Independence Day: Resurgence Recap

Jamie

First post of the new year and we get to dive into a holiday classic. Happy New Year everyone and Happy Fourth of Joooool-eye!

What?! It’s been twenty years since Independence Day and the War of 1996. Humans have used alien technology to make immeasurable advances, but nothing could have prepared them for the next invasion. Will this next generation of fighters not go quietly into the night, not vanish without a fight, live on, and survive to celebrate humanity’s… Independence Day: Resurgence!

Why?! You may be wondering why the aliens are back just twenty years later after getting their alien butts handed to them. Turns out before Will Smith totally rocked them they were able to send out a distress signal to the super mother ship. They’re coming back for vengeance and to sap on our planet’s sweet, sweet molten core. This vengeance comes in the form of a 3000 mile long ship that is so large it totally fucks everything up with its gravity. The motivation for the humans is even simpler: survival.

How?! The aliens’ plan is to take us out, eat our planet’s core, and leave it an empty husk for the interstellar vultures. The humans’ plan is more complicated. That’s because on our own we are straight up screwed. Fortunately there is a rebel alien species that also received the distress signal and comes to our rescue. After first blowing its ship to smithereens (oops) we are able to salvage the powerful alien entity from the wreckage (in the form of a giant white orb). This orb is feared by the enemy aliens as it represents a much more advanced species capable of taking them downtown charlie brown (in the galactic sense). Teamed up with our ally we are able to lure the alien queen from the safety of the mothership and stop the drilling of our core. For this is the only way to safely set up the third film in the trilogy that everyone is obviously clamouring for (though lately Emmerich doesn’t seem super confident in it happening).

Who?! I had an existential crisis about the Who category recently. I started to think that there just weren’t enough Planchet-type characters in this world and I might need to take it in a different direction. Independence Day: Resurgence was a philosophical salve for that wound. I counted no less than five separate Planchets. We had Floyd (a nerdy auditor or something), Dikembe Umbuntu (a kooky African warlord), Papa Levinson (Jeff Goldblum’s extra Jewish father), Dr. Okun and his life partner (back from the dead and faaabbbbbuulllous), and my personal favorite Charlie Miller (BFFs with Liam Hemsworth’s character and a truly classic Planchet). The Who category is back baby! A+++ effort by the writers (one of which was one of the Planchets, Floyd!)

Where?! Kind of a hard question. If you had to pick one location it would be Area 51 in Nevada. Most time was spent there and the best fight scene took place nearby. However, we also have to give a shout out to the Moon, central Africa, and the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, all of which hosted key scenes of the film. Kind of an amazing set of locations. B+ effort using intertitles and everything.

When?! A+ alert! Took place on Independence Day, 2016. Straight up getting it in the title. NBD.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Independence Day: Resurgence? More like …. Resplendent Day 2? Independence Day Boo? I feel like my brain is broken, this is like the fourth week in a row with wizzeak puns. Anywho, we watched a sequel to a beloved Sci Fi adventure from 1996, how could it possibly live up to the expectations? We’ll let’s see:

  • The Good – I thought this movie was … surprisingly cogent. It was surprisingly entertaining. The Independence Day stalwarts are still pretty good actors. And the direction was pretty solid. The movie was average in literally every possible regard. Which is surprising. A ton of people think this movie is the worst of the year. For me it was just shy of not that bad.
  • The Bad – The use of Goldblum’s father (Judd Hirsch) was atrocious. His story makes no sense (am I wrong or do they suggest he drove literally across the country in a school bus through the film? [NOTE: I was wrong, he was in LA and he was struck by the wave caused by the giant ship’s gravity, not the ship landing]) and could also have been completely cut from the film with no impact. Same goes for the Russian drillers. The young actors are all either anonymous or terrible. The story is ludicrous in a couple different way, but most obviously in that it requires several enormous exposition dumps in order to clear up the plot debris that floats alongside the gravity of the 3000 mile alien ship.
  • The BMT – And yet I was entertained. I would gladly watch a third. I would gladly watch a well made show (don’t half ass some NBC thing, but like Showtime or HBO or something? I’d go for it). I do not personally think this is a BMT film. People think this might be the worst of the year! I find that nuts. This is like a 10 tops for me.

The Sci-Fi glory that is this movie inspired me to bring back a rare game: Sklogbusters our scientific mythbusting segment vaguely started for the movie Bats and their giant cave cooling refrigeration unit. In this segment we ask: What do the aliens want with the core and does it make sense that it was their goal in the first one anyways? The key question is: Does it actually contain enough energy to really matter for a ship that size (a 3000 mile long disc)?

To start some back of the envelope calculations (BMT does not guarantee the accuracy of these figures). Let’s assume it is a perfect disc and that it is 8:1 diameter to thickness (because). We also know it is hollow inside, so let’s say it has a hull thickness equivalent to a battleship, and the density of transparent aluminum (Star Trek references all up in here) and you get a mass of about 4 * 10^17 kg I think. Ignoring almost all physics let’s just use 62 MJ / kg as the energy needed to get the spaceship back off of the earth and away from the planet. Using the heat capacity here magma has a heat capacity of 41 J / mol / K, and the core is about 5000 K. Iron is 0.056 kg/mol so each kg of Fe would provide about 4 MJ.

And that is where the figure doesn’t really add up for assuming the core is being used to propel the spaceship back off of the Earth. You need 62 MJ / kg to get each kg of fuel off of the planet, but the heat only provides 4 MJ and the radiation isn’t much at all. Which leads to only one conclusion: fuel is not the reason for the sweet sweet core sucking power of the aliens. Perhaps with wormhole technology travelling the universe is trivial. And perhaps it is, instead, the iron itself they want. They wanted the core to “grow their technology” and for energy. Why not to build dyson spheres? Would make the most sense since they appear to have cold fusion in this universe. I think there is only one moral to this story: questioning and interrogating garbage Sci-Fi science is a waste of time, because I am forced to declare this myth plausible since the technological advances of the alien race appear to be so advanced as to be unknowable. Sigh.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Independence Day: Resurgence Preview

Finally we come to the end of the first year of the Stallonian calendar. This year (like most years) will end on a transition from the final “2016 in film” cycle into the first cycle of 2017. For that cycle we have selected [drumroll]…[still drumrollling]… [still]… [still]… [finished drumrolling]… [jk! Still going]… [now I’m done]… [or am I?]… [I am] Squeakuels Please! This is just a fancy way of saying that we are going to get a shitload of bonus films under our belt in the new year. That’s because many of the horrendous sequels we will be viewing also have equally horrendous first entries that must be watched. Hooray! That can’t be said for the transition film, though, as we are viewing 2016’s Independence Day 2. The first one was a work of art of my childhood. Probably seen it a dozen times. As a result the sequel stands as a perfect transition as it will likely find its way on the Razzie ballot by virtue of its name recognition, but also has a good chance of entertaining me. Let’s go!

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) – BMeTric: 55.5

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(Ha! Definitely brigading at the start. I would assume that is a relatively new strategy from production houses to plant good reviews on blockbusters … or it has a passionate fanbase. One of the two. Who knows. Otherwise the only remarkable thing is that it is quite bad (50+) and very very quickly got there by just dive bombing below 6.0 almost immediately upon release.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  “Independence Day: Resurgence,” the sequel you probably didn’t want or need to the 1996 smash-hit blockbuster “Independence Day,” is all about the spectacle. And yes, all massive summer disaster pictures are like that—especially when they come from director Roland Emmerich, returning from the original “Independence Day.” Shock and awe are his bread and butter. But “Resurgence”—which, surprisingly, isn’t the title of a fourth “Divergent” movie—feels even more shiny and empty than most of these kinds of films.

(Sounds about right. That is the theme for the year actually and kind of a fitting end to the 2016 Bad Movie Season. Empty. The bad movies this year, besides Mechanic 2 which was banananananas, felt empty. A whole lot of nothing about nothing for no one. The good news: 2017 looks to be solid already with a chock full January and February schedule that promises a kick ass BMT Live! A boy can dream.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbduDRH2m2M

(I remember really disliking the marketing for this film. Thought it looked too Transformers-y. Everything looks fake and too futuristic. Like the first film was grounded in reality, a world you could imagine living in. This world is now too tied up in the events of the first film and alien technology.)

Directors – Roland Emmerich – (Known For: Independence Day; The Day After Tomorrow; The Patriot; Stargate; White House Down; Anonymous; BMT: 10,000 BC; Godzilla; Independence Day: Resurgence; 2012; Universal Soldier; Stonewall; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Director and Screenplay for Godzilla; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1997 for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day. Also created a television show with Dean Devlin called the Visitor that only lasted a season. Maybe I should give it a viewing… for science.)

Writers – Nicolas Wright and James A. Woods (screenplay & story by) – (BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Notes: Writing partners and oddly both are much bigger actors than writers in the television world. They have been tapped for the Stargate reboot, which should be coming out sometime in the future.)

Dean Devlin (screenplay & story by & based on characters created by) – (Known For: Independence Day; Stargate; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Godzilla; Independence Day: Resurgence; Universal Soldier; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Screenplay for Godzilla; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1997 for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day; Ha! He was an actor in Real Genius of all things. He’s also a producer and actor and the writer of the upcoming (hopefully) BMT smash hit Geostorm starring Gerard Butler. He is a major mover and shaker it would seem, producing all of the different iterations of the Librarian series)

Roland Emmerich (screenplay & story by & based on characters created by) – (Known For: Independence Day; The Day After Tomorrow; Stargate; BMT: 10,000 BC; Godzilla; Independence Day: Resurgence; 2012; Notes: See above for Razzie notes; Stargate put him on the map and with Independence Day 2 and the upcoming Stargate reboot it looks like he it returning to his roots. I vaguely enjoyed the ridiculousness of his films, but these types of action films tend to be rooted in a cynical irony these days that I don’t personally enjoy. Hopefully Emmerich keeps up the earnestness.)

James Vanderbilt (screenplay) – (Known For: The Amazing Spider-Man 2; The Amazing Spider-Man; Zodiac; White House Down; Truth; The Losers; The Rundown; BMT: Darkness Falls; Independence Day: Resurgence; Solace; Basic; Notes: It is kind of nuts how many different writers they got in on this screenplay. This guy is obviously huge for the Spider-man films, but has been consistently working since his debut with Darkness Falls. He is the writer for Meg, the giant shark movie starring Jason Statham coming out in 2018.)

Actors – Liam Hemsworth – (Known For: The Hunger Games; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2; The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1; The Dressmaker; Triangle; The Expendables 2; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; The Last Song; Paranoia; Knowing; Love and Honor; The Duel; Cut Bank; Notes: As far as his personal life is concerned he has been profoundly on-again-off-again with Miley Cyrus having been engaged twice now (they are currently engaged).)

Jeff Goldblum – (Known For: The Grand Budapest Hotel; Jurassic Park; Independence Day; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Annie Hall; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; The Right Stuff; The Fly; The Prince of Egypt; Silverado; Morning Glory; The Switch; Powder; The Big Chill; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension; Invasion of the Body Snatchers; Death Wish; The Player; Cats & Dogs; Earth Girls Are Easy; Nashville; Igby Goes Down; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Holy Man; Mortdecai; Nine Months; Transylvania 6-5000; Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie; Hideaway; Man of the Year; Zambezia; Vibes; Thank God It’s Friday; Mad Dog Time; Notes: More recent notes concerning the legend involve his long-term relationship with Wes Anderson which seems to be going strong. He will be in the director’s upcoming project Isle of Dogs.)

Bill Pullman – (Known For: Independence Day; The Equalizer; While You Were Sleeping; Spaceballs; Sleepless in Seattle; A League of Their Own; American Ultra; Lake Placid; Casper; Lost Highway; Singles; Brother Nature; The Killer Inside Me; Wyatt Earp; LBJ; Titan A.E.; Ruthless People; Bottle Shock; Malice; Zero Effect; The Last Seduction; Igby Goes Down; BMT: Scary Movie 4; Independence Day: Resurgence; Mr. Wrong; Lucky Numbers; Cymbeline; The Grudge; Lola Versus; The End of Violence; The Favor; 29 Palms; Sibling Rivalry; Bringing Up Bobby; Newsies; Notes: I will always love him for his starring turn in Spaceballs. He’ll next be seen in a western: The Ballad of Lefty Brown.)

