The Space Between Us Recap

Jamie

Gardner is a teenager born on Mars and unable to go to Earth for fear his body can’t handle it. When he connects with a girl on Earth, Tulsa, and finds information about his father he insists it’s time to return “home.” Can he fall in love and find his dad before it’s (literally) too late? Find out in… The Space Between Us.

What?! We open on the first mission to populate Mars funded by billionaire Nathaniel Shepard. On the way it’s revealed that the mission leader is pregnant. Fearing PR backlash NASA keeps the pregnancy confidential. Shortly after arrival she gives birth to a healthy child, Gardner, but dies in childbirth. Due to the differences in gravity they fear bringing the child home will kill him so Gardner is left to grow up on Mars. Flash forward 16 years and he is living a happy but isolated life with a robot friend and everything. He’s a total nerd alert, but spends his time chatting it up with an equally isolated girl in Colorado named Tulsa. He really wants to go to Earth to find his father (but we also know he wouldn’t mind finding this girl, wooing her, and getting it in). Finally NASA relents and after a rigorous physical preparation he is flown back to Earth. Hooray. When he arrives it looks like he’ll be sent right back for health reasons so he escapes to meet up with Tulsa. She is totally freaked out by this weirdo saying he’s from Mars (so much for getting it in), but helps him escape when NASA comes a-knocking. Thus begins their road trip together. They track Gardner’s father from New Mexico to Arizona to California. On the way, Tulsa and Gardner fall in love and he actually does get it in. Wow. Took you like five hours on Earth to lose your virginity. He then starts to show symptoms of an enlarged heart. When he finally finds the man he thinks is his dad he is told he was wrong the whole time. The man is actually his uncle. Sad but in love he walks into the ocean to die only to be rescued by Nathaniel Shepard, who turns out to be his real dad (duh, it was pretty obvious). They are able to save his life and get him back to Mars where we see him enjoying time with his dad. We are also treated to a scene of Tulsa preparing for her own trip to Mars. Awwwwwwww. THE END.

Why?! While Gardner is literally from Mars his motivations are primarily typical teen angst. He wants to see Earth, he wants to know what it is to be human, he wants to live, he wants to love, he wants to find belonging, and most importantly he wants to know who he is. And knowing who he is involves knowing who his father is. Thus the road trip from Mars to Florida to Colorado to California and back to Mars. As for Tulsa, while she is born on Earth she also mostly wants to know that she has belonging. She’s shuttled from foster home to foster home and feels like an alien in her own world. Trust me it’s all very deep in a highly predictable and saccharine way.

What?! I was really hoping that Tulsa would introduce Gardner to the beauty of Coca-Cola or something at one point, but alas. Gardner’s journey is mostly product placement free. Same can’t be said for Nathaniel Shepard and the sleek technology he surrounds himself with. He shuttles around in his self-driving Volvo as if it’s the ultimate replacement for his shattered dreams of space travel. Shove it, astronauts! You haven’t experienced adventure till you’ve driven the new Volvo (he says as he cries himself to sleep… don’t worry, the car drives itself. He can weep as hard as he wants without putting himself or others in danger).

Who?! As with many robot friends in cinematic history, Gardner’s robot, Centaur, is basically a Planchet. Gardner is always like “You aren’t even real, stupid robot.” and dismantles him for his own schemes. But the robot still had only unconditional love for him and it’s sad really. Even sadder is when he’s abandoned part way through the movie and never mentioned again. Bring that robot to Earth! Let him in on your kooky adventures. Anyway, I only did a Planchet this week because I didn’t want to mention that Logan Paul, a Youtube star, makes a truly terrible cameo halfway through the film. Fuck. That.

Where?! Road Trip Alert! I would put the primary settings as Mars and Colorado (I love it!), but with some stops in Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. It’s an A because of how important Mars is to the plot. You could even argue it’s an A+ with the mention of “Space” in the title. But let’s appreciate it for what it is, not for what it isn’t.

