Never Talk to Strangers Recap

Jamie

Dr. Sarah Taylor is a psychologist extraordinaire. When a new mystery man comes into her life at the same time that she becomes the victim of a mystery tormentor’s psychotic games, she starts to suspect they may be one and the same. Can she stop her tormentor (or does she even want to?) before it’s too late? Find out in… Never Talk to Strangers.

How?! Dr. Sarah Taylor specializes in Multiple Personality Disorder (but I’m sure that’ll have no bearing on the plot). She explains how it’s characterized by bouts of amnesia and I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that she also seems to be forgetting a lot… … … Anyway, she’s still reeling from a broken engagement which leaves no room for a relationship with her friendly neighbor or even getting back in touch with her estranged father (hmmmm, isn’t childhood trauma also a sign of MPD? I’m sure that’s not relevant). One day she meets a mysterious sexy guy, Tony, at the grocery store who is mysteriously sexy. They begin a steamy relationship, but something seems off. Not only is he a little volatile, but shortly after starting the relationship terrible things begin to happen to Sarah. First she is sent a bunch of rotting trash as a gift (ok fine) and then her cat is killed and sent to her in a box (well that escalated). At that point she decides to hire a private detective to figure out what his deal is (besides being totally steamy and hot). The detective follows Tony around New York where he reports that it appears that he has another family. Deciding to confront him she gets into his apartment when he’s away and discovers that he has a dossier on her (what a creep!). When she heads back to her apartment she ends up nearly getting killed when a rickety heater falls into the tub she was in. At that point when Tony shows up at her apartment she fears for her life, but he tells her that it’s all twisted. He was hired to investigate her in the disappearance of her former fiance. That in fact it was her all along (WHAT A TWIST!). She has MPD (who could have seen that coming?) due to her childhood trauma inflicted by her pedophile father. Just then her father shows up and Sarah goes into her MPD mode and totally kills both Tony and her father. She then gets away with it because she has MPD and does even remember. THE END.  

Why?! Huh, I guess I didn’t think of this at the time. Why… why… WHY??? I mean Tony has a purpose. He was hired by Sarah’s former fiance’s family in order to determine whether she was responsible for his disappearance. Sarah… she just forgets stuff. So I guess she mostly want to live a normal life. Her alter ego is filled with murderous rage. Simple as that.

Who?! It’s hard to say that Dennis Miller is anything but an actor. Claiming he’s like a comic-turned-actor would cover a very large portion of comic actors. BUT… there was this moment in the mid-2000s where Dennis Miller wasn’t just trying to make comedies, he was showing up in numerous thrillers between 1994-1997. Look at this lineup: Disclosure, The Net, Never Talk to Strangers, and Murder at 1600. Wild.

What?! The only thing that really stands out to me is how prominently Dennis Miller displays the bottle of Stoli that represent clue #2 of a million that De Mornay has Multiple Personality Disorder and is in fact the killer. Besides that there is a startling number of autographed photos for sale from this film that no one remembers… some costing over $100!

Where?! In my secret lair where I have all my BMT research there would be a large map hanging with little pins in it for all places that are confirmed settings in BMT films. There would be one little lonesome pin sticking out of Syracuse, NY. That’s Never Talk to Strangers. We see the location listed on Dr. Taylor’s business card. Why Syracuse, NY? No idea. B+.

When?! Secret Holiday Film Alert. From the jump we get Xmas light galore and De Mornay hesitant to invite her abusive father to Christmas dinner (no matter how much of a sad sack he’s become). Interestingly, even by the end of the film it still hasn’t actually reached Christmas Day. So she apparently met, dated, slept with, hired a private detective to follow, and killed Banderas all between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Busy lady. A.

I LOVED THIS MOVIE (in a very BMT way). It kinda has everything we’re looking for. It’s a “very serious” movie made by “very serious” people about “very serious” things, but clearly the studio didn’t like where things were heading with it and turned what was likely a three hour erotic melodrama into an 86 minute fiasco. I harp on the length only because you start the movie and within 10 minutes not only does De Mornay explain what Multiple Personality Disorder is and its association with bouts of amnesia, but then we are treated to her very noticeably forgetting things about her own life… almost as if she herself has amnesia, bum bum bum. It’s impossible for someone to watch this movie and not immediately conclude that De Mornay is the murderer herself. That is unless maybe they were distracted by the warp speed editing that chops everything to pieces. It’s just the best. Add in some truly… uh… interesting sex scenes with Banderas and it really is an unexpected treat. This is basically what I want out of my erotic thrillers. Some erotic thrills (of course) combined with the inevitable need for a twist resulting in some real dumb stuff to laugh at. As for Cover Me, I was surprised to find a competently made thriller within this Skinemax schlock. Color me schlocked (thank you). If you took out the excessive number of sex scenes (leave the library sex scene in, please… what can I say, I’m a fan of libraries) you’d almost think it was a normal film with subpar actors. Oh, I guess minus the sexist undertones inherent to the genre, of course. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We got murderers! We got Multiple Personality Disorders! We got the beautiful skyline of Toront… er, (checks notes) Syracuse, NY?! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – It is a rare thing that I roll up to a film basically knowing nothing about it. I was even skeptical that it was a true erotic thriller … because surely I would have known about it in that case, surely it must be just a regular old Ashley-Judd-esque thriller. But nope, it is, indeed, a true erotic thriller. We might now actually be done with them as far as theatrical releases. What were my expectations? To be bored. Why else would this film be so thoroughly panned and so thoroughly forgotten?

The Good – The movie looks great, but feels like a low-key ABC detective/psychologist procedural at times (if you cut out the nudity). I don’t know what it is, but everything feels so extremely bizarre that it could only have existed on television at 10PM on Fridays on ABC. Honestly, that’s a good thing. I like those types of shows, and it ended up being a nice relaxing watch (between sex scenes). Banderas and De Mornay both were great as well I thought. The film had a lot going for it under the hood. Best Bit: De Mornay in the end.

The Bad – The film is chopped to pieces and they telegraph the twist ending so early that the entire film deflates in front of you. All of the good work Banderas puts in to seems like a sleazy creep is all for nought because one could not possibly think he’s the murderer … because De Morney is obviously the murderer. The whole thing runs off kilter because the twist is so obvious. Watch the trailer … they are obviously setting it up for Banderas being the prime suspect. Look at the poster! But then watch the movie and realize that for not one single moment do you think he’s the murderer … because De Mornay is. They’ve already told you this. Baffling. But entertainingly so. It is like watching a Hannibal Lecter film where he’s the main character, but he’s like “My god, who could be eating all of these people?! Maybe this creep over here.” And then at the end they just go “It was Lecter all along!” and you, dumbstruck, stare at the screen thinking “wait … was I not supposed to think that the entire time?” Fatal flaw: I mean … the non-twist. I can’t stop thinking about it!

The BMT – This might be the best worst twist in film history? There are crazy bad twists (like in The Call) that ruin films because, for whatever reason, something producers feel the need for some big “thing” to happen at the end of the film. But this is definitely intended as a twist, but is such a not-twist that it makes you wonder if you are the stupid one for watching the movie with the obvious twist in mind. For real … did I watch the movie wrong? Did it meet my expectations? Usually BMT films merely do meet my expectations. This so far exceeded them that it is blowing my mind. I don’t get it. I still don’t get it. I will never get it. Be right back, I need to watch Never Talk to Strangers again.

Roast-radamus – Maybe the best Product Placement (What?) since (checks notes) Certs in Terminal Velocity, with the main character nervously applying Chapstick throughout the film. Also a truly incredible Setting as a Character (Where?) for Syracuse, NY for whatever reason (although it is clearly filmed in Toronto). And simultaneously the best and Worst Twist (How?) for the “reveal” that Sarah was the baddie all along (wait … were we supposed to not know that from the jump?). And incredibly BMT in the end, against all odds.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – The most interesting idea is probably a television Remake. Much like Hannibal you frame it as Sarah is a criminal psychologist who specializes in Multiple Personality Disorder. But what she doesn’t realize is that she herself has MPD, and that there are three different Sarahs. There is the diligent psychologist trying to deduce the trauma and diagnose the disorders for the criminally insane. There is a protector, who herself applies pressure to get information (and is Sarah’s unknown source of investigative information) and protects Sarah from those who mean her harm. And there is a third which is a homemaker with a family, oblivious to the other two. The reveal of the third personality occurs at the end of the first season. At the end of the second season the protector fakes the third personality’s death to get her husband off of their trail. And in the series finale, it all comes crashing down as the husband (trying to determine who murdered his wife) finds out it was his wife all along! Same ending to the sequel in the quiz, slow zoom out from the asylum where Sarah is getting treatment after her diagnosis is revealed. Never Talk to Strangers would still be the name, although it makes less sense given the description. A little bit of a stretch, but you’d have to say that the “strangers” are the other personalities hidden within or something.

Bring a Friend Analysis – Oh boy. As a friend this time we brought along a genuine Playboy feature film! Cover Me seems to be the first in a series of films made by Playboy in the mid-90s. We chose it mostly because there is, somehow, an FMV adventure game called Blue Heat which was produced concurrently to the film itself (which is insane). But I’ll talk about the game in a second (oh yeah, we played it). The movie is … almost competent? It is pretty wild. If I were to describe the quality it would be straight-to-syndication pilot episode which was ultimately passed on (e.g. K-9000). If not for the need to stop every ten or so minutes for a softcore sex scene the film itself would be okay, although it is certainly offensive from a cross-dressing / transgender perspective 25 years later. Maybe the most bizarre choice is to have the main character (who you mostly see nude for photo shoots and undercover in a strip club) in a monogamous relationship with another detective … it certainly seemed to tie their hands a bit as they danced around the fact that we saw four sex scenes between those two characters. Also crazy that it stars Paul Sorvino, Cerbin Bernsen, and Elliot Gould. The 90s were certainly a wild time, it must have cost a mint for the cast alone (relatively speaking). B+. I like the concept of the film more than actually watching it. It is saved by the (also amazingly competent) video game tie-in, otherwise there is little reason to watch it. Watching it back-to-back with playing the game though is a trip and tells you everything you need to know about the 90s.

You Just Got Schooled – Oh yeah, you didn’t think I was going to not review the game itself, Blue Heat: The Case of the Cover Girl Murders. Firstly, finding and running this game is hilarious. It is only kind of available as an iso rip from the original (4!) CDs, and then it only runs on Windows 3 or (early versions of) 95. I got a Windows 95 emulation up and running. A few tips, make sure you go with an early version of the Pentium (I used Pentium 75), I tried it with a later MMX version and it seemed to cause the videos to stutter. Also you need a graphics card that supports 256 colors, otherwise it will just throw an error during install (I went with Trident TGUI9440). Overall surprisingly painless if you follow this 1997 tutorial for PCem, although you do have to somewhat trust a few downloads (I don’t think I have a weird computer virus …). The actual game? Shockingly long and shockingly competent. It is Full Motion Video and I think made with HyperCard (which is what Myst was made in), and is a very weird game, and not just because of the nudity. It is a long investigation which is totally different from the movie, with very little in the way of knowing what is going on and why. The dialogue system can cut you off if you do something wrong, and they overwhelm the player with a huge number of “pieces of evidence”. The game is both an incredible example of how to make an open-ended criminal investigation adventure game and an unmitigated disaster … wait, that’s kind of like Police Quest! What a revelation. A+ tie-in, but as a game it is more like a straight C, surprisingly good, but still not good.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Terminal Velocity Recap

Jamie

Ditch Brodie plays by his own rules. This gets him mixed up with a beautiful lady who happens to also be an ex-KGB spy. She enlists Ditch to help stop a group of her fellow spies who are trying to steal a planeful of gold from the former Soviet Union. Can he stop the baddies (and perhaps get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Terminal Velocity.

How?! Ditch Brodie is a rebel without a cause. So even in the midst of an FAA investigation you better believe he’s ready to give a skydiving lesson to a mysterious lady who shows up out of the blue. On their way up for the dive Ditch is shocked to find that she has jumped out of the plane without a parachute! He attempts to dive after her but is too late and she crashes to the ground. Shaken up, Ditch is convinced something is off. He begins to investigate and goes to her apartment in Tucson where he’s attacked by a couple of thugs. Back at the skydiving center he is approached by an Assistant DA who is investigating the death and Ditch brushes him off. As he rides the desert in thought he notices a small plane similar to a plane seen in footage of the incident. He chases it to a gas station where he discovers that the woman, Chris, is still alive. She’s an ex-KGB spy who is trying to escape a group of her fellow former spies. Using the incident as leverage she forces him to do a night dive with her in order to infiltrate the industrial plant she worked at. Inside he retrieves a MacGuffin and barely gets away from the same group of thugs he encountered before. He retreats to the skydiving center where he arranges for a meeting between him, Chris, and the Assistant DA. But it’s a trick! The Assistant DA is actually one of the ex-KGB thugs! Chris and Ditch use a rocket car (for real) to escape and end up in the desert expositing about their histories as spies/olympic level gymnasts (also real). Chris takes the MacGuffin back and is able to track where the ultimate treasure, a planeful of Soviet gold, is hidden. The ex-KGB thugs are aiming to steal it, but Chris wants to stop them as it’ll spell doom for Russia as it tries to get its footing. They find the plane and confirm the treasure, but have to retreat when the thugs show up. Ditch is having second thoughts and lets Chris go off alone (and immediately get kidnapped). Feeling bad, Ditch chases after them with the help of a biplane, boards the treasure plane, damages it, and saves Chris. After parachuting to the ground they dispatch the last of the thugs. Ditch is now an American and Russian hero and he and Chris get medals and smooch. THE END.