Budget/Gross – $165 million / Domestic: $103,144,286 (Worldwide: $389,681,935)

(Close to a success although incredibly disappointing from the original’s high bar. Taking a pretty standard half and third cut for domestic and foreign grosses you are looking at 150 million or so. You might come back with marketing, but I would assume it made that much and more back in product placement and eventual home video profits. Again, modest success. Curious to see if they do go for a third trying to make it a bit better launching off of the base they created here.)

#17 for the Sci-Fi – Alien Invasion genre

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(See, District 9 and Pacific Rim are the tale of two expectations. District 9 was a giant success because of a modest budget, whereas Pacific Rim is now getting a sequel geared almost exclusively to Chinese audiences. This is much closer to Pacific Rim, with almost identical domestic and foreign takes. We’ve seen another this year (5th Wave) which did a lot worse, and we are definitely coming off of a boom time from about 5 years ago. We’ll see what takes over from there. Thinking about Zombie, Spaceship, Wasteland I do think we are probably trying to enter an alien boom again. Wasteland I think died with Divergent’s fall, and Zombie is still just dominated by Walking Dead and a bit tired. We’ll see.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 31% (59/193): It’s undeniably visually impressive, but like its predecessor, Independence Day: Resurgence lacks enough emotional heft to support its end-of-the-world narrative stakes.

(This kind of encapsulates everything I’ve heard about the film. Most people I’ve talked to simply say,  “Was I entertained? Yeah.” So not sure how many people are looking for emotional heft in ID2.)

Poster – Independence Day: Sklogsurgence (B+)

independence_day_resurgence

(While this poster doesn’t do a good job in some of the ways that I prefer (font and color), it is a very pretty poster. So you have to give it that. It also is incredible well spaced, so makes up for some of the shortcomings.)

Tagline(s) – We had twenty years to prepare. So did they. (D+)

(Can give it props for hinting at the plot but not much else. Pretty clunky and not super clever.)

Keyword(s) – alien; Top Ten by BMeTric: 87.7 Battlefield Earth (2000); 86.3 Dragonball: Evolution (2009); 81.4 Alone in the Dark (2005); 78.9 Skyline (2010); 76.6 Spice World (1997); 75.8 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 74.3 Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959); 73.8 Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007); 71.0 After Earth (2013); 67.2 Howard the Duck (1986);

(Well this list might convince me to watch Alone in the Dark finally. Great list, although …. Spice World prob doesn’t belong there. I vaguely remember an alien thing in it, but the keywords have to be tighter than that crap. But yeah, all above 65 and only one left? Aliens are clearly a recipe for hilarious BMT fun.)

Notes – Soon after the success of the first film, 20th Century Fox paid Dean Devlin a large sum of money to write a script for a sequel. However, after completing the script, Devlin didn’t turn in the script and instead gave the money back to the studio, as he felt the story didn’t live up to the first film. It was only approximately 15 years later, that Devlin met up with Roland Emmerich to try again, having felt that they had “cracked” a story for a sequel. (I feel like you hear this story for every sequel that comes out decades later. “We couldn’t figure it out at the time, but all of a sudden we had a story that was too good not to make… oh and $10 million dollars. That too.”)

Will Smith was supposed to reprise the role of Captain Steven Hiller, but Fox refused to meet his request for a $50 million salary for two sequels. Roland Emmerich confirmed Smith would not be returning for the sequel in June 2013 to Daily News, but mentioned that Jeff Goldblum would return to reprise his role as David Levinson. Smith later went on to star in Suicide Squad (2016). (A bit of a contentious issue. Will Smith claims it was not about the money, but that he was already committed to Suicide Squad.)