When?! Future Setting Alert! From Gardner’s mother’s grave we know she died on January 25, 2018. The film takes place 16 years later so in 2034. That’s enough for me when it comes to the date of a future film. I’ll give it a C. Funny enough this was a major sticking point for reviewers. The fact that nothing really got updated from the phones to the cars to the slang used by Tulsa. Showed a single robot, a single self-driving car, and some plexiglass computers and that’s apparently all they budgeted for.

When I started watching the film I thought it was going to be terrible. It was slow and extremely predictable. Interestingly once they went a more cliched route for the latter half of the film it actually picked up pace and was pretty enjoyable. Like two films smooshed together. A somewhat boring space adventure at the front, and a typical teen romance road trip on the back half. It all added up to mostly harmless fluff. Interesting that it got hated on so much. Is it so bad that every once in awhile they make a sugar sweet film for the whole family? It’s not like it’s inherently bad just for that reason. That being said I wish it wasn’t laughably predictable. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Space is so in right now, and you want a little piece of the action. You got this weird script about some Moon boy or whatever so … hey, intern, give this a once over and set it on Mars like that Damon one. We’ll rake in that dough, I’ll grab a few drinks with some stars, no problem … Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sklog-nalogy) – The movie actually isn’t all bad. It wasn’t quite It’s-Not-That-Bad level, but it is a lot closer than you would think. The first hour is a little slow but interesting, and the second half picks up even if it is half of a YA road trip film. There are certainly things I disliked, but for a young adult romance that is over two hours long it could have been a lot lot worse. Which is why I’m porting over Sklog-nalogy from the Bad section for the week. In this case the BMT film this reminds me of is possibly the least likeable film we’ve ever done: Waiting for Forever. In both cases you have a weirdo “martian” guy stalking a girl he’s fallen in love with through misadventures. In this case the “martian” is actually a Martian and is innocuous, funny, kind, a hopeless romantic, and genuinely makes a bit of sense. In Waiting for Forever he is a creepy stalker who the lead actress should have been concerned was going to kill her. The movies have a weird core that is similar, but take drastically different turns. This film is an okay example of the genre, although it has its faults. Waiting for Forever shows exactly how such a storyline can go wrong by basically glorifying stalkers as “romantics”. That I think is probably why I liked this film reasonably well in the end, at least it kept it innocent in that regard.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – The film basically turns into a Young Adult road trip movie where they barely mention Mars which isn’t so great. The twist with Gary Oldman is incredibly obvious. The film is, indeed, so sugary sweet that I can understand why it got a ton of bad reviews (although 16% is much much lower than I would have expected). The last bit I’ll run through for a Crime Against BMT-anity. The faux-future stuff is off the chain. Basically everyone uses these weird plexiglass computers, but then everyone has phones that look like a current Samsung. Gary Oldman is in a self-driving car, but yet Tulsa’ Dad drunkenly flies a beat up crop duster, they drive around in a beat up pick up, and at one point Gardner gets a ride in a (driver-ful) crappy Greyhound bus. The mixed messages are crazy! It is basically an exercise in how little one can do while still getting away with setting a film nearly 20 years in the future. Most can be forgiven, it isn’t like cars look alien compared to 2000, but the phones were a very strange oversight considering they updated the computers fairly well.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I don’t think there is legacy here. It might have at some point, if we decide it is the best bad movie we’ve watched this year. But for some reason I highly doubt that. It has been listed in a few places for worst of already. Looper, and The Playlist specifically. Ultimately I think it’ll fall away without much notice, but we’ll have to wait and see.

This does seem like one of those films that is based on a book … but it wasn’t. So no homework to report on here. I’ll just leave it there then.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Rings Recap

Jamie

Samara is back, Jack! Holt is off to college leaving behind his girlfriend Julia. When he stops answering her calls she races to campus to find that he’s watched the Ring video for a research project. She saves his life by watching his copy, but realizes too late that the video is mutated and can’t be copied. Can they unravel this new mystery before it’s too late? Find out in… Rings.

What?! When a Very Cool Professor (we know he’s rad because he smokes weed and sleeps with his students… uh… cool?) stumbles upon the Samara tape at a flea market he begins research into the effects of the tape. Some time later we are introduce to Holt and Julia. They are super in love and whispering sweet nothings to each other before Holt heads away to college. They keep in touch diligently until Holt straight up ghosts her one day shortly before she is meant to visit. That ain’t cool, Holt! She rushes to campus and finds that he’s been caught up in the Very Cool Professor’s project! Oh no! After witnessing the death of another subject in the experiment, Julia takes matters into her own hands and watches Holt’s copy to save his life. It’s all cool says the Very Cool Professor, but when he tries to make a copy for Julia it turns out the video is mutated and rendered unreproducible. Decidedly uncool, Very Cool Professor! Analysis of the new scenes all point to Sacrament Valley, the town where Samara was ultimately buried. When Holt and Julia go there they find a near ghost town filled only with sadness. In their explorations Holt and Julia discover that this town was where Samara’s mother Evelyn was from and that she was impregnated by the town priest and kept captive in a secret room under the church. Creepy. Unfortunately for them that very priest is still there and attempts to murder them before his secret is out. Just before he kills them, Samara pulls the ol’ switcheroo and crawls out of a phone to kill him instead. All seems well until at the very end we get a Spoiler Alert where it turns out that Sarama has possessed Julia and is spreading the Ring virus to all corners of the world. THE END.

Why?! Like the first Ring film this asks the question of how far one is willing to go for love. After Holt is roped into the video experiment, Julia makes the choice to save his life by watching a copy of his video. She took on that risk for love and honestly it didn’t work out. Should have let that dumbo die. After that their motivation is to help Samara find peace in the hopes that it cures Julia. Unfortunately that doesn’t work out because she’s pure evil. People keep making this mistake. Stop helping Samara! She is clearly a hate-filled demon that cannot be trusted.

What?! This film seems particularly focused on the effectiveness of Apple products to communicate to your long-distance beau, copy death videos for the viewing pleasure of your next victim, light up a creepy underground dungeon, or bring Samara wherever you go so she can kill the homicidal priest that’s trapped you in his house. Makes you wonder if they actually paid for this because it makes their products out to be horror devices.

Who?! God do I wish there was a Planchet in this film. Would have loved a chubby best friend cracking jokes about Samara as she crawled towards him. Since we don’t I just want to use this space to give a round of applause for writer Akiva Goldsman. What. A. Year. This, Transformers: The Last Knight, and The Dark Tower. It’s glorious.

Where?! Most of the film takes place in Washington state. First in Spokane, where Holt goes to college, and then in the made up town of Sacrament Valley, where Samara is from. I bump this up to a B for how Washington has played a big role in the entire Ring series.

When?! A true favorite of mine for a Secret Holiday Film Alert! Julia and Holt are going to see each other six weeks after he leaves for college. That’s when he has a long weekend for, that’s right, Columbus Day! In fact when Holt ghosts her we see a series of texts of her trying to reach him spanning from October 6-8, meaning that major events in this film take place on the all important date of October 9th. Boom. That’s a B+ because it’s amazing.

This film started off in the way that I kind of hoped The Ring Two would have gone: the release of the tape being part of dark web culture and researched by rogue scientists. It’s a great story. Unfortunately they abandon it almost immediately to rehash the mystery surrounding Samara’s past. Seems to be a trend in the story. Stick your toe into something different and then quickly retreat back into the thriller-mystery convention that made the first film a hit. I’m always up for some more lore when it comes to franchises, just wish it wasn’t so lame and bleak. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The Golden Boy became the Golden Dud after he botched the sequel to the megahit (and his baby) The Ring. Meanwhile, everyone else is just copying his game with this supernatural horror shit. The Golden Boy is going he back in the game! Show these children what is what! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read The Ring Two recap. Meanwhile, let’s get into it!

The Good (BMulTiverse Theory) – I’m glad they got some closure on the story of Samara. It would seem like with the final rebirth of Samara here they can leave the video behind and start, if they so choose, to explore more about the demon itself. I kind of hope they do it. The story itself isn’t terrible, it is just unfortunate it was done in such a trite way in movies that didn’t live up to the original’s promise. Since I’m going to do a remake in the Bad section this week let’s explore another BMulTiverse Theory. I honestly believe if The Ring had been made about 10 years later this would be The Conjuring. The Conjuring has had three films, but then a spin-off series (Annabelle) and two more spin-offs in production (The Nun and The Crooked Man). The Ring could have gone deep into the origins of Samara, and then started to explore other demonic beings that have, in their own way, touched the world, exploiting are growing dependence on technology to make their power grow. The Ring was too far ahead of its time and instead ushered in an era of bad J Horror adaptations instead, many of which I’m sure we will discuss in the future.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – The acting is pretty rough. They toss out a fairly interesting story (a scientist studying Samara’s abilities) in yet another Janus Device (see The Ring Two recap for the definition) whereby the movie is almost perfectly split in twain: First the discovery of the college experimentation with Samara, and then a road trip to Samara’s mother’s home town. In this case I think the back half is weakest, partially because it seems like they kind of copying Don’t Breathe’s blind-man-hunting-you-down-in-a-darkened-house routine. The biggest Crime Against BMT-anity in this film is definitely the lost opportunity in exploring Samara’s powers. The rumor is that they were hoping to create a whole Ring Cinematic Universe, and the scientist would have been a perfect jumping off point. Almost like a Stephen King thinner idea Samara represents the potential to discovering a demonic power unknown to this world. And when they drill down into that power it unleashes a pandora’s box of other demon. Johnny Galecki is a pretty big name, and could have been that evil Crichton-esque Mad Scientist and a constant to the series, insistent that the pursuit of knowledge (and by extension fame) is so pure that even death and destruction can be ignored in the face of it. It would have been an interesting twist if they had a place to go with it. Hmmm, this is almost a remake in an of itself, and could have gone into the good part as well. Maybe I need to watch more supernatural horror. I would have thought someone would have gone after the thinner idea from Stephen King books. It is a great idea, it is just that Stephen King adaptations are usually terrible.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – Like The Ring Two the legs can go on for days because The Ring likely marks a point in which BMT will start to look at a watch J Horror a bit more. Finally, we do have a bit of street cred because I can find a … it looks like a blog, but it is mentioned here. Unlike some of the recent films we’ve done I am confident Rings, being the descendant of a well respected horror film, will get some play in worst-of lists.

In this case we did have a bit of a Homework Sklog-signment in the original The Ring. I loved The Ring on second viewing. The movie isn’t really scary per se, but the investigative aspect of it is really interesting. They keep the mythos tight, don’t fall into a trap of over-explanation, and have a great twist ending (Naomi Watts you doofus, why’d you help Samara!). Others don’t agree apparently, both Leonard Maltin and Roger Ebert gave The Ring Two a better review than The Ring (I think the same scores even, 2 and 2.5 stars for the original and sequel respectively). I disagree, but I also think it depends on how many scares you require in your horror films. I would tend to punish non-scary horror films, but here I think the investigative-thriller is a fine look for the first film. It is far bigger crime that the second does half the investigation and is just as not-scary, in my opinion. Such is life. I still haven’t seen Ringu unfortunately, but I’m certainly looking forward to that. It is unlikely I’ll read the books (because they are weird as fuck apparently), or see the Japanese sequels (because they are terrible apparently). So Ringu will complete The Ring lore for me for now.

I’ll leave it there. Cheerios

The Sklogs

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Recap

Jamie

Jack Sparrow is back… uh… Jack. We find him destitute and drunk on the island of Saint Martin when the son of Will Turner, Henry, comes a-knocking looking to free his father with the power of the Trident of Poseidon. Will they outrun some nasty ghost pirates and nab the Trident before it’s too late? Find out in… Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

What?! Henry Turner is dead set on freeing his father, Will Turner, from his eternal curse aboard The Flying Dutchman by obtaining the powerful Trident of Poseidon. Knowing that Jack Sparrow is his only hope he heads on a quest to find him. On his way there he is part of a crew that crosses paths with a Spanish pirate hunter, Salazar, trapped in Devil’s Triangle. In exchange for his life, Henry is tasked with delivering a message of revenge to Jack Sparrow (what a coincidence! You’re looking for him too?). Once on Saint Martin, Henry crosses paths with Carina Smyth who is also searching for the trident (what a coincidence! You’re looking for that too?). At the same time Salazar is freed after Jack drunkenly throws his compass away (this is getting confusing with all these coincidences). Shortly thereafter both Carina and Jack are sentenced to death. Freeing them with the help of Jack’s crew, Henry and the gang set out for the Trident. While searching for Jack, Salazar encounters Barbossa who promises to help him find Jack. They converge near a small island where our heroes and Barbossa manage to escape to land. Once there Barbossa makes a new alliance with Jack to help him find the Trident and they join together on the Black Pearl. The race to the Trident is on! Our heroes find the secret Trident island and open a path in the ocean to their prize. A fight with Salazar ensues at the end of which they break the Trident, thus breaking all curses across the land. Escaping to their ship they leave Salazar to die at the ocean’s depths. We end with Henry reuniting with his father Will, freed from his curse forever. My god is that unnecessarily complex. THE END.  

Why?! Henry Turner wants to save his dear old dad, Will, and Carina wants to help him because… huh… not sure actually. She just wanted to follow the stars on the map left to her by her daddio. I guess she thought they would somehow lead her to him… which in the end it did (Spoiler Alert: He’s Barbossa). As for Jack, he is mostly a drunk in this film, hoping only to escape death. While more of a subplot in this film, Jack’s objective of eternal life is something that ties together most of the films. In particular it ties in Davy Jones as the ultimate villain of the franchise: the evil pirate who has the eternal life that Jack so desires. This is what leads me to believe that there will be at least one more film in the franchise. The obvious end to to the Jack Sparrow saga is his place on The Black Pearl as the eternal shepherd of the underworld through a final battle to destroy Davy Jones and his Locker for good.

What?! Now here is a classic MacGuffin. From the start we are told that the Trident of Poseidon can break any curse. How? Why? Don’t worry about it. Just know that it is an object that both good and evil will strive for in the hopes of gaining ultimate power. It’s a funny MacGuffin too in that its power is released only in its destruction, so the first time we see it is also the last.

Who?! While Keith Richards has played Jack Sparrow’s father in the 3rd and 4th Pirates of the Caribbean films, he does not show up here. Instead Paul McCartney randomly cameos as Jack’s uncle, throwing a few jokes his way in prison. Cool.

Where?! The Caribbean, duh. In fact the setting for a large portion of the film was specified this time. Jack is stuck and rumored dead on the island of Saint Martin. Once they leave that island though the setting is basically just the open sea and secret islands. C.

When?! All the films at least can be framed in reference to each other. Henry Turner is 21 years old in this film and thus 21 years after the third film (at the end of which he was conceived). The fourth film is claimed to be 16 years after the third film, placing this film in 1756 give or take a couple years. This is fun, but it’s still a D-.

We have done a whole bunch of franchises over the last year (and I would venture a guess that 2018 may turn into the year of the franchises as we had a blast doing them) and you can’t help but find the aspects of each of them that made them hits in the first place. It’s like Stockholm Syndrome, we come to love our captors. Pirates of the Caribbean is no different. I came to enjoy the spectacular CGI, even more spectacular stunts, and the humor that Jack Sparrow brought to the table, even when the storylines started to make very little sense and the films ballooned to nearly three hours. So when the fourth took much of that away and then the fifth really only brought the CGI back up to snuff (Jack is reduced to a caricature of himself, constantly yelping in surprise as he has nothing more clever to say) I was pretty disappointed. But it didn’t slake my thirst for an adequate conclusion to the series. I know they can do it. I need to see Jack Sparrow ride off into the sunset at the helm of The Black Pearl having been granted eternal life. It’s the only real way this ends. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Six years ago you made a terrible mistake. Succumbing to peer pressure you allowed Johnny Depp to make yet another Pirates of the Caribbean film, much to the world’s chagrine. Since then the thirst has been silent, waiting in the darkness. Then … a small voice says in the back of your head: “Make another one. It’ll be great. Savvy?” Ugh, I hate you, you think … but, yes, I savvy indeed. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – This comes across as much more of a Pirates of the Caribbean film than the fourth. It was fun and at least had a spirited direction compared to some of the other sequels. Resolving the Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley storyline at least allows the series to pass into a slumber if they didn’t feel the need to complete a second trilogy. I think though I’ll outline what I could imagine a sixth film to be in a Sequel. Basically, at the end of this film all pirate curses have been broken, but apparently magic still exists (it appears Jack Sparrow’s compass still operates, pointing to the owner’s desire). In the sequel the compass brings Jack Sparrow back to Shipwreck Cove to hold another Brethren Court with Elizabeth Swann (who remains the Pirate King) and Carina Smyth (who inherited the captaincy of the Caspian Sea from her father Captain Barbossa). The problem? Magic in this world is dying, a consequence of the breaking of Poseidon’s Trident, and without magic the pirate’s domination of the sea is in peril. Jack Sparrow, harboring his long-held desire for immortality, offers to find the hidden merman city which, according to legend, is ruled by Triton, the son of Poseidon. Knowing that where Gods live there is the possibility of immortality Jack sails deep into the Amazon where the secret city is to be found. Can Jack Sparrow discover the secret to save Pirate magic before it is too late? Pirates of the Caribbean: The Forsaken Mermen.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – The story in this case as one of the weaker in the series, it was never really clear what anyone was doing. While I like Javier Bardem, his bad guy was also a little weird and shoehorned into the whole mythology (although I liked seeing young Jack). And, sorry, but Brenton Thwaites is the new Jai Courtney, there is something uncharismatic about him where he could be replaced by almost anyone and the movie wouldn’t suffer a bit. It was the same in Gods of Egypt. Get your money though Thwaites. In this short Crimes Against BMT-anity I thought I would just note how humorless the whole Pirates franchise managed to becomes during its run. The first film was (and still is) fantastic, but mainly because of how funny and wacky the whole world and especially Jack Sparrow was. By this installment? Barbossa is a garbage human, Jack is a mopey asshole, and the once exciting life of a pirate looks to be rather … drab and, honestly, sad. Hopefully they can finish off the series with a bang. If not that go for broke and get some catastrophic 0% or something. Do it … do it.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I still don’t think there is much legacy here unless there is a complete garbage pile of a sixth film. It was a fascinating look at big budget franchises, something we kind of tended to avoid prior to this year (outside of something like Transformers which demanded to be addressed), so perhaps it’ll change BMT temporarily and we will hit a few of those now. Street cred is basically impossible to analyze until the end of the year. A few of the lists I’ve found ignored this guy, and besides Depp I don’t really see it getting noticed … maybe sequel / remake, but nothing big. I’ll go under the radar.

And I don’t think I have anything else to report. I did not revisit the franchise, I started right back up with the fourth, so I can’t really do a review there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Bye Bye Man Recap

Jamie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Geostorm Recap

Jamie

After the world’s weather went crazy the nations of the Earth, led by Jake Lawson, banded together to build a weather manipulation satellite system. Years later this system goes haywire and Jake is sent to fix it, only to find that it’s not a bug after all, but rather a scheme for world domination. Can Jake save the world before it’s too late? Find out in… Geostorm.

What?! We open on an extended voiceover explaining that in the near future the world’s weather began extreme fluctuations resulting in worldwide death and destruction. In an effort to curb the damage the world’s nations came together to build a complex satellite system led by a rough and tumble scientist, who don’t take no guff from nobody, named Jake Lawson. This inability to take guff sends Jake Lawson to the unemployment line and the satellite system marches on without him. Years later things start acting kooky (sorry for the technical terms) and Jake is pulled back into action and sent to space in an effort to find and fix whatever bug is causing the issue. In the least realistic aspect of the film Jake insists that there aren’t any bugs in the system (sure bro, whatever you say) and yet it becomes immediately clear that the weather catastrophes are not in fact caused by a bug at all but rather a virus that has been planted in the system. Needing the presidential kill codes to reboot and flush the virus, Jake’s brother Max rescues the President from a superstorm in Orlando and escorts him to Kennedy Space Center. They are able to upload the kill codes but not before self-destruct is initiated on the space station. Uh oh! Jake stays behind to make sure everything is rebooted and proceeds to climb aboard a satellite and ride it back to Earth an international hero. Wooooooooooooo! Geostorm! The End.

Why?! Action films provide the best motivations. Not for our main characters or course (Jake Lawson is only concerned with quelling the slanderous claims against his entirely bug-free complex satellite system), but for our vast criminal enterprise hell bent on world domination. Basically the Secretary of State has devised a plan whereby he got a lackey on the space station to upload a virus. This virus will ever so slowly begin the systematic destruction of the world in order to make it seem like an accident. The aim is to wipe out most of the world, including all those that stand in the way of the Secretary of State’s ascension to the presidency, and lead to total domination. What he didn’t plan for was Jake Lawson, international hero, stepping in and saving the day… What’s that? That actually was explicitly in the plan… get international hero Jake Lawson to take the blame and die in space. What a terrible plan… he’s Jake Lawson! International hero! He obviously would be the last person you’d want up in space trying to stop you… literally the only person. In fact wouldn’t you just go ahead and kill him before even starting the plan? I already just fixed your plan. Step 1. Kill Jake Lawson.

What?! After a long day of stopping a conspiracy to destroy your reputation for bug-free coding (and also destroy the world) there’s only one thing that will quench that thirst for justice: a nice cold Coors Light. It’s the taste of the Rockies and the choice of international hero Jake Lawson.

Who?! Two weeks in a row for fake US Presidents. This time it’s Andy Garcia’s President Andrew Palma. While it seems like President Palma is well on his way to reelection (before a Geostorm so rudely interrupts his DNC speech #DemsInDisarray, amirite?) he probably has to reevaluate his vetting criteria for his most valued advisors. I mean, having most of your cabinet wiped out in a conspiracy set in motion by your own Secretary of State? Not a great look.

Where?! Great settings film. Not just because we spend most of our time in space, DC, and Florida, but also because we so specifically spend such a long time in Orlando for a fake future Democratic National Convention. This after we spent the entirety of Jaws 3D in Orlando. Having quite the BMT moment. I give it a solid B.

When?! Little point of contention here. It’s hard to get a good idea of exactly when everything takes place for a film in theaters. I think they said things started going crazy in 2019 and in three years we built the satellite system (going off of my memory here, so might be slightly inaccurate). When we jump forward we are close to the ten year mark for the system. So we should be somewhere around the 2032 election? We’re also going through nominations for that election so must be summer 2032? This is all +/- 4 years. C+ if I go back and confirm all this from the DVD (Spoiiler Alert: I’m not going to be doing that).

Overall, the film is not well made. It was clearly rewritten and reshot (unless they meant for the beginning to just be a series of expository scenes that are super boring. If so then they just made a bad movie from the jump) and made the start of the film a mess. Once we get to space and the Geostorm starts things picked up and a lot of the scenes in space were shockingly beautiful. Funny enough there was one aspect of the film that everyone I know who saw it couldn’t help focusing on: Max Lawson a.k.a. Jim Sturgiss’ haircut. The most catastrophic disaster in the entire film, but I’ll let Patrick explain a bit more. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! GEOOOOOSTORM. What will cure those summer boxoffice blues? A disasterpiece from the maker of Independence Day (I call it ID4). GEOOOOOSTOOOOORM in my face! Yeah. What’s that? It’s been delayed by a bit? That isn’t so bad, I mean … oh, two years? It was delayed by two years and stars Gerard Butler. I mean the co-stars though … what’s that? The co-star is the guy from 21 with a terrible hair cut? Uh … you know what, I have a refrigerator to defrost, I’ll see you later, tell me how it is. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Seuqel / Prequel / Remake) – The space visuals were stunning. When I say the first one I legitimately wondered exactly how cheap it had all gotten, is this just going to be normal now? No more hilarious spikey comet set from Armageddon? If you squint you might not hate this movie because it is so dumb. This time I think I want to see the Sequel. Why? Because think of what the sequel would actually involve. Another almost Geostorm! How could such a thing happen? In this case I think we revisit Jake Lawson, but this time it’s … President Jake Lawson. The world owns Dutch Boy, and all is peachy keen until (uh oh!) it isn’t! Storms they are a-brewin’, and things are looking dire. How could this happen again!? What a twist! It was Jake Lawson causing the issues after he realizes the world had begun to recover from humanity’s ecological ruin and scientists are about to recommend that Dutch Boy be shut down completely! Wait, that sounds shaky, why would he want to keep Dutch Boy around? Because he thinks the instant humanity gets pulled back from the brink of disaster we’ll fall back into our disastrous ways (probably true). Anywho, he turns heel and audiences cheer in Geostorm 2: Jake Lawson Strikes Back.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – The entirety of the story on the ground was absurd. Gerard sleepwalks through the film. The bad guy is so obvious and mustache twirling-ly eeeeevil that it is almost sad when the finale comes into play. It is also aggressively stupid. Which I have decided is both a good and bad thing. It is cut to shit and at times just makes no sense, complete with super hero hacker who makes nearly anything possible and then is promptly forgotten during the finale. And now, for a new game! In Crimes Against BMT-anity I identify a specifically perplexing part of a terrible film. In this case (was there ever any doubt?) it was Jim Sturgiss’ amazingly distracting haircut. Are we to believe he dates an incredibly attractive secret service agent for three years and she never once asks who his barber is any why he still uses him? Or more likely makes him stop cutting his own hair. The most ludicrous part of the story bar none. Congrats Jim Sturgiss’ haircut! You have a non-zero chance of getting a nomination for Worst Screen Couple at the Razzies this year.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – This has some serious cred potential. It is one of those movies that will kind of vaguely live in the collective conscious of a generation because it’ll just be like always on Netflix or something. Out of all of the bad movies of 2017 it is the one I can imagine people talking about along the lines of “you know what was a decently fun movie everyone thought was terrible at the time …”. An Armageddon for another generation. It was one of the worst reviewed films of the year, although it did manage to avoid an incredible sub-10 on Rotten Tomatoes (which seemed quite possible for a time). Still, for both legacy and street cred this I think measures up very well among BMT Lives.

A quick BMT Theater Review and I’m out. I went with the much posher Fulham Vue this time around and it was a pleasure indeed. And given the movie not a wary eye was cast at the lonesome creeper catching a movie on Tuesday night. There were some noticeable guffaws when something particularly ridiculous happened, but for the sparsely populated theatre (as the Brits call it) the tone was expectedly muted. Can’t say I don’t miss the raucous crowds I would expect at something like Transformers 11, but it was pleasant enough. B-. Nice theater, muted crowd.

And with that our BMT Live season is complete. A highly successful season I think marked by a patience we didn’t exercise last year much to our own chagrin.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs