Knock Off Preview

The men in Tiniman’s army expect nothing from Rich and Poe. Yeah, they may have toned biceps and abs for days, but they also seem like a couple of rascals who don’t care much for rules. At first it seems like they’re right. “This sucks!” yells Rich, while Poe looks sadly at his nutritionless grub they’re served in the mess. “How are we expected to keep ourselves lean, mean fighting machines without a balanced meal,” he sighs. But soon, they learn the meaning of their military family and come to trust and love their brothers in arms. They aren’t just passable soldiers, they are oddly competent. “Hey Roach,” Rich asks one day, “what are we training for anyway?” Their comrade Roach looks up from polishing his robot legs. “War,” he grunts and gets back a-polishing. He needs those babies gleaming. “War… who are we fighting?” Poe asks, curious now. “Alligator,” Roach grunts. Rich and Poe nod their heads but suddenly look at each other… Alligator. Rich and Poe get as many details as they can from Roach, one grunt at a time. Tiniman’s aim is to conquer the lands to the south. Where a tribe of men have come to live harmoniously with giant alligators. “Unconquerable,” Roach says winking, his legs now gleaming in the sunlight. “My God,” Rich says, “Alligator Steve… this is where he’s from.” Poe gulps, “and we’re going to destroy them.” While their newfound maturity bucks at the idea of betraying their comrades they also know they gotta get out of there… and fast. “What we need is…” Rich begins, but suddenly a shadow passes over them. “Deception,” Roach grunts. Startled, they look up in fear, but Roach is smiling. “Twins,” he says and Rich and Poe smile back. “Knock offs,” they agree. That’s right! We’re watching the JCVD-Rob Schneider buddy cop film about a Hong Kong… uh… fashion designer? Who also does karate or something? And Rob Schneider is a cop… what, what’s happening? Let’s go!

Knock Off (1998) – BMeTric: 55.3; Notability: 29 

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(The notability is higher that I would have expected for a film I never heard of, but not super high for a major release. I’m intrigued. The rating is riding, but sub-5.0 is pretty great with that 50+ BMeTric. This film has a lot going for it from a numbers perspective.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Van Damme teams up with American agents to combat terrorists. Having Van Damme play a Hong Kong clothing designer/importer in an action film pinned to a plot about designer jeans is peculiar but not interesting … which also describes the movie. Director Hark abandons his vivid fight choreography for standard swift intercutting instead. Samo Hung appears unbilled.

(Ha! I love that description. Leonard is just flabbergasted by the B-story which is actually the A-story. The character sounds like Tommy Wiseau in real life.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Txm_I4usB0/

(The trailer is fucking bonkers. Just cut after cut after cut with weird quips (“Goodbye yellow brick road”? It isn’t even that quoting Elton John is out of date, it is that it is just a weird turn of phrase). Explosions, Rob Schnieder saying random words, clearly a bunch of wire-fu which is going to annoy me. I literally cannot wait to watch this ludicrous film.)

Directors – Hark Tsui – (Known For: Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame; Journey to the West: Demon Chapter; Once Upon a Time in China; Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings; Seong lung wui; Flying Swords of Dragon Gate; Wong Fei Hung II: Nam yee tung chi keung; Zhi qu wei hu shan; Shu Shan – Xin Shu shan jian ke; Once Upon a Time in China III; Shun liu ni liu; Tit sam gok; Future BMT: Shu shan zheng zhuan; Qi jian; BMT: Double Team; Knock Off; Notes: He is considered a master in martial arts action, and one of the best Chinese directors ever. His production company is one of the biggest Hong Kong film companies in the business.)

Writers – Steven E. de Souza (written by) – (Known For: Die Hard; Commando; Die Hard 2; The Running Man; 48 Hrs.; Ricochet; The Return of Captain Invincible; Future BMT: Street Fighter; The Flintstones; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Bad Dreams; BMT: Knock Off; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Judge Dredd; Beverly Hills Cop III; Hudson Hawk; Another 48 Hrs.; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Notes: One of the last films he wrote that got a major release. He was only 51 at the time, so I assume he just kind of retired.)

Actors – Jean-Claude Van Damme – (Known For: Bloodsport; The Expendables 2; Kung Fu Panda 2; Kung Fu Panda 3; Kickboxer; Hard Target; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Timecop; Kickboxer: Vengeance; Lukas; Sudden Death; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; JCVD; Enemies Closer; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Derailed; Cyborg; Welcome to the Jungle; The Order; Legionnaire; Double Impact; Maximum Risk; Inferno; Replicant; The Quest; Missing in Action; Pound of Flesh; Black Water; Nowhere to Run; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Breakin’; Last Action Hero; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Double Team; Knock Off; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: Literally the last film he released prior to starting to mostly release non-theatrical films. Legionnaire would be his next film, and Universal Soldier: The Return was after that and was his last theatrical release for a decade.)

Rob Schneider – (Known For: 50 First Dates; Muppets from Space; Future BMT: The Animal; Norm of the North; Little Nicky; You Don’t Mess with the Zohan; InAPPropriate Comedy; The Hot Chick; Sandy Wexler; Eight Crazy Nights; Surf Ninjas; Mr. Deeds; The Adventures of Pinocchio; You May Not Kiss the Bride; Bedtime Stories; The Waterboy; Big Stan; Down Periscope; Click; Big Daddy; The Longest Yard; Necessary Roughness; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; BMT: Little Man; Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo; The Ridiculous 6; The Beverly Hillbillies; Knock Off; The Benchwarmers; Judge Dredd; Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; Grown Ups; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Around the World in 80 Days; Demolition Man; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo in 2006; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo in 2006; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2007 for Little Man, and The Benchwarmers; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2000 for Big Daddy; in 2008 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; and in 2011 for Grown Ups; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Grandma’s Boy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Little Man, Little Nicky, The Animal, The Benchwarmers, and The Hot Chick; Notes: This was kind of right in the middle of his starring career, after he had already teamed up with Stallone for Judge Dredd. He is apparently anti-vax, which caused him to be dropped as a spokesperson for State Farm in 2014.)

Lela Rochon – (Known For: Any Given Sunday; Boomerang; Brooklyn’s Finest; Waiting to Exhale; The Big Hit; Gang Related; Why Do Fools Fall in Love; Blood Done Sign My Name; Future BMT: The Meteor Man; Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo; Breakin’; Supremacy; BMT: Knock Off; First Daughter; The Chamber; Harlem Nights; Notes: Right at the top of her peak as a leading lady in film, right around Why Do Fools Fall in Love. She has a degree in broadcast journalism.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $10,319,915 (Worldwide: $10,319,915)

(Oh wow. Now this can’t possibly be true right? Wouldn’t this, at the very least, get a release in Hong Kong? This came out right as Van Damme’s career was cratering though, so I imagine they only realized it was mostly unreleasable afterwards. Case in point: this came out after Legionnaire.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (3/39): Muddled plot; stiff acting.

(Short and sweet! They seem to kind of agree that it is a little too jokey, but somehow very serious, and … honestly it does sound muddled now that I write it. Reviewer Highlight: Something of a kaleidoscopic mess of a movie, but it has its moments. – Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle)

Poster – Sklog Off

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(That is nuts. I find it offensive. What were they even thinking? Case in point: why is “Van Damme” in giant block letters that nearly fade into the background. My eyes hurt. F. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I think this was the most difficult font I’ve ever undertaken. I’m rather impressed with how okay the background looks behind the letters since I had to rebuild it all. Overall looks pretty good for what is, in fact, a pretty complicated poster.)

Tagline(s) – There is no substitute. (C+)

(It’s a pun… that’s the best you can say about it. Obviously playing on the fact that the story involves a bunch of knock off products and the fact that there is no substitute for Van Damme. But it’s stretching just a bit too far and doesn’t flow.)

Keyword – kickboxing

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Top 10: The Mummy Returns (2001), American Assassin (2017), True Lies (1994), The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), Road House (1989), Tomb Raider (2018), Street Fighter (1994), Say Anything… (1989), Kiss the Girls (1997), The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 63.0 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997), 61.9 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 57.6 Cyborg (1989), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 42.9 Fighting (2009), 41.0 The Quest (1996), 37.3 Nowhere to Run (1993), 26.4 American Assassin (2017), 24.6 A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave (1990);

BMT: Road House (1989), Kiss the Girls (1997), Universal Soldier (1992), Double Team (1997), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), Knock Off (1998)

(Wow, we really loved kickboxing in the 90s! There is something about it. I’ve been doing “research” into non-theatrical stars in my free time, and one of the major conclusions I’ve come to is there are different eras of straight-to-video films. And the 90s was definitely the apex of martial artists being recruited to put out their weirdo non-films.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Rob Schneider is No. 2 billed in Knock Off and No. 1 billed in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, which also stars William Forsythe (No. 2 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 5 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 1 + 2 + 5 + 3 + 1 = 14. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Hong Kong superstar and director Sammo Hung served as the film’s 2nd unit director. The release print of “Knock Off” suffers from the removal of a lot of the martial arts action shot for the film, with a couple of sequences being very heavily edited. The final battle between Jean-Claude Van Damme’s character and Australian actor/stuntman Michael Miller is less than half of the action shot for their fight, and upon careful viewing you can pick up the fact that the fight has raged across several different sections on the boat, while the fight between Jeff Wolfe’s character Scar and Jean-Claude’s is the most heavily edited with more of the action being shown in the “Making Of” featured on several of the DVD editions than in the finished film.

The film is one of the last in the world to feature Kai Tak Airport still in use; the airport closed in 1998.

In the Army Now Preview

Rich and Poe plunge into the water. A slow motion shot shows them float slowly downward as sad music plays. They are seemingly dead and this is the end of their story… the end of their quest… the end of their world… or is it?! Suddenly a beam of light shoots from Poe’s chest pointing their way to safety. They swim like a couple of totally majestic dolphins and burst forth onto a beautiful beach, sputtering for air. They look around. Their surroundings are so exotic. Just being able to place their eyes on such a beautiful exotic location makes everything seem way better than it actually is. “I… don’t understand… is this a new quest? Or did they kill us? Also why did that random beam of light shoot from your chest out of nowhere to save our lives?” Rich has so many questions and yet Poe has no answers. He sniffs the air and he turns quickly to Rich in panic, “do you smell that?” Rich sniffs too and narrows his eyes. “Is that…” but before he can finish the thought they both scramble up the nearest sand dune and lay eyes on a sea of fire and desert. It was all a facade. An oasis in a world of shit. Suddenly a convoy of trucks come screaming through the fire and smoke to come to a screeching halt in front of them. A small military man steps out of the nearest car and looks them up and down before nodding to a nearby soldier. The soldier steps up to Rich and Poe and thrusts some guns into their hands. “Congratulations,” he says in an unidentifiable (but definitely not racist) accent, “General Tiniman has recruited you. You are officially in the army now.” That’s right! We’re watching the Pauly Shore classic In the Army Now, which is set in the African country of Chad for some reason. It is somehow the first of the five major Pauly Shore films that we’ve done for BMT, which seems like a mistake. Let’s go!