Why?! Pretty good motivation film. Ditch doesn’t have much other than survival and getting hot ladies. Chris’ motivation, though, is real interesting. Her group of ex-KGB operatives find themselves a bit lost after the fall of the Soviet Union so her colleagues plan to hijack and steal a bunch of gold for their new capitalist lives. Chris is like, no way. She still has family in Russia and crippling the young country by stealing all their wealth isn’t in the cards for her. It’s pretty interesting to see how movies made their way through a changing world.

Who?! Nothing super interesting here. There was some thanks and an In Memory credit for a make-up artist on the film. I couldn’t find out much about his passing, though. Some interesting actors show up in bit parts though. Melvin Van Peebles, who just passed away, is there, as is Rance Howard, father of Ron Howard.

What?! Put this squarely on the Coke side of the Coke-Pepsi debate. I wonder if it’s because we are focusing on the 90’s that it seems like every film had to have a fridge full of soda. Gandolfini’s character also has a funny quirk of chewing Certs when he’s nervous… at least when he’s in the guise of a lowly assistant DA and not a ruthless ex-KGB agent.

Where?! This appears to mostly be set in Arizona. Several times they orient themselves around Tucson and Phoenix as they drive and dive their way around the state. Years after mapl.de.map it’s always fun to find another one that would have been a good choice for a state. Interesting that American Anthem was our choice for Arizona back in the day as that also is gymnastics centric… I wonder if that is how Sheen’s character ended up there. Was at the gymnastics training facility and eventually drifted out to the skydiving area.

When?! Patrick helpfully noted the presence of a calendar flipped to March in one of the scenes. Otherwise I didn’t note anything in particular about when this might be taking place. That’s good enough for a C, with some room for improvement if they were to at some point enjoy some green beer or whatnot.

Fun movie with some real bad acting by the main players, some good acting by Gandolfini, and some Christopher MacDonald acting from Christopher MacDonald. It’s also pretty confusing if you were simply trying to watch a glossy 90’s action flick about skydiving. At times it’s like they assume the audience wrote the movie or something. Sheen is skydiving into a smokestack and then running away with something in a coat rack while being chased by Russians (who don’t sound Russian) as he does the bidding of a Russian (who kinda sounds Russian). At a certain point you just have to let the movie flow, and indeed it slowly coalesces over one of the several necessary exposition scenes. I got it by the end, but it does throw you for a loop in the moment. All that said, it’s exactly what I want out of my 90’s action. I’d call the genre Electric Guitar Action and it was perfected in the 90’s. As for Crackerjack, hoooo weee. Now that’s what I’m talking about. I loved watching this film. A perfect Die Hard knock-off… and somehow also starring Nastassja Kinski! It’s just a perfect combination of weird sets, weird lines, explosions, and a laugh-out-loud hilarious flashback scene.One of my absolute favorite Bring a Friend entries thus far. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’ve got Charlie Sheen acting like a mad man! We’ve got skydiving! We’ve got a cold war storyline for post-Soviet American politics! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I had to do a double take when combing through the keywords and plot details … KGB agent? We’re talking about like 1994 right? Once you watch the film it all makes a bit more sense, but it does, in some ways, all feel like a script that was leftover from the heady days of Rambo III which they forgot to make until three years too late (oddly, a lot like Police Academy: Mission to Moscow). Watching the trailer it also seemed very weird to see Charlie Sheen in a genuine action role … it was hard to tell how much this film was actually a comedy. What were my expectations? I really don’t know. I guess I expected there to actually be very little skydiving in the end and a whole lot more of a convoluted political plot.

The Good – I got it half right, there is actually quite a bit of skydiving and in the end the skydiving was the best part of the film (by far). Sheen being a former-Olympian-turned-bad-boy-skydiver is quite good and I kind of wish they had done Terminal Velocity 2 just to see how wild they would get with it. He does come across as a weird early-90s American James Bond in a way, all the way down to the overly complex story involving the dissolving KGB in a Russia teetering on the brink of civil war. Best Bit: The skydiving duh.

The Bad – The overly complex political plotline was just a tad bit too overly complicated. It takes quite a bit of effort to untangle who are the bad former KGB, who are Russian mafia (were they all former KGB, just working for the mob remotely?), and who are the good former KGB. Perhaps it all made a lot more sense at the time, but for a while I was skeptical the plot synopsis could possibly be right because it all seemed very under-explained. Sheen was a bit too jokey for my taste in action, personally (admittedly it probably struck the right tone for an American-in-a-James-Bond story, it just isn’t my cup of tea). Fatal Flaw: Really hard to understand, and I usually am quite good at parsing even the most ludicrous of bad movie plot lines.

The BMT – Unfortunately, beyond the usual “extreme sport” bad movie subgenre, or “skydiving” subsubgenre I don’t really see why this could get any play in bad movie circles. It is actually pretty good if you can understand the plot at all. It looks good and has great skydiving action. I kind of dug it. Double feature with The Chase for sure. Did it meet my expectations? Half and half. There was a lot more skydiving action than I expected (good) and, yeah, it was a little too convoluted as far as political intrigue (bad).

Roast-radamus – Really fun Product Placement (What?) for a few things, but my favorite is Certs which Galdofini nervously chomps on just prior to the movie’s twist. Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for Arizona, which is actually a pretty rare setting (and one we also saw recently with Fire Birds). And a genuine MacGuffin (Why?) for the mysterious plane which, it turns out, contains a boatload of gold. Closest to Good I think, I like the movie and I think I would like it even more on subsequent viewings when I understand better what it is about.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – In our continued adventures in Half Past Dead BMT Crossover Episode this seems ripe for it. Because guess where Shasha Petrosevitch is from? Well … he’s American, but it seems like he must have some connection to Russia. In this sequel to Terminal Velocity, the Half Past Dead team come to recruit Krista (and Ditch) whom they’ve heard just might be Half Past Dead. Disappointed when he realizes that she merely faked her own death, Sasha goes to leave when over the wire it is revealed that that boatload of gold from the first film is missing in Russia once again. “Missing gold, that’s my speciality ,” Sasha says, “looks like I’m having a homecoming.” Flying to Russia with the Half Past Dead Team, Sasha reveals that he too was once high level KGB, deep-cover in the US and given a burn notice (which he evaded) in the early 90s prior to becoming a bonafide American hero. It turns out that the gold was stolen by a dissident looking to start their own Siberian kingdom. Doing a sub-zero skydive (“I invented sub-zero skydiving!” says Ditch), they get the gold, Ditch still has the lady, and Sasha gains two friends. “We could use your skydiving skillz on our team, problem is … you have to have seen the other side.” He shoots them both in the chest, black screen, cheers from the audience. Half Past Cold: Temperature Drop. The sequel series would establish that they indeed both survived and started the Russian branch of the Half Past Dead Team, in Half Past Dead: Moscow.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we watched Crackerjack (which I pronounce Crackerjack!! with a double exclamation point). It’s about a police officer named Jack who’s become reckless after his family is murdered by the mob (thus his nickname Crackerjack), who then gets himself into a real Die Hard situation at a remote mountain resort. He has to defeat the terrorist Getz (played by Christopher Plummer (!)) who wants mob diamonds to start maybe like a fascist utopia (?), and also he was the one that killed Jack’s family (!) and also he’s rigged the surrounding glacier to explode and bury the resort (!). It’s a lot to absorb, and yet as far as a straight-to-video feature it might be one of the best ones I’ve ever seen in its own way. Lots of hand-to-hand action, but because it’s Die Hard Thomas Ian Griffith also gets beat up a lot which is fun. The plot is kind of convoluted, but there are a lot of explosions and model work and as far as lightweight background noise it is really really enjoyable. Maybe don’t sit down in earnest to watch this thing, but do you have some mindless work you need done? This is a great diversion. A. I love it. I want to watch all of TIG’s films now. This is what I always wanted with Bring a Friend, but somehow we always watch things like A Talking Cat?! which are garbage.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Kazaam Recap

Jamie

Shaq’s Kazaam, baby! And all our wishes come true. When Max finds a magic boombox with a genie inside he’s ready to use his wishes to try to get his dad back in his life. But an eeeevil nightclub owner has different ideas. Can Shaq and Max team up to stop the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Kazaam.

How?! Max is a trouble maker who’s always being hassled by the older kids in his class. Add a mom who just got engaged to a firefighter who WILL NEVER BE HIS REAL DAD and Max is having a bit of a tough time. One day, while escaping from the school bullies, he stumbles upon a magic boombox and *poof* out pops Shaq, ready to slam dunk and shatter the backboard of all his dreams. That’s because he’s a genie and until Max gives him three wishes to grant he’s stuck with him. Max is like “yeah, whatever,” and lets the supposed genie tag along to visit his dad, who’s back in town after bailing on him when he was just a baby. The dad is thrilled to see Max and sets him up with some VIP passes for a big concert that night. Riding high off this reunion, Max finally entertains the possibility that Shaq is a genie and Shaq in turn entertains us with some totally dope raps and BMX bike races. Finally Max asks for his first wish: junk food to the sky and *poof* there it is. Man, now Max has a father and a genie. What more could a kid wish for? Well, not so fast, cause that night they sneak to the big concert and Shaq is instantly a star, rapping his way into the show to everyone’s delight (particularly the eeevil club owner). Max tries to see his dad, but happens upon him in the midst of a shady deal with the club owner and is yelled at instead. Sad, Max tips off the school bullies about the shady deal and they end up stealing a valuable tape that could mean trouble for Max’s dad. Feeling bad, and getting yelled at by his dad again, Max sadly asks for Shaq to conjure a replacement tape, leaving him with only one wish. Later that night Shaq is distracted by his burgeoning music career so doesn’t notice that the eeevil club owner murders Max and steal the magic boom box. Enraged, Shaq breaks free of his bonds and slam dunks the club owner (literally… like actually does that). He then transforms into a djinn and brings Max back to life after which he grants his father a second chance since now he is all powerful and can do that shit. Max lives happily ever after with his new family while his father repents the error of his ways. THE END. 

Why?! Love and family. That’s all the kid wants. Fortunately Shaq goes all djinn on him and is able to grant him an ethereal wish, am I right? Everyone else is driven by greed, other than Shaq… he mostly wants freedom (naturally)… the freedom to have a crazy big rap career and to get down with the ladies again. High five.

Who?! Shaq is a supreme athlete-turned-musician-turned-actor and boy does he show his rapping skillz… … … anyway, Da Brat also shows up and everyone is like yo, she’s all that. I also have to point out that the main child actor in this, Francis Capra, grew up to play Weevil in Veronica Mars. Kinda mind blowing.

What?! A fun project would be to categorize all films by Coke vs. Pepsi. In this case, Shaq saps on Pepsi while he wait for his big concert to start. I feel like we’ve been on an insane Pepsi run (although the main series of Police Academy is squarely in the Coke camp). Really the most fun aspect of this would be when you get that random Tab film and are like WTF, mate?

Where?! This is pretty obviously set in NYC. I wouldn’t say that it is necessarily a great NYC film other than the fact that Max’s mom’s fiance is a New York city firefighter, which seems pretty classic. Given the setting I wonder whether you would characterize Shaq as an East Coast rapper. Born in New Jersey, grew up in Texas, playing basketball in Orlando, and about to move to LA. But obviously playing an NYC-based rapping genie trumps all that. East Coast. B.

When?! School year. I’ve started to think that this section of the email is too much work unless we are dealing with a holiday film (secret or otherwise). I think my main goal here will be to mostly promote the idea of finding out when random films take place rather than actually putting in the effort myself. Either that or insist we only watch secret Christmas films from now on. This is an F, but maybe one of our many fans will find differently and correct me (please?).

