A Walk to Remember Preview

“Wait wait wait,” Rich yells to the centaur as he gets dangerously close to cutting their tree free of the cliff. Just as Rich and Poe lament the end of their adventure, they hear a tiny voice, “Wait Sorsaron, let’s hear them out.” A tiny man in a robe appears next to Sorsaron, “Well?” he asks expectantly. Thinking quickly, Rich and Poe lay it all on the line. “Help us and you save the world,” they say solemnly. The centaur’s eyes softens, “Brawln, throw down a rope.” As they walk, Brawln and Sorsaron explain their gritty origin story. Such a mismatched pair! One a barbarian, the other a diminutive mage, they were brought together by fate under a blood wolf moon only to be captured by the evil gamemaster that is helping run the tournament. With each word, Rich and Poe can’t help but have a sense of deja vu. Have they heard this story before? It sounds suspiciously like an adventure they’ve already had except… worse. “We don’t care about this world,” explains Sorsaron, “but combine your earnestness with your muscled physiques and I had my first hope that perhaps you can defeat the gamemaster… even if the chances are still so slight.” Rich and Poe are deflated, it’s starting to sound like they have just as little idea about the well worn path as they do. But when they mention their task, Brawln and Sorsaron look startled. “The school,” Brawln mutters and at that Rich and Poe press them for more details. What and where is this school? “You must complete a task for us first,” Sorsaron insists. Rich and Poe look at each other and then agree. “Where to?” they ask and Brawl points across the desert. Well this should be a walk to remember. That’s right! We are watching teen drama A Walk to Remember. And before you riot and scream blasphemy against its inclusion in BMT just remember, we don’t make the rules… or I guess, we do technically make the rules, but by all metrics this did not get good reviews. So, tough. Deal with it. It’s based on a Nicholas Sparks book and was part of his rise to Hollywood prominence in the 2000’s. Let’s go!

A Walk to Remember (2002) – BMeTric: 4.5; Notability: 22 

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(This might genuinely be the highest rated film (according to IMDb) that we’ve ever done. I have a feeling I’ll be doing a bit of crying this week.)

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – “A Walk to Remember” is a love story so sweet, sincere and positive that it sneaks past the defenses built up in this age of irony. It tells the story of a romance between two 18-year-olds that is summarized when the boy tells the girl’s doubtful father: “Jamie has faith in me. She makes me want to be different. Better.” After all of the vulgar crudities of the typical modern teenage movie, here is one that looks closely, pays attention, sees that not all teenagers are as cretinous as Hollywood portrays them.

(See! Roger Ebert loves it! How is it possible it got such bad reviews? I have a theory: With things like Dawson’s Creek and The OC and 90210 kind smashing television from the late 90s to the early 2000s people were just burnt out on melodramatic teen dramas. And so even the good versions of it, like this, got dunked on by mainstream critics. Prove me wrong!)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq02sBe5xko/

(Landon Carter is a bad boy. And then he meets a good girl. And he wears headphones, and looks super cool. And they’ll fall in love, and everything is super sweet and awesome. But then he’s like “I’m too cool”, but then he’s like “I love you”.)

Directors – Adam Shankman – (Known For: What Men Want; Hairspray; Rock of Ages; Future BMT: The Wedding Planner; Bedtime Stories; BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen 2; The Pacifier; Bringing Down the House; A Walk to Remember; Notes: Got into Juilliard for dance without ever having taken a formal dancing course, and then started as a choreographer. He clearly has a relationship with Steve Martin, whom he directed in Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and Bringing Down the House. He also helped organize the 82nd Academy Awards which Martin hosted.)

Writers – Nicholas Sparks (novel) – (Known For: The Notebook; Future BMT: The Last Song; Nights in Rodanthe; Message in a Bottle; Dear John; The Lucky One; The Best of Me; BMT: The Choice; Safe Haven; A Walk to Remember; Notes: Apparently he still holds a Track and Field record at Notre Dame. He tends to write Christian-themed romance novels centered around tragedy.)

Karen Janszen (screenplay) – (Known For: Dolphin Tale; Dolphin Tale 2; The MatchMaker; Gracie; Digging to China; Duma; Future BMT: Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home; BMT: A Walk to Remember; Notes: Created the recent television show Mars.)

Actors – Mandy Moore – (Known For: Midway; Tangled; Ralph Breaks the Internet; The Princess Diaries; 47 Meters Down; Saved!; Dr. Dolittle 2; Romance & Cigarettes; Dedication; Future BMT: Southland Tales; Love, Wedding, Marriage; Racing Stripes; American Dreamz; Swinging with the Finkels; How to Deal; Chasing Liberty; Try Seventeen; Hotel Noir; BMT: License to Wed; Because I Said So; The Darkest Minds; A Walk to Remember; Notes: Was already a famous singer by the time this movie came out. Played herself on a season-long arc on Entourage as well.)

Shane West – (Known For: Get Over It; Awakening the Zodiac; Here Alone; Liberty Heights; What We Do Is Secret; Future BMT: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Whatever It Takes; Echelon Conspiracy; The Lodger; BMT: Dracula 2001; A Walk to Remember; Notes: Is in a band called Jonny Was (which was Average Jo when this film came out, they have a song on the soundtrack). Played Bane on the television show Gotham.)

Peter Coyote – (Known For: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial; Erin Brockovich; Bitter Moon; Femme Fatale; Good Kill; The Legend of Billie Jean; Southern Comfort; Jagged Edge; Cross Creek; Outrageous Fortune; Kika; Resurrecting the Champ; The Hebrew Hammer; Northfork; Heartbreakers; Bon voyage; Suddenly Naked; Here; La rançon de la gloire; Future BMT: Sphere; Moonlight and Valentino; Unforgettable; A Little Trip to Heaven; Patch Adams; BMT: Random Hearts; A Walk to Remember; Notes: Changed his name to Coyote because he took drugs once, hallucinated that he was a coyote, and then saw a coyote later and someone convinced him it was a sign. That is straight from his Wikipedia page.)

Budget/Gross – $11,800,000 / Domestic: $41,281,092 (Worldwide: $47,494,916)

(That is a decent hit. Honestly I’m a bit surprised it is that low. I would have expected a bit more from the movie that I think obviously kicked off the Sparks craze.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (28/103): Though wholesome, the Mandy Moore vehicle A Walk to Remember is also bland and oppressively syrupy.

(Sounds about right, that is certainly part of why I’ve never seen the film. Comes across as syrupy sweet. Reviewer Highlight: Just because A Walk to Remember is shrewd enough to activate girlish tear ducts doesn’t mean it’s good enough for our girls. – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – A Sklog to Remember (B)

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(You have to admit that this is effective. If people are looking for some romance in their lives then this seems like a solid advertising scheme, with some soft colors and love in the air. Hate the font though. That would have helped immensely.)

Tagline(s) – She didn’t belong. She was misunderstood. And she would change him forever. (B)

It all comes down to who’s by your side (D)

(The first has the elements you want but just doesn’t get there in a reasonable amount of time. It’s nice though so it still gets a good score. The second one is a little confusing. First, why does the poster need two taglines? Second, what does this have to do with this movie? Third, this is a simple statement without even a sense of cleverness. It’s bad.)

Keyword – high school girl

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Top 10: Lady Bird (2017), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Mean Girls (2004), The Breakfast Club (1985), Superbad (2007), Old School (2003), The Craft (1996), A Walk to Remember (2002), Never been Kissed (1999); 

Future BMT: 33.2 Drive Me Crazy (1999); 

BMT: A Walk to Remember (2002), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), The Gallows (2015)

(This has inspired me to update this section to take on multiple keywords. Like I want to just lump in all of the keywords to give the impression of “high school teen rom dram” you know? And probably do something like take the top 200-300 only so that it is a bit more manageable to generate. Makes me excited. EDITOR’s NOTE: Box Office Mojo appears to be blocking me from getting information, which is their prerogative. But I should be able to update this section to focus on the notability anyways, so I’m ultimately fine with it. Stay tuned)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Mandy Moore is No. 1 billed in A Walk to Remember and No. 2 billed in Because I Said So, which also stars Diane Keaton (No. 1 billed) who is in The Big Wedding (No. 2 billed), which also stars Robert De Niro (No. 1 billed) who is in Righteous Kill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 4 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – This movie was filmed in only thirty-nine days, despite the fact that they only had Mandy Moore for ten hours a day because she was still a minor. (Wow, that is actually impressive)

Shane West loved the car he had in the movie so much that he actually bought the car; the price was only $5,000. (Nice, that’s cool)

Much of the movie’s soundtrack includes music from the band Switchfoot, who, at the time, were really only recognized in their native San Diego and in Contemporary Christian music circles. Mandy Moore was a huge fan of the band and had a great deal of influence in their participation on the film. When they were approached to do the film, however, the members really had no idea who Moore was and were not familiar with her music (despite her status as a pop star with several hits on the charts). Once they came on board, they contributed four existing tracks to the soundtrack. In addition, lead singer Jon Foreman recorded a duet with Mandy Moore, “Someday We’ll Know.” Moore also sings a version of the Switchfoot song “Only Hope” during the play in the film. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat??)

The inspiration for Jamie Sullivan’s character and some of the events in the book/movie are from Nicholas Sparks’ sister, Danielle Sparks Lewis (whom the book and movie are dedicated to).

The pictures of Jamie, on the mantle of the fireplace in the Sullivan house, are real pictures of Mandy Moore when she was a little girl.

The movie was shot in North Carolina; many of the sets were from the TV show Dawson’s Creek (1998), particularly the school, the hospital and Landon’s home. (NOICE)

The second film adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, and the first to be rated PG.

Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas Preview

See the Christmas with the Kranks preview for a description of all of the different movies we are doing for the Bring a Friend cycle! Some of the bonus films will be BMT (by our qualifications: <40% on Rotten Tomatoes, big box office release, released after 1980), some won’t. This week, our film is for sure qualified! Here’s what I wrote about this “friend” in particular:

Christian FilmsThese get major releases, but usually aren’t our bag. A liiiiiiittle holier than thou. Unless you’re Madea, then I love you. Saving Christmas here we come!

True to form, we’re mashing up Saving Christmas with the Kranks! Saving Christmas is by all accounts not a real film, but rather a 79 minute Youtube response video to the made up “War on Christmas.” We actually told ourselves we would NEVER watch it and yet here we are. Bring a Friend was an offer we couldn’t refuse. Ho ho ho, everyone. Let’s go!

Saving Christmas (2014) – BMeTric: 74.9

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(Consistent. A good sign. Even after the hubbub (instigated by Cameron himself like an idiot) it has maintained its ridiculously low rating. Otherwise only surprising because of how many votes it has to be honest, considering it barely was released to theaters.)

RogerEbert.com – 1 star –  Doing nothing but preaching to the converted—literally and badly to boot—”Saving Christmas” is a terrible movie regardless of one’s eschatological mindset. And while it may not be the worst Christmas-related movie ever (a title I believe is still held by the vile “Christmas with the Kranks”), it certainly does the genre no favors. However, if watching shoddily filmed presentations of shoddily constructed arguments justifying a self-absorbed perspective is the kind of thing that strikes your fancy, then it may indeed be up your alley after all.

(Shout out to Christmas with the Kranks!! What what. Amazing. Time for a little lesson: eschatological (adj.) – The part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind. Pushing it brother. Spoiler alert, it is not up my alley, and I’m prob not going to be a huge fan. But I’m ready and willing to expand my horizons.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqG1Hafyhhk

(Barf. The two people in the car are the director, Darren Doane, and Kirk Cameron. I’m genuinely curious how long the dance sequence lasts. By all accounts this movie, based on actual content, is like 40 minutes long, so I will be disappointed if that dance sequence isn’t a bloated five minutes minimum.)

Directors – Darren Doane – (BMT: Saving Christmas; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for Saving Christmas in 2015; and Nominated for Worst Director for Saving Christmas in 2015; Notes: Check out his wikipedia to see it incredible list of music video jobs. He’s directed a few small direct-to-video and bargain bin movies in the past, but otherwise is a hard right Christian documentary filmmaker.)

Writers – Darren Doane (written by) – (BMT: Saving Christmas; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for Saving Christmas in 2015; and Nominated for Worst Director for Saving Christmas in 2015; Notes: Hervey and Doane wrote the documentary Free Speech Apocalypse together. Is BMT objective? Should it be? From what I have seen about both these people they seem like disingenuous fanatic evangelicals to me, and that will color my viewing of this film. My research makes me question whether we should be watching this film … but I suppose that is the point of the bring a friend cycle in a way. I’ll leave both of these guys’ biographies there.)

Cheston Hervey (written by) – (BMT: Saving Christmas; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for Saving Christmas in 2015; Notes: Worked with Doane on Free Speech Apocalypse, helped write this, and was an extra in Saving Christmas as well.)

Actors – Kirk Cameron – (Known For: Fireproof; Future BMT: The Best of Times; BMT: Saving Christmas; Left Behind: The Movie; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Saving Christmas in 2015; Notes: I kind of wish he was just known as a funny kid actor from Growing Pains. Instead he’s known for making evangelical christian films. Married to fellow Growing Pains star Chelsea Noble)

Darren Doane – (BMT: Saving Christmas; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for Saving Christmas in 2015; and Nominated for Worst Director for Saving Christmas in 2015; Notes: Mentioned above. This movie sounds suspiciously like a Doane vehicle through and through. I wonder why it is called Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas.)

Bridgette Cameron – (BMT: Saving Christmas; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress for Saving Christmas in 2015; Notes: Kirk Cameron’s sister.)

Budget/Gross – $500,000 / Domestic: $2,783,970

(Ugh. Legit success. This is how films like this (and I would put any film aimed at a niche audience in this camp) get made: you start will a small budget and smash it with your audience in intensely focused marketing. In this case you focus on church groups. Literal preaching to the choir.)

#50 for the Christian genre

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(This was the 59th biggest release for a film of this kind. I suppose it is interesting that while the average gross for the films isn’t great recently, that even with the massive explosion of films in the genre they didn’t drop too much. A good sign … maybe. It does seem like a genre which might be getting more niche as the years pass.)

#48 for the Christmas genre

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(Wow. Looks like it came right before a new boom. There were three during the last two Christmases, so one would assume there will be a few this year. The only obvious one on the schedule though is Bad Mom’s Christmas … gross. Anywho, this made no money.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/13): No consensus yet.

(I’ll just paste a review that seems the most appropriate: Virtually everything about this production feels thrown together. In other words: you aren’t good at your job Doane. You had one job and you made a big old piece of shit instead.)

Poster – Kirk Cameron’s Saving Sklogmas (D-)

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(Messy, and Kirk Cameron’s arrogant smirk can shove it. But it is higher quality than you’d expect from a $500K film. Plus they put love and care into the font, hard to sklogify that. That saves it from an F. Dutch angles on the title though Kirk? C’mon, you’re better than that.)

Tagline(s) – Put Christ Back in Christmas (F)

(B-b-b-b-b-but cadence, and whatnot! Doesn’t matter, this is literally just the catchphrase for the War on Christmas nonsense. They didn’t make it for this movie, and it deserves no credit. Do you know what I say about that? Put the Sklog back in Sklogmas, that’s what I have to say.)

Keyword(s) – christmas; Top Ten by BMeTric: 92.1 Jack and Jill (I) (2011); 87.8 Jaws: The Revenge (1987); 84.0 Home Alone 3 (1997); 83.1 RoboCop 3 (1993); 75.6 Look Who’s Talking Now (1993); 74.9 Saving Christmas (2014); 74.4 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009); 70.8 Getaway (2013); 69.6 Setup (I) (2011); 68.9 Are We There Yet? (2005);

(I would watch Getaway a million times instead of everything else on this list. Although Jack and Jill will be an interesting rewatch eventually I think.)

Notes – Kirk Cameron responded to the film’s negative reviews by pleading to his fans on his Facebook page: “Help me storm the gates of Rotten Tomatoes. All of you who love Saving Christmas – go rate it at Rotten Tomatoes right now and send the message to all the critics that WE decide what movies we want our families to see. If 2,000 of you (out of almost 2 million on this page) take a minute to rate Saving Christmas, it will give the film a huge boost and more will see it as a result! Thank you for all your help and support in putting the joy of Christ back in Christmas!” This actually resulted in a severe backlash against the film, in which Internet users traveled to the Rotten Tomatoes page and condemned the film. Cameron later blamed this action on “haters and atheists”. (Both are dumb, but I guess he started it. I won’t cry a river over Saving Christmas’ “cheap” rating is all I’m saying)

Made on a budget of $500,000.

“VeggieTales” creator Phil Vischer was asked to submit an opening segment to this film, but respectfully declined. (cooool)

Awards – Won the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Kirk Cameron)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Darren Doane, Cheston Hervey)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Combo (Kirk Cameron)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Bridgette Cameron)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Darren Doane)