Mrs. Winterbourne Preview

“What do you mean ‘nursery rhymes’?” asks Gruber incredulously. But Rich nods his head, he means just that. The man they were meeting, Robin, killed by an arrow, and signed “The Sparrow.” And to drive home the point he tosses a classic Tommy Thumb book into Gruber’s lap. He flips through the pages and raises his eyebrows. “It’s pretty spot on… same with Rich, riding a horse until he can’t no more. Alright, I buy it. It’s super lame, but I buy it. So where are we going now.” Rich stops the car and points to his apartment. “Oranges and Lemons. Starts with a candle putting me to bed, ends with a chopper chopping off my head. But that’s not gonna happen… you won’t let it,” and he looks straight at Gruber who’s eyes grow wide. It’s a terrible plan for a terrible serial killer, but they have no choice. They must get the Dongle. Hours later Gruber is hiding in the closet and Rich is in his sleeping cap with a glass of warm milk in his hands. He’s quite cozy in his cozy clothes and slowly… slowly… slowly his eyelids begin to droop… when suddenly *creeak* a step is heard on the stairs. Gruber stiffens, Rich blows out the candle and the room goes dark. Suddenly a scream rings out and Gruber leaps from the closet. Was he too late? Did he miss his chance? When he flips on the light the murderer is standing over the bed with an axe plunged deep into the sleeping Rich. Gruber prepares to blow him away, but suddenly Rich has the killer in a headlock, the figure in the bed having been quickly crafted from some nearby papier-mache. Rich smirks, “Drop it, dirtbag… or should I say, Dr. Summersly.” That’s right, we are jumping straight into what is likely the best twin-centric romantic comedy that is truly just good clean fun (I presume there are some… less savory twin-centric “romantic” films out there). It stars Brendan Fraser and boy, does it seem not that exciting. Let’s go!

Slurping down his third Dr. Pepper infused pork rind sandwich, Poe is starting to feel a bit sick. But if this is the only way to defeat the dragons then he must. “Is this enough munchies? Are we ready” he asks queasily. But his twin protectors chuckle and keep eating. Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye he sees a glimmer of jade. A woman in green is fleeing and there is something… familiar. Something… irresistible about the glimpse he just got. Dropping his pork rinds he begins pursuit. That’s right! At least we can have some fun with the Friend as we are taking in Woman of Desire, a steamy Jeff Fahey classic tale of seduction. Jeff Fahey… steamy… a little redundant. Let’s go!

Mrs. Winterbourne (1996) – BMeTric: 17.5; Notability: 28 

(Pretty high rating. This is a normal bad 90s film I think. Around 30 notability. A low 6.0s IMDb score. It actually is just barely off from perfectly average for a qualifying film I would bet. For BMeTric that’ll be 20-25, and for notability I’ve mentioned 30 is very much what you expect for a bad film in general … maybe means this will be bland, average, and boring.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – Brendan Fraser is solid as the lover who sees through deception and out the other side. And there are some nice moments with Paco (Miguel Sandoval), the gay Cuban chauffeur, who considers himself a Winterbourne of sorts, and tells the weeping Connie, “If bad things are going to happen, let them happen here.” “Mrs. Winterbourne” has the kind of plot that might have distinguished an old Hollywood tearjerker, and in fact, it did: “No Man of Her Own” (1950) with Barbara Stanwyck. It is an old-fashioned, manipulated romantic melodrama, where coincidence is a condition of the universe. Because it is light and stylish and good-hearted, it is quite possible to enjoy, in the right frame of mind. But I am not sure it is worth the effort of putting on your shoes and going out to the theater. This is more of a movie to see on video, on an empty night when you need something to hurl at the gloom.

(Nice I guess. Yeah, that is probably the best we could have hoped for a film like this. I would take melodrama ten times out of ten, over “this film is aggressively boring, I fell asleep during it.”)

Trailer –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukQ9SfY2gJo 

(The music!!! The voiceover!!! This trailer is incredible. Also, how the hell don’t they go with a coma, how do they start the film with two people and an unborn child perishing? Also, I distinctly remember McLaine doing the cigarette trick … it is either from this trailer when I was ten, or something she does in other movies.)

Directors – Richard Benjamin – (Known For: Mermaids; The Money Pit; Racing with the Moon; Little Nikita; My Favourite Year; Future BMT: Marci X; Made in America; My Stepmother Is an Alien; City Heat; Milk Money; BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: Basically his last hurrah as a director, he was also a pretty big actor in the 70s. Was nominated for a Golden Globe for The SunShine Boys in 1975. His wife appears uncredited as the nurse in this film.)

Writers – Cornell Woolrich (novel) – (Known For: Rear Window; Phantom Lady; Cloak & Dagger; The Bride Wore Black; Mississippi Mermaid; The Window; The Leopard Man; No Man of Her Own; Union City; Future BMT: Original Sin; BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: Kind of a sad story. Lived with his domineering mother for much of his life. After taking care of her during a lengthy illness he was burned out after she died and basically just drank himself to death in the subsequent 10 years or so. His funeral went unattended, and he bequeathed a scholarship to Columbia named after not himself, but his mother.)

Phoef Sutton (screenplay) – (Future BMT: The Fan; BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: A producer and writer on Cheers, he has written a bunch of Darrow & Darrow mysteries for the Hallmark Channel more recently. He won two Emmys for his work on Cheers.)

Lisa-Maria Radano (screenplay) – (BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: Hosts a podcast called the American Fashion Podcast which appears to be a weekly podcast about the fashion industry.)

Actors – Shirley MacLaine – (Known For: Steel Magnolias; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; The Apartment; Terms of Endearment; Ocean’s Eleven; Being There; In Her Shoes; Bernie; Noelle; Two Mules for Sister Sara; Around the World in 80 Days; The Trouble with Harry; The Children’s Hour; Sweet Charity; Postcards from the Edge; The Last Word; Irma la Douce; Defending Your Life; The Turning Point; Some Came Running; Future BMT: Bewitched; The Little Mermaid; Wild Oats; A Smile Like Yours; The Evening Star; Closing the Ring; Bruno; Elsa & Fred; What a Way to Go!; BMT: Cannonball Run II; Rumor Has It…; Valentine’s Day; Mrs. Winterbourne; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Cannonball Run II in 1985; Notes: Amazingly nominated for six Oscars, and is the older sister of Warren Beatty (she changed her name because people had trouble pronouncing it).)

Ricki Lake – (Known For: Hairspray; Cry-Baby; Working Girl; Hairspray; Serial Mom; Gemini; Last Exit to Brooklyn; Cabin Boy; Cecil B. Demented; Where the Day Takes You; Inside Monkey Zetterland; Future BMT: Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Cookie; Park; BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: Had her star turn in Hair in the 80s, and then transitioned into a television talk show host in the 90s amid attempts to break into film (while also having a bunch of weight loss/gain issues if I recall).)

Brendan Fraser – (Known For: The Mummy; Crash; The Mummy Returns; George of the Jungle; Bedazzled; Journey to the Center of the Earth; Blast from the Past; School Ties; Gods and Monsters; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; Dogfight; The Quiet American; A Case of You; The Passion of Darkly Noon; Still Breathing; Twenty Bucks; Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy; The Twilight of the Golds; Future BMT: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor; Eye for an Eye; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; The Nut Job; California Man; Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star; The Scout; Son in Law; Inkheart; Airheads; Hustlers; HairBrained; Extraordinary Measures; The Last Time; Gimme Shelter; The Air I Breathe; With Honors; BMT: Furry Vengeance; Dudley Do-Right; Monkeybone; In the Army Now; Escape from Planet Earth; Mrs. Winterbourne; Now and Then; Notes: A huge star in the 90s, his career was somewhat waylaid by his divorce in the late 00s combined with just generally being an aging action star. Has revived his career somewhat with a few good television turns in The Affair and Doom Patrol.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $10,082,005 (Worldwide: $10,082,005)

(Wow, how was this film made for $25 million? I don’t get where the money could have went. Surely not to the cast. It is literally just to rent a mansion for two months? I don’t understand. Big bomb if true.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (3/30)

(Noice, I get to make a consensus: The type of film that relies on the lead actress to keep the it afloat … Ricki Lake is not that actress. Reviewer Highlight: The plot remains joyless in its contrivances. – Janet Maslin, New York Times)

Poster – Mrs. Winterboring

(This is not a movie I want to watch. Did they paint a picture and just put it in the middle of the poster. This whole thing is pretty terrible, but at least they gave it a little pop with the color and the font. Still… C- at best.)

Tagline(s) – The story of a girl who is going from filthy to rich (B)

(I appreciate this. I appreciate the effort. A little mean to refer to Ricki Lake as filthy… I mean, she was perhaps down on her luck, but not covered in filth or anything. But I think I like it despite the fact that it’s probably twice the length it should be.)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), The Great Outdoors (1988), House of Wax (2005), Despicable Me 3 (2017), A Cinderella Story (2004)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 57.9 House of Wax (2005), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 52.0 The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 36.2 A Cinderella Story (2004), 31.0 It Takes Two (1995);

BMT: Jack and Jill (2011), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), Father Figures (2017), Pluto Nash (2002), Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), The Identical (2014)

(Let’s see. We have The Astronaut’s Wife, Double Impact, and House of Wax coming up. So by the time we are finished here we would have gone from two “twins” films to nine. Beyond those nine actually the rest are rather dubious twin films as well.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Shirley MacLaine is No. 1 billed in Mrs. Winterbourne and No. 5 billed in Cannonball Run II, which also stars Burt Reynolds (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 5 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 5 + 1 + 5 + 4 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Extraordinary Measures we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Despite having already lost 125 lbs, Ricki Lake was required to lose an additional 20 lbs before filming could begin.

Matthew McConaughey was considered for the role of Bill/Hugh Winterbourne. (Would have been his second twin film in BMT at the very least)

Based on a book “I Married a Dead Man”

Bad Company Preview

Rich flexes his muscles, his glistening skin growing taut again the ropes that bind him. With a snap he is free and he leaps from the ceremonial table and jumps through a stained-glass window. Looking around he realizes he’s in a maze. “Heh heh heh, rats in a maze,” a Nic Cage says to his left, but when he turns no one is there. “Men in a cage,” the other responds to the right, but Rich is already off running. Suddenly he comes to a stop. “Fa… Father?” he stutters in astonishment. His father, long dead, is up ahead, beckoning him forward. He follows, but each turn he makes his father is already making the next turn. “Father!” he calls, “we have to find Poe. We have to find my… my brother.” Suddenly, he finds himself in a police station. He tries to tether himself to reality to stop himself from slipping back to bashing heads amidst the swirling papers.Yet he finds himself grabbing a stale slice of za from a box, readying himself to launch into his latest diatribe against those goddamn rulez when he hears “Poe! Get in here!” Poe! He looks around, but he doesn’t see his partner. When he looks back at the Chief he’s staring right at him. “Poe! Get a move on or I’ll have your ass.” Confused, Rich walks into the office and sits down. “I know it’s been hard since Rich has been killed, Poe, but we need your help,” the Chief sighs, “we need you to go undercover as Rich. Given your… similar… physical characteristics, you’re the only one that can pull it off.” Rich nods. “We also got you a little company. Meet your new partner.” Rich turns. His blood runs cold. That’s right! We’re watching Bad Company starring Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins. Rock plays twins separated at birth who are all mixed up in some spy shit. Let’s go!

Poe comes to love and respect his monstrous twin protectors as they nurse him back to health. Eventually, having gained strength from their delicious Dr. Pepper infused lasagna, he asks them where they are. They looked confused, “We are here,” they say. “So how do we get there?” Poe asks. They nod and point up. Poe’s eyes travel up the mountain to the swirling storm clouds above. His blood runs cold. That’s right! As a partner for Bad Company we are diving head first into Dragon Hunt, one of the action films made by the Twin Dragons, Canadian twin martial artists with moustaches for days. Let’s go!

Bad Company (2002) – BMeTric: 44.6; Notability: 51 

(My god, a 50+ notability film! And it’s Bad Company, how odd. The bad rating on this is really sticking right around 5.5. And you can definitely see the inflection there. The votes rising right around 2011 (when IMDb when mobile) and now tailing off again as the new user base saturates their ratings. I wonder if IMDb is going to be in trouble at some point as people finally stop having old movies to rate … I guess they only really make money off of IMDb Pro anyways.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Hard on the heels of “The Sum of All Fears,” here’s Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Bad Company,” another movie about an American city threatened by the explosion of a stolen nuclear device. This one is an action comedy. There may come a day when the smiles fade. To be sure, the movie was made before 9/11 (and its original autumn 2001 release was delayed for obvious reasons), but even before 9/11 it was clear that nuclear terrorism was a real possibility. While “The Sum of all Fears” deals in a quasi-serious way with the subject (up until the astonishingly inappropriate ending), “Bad Company” is more light-hearted. Ho, ho.

(Well … this review just makes me want to watch Sum of All Fears. Or more realistically read some trash Clancy books. Oh, and yeah, I didn’t think about the impact of 9/11, but this one is one of the more wild versions of the story, all the way down to it maybe being the last film featuring a true blue Yugoslavian terrorist (it is hard to tell).)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h8wWFqwmcA/

(The “hand me a towel” joke is all I distinctly remember from the trailer when this came out. The trailer is interesting because it doesn’t indicate that the main character didn’t know he had a twin brother, but I suppose that is a minor point. The Saddam Hussien comment is also interesting considering it was released in June of 2002.)

Directors – Joel Schumacher – (Known For: The Lost Boys; A Time to Kill; Falling Down; St. Elmo’s Fire; The Client; Phone Booth; Flatliners; Flawless; Blood Creek; Tigerland; Veronica Guerin; Cousins; Future BMT: Twelve; The Incredible Shrinking Woman; Street Fleet; Dying Young; 8MM; The Phantom of the Opera; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Trespass; Bad Company; The Number 23; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Batman & Robin in 1998; Notes: A stalwart director from 1980 through 2005, after which he semi-retired. Directed a few music videos like The End is the Beginning is the End by The Smashing Pumpkins. Died this year.)

Writers – Gary M. Goodman (story) (as Gary Goodman) – (BMT: Bad Company; Notes: Mostly a producer. Directed a single episode of the Police Academy television show in 1998.)

David Himmelstein (story) – (Known For: Power; Future BMT: Village of the Damned; BMT: Bad Company; Notes: Wrote a television movie called Soul of the Game about the players trying to break the color barrier in baseball.)

Jason Richman (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Swing Vote; BMT: Bangkok Dangerous; Bad Company; Notes: Was a professional musician. The creator of a few television shows including Stumptown.)

Michael Browning (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Six Days Seven Nights; BMT: Bad Company; Notes: Is also a producer on Bad Company. This is the last thing he is credited for in any category on IMDb.)

Actors – Anthony Hopkins – (Known For: The Silence of the Lambs; Thor: Ragnarok; Thor; Red Dragon; Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Legends of the Fall; A Bridge Too Far; Thor: The Dark World; Meet Joe Black; RED 2; Mission: Impossible II; Fracture; The Two Popes; Noah; The Elephant Man; The Mask of Zorro; Howards End; The Bounty; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Beowulf; Future BMT: Alexander; Misconduct; Freejack; Go with Me; The Wolfman; Slipstream; Desperate Hours; Collide; The Rite; Kidnapping Freddy Heineken; All the King’s Men; 360; Solace; Instinct; The Innocent; Surviving Picasso; The Trial; Hannibal; The City of Your Final Destination; August; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Bad Company; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for A Change of Seasons in 1981; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2018 for Collide, and Transformers: The Last Knight; Notes: Born in Wales, he was inspired by Richard Burton to become an actor. He’s now an American citizen and was allowed to keep his knighthood.)

Chris Rock – (Known For: Bee Movie; Madagascar; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Dolemite Is My Name; Dogma; Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa; Death at a Funeral; Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Beverly Hills Cop II; Doctor Dolittle; Osmosis Jones; Lethal Weapon 4; Boomerang; New Jack City; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; Top Five; CB4; Krush Groove; Nurse Betty; Future BMT: The Week Of; You Don’t Mess with the Zohan; Sandy Wexler; Nobody’s Fool; Pootie Tang; Beverly Hills Ninja; Down to Earth; Head of State; I Think I Love My Wife; Paparazzi; Sgt. Bilko; The Longest Yard; Panther; BMT: Grown Ups 2; Bad Company; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Grown Ups; Notes: Came up through SNL and into a supporting comedic actor in the 90s. He became a starring lead in the 2000s. Notable for his friendship with Adam Sandler and his participation in many of his recent films.)

Peter Stormare – (Known For: The Big Lebowski; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Fargo; Constantine; Minority Report; John Wick: Chapter 2; 22 Jump Street; Awakenings; Pain & Gain; Chocolat; The Last Stand; The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus; Dancer in the Dark; Fanny and Alexander; The Zero Theorem; Penguins of Madagascar; Clown; How I Spent My Summer Vacation; Damage; Henry’s Crime; Future BMT: Tokarev; Witless Protection; Dylan Dog: Dead of Night; Rupture; Eye for an Eye; Horsemen; Dark Summer; Nacho Libre; The Brothers Grimm; Premonition; Anamorph; Every Thing Will Be Fine; The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature; The Million Dollar Hotel; Playing God; Lockout; Windtalkers; Strange Magic; Birth; Jewtopia; I Am Here; Small Apartments; Autumn Blood; 8MM; Circus; Unknown; Bad Boys II; Spun; BMT: The Tuxedo; Bad Company; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Mercury Rising; Armageddon; Notes: A fun “that guy” since the mid-90s. He’s Swedish, but he tends to play a variety of nationalities, particularly Russian and Eastern European.)

Budget/Gross – $70,000,000 / Domestic: $30,160,161 (Worldwide: $66,200,782)

(That is slightly better than I would have expected, but pretty bad considering the listed budget. You obviously are hoping a Joel Schumacher film is a blockbuster.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (14/135): Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins fail to generate the sparks necessary to save the movie from a generic and utterly predictable script.

(Just a shade over 10% sadly, I do like collecting sub-10% Rotten Tomatoes films. Yeah, everything I remember about the film when it came out was how much of a miscast the pair of Hopkins and Rock were. Reviewer Highlight: Bad Company is a bad movie with really bad timing. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper.)

Poster – Sklog Company

(It is quite amusing that they have this big poster and are like “Hopkins”… “Rock” as if this is the teamup that we’ve all been waiting for. “Oh, when will I be able to see the dynamic action/comedy duo of Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins?! When will Hollywood finally deliver what we’ve all been clamouring for?!!! Pretty good poster though. Only critique is them riding that star power a little harder than it deserved. Get me a little taste of the plot please. B+)

Tagline(s) – The World is in Good Hands (D)

(Hands… hands… is this a pun I’m not picking up on? Why can’t these movies just figure out how to do a decent twin pun. Back-to-back weeks where the tagline has been merely lame or worse. This is boring fluff.)

Keyword – twin

Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), The Prestige (2006), Gone Girl (2014), Stand by Me (1986), Octopussy (1983), Avatar (2009), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), A Simple Favour (2018), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), There Will Be Blood (2007)

Future BMT: 71.1 The Spirit (2008), 70.0 The Unborn (2009), 68.1 Seed of Chucky (2004), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 57.9 House of Wax (2005), 52.2 The Divorce (2003), 51.2 Scary Movie 3 (2003), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 48.6 The Real Cancun (2003), 47.5 Dumb and Dumber To (2014);

BMT: 2012 (2009), The Snowman (2017), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), The Forest (2016), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), Old Dogs (2009), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Bad Company (2002), 88 Minutes (2007), New York Minute (2004), Babylon A.D. (2008), Grind (2003), The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007)

(So indeed there aren’t really twins in this film I don’t think, so I went with the “twin” keyword instead. This is a pretty good keyword as well. The Forest was a great twin film, as was I Know Who Killed Me, Old Dogs, New York Minute, and The Seeker: The Dark is Rising. Most of the other ones (like 88 Minutes) are more tenuous, in that one the first death in the film involves two twins who live together, although it is easy to forget that.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Chris Rock is No. 2 billed in Bad Company and No. 3 billed in Grown Ups, 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) => 2 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 15. If we were to watch The Spirit, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – This was one of the last movies filmed in the World Trade Center (some of the subway scenes).

One of several movies that had its release date changed after the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001. This movie was originally set for release in November 2001, but was not released until June 2002.

Originally written as a sequel to Blue Streak (1999). (Huh that is actually super interesting)

When Jake (Chris Rock) is dining with Nicole (Garcelle Beauvais) in Prague, he says, “I’ll eat a pig’s ass if they cook it right.” This is a line from his 1996 HBO special. (Weird)

Originally titled “Black Sheep” until it was discovered that there was already a movie with that title, Black Sheep (1996). (Oh did they discover that? Did they dig into the archive and be like “Oh, Chris Rock, you’re friends with David Spade and Chris Farley right? Did you know they had a film called Black Sheep?! Get out of here with that.)

The Identical Preview

With their powers combined the robot vixens are no match for Rich and Poe. They bust those robots up and boy howdy, bustin’ makes them feel good. Rich looks at Poe and realizes that this is his moment to say goodbye. “It’s time to set yourself free,” he tells him. Poe steels himself and despite the love in his heart he delivers one last crosskick that sends the bots back into the puzzle box. With a second flying kick he forces the box close, thus sealing them away. With the spell finally broken, Poe picks up the box and has a moment of contemplation. Perhaps he should just throw the box into the fire and end it. Rich steps in, “I know you’re not ready to say goodbye and perhaps… just perhaps, we’ll see that puzzle box again down the road.” With that he gives a little wink and Poe nods, leaving the box behind. As they leave the ship they are greeted by a smiling Nic Cage and the masked gamemaster. “Congratulations, Rich and Poe, you have won. Earth is saved.” They smile and breathe a sigh of relief. “Unfortunately, the universe is lost,” the other gamemaster says and begins to cackle in glee. What? This doesn’t make sense! “But we won!” they scream. “Oh yes, you won, and for that you will pay dearly, for it revealed what is inside of you… what we are destined to possess,” and the gamemaster holds up the Obsidian Dongle! With a small shard missing! Rich’s hand immediately goes to his chest. “Nic Cage! Stop him,” they plead, but he just shakes his head and smiles. He then turns to the gamemaster who slowly takes off his mask to reveal… a second Nic Cage. They’re… they’re… identical. That’s right! We are kicking off the Twins battle cycle where we watch BMT films featuring twins paired with Bring a Friend’s also featuring twins! It’s a veritable twinstravaganza! First up The Identical. ‘What’s that?’ you ask. Who cares, no one remembers it, but it was all about an Elvis twin or something. Let’s go!

The Identical Nic Cage peers at Poe. “Oh, you don’t recognize me? Of course. The face. You see I had them take my face… off. And then I had his face put… on. You getting it yet?” Poe’s aghast. Travolta! The sequence of events is still a little confusing, but before he can get it clarified Travolta uses his sorcerer’s powers to send Poe deep into the Earth… to Hell! That’s right! We are pairing The Identical with Sorceress, an 80’s film that features magical creatures in some anonymous time of the past. Oh and sexy twin warriors. Pretty appropriate stuff. Let’s go!

The Identical (2014) – BMeTric: 25.4; Notability: 18 

(Odd plot. I think maybe the initial ratings were exclusive to people who actually went and watched the film in theaters … so like Elvis impersonators? Just seems insane the drop which almost definitely coincides with the film coming out on VOD or something.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – On January 8, 1935, a woman gave birth to twin boys in a little shack built by her husband in Tupelo, Mississippi. It is not known whether or not the twins were identical. One twin was stillborn, the other grew up to be Elvis Presley.  For the entirety of his life, Elvis missed his twin (named Jesse). He prayed to him, talked about him all the time. If you visit Graceland, there is a small gravestone for Jesse in the family burial plot outside the house. Elvis wondered if he had somehow sapped the strength of his twin brother in the womb, and if that was why he became the superstar that he did. He had guilt about it. … One positive thing about “The Identical” is that it will make you want to bust out Elvis Presley’s early Sun and RCA recordings, songs like “That’s All Right,” “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” “My Baby Left Me,” or “Good Rockin'” just to remind you that no, it didn’t happen the way it did in “The Identical”. Thank goodness.

(Oh wow … wait, this is basically some screenwriter who read this story about Elvis and made a fictionalized version of it with an Elvis impersonator? That is crazy. Do you know what else it crazy? Ray Liotta’s face which is the only thing about this film that I’m looking forward to.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LWy9hBy0Kk/

(Hmmm, they really hide the fact that this is pretty explicitly a Christian film. Not that I blame them for that, but you’d think this was just a vague fantasy biopic thingy based on the trailer. It assuredly is not.)

Directors – Dustin Marcellino – (BMT: The Identical; Notes: There is nothing about this person. I have a theory: there is a real estate agent in Tennessee with this name. This film was likely produced and shot in Tennessee where both Wade Cummins and Blake Rayne live. I think he probably directed impersonator / local commercials / real estate stuff and these two people are one in the same.)

Writers – Wade Cummins (written by) – (BMT: The Identical; Notes: Also had a cameo part in the film. He is also an Elvis impersonator!! Here’s his website.)

Howard Klausner (screenplay) – (Known For: Space Cowboys; The Last Ride; Future BMT: God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness; The Grace Card; BMT: The Identical; Notes: Seems to have transitioned to Christian films, including directing a small Kevin Sorbo film called The Secret Handshake.)

Actors – Blake Rayne – (Future BMT: Hounddog; BMT: The Identical; Notes: An elvis impersonator. Was a web designer prior to winning an Elvis impersonator content in Columbus, Ohio in 1998. His real name is Ryan Pelton.)

Ray Liotta – (Known For: Goodfellas; Marriage Story; Blow; The Place Beyond the Pines; Identity; Killing Them Softly; Field of Dreams; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Bee Movie; Cop Land; The Iceman; Heartbreakers; Kill the Messenger; Date Night; Wanderlust; Muppets Most Wanted; Observe and Report; Something Wild; Youth in Revolt; No Escape; Future BMT: The Son of No One; Operation Dumbo Drop; Go with Me; Crazy on the Outside; Revenge of the Green Dragons; Forever Mine; Revolver; The Lonely Lady; The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud; Slow Burn; Even Money; Better Living Through Chemistry; Powder Blue; Unforgettable; Smokin’ Aces; Hannibal; Corrina, Corrina; Crossing Over; Flock of Dudes; Pilgrim; John Q; Local Color; A Rumour of Angels; BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Turbulence; Wild Hogs; The Identical; Notes: Was adopted. Was a genuine A-list star in the 90s, but in more recent years he’s focused on television, like Shades of Blue with Jennifer Lopez.)

Ashley Judd – (Known For: Heat; Divergent; Natural Born Killers; A Time to Kill; Olympus Has Fallen; Frida; Barry; A Dog’s Way Home; Bug; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; Animal Attraction; Simon Birch; Dolphin Tale; Smoke; De-Lovely; Dolphin Tale 2; The Passion of Darkly Noon; Ruby in Paradise; Normal Life; Helen; Future BMT: Tooth Fairy; Eye of the Beholder; Allegiant; Insurgent; Kuffs; Good Kids; High Crimes; Big Stone Gap; Flypaper; Double Jeopardy; Crossing Over; Where the Heart Is; Trafficked; A Secret Sin; BMT: Twisted; The Identical; Kiss the Girls; Notes: Went to the University of Kentucky and considered a run for U.S. Senate from Kentucky in 2014, but ultimately decided not to pursue the position. Was in Twin Peaks: The Return.)

Budget/Gross – $16 million / Domestic: $2,827,666 (Worldwide: $2,840,991)

(I cannot believe the budget was actually that large … I guess maybe they knew you could pull in church groups and make bank like Tyler Perry. Weird story to try that strategy with though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (4/69): With nearly every element ringing as hollow as the ersatz Elvis at the story’s core, The Identical looks destined for a bright future on the ironic viewing circuit.

(Ironic viewing? Check. A saw a few reviews that mention the odd pro-Isreal slant the movie takes. Sounds like some weird and wild stuff. Reviewer Highlight: The script is so determined to deliver an upbeat message of faith and love, it forgets to be interesting. – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune)

Poster – Twins: The Musical

(It’s certainly… magical looking. I won’t even say it’s a bad poster or anything. It’s fine. A little old fashioned, but I think I expected that. Just wish they tried a bit harder here and there. C)

Tagline(s) – If He is in your dreams, nothing can stand against Him. (D)

(Oh my gooooodddddddddddddddddd. I don’t even think this makes sense, but I don’t care. Run, Patrick! Run! What have we done?!)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Great Outdoors (1988), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), Despicable Me 3 (2017), The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 41.3 Father Figures (2017), 13.4 Little Women (2018);

BMT: Jack and Jill (2011), Pluto Nash (2002), The Identical (2014)

(Wow, how have we done so few? What a disaster. Looks like we are ready to fill up this keyword. Stay tuned because this same keyword plot will be coming at you every week for two months as we slowly watch every single BMT qualifying twin film (and I guess add the keyword to a few movies as well because this looks mighty incomplete to me!))

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Ray Liotta is No. 2 billed in The Identical and No. 3 billed in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 = 10. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Blake Rayne is a famous Elvis Presley impersonator. He was cast after one of his performances as Elvis garnered the casting director’s attention.

Joe Pantoliano appeared in La Bamba 27 years earlier, playing Ritchie Valens’ music manager, another movie about music and set around the 1950s. (I would have deleted this note as pointless … but there are so few notes for this film I’ll leave it in. Yes, sometimes actors act in two films with an extremely tenuous and vague connection …)

Ray Liotta and Amanda Crew previously starred together in the 2010 film Charlie St. Cloud, but shared no screen time together. (How is this a note? Step up your game random people on IMDb!)

Supernova Preview

We flash back to the year 2000….

Rich and Poe were just a couple of rad dudez. They got their bubblegum a-poppin’, their cargo shorts a-baggin’, and their frosted tips a-glistenin’. Despite the heat of the bayou they are rocking their dopest threads: matching denim jackets. The world is their oyster and they are on a mission with their two best friends, Ernie and Jellyroll. A mission for love. That’s right, the big L-O-V-E. That’s because the megahit sensation B*Witched is coming through Rabideaux and they just gotta score some tix. “Man, think about it, four of them, four of us. It’s destiny!” Young Rich exclaims excitedly. Jellyroll laughs nervously while eating a candy bar and Ernie trips on a root, nearly breaking his glasses. Young Poe rolls his eyes, but he’s also excited. B*Witched is in town and love is in the air. “Rich?” he asks, “how do you think I’ll know when I’m in love?” Young Rich puts his arm around his buddy and lays it out there. “First you’ll feel like a spooky ghost has possessed you,” he says. Ernie and Jellyroll gape in disbelief. “Then you’ll sweat all over like you just scored a winning touchdown,” Young Poe nods in understanding. “Finally,” Young Rich pronounces, “you’ll woo her with your most bodacious dance move. If she doesn’t like it, then you’ll know she’s not the one.” At that Jellyroll proceeds to pull up his shirt and do his patented Jellyroll Bellyroll and they laugh and laugh. 

Poe closes his diary ready to bust a move. Unfortunately, while he was reading the puzzle box went from a portal to a full blown supernova. And Rich and his robot loves are nowhere to be seen! That can’t be a good sign. That’s right! We’re watching Supernova starring James Spader. It’s basically Hellraiser in space… wait, didn’t we just watch this? No? But I could’ve sworn… Let’s go!

Supernova (2000) – BMeTric: 58.0; Notability: 51 

(Impressively low rating there, you might think this is the kind of film which would get a cult following, but clearly the film is bad enough that that isn’t happening. Also this is, I think, the first 50+ notability film in a long while. Turns out that is rare. I should do a full analysis again for all qualifying films … actually, you know what I’m going to go do that right now … alright, 25% of BMT films are above 50 notability and around 21% of all qualified films fit the bill. So you’d kind of expect that at least a fifth of 2020 films would have 50+. This is the sixth of the year which is just about right (17%, so a little below expectations), although I was also right, this is the first 50+ film since April so it has been over three months straight of smaller films. Well, that was fun, good talk.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Alan Smithee gets competition that neither he nor the industry needs; [Thomas] Lee is a pseudonym for director Walter Hill, who took his name off this costly but listlessly derivative space adventure. Story deals with a hospital ship rescuing a battered freighter that has sent out a distress call in “black hole” territory. Spader and Phillips are so pumped up that you wonder where they’re getting the celestial weightroom time.

(Huh, this is in actuality one of only like five or six major films to use a non-Smithee pseudonym in the brief moment around 2000 where people decided that the Smithee pseudonym had been played out. Weird that the sole complaint here is that it is derivative.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUdy0Cu3f_o/

(Holy shit the music … is this real life? This is apparently the “infamous” trailer in which the film is cut to suggest it is a comedy. It is not. It is a thriller mostly. It is actually not funny at all.)

Directors – Walter Hill – (Known For: The Warriors; 48 Hrs.; Streets of Fire; Bullet to the Head; Red Heat; Southern Comfort; Crossroads; Geronimo: An American Legend; Undisputed; The Driver; The Long Riders; The Streetfighter; Extreme Prejudice; Johnny Handsome; Trespass; Future BMT: Tomboy; Last Man Standing; Brewster’s Millions; BMT: Supernova; Another 48 Hrs.; Wild Bill; Razzie Notes: ; Notes: Went by Thomas Lee, which is a rare non-Smithee pseudonym by a director who disowned their films. Originally attached to Geoffrey Wright, then reshot by Jack Sholder, and re-edited by Francis Ford Coppola, apparently little of Hill’s work actually appears in the theatrical cut.)

Writers – William Malone (story) – (BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Supernova; Notes: Mostly a television director, he directed House on Haunted Hill in 1999. Originally pitched in 1990 as Dead Space, that timeline makes a bit more sense as a Hellraiser in Space concept.)

Daniel Chuba (story) – (Known For: Big Fish & Begonia; BMT: Supernova; Notes:  Founded Hammerhead Productions in 1992 which has worked on visual effects for over 100 films. Studied painting at the University of Michigan.)

David C. Wilson (screenplay) (as David Campbell Wilson) – (Known For: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; The Perfect Weapon; BMT: Supernova; Notes: The Perfect Weapon is a fun one, a starring vehicle for the little-known martial artist Jeff Speakman. Was also directed by one of the directors of Kickboxer. Just wild stuff.)

Actors – James Spader – (Known For: Avengers: Age of Ultron; Pretty in Pink; Stargate; Secretary; Lincoln; Crash; 2 Days in the Valley; Wall Street; Wolf; Sex, Lies, and Videotape; The Homesman; Less Than Zero; White Palace; Shorts; Baby Boom; Dream Lover; Bad Influence; Bob Roberts; Jack’s Back; The Rachel Papers; Future BMT: The Watcher; Mannequin; Keys to Tulsa; Tuff Turf; BMT: Supernova; Endless Love; Notes: He was a genuine movie star in the 90s although he is now more known for his many starring television roles (Boston Legal and The Blacklist most notably). He’s won three Emmys for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series.)

Peter Facinelli – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Can’t Hardly Wait; The Scorpion King; Riding in Cars with Boys; Hitman Redemption; Walter; The Big Kahuna; Dancer, Texas Pop. 81; Future BMT: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Gallows Hill; Running with the Devil; Freezer; Finding Amanda; The Wilde Wedding; Foxfire; Loosies; Telling You; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; Supernova; Countdown; Notes: Seems to do mostly guest spots on television shows and supporting roles on non-theatrical releases these days. Was the asshole boyfriend in Can’t Hardly Wait. Was married to Jennie Garth aka Kelly from 90210.)

Robin Tunney – (Known For: Horse Girl; The Craft; Hollywoodland; Vertical Limit; Monster Party; The Secret Lives of Dentists; Niagara, Niagara; Future BMT: Looking Glass; End of Days; Encino Man; The In-Laws; The Zodiac; Paparazzi; August; The Darwin Awards; Empire Records; The Burning Plain; My All-American; BMT: Supernova; Notes: Probably most well known now for her starring role in The Mentalist. She was also in the first (and only good) season of Prison Break.)

Budget/Gross – $90,000,000 / Domestic: $14,230,455 (Worldwide: $14,828,081)

(Holy shit that is catastrophic. I can’t remember the last time I saw a return that negative … I would usually make a joke about Supernova 2: Origins or something, but that genuinely makes me sad.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (6/61): This is an insult to the Sci-fi genre with no excitement and bad FX.

(Yep, basically everyone is quite perplexed by how dull the film is, and how it manages to say a whole lot of nothing for the entirety of the runtime. Reviewer Highlight: Appears headed for a deep-space rendezvous with audience indifference. – Godfrey Cheshire, Variety)

Poster – Super Duper Nova

(Egad, that’s like… well, like I made it. It’s terrible. I like the blue and I like that they went kooky with the font (almost too kooky, I thought for a second they had misspelled January, but the font was just confusing me). But there is A LOT going on here and most of it is not good. Feels like a poster for a film that they gave up on. C)

Tagline(s) – All hell is about to break loose (D)

(I feel like I do have to start being harsher for taglines like this. Sure it’s short and tells me about the film… but also, it’s generic and shows a real lack of creativity. There was no value added.)

Keyword – outer space

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Interstellar (2014), Ad Astra (2019), Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019), Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Spaceballs (1987), SpaceCamp (1986), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Future BMT: 68.7 Supergirl (1984), 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 63.9 Underdog (2007), 59.6 Virus (1999), 59.2 Space Chimps (2008), 58.7 Apollo 18 (2011), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 56.9 Suburban Commando (1991), 55.0 Coneheads (1993), 53.6 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995);

BMT: Battlefield Earth (2000), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Event Horizon (1997), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Armageddon (1998), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), The Predator (2018), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Masters of the Universe (1987), Jupiter Ascending (2015), Geostorm (2017), Gods of Egypt (2016), Howard: A New Breed of Hero (1986), Battleship (2012), Doom (2005), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), After Earth (2013), The Space Between Us (2017), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), Lost in Space (1998), Jason X (2001), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Mac and Me (1988), Soldier (1998), Ghosts of Mars (2001), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Species II (1998), Supernova (2000), Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996), Pluto Nash (2002), Critters 2 (1988), Wing Commander (1999)

(I think somewhere around Empire Strikes Back people started realizing they couldn’t halfass space films anymore, and then somewhere around 1996 people thought “hey … can we do these things on the cheap with CGI now?”. Otherwise the graphic seems to state the obvious: people like space films. I can’t wait to watch Virus, it has been on the BMT shortlist for ages.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robert Forster is No. 3 billed in Supernova and No. 8 billed in Firewall, which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 3 + 8 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 18. If we were to watch The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Walter Hill said in interview some years after the movie was released that his version was much darker, had a very different setup and that the ending was much different from the final cut. He also expressed strong dislike for the way studio ruined the movie but he said that James Spader did a great job with his role.

Four different endings were filmed.

This was the first post-Alan Smithee film. For many years, a director who for whatever reason wished not to be credited for a movie and disassociate themselves from it, would have their name replaced with the fake name “Alan Smithee”. After the film An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997), the name was too well known, and so the Director’s Guild of America decided to replace the name “Alan Smithee” with the name “Thomas Lee”. (They would eventually return to Smithee, probably because they realized people would figure out it was a pseudonym regardless due to the trades)

According to Walter Hill, problems began when he did a rewrite of the script, not knowing that the president of United Artists (Lindsay Doran) was very attached to the script. He also said that the budget of the film was cut halfway through production.

Tommy Malone originally pitched the film in 1990. He envisioned it as a modestly budgeted film which would cost around $5-6 million and be like “Dead Calm (1989) in space”. (Wait a tick … on Wikipedia it says he pitched it as Dead Calm in space! Now that makes a whole lot more sense, because that is what is mentioned on TV Tropes when I tried to figure out a horror corollary! I was supremely confused by the Hellraiser bit while watching the film).

Many promotional stills show lots of deleted scenes which were not included in deleted scenes section on the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the movie. These include; * Kaela and Danika dressing up the Flyboy robot. * Nick investigating the Titan mining colony and more areas of it. * Nick finding more cocooned dead bodies of miners and examining them. * Karl’s original monster-like look.

The original script was about a space expedition that discovers artefacts from an alien civilisation and brings them back to Earth; one of the artefacts unleashes an evil force. Tommy Malone and producer Ash R. Shah asked H.R. Giger to produce some conceptual sketches to help promote the script. (Now that sounds like Hellraiser in space. I wonder if they changed it up a bit once Giger produced the drawings.)

The infamous theatrical trailer, featuring songs “Fly” by Sugar Ray and “Momma Told Me Not To Come” by Three Dog Night, shows many alternate takes of some scenes, extended versions of some others, parts of few deleted scenes including the one where Nick finds real Troy on the Titan moon turned into fetus and Troy begging Nick to help him, and couple shots of original ending where Karl is killed by dimensional jump. (It is insane!)

The film takes place in 2101.

Due to the troubled production, James Spader disowned the film and expressed his regret in participating, citing this film as the one in his career that people should avoid.

Walter Hill, having grown frustrated with the studio interference, walked out of the film production midway and refused to be involved with the reshoots. Francis Ford Coppola stepped in to direct some reshoots before he also walked out, and Jack Sholder came aboard to finish directing the reshoots and oversee the final edit. The latter two remained uncredited as directors, with Hill receiving sole director’s credit under the pseudonym “Thomas Lee.”

Originally, main villain Karl transformed into a demon-like monster during the final part of the movie. Although much time and effort was spent on special make up effects for these scenes, MGM decided that they didn’t like that because they “couldn’t see the actor”, so all the creature footage was cut and re-shot with Karl being only partially transformed in the final cut.

Dialogue by ship’s computer Sweetie in theatrical ending where it tells Nick and Kaela that Supernova will either destroy Earth or make it and humankind better and that Kaela is pregnant was added later in post production during one of the re-editings of the movie, most probably during the one supervised by Francis Ford Coppola. Original dialogue only said that Supernova will destroy Earth in 257 years and that it’s unstoppable. (That is a wild ending)

Heartbeeps Preview

After much cajoling, Rich and Poe and their gaggle of Planchets enter the spooooky ghost ship with the most ship. You better believe it’s real creepy. “Ok, you saw it. Let’s go. We’ll enjoy some brie and wine outside this, how do you say, ghost ship with the most ship,” says a Planchet, pulling at Rich’s arm. Just as he’s about to agree, Rich sees a glimmer in the corner of his eye. “Poe, did you see that glimmer, man?” Poe nods. The Planchets whisper urgently for them to come back, but Rich and Poe aren’t ones to let a glimmer slide. They hear the soft mumbling of super scary Latin phrases coming from the aft cabin. As they open the door they are confused. No one is there, just an intricate puzzle box. “This reminds me of something,” says Poe, but Rich just shrugs. “I remember this,” Poe insists and picks up the puzzle box. Suddenly it solves itself and a portal to hell is opened from which a couple sexy ladies walk out. One is a sultry minx (and also a robot) in a red dress, her smokey eyes turn Poe’s legs to jelly. The other has a book under her arm and is wearing glasses. She’s a total nerd (and also a robot), but suddenly she takes off her glasses and she’s also super sexy! But she was wearing those glasses! Who could have guessed? “Woah, I’m in love, bro,” says Poe. Rich is shocked. “Uh, those are obviously demons (and also robots). We should just close the portal.” But Poe shakes his head, “I can’t decide. There’s only one person who can help me with this… and that’s myself.” And with that he writes Dear Diary… Now this is starting to feel vaguely familiar to Rich. That’s right! We’re getting the classic robot love story Heartbeeps starring Andy Kaufman. Never heard of it? Neither did anyone else. This film was a test to see if Kaufman could carry a film before letting him make a Tony Clifton film and was a remarkable failure. It’s also one of the few BMT qualifying romantic comedies set in the future, so seemed appropriate for this cycle. Let’s go!

Heartbeeps (1981) – BMeTric: 23.9; Notability: 39 

(Brutal rating. Which I think makes sense. By all accounts it is just extremely weird and boring. Just an unpleasant watch overall. So no one watches it, and when they do they trash it. The Notability is off the chain though, for a $10 million movie from 1981? That seems crazy, but they had Stan Winston and John Williams on this thing, they really really went for it trying to see if Kaufman could carry a movie. He can’t.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Two robots fall for each other in this misfired futuristic comedy. Students of makeup might want to take a peek at Stan Winston’s work.

(My god. It is just “this is a movie … but the makeup is really good.” That’s barely a review!! Incredible. This can’t be anything but brutally boring.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvHlApBr6r4/

(Huh. That is not at all what this movie is about. The crimebuster character is part of the film, but is by no means the primary storyline. The primary storyline is about two robots falling in love … really weird advertising idea.)

Directors – Allan Arkush – (Known For: Rock ‘n’ Roll High School; BMT: Caddyshack II; Heartbeeps; Notes: Mostly a producer these days, including Crossing Jordan and Heroes. Tends to cast Mary Woronov in films he directs.)

Writers – John Hill (written by) – (Known For: Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Quigley Down Under; Little Nikita; BMT: Heartbeeps; Notes: Won an Emmy for writing on L.A. Law in 1991. His work on Close Encounters was mostly additional notes.)

Actors – Andy Kaufman – (Known For: God Told Me To; My Breakfast with Blassie; BMT: Heartbeeps; Notes: Famous for his reality blurring performance art which included wrestling and fake late night feuds. Sadly he passed away young, and his life is outlined in the film Man on the Moon starring Jim Carrey.)

Bernadette Peters – (Known For: Annie; The Jerk; Anastasia; The Mean Machine; Silent Movie; Pennies from Heaven; Alice; Impromptu; Snow Days; Future BMT: Pink Cadillac; It Runs in the Family; Slaves of New York; BMT: Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return; Heartbeeps; Notes: won a Golden Globe for Pennies from Heaven. She somewhat retired from motion picture acting in the 80s to focus on Broadway. She has won two Tony awards.)

Randy Quaid – (Known For: Independence Day; Brokeback Mountain; National Lampoon’s Vacation; Kingpin; National Lampoon’s Winter Holiday; Midnight Express; The Last Picture Show; Paper Moon; What’s Up, Doc?; Quick Change; The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle; Home on the Range; The Long Riders; The Last Detail; Freaked; Foxes; The Missouri Breaks; Get on the Bus; The Paper; No Man’s Land; Future BMT: Not Another Teen Movie; Major League II; Days of Thunder; Vegas Vacation; The Wraith; Last Dance; The Slugger’s Wife; Moving; Goya’s Ghosts; Milwaukee, Minnesota; BMT: Pluto Nash; Caddyshack II; Hard Rain; Grind; Heartbeeps; Bye Bye Love; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar in 1974, he is the older brother of Dennis Quaid, and hit it big in Hollywood first. Mostly known for controversy these days, he has been involved in criminal issues between Canada and the US, and according to Twitter he is a huge Trump supporter.)

Budget/Gross – $10 million / Domestic: $2,154,696 (Worldwide: $2,154,696)

(Oooooof disastrous. That budget makes a ton of sense, the makeup itself is pretty insane (nominated for an Oscar even). And if it wasn’t a weirdo art film then making $20 million is reasonable one would think.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/6)

(Wow, we haven’t had a 0% in forever. I’ll have to make a consensus as well: A truly unpleasant viewing experience, I would rather physically harm myself than sit through this film again. This about sums that up. I cannot find a major critic who had a review of this film.)

Poster – Love Machines

(What in God’s name is that? That is horrific. I find almost no redeeming qualities to that other than the fact that it doesn’t seem like it was made by a monkey at a typewriter. F.)

Tagline(s) – WANTED – Be on the lookout for this gang of misfit robots (D)

(What is happening? Is this supposed to intrigue me? Everything about this movie seems so weird? No mention of the fact that this is about robots falling in love? It seems like they decided that KOOKY ESCAPED ROBOTS was their best chance at getting some butts in seats… didn’t work.)

Keyword – robot

Top 10: Interstellar (2014), Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019), Jurassic Park (1993), Ready Player One (2018), The Matrix (1999), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), Alita: Battle Angel (2019), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Future BMT: 84.5 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005), 83.1 Inspector Gadget (1999), 70.5 Zoom (2006), 67.3 Scooby-Doo (2002), 65.0 Max Steel (2016), 63.0 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997), 59.6 Virus (1999), 58.1 Toys (1992), 57.9 Supernova (2000), 57.1 Flubber (1997);

BMT: Sucker Punch (2011), Replicas (2018), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Jupiter Ascending (2015), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Pixels (2015), Masters of the Universe (1987), RoboCop 2 (1990), Judge Dredd (1995), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), The Benchwarmers (2006), Superman III (1983), Lost in Space (1998), RoboCop 3 (1993), Jason X (2001), The Avengers (1998), Meet the Spartans (2008), Old Dogs (2009), Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996), Pluto Nash (2002), Deadly Friend (1986)

(That dip in the mid-2000s seems real, but I lack any coherent explanation as to why people would be souring on robot films at the time … Anyhoo, I cannot wait to watch Max Steel, it is going to be so bad. And Toys is a great film from a nostalgia perspective.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Randy Quaid is No. 3 billed in Heartbeeps and No. 2 billed in Bye Bye Love, which also stars Amy Brenneman (No. 5 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 4 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 2 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch Last Dance, Intersection, Nights in Rodanthe, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 17.

Notes – Because this movie was so poorly received at the box office, Andy Kaufman’s “The Tony Clifton Story,” a movie about the life and times of his alter-ego Tony Clifton, was scrapped by the movie studios. (Oh nooooo, that would have been terrible, but would have been kind of a fun time capsule of a film)

Universal executives were horrified by the cut Allan Arkush presented them with. Their final cut was 79 minutes with credits.

Sigourney Weaver was offered the role of Aqua, and was interested in being in the film. Her agent talked her out of taking the part. (Smart agents)

Because of the weather at the Colorado shooting location, Stan Winston’s elaborate robot makeup, which took several hours to apply, gradually wilted in the heat, limiting how much footage could be shot in a day.

Allan Arkush, who had never helmed a big-budget project, staged scenes at a glacial pace that frustrated everyone but him. (Haha)

Universal Pictures gave Andy Kaufman a blank check to make this film after focus group testing indicated that children liked robots, apparently in the wake of R2-D2 and C-3PO. (Ooooof)

In a 1982 newspaper interview, Andy Kaufman said his voice for Val-Com was based on a combination of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. (Huh)

The characters Susan and Calvin, who appear in the junkyard scenes, are named after Susan Calvin, a frequently recurring character from Isaac Asimov’s Positronic Robot short stories.

Andy Kaufman grew increasingly bored with the proceedings. His friend/co-conspirator Bob Zmuda was specifically prohibited from the shoot, so Kaufman began acting out onset. (Not a good look)

Composer John Williams was hired to provide the music for the film through his association with producer Michael Phillips. The two had worked together previously on “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977). (Ah that explains the writer who also gave notes on Close Encounters)

Universal executives were concerned that Andy Kaufman hadn’t acted in films, except for a small role. They arranged for him to star in this film to see if he could carry a movie. (And he couldn’t)

Crimebuster 00719 is a redress of the Death Probe from The Six Million Dollar Man. (Wow, that’s a cool note)

The picture was nominated for Worst Picture at the Hastings Bad Cinema Society’s 4th Stinkers Bad Movie Awards in 1981.

To achieve the desired artificiality and to produce a new look for the makeup, Winston’s innovation was to use gelatin instead of painting on foam. “There was a translucency to gelatin appliances that was very nice, and it would also give me the smooth finish I was looking for,” said Winston. “So I decided to take a chance and use gelatin to create these full-face, multi-layered prosthetic makeups for the robot characters, mixing metallic colors right into the gelatin itself. This had never been done before.” The final appliances, which included foreheads, chins, cheeks, necks, noses, and ears, had just the translucent, metallic look Winston had sought; but the fragility of the gelatin resulted in their requiring constant maintenance on the set, nearly driving him to a nervous breakdown.

It was while nervously attending to Bernadette Peters’ makeup application one morning that Winston received a piece of advice he would take with him into every subsequent job. “I was in a stressed-out state,” he recalled, “which was fairly typical of me at that time, and Bernadette Peters said to me, ‘Relax, Stan. It’s just a movie.’”

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Makeup (Stan Winston, 1982)

Event Horizon Preview

“All for one, my ass,” says Rich as he and Poe attempt to push a large trunk over a log. They’ve been put on Planchet duty ever since their “rescue” and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight as the blue-clad backflipping buffoons don’t seem to be interested in anything but flipping around on ropes and trees and whatever other objects get in their line of sight. “We must save the King of France!” they scream for the thousandth time but Rich and Poe aren’t even sure if there is a King of France in this warped time sink they’ve fallen into. “Oh, Planchet! Dinner!” one screams, sitting on a log. Rich and Poe are pretty tired of the Planchet stuff so it’s time to climb the Musketeer corporate ladder. “Watch this,” Rich says with a wink and soon they are putting their years of culinary experience to good use showing off their knife skills in front of the Musketeers. At first they laugh, but soon are frowning at Rich and Poe. “No no no!” one screams, “You are Planchet! You don’t, how do you say… show off like some show off bird.” Puffing up and strutting around he challenges them to a duel. One after another the Musketeers come forward, and one after another they fall. With chests heaving and jorts brimming with sweat, Rich and Poe handily defeat the gang, who nod in appreciation. “You win, show off birds, we are now Planchets,” and they bow, asking where it is they want to go. Rich and Poe never even thought about that. As they look around they see a large wooden ship sunken into a bog in the distance. “There,” they point and the Musketeers begin to quake in fear, unwilling to go forwards. “G-g-g-g-ghosts,” they stammer out. That’s right! We’re catching up on the Paul W. S. Anderson classic Event Horizon that, while poorly reviewed in its time, has actually gained some cult following over the years. So this could really go either way in terms of being a BMT film. Set in the far future of 2047, this fits the bill for horror. Let’s go! 

Event Horizon (1997) – BMeTric: 14.6; Notability: 45 

(Oh snap, that is a pretty high notability, almost 50 on a film made in 1997. This is a true cult classic, so it isn’t that surprising that the IMDb rating is too high to give it a good BMeTric.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – It is observed darkly at one point that the gravity drive is a case of Man pushing too far, into realms where he should not go. There is an accusation that someone has “broken the laws of physics,” and from the way it’s said you’d assume that offenders will be subject to fines or imprisonment. Of course there are no “laws” of physics–only observations about the way things seem to be. What you “break,” if you break anything, is not a law but simply an obsolete belief, now replaced by one that works better. Deeply buried in “Event Horizon” is a suspicion of knowledge. Maybe that’s why its characters have so little of it.

(The production notes suggest otherwise (suggesting the film is actually just a Haunted House film in space, or a prequel to Warhammer 40,000), but that sounds suspiciously like they borrowed a major page from Jurassic Park and other “Science is Bad” films/books to suggest the hubris of scientists is humanity’s ultimate downfall … which makes me excited. As Dr. McCabe in Bats says: “I’m a scientist. That’s what we do. Make everything a little bit better.”)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix9CHnOo94k/

(F-it, that looks dope. I’m definitely not getting “science is bad” from that trailer. What I’m getting from that trailer is just a straight up haunted house film. And this is one dope looking haunted house film.)

Directors – Paul W.S. Anderson – (Known For: Death Race; Future BMT: Resident Evil: Retribution; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter; Resident Evil: Afterlife; Resident Evil; BMT: Pompeii; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; The Three Musketeers; Mortal Kombat; Soldier; Event Horizon; Notes: Married to Milla Jovovich. Changed how he billed his name by adding the W.S. due to confusion with Paul Thomas Anderson, but now he gets confused with Wes Anderson.)

Writers – Philip Eisner (written by) – (Future BMT: Mutant Chronicles; BMT: Event Horizon; Notes: Wrote the television sequel to Firestarter and has a new movie coming out staring Jason Momoa as a vengeful grieving father.)

Actors – Laurence Fishburne – (Known For: The Matrix; Apocalypse Now; John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum; Contagion; John Wick: Chapter 2; Man of Steel; The Matrix Reloaded; Where’d You Go, Bernadette; Boyz n the Hood; Ant-Man and the Wasp; Mystic River; The Mule; Mission: Impossible III; The Color Purple; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; The Signal; Predators; A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors; King of New York; School Daze; Future BMT: Biker Boyz; The Colony; Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fled; Running with the Devil; TMNT; Death Wish II; Quicksilver; Bad Company; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Just Cause; The Matrix Revolutions; 21; Band of the Hand; Once in the Life; Passengers; BMT: Ride Along; Event Horizon; Notes: Prior to 1993 was credited as Larry Fishburne and he mostly did supporting roles and television work (including as Cowboy Curtis on Pee-wee’s Playhouse). Nominated for an Oscar for What’s Love Got to Do with It.)

Sam Neill – (Known For: Thor: Ragnarok; Jurassic Park; The Hunt for Red October; Jurassic Park III; Hunt for the Wilderpeople; The Commuter; The Piano; Peter Rabbit; Possession; Wimbledon; Escape Plan; In the Mouth of Madness; Ride Like a Girl; Daybreakers; The Jungle Book; The Horse Whisperer; Dead Calm; Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole; The Hunter; Plenty; Future BMT: United Passions; The Final Conflict; The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box; Memoirs of an Invisible Man; Backtrack; Irresistible; A Long Way Down; Perfect Strangers; The Vow; Bicentennial Man; BMT: Event Horizon; Notes: Australian, he worked mostly in Australian cinema in the early 80s (like Attack Force Z with Mel Gibson), and then transitioned into American cinema around when he co-starred in The Hunt for Red October.)

Kathleen Quinlan – (Known For: Apollo 13; American Graffiti; The Hills Have Eyes; Breakdown; Horns; The Doors; Twilight Zone: The Movie; Breach; A Civil Action; Lifeguard; Lawn Dogs; Zeus and Roxanne; The Runner Stumbles; Wild Thing; Chimera Strain; Future BMT: My Giant; Elektra Luxx; Airport ’77; Sunset; The Battle of Shaker Heights; Trial by Jury; Hanky Panky; Warning Sign; Clara’s Heart; BMT: Made of Honour; Event Horizon; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Apollo 13. Was in a ton of non-theatrical stuff in the 80s, like She’s in the Army Now from 1981, which appears to be a blatant Private Benjamin clone.)

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $26,673,242 (Worldwide: $26,673,242)

(Well that’s catastrophic. I guess that is how cult films work though. You can’t really become a cult film if you were a huge hit at the time of release.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (20/74): Despite a strong opening that promises sci-fi thrills, Event Horizon quickly devolves into an exercise of style over substance whose flashy effects and gratuitous gore fail to mask its overreliance on horror clichés.

(Ugh, I don’t like gore. But I think standing in contrast to the more protracted Alien maybe will make this an interesting exercise in Sci-fi horror. Reviewer Highlight: Director Anderson gets points for skillfully choreographing all of this, but he loses them for a consistent desire to brutalize the audience. – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Ghost Ship with the Most Ship

(That’s a cool poster. That’s like a ‘hang on my wall’ cool. It feels real old school. Kinda low budget sci fi kinda stuff. I really really like that. Nice subtle font even. A+.)

Tagline(s) – Infinite Space – Infinite Terror (B)

(Unlike the poster this is merely fine. It’s snappy and short. But it doesn’t knock my socks off in the cleverness or originality department. I feel like it’s even a little limiting. Like this is more than just a space movie. You dig? Although, I will say… it still looks pretty cool on that super cool poster.)

Keyword – astronaut

Top 10: Ad Astra (2019), Interstellar (2014), Watchmen (2009), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), Toy Story 4 (2019), The Martian (2015), Rampage (2018), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Hidden Figures (2016)

Future BMT: 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 59.6 Virus (1999), 59.2 Space Chimps (2008), 58.7 Apollo 18 (2011), 56.2 Land of the Lost (2009), 52.0 Green Lantern (2011), 52.0 The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), 44.9 Fantastic Four (2005), 42.7 Mission to Mars (2000), 42.0 Red Planet (2000);

BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Armageddon (1998), Event Horizon (1997), Geostorm (2017), The Space Between Us (2017), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Species II (1998)

(I wonder if the big peak in 2010 has to do with things like SpaceX launching their first rockets around 2008. Seems more steady than I would have expected though. The gap from 1990-1995 though is quite confusing. Besides Challenger there wasn’t any disaster around then, and that was 4 years prior. The only thing I can think of is that space films are expensive and that was around when a bunch of studios went bankrupt … that seems tenuous though. Maybe people just didn’t like space films for a while.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Joely Richardson is No. 4 billed in Event Horizon and No. 4 billed in Endless Love (2014), which also stars Bruce Greenwood (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 6 billed) => 4 + 4 + 3 + 6 = 17. If we were to watch Biker Boyz we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Paul W.S. Anderson’s initial cut of the film ran 130 minutes and was quite graphically violent, so much so that both test audiences and the studio balked at the finished product. Paramount ordered him to cut the film by 30 minutes and tone down some of the violence, a decision he now regrets. Although it was announced in 2012 that a full version of the film had been found on a VHS tape, Anderson revealed in 2017 that due to bad archiving, a longer version no longer exists. The tape was in such poor condition when found that the footage was practically unwatchable, forcing Anderson to throw it away.

The space suits worn by the actors weighed 65 pounds (30 kilograms) each. Laurence Fishburne nicknamed his “Doris.” Due to the weight, standing upright in them for longer periods could lead to back injury, but sitting down was not possible either due to the backpack. Special “hanging poles” were constructed on the set, so the actors could rest on them between takes.

Everyone’s space suit has a flag showing hypothetical future political changes on Earth. Characters portrayed by American actors wear a flag of the United States with 55 stars. Characters portrayed by British actors wear a European Union flag with 22 stars, replacing the former Union Flag (the movie pre-dating the UK’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016). Sam Neill’s character wears a modified Australian flag, with the Union Jack removed from the top left-hand corner, and the Aboriginal flag in its place. (I should point out that the stars on the EU flag don’t represent countries and thus isn’t going to change after the UK fully extracts itself from the union. I would very much doubt they’ll ever change the number in that context)

The script originally described the Gateway machine as a smooth and featureless black orb, 10 meters (nearly 33 feet) in diameter, suspended in midair between large, rotating mechanical arms. It also was said to contain a stable black hole within it at all times (which the ship used as a power source), as opposed to briefly creating a temporary one. Paul Anderson decided to redesign it to involve interlocking circles as a homage to the puzzle box in Hellraiser (1987), which served as an inspiration. (That absolutely comes through in the finished product, it ends up being much closer to Hellraiser than any sci-fi film I’m seen)

Having just done a PG-13 movie, Mortal Kombat (1995), Paul W.S. Anderson was very keen to do something more mature and gruesome. This was why he turned down the chance to direct X-Men (2000).

Paul W.S. Anderson’s initial rough cut submitted to the MPAA received the kiss-of-death NC-17 rating.

The scene in which Weir explains how to bend space and time in order to travel huge interstellar distances is paraphrased in Interstellar (2014). Romily uses the exact same demonstration to illustrate the theory – folding a piece of paper and pushing a pen through it while explaining it to Cooper.

Although the film met with mostly negative reviews and a disappointing box office result at the time of its release, it amassed a considerable cult following over the years. Director Paul W.S. Anderson said that the movie’s cult status was predicted to him years before by Kurt Russell. Anderson screened Event Horizon before they started work on Soldier (1998), and Russell said “Forget about what this movie’s doing now. In fifteen years time, this is going to be the movie you’re glad you made”.

Philip Eisner wrote the movie after a family tragedy. He had recently entered a multi-picture writing agreement, and in an effort to force himself to get back to work he pitched the idea of “The Shining in space” to the studio, which was very receptive. Unfortunately he had no detailed treatment yet, and the subject matter blended with his emotional state to inspire a prolonged bout of writer’s block. The studio executive who had originally brought him on board, now a personal friend, helped keep Eisner on track, and the eventual first draft which was enthusiastically received.

The ‘Visions from Hell’ were inspired by works from 16th-century Renaissance painters Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel, which director Paul W.S. Anderson saw while he was touring art galleries with his production designer. Anderson was fascinated by these paintings, as the makers clearly believed in the reality of Hell as the complete antithesis of Heaven, and the images they created were terrifying and beautiful at the same time.

Some of the lost footage includes a great deal more of the Bosch-influenced Hell sequences and of the orgiastic video log that was found in the Event Horizon. This was shot by both director Paul W.S. Anderson and Vadim Jean, mainly on weekends.

Philip Eisner’s first draft of the script involved an alien infestation on the ship. When director Paul W.S. Anderson was approached, he liked the ‘Haunted House in space’ concept of the movie, but he had the source of evil changed from aliens to something more supernatural and diabolical.

Clive Barker, whose movie Hellraiser (1987) was a huge influence on the film, consulted on the project during pre-production.

The Event Horizon was modeled on Notre Dame cathedral. Its long corridor resembles a church nave, and its interior is filled with cruciform shapes, columns and vaults. Also, its engines resemble rotated church towers.

The working title was “The Stars My Destination”.

For his final scenes, Sam Neill would come to the studio at 3am so that he could spend 7-8 hours in make-up.

The original script had a sequence near the end where Starck (Joely Richardson) prepares the gravity tanks on the Event Horizon for the survivors’ escape, but one of them fills with blood, and a partially regenerated Dr. Weir (Sam Neill) without a skin appears inside. He breaks out and chases Stark, who flees and falls down a ladder to the room below; Weir follows, climbing down the same ladder upside-down. This scene was actually filmed but omitted from the movie. Weir’s upside-down walk was inspired by the infamous ‘Spiderwalk’ sequence from the extended version of The Exorcist (1973).

The Musketeer Preview

Wha-wha-wha… Sirs Sklogsalot? Where, and more importantly when, are they? “It’s… it’s August 12th, 2031, right?” Rich asks earnestly, stating the exact date very clearly. But their fellow knight Sir Bangarang just guffaws, “Right. 2031. As if, bro. It’s totally September 23rd, 1326. Pretty rad, right?” Rich and Poe’s heads are spinning. 1326? Why does it feel like… not that. Like this is all so fake… as if someone made it. “It’s falling apart,” Poe whispers to Rich, “we’re near the end and it’s all crashing down.” Rich nods and the end will be a battle for everything within them. Their souls, but most importantly the Obsidian Dongle and thus… Earth. “Where are we going?” Rich asks Bangarang, walking besides his horse. “Ha. Classic Sklogsalot. The castle, duh. The King is waiting and he’s none too happy. Nope. Better to just bite the bullet and get it over with. Face the music and all that. Lame, but I’m not the one who tried to kill him, amiright?” Rich and Poe’s faces blanch. This ain’t sounding so good. Maybe time to scram, but just when they are looking to book it Bangarang turns on them and pulls an uzi from under his armor. The gamemasters really half-assed this one. “Just come along quietly, Sklogalots. I’m getting too old for this shit.” Just then a whistle is heard from the surrounding trees. Bangarang looks around, suddenly concerned, and then turns and breaks out into a trot as several people backflip their way out of the forest. “Who are you?” Rich and Poe ask, admiring their flashy blue velour suits. “We are French,” they say matter of factly. “We saved you, so you are part of our crew. You are our… how do you say… Planchet?” That’s right! We are finally watching the Justin Chambers vehicle The Musketeer. This is the super rad martial arts interpretation of the Three Musketeers that literally everyone was clamouring for. We flooded the streets for calls for more Musketeer IP but now with karate! Swing around on ropes, we begged. Can they fight while on ladders? We asked. And so we received. The Musketeer. Let’s go!

The Musketeer (2001) – BMeTric: 55.7; Notability: 29 

(You can see the nice inflection in ‘11 and indeed, it seems like over the last few years films have reached a different stable point in vote growth. I feel like I need to do a new meta analysis on notability, because I would have thought this would have been a bit higher … but it also seems like most major films get between 25 and 35. But it is hard to tell.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – Peter Hyams’ “The Musketeer” combines traditional swashbuckling with martial arts in a movie where the men wear plumes in their hats but pounce like crouching tigers and scheme like hidden dragons. No wonder; the choreography of the fight scenes is by Xin-Xin Xiong–not a name on every tongue, I grant you, but he is one of the top action designers in Hong Kong. … I cannot in strict accuracy recommend this film. It’s such a jumble of action and motivation, ill-defined characters and action howlers. I am not even quite sure if Richelieu and Febre are on the same side, or if there are three or even four sides in the story. But the banquet scene is a marvel of art design. The action scenes are wonders to behold. And when Tim Roth vows vengeance on the man who blinded him, I for one believe him.

(An amazingly ok review from Ebert here. I think by 2001 he had fully entered his “it’s good for what it is” phase, which I personally rather appreciate. Watch the old “Worst of” shows for Ebert from the late 80s and early 90s and you’ll see him tear a film like this apart. By 2000 I think he became more appreciative of people just doing their thing.)

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

(This is one of the best-bad trailers ever made. If you show this trailer to anyone without pretense I have to assume their minds would melt. It doesn’t seem real. The moment where the narrator says “with fight choreography by …” as if I’m supposed to know who that is, and (worst yet), as if I’m supposed to think bringing wire-fu to The Three Musketeers is the most incredible idea ever conjured into existence … I love it. I’ve been waiting to watch this movie just based on this trailer for literally years.)

Directors – Peter Hyams – (Known For: Stay Tuned; Timecop; 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Hanover Street; Outland; Running Scared; Capricorn One; The Presidio; Sudden Death; Narrow Margin; Enemies Closer; The Star Chamber; Future BMT: End of Days; The Relic; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; The Musketeer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for End of Days in 2000; Notes: Has three sons. One was the director of Universal Soldier: Regeneration (for which Peter was cinematographer). One is the CEO of Indeed. And the last is the rap battle promoter Lush One. Read the notes on him below, this film was legitimately his career’s last gasp.)

Writers – Alexandre Dumas (novels) (as Alexandre Dumas père) – (Known For: The Count of Monte Cristo; The Three Musketeers; The Return of the Musketeers; La Reine Margot; The Four Musketeers; The Three Musketeers; The Count of Monte Cristo; The Iron Mask; Future BMT: The Three Musketeers; The Man in the Iron Mask; BMT: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; The Musketeer; The Three Musketeers; Notes: I don’t think I need to explain who Alexander Dumas is … but let’s appreciate that he is, in fact, credited as writing the novel that Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li is “based on”. Snooping around this seems potentially fake, but some places suggest maybe it is a vague adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo? Bizarre.)

Gene Quintano (screenplay) – (Known For: Police Academy 3: Back in Training; Sudden Death; Future BMT: Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Operation Dumbo Drop; King Solomon’s Mines; Loaded Weapon 1; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: Was a salesman who worked with the director Tony Anthony which is how he got into film. Wrote a good number of the Police Academy films. The Musketeer was effectively his last major production. Hyams and him worked on Sudden Death together.)

Actors – Justin Chambers – (Known For: Lakeview Terrace; Liberty Heights; Leo; Future BMT: The Wedding Planner; The Zodiac; Broken City; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: You would know him as reformed bad-boy Dr. Alex Karev on Grey’s Anatomy. He left the show this year, and you would not believe the arc they gave his character! No spoilers, but it is juicy drams, and fans are NOT happy.)

Catherine Deneuve – (Known For: Dancer in the Dark; Belle de Jour; The Brand New Testament; The Truth; The Hunger; Repulsion; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; Pola X; Persepolis; Les Demoiselles de Rochefort; 8 Women; Tristana; Indochine; A Cop; Hustle; Mississippi Mermaid; Once Upon a Time; The Last Metro; Time Regained; A Christmas Tale; Future BMT: O Convento; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: Chosen as one of the 100 sexiest stars in history by Empire magazine in 1995, and from 1985 to 1989 she was the model for Marianne, the national symbol of France.)

Mena Suvari – (Known For: American Pie; American Beauty; American Pie 2; American Reunion; Slums of Beverly Hills; Becks; Stuck; Edmond; Brooklyn Rules; The Dog Problem; Future BMT: The Rage: Carrie 2; Loser; Beauty Shop; Trauma; Domino; You May Not Kiss the Bride; Sugar & Spice; Live Virgin; The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; Sonny; Caffeine; The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson; Standing Still; Factory Girl; Nowhere; Spun; Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children; BMT: The Musketeer; Rumor Has It…; Kiss the Girls; Notes: She now does mostly television (like American Woman and American Horror Story) and non-theatrical / television films. Notable for the sheer number of works with the word “American” in them that she’s been in.)

Budget/Gross – $40,000,000 / Domestic: $27,073,640 (Worldwide: $32,533,802)

(For the actual production company I imagine this was a disaster, and I also imagine they totally blamed the director in the end. According to the notes the distribution was sold for $7.5 million so cleary the companies that distributed it did fine. That is a lot more money, especially domestically, than I would have thought.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (11/99): Hong Kong inspired action sequences take center stage in this latest Three Musketeers adaptation. Unfortunately, the oversimplification of the story and an uncharismatic lead character leave the movie flat.

(How dare you slander Justin Chambers like that! He’s Grey’s Anatomy mega-star Justin Chambers!! Reviewer Highlight: Musketeer’s fight scenes are underlit, overmiked, and appallingly edited, with none of the spacious grace that even routine Asian action flicks get right. Worse, the narrative scenes make less sense. – Ty Burr, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Câble-fu

(This ain’t your daddy’s Three Musketeers. I think that comes across in this poster, although a bit busy. Nice font, nice color scheme. Needs a little bit more of an artistic touch to get the feeling of motion across. But not the worst. B.)

Tagline(s) – As you’ve never seen it before. (C)

(Why not just go with The ain’t your daddy’s Three Musketeers? It is what you’re trying to say and at least people would have been like “lol, WTF” rather than just shrug at the cliche of it all. I need more from my taglines. This is short and gets the point across, but there isn’t any heart… no love… you know?)

Keyword – historical fiction

Top 10: Django Unchained (2012), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Titanic (1997), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Dunkirk (2017), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Wonder Woman (2017), Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Assassin’s Creed (2016), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

Future BMT: 55.6 Robin Hood (2018), 41.8 Young Einstein (1988), 37.2 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), 36.9 The Great Wall (2016), 27.5 The Legend of Tarzan (2016), 27.5 Inferno (2016), 27.4 47 Ronin (2013), 21.8 Yellowbeard (1983), 20.5 Live by Night (2016), 20.4 The Three Musketeers (1993);

BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Assassin’s Creed (2016), The Three Musketeers (2011), Wild Wild West (1999), Red Riding Hood (2011), Jonah Hex (2010), The Scarlet Letter (1995), The Musketeer (2001)

(I think next on the docket had to be Robin Hood. Like The Three Musketeers it is a story that just gets made and made and made, presumably because the rights are in the public domain or something. There must be hundreds of versions of Robin Hoods. That peak at 2016 is interesting, there does seem to be an inordinate number of historical fiction films that came out then. I wonder why.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 25) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Mena Suvari is No. 4 billed in The Musketeer and No. 8 billed in Rumor Has It…, which also stars Jennifer Aniston (No. 1 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) => 4 + 8 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 25. If we were to watch The Wedding Planner, and Two for the Money we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – D’Artagnan did really exist. His name was Charles de Batz and was called D’Artagnan when he arrived in Paris probably because he was coming from the south-west of France (where the movie was partly shot) and where there is a little city called Artagnan.

The first film that Director Peter Hyams had directed without his long time editor Steven Kemper, who vowed not to work with the Director after the last few films he had directed which included End of Days and The Relic were too darkly lit and shot causing editorial problems. (Wow!)

The first film the Director Peter Hyams did not work with his usual composer John Debney. Debney had composed the music for Sudden Death, The Relic and End of Days for Hyams.

Universal Pictures teamed up Miramax Films to buy the film’s North American and U.K. rights for only $7.5 million, and the film was very profitable for both companies.

Black Knight Preview

As John Travolta dances his heart out in their dreamworld, Rich and Poe’s heart sink deeper with each hip thrust. Travolta is bringing the heat like a sultry night in Havana. “It’s just so dirty,” Rich says in stunned admiration. “Filthy, really,” Poe agrees, his bright eyes brimming with tears. Breathing hard and wiping sweat from his well bronzed and eerily smooth brow, Travolta manages to just gasp out, “That’ll… show you… what it’s like.” Confused, Rich and Poe temporarily fear that what they have truly won’t be enough and perhaps they will know what it’s like. Knowing that fear can’t stop them trying, they nonetheless start their mesmerizing twin dance routine. Years of training have perfected not only their physiques, but also their dance moves. They move in unison and Travolta’s eyes bug out in amazement. But it’s not enough. Poe’s jaw clenches in frustration as even their dirtiest of dance routines can’t match Travolta’s absolutely disgusting moves. Rich still shows no fear, though, and just as the sweat on their muscles hits peak magnitude he signals to Poe and they simultaneously rip off their shirts, leaving them clad only in their sweat-soaked jorts. The beam of light bursts from Rich’s chest and gleams off Poe’s sweaty pectoral muscles. It’s like a supernova and in the blinding brightness they hear a final “nooooooooooo… never forget meeeeeeee!” from Travolta. As their eyes adjust, they find themselves in a boggy swamp and hear the faint words of Travolta, “Now all of time and all of Earth is our Battlefield.” They know this is the fourth and final trial. They just don’t know when it is. Suddenly a armor clad knight gallops up to the swamp and cocks his head, “Sirs Sklogsalot? What are you doing in that swamp?” he asks. That’s right! We’re watching Black Knight starring Martin Lawrence where he is transported back to the Middle Ages a la A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. We’re really watching it because of the promise of Big Momma’s House. If it can approach even a fraction of that film then we’ll be in a good spot. Let’s go!

Black Knight (2001) – BMeTric: 65.5; Notability: 39 

(The rating is a lot lower than I would have expected, which is basically the entire reason the BMeTric is so high. You know what is a bit odd? I feel like when I started making these plots it looked like the IMDb votes were just increasing with no bound. I think this makes it a bit more clear that around 2011 (which I previously pinpointed to the moment IMDb got a phone app) the vote counts increased, and now the votes are mostly tailing off for older films … could be. Only time will tell.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  A 21st-century homeboy who works at a run-down medieval theme park is magically transported back to 14th century England, where he must use his wits to survive, and forms an alliance with a disgraced knight (Wilkinson) to help restore a deposed queen to the throne. Comedy vehicle for Lawrence gives you pretty much what you expect, though it would have meant a lot more if a better more famous actress had played the queen.

(Interesting to condemn the film partially on just not getting a big actress for the queen? Although I guess I could see it. It would be like if you got a rando to play the part of the escaped convict in Big Momma’s House. Some of the power of the film is that they kind of randomly have Terrence Howard as the headliner of the B-plot of the film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw7dzS8UJ4Q/

(The ending there is not what you want. As a matter of fact for family entertainment the trailer gives the impression of a much more sexually explicit film that one would expect.  But otherwise the film looks a bit like Big Momma’s House,  a vehicle for Lawrence’s brand of very physical and brash humor.)

Directors – Gil Junger – (Known For: Think Like a Dog; 10 Things I Hate About You; BMT: Black Knight; Notes: Huge television director, probably most notable for 29 episodes of Ellen for which he was nominated for an Emmy. Seems to work on kids’ programming mostly these days.)

Writers – Darryl Quarles (written by) (as Darryl J. Quarles) – (BMT: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Big Momma’s House 2; Black Knight; Big Momma’s House; Notes: The Big Momma sequels are actually just characters, so this is the one true big budget follow up to Big Momma. He was a producer on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.)

Peter Gaulke (written by) – (Known For: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Future BMT: The Babymakers; BMT: Black Knight; Say It Isn’t So; Strange Wilderness; Notes: Was a gymnast at UCLA and would work his skills into his comedy routines when he was coming up. Wrote for SNL.)

Gerry Swallow (written by) – (Known For: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Future BMT: The Babymakers; Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie; Ratchet & Clank; BMT: Black Knight; Say It Isn’t So; Notes: Was a stand-up comedian in Seattle before moving to LA. Clearly was the writing partner with Gaulke for a time, although not recently it would seem. Writes under the pen name Dr. Cuthbert Soup.)

Actors – Martin Lawrence – (Known For: Bad Boys for Life; Do the Right Thing; Bad Boys; The Beach Bum; Life; House Party; Boomerang; Death at a Funeral; Open Season; Future BMT: College Road Trip; Rebound; National Security; What’s the Worst That Could Happen?; Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins; House Party 2; Blue Streak; A Thin Line Between Love and Hate; Bad Boys II; Nothing to Lose; BMT: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Big Momma’s House 2; Black Knight; Big Momma’s House; Wild Hogs; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son in 2012; Notes: Television star with Martin in the 90s, and then movie star in the 00s. After his divorse he seemed to kind of retire until the Bad Boys For Life this year. Notably almost died while running in extreme heat in preparation for Big Momma’s House.)

Marsha Thomason – (Known For: Priest; Future BMT: The Haunted Mansion; Long Time Dead; The Tripper; My Baby’s Daddy; Caffeine; BMT: Black Knight; Notes: British. Mostly a television star including a long stint on White Collar, and 11 episodes of Lost.)

Tom Wilkinson – (Known For: Selma; Batman Begins; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Burden; Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; The Patriot; Michael Clayton; Sense and Sensibility; Rush Hour; In the Name of the Father; RocknRolla; Snowden; Valkyrie; Shakespeare in Love; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; The Green Hornet; In the Bedroom; Belle; The Ghost; Future BMT: The Titan; Good People; Jenny’s Wedding; The Samaritan; Burke and Hare; The Catcher Was a Spy; Essex Boys; A Good Woman; A Business Affair; Little Boy; BMT: Black Knight; Unfinished Business; The Lone Ranger; The Choice; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars (In the Bedroom, and Michael Clayton). A huge character actor, especially in the 90s and early 00s.)

Budget/Gross – $50,000,000 / Domestic: $33,426,971 (Worldwide: $39,976,235)

(Pretty horrible bomb. It is pretty surprising Big Momma’s House 2 was made considering that. Although maybe 9/11 played a part in the depressed box office in the end.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (14/98): Black Knight feels like a lazily constructed movie, filled with lame gags and constant mugging from Lawrence.

(Constant mugging from Lawrence? What else are you expecting? Did you watch Martin? Did you watch Big Momma’s House? Bizarre consensus take. Reviewer Highlight: Martin Lawrence [stars] as a theme park worker who falls into a scummy moat and surfaces in the Middle Ages — perhaps in search of people who would find his humor fresh and original. No such luck. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper.)

Poster – Sir Sklogsalot

(This is a shockingly bad poster. Like… parody poster made as a prop for a different film level of bad. I can give it some props for trying to do something with the font but that’s basically it. It’s actually hard to look at. D.)

Tagline(s) – He’s About To Get Medieval On You. (B)

(It works. This got me thinking about where and when this phrase became popular enough to be a tagline. “Getting medieval on your ass” seemed pretty current. Turns out it is. Popularized in Pulp Fiction. A mere seven years and it’s headlining a major motion picture. Not the most clever, but as I said, does the trick.)

Keyword – time travel

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Back to the Future (1985), Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Interstellar (2014), Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991), Back to the Future Part II (1989), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016), Deadpool 2 (2018)

Future BMT: 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 62.9 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014), 59.5 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015), 56.2 Land of the Lost (2009), 50.0 The Sin Eater (2003), 49.3 Mannequin: On the Move (1991), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 43.0 Freejack (1992), 34.4 Il mondo di Yor (1983), 33.6 The Time Machine (2002);

BMT: Assassin’s Creed (2016), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), The Lake House (2006), Jumper (2008), Timeline (2003), Lost in Space (1998), Paycheck (2003), Black Knight (2001), Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996), The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007), A Sound of Thunder (2005)

(Wow we’ve watched a ton of these! Seems pretty consistent over time. Maybe depressed a bit in the late-90s, although I don’t really have a theory as to why. I’m excited to watch Freejack if I have to choose any of the films in the Future BMT list.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Martin Lawrence is No. 1 billed in Black Knight and No. 3 billed in Wild Hogs, which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – The scene where Princess Regina trips over her bed sheets was not scripted, Jeannette Weegar really did trip and fall, but the director liked it so it was kept and put in the final cut.

Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism helped in the historical recreation of this movie by providing consulting work and playing as extras. (Ha!)

Chris Tucker was originally cast as Jamal Walker. (Huh, interesting. So I assume Quarles was hired onto the film to rewrite once they secured Martin Lawrence)

Martin Lawrence was paid $20 million for his work on the film.

In the DVD commentary, it was said that the black horse that Jamal rode at the end of his dream was taught to rear on command.

Based on the book “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” by Mark Twain

The film was rushed by Fox after the attacks on 9/11 to be released much sooner than it was intended. The film was slated for a Winter/Spring 2002 release and had just started the post-production process when Director Gil Junger and was called by the studio to speed up the editing on the film for a November 2001 release date to capitalize on family friendly entertainment, comedies, dramas and thrillers which some studios were filling with after having to reschedule films that were deemed too sensitive for that period of time. (Pretty gross)

The second of two films starring Martin Lawrence in 2001. The other was “What’s The Worst That Could Happen?” co-starring Danny DeVito.

Return to the Blue Lagoon Preview

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

Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991) – BMeTric: 50.6; Notability: 21 

(Wait, this one also has that same 2012-2014 inflection. Looking through other films it really doesn’t seem that common. Just wait for this theory: The Blue Lagoon: Awakening, the totally unrelated third film made by Lifetime … came out in 2012. So when that came out people went and watched the whole series, and rated the film. That is blowing my mind.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  The two-year-old son of Lagoon 1’s deceased parents is rescued by a ship carrying a widow and her year-old daughter; circumstances (read: cholera) force the trio onto another tropical island, so the kids can eventually partake in PG-13 prurience.

(There are so many amazing things in this review. Calling it “Lagoon 1” with the number 1 is amazing. The semi-colon quickly followed by “read: cholera” … there is just something so charmingly quirky and shrunk down about the entire review. The BOMB designation is shockingly rare, so that’s super fun.)

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

(Hahahahahahahahah it was the first film to explore natural love? More like it was the first film to show 20 minutes of uninterrupted underwater dick shots. Oh gosh, “I’ve become one” they put that in the trailer? Out of innocence comes the most sensual love of all? Yiiiiiiikes. Guys, this one might be a doozy.)

Directors – William A. Graham – (Future BMT: Change of Habit; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: Was a prolific television director in the 70s and 80s, getting nominated for an Emmy for a television movie about Jim Jones. Was in the Navy and an avid sailor, which is maybe why he was tapped for this.)

Writers – Henry De Vere Stacpoole (book) – (Future BMT: The Blue Lagoon; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: Was able to retire after the success of The Blue Lagoon and write fiction full time. He occasionally wrote under the name Tyler De Saix.)

Leslie Stevens (screenplay) – (Known For: The War Lord; The Left Handed Gun; Incubus; Future BMT: Sheena; Gordy; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Sheena; and in 1992 for Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: A Navy brat, he ended up writing for Broadway. Created the late 90s revival of The Outer Limits before dying in 1998.)

Actors – Brian Krause – (Future BMT: Sleepwalkers; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: He starred in the Bandit series of television movies which act as a prequel to Smokey and the Bandit. Cristopher Atkins  (the star of the original Blue Lagoon) was in the first of those films. He played a main role in the series Charmed in the late 90s.)

Milla Jovovich – (Known For: The Fifth Element; Dazed and Confused; Zoolander; Paradise Hills; He Got Game; A Perfect Getaway; Chaplin; Stone; The Claim; Dummy; Future BMT: Future World; Resident Evil: Retribution; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter; Anarchy: Ride or Die; Survivor; Resident Evil: Afterlife; Two Moon Junction; The Fourth Kind; No Good Deed; The Million Dollar Hotel; Resident Evil: Apocalypse; Kuffs; Resident Evil: Extinction; Bringing Up Bobby; Joan of Arc; A Warrior’s Tail; Dirty Girl; Shock and Awe; Resident Evil; BMT: Ultraviolet; Zoolander 2; Hellboy; Return to the Blue Lagoon; The Three Musketeers; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 2000 for Joan of Arc; and in 2013 for Resident Evil: Retribution; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Fifth Element in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: Her daughter Ever Anderson was just cast as Wendy in the new Peter Pan film.)

Lisa Pelikan – (Known For: Circle; Julia; Swing Shift; It’s My Party; Future BMT: Ghoulies; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: Was at one point married to Bruce Davison (the Senator from X-Men), and has going to be a dancer, but a surgery cut her career short and she went into acting.)

Budget/Gross – $11,000,000 / Domestic: $2,807,854 (Worldwide: $2,807,854)

(Somehow a huge bomb! I guess back in 1980 people were much more willing to watch a film of this style. And then this one came out and was roughly the same 12 years later … and people just had zero interest.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/30): Despite its lush tropical scenery and attractive leads, Return to the Blue Lagoon is as ridiculous as its predecessor, and lacks the prurience and unintentional laughs that might make it a guilty pleasure.

(A zero percent is really really rare. I think this summary might have missed a bit of the point of why it was universally derided: this is the same as the previous film, but as a big dose of cynicism as it is (at least perceived to be) a cash grab. Reviewer Highlight: The sincere idiocy of this film really has to be seen to be appreciated — not that I think there is any need for you to see, or appreciate, it. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.)

Poster – Return to the Creepy Sexy Lagoon

(Much better than the first film’s poster. I like the orange sunset tones and Brian Krause’s face nicely conveys the plot of the film: bad acting. Wish the font was better and maybe this would have jumped past mediocre. B-. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: There we go, I love when I really get to color my face a crazy color. I have to assume there is a way to do this while keeping the whites very whit (like Jovovich’s eyes and teeth) … probably a filter. I think my pale complexion would end up registering as “tooth colored”.)

Tagline(s) – The story of natural love continues… (D)

Alone… wild… untamed… (B+)

(Hahahaha, that second tagline is quite hilarious. There certainly would be some things wild and untamed on that island… I’m talking about their hair… I’m saying they’d be wildly ungroomed… Anyway, the first tagline is stupid. The second one is actually OK… you know, if it actually had anything to do with the chaste, totally not wild love story of this franchise.)

Keyword – tropical island

Top 10: Jurassic Park (1993), Moana (2016), Jurassic World (2015), Cast Away (2000), Serenity (2019), The Thin Red Line (1998), The Beach (2000), Ice Age (2002), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)

Future BMT: 39.0 Club Dread (2004), 34.0 Robinson Crusoe (2016), 14.7 The Beach (2000);

BMT: Serenity (2019), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)

(Small keyword obviously. The Beach is the big one. BTW you can notice it more here, but yeah, The Blue Lagoon technically doesn’t qualify for BMT because technically there is no confirmation that it was released to 600+ theaters in the US. But it also made like $60 million apparently, so it was definitely a wide release. But it means it won’t show up in any analysis.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Milla Jovovich is No. 1 billed in Return to the Blue Lagoon and No. 1 billed in Ultraviolet, which also stars Cameron Bright (No. 2 billed) who is in Godsend (No. 4 billed), which also stars Rebecca Romijn (No. 2 billed) who is in Rollerball (No. 3 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 = 16. If we were to watch Joan of Arc, Hook, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – Milla Jovovich said that this is the worst movie she has ever done.

First starring role of Milla Jovovich.

Milla Jovovich said of this movie, “I think that the idea of falling in love on a deep and spiritual level without the distractions of the material world will always be appealing.”

When she was 13, during her days as a teenage fashion model, Milla Jovovich had been hailed by critics as “The New Brooke Shields .” Shields played Emmeline Lestrange in The Blue Lagoon (1980), to which this film is a sequel.

On Taveuni Island in Fiji, production designer Jon Dowding began work on the movie’s main set pieces 60 days before the cameras began rolling. Having served as the art director on The Blue Lagoon (1980), Dowding welcomed the opportunity to expand and improve upon his work from the earlier film. Both Dowding and his wife, wardrobe designer Aphrodite Kondos, drew extensively upon the cultures of Oceania for the design elements of the film. Dowding said, “In addition to the rich cultural influences of Fiji, Australian aborigines, New Guinea, Micronesia, Melanesia, the Marquesas and Easter Islands, we made every attempt to use raw materials found on Taveuni in the construction of the props, sets and costumes”.

Although it was touted as a sequel to The Blue Lagoon (1980), many reviewers criticized it as more of a remake than a sequel.

Nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards at the 12th annual ceremony in 1991. It was nominated for Worst Picture and Worst Director –both for William A. Graham; Worst Screenplay–Leslie Stevens; and two for Worst New Star–one each for Milla Jovovich and Brian Krause. It didn’t win in any category.

Taveuni in Fiji, the only land mass in the world that the international date line runs through, proved in the end to be a challenging but rewarding filming location of singular beauty. Cast and crew alike traveled countless miles on the island’s only thoroughfare, bouncing along an unpaved dirt road with harrowing curves to reach filming sites. Equipment was hauled in on stretchers through thick jungles and brought in on barges through dangerous coral reefs for some of the less accessible locations.

The novel this film is based on, “The Garden of God” by Henry De Vere Stacpoole , was published in 1925. (Oh … so it is based on a sequel of some sort? I figured it was literally a vague sequel to the adaptation of Stacpoole’s novel)

Final film of director William A. Graham. (… final feature film)

Filmed on Taveuni, one of 300 islands in the Fiji archipelago. With an average of 400 inches of rain a year, Taveuni is usually overgrown with magnificent greenery and is rightly referred to as Fiji’s “Garden Island”.

The production team was concerned about preserving the island’s ecological balance during the making of the movie. When they expressed concerns that a mile-long path that had to be cut through thick jungle vegetation–to get equipment to one of the more difficult locations–might harm the local ecology, the chief of the local village assured them that it would grow back within a matter of months. (That’s pretty cool)

The movie’s opening prologue states: “The South Pacific Ocean 1897. Fifteen years before our story begins, two children were shipwrecked on an uncharted island. The little boy and girl grew up alone in this lost paradise. As man and woman, they discovered a pure and natural love. In time, a child was born. But in a tragic accident, they were driven out to sea away from their island. Drifting for days, they believed that their lives and the life of their baby were at an end. Then a passing vessel drew near . . . “. (Yup that is the original movie)

Despite scenes of nudity and near nudity involving Milla Jovovich, the film was advertised as a “family-friendly” movie. (Gross! I do not enjoy that at all!)

Takes place in 1897 and 1912. (Okay, I wonder if they explicitly indicate that date for when they were rescued in the first film)

With the commencement of filming in June 1990–which is the dead of winter in Fiji–nature began to become a major “player” in the production. Director William A. Graham said, “When we first visited the island in early 1990, the weather was perfect. As soon as we began filming, we quickly learned why Taveuni is called the ‘Garden Island’. It rained for two weeks straight, which would certainly account for the lush tropical foliage.” Despite the adversity of working under less-than-ideal conditions at first, Graham remained undaunted and came out of it with his sense of humor intact: “The reason you have a 70-day shooting schedule on a film like this, as opposed to 40 to 50 days, is that you attempt to anticipate the unpredictability of nature. While we didn’t get the puffy clouds and blue waters everyone expected initially, the island presented us with a whole other kind of beauty. Nature exerted an undeniable force in the making of this movie, which the film journalists will probably give me credit for. I can see it now: William A. Graham wisely avoided the clichéd postcard look of paradise’.”.

While based on the novel sequel, “The Garden of God” the only thing “Return to the Blue Lagoon” shares with that book is the very opening where Richard and Emmeline are dead and the baby is rescued by the crew. In fact, in the novel, Arthur Lestrange himself decides to stay on the island with Baby Paddy (called Dick M) and dies while taking a walk, his body never being found. (That’s morbid)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (William A. Graham, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (William A. Graham, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Leslie Stevens, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Milla Jovovich, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brian Krause, 1992)

Knock Off Preview

The men in Tiniman’s army expect nothing from Rich and Poe. Yeah, they may have toned biceps and abs for days, but they also seem like a couple of rascals who don’t care much for rules. At first it seems like they’re right. “This sucks!” yells Rich, while Poe looks sadly at his nutritionless grub they’re served in the mess. “How are we expected to keep ourselves lean, mean fighting machines without a balanced meal,” he sighs. But soon, they learn the meaning of their military family and come to trust and love their brothers in arms. They aren’t just passable soldiers, they are oddly competent. “Hey Roach,” Rich asks one day, “what are we training for anyway?” Their comrade Roach looks up from polishing his robot legs. “War,” he grunts and gets back a-polishing. He needs those babies gleaming. “War… who are we fighting?” Poe asks, curious now. “Alligator,” Roach grunts. Rich and Poe nod their heads but suddenly look at each other… Alligator. Rich and Poe get as many details as they can from Roach, one grunt at a time. Tiniman’s aim is to conquer the lands to the south. Where a tribe of men have come to live harmoniously with giant alligators. “Unconquerable,” Roach says winking, his legs now gleaming in the sunlight. “My God,” Rich says, “Alligator Steve… this is where he’s from.” Poe gulps, “and we’re going to destroy them.” While their newfound maturity bucks at the idea of betraying their comrades they also know they gotta get out of there… and fast. “What we need is…” Rich begins, but suddenly a shadow passes over them. “Deception,” Roach grunts. Startled, they look up in fear, but Roach is smiling. “Twins,” he says and Rich and Poe smile back. “Knock offs,” they agree. That’s right! We’re watching the JCVD-Rob Schneider buddy cop film about a Hong Kong… uh… fashion designer? Who also does karate or something? And Rob Schneider is a cop… what, what’s happening? Let’s go!

Knock Off (1998) – BMeTric: 55.3; Notability: 29 

KnockOffIMDb_BMeT
KnockOffIMDb_RV

(The notability is higher that I would have expected for a film I never heard of, but not super high for a major release. I’m intrigued. The rating is riding, but sub-5.0 is pretty great with that 50+ BMeTric. This film has a lot going for it from a numbers perspective.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Van Damme teams up with American agents to combat terrorists. Having Van Damme play a Hong Kong clothing designer/importer in an action film pinned to a plot about designer jeans is peculiar but not interesting … which also describes the movie. Director Hark abandons his vivid fight choreography for standard swift intercutting instead. Samo Hung appears unbilled.

(Ha! I love that description. Leonard is just flabbergasted by the B-story which is actually the A-story. The character sounds like Tommy Wiseau in real life.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Txm_I4usB0/

(The trailer is fucking bonkers. Just cut after cut after cut with weird quips (“Goodbye yellow brick road”? It isn’t even that quoting Elton John is out of date, it is that it is just a weird turn of phrase). Explosions, Rob Schnieder saying random words, clearly a bunch of wire-fu which is going to annoy me. I literally cannot wait to watch this ludicrous film.)

Directors – Hark Tsui – (Known For: Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame; Journey to the West: Demon Chapter; Once Upon a Time in China; Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings; Seong lung wui; Flying Swords of Dragon Gate; Wong Fei Hung II: Nam yee tung chi keung; Zhi qu wei hu shan; Shu Shan – Xin Shu shan jian ke; Once Upon a Time in China III; Shun liu ni liu; Tit sam gok; Future BMT: Shu shan zheng zhuan; Qi jian; BMT: Double Team; Knock Off; Notes: He is considered a master in martial arts action, and one of the best Chinese directors ever. His production company is one of the biggest Hong Kong film companies in the business.)

Writers – Steven E. de Souza (written by) – (Known For: Die Hard; Commando; Die Hard 2; The Running Man; 48 Hrs.; Ricochet; The Return of Captain Invincible; Future BMT: Street Fighter; The Flintstones; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Bad Dreams; BMT: Knock Off; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Judge Dredd; Beverly Hills Cop III; Hudson Hawk; Another 48 Hrs.; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Notes: One of the last films he wrote that got a major release. He was only 51 at the time, so I assume he just kind of retired.)

Actors – Jean-Claude Van Damme – (Known For: Bloodsport; The Expendables 2; Kung Fu Panda 2; Kung Fu Panda 3; Kickboxer; Hard Target; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Timecop; Kickboxer: Vengeance; Lukas; Sudden Death; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; JCVD; Enemies Closer; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Derailed; Cyborg; Welcome to the Jungle; The Order; Legionnaire; Double Impact; Maximum Risk; Inferno; Replicant; The Quest; Missing in Action; Pound of Flesh; Black Water; Nowhere to Run; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Breakin’; Last Action Hero; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Double Team; Knock Off; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: Literally the last film he released prior to starting to mostly release non-theatrical films. Legionnaire would be his next film, and Universal Soldier: The Return was after that and was his last theatrical release for a decade.)

Rob Schneider – (Known For: 50 First Dates; Muppets from Space; Future BMT: The Animal; Norm of the North; Little Nicky; You Don’t Mess with the Zohan; InAPPropriate Comedy; The Hot Chick; Sandy Wexler; Eight Crazy Nights; Surf Ninjas; Mr. Deeds; The Adventures of Pinocchio; You May Not Kiss the Bride; Bedtime Stories; The Waterboy; Big Stan; Down Periscope; Click; Big Daddy; The Longest Yard; Necessary Roughness; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; BMT: Little Man; Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo; The Ridiculous 6; The Beverly Hillbillies; Knock Off; The Benchwarmers; Judge Dredd; Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; Grown Ups; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Around the World in 80 Days; Demolition Man; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo in 2006; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo in 2006; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2007 for Little Man, and The Benchwarmers; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2000 for Big Daddy; in 2008 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; and in 2011 for Grown Ups; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Grandma’s Boy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Little Man, Little Nicky, The Animal, The Benchwarmers, and The Hot Chick; Notes: This was kind of right in the middle of his starring career, after he had already teamed up with Stallone for Judge Dredd. He is apparently anti-vax, which caused him to be dropped as a spokesperson for State Farm in 2014.)

Lela Rochon – (Known For: Any Given Sunday; Boomerang; Brooklyn’s Finest; Waiting to Exhale; The Big Hit; Gang Related; Why Do Fools Fall in Love; Blood Done Sign My Name; Future BMT: The Meteor Man; Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo; Breakin’; Supremacy; BMT: Knock Off; First Daughter; The Chamber; Harlem Nights; Notes: Right at the top of her peak as a leading lady in film, right around Why Do Fools Fall in Love. She has a degree in broadcast journalism.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $10,319,915 (Worldwide: $10,319,915)

(Oh wow. Now this can’t possibly be true right? Wouldn’t this, at the very least, get a release in Hong Kong? This came out right as Van Damme’s career was cratering though, so I imagine they only realized it was mostly unreleasable afterwards. Case in point: this came out after Legionnaire.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (3/39): Muddled plot; stiff acting.

(Short and sweet! They seem to kind of agree that it is a little too jokey, but somehow very serious, and … honestly it does sound muddled now that I write it. Reviewer Highlight: Something of a kaleidoscopic mess of a movie, but it has its moments. – Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle)

Poster – Sklog Off

knock_off

(That is nuts. I find it offensive. What were they even thinking? Case in point: why is “Van Damme” in giant block letters that nearly fade into the background. My eyes hurt. F. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I think this was the most difficult font I’ve ever undertaken. I’m rather impressed with how okay the background looks behind the letters since I had to rebuild it all. Overall looks pretty good for what is, in fact, a pretty complicated poster.)

Tagline(s) – There is no substitute. (C+)

(It’s a pun… that’s the best you can say about it. Obviously playing on the fact that the story involves a bunch of knock off products and the fact that there is no substitute for Van Damme. But it’s stretching just a bit too far and doesn’t flow.)

Keyword – kickboxing

KnockOff_kickboxing

Top 10: The Mummy Returns (2001), American Assassin (2017), True Lies (1994), The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), Road House (1989), Tomb Raider (2018), Street Fighter (1994), Say Anything… (1989), Kiss the Girls (1997), The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 63.0 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997), 61.9 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 57.6 Cyborg (1989), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 42.9 Fighting (2009), 41.0 The Quest (1996), 37.3 Nowhere to Run (1993), 26.4 American Assassin (2017), 24.6 A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave (1990);

BMT: Road House (1989), Kiss the Girls (1997), Universal Soldier (1992), Double Team (1997), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), Knock Off (1998)

(Wow, we really loved kickboxing in the 90s! There is something about it. I’ve been doing “research” into non-theatrical stars in my free time, and one of the major conclusions I’ve come to is there are different eras of straight-to-video films. And the 90s was definitely the apex of martial artists being recruited to put out their weirdo non-films.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Rob Schneider is No. 2 billed in Knock Off and No. 1 billed in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, which also stars William Forsythe (No. 2 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 5 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 1 + 2 + 5 + 3 + 1 = 14. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Hong Kong superstar and director Sammo Hung served as the film’s 2nd unit director. The release print of “Knock Off” suffers from the removal of a lot of the martial arts action shot for the film, with a couple of sequences being very heavily edited. The final battle between Jean-Claude Van Damme’s character and Australian actor/stuntman Michael Miller is less than half of the action shot for their fight, and upon careful viewing you can pick up the fact that the fight has raged across several different sections on the boat, while the fight between Jeff Wolfe’s character Scar and Jean-Claude’s is the most heavily edited with more of the action being shown in the “Making Of” featured on several of the DVD editions than in the finished film.

The film is one of the last in the world to feature Kai Tak Airport still in use; the airport closed in 1998.