The Bye Bye Man Recap

Jamie

Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. He’s the Bye Bye Man and he’s out to get some Wisconsin college students. Once they learn his name he has the ability to manipulate them into committing terrible deeds. Can they say bye bye to the Bye Bye Man before it’s too late? Find out in… The Bye Bye Man.

How?! Ethan, his girlfriend Sasha, and his best bud forever John take the plunge and rent an off-campus house to live it up like real adults. When his brother comes to visit, Ethan’s niece discovers some odd coins near an old end table. When he goes to put the coins back in the drawer, Ethan discovers some creepy writing repeating the phrase, “Don’t think it. Don’t say it,” and the name The Bye Bye Man etched into the wood. “Who’s that?” he wonders. “He must be super rad with such a rad name that is in no way ridiculous or silly sounding.” During a seance set up to ease Sasha’s mind about the super creepy house they moved into, Ethan is spooked into invoking the name of the Bye Bye Man. Almost immediately everyone who heard it starts to have crazy things happen to them. Ethan keeps imagining a man in a dark cloak, Sasha gets a mysterious sickness, and John keeps hallucinating death and pestilence of those around him. Delving into the mystery Ethan discovers a local journalist who wrote a story with the Bye Bye Man’s name in it. The story was never published, but it turns out that just days after writing it the journalist went crazy and killed a bunch of his neighbors and himself. Realizing that they are being haunted by the Bye Bye Man, Ethan races to save his roommates. Knowing that there is only two things that can kill the Bye Bye Man: 1) killing everyone you know or 2) not fearing him, Ethan opts for the second choice (obvs). But when he gets back to his house to inform his roommates of the Bye Bye Man’s weakness, Ethan is tricked by the Bye Bye Man into killing Sasha. Seeing no end to the horror he burns down the house and kills himself before he can tell anyone else. Unfortunately in a huge unforeseeable twist, John survives the fire just long enough to tell a police officer the Bye Bye Man’s name. Uh oh! Do I smell a franchise?!

Why?! Our main victims are simply living and loving. They want to get out of the dorms and live it up in a house like adults. They can and will have it all. We get a little taste of some motivation for Elliot in the oft-mentioned death of his parents as a kid. It’s why he’s best friends with John, it’s why his brother is worried about him, and seems to be part of the grow-up-fast mentality that gets him into trouble. He pushes himself forward so that he can have the family that he lost at such a young age (and which he misses even more now that his big brother has a family of his own) and playing house with Sasha in a creepy mansion haunted by the Bye Bye Man is part of that. As for the titular Bye Bye Man, he just wants to spread like a virus infecting all that hear his name because he’s an evil demon whose only aim is chaos. His plan is particularly shitty though because he drives all who hear his name insane which leads to them killing themselves and everyone else who heard the name. So much for spreading the virus. You would think the Bye Bye Man would start out like a salesman. “Forgive my weird pale skin, lack of tongue and eyes, and weird demon dog but the deals I can provide you will drive you craaaaazzzzy. That’s Bye Bye Man. Spread the word and say my name.” Soon people would find themselves driving all over the country selling Bye Bye Man door-to-door only to discover that it was all a ruse and they’ve doomed the world to chaos and destruction! That would be a better plan. Fortunately for humanity the Bye Bye Man is a big ol’ dumb dumb who thinks only in the short term. His fatal flaw really.

What?! Good place to note just how many accessories The Bye Bye Man already has in only the first installment of the series (there will be five more, right? I hope). He has gold coins that jingle and jangle when he’s near, he’s got a spooky cloak that he wears, he has a creepy demon dog that he keeps close by, and he has a train that he rides (in your dreams! Oooooo, spooky). Super rare to get to this height in the accessory game and extra rare to get a vehicle. Worst part? The train is never explained nor really comes into play in any significant way at all. If you’re gonna give him a train the least you can do is let him use it.

Who?! Writer and Survivor celeb Jonathan Penner shows up in the film as Mr. Daizy, the landlord of the house who helpfully reminds our young tenets that they signed a lease, Bye Bye Man infestation or not. Also would like to point out that we had a particularly bad American accent by Cressida Bonas. She’s young and has time to work it out but for all those that say how unfair it is that British actors can seemingly play American with ease I would use this as a counterpoint.

Where?! We get an intertitle in the beginning informing us that the intro to the film takes place in Madison, Wisconsin. This setting continues for the whole film evidenced by a plethora of Wisconsin license plates. B-

When?! Like the Wisconsin setting we are treated to an intertitle placing the flashback scenes on October 20, 1969. Finding the date for the main thrust of the film is a little tougher. We can presume that it’s winter due to all the ice we see, but it’s not until later when we catch a glimpse of a sticky note in a gardening shop detailing a recent order for nightshade placed on “12/15” that we get that sweet, sweet exact date. Gonna give that a C+.

It’s been awhile since Patrick and I have had as much fun with a film as this one. It’s a silly film, with a silly name, and an even sillier monster. It is inherently hilarious and I cannot wait for The Bye Bye Man 2. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I can see the producers meeting now. Mr. Penner, love the Bye Bye Man. Super atmospheric, super spooky. Helps that horror films just print money, amirite? I just have a few notes. So this Bye Bye Man, he’s like an albino with a cloak right? But, like, what if he also had a dog? Amps up that spook-factor and the kiddies love it, amirite? And how about people hear train noises when he’s around, and like find gold coins and stuff. Think on it, think on it, but I’m just saying … it would be a shame if something were to happen to your movie if you didn’t at least consider my notes … amirite, Mr. Penner? Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – The film had a decent bit of atmospheric haunted-house spookiness to it early on. That is it. That needs a Remake there is just so much that could be done. First, strip down The Bye Bye Man! It is so obvious he has too much going on. I think you go train and that’s it. Even his look is off. He should be a raggedy man. Like a serial killing hobo riding from town to town. A ghostly figure which infects a person, makes them go crazy, and makes them kill for him like he used to back in the day. No need for the haunted house. Strip out the weird jealousy love triangle B-story. A guy is living with his two roommates. One day he finds an old coin along some train tracks and he begins to go mad. Ultimately, The Bye Bye Man comes to life and kills his roommates and as a final act makes the protagonist kill himself which is ultimately passed off as a mass murder. Easy peasy! Close with another person across the country finding an identical coin along some train tracks. Bam! This movie botches literally everything about what is kind of an interesting urban legend. It is nuts.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – Let’s see. The acting is terrible. The Bye Bye Man looks hilarious (I hate horror films and I can’t stop making jokes about The Bye Bye Man. Like he looks goofy as fuck. You look goofy Bye Bye Man! Yo goofy). The scares are non-existent. And what’s the one weird trick all Bye Bye Mans hate? If you just don’t fear him he can’t hurt you. Who’da thunk it? What a waste. And yet … this week’s Crime Against BMT-anity is that I just could not get over the spooky (not really) haunted house these guys live in. First, when was this movie supposed to take place? They just started to rent a house in Wisconsin, the keys are frozen to the ground when they get there, and they are wandering around in like light jackets? What kind of janky trimester system are they running over at Buchanan-Williams University that they are moving house in like November? Already call bullshit on that. Second, that house would be a nightmare to heat. It is huge. And it has these little tiny radiators. You better be snagging some plastic wrap at Menards Elliot. You better be saving big money. Because you are going to need to double wrap those definitely-not-double-paned windows in this ancient house. Ugh, I’m cold just thinking about it. The most horrifying thing about this movie is their monthly heating bill.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – Um, this is one of the most hilarious films I’ve ever seen for BMT. The movie is actually rather dull, but you cannot help but make fun of it after seeing it. I think this has a bright Smaddies Baddies future ahead of it. Man, bad horror films can be so fun. This is like The Fog level silliness. As for the StreetCreditReport.com, there won’t be many official lists until the year it nearly up, but I did find at least one list which places the Bye Bye Man in the top 20 worst of the year so far. I think it might be ultimately forgotten though, it came out quite a long time ago and wasn’t really a big film. We’ll see.

And we’ll wrap with a short Bring and Friend analysis. This week we watched the legendary Manos: The Hands of Fate, which was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (considered possibly the best episode they’ve ever done) as a kind of pre-1980 what does the pre-Blockbuster era have to offer us. This is a good example of a Z-film from the 50s/60s. It actually does remind me of Plan 9 From Outer Space. But would I want to watch more of them? Not really. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians would be another I would consider doing eventually, but they need to be special, on the IMDb Bottom 100 or something. Verdict: Good for special occasions and not much else.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Advertisements

Clan of the Cave Bear Recap

Jamie

After an earthquake kills her mother a Cro-Magnon child, Ayla, is rescued by a clan of Neanderthals. While most accept her into the clan, she is tormented by the future leader, Broud, and struggles to abide by the strict customs of the clan so alien to her own. Can she overcome the evolutionary gap before it’s too late? Find out in… The Clan of the Cave Bear.

How?! We open on Ayla’s mother getting sucked into the earth due to an earthquake. Left to fend for herself she wanders about, eventually getting attacked by a lion and surviving only long enough to be found by a Neanderthal clan looking for a new cave. The leader of the clan wants to abandon the child, but eventually relents when Ayla leads them to a perfect new cave. She seems destined to be one of their own. Over the years Ayla is slowly accepted into the clan, except by the jealous future leader Broud who resents the freedom that Ayla seems to have. While she bucks the strict cultural dogma of the clan by secretly learning to use a sling, Broud takes pleasure in beating her and forcing himself upon her, eventually leading to her pregnancy. Soon thereafter she is caught using the sling when she saves a young boy from a wolf attack. Exiled for a month in the harsh winter there seems to be little chance of her survival, but through her adaptation skills and ingenuity she gives birth and survives the winter alone (seems unlikely, but whatever). After her return, her place in the clan only grows, much to the chagrin of Broud. In the end Broud is officially named leader of the tribe whereby Ayla is exiled and forced to forge her own way in the world. This injustice causes an irreparable rift in the clan meant to show how unwillingness to adapt is the eventual downfall of the Neanderthals. Science! I know that synopsis sounds uneventful, but I assure you it’s even less eventful than I described. The End.

Why?! Motivations in the film are few and far between. As in the book, the film spends most of its time speculating on the lives of Neanderthals. The day to day struggles of Ayla are rooted in her having a different sense of self and concept of gender roles due to differences in the brain of Neanderthals compared to Cro-Magnon humans. This is of course based on science… JK LOLZ. It’s not. The Neanderthals can see into the past and the future and shit with their crazy Neanderthal brains and are basically magic. If there is any motivation at all it’s for the clan to survive and Ayla to fit in. The clan cannot adapt to her feminist ways and her exile presages the decline of the Neanderthals as a dominant species on Earth. Boom roasted, Neanderthals. You might be magic, but Ayla can do math. You donzo.

What?! There is nothing more I would have loved than to see product placement in this film. Would have made up for a somewhat bizarre but mostly boring BMT film. But alas, no quick draughts of Coca-Cola before the big musk ox hunt and I’m unfamiliar with the brands of cocaine from the 80’s.

Who?! We get a true celebrity appearance in this film. During a large clan gathering there is a bear fight. The bear is played by none other than Bart the Bear, one of the most famous animal actors ever. We’ve seen him before in On Deadly Ground and we’ll see him again in Meet the Deedles. The funniest rumor is that he got enough votes to be nominated for an Oscar for the 1988 film The Bear, but rules precluded animals from receiving nominations, so it couldn’t go forward. I guess the Oscars figured out what the officials in Air Bud couldn’t.

Where?! The book is pretty clear exactly where this all takes place (Ukraine), but the film obviously doesn’t have a good way of talking about the setting. Doesn’t even really try. But ignorance is no excuse for the law. Jamie’s law of settings is ironclad. F.

When?! Likely takes place in the Late Pleistocene period when the Neanderthals were heading towards extinction. Impossible to get any more accurate than that. D-.

I could not resist the allure of reading the smash hit novel that this film was based on, even if it was a 500 page feminist novel from the 80’s. In the end it was a pretty slow go. I liked the characters and it was certainly interesting to read the speculation on the life and biology of Neanderthals (although a lot of the magic memory stuff she did was more than laughable). At the same time I don’t think the message and construction of the book aged very well. It’s primarily an allegory pertaining to the second-wave feminism of the 60’s and 70’s, which makes the life and culture of the Neanderthals oddly modern feeling and yet the message dated. This actually penetrated the film as well where a major complaint by reviewers was how modern everything seemed. Overall it was a pretty straight adaptation with some events merged together and small changes near the end… but largely faithful probably to its detriment. Patrick?  

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Have you ever had a dream where things are happening around you but it is all kind of fuzzy and unfocused and when you wake up you can’t remember it? When you are awake and that happens to you it’s called a Clan of the Cave Bear. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Prequel, Sequel, Remake) – You can appreciate why the book exists and what the author was trying to do. She had researched the time period and decided to make a fictionalized version of this world she knew so well. The movie basically has some decent sets and settings. Other than that though … let’s remake it! So, the one good thing really was the setting. So we get back to Vancouver, start shooting those vistas! No sign language, as a matter of fact I want this to be action packed! Hunting, the empowerment of young women, a strong independent lead living in Clan of the Cave Bear. I’m going to go ahead and cut out the multiple rape scenes as well, and let’s go ahead and give the main villain his comeuppance and the lead a happy ending, and … What’s that? Yes, I said multiple rape scenes, it is … not fantastic. You know what? This is irredeemable, I don’t even want to watch my own remake!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – First, this movie is stone cold boring. It is effectively an art piece showing in painful detail the machinations of caveman sign language. Second, there are, as I said, multiple uncomfortable rape scenes and in general the struggle of the lead is neither particularly fulfilling nor ultimately redemptive. They stayed a bit too close to home in creating a villain and then never bothering to punish him, and creating a hero and never bothering to save her. Dare I say the film comes across as somewhat nihilistic even. It takes place before any familiar religion so … alright, this is getting a bit heavy, but let’s say by the end I just kind of felt horrible for early human beings more than anything else. Finally, and maybe it is a matter of a brutal filming schedule or demanding make-up process, but some of the actors look a little zonked out. I don’t want to speculate about drugs or anything else, but I literally laughed out loud a few times as the actors looked around with unfocused deadpan looks on their faces. It was weird. I’m going to go with an old favorite of BMT for the Sklognalogy with God and Generals. This 4+ hour epic is basically just an exercise in filming accurate portrayals of Civil War troop maneuvers. And it is as exciting as it sounds. The one thing I thought it lacked was detailed sign language though.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – Legacy will be the same as Gods and Generals in which I might remember it for being so boring. Unlike Gods and Generals though it didn’t have a comically long running time going for it, so it is more likely just remembered as a more-bad-than-BMT film of this year. I’m kind of stunned, but the film has almost no cred. No Razzies (an Oscar nod even) and nowhere really mentioned it as a particularly bad film. It just kind of got forgotten. Hey, look at that … we all agree.

You can read the review of Air Bud: Golden Receiver separately, but does it change our minds about Kids’ films? Actually … the more I reflect on it the more it kind of does. I liked watching Air Bud 2. I thought it was fascinating from two levels. First, the B story is kind of an interesting part of the kids’ film genre, and exploring that more could be very fun. Second, something like a nearly-direct-to-DVD sequel has its own kind of charm. Little Giants, The Big Green, The Mighty Ducks, all had that kind of charm. Perhaps sports movies are the key? Regardless it is definitely something to consider, especially in the new year when we are considering a modification to the cycle. Stay tuned.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Jaws 3-D Recap

Jamie

Jaws is back, Jack! Just when the latest SeaWorld resort is set to open, our titular shark swims into the park with a baby in tow ready to wreak havoc. Can Michael Brody stop the terror and get the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… Jaws 3-D.

How?! SeaWorld is about to open a new resort and things are popping. They got waterskiers, they got dolphins doing tricks, and they got our old friend Mike Brody getting hot and heavy with his lady love. Life is good and nothing could go wrong. When a maintenance man goes missing on a routine dive, Mike goes searching for his body only to discover that a shark has gotten loose in the resort! Uh oh! Springing into action the trainers are able to corner the shark and capture it alive… which seems suspect.You would think it would be a lot harder to capture a monster shark alive. They literally had to blow it to smithereens and electrocute it to death in the past. But oh well, nothing to see here (or is there?). Obviously it soon becomes clear that the shark they captured is just the baby of the true monster Jaws that we’ve come to love and respect. By the time Mike realizes this it’s too late, the resort is in the midst of its grand opening. As the shark wreaks havoc across the limited scope of a theme park, they devise a plan to lure it into a tunnel and suffocate it to death. When this plan fails there’s only one thing left to do: delicately remove the pin from a water grenade held by a dead guy chilling in the mouth of the shark (even more ridiculous than it sounds). After a grand 3D explosion we are treated to a couple dolphins doing neato tricks. THE END.

Why?! Sadly this legitimately becomes a question in the Jaws series as the Brody family is continually stalked by killer sharks. In the first two films you could chalk it up to the shark being hungry and heading to Amity to snack nearer to shore. So its motivation is simply to eat because it’s essential to life. However, this film would take place a decade later in a totally different state and Michael and Sean Brody would once again encounter a monstrous shark that wants to eat them. So we must ask what the shark’s real motivation is. My guess? It’s an assassin sent from the future to kill the Brody family as their offspring are all that stands in the way of the successful shark uprising of 2044. Wait… did I just make this movie rad?

What?! This film is peppered with product placement but you simply can’t ignore the fact that it’s essentially a five hour commercial for SeaWorld (Wait, this film wasn’t five hours long?) Halfway through the film they open the park to great fanfare and it actually made me sad. I don’t want to watch a commercial for SeaWorld! Why did you make me, BMT?

Who?! No Planchet character to be seen. In fact very little humor at all. One interesting fact is that the actor who portrayed Sean Brody, John Putch, eventually turned full time to directing, mostly for television. I presumed he wouldn’t have directed anything for BMT… I presumed wrong. He is none other than the director of Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike. It’s a small BMT world.

Where?! Have I mentioned that this is set at SeaWorld in Florida? Because it’s set entirely in a theme park in Florida. This really should be an A+, but can only get an A because it happens to not be called SeaWorld: The Movie. A.

When?! I didn’t get anything exact. It can be presumed that it’s the beginning of summer since Sean Brody arrives on the scene fresh off final exams at school. I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed something more specific, but for now it stands as a measly D.

This film is terrible. An unacceptable jump down from a serviceable first sequel in Jaws 2. The storyline could never have been made successfully and they obviously got a director who didn’t have the chops to bring the tension that either Jaws or Jaws 2 had (albeit in two totally different ways). Not a surprise that he didn’t direct ever again. I did not like it at all. As for our Friend, D-Tox starring Sly Stallone I’ll let Patrick talk about the merits of the film. Instead I’ll limit my comments to the book on which it’s based, Jitter Joint. The film and book are only very tenuously connected, to the point where I wonder how the author ended up with a credit. Other than the basic idea of a cop heading to rehab and dealing with a string of murders, they are entirely different. The book ended up having a more sensical and original killer (son of an alcoholic targeting alcoholics) and a nice ambiguous ending (not sure whether he ends up living or dying), so I guess I enjoyed that one more, although I didn’t much enjoy the book. It’s just that the film didn’t have much of anything of value. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! So you’re the new PR director for SeaWorld and you want to make … a splash! Luckily you got connections up to wazoo, and you’ve been hearing that Jaws is not only going three-dimensional but also, more excitedly, they are looking for some corporate synergy! Can they guarantee all patrons to SeaWorld will look 100% super happy and 100% super alive throughout? … No? Whatever, let’s get that money making machine rolling! Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Lea Thompson is as cute as ever, and Dennis Quaid obvs looks great too. I dug the classic 70s/80s bar scene. There is so little good here I’m actually having a hard time figuring out what to do, because the idea behind Sequel/Prequel/Remake is to take the nugget of good and try and correct everything around it to make a good movie. But … honestly this comes across as more of one of the knockoff Jaws films that were being made in the late-70s and early 80s. So I guess Remake it, but don’t make it a Jaws film. Strip all of it out, and almost go Jurassic Park with it: Shark World. A bold SeaWorld-like amusement park which claims the world’s largest and most dangerous sea life on display! But uh-oh, everything goes wrong and a small group of patrons are trapped underwater fighting for their lives against the park’s most dangerous pets. Meanwhile, on the surface there is a scramble to secure the facility in the face of a greedy owner who only cares about money and himself, in that order. Shark World 3D! Underwater, they are the dominant species!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – This film looks like a cheap 70s film you’d see on Mystery Science Theater 3000. In fact, the Sklognalogy is from MST3K: The Return, the disasterpiece Avalanche! This movie very much comes across as similar to that, cheap with weirdly well-known main actors and only appealing to the genre nuts. The director clearly had no idea how to film underwater, the connection to SeaWorld is gross and perplexing, and there is never really a coherent storyline (at least not one you care about). It also shits all over the Jaws franchise. In a way that is actually unrecoverable. This movie took a series that had kind of a silly but inevitable sequel, to a laughable franchise that would eventually be poked fun of in Back to the Future II.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – For us I think Jaws 3D joins a film like Can’t Stop the Music as being just kind of perplexing. I could see myself watching it again if, for whatever reason, I found myself watching all four at once. But I doubt it. It is probably still going to be one of the technically worst films we see in BMT, because films that look this technically bad probably wouldn’t be released any year after around 1988. And street cred would be hard to determine if not for the Razzies where it got nominated for nearly every award (it won none of them), and, blessedly, a very amusing clip by Siskel and Ebert for their worst of the year.

Definitely a catastrophe at the time.

There was a small Homework Sklog-signment here in that I had never previously seen Jaws 2. And honestly? In many ways I dug it. I agreed with the choice to show more of the shark since the surprise in the first one was already blown. I liked the teenage characters and the tension when they were stranded on a flotilla of broken sailboats. It worked all the way up to the end, when a terrible looking fiberglass island comes into play, and the shark is electrocuted to end it all. And, obviously, the fact that the Amity Island selectmen wouldn’t believe Brody that a shark was attacking after seeing a shark eat a bunch of people ten years prior is ludicrous.

The more important bit was out Bring a Friend, where we brought along a true blue straight-to-DVD picture. D-Tox starring Sylvester Stallone would remind anyone that watching straight-to-DVD garbage just isn’t worth it. It is boring, and honestly the entire movie is cut in such a way as to make little-to-no sense. I don’t think it is going to change our mind in our tendency to avoid non-theatrical releases, but maybe we just have to find the right one. The set and much of the acting was amusing though, so it did get pretty close. I don’t think I would have necessarily batted an eye if that had come up in BMT, besides that it might be the most poorly edited together film I’ve seen. I’ll leave it there. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Christmas with the Kranks Recap

Jamie

With their daughter away for Christmas, the Kranks decide to skip it all together, save some money, and go for a luxury cruise much to the annoyance of their neighbors. That is until their daughter surprises them on Christmas Eve. Can they turn it around and save Christmas before it’s too late? Find out in… Christmas with the Kranks.

How?! When Luther and Nora Krank’s only daughter heads off to Peru with the Peace Corps it seems like Christmas just won’t be the same. In a stroke of genius Luther concocts a scheme where they will boycott the entire holiday, save some money, and go on a luxury cruise instead. This plan immediately runs into trouble as they boycott the firemen, police officers, and boy scouts who come for the normal charity and kindness they’ve come to expect from the Kranks in the holiday season. Not this year, freeloaders! No retreat and no surrender! They particularly miff their holiday obsessed neighbors when they refuse to decorate their house along with everyone else. After suffering the entire community’s scorn they get tantalizingly close to their cruise only to get a call from their daughter surprising them with a holiday visit with her new fiance she met in Peru! Oh no! Scrambling around they find themselves unable to get guests or decorations together for a last minute Christmas Eve party. Looking for one last dose of holiday cheer Luther attempts to put up a giant Frosty decoration on his house, but nearly dies in the process. Seeing this near death experience the neighbors band together to put on the party and give the Krank clan a Christmas they’ll never forget. The End.

Why?! This is actually an interesting question. Everyone kind of assumes that they decide to skip Christmas to save a quick buck, which obviously rubs everyone the wrong way. It’s no wonder they think this either since both Luther and Nora use this excuse throughout the film. While it’s made more explicit in the book, the reality is that Luther just doesn’t really like Christmas. He thinks it’s wasteful and stressful and is basically just protesting the season. He doesn’t like the peer pressure to participate that is heaped on them by their neighbors and he wants to show how much better it is to just skip it. Spoiler alert, though, it turns out skipping it is much more stressful than actually doing it. So I guess the moral of the story is that peer pressure works really well.

What?! For a Christmas movie this was surprisingly bereft of product placement. I would note an interesting thing about the Frosty prop used in the film. IMDb claims that it was Tim Allen’s dad’s Frosty that is used in a huge number of different films. This cannot possibly be true. First, the book has the Frosty plotline, which would be super coincidental. Second, the Frosty prop is now on display in a Christmas film prop show currently in Akron. Third, there is zero evidence online to corroborate this absurd claim. For shame, IMDb.

Who?! Dedicate “in loving memory” to Alan King, a famous comedian who died the year of its release. He apparently shot some scenes in the role of Luther’s boss, but they ended up on the cutting room floor. He also has a dedication in the credits of Rush Hour 3, which is an interesting double billing. The Alan King Double Feature.

Where?! Riverside, Illinois is the home of the Kranks. Noted by a local newspaper and police. Lots of license plates around as well. Solid, but not over the top. B.

When?! A+ Setting Alert! Again, nothing like a holiday film to open the door for some title integration. Made me wonder if there is any example of a film with a double A+ setting. Both a place and a time integrated in title. A Christmas title is the best opportunity. Something like A New York Christmas or something. Autumn in New York is a good one Patrick found, but I’m not sure how I would grade that. I know how to grade this, though. A+.

I took one for the team this week and read the novella on which this film is based, Skipping Christmas by John Grisham (yes, that John Grisham). For the most part the film is an exact adaptation, made possible by the low page count. The only additions were some slapstick stunts like the freezing of a cat, which were probably deemed necessary since the book is mostly a story of a bunch of assholes being assholes to each other (with some snark thrown in here and there). I have to note one glaring omission: in the book when the Kranks hear that their daughter is bringing her new Peruvian fiance to Christmas they take a moment to note that many Peruvians are dark-skinned… alrighty. I thought I had misread it. But, then when he shows up they note with glee that he’s not dark-skinned at all, but is in fact lighter than Luther… sufficed to say that didn’t make it into the film. Nothing like a bit of casual racism to get you in the holiday spirit. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Your production company is feeling that itch for some corporate synergy. They’re wondering if a Christmas movie could be made that as a bit more … apologetic towards the rampant commercialization of the holiday season. You’ve got a can-do attitude, right?! Grab your John Grisham novel, and milk that sweet IP! Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Tim Allen pulls off the grumpy-dad character quite well. And while the message is gross, the ultimate pay off in the end kind of makes it all understandable. Also, credit where credit is due, I did not see the rather emotional twist at the end coming. I think I want to see the Sequel! That’s right, in the intervening years, while Blair and Enrique have come to Chicago every year for the big Christmas bash, this year Blair is pregnant and can’t travel from, you guessed it, Peru! So the Kranks are going on vacation. It’s a culture clash for the ages as the Kranks meet the Decardenals (holy shit, he has a last name!) and have a true blue peruvian Christmas! Christmas with the Kranks 2: Meet the Decardenals!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – The message is pretty gross as all of the reviews say. Even then, the movie is kind of two movies smushed together. The first half is all about them skipping Christmas (and honestly, being jerks about it … like, you are saving $3K, you can’t give a donation to the cops, c’mon!), and then halfway through they realize they can’t anymore, so it kind of kicks into high gear at that point. As far as Christmas films go, this might be the worst I’ve seen (Saving Christmas doesn’t count), but it still has the charm of being about family and fun and Christmas. You just wish it wasn’t so heavy-handed and gross about greed-is-good mentality of embracing Christmas materialism. The Sklognalogy is … well, avoiding the obvious, let’s go with The Guardian starring Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner. Another movie that feels like two movies smushed together and ultimately fails to be particularly good versions of either movie it is trying to be.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I think this could have major ramifications for BMT, but it depends on whether we are willing to sacrifice some BMT Live action. Primarily because … I think this movie could have been really fun to watch around Christmas. Which makes me think we could have three BMT Lives and a BMT Holiday extravaganza instead. If that happens, this movie will make a turning point in BMT. Otherwise, none, perfectly forgettable beyond being a not-at-all-secret BMT Holiday film. It does get a few shouts as a top ten worst holiday film. And gets shouts as one of the worst films of 2004. In other words, this had the cred. Like Deck the Halls, it had to be done as an all-time bad holiday film.

Before I go I want to do a brief analysis on the “friend” from this pair. In this case we were testing the waters concerning Christian Films, by watching Saving Christmas, breaking an unspoken BMT rule in the process. So, did we prove the rule by watching the exception and realizing even the extremes still barely qualify? Or are more religious films coming soon to a BMT near you? … Personally, it is the exception that proves the rule. Christian films are low quality, and just make me angry with what is often a disingenuous holier-than-thou attitude. Our unspoken rule of really only doing those once in a lifetime movies seems a-ok to me at this point. This is a BMT film, but it is also probably the biggest one ever released (not counting something like Passion of the Christ I suppose) … and it still barely qualifies. So doubtful any others are really worth it.

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs