The 15:17 to Paris Recap

Jamie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

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Exit Wounds Recap

Jamie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Recap

Jamie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Alpha and Omega Recap

Jamie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

In Love and War Recap

Jamie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

Jaws: The Revenge Recap

Jamie

Jaws is back, Jack! And ready for a little revenge. When another shark related tragedy hits her family, Ellen Brody goes a little crazy thinking that she is the target of a vast shark conspiracy. Escaping to The Bahamas she is shocked to find the giant shark there waiting for her. Can she stop this voodoo shark conspiracy before it’s too late? Find out in… Jaws: The Revenge.

How?! Ellen Brody is still living it up on Amity Island. Her husband Martin has passed from a heart attack and her son Michael is off getting a PhD. But Sean is still there living a peaceful life as a police officer. Just a quiet life on the island during Christmas… PSYCH!! He is fucking eaten by a shark!!!! Ellen is now convinced that these sharks are out to get her. First Martin (who I guess had a heart attack obsessing over the shark?) and now Sean. All the evidence we need. Realizing his mom is going a little nuts Michael has her come spend the holidays in the Bahamas with his family. When they get down there she meets an older gentleman Hoagie and they start a romance. They have a nice peaceful Christmas in the Caribbean and not much goes on… PSYCH!!! A fucking shark shows up!!!! The shark is following them!!!! It eats a bunch of people and the Brody’s are all freaked out because this shark is totally voodoo conspiracy after them!!!! In a last ditch effort to rid the world of these giant sharks, Michael and his mom go out on a sailboat, shoot the shark with a electrode thing, and shock the shit out of it until it explodes/gets impaled by the ship. Finally they are happy because they don’t have to worry about any more sharks… or do they? (they don’t because this killed the series). THE END.

Why?! Ha, well the shark is apparently motivated by revenge. It’s actually a little confusing whether you are supposed to come to agree with that assessment. Sure this one family keeps on getting attacked by sharks but there is no actual explanation for why this family of sharks would follow them all over the world. It’s nonsense. The actual explanation is fleshed out in the novelization where a voodoo woman with a vendetta against the Brody’s curses them to forever be hunted by these sharks… which is straight Halloween Parts 4-6 Curse of Thorn bullshit. Also it makes these sharks more or less the evil pawn of a much more evil voodoo lady who never gets a comeuppance. Which is actually kind of sad for both the Brody’s and the shark.

What?! They were probably two movies away from having Ellen Brody stab the shark with The Knife of Power while reciting verses from the Necronomicon. In this film they just used the power of Miller Lite to drain their worries about a voodoo-powered shark out for revenge.

Who?! We get a bunch of fantastic special thanks in this. There are a couple Bahamas related people and Dr. John McCosker, an ichthyologist who obviously advised the production. But most notable was this Special Thanks:

Jaws credits

Thank you very much Selectmen of Edgartown, indeed.

Where?! We open on Amity Island a.k.a. Edgartown, MA, but quickly transition to The Bahamas. I like the choice if only for how weird and random it is and the Caribbean is used to good effect. A-.

When?! Secret Holiday Film Alert! This takes place right at Christmas time. Why? No idea. I guess because they had to film in the winter and so they figured ‘Why not?’ Perhaps it’s a metaphor for the resurrection of the shark who died for our sins… three times. Anyway, very specific and factors into the plot, but not in a particularly important way. A-.

Let’s get one thing straight: this movie is incredibly stupid. Like extra dumb and not surprisingly I think people came to believe that the series could no longer continue without getting dumber. This is probably correct. Jaws 5: It’s Back! would not have been good. However, given our expectation for the film I think it’s surprisingly coherent. I kinda liked the Michael Caine scenes and some of the family stuff (even though it all seemed totally misplaced in the film) and you could kinda go along for the ride without much issue. But again: extra dumb dumb stupid. As for Birdemic: Shock and Terror I had actually already seen it. It was the film that made me officially decide that these were not the films we wanted to be doing for BMT. I remember watching it and finding it mostly excruciating and frustrating to watch. This viewing didn’t necessarily change that assessment. I will say that I’ve come to appreciate these incredibly low budget bad films because they often are the creation of quirky singular viewpoints. So you get a glimpse into someone’s mind. Like in Birdmic you clearly see that the creator’s background in software sales and passion for climate change is a big part of his life and thought process (and thus the crazy film he made). And that’s interesting… to a point. Patrick?  