I’m going to start with some positives. The main kid is pretty good actually and I’m a bit of a sucker for kids films with some nice messages mixed in there. Troublemaker comes to respect his all-around-good-guy of a future stepfather while also realizing his biological father is flawed and helps steer him towards redemption? Sign me up. Also the raps are entertaining, although silly in a kids movie kind of way. As for the rest of the film? Well, it’s nonsense of course. It’s so “rad” that it is immeasurably lame and Shaq appears to have little interest in anything but showing off his rap skillz. I would guess that this movie could have been about anything, but if they let him rap and paid him the big bucks he would have said yes. “Rapping Paul Bunyan? I’m in.” Eventually it gets a little repetitive and boring that even when a crazy Middle Eastern stereotype kills Max by throwing him down an elevator shaft I barely batted an eye. I was like “sure, sure, just get on with it.” So overall I’d say solid, but not spectacular for a BMT kids film. As for Getting Lucky, I don’t have all that much to say. You can see what Troma was up to. Kind of an indie horror/comedy grindhouse production house that made films attuned to the vision of the head of the studio. You really get a sense that he made exactly what he wanted to see, which is interesting, but also comes off as on the same level as a college film production. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We got Shaq! We got Da Brat! We got a B-story that goes for miles and results in the cold-blooded murder of a child! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Everything about this film revolves around the B-plot. The B-plot is all I really remember about the film. The B-plot is one of the main things that perplexed reviewers at the time. The trailer actually makes the film look fun, but I know that’s a trick because there is nary a mention of music piracy, so it must only be showing half of the movie. As I said in the preview: recut Kazaam into just the B-plot. I dare you to, you cowards. What were my expectations? To like Shaq and also to love this B-plot. If this B-plot doesn’t go for days then I’m going to be furious.

The Good – I think with distance (and a whole lot more Shaq in our lives) his entire section of the film is pretty delightful. The kid actor is good, his interactions with him are fun, the way they dance around him being able to grant wishes and other silliness is amusing. The actual kids’ movie (complete with cameo by Da Brat, somehow a staple of the time) in the movie is actually not the worst thing in the world. Throw in a healthy dose of teaching kids that divorce isn’t their fault and step-dads can be pretty cool, and what’s now to love? Best Bit: Shaq, he’s a cheesy actor, but oozes charm.

The Bad – I remembered the B-plot of the film (and also that the kid falls a few stories multiple times during the film) … but no matter what I remembered I still couldn’t help but burst out laughing when Max’s father mentioned his “million dollar tape” and “music piracy” scheme. I guess the screenwriters must have known Shaq was coming on board, and they knew Shaq wanted to rap in the film, and so they needed some reason for Max to be in danger because of that … but music piracy? So weird. Without that the film is just a bog-standard kids film. With it it transcends B-plots and becomes something else entirely. Oh, and yeah, the kid actually is killed at the end which was pretty confusing for a hot second before you remember there is a genie who can bring him back to life. Fatal Flaw: A B-plot so ludicrous it blinded everyone to any virtue the film otherwise might have had.

The BMT – This is like Nine Lives on steroids. Nine Lives wishes it had the B-plot of Kazaam. Here’s the thing, Kazaam isn’t that entertaining. At times it is mostly just Max crying about his father and is somewhat sad (and the bullying in the film is off the chain, Max gets the shit kicked out of him a bunch). But the B-plot? It is the quintessential example. I could be misremembering something, but this has to be the best B-plot ever made, right? And it wasn’t by accident they definitely added it in after Shaq was attached. Legendary. Did it meet my expectations? And more, but I should be clear: I never want to watch Kazaam again. It just has the best B-plot in children’s film history.

Roast-radamus – I have to say, a legendary Cameo (Who?) by Da Brat (who, you might remember, was the musical guest on the second episode of All that, so yeah, lot’s of appearances of Da Brat in my life at the time). In the end I decided it was a really solid Product Placement (What?) for Pepsi in particular, although there are arguments for Jif and M&Ms among many others. And the Setting as a Character (Where?) for NYC is really good as Max’s obvious failure by the New York City public school system is a subject of much consternation by his mother. I think closest to BMT, mainly, again, for the B-plot.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Imagine if they made a Sequel? And I got the perfect plot. Kazaam, an all powerful Djinn is now doing his thing in LA. He’s rapping, producing music, starring in movies, the works. But one day his powers start fading. What could it mean? Reading up on Djinn lore, he realizes that the moment he saved Max’s life it created a connection, as long as Max’s bloodline is doing well, he keeps his powers, but if he fails them he becomes mortal. Going back to NYC he finds Max, a famous inventor, but his family isn’t doing well. His son has fallen in with a gang, and Max just doesn’t know what to do. Well, Kazaam knows what to do. He makes Max into a genie, and tasks him with helping his son out of his predicament. There is a fun montage of Kazaam showing Max how to make wishes, and Max is disguised as Shaq so his son won’t know (double the Shaq!). And in the end, Max learns a valuable lesson in love, and his son stands up for himself and comes back home. And Kazaam? Well, he’s back to full power baby! Ka2aam. You know that is how it would be stylized and you hate it. Look into your heart, you know it to be true!

Bring a Friend Analysis – We really went with a curve ball this week and watched Getting Lucky a 1990 Troma distributed film made guerrilla style with nary a professional actor in sight. The film is pretty weird, but because it is Troma it also somehow manages to be weird enough to be interesting. To really boil it down, a boy finds a leprechaun in a beer bottle and gets three wishes and uses them to get the girl of his dreams. After the first attempted rape scene, I was like Tony should be in prison. After the second, I was like man the 90s were wild, Tony should be in prison. But then after the third when Tony DOES go to prison? I was blown away. The film knowingly winks at the camera with the final horseback chase scene and shish kabob fight, and barely has a plot, but something about it is compelling. It is a little like a Neil Breen film in that you eventually acclimate to Michael Paul Girard’s weird vision and enjoy it on some level beyond what the actual movie provides. But I’m still giving it a B-. It is just a hard sell considering the subject matter and the script which seems like it was barely written by a 12-year-old boy. Maybe someday I’ll be able to put it into better context within the Troma oeuvre.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Police Academy 6: City Under Siege Recap

Jamie

Police Academy is back, Jack! When the city is hit with a crime wave, Lassard and his officers are called in to stop the baddies. Hijinks ensue and it looks like the police will fail until the officers figure out that the robberies are connected to a new train line. Can they find the gang and take them out before it’s too late? Find out in… Police Academy 6: City Under Siege.

How?! There is a big ol’ crime wave in the city and the mayor is concerned. He gets Capt. Harris in there to try to take them out, but being the bumbling fool that he is, he totally botches it. The mayor and the commissioner are furious and bring in Lassard and all our favorite former cadets to clean up the mess. Meanwhile we see that the crime wave is being caused by three ridiculous criminals who are really just doing whatever a shadowy figure known as The Mastermind tells them. With Lassard in charge things… go pretty much just as badly. They botch a sting operation and let a giant diamond get stolen on their watch. Despite these failures The Mastermind still wants the police out of the way and plants diamonds in Lassard’s office, leading to their suspension from the case. Knowing that time is running out and wanting to clear Lassard’s name, Nick gets everyone together and tells them that he’s noticed something odd about the robberies: they follow an old bus line. Wait a second! That’s no bus line! That’s a new train line! Knowing where they will strike next they are able to corner the baddies and do battle. Ultimately after a classic Police Academy Chase they subdue the baddies and chase The Mastermind to the Commissioner’s office where he’s revealed to be… the Commissioner? No, really it’s just the Mayor in disguise. With that our friends are once again honored for their bravery. THE END.

Why?! You see, the Mayor had inside information about the train line and knew that the properties along the route were going to be bought for big bucks by the city. By getting the robberies to hit up all the places along the route he could drive down property values and snap them up and make a big ol’ profit. It’s really a classic case of corruption.

Who?! Two interesting things in this one. One is that Robert Folk goes uncredited on the music. I can’t recall seeing that before, but he seems to have done it a number of times in his career. But maybe here it’s more because they just keep reusing the Police Academy music for every film. The other thing is that Billie Bird shows up in this film as Mrs. Stanwyck… just two movies after she was a titular Citizen on Patrol in Police Academy 4.

What?! Dunkin’ Donuts and Coca-Cola have some fantastic product placement in the fifth film and at least Coca-Cola said “sign me up for some more of that Police Academy action.” They show up once again as the drink of choice for our group of misfits. It’s what gives them the power to take out dirtbags while also tickling our funny bones. Put that on the bluray cover.

Where?! Sigh, back in our anonymous city. I think I speculated back in some other recap that this might be set in Jacksonville or something, but it’s all just a mishmash of random places (but mostly Canada). This one had a weird scene at the end where Harris is sent flying into the sky after Nick ties a bunch of balloons to his chair. We then see him float over the skyline of Boston. But, why? F.

When?! Just give me another F. They barely put any effort into giving these films a general plot, let alone putting things together to give an idea of when things are set. Let’s see if we can narrow it down. There is a blackout in the city and people aren’t going absolutely crazy so we can probably rule out summer. That’s all I got.

It’s also a classic case of a film with an actual plot?! Patrick and I were stunned when we watched this film and it read like an episode of Law and Order or something. They were picking up clues, tracking down criminals, and putting the baddies in jail. Where are the pratfalls? Where is Harris getting pooped on by a bird or something? It’s actually kind of amazing how straight it’s all played. I can’t tell if this makes it the best of the Gutesless Trilogy (all rights reserved) or the worst. On the one hand, I followed along with an actual plot. On the other, no one said any jokes. Well I guess at one point Winslow literally got on stage in a comedy club and started doing his act… but as I said… no jokes (zang). It’s a very odd entry in the series. Almost like they momentarily jumped back on the rails and transported back in time to Police Academy 2 or something. As for the poor, sad Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, it totally fell apart. No wonder they attempted a lackluster limited release, but ultimately shuttled it off to straight-to-video. It’s not just barely a movie, you can almost feel the anxiety of the actors as they attempt to carry out their duties. Well, at least Moscow was interesting to look at in the film. Crazy they shot there at that time. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The whole gang is back … uh, again! We have Tackleberry! We have Hightower! Wait … now House is gone? You’re supposed to add more characters to the ensemble cast, not less! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Out of all of the Police Academy films, this feels like the odd man out. You go from taking the gang to Miami (fun!) to … a rehash of the second film? At least let the gang go undercover or something. Police Academy 6: Undercover is not a bad idea actually. That might come up in the Sequel, Prequel, Remake section. Anyways, just thought this was an odd direction for the franchise this late in the game. What were my expectations? I was really hoping this would be the one where I was like “this is kind of okay actually” just to throw a curveball into these recaps.

The Good – The film actually has a storyline which is an interesting departure for the series (zing). There is a bad guy (obviously the Mayor, spoilers), a plot, a police investigation, and the inevitable chase using a silly vehicle (in this case a cherry picker and monster truck). I kind of liked the Three Stooges-esque bad guys. That type of bad guy works really well with the goofy cops. Best Bit: It is interesting to watch a Police Academy film with the plot of a 70s police procedural episode.

The Bad – Still not funny. Weird that they didn’t manage to one up themselves after taking the gags to Miami, instead it is just the second film again (with a plot). The twist … my god, there is literally only one person it could be the entire time. I was very skeptical they would have the Mayor actually be the bad guy because it was so obvious (and he’s a doofus), but there was no one else it could have been! I would have had mad respect for the film if they had Captain Harris steal a bunch of stuff to frame Lassard? That would have been great. Fatal Flaw: Still not funny.

The BMT – We did it boys! This isn’t the most impressive franchise we’ve done (the saga of Friday the 13th is still the best), but it is amazing we did it in like two years. Seven films, and at one point or another all of them qualified for BMT. And the back half is all 0% and BOMB films. It really does set the bar for just how bad a franchise can be, at least for comedies. Did it meet my expectations? Honestly, the film is dull. It is more amusing when the whole thing just explodes in a ball of fire. It was probably the best of the non-Guttenberg films, but that isn’t saying much.

Roast-radamus – Decent Product Placement (What?) for Coca-Cola being prominently displayed (oddly the seventh film was clearly brought to you by Pepsi, what happened?). And this might be the leader out of the gate for Worst Twist (How?) for the inevitable reveal that the only person in the film who wasn’t in a previous Police Academy film was the bad guy … This film is closest to BMT.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – You heard it above, let’s make the Remake of the sixth film to make it like it should have been. The gang is going undercover. They are tossing off their blues and donning their sweater vests because they are going to an actual academy to investigate a drug ring on a college campus! Hightower is an astrophysics professor, Hicks is a brash economics professor, tackleberry is undercover as a pacifist political science professor … you get the gist, I’m trying to cast them against types for the goofs, but it is now occurring to me that that is tough. Anyways, they think they know the bad guys are the frat bros, but boy are their faces red when it turns out they are just trying to raise money for the local hospital, and they are “taken off the case”. Not so fast! They figure out that actually it is the math club that is doing it, those dastardly nerd alerts! They have a big chase scene in the school’s solar cars (which run out of juice when a cloud floats by, doh!). In the end they get their guys, solve the case, and prove once again that a rag tag group of goofs can still do good. Police Academy 6: Undercover University.

Bring a Friend Analysis – Obviously, in order to finish up the series we just had to watch the seventh, and final (for now), Police Academy film, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow. Interestingly, this is also the only sequel to not officially have the number in the title. I should probably get this out of the way: the film is hot garbage. It is a shadow of the already-not-very-good Police Academy films, and is mostly fueled by bad ADR and sound effects (and not the faintly amusing sound effects from Winslow, sound effects from a 90s morning zoo program). It also very notably was filmed during the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis (you can see the damaged White House clearly during the final chase scene) which caused all kinds of issues with the schedule. If not for that I’m willing to bet the series would have successfully transitioned to straight-to-video and there would have been ten films in total, just based on how cheap this should have been to make. A solid friend though, a trip to see just how much the series fell apart with the four year break. C+. Not amusing to watch, but amusing in the context of the series as a whole. The issue is you have to watch seven films to get there, and the film itself is pretty aggravating.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Halloween II (1981) Recap

Jamie

Michael Myers is back, Jack! And boy is he angry at his sister (spoiler alert). After the events of the first film, the unstoppable Myers continues his horror spree in the town of Haddonfield. He eventually tracks his ultimate victim, Laurie Strode, to the hospital. Can she stop the maniac before it’s too late? Find out in… Halloween II.

How?! Following the events of the first film, Haddonfield, Illinois is scrambling to figure out what happened. Laurie Strode is in shock and is transported to the local hospital where she is quickly sedated. Forget about her for the next hour, cause it’s the Loomis show everyone. He’s scrambling aroundt being like “he’s goddamn evil!” and “we gotta stop him” and basically acting like a total maniac. Good news and bad news comes with the Loomis show. The bad news is that he inadvertently kills a kid in town that he thinks is Myers. Ooops. The good news is that he does convince people that he’s still alive and they track down Myers. They find that he broke into a school and left curious occult markings and stuff. Suddenly he realizes it! Laurie is Michael Myers younger sister who was put up for adoption after Michael killed her older sister. Her name was changed and no one ever talked about the fact that she was a Myers. Myers is tracking Laurie, which can mean only one thing: the hospital. There, Myers is already killing pretty much everyone. Eventually Laurie wakes up and in a panic begins to evade the killer. She eventually gets out but can’t get a car started to leave. Just then she sees the police and Loomis show up and they are able to save her from Myers before leading him into an operating room. Loomis is stabbed while Laurie is able to blind Myers. In his dying moments (or are they?) Loomis tells Laurie to flee and lights a tank of gas on fire, totally exploding Michael Myers. THE END.

Why?! With the revelation that Laurie was in fact adopted and was the sister of Michael, this colors almost all the motivations from not only this film, but also the original film. In the original it is set up that Michael Myers is mostly interested in the memory of the sister that he killed and the family home that Laurie is seen dropping a key off at. It appears he becomes fixated on Laurie as a result of the random happenstance, right? Wrong, apparently. Just a coincidence… and maybe he just kinda magically is drawn to her by pure evil will. Otherwise it seems to make little sense that he would actually know that Laurie is his sister (secret adoption and name change and all)… this is all to say that Laurie just wants to survive and Myers just wants to kill (but more specifically wants to kill he remaining sister (which still makes no sense)).

Who?! I do like to talk a little bit about the monsters when we watch the entries of horror films, just to note how they change. I think I kinda forgot how consistent Myers was (besides the sister thing). Always an unstoppable force of evil from the get go. The one minor thing they add, that becomes a major thing, is a connection to Celtic occult lore… which ends up kinda ruining everything. Besides that, Dana Carvey shows up in a non-speaking role for like five seconds.

What?! Love it when a sequel really embraces the product placement. Here everyone is constantly asking each other if they might like a refreshing Coke. What does the guy in the hospital do to try to be sweet to Laurie? “Hey, I’m gonna go grab you a Coke.” Honestly, don’t blame them. What’s the only thing that can stop Michael Myers in his tracks? That cool refreshing taste of a Coca-Cola.

Where?! Unlike the revisionist history of Nightmare on Elm Street, this series was always set in the midwest, specifically the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois. I wouldn’t say Illinois is required for the plot or anything, but it is made clear, so I’ll say a B+. It really makes it lame that Nightmare went Ohio at the end. Would have been nice if the major horror franchises were East Coast (Friday the 13th), West Coast, and Midwest. Zombies would eventually take the Southern region as their own.

When?! Right off the bat we can throw out an A+ Time Setting Alert on this guy. Set on Halloween and cha, it just might be important to the plot. It is a different kind of horror franchise though, since usually the films still sorta stick the everything being set in the year that the film is actually released. Obviously not the case here. If the first film was set in 1978, then the second one is as well. So really a period piece.

This is certainly a worse movie than I remember from the first time I watched it. It has far too much Loomis (who really started to annoy me even by the end of the first film) and far too little Jamie Lee Curtis, who spends much of the film in a coma. I also still can’t really understand why they made Laurie his sister. It has never made sense and never will make sense. But at least Carpenter doesn’t pretend like it was the plan the whole time. Even he kinda thinks the twist is dumb and only did it because they needed a new storyline for the sequel. Despite this, I think overall the film comes out on the plus side as far as horror films go (not to mention horror sequels). I still like the hospital setting quite a lot and the kills are a nice mix of gory and silly. It makes me wish they made one more for a trilogy to finish the full Halloween night of mayhem. As for The Birds II: Land’s End, it actually lived up to expectations a bit. It’s a little slow going at first, but you can get by with just how much of a total dick one of the characters is and also just how much of a rip-off of Jaws the whole set up is. Shame, really, for a classic film to have a sequel reduced to a boilerplate rip-off decades later. But really the payoff is the end, which is just a batshit crazy scene of mayhem where people are full body burning left and right. Wasn’t expecting how enjoyable the experience would be. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We are continuing to collect the films I’ve already seen before. I think I’ve seen Halloween II a few times. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – At one point I decided I just wanted to watch a full horror series without waiting for BMT and so I consumed most of the Halloween series in the span of a few months. The preview is a revelation about the second Halloween though. At the time I was like “oh weird they continued the story and it was okay”, but the preview makes it clear Carpenter mostly did the film reluctantly and also forced them to make it gorier because he figured that was the direction horror in particular had gone between 1978 and 1981. I was genuinely surprised at how much of a hand Carpenter had with the odd direction the franchise took after the classic first film. What were my expectations? Well, I had seen the film before and mostly liked it. Given that it is, in fact, a bad movie, I figured with more horror franchise knowledge under my belt I would probably think it was a bad film like the critics did.

The Good – I do like the setting a lot. The setting of the hospital was a genius maneuver instead of running back the same suburban setting from the first film. I was somewhat surprised to realize just how much connective tissue from the first to the second there is, in particular the surprisingly varied methods of killing people and the way Michael displays the bodies all are very similar to the first film. The final full body burn is very impressive. Best Bit: The hospital setting.

The Bad – I cannot understand or believe how little they give Jamie Lee Curtis to do in this film. She basically doesn’t move or talk in the first hour of the film, and then mostly limps around barely being able to scream for the rest. Loomis is a jerk and dumb and I had forgotten how lame his character was until he ended up being the star of the film when outside of the hospital. Speaking of which, too much of the film takes place outside of the hospital, it should have all been inside the hospital with Loomis only showing up at the end. The kills in this one feel far more exploitative, and I think the entire thing would have been better served by a similarly slow and methodical pace of the first. Fatal Flaw: Too little Curtis.

The BMT – Yup, I can transparently see all of the issues this film had now that I know the rhythms of an 80s horror franchise. It tries to ratchet up the gore, but it feels exploitative. It fails to leverage its star, favoring a dialogue-less monster instead, which never works. It has far too much filler with Loomis wandering around. And then the twist is awful. And amazingly, from what I can glean, all of those decisions were Carpenter’s … I guess it makes sense given he didn’t want to so a second Halloween film, he wanted to do an anthology series instead. Did it meet my expectations? Absolutely. I kind of liked this film the first time I watched it. This time? I can transparently see all of the things they failed to do to keep the franchise going.

Roast-radamus – A solid Product Placement (What?) for the obviously placed Coca-Cola machines seen in the hospital. A very excellent Setting as a Character (Where?) for Haddonfield, Illinois which is where all of the original Halloween films take place (as that is where Michael Myers grew up and where he killed his sister in 1963). And an A+ Temporal Setting (When?) for the film taking place mostly on Halloween Night, 1978 (explicitly that year as it is explained that it is precisely 15 years after he killed his sister). Mostly closest to BMT I think, in that isn’t isn’t unpleasant to watch, just bemusing.

Prequel, Sequel, Remake – I think with a lot of sequels your best bet is a Remake. Mainly I think the key is setting it entirely in the hospital. Show Loomis finding the body missing and telling Laurie that the killer is still out there and to not let the doctors knock her out, that he’ll get there as soon as possible to prevent Michael from finding her. Then introduce the late-night skeleton crew at the hospital. From that point it is mostly the same as the film, except now Laurie is conscious and actively trying to rally the staff to defeat Michael because she knows he’s there somewhere. We see the staff picked off one by one (after they find the security guard missing … curious), and the remaining survivors corralled further and further into the dark hospital unable to escape. In the end Laurie and the young EMT friend find the staff killed and displayed like the girls in the first film, and just as Michael finds them Loomis comes bursting through the door and incapacitates Michael once again. Loomis explains that the police arrested him, suspicious as to how much he knew about Michael during the events of the first film, but they were convinced once the hospital’s phone lines were found to be cut. This sets up a concluding sequel which would take place entirely within the Myers home. Still called Halloween II.

You Just Got Schooled – Obviously I had to rewatch the classic Halloween (1978) prior to watching this film. And yeah, it is a classic for a reason. It is a lot different than the other films in the series though (even the second). It basically invents the Unstoppable Force as far as killers go (that might not be precisely true, but I think it is a plausible claim at least). But then the film takes absolute ages before anyone is killed. Mostly Myers can be seen stalking some of his victims and waiting around before finally starting to kill them. It works because it is not really a “slasher” film as the genre has now been defined. I also get why later entries in the series ended up going with the more early kills and more evenly paced kills. A. The film is, as I said, a classic and is probably one of my favorite horror films. Curtis is, in particular, amazing in the film.

Bring a Friend Analysis – Wow, this is getting long, but I can’t not talk about The Birds II: Land’s End. I hadn’t seen the original prior to the viewing, but did catch up on that as well (obviously a great film and quite a bit different than I imagined, I thought it took place on an island like Jaws). I think the makers of Birds II took to heart the idea of animals attacking during an otherwise intriguing family drama a little too much. The sequel is 95% the story of a family dealing with tragedy, and 5% “oh, wait, I forgot about the birds, quick put some birds in there for a second.” The film would have been boring except that the local newspaper editor/photographer, Frank, is an insatiable horndog who can’t stop hitting on Ted’s wife May even after being told multiple times about Ted’s difficulties dealing with the death of Ted and May’s son. It is just an incredibly aggressive and unyielding display which captured my interest in the most BMT way. B. Unusually high, but I think the combination of it being a made-for-tv sequel to a beloved film, and Frank makes for a film that as crazy as it sounds I would willingly watch again. Wild stuff.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Xanadu Recap

Jamie

Sonny is an artist with a little painter’s block. He’s lost his inspiration and sadly heads back to his dead-end advertising job. That is until a beautiful muse (literally) comes along and inspires him to the true heights of artistic achievement: teaming up with an old man to open a roller disco. Can he achieve his dreams (and get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Xanadu.

How?! Sonny is a pure artist. Unfortunately he’s lost his inspiration and in a fit of despair throws his work out the window. This work blows over to a painting of the Greek muses, which breathes life into them and brings them into the world. One of the muses, Kira, heads Sonny’s way and just as he is about to return to his dead-end advertising job she kisses him. Struck by this beautiful woman who randomly kissed him, Sonny is even more perplexed when the first advertisement he is asked to paint has her picture on it! He begins to try to track down who she is, but no one seems to remember. During his search he befriends a former big band musician, Danny, who has made a fortune in construction and the two artists strike up a friendship, recognizing in each other similar artistic qualities. Eventually Sonny catches up to Kira at the rundown Pan-Pacific Auditorium where they fall in love, but Kira still resists telling him anything about her. They have a magical time together, eventually inspiring Sonny to quit his job and go into business with Danny to try to revamp the auditorium into a roller disco club. With her job done Kira reveals that she’s a muse and they can’t be together and leaves Earth. However, through the power of love Sonny follows her to her home where she reveals to her father that despite the rules, she has indeed fallen in love with Sonny and wishes to go to Earth to be with him. Initially she is refused and Sonny sadly returns to Earth to open the club, but he’s soon delighted to find Kira has returned for the big night and they probably smooch and shit. THE END.