In the Army Now (1994) – BMeTric: 51.8; Notability: 41 

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(Great BMeTric obviously, and the notability is incredibly impressive. Looking through his filmography the notability for Shore-led films is always around 30-40. Sub-5.0 films are relatively rare. This is a film that was inevitable for BMT, and one I’m quite excited to actually see, since I’ve seen the other major Pauly Shore films.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Pauly is a pacifist who joins the army so he can “be all that he can be for free,” only to learn that there’s more to enlisting than receiving complimentary room and board. Latest in a long line of barracks comedies proves no competition for Buck Privates. Pauly’s fans might disagree. Brendan Fraser appears unbilled.

(Absolute deep cut with Buck Privates, a comedy from 1941. Just whip that ref out like it’s nothing. And yeah, I think between the two Iraq wars there was a sense of, I don’t know … comedy about the army again. That would obviously go away real quick in the 2000s. I can’t think of a comedy-army film that has come out since the 90s to be honest … A brief look suggests Delta Farce might be a rare breed indeed.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8WQ8sgWaVU

(Ha, they call Encino Man “California Man” in the beginning, so this trailer is maybe for European consumption? I had to change all of those in the autogenerated preview because I think that is what it is called in the UK. Other than that it looks like a Pauly Shore movie. If that is what “toning down” the weasel character was to the producers … I don’t know what to say really.)

Directors – Daniel Petrie Jr. – (Future BMT: Toy Soldiers; Stranded; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: Is the son of Daniel G. Petrie who won three Primetime Emmys, and Dorothy Petrie who won two Primetime Emmys. His brother, Donald Petrie, directed BMT classic Welcome to Mooseport.)

Writers – Steve Zacharias and Jeff Buhai  (story) – (Known For: Revenge of the Nerds; Future BMT: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise; Johnny Be Good; Eddie; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: Long time writing partners. They released the Johnny Be Good screenplay as a book in the early 2000s.)

Robbie Fox (story) – (Known For: So I Married an Axe Murderer; BMT: In the Army Now; Playing for Keeps; Notes: Son of Charles Fox, a composer who was nominated for two Oscars for original songs in the 70s.)

Ken Kaufman (screenplay) – (Known For: The Expendables 2; Space Cowboys; The Missing; Curious George; Muppets from Space; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: In 2013 he wrote a novel called Ramblefoot.)

Stu Krieger (screenplay) – (Known For: The Land Before Time; Monkey Trouble; Future BMT: A Troll in Central Park; BMT: In the Army Now; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Where the Boys Are in 1985; Notes: Briefly wrote feature films in the mid-90s, he has mostly worked in television (both movies and shows). He developed the kid’s show Toot & Puddles.)

Daniel Petrie Jr. (screenplay) – (Known For: Beverly Hills Cop; Beverly Hills Cop II; Turner & Hooch; The Big Easy; Deadly Pursuit; Future BMT: Toy Soldiers; BMT: In the Army Now; Beverly Hills Cop III; Notes: Was was nominated for an Oscar for Beverly Hills Cop.)

Fax Bahr and Adam Small (screenplay) – (Known For: Bad Grandpa; Future BMT: Malibu’s Most Wanted; Son in Law; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: These guys worked on In Living Color and MadTV together. Just prior Bahr, to start his career, made Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, the acclaimed and award winning documentary about the making of Apocalypse Now.)

Actors – Pauly Shore – (Known For: A Goofy Movie; Pauly Shore Is Dead; Future BMT: Bio-Dome; Jury Duty; Sandy Wexler; The Wash; Encino Man; Son in Law; 18 Again!; Class Act; For Keeps?; BMT: Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; In the Army Now; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor in 1996 for Jury Duty; and in 1997 for Big Bully, Bio-Dome, Carpool, and The Stupids; Winner for Worst New Star of the Decade in 2000 for Bio-Dome, Encino Man, and Jury Duty; Winner for Worst New Star for Encino Man in 1993; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000 for Bio-Dome, Encino Man, and Jury Duty; Notes: Debuted on MTV with Totally Pauly in the late 80s. From the 80s through 2010 he only actually starred in 5 films: Encino Man, Son-in-Law, In the Army Now, Jury Duty, and Bio-Dome. He hosts Random Rants on YouTube.)

Lori Petty – (Known For: A League of Their Own; Point Break; Free Willy; Tank Girl; Cadillac Man; Prey for Rock & Roll; Relax… It’s Just Sex; The Glass Shield; Future BMT: Dead Awake; Poetic Justice; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: Was apparently originally cast in the Bullock role in Demolition Man, but left over creative differences. The Glass Shield was the last in a series of starring turns for her in the mid-90s.)

Andy Dick – (Known For: Old School; Road Trip; Laputa: Castle in the Sky; Zoolander; Dr. Dolittle 2; Funny People; The Cable Guy; Reality Bites; Hoodwinked; Permanent Midnight; For the Boys; Pauly Shore Is Dead; The Hebrew Hammer; Scotland, Pa.; The Independent; Future BMT: Inspector Gadget; The Comebacks; Happily N’Ever After; Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil; Blonde Ambition; Dude, Where’s My Car?; Loser; Employee of the Month; Bongwater; Best Men; Abducted; BMT: Zoolander 2; Double Dragon; In the Army Now; Notes: Allegedly reintroduced Phil Hartman’s wife to cocaine, something that would contribute to her murdering her husband and committing suicide. Had a years long feud with Jon Lovitz over it, although he denies any culpability. In the Army Now was a rare star turn for him, he was mostly a television actor (News Radio) and supporting comedic actor (like in Old School).)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $28,881,266 (Worldwide: $28,881,266)

(That’s kind of okay. $10 million less than Son in Law which is probably the benchmark they were looking at. This is the beginning of the end for his starring career. Jury Duty would make $17 million, and then Bio-Dome would make $13 million, and that was it, he wouldn’t star in a feature film (of consequence) again.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (2/32): This 1994 Pauly Shore vehicle stretches its star’s thin shtick to the breaking point with a laugh-deficient screenplay that borrows shamelessly from Bill Murray’s far superior Stripes.

(The comparisons to Stripes are thick across all reviews. Would a movie like this made now draw such comparisons? Probably not. Just because its popularity (and the popularity of Bill Murray in general) has waned so much in the last 25 years. But it is interesting that a film made nearly 15 years later is getting condemned to comparing unfavorably to a classic … like, can people not make comedies about the military unless they are better than Stripes? Reviewer Highlight: The screenplay, work by five writers, based on a story by three others, seems to have been rewritten often enough that any individuality has been lost. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.)

Poster – Stupid Soldier

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(Hate the font. Hate the color. But I love the framing and think it’s a pretty well put together poster besides being aesthetically gross. B- Patrick’s Shallow Fake: Whenever these things compress they always look a bit off. Love that for no reason they have two totally different fonts. Decent shadow on my face this time, just needed to be a bit more matte? The idea behind the fake movie is that there is a super soldier serum that I take that makes me Captain America, but it also makes me super dumb for the duration of my super powers. Like … you can pay me for that spec whenever Netflix, the lines are open.)

Tagline(s) – America, sleep tight! The safety of the free world rests in his hands! (F)

(That is unpleasantly bad. Although now that Patrick is making parody posters and we have been trying to make up taglines for these films I do appreciate that there are probably larger forces at play a lot of the time when we get something bad like this. Like there is an obvious tagline in The Few, The Proud, The Stupid… but I think they had to tread carefully in their treatment of the military. So they went with something inoffensive but bad.)

Keyword – u.s. military

IntheArmyNow_u.s. military

Top 10: Midway (2019), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Top Gun (1986), Spider-Man (2002), Fury (2014), 2012 (2009), Platoon (1986), The Predator (2018), Stripes (1981), Black Hawk Down (2001)

Future BMT: 68.4 Delta Farce (2007), 34.4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), 33.5 Red Tails (2012), 30.4 The Monuments Men (2014), 27.8 Pearl Harbor (2001), 25.2 The Fifth Estate (2013), 23.2 The General’s Daughter (1999), 22.1 Renaissance Man (1994);

BMT: 2012 (2009), The Predator (2018), Hunter Killer (2018), The Mummy (2017), The Pacifier (2005), In the Army Now (1994)

(Vaguely ebbs and flows with things like the Cold War (peaking around 1990), and then post-9/11 … or maybe that is just the career of Michael Bay? Hard to tell. The kind of regular gaps in the 80s and 90s is interesting … makes me wonder if it has something to do with recruitment cycles for the U.S. military.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 23) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Art LaFleur is No. 7 billed in In the Army Now and No. 6 billed in Cobra, which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 7 + 6 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 23. If we were to watch Encino Man, and Extraordinary Measures we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – According to an interview, the scar on the back of Pauly Shore’s neck, visible when he first encounters the female drill sergeant, occurred during filming, when a shell casing ejected and landed on his neck, burning him. This scar is first visible when the barber turns him around after his haircut.

This is the third Pauly Shore movie to feature Brendan Fraser as Link in progressive life roles. The others are Encino Man (1992) (High School) and Son in Law (1993) (College).

Most of the basic training and war scenes were shot at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. A sign saying “Fort Sill” is clearly visible in one scene.

The video game Bones plays in the opening sequence is Return Fire (1994) for the 3DO.

In a 2017 interview with Joe Rogan, Pauly Shore admitted that this film was the beginning of the end of his movie career. While he enjoyed making it, and doesn’t regret doing it, he was offered the script when he was under a 3-film contract with Disney. He’d already made Encino Man (1992) and Son in Law (1993), which had been modest box office hits. Executives at New Line Cinema offered him a role in a film called “Totally London,” in which Shore would’ve continued a variation on his popular Weasel character. Disney CEO Jeffery Katzenberg refused to let Shore out of his contract. Disney bought the script from New Line Cinema, and decided to shelve it. Katzenberg then gave Shore the option to do this movie. Shore’s agents advised him against it because they thought the script was mediocre. They also felt audiences wouldn’t accept Shore without his usual Weasel style, since he would have to cut off all his hair in the beginning for the basic training sequences. Shore said he made the film because it was his only available choice at the time, and he desperately wanted to be on a movie set. When this movie earned less at the box office than his previous films, Disney wouldn’t let him make anymore movies for them. His next two films, Jury Duty (1995) and Bio-Dome (1996), were box-office failures, though the latter eventually gained a big cult following. (You can glean as much from his career trajectory. He started in supporting roles in major films, then made those five films as a leading man, and then immediately just churned out a bunch of supporting roles in non-theatrical films … it is bizarre, but he never really got many leading man roles for video releases. Just seems odd considering he was genuinely quite famous among teen audiences in the mid 90s)

Bones enlists as a Water Purification Specialist in the Army Reserve thinking he’ll be in safe position far from danger. In reality, a reserve water purification unit assigned to the 14th Quartermaster Detachment suffered the highest casualty rate of any American unit in the Gulf War. A Scud missile struck their barracks in Saudi Arabia, killing or wounded 81% of the soldiers of the unit. (Oooooooof, … could this have been a recruitment tactic to try and make that unit more appealing afterwards. I mean … assuming they are talking about the first Gulf War)

The script was originally much raunchier and was supposed to be Pauly Shore’s first R rated film similar to Stripes (1981). Disney rejected the original script due to Pauly Shore’s popularity at the time with teenage audiences and said the film could not exceed a PG-13 rating so the younger crowd could see it. The script then went through several changed and was toned down to its eventual PG rating.

Damon Wayans was considered for the role of Fred. He turned it down to work on Blankman (1994). (Wowza!)

Whoopi Goldberg was considered for the role of Drill Sergeant Ladd. She turned it down because she was filming Corrina, Corrina (1994). (Semi-wowza!)

Tango & Cash Preview

Brief note before we start: last July we got together yet again and worked out a fourth class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly a decade since we started BMT and as usual the films from more than five years ago might just deserve a rewatch, a reassessment, and a recap. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the seventh (ninth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films chosen. Tango & Cash (or is it Rich & Poe?) check off all the boxes: Sly Stallone, Sly Stallone, and Sly Stallone. This is the preview for the film, a Hall of Fame induction speech will follow immediately afterwards. Enjoy!

Generated on: 2020-01-13

Tango & Cash (1989) – BMeTric: 21.3; Notability: 68 

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(The rating is actually a bit lower than I would have expected. This is a really really fun film, and a film I’ve seen mentioned online as being underrated. So I would have kind of expected it to me close to 7.0 to be honest. I guess it helps that the movie is just a bit too strange (especially near the end) for people to get entirely on board? Love the notability though. This was probably just after Stallone’s Imperial Phase (to borrow a term from music) which is maybe 1983 to 1988, but it is close.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Rumored $55 million budget must have gone for male hairstyling in congenitally derivative narc caper about two competitive cops who take on M.r Big. Surprisingly tolerable, though, with a nifty prison break sequence and a pleasingly relaxed Stallone.

(A pleasingly relaxed review by Leonard. Odd use of the word congenitally to be honest, but genuinely an interesting take on the movie as it was probably written at the time of release. I’m sure that is part of the reason the movie is merely borderline BMT, critics probably like “meh, fun”.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwzkxI6b9Go/

(This is an incredibly bad trailer for conveying what the movie is about. It’s an incredibly good trailer in that it condenses all the truly insane shit from the film into a short clip that genuinely makes me excited to watch it.)

Directors – Andrey Konchalovskiy – (Known For: Runaway Train; Shy People; Chacun son cinéma ou Ce petit coup au coeur quand la lumière s’éteint et que le film commence; Ray; The Inner Circle; Belye nochi pochtalyona Alekseya Tryapitsyna; Dom durakov; Future BMT: The Nutcracker in 3D; Homer and Eddie; BMT: Tango & Cash; Notes: Fired from the film by the ever erratic producer Jon Peters who was famous for the Superman/Wild Wild West giant mechanical spider story. He won an Emmy for the miniseries The Odyssey.)

Albert Magnoli – (Known For: Purple Rain; BMT: American Anthem; Tango & Cash; Notes: Brought in to finish the film. For a time he was Prince’s manager.)

Writers – Randy Feldman (written by) – (Known For: Hell Night; Future BMT: Metro; Nowhere to Run; La chispa de la vida; BMT: Tango & Cash; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Tango & Cash in 1990; Notes: Brother of Dennis Feldman, who wrote BMT films Species II and The Golden Child, along with a number of future BMT films.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Creed II; Rocky; First Blood; The Expendables; Creed; Escape Plan; Rocky Balboa; Cliffhanger; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Rocky II; Cop Land; Bullet to the Head; Antz; Death Race 2000; Nighthawks; Escape to Victory; Future BMT: Escape Plan II; Staying Alive; Rocky V; Escape Plan 3; D-Tox; The Specialist; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Avenging Angelo; Backtrace; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Oscar; Rocky IV; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Driven; Zookeeper; Rhinestone; Get Carter; Judge Dredd; Rambo III; Cobra; Over the Top; Daylight; The Expendables 3; Rambo: Last Blood; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Demolition Man; Rambo; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actor for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Winner for Worst Actor in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1989 for Rambo III; and in 1993 for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Spy Kids 3: Game Over in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Cobra, Cobra, Lock Up, Lock Up, Over the Top, Over the Top, Rambo III, Rambo III, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rhinestone, Rocky IV, and Tango & Cash; Nominee for Worst Director for The Expendables in 2011; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1986 for Rocky IV; in 1987 for Cobra; in 1989 for Rambo III; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1994 for Cliffhanger; and in 2002 for Driven; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1987 for Cobra; in 1988 for Over the Top; in 1990 for Lock Up, and Tango & Cash; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for The Specialist; in 1996 for Assassins, and Judge Dredd; in 1997 for Daylight; in 2001 for Get Carter; and in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; Notes: I mean, come on.)

Kurt Russell – (Known For: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood; Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Forrest Gump; The Hateful Eight; The Christmas Chronicles; Fast & Furious 8; The Thing; Fast & Furious 7; Tombstone; Deepwater Horizon; Death Proof; Bone Tomahawk; Sky High; Stargate; Big Trouble in Little China; Executive Decision; Escape from New York; Grindhouse; Overboard; Future BMT: Captain Ron; The Best of Times; Crypto; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; It Happened at the World’s Fair; BMT: Poseidon; Soldier; 3000 Miles to Graceland; Tango & Cash; Vanilla Sky; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Tango & Cash in 1990; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for 3000 Miles to Graceland in 2002; Notes: Double come on. It’s Kurt!)

Teri Hatcher – (Known For: Tomorrow Never Dies; Spy Kids; Coraline; 2 Days in the Valley; Planes: Fire & Rescue; Soapdish; The Big Picture; Resurrecting the Champ; Future BMT: Planes; Heaven’s Prisoners; Straight Talk; Madness in the Method; BMT: Tango & Cash; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 1997 for 2 Days in the Valley, and Heaven’s Prisoners; Notes: Probably best known for TV work, winning a Golden Globe for Desperate Housewives. Also was a 49ers cheerleader.)

Budget/Gross – $55 million / Domestic: $63,408,614 (Worldwide: $63,408,614)

(Modest hit. A little strange in that you have a film with two megastars, that was modestly popular at the time of its release, and yet usually when I mention this film to people my age they’ve never heard of it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 31% (14/45): Brutally violent and punishingly dull, this cookie-cutter buddy cop thriller isn’t even fun enough to reach “so bad it’s good” status.

(Punishingly dull! Punishingly dull?! That’s just flat wrong. Not, cookie-cutter buddy cop thriller… that… that’s true. I will contend it’s clearly so bad that it’s good and Rottentomatoes should amend that consensus. Reviewer Highlight: The jokes seem lame and the rivalry fraudulent, as the two boys play with their big guns. – Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune)

Poster – Rich & Poe (D)

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(The literal Rich & Poe poster. I even have a coffee cup with that image on it. Ironically it’s a really bad poster. Kinda violates all my rules. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: Probably my best fake movie poster ever. I got the graininess just right, and started to actually manipulate things in the image (like the glasses, which are just modified directly off of the picture of Stallone). Could have done better with the font I suppose.)

Tagline(s) – Two of L.A.’s top rival cops are going to have to work together… Even if it kills them. (C-)

(Egad, that’s long. It’s not even that clever when you think about it. They went for a double entendre, but it only really makes sense in one meaning. Also bad.)

Keyword – buddy movie

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Top 10: Green Book (2018), The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019), Hall Pass (2011), The Other Guys (2010), Bad Boys (1995), Central Intelligence (2016), Men in Black (1997), Ice Age (2002), Hot Fuzz (2007), 21 Jump Street (2012)

Future BMT: 49.8 Gone Fishin’ (1997), 44.7 National Security (2003), 42.2 Transylvania 6-5000 (1985), 40.4 Hall Pass (2011), 39.7 Pink Cadillac (1989), 33.2 Sahara (2005), 31.9 Armed and Dangerous (1986), 27.9 Men in Black II (2002), 27.5 Rush Hour 3 (2007), 16.9 Bad Boys II (2003);

BMT: Wild Wild West (1999), Tango & Cash (1989), Double Team (1997), Another 48 Hrs. (1990), Hot to Trot (1988)

(This genre is really dying. It is kind of amazing. I’m very excited for all of the films that are coming up. They are almost universally great bad movies.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sylvester Stallone is No. 1 billed in Tango & Cash and No. 1 billed in Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 10. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.

Notes – When Tango and Cash escape from the prison, Cash turns to Tango and asks if he stopped “for coffee and a Danish.” Tango says, “I hate Danish,” an in-joke referring to Sylvester Stallone’s recent divorce from Danish actress Brigitte Nielsen. (oof)

The glasses Sylvester Stallone wears early in the film are his own, not props. He usually wears contact lenses in his films. The lenses show that he is very near-sighted in one eye, less so in the other. Plus, he has astigmatism.

Director Andrey Konchalovskiy was replaced toward the end of principal photography by Albert Magnoli. In his book of memoirs, Konchalovsky says that the reason he was fired was because he wanted to give the film a more serious tone than the producers wanted, and as such, his relationship with Producer Jon Peters became untenable. Konchalovsky, however, has nothing but praise for Sylvester Stallone, who he states was a constant voice of reason on the set.

When Brion James was originally hired to play Requin, it was a very small role with only two lines. In an effort to give the character something that would make him stand out, James decided to speak in a horrible “cockney” accent. Sylvester Stallone loved it, and re-wrote the script to give Requin a much bigger role. (Jesus, Imperial Phase for real)

The scene where Tango faces an oncoming truck with nothing but a gun was borrowed from Ging chaat goo si (1985), where Jackie Chan performed the stunt. As a “response”, Chan would later reference the make shift zip-line prison escape moment in this film in a scene early in the third installment of the Police Story series, Ging chaat goo si III: Chiu kup ging chaat (1992) (Oh, fun)

Patrick Swayze was originally cast as Cash, but he dropped out to star in Road House (1989). (Good choice, although I feel like Tango & Cash would have benefited from his more serious attitude)

Kurt Russell was originally considered and offered the role of Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon (1987), but he turned it down, and it went to Mel Gibson, with whom he worked on Tequila Sunrise (1988). His character in this film is loosely based on Riggs.

While filming the scene in which the back of the SUV catches fire, the flames would not go out when filming was over. Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone were caught in a cross draft. Stallone was so close to the fire that his hair was singed in places.

Years later, Sylvester Stallone offered the role of “Mr. Church” to Kurt Russell in The Expendables (2010). Russell declined the role, which was then accepted by Bruce Willis.