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Jaws is back jack and with a voodoo twist (presumably, I’m just guessing) … that’s right, Jaws, a shark, is now consciously hunting the Brody clan. And in no way is that ridiculous. Let’s go!

The Good – Far more entertaining than you would think for a film that is purportedly one of the worst films ever made … or at least one of the worst sequels. Lorraine Gary is a delight. Caine is just hilarious in how much he doesn’t give a shit. Nice underwater … I’m going to call them vistas, sue me. The conch tagging scenes were beautiful.

P’s View on the Preview – This film is considered to be one of the worst sequels ever made. The reviews suggest it just looks like garbage and makes no sense. Going in I was certainly the most interested in the revenge story though. Is Jaws actually taking revenge? Do they try and explain it? If they don’t they why do they think Jaws is seeking revenge? Do they acknowledge the fact that in the three (fine, two canonical) films the shark always dies? So many questions and so little expectation!

The Bad – NONE OF MY QUESTIONS WERE ANSWERED. I really wished they had gone completely Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers on us, but alas, they do something even worse: they just kind of allude to shark vengeance and offer no explanation. Add to that the shark looking like crap, most of the actors being not great, and the writing being a mess and you can see why the film is reviled. And yet I kept coming back to the Leonard Maltin review … something about this film is very watchable.

You Just Got Schooled – I’m going to do a two-fer youtube video here. First, witness the original uncut ending of Jaws: The Revenge! Two major things changed between the original theatrical ending and the European (and subsequent home video) released. First, Jaws is merely killed by Ellen slamming a boat into it (wizzeak). Second, and you can’t notice it in the video, but Jake (Mario Van Peebles) dies in this version. The shark … looks atrocious. Which brings me to: A recent video in which the VFX is tastefully redone! I actually think it looks quite good. Good enough at least that you might not have cared that it was spitting in the eye of the original. I’m actually quite liking this entry to my recaps and I think I’ll continue to find “homework” to recap each week.

The BMT – I think I’ll remember this film for it giving me an epiphany: creature features are eminently watchable. Combine some sort of animal attacking people with a halfway decent directorial effort and there is almost nothing you can do to make me think the film isn’t at least watchable. Jaws: The Revenge? Why not? Anaconda? YUP. Bats? Fine, there is a limit, that movie is pretty rough. I guess the point is that Jaws remains the primary creature feature franchise, even years after it died, and that’s saying something.

Welcome to Earf – Michael Caine is in this and Get Carter (2000) with Sylvester Stallone, who was in Zookeeper with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth! Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – As mentioned above, this is legitimated considered on the worst sequels ever made. People happily mention it in 1987 worst of lists, where it takes a nice place next to Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (another crazy number four in a series). It was also so bad it was at one point added to the worst films wiki (although it was removed). This was a must see eventually considering its Razzie cred alone, but it is very famous for being a terrible sequel. Only took us about 450 films to get to it.

Bring a Friend – This week we watched Birdemic: Shock and Terror for the Bring a Friend cycle as another creature feature. Fun fact: the movie was filmed in Half Moon Bay just south of San Francisco where I just so happened to have gone for a wedding two months ago! Like legit … I saw the double decker bus and passed by the cafe in the beginning of the film. As for the film: the birds look so ridiculous you can’t help but be delighted by them. Sure the movie is mostly boring, kind of gross, and weirdly obsessed about global warming (to no satisfying conclusion), but the birds themselves are kind of enough to sustain 60% of the film. If Teen Witch is a solid A, and A Talking Cat?! is a C-, this is somewhere in between. I’m going to give it a B- I think. It isn’t nearly entertaining enough to sustain the runtime, but I understand the allure of the film are far as entertainingly bad films. I could maybe be convinced to watch the film again with a bunch of people.

Cheerios, and back to you Jamie!

The 13th Warrior Recap

Jamie

Ahmad Ibn Fadlan is an ambassador from Baghdad who gets caught up in a Viking quest to defend a town under attack from mysterious monsters. Can he stop the monsters (and get (with) the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… The 13th Warrior.

How?! Ahmad Ibn Fadlan is a totally rad emissary for Baghdad, exiled because he was just too sexy and the ladies loved cool Ahmad. On his journey as an ambassador he meets up with a bunch of even radder Vikings who are informed that they must help a king whose lands are being attacked by mysterious monsters. They are also told that a stranger, a thirteenth warrior, must join their group if they hope to succeed. Obviously Ahmad is chosen because he’s rad and ladies love him. They go to the Viking manor and find evidence that the rumors are true and the town is being attacked by a mysterious force that eats their victims. They prepare for battle, but after a brief skirmish they realize they’ll have to do more to survive and they start to put up barricades. Meanwhile the ladies still love cool Ahmad. After a large nighttime battle with the monstrous force they again realize that they’ll have to do better to survive as their group is dwindling (the ladies still love Ahmad to this point). They go to an oracle and are told to take out the enemy Queen in her lair and kill their leader who possesses the Horns of Power. They proceed to go there and do so, but the leader of the Vikings is poisoned. In his dying effort he is able to defeat the final forces and crush that dude and his Horns of Power. Everyone is sad but also happy and Ahmad forgets about the ladies that loved him and heads back home. This may in fact be my worst ever synopsis. I have only the movie to blame. THE END.

Why?! Ahmad really just gets caught up in all of this, but eventually you get the sense that he kind of digs the Viking lifestyle of fighting and drinking and, pardon my French, making sweet, sweet love to Viking queens. He always like “No, I can’t do that for God or whatever,” but then he does… because he’s a Viking at heart.

What?! Before each battle Ahmad slams a couple Coors Lights and when the Vikings asks how that’s OK with his religion he exclaims “It is mere water to quench my thirst.” Seriously though I thought this section would be trouble until a prophecy at the end reveals that in order to conquer the bad guys they must defeat the leader who wears the Horns of Power. While perhaps not a MacGuffin in the truest sense of the word, it is definitely awesome in every other sense of the word.

Who?! There are two interesting credits here. The first is Dr. Leroy Perry, a sports chiropractor who got a special thanks on the film. He is apparently a big deal LA chiropractor and likely entered this production after Banderas sustained a back injury early in filming. For a while there he was part of a number of films, but IMDb doesn’t have any credits after this one. The second is that Michael Crichton ended up doing uncredited reshoots on the film and is listed as an director on IMDb. This is the reason that the film was not released for over a year after filming as Crichton had final cut rights and didn’t like McTiernan’s version (which also tested poorly). So he did his own reshoots and that’s what we ended up seeing. This also may explain why the film is so close to the book (which is nearly unfilmable) as it appears that Crichton had a lot of control on production.

Where?! The whole setting can only really be gleaned from the book/historical person that the story fictionalizes. So we can presume this takes place in modern day Russia… but it’s kinda lame. D

When?!  One can assume that this takes place in the 10th century because Banderas’ character is based on a real person who wrote about the culture of Vikings in his travels. The whole story was concocted as a reimagining of the Beowulf mythos as a twisting of the true tale of a Viking battle. But of course no one in the film is like “Yo, it’s the 10th century, bro. Viking time.” D

This film is really interesting… but no matter how much I wanted to say that it was underrated and actually good I couldn’t make myself do it. Why? Because it’s kinda boring and they botched the big action pieces that could have taken it to another level. I actually listened to the audiobook for the novel that this was based on and it is shockingly similar. That would be fine except that as I listened to it the only thing I could think was “This could be a really great film as long as they made major changes and really amped up the action scenes.” Guess what? They didn’t. And in the end it pretty much matched the book. Interesting as a concept, but boring as a film. Matched with it was Edison Force starring our boys LL Cool J and Justin Timberlake. JT in particular gives the worst performance I’ve actually seen put to film and the entire film seems like a less successful 88 Minutes or Righteous Kill (if that can be believed). It is a terrible film and also kinda funny to watch at times if only for JT embarrassing himself. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You ever just want to go on a relaxing holiday up north, a little sauna, a few laughs, but then get hooked into a battle against some cannibals with magic horns of power?! Me neither, but Ahmad Ibn Fadlan did, let’s go!

The Good – Let’s get this out of the way: I dug this movie. And not in an ironic way. If this was cleaned up a bit and was made in like 1980 I think it might have been kind of good in the Conan the Barbarian kind of way. But it was instead made in 1999, and is not cleanly made. So it is merely a somewhat tolerable film in the medieval genre, that is really the best you can say about it. Beautiful though.

Ps View on the Preview – The director of this film is actually really interesting. Made Predator, Die Hard, and The Hunt for the Red October back-to-back-to-back. He was a true legend, someone that is still mentioned as “hey, maybe he could still make something great if given the chance.” But he perjured himself to the FBI and went to prison and now no one seems to want to touch him with a ten foot pole. And by all accounts this film was a complete mess with audiences and cut / shot to shit by Michael Crichton. It is bananas, and the only reason this is even on BMT’s radar.

The Bad – And it is cut to shit. The movie is at turns kind of boring and extremely confusing. It is beautiful, but that only really gets you so far. It helped immensely that I brushed up on my Beowulf so I could pick up what they were … just kind of throwing willy nilly at the screen. I also had to watch the film in pieces. It really doesn’t grab you. And this is coming from a person who said he dug the film. Yikes.

Get Yo Rant On! – It is tough to think on something to rant about here … how about the gall of Michael Crichton to think he could make Beowulf interesting (his words not mine, that is literally why he wrote the book, as a kind of dare to make the story interesting to modern audiences). I can’t speak to whether the book was successful … but the movie is pretty boring, so probably not very successful there. I still bet you could make the story interesting though … like set it on an alien planet and make Grendal an actual alien monster or something? I’ll take my payment for this idea in Bitcoin, thanks.

The BMT – Naw, this isn’t a BMT film at all … but I could probably watch it again. For the vistas! I love vistas and this movie has them in spades. But it is nowhere near as bad as a BMT film should be. It is one of the better actual films we’ve seen for BMT in the last year easily … which I guess is terrible?

Welcome to Earf – Antonio Banderas is in The 13th Warrior and Expendables 3 with Sylvester Stallone who was in The Zookeeper with Adam Sandler who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – The only mention I found in an actual worst of list was it being mentioned as being … not that bad. But it is easily found on worst flops lists. Like this one. That is basically why it is famous after all.

Bring a Friend – This week we watched Edison as part of the bring a friend cycle. And unfortunately the only thing you can really say about it is that it is generic. Sure Justin Timberlake’s acting is straight up hilarious in the film. And some of the directorial choices are kind of off the wall. But if you’ve seen any number of cheesy corrupt cop dramas you’ve seen this movie. There is no twist, or mystery, no killers like in Righteous Kill to keep things interesting. It is just m’boy Justin T cracking the case with good journalism and taking down some fratty F.R.A.T. bros. No biggie. As far as bring a friend is concerned though I would give is a D+. It is hard to fault the film for its mere existence, but why does it exist? Why did I watch this? I will never watch it again, and would never recommend it to anyone. The extra few points is because JT’s acting is amusing on occasion. If you like guns though there is a good shoot’em up right in the beginning. Watch the first 10 minutes and then turn it off.

I did not read the book.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs