem to fit. Vampires Suck doesn’t really though, and neither does Son of Mask. Battlefield Earth had an enormous budget.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 26) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Matt Frewer is No. 2 billed in Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace and No. 10 billed in Ishtar, which also stars Warren Beatty (No. 1 billed) who is in Town & Country (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 9 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 2 + 10 + 1 + 1 + 9 + 3 = 26. If we were to watch Eye of the Beholder, The Island, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – Director Farhad Mann found himself locked out of the editing room by the producers who wanted a film which would appeal more to their target demographic – teenage boys. (shiiiiiiiit)

Austin O’Brien is the only returning cast member from the first film. (Oooooof. A regular Atlas Shrugged up in here)

Although the film was set in the future, the cast donated their old 80s computers for the set in order to save money in the budget. (What? That is bizarre)

The 1993 VHS tape of the widescreen version of the first film had an announcement screen that read “Look out for Lawnmower Man 2: Mindfire” in 1994. This obviously never happened, and the film appeared 2 years later with a different title. (Huh, that is kind of fun. It also has a different name in Europe, Jobe’s War.)

Hackers Preview

“This is bullshit, bro,” says Rich staring sullenly at the screen. “What is?” asks Blaze. They’ve been playing the new “tech” in the computer lab for ages and have lost several thousand dollars. Dollars they don’t have. Gulp. “Well check this out,” says Rich and he goes all Beautiful Mind and Good Will Hunting on a chalkboard nearby. “Woah, you got a big ol’ brain! So what you’re saying is that the fact that the other player got three straight royal flushes is not likely.” But Rich shakes his head, “not just unlikely… statistically impossible.” And Blaze and Bryce look at each other “Woah.” But now they need to figure out what to do about it. Should they report them to the gaming commission… Rich shakes his head, it would blow his cover. They need to lure the creator of the tech out so they can get access and steal it for Gruber. What would lure a maniac like that out from hiding? Suddenly Rich has an idea, “the man is clearly an egomaniac and driven only by greed,” Blaze and Bryce nod their heads, “and what can’t an egomaniac handle? Calling his prized new tech garbage.” He quickly uses his 1337 skills to hack the mainframe and rewire the auxiliary dilator into the predictor array. Searching through files, he finds a blinking folder named “Garbage.” “There it is,” Rich says as he drags and drops the entire file into the garbage folder. With that his screen turns into a screen of mathematical equations flying in all directions. “Woah,” they all say in unison, but are interrupted by a cackling laughter behind them… That’s right! This week we’re doing what obviously must be done for the Sci-fi entry in the cycle. The inspiration itself: Hackers. While absurd that it qualifies, I also recognize that it is objectively a bad movie and is worth revisiting in BMT. Let’s go!

Hackers (1995) – BMeTric: 26.4 

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(6.2 is pretty solid, I can respect that. I have a feeling this will continue dropping. Honestly it might nit even qualify if they start backfilling reviews from blogs in the future, I’m sure 80s / 90s children who grew up with Hackers will like it a lot more than the adults at the time.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  A group of young computer fanatics is framed for crimes committed by computer whiz and would-be master criminal Stevens, and have to use their own hacking skills to prove themselves innocent. No great shakes, but fast pace and vivid direction make it fun.

(THANK YOU. Yes, this movie is a lot better than the reviews suggest. And not even in a “good for what it is kind of way”, it is genuinely fun to watch and is competent at worst. “No great shakes” is throwing me off as I don’t know what that means. Also it is spelled “skillz”, so that’s a rare typo for Leonard.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql1uLyuWra8 

(Straight into my veins. I love it. I’ve never noticed this before, but in the movie the Da Vinci Virus naturally has a fake italian accent. In the trailer it is very very clearly just Fisher Stevens’ voice … while would have made the whole gambit more obvious to the FBI.)

Directors – Iain Softley – (Known For: K-PAX; Backbeat; The Wings of the Dove; Future BMT: Inkheart; The Skeleton Key; Trap for Cinderella; BMT: Hackers; Notes: The Wings of the Dove was nominated for four Oscars. He was a music video director prior to turning to film.)

Writers – Rafael Moreu (written by) – (Future BMT: The Rage: Carrie 2; BMT: Hackers; Notes: He was mostly an uncredited producer for Hallmark Entertainment prior to making Hackers. He appears to be mostly teaching since.)

Actors – Jonny Lee Miller – (Known For: T2 Trainspotting; Trainspotting; Byzantium; Mansfield Park; Afterglow; Melinda and Melinda; Endgame; The Flying Scotsman; Future BMT: Dracula 2001; Dark Shadows; Mindhunters; Plunkett & Macleane; Love, Honour and Obey; BMT: Æon Flux; Hackers; Notes: More recently has become a pretty accomplished television actor, specifically Elementary which ran for over 150 episodes. Was married to Angelina Jolie for 4 years.)

Angelina Jolie – (Known For: Girl, Interrupted; Wanted; Maleficent; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Kung Fu Panda; Salt; Changeling; Beowulf; Kung Fu Panda 3; The Good Shepherd; Kung Fu Panda 2; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; Pushing Tin; A Mighty Heart; Playing by Heart; Hell’s Kitchen; Future BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Alexander; By the Sea; Life or Something Like It; The Tourist; Shark Tale; Playing God; Original Sin; Taking Lives; Foxfire; Beyond Borders; The Bone Collector; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Hackers; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 2002 for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Original Sin; in 2003 for Life or Something Like It; in 2004 for Beyond Borders, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; and in 2005 for Alexander, and Taking Lives; Notes: A huge star both for her major film roles, and for her somewhat wild marriage to Billy Bob Thornton, and subsequent relationship with Brad Pitt which ended somewhat messily a few years ago.)

Jesse Bradford – (Known For: Romeo + Juliet; Bring It On; Presumed Innocent; W.; Flags of Our Fathers; The Year of Spectacular Men; Falling in Love; King of the Hill; Happy Endings; My Blue Heaven; Cherry Falls; Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog; Prancer; Heights; Bound; A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries; Future BMT: Clockstoppers; 10 Rules for Sleeping Around; Dead Awake; Dancing at the Blue Iguana; Speedway Junky; Eulogy; BMT: Swimfan; I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell; Hackers; Notes: Jesse B from Swimfan is third billed? Bomb. He is also doing a bit of television recently, specifically as a guest star on Shooter.)

Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $7,563,728

(Oh no, that is a depressingly low number. No wonder we didn’t get Hacker 2: Hack the Universe, the story of how Zero Cool / Crash Override and Acid Burn, now working for the NSA, thwart an alien invasion via their 1337 hacking skillz.)

#15 for the Virtual Reality genre

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(Goes in little cycles, and this indeed came out during one of the major peaks for this rather small genre. We’ve only seen Vanilla Sky and Johnny Mnemonic otherwise. Ready Player One was the most recent example.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 33% (15/45): Hackers has a certain stylish appeal, but its slick visuals and appealing young cast can’t compensate for a clichéd and disappointingly uninspired story.

(At the time people seemed to not like that it bought into the rebel Hacker trope that was booming at the time, and that it was a visual bombardment / mess. Reviewer Highlight: The movie is well directed, written and acted, and while it is no doubt true that in real life no hacker could do what the characters in this movie do, it is no doubt equally true that what hackers can do would not make a very entertaining movie. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Hack the Planet (A)

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(I really love this poster. The general color scheme tells you a little story about the film. Obviously they are highlighted by the glow of a computer. A mysterious blue that goes hand in hand with the mysteriousness of the hacker culture at the time. I’m intrigued. It also, as a bonus, avoids having our big stars portrayed without a clear color scheme. Finally, to tie it up nicely we have a sweet font for the title to let us know they aren’t messing around.)

Tagline(s) – Boot up or shut up! (B-)

Their crime is curiosity (C-)

(Neither of these are great. Boot up or shut up is a valiant try, but comes off a bit cheesy nowaways. Do you still boot things up? Did I boot up my phone today? The second one is just bland. It’s almost like the poster sets them up as being super rad and cool and then the tagline is like “don’t worry, they aren’t cool supercriminals, they’re just curious little cats.”)

Keyword(s) – computer virus; Top Ten by BMeTric: 74.5 Rings (2017); 65.5 Pulse (I) (2006); 57.0 Geostorm (2017); 55.7 Stormbreaker (2006); 51.8 Blackhat (2015); 49.5 The Lawnmower Man (1992); 47.7 Employee of the Month (2006); 43.2 Hitman: Agent 47 (2015); 38.4 Ghost in the Machine (1993); 35.5 The Net (1995);

(Oh we have to watch the Net at some point. It is like this movie except really really boring … in my opinion.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Matthew Lillard is No. 4 billed in Hackers and No. 9 billed in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 4 + 9 + 4 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch Mindhunters we can get the HoE Number down to 9.

Notes – Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie were married shortly after the making of the film, and then were divorced four years later.

All of the hacker handles proposed by the Joey were actual handles already used by real hackers. (This film is very accurate, no matter how it seems to look on screen)

The film’s writer, director, and some cast members attended the New York City 2600 meeting, a monthly hangout of the local hacker community, to observe and talk with real-life hackers.

The “Hacker Manifesto” read by Agent Bob was actually written by a hacker of great renown in the 1980s named Loyd Blankenship, who went by the name of The Mentor. It was published in PHRACK magazine, issue 07, file 03 in 1986.

The high school scenes were filmed at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, one of a few elite, exclusive high schools for students gifted in math, science and computers. Real school seniors were extras in many scenes.

The “pool on the roof” prank is actually based on an old Stuyvesant H.S. prank of the “Sixth Floor Pool”. The original Stuy building on East 15th Street in Manhattan had only five floors, and freshman were sent to look for a pool upstairs. The building had no pool. There was a literary publication at Stuyvesant referencing the prank called “Sixth Floor Pool”. The school moved into the new building (featured in the movie) shortly before filming began. (It is a fun prank, because like … you would never actually build a pool on the roof right? People do, but it is much cheaper from a design perspective I imagine to not have tons (literally) of water on top of a building).

The character name “Emmanuel Goldstein” is taken from George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. It is also used as a pseudonym by Emmanuel Goldstein (aka Eric Corley), who publishes the magazine “2600, The Hacker Quarterly”. Corley was an uncredited consultant for this film.

The “hacking”-sequences – the scenes where you see the “inside” of a computer – are mostly motion-controlled models, because director Iain Softley thought that actual computer graphics would look too artificial. (It was a good choice and something more movies should have done for much of the 90s)

Eugene Belford uses the pseudonym Babbage at the end of the film. Charles Babbage was the inventor of an early form of the computer.

William Gibson “invented” the term “Cyberspace” in 1982 for his book, Neuromancer.

The computer they break into is a fictional mainframe computer called a “Gibson” – a homage to cyberpunk author William Gibson.

“ARF! ARF! GOTCHA”, which appears near the end, when the Gibson is about to crash, is a reference to one of the earliest Trojan horse programs, EGABTR from 1985. Disguised as a graphics utility, EGABTR spread by email, wiped out everything on a victim’s hard disk, and left only the message, “Arf, arf, Gotcha!” on the screen. “ARF” may also serve double duty as a reference to the German hacker group “Asoziale Randgruppe Frankfurt”.

All of the books identified by Dade at the club were real manuals. All but two, the Pink Shirt Book and the Unix Bible, were published by the DoD and were part of a set of books known as the Rainbow Series.

Scenes in the movie, and in Razor and Blades show, depict using a cassette recorder to play tones into a phone to make free calls. Coins dropped into pay phones used to trigger specific sounds that actually could be duplicated and used to fool pay phones into thinking you had paid for a call. This was also accomplished using a device called a tone generator. Also known as a Red Box.

Cyberdelia was built from scratch in an abandoned indoor swimming pool on the outskirts of London, with the center of the club in the depths of what was the pool. Producer Ralph Winter notes, “We never knew why, but the pool was designated an historic landmark, so great care had to be taken not to damage anything and to return it to its original state.” (Uh …. Where is this?)

The bearded London hacker is Dave Stewart of Eurythmics.

“The Plague” writes a program that embezzles small amounts of money from the company at a time, thus amassing millions of dollars in a secret bank account. He tries to distract from his crime by framing the hackers with a computer virus set to capsize an oil tanker. The embezzlement-by-increments plot is called “salami slicing.” Richard Pryor’s character in Superman III (1983) does the same thing. (Yuppppp)

The part of Kate “Acid Burn” Libby was originally offered to Katherine Heigl, but due to prior commitments to Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995) she had to turn it down. (Near miss there)

The hackers take over the Gibson computer with a Cookie Monster virus that starts gobbling up all the data. This is based on a real program from the era. Cookie Monster would come up on the screen and demand a cookie. You would type “cookie” and it would go away for a while. If you typed “Oreo,” it went away for a longer period of time. (Ha!)

Summer Catch Preview

Rich, Poe, and Blaze sit in the stands at swim practice watching the swim team do laps. In mere weeks they had progressed from fist bumps to bro hugs and had just received an invite to the captain Bryce’s latest pre-meet bash. Poe was feeling pretty good about their progress, but Rich was clearly getting antsy. He even almost forgot to pop the second collar on his polo later that evening when they were getting ready for the party. “Bro,” Blaze chastises, “you’re gonna blow up our spot.” But Rich is just excited because he knows that this is the night. Tomorrow all the scouts are gonna be there to see Bryce swim and see if he will be the Olympic champion gold medalist. So tonight he was sure to use the tech Gruber was after. When they get to the party everything is going swimmingly. They are just jamming to tunes and posting pics and vids to Insta and TikTok or some shit. Suddenly they see Bryce go into a back room. “It’s hammer time,” Rich says as they bust into the room. But instead of sweet tech Bryce is just taking boring ol’ steroid. Rich is incensed, “Steroids?! You serious, bro? You go to Seattle Tech. You can’t do better than that?!” But Bryce just shakily asks whether they’re going to turn him in to the Olympic gold medal committee. At that Poe sees an opportunity, “Not if you help us find some sweet tech we’re looking for.” Hope blooms in Bryce’s eyes, “yes, yes. I can help you. I know where to find this tech. The baseball team. They’ve hacked the Gibson and they know how to mathematically win. It’s boring, bro. Real boring… because of the tech.” Blaze, Poe, and Rich look at each other and nod, “looks like we’re playing a little catch.” That’s right! We’re watching Summer Catch, the Freddie Prinze Jr., Matthew Lillard (of Hackers fame), and Jessica Biel classic as the Girl’s Night entry in the cycle. I recall watching this film, but also don’t remember a thing about it. That’s a good sign, right? Let’s go!

Summer Catch (2001) – BMeTric: 53.9 

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(Two in a row! Just like Swimfan this started at a completely astonishing 4.0ish, and has since recovered a bit to barely get to 5.0. I think that is kind of the “bad but normal” range for films that are specifically targeting young women.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Substandard comedy/romance/coming-of-age story set in Cape Cod, with underprivileged baseball player Prinze falling for local rich girl, then having to deal with her snobby father, while tending his budding career. Takes itself too seriously, though Lillard adds welcome comedy relief. Beverly D’Angelo and John C. McGinley appear unbilled.

(Love the shout out for Lillard. His career has made a marked turn around in the last 5 years or so, including The Descendants and a pretty crazy appearance in the revival of Twin Peaks.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dub5wacnpDU

(Alright, so we’ve confirmed babes, bros, and baseball. I’ll be looking for burgers, beers, and any number of other very important bro-tastic B-words.)

Directors – Michael Tollin – (Future BMT: Radio; BMT: Summer Catch; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for a documentary about Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream. Writes and directs all sports stuff, but produces a ton of television including the All That revival this year.)

Writers – Kevin Falls (story & screenplay) – (Future BMT: The Temp; BMT: Summer Catch; Notes: Wrote a good number of West Wing episodes with Aaron Sorkin in the first three seasons. More recently he produced This is Us.)

John Gatins (screenplay) – (Known For: Power Rangers; Kong: Skull Island; Flight; Real Steel; Coach Carter; Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story; Future BMT: Hardball; BMT: Summer Catch; Need for Speed; Notes: Also kind of an actor including in the BMT Hall of Fame film Norbit. He was in Leprechaun 3 and has had a lot more success as a writer.)

Actors – Freddie Prinze Jr. – (Known For: She’s All That; The House of Yes; Brooklyn Rules; Future BMT: Scooby-Doo; Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed; Happily N’Ever After; Boys and Girls; Head Over Heels; Delgo; To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday; Jack and Jill vs. the World; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Wing Commander; Summer Catch; Down to You; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Scooby-Doo in 2003; Notes: Was kind of a movie star for a while, but after that (and his own show, Freddie) I would say he’s best known for his voice work and his podcast Prinze and the Wolf. Weirdly wrote for WWE for a season.)

Jessica Biel – (Known For: The A-Team; The Rules of Attraction; The Illusionist; Cellular; Hitchcock; The Tall Man; Easy Virtue; Ulee’s Gold; Future BMT: Accidental Love; Blade: Trinity; I’ll Be Home for Christmas; A Kind of Murder; Home of the Brave; Planet 51; Next; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Total Recall; The Truth About Emanuel; Elizabethtown; Powder Blue; Shock and Awe; Spark: A Space Tail; The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea; London; BMT: Stealth; Summer Catch; Valentine’s Day; New Year’s Eve; Playing for Keeps; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 2008 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, and Next; and in 2013 for Playing for Keeps, and Total Recall; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry in 2008; Notes: Married to Justin Timberlake. She has a new show coming out called Limetown which is based on a podcast and premiering on Facebook Watch …)

Fred Ward – (Known For: Tremors; Road Trip; The Right Stuff; Escape from Alcatraz; 2 Guns; Silkwood; 30 Minutes or Less; Henry & June; The Player; Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult; Dangerous Beauty; Short Cuts; Southern Comfort; Big Business; Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous; Armoured; Uncommon Valor; Catchfire; Thunderheart; Bob Roberts; Future BMT: Corky Romano; Abandon; The Crow: Salvation; Chain Reaction; Enough; Joe Dirt; Masked and Anonymous; Best Men; Circus; Feast of Love; Equinox; Secret Admirer; BMT: Summer Catch; Sweet Home Alabama; Notes: He was “not Kevin Bacon” in Tremors if you were wondering. A character actor, he’s apparently good friends with Ed Harris.)

Budget/Gross – $34 million / Domestic: $19,753,553 (Worldwide: $19,772,447)

(That is straight up terrible. My God! No wonder we didn’t get Summer Catch 2: Up to the Majors)

#203 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(Naturally on the low end of the many many many Romantic Comedies we’ve seen, around the Down to You … also starring Freddy Prinze Jr. Go figure. This came right as the genre reached maturity, and more recently while the profits still exist the screens the films are released to just aren’t available. But the genre lives on on VOD, with Always Be My Maybe being a recent example.)

#39 for the Sports Comedy genre

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(There really is a strange boom in the 2000s for this genre, which this somewhat predates. This is actually much more akin to classics like Bull Durham, but just mix in the high school romance films of the period, basically. The later ones are like … Wimbledon and Mr. 3000. Maybe people were just itching to rent out stadiums in the 2000s?)

#32 for the Teen Romance genre

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(Beastly is somehow the highest grossing for this category … the big profit in the 2000s is Twilight. And really, this is the one true teen rom com boom. The genre is still going strong somehow, in and out of theaters, with Netflix releasing smash hits like The Kissing Booth as well.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (7/91): A cliched and predictable sports comedy that’s mostly devoid of excitement or laughs, Summer Catch is strictly bush-league.

(Get that garbage pun out of here. They play in a summer league, it is already bush-league. Astonishingly low review score considering the genre shouldn’t have been overstaying its welcome yet … you’d think more people would at least tolerate it as a change of pace. Reviewer Highlight: Stars Freddie Prinze Jr. (strike one), features more male virgins trying to lose it (strike two) and disses the legendary baseball league in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, by filming this mess in North Carolina (strike three). – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Bros, Babes, and Baseball (D+)

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(This is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. Why… why did this happen. It’s very similar to Swimfan but like a thousand times worse. I could have made this.. Wait… did I make this? Did I make this as an example of a terrible terrible poster? The only good thing is that title font. You can always get me with some solid font work and that’s some solid font work.)

Tagline(s) – Are you game? (D)

(Jesus, that’s all you got? It’s got all the aspects of a good tagline, but it’s just so boring and generic. I can’t reward that. It makes me think that this film will also be boring, which I just don’t think is true. This has Matthew Lillard and Freddie Prinze Jr. in it. It might be super lame, but it won’t be boring.)

Keyword(s) – baseball; Top Ten by BMeTric: 86.8 Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004); 86.5 Troll 2 (1990); 86.5 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 78.8 Little Man (III) (2006); 73.6 Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003); 73.4 Species II (1998); 68.6 The Ridiculous 6 (2015); 67.7 Poltergeist (2015); 66.0 Envy (2004); 65.2 Ed (1996);

(I mean. Ed? Yes please. I don’t know why Legally Blonde 2 would have baseball in it, I haven’t seen it. But I suppose we’ll have to remedy that. Maybe it has to do with the big case.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jessica Biel is No. 2 billed in Summer Catch and No. 2 billed in Valentine’s Day, which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 1 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) => 2 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 14. If we were to watch Wicker Park we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Marc Blucas’ character can be seen wearing a Wake Forest basketball cap early in the movie. It is black with a yellow “WF” on the front. Blucas actually attended and played basketball on a full scholarship to Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem North Carolina. He started along with Tim Duncan there. (Cool)

Wilmer Valderrama’s film debut.

The batter at home plate when the camera pans Veterans Field (Chatham’s real home field on Cape Cod) is Hyannis’s Brendan Harris, who made his major league debut in 2004 with the Chicago Cubs.

John Schiffner is the real life coach and manager of the Chatham A’s.

Curt Gowdy and Hank Aaron both make appearances in this film. Gowdy was the NBC play-by-play announcer in the booth when Hank Aaron hit home run number 715 to pass Babe Ruth on April 8th, 1974 in what was then known as Atlanta Stadium (later named Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium). Real-life baseball player, Christopher Rosado (a Boston College graduate), appears briefly as the left-fielder on Ryan Dunne’s team. (This is going to be chockablock full of cameos, I love it)

This marks the third film out of five that Matthew Lillard and Freddie Prinze Jr. have worked on together. The other films are Wing Commander (1999), She’s All That (1999), Scooby-Doo (2002) and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004). (They are best buds)

John McGinley plays a scout for the Phillies named Hugh Alexander. There really was a scout named Hugh Alexander who signed many future MLB all-stars while working for multiple teams during a 64-year career including the Phillies for 16 years. (What are these next-level refs?!)

A pseudo/quasi premier was held in Seattle at the now-defunct theater chain “General Cinemas Pacific Place” in order to coincide with that year’s all-star game. Which happened to be Cal Ripken Jr’s last game/retirement game. (Ooooooo fun fact)

Lost in Space Preview

Rich walks down the hallway towards the space shuttle. With one of their patented Rich and Poe undercover disguises he is virtually indistinguishable from astronaut Jim McBrawn. The plan is simple: blast into space, take over the space shuttle, take the moon ransom, and then get Poe back. All in a day’s work for Rich… however usually he’s on the right side of the law. But what can you do when a madman has your best friend and his granny hostage? Suddenly Jade runs around the corner. They share a tender kiss and sing John Mayer’s romantic masterpiece Your Body is a Wonderland to each other. Spinning in circles for what seems like hours reminds the world what they are fighting for. Love. The love between a man and a tree monster. The love between a grandson for his foul-mouthed granny. The love between John Mayer and chart-topping hits. As he departs he tells Jade to remind Poe that he’s doing this for family and that he needs to remember to just be himself. Simple as that. The shuttle launches as people around the world look on. Inspiration. Love. Emotion. Explosions. Shortly after entering orbit the shuttles screens all switch to the face of Gruber. “Ah, Rich. You didn’t really think I would trust you with this mission. This has all been a big ol’ trick to get you out of the picture. Have fun with my assassin robot, Assassinbot 3000. He’ll take it from here. Bwahahahaha.” Suddenly Assassinbot 3000 burst into the command module killing all of Rich’s co-astronauts. Rich hopes that Poe gets his message, for it’s looking mighty dire for him and any false move against this robot could leave him… lost in space. That’s right! We’re watching Lost In Space, also from the greatest year in film 1998. This was also on Siskel’s year end worst of the year list with the previously watched Godzilla. Obviously Patrick and I saw this at the time and I recall thinking it was real dumb… and I was 12. So this should be solid. I’m just really hoping that Matt LeBlanc lives up to his billing. Let’s go!

Lost in Space (1998) – BMeTric: 62.9

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(Wow, sub-5.0 is so low. It is slowly creeped up, but this will never be anything but 50+ BMeTric. Which is kind of awesome. I had kind of figured it would just be a middling, if-you-were-a-kid-when-you-watched-this-you’ll-like-it kind of deal.

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  In 2058, with the hope of opening a gateway to a new planet for denizens of the overcrowded Earth, a family is launched into space, accompanied by a he-man pilot and the weasley doctor who tried to sabotage the journey. The 1960s TV series is re-created on a lavish scale, bu hurt by crudely episodic story, grim tone, and paper-thin characters. Oldman, curiously, underplays the role of Dr. Smith. Angela Cartwright, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, and June Lockhart, stars of the original TV series, have cameo roles. Also available in PG version.

(Why is this film PG-13 again? Like … it is a children’s film. There is no way around it, the film is a family film through and through, so why make it PG-13? Whatever.)

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

(Wait … did they just use Star Wars music at the end? Or wait no, it is maybe Indiana Jones with a little sci-fi twist? That trailer is horrible, but I have to say they hit the fact that most of the film is constructed from bad CGI well. It actually looks like they leaned into the cheesy 60s set idea … but in reality they didn’t.)

Directors – Stephen Hopkins – (Known For: The Ghost and the Darkness; Race; Under Suspicion; The Life and Death of Peter Sellers; Future BMT: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child; The Reaping; Blown Away; Judgment Night; BMT: Lost in Space; Predator 2; Notes: Directed 12 of the original 24 episodes of the first season of 24. Was dating Heather Graham at the time of filming.)

Writers – Irwin Allen (television series) – (Known For: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; BMT: Lost in Space; Notes: Producer of the original series. Made the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea series at the same time.)

Akiva Goldsman (written by) – (Known For: I Am Legend; A Beautiful Mind; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; The Client; Cinderella Man; Future BMT: The Dark Tower; Insurgent; Practical Magic; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Batman & Robin; Rings; Lost in Space; Transformers: The Last Knight; The 5th Wave; Batman Forever; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1998 for Batman & Robin; and in 2018 for Transformers: The Last Knight; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill in 1997; Notes: Notable for writing episodes and producing the current Star Trek series Discovery. He is mostly a producer at this point. Batman & Robin immediately preceded this film, oooof.)

Actors – Gary Oldman – (Known For: The Dark Knight; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Leon; The Dark Knight Rises; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; The Fifth Element; Batman Begins; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; True Romance; The Hitman’s Bodyguard; Dracula; Darkest Hour; The Book of Eli; Lawless; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; RoboCop; Air Force One; JFK; Future BMT: The Unborn; Paranoia; Tau; Planet 51; Man Down; Criminal; Criminal Law; The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot; Child 44; Hannibal; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: Lost in Space; Red Riding Hood; The Scarlet Letter; Tiptoes; The Space Between Us; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; Notes: Ha, IMDb has Oldman first? He’s been married five times, and is apparently rather private about his personal life.)

William Hurt – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Avengers: Infinity War; Captain America: Civil War; The Incredible Hulk; Into the Wild; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; The Village; Robin Hood; Mr. Brooks; Dark City; Body Heat; A History of Violence; Syriana; The Good Shepherd; The Yellow Handkerchief; The Big Chill; Altered States; The Miracle Season; Race; Tuck Everlasting; Future BMT: Michael; Trial by Jury; Vantage Point; Days and Nights; Neverwas; BMT: Lost in Space; The Host; A New York Winter’s Tale; Notes: A private pilot, he owns a Beechcraft Bonanza. I feel like actors owning and flying planes never seems to end well though.)

Matt LeBlanc – (Known For: Charlie’s Angels; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Future BMT: Ed; All the Queen’s Men; Lovesick; BMT: Lost in Space; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple, and Worst New Star for Ed in 1997; and Nominee for Worst New Star in 1997 for Mother, She’s the One, and The Pallbearer; Notes: Joey! This is arguably his largest role. He’s continued to have a very successful television career with Episodes and Man with a Plan since 2011.)

Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $69,117,629 (Worldwide: $136,159,423)

(That isn’t good. It is a flop and there is no way a sequel would have been made considering the level of CGI that is on display.)

#24 for the Future – Near genre

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(A Sound of Thunder is the lowest grossing film we’ve seen, and honeslty … the CGI is about the same in Lost in Space. We still love future films, go figure.)

#55 for the Sci-Fi – Adventure genre

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(Wow, this is the highest grossing Sci-Fi Adventure we’ve seen! That’s insane. Again … we are loving sci-fi right now. On television and in film we are going bananas for Sci-Fi.)

#41 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

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(The veritable peak of the TV Adaptation genre. Came out the same year as The Avengers, and then everyone collectively realized there are only so many television shows from the 1960s which aren’t cheesy, and weird, and suck.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 28% (23/83): Clumsily directed and missing most of the TV series’ campy charm, Lost in Space sadly lives down to its title.

(They forgot to mention that it is just chock-a-block full of CGI effects without bothering to actually make a movie around it. Reviewer Highlight: A galactic slump of a movie that stuffs its travel bag with special effects but forgets to pack the charm. – Desson Thomson, Washington Post)

Poster – Sklog in Space (C+)

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(This is so old school. I like the color and the font is fine, particularly the stylized “LS” in the background. The rest is kind of blah.)

Tagline(s) – Danger Will Robinson! (D+)

(Also the website they used for the film. This is not good and basically playing into a property that the target audience in its entirety has no familiarity with in any capacity. I guess it’s short.)

Keyword(s) – spaceship; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.7 Battlefield Earth (2000); 94.1 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 86.4 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 82.2 Skyline (2010); 78.8 Jason X (2001); 74.8 After Earth (2013); 70.3 Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964); 65.2 Thunderbirds (2004); 62.9 Lost in Space (1998); 62.6 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987);

(We’ll complete this at some point. We’ll have to be careful with Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, but it is on the worst of all time wiki page, so we’ll bring it along as a friend with like … Fred Claus or something.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Heather Graham is No. 5 billed in Lost in Space and No. 2 billed in Say It Isn’t So, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 5 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 10. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Despite opening in theaters on April 3, this was the first new film of 1998 to open at #1 at the box office. Titanic (1997) had been at the top spot for the previous 15 weeks, starting in late December. For a short time, the movie was nicknamed “The Iceberg”. (HA)

Dick Tufeld reprises his role from Lost in Space (1965) as the voice of the Robot. (That’s kind of awesome)

All principal actors were contracted to a three-picture option. The film failed to recoup its budget in North America, so plans for a new franchise were scrapped. (Yeah, it was a big enough flop that that was never going to happen … man, what would a Lost in Space 2 have looked like?

The television series Lost in Space (1965) was set in the future of 1997 – the year the film began production.

Gary Oldman was the first member of the cast to sign on, jumping at the chance to appear in a family film.

Matt LeBlanc filmed his role while Friends (1994) was still shooting, and had to fly back and forth between sets several times per week in order to do both projects at the same time. Gary Oldman guest-starred in a couple of episodes with LeBlanc, but director Stephen Hopkins had never seen an episode up to that point.

The first robot in the movie weighed two tons and required eight people to control. (Jesus, it looked like it was made of plastic)

Originally, all surviving cast members of the TV show were meant to have cameo appearances. Dick Tufeld reprises his role from Lost in Space (1965) as the voice of the Robot. Mark Goddard, the original Major Don West, plays the General. June Lockhart, the original Maureen Robinson, plays Will Robinson’s principal. Marta Kristen and Angela Cartwright, the original Robinson girls, play reporters. Ironically, Bill Mumy and Jonathan Harris, the two actors most supportive of the idea of a new movie (as well as the two most popular characters on the show), did not appear in it. Mumy wanted to play the older Will Robinson but the director thought it would be too distracting from the plot to have the original Will play the older Will. Harris was to have played the man who hired, then betrayed, Dr. Smith. In an interview for “TV Guide” prior to the film’s release, it was mentioned that Harris bluntly stated, “I will have you know I have never done a walk-on or bit part in my life! And I do not intend to start.” He announced that if he could not play his own role in the movie, he wanted nothing to do with it – famously being quoted as saying “Either I play Doctor Smith, or I do not play.” He did return as Dr. Smith in a one-hour TV special Lost in Space Forever (1998). (I kind of respect the stance by the Dr. Smith guy. The notion of having the original Will play the older Will is ridiculous. Not because it would be distracting … but because the guy who played Will is probably a terrible actor)

Sean Patrick Flanery was originally cast as Don West, but he was let go while the project was still in rehearsal because it was thought that he too closely resembled William Hurt. The part was also offered to Matthew Perry before it went to his Friends (1994) costar Matt LeBlanc. (Matthew Perry would have been hilarious)

A huge production, this movie occupied 12 separate soundstages when it was being filmed at London’s Shepperton Studios.

In the script the ship with the spiders doesn’t have a name while in the movie it is called The Proteus. You could also notice this later on by watching Older Will’s lips move when he talks about how the spiders survived.

Heather Graham was dating director Stephen Hopkins during filming. (Wow, that is crazy)

Blarp was originally going to be an animatronic puppet in the film, except the puppet didn’t look real enough so it was replaced with a CG puppet. (The CG puppet looks so bad, an incredible decision)

In the original script and movie adaptation, it wasn’t Silicon Graphics who co-sponsored the Jupiter mission, it was Coca-Cola. (WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT)

The movie opens on September 30th, 2058 (two days after Mike Johansen & Naomi Watts’s 90 birthday). This is an allusion to Robinson Crusoe who was stranded on his Island on September 30th, 1659. The Robinsons ultimately owe their name to Crusoe via the Swiss Family Robinson, who were named after Crusoe.

British Band Lighthouse Family recorded the song “Lost in Space” for this film, but the producers decided not to use it. It wasn’t released for 2 months after the films US release. (Amazing)

According to the screenwriter, if this movie did receive a sequel it would have been about the Robinson family making it to Alpha Prime. However, they’d discover that Alpha Prime is already populated with humans because they previously went through a wormhole in the first movie that sends them into the future. There would also have been a sub-plot with Judy Robinson creating a cure for Dr. Smith to prevent the spider infection from turning him into Spider Smith and Penny ending up receiving the same color-changing abilities as Blarp has. (Oh thank God I wasn’t left hanging)

Future Will’s dialogue is entirely dubbed, as Jared Harris did not have the vocal scale to complete the role. (Yeah ………….. I think he couldn’t cover his British accent. It is very weird)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (1999)

Super Mario Bros. Preview

“Stop!” Shouts Poe, “or my grandma will shoot.” The mailman freezes as he spots Granny toting a comically large pistol. He backs away and speeds away in his car. Poe smirks at Granny, “what am I gonna do with you, you foul-mouthed old bat?” Granny smirks back, “you’ll finish your goddamn supper and we’ll watch Murder She Wrote.” Poe shrugs, “I guess this is what I get for retiring from the force early and moving to New Orleans to help you out. But sometimes… I just want another piece of the action.” Just as he closes the door a knock rings out. Granny is pissed and raises the pistol. “No wait,” Poe says softly, “I know that knock…” Just as he suspected Rich is there leaning against the porch. “You ready for another piece of the action, partner?” Poe is already shaking his head. He’s not a police officer anymore, he gave that up. It’s against the rules. Rich laughs, “Rulez? You really did retire. That’s too bad. Too bad you and Granny will end up dead.” He turns, knowing Poe can’t leave it at that. “Oh you haven’t heard,” Rich says snidely, “Helmut Gruber escaped and he’s out for revenge.” Poe stares in disbelief. Gruber? But he’s dead… isn’t he? Apparently not. With gritted teeth Poe asks quietly, “where is he?” Rich smiles. “He’s holed up in an arcade downtown.” Poe grabs his jacket but Rich stop him, “Woah partner, we’ll be too conspicuous heading down like this.” Poe grins and soon they are dressed like a couple of dope tweens ready to infiltrate the arcade and show Gruber what’s what. “Oh and Rich?” Rich says with a sly smile, “Better bring your Granny. These tweens need adult supervision.” And with that he cocks his gun. That’s right! We are finally watching an all-timer in Super Mario Bros. This was the first major motion picture based on a video game and oh what a start it was. Not only was it adapted as a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action film, but it looked real dumb to boot. It’s also appropriate timing for us to watch as it looks like Pokemon Detective Pikachu officially broke the 26 year long streak of video game adaptations being rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. It stands at 63%. Baby steps. Let’s go!

Super Mario Bros. (1993) – BMeTric: 84.7

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SuperMarioBrosIMDb_RV

(Ah, I actually don’t think this shows a regression. What is happening here is that the rating is basically 3.9 for the last 7 years. That jump in 2014 happens right on January 1st. And that jump is really consistent across movies (but you only notice it in really bad films I think … I can’t remember). Look back at Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. That’s a regression. This … this is sitting right at 3.9ish for like a decade. That is what I’m talking about when I say a truly bad film won’t regress to the mean.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Super, indeed! This overblown, effects-laden turkey chronicles the convoluted story of the title boys from Brooklyn (Hoskins, Leguizamo), plumber-siblings who go up against the villainous King Koopa (Hopper), a semi-human dinosaur who instigates the kidnapping of Daisy (Mathis), a princess who possesses a magical meteorite fragment. This listless film has far less appeal than the video game that inspired it.

(First, my god the hyphens! I love you Leonard. There are three hyphens in this review. Second, the review is just a description of the film and then a little “not interesting” at the end. And third … 1.5 stars? Where does the 0.5 come from. Classic Leonard. Classic.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtMZKYnLg5c/

(Oh shit the music!!!!! Is this real? They literally showed a major bit of the end of the film in that trailer? The theory surrounding trailers for films really was wild back then. It was just “anything goes as long as it generates interest”. One of the worst trailers I’ve ever seen. Bar none.)

Directors – Annabel Jankel – (Known For: Tell It to the Bees; D.O.A.; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Both Jankel and Morton were known for their music video work and for create Max Headroom. This film basically ruined their directing careers. Tell It to the Bees was Jankel’s first big directing job since Super Mario Bros. … it was in 2018.)

Rocky Morton – (Known For: D.O.A.; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Jankel and Morton got divorced in 2005. Both won Emmys for NBC’s Friday Night Videos which was basically MTV on basic cable … which apparently was a thing in the early 80s.)

Writers – Parker Bennett (written by) – (Known For: The Thief and the Cobbler; Future BMT: Mystery Date; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Was a writer and cartoonist for Playboy at one point.)

Terry Runte (written by) – (Known For: The Thief and the Cobbler; Future BMT: Mystery Date; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Apparently he has a credit for this YouTube video … which has like 24 views? Wild wild stuff.)

Ed Solomon (written by) – (Known For: Men in Black; Now You See Me; Charlie’s Angels; Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; Imagine That; What Planet Are You From?; Leaving Normal; Future BMT: The In-Laws; Mom and Dad Save the World; Now You See Me 2; Levity; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Is apparently writing the new Bill and Ted as well. And was married to John Cleese’s daughter for a long while.)

Actors – Bob Hoskins – (Known For: Snow White and the Huntsman; Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Brazil; Enemy at the Gates; Doomsday; Pink Floyd: The Wall; Mermaids; Paris, je t’aime; The Long Good Friday; Balto; Unleashed; The Cotton Club; Vanity Fair; Nixon; Made in Dagenham; A Christmas Carol; Inserts; Hollywoodland; Mona Lisa; Beyond the Sea; Future BMT: Son of the Mask; Maid in Manhattan; Michael; Outlaw; Live Virgin; Heart Condition; Hook; Shattered; Den of Lions; Stay; BMT: Spice World; Super Mario Bros.; Garfield 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Son of the Mask in 2006; Notes: Died due to complications with Parkinson’s in 2014. Claims to have never had an acting lesson in his life.)

John Leguizamo – (Known For: John Wick; John Wick: Chapter 2; Romeo + Juliet; Carlito’s Way; Chef; Moulin Rouge!; Ice Age; The Lincoln Lawyer; To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; The Infiltrator; Titan A.E.; Die Hard 2; Land of the Dead; Sisters; American Ultra; Executive Decision; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Casualties of War; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Nancy; Future BMT: The Honeymooners; Spawn; The Counsellor; Collateral Damage; The Pest; Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie; Anarchy: Ride or Die; Ice Age: Collision Course; What’s the Worst That Could Happen?; The Fan; The Babysitters; The Hollow Point; Miracle at St. Anna; Out for Justice; Repo Men; Empire; Revenge; Jekyll Island; Love in the Time of Cholera; Kick-Ass 2; Ice Age: Continental Drift; Whispers in the Dark; Rage; A Pyromaniac’s Love Story; Spun; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; The Happening; One for the Money; Gamer; Righteous Kill; Ride Along; Notes: A noted comedian in the early 90s doing character impersonations. Has been doing mostly television recently including a role in Bloodline.)

Dennis Hopper – (Known For: Apocalypse Now; True Romance; Cool Hand Luke; Waterworld; Easy Rider; Blue Velvet; Speed; River’s Edge; Rebel Without a Cause; Hang ‘Em High; Giant; True Grit; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2; The Other Side of the Wind; Land of the Dead; Rumble Fish; Black Widow; Hoosiers; The Pick-up Artist; Edtv; Future BMT: The Crow: Wicked Prayer; Big Fat Important Movie; Hell Ride; Boiling Point; Chasers; Space Truckers; Meet the Deedles; Knockaround Guys; Swing Vote; The Blackout; Memory; My Science Project; Queen of Blood; Sleepwalking; The Trip; Straight to Hell; Flashback; Search and Destroy; 10th & Wolf; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Alpha and Omega; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Waterworld in 1996; Notes: Was a child actor, and then had a very rocky film career due to substance abuse. He created, directed, and starred in Easy Rider which is credited in ushering in the anti-establishment movement in Hollywood of the 1970s.)

Budget/Gross – $48 million / Domestic: $20,915,465

(Catastrophic. I’m actually a bit surprised it didn’t do better. You’d think a good number of video game fans would have been tricked into going to the film during the opening weekend. I would have thought it would have ended at like … $40 million maybe? On the other had it was 1993.)

#27 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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(Our 18th video game film, driving quickly towards a 20th film (like …4% of BMT is video game films). The genre is really booming recently. And with Detective Pikachu I think there is a distinct possibility Nintendo will end up as the driving force in upping the quality overall.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (8/38): Despite flashy sets and special effects, Super Mario Bros. is too light on story and substance to be anything more than a novelty.

(A delightful novelty IMO. That percentage is a lot higher than I would expect for what is likely considered one of the worst films ever (although it isn’t on the wiki page interestingly enough …). Reviewer Highlight: As everyone knows, arcade-style diversions are not known for strong, original narratives or well-developed characters. In that sense, this film is worthy of its inspiration. – James Berardinelli, ReelViews)

Poster – Super Twin Time (B+)

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(I almost always default to the poster featured on IMDb, but for whatever reason they chose to use some foreign poster… I suspect because it looked so stupid that they thought it was funny? Hard to say. This was the primary theatrical poster I think and it’s actually fine. I wish it wasn’t so dark and they gave it some pop with the green and the red, but it’s nicely stylized and actually makes a very not cool thing look kinda cool with some nice spacing and font.)

Tagline(s) – This Ain’t No Game! (A)

(Clever. Good one to use on the first adaptation too as I think later on I would have thought it was a little generic and vague to constitute a good tagline. Here though I think it’s working.)

Keyword(s) – based on video game; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.4 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.9 House of the Dead (2003); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 87.7 BloodRayne (2005); 87.1 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 86.2 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 84.7 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 79.7 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 73.5 Far Cry (2008); 70.0 Wing Commander (1999);

(I kind of forget we haven’t officially seen Street Fighter for BMT. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen the film multiple times. We just used to not do filmes we’ve seen before for BMT. Now we do that quite frequently for good reason, so it’ll eventually come up, maybe in some ill-fated decision to watch every JCVD film ever made or something.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: John Leguizamo is No. 2 billed in Super Mario Bros. and No. 3 billed in Ride Along, which also stars Ice Cube (No. 1 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 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) => 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Hook, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – In his 2007 autobiography John Leguizamo states he and Bob Hoskins hated working on the film and would frequently get drunk to make it through the experience. Both men apparently knew the movie would turn out bad, so they simply tried to make the best of it. He also stated he felt one of the biggest reasons the movie turned out the way it did was because the directors wanted a more “adult” movie while the studio, considering the source material, was looking for a children’s film.

During a chase scene, Bob Hoskins broke his finger when the van’s door slammed on his hand. For the rest of the film, Hoskins is wearing a cast that was painted pink to look like a hand. (Having just watched it, I never noticed it)

Bob Hoskins didn’t know that the film he was making was based on a game, until his son asked him what he was working on. When Hoskins mentioned the film’s title, his son immediately recognized it and showed Hoskins the game on his own Nintendo.

An article in “Spy” magazine claimed that the script was being rewritten so many times during production that the actors stopped paying attention to these daily rewrites.

Although Bob Hoskins said that this is the worst film he ever made, his son Jack Hoskins is a fan of this film, praising his dad’s performance. He said that he was too young to understand the poor reviews and now that he’s old enough, he doesn’t care. He quoted on the film’s fan website “SMBArchive.com”: “If there’s anyone reading this, please understand that it’s no one’s intention to ruin the classics. One last thing; if you remember your past enjoyments, then it would definitely keep your childhood memories alive and safely locked in your head forever.”

The “De-evolution” guns seen at the end of the film are simply repainted versions of the Super Nintendo light gun accessory, the “Super Scope.” (Awesome. I’m serious … that’s awesome)

After the film bombed at the box office, Nintendo never produced any more live-action theatrical films based on their video game franchises. A “Metroid” film was put into development, but never went past pre-production. (They still haven’t. They have at least one film in production, another Super Mario film, but it is CGI I believe … which will probably work out better)

Dennis Hopper explained why he did the film – “I made a picture called Super Mario Bros., and my six-year-old son at the time – he’s now 18 – he said, ‘Dad, I think you’re probably a pretty good actor, but why did you play that terrible guy King Koopa in Super Mario Bros.?’ and I said, ‘Well Henry, I did that so you could have shoes,’ and he said, ‘Dad, I don’t need shoes that badly.'” (Sick burn)

The Yoshi puppet was capable of making 64 separate movements due to 200 feet of cable crammed inside its 3 foot tall structure. In all, no less than 9 puppeteers were used to operate the Yoshi puppet. (Yes, it was possibly the last great puppet animatronic since the film came out the same year as Jurassic Park. The CGI afterwards likely killed the industry. There might be other good examples, the Lost World or something, but 1993 marks the point where puppets weren’t the first thought in a directors mind on how to create a lifelike fictional animal.)

An early draft of the script shows that Bowser only disguises himself as a human in his first two scenes, the Princess character is named Hildy and Bowser wants to marry her in attempt to obtain the Crown of Invincibility with which to take over the Mushroom Kingdom. Actual game enemies such as Piranha Plants and Thwomps make appearances, Toad accompanies the Mario Bros. throughout their journey as a main character, a baby dinosaur named Junior thinks Mario is his mother, Luigi gets Raccoon Power at one point, one of Bowser’s lackeys (a possible prototype for Kamek) tells Mario “Your Princess Is in Another Castle”, Mario and Luigi sing a song for Bowser, Bowser ends up falling into a pit of lava… In other words, this draft is much more faithful to the games. (Yeah … that sounds like it would be absolutely terrible though)

Dennis Hopper described the film’s production – “It was a nightmare, very honestly, that movie. It was a husband and wife directing team who were both control freaks and wouldn’t talk before they made decisions. Anyway, I was supposed to go down there for five weeks, and I was there for 17. It was so over budget.”

In a 2011 interview with The Guardian, Bob Hoskins described the film’s production – “It was a f*ckin’ nightmare. The whole experience was a nightmare. It had a husband-and-wife team directing, whose arrogance had been mistaken for talent. After so many weeks their own agent told them to get off the set! F*ckin’ nightmare. F*ckin’ idiots.” (These two notes are eerily consistent)

Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario’s creator, stated, “[In] the end, it was a very fun project that they put a lot of effort into,” but also said, “The one thing that I still have some regrets about is that the movie may have tried to get a little too close to what the Mario Bros. video games were. And in that sense, it became a movie that was about a video game, rather than being an entertaining movie in and of itself.” (… what? It is nothing like the games.)

Rocky Morton reflected on the movie in 2016 as a “harrowing” experience. He explained that he and Annabel Jankel, along with the rest of the cast, agreed to make the movie based on the script originally written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, which focused on Mario and Luigi’s complicated but loving family dynamic that they had developed in the absence of their parents. However, just a few weeks before shooting was to begin, the studio financing the film demanded significant rewrites to make the film more childlike and comedic. The final result, according to Morton, was a script that was not at all like the script that he, Jenkel, and the cast had signed on to film, and that the tone of the new script was not at all compatible with the sets, which had already been built. Morton also reflected that he felt very uneasy being put in the position of having to defend the new script. In addition, working with Dennis Hopper was “really, really hard. Really hard. I don’t think [Dennis Hopper] had a clue what was going on.” Despite describing the overall experience as humiliating, Morton is proud of the film considering the chaos created as a result of the late and unexpected script rewrites. (Hmmmmmmmmmmmm)

Allegedly due to drinking on set, John Leguizamo was hit by a car, breaking his leg. You can even see the cast in some shots of the movie. (Jesus!)

This was the first Hollywood film directly based on a specific video game property. (And it went swimmingly)

John Leguizamo was annoyed that he wasn’t allowed to ad-lib in the film.

Parker Bennett and Terry Runte submitted a script represents the early transition from the original fantasy-oriented take to the more grounded sci-fi take of the final film. They felt that the story was never funny, scary or outlandish enough, so to make it more compelling they sought to focus more on Mario and Luigi’s relationship, to develop Daisy into a more proactive character and to expand Koopa’s plot so that it would also endanger Earth. However, the pitch still contains various fantastical elements, including Mario and Luigi being icons of a “prophecy,” a magical talking book that aids them on their quest and a mushroom-infested world complete with a castle. The sci-fi concept of a parallel world inhabited by humanoid dinosaurs is essentially only retrofitted onto the fantasy story already written. (What the hell? That was the “brilliant” story everyone was gutted to see changed?)

Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel were hired to direct the film, based on their work on Max Headroom (1987).

Lead creatures designer and supervisor Patrick Tatopoulos was aware of the concurrent Jurassic Park (1993) production, so consciously designed the dinosaurs more cute and cartoony with inspiration from Beetlejuice (1988).

Producers from Jurassic Park (1993) visited the set and were so impressed with the Yoshi puppet they briefly considered hiring its engineers for a second Jurassic Park creatures shop. (Yeah this is the thing I had heard, that they were still kind of figuring out whether they wanted to go animatronic for the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, but the CGI eventually won out)

Despite its box office failure and troubled production, Roland Joffé remains proud: “It’s not that I defend the movie, it’s just that, in its own extraordinary way, it was an interesting and rich artefact and has earned its place. It has strange cult status.” (This is absolutely true. It is one of the most baffling things you’ll ever watch. Just extraordinary that it exists at all)

Greg Beeman was attached to direct and development had already moved into pre-production, but the failure of Beeman’s recent Mom and Dad Save the World (1992) led to his dismissal by nervous producers. (Now that is an absolutely awful film … weirdly the carnivorous mushrooms would have been a decent idea for goombas in this film)

Vampire in Brooklyn Preview

Jamie stares, mouth agape, as Santa recounts his gritty origin story. Long ago the Coca-Cola Corporation devised an advertising scheme around a jolly man in a red suit. Unbeknownst to them this was the final stage of a dark prophecy that brought him forth from Hell into this world. However, a family of elves took pity on the vile creature and decided to use him for good instead of evil. While Santa has struggled with why he was preserved and let loose on the other monsters of the realm, using his well-oiled muscles to rip them to shreds, he has come to terms with his terrible power… with that Santa takes a long satisfying sip of a Coca-Cola and looks at Jamie, who is weeping uncontrollably. Suddenly Patrick has an idea, “wait, Santa. Did you say that the Coca-Cola Corporation created you in this world using an advertising scheme in our world?” Santa nods, “and it was a truly terrible advertising scheme at that. Craven capitalist cynicism,” he says with a look of disgust on his face. Disgust that can only be washed away by the refreshing taste of a delicious Coke. Patrick shakes Jamie out of his stupor, “Don’t you see? It was within us the whole time.” Jamie nods, “You mean love?” Patrick shakes his head, “no, not love. Something even better. Bad movies. Rich and Poe aren’t here yet because our first film was a wild critical success.” Jamie’s eyes alight, “My god, a sequel… but how do we get back home so we can write it?” Patrick ponders for a second and remembers the great power he tapped into in order to save Santa. He reaches for it again, but this time the query fails. “You try,” he tells Jamie, but within him there is no light… he can only see the one in Patrick. He reaches for that and *pop* they are back in their apartment. They stare in wonder and clap hands in a manly bro hand hug. Time to get to work. They don their cable-knit sweaters, hop in their Volvo and head to Brooklyn. That’s right! We’re transitioning from the Worst Films Ever Rejects into a cycle consisting of films that Siskel and Ebert put on one of their end of year worst films lists. These leads us right to another Eddie Murphy special with Vampire in Brooklyn, his attempt to cash in on that sweet vampire money. This is also the second film where Murphy played multiple roles. In this case Maximilian, Preacher Pauly, and Guido… well that already sounds offensive. Let’s go!

Vampire in Brooklyn (1995) – BMeTric: 68.5

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(Very consistent across the years, and impressively low. Heartening. While I knew of this film obviously, it is nice to see it have a bit of cred among the people.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Sleek Caribbean vampire Murphy, to perpetuate his race, needs to persuade Brooklyn cop Bassett that she’s his soul mate. Oddball film has Murphy cracking jokes, but he’s thoroughly evil; on the other hand, it’s not scary enough to work as a horror film … and it’s overlong, to boot.

(Ah classic. This is my problem with almost all multi-genre films. It seems like it isn’t a good comedy, or a good horror film. I find that a lot of these types of films are graded on a curve as a good-for-what-it-is in that much smaller (and worse) sub-genre. There are exceptions though, like Shaun of the Dead.)

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

(Yeah doesn’t seem very funny. Just a bunch of corny vampire jokes. And Maltin seems to be correct, it seems kind of too true to vampire lore to be anything but a horror film in spirit.)

Directors – Wes Craven – (Known For: Scream; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Scream 4; Scream 2; Red Eye; The Last House on the Left; The Hills Have Eyes; The People Under the Stairs; Swamp Thing; Paris, je t’aime; New Nightmare; The Serpent and the Rainbow; Music of the Heart; Future BMT: My Soul to Take; Cursed; The Hills Have Eyes Part II; Scream 3; Shocker; Deadly Blessing; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Deadly Friend; Notes: An original of the slasher genre, and is credited with bringing it back with the self-referential Scream series. Died in 2015.)

Writers – Eddie Murphy (story) – (Known For: Coming to America; Beverly Hills Cop II; Boomerang; BMT: Norbit; Vampire in Brooklyn; Another 48 Hrs.; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights in 1990; Winner for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit in 2008; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Nominee for Worst Director for Harlem Nights in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Norbit in 2008; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; in 2009 for Meet Dave; in 2010 for Imagine That; and in 2013 for A Thousand Words; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; and in 2009 for Meet Dave; Notes: Y’all know Eddie Murphy. It actually does seem like Coming 2 America is happening. So maybe Beverly Hills Cop 4 will as well.)

Vernon Lynch (story) – (BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Notes: Half-brother of Eddie Murphy. This was a truly a family affair.)

Charlie Murphy (story) (as Charles Murphy & screenplay) (as Charles Murphy) – (BMT: Norbit; Vampire in Brooklyn; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Norbit in 2008; Notes: We did it. Interestingly it feels like whenever Murphy is looking to be on the ropes he dusts off a script he and his brother wrote. This was the end of a long fall which ended with a tack to family friendly films with the Nutty Professor. Norbit kind of marks the end of Murphy’s second leading man career.)

Michael Lucker (screenplay) – (Known For: Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron; Home on the Range; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Notes: Wrote a bunch of those direct-to-video sequels to Disney films back in the days. Seems to produce now.)

Chris Parker (screenplay) (as Christopher Parker) – (Known For: Heaven Is for Real; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Battle of the Year; Notes: Appears to maybe be doing uncredited writing for animated films. There is little about him online.)

Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Mulan; Trading Places; Shrek; Coming to America; Beverly Hills Cop; Shrek 2; Doctor Dolittle; Shrek the Third; Shrek Forever After; Beverly Hills Cop II; The Nutty Professor; Life; Dreamgirls; Boomerang; 48 Hrs.; Tower Heist; Bowfinger; Dr. Dolittle 2; Imagine That; Future BMT: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; The Distinguished Gentleman; BMT: Norbit; The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Vampire in Brooklyn; I Spy; Beverly Hills Cop III; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child; A Thousand Words; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights in 1990; Winner for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit in 2008; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Nominee for Worst Director for Harlem Nights in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Norbit in 2008; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; in 2009 for Meet Dave; in 2010 for Imagine That; and in 2013 for A Thousand Words; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; and in 2009 for Meet Dave; Notes: Apparently Pete Davidson bought a vintage magazine featuring Eddie Murphy for $45 the other day … fun.)

Angela Bassett – (Known For: Bumblebee; Black Panther; Mission: Impossible – Fallout; Contact; Kindergarten Cop; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Meet the Robinsons; Olympus Has Fallen; Boyz n the Hood; Malcolm X; Strange Days; What’s Love Got to Do with It; The Score; Notorious; White Bird in a Blizzard; Chi-Raq; Waiting to Exhale; Akeelah and the Bee; F/X; How Stella Got Her Groove Back; Future BMT: Supernova; Meet the Browns; Green Lantern; Survivor; Masked and Anonymous; Innocent Blood; Gospel Hill; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; London Has Fallen; This Means War; Notes: She’s done some voice work for Bojack Horseman. Nominated for Best Actress for What’s Love Got to Do with It.)

Allen Payne – (Known For: The Perfect Storm; New Jack City; Jason’s Lyric; CB4; A Price Above Rubies; 30 Years to Life; Future BMT: Crossover; Cookie; The Walking Dead; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Notes: Vegan. One of the star of House of Payne, appearing in 170 episodes.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $19,751,736

(That seems really low. I imagine Eddie Murphy was getting paid multiple millions of dollars to appear in it, so almost definitely a bomb.)

#30 for the Horror Comedy genre

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(This is what I mean, I don’t really get why they are trying to make horror-comedies happen. Blank-comedy as a genre is a cool idea. When done right it is brilliant as it is able to skewer the non-comedy genre like nothing else can (see Cabin in the Woods, Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz). But they are obviously really hard to make. Making a horror film is hard. Making a comedy is really hard. Doing both at the same time is double hard. I literally think Cabin in the Woods is the last good one from that Box Office Mojo list.)

#35 for the Vampire genre

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(We might as well ignore that graph, the giant bump is just Twilight and the copycats there. Interesting nonetheless.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (3/29): Neither scary nor very funny, this misguided effort never lives up to its premise.

(Yeah, see. The double genre ploy almost never works … except for Marvel films which manage to be not very funny comedies and just ok action films, but people kind of accept those as “good” action-comedies.)

Poster – I’m a Vampire This Time (B+)

vampire_in_brooklyn

(I think my favorite genre of film poster is the “I’m a giant star poster.” Best recent example was The Mummy, which made it seem like Tom Cruise was the titular mummy. Here we get more a story with the moon and the cityscape, but let’s not get it twisted. It’s the Eddie Murphy show and I’m excited.)

Tagline(s) – A comic tale of horror and seduction. (D)

(A lot of genres being thrown around. So it’s a comedy-horror-romance? Cool cool cool. In fact we don’t learn much about the film other than three very broad genres. Also as bland as you can make it.)

Keyword(s) – vampire; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.1 Vampires Suck (2010); 87.7 BloodRayne (2005); 81.8 Ultraviolet (2006); 78.0 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 72.1 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011); 69.8 Stan Helsing (2009); 69.1 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 68.5 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 64.1 Dudley Do-Right (1999); 63.9 Dracula 2000 (2000);

(Wowza. We need to up our vampire game … although to be fair I’ve seen all of the Twilight films in my free time (my life!) so it really is just a matter of doing a re-watch.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Eddie Murphy is No. 1 billed in Vampire in Brooklyn and No. 1 billed in Harlem Nights, which also stars Richard Pryor (No. 2 billed) who is in Superman III (No. 2 billed), which also stars Annette O’Toole (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 7 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 5 + 7 = 18. If we were to watch The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Sonja Davis, Angela Bassett’s stunt double, died in an accident on the set. (Oh no, I forgot about this. Very sad).

On The Directors (1997), Wes Craven suggested that Eddie Murphy ignored his requests to play the character vulnerable, and felt compelled to showcase his comedic talents. (Wait a second! Later on in an interview Charlie Murphy claimed Wes Craven wanted it to be a comedy!)

Final film of Ray Combs. He died soon after.

In a November 2011 interview with “Rolling Stone”, Eddie Murphy stated that he made this movie for one reason: Paramount agreed to release The Nutty Professor (1996)’s rights in exchange for finishing his deal with the studio. Murphy also said that the wig his character wore was so awful it immediately made people despise the film. (Huh, interesting. So Murphy had the idea to basically reinvent his career prior to making the film. And then probably used his script to finish things off, see the next note).

Eddie Murphy wouldn’t write another story until Norbit (2007), twelve years later. Interestingly, his co-writer of both movies was his brother Charlie Murphy. (Yeah, again, I think they write scripts and then just leave them aside until the point where they are desperate to get something going. Murphy had had a few bad misses leading up to this).

According to Charlie Murphy, the movie was meant to be a straight horror movie with no laughs but Wes Craven brought a different focus to the film. (This contradicts the above note. I’m not sure which one I believe. This might seem unlikely, but Craven would use humor in Scream to satirize the slasher genre in Scream only a few years later)

This is Angela Bassett’s second vampire movie. She previously starred in Innocent Blood (1992). Bassett would also play a vampire many years later in season 5 of American Horror Story (2011). (That is actually kind of a fun fact)

First horror-comedy for Eddie Murphy. He would star in The Haunted Mansion (2003) eight years later. (Ooooooof, neither of those were particularly good).

“Veder” loosely translates to “Vater”, which means “Father”, in German, foreshadowing Ritas father was a vampire. (Darth Vader)