Santa Claus: The Movie Recap

Jamie

When Santa’s forward-thinking assistant Patch attempts to streamline the North Pole’s production line he fails to maintain QA/QC and leaves in disgrace. Going to work for a ruthless toy maker in order to prove himself, he inadvertently turns the world against Santa. Can Patch and Santa patch things up before it’s too late? Find out in… Santa Claus: The Movie!

How?! The film starts with a gritty reboot of the Santa origin story. Who was he? Why a dumbo who took his family out on a sleigh during a horrific blizzard (against the advice of everyone) and ended up freezing to death. Or at least that’s an interpretation of what you see, as just as Mr. and Mrs. Claus are about to die they magically awaken to find themselves transported to the North Pole as part of a prophecy fulfilled. Santa will spend all of eternity doing what he loves, making toys and bringing joy to children across the world. Centuries later Santa is still chilling making toys and all the kids around the world kinda know he exists. One Christmas he seems particularly tired and he decides to get an assistant. Enter Patch, the overly-enthusiastic and forward-thinking elf dead-set on taking the North Pole production line into the 20th century. Unfortunately, despite being a mechanical genius, Patch doesn’t totally appreciate impact of his new technology on quality assurance (a message that every boy and girl can relate to). After Santa delivers the presents he is horrified to see that most of them are returned as defective. With no other choice he makes another elf his assistant. The only bright spot that Christmas is that he made friends with a homeless boy in NYC named Joe. In the intervening year Patch heads to NYC to convince a super evil toy maker to hire him so he can show his stuff to Santa, while Joe becomes friend with the evil toy maker’s niece, Cornelia. The next Christmas Santa is old news when Patch’s new flight-powering lollipop is a holiday hit. Super sad, Santa is pretty much Mopey McMoperson and ready to give up, but Joe and Cornelia overhear that the evil toymaker’s new super lollipops are dangerous and get Santa to come and help save the day. In the end Santa saves Joe and Patch using the classic Super Duper Looper (duh) and everyone loves Christmas and Santa. Also the evil toymaker dies when he flies into space using his own flying candy. Hoisted by his own petard. Nice. THE END.

Why?! Santa only wants to bring joy to children, but also gets real sad when a competing toy maker brings joy to them and Santa isn’t A-1 in their hearts anymore… so it’s kinda that he wants to be the only one to bring joy to kids. Oh and he likes to steal kids. At the end he just kind of keeps Joe and Cornelia in the North Pole. The bad guys are cartoons.

Who?! I swear if this was made five years later Donald Trump is in it. Alas, not much for this section other than a special thanks to Frans J. Afman, a banker that was involved in film financing for a while, particularly in the age of smaller studios like Cannon and the like. Apparently he was knighted by the Queen of The Netherlands for his contributions to film, so he’s no slouch. I look forward to my own knighting ceremony.

What?! The product placement in this film is art. Our poor homeless kid Joe spends his day looking longingly into the window of a McDonald’s. Not just for the delicious food but the sense of family and community (you know?). When he finally does get fed by Cornelia he doesn’t get his McD’s (bullshit), but she does leave a delicious Coca-Cola to quench his thirst and seal their friendship in iron.

Where?! Split almost evenly between the North Pole and NYC. Both play a pivotal role in the film and should rightfully get double billing in terms of the setting. I’m not sure where the beginning of the film took place before Santa almost froze to death… I guess probably Sweden or something. A.

When?! Not so secret Holiday Film alert. The story takes places over several centuries, but the most important things happen on Christmas… also Lithgow tries to start a new holiday on March 25th called Christmas II that is now a BMT Holiday. We celebrate that now. A.  

This truly had the makings of a BMT classic. It oozes earnestness. Even when they are throwing around delicious McDonald’s and Coca-Colas in our faces, it still smacks more of gee whiz than corporate exploitation. It’s that kind of earnestness that blinds people to just how ridiculous the film that’s being made truly is. Unfortunately the first thirty minutes of the film was actually a bit too good. The set design was actually impressive. To truly experience this film you have to just watch the latter half where things go way way way way off the rails. First and foremost is John Lithgow who puts on a masterclass in what is one of my favorite performances of all time. He ate entire set pieces with his giant fake chompers. Add on top a really odd QA/QC storyline and a Chekov’s Super Duper Looper sleigh trick (that no one could possibly figure out would be the key to saving the day) and you’ve got a BMT holiday classic on your hands. Can’t wait to force feed this to my kids every Christmas. As for Santa with Muscles it made me sad and not since Transmorphers have I felt such sadness as I watched something. I couldn’t tell if Hulk Hogan was just being himself or was actually acting or if anyone was actually trying to make a film.  Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! It’s the origin story everyone was clamoring for. They got it in stop motion, and now they brought it to the masses live action. It’s the movie that put the Saint in Saint Nick, and da da da da da I loved it! Not really, let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I literally had no idea what this film was prior to watching it. I was very shocked to realize it was our first John Lithgow film, and watching the trailer he was obviously the key to why this movie could be amazing. FOOOOOOR FREEEEEEEE?!?! Is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen and it makes me so so happy that the trailer editor didn’t hide that from the viewers. He or she knew what I wanted and gave it to me in spades, which made me a little more excited for a film I would usually default to probably-boring.

The Good – The beginning is actually a fine television movie level origin story for Santa. I actually genuinely think the first third is better than Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, the Rankin/Bass production it’s storyline is closest to. I also quite like how unabashedly it leans into the magical part of Santa. They don’t try and explain things too much, it is basically just like “you’ll live forever, this stuff makes reindeers (and children) fly, you just magic into and out of houses, don’t worry about it!”. I kinda dug that.

The Bad – The second half of this film is pretty bad. The instant Joe sits outside of a McDonald’s drooling at not only the delicious (and nutritious!) hamburgers, but the familial love that McDonald’s naturally attracts everything turns into a joke. Like, yo, Santa, you can do whatever you want, why not give Joe a house? What, is Joe the only homeless kid in New York City? The first half you have to buy into just magic existing. The second half takes it a step too far and tries to paint a world that is just far enough from how everything actually works that it is really hard to pick up what they are putting down. The movie is insane and could actually be one of the most misguided film we’ve watched, and as Jamie says, it is very very earnest in what it is trying to sell.

The BMT – You notice anything missing from the two above sections? No Lithgow! That’s because I’m putting him here. His performance is easily the most “thanks, I hate it” performance we’ve seen in BMT. It is off the wall, bananas, bonkers, I’m running out of adjectives to describe it! I both love it, and realize it is the craziest thing ever, and that is kind of the punctuation mark on why Santa Claus: The Movie is amazing. Pop that into a two hour long commercial for McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, and mix in a very (very) earnest Christmas film where Santa (probably) dies in the beginning and you get a perfect monster of a movie.

Roast-radamus – Easily a When? (Not so secret holiday film) as mentioned, an unabashedly pro-Christmas film. And also a What? (Product Placement) because Da-da-da-da-da I’m lovin’ McDonald’s now. And wash that down with an ice-cold Coca-Cola. I couldn’t tell but I think they cut the part of the film where Mrs. Claus was like “naw, green is not his color … can we dress him up as a giant Coca-Cola can?”. I actually do think we have a Who? (Planchet) for Lithgow’s assistant whom Lithgow shits on all film and insinuates is gay (I think? It’s hard to tell). The Where? (Setting as a character) for a New York City filled with McDonald’s loving families (and homeless children, and evil toy makers). And How? (Chekov’s Blank) for Chekov’s Super Duper Looper which is inevitably used to save Joe and Patch from their exploding flying car. And naturally this slides head first into a BMT award … my god, it’s running the gamut! It legit qualifies for all of the categories!!!

StreetCreditReport.com – As far as worst Christmas films? It gets seven here. And thirteen here. It is well known in bad movie circles for being a quintessential bad Christmas film. And I think as we quickly approach the end of this cycle I can safely say that the movie’s rejection from the worst movie of all time wiki page is cred enough. But this got the cred.

You Just Got Schooled – There wasn’t much in terms of direct Santa Claus: The Movie accoutrements to consume alongside the film itself, so I took the opportunity to listen to a movie podcast where they reviewed the film. We Hate Movies is one of the most famous bad movie podcasts around. And I have to say, this episode was very funny, and very informed. They basically rehashed the storyline while adding in funny asides (like the John Carpenter version of this film complete with synth soundtrack, and a Jessie Ventura impression that was spot on). I still think I like The Flophouse more. We Hate Movies felt very rehearsed and I found myself not laughing as much as I do with The Flophouse’s more off the cuff tangents. Be warned though, some of their podcasts appear to be behind a Patreon funded paywall which is fine, but just something to know up front, the whole catalog is not free.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week was Bring a Friend week and we watched another Christman classic: Santa with Muscles starring Hulk Hogan. So … I’m not sure why a movie like this exists. Why would Hulk Hogan do this? Was he trying to act? Or was this just his character at the time? It was supremely confusing, a strange mash up of two films. In one film the eeeeeevil businessman Hulk Hogan bumped his head, thinks he’s Santa, learns to love again, and saves the orphanage. In the second a mall Santa (Hogan) saves the orphanage from the eeeeevil businessman (Ed Begley Jr.) and his crew of eeeeevil scientists. And they just … put those two scripts together and went on their way? I hated watching this film. But I think it is valuable to see what the mid-90s direct-to-video kids’ market was like … and it was trash. Good to know.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Advertisements

Ernest Goes to Jail Recap

Jamie

Ernest is back, Jack! Right? It’s the same guy each time? Anyway, unbeknownst to Ernest he has a doppelganger on death row. A fateful turn on jury duty unexpectedly gets them switched and his whole life is turned upside down when he’s stuck in jail. Can he escape, stop the criminal, and get the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… Ernest Goes to Jail.

How?! Meet Ernest P. Worrell. A dim but well-meaning janitor at a bank. Everyone there loves him and wants him to succeed as a future bank teller except the cranky president of the bank. Booooooo. Oh and he also becomes magnetic whenever he is electrocuted instead of dying. Not sure why. Anyway, in a wild coincidence he is called to jury duty for the trial of a toady for a local crime lord, Nash, who is just days away from his time in the electric chair and is an exact doppelganger for our poor Ernest. Realizing an opportunity the criminal convinces the judge to allow the jury to tour the prison during which the crime lord pulls the ol’ switcheroo and leaves poor Ernest in his place. Double boooo. While Ernest tries to navigate the hilarious world of maximum security prison, Nash is planning to rob the bank, sexually assault Ernest’s very kind female coworker (and love interest?), and probably do a whole bunch of other nasty stuff. Ernest attempts to escape to no avail, only to find that when they try to electrocute him it merely imbues him with super electromagnetic powers. With said powers he blows that joint (with the help of a prisoner with a heart of gold, Lyle) and gets to the bank just in time to try to stop Nash from blowing the vault and killing his coworkers. An all-out brawl ensues ending with Ernest once again getting electrocuted, gaining the ability to fly via polarization, and flying the bomb into the night sky where it appears he is killed. However, he falls back to Earth right on top of Nash, incapacitating him for good and then smash cut. THE END.

Why?! I’m actually not sure… I think it has something to do with the American dream. Like sure Ernest is dumb, but he’s nice and works hard, so shouldn’t that count for something? Interestingly they don’t make any claim that Ernest is actually good at his job despite his shortcomings. In fact they make it clear that he is quite bad at it. A convicted killer on death row comes straight out of jail and is so much better than Ernest at his job that he is immediately offered the promotion that Ernest has been trying hard to get. It’s actually kinda sad when you think about it.

Who?! Big time shout out to the true friend Ernest met in Jail, Lyle. He’s a big enforcer type who turns out to have a heart of gold (and an unrivaled mane of hair). The actor was actually former professional kickboxer and heavyweight boxer Tex Cobb. He’s probably best known for getting absolutely destroyed by Larry Holmes in an unlikely title fight. Some interesting rumors surrounded his career, including some drug and gambling stuff that was allegedly connected to his sudden retirement from the sport in 1993 and a claim that he was supposed to be the opponent for Muhammad Ali’s last fight but broke his arm saving a friend from a bar fight and had to back out.

What?! In some ways you can think of the entire franchise as a product placement. Ernest started as a character used in a number of commercials and eventually he himself became the product. Ironically once that became the point all the products in this film are cartoon versions and not real product placements.

Where?! Unsurprisingly, given Ernest’s roots, this film is set in the great state of Tennessee. Even if it weren’t predictable, it’s made clear at the very least by the Tennessee license plates on some of the main characters’ cars. C.

When?! This is actually a funny question. There is a calendar in Ernest/Nash’s cell with dates being crossed off, but there doesn’t seem to be much indication of what month the calendar is supposed to represent. Likely this is just a prop calendar, but I like to think that it is actually a nonspecific generic calendar that they give prisoners. You do see a January 1990 calendar hanging in the bank. Again likely just grabbed a prop and hung it up to the first page, but gotta assume the bank is actively using the calendar and it’s accurate. KnowhutImean? B-

So I watched Ernest’s “friend” Escape Plan: Hades first and that film is a whole bunch of nonsense. At times I thought they were speaking a different language or something because it was hard to follow exactly what was happening. It looked nice, though, with its fancy robots and fancy prison and fancy fight scenes. But it’s all fluff and was actually pretty boring. As if they didn’t really care to make a comprehensible film, but rather just an entry in their visual portfolio so they could try to get an even bigger and fancier job. I can certainly see why it didn’t go to theaters. As for Ernest, I daresay I actually kinda enjoyed myself. Ernest is just a silly character and his schtick lands quite often as he mugs and goes off on some overly-serious monologue on acting or business or the like. I can understand why I liked the films as a kid even if I almost definitely didn’t understand how crazy the attempted sexual assault by Nash is or the fact that Ernest is nearly executed via electric chair. Probably a full twenty minutes where the film starts to venture into the twilight zone away from the harmless fun that otherwise makes the franchise what it is: enjoyable stupidity. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Sometimes I forget that the Ernest films were a real thing. Like … if my parents had told me that it was some Canadian TV movie and that no one else had seen it I would have just shrugged and said “yeah makes sense”. But it isn’t … this was released to over 1000 theaters in 1990. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I watched the trailer, and made the notes, and read the reviews … but I still had a sneaking suspicion I would like this film. Why? First because I watched it as a kid. Something about Ernest must just remind me of simpler times. But more important I’ve watched Ernest Goes to Camp more recently, about 7 years ago, and I thought that was actually a lot better than you might think. I was sure I was going to think the same thing here.

The Good – Ernest is goofy harmless silliness. Varney himself is top notch, with both the physicality necessary for a kids’ movie character and the ability to do some goofy impressions. As the heart and soul of the film there is little more I would ask him to do. I dig the surrealist atmosphere this movie takes, the bright pink guard uniforms, the completely open prison cells with twenty foot ceilings, a world filled with goofy caricatures. It all kind of works on a straight-to-video level.

The Bad – The film is aggressively dumb, and in that sense all of the reviews are totally justified. The love story comes across as creepy now I think as it is abundantly obvious Ernest had either a learning disability or has serious emotional issues he should be working out with a therapist. The film is crazy dark with Ernest going to the electric chair and basically killed while the prison warden looks on in glee. Super nuts. The film is extremely derivative, relying exclusively on the doppelganger / Prince and the Pauper trope to drive the story forwards.

You Just Got Schooled – The story of Ernest is pretty interesting, at least what you can glean from IMDb notes and elsewhere. This article seems like a pretty good roundup. Short story: Varney wanted to be an actor, but struggled to establish himself on the stage in NYC. Bouncing between his home in Kentucky and New York he ended up landing a spot with Cherry, an ad man. They ended up doing hundreds of commercials together, and then got a four picture deal (which Ernest Goes to Jail is part of). Afterwards they settled into a more lucrative straight-to-video deal, but unfortunately Verney died in 2000 prior to filming Ernest Goes to Space and Ernest and the Voodoo Curse (which I would have called Weekend at Ernest’s 2, but whatever). Fascinating stuff, a really really unique only-in-the-90s type franchise I think.

The BMT – Do I think Ernest is a BMT franchise … no. I don’t. Despite the fact that I would say that I’m fairly objective when it comes to films I saw when I was a kid (Hook, I’m looking at you), I can’t help but like Ernest. I think he’s harmless fun, so there. The character is sweet, and naive, and always tries to do what’s best. What’s wrong with that? Nothing I think … although they are pretty bad. I reserve the right to change my mind, but for now Ernest is pretty okay nonsense.

Sklogwords – After moving Welcome to Earth to the preview I needed a new game, and noticing that The Movie Database is a little light on keywords what bigger service could I provide the world that filling in entirely too accurate keywords for BMT films. For Ernest I chose the following ten in order: Prison, prison break, magnetism, bank robbery, janitor, electric chair, Tennessee, doppelganger, impersonation, animal actor. The funniest one is probably either doppelganger (where the film Southland Tales tends to come up a lot) or Tennessee which, fun fact, is also the setting of the Hannah Montana Movie! And now I’m the number one editor of the film Ernest Goes to Jail on TMDB. So there.

StreetCreditReport.com – There is really nothing here, which isn’t that surprising. Do you know what is surprising? That one of the main reasons listed in reviews as to why Ernest was unbearable was that he was either “too nerdy” or “too geeky”. Like, say what? It doesn’t feel like he is either of those things. At the very least he has a learning disability, but geeky? Nerdy? What was up with the early 90s yo?

Bring a Friend Analysis – As the number of wide release bad movies has dropped in the past few years I’ve often thought that it is likely that at least some of them are going direct to VOD. And Escape Plan 2: Hades seemed like a perfect test of this theory. Wrong! Wrong! The first film was surprisingly good, a decent team-up in Stallone and Arnold, a classic 80s actioner really. This? This is trash. This is dog poo thrown forcefully into my face. It has robots, and terrible actors, and AI, and … it is gibberish. It makes you feel like you are taking crazy pills. And then there is a ton of guns and killing … I just wanted some prison escapes man! This is worse that Prison Break season 2 when they forgot the show was about breaking out of prisons! On the one hand I’m glad to hear that, no, not all VOD features are suddenly on BMT’s radar. On the other I watched Escape Plan 2: Hades in real life, that is something I spent some of my short time on Earth doing. So that’s depressing. B as a friend, F- as an actual movie fit for human consumption.

Phew, long one, but I have a feeling the Bring a Friend cycle will tend to be that way. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

The 15:17 to Paris Recap

Jamie

Lifelong friends Spencer, Alek, and Anthony have spent their lives trying to find where they fit and best follow their sense of right. When they end up on a train targeted by a terrorist they will have to find their courage within. Can they stop the tragedy before it’s too late? Find out in… real life when this happened… but also The 15:17 to Paris.

How?! This is gonna be a hard one to write about because on the one hand it details a truly courageous act of bravery by a few young men and on the other hand it’s a film experiment that is at times the worst thing I’ve ever seen put to screen. Perhaps on the level with the Atlas Shrugged films. Anyway, the story is very straightforward, Spencer, Alek, and Anthony meet as kids in Sacramento and become good friends. They are outsiders fascinated by the military and serving the country. Despite moving away from each other they keep in touch throughout their life. Spencer and Alek join the military and both have somewhat underwhelming experiences. While Spencer is medically rejected for special forces, ending up instead in a support branch of the Air Force, Alek enlists in the Oregon National Guard and is mired in Afghanistan. Hoping to see a little of the world on break they travel to Europe with Anthony and travel from Italy to Germany to Amsterdam and eventually grab a train to Paris (I forget which one). On the train a terrorist attempts to take control but the three friends (along with a couple other passengers) tackle and subdue the assailant. They are heroes. THE END.

Why?! Why was the film made? Oh, no. The motivations of the characters. Right. Uh… it’s just life, man. Seriously, the film does a pretty good job of feeling pretty true to life. It’s doesn’t shirk over the fact that Spencer hoped to be a search and rescue ranger in the Air Force, but didn’t medically make the cut. It shows both his frustrations along with Alek’s in feeling like the military didn’t live up to what they imagined it would be. This does a good job of framing the final scene for exactly what it was, an act of bravery that easily could have resulted in their deaths.

Who?! Obviously one of the defining features of this film is that many of the real life people involved portrayed themselves… to mixed results. There was a funny rumor that Clint Eastwood asked France if the actual terrorist could portray himself which cannot possibly be true. So you heard it here first: the internet sometimes lies.

What?! This is actually a hard category given how true to life (almost cinema-verite) style this film is. There is a small moment later in the film where the two main characters make fun of a tiny Coke can on the train which is probably less product placement than Clint Eastwood asking them what they remember from the first part of the train ride and them saying “uh, we made fun of a tiny Coke can and fell asleep.”

Where?! This is actually an interesting entry given that the film was partially chosen as an A+ setting film. In reality Paris is in the title but they never actually reach Paris (until the end when they get military honors from the French President). It is actually mostly set in Sacramento and then Italy is the main setting for their actual road trip. So I’m downgrading it. B+

When?! Ha! Also interesting since 15:17 is a weird exact time in the title. Not the traditional A+ setting for this either.  Since it’s based on a real event there is technically a brief moment in the film where you know the date and exact time at which things are happening, which is kinda amazing. It deserves it. A+

This film is more or less a mixture of a Christian and experimental film that somehow was released to theaters for reason that are… actually readily apparent. It was directed by Clint Eastwood. For the first twenty minutes I had to seriously consider whether this was the worst film I had ever seen. I had to turn it off twice and take breaks to get through it. Once we got to when the main characters were grown up it got a bit better. The acting was still pretty rough (the main guy Spencer was actually surprisingly OK) but it felt brutally honest and I appreciated that. The ending was actually pretty crazy with how close they come to death and having to recreate that must have been really hard. Anyway, it’s bad and only worth watching if you are interested in seeing a (failed) experiment in filmmaking. As for Hard Ticket to Hawaii, I can 100% see why this is a beloved Z-movie series by Andy Sidaris. It is over the top and pretty much hits every cliche of 80’s/90’s action all in one neat package. We got crazy clothes, crazy frisbee and skateboard scenes (what the kids want), crazy boobs everywhere (what the kids want), giant explosions (what the kids want), etc. etc. etc. It does seem to toe the line between inadvertently hilarious and purposefully so. That always makes it tough, but kudos to them if they did purposefully make a bad film… because it’s certainly hard to tell. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Sometimes I wonder, hey, why can’t I get a job that will allow me to mess around and pay me millions of dollars to flush $30 million dollars down the toilet. Well if you’re Clint Eastwood you can! Let’s go!

The Good – I do think there is a place for films like this. I actually felt a bit embarrassed in watching it, because it felt like I was making fun of some good hearted story and people and actors and ideals somehow. None of the multitude of problems with the film reflect on the actual values on screen. People should be able to have and appreciate art that reflects their wholesome all-American flag-waving values. The final third of the film picks up and I can kind of see why Eastwood made the film and decided to make it like this. It is an interesting story as well, although maybe more interesting as a book rather than a movie.

P’s View on the Preview – Is there any doubt at all what everyone would be curious about going into this film? Can these people act? Would this experiment Eastwood cooked up work? If not for that you would kind of just have a not very interesting idea for a drama if I’m going to be frank. Otherwise it was going to be vaguely interesting to see what parts of the lives of these three people we would see, and whether Eastwood would pull a fake-baby-in-American-Sniper on us or something.

The Bad – Whhhhhoooooooooo doggy, these people can’t act. And the stunner? The worst part of the movie is the beginning when nearly everyone was actual established (cough, television, cough) actors! The first third of the film is a travesty. The middle is a whole lotta nothing, and then the end is fine if the people could act (but they can’t). Also, if this wasn’t made by Clint Eastwood it would (1) have a budget of $1 and (2) be a straight up Christian film released to 400 theaters. The grand experiment was a failure, despite all the potential good the film might have going for it in the end.

The BMT – Yeah I think it has to be, and perhaps it’ll get us to venture into the drama sphere more. While bad dramas tend to be dull, there was a lot of meat on this bone to pick apart. And it certainly took me out of my bad movie comfort zone. Something to think about.

Welcome to Earf – Judy Greer was in The 15:17 to Paris and Marmaduke with Owen Wilson, who was in I, Spy with Eddie Murphy, who was in Norbit with Terry Crews, who was in Blended with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earth!

StreetCreditReport.com – Uh, what is the word I’m looking for? Oh yeah UP THE WAZOOOO! Here and here and here and here. People hated this film. It actually legit had to be done. How many bad dramas do we really get? I mean … considering we don’t really watch those low budget Christian films or VOD Nicholas Sparks knock-offs. Not many I tells ya!

Bring a Friend Analysis – Ah, the final friend of the cycle was Hard Ticket to Hawaii. This film is fun as hell. The stars are playboy playmates (wowza!) and they are extremely game for some silly shenanigans in Hawaii. Made by Andy Sidaris, the film is probably the closest we’ve gotten to the classic Room or Troll 2 territory. Actually it is probably really close to Troll 2. The issue I think I ultimately had was I had a hard time determining whether Sidaris was serious or not. The ending of the film certainly made me think he wasn’t (a giant terribly fake snake comes out of a toilet and they blast it with a bazooka), which is an obvious problem. You can’t make intentional bad films … but holy crap this gets close. A solid A- with an option to bump it to an A if I watch some other Sidaris films and realize that he is for reals.

You Just Got Schooled – I can’t think of something to do for 15:17 to Paris … but what about Hard Ticket to Hawaii! Maybe we can answer this question now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAVNlXUqaqI

Welp … yeah they are serious. For reals. “I’ll be a very sorry feminist” wowza! “A trained ape can make a movie” Phew! They compared their films to the Louvre! They don’t seem to be as delusional as someone like Tommy Wiseau or Claudio Fragasso, but they do seem very serious … fine I’ll give it an A!!! I’ve been convinced!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

Exit Wounds Recap

Jamie

Orin Boyd is a Detroit police officer sent to the beat after one too many police brutality complains (coooool). He starts to have run-ins with crime lord Latrell Walker, but soon realizes that it’s actually a group of corrupt cops he has to worry about. Will he be able to stop the bad guys (and perhaps get a new best friend) before it’s too late? Find out in… Exit Wounds.

How?! Orin Boyd don’t take guff from nobody, plays by his own rules, and is a lone wolf unwilling to compromise in taking down the bad guys. When he saves the Vice President from a major terrorist assassination attempt he is demoted and sent to the 15th precinct (ugh, the 15th. The worst, right?). Read that again… there is a major assassination plot against the VP that is pretty much successful except Boyd rides up and saves the VP and kills the bad guys… and this is a problem. Anyway, when he gets to the 15th he ends up breaking up a drug deal which turns out to be a sting operation (or is it?) and immediately butts heads with the big dogs in the department. Despite another demotion he starts hot on the trail of Latrell Walker, the guy involved in the drug deal. He tracks Latrell back to a meeting at the local jail with his brother and finds out that he isn’t a criminal at all but a computer genius who is independently collecting evidence against the cadre of corrupt cops. These cops attempt to kill Boyd, but he escapes, strikes a deal with Latrell to help take them down, and meets with his boss to tell her what’s up. At this meeting they are attacked and his boss is killed so Boyd decides it’s time to take out all those MFers out. They go to a warehouse for The Big Deal where everything goes wrong and there are several double crosses (what a twist!). They fight it out with karate, all the bad guys are killed, Latrell gives them all the evidence, and his brother is freed. THE END.

Why?! Boyd operates under the common film cop matra that all is fair in taking down the bad guys. We literally see a meeting where his boss laments the multiple police brutality complaints he has gotten in the last year and the fact that he ignores the law in the line of duty… that ain’t good, bro. Latrell’s motivations are more interesting, although still pretty simple. His brother was framed for a large drug deal gone wrong when the crooked cops involved needed a fall guy. Latrell, being a dotcom billionaire computer genius, pays for a new identity and gets involved with these cops in order to exonerate his bro. The cops want to make money because they are tired of all the bad guys getting rich while they toil away and don’t get rich… this is also a very common crooked cop trope which we recently saw in The Underclassman.

Who?! Anthony Anderson’s character T.K. is a pretty solid example of a Planchet. He is kinda chubby, well-meaning, helps out his bro and what does he get in return: near constant ridicule. Also an unexpected Secret Twin Film with a cameo by The Tiger Twins as a couple of twin street thugs. Interestingly they choose not to use their twin powers to easily dispatch Seagal. How kind. Finally, on a sad note, this is one of a number of films we’ve come across marred by a major stunt accident. In this case Chris Lamon was killed during a stunt where he was supposed to roll out of a speeding van. Something went wrong and he ended up dying and another stunt man got a concussion. These stories always make me sad.

What?! Big shoutout to a primo example of a Hollywood badass bar run by T.K. It’s bright, it’s got girls dancing in cages, it looks like it was built in a bank, it’s everything. There is also a bunch of product placement (Latrell is identified in a video by his fancy TAG watch, Boyd’s new partner has trouble getting his nice refreshing afternoon pepsi when he’s first introduced, etc.). But my personal favorite thing in the film was probably the first and only Chekov’s Industrial Paper Cutter. We are briefly shown a very large paper cutter in a warehouse where the climax of the film is certain to take place and I thought, “Someone is fighting with that paper cutter like it’s a samurai sword.” Correct on all counts. Perfect.

Where?! Detroit through and through (although filmed in Canada). The film even opens with the Vice President of the US welcoming everyone to Detroit in a speech he’s giving… you know before Seagal saves him from a crazy huge assassination attempt that legitimately involved a couple dozen armed assailants. B+.

When?! Prepare yourself, because this is the greatest time setting of all time. While tracking DMX, Seagal finds a county jail pass in the garbage that explicitly says that DMX visited his brother on 9/9/01… two days prior to the events of the majority of the film. Let that sink in. The film takes place on September 11, 2001… and no one notices in the Detroit Police Department. Seagal certainly wouldn’t have had the time to track down corrupt cops in the wake of the most significant terrorist attack in US history. Gotta be an alternate timeline. B-.

Exit Wounds is silly and a lot of fun to watch. Steven Seagal is straight-up ridiculous and it’s crazy that all the way up to 2000 he was considered an actual actor that you would put in a major motion picture. His character continually makes light of police brutality and is legit a bad guy (except that all the other cops are much worse). He’s more like a workaday, punch-in punch-out kind of bad person. It’s funny too because from the start DMX is a much more likable and good person, to the point where when it is shockingly revealed that he is actually a good person I was totally unsurprised. It was obvious, but perhaps not as obvious in 2000?… or maybe it was just very poorly written. Hard to tell. Anyway, a little dumb fun for BMT can go a long way. As for Samurai Cop, I was definitely getting a distinct The Room vibe from it. There is crazy art on the wall that’s super distracting, offices that are supposed to be hospitals, terrible sound issues, crazy reaction shots by a plethora of terrible actors, boobs everywhere, lots of dick jokes (on a positive note), and a strain of racism that after watching a number of Z-movies for this cycle seems more or less standard. It’s kooky to the point where I actually started to wonder whether The Room was inspired by it or some kind of parody… but then I remembered that Tommy Wiseau is a crazy person and so that’s almost definitely not the case. Anyway, it was super weird. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Steven Seagal plays a badass cop who likes to beat people up and teaches us a valuable lesson: violence is awesome. DMX is a tech billionaire just looking for justice. It is the buddy cop pair you’ve been waiting for! Let’s go!

The Good – Seagal is a lot more normal than one would expect … like he seems like an actor, not a fake person wearing a Steven Seagal suit. The twists and turns are on occasion interesting (like Seagal’s boss getting killed in a car crash is shocking and brutal). The entire story isn’t as gross as you would expect. By the early 2000s I actually expected Seagal already going full blown “the only people who watch these films just want to see me literally blow someone’s head off with a gun so … there we go”. It is not, frankly it is pretty much about police corruption with a dash of “this guy just wants to do right and just can’t catch a break”. Which … is fine I guess.

P’s View on the Preview – Steven Seagal baby. We rarely watch JCVD or Seagal films. Partially because anything after … well Exit Wounds really, is 100% going to be trash. This is the last Seagal film released to theaters, which is astonishing given it made like $80 million, so I was ready to realize why they dropped him like a sack of potatoes.

The Bad – The more I think about the film the more I realize that it is profoundly terrible. Seagal’s character is ridiculous, basically someone who loves to beat the shit out of people, and people love to love him for beating the shit out of people. The story really makes no sense, with DMX being some tech billionaire pretending to … commit horrible felonies to prove cops are corrupt? Great plan bozo. The final fight is just straight bonkers. And the cast makes me upset. Seagal is a Russian shill. DMX went to prison for tax fraud. Isaiah Washington is likely a bigot. Anthony Anderson proooobably raped some people. And Tom Arnold … is weirdly the best of the bunch. WTF bros!?

You Just Got Schooled – There isn’t much about this film as far as online footprint is concerned. So let’s do a little analysis. There are 173 films listed under Martial Arts on Box Office Mojo. Of those 59 films officially qualify by having <40% on Rotten Tomatoes for an astonishing 34% rate. That isn’t the whole story though, there are only 105 wide releases, of which 55 (!) qualify, that’s over 50% of wide release martial arts films! That is nuts. For Seagal he has an interesting career. He made a few terrible films in the early 90s before hitting it semi-big with Under Siege. He then released a terrible film every year from 1994 to 1998, only releasing Executive Decision in 1996 as a good film. He was evidently forced into a break before releasing a flurry of films in the early 2000s (including Exit Wounds). Since then he only recently started to get his straight-to-VOD garbage reviewed again, but that is almost as a fat-seagal irony at this point. Known for his aikido, rumors fly of his actual martial arts acumen, but everyone generally agrees concerning his films: they are garbage. Like most of the martial arts films in general.

The BMT – I think we are working through Seagal films. I don’t think there is much more to say about it. There are certainly better Seagal BMTs. And in general his films don’t really need to be watched. This was fine. I was fine with it. I was just fine with it! Stop asking jeez.

Welcome to Earf – Steven Seagal is in On Deadly Ground with Michael Caine, who is in Get Carter with Sly Stallone, who is in Zookeeper with Adam Sandler, who is in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who is in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!!!!

StreetCreditReport.com – So it certainly is not considered his best … otherwise this doesn’t even come up. The previous link even mentions how indeed no one ever remembers this film which is also not well regarded. And yet this film made $80 million worldwide. … $80 million.

Bring a Friend Analysis – For this friend we watched another martial arts cop film, Samurai Cop. Fact, Samurai Cop is strangely entertaining. Fact, Samurai Cop is genuinely racist and disgustingly misogynistic. Fact, it looks like crap. And yet … weirdly entertaining. It actually kind of hits all of the boxes, it just isn’t really consistently entertaining to get the full A, but a clean A-. It is weird enough to be entertaining. But not unpleasant enough to make me want to never watch it again. Just lags a bit near the end. I’ve been very very impressed with our slate of friends this cycle. I think we’ve have mostly A’s and B’s … those are films we are willing to watch again! That is crazy. These films are barely there, and yet I would show them to friends. That’s saying something.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Recap

Jamie

Captain Kirk is back, Jack! This time Kirk and his crew are called off shore leave to investigate an uprising in a Federation neutral zone. When they get there a Vulcan named Sybok and his followers take over the Enterprise and go on a mission to the center of the galaxy. Can Kirk and the rest stop him before it’s too late? Find out in… Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

How?! This film is separated into three parts: a total embarrassment, an interesting gooey center, and a bungled ending. Let me explain. We open with the Enterprise crew on shore leave in Yellowstone. Kirk is climbing like a boss and everyone else is wearing scarves and getting lost. When they finally get back to camp they sing row row row your boat and embarrass themselves. It is bad and goes on forever. The only thing interesting that happens is that Kirk explains that he knows he’ll die alone and that’s why he’s never scared on their adventures because they are always there. Anyway, they get called off shore leave to investigate an uprising by a Vulcan named Sybok on a neutral planet. It’s like an outlaw western-y planet and they get in there and fuck up a bunch of people only to find that the hostages they are meant to rescue are actually now followers of Sybok. He’s like a cult leader that uses people’s pain to help them come to terms with it and thus gain followers on his quest to find God. He says he communicated with God and that he’s in the center of the galaxy. When they get to the Enterprise, Sybok gains followers from the Enterprise crew and only Kirk and Spock can really resist him. They are imprisoned until they get to the center of the galaxy where Sybok guides them to a planet. When they go down to the surface they find that it’s actually the prison for a malevolent force and Sybok is killed in the fight to destroy it. Everyone is happy including the Klingon ship that I didn’t even mention because that side story is kinda strange and out of place. THE END.

Why?! It’s pretty straightforward in the end (which is kind of why I say it is bungled), Sybok is a very powerful Vulcan who has communicated with a force in the universe who he believes is God. Aiming to find this force he uses his immense mind meld powers to delve into people’s pain and help them come to terms with it. Kirk wants to stop him because it’s kinda his mission but also he doesn’t believe that Sybok’s methods are correct and that pain is part of what makes someone resilient and human.

Who?! People just kind of show up throughout the Star Trek franchise. His wife shows up in one of the films and his daughter in two of them (including this one). The producer Harve Bennett shows up in three of the films as well. Also while looking around I found that Shatner is listed as the “Creator” of a TV movie called Fire Serpent. Didn’t direct it or star in in… just created it. Whatever that means.

What?! It’s noted online that product placement is pretty rare in Star Trek as a whole. This is one of the few cases where it shows up as during their vacation on Earth Captain Kirk wears Levi’s jeans and indulges in some Jack Daniels cooked baked beans. Also should talk a bit about the Great Barrier. While not a MacGuffin in the true sense of the word it is an object of mysterious power that is never really explained. They claim that you can’t go through it and yet the Enterprise does just that with ease (as does a Klingon ship). It turns out that everyone was wrong and it wasn’t much of a barrier at all. It is strange and vague (much like the rest of the end of the film).

Where?! Starts in Yosemite National Park and then moves to Nimbus III. Finishes in the center of the Milky Way. All pretty specific. Not as good as the fourth film which really really really takes place in San Francisco. B.

When?! At some point in the series it’s made clear what exact year it is and from that you can determine that this one takes place in 2287. That’s good enough for me and I especially love exact years for films taking place in the past or future. B.

I can’t talk about this film without talking about the film series as a whole. So to keep it brief: 1. The first film is a really drawn out television episode more than a movie, but I did appreciate the extreme Sci-Fi aspects to it. Just wasn’t all that great. 2. My favorite. Best character (Khan) and most emotional and I’m surprised it’s not talked about more in general as part of good cinema… because it’s good. 3. Airmailed sequel to the second that took away some of the emotion from that entry. Again liked the Sci-Fi aspect and they did a good job moving towards a more fun part of the series. 4. The funniest of the series but not my favorite. Still very good and really interesting choices made. So I came into the BMT entry of the series on a very positive note so I was surprised to find five almost immediately embarrassing. Just straight bad. Then when Sybok on the scene I thought it got somewhat interesting. They had an opportunity to explore the idea of delving into people’s pain and relieving it to make them happy and gain followers. I thought this would have naturally led into the exploration of the morals of a cult. Cult leaders are often amoral in their exploitation of their followers and I thought for sure this would come up. Nope. Instead our cult leader Sybok is just good and instead the God that he communicates with is actually bad… and almost immediately killed off. So in my opinion they bungled it. They had the opening for a complex storyline and defaulted to a simple and vague one. Pretty easily the worst of the series which I really really loved. They got a new Star Trek fan up in here. Finally, Groom Lake is a super tiny independent film written, directed, and starring William Shatner. It is bonkers that it exists and seems like something that Shatner just thought would be fun to do or something. Only weird thing is that there is a this whole rape scene in the middle that I could have done without… unpleasant and really unnecessary. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Fun fact: I love Star Trek. I’ve seen the original series. I watched the animated series! I’ve seen all of the films. So why not revisit the worse of the worse (BTW the animated series doesn’t count. It isn’t canon! IT IS NOT CANON!). Time for Star Trek V! Let’s get into it!

The Good – The comradery of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy is unparalleled. And when you know the final part of the movie the middle it actually quite a bit better than I remember. Previously I remember being quite annoyed that the story was about God and they went off to find him. But once you know that Sybok is a really cool character besides … well I’ll save that for the bad section.

P’s View on the Previews – Well I had already seen the series, so really the watch was a re-watch and a chance for a reassessment. And what I had remembered was the entire story about God seemed surreal and the fact that this seemed to be the big goal of the entire thing sunk the film. Fortunately, I think once you know the conclusion the second viewing is slightly better as I say above.

The Bad – Sybok being Spock’s brother is a big load of shit. He should have been a friend, or a legendary exiled Vulcan from Spock’s childhood. Him being in the family is just annoying and changes Spock’s father’s character a bit too much. The beginning is a bit too cute, and the Klingon B-story is kind of pointless. There are a lot of problems with the film, especially considering the relative quality of 2, 3, and 4.

You Just Got Schooled – I watched a third movie this week! I decided to finally watch Chaos on the Bridge, which was also directed by Shatner (although a documentary, so different than Groom Lake), and details the issues surrounding the development and first three seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Interesting, although without Roddenberry some of the characters came across as a bit too self-serving, speaking ill of him and puffing up their own status I thought. Shatner never felt the need to challenge people, despite multiple contradictory statements being made about people and events. Interesting nonetheless, and a blessedly short 60 minutes.

The BMT – It had to be done. It had to be. I think this is a turning point, although it kind of depends on what Jamie thought of doing a fill series like that. Because, personally, I think I would like to do more franchises. There are so many terrible sequels it’ll take forever to get through them otherwise. So perhaps we’ll look back fondly on Star Trek V as a major part of BMT in the future.

Welcome to Earf – William Shatner is in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and also in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, which also stars Sandra Bullock who is also in In Love and War, which stars Chris O’Donnell who is also in Batman & Robin, which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger who is also in Expendables 3, which stars Sly Stallone who is also in Zookeeper, which stars Adam Sandler who is also in Jack and Jill, which stars Al Pacino who is also in 88 Minutes, which stars Leelee Sobieski who is also in Here on Earth. Phew, welcome to earf!!

StreetCreditReport.com – Surprisingly sparse. But it does narrowly make this list for worst Sci-Fi films at 96. As far as Star Trek movies go it is widely considered terrible. Here is a list mentioning it as second worst. Interestingly they have insurrection last … disagree, but whatever.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we also watched Groom Lake. This film is not really a film. It is a weird thing that William Shatner did. It was vaguely interesting I guess. Kind of interesting to something weird like that, this film that is barely there. But naw, it isn’t the types of films I would like to do in the future. It just … isn’t fun in any way. It is just weird and pointless. Sorry Groom Lake, you get a D-. You have a point (Shatner directed you), but it is dumb.

I’ll close with my analysis of the full series: (1) One is boring, but if you like the original series it is like an episode of that and is also much better on re-watch; (2) Two is always good and brings back one of the best villains of the original series as well, highly recommend watching that episode before the film; (3) Silly and kind of pointless … well it has a point, to get Spock back, but that was inevitable and the movie just happens around that inevitability; (4) Some people think this is the best one, I find it a bit too silly, but it is certainly fun and has by far the most genuinely funny moments Star Trek has ever seen; (5) Initial watch this is terrible, slightly better on rewatch I have to admit. Sybok is better than you would think, but again, kind of just like a long episode. (6) Where you really see Kirk stare down his age and his biases in the conclusion to open war with the Klingons. Good, but ultimately a little too confusing to be great.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Alpha and Omega Recap

Jamie

Humphrey and Kate are bestest of wolf friends, but he’s an omega and she’s an alpha and she’s destined to mate with the son of the leader of a rival wolf pack. Disaster strike, though, when they are tranquilized and transported to a far off national park. Can they get home and save the pack (and perhaps get each other) before it’s too late? Find out in… Alpha and Omega.

How?! Kate and Humphrey are wolves that want to totally bone (for real). He’s like “who dat?” whenever she’s around. But she’s an alpha and he’s an omega and that means that they can’t be together. Instead there is a sexy male wolf, Garth, that she’s supposed to mate with because he’s the son of leader of a rival wolf pack. This rival wolf pack is really struggling on the other side of valley where food is becoming scarce. So they’re like “we’re moving in and gonna done fuck you up if she doesn’t mate with Garth and join the packs.” Everyone seems cool with this scenario, except that Garth is also like “who dat?” to Kate’s sister. Anyway, this all comes to naught as Kate and Humphrey are tranquilized and transported to an Idaho park as part of a repopulation effort. Humphrey’s like “we better get busy with that repopulation effort.” But Kate is like nah and with the help of a Canadian Goose golfer (don’t ask) they start their journey back home. This also more or less goes swimmingly and they end up arriving home just as the big wolf pack battle royale is about to begin. Kate is like “I better get busy with repopulation with this sexy wolf and forget Humphrey for the good of the pack” until both she and Garth reveal the truth that they don’t love each other. The big fight ensues but is interrupted by a giant stampede where Humphrey and Kate heroically save the leaders of the two packs. They decide that Humphrey isn’t so bad after all and allow omegas and alphas to marry and they all howl at the moon which is a metaphor for a giant orgy I’m pretty sure. THE END.

Why?! They are wolves and they want to ffffffffffffff-rolic through the fields together. Seriously they just want to have sex with each other bunch a bunch of stuff stand in their way. Mostly societal rules.

What?! Obviously no product placements or MacGuffins. One interesting thing associated with any film is references to other films or errors or goofs. These are detailed manually by users on IMDb and being a weirdo I often read all of them when watching one of these films. A drawback to this is that you get goofs like this one that stay on IMDb: “When Humphrey gets attacked by a bear, you can see what appears to be a boom mic at the top right corner of the screen for a split second.” … come on IMDb. That is obviously not true… it’s not true, right?

Who?! Have to obviously point out that this was the last film made by the late Dennis Hopper and he got a Dedicated To credit as a result. Seemha Ramanna got a Special Thanks for his association with Crest Animation that made the film. He also got a Special Thanks for future BMT film Norm of the North. Apparently it was in production at Crest when it went under… in 2013. It didn’t get released until 2016. That’s quite the wait.

Where?! Set primarily in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada. Kate and Humphrey are then transported to Idaho and make their way back. It’s a pretty solid settings film given that it’s animated and due to the importance of certain aspects of these spots I’m gonna give it a B+.

When?! Ha! Nope. I have no idea. Modern times obviously. The only thing is that part of the plot is reintroduction of wolves into Idaho… This apparently happened around 1995-6. I actually don’t see much about that happening afterwards. So I’m gonna call it… I think this film is set in 1995. Prove me wrong. D- just for funsies.

I think that Alpha and Omega (which I didn’t note in the last post was actually our Chain Reaction film from The Game Plan through Christine Lakin) and Foodfight are a perfect pairing for this cycle. Alpha and Omega is a children’s film that only stands out in that is seems to insist on having weird adult sexual concepts being thrown around. The wolves are drawn all sexily and they have howling that is a stand in for the wolves canoodling on a mountaintop. Why? No one knows. Foodfight basically takes all of that to the extreme. It is racist, homophobic, anti-semitic, misogynistic, etc. etc. etc. Everything is an upsetting stereotype. So beyond the fact that it had animation at an impossibly terrible level, it just was never going to be good because it was offensive and bad from the start. So while Alpha and Omega was underwhelming on its own, the synergy between the two films made it a much more satisfying BMT film. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We watched a kids film about wolves where the wolves were like … super sexy though? Like, that bothered me. It felt really gross and wrong, and I didn’t like it. Let’s get into it.

The Good – The message I guess. The primary message of not allowing others to dictate what you can do in your life, especially about things like who makes you happy. There is a bit with howling which is somehow both terrible and also one of the only unique things the movie brings to the table as far as cheap CGI kids films go, so it has to go in the good.

P’s View on the Preview – There were two main things that interested me going in. First, just how bad the CGI was. It looked terrible in the trailer, so I thought it would be interesting to see just how cheap they went (spoiler alert, really cheap). Second, that sexy wolf. I can’t get it out of my head. Why make the girl wolf sexy? Is it just me that thinks the character design is sexy? Am I the weird one?! AM I THE WEIRD ONE?!

The Bad – The sexy wolves still bother me (AM I THE WEIRD ONE?!), but I think I’ll just put a button on that specific complaint. The story is pretty basic, and the film looks like garbage. It looks like a CGI tv show basically, something that can be produced in a hot second these days. A lot of adult humor mixed with fart jokes basically, which is an tad bit odd, but really, what did I expect?

You Just Got Schooled – This film is basically The Land Before Time series for this generation. There are eight films in total, the last three of which were produced all at once and premiered within a year and a half of each other. The voice actors have been extremely consistent once they replaced the (much more famous) original cast as well, which is a surprise. Here and the trailers for the eight films:

 Enjoy? I’m not going to link them, but there are a number of full reviews of the franchise as well. A few things stand out. First, people are genuinely passionate about the franchise, lamenting the decline in quality after the fifth installment. Second, the reviewers are all around 12 years old probably, which is profoundly weird, would I have been doing things like this if I grew up now? I guess I probably would have. Third, I would not recommend looking for any fan fiction about this franchise … yeah you guessed it, it is all basically weird porn. Franchises like this provide a veritable bounty of deep diving opportunity which gives me existential anxiety, but I still find endlessly fascinating.

The BMT – It definitely is still weird watching kids films for BMT. Like, it all seems kind of pointless once you throw out the need to have a coherent storyline or character motivations. This is one of the more interesting ones though because of its many direct-to-video sequels and really quite terrible CGI (something that is now pretty standard). In that way it was somewhat worth it. Also, it is on the Calendar. Somehow it managed to get onto the Calendar and we watched it.

Welcome to Earf – Easy peasy. Justin Long was in Alpha and Omega and also in Old Dogs with Robin Williams, who was in The Big Wedding with Robert De Niro, who was in Righteous Kill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf.

StreetCreditReport.com – None. Which isn’t very surprising for the chain reaction at the end of the chain, we often have trouble getting to the current year cycle in the end. It is on the Calendar though, which means it is the worst film released on that specific day of the year ever. So that’s something. But this isn’t even close to the worst animated film around (see below for the film that almost unanimously takes that honor), and 2010 was such a good year for bad movies it would never get close on that either.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we watched another computer animated adventure in Foodfight! Right off the bat I’ll say this is actually far more entertaining than it has any right to be (don’t get me wrong, it is boring, it is just less boring than you would think). The look of the film suggests a mid-90s video game cutscene, but it is implausibly worse than that. The Flophouse gets it right in saying it is more like what a 7 year old would produce on animation software that comes for free with a computer. I’m going to give it a B+ and hear me out. The film has an extremely unique backstory for a film like this. It was produced and released in desperation and because they were legally obligated to. Things like The Room or Troll 2 or Teen Witch all are mainly produced in a thick fog of delusion. This film started that way, but then is obviously only completed and released because they had to complete and release something (anything). And thus it sidesteps a bit of the cynicism that surrounds something like A Talking Cat?! Oh, the film itself? It is made by monsters who perhaps dream of corrupting children’s minds. It is the only explanation. If the film weren’t quite so boring / upsetting it would have gotten an A.  Like if it was as harmless as Teen Witch it would have easily gotten there I think.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

In Love and War Recap

Jamie

Young Ernest Hemingway is injured while serving in the Red Cross during World War I. He ends up falling in love with the nurse caring for him, but their love seems destined to fail. Will he single handedly win WWI (no) and get the girl? Find out in In Love and War.

How?! Young Ernest Hemingway suuuuckks. He’s a young, whiny asshole who also rescues someone in Italy and gets shot in the leg in the process. While generally whining about everything, his nurse Agnes is a hero and saves his leg from amputation. He returns the favor by following her around, pestering her, claiming that she must love him, and touching her clothes and shit even though she tells him to stop. Eventually they go out on a date and he acts like a complete idiot and she more or less is like “maybe I’ll actually think about marrying this wildly successful Italian doctor that is super into me instead of you.” He gets all mopey and she ends up leaving to help closer to the front line. When he hears he’ll be shipping home Ernest goes to the line to see her one last time and despite being a complete buffoon they dance and have sex (not necessarily in that order). They totally promise that they will love each other forever, but there’s still that sexy italian doctor coming around whispering sweet nothings in her ear. Agnes breaks it off with Ernest, but while considering the doctor’s proposal has a change of heart and returns to the States. She makes one final attempt at reconciling with Ernest, but he’s too proud and is like “no, I don’t even like you. Whatever. I’m not crying. YOU’RE CRYING!” and she leaves. Ah, a love story for the ages. The End.

Why?! Well obviously love. Duh. In reality this is a story of two young people who are in pursuit of something that they can’t quite put their finger on. Perhaps it’s adventure, or maybe trying to find a direction in life other than what seems destined (marriage, becoming a doctor, or whatever), but regardless they collide at the worst possible moment for making their love work. He is immature, but sure of their love, and she is mature enough to be cynical about what their love could mean. In the end it explodes and messes them both up. Anyway, I think I wrote more seriously than this film is worth but Ernest Hemingway does seem fascinating despite being a whiny asshole.

What?! It was a strange twist when they revealed that Hemingway had to find an ancient magical relic called the Horn of Venice in order to gain the love of Agnes. JK, lolz. Not much in this one for MacGuffins, Plot Devices, or Product Placements. Really the closest we have is a multitude of endings whereby Hemingway and Agnes keep seeing each other in Italy and America. In reality she broke it off with him and they never saw him ever again. So that’s kind of like a plot device… if deviating from reality is a plot device.

Who?! Dedicated to Henry S. Villard who wrote the book and is portrayed by BMT fave Mackenzie Astin. Why is he a fave? Because he portrayed the main character Dodger in Garbage Pail Kids. We were so inspired that Patrick wrote a whole gritty reboot for the GPKU entitled Dodger that was… disturbing. It’s also fun because Villard in the film is kind of like a Planchet. He’s mostly dismissed and made fun of by Hemingway despite apparently being his good friend.

Where?! Venice, baby! Or at least thereabouts for almost the entire film. We get some really nice shots of the city and it plays a major role in the true(ish) love story of Agnes so indispensable. I gotta give it a solid A-.

When?! WWI, baby! Interestingly there is a pretty incredible dearth of WWI films in modern day. Totally overshadowed by WWII, which gets one or two every year. I guess it’s something like Slender Man vs. Friday the 13th. One has a bad guy you can’t get enough of and they keep pumping them out. The other is just a vague notion that is hard to convey concretely without getting bogged down narratively. Sorry WWI, you the Slender Man of wars. A.

This movie is fine. Makes me want to read some Hemingway and marvel at the fact that this film came out in the mid-90’s pretty much right when these types of films stopped being made. At this point it plays like a TV Movie for the BBC and I let it wash over me as such. The only major critique was that it ended at least five separate times… could have done with the first couple and that’s about it. As for Liz & Dick, I find it amazing that it was written about so extensively online as if it was the worst thing that has ever happened. First of all, ever watch the SyFy network? Second of all, the outcry at Lindsay Lohan’s performance seems totally unwarranted. Sure, I would guess that a film critic might be knowledgeable enough about film history to know that her vaguely transatlantic accent doesn’t actually match Elizabeth Taylor’s accent at all but guess who doesn’t know that? Me. She wasn’t even the worst actor in the movie and she showed off a little by squeezing out some tears here and there. It was fine. We’re fine. BMT’s fine. I SAID IT’S FINE! Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! World War I was a war of attrition with countries attempting to wait out supply lines and ammunition in fortified trenches for years on end. In Love and War attempts to do the same, waiting out my patience for what feels like years on end. Let’s get into it!

The Good – The vistas as usual. The story itself is somewhat interesting. It is almost one of those stories that seems so crazy that it couldn’t be true. A rare World War I film, and even rarer given it covers an aspect of that war that itself it basically never covered, the Italian front against Austria. O’Donnell would be good as a kind-of stunt cast given he embodies youthful naivety perfectly, although it becomes problematic I think in the grand scheme of things. Did I mention the vistas?

P’s View on the Preview – The thing that most critics seemed to cite is the incredibly, almost impossibly, bad chemistry between the leads. What I became somewhat interested in was Richard Attenborough, who beat out Spielberg for Best Director with Gandhi in 1982, acted in Spielberg’s Jurassic Park in 1993, and then directed this film two years prior to Spielberg creating one of the best war films ever in Saving Private Ryan. This is probably considered his worst directorial effort of his career which is notable.

The Bad – A bore. Not only because the war scenes don’t look particularly good or interesting, but because the story itself just kind of meanders around and then ends at least three times before finally closing out. Sandra Bullock is a particular weak spot playing opposite of an appropriately youthful and naive O’Donnell, although neither seem to be very good actors in the end. A waste of what is ultimately a pretty fascinating story.

You Just Got Schooled – To put it mildly there isn’t much to learn about this film without actually reading the book it is based on (whoops, sorry not sorry). Instead I think I’ll look at a little World War I analysis. Using the IMDb keyword there are eight films which qualify for BMT. Of those, only two are actually set on the battlefields of World War I, this and Flyboys starring James Franco. The Ottoman Lieutenant (starring Josh Hartnett) could also qualify, although it was only released to 200 theaters. Of those three In Love and War is actually the highest qualifying World War I film! Box Office Mojo agrees with this analysis, Flyboys and In Love and War are the only bad major releases based in World War I. As a matter of fact, the only other major releases since 1980 in the Box Office Mojo genre are Wonder Woman and War Horse. Which is astonishing. I think this will change soon. Wonder Woman has reignited interest in the genre, as will the upcoming Peter Jackson documentary.

The BMT – I doubt I will even remember this film by the time next week rolls around. It’ll maybe crop up if we ever watch another World War I film though. That is something I suppose. But no, it is very much not BMT material in the end.

Welcome to Earf – Alright, so Chris O’Donnell was in this and Batman & Robin as the titular Robin, which also starred Arnold Schwarzenegger who was in Expendables 3 with Sylvester Stallone, who was in Zookeeper with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was also in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – None. I even tried to look up the worst World War I films, and the one that was put above In Love and War is this guy, which is so small it has less than one thousand votes on IMDb and doesn’t even seem that bad. Given its Rotten Tomatoes rating and the fact that Leonard Maltin gave it a BOMB, it is impressive how under the radar the film is.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we watched the Lifetime Original film Liz and Dick. Staring Lindsay Lohan and … some guy, and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the film was … a Lifetime Original. As a matter of fact, it seems like it was better than I would have expected from such a film. Lohan is okay, and it is a bit surprising she doesn’t get any work acting anymore, she’s fine for roles like this honestly (which probably means she’s still a pain to deal with). The story is interesting, although the film itself felt like it was four hours long, which is a major downside. I’m going to give this a D+ as a friend. It needs to be done because of Lohan, but it is so unrepresentative of what I want in a Lifetime Original (drama up the wazoo), that I have to punish it severely. It is kind of just a special case which after you watch it you’ll think “yup … that was Lindsay Lohan in a Lifetime Original film … cool.” Not worth it.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs