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.

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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)

Gods and Generals 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 third in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Gods and Generals (2003) – BMeTric: 17.1

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(It concerns me that this film is actually rising over time. Not because the rating is rising, that is natural as the vote count increases. No. I’m concerned because anyone is deciding to watch a horrible 4 hour film … why? I guess Civil War enthusiasts, which I suppose might explain the rising score.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Writer-director Maxwell’s prequel to Gettysburg is not in the same league but does manage to capture some of the sights, sounds, and personalities of the Civil War’s early years, with an emphasis on the South. Lion’s share of the story is devoted to Lang’s pious “Stonewall” Jackson. Telling vignettes and vivid battle scenes make up for some ponderousness, speechiness, and overlength (it’s even longer – 231m. – on video). Film’s backer, media mogul Ted Turner, has a cameo as a Confederate soldier. Based on the Jeff Shaara novel.

(Amazingly if you watch the director’s cut the film is an astonishing 4 hours and 40 minutes. When I watched it for the first time I remarked “I’ve forgotten what it was like to not be watching Gods and Generals. I’ve been born, lived, and died while watching this film.” Leonard is being kind, or it was a review of the time, because the film is an achievement in ponderousness, there is no more ponderous film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxPXrrZ8bJU

(Hmmmm. Hmmmmm. Hmmmmm. I wonder which side is fighting for God’s glory and which for his kingdom on earth …. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.)

Directors – Ron Maxwell – (Known For: Gettysburg; Little Darlings; Future BMT: Copperhead; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Notable somewhat for his incredibly long production periods. The intention, as of 2013, was to write and direct a Joan of Arc movie. But it is somewhat unclear what happened with that plan.)

Writers – Jeff Shaara (book) (as Jeffrey M. Shaara) – (BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: The son of Michael Shaara who wrote Gettysburg, which this film is a prequel to. He also wrote a sequel called The Last Full Measure.)

Ron Maxwell (screenplay) (as Ronald F. Maxwell) – (Known For: Gettysburg; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Exclusively writes and directs historical epics financed by Ted Turner.)

Actors – Stephen Lang – (Known For: Avatar; Hostiles; Tombstone; Don’t Breathe; Braven; Public Enemies; Manhunter; Gettysburg; The Dinner; The Men Who Stare at Goats; The Hard Way; Tall Tale; Band of Robbers; Last Exit to Brooklyn; Gridlocked; White Irish Drinkers; Project X; Pionér; The I Inside; Twice in a Lifetime; Future BMT: Eye See You; A Good Marriage; The Nut Job; Shadow Conspiracy; In the Blood; Another You; Guilty as Sin; Mortal Engines; The Amazing Panda Adventure; Trixie; Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You; Band of the Hand; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Fire Down Below; Gods and Generals; Notes: His father was a noted businessman and philanthropist who left the entirety of his $150 million fortune to charity upon his death.)

Robert Duvall – (Known For: The Godfather; Widows; Apocalypse Now; The Godfather: Part II; The Road; The Natural; Jack Reacher; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Judge; Deep Impact; Falling Down; MASH; Open Range; We Own the Night; Crazy Heart; Secondhand Lions; Network; True Grit; Sling Blade; Thank You for Smoking; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Something to Talk About; Days of Thunder; Wild Horses; Lucky You; The Handmaid’s Tale; Gone in Sixty Seconds; In Dubious Battle; Seven Days in Utopia; Breakout; Jayne Mansfield’s Car; BMT: The Scarlet Letter; Gods and Generals; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Newsies in 1993; Notes: Won an Oscar for Tender Mercies. Was good friends with Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman whom he went to acting school with.)

Jeff Daniels – (Known For: The Martian; Looper; Speed; Dumb and Dumber; State of Play; The Hours; Steve Jobs; Pleasantville; Terms of Endearment; 2 Days in the Valley; Gettysburg; Arachnophobia; The Squid and the Whale; Away We Go; Blood Work; Ragtime; Good Night, and Good Luck.; Because of Winn-Dixie; Traitor; Heartburn; Future BMT: Space Chimps; My Favorite Martian; RV; Dumb and Dumber To; Allegiant; 101 Dalmatians; Mama’s Boy; The Butcher’s Wife; All the Rage; Super Sucker; The Catcher Was a Spy; Paper Man; The Answer Man; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Married his highschool sweetheart and lives in his home state of Michigan helping to support economic development there.)

Budget/Gross – $56 million / Domestic: $12,882,934 (Worldwide: $12,923,936)

(Catastrophic. But then again Gettysburg didn’t do much better. I’m fully convinced Ted Turner just loves the Civil War and doesn’t care. Also they probably have a racket whereby every school in America buys a copy of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals and thus the film is profitable before it even releases … I’m only half joking, that sounds plausible to be honest.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (10/121): Filled with two-dimensional characters and pompous self-righteousness, Gods and Generals is a long, tedious sit. Some may also take offense at the pro-Confederate slant.

(Some might take offense … at the pro-Confederate slant. Yeah I can imagine that might rub some people the wrong way. Reviewer Highlight: Four hours including the intermission, I felt like I was seeing the Civil War in real time for awhile there. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper)

Poster – Sklogs and Generals (B-)

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(Neither the worst nor the best. I think the imagery is stirring but wish they had done it a bit more artistically. Looks a little sloppy. Odd font, but unique.)

Tagline(s) – The nation’s heart was touched by…. (D+)

An unforgettable story of the Civil War, from the Director of “GETTYSBURG” (D-)

(Obviously the second one is a classic trash just trying to get those Gettysburg fanatics in the seats. At least it tells me the story is unforgettable. Which is true. I’ll never forget how terrible it was. The first is merely bad. So you’re telling me the nation’s heart was touched by a gigantic civil war that tore the country apart? Interesting.)

Keyword(s) – george washington character; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.5 Wild Wild West (1999); 17.1 Gods and Generals (2003); 16.5 The Manchurian Candidate (2004); 12.0 Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014); 6.6 The Patriot (2000); 2.2 John Paul Jones (1959); 0.2 Janice Meredith (1924); 0.0 George Washington’s First War: The Battles for Fort Duquesne (2003);

(Noice, although I’m skeptical there was a George Washington character in Wild Wild West all things considered. As a matter of fact, why would George Washington be in Gods and Generals? Or The Manchurian Candidate. Weird stuff. Usually I would replace a dumb keyword like this, but I’m mostly just fascinated.)

Notes – Some scenes were filmed on Robert Duvall’s estate in Virginia, which was the site of some Civil War skirmishes.

Martin Sheen was in the Washington, D.C. area the week of September 11th filming scenes for The West Wing (1999). He was prepared to fly the Tuesday morning Dulles to LAX flight if Warner Brothers agreed to his demand for one million dollars to reprise his role of Robert E. Lee from Gettysburg (1993). It was only because Warner Brothers passed, that Sheen was not on Flight 77 the morning of September 11. (Wow)

The majority of the Civil War re-enactors in the movie volunteered to be in the movie without pay. In return, the production company agreed to donate at least five hundred thousand dollars to preservation of a Civil War battlefield. (Cool I guess)

The wide shots of the Union infantry advancing towards the stone wall during the Battle of Fredericksburg were not set up nor filmed as visual effects shots. However, due to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the subsequent travel concerns and military reserve call-ups, the film’s re-enacting unit had drastically shrunk in number. This was not fully evident until the wide shots were viewed in post-production. Visual Effects Supervisor Thomas G. Smith had to digitally create over seventeen thousand low-resolution CGI soldiers, and then map out individual speeds for them: running, walking, or crawling wounded. He then added three thousand dead soldiers to scatter around the shot. (Kind of sad actually, that they didn’t get to do what they originally envisioned due to a national tragedy)

Kevin Conway often cites reprising his Gettysburg (1993) character, Sergeant Buster Kilrain, in this film, as part of the reason he turned down a supporting role in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which would have prevented him from shooting this film. (Oof)

Originally given an R-rating by the MPAA for extended battlefield violence and gore. Director Ron Maxwell either shortened or cut out entirely the most objectionable scenes in order to get the film down to a PG-13 rating. (But I assume he added twice as much footage of Jeff Daniels ordering people into the proper battle formation? Can’t let the movie be too long)

The film mostly omits a few of General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson’s eccentricities, but makes sly reference to them. The real Stonewall Jackson rode with a hand raised at all times, as he felt it was necessary to balance his bodily humors. In the film, Jackson suffers a wound to one hand, and spends a scene riding in that manner, ostensibly to staunch the bleeding. In addition, the real Jackson, according to legend, sucked on lemons incessantly in the belief that it was essential to his health. In the film, he presents lemons as a gift to the fiancée of his junior officer, and enjoys the resultant lemonade for its tartness. (What a weirdo)

Russell Crowe was the first choice to play Stonewall Jackson. Crowe expressed initial interest but eventually declined, citing a need to return to Australia and take a break from movie making. The role was then offered to Stephen Lang, who was already signed and rehearsing to reprise his Gettysburg (1993) character of General George Pickett. Billy Campbell took over the Pickett role.

Ted Turner put up the entire sixty million dollar budget of the film personally.

Although Robert E. Lee was a highly regarded officer in the U.S. Army, his dislike of slavery, and lukewarm approach to secession, combined with some early reverses while in command of the Virginia militia, took him out of consideration for field command in the Confederate Army. Instead, he was made an advisor to Jefferson Davis. He was named to command the Confederate Army outside of Richmond in 1862, when General Joseph Johnston was wounded, because Davis did not want General Pierre Beauregard in command.

A subplot involving John Wilkes Booth and his actor friend Henry T. Harrison (from Gettysburg (1993)) had to be cut from the film in order to get a wide release. The entire battle of Antietam was also deleted. In all, nearly two and a half hours of the film never made it to final print. (Jesus Christ. Director’s Director’s Cut of 6 hours incoming)

The intermission was actually included in the print and was almost an entire reel of black film. Theaters added light cues at the beginning and end of it. (Weird)

Unlike Producer Ted Turner’s previous American Civil War movies Gettysburg (1993) and Andersonville (1996), this movie was a major failure at the box-office and among the critics. The movie returned only twelve million out of its sixty million dollar budget. History buffs were angered by some obvious historical inaccuracies in its depiction of some of the major characters, despite the movie’s promoting its historical authenticity (Stonewall was not shot in the hand at the start of the war, Lee’s ascension to the position of the leader of the Confederate army happened slightly differently, et cetera.). Some critics even accused the movie of historical revisionism in favor of the Confederacy, due to the film’s somewhat glorified depiction of the Confederate Generals, and downplaying the importance of the issue of slavery in the conflict, since it focuses more on the states rights issue instead. (Yeah … they do seem to like the Confederates in the film)

Jeff Daniels reprised the role of Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain from Gettysburg (1993). Tom Berenger had been asked to reprise the role of James Longstreet, but declined, and was replaced by Bruce Boxleitner.

Stephen Lang also appeared in Gettysburg (1993). However, he does not reprise his original role from “Gettysburg”, that of Major General George E. Pickett. Instead, he played Lieutenant General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, who died two months prior to the momentous clash in Gettysburg. Billy Campbell took over the role of Pickett. (Honestly someone bigger should have been Stonewall, but whatever)

Ron Maxwell spent all of 2002 editing, re-editing, test screening and touching up the film. It went from six hours to three hours and five minutes, to three hours and thirty-seven minutes time and again. (Jesus, it was six hours!)

According to a report on CNN.com, Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV) and George Allen (R-VA), Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and former Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) all make small appearances in this film. “Wet plate” photographs of these politicians in full Civil War attire are available online. (Weird and wild stuff)

Gettysburg (1993) was based on author Jeff Shaara’s father’s classic novel, “The Killer Angels”. After the critical and commercial success of the film, Jeff was approached about the possibility of continuing the story, finding someone to write a prequel and sequel to The Killer Angels. Because of this, Jeff Shaara has used his father’s historical fiction approach to the American Revolution, the Mexican-American War, another Civil War Trilogy in the West, and both World Wars. (Good for Shaara I guess, get yo money)

Ted Turner is a huge Civil War buff. He financed two more films on the subject, Gettysburg (1993) for theatrical release, to which this movie is the prequel, and Andersonville (1996), a successful and acclaimed television movie about the worst and most notorious Confederate P.O.W. camp for captured Union soldiers in the entire war. (I knew it!)

Ghosts of Mars 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 second in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Ghosts of Mars (2001) – BMeTric: 67.2

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(that is quite a low rating I’m going to be honest. I’m not really surprised, the movie is a hilarious debacle, but you’d think those John Carpenter heads out there might be keeping the rating afloat a bit.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In the near future, Mars has been colonized, but there’s an outbreak of mass murder in some remote settlements. People are possessed by vengeful Martian ghosts; it’s up to the leam of a lady cop and a hardened criminal to battle them. Routine, predictable, and dull; unimaginatively, the Martian-possessed people adopt a punk/grunge look. Basically a remake of Carpenter’s early Assault on Precinct 13.

(Multiple places note the similarities between this as Assault on Precinct 13. The reviews seem like a mix between either dull and predictable or so bonkers it is amazing. Suffice it to say: we thought it was so bonkers it is amazing.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbmFwk8n0f0

(Wow … well, that was certainly stylized. The premise is kind of a western (with alien possession being akin to some Native American burial ground perhaps, or just a Native raid on a mining outpost), and the costumes certainly seem to match at times.)

Directors – John Carpenter – (Known For: Halloween; Halloween; They Live; Escape from New York; Escape from L.A.; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; The Fog; Prince of Darkness; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Assault on Precinct 13; Assault on Precinct 13; Eyes of Laura Mars; Dark Star; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers; Halloween; Lockout; Black Moon Rising; Halloween II; BMT: The Fog; Ghosts of Mars; Notes: One of the most influential horror directors in history. One of my favorite directors. Halloween and The Thing are two great movies to introduce two very different approaches to the genre.)

Writers – Larry Sulkis (written by) – (Future BMT: Village of the Damned; BMT: Ghosts of Mars; Notes: Very likely close to or a production partner with Carpenter at the time, uncredited as a writer of his Village of the Damned as well.)

John Carpenter (written by) – (Known For: Halloween; They Live; Escape from New York; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Escape from L.A.; The Fog; Assault on Precinct 13; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Prince of Darkness; Assault on Precinct 13; Dark Star; Eyes of Laura Mars; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; Halloween 5; Halloween; Black Moon Rising; Halloween II; BMT: The Fog; Ghosts of Mars; Notes: He wrote a good number of the films he directed back in the day. Notably he also often produced the synth heavy soundtracks. I was in Edinburgh and missed a concert by him by one day. I was very sad.)

Actors – Natasha Henstridge – (Known For: The Whole Nine Yards; Bounce; Future BMT: Maximum Risk; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; Steal; Deception; Dog Park; BMT: Species II; Ghosts of Mars; The Whole Ten Yards; Species; Notes: Canadian, but started as a model in Paris. Species was her first role in the biz, which makes perfect sense.)

Ice Cube – (Known For: xXx: Return of Xander Cage; 21 Jump Street; Friday; Boyz n the Hood; 22 Jump Street; Three Kings; The Book of Life; Higher Learning; Barbershop; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; Rampart; Trespass; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; The Longshots; The Glass Shield; Future BMT: First Sunday; Lottery Ticket; Fist Fight; Friday After Next; I Got the Hook Up; All About the Benjamins; Next Friday; Dangerous Ground; The Players Club; BMT: xXx²: State of the Union; Torque; Anaconda; Are We Done Yet?; Are We There Yet?; Ghosts of Mars; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes: Basically a BMT staple at this point, and we got plenty of time to go. Has had an interesting acting career going from mostly thug / gangbanger, to comedy, to kids’ film, and now he tends to be a cop in comedies.)

Pam Grier – (Known For: Mars Attacks!; Jackie Brown; Escape from L.A.; The Man with the Iron Fists; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; Above the Law; Foxy Brown; Something Wicked This Way Comes; Beyond the Valley of the Dolls; The Big Bird Cage; Holy Smoke; Class of 1999; Coffy; Just Wright; The Big Doll House; The Package; Fort Apache the Bronx; Original Gangstas; Future BMT: Bones; Fortress 2; Snow Day; Jawbreaker; Larry Crowne; Posse; The Allnighter; In Too Deep; Scream Blacula Scream; BMT: Pluto Nash; Ghosts of Mars; Notes: Insane life. She started in blaxploitation cinema filming in the Philippines where at some point in the 70s she contracted some tropical disease, lost all her hair, and temporarily went blind taking over a year to recover. Then in 1988 she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 18 months to live. She survived both. Say what?)

Budget/Gross – $28 million / Domestic: $8,709,640 (Worldwide: $14,010,832)

(Absolute catastrophe! Oh no John Carpenter, why?)

#71 for the Action Heroine genre

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(Ah right there before the peak, that’s definitely fun. Considering the notes indicate Henstridge was basically dying of exhaustion during filming from making so many movies it does seem like it was the time to be a fit female actress in Hollywood. You got to just pick a franchise and run with it for a bit there.)

#43 for the Sci-Fi Horror genre

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(You’d think this would be surging a bit more with the recent Horror surge … especially because sci-fi feels like one of the genres that can benefit from a low budget shoestring approach. We’ve seen quite a few of these at this point. Can’t genre I enjoy the genre much to be honest. Kind of like action comedies … not really good action films, not really good comedies. Sci-fi horror tends to make for a not really good sci-fi film and a not really good horror film.)

#30 for the Zombie genre

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(Right at the forefront of a Zombie resurgence! Rather interesting because this is still the only bad zombie film we’ve done which seems … unbelievable. Although I guess that is mainly because we haven’t done any of the Resident Evil films. Really became a thing around 2015, has since cooled.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (22/104): John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars is not one of Carpenter’s better movies, filled as it is with bad dialogue, bad acting, confusing flashbacks, and scenes that are more campy than scary.

(The flashbacks! That is one of the best parts to be honest. Once you are like 4 layers deep you kind of forget who you are and why you are even watching the film. Reviewer Highlight: Someday we’re all going to look back on this one and l-a-a-a-augh. – Cody Clark, Mr. Showbiz)

Poster – BANANANANANANANAS! (D)

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(I really really really wanted to like this poster but I have several problems with it. It looks cheap and dumb. The color scheme is both obvious (red is for Mars, black is for spoooooky) and poorly done. The alien guy looks silly. He wouldn’t look that silly, but they you notice his multiple finger piercings and you are like “that looks silly”. I desperately want to think any part of this is cool, but it isn’t. The font is maybe okay, the gradient is tough to replicate exactly on the fly.)

Tagline(s) – It’s their planet… we are the aliens. (B-)

(I like the idea of it, but it just doesn’t roll of the tongue as much as it needs to to get it a better score. Kind of obvious, but with the poster above I think it works enough, like you see the weird looking guy and you know it is kind of talking about him / them / it specifically.)

Keyword(s) – martian; Top Ten by BMeTric: 70.0 Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964); 67.2 Ghosts of Mars (2001); 61.0 Doom (2005); 51.4 My Favorite Martian (1999); 45.9 Mars Needs Moms (2011); 39.4 Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003); 26.8 Contamination (1980); 26.3 Spaced Invaders (1990); 26.2 Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991); 24.7 Mars Attacks! (1996);

(I’m kind of shocked at how few of these we’ve done. I bet we could get a lot more done. Maybe with a stellar cycle … would have to think of how best to do something like that though.)

Notes – John Carpenter revealed that he had become burnt out after he had made this film and made the decision of leaving Hollywood for good. It would not be until nine years later that he made a full feature film, which was The Ward (2010).

Filmed entirely at night.

The prosthetics that the main bad guy wears were rather too large for his mouth and resulted in most of the “ghost-speak” having only the “a” vowel sound. (kind of like him sounding like he’s saying banananananans the entire time? … yeah I might have noticed that a bit)

Much of the location shooting was done on a gypsum mine near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The gypsum, which is almost pure white, was sprayed with a biodegradable red food dye to give the appearance of a Martian landscape. (Oh they didn’t create a giant biohazard by spraying it with blood?)

Jason Statham was originally hired to play James “Desolation” Williams, but was replaced by Ice Cube for star power.

Natasha Henstridge replaced Courtney Love (the original choice) at the last minute. Love left the project after her boyfriend’s ex-wife ran over her foot in her car while she was in training for the picture. Michelle Yeoh, Franka Potente and Famke Janssen were briefly considered. Henstridge was suggested by her then-boyfriend Liam Waite, and was able to join the cast just a week before production began. The actress found the experience to be very harrowing, due to the heavily physical nature of her role and the difficult working conditions.

In a 2006 interview, Ice Cube nominated this as the worst movie he had appeared in, calling it “unwatchable in many ways. John Carpenter really let us down with the special effects on that one – it looked like something out of a film from 1979”.

This film contains Jason Statham’s first ever on-screen kiss.

Production had to shut down for a week when Natasha Henstridge fell ill due to extreme exhaustion (she had just done two other films back-to-back before joining the production at the last moment).

For the film’s score, music producer Bruce Robb brought in famed heavy metal band Anthrax to play to picture for director John Carpenter, who had originally filmed the movie listening to Metallica. The film’s score is entirely original and was recorded by Robb at his Cherokee Studios in Hollywood. The film’s DVD offers a bonus feature with behind-the-scenes footage in the studio with the musicians, Carpenter and Robb.

The narrator on the trailer is Keith David.

The film is considered to be a futuristic remake of John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 (1976). (Eh makes sense I guess. I’ve seen the original Assault on Precinct 13, very grindhouse style which is good and bad I think)

Originally called Escape from Earth, a supposed sequel to Escape from L.A. (1996) that features Kurt Russell as Snake Plisskin before changing its script due to box office failure.

For the film’s soundtrack, director and composer John Carpenter called upon various rock musicans to help enhance his own score. They include members of Anthrax, Steve Vai, Guns N’ Roses’ guitarists Buckethead and Robin Finck and Elliot Easton (formerly of The Cars).

The film takes place in 2176.

Mile 22 Preview

Jamie and Patrick argue over the twist ending for their YA novel, The Platonic Solids Series Part 1: Outside the Box. They know they’ve transformed Briggs’ has-been crime novel into a totally lit YA banger for the gucci crowd, but they need the ending to really pop. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where everyone has been forced to conform due to a rash of deaths caused by kids not conforming. They all live in small, boxy apartments when they turn 18 and they get assigned a job. But Jewel is different. She wants to conform but like… can’t. And when she gets assigned a blank card on job day the government comes for her. Oh no! Leaving her box she finds safety in a small army of revolutionaries just like her… but still totally different. They want her to lead, but she can’t, right? She’s just little ol’ Jewel. And she definitely can’t have two smoking hot dudes totally into her for all the right reasons, right? WRONG, because it turns out she’s got all the right moves! Also one of those dudes is a swamp monster. Anyway, Jamie definitely wants Gregor (the non-swamp monster) to turn out to be the son of the Job Decider thus tearing the revolution apart and bringing home astute points about prejudice and individualism. But Patrick is Team Kelton (the swamp monster) and loves the danger he brings to the story, so he wants Jewel and Kelton to succumb to their desires only for him to lose control and kill Gregor’s sister. Suddenly they look at each other. “Why not both?” And with their twin brain powers combined they finish their masterpiece and set up nicely for a trilogy. “It will be my greatest book yet,” Patrick says with tears in his eyes. Suddenly he turns serious. “Jamie, we must succeed. There are spies everywhere, but we cannot fail in getting this book to my publisher.” Shaking, Jamie asks how far they must get this most valuable asset to safety. That’s right! We’re watching Mile 22 starring America, babbbby. It’s about a bunch of badasses doing badass things… honestly I have no idea what this is about. It seems like just an excuse for Wahlberg to shoot and punch things. I’m in. Let’s go!

Mile 22 (2018) – BMeTric: 27.5

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(Staying steady at 6.1 which isn’t exactly average (for big movies it is decidedly below average), but I consider anything below 6.5 to be borderline. This is boosted by being pretty popular given it was released less than a year ago.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars –  The action is intercut with shots of Wahlberg in a suit and tie, speaking in a conference room, talking about “chaos” and how none of you know what the word “collusion” really means. It seems that in the aftermath of this mission, Jimmy decided to try and compete with Jordan Peterson’s YouTube videos. No, that’s not it. … Also interesting is that Malkovich is compelled to trot out an old H.L. Mencken quote about raising the black flag and slitting throats, which is also the motto of well-known pseudonymous right-wing blogger. … So the movie often felt to me like “The Gauntlet” as rewritten by a Breitbart News bot. Now I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. But what if I were? I guess I’d hear about it in comments.

(Wait … what the fuck? Did we just stumble into Death Wish 2? I know I shouldn’t be surprised that what amounts to action gun porn might also tend towards right-wing talking points, but what is this reviewer talking about exactly? And he gave it 2.5 out of 4! He basically says: this might dog whistle a bunch of alt-right bullshit, but eh … above average [NOTE: As a note below indicates, the quote is in the book Friday Night Lights, and thus is likely where Peter Berg got it from. Although not a great look to put it in your movie in 2018 IMO]. What is happening? Anyways, hopefully it is just kind of “yeah the show 24 goes out of its way to defend torture and sometimes feels like propaganda but … it is pretty rad.” Or the reviewer is making a joke … it does kind of read like he just hated the film for personally reasons and wants to make his distaste abundantly clear while admitting it is an average film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJU6S5KOsNI

(Huh, I think this is just the second Ronda Rousey film we’ve seen for BMT after Expendables 3. But quite the shock to see her in this. I think I’m going to hate this film. Him saying “I get shit done” while being portrayed as a badass psycho makes my skin crawl.)

Directors – Peter Berg – (Known For: Deepwater Horizon; Lone Survivor; Patriots Day; Hancock; Friday Night Lights; The Kingdom; Welcome to the Jungle; Very Bad Things; BMT: Battleship; Mile 22; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Battleship in 2013; Notes: Quite a good track record all things considered. Was actually a pretty big actor back in the day starring in Fire in the Sky and was on Chicago Hope for four years. Still acts, he’s the Dolphins coach in seven episodes of Ballers.)

Writers – Lea Carpenter (screenplay by & story by) – (BMT: Mile 22; Notes: Wrote her first book, Eleven Days, on a dare. Seems like she currently works for the New York Public Library.)

Graham Roland (story by) – (BMT: Mile 22; Notes: Wrote the recent Jack Ryan television series in addition to on other television series like Lost. A former Marine.)

Actors – Mark Wahlberg – (Known For: Instant Family; The Departed; Boogie Nights; Shooter; All the Money in the World; The Other Guys; Ted; Deepwater Horizon; Lone Survivor; The Fighter; Patriots Day; Pain & Gain; 2 Guns; Four Brothers; The Italian Job; Rock Star; Ted 2; Planet of the Apes; The Basketball Diaries; The Gambler; Future BMT: The Truth About Charlie; Daddy’s Home Two; Mojave; Daddy’s Home; Broken City; Fear; Renaissance Man; Entourage; The Lovely Bones; BMT: The Happening; Transformers: The Last Knight; Max Payne; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Mile 22; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2009 for Max Payne, and The Happening; and in 2018 for Daddy’s Home Two, and Transformers: The Last Knight; Notes: A subtle BMT all-star. Marky Mark back in the day, Entourage is somewhat based on his life moving to LA and becoming a mega-star. Ridiculously successful person.)

Lauren Cohan – (Known For: Casanova; Future BMT: Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj; All Eyez on Me; The Boy; Collection; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; BMT: Mile 22; Notes: Probably most well known for The Walking Dead where she appeared in 113 episodes. Was born in New Jersey, but lived in England most of her life and has a British accent.)

Iko Uwais – (Known For: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens; The Night Comes for Us; The Raid; Beyond Skyline; Serbuan maut 2: Berandal; Headshot; Man of Tai Chi; BMT: Mile 22; Notes: Star of The Raid, he maybe played pro soccer in Jakarta … it is hard to tell whether he was a professional or not.)

Budget/Gross – $35–60 million / Domestic: $36,108,758 (Worldwide: $66,308,758)

(Very not good. Looking through his recent box office performances the big ones tend to be either comedies like Daddy’s Home, or Transformers films, so I imagine there will come a time where Wahlberg features will cease to be. Unless he turns out another hit in the next few years)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (39/168): Mile 22 lets the bullets fly — and not much else — in a thrill-deficient action thriller whose title proves sadly fitting for a film that feels close to a marathon endurance test.

(No. Not thrill deficient! Anything but that. I want it to actually be just too much thrills. 0%: Too much thrills, I was too thrilled, I hated it. That would be the perfect score. The reviewers seem to agree it is super confusing which might be fun. Reviewer Highlight: …gruesome, action-packed, explosion-filled and [a] convoluted mess… – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Pixel Art: The Movie (B)

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(I wish it wasn’t so drab, but it gives me a lot of what I want. Stylized font, overall balance and feng shui, and telling me what it’s all about (Wahlberg with a gun). I just need more of that red to pull it all together.)

Tagline(s) – Option 1: Diplomacy. Option 2: Military. Meet Option 3. (C+)

(Wow. That really doesn’t flow at all. You can see why they wanted to make it work, pretty well sums up the film in a clever way, but it doesn’t sound right in my brain. I think all the words don’t match correctly with what they are trying to say. Like shouldn’t it be diplomacy vs. war or force… not military? Also is “option” even the right word? Kinda implies that they are all on the table at once rather than attempted in succession. Finally the word “meet” sounds a little cute for a lethal military force… Everything is right about this tagline in the worst possible way.)

Keyword(s) – hand grenade; Top Ten by BMeTric: 91.9 Son of the Mask (2005); 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.6 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 88.8 House of the Dead (2003); 87.8 Street Fighter (1994); 84.9 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011); 84.4 Movie 43 (2013); 82.6 Barb Wire (1996); 73.3 Far Cry (2008); 71.0 The Spirit (2008);

(Son of Mask has a hand grenade in it? … Cool I guess. The rest of these films are garbage except for maybe The Spirit which I’ve seen part of and is honestly one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. We have to do that one at some point, it is so bad.)

Notes – On March 28, 2017 at CinemaCon, Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg announced that they were planning Mile 22 (2018) to become a trilogy, describing “an action franchise at STX Entertainment.” (I imagine that isn’t happening anymore. It didn’t do as well as it needed to do I don’t think)

On February 5, 2018, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos showed up during filming in one of the locations in Colombia. Director Peter Berg even had President Santos try to shoot one of the action sequence of the film.

Mark Wahlberg’s character stated, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” The quote is attributable to English author George Orwell.

The script was written with Mark Wahlberg in mind. (It is Peter Berg after all)

During Dougie’s last stand, Bishop quotes “A Man Must Sometimes Spit On His Hands, Raise The Black Flag, And Begin Slicing Throats”. This is from the 1990 book Friday Night Lights by HG Bissinger, which Peter Berg adapted into the 2004 film and 2006 TV series. The quote, from Mencken’s 1919 Prejudices (First Series), is in full: “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” (Oh … Why is the Roger Ebert reviewer concerned about this then? If it is directly from a previously-adapted book-to-film by Berg?)

At approximately 24 min, a shot shows “Moscow, Russia” and a view of an airport. The latitude/longitude indicated are roughly that of the Kremlin. The presumably Russian airfield is actually Long Beach Airport (LGB) There are 3 C-17s in the center of the shot and 2 JetBlue A320/A321 aircraft in the upper right. In the upper left is the moored Farmers Insurance airship. The airship, with an actual name of Eureka, was operated by Airship Ventures, which shut down in 2012. The airship was disassembled and returned to the manufacturer shortly thereafter. This suggests that the shot is stock footage from 2008 – 2012, depending on when Farmers was using the particular livery on the airship in the scene (there were several). Lastly, the footage runs in reverse (note the direction the vehicles are driving) to make the shot pan back rather than forward. (Holy shit. Facts!)

Some of the sentences heard from the screams of the antagonists are in Bahasa Indonesian, a national language of Indonesian Republic. The movie setting is “Indokarr,” a fictional analog of Indonesia. (Wait … it is set in a fictional country … but why?)

The film was pushed back two weeks from its original release date of August 3, 2018 to August 17, 2018. (That isn’t being pushed back. That is tactically moving your movie out of the path of other films I would think. Either trying to get on the other side of The Meg, or clearing out of The Spy Who Dumped Me which could be thought of as having a similar spy theme)

The Darkest Minds Preview

Having cast their vigilante personas behind and taken up the mantle of hitmen instead, Jamie and Patrick vow to kill the mysterious Briggs and save Arf Collector once and for all. What do they know about Briggs though? Just that he loves parkour and dogs, which describes literally everyone! “We’re doomed,” Jamie says, shaking his head. “Ah, but you forget,” Patrick counters, “I’ve watched every episode of Murder, She Wrote. It is time to lay our trap!” Donning his cable knit sweater, Patrick bangs out a true crime novel entitled Dog Gone: The Arf Collector Story and calls up his agent who rushes it into production. Watching the online reviews with bated breath their ploy is rewarded with a one star review reading merely  “Not how it happened!” “Quick, trace that IP” Patrick yells, and Jamie smashes away at his keyboard using 1337 h4xx0r skillz as The Prodigy plays at a deafening volume. Sure enough Briggs wrote that review, and they soon arrive at Briggs’ high rise office. Guns blazing they move steadily upwards killing henchmen until they reach the hundredth floor. Opening the door they find Briggs pensively looking out towards the ocean. “By now your reputation precedes you for your detective, hacking, killing, and movie making skills, Bad Movie Twins. Just promise me that you’ll treat Arf Collector with the love he deserves,” and with that Briggs kills himself. Arf Collector barks happily. The Bad Movie Twins did it! But what is this? A mystery novel peeking out of Briggs’ desk? It’s not just good, it is great! “But alas,” Patrick says, “Murder mysteries are totally out right now. Perhaps … if instead the main character was a child with mysterious powers, and the book was instead a YA novel …” That’s right! This week we are watching the newest dystopian YA novel turned mega franchise (they assumed) in The Darkest Minds! A complete box office disaster, The Darkest Minds hopped onto the dystopian YA-novel adaptation right as it was completing its crash, and thus became one of the biggest box office bombs of the year. Let’s go!

The Darkest Minds (2018) – BMeTric: 37.9

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(Really Really low again. I can on one hand say that that is heartening, but at the same time realize that the BMeTric doesn’t distinguish when audiences call something a bad movie because it is boring … actually, something having a high BMeTric early on might literally mean that it can’t please anyone. Which might mean it is either (1) a complete travesty, or (2) boring. Which I guess makes sense.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  When The Darkest Minds book was released in 2012, we didn’t have a government-sanctioned program to separate children from their parents. Conservative adults weren’t attacking teenagers over the issue of gun violence. The movie features a daily broadcast of the president’s lies. Now, that’s just today’s headlines. The environment in which stories like “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent” gained followings has changed, and “The Darkest Minds” has not adapted to survive it.

(Woof. Pretty political take on it, but I guess you can’t really blame them. It is kind of true. The genre has completely collapsed despite the films looking as shiny (and cheesy) as usual. And One explanation for that could be politics. It could also just be that dystopia is out and aliens are in so they should go for aliens now that they are back in … basically stop adapting early 2010 YA novels for a while and pick up a nice Star Wars knockoff.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN8o_E_f9FQ

(Looks pretty intense. I honestly don’t really know what is happening. I am going to guess either the main character is hugely powerful … or can’t control her powers … or she can use all four (or whatever) powers. That is a classic sci-fi thing. The one who can use all four powers! Wow! Wait … am I excited about this?)

Directors – Jennifer Yuh Nelson – (Known For: Kung Fu Panda 3; Kung Fu Panda 2; BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Born in South Korea, she was nominated for Best Animated Feature for Kung Fu Panda 2.)

Writers – Chad Hodge (screenplay by) – (BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Mainly a television writer for things like Wayward Pines and The Playboy Club.)

Alexandra Bracken (based upon the novel by) – (BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: There are now six novels in this series. She wrote he first published novel at 19 while a sophomore at William and Mary College.)

Actors – Amandla Stenberg – (Known For: The Hate U Give; The Hunger Games; Everything, Everything; Where Hands Touch; Rio 2; As You Are; Future BMT: Colombiana; BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Performed with Zander Hawley in the band Honeywater. Their cover of Mac DeMarco’s “Let My Baby Stay” is in Everything, Everything.)

Mandy Moore – (Known For: Ralph Breaks the Internet; Tangled; The Princess Diaries; 47 Metres Down; Saved!; Romance & Cigarettes; Dr. Dolittle 2; American Dreamz; Dedication; Future BMT: Racing Stripes; Love, Wedding, Marriage; Southland Tales; Swinging with the Finkels; How to Deal; Chasing Liberty; Try Seventeen; Hotel Noir; BMT: License to Wed; Because I Said So; The Darkest Minds; Notes: Grew up in Orlando where she was known as the “National Anthem Girl” before being discovered. She literally just got married, November 18th to Taylor Goldsmith.)

Bradley Whitford – (Known For: Destroyer; Get Out; The Post; The Cabin in the Woods; Philadelphia; Scent of a Woman; Adventures in Babysitting; Billy Madison; Saving Mr. Banks; The Client; Awakenings; A Perfect World; The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants; Rex; Presumed Innocent; Kate & Leopold; Bottle Shock; Other People; Unicorn Store; My Life; Future BMT: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise; Masterminds; I Saw the Light; Red Corner; Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory; CBGB; Bicentennial Man; BMT: RoboCop 3; The Darkest Minds; Notes: Was married to Jane Kaczmarek for 16 years. He just got engaged to Amy Landecker last March. You might know him as the bad guy from Billy Madison though.)

Budget/Gross – $34 million / Domestic: $12,695,691 (Worldwide: $41,142,379)

(Wow that’s a complete disaster. The YA novel adaptation scene is a bloodbath at the moment. At least compared to the promise coming off of Hunger Games.)

#61 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

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(Blew up, but now the box office take is just collapsing. The highest grossing film on this list we did for BMT was Eragon (!), and recently we saw Vampire Academy which only did marginally worse overall.)

#8 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated Adjusted chart

(#11 on the unadjusted chart. Narrowly beats out Show Dogs for the worst opening of 2018 for a film released to over 3000 theaters. Really really rough. We’ve only seen five of the top fifteen on that chart, and two of them are from this year!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (21/121): The Darkest Minds does little to differentiate itself in a crowded field of YA adaptations, leaving all but the least demanding viewers feeling dystopian déjà vu.

(Having watched Proud Mary I’m even more concerned. That was boring. This seems merely boring. It is a concern going into the end of the year feeling like we are just ticking boxes unfortunately. Reviewer Highlight: What we’re left with is a Mad-Libs version of a dystopian YA adaptation done by someone who saw half of an X-Men movie on TV once, with no depth, no new ideas, and no point. – Dana Schwartz, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – The Darkest Sklogs (C-)

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(Nah. Not into this. Also why is Ruby kinda disappearing? Having already watched the film I get it… but like… that’s not her power. Anyway, this sucks and doesn’t look very good.)

Tagline(s) – If you’re one of us, come find us. (D)

(I don’t understand this either. Why is this the tagline? It doesn’t really have much to do with the film and it’s not even clever or interesting. Boo.)

Keyword(s) – children; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.0 The Last Airbender (2010); 77.6 Boogeyman (2005); 69.7 Are We There Yet? (2005); 69.1 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998); 68.9 The Haunting (1999); 64.2 Godsend (2004); 63.5 Mr. Nanny (1993); 62.1 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987); 61.9 Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002); 60.9 Cop & ½ (1993);

(Children huh. Boogeyman looks like shit for reals. And I love that two of these films are Hulk Hogan films. It is great.)

Notes – In the book The Darkest Minds, the colors used for categorizing powers are Red (Fire Powers), Orange (Mind Control), Yellow (Electricity), Green (Advanced Intelligence) and Blue (Telekinesis). Yellow however was changed to ‘Gold’ for the film (Oh, this is what we’re getting into huh)

In the books Chubs is a Blue and not a Green like in the movie. (That is a travesty. I’M OUT)

First live-action movie to be directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson.

Peyton Wich and Catherine Dyer also worked together in Stranger Things (2016).