A total of four different people directed the film. Andrey Konchalovskiy, who was fired after about three months of filming by Jon Peters, Sylvester Stallone, after the movie went over-budget and schedule (but not by his fault), Executive Producer Peter MacDonald, who was also the Second Unit Director, then took over directing on the movie for some time (a year earlier MacDonald had to step in as a director for Stallone’s previous movie Rambo III (1988) after the original director was fired by Stallone), then Albert Magnoli was hired as the new director to finish the movie (but even after principal photography was finished, he caused two more weeks of further delays after he decided to re-shoot some parts of the movie), and Stallone was also directing the movie behind the scenes (something he was known for, especially during the 80s). None of them however had any control over the editing of the movie. Instead, Warner Bros. hired expert editor Stuart Baird to re-edit the movie after they expressed strong dislike for the initial rough cut. Baird hired another editor Hubert de La Bouillerie to help out when Warner Bros. kept complaining on every different cut of the movie that was edited, which almost caused for release date to be pushed way further than planned.In the end, the movie was finally approved for theatrical release by Warner Bros., and it ended up being shipped to theaters only a week after its original release date, as “wet prints” – an industry term meaning that the movie was just barely completed before its release date.

One of the monster trucks at the quarry scene towards the end is the famous Bigfoot truck. Although it’s painted different colors than its trademark blue color, and does not feature any Bigfoot decals, it was confirmed that it is in fact Bigfoot by owner of the original monster truck Bob Chandler.

Originally, the part of Katherine, Tango’s sister was to be played by Daphne Ashbrook. She was not supposed to be Tango’s biological sister; possibly an adopted sister, or a foster child his parents took in. But, when they decided to make her his actual sister, they re-cast the role with Teri Hatcher, who slightly resembles Stallone. (I love that they give a shit about the actors looking the same, who cares?)

The tank-like SUV seen in the film (with a windshield shape resembling a 1990s-era Chevrolet Lumina APV minivan) was built from a 1988 Chevrolet K2500 truck. At the time of the film’s release, the vehicle resembled a GM concept (a 1987 Chevrolet Blazer XT-1) which was planned as a crossover-like SUV which was powered with a Chevrolet 4.3L V6 – the engine block and cylinder heads were cast in aluminum alloy. GM did not proceed with the Blazer XT-1 but its styling cues were used with the W-body “Dustbuster” minivans (Lumina, Oldsmobile Silhouette, and Pontiac Trans Sport).

Jack Palance jokingly showed his displeasure about filming this movie while on the tonight show with Jay Leno. He said that when he first got the script he was really excited about doing the movie since he had three nice scenes with Sylvester Stallone, but as soon as filming started all his scenes with Stallone were cut, and he didn’t even see Stallone throughout the entire movie. (That’s kind of sad)

Shortly after this film was released, there was a very lethal “brand” of heroin being sold in The Bronx, New York, NY. It was named “Tango & Cash”. This was stamped on the bags the drugs were contained in. So many addicts overdosed (and died), the NYPD was driving around neighborhoods using loudspeakers to tell people not to use this particular “brand” of heroin. This was reported on all the flagship network TV stations there as well.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1990)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Kurt Russell, 1990)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Randy Feldman, 1990)

Wild Wild West Preview

When Patrick and Jamie arrive in beautiful Delaware City for the big No Rulez Race they are dismayed to find that their teammate, noted speedster and comic superstar Cheech Marin, has totally ditched them. On top of that he broke the chain on their rad three person tandem bicycle that they were going to use to power their way to victory. They hold the pieces of chain in their hands and vow to mend it, but it’s too late and they still got a race to win. In a stroke of genius they decide to split up into two different teams to give themselves a better chance to win and go off in search of a zany gimmick that will lead to victory.

As Jamie walks down the boardwalk he’s nearly run over by a rollerblader looking super sweet. “Watch where you’re going!” He yells and tries to get a police officer’s attention but he is waved off. Just then he gets an idea: no one stops a rollerblader because they are just too cool. What better way to win the No Rulez Race than to do the thing furthest from rulez: rollerblading. He straps on his blades, jumps into his jorts, and skates his way across America bippin’ and boppin’ to sweet tunez. Other teams totes sabotage each other, but no one minds the dude just blading along. Nearly 1 month later he finally blades his way towards the finish line. Every other competitor has broken down weeks ago, but his blades keep on a-going. He looks to his right…

As Patrick stumbles his way out of the nearest tavern he’s nearly run over by a rollerblader looking like a total asshole. “Hey, watch it bub!” He shouts drunkenly and in a stupor. He’s taken the loss of their three-person tandem bicycle hard and has only found solace in the cool refreshing taste of Zima. He is generally terrible at everything now and decides to give up on life. What better way to show the world that you’ve given up than to strap on some blades and attempt to skate your way across America. Nearly a month later and trailing empty Zima bottles the entire way, Patrick approaches the finish line. Every other competitor has broken down, but Patrick has continued ever forwards, his eyes glazed with hate for the world that has abandoned him and his three-person tandem bicycle. He looks to his left…

… they are shocked to see each other right alongside! Patrick’s legs akimbo, he looks terrible. Like some knock-off terrible version of Jamie’s golden rollerblading god. Yet they finish at the exact same time because they are the best twins ever and demand their prize. The organizer reveals that the prize was supposed to be a golden microphone but he lost it months ago in Bolivia. “Like this one?” They ask, pulling out their karaoke prize. “Yup, guess you had it the whole time and this whole adventure was pretty much useless and not worth going through.” Knowing just what to do we sing together with perfect pitch and the microphone opens to reveal another riddle. Good god. “To the desert you must go, and find the final piece you need. A robot spider is your foe, defeat it with your twinzo speed.” That’s right! We’re watching the only major BMT film with a giant robotic spider, Wild Wild West. A true classic of the BMT genre, I remembering seeing it when it came out in theaters with a packed crowd. I was of an age where films were mostly good and never bad, but I do remember feeling that this one was a very strange film. BTW, the reason Cheech Marin abandoned us in this story is he was used as a Chain Reaction but didn’t actually appear in the film at all. IMDb totally screwed us. Anyway, we’ll mend the chain next week. Let’s go!

Wild Wild West (1999) – BMeTric: 71.5

WildWildWest_BMeT

WildWildWest_RV

(Very stable around 70+ which is in “legendary” territory. Basically the rating is rising as one would expect with the number of votes coming in. This kind of trend is pretty common with really terrible films that came out before Rotten Tomatoes pages started getting archived. You can’t see the start of the graph basically, but by 2004ish it had already been established as one of the worst films ever made.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Rehash of 1960s TV series finds special agents James West (Smith) and inventor Artemus Gordon (Kline) on a special mission for President Grant to capture nefarious bad guy Arliss Loveless (Branagh). Overstuffed with visual gimmickry, but leaden in every way. You can hear the banter landing with a thud every few minutes.

(Sounds about right. Everything you read about this film suggests Will Smith was a major miscast. Is seems to forced a film that should have been westers-sci-fi into a more comedic style. And by doing so things get leaden as Maltin says.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=It89i3W-v4s

(Wow. Well, the first half of that trailer actually looked kind of fun. If I was around 13 years old in 1999 and saw that on television I might be excited to see it in theater (hehe … gulp). The second half looks genuinely terrible though, just kind of a mess of bad CGI mostly.)

Directors – Barry Sonnenfeld – (Known For: The Addams Family; Men in Black; Men in Black 3; Addams Family Values; Get Shorty; Big Trouble; Future BMT: R.V.: Runaway Vacation; Men in Black II; The Concierge; BMT: Wild Wild West; Nine Lives; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: Has directed for over 20 years. Recently directed ten episodes of the Series of Unfortunate Events television series.)

Writers – Jim Thomas and John Thomas (story) – (Known For: Predator; Predators; Executive Decision; Future BMT: Mission to Mars; Predator 2; BMT: AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem; Wild Wild West; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; Behind Enemy Lines; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: They haven’t done much credited work, mainly they get story credits for the various Predator adaptations and sequels. Jim Thomas did an article in Empire looking back at Predator though, so they are still kicking around it seems.)

S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock (screenplay) – (Known For: Tremors; Short Circuit; *batteries not included; Heart and Souls; Future BMT: Ghost Dad; Short Circuit 2; BMT: Wild Wild West; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: Claimed their original script was more serious and tried to get their names taken off of the credits. Helped found Stampede Entertainment which made the first four films in the Tremors franchise.)

Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman (screenplay) – (Known For: Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Shrek the Third; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Doc Hollywood; Last Holiday; BMT: Wild Wild West; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 2001; Notes: Comedy writers presumably brought in to punch up the script after they decided to go the comedy route with this film. Their credited work is punctuated with large gaps in working, and I can’t really find much additional information on them.)

Actors – Will Smith – (Known For: Independence Day; I Am Legend; Men in Black; Focus; The Pursuit of Happyness; Men in Black 3; Bad Boys; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; Hancock; I, Robot; Hitch; Enemy of the State; Concussion; Ali; The Legend of Bagger Vance; Six Degrees of Separation; Where the Day Takes You; Future BMT: Made in America; Shark Tale; Suicide Squad; Men in Black II; Bright; Bad Boys II; Collateral Beauty; BMT: After Earth; Wild Wild West; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for After Earth in 2014; Winner for Worst Original Song, and Worst Screen Couple for Wild Wild West in 2000; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for After Earth in 2014; Notes: Y’all know Will Smith. Once a rapper, a television phenom in Fresh Prince, now … he’s bungee jumping over the Grand Canyon on Youtube for his 50th birthday.)

Kevin Kline – (Known For: Beauty and the Beast; No Strings Attached; The Big Chill; A Fish Called Wanda; Definitely, Maybe; Sophie’s Choice; The Hunchback of Notre Dame; The Road to El Dorado; Silverado; Ricki and the Flash; Chaplin; Last Vegas; Cry Freedom; Life as a House; Dave; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Grand Canyon; In & Out; The Conspirator; French Kiss; Future BMT: The Pink Panther; Darling Companion; The January Man; Consenting Adults; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; The Last of Robin Hood; As You Like It; BMT: Wild Wild West; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Wild Wild West in 2000; and Nominee for Worst Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: Y’all know Kevin Kline. His daughter is the musician Frankie Cosmos.)

Kenneth Branagh – (Known For: Avengers: Infinity War; Dunkirk; Murder on the Orient Express; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit; Valkyrie; The Boat That Rocked; The Road to El Dorado; My Week with Marilyn; Much Ado About Nothing; Hamlet; Dead Again; Chariots of Fire; Swing Kids; Henry V; Rabbit-Proof Fence; Mindhorn; Celebrity; Othello; Five Children and It; Future BMT: Frankenstein; Sleuth; BMT: Wild Wild West; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: He had a very obscure uncredited cameo in Avengers: Infinity War. Naturally, he is huge in the Shakespeare scene in London, I saw him in Winter’s Tale … it was fantastic.)

Budget/Gross – $170 million / Domestic: $113,804,681 (Worldwide: $222,104,681)

(Some places argue it made back its money overseas. False, this was a write off of probably $100 million from the pure accounting perspective. But it likely made its money back with advertising and tie-ins surrounding the release.)

#17 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre

wildwildwest_actionbuddycomedy

(Barely beaten by the first Ride Along for the highest grossing qualifier we’ve seen, although Men in Black II is actually the most successful qualifying example available (same director as Wild Wild West!). The genre got blown out in the early 90s, but has recovered since.)

#20 for the Adventure – Period genre

wildwildwest_adventureperiod

(The Pirates franchise crushes this one for bad films, and the Three Musketeers (Plaaaaanchet) from 2011 is my favorite. I have a feeling with CGI and 3D printing technology that period films are going to see a boom in the near future and it becomes easier and cheaper to create. I guess we’ll see though. You can definitely see CGI helping the genre come into its own in the late 90s.)

#17 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

wildwildwest_basedontv

(This is our seventh, and this is by far the most successful bad adaptation we’ve seen, and the most successful qualifying film ever. This kind of marks the end of a giant boom of adaptations. They come out more regularly now (Baywatch and CHiPs are recent examples), but they were just churning them out in the late 90s)

#6 for the Western genre

wildwildwest_western

(Peak of the western genre actually, highest grossing qualifying film in the genre. The genre is coming back in style in a major way as well after dying in the late-90s. We’ve seen six westerns now, my favorite being (Hall of Fame) Texas Rangers. Although Jonah Hex is also pretty hilarious.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (22/131): Bombastic, manic, and largely laugh-free, Wild Wild West is a bizarre misfire in which greater care was lavished upon the special effects than on the script.

(The argument in the notes seems to be that the script was overwritten once they got Will Smith (mis)cast in order to make it a comedy. Then they didn’t even do that right and had to do a bunch of reshoots to add even more comedy in because audiences didn’t understand why the movie wasn’t really funny. It sounds like a complete disaster. Reviewer Highlight – The elaborate special effects are like watching money burn on the screen – Roger Ebert)

Poster – Wild Wild Sklog (F! F! F!)

wild_wild_west_ver2

(Whhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Holy shit. Move over The Avengers (1998) there is a new sheriff in town. That has got to be hands down the worst poster I have ever seen for a major motion picture release.)

Tagline(s) – It’s a whole new west. July ’99. (:D)

(Lol, yes please put this on the poster. Make sure you have that year on there in case someone is confused and thinks the movie might come out in July 2000 or July 2001. This smacks of someone being like “this is truly an event people. When children across America hang this on their walls they want to remember exactly when it came out.”)

Keyword(s) – utah; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.5 Wild Wild West (1999); 55.3 Point Break (2015); 48.6 R.V.: Runaway Vacation (2006); 25.1 Idle Hands (1999); 24.6 Resident Evil: Extinction (2007); 23.9 My 5 Wives (2000); 23.3 Duets (2000); 22.6 Pride and Prejudice (2003); 20.3 The Mountain Between Us (2017); 18.8 Love Me Like You Do (2014);

(I wouldn’t really call Wild Wild West a Utah film unfortunately. The climax takes place there, but the film is kind of roadtrippy in how it moves around. Starts in West Virginia, moves to Washington D.C., goes to New Orleans (for an extended segment), and then they railroad it to Utah pretty directly. But it definitely takes place across a number of different settings. Still, pretty surprising we’ve not seen any of the others on this list.)

Notes – Will Smith turned down the lead role in The Matrix (1999) to star in this movie, being a fan of the television series. He later said this was the worst decision he made in his career. (It was. Although you can’t really say Keanu somehow because I giant star after The Matrix, and Will Smith was slightly more famous than him at that point … but Wild Wild West definitely quickened the pace of Will Smith’s box office downfall)

The film underwent costly re-shoots in an attempt to inject some humor after it was found that test audiences weren’t sure if it was supposed to be a comedy. (It shouldn’t have been)

Though a box-office failure in the U.S. (it managed to turn a profit overseas), it’s commonly joked that the only reason the film earned any money at all is because unaccompanied minors would buy tickets to this film, then use them to sneak into screenings of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) and American Pie (1999). (HA)

Will Smith said that he knew the movie wasn’t any good and he was embarrassed when it earned almost fifty million dollars in its opening weekend. Years later, Smith apologized publicly to Robert Conrad (star of the original television series) and said now that he was older and more experienced, he understood Conrad’s anger and criticism of the film version, as well as Conrad’s refusal to make a cameo appearance in it. (Conrad should have had more input, although maybe he just was opposed to any movie being made)

When Kenneth Branagh was in an articulated metal platform as Dr. Loveless, he actually was seated in the device in a kneeling position. He would have to get up every few minutes and walk around to get the circulation back in his legs, as they would constantly go numb from being in that position for an extended period of time.

When this film swept the 20th Annual Razzie Awards, winning five statuettes including Worst Picture, Robert Conrad, who played James West in the original 1960s television series, accepted three of the awards in person, as his way of expressing his low opinion of what had been done with his source material. (HA, good on Robert Conrad)

Robert Conrad was initially approached by Barry Sonnenfeld to make a cameo appearance as President Ulysses S. Grant. He turned down the offer after reading the script, due to what he felt was its poor quality and lack of loyalty for the original series, on which it was based. (YOU SHOULD HAVE DEMANDED TO BE SCRIPT SUPERVISOR)

The characters of “Spike Guy” and “Knife Guy” were added to the movie and inserted into the climax after test audiences found the heroes fighting only Loveless’ beauties to be very odd. (Ahahahahahahhaha these notes are gold)

Mel Gibson was set to star as James West, and Richard Donner (who had directed three episodes of The Wild Wild West (1965)) was set to direct, with a script by Shane Black, back when Warner Bros. announced the plans to make the movie in 1992. However, they both dropped out and went on to do Maverick (1994). After Gibson dropped out, Tom Cruise was attached to star, before dropping out to star in Mission: Impossible (1996). (Wow, what a journey this had to the screen. Maverick is better … although still a very odd Western)

Belle was originally cast with, and filmed with British actress Phina Oruche. Reportedly, the chemistry needed for the bathtub love scene wasn’t there. The scene was recast and re-shot with Garcelle Beauvais. However, Oruche was not told, and found out she was no longer in the film at the premiere in Los Angeles. (Oh no!)

Kevin Smith has said that the giant spider was producer Jon Peters’ idea for the later-abandoned “Superman Lives” project with Nicolas Cage and Tim Burton. (Yup, a very famous story on podcasts. The entire thing sound so absurd as to be … extremely plausible)

Barry Sonnenfeld, Kevin Kline, Salma Hayek, Will Smith, and in fact half the staff at Warner Bros. hate this film. Hayek in particular thought she was being underused, while Kline considered himself too good of an actor for the finished product. (Kline is too good of an actor for the finished product. So is Branagh actually)

This is the second movie in which Kevin Kline plays both the President of the United States and the man impersonating the President. The first was Dave (1993). (That didn’t even occur to me as I watched the film)

When Will Smith asked his mother what she thought of the film, she replied “You’ve done better, baby”. (Oh no! These notes are amazing)

There was a recurring villain on the television series named Dr. Loveless, but he was a dwarf rather than an amputee, and his first name was Miguelito, not Arliss. (Huh, fun fact)

Ted Levine grew up watching the original television series. Levine said he enjoyed working on the film, but because there were so many writers revising the script, there was no center, causing the story to be all over the place. He attributed that to the film’s failure, as well as Will Smith’s miscasting. (Uh … fair)

According to screenwriters S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock, their original script was rewritten almost entirely from their draft. The duo, who have worked on several films together, claimed their script was heavily rewritten by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman, with further rewrites by an uncredited Jim Kouf, in an attempt to add more action and comedy to a script that was a mostly serious, dialog-driven mystery western. Entire additions, such as the villain, most of the jokes and action scenes, and the entire 3rd act involving the giant spider, were new without their input. Wilson and Braddock tried to get their names taken off from the film after seeing the final product, and they have since refused to work with a major studio because of the experience. (Yeah, the first script sounds much better sadly. Although I’m not sure how much I buy it, Maddock himself claims he tends to drive scripts towards comedy, but perhaps they mean it would be more like Tremors and less like … this.)

At an official 150 million dollars (unofficial 170 million dollars) it stands as the most expensive movie produced by Warner Bros. and the most expensive movie released in 1999.

In 1997, writer Gilbert Ralston sued Warner Bros. over the upcoming motion picture based on the series. Ralston helped create The Wild Wild West (1965) television series, and scripted the pilot episode, The Wild Wild West: The Night of the Inferno (1965). In a deposition, Ralston explained that in 1964 he was approached by producer Michael Garrison who ‘”said he had an idea for a series, good commercial idea, and wanted to know if I could glue the idea of a western hero and a James Bond type together in the same show.” Ralston said he then created the Civil War characters, the format, the story outline and nine drafts of the script that was the basis for the television series. It was his idea, for example, to have a secret agent named Jim West who would perform secret missions for a bumbling Ulysses S. Grant. Ralston’s experience brought to light a common Hollywood practice of the 1950s and 1960s, when television writers, who helped create popular series, allowed producers or studios to take credit for a show, thus cheating the writers out of millions of dollars in royalties. Ralston died in 1999, before his suit was settled. Warner Bros. ended up paying his family between 600,000 and 1.5 million dollars. (Hollywood accounting at its best. Go get your money Ralston)

The locomotive in the film (#25 William Mason) was previously used in The Great Locomotive Chase (1956). “Chase” also featured Virginia & Truckee Railroad #22 “Inyo”, which was used in The Wild Wild West television series. (Train facts! Awesome)

The sequences on both Artemus Gordon’s and Dr. Loveless’ trains interiors were shot on sets at Warner Bros. The train exteriors were shot in Idaho on the Camas Prairie Railroad. The Wanderer is portrayed by the Baltimore & Ohio 4-4-0 No. 25, one of the oldest operating steam locomotives in the U.S. Built in 1856 at the Mason Machine Works in Taunton, Massachusetts, it was later renamed The “William Mason” in honor of its manufacturer. During pre-production the engine was sent to the steam shops at the Strasburg Railroad for restoration and repainting. The locomotive is brought out for the B&O; Train Museum in Baltimore’s “Steam Days”. (Tauton Mass. what what)

In the movie, the Central Pacific’s Jupiter was played by the J.W. Bowker (Virginia & Truckee #21). Now displayed at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, California. The Union Pacific’s 119 was played by the Reno (Virginia & Truckee #11). Now displayed at Old Tucson Studios in Tucson, Arizona. (I. Love. Train facts!)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2000)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Kevin Kline, Will Smith, 2000)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Barry Sonnenfeld, 2000)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Jim Thomas, John Thomas, S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman, 2000)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Stevie Wonder, Kool Moe Dee, Will Smith, 2000)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Kevin Kline, 2000)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Kenneth Branagh, 2000)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Salma Hayek, 2000)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Kevin Kline, 2000)

I Spy Preview

While relaxing on the sun-soaked beaches of Monte Carlo, we are finally enjoying the fruits of their long backpacking trip through Europe. My open wound inflicted by the mutants is starting to burn and I have a taste for blood, but let’s not tell Patrick that (Why spoil the vacation?). While I contemplate my newly developed bloodlust, we are approached by a couple of G-Men that look like they mean business. “We have an urgent matter of national security. The President needs you to infiltrate the top secret meeting of high level terrorists in Budapest.” “Why us?” We ask. The G-Men smirk. “Because it’s known that the terrorist organizer is a huge fan of your website and work. He won’t be able to resist letting you into the party.” We both look at each other and know what has to be done, “We are not doing that. That sounds real dangerous.” But after they offer us $10 million dollars we find ourselves hiking to Budapest as newly minted agents of the United States government. That’s right! We’re watching I Spy this week. The Eddie Murphy/Owen Wilson vehicle is the Chain Reaction entry in the cycle jumping from Marmaduke through Owen Wilson. I think everyone forgot this film existed, which is almost a requirement of a BMT film. Let’s go!

I Spy (2002) – BMeTric: 51.3

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(Very nice. Since I, Spy came out relatively long ago (relative to the internet archive at least) the most interesting thing to look at was probably whether the rating was still trending towards the mean with extra votes … not. This is a below-average film through and through. Nothing super special (sub-5.0), but decidedly below average.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In-name-only reincarnation of the smart 1960s TV show (which starred Robert Culp and Bill Cosby). Here, Wilson is an inept NSA operative who uses socky prizefighter Murphy as his cover to locate a secret weapon in Budapest. An object lesson in bad screenwriting, with an incoherent story and characters that make no sense; only the occasional comic riffs by Murphy and Wilson keep this from a complete disaster.

(TIL the difference between “object lesson” and “abject lesson”, good to know. Great semi-colon game by Leonard (as usual). I’m quite excited to see the “inept” NSA operative. These says that trope has been replaced by the bumbling pro. See: Brooklyn 99 where the very un-serious Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) seems bumbling, but is in fact an excellent detective. So will be nice to harken back to the bumbling fool paradigm.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma53Kps06cM

 

(Hmmm … even the trailer looks dull. I kind of like the style though. Murphy really did have a strange sort of arrogant charm back in the day, and despite the early 2000s terrible styles it still kind of looks cool in a weird way. The CGI looks dumb though.)

Directors – Betty Thomas – (Known For: Private Parts; The Brady Bunch Movie; Doctor Dolittle; Future BMT: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel; John Tucker Must Die; 28 Days; BMT: I Spy; Notes: Part of Second City she was a regular on Hill Street Blues back in the day. She’s done a bunch of television movies more recently.)

Writers – Morton S. Fine and David Friedkin (characters) (as Morton Fine) – (Known For: The Pawnbroker; BMT: I Spy; Notes: Original writers for the original show. Both have been dead for nearly 30 years.)

Marianne Wibberley and Cormac Wibberley (story & screenplay) – (Known For: National Treasure; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; The 6th Day; Future BMT: The Shaggy Dog; G-Force; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Bad Boys II; BMT: I Spy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle in 2004; Notes: Married writing team. Cormac is the son of Leonard Wibberley who wrote the Mouse That Roared and its subsequent sequels two of which were made into rather cooky British films in the 60s)

Jay Scherick and David Ronn (screenplay) – (Known For: Guess Who; Future BMT: The Smurfs; The Smurfs 2; Serving Sara; National Security; BMT: Norbit; Zookeeper; I Spy; Baywatch; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2008 for Norbit; and in 2018 for Baywatch; Notes: Were at one point producers and writers on Spin City. Otherwise they are on quite the recent streak of films. Good for them, go get yo money.)

Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Mulan; Coming to America; Shrek; Shrek 2; Beverly Hills Cop; Trading Places; Tower Heist; Shrek the Third; Shrek Forever After; Life; 48 Hrs.; Dreamgirls; The Nutty Professor; Beverly Hills Cop II; Bowfinger; Doctor Dolittle; Boomerang; Imagine That; Dr. Dolittle 2; Future BMT: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; Vampire in Brooklyn; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man; Beverly Hills Cop III; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; The Distinguished Gentleman; BMT: Norbit; Pluto Nash; I Spy; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child; A Thousand Words; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights in 1990; Winner for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit in 2008; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Nominee for Worst Director for Harlem Nights in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Norbit in 2008; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; in 2009 for Meet Dave; in 2010 for Imagine That; and in 2013 for A Thousand Words; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; and in 2009 for Meet Dave; Notes: Recent reports put him as the third triplet in the Twins sequel that has been announced. Hopefully Arnold’s recent health issues won’t waylay this.)

Owen Wilson – (Known For: Wonder; Cars 3; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Cars; The Royal Tenenbaums; Inherent Vice; Wedding Crashers; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; The Darjeeling Limited; Midnight in Paris; Zoolander; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Meet the Parents; Night at the Museum; Bottle Rocket; Night at the Museum 2; No Escape; Marley & Me; The Cable Guy; Future BMT: Anaconda; Breakfast of Champions; Little Fockers; How Do You Know; You, Me and Dupree; Are You Here; Drillbit Taylor; Masterminds; Hall Pass; Father Figures; Free Birds; Cars 2; Meet the Fockers; The Internship; Behind Enemy Lines; Armageddon; BMT: Zoolander 2; The Haunting; Marmaduke; I Spy; Around the World in 80 Days; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Zoolander 2 in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy; Notes: There were some question recently about why he isn’t in the new Wes Anderson film, but I never really heard the whole story. Can’t wait to see Father Figures though.)

Famke Janssen – (Known For: X-Men: Days of Future Past; X-Men; The Wolverine; X-Men 2; Taken; GoldenEye; X-Men: The Last Stand; The Faculty; Rounders; Lord of Illusions; Celebrity; Jack of the Red Hearts; The Wackness; Love & Sex; Made; The Gingerbread Man; City of Industry; Down the Shore; Turn the River; Noose; Future BMT: The Ten; Once Upon a Time in Venice; House on Haunted Hill; Hide and Seek; Taken 3; Deep Rising; Taken 2; Don’t Say a Word; This Is Your Death; Circus; The Chameleon; BMT: I Spy; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Notes: She’s a big animal rights activist. She was also very critical about her character of Jean Grey being recast for the new X-Men films, annoyed by them allowing Jackman and Stewart to appear and age gracefully while tending to replace women … kind of a fair criticism to be honest.)

Budget/Gross – $70 million / Domestic: $33,561,137 (Worldwide: $50,732,945)

(Bomb. $70 million … actually makes sense. This was right around when Murphy’s salary would have been sinking films that could have otherwise pulled in a modest return. This film should have had a $50 million budget maybe, considering the action sequences.)

#54 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre

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(Ha. Really right at the peak of the genre. The Tuxedo came out almost at the exact same time as well, along with Shanghai Knights the next year. Jackie Chan bringeth the genre up, and then it promptly crashed. Go figure. The highest grossing film we’ve seen for BMT is Another 48 hrs.)

#18 for the Comedy – Spy genre

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(They killed this genre. It also probably also didn’t help that Bond went on a hiatus in 2002. With the rise of Bourne (a less … humorous spy thriller) the comedy possibilities probably went out of the window. Get Smart and then Spy probably brought the genre back … but I think it is dead again. I just don’t really see why a spy based comedy would be interesting at the moment.)

#67 for the Spy genre

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(Again completely died with the (terrible) Die Another Day. People like the Mission Impossible films at the moment, they kind of have that ridiculous Fast & the Furious vibe to it with the charismatic Tom Cruise lending it a bit more cred than, say, Transformers in the Action genre. The Tuxedo is, amazingly, the highest grossing BMT film in the series. Although high grossing spy films don’t tend to be terrible.)

#62 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

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(After the initial 90s swell (with BMT classics like The Beverly Hillbillies) this has been reduced to a kind of dull background noise in the releases every year. Baywatch and CHiPs are recent examples, and The Avengers made just about the same amount of money … rough.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (21/133): Insipid and mirthless, I-Spy bares little resemblance to the TV series that inspired it.

(Big worgs Rotten Tomatoes. Mirthless is the name of the game in bad comedies though, and I’ve heard this is basically laugh free. Reviewer Highlight: As inept as big-screen remakes of The Avengers and The Wild Wild West. – Mark Rahner (Seattle Times) … fat chance, that is impossible.)

Poster – I Sklog (B+)

i_spy

(While I like the artistic spacing, font, and how they’ve used colors to wash out the “human” color palette, I find something about it a little cheap. Like I could have made this poster in my free time.)

Tagline(s) – Attitude meets espionage (B)

(Hmmmm, attitude meets espionage… is this a play on something? I’m not sure what I’m supposed to get from mashing these two words together. Seems like a potential classic, sounds-like-a-tagline tagline… that isn’t really a tagline. But it is short and sweet and does what it meant to do.)

Keyword(s) – stealth; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.8 10,000 BC (2008); 64.4 Stealth (2005); 51.3 I Spy (2002); 47.3 American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987); 46.8 American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1990); 46.6 Beverly Hills Ninja (1997); 22.1 Secret in Their Eyes (2015); 21.3 Surviving the Game (1994); 19.2 Tomorrow Never Dies (1997); 18.4 Act of Valor (2012);

(So … the entire American Ninja series? Tomorrow Never Dies, sadly, doesn’t qualify. But it would be nice to see some shitty ninja films. I feel like we still don’t do enough martial arts and western films)

Notes – At the request of director Betty Thomas, actor Darren Shahlavi lost thirty pounds so as to be the same size as Eddie Murphy during the boxing scenes. (what)

Actor-comedian Will Ferrell was the voice of American President George W. Bush when speaking to Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) over the telephone. (That makes sense, given the SNL connection)

The original / earlier draft(s) of the movie’s screenplay had the character of Kelly Robinson, who was later cast with Eddie Murphy, as a basketball player, but due to Murphy’s film industry stature, it was decided to change the character’s sport to boxing, and the character to a boxer. However, the dialogue interchange about the Harlem Globetrotters remained in the script and the finished film. (Wow, that … seems like an oversight)

Initially, star Owen Wilson admitted he was a little nervous about performing opposite comedy legend Eddie Murphy, who was one of his comic idols. Wilson said: “This is the first time I’ve had to work with someone who is so incredible at improvisation. At first, it was difficult to keep up with Eddie. But slowly I started playing off his riffs. I don’t know if that’s what people mean by on-screen chemistry. To me it’s a feeling that you are really in a groove with what the other guy is doing.” (This is an anecdote from a late night appearance for sure)

The characters from the I Spy (1965) source TV series are reversed in this movie version. In the original television series, Kelly Robinson (not Alexander Scott) was the white guy and the athlete, while Alexander Scott was the black guy and the non-athlete. However, in both cases though, the Bill Cosby / Eddie Murphy character was a less experienced spy than the Robert Culp / Owen Wilson character.

The palace of Malcolm McDowell’s character Arnold Gundars, is actually the “Hungarian Royal Palace”, which is also sometimes known as “The Buda Castle”, it having being for centuries home to a number of generations of the royalty of Hungary. (I’ve been there)

The canine in the final scene was actually Famke Janssen’s dog who had the name of “Licorice”. (Great dog name)

Like actor Owen Wilson, actress Famke Janssen got to spar with comedy star Eddie Murphy on screen, a process Janssen, like Wilson, also found daunting at the outset. She said: “There’s a scene in which Eddie and I first meet and he just kept tossing lines at me and I kept going with it. It was really scary, but once I got used to it, a lot of fun as well.” (Whoever was filling up this notes section had just seen or read a giant profile on the film)

The acronym “BNS” stood for The Bureau of National Security. (coooool, I do love facts though)

[NOTE: There are a bunch of notes here which is basically a long profile on the production … just go read the IMDb notes or, better yet, find the source article if you want to learn about it]

In the source I Spy (1965) television series, Bill Cosby portrayed a tennis pro and, for a time, the filmmakers considered making the character of Kelly Robinson in this movie version an international tennis champion. Basketball was also considered, though producer Jenno Topping considered both sports too visually confining for the purposes of a big screen story on an international scale. It was star Eddie Murphy who suggested that his character of Kelly Robinson be a championship boxer, a sport to which he was well suited. Murphy said at the time: “I’ve done some boxing and my father was a boxer, so I already had a background in the sport.” Murphy trained in boxing for several months prior to this picture’s production. Director Betty Thomas said: “Having an actor with a natural ability for a sport was a real asset. It opened up the film in a much more exciting way than tennis or basketball. Having Eddie getting the blows and making the hits had a lot more impact than creating shots in which I would have to rely on stunt doubles.” Stunt Co-ordinator Brent Woolsey added: “Eddie was so coordinated that it made the boxing sequences much easier to execute.” (I left this in though. Pretty interesting that Murphy was boxing at the time).

Principal photography began on 12th September 2001, in Budapest, Hungary. Taking a cue from the original I Spy (1965) television series, producer Andrew G. Vajna decided that this movie version should be set in an “exotic location to create a sense of real excitement in the audience”. Vajna added: “We haven’t seen Eastern Europe used much in action films, especially Hungary. Budapest has been used in movies before, but never as Budapest. It has generally been used as a substitute for Paris or some other European capital. So for the audience it was an entirely new experience. And it just so happens that Hungary is my home.” (Awesome, I do love this fact as well. I’m learning so much about this film … why can’t all of the notes be like this actually? This is super interesting stuff).

The grounds of the Buda Castle were so extensive that the production’s first and second units were filming on either side of the castle at the same time. Producer Mario Kassar said: “It was an amazing feat. In some ways it was surprising that we didn’t trip over each other. Action is taking place on one side, and on the other [director] Betty [Thomas] is tackling all the great character stuff.” (It is enormous … did I mention I’ve been there? Oh I did? Well I went there and just wanted to say I agree with the above statement).

No stunt or acting doubles were used in the scenes where Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) is seen boxing.

First Assistant Director Richard Graves engineered the prototype model of the Switchblade fighter plane from piecing together bits and parts from his son’s plastic jet model kits.

According to the IFC website, “the movie was originally supposed to take place in Prague [in the Czech Republic]. Instead, the movie shot on location in Budapest, Hungary, because the film’s producer, Andrew G. Vajna, lived there” and “was eager to use her hometown as the setting because she had never seen it depicted in a Hollywood movie before.” (Prague would have worked as well. It is pretty rare in films it turns out, no big bad films are explicitly set there as far as we can tell).

It was Eddie Murphy’s idea to sing Marvin Gaye’s famous song “Sexual Healing” for the romantic scene where Special Agent Alex Scott (Owen Wilson) romances Special Agent Rachel Wright (Famke Janssen). In this sequence, Murphy vocally coaches Wilson the words like in the classic story “Cyrano de Bergerac”.

The four short DVD behind the scenes documentaries about the making of this motion picture are entitled: I Spy: The Slugafest (2003); I Spy: Cloak & Camouflage (2003); I Spy: Gadgets & Gizmos (2003); and I Spy: Schematics & Blueprints (2003). (Which is where I assume all of these notes came from)

The name of the title that boxer Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) held was “Super Middleweight Champion”. (These guys have so many facts on here)

The name of the stolen military fighter-plane which had a cloaking device was the “Switchblade”.

The name of the sporting tournament league that boxer Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) competed in was the “Global Boxing League”.

Reportedly, the ending was re-shot Monte Carlo after test audiences stated that they wanted to know what happened to Special Agent Rachel Wright (Famke Janssen) after she betrayed both Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) and Special Agent Alex Scott (Owen Wilson). (Perfecto. We get to literally go from Monte Carlo to Budapest).

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Eddie Murphy)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Eddie Murphy, Robert De Niro, Owen Wilson)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel

CHIPS Preview

As we officially enter the first cycle of 2018 we will still collect several of the major BMT releases of 2017 that we missed along the way. With that in mind the comedy entry for the cycle was notable for two reasons: it was somehow not the only tongue-in-cheek adaptation of a classic television show released in 2017 (Baywatch being the other) and it had our least favorite trailer of the entire year. That’s right! We’re finally watching CHIPS, based on the television CHiPs, about a couple of bumbling highway cops taking down some baddies while also panicking about their own sexuality. At least that’s what I gathered from the trailer. I’m not looking forward to this. Let’s go!

CHIPS (2017) – BMeTric: 29.5

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(Perfect theater-VOD sequence there, complete with matching regression to the mean. Looks like the rating has settled though. 6.0 seems high to me, but what do I know?)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars –  The action comedy “CHiPS” is a buddy film about overcompensating characters that seems to have also been made by overcompensating comedians, often devolving into the same chauvinism and homophobia that star/writer/director Dax Shepard half-heartedly mocks.

(Oh yeah. Wait until you see the trailer. There hasn’t been this much gay panic since we watched The Medallion. There is a fine line between making light of things and reinforcing things. You have to be quite good to pull it off these days.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IfqqUTW-i4

(Oh boy. Just as I remember it. Not one, but TWO different gay panic scenes where Peña’s character cannot handle the thought of getting close to Dax in his underwear. And how did they both end up up the trailer? You’re trying to put your best foot forward… for the love of God tell me this isn’t your best foot. I might have to shut this whole thing down if your other foot is worse.)

Directors – Dax Shepard – (Known For: Hit and Run; BMT: CHIPS; Notes: Mainly an actor, he started doing smaller directing roles more recently, including an episode of Parenthood which he starred in.)

Writers – Rick Rosner (based on the television series created by) – (BMT: CHIPS; Notes: One of the creators of the original television series. Not much about him. Doesn’t help that he shares a name with another Rick Rosner who is … kind of a lunatic. I haven’t listened to the podcast, but the synopsis gives a decent argument for his lunacy.)

Dax Shepard (written by) – (Known For: Hit and Run; BMT: CHIPS; Notes: He is writing a … reboot (?) of the Scooby-Doo movies set to 2020. Also set to direct it would seem. Not sure how the performance of this film affects that.)

Actors – Michael Peña – (Known For: The LEGO Ninjago Movie; Fury; The Martian; Ant-Man; End of Watch; American Hustle; My Little Pony: The Movie; Million Dollar Baby; Shooter; Crash; Babel; Turbo; War on Everyone; Tower Heist; The Lincoln Lawyer; Everything Must Go; 30 Minutes or Less; Observe and Report; The Good Doctor; World Trade Center; Future BMT: The Vatican Tapes; Vacation; Lions for Lambs; The Calcium Kid; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Gangster Squad; Collateral Beauty; BMT: Battle Los Angeles; CHIPS; Notes: He’s struck it big recently with Ant-Man and American Hustle, but he’s been around since the mid-90s doing television work. One of his first gigs was on Homicide, the show that is a kind of precursor to The Wire and introduced the world to John Munch (played by Richard Belzer) who has apparently appeared in 10 different shows!)

Dax Shepard – (Known For: Zathura: A Space Adventure; Idiocracy; This Is Where I Leave You; The Judge; Veronica Mars; Hit and Run; Baby Mama; The Freebie; Future BMT: The Comebacks; The Boss; Employee of the Month; Without a Paddle; Smother; Let’s Go to Prison; BMT: Old Dogs; When in Rome; Cheaper by the Dozen; CHIPS; Notes: Trained with The Groundlings and after 8 years of auditioning got his first paid role on Punk’d.)

Vincent D’Onofrio – (Known For: Jurassic World; The Magnificent Seven; Full Metal Jacket; Men in Black; Escape Plan; Adventures in Babysitting; Sinister; The Cell; Mystic Pizza; The Judge; Ed Wood; Strange Days; JFK; Run All Night; Chained; The Player; Brooklyn’s Finest; Cadillac Records; Kill the Irishman; The Salton Sea; Future BMT: The Break-Up; Feeling Minnesota; Fire with Fire; Ass Backwards; Dying Young; Pawn Shop Chronicles; Impostor; Chelsea Walls; Don’t Go in the Woods; Little New York; The Velocity of Gary; Charlie Countryman; Broken Horses; The Winner; The Blood of Heroes; In Dubious Battle; BMT: Rings; CHIPS; Stuart Saves His Family; Notes: Probably, weirdly, most famous for Law & Order: Criminal Intent, the third best Law & Order series. Well known for being rather intensely method. Plays Wilson Fisk in Daredevil as well.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $18,600,152 (Worldwide: $26,800,152)

(Wow, colossal bomb. Not surprising. Have to be honest, not too worried about 80s TV remakes being abandoned. Some can be fun, but most just seem to be … sad.)

#68 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre

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(Oooooooo do these come in waves. Tango & Cash, Another 48 Hrs., The Tuxedo, RIPD, among many many others. The respite was brief it seems with CHIPS, Baywatch and The Hitman’s Bodyguard all coming out this year.)

#74 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

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(This movie ended up near Flipper … Flipper! Joins Beverly Hillbillies, Baywatch, and The Avengers are least among BMT films. The genre had its heyday in the 90s, but still, against all odds, is super strong throughout this century. Seems like this might reverse though with the recent strong tv trend, a good movie ends up building its universe out on the small screen with a television adaptation. A Lord of the Rings adaptation is already in the works.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (18/103): CHiPS abandons the endearing innocence of its source material, using the titular cop show’s premise as a setup for aggressively lowbrow gags that prove only mildly arresting at best.

(Alright … People need to decide how CHiPs is spelled. I feel like it is spelled like the show, but the poster clearly writes the entire title with capital letters, and RogerEbert.com and many critics leave the S capitalized? Oh the consensus, yeah, this seems unpleasantly low-brow.)

Poster – SKLOGS (B)

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(Have to give some props to that font. My God, it’s beautiful. Symmetry is good and color just barely adequate. Other than that there is way too much going on. Tough on the eyes. This could have been amazing if you just kept it simple, CHIPS.)

Tagline(s) – Chip Happens (F-)

(This is actually making me feel a little sick… what did I do to deserve this CHIPS? It’s like they knew I would have to look at it and wanted to hurt me. Well whatever it is I did, I’m sorry. OK? Sorry for all of us.)

Keyword(s) – male frontal nudity; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.3 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 76.4 Fifty Shades Darker (2017); 65.2 Rape Me (2000); 64.2 The Canyons (2013); 64.1 Dr. T & the Women (2000); 60.1 Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005); 59.5 9 Songs (2004); 58.8 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015); 58.0 Srpski film (2010); 57.4 Boxing Helena (1993);

(Dr. T & the Women doesn’t actually qualify. We’ve also weirdly seen Hot Tub Time Machine 2 and The Canyons. We used to watch a lot more bad movies in our free time … I don’t think either deserves a rewatch to be honest.)

Notes – Dax Shepard did most of his own stunts, including the stoppie during the training test.

After the trailer debuted, a rumor stated that Erik Estrada, star of the original CHiPs (1977), blasted the trailer as “pure trash”. Estrada later tweeted he never said that, and said, “Just watched the CHIPS trailer and laughed. Dax Shepard and Michael Peña are great. Cool stunts too.” (Ugh. With something like this the former stars saying it is good or bad isn’t really saying anything. Like … he’s in the movie! Why would he shit on it?)

Dax Shepard originally envisioned the film to be a big budget take with a PG-13 rating but due to budget cuts after signing on, he chose to make the film with an R-rating. (So … cheap nudity and cursing?)

Dax Shepard initially wanted Brad Pitt to play the villain. (I originally wanted Daniel Day Lewis to be the other Bad Movie Twin, couldn’t make it work)

In real life, Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell are married with kids. (Duh. We all know and love their Samsung commercials, obvs.)

On the second day of filming, Dax Shepard performed his nude scene, when Ponch throws him in the bathtub (his genitalia was censored). (Second day seems a bit early)

Erik Estrada: The actor who played Ponch in the TV show appears here as the paramedic who treats Ponch and Jon in the final scene.

Baywatch Preview

The official transition to the Worst of 2017 cycle we start with comedy. In an interesting coincidence we also had one of the worst reviewed comedies of the year released this very week in Daddy’s Home 2 (currently at 16%), but it was not released concurrently in the US and UK. Bummer. So we stuck with our original plan as it was quite the doozy in its own right. That’s right! We’re watching the Dwayne Johnson/Zac Efron vehicle Baywatch. Following the wild success of 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street we were treated to not one, but two unnecessary adaptations of niche 80s/90s shows in Baywatch and CHiPs. Both turned out poorly. Now we get to find out just how poorly Baywatch turned out. Let’s go!

Baywatch (2017) – BMeTric: 46.5

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(I kind of love this ratings graph. So you can see it starting high (people who haven’t seen the film but like the idea of the film chiming in like dummies) and then dropping once people actually start seeing it. But that overcorrects a bit, as more and more of the “fans” see it corrects back up. But the interesting bit is that once it drops on VOD the rating goes down again. The mean IMDb rating is somewhere around 6.0 so it basically corrected back to what will ultimately be around its eventual rating of slightly below-average. I just find that fascinating. It is hard to find films that really teeter on the edge of good/bad. To get 70K votes in a few months as well? I’m always stunned by how “popular” current movies are, they get so many more votes than even popular films from the 90s.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  [The movie] features long periods of too-sincere homilies about teamwork, weirdly gratuitous brutality (one innocuous character is subjected to a grotesquely grisly death) and an extended corpse-penis joke which, in the dishonorable tradition of “Dirty Grandpa,” subjects a character played by Zac Efron to humiliation in a way that’s not even stealthily homophobic. On the plus side, the movie has a pervading air of crass amiability about it—it’s almost like a two-hour end-credits gag reel. (Nevertheless, it contains an end credits gag reel.) But as I said, if you saw the trailer, you got the best the movie has to offer.

(Hmmmm. So let me get this straight. Two films based on older television series (CHiPs being the other) were released the same year and both were overtly homophobic? The gay panic riddles the CHiPs trailer. They seem to have hidden it well here with Baywatch. Which makes it all the more disappointing.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ5tqzw841s

(See this actually doesn’t look bad. It at least tries to do what the original did. They at least avoided what CHiPs did which was overtly use three or four gay panic scenes in the advertising. It was to the point where I thought the movie might have been called Gay Panic: The Movie. But I was shocked by the reviews because this trailer looks decent.)

Directors – Seth Gordon – (Known For: Horrible Bosses; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Identity Thief; BMT: Baywatch; Notes: Director of acclaimed documentary King of Kong. Parlayed that into several feature films and a whole mess of television shows, most recently The Goldbergs.)

Writers – Michael Berk and Douglas Schwartz (based on the series “Baywatch” created by) – (Known For: Soul Surfer; BMT: Baywatch; Notes: Also the creators of the Hulk Hogan television series Thunder in Paradise, so basically legends.)

Gregory J. Bonann (based on the series “Baywatch” created by) – (BMT: Baywatch; Notes: See above. Legend.)

Jay Scherick and David Ronn (story by) – (Known For: Guess Who; Future BMT: I Spy; The Smurfs; The Smurfs 2; Serving Sara; National Security; BMT: Norbit; Zookeeper; Baywatch; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Norbit in 2008; Notes: BMT faves. Just got a pilot picked up with the following synopsis: hard as nail female CIA agent gets partners with self-absorbed male agent trained to use sex and seduction to keep America safe… … Bad TV Tuesday, anyone?)

Thomas Lennon  and Robert Ben Garant (story by) – (Known For: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Night at the Museum; Night at the Museum 2; Mr. Peabody & Sherman; Herbie Fully Loaded; Future BMT: Balls of Fury; Hell Baby; Reno 911!: Miami; Let’s Go to Prison; BMT: Taxi; Baywatch; The Pacifier; Notes: Prolific screenwriters who even wrote a whole book on how best to sell-out in Hollywood. Part of The State and Reno 911!)

Damian Shannon and Mark Swift (screenplay by) – (Known For: Freddy vs. Jason; BMT: Friday the 13th; Baywatch; Notes: This finishes their filmography having just watched the Friday the 13th films they wrote. Writing the upcoming Aladdin film, so they are on the rise.)

Actors – Dwayne Johnson – (Known For: Moana; Fast & Furious 8; Fast & Furious 7; San Andreas; Furious 6; The Other Guys; Central Intelligence; Hercules; Faster; Fast & Furious 5; The Mummy Returns; Pain & Gain; Get Smart; The Scorpion King; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; Snitch; Welcome to the Jungle; Race to Witch Mountain; Gridiron Gang; Future BMT: Tooth Fairy; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Jem and the Holograms; Southland Tales; You Again; Reno 911!: Miami; Planet 51; Walking Tall; The Game Plan; BMT: Doom; Baywatch; Be Cool; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor for Doom in 2006; Notes: Still known widely by his WWE monicker The Rock. He is amazingly one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood now. What he’s got charisma in spades.)

Zac Efron – (Known For: The Disaster Artist; Bad Neighbours 2; Hairspray; Bad Neighbours; 17 Again; The Lorax; We Are Your Friends; The Paperboy; Parkland; High School Musical 3: Senior Year; Liberal Arts; At Any Price; Me and Orson Welles; Future BMT: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates; That Awkward Moment; The Lucky One; The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud; BMT: Baywatch; New Year’s Eve; Dirty Grandpa; Notes: Broke out with the High School Musical Series. Has struggled with substance abuse and alcoholism during his career, but appears to be clean now.)

Alexandra Daddario – (Known For: San Andreas; Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; The Squid and the Whale; Bereavement; Future BMT: Texas Chainsaw 3D; The Layover; The House; Hall Pass; Burying the Ex; The Babysitters; The Hottest State; BMT: Baywatch; The Choice; Notes: Made her acting debut on All My Children. I recognize her more from her various television roles than her movie work.)

Budget/Gross – $69 million / Domestic: $58,060,186 (Worldwide: $177,856,751)

(Not super great domestically, but potentially okay overall. We won’t be seeing Baywatch 2 though. They were obviously expecting a 21 Jump Street level take which is closer to $140/$200 million. Not even close.)

#35 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre

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(This is just above the Tom Hanks classic Dragnet. They kind of blew it in 2002 / 2003 by somehow released 11 buddy action films in those two years and audiences rebelled. This included things like future BMT Bad Company starring Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins. It has come back over the past ten years, and is a steady genre releasing three films this year … all terrible.)

#47 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

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(Ah I remember that boom (it included the recently watched Beverly Hillbillies). I feel like I’m continually surprised at how many films are made that are based on television shows. Near Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Otherwise known as the worst one.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (38/201): Baywatch takes its source material’s jiggle factor to R-rated levels, but lacks the original’s campy charm — and leaves its charming stars flailing in the shallows.

(Which is basically what 21 Jump Street did right. They took the ridiculous thing (cops going undercover in a high school) and took it to its logical conclusion (everyone basically doesn’t believe they are actually high school students). Here it doesn’t seem like they took the original’s hook (attractive people in skimpy outfits solve crimes for some reason on a beach) and took it anywhere at all. And that’s a shame.)

Poster – Sklogwatch (C+)

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(A poster is a delicate thing. You want it to be artistic, tell a story, and sell a product. This seems singularly focused on the last point. The Rock and some hotties (looking at you Efron) are here to save the day and capture your heart. Let’s throw their pics on the poster and put a weird giant wave behind them. That’s about it. That being said, great font game guys. That ‘A’ with the lifeguard station is bomb. I’m putting you above average just for that.)

Tagline(s) – Beaches ain’t ready (D)

(Ohhhh nooooooo. This is like 7 levels too high, guys. Reel it back in. I know the entire movie is based on making something so stupid that it might go all the way around and become good again but this is unfortunate. While this secretly might be a very good tagline. I can do nothing but hate it. Sorry.)

Keyword(s) – lifeguard; Top Ten by BMeTric: 84.2 Piranha 3DD (2012); 61.7 Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004); 54.3 Lovewrecked (2005); 52.9 Aquamarine (2006); 51.3 Sand Sharks (2012); 47.5 Bait (III) (2012); 46.5 Baywatch (2017); 36.7 The To Do List (2013); 34.7 Joe Dirt (2001); 33.5 The Lifeguard (2013);

(Oooo, I like that it isn’t the top. Most of these are kind of crap though. Like Piranha 3DD and Joe Dirt I don’t think will be done in our lifetimes (perhaps our grandchildren will do it on a throwback week for the BMT News Network, BMTNN). The only safe bet is Cody Banks to be honest.)

Notes – Zac Efron gave Dwayne Johnson all the names to call him in the movie, like One Direction. (This sounds like something Zac Efron would say but isn’t true)

In an interview, Priyanka Chopra said that the role of the main antagonist was written for a man, but the director changed the role and the script upon meeting her. (This sounds like something Priyanka Chopra would say but isn’t true)

After scathing reviews poured in from critics and fans alike, Dwayne Johnson tweeted that the film wasn’t made for critics. (This sounds like something Dwayne Johnson would say but isn’t true)

Nina Dobrev, Ashley Benson, Alexandra Shipp, Shelley Hennig, Bianca A. Santos, and Denyse Tontz were considered for the role of Summer. (Nina Dobrev! Of Flatliners and XxX: The Return of Xander Cage fame?)

Robert Ben Garant was going to write and direct the film.

Jeremy Garelick was set to write and direct the film. (love me some alternate directors)

Pamela Anderson also performs a cameo at the very movie’s end but, like the original Mitch Buchanon appearance, all is spoiled from the beginning since their names are listed at the initial credits. (Ha. That’s pretty stupid.)

Cameo…David Hasselhoff appears in a scene with this “Mitch” where they interact and call each other “Mitch”.