Why?! Art and love, duh. It is a literal metaphor for the power of love to inspire artistic greatness. Kira is Sonny’s muse, literally, and through her he is able to achieve the pinnacle of artistic achievement… a roller disco… which obviously is the pinnacle of artistic achievement. Goes without saying.

Who?! This is a fun one. The Tubes were the band that showed up in a dream sequence for this film. Still active. There is also a film-within-a-film which starred David Tress and Madison Arnold. A classic 40’s gangster film, which seems to be a trend when people make fake film-within-films. Then, while he isn’t credited as Zeus, I believe Wilfred Hyde-White voiced him. Best known for My Fair Lady.

What?! Like all films of the late 70’s into the 80’s, this could be perceived as an advertisement for rollerskating. Everyone is quite into it. Because this does hold some cult attraction it’s not surprising that legit memorabilia shows up on ebay here and there. Like these original wardrobe drawings. You’d actually think more would be around, but probably the failure at the time got most of the props trashed. Who would think they’d eventually have value?

Where?! Kind of an incredible LA film. You got the beach, you got the boardwalk, and the big time roller disco they open up is in the old Pan-Pacific Auditorium. At the time it was just declared a historic building and so seemed to have some local standing as a place of note. I’m sure the idea of it being transformed into something shiny and new was appealing to the filmmakers. Alas, nine years later it was destroyed in a fire. A.

When?! Patrick helped with this one. At one point in a dinner you can see a calendar. The exact year and month is not discernable (until I purchase the original print and get it remastered), but it seems likely that the film is portraying events in July 1980, approximately when the film was released. Not solid, but interesting possibility. C-.

There is a joy to this film where I believe if you open yourself up to it (and ignore some obvious shortcomings) you can honestly have a ball. It reminds me a little of Cats. Obviously the crazy cat monsters and ridididiculous everything about that film can’t possibly translate into it being actually, unironically good. But… doesn’t mean I wasn’t watching Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat prance about with a smile on my face. I enjoyed the pure enthusiasm for rollerskating and dance that I was seeing. I enjoyed Olivia Newton-John singing nicely and looking beautiful. I even enjoyed weirdo Gene Kelly trying on a series of crazy 80’s outfits in his Pretty Woman turn. It’s a fun bad movie that is weird enough that I could imagine pretty confidently showing the film off at a bad movie screening. Few will have seen it, many will be bewildered by what they are seeing, while most will still get some laughs and enjoyment out of it. Overall I was surprised by Xanadu. Particularly since Xanadu was one of the films that inspired the Razzies. The other? Can’t Stop the Music, another weird musical from 1980. But that one is terrible. This is not. As for Punmpkinhead II: Blood Wings, what is there to say about a cheap sequel to a pretty fun original horror film. Not much. It’s cheap and filled with actors that scream “this is a direct-to-video movie so maybe the presence of Bill Clinton’s half-brother will be juuuust enough for you to watch this.” At times it feels like they didn’t even really understand (or even possibly watch) the original film before embarking on the sequel, which is a shame. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We are on a streak of good films, so Xanadu will obviously break that cycle … or will it? Did I secretly love Xanadu? You’ll have to read the recap to find out! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Ever since watching Can’t Stop the Music the next big BMT musical sensation was obviously going to be … Cats, and it still is Cats actually because Cats is the greatest film ever made. But before Cats it was supposed to be Xanadu! An absolute classic in bad movie circles, not least of which because it was one of the original films that inspired the Razzie awards. What were my expectations? Disco singing sensation? I assumed it would be like Can’t Stop the Music which was a ludicrous barely-movie that I don’t even really remember. So … that.

The Good – Wait for it … I kind of dug this film. It isn’t a good film by any stretch of the imagination, but with Gene Kelly and the whole story about big band nightclubs, all mixed together with 80s disco and rollerskating, something about it was maybe the most unique film I’ve seen in a long long time. Unlike Can’t Stop the Music I would happily watch this film again some time. This is a bad film, but it is also an interesting and mostly harmless film. Best Bit: The wild 15 minute long musical sequence that ends the film incoherently.

The Bad – The reviews naturally nail it. The direction was rough, the film looked cheap, the actors weren’t very good (although I liked Olivia Newton-John), and the musical numbers couldn’t save it. The films ends like seventeen times near the end, there is a whole story about Greek muses. And then three words: sexy animated animals. Somehow, among the madness that is this film, the two main characters become cartoon characters and then transform into two fish and two birds, and Olivia Newton-John is, for lack of a better description, a sexy fish and a sexy bird. What is with animators and the insistence on drawing sexy animals. It is so weird. Fatal Flaw: Sexy animals as usual … naw I’m joking, it is a crap special effects that undermine the actual decent music.

The BMT – Out of all of the 80s musicals this is by far the most interesting for BMT, and I just can’t see how any other film takes that crown from Xanadu. Do I dare? Do I dare call this film a good movie? No. I mustn’t. But it is darn close, and that is a shock! I would have never imagined Xanadu would be anything by a catastrophe. Did it meet my expectations? It wildly exceeded them. I expected Can’t Stop the Music, but instead kind of got like … Newsies maybe? Like Newsies but with ELO, bad effects, and a dumb Greek muse story.

Roast-radamus – A decent Setting as a Character (Where?) for Los Angeles, where Gene Kelly plays jazz clarinet on the beach, natch. And a borderline Exact Date (When?) for maybe like … July 1980? There was a calendar and you can see that the month has 31 days and the 13th is a Sunday, so I assume it is July. Maybe it is Fourth of July and this is a holiday film? I think the weird mix of good and bad from the film makes this a decent BMT in the end.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Definitely a Sequel. Bring back Olivia Newton John and Michael Beck and now they are the ones in the Gene Kelly role. Retired long ago and living happily together, Xanadu was sold off, replaced, and forgotten, its place in the world lost along with the 80s … that is until 80s nostalgia hits hard! The old site of Xanadu becomes an ironic pilgrimage site for those rad hipsters who love all things Stranger Things. Olivia Newton-John, aka Terpsichore, is invariably drawn to Xanadu. There’s dancing, and signing, and eventually Michael Beck and Olivia Newton-John team up with Twitch star LolXanadu4Life (played by a real like Twitch streamer who I’m not going to name since I don’t know any of them) to create a cross between an arcade and microbrewery all wrapped up in a Twitch themes ESPN Zone situation. It’s super sweet, and super ironic, and all the rad hipsters love it. It ends with a 45 minute 80s themes song and dance number. Xana2: Legacy.

Bring a Friend Analysis – Naturally for Xanadu we brought along … Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings? Obviously I had to watch both of the Pumpkinhead films for this bit. The first? Is quite good. It is a really cool contained story about witch’s curses and the regret a good man has for unleashing the demon Pumpkinhead on a group of mostly innocent teenagers. The practical effects are incredibly impressive, and as a self-contained story it is really cool. And then they made a pointless direct-to-video sequel. The sequel looks like absolute trash. It stars the star of Hellraiser, and has multiple cameos by horror villains (e.g. Kane Hodder, the best Jason), but eventually as the creature starts really killing people it just goes over a cliff and all of the characters go insane and … I didn’t know what was happening anymore. Apparently filmed in 23 days with a director hired the day before shooting essentially, I have a feeling they realized they were doomed from the start and just decided to have fun with it. Guess who didn’t have fun with it? This guy. D. Much like the sequels to Basket Case this just couldn’t capture the charm and raison d’etre of the first to make it worth my while.

You Just Got Schooled – And now to reveal why Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings is the friend for Xanadu … it’s because Pumpkinhead II has a video game tie-in! Against all odds they made Blood Wings: Pumkinhead’s Revenge, a PC game which, first, barely works, and second, appears to just be a rip-off of Doom? It is a really weird game that I couldn’t quite figure out. Like, you are fighting skeletons (not in the film) and then travelling to the Netherworld (not in the film) to capture crystals (not in the film), which then allow you to I guess watch FMV video from the movie? I wouldn’t know about the last bit because the game basically doesn’t work and I couldn’t figure out how to capture the crystals. Unfortunately, the one video I could find of someone playing they had about as much luck getting crystals as I did … how do I keep playing the worst games ever made for this section? How is Little Nicky by far the best movie tie-in for a BMT film we could find? F.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Rising Sun Recap

Jamie

Web Smith is a police liaison called in to mediate a homicide found during a big time Japanese business’s gala. Surprisingly he is asked to bring along Capt. Conner, a police expert on Japan. Soon it becomes clear that there is more to the homicide than the company will let on. Can Web and Conner untangle the dastardly web of deceit before it’s too late? Find out in… Rising Sun.

How?! Web Smith is just trying to raise his daughter and do his job as a police liaison. One night he gets a call to help mediate a homicide call at a highfalutin Japanese business gala attended by all the bigwigs in town. Curiously, he is also asked to pick up Captain Conner, a semi-retired police expert on Japan. When they get to the crime scene the party continues uninterrupted while the crime scene is teaming with the company’s men. It becomes clear that they just want the whole thing dismissed, but Web and Conner are suspicious. Particularly when they discover that some of the tapes are missing from the state-of-the-art surveillance in the building. They suspect the boyfriend of the victim, Eddie, in the crime and cover up and when the missing disc shows up it appears to confirm their suspicions. They raid Eddie’s house only to have him flee and appear to die in a fiery crash. The next day they find that Eddie attempted to contact them about the missing disc and so they decide to take it to an expert who shows them how the film was manipulated. Returning to Web’s apartment, Web and Conner are shocked to find Eddie there alive and well. Someone else had died in the crash. He gives them the original surveillance tape, but the Yakuza show up and kill him and attempt to kill Web. After regrouping they view the tape and find that the killer appears to be Senator Morton, a powerful politician who was holding up a big acquisition for the Japanese company. The tape was being used to blackmail him, but in fact showed that someone else came into the room and killed the girl after he left. Wanting to smoke out the rat, Web and Conner go to a big meeting at the company and show the tape. Panicking, one of the lawyers flees and is ultimately killed closing the case, although leaving doubts as to how high the conspiracy could have gone. Bum bum bum. THE END.

Why?! Unfortunately, Web’s motivations are the least interesting in the film. Just doing his job. The Japanese company is a bit more interesting. They want to acquire an American microchip company , which is causing some concern in the government due to the connection of that company to national defense. Senator Morton initially is blocking the merger in the name of sovereignty, but ultimately is swayed though blackmail. Low key the most interesting motivation is Conner, who is semi-retired and living it up golfing and chilling with the wealthy Japanese businessmen of LA. There is some implication that he ends up turning a blind eye to the involvement of some of the particularly powerful people involved in the crime in order to keep his good standing (and great tee times) with them… kind of a last minute anti-hero twist for Connery.

Who?! Rooted in “real” economic concerns, the film also has “real” TV news entertainment segments in it. This includes a segment with Senator Morton hosted by Michael Kinsley and including a few well known journalists. Most interesting of the bunch is Pat Choate who went on to be Ross Perot’s running mate in the 1996 presidential election. Given his political stances, it actually makes perfect sense he appears in this film.

What?! There is something to be said here about fake businesses cooked up for BMT films. Here Nakamoto is portrayed as a powerful keiretsu housed in the Two California Plaza skyscraper. In Die Hard they have the fictional Nakatomi corporation housed in the Fox Plaza. Same companies? Different companies? Doesn’t matter. It tells you where Hollywood’s headspace was heading into the early 90’s collapse of the Japanese economy. 

Where?! Extremely solid LA film, to the point where I think you’d have to give it an A. I’m not sure there is another city in the United States that you could set this film and for it to still make sense. Unless you were to change the focus and thus the name… and thus pretty much everything about it. Funny enough, I think I had always assumed this was a film set in Japan. Tells you how little I knew about it before diving in.When?! The phone call to Web to get over to Nakamoto occurs at 9pm February 9th according to the testimony we see him giving in periodic flash forwards… turns out the testimony is from after Eddie is killed, Web gets shot, and then he gets put on leave. So really it’s like a flash middle. Fun to think that the climax of the film takes place 4 days after the date given… meaning we came very close to a Super Secret Holiday Film Alert with this taking place on Valentine’s Day. A- just for that fact.

When?! The phone call to Web to get over to Nakamoto occurs at 9pm February 9th according to the testimony we see him giving in periodic flash forwards… turns out the testimony is from after Eddie is killed, Web gets shot, and then he gets put on leave. So really it’s like a flash middle. Fun to think that the climax of the film takes place 4 days after the date given… meaning we came very close to a Super Secret Holiday Film Alert with this taking place on Valentine’s Day. A- just for that fact.

There were a number of critiques levied at the book and then the film adaptation for their portrayals of Japanese culture and business practices. For good reason! The book is even harsher, but you get the drift from the film as well. An unending stream of pejorative statements about Japanese business and America’s willingness to sell to them. Crichton defended the book as a purely economic argument, which might have gone over better if the Japanese economy wasn’t in the midst of a severe crash at the time of publication and then the film’s release. So it comes off as more rooted in xenophobia than the economic reality of the situation. All that being said up front, I think the film is otherwise just an adequate buddy cop police procedural. At times it lacks some direction and forward momentum, but I actually think it’s a bit of an improvement over the book. The book is just kinda boring, with a pretty bland main character and then Conner, who was clearly written with Connery in mind (but aren’t all Crichton characters… think about it). It feels like Crichton was more interested in getting his specific (offensive) point across and then built a generic police procedural around it. Of his books I’ve read it’s pretty easily my least favorite. As for After We Collided, I enjoyed watching the first one, I enjoyed watching this one, and I’ll enjoy watching the next one. They are real dumb and chock full o’ product placement, which gives a good laugh. I will also contend that, unlike Fifty Shades, this series actually has a purpose. It is about a young girl in love with an addict and the hope and desire that their love can ultimately overcome his trauma and his disease. He is not a bad person, but he has a problem and the depiction of their relationship is done more deftly than this dumbo series kinda deserves. So it’s not total trash. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! A pinch of noir, a dash of buddy cop, and juuuuuuuuuust a little (read: a lot) of cultural insensitivity, and you got a Rising Sun cooking baby! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – This movie has actually been on my radar for a long time … although mostly because I’ve been continually disappointed it wasn’t set in Japan. It would definitely be the best set-in-Japan bad movie ever, but alas, they set it in Los Angeles like dummies. Yawn. Always fun to hit up a Crichton though, they always scream “90s” to me. Just something about him. What were my expectations? I had a problem: I hadn’t seen much noir, and I hadn’t seen much Snipes. So I was mostly going into it curious to see how it played.

The Good – I liked the dynamic between Snipes and Connery. It works as an odd couple pairing. A despite the Hollywood-style exploration of Japanese business culture that feels both racist and immediately outdated, I did enjoy the specific moment where they exposed Connery’s character’s hypocrisy, specifically his attitude towards the bribe he was effectively given early in the film. Among an otherwise muddled film there were a few things that still seemed to at least focus the film in an interesting way. Best Bit: The buddy cops.

The Bad – I mean … the immediately outdated and racist portrayal of Japanese customs and business culture? That’s it isn’t it? Even if you wanted to dismiss that all as pearl-clutching nonsense, the film was made in 1993, well after the Japanese economy entered a recession, and so at very best the Japanese business villains come across as Hollywood feeling around for a Big Bad after the collapse of the USSR. Other than that boring and borderline confusing are probably the biggest slights. Fatal Flaw: Racism.

The BMT – This is certainly a unique film at the very least. I’m not sure how many other films even exist with the Japanese business world as the bad guy … Gung Ho maybe. Remember that film? About like … making a lot of cars or something? Anyways, I think I ultimately enjoyed the underlying noir element too much to think about watching this again, but the specific time it was made makes it an interesting one time watch. Did it meet my expectations? As a noir I guess not, I kind of expected Connery to be a PI. But maybe once I watch more noir I’ll know better. As a Snipes film also maybe not? I got the distinct feeling he was playing himself in the film, but I haven’t watched enough of his films to know better. I’m giving myself an Incomplete on this assignment.

Roast-radamus – A pretty good Setting as a Character (Where?) because how can you create a noir film without setting it in LA? A very amusing, and borderline super-secret holiday film, Exact Temporal Setting (When?) for the fact that all of the events take place between February 9th and February 13th, one day off from being an incredible Valentine’s Day film! And finally Worst Twist (How?) for having the same twist as The Skulls whereby the person who was killed wasn’t actually dead until someone else came into the room and killed her! Solid stuff, with the overall film being closest to Good I think.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – The Sequel is obvious here. A year after the events of the film Webster Smith gets an urgent letter from Jingo Asakuma that John Conner is back in Japan and in serious trouble! But when Webster arrives in Tokyo neither Conner or Asakuma can be found. In fact, Conner is wanted for question in connection to the disappearance of Asakuma a week prior. Huh, how odd. Webster, using some of the connections he had developed from the first film, ends up unwinding the strange tale of Conner’s return to Japan after decades in self-exile to discover who was responsible in the death of his old friend Yoshida. Along the way the daughter of the desk bound and contrite Ishihara helps Webster to navigate the underworld of modern Tokyo and the ever changing dynamics of the international business world. You have to know what the name is right? … Setting Sun. Boom, I think I just sold that spec on title alone. Call me Crichton, you can even write the book.

You Just Got Schooled – This one a film where I couldn’t quite decide whether to do a Snipes film or a noir. I went noir as I haven’t seen many of the classics and I’ve been watching only bad movies for too long. Naturally, I had to go for one of the best with Double Indemnity, which seems to be considered the noir to watch if you are looking for a definitive list. I was definitely thrown a bit by the subject matter and dialogue, because I’m mostly used to the Maltese Falcon where it is about a private detective / femme fatale dynamic. The insurance salesman, and the way he spoke, just really threw me off. But ultimately the perfect murder plot line is very engrossing and I can see why it is considered among the creme de la creme for the genre. Edward G. Robinson was particularly good. It ended up being the perfect choice because it broke me out of the mindset of noir = private eye, and I can see now why Rising Sun is considered to at least take inspiration from film noir (even if it is closer to a buddy cop film from the 80s). A+, obviously, it is a great film.

Bring a Friend Analysis – A pretty special week since we were able to bring along a BMT sequel as a friend, After We Collided, the sequel to the YA-romance novel-turned-movie After. The film is basically nonsense, but in that very special modern filmmaking kind of way. It appears to be something like six sex scenes held together by modular “destination” plot lines (a jaunt to the ice rink, a babysitting gig, a hot yoga session, etc.). Basically, it seems like the film could have been filmed by 20 different directors and then stitched together in any order they wanted at the end. Oh, and it is also one giant commercial for Amazon. It can’t be a coincidence I was watching the film on Amazon Prime while the main character is getting a Kindle as a gift. There was a storyline in this film … it just isn’t coming to me. Something like alcoholism is bad news, and you should make amends with your dad? Something like that. B+. I love YA-nonsense. This was kind of cheating because by all accounts this should have been released to theaters if not for the pandemic. But I’m glad we get to continue our journey into this YA-romance series.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

House of Wax Recap

Jamie

Carly and Nick are a couple of totally opposite twins. When a group of their friends get stuck out in the woods they are spookified to find a creepy town dominated by an even creepier wax museum. Even scarier is when they start to disappear. Can they stop the baddies and escape before it’s too late? Find out in… House of Wax.

How?! On the way to the big college football game in Louisiana, a group of dope college kids are just looking to have a good time (and maybe spill some big secrets). Carly and Wade are in looooove, but are trying to figure out their future, no help to Nick, Carly’s bad boy twin brother fresh off his latest trouble with the law. Paige and Blake are also in loooove, but Paige is totally pregnant and doesn’t know how to tell him. There’s also the comedic relief, Dalton, but he’s silly. When it gets a little late to drive they decide to camp in the woods and finish the drive in the morning, only to wake up super late. When Wade checks his car he finds the fan belt has been cut and so everyone else leaves in the other car to try to make the game, while he and Carly catch a ride with a rando who claims to know where the nearby Ambrose is. In Ambrose they find the town virtually deserted with a weird giant House of Wax in the middle, but eventually meet Bo, who runs the gas station and who brings them back to his house to get the part. There they stumble into a house of horrors where Wade is trapped by Bo and given over to his separated conjoined twin brother Vincent to turn into a wax statue, while Carly is taken back to the station and put in the basement. Having missed the big game, everyone comes back to the camp and Dalton and Nick head to Ambrose check on Carly. There Dalton is pretty quickly killed by Vincent, while Nick does battle with Bo and manages to help Carly escape. Meanwhile, Vincent also heads over to Paige and Blake and kills them both just to really take care of those loose plot threads. Nick and Carly want to try to help Dalton and Wade if they can so they head over to the house where they have to hide when Bo and Vincent return. Realizing they are in the house, Bo and Vincent chase them through underground tunnels to the House of Wax where in a climactic battle they start a fire and amongst the melting ruins they fight Bo and Vincent. They are able to kill them and escape where they learn that there was also a third brother and, bum bum bum, we might even see him in a sequel (hint: we won’t) THE END.

Why?! The main characters here really just want to get to a football game. Even the bad guys only do a mediocre job at trapping them in the woods as most of them leave, but return of their own volition once they realize they’ve missed the big game. The motivation for the bad guys is a little murkier, which is not exactly typical of horror films, where that’s usually given quite a bit of detail. Here it’s mostly implied that Bo and Vincent were conjoined twins and their separation left Vincent scarred physically and Bo scarred mentally. Following Bo’s troubled youth, the death of their parents, and the decline of their small town, they live in isolation trapping passerbys with the help of their other brother in order to murder and turn them into wax art pieces to honor their late mother… I think I have that about right.

Who?! I do like to analyze the baddies in horror films and this is kinda interesting since their backstory is more implied than actually detailed for the audience. Like even the fact that Bo was the crazy one and not the deformed Vincent is only vaguely insinuated. I think Vincent had some real potential though. Think about it. He’s a hulking guy driven crazy by his overbearing twin brother. After the first film it could be revealed he is still alive and made a wax figure of Bo that he still talks to and imagines is telling him to do heinous things. Really could see a Jason type scenario where he just gets bigger and bigger and powered by lightning and shit. Missed opportunity. Give us more Houses of Waxes.

What?! I now have a bit of a feel when there might be some props for sale for these films and this is one of them. There are some crazy memorabilia online that isn’t for sale, but the only thing I could find for sale was this lame-o beauty pageant poster. That price is absurd. Get out of here with that. Much like Freddy has his gloves and Jason his mask, Vincent does have a mask that I would be interested in. He definitely would have a new, cool distinctive weapon if we made it to a sequel. I would go flamethrower. Would be different and would allow for the 4 or 5 full body burns I’m looking for in the films I watch.

Where?! This is truly a mystery in that online it suggests the kids are driving from University of Florida to Baton Rouge for the game. Then we see at the beginning of the film that they are 156 miles from the stadium, which would likely place them around Biloxi, MS. So really it just depends on how far they drive before making camp. My guess is LA. If you trust sources online, they say that Ambrose is 26 miles North of Baton Rouge but that seems like they are pulling that out of their ass. I mean… why would they stop and camp in the middle of nowhere when they are like a 20 minute drive from the capital of a state. C

When?! This would certainly be late in the college football season as they are heading to what seems to be a major SEC matchup in Baton Rouge and Carly has just nailed down an post-graduation internship. My inkling is that it would be a big time Gators-Tigers matchup between a couple undefeateds in November and boy howdy, I’ll just kill me if we don’t go to the game. There are actually a couple places online that suggest it’s November 2005 and I’m not really sure why. C-.

The final battle scene is truly astounding. An incredible piece of filmmaking. Beautiful to watch and I don’t think there are many horror films out there where you could point to something and say “just get through the rest of the movie so you can see it.” It’s really well done. I also will say that I think this is pretty easily the best I’ve seen both Cuthbert and Murray, so that’s interesting too. Other than that, though, it’s almost maddening how weird and poorly constructed the rest of the film is. You can pick out so many parts of the plot and wonder how they felt like it worked with the rest of the narrative. I mean, the bad guys skulk around the kids’ campsite and decide to cut the fan belt on one of two cars… leaving open the real possibility that the kids all leave in the one car and return with a tow truck. The end. Most of the kids even leave at that point and the other two only inadvertently run into the other brother who takes them to Ambrose. What I’m saying is the plot melts away at the merest flame of a critical examination, but that final battle scene is both fresh and dope. As for the Basket Case franchise, I thought the first one was pretty great. One of those independent exploitation like horror films that’s really interesting and fun to watch (and still is pretty creepy on top of it). The sequel goes the way of a number of horror sequels (Texas Chainsaw 2, Evil Dead 2, etc.) and leans into the comedic aspects of the idea and… I mean, I guess it works OK. There are some real funny horror stuff in there that needs to get some credit (the monster sex scene is kinda hilarious), but otherwise it’s a little heavy on the costumes and makeup to take seriously. A pretty fun twin franchise, though. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I remember watching House of Wax in theaters. And I remember being spooky scared because I was a scaredy cat about horror films. Time to flex my new found desensitivity. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – My impression of this film has always been that it is just outside of the Hostel-level torture porn that was on the rise at the time. I distinctly remember a scene in which the main character gets the tip of her finger clipped off (gross) and then a friend reminded me that someone also gets his Achilles tendon slices right up (double gross, and that happens in Hostel as well which is an odd coincidence). I still haven’t seen much torture porn horror films, they aren’t my cup of tea, but I should have a more informed opinion now that I’ve seen a bunch of horror films. What were my expectations? To be super grossed out, and then probably to realize the film isn’t actually scary and is mostly like Silent Hill 2 or something in the end.

The Good – The final scene, which is mentioned in multiple reviews, is, indeed, an incredible set piece. They tease the “this house is entirely made of wax” angle early enough that it is delightful to see it start to go up in flames. Murray and Cuthbert are also pretty excellent in the film. It feels like it missed something in translation in the end. It somehow mixed 2000s torture porn, with 80s / 90s slashers, but then paced it like a 70s spooky town / house film. It ends up kind of not feeling like it belongs to any era of American horror films, but not in an interesting or good way. Best Bit: The final set piece.

The Bad – The kills are not only complete crap in this film, they also come waaaaay too late. We open with a group of 6 people (Cuthbert and her beau, Hilton and her beau, then Murray and his dopey friend). Of those four die … but that is well and truly it, only four kills in the film. And the only actual tension-filled kill is Cuthbert’s boyfriend. With a film like this, you absolutely need a flashback / early kill to set things up, and it would have served a dual purpose in that the protagonists could then find the wax statue and the audience could wonder whether Vincent actually encased the person in wax, or made a likeness (spooky!). Anyways, the point is as a horror film the film is just bad, even if the final set piece and battle is decent. Also, nit pick, the group camps out and then accidentally sleeps in until 2PM. Impossible. No group of 6 people can all sleep to 2PM while camping. Most unrealistic bit of the film for me. Fatal Flaw: Unrealistic camping scene … fine it was the bad kills.

The BMT – Now having watched the film again, I don’t think this is really a torture porn film at all. There are elements of it in the film, but it is a slasher film through and through, complete with it kind of being garbage given that it was made in 2005. In Hostel there are whole scenes devoted to just watching people get tortured. Here it is just the standard ultra-violence / gore that came into vogue around when The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake was made. Did it meet my expectations? It was a much worse horror film that I think I would have initially given it credit for, and not in an amusing way like with Silent Hill 2. I did vaguely remember that my reaction to Hilton’s death in the theater was “huh … that was it?”. So I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Roast-radamus – I think the dopey friend played by Jon Abrahams qualifies for Planchet (Who?), everyone just rips on him the entire time. A few funny product placements, especially the inexplicable Product Placement (What?) for the Pepsi machine outside of the gas station … you know, the fake gas station in the fake town that looks like it is stuck in the 50s, but with a shiny new Pepsi machine. Great Setting as a Character (Where?) for Louisiana. They just want to get to the big Florida-Louisiana football game man! I’m going to give this a nice MacGuffin (Why?) for the mysterious fanbelt the crew needs to fix their car throughout the film. And I’m going to count it as a Worst Twist (How?) for the dumb bit whereby they try and vaguely hide that Bo is the psycho twin from the beginning of the film, instead of the mutant Vincent, and also that Lester the weirdo from the beginning of the film is a third brother. And this is definitely solidly in the BMT category. That’s some goddamned cred! 

StreetCreditReport.com – It is mentioned on some IGN Roundtable around the time. Bloody Disgusting also did a whole profile on the fairly notable Paris Hilton kill. That actually was the big point on the Roundtable as well. At the time Paris Hilton being in this film was obviously a huge deal. Is it weird that I didn’t really bat an eye at her or her performance in the film? It was bad, but I’ve seen worse. But at the time it was fairly weird, I guess because of her reality show, this movie came out right in the middle of its run.

You Just Got Schooled – I’ll try and keep these sections short since there are three of them this week. I watched the original Basket Case in preparation for the sequel being brought along as a friend. It is really a pretty unique little creature feature exploitation film from 1982. The original puppet of Belial in this film is janky, but very charming. And the idea behind the murders and the main character are really amazingly refreshing for an early 80s horror film. But what takes the cake is the Times Square hotel setting, the kooky neighbors Duane meets during his brief stay in New York, and just the general grossness of the world created by the film. A-. Maybe a little low budget for everyone’s tastes, and definitely a tad gross at times with regards to Belial, but a fun horror film.

Bring a Friend Analysis – And from there we rolled right into Basket Case 2. Picking up right where the first film left off (although 8 years later, so with a notably older Kevin Van Hentenryck aka Duane) we are quickly introduced to a doctor who wants to add Belial to her menagerie of “unique individuals”, people like Belial that she’s saved from roadside attractions and given a safe space. Meanwhile, a tabloid reporter is looking to get the big scoop on Belial and Duane. Overall, the film feels both too shiny to be a proper sequel to its charmingly grimey predecessor, and too silly. Much like Leprechaun 2 it feels like the film got overwhelmed by one component of the first film. In that case it was the humor of Warwick Davis. In this case it is the clear fascination the director had with make-up / costuming for the unique individuals, which ended up just looking very silly and diluting the montrousness of Belial. It’s too bad, because Belial really is a rare movie monster that is both not very well known, and quite cool. While I disliked the film, I do think it is worth a look with regards to how low-budget 80s horror transitioned into cheap 90s horror. B+.

Twin Analysis – Hooooooooo doggy. Now I thought last week with Double Impact we got basically the best twin film you could have. Buy nay! House of Wax is basically the most twinsy of twin films. Sure, the protagonists are fraternal, but the male-female twin dynamic was a first for this particular cycle and thus refreshing. But then we combine that with the psycho killers being separate conjoined twins?! We have good-bad twin dynamics for days, and the ultimate good twins vs. bad twins battle royale to finish the film. Definite A+ right there. Then, completely by accident, we watched the Basket Case films as friends, and that also featured evil separated conjoined twins! What a coincidence. This one also involves some twin telekinesis and a truly monstrous twin relationship that drives the film forward. Also an easy A+. What a way to end the twin cycle!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Double Impact Recap

Jamie

Alex and Chad are just wee lads when their parents are gunned down in Hong Kong. Years later, Chad’s guardian finds Alex and decides it’s time for them to team up and get back what is rightfully theirs. But can lame-o Chad and rough-around-the-edges Alex really take down the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Double Impact.

How?! Alex and Chad are tiny twin babies when their genius daddio builds a smoking hot tunnel in Hong Kong that’ll earn big bucks for days. Unfortunately his skeezy business partner has his eyes on that sweet tunnel action and teams up with the mob to take them out. In the process Chad is saved by their bodyguard, Frank, while Alex is taken to an orphanage by their nanny. Fortunately for the viewer it’s made very clear that they are both taken in by the French so that we wouldn’t spend any brainpower wondering how both Alex and Chad have French accents. Phew. Years later Chad is kind of a lame-o scoping on chicks in LA while impressing them with his splits (they are impressive, though). Frank finds Alex in Hong Kong living as a smuggler and thinks it’s time to take that super money making tunnel back! They fly to Hong Kong where Chad is kinda shocked by how everyone seems to know him. It’s only after a beautiful lady comes onto him, earning him a punch in the mouth from Alex, does he realize that he’s a t-t-t-twin?! Wha?! Alex is not super interested in fighting Griffith, who employs his girlfriend Danielle, but after Alex is beat up by the mobsters Griffith works with he starts to help out. After stealing a big shipment from the mob and then hitting up a party with some explosives, they become targets. They escape to an abandoned resort where Chad gets contacted by Danielle who is in trouble. He heads off to pick her up which makes Alex crazy with jealousy. When Chad finally returns the brothers split up in anger narrowly avoiding the mob who, having followed Chad, have arrived to take them out. Finding out that Frank and Danielle have been taken hostage they track them to a shipyard where they put their martial arts skillz to good use and kill all the bad guys and inherit their drop dead gorgeous money making tunnel. THE END.

Why?! The tunnel baby! They want that gd tunnel and they want it now. I kinda laughed at this idea, but in fact the Cross-Harbour Tunnel was built privately with the contract stating that those that built it would collect tolls for 30 years from the start of construction before the contract went over to the Hong Kong government. So this would mean by killing Griffith (and thus inheriting the bridge… I think? I don’t think that’s how this works) they would have had eight more years of those sweet tolls to gobble up.

Who?! Obviously an important film in the “actors portraying two characters” canon. However, I think the most interesting aspect of the cast is that this was the last film for which JCVD got a “fight coordinator” credit. He got it for Kickboxer and Lionheart in the two years before this as well. I can only assume this was a way he could make more on the film when they were still relatively small time affairs. After this he moved onto things like Universal Soldier.

What?! Is the tunnel a MacGuffin? I would argue no as generally a MacGuffin must hold power and allure in a way where the audience is meant to not care or understand anything more about it. Generally it’s like a staff or machine with a weird name or interesting properties. This is a tunnel. We know its allure (money bags with green dollar signs painted on them) and we know its power (the power over your time, literally the greatest power of them all).

Where?! Hong Kong quite literally for days. We get a brief scene in LA, but otherwise the city gets to shine in all its glory as we see Victoria Harbour in a lot of detail. Much like JCVD’s Knock Off we get a sense that the mob/smuggling/underworld aspect of the city holds particular interest for these east meets west martial arts mash ups. A. 

When?! I do think this takes place in modern day. The beginning of the film would take place August 2, 1972, when the tunnel opened, and it makes sense that they are about 19/20 years old when we see them attempting their big comeback. Chad in particular played it like an early 20-something just wanting to teach aerobics and woo the ladies with his splits.

I found the film to be a little boring as it dived into the murky waters of private tunnel ownership. In a lot of ways it felt like a 60’s film like an old James Bond or something. Didn’t feel particularly modern and so the story kinda dragged. But JCVD was surprisingly good in the dual role. He really acted his buns off (and his buns did their fair share of acting as well) to the point where I think it overcame some of the faults to at least be interesting from a JCVD point of view. I also really appreciated the fact that they didn’t play a bunch of games when it came to the dual role. One of the twins didn’t die early or have an accident requiring them to wear gauze on their face the whole time or anything. Lots of split screens, lots of body doubles, lots of fun (that’s the tagline for this review). As for Twisted Pair, I’ll let Patrick tell most of the story, but given our first taste of Niel Breen I have to say that it tasted very Breen. The movie makes no sense and at times you wonder if perhaps you are doing something unsavory by taking such a glimpse into the mind of a madman. But still, if you can get your hands on the film it’s a wild ride. I can certainly see the fascination people have with him and it’s actually pretty impressive that he’s made more than a few films with similar bad movie qualities. Usually bad movies of The Room kind are one hit wonders. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Am I seeing double? Double … impact?! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – If I’m being honest I’m still not really very familiar with Van Damme’s filmography. That might seem like sacrilege, but I just never was very into martial arts films in general. I once went to a Van Damme movie marathon which is fun. But obviously you stick to the classics there: Hard Target, Time Cop, and Sudden Death. I’ve seen a bunch of them, but the early films and anything past 1999 are still mostly a mystery. But obviously “the one where he plays his own twin” was always an eventual must watch for the Bad Movie Twins. What were my expectations? I suppose I expected it to be a silly half-assed garbage film? I don’t know. Sudden Death is an incredibly hilarious film, especially the final helicopter scene. So why can’t this be the same?

The Good – The split screen and movie magic moments are actually halfway decent. If this was a kids’ movie or something I would say it actually is a pretty effective gimmick. I also just mostly like this style. Much like Knock Off it feels very much like a Hong Kong crime film of the time. Unlike Knock Off I assume the crew filming in Hong Kong spoke english which possibly explains why the film felt of higher quality. And while the acting was pretty dire top to bottom I want to give a shoutout to both Bolo Yeung and Corinna Everson who were some very fun body builder bad guys. Yeung is amazing. His body-builder-martial-artist body is really just a sight to behold. Best Bit: Two Van Dammes.

The Bad – The film is kind of boring and, indeed, kind of just feels like a pretty silly Hong Kong crime film of the time. That isn’t a terrible thing on its own, it is just a tad bit more self-serious that you might expect from a “Van Damme Is a Twin!!” film. As mentioned the acting is particularly bad. It is too bad Van Damme could never really get a handle on his accent in the 90s. If he could have pulled off the American accent (and I think they did try for a scene or two in the beginning) and got himself into a more mainstream film as the bad guy, I think he would have had a bit more longevity in his career. Fatal Flaw: Too self-serious.

The BMT – It’s probably one of the quintessential bad twin films ever made. The one where Van Damme plays his own twin. Getting a fuller picture of Van Damme’s career is always fun, as is getting introduced to the world of Hong Kong cinema (even through what is ostensibly an American version of it). I don’t think it’ll really be remembered alongside The Quest and other great-bad Van Damme films, but it is still an interesting turning point in his career as Ebert astutely noted in his review at the time.

Roast-radamus – There is for real an odd number of Johnnie Walker bottles strewn around this film, so it does feel like a Product Placement (What?), although maybe the crew just really like Johnnie Walker. Loving the Setting as a Character (Where?) for Hong Kong, the seedy underworld of smuggling once again playing a major role in a Van Damme film. Is Vengeance a MacGuffin? I don’t think so. And I’ll toss this out as probably closest to Good, although I do think it is a rare film where you could argue for any of the three superlatives.

StreetCreditReport.com – I can’t really speak to any official cred (beyond being a twin film, and according to IMDb directly inspiring the film Twin Dragons which is amusing), but unofficially it was listed on an Over the Top Action Film list and a Guilty Pleasure Action Film list on IMDb, which I think is a fairly accurate description of the film. Although I’d argue there are multiple bad Van Damme films which are more entertaining than this one.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This was a very special week at BMTHQ. For this week we watched our very first Neil Breen film, Twisted Pair. Breen is the relatively new kid on the bad movie block. A real estate agent (or something) from Las Vegas, his films are notable in that he typically stars as a messianic figure. This is his latest film, and I have a hard time with it. Mostly the film is spectacular trash. The kind of thing only a delusional weirdo could produce and release to the world unironically. But is it ironic? It might be, he certainly has made enough films to know people are watching them ironically. Is Breen a bad person? Impossible to tell. Much like Tommy Wiseau, he seems to enjoy his notoriety while also keeping his personal life and business much to himself. The film is insanity, pure and simple, and was mostly fun to watch in order to speculate on Breen’s relationship with the actors on set and Nevada State University. The storyline is almost impossible to parse, though, and mostly dull. I would say that the only kind of Room-ish bit of the film is the fake rape scene in the beginning, which genuinely makes one wonder about Breen’s mental state. The rest is just an exercise in seeing what happens when a probable narcissist gets hold of a quality film camera. B+. If the film was more readily available I would say the Breen filmography is probably worth a watch just to see the current state of the art bad movie production in action. But at the moment this one in particular is a little too hard to get, so I have to dock it points.

Twin Analysis – Oh boy, as far as Double Impact is concerned this might be one of the best twin films ever. It’s got it all. The harsh brooding twin, the fun loving happy twin, twins separated at birth creating a real fish out of water scenario combined with a real odd couple scenario. The entire film revolves around the twins and avenging their parents. And complete with twin fighting twin and multiple split screens throughout the film creating two Jean Claude Van Dammes. Never have there been twins so adept at side splits! I’m giving it an A+. Boom done it. Then as for Twisted Pair you have the opposite problem in a way. At first blush it would appear to be the perfect twin film. Good/evil twin dynamics for days. Twins all over the place including a very bad split screen. And perhaps a twin-centric story with the good twin battling the bad twin … or is it? Is the storyline actually about the twins? I mean, they were both inexplicably granted magic abilities, just one of them fell out of Messiah Academy / Spy School and became a vigilante drug addict … or something like that. And in the end the story seems to be much much more about Good Breen laying waste to some international deep state conspiracy (or something, again, the storyline is impossible to parse). I feel obligated to give this an A- … but is the story actually about twins? Or is the movie just two twin brothers’ mostly disjointed stories smushed together? Scientists maintain we may never know.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Astronaut’s Wife Recap

Jamie

Jillian and Spencer have it all. He’s a handsome astronaut, she’s a beautiful astronaut’s wife. That is until a space accident leaves Spencer a little… off. Throwing away his dreams of flying he joins the corporate world in NYC and things go downhill fast. Can Jillian stop the crazy alien version of her husband before it’s too late? Find out in… The Astronaut’s Wife.

How?! Spencer is a handsome astronaut with a beautiful life and beautiful wife (an astronaut’s wife, if you will). But on his latest mission there is an explosion and he and his fellow astronaut barely make it back to Earth alive. Everything seems OK but things still feel a bit off, especially when Spencer decides to quit being an astronaut. Jillian is concerned (he would never quit his job!) and particularly peeved that he has decided to move them to NYC for a big shot job. But when Spencer’s friend dies and the friend’s wife commits suicide they head to the city for a fresh start. But boy howdy, this start is anything but fresh (or even slightly dope) because Spencer has really changed and is starting to scare Jillian, who is already having a tough time adjusting to the highfalutin NYC lifestyle that she hates. When a former colleague of Spencer’s shows up in NYC spouting off what sounds like crazy theories about her husband she is scared, but also intrigued. He more or less is like “he’s a scary ass alien and totally impregnated you with scary twin alien babies,” and she gasps but also believes him. It then becomes a bit of a cat and mouse game between Spencer and Jillian as they both kinda pretend things are OK but also he’s an alien. Finally, after realizing that the ultimate plan is to train their twin alien babies to take over the world with alien technology (this is real) she makes one last effort to kill him and succeeds! Except that the spooky alien inside him jumps from Spencer to Jillian. Oh no! So now she’s a creepy alien with creepy alien twin babies and the world is doomed. THE END.

Why?! World domination, duh. I mean, that’s just what aliens do and Spencer is no doubt an alien. As for Jillian, it’s hard to understand her motivation at times because she also doesn’t entirely know what’s going on. First she thinks about getting rid of the babies and thus foiling Spencer’s plan, but she has trouble doing it. Ultimately it’s a matter not only of survival, but survival for the human race and so she decides to kill him… and fails.

Who?! Gary Grubbs, from the final season of The OC fame, shows up as the director of NASA… which is interesting because that is a position appointed by the President, so we’ll have to keep this is mind when we are building the BMT Cabinet. Otherwise, probably the most notable was the Spouse twins making a very brief appearance as the creepy alien twins ready to destroy the world.

What?! It’s not for sale, but there is a screenworn NASA outfit for Johnny Depp listed on the YourProps site. Probably a museum piece… just not sure what museum. The only only kinda interesting object in the film is the repeated use of a radio both as a weapon and as a means of alien communication. I honestly don’t know whether it is meant to symbolize something or not. Just interesting that old timey radios are seemingly everywhere in the world.

Where?! We start in Florida and pretty quickly head to NYC. Charlize’s character haaates NYC and no wonder since the NYC they present is full of snobs who snidely look down on the idea of being a teacher as something not only beneath them but so utterly disgusting that they have to pretend to see someone they know just to get out of the conversation before they puke. I’m not sure whether to give it a B+ because it’s a pretty solid setting or an F because the setting is more of a caricature than an actual setting. Fine, B+.

When?! It takes place over an entire year basically. The accident occurs and then they move to NYC, she get a new job, gets pregnant and then is maybe like 4 months pregnant or something when the climax of the film occurs. So modestly it’s maybe a full year. I would guess it starts in the spring of one year and then ends in the late winter of the next year. Hard to say though. D as you get some sense of seasons.

I found almost everything in this movie to be exceedingly unpleasant. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very well made film. Surprisingly so, given that the director has not made another film after this writer-director debut. But it actually feels like this was a movie made by an alien (is it possible that that’s the point?) where every scene and interaction is devoid of recognizable human behavior. The scenes in NYC feel like you’re watching like Eyes Wide Shut weirdness as everyone talks and reacts like no one does in real life. Even Jillian and Spencer’s interactions feel really stilted and like they just met, let alone are married to each other. Add in some scenes of sexual and domestic abuse and I was already pretty tired of it all by the time Jillian became an alien herself. Probably for the better. Whatever world they were living in probably deserved to be destroyed by aliens. Couldn’t get much worse. As for Firestorm, it’s a fun super low budget action film that delivers on some pretty spectacular jazz trumpet scenes. Add in some cyborgs (or half-cyborgs, which is a phrase they actually use in the film) denoted by little bits of metallic paint on their faces and I had a reasonably good time watching this. At least a better time than watching The Astronaut’s Wife. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Twins that are destined to doom the human race? What is this, our life story? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I only vaguely knew what this film was about prior to watching it. It is mostly a little weird because it has a pre-Pirates-and-makeup-obsessed Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron the same year as The Cider House Rules in one of those sci-fi films that doesn’t actually seem like sci-fi. It feels more like a drama while being fairly hard science fiction in the end. What were my expectations? As usual with films I’m not super familiar with I was expecting to be bored. Because usually when people don’t bother to watch and review films years later it is because they are boring I think.

The Good – The storyline is a lot better than you might initially think, although there is a reason for that (see the Bad section for a bit more on that). I also thought Theron was quite good. The New York City set pieces work well, although, again, I think there is a reason for that which is a bit unfortunate. You know what? There isn’t much else to say on the good side without getting into the glaring issue with this film, so let’s move on to that. Best Bit: Charlize Theron.

The Bad – This is a total and complete rip-off of Rosemary’s Baby. So much so that I started trying to look up and see whether this was intended as a direct adaptation. It somehow isn’t. Theron even looks kind of similar to Mia Farrow in the role with the same short pixie cut. In both cases you have gaslighting and eerie tracking of the pregnant Farrow/Theron, and in both cases it feels notable that the setting of New York City with its often gothic architectural features take center stage. There is even a suggestion of potential drugging at the moment in which the devil/alien children are conceived. I won’t spoil the endings, but there are similarities there as well. I don’t quite understand what to think about this. Everything good about this film can be pretty directly traced to inspiration from the far superior Rosemary’s Baby so … does that make this film terrible? When nothing it has done is good on its own? Or is it fine, because how could a remake of Rosemary’s Baby really be that bad? I say terrible. Fatal Flaw: Shameless rip-off.

The BMT – I think as far as shameless rip-offs are concerned this might be a crowning jewel. It is incredibly hard to even think about this film on its own without being colored by what you think about Rosemary’s Baby. That’s really really odd. Otherwise it is pretty forgettable, even as a twin film. The twins play a big role, but you don’t see them until the end of the film. Did it meet my expectations? It was not boring. I actually kind of enjoyed this film. It was even a little strange trying to reconcile the two competing thoughts on the film. On the one hand I enjoyed it. On the other, I enjoyed the original, Rosemary’s Baby, more. It is almost ruined purely because the remake is completely unacknowledged.

Roast-radamus – A halfway decent Product Placement (What?) for ice cold Budweiser which I think you see in multiple scenes in the film. Very solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for New York City complete with Gothic themes. I think it has a strong argument for MacGuffin (Why?) for the alien twins who will pilot the experimental EMP deploying spacecraft obviously intended to be used to destroy humanity from within. I’ll skip the twist because I think it was actually pretty good. I think it is closest to Good than anything else.

StreetCreditReport.com – I can’t find a single mention of this on any lists. I can’t even find a single mention of this on worst astronaut / space film lists. This might actually be one of the most pure: “All of the cred comes from the fact that the plotline is about twins” that we’ve done for the cycle. I doubt we ever do The Astronaut’s Wife if there weren’t twins in the film. Or at least … maybe not for decades. Will BMT last for decades more? Am I joking?

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we brought along Firestorm as a friend. No, not the other Firestorm we already watched for BMT. This is a rather obscure 1997 sci-fi film about twins raging against a corrupt corporation trying to manipulate and kill cyborgs. One is a rogue agent of the corporation, the other, well … he plays smooth jazz. In the end they have to aid a revolution and take down the man. YEAH! In reality the film is one of those rather dull straight-to-video films probably most notable for having Robert Carradine in the role as the head of the cyborg army. Oh, and obviously the smooth smooth jazz. But naw, in the end it is probably like a C+. It should be more amusing than it is because of the jazz, but that sustains the story for like 15 minutes before you remember you are just rewatching Cyborg 3: The Recycler.

Twin Analysis – We are creeping ever closer to the end of the twin cycle. This week we had The Astronaut’s Wife which is a difficult one to assess. On the one hand you have a very twin-centric storyline. On the other, the twins don’t actually appear until late into the film. A perfect example of a B twin film. Give it an A for storyline dependence, but a C for actual twinness. As for Firestorm, this is a Bad Company scenario through and through. You see the twins together once in the beginning of the film basically, but soon one of them is killed off for production cost reasons … er, I mean for really important plot reasons. The idea of twins is important to the overall story. Without the protagonists being twins, then there is no infiltration of the bad guy’s company and the plot (for what that’s worth) totally falls apart. But they also get away with, overall, very little twinness in the film itself. I’m going to give it the same grade as Bad Company in the end, an A-. While you did get some split screen action in Firestorm, you had less of a good/bad twin dynamic at play, so it comes out as a wash I think.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs