Santa Claus: The Movie Preview

Jamie and Patrick slowly circle the mailman twins looking for an opening. Despite whirling backflips and patented twin chops they find that their opponent’s twin power is strong and every move is deftly countered. Tiring, Jamie and Patrick know what must be done. With lightning quickness they transition from a simple high five into a capoeira-inspired gymnastics-dancing-kung fu move. Flying into the air, feet akimbo, Jamie it able to connect, leaving their opponents shocked. The mailman touches his bloodied face and knows that this is the end of the battle. Blood has been spilled, identicalness has been spoilt, the power of the medallion has failed them. “Take it,” the leader says tossing them the medallion. A look of recognition crosses his face and he squints at them, “who… who are you two?” Patrick shakes his head and turns away saying, “We’re not important. It’s who we’re looking for that is.” Inspecting the medallion, though, they realize that it is just a worthless trinket. “Hey! What gives!? This ain’t worth jack!” They yell, thinking the mailmen have deceived them, but at that moment a chilling sound pierces the air: the cackling laughter of the troll. Saboteur! He knew this whole time that the medallion was a simple bauble! From behind a rock he emerges, “I’ve come for my favor,” he grunts. Jamie and Patrick look at him in disgust, but know he has won. Everyone knows their word is their bond… it’s a rule, and they don’t break rules. “What do you want from us?” Jamie asks, fearing what dastardly plan he has in store. “A simple task,” the troll says with a sneer, “You know a jolly fat man named Santa?” Jamie and Patrick are frozen in horror, they know what’s coming, “I want him, and I want him dead.” That’s right! We’re watching the Dudley Moore classic, and definitely a film we had heard of prior to deciding to do it … Santa Claus: The Movie! Not only that, but we are pairing it up with another holiday classic Santa With Muscles starring Hulk Hogan! Boy, oh boy, it’s like Christmas in April! Let’s go!

Santa Claus: The Movie (1985) – BMeTric: 20.0

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(Oh we’ve seen this before. The giant jump in 2014 I mean. I can’t remember what my explanation was … probably a big New Years vote purge or something. It really is a-tumblin’ though, people just love Dudley Moore I guess.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Story of how Santa came to be starts out so wonderfully – with eye-filling looks at his North Pole toy factory, reindeer, and sleigh – that it’s too bad the rest of the film (with contemporary tale of humbug kid and greedy toy magnate) can’t measure up. Still entertaining, just a bit less magical than it should have been. Referred to as Santa Claus: The Movie everywhere but on-screen!

(Interestingly solid review. Kind of like Double Dragon then, starts off with a kind of quaint vague interest, but then the rest of the actual plot catches up and ruins it.)

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

(I love John Lithgow. “FOOOORRRR FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE?!!!?!?!??!” I’m already kind of excited)

Directors – Jeannot Szwarc – (Known For: Jaws 2; Somewhere in Time; Future BMT: Supergirl; Bug; BMT: Santa Claus: The Movie; Notes: He started in television on shows like Night Gallery. He’s returned to television since, directing an episode of Grey’s Anatomy this year for example. French, but raised in Argentina.)

Writers – David Newman (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Bonnie and Clyde; Superman; Superman II; What’s Up, Doc?; Still of the Night; Bad Company; There Was a Crooked Man…; Future BMT: Sheena; BMT: Superman III; Santa Claus: The Movie; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Sheena in 1985; Notes: Edited Esquire in the 60s, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Bonnie and Clyde.)

Leslie Newman (story) – (Known For: Superman; Superman II; BMT: Superman III; Santa Claus: The Movie; Notes: Married to David Newman until his death in 2003, is a cookbook author as well.)

Actors – Dudley Moore – (Known For: 10; Arthur; Foul Play; Bedazzled; The Wrong Box; Micki + Maude; Lovesick; The Bed Sitting Room; Future BMT: Arthur 2: On the Rocks; Wholly Moses!; Blame It on the Bellboy; Crazy People; The Hound of the Baskervilles; Unfaithfully Yours; The Pickle; BMT: Santa Claus: The Movie; Notes: Died of progressive supranuclearl palsy in 2002. Notable for his height of five foot two inches.)

John Lithgow – (Known For: Pet Sematary; Interstellar; This Is 40; The Accountant; Shrek; Late Night; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension; Footloose; Miss Sloane; Twilight Zone: The Movie; The Tomorrow Man; Rise of the Planet of the Apes; Cliffhanger; Bigfoot and the Hendersons; Terms of Endearment; All That Jazz; Orange County; The Homesman; Dreamgirls; 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Future BMT: Pitch Perfect 3; Confessions of a Shopaholic; Daddy’s Home Two; A Good Man in Africa; Leap Year; Silent Fall; BMT: New Year’s Eve (uncredited); Santa Claus: The Movie; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Cliffhanger in 1994; Notes: In 2017 he co-authored a New York Times crossword puzzle.)

David Huddleston – (Known For: The Big Lebowski; Blazing Saddles; Rio Lobo; Frantic; The Producers; Capricorn One; McQ; Breakheart Pass; Bad Company; Future BMT: Postal; Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; Joe’s Apartment; Something to Talk About; Life with Mikey; The World’s Greatest Lover; BMT: Santa Claus: The Movie; Notes: Served in the Air Force and most well known as Lebowski in The Big Lebowski.)

Budget/Gross – $30–50 million / Domestic: $23,717,291

(That seems like a complete disaster. What were they thinking, that Christmas films just printed money?)

#38 for the Christmas genre

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(This is our fifth Christmas film for BMT. I don’t know why they would be becoming more popular recently … maybe with a good economy people like to think about giving and receiving gifts more?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (4/20):

(My consensus: Thinnly plotted, cheap looking, and dated. This 80s Christmas film is a bore. Reviewer Highlight: Little kids will probably like most of this movie. The weakness is that larger kids and parents, deputized to escort the little ones, are likely to find a lot of it a little thin. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times)

Poster – Sklogtacular Christmas Extravaganza (B)

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(Really hard to find a decent picture of this poster. Not a good sign for the film itself. From what I can see I think there is something artistic in this that I kinda like, while also acknowledging that it looks old as shit and it’s time has passed it by. But like, check that font, look at the weird perspective, and guess what? I’m pretty sure I know this is about Santa Claus.)

Tagline(s) – Guess who’s coming to town! (D-)

(Uh… Santa? I’m still not sure what the plot of this film is… like is Santa’s workshop being bought by an eeeevil land developer and he has to work to stop him? Or like… does someone have to take over for Santa for some children appropriate reason… like he ate too much candy and hot chocolate and is now in a diabetic coma? That’s fine for kids, right? Anyway, I’m sure it something like that. Just wanted to speculate since I definitely didn’t want to talk about this snoozer of a tagline.)

Keyword(s) – toy; Top Ten by BMeTric: 76.1 Paranormal Activity 4 (2012); 75.4 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009); 73.8 Look Who’s Talking Too (1990); 70.2 Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964); 69.5 Postal (2007); 68.5 Gulliver’s Travels (2010); 64.2 Exposed (III) (2016); 63.4 Poltergeist III (1988); 60.8 Toys (1992); 59.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007);

(We’ve seen none of these?! And now we still haven’t)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number N/A) – There is no current way to connect this movie to Here on Earth via BMT. If we were to watch Unfaithfully Yours, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

(Actually an anomaly. Lithgow was uncredited in New Years Eve, so he’s been in a BMT film, but that doesn’t count in this analysis)

Notes – All the toys made and bought for the Santa’s workshop scenes were donated to children’s charities for Christmas after shooting was complete.

The role of the Ancient Elf was written with James Cagney in mind. However, even though Cagney liked the film’s overall idea, his advanced age and weakened physical condition precluded him from taking the role.

In the U.S. trailers for the film, Dudley Moore gets top billing and David Huddleston gets third billing. In the international trailer, Huddleston gets top billing and Moore gets fourth billing.

Real deer were trained to pull the sleigh. The crew required months to complete the training which also allowed the deer to grow their antlers for the final filming. For shots where it was not possible to use the deer, sophisticated animatronic deer were used. (Hahahahhahaha)

The film’s budget was £50,000,000, which as of this writing (2015) would be equivalent to £140,000,000. (Hahahahahhahaa)

Burgess Meredith, who is fourth-billed, has one scene and eight lines. (This seems like a trend in this film)

When Patch is viewing the BZ Toys display in the New York window, a van painted exactly like the one on The A-Team (1983) is parked on the street behind him.

The role of B.Z. was offered to Harrison Ford, Burt Reynolds, Dustin Hoffman and Johnny Carson, all of whom turned it down.

John Lithgow, who is second billed and the main bad guy, doesn’t appear until more than an hour into the film. (Wowza)

Paul McCartney was originally going to write and perform a theme song, but his record label declined.

The movie had promotional Tie with McDonald’s, Coca- Cola and Pabst Blue Ribbon. McDonald’s gave a away one of four books with each happy meal, which chronicled the story of the film. (WHAT)

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Double Dragon Preview

“And that’s the story of how I cheated on my wife multiple times, destroyed my family, and continued to be a rich asshole. Now where to start concerning the mailman?” sighs Colonel Von Freed. Jamie looks grimly at Patrick. They endured his story of serial philandering for the last two hours and, considering the length of his sigh, the story of the fraudster mailman seems to be even longer. Suddenly a group of horses run by with grimy men clinging to their backs. Letters flutter about them as they watch them disappear in a cloud of dust. “Aha, the chase is afoot,” sighs the Colonel, “it’s helicopter time.” With that the Colonel snaps his fingers and a helicopter suddenly appears over the horizon. Gatling guns ablaze, the helicopter swoops towards the mailmen, who shields their eyes and scatter in every direction. One remains behind, the leader. “The choice is yours, mailman,” we say as we approach, “hand over the medallion or get another taste of our helicopter.” The mailman smiles. “Oh really, you’re gonna blow me away? I don’t think so,” he laughs, “that would be against the rules.” In shock Jamie and Patrick look at each other. What rules? Rulez=coolz and this could spell trouble. Another mailman returns and joins the first. Uncoiling the scarf from his face Jamie and Patrick gasp. Twins. They rip their sleeves off their shirts to reveal the secret tattoos of the twins engraved on their well-toned arms. “He isn’t lying, Colonel,” Jamie says. “This will not end peacefully. It’s the way of the Twins. They have challenged our twin prowess,” confirms Patrick. The mailmen scream in unison, “It’s a Double Dragon challenge, Bad Movie Twins! A fight for the medallion. A fight for destiny. A challenge that can only end with blood.” That’s right! We are watching Double Dragon, one of the many terrible video game films made in the *checks notes* ever… there has never been a good one. Apparently though the worst films of all time wiki page only has room for one video game film and that’s Alone in the Dark, which is no fun. At least this should be some fun to watch. Reading about it a bit apparently they changed the script so that Jimmy and Billy Lee weren’t twins but just brothers because the actors didn’t look enough alike. Bullshit. Just for that it should be on the worst of all time list. Let’s go!

Double Dragon (1994) – BMeTric: 66.9

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(Below 4.0 is incredible. And while climbing a bit (pretty much unavoidable when the rating is that low), for a film from the early-90s that is very impressive. Pretty close to that 75+ pantheon, although now it’ll never make it.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In the junky, gang-dominated post-earthquake “New Angeles” of 2007, martial artist brothers Dacascos and Wolf battle evil billionaire Patrick for the possession of a two-part Chinese medallion that grants mystical powers. Sometimes lively but mostly silly and tedious; based on an arcade game.

(This review is mostly silly and tedious, so take that! But honestly, this feels like Maltin fell asleep in the middle of the review. Although, then again, there is a very nice semi-colon right near the end. Love it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh9ioolJrd0

(My God the acting! AND LOOK WHO’S GOT IT! Whooooooaaaaaaaa! Man the 90s, what a time to be alive. Everything was so straight up raaaaaaad. Karate and hacking and like … video games. It is ridic. Too ridic to quit. I’m amped.)

Directors – James Yukich – (BMT: Double Dragon; Notes: He was a music video director for the most part, including directing videos for Bruno, Bruce Willis’ alter ego.)

Writers – Paul Dini (story) – (Known For: Batman Ninja; Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; Batman and Harley Quinn; BMT: Double Dragon; Notes: Invented Harley Quinn for his friend Arleen Sorkin.)

Neal Shusterman (story) – (BMT: Double Dragon; Notes: Quite an accomplished writer, including nine or ten different series. Also wrote a ton of How to Host a Murder games.)

Michael Davis (screenplay) – (Known For: Shoot ‘Em Up; 100 Girls; Monster Man; Future BMT: Eight Days a Week; BMT: Double Dragon; Notes: Wrote the entire Prehysteria series.)

Peter Gould (screenplay) – (BMT: Double Dragon; Notes: The co-creator of Better Call Saul.)

Actors – Robert Patrick – (Known For: Terminator 2: Judgment Day; Wayne’s World; Bridge to Terabithia; Walk the Line; Die Hard 2; Spy Kids; Safe House; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Trouble with the Curve; The Faculty; Back Roads; Lovelace; Cop Land; Kill the Messenger; The Men Who Stare at Goats; Flags of our Fathers; We Are Marshall; The Road Within; Ladder 49; Rosewood; Future BMT: Balls of Fury; Eye See You; Supercross; Identity Thief; Fly Me to the Moon 3D; Hellions; Eloise; All the Pretty Horses; Last Action Hero; Alien Trespass; The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond; Fire in the Sky; Gangster Squad; Jayne Mansfield’s Car; BMT: Striptease; The Marine; Double Dragon; Strange Wilderness; Firewall; Texas Rangers; Endless Love; Notes: Replaced David Duchovny in The X-Files late in the series. Famous for his role as the T-1000 in Terminator 2.)

Mark Dacascos – (Known For: Brotherhood of the Wolf; Future BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Code Name: The Cleaner; Showdown in Manila; Nomad: The Warrior; BMT: Double Dragon; Cradle 2 the Grave; Notes: A martial artist. Competed in the 9th season of Dancing with the Stars.)

Scott Wolf – (Known For: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Go; White Squall; Future BMT: The Evening Star; All I Want for Christmas; BMT: Double Dragon; Notes: Most famous for his role on Party of Five. Had some success in television across the years. Has a mildly famous cousin Josh Wolf.)

Budget/Gross – $7.8 million / Domestic: $2,341,309

(Somehow a catastrophe despite basically costing nothing. Having watched the film you see all $8 million on screen, it is pretty impressive how far they stretch that.)

#116 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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(Beat out the previous low gross by a BMT film by … Gymkata, wowza. This came in right when martial arts film was huge, but they were progressively making less and less money. At least according to Box Office Mojo this genre is basically non-existent at this point.)

#38 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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(Somehow less than In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale as well! A film intentionally made to be a failure. Right at the beginning of this genre which has been trying to break through for several years now.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (1/13): Double Dragon’s clever use of special effects cannot mask the film’s overly simplistic storyline and cheesy dialogue.

(A lot lower than I would expected to be honest, it felt like something you’d be like “ambitious, yet on a shoestring budget, and somehow not as bad as you would expect”. Reviewer Highlight: Even kids won’t get much of a kick out of this high-energy, low-IQ futuristic slugfest. – Brian Lowry, Variety)

Poster – Twin Time! (F… in a good way)

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(Well I know what Patrick is getting for Christmas. This is quite literally amazing. It’s taken everything I love in a poster and taken it to an extreme that makes it terrible. Love fonts? We got two of the craziest. Love bold colors? How about two jarringly bright ones? Want it to tell a story? This got shit everywhere.)

Tagline(s) – Power. Justice. Darkness. Light. (C)

Two halves of an ancient puzzle are the only hope. (D-)

(Should have just went for the first one which is fine enough. Not sure what it’s really saying, but they are words that make the film sound important. The second is nonsense and I’m not sure is even proper english.)

Keyword(s) – teenage girl; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.7 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 88.9 House of the Dead (2003); 87.5 Crossroads (I) (2002); 86.3 Troll 2 (1990); 85.9 Fantastic Four (2015); 85.7 Piranha 3DD (2012); 84.5 Movie 43 (2013); 82.4 Prom Night (I) (2008); 80.8 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 79.6 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009);

(We only have horror films left. Horror films will tend to have teenage girls I guess, so that makes sense. We swept the non-horror films real quick though.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robert Patrick is No. 1 billed in Double Dragon and No. 7 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) => 1 + 7 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 15. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – In the final battle, Linda Lash (Kristina Wagner) says to Marion (Alyssa Milano), “Now who’s the boss?” Later, Marion tells Lash, “You’re lucky, generally I put people in the hospital.” Alyssa Milano starred on the television series Who’s The Boss, and Wagner was a regular on General Hospital. (AWFUL. Just awful)

A video game featuring motion captured sprites like Mortal Kombat was concepted to co-inside with the movie, having the actors of the film and their stunt doubles provide the captured images. However it was deemed it could not be completed in the same amount of time as the movie, so was scrapped. After the movies release the film studio admitted it was a stroke of luck the game didn’t go ahead. The film would later have a Japan-only, tie in, fighting game of the same name, developed by Technos Japan under the license of SNK Playmore, ported to the Neo Geo MVS and the Neo-Geo CD in 1995 as well as the PlayStation in 1996. (Yeah that sounds like a terrible idea)

The boat chase was filmed on the Cuyahoga River in Northeast Ohio. It climaxes with an explosion which used 700 gallons of gasoline combined with 200 gallons of alcohol. Despite warnings the night before on several news channels, the explosion caused Cleveland residents to panic, leading to 210 phone calls to emergency services over ten minutes. (Wow, I wouldn’t have thought that was in Ohio, I just thought it was in a kind of isolated, industrial, run-down part of the LA coastline somewhere)

Dozens of arcade games appear in the Power Corps hideout. DOUBLE DRAGON is one of them. It’s visible when Jimmy (possessed by Kogo Shuko) tries to kick Billy but misses and shatters the game screen. (Yeah, it is terrible. It sucks)

In one scene, Kogo Shuko asks his henchmen (Huey and Lewis), “Huey, Lewis. Any news?” a reference to the band Huey Lewis and the News. (Yeah that also sucked)

According to editor Danny Retz the alley where the Lee brothers are about to face off with Abobo was shot in downtown Los Angeles. “It was used by junkies and other nefarious persons and had to be steam clean before shooting could be done.” said Danny.

The seal on Jimmy Lee’s “Retour” shirt was designed by the DECA teacher at Snohomish High School. The image in the middle of the seal is the original Snhomish High School building. (I actually did think that shirt was rad)

First-time director Jim Yukich summarized his approach to the film: “Our characters are like normal kids – three kids on an adventure, so we didn’t want to make something that kids would almost be too afraid to see. … I’d like to make it in a funnier, light-hearted vein.” (Basically the Batman & Robin approach. “You’re making a video game, it’s ridiculous, remember” was probably shouted)

The plot from the game is originally about two martial artists which is a blue-suited young man named Billy “Hammer” Lee and a red-suited twin brother Jimmy “Spike” Lee, as they fight their way into the turf of the Black Warriors gang (with Linda and Abobo as members) who assaulted and kidnapped their love interest Marian, the martial arts brothers won’t stop at nothing to rescue her. After going through skirmishes lead by Abobo and Jeff at a city slum, a factory, the woods and the gangs hideout; Billy and Jimmy reach the lair where the have a showdown with the gang’s machine gun wielding leader who is the Big Boss and they defeat him, also resulting in a conflict where Billy and Jimmy fight to the death over the determination of who will win the affections of Marian.

The characters from the game that appear in this film are: Billy Lee (1st player), Jimmy Lee (2nd player), Marian (Non-playable character), Linda (3rd enemy) and Abobo (1st boss).

Town & Country Preview

“Just be careful in there,” Sergeant Godzilla says and he shakes his head and zooms away. Jamie and Patrick enter the troll’s apartment and the aroma is overwhelming. Never have they smelled something quite like it. They hesitantly ask, “Is that… banana bread?” The troll laughs. Of course it is and of course they can have some. The pleasantries continue and Jamie and Patrick find themselves thinking that perhaps this troll isn’t as bad as Godzilla thought. He almost seems like… a friend. And friends don’t trick friends. Those are the rules. “Gerald,” Patrick asks, “Have you ever heard of a couple of gritty cops named Rich and Poe?” For a moment it looks like Gerald’s smile has turned to a snarl, but then it’s gone. “Oh, why yes. Nasty fellows. Always after treasures and antiquities. Gets them tied up in nasty plots. Why?” Patrick hesitates, but Gerald seems fine now. Same old Gerald they know and love. “Oh no reason,” he says, “they… are our uncles.” Gerald eyes them. “Is that right? Well there is a way to find them but… nevermind, you wouldn’t be interested.” They prod him forward and Gerald smiles, “It’s called the Medallion of Wisdom. With it you can find whatever you desire. Some think it’s legend, but I know where it is,” the troll leans in hungrily, “Make a promise and I’ll tell you. Promise you’ll help me in the future.” Patrick has seen Gerald’s true face and is horrified. No. No, never. They’ll never agree with this monster.  “Yeah, sure,” Jamie mumbles over a mouthful of banana bread as Patrick looks on in horror. Gerald smiles wickedly, “It’s in a ski chalet of a man I know. A real rich guy with lots of treasures but sadness in his heart.” That’s right! We’re watching Town & Country. A story of two cops Johnny Town and Fred Country. Town is a small town sheriff with a southern twang and smarts to boot, while Country is a big city cop ready to crack some skulls if it means solving the big case… oh wait, that’s just what I wish it was. It’s actually a Warren Beatty film about a rich asshole or something. Huge bomb, but not big enough to be the on the worst ever list because it was rejected. Let’s go!

Town & Country (2001) – BMeTric: 45.6

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(Wow, extremely impressive hold on the rating. Presumably that’s because not very many people just stumble upon the film, but rather they know it is going to be garbage going in. Regardless, there is potential there. A good ratings hold is usually a good sign.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Two couples celebrate their long-term marriages – just as both relationships start to come apart. A train wreck of a movie that starts out as romantic comedy, lurches into French farce, then lumbers along to a point beyond comprehension. The cast tries its best. Cowritten by Buck Henry, who appears as a divorce lawyer. Filmed mostly in 1998.  

(I honestly had a hard time parsing this review initially, much like this film it went on just long enough that I kind of lost the thread. Having now watched this film Maltin nails it, it really is like three different movies stuck together.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPX_1XQtmB4/

(What a strange looking film … Like really, I can’t even really place the sensibility. I guess maybe it goes back to the comedies of the 60s and 70s? This flippant observational humor about cheating on your spouse. With a oddly goofy twist.)

Directors – Peter Chelsom – (Known For: Serendipity; Hannah Montana: The Movie; Shall We Dance; The Mighty; Funny Bones; Hear My Song; BMT: Town & Country; The Space Between Us; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Town & Country in 2002; Notes: A very accomplished British director. Considers surviving this shoot an achievement in itself.)

Writers – Michael Laughlin (written by) – (Known For: Strange Invaders; Strange Behavior; BMT: Town & Country; Notes: He seems like he had a crazy life. He’s 80, he produced films in the US and the UK, he lived in Paris, he seems to have been all up in Hollywood for his entire life, and yet his filmography is still rather svelte.)

Buck Henry (written by) – (Known For: The Graduate; Get Smart; To Die For; Catch-22; The Last Act; Candy; What’s Up, Doc?; The Owl and the Pussycat; The Day of the Dolphin; Future BMT: The Nude Bomb; Protocol; First Family; BMT: Town & Country; Notes: Directed Heaven Can Wait with Beatty. Is the founding member of the Five Timer’s Club on SNL.)

Actors – Warren Beatty – (Known For: Heaven Can Wait; Dick Tracy; Bonnie and Clyde; Shampoo; Rules Don’t Apply; Splendour in the Grass; Bugsy; Reds; McCabe & Mrs. Miller; The Parallax View; Bulworth; Lilith; The Heist; Future BMT: Love Affair; The Fortune; BMT: Ishtar; Town & Country; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Town & Country in 2002; and Nominee for Worst Remake or Sequel for Love Affair in 1995; Notes: Nominated four times for Best Actor (embarrassingly lost to In the Heat of the Night in the same year he was in Bonnie and Clyde. Embarrassing because he wasn’t up against Portier, he was up against Steiger which is ridiculous). Won Best Director of Reds.)

Diane Keaton – (Known For: The Godfather; The Godfather: Part II; Book Club; The Godfather: Part III; Annie Hall; Something’s Gotta Give; Finding Dory; Baby Boom; The First Wives Club; Father of the Bride; Manhattan; Morning Glory; The Family Stone; Reds; Looking for Mr. Goodbar; Marvin’s Room; Father of the Bride Part II; Radio Days; Sleeper; Love and Death; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Now; Hanging Up; Mama’s Boy; Mad Money; Christmas with the Coopers; Smother; And So It Goes; Darling Companion; The Other Sister; The Lemon Sisters; Mrs. Soffel; BMT: Town & Country; The Big Wedding; Because I Said So; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Because I Said So in 2008; Notes: Y’all know BMT super star Diane Keaton! Amazingly still a fashion icon into her seventies, literally all of the news stories about her is about what she’s wearing.)

Nastassja Kinski – (Known For: Paris, Texas; The Hotel New Hampshire; Inland Empire; Cat People; Tess; Playing by Heart; One from the Heart; In weiter Ferne, so nah!; To the Devil a Daughter; The Wrong Move; An American Rhapsody; The Claim; Savior; Your Friends & Neighbors; The Intruder; Future BMT: Fathers’ Day; Terminal Velocity; Revolution; One Night Stand; Unfaithfully Yours; BMT: Town & Country; Notes: Klaus Kinski’s daughter. Apparently has a form of Narcolepsy.)

Budget/Gross – $90 million / Domestic: $6,719,973 (Worldwide: $10,372,291)

(Actually considered one of the greatest financial disasters in the history of film, up with The Adventures of Pluto Nash. I would say it likely destroyed Beatty in terms of getting films done as the on-set reports kind of make it sound like it was his fault they went so far over budget.)

#282 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(Almost the worst we’ve ever seen. Say It Isn’t So narrowly edges it out. It looks like rom-coms are coming back into style a bit. Especially if things follow Crazy Rich Asian’s lead.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 13% (12/93): Afflicted with extensive re-editing and re-writing, this sex comedy feels confusingly choppy. Also, the main characters are so wealthy and privileged that it’s difficult to feel sympathy for their problems.

(Yeah based on the trailer alone the people seem totally despicable. There was a trend in comedies wasn’t there? Where, in order to facilitate all of the wacky adventures the characters were going to go on, they needed to be fabulously wealthy. And probably a misguided idea that people want to gawk at rich people’s houses or something.)

Poster – Sklog & Country (C-)

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(I don’t like it but I appreciate it. The framing, the font, it’s all good… but just doesn’t work for me without a color scheme. My eyes tell me ‘No.’)

Tagline(s) – There’s no such thing as a small affair. (B+)

(I don’t see this on the poster, but I’ll allow it because it’s solid. It’s short-ish and clever and tells me a little something. Good stuff.)

Keyword(s) – infidelity; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.7 The Room (2003); 84.5 Movie 43 (2013); 82.2 Skyline (2010); 79.0 The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1994); 78.9 Pledge This! (2006); 70.0 The Boy Next Door (2015); 69.0 Knock Knock (I) (2015); 65.7 Baise-moi (2000); 65.3 The Canyons (2013); 64.6 Dr. T & the Women (2000);

(Dr. T & the Women, my old friend. Probably the highest BMeTric of any film that doesn’t actually qualify. I’ve seen the Canyons. It is terrible.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Josh Hartnett is No. 9 billed in Town & Country and No. 3 billed in Here on Earth => 9 + 3 = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Considered to be one of the biggest box-office disasters of all time. Pluto Nash (2002) is the largest in terms of financial loss with a budget of 100 million dollars, and a domestic gross of 4.41 million dollars. Town & Country cost around 90 million dollars to make, and it pulled in only 6.7 million dollars at the U.S. box-office.

Buck Henry was hired for what was originally only going to be a few weeks of script polishing work. Eventually, he stayed on for several months and ended up earning (by some accounts) three million dollars for rewriting roughly half of the script. Henry has stated that he bought a new house with the money he made on this “quick rewrite assignment”.

Following the film’s failure, Warren Beatty wasn’t involved with another film until Rules Don’t Apply (2016). (Yeah, he didn’t have a particularly good record from the 90s onward I don’t think)

Over forty million dollars had been spent on actor and writer salaries even before the cameras began rolling. (Oof)

The film was released three years after filming initially began in 1998.

Charlton Heston’s 75th film.

Filming was originally supposed to wrap by the fall of 1998 for a summer or fall 1999 release. Various problems occurred during filming, however, including Warren Beatty’s meticulous demand for many takes.

Filming had to be shut down after five months so that Diane Keaton, Garry Shandling, and Jenna Elfman could honor prior commitments. Shandling was in What Planet Are You From? (2000), while Keaton was in Hanging Up (2000), which she also directed. It would take a full year before they could gather the cast back together to film the new pages written by Buck Henry.

Reshoots were scheduled to begin on April 10, 2000, and expected to last just a couple of weeks. However, filming continued through June 2000, when it finally wrapped two years after principal photography originally began.

The winter mountain scenes (filmed in Sun Valley, Idaho) started filming in the early winter. Unfortunately, there was no snow on the ground at the time. Several scenes were filmed with man-made snow. After filming these scenes, over a foot of natural snow feel the next day. Some of the scenes were re-shot in the “natural” background.

Gérard Depardieu was cast but had to be replaced by Garry Shandling because of a road accident.

Peter Chelsom and Warren Beatty clashed frequently over various details in the script and the visuals.

Such was the protracted nature of the film’s production, it burned through 13 release dates.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Charlton Heston, 2002)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Goldie Hawn, 2002)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Peter Chelsom, Warren Beatty, 2002)

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation Preview

In the Z-universe’s most notorious prison, the Robotoronic Jail 3000, two prisoners blow a hole in the prison wall and walk to their freedom while sirens wail. They begin the long walk across the Wasted Land towards Ecumenopolis.

“Keep digging,” whispers Patrick as Jamie attacks the wall with a sharpened spoon. After three weeks they both know it’s time to blow this joint and they’re doing it the old fashioned way. No kung fu hacking or super powers. This is just lean muscle, a spoon, and a stone wall. Well guess what? You done lost, wall. Jamie breaks through into a large air vent and Patrick turns to their friend Kyle who was the muscle to their brains in this terrible place. “Kyle, you’ve been a true friend showing us the ropes and helping us navigate the prison world. I’ll always remember when you took a shiv for me. It’s a memory I’ll cherish.” Kyle nods. “Come with us. Help us figure out our destiny.” Just as Kyle is about to join them in the vent a large gust of winds blows the entrance closed and blows Jamie and Patrick deeper into an underground tunnel. Patrick looks up to where Kyle had been waiting, but Jamie puts a hand on his should. “He’s gone. I’m sure we’ll meet him again. We have to move forward.” Patrick grudgingly nods and looks around at where they’ve landed. It’s a fork in the road. A path to the left and a path to the right. Jamie hesitates, “We must go left, Patrick. Something seems off about the right.” But Patrick is already heading that way, drawn by some force within. Jamie follows, trying to pull him back but a steady wind starts pushing them forward until they are tumbling head over heels. They land in a world unlike Earth. The clouds overhead are gray and move unnaturally fast. A hooded figure stands in front of them. “The wind,” whispers Patrick. “It’s been trying to get us here this whole time,” responds Jamie. The hooded figure speaks. “Welcome to my world, Bad Movie Twins. Are you ready to defend Earth in the tournament of champions?” That’s right! We’re watching Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation to finish the Franchise-zzzzz cycle. These are films we saw in our childhood (obviously), but never got the full BMT treatment. They also serve as the transition to our second cycle of the year: The (Not Quite) Worst Films Ever. These are films that were at one time posted on the wikipedia page for the List of Films Considered the Worst. All such films are listed in the “Talk” section for the page. For people who don’t know the “Talk” section of wikipedia pages are where you can get a glimpse into the minds of crazy people. Let’s go!

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) – BMeTric: 86.9

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(Sub-4.0 is incredible obviously. And that BMeTric. It it the 28th highest BMeTric for any wide release ever! That is pretty impressive. Got to tick those boxes. There are only seven above it we haven’t watched: Disaster Movie, Date Movie, Son of Mask, Vampires Suck, House of the Dead, Street Fighter, and BloodRayne.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Mind-numbing sequel rehashes battle between good and evil for the fate of mankind (yawn). OK visual effects but endless fight scenes and dreadful acting stop film dead in its tracks. Of interest only to American Gladiator fanatics and vidkids with really low attention spans. Remar’ morph from David Carradine-style kung fu sensei to turbo warrior is unintentionally hilarious.

(Vidkids? “Low” attention spans? Some real shade here. Not that the film doesn’t deserve it, I’m like 99% sure it is complete hot garbage, and I can’t wait.)

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

(Redux edit eehhhhhhhh. Hey guys watch out for all of the ninjas. This film looks like complete and utter garbage. And wait, is that the Night Slasher from BMT Hall of Fame inductee Cobra! I think it is. As if I wasn’t amped already.)

Directors – John R. Leonetti – (Future BMT: Annabelle; Wish Upon; Wolves at the Door; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Prominent cinematographer who has intermittently delved into feature directing. He is probably best known for his collaboration with James Wan on the Conjuring universe of films.)

Writers – Ed Boon (video games) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Mortal Kombat; Notes: One of the creators and the game designer of the video game franchise. Also the voice of Scorpion.)

Lawrence Kasanoff (story) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: WTF. This is the Foodfight! guy. We have now completing his screenwriting filmography. But he thought making a new Pixar was easy, failed miserably, and made an extremely unpleasant animated film. Read the Alpha and Omega recap for more information.)

Joshua Wexler (story) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Was 26 years old when we produced and got a story credit on this film! Also got a writing credit on Foodfight! Currently serves as the Chief Executive of Fun (CEF?) for Pure Imagination Studios (not joking))

John Tobias (story) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Mortal Kombat; Notes: One of the two creators of the video game. Not sure why he got a “story” credit on this one and the other creator, Ed Boon, didn’t. He is credited with most of the character development for the first set of games.)

Brent V. Friedman (screenplay) – (Known For: Ticks; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Another writer on Foodfight! He and Bryce Zabel created a show Dark Skies following the success of X-Files and he’s been mostly in TV since then.)

Bryce Zabel (screenplay) – (Known For: Atlantis: The Lost Empire; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Was once a correspondent for CNN before moving to mostly television writing. He was the Chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.)

Actors – Robin Shou – (Known For: Death Race; Future BMT: DOA: Dead or Alive; Beverly Hills Ninja; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Has a degree in Civil Engineering and actually worked for a couple years in the field before quitting and finding his way first into stunt work and then into acting.)

Talisa Soto – (Known For: Licence to Kill; Don Juan DeMarco; The Pope of Greenwich Village; The Mambo Kings; La Mission; Spike of Bensonhurst; Piñero; Future BMT: Spy Hard; The Sunchaser; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Mortal Kombat;  Notes: Married to one of our BMT faves Benjamin Bratt of Catwoman fame.)

James Remar – (Known For: Django Unchained; The Warriors; The Girl Next Door; X: First Class; Ratatouille; What Lies Beneath; RED; Pineapple Express; February; 48 Hrs.; The Phantom; Cruising; The Long Riders; Drugstore Cowboy; The Cotton Club; White Fang; Boys on the Side; Miracle on 34th Street; The Dream Team; Fear X; Future BMT: Psycho; The Unborn; USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage; The Quest; Blade: Trinity; Duplex; Persecuted; Fatal Instinct; Rent-a-Cop; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Renaissance Man; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; Horns; Band of the Hand; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Judge Dredd; 2 Fast 2 Furious; The Clan of the Cave Bear; Wild Bill; Notes: I know him from The Warriors and as Dexter’s dad on the television series Dexter and am shocked at how many BMT films we’ve seen him in. Interesting story is that he was originally cast as Hicks in Aliens but had to be replaced, but you can still see him in some scenes that were too expensive to reshoot.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $35,927,406 (Worldwide: $51,376,861)

(And yeah, that is super duper terrible considering the performance of the original. A complete and utter rejection of this franchise just as it began.)

#33 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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(Just a little below Universal Soldier there. A wonder Showtime didn’t pick it up for series after this (heyyoooooo). On the downswing of martial arts … literally right before Rush Hour and The Matrix blow it up again.)

#21 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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(Just a little below Hitman which is somewhat surprising honestly. I would have imagined that at least some of the other halfway decent video game films would have done better than this. Then again … I did see this film in theaters, so literal morons did spent money on it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (1/40): With its shallow characters, low budget special effects, and mindless fight scenes, Mortal Kombat – Annihilation offers minimal plot development and manages to underachieve the low bar set by its predecessor.

(So close to being one of the worst every 0% films. It would have been top ten for sure. Reviewer Highlight: Never — at least not since the first Mortal Kombat — has tedium been so loud, so full of backward flips and flying fists to the kissers of centaurs from another realm. – Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Poster – Sklog Fight: Liquidation (C)

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(It is the exact same poster… weird. Still bad font, but short and sweet and with a little more pizzazz color-wise. It’s just slightly better than OK this time.)

Tagline(s) – Destroy all expectations. (Lol.)

(Holy shit. Is this a joke? This is a joke, right? I mean, yes. It certainly destroyed any and all expectations people had. Particularly any expectation of another sequel.)

Keyword(s) – warrior; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.0 Meet the Spartans (2008); 94.8 Catwoman (2004); 94.7 Battlefield Earth (2000); 94.0 Dragonball: Evolution (2009); 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.7 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 89.1 The Last Airbender (2010); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 87.6 BloodRayne (2005); 86.9 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997);

(Come out and play. To think. Ten of the top 30 or so worst films by BMeTric have the keyword “warrior”. Useless.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 11) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robin Shou is No. 1 billed in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and No. 6 billed in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 6 + 2 + 2 = 11. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – A third Mortal Kombat film was going to be developed, called “Mortal Kombat: Devastation”. Christopher Lambert, Linden Ashby, Adoni Maropis, Robin Shou, Chris Casamassa, Keith Cooke, and Lynn ‘Red’ Williams were hired to be in the cast as Lord Rayden, Johnny Cage, Quan Chi, Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Jax, respectively. Talisa Soto and Sandra Hess were in talks to reprise their respective roles of Princess Kitana and Lt. Sonya Blade. However, plans for a third film fell through and the film rights went to Warner Bros., which is planning a Mortal Kombat reboot. (Wait … Lambert was going to come back? I don’t believe it)

Ray Park’s first film role was as Rayden’s fight double in this movie. (Darth Maul baby)

Michael Jai White was scheduled to play as Jax, but eventually he got the lead part in Spawn (1997) instead. He would eventually portray Jax in Mortal Kombat: Rebirth (2010) and Mortal Kombat (2011). (Amazing to think that you could say “taking that role in Spawn was a very good move”)

For years, a third Mortal Kombat movie was being developed by New Line Cinema to atone for the poor reception to “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.” mink was hired to direct, and then Russell Mulcahy was hired to replace him. Sean Catherine Derek and Lawrence Kasanoff took turns writing the script, which would have had Johnny Cage resurrected to help the heroes against Quan Chi and a resurrected Shang Tsung. However, according to cast member Chris Casamassa, who would have reprised his role as Scorpion, production was halted when Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of the sets and the film ultimately never happened. (WHAT)

In the film, Jax fitted his arms with “muscle enhancers”; essentially a sort of exoskeleton that quadrupled his muscle capacity. However in the storyline for Mortal Kombat 3 (1995) (One of the shared premises for this film) Jax had his actual arms removed and fitted himself with the bionic arms.

Robin Shou (Liu Kang) and Talisa Soto (Kitana) are the only actors from the first film to reprise their roles. The other main characters are portrayed by different actors. The only other actor to return was Keith Cooke, but as a different character. In the first film, he was Reptile. Here, he portrays Sub-Zero.

Bridgette Wilson-Sampras was offered to reprise the role of Sonya Blade, but then turned it down for the role of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s sister in I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). (Oh yeah … slashers are always a good choice a think, if only for the miniscule chance of becoming a scream queen.)

Both Deron McBee (Motaro) and Lynn ‘Red’ Williams (Jax) are former American Gladiators (1989), and they have a fight scene in this film together. (People must have been going bananas at the time)

Chris Casamassa was to reprise his role as Scorpion, but he was committed to do stunt work in Batman & Robin (1997). (Somehow a movie with a higher BMeTric, what are the odds?)

Featured in Rob Hill’s The Bad Movie Bible. (Hmmm might need to check out, read, and hate this book at some point in the future.)

Here on Earth Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the last in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A very special OG recap will follow, which represents somewhat the beginning of the modern BMT recap. A new recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately after that to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Here on Earth (2000) – BMeTric: 43.4

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(I find it pretty astonishing that the rating is just so low. There aren’t very many votes (which certainly plays into it), but it still is pretty amazing for what is at its core a fairly innocuous teen drama film … that is outside of the fact that we are obsessed with this film.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Spoiled preppy Klein falls for small-town girl Sobieski while rooming with her boyfriend’s family for the summer. Fateful teen romantic triangle is strictly by-the-numbers. Sobieski gets points for radiantly dangling two hunky guys along; if she were any more angelic she’d explode.

(Ha! Leonard identified one of the main sticking points of the entire film (Leelee’s character is kind of a dick for stringing Hartnett along when it was clear their relationship was done at the beginning of the film), and then dismisses it as a positive for Leelee. Go for it Leonard. Yeah, why shouldn’t Leelee get hers?!)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t8WI3bW8NA

(“Hey rich boy, come and get it!” Oh snap, that is some real sidekickness. And Klein looks jacked, I almost forgot just how jacked he was in this film. EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS TRAILER IS AMAZING. I’m having reverse Vietnam flashbacks here … does that make sense? Like I’m flashing back to the ecstasy of watching this film for the first time. Phew, I cannot wait.)

Directors – Mark Piznarski – (BMT: Here on Earth; Notes: Primarily a television director. Directed the first two episodes of Veronica Mars. The character of Stosh “Piz” Piznarski was named after him.)

Writers – Michael Seitzman (written by) – (Known For: North Country; BMT: Here on Earth; Notes: Basically immediately transitioned to television. Ultimately created Code Black which just ended this year.)

Actors – Chris Klein – (Known For: American Pie; American Reunion; We Were Soldiers; Just Friends; American Pie 2; Election; American Dreamz; Future BMT: Authors Anonymous; Day Zero; BMT: Rollerball; Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Say It Isn’t So; Here on Earth; Notes: He had a pretty public substance abuse issue which, it seems, he has kicked (good for him). Just had his second child.)

Leelee Sobieski – (Known For: Eyes Wide Shut; Never Been Kissed; Public Enemies; Deep Impact; Joy Ride; Walk All Over Me; Max; A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries; My First Mister; Future BMT: Jungle 2 Jungle; Branded; The Glass House; Finding Bliss; BMT: The Wicker Man; In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Here on Earth; 88 Minutes; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 2009 for 88 Minutes, and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Notes: Wow, all BMT films we’ve seen her in are now in the Hall of Fame. Her mother was a film producer and then became her manager when Leelee went into acting.)

Josh Hartnett – (Known For: Black Hawk Down; Sin City; The Virgin Suicides; The Faculty; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; 30 Days of Night; Lucky Number Slevin; O; Oh Lucy!; Resurrecting the Champ; Stuck Between Stations; Future BMT: The Black Dahlia; 40 Days and 40 Nights; Town & Country; Time Traveller; Wild Horses; Pearl Harbor; August; 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain; Bunraku; Blow Dry; The Ottoman Lieutenant; BMT: Hollywood Homicide; Here on Earth; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Pearl Harbor in 2002; Notes: Effectively retired ten years ago when he moved back to his native Minnesota, but broke back onto the scene with Penny Dreadful.)

Budget/Gross – $15 million / Domestic: $10,522,168 (Worldwide: $10,873,148)

(Unfortunately a disaster. So unlikely we’ll see a Here on Earth Expanded Universe (HoEEU). Which is too bad. I want to see what happened to … like, Leelee’s ancestors in the same town? I’m actually somehow selling myself on this idea … Netflix? Call me.)

#102 for the Romantic Drama genre

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(This is like a teen version of Nicholas Sparks film, which obviously the most enticing three words in Hollywood: teen Nicholas Sparks. Why would this genre die in the 2000? I don’t know, I think this comes up every time we do this plot. Maybe they got pushed out by some other genre or big budget fare?

#47 for the Teen Romance genre

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(Oooooooooh Endless Loooooooove is my second favorite of this genre. Was a late 80s genres, which surged again in the 2000s and is now sitting pretty these days. What happened in 2007ish? Twilight.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (12/69): Critics say Here on Earth’s weakness comes from its script. The story may appeal to young teenage girls, but it suffers from being overly sentimental and formulaic. The cinematography, however, is lovely in how it captures its Minnesota setting.

(It is impossible to be overly sentimental. Also … Oh I’m stewing now. It is obviously not set in Minnesota! It is set in Massachusetts. Ridiculous oversight. Reviewer Highlight – Makes the similarly themed Love Story seem positively sophisticated by comparison. – Lou Lumenick, New York Post)

Poster – Here on Sklog (A+)

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(I have this poster hanging in my house. It is like a beautiful watercolor, a dream. Zero complaints.)

Tagline(s) – NONE! (FFFFF)

(I’ll make one! Uh … “Earth’s the right place for love” there I did it! Phew, that was … much harder than I thought it would be. The logic is that that is a line from Birches by Robert Frost which plays a big role in the film. The film is a love story and thus illustrates a main plot, while sounding somewhat okay. It also takes place on the planet Earth.)

Keyword(s) – diner; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.5 The Wicker Man (2006); 84.8 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011); 78.0 Grease 2 (1982); 76.2 AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem (2007); 76.0 Ouija (2014); 73.7 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 73.1 Howard the Duck (1986); 72.2 Cell (I) (2016); 71.5 Bewitched (2005); 69.2 Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (2011);

(Grease 2 has somehow completely avoided our scrutiny despite, obviously, being one of the worst of an entire decade. Diner is also a nonsense keyword, but whatever.)

Notes – Melissa Joan Hart was considered for the role of Samantha.

This movie is mentioned in the song “Wonder (If She’ll Get It)” by the band Superchick.

Highlander: The Final Dimension Preview

Jamie and Patrick are excited to take part in the Super Duper Commando Project… sounds pretty rad. Unfortunately when they show up there seems to have been a mix up. A gust of wind blew their applications from the accept pile into the reject pile. What a mistake! They are informed that the only open positions are as security guards. Jamie and Patrick shrug. You take what you can get. As they walk around the building they are super duper bored. “If I wanted to be a security guard I would have joined the Security Brigade,” Jamie says resulting in a chuckle from Patrick. Just then a Super Duper Commando backflips his way into their path. “What thuuuuuuu…” Patrick says before they are both kicked out of a window. Shaking off the serious trauma inflicted on their non-Super Duper bodies they return to the security center and find the place in disarray. Turns out a rogue general bestowed the Sword of Power upon one of the Commandos giving him the power of the gods. Sounds totally ridiculous and unbelievable, I know, but like… you better believe it’s happening. Jamie and Patrick look at one another. The head of security is curious, “You boys look like you know something. Out with it.” They look sheepish. “It’s just,” Jamie begins and takes out an ancient scroll, “when we were born it was foretold that we would face a super soldier equipped with the Sword of Power. It was oddly specific to this exact situation.” The head of security is in awe. “Did it say anything else?” Patrick and Jamie look at each other again. “Yes,” Patrick whispers, “It said ‘There can only be one.’” That’s right! We’re getting another notch in the Highlander Franchise belt with our Sci-Fi/Fantasy entry in the cycle, Highlander: The Final Dimension… or is it Highlander: The Magician… or is it Highlander: The Sorcerer? Impossible to tell with the third entry in the series. I’m sure you’re all like ‘But Jamie, don’t you mean last entry in the series. There can’t possibly be a fourth major release in the Highlander series.’ Well you’d be wrong. Highlander: Endgame exists and it is foretold that we will watch it… someday. But not today. Let’s go!

Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994) – BMeTric: 69.4

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(Quite low, but is getting that regression to the mean as one would have expected. Nearly 70+ BMeTric, which is obviously extremely impressive. High hopes.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Conor McCloud, the wanderer from medieval Scotland, does battle in today’s N.Y. with evil fellow immortal from the past, the Mongol magician Cane (Van Peebles). Foolish, badly written piffle is a sequel only to the first film, ignoring the second and the TV series. Lambert is glum, Van Peebles shamelessly hammy. Dozens of unexplained elements, starting with Cane’s perfect English.

(Leonard hates Highlander. The films are rated: 1.5, 1.5, BOMB, BOMB for the first four. Which is insane. The first is actually halfway decent, at least compared to the second! I’m looking forward to the performances now. Seems like it could be something truly to behold.)

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

(I guess it is called “The Sorcerer” in this case. Anywho, this looks terribly cheap. And they kind of give away that he quickens again there. And they also give away that there is a pretttttty sexy sex scene … it’s a wash, this could go either way now.)

Directors – Andrew Morahan – (BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: British. Still is a music video director mostly. His father was a director as well, and his half-sister is an actress.)

Writers – Gregory Widen (characters) – (Known For: Highlander; Backdraft; The Prophecy; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Worked as a firefighter for three years. Witnessed a friend killed by a deadly backdraft which became the basis for the script.)

Brad Mirman (story & screenplay) (uncredited) – (Known For: Forsaken; The Shadow Dancer; Crime Spree; Future BMT: Knight Moves; Resurrection; Truth or Consequences, N.M.; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Body of Evidence; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Body of Evidence in 1994; Notes: Mostly a writer-director now, including a television mini-series called The Confession starring Kiefer Sutherland.)

William N. Panzer (story) – (Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Was the producer for basically every single Highlander property over the years. Died in 2007.)

Paul Ohl (screenplay) – (BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: French, but lived mostly in Quebec. Was in public service most of his life, and wrote multiple novels which I suppose is how he ended up connected to this.)

René Manzor (uncredited) – (Known For: Monsieur N.; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Caught the attention of George Lucas and Spielberg early in his career and wrote on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.)

Actors – Christopher Lambert – (Known For: Highlander; Hail, Caesar!; Bel Canto; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Fortress; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Subway; White Material; To Kill a Priest; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Beowulf; Fortress 2; Southland Tales; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; Mortal Kombat; The Sicilian; Loaded Weapon 1; Gunmen; Knight Moves; Resurrection; The Hunted; Electric Slide; BMT: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Born in the US, although he is French as his father was a diplomat. Was married to Diane Lane, and had a daughter with her.)

Mario Van Peebles – (Known For: New Jack City; Ali; Heartbreak Ridge; The Cotton Club; Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song; How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass; The Hebrew Hammer; Stag; Future BMT: Solo; Exterminator 2; Gunmen; Posse; Submerged; We the Party; Multiple Sarcasms; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Son of the famous director Melvin Van Peebles, whom he portrays in Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.)

Deborah Kara Unger – (Known For: The Game; Thirteen; Crash; Payback; The Way; The Hurricane; Sunshine; The Salton Sea; A Love Song for Bobby Long; The Alibi; Fear X; Stander; One Point O; Shake Hands with the Devil; Hollywood North; Signs & Wonders; Emile; Future BMT:White Noise; The Samaritan; Jackals; A Dark Truth; Keys to Tulsa; Whispers in the Dark; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Silent Hill: Revelation; 88 Minutes; Silent Hill; Notes: Canadian, but she started her career in Australia where she became quite a famous actress before returning to North America.)

Budget/Gross – $26 million / Domestic: $12,303,080

(Absolutely absurd budget. I understand there is a level of set design and special effects involved, but it would have been ludicrous to think they’d recoup that number. It has to involve funny math.)

#97 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

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(Around Dungeons & Dragons. The genre really took off in 2000, likely because they were able to put together films that otherwise would have been impossible to produce with practical effects with the cheaper CGI that had been developed by then.)

#29 for the Sword and Sorcery genre

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(Only In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale did worse among BMT films. The chart gets a bit skewed because The Lord of the Rings made so much money all within a few years of each other. The genre has never really be huge in the number of films produced.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (1/20): No consensus yet.

(My god the consensus would be something else: Cheap looking with absolutely ridiculous performances by Lambert and Van Peebles. Literally like watching a franchise crash and burn in front of your eyes! Reviewer Highlight: As for Van Peebles, he’s quite the ridiculous sight and sound. – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – Skloglander: The Final Dimensional Sorcerer from Space Probably (B-)

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(I have to say I like the clock and how the poster is laid out. The coloring is crazy though and the font is just meh. Tone it down a little and get some sweet Highlander brand font and we might be off to the races.)

Tagline(s) – Centuries ago one man was chosen to protect all that is good. But an enemy from the past has travelled through time to challenge him in the present. (F)

(Bahahahaahaha… … … hahahahahahaha… ha… ah… well that sounds stupid.)

Keyword(s) – sex scene; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.6 The Room (2003); 90.4 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 82.0 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000); 81.9 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 81.2 Sex and the City 2 (2010); 78.7 Jason X (2001); 77.6 Fifty Shades Darker (2017); 77.0 Fifty Shades of Black (2016); 75.8 Fifty Shades Freed (2018); 74.9 Species II (1998);

(Kind of unbelievable there are still films on the table here. Given the number of films with the keyword it isn’t that surprising that all of them are basically above 75 BMeTric which is incredible. All three Fifty Shades films make this list.)

Notes – Deborah Kara Unger did her love scenes with Christopher Lambert herself, declining to use a body double. (Good for her I guess)

The original script for the film was radically different from the finished product in that the flashback sequences to place in early 17th century Scotland and early 18th century England. MacLeod had an Immortal friend in the script named Cavanagh who had similar aspects like Ramirez, The main villain in the script was named Kilvera. The script started depicting what happened with Connor after he buried Heather as well as a scene that revealed that he kills Jack the Ripper who was an Immortal as well. (I understand none of this)

The film is true to the original Highlander (1986) and ignores Highlander II: The Quickening (1991). In Highlander 2, Connor, Ramirez and the Immortals were aliens from the planet Zeist. In the original Highlander, Connor and Ramirez were not aliens from another planet and Highlander 3 takes place 8 years after the original film and is true to the original story and mythology. (Cool? They’re going to fuck it up anyways, so what does it really matter, y’know?)

Christopher Lambert and Mario Van Peebles had both previously starred in Gunmen (1993) and had become good friends.

In early development this was going to be a prequel about Connor arriving in New York at the start of ‘The Gathering’. (That would have been kind of cool. If I recall correctly the original kind of starts as the battle for The Quickening is coming to a close)

Mako plays a similar role to the role he played in Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer (1984). (M’man Mako is in this? Hell yeah)

For the UK VHS and DVD releases, the title was changed to Highlander 3: The Sorcerer, with no extended cut (renegade cut). (This title keeps on coming up and it annoys me. There are like fifty goddamn names for this film)

Universal Soldier: The Return Preview

Dear Diary, Jamie writes, I know I haven’t written to you in awhile but I met someone. I know, very exciting. Less exciting? I met someone else. Classic Jamie, right? Anyway, I need some advice. On the one hand you have beautiful… actually now that I think of it I don’t know their names. Classic Jamie you know and love. So Demon #1 is beautiful and a lawyer, but also a demon. Demon #2 is beautiful but also a liar and still a demon. The choice is tearing me apart, like hooks into my flesh. What do I do?! Gah! Classic Jamie. But having talked it out with you I think I have my decision. I will just have to marry both of them and live forever in this puzzle box. It’s the only logical choice. Thanks Diary. With that Jamie looks up and find himself back in the alleyway where they cornered the Predator. “Wha… what?” He asks stunned. Patrick comes over and places a hand on his shoulder, “A gust of wind blew by and closed the puzzle box while you were writing for the last twelve hours.” Jamie nods, but can’t help but wonder if he could have found happiness in that demon world. Probably not… because they were demons. Suddenly light floods the alley and they are surrounded by police. “Freeze, Predator dirtbag! Wait… where is it?” Asks the Commander. Jamie and Patrick look at each other and toss the puzzle box into a nearby sewer. “That Predator won’t be bother anyone else, Commander. We made sure of that.” The Commander is impressed. First a multimillion dollar t-shirt business and now this. He approaches Jamie and Patrick, “ I have a new assignment for you. Ever heard of the Super Duper Commando Program?” That’s right! We’re crushing the Universal Soldier franchise by watching the only two qualifying films in the franchise. Weirdly this is actually the first and the fourth films made. That’s because after the first film they made a couple Universal Soldier TV movies before deciding those never happened and starting over again with a new sequel Universal Soldier: The Return. It’s just weird enough that I made sure to get the TV movies from my local public library so I could torture myself with them. This is the Chain Reaction part of the cycle as Xander Berkeley was in both Proud Mary and Universal Soldier: The Return. Perfect. Let’s go!

Universal Soldier: The Return (1999) – BMeTric: 76.8

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(Oh shit, it was at 3.0 for a hot second there. It has “recovered”, although mostly because you can’t really stay below 4.0 without being a truly legendary film while accruing votes. This should be a truly dire experience. I’m excited.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  The muscles from Brussels is back and must stop an out-of-control super-cyborg from world domination. Derivative but not boring rehash of the original. Features two tough heroines, Schanz and ESPN fitness guru Tom, but it you’re threatened by the enlightened sexual politics, there’s also a gratuitous brawl at a nudie bar. In his acting debut, WCW superstar Bill Goldberg proves he has all the dramatic range of Foghorn Leghorn.

(WCW star. Check. An ESPN fitness guru. Check. Brawl at a nudie bar. Check. Uh, this might be the greatest thing I’ve ever read. My body is ready, but will my mind melt when I watch this? There is only one way to find out.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2SxMcP-UFo

(That looks way dumber than the original! It looks so bad. Just explosions, and guns, and stunts, and Michael Jai White … woof!)

Directors – Mic Rodgers – (BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Notes: A stuntman, and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, most notable for being Mel Gibson’s personal stunt double for over ten years.)

Writers – Richard Rothstein (characters) – (Known For: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Universal Soldier; Notes: Died this year. He made the television series Deadly Nightmares.)

Christopher Leitch (characters) – (Known For: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Universal Soldier; Notes: Worked with Rothstein briefly on Deadly Nightmares, which is possibly why he got the job at the time.)

Dean Devlin (characters) – (Known For: Independence Day; Stargate; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Future BMT: Godzilla; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Independence Day: Resurgence; Geostorm; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1999 for Godzilla; and in 2017 for Independence Day: Resurgence; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: Advised the games company ZeniMax in the early 2000s, they own Bethesda.)

William Malone (written by) – (Future BMT: Supernova; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Notes: He was the designer of the Michael Myers mask in Halloween!)

John Fasano (written by) – (Future BMT: Darkness Falls; Megiddo: The Omega Code 2; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Another 48 Hrs.; Notes: Died in 2014. He began his career creating industrial films for IBM.)

Actors – Jean-Claude Van Damme – (Known For: The Expendables 2; Kung Fu Panda 3; Kung Fu Panda 2; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Hard Target; Kickboxer; Kickboxer: Vengeance; Sudden Death; Timecop; Breakin’; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; JCVD; Enemies Closer; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Derailed; Cyborg; Knock Off; Welcome to the Jungle; The Order; Double Impact; Legionnaire; Maximum Risk; Replicant; Inferno; Missing in Action; The Quest; Nowhere to Run; Pound of Flesh; Black Water; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Last Action Hero; Bloodsport; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Double Team; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: Y’all know Jean-Claude. He was a karate champion in Belgium, including appearances on the Belgian team which won the 1979 European Karate Championship. After a successful fill-contact career he became an actor.)

Bill Goldberg – (Known For: American Satan; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; Future BMT: Ready to Rumble; The Longest Yard; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Notes: Was a pro football player for a bit (he played for the Falcons, Rams, and Panthers). Had a horrible sounding abdominal injury which ended his career. He then became a WCW star, and even the Heavyweight champion!)

Heidi Schanz – (Known For: Se7en; The Truman Show; Future BMT: Virtuosity; Kiss the Girls; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Notes: Was at one point a model, and has been in a smattering of television programs as well. Appears to have retired from acting in 2003.)

Budget/Gross – $40-45 million / Domestic: $10,667,893

(Oh that is terrible, although I’m somewhat skeptical that it actually cost that much. Considering the crew they had going and the cast besides (an older) Van Damme … where would the money even go!)

#87 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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(Oooof worse than Double Team! This kind of came at a nadir of the genre. Possibly, this was a last gasp for testing Van Damme (and any martial arts) films in theaters.)

#43 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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(Juuuust narrowly beats out Deadly Friend, which is atrocious. Basically the only super successful robot films recently were transformer films.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (3/58): Universal Soldier – The Return fails on almost every level, from its generic story to its second rate action and subpar performances.

(Oh, that sounds delighful. And sub-10% is incredibly bad. Getting more excited. Reviewer Highlight: It’s actually the fourth entry in the series, after a couple of straight-to-cable sequels. That’s a lot of pulp to squeeze out of a concept that was fairly juiceless to begin with. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Robo Soldier v2.0 (A-)

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(Gotta be honest with you… this is working more me. The balance, the sepia tone, the kooky font. Yes, yes, yes. Just a tad bit less going on… like what’s with the circle?)

Tagline(s) – Prepare to become obsolete (B)

(Am I a soldier in the scenario this tagline is commenting on? Why am I preparing? Shouldn’t Van Damme be preparing? Anyway, it’s short and comments vaguely on the premise, but not really all that clever other than a weak double entendre with obsolete.)

Keyword(s) – time bomb; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.7 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 85.7 Spice World (1997); 84.4 Movie 43 (2013); 84.0 RoboCop 3 (1993); 77.9 Torque (2004); 76.8 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999); 68.9 On Deadly Ground (1994); 68.4 Double Team (1997);

(Oh shit, we need to watch Street Fighter stat! Kind of a great list to be honest, a decent range, but also a few terrible films.)

Notes – The role of Romeo was originally intended for WWE wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. However, without notifying Steve, his agent turned down the offer of $55,000 to star in the film. The role was subsequently offered to WCW star Bill Goldberg, who accepted the role, for a fee of $250,000. When Austin found out about this, he expressed his anger to Vince McMahon for not letting him know about the movie offer. (Austin would have been better. I haven’t even seen the film and I know this)

Subsequent Universal Soldier films ignore the events of The Return, and outright contradict it in several ways. While still an official entry, it is no longer considered part of the franchise canon. (Reeeeeeally … I don’t believe you)

Michael Jai White (S.E.T.H.) also appeared in the original Universal Soldier (1992) as a soldier.

(At around one hour and eleven minutes) During the final fight sequence between Seth and Luc, when Seth finally breaks the termination code, the first part of the code is NCC1701, the same as the numbers that are on the outside of the Enterprise, of Star Trek fame. (Oooooooo I like that)

Was released theatrically despite the previous sequels having been made-for-television.

The last feature to be theatrically released starring Jean-Claude Van Damme until JCVD (2008). (Wow. It was kind of strange how abruptly Seagal and Van Damme retired into straight-to-DVD stardom)

(At around one hour and six minutes) When Bill Goldberg’s character Romeo tears his shirt off, and starts to fight with the security guards, he uses one of his signature wrestling moves, the spear. (natch)

Certain subterranean scenes were filmed in Texas, in the tunnels dug for the U.S.’s Superconducting Supercollider project. After the project was canceled in 1993, the tunnels were used as storage by Ellis County. (That’s sad)

William Malone was originally going to direct the film, but left just before the start of shooting due to creative differences with the producers, and was replaced by Mic Rodgers. (Hmmm Malone had at least a little more experience as a director, so probably unfortunate that happened)