On the monument to The War of ’96 seen in Washington, D.C. towards the start of the film the name Russell Casse can be seen on a brick in the middle. Russell Casse was the name of Randy Quaid’s character who sacrificed himself to destroy the ship approaching Area 51 in Independence Day (1996). (That fact is fun)

Nine Lives Recap

Jamie

What?! Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) is a high powered business man who only cares about one thing: his brand (get it?). After getting a cat as a present for his daughter, a freak series of events leaves his body in a coma and his spirit trapped in the cat! What a cat-astrophe! Can he learn to love and live as a cat before his business is sold and he loses his family forever? Nine Lives!

Why?! The primary impetus in the film is that Tom Brand is a shitty guy and needs to change. He loves his family, but doesn’t show it very well and appears to love his business and himself more than them. So the mysterious pet store owner, Mr. Purrrkins, turns him into a cat to teach him lesson. Basically, if he can’t learn to live as a cat in his own house, then he can’t learn to love and will remain a cat forever.

How?! It isn’t really made particularly clear how being a cat will teach Spacey to love or what he had to do to be free. He is just told to act like a cat. However by the end of the film you come to understand that it’s more about being there for the people in his family when they need him (just like a cat is… or whatever). He plays with his daughter and comes to understand that simply being there is what she needs. He snuggles with his wife and comes to understand that he needs to be a comfort for her when she needs comforting. And finally he comes to understand that he needs to recognize his grown son for the skills and loyalty that he has ignored for so long. Throughout the film the son is dealing with a fairly complex business scheme that the COO of Brand’s company has undertaken in the absence of Tom (just what the kiddos are craving in a film: intricate business talk). Only by truly understanding his son’s contributions to his success is he finally able to be free.

Who?! I’ll give a little shoutout to Talitha Bateman, who played the daughter of Tom’s first wife from a new marriage. Not only is she already a BMT veteran (playing Teacup in The 5th Wave), but she had one of the better running gags in the film. It becomes clear that she is a minor internet celebrity and posts amusing videos to a youtube-type channel. It’s an unacknowledged subplot of the film and even initiated my favorite joke of the film (where a security guard tasers his partner in the testicles while trying to catch Tom as the cat… can’t go wrong tasering testicles).

Where?! Pretty standard New York City fare. We get direct confirmation of the setting, numerous license plates, and even some GPS map visuals. However it is definitely not integral to the plot. Could have been Chicago pretty easily. C+.

When?! There is nothing that explicitly tells you the date. Did I give up? No! Scouring the film I found a scene on a bus with an extra reading a New York Times. The front cover clearly indicates that it was the April 2nd, 2015 issue. A vast majority of New York City dwellers will be reading the current issue so we can say that the film takes place on or around April 2nd, 2015. I’m the best. D-.

One last quick note about Nine Lives. It is the newest edition of Chris Klein’s Number Line, where we try to collect integers that appear naturally in a film’s title. This is the 17th such title that we’ve watched (Patrick’s Note: We watched the 17th title a mere week before the beginning to 2017? Coincidence or a sign from above?). It’ll end the day that Chris Klein himself makes a number line title… so it’ll never end. Hooray! I’ll also make a visual for this game for the site at some point. For now you just have to trust me.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Nine Lives? More like Weak Try (haaaaaaalf-rhymes. Nine Lives is a surprisingly hard rhyming trick). We watched Nine Lives, a movie where Kevin Spacey is a cat. I slide head first into second with the lowest of low expectations, let’s go!

  • The Good – This movie isn’t as bad as you would think. Merely by not having Kevin Spacey act like a cat and instead put him in a movie-long coma it was a major win. Things are a bit fun, but it’s a kids’ movie. Do you like kids’ movies? I don’t. So I didn’t really like this movie. No skin off my back.
  • The Bad – Basically this movie immediately jumps in the middle of a very adult story of corporate power brokerage. It is boring to me, let alone kids who just want to see a cat run around. The CGI cat looks terrible. This is also not a body switch movie. Kevin Spacey does not run around acting like a cat. That was definitely in the original script, but they clearly cut it in order to get better talent all around. He is in a coma during the movie, and thus never acts like a cat. Mistake for entertaining Patrick, smart move in making this movie tolerable.
  • The BMT – There are a ton of things going for this movie from a BMT perspective. It has a terrible CGI animal; to the point where Kevin Spacey was probably on set for two days, and in the studio for two more, and that was his shooting schedule. They definitely made back their money from LG and Lexus in product placement. And this is a classic example of mixing two genres: why are kids interested in high level corporate sabotage again? Oh yeah, they aren’t, why is that literally half of this movie then? It is BMT, but just by being a great example of: (1) Body switch that isn’t body switch, (2) mixing an adult storyline into a kids movie, (3) product placement, (4) star power that was on set for fifteen seconds total. It is solid. But not as bad as you would think.

Obviously let’s go for a Prequel/Sequel/Remake and obviously we are doing a sequel. I will call it Ten Lives. The cat from Nine Lives is living out his ninth life with the Spaceys when sadly it is time to say good bye. But nay, after winning in the business world and winning with his family, there is only one last thing Kevin Spacey needs to conquer … the afterlife. Travelling through hell Kevin Spacey learns exactly how much his earthly success means for his soul. Spoiler alert: Not much!! Upon finding Mr. Fuzzypants can he convince Cat St. Peter that their furry friend deserves a tenth life? Find out in Ten Lives!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Nine Lives Preview

While Gods of Egypt was the most anticipated film of BMT, it was probably not the most likely to actually earn a Razzie. That honor would go to Nine Lives, a film entirely focused on Kevin Spacey being transformed into a cat. You would call it “Razzie bait,” if there was such a term. So of course that’s exactly what we’re watching this week. Despite generally avoiding kids films there was something about this film that got me excited to watch it. Perhaps the fact that it WAS ENTIRELY FOCUSED ON KEVIN SPACEY BECOMING A CAT… Let’s go!

Nine Lives (2016) – BMeTric: 35.1

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(Huh, that is quite the regression to the mean. I do wonder whether this movie’s worthlessness was a little overblown. Would jive well with the second graph where the rating rose more significantly than I would imagine. Low 5’s isn’t great, but I wonder where among sub-20% rotten tomatoes movies that actually lies. That could be a good “rigorous” data study to do actually. Would be interesting to weight things and really try and get a good distribution for specific percentage (a situation that will be somewhat data sparse for sure).)

Rogerebert.com – Thumbs Down (0 Stars) – Which leads me to this question: Just who is supposed to be the target audience for “Nine Lives”? Certainly not feline fanciers, since we are told that, “Cats don’t care if you live or die.” Definitely not fans of Spacey, who did a much better coma on the most recent season of “House of Cards,” or Walken, whose trademark wild mass of hair seems more limp than usual.

(Hooray. I do like movies which are supposed to be kid’s movies but seem to just be a screenplay shoehorned into the body of a kid’s movie. Zero stars is also impressive, I love Thumbs Down rogerebert.com, like Leonard Maltin BOMBs they often reveal more about the critic in question’s tastes than the quality of the movie itself.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jHA97HzhxE

(Yes … quite bad. I do not look forward to this. Walkin reminds me of his part in Envy. A facilitator of mischief in a wholly bizarre and unsatisfying comedy.)

Directors – Barry Sonnenfeld – (Known For: Men in Black 3; Men in Black; The Addams Family; Addams Family Values; Big Trouble; Get Shorty; BMT: Wild Wild West (Watched); RV: Runaway Vacation; Nine Lives; Men in Black II (Watched); The Concierge; Notes: Won the Razzie Award in 2000 for Worst Director for Wild Wild West; We saw Get Shorty leading up to the atrocious Be Cool. Searching variety brought up this 1995 article about him inking a deal with Disney. Neither Swordfish (not that Swordfish) or the remake to Another Man’s Poison was ever made, and then Sonnenfeld swiftly moved on to the smash hit Men In Black. Go figure.)

Writers – Gwyn Lurie (screenplay) – (Known For: The Music Never Stopped; BMT: Nine Lives; Notes: Not much about her, buts he is a producer and looking through variety reveals a few funny entries from the early 90s like this one. A comedy film based on the Guinness book of world record attempt at eating a whole 747!? Brilliant enough to never be made. Very few actual movies by her which is interesting considering he has often been attached to films. Bad luck. Did also make Variety for a large and elaborate treehouse that her and her husband built on their property. That’s fun.)

Matt Allen and Caleb Wilson(screenplay) – (Known For: Soul Surfer; BMT: Four Christmases; Nine Lives; Notes: Screenwriting partners. The only note I can find outside of their main credits is this bizarre 2010 article about a new movie being developed. Basically at the same time as (BMT) What to Expect When You’re Expecting was being developed another parenting guide was also being developed by these guys. Yeah, it was never made.)

Dan Antoniazzi and Ben Shiffrin (screenplay) – (BMT: Nine Lives; Notes: Screenwriting partners. They wrote a RomCom/Serial Killer film “Heartstoppers” that made the 2008 Black List.)

Actors – Kevin Spacey – (Known For: American Beauty; The Usual Suspects; Se7en; Moon; The Ref; Superman Returns; L.A. Confidential; Horrible Bosses; Glengarry Glen Ross; A Time to Kill; The Negotiator; Elvis & Nixon; A Bug’s Life; Margin Call; Working Girl; K-PAX; Outbreak; The Men Who Stare at Goats; Henry & June; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; The Shipping News; Beyond the Sea; BMT: Edison; Fred Claus; Nine Lives; Father of Invention; Consenting Adults; Horrible Bosses 2; Casino Jack; Ordinary Decent Criminal; 21; Notes: Interesting only in the sense that we haven’t watched any of his BMT eligible films. Otherwise looking through recent notes he is basically only in the news for being involved with Relativity Media which emerged from bankruptcy to … well, immediately get embroiled in controversy. Whatever. Do you Spacey.)

Jennifer Garner – (Known For: Catch Me If You Can; Dallas Buyers Club; Juno; Daredevil; Miracles from Heaven; 13 Going on 30; The Kingdom; Draft Day; Danny Collins; The Invention of Lying; Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; BMT: Elektra (BMT); Mr. Magoo; Dude, Where’s My Car?; Valentine’s Day (BMT); Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Arthur; Nine Lives; Mother’s Day (BMT); Pearl Harbor; Catch and Release; Butter; The Odd Life of Timothy Green; Notes: What more is there to say about this secret BMT all-star? Nothing really is on the docket besides The Tribes of Palos Verdes with Mel Gibson’s son (no joke). She was honored with an award for her charity baby2baby so she’s got that going for her.)

Also stars Robbie Amell – (Seen in Cheaper by the Dozen 2)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $19,700,032 (Worldwide: $19,700,032)

(That is really really really rough. Amazing that the foreign take it totally absent, but I guess kid’s film with no IP attachment wouldn’t be much of a foreign draw. Huge bomb, but I would hope they kind of intended to play the long con with DVDs and product placement.)

#12 for the Comedy – Body Switch genre

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(Basically the worst post 1994 body switch film in history if we were to be honest with ourselves. Is it even a body switch? It isn’t like Kevin Spacey is a cat (he appears to be in a coma). Otherwise there are too few movies for this plot to be interesting.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (6/54): Not meow, not ever.

(Rough stuff rotten tomatoes. Just a shade above 10%, which is somewhat surprising. That 10% threshold it turns out is really hard to get, which I was somewhat surprised by. Even this (clearly one of the worst films of the year) couldn’t manage it.)

Poster – Nine Sklogs (B+)

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(This is actually a pretty solid poster. Nice balance, font, color scheme. I generally don’t like the cast each put in a small window on the poster, but even that is spiced up a bit with the cat highlighting Kevin Spacey. I like it.)

Tagline(s) – His life just got put on paws. (C+)

(Egad! That is a… cat-astrophe. Thank you. Thank you. But seriously, this isn’t necessarily bad from the point of view of sounding and feeling like a tagline, but the pun seems really forced and is like a kick in the stomach.)

Keyword(s) – cat; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.6 Catwoman (2004); 84.9 Date Movie (2006); 81.0 Movie 43 (2013); 80.7 Home Alone 3 (1997); 80.7 Vampires Suck (2010); 78.3 The Cat in the Hat (2003); 76.6 Spice World (1997); 74.2 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000); 73.5 One Missed Call (2008); 71.5 Paranormal Activity 4 (2012);

(Oh yeah, Cat in the Hat for sure will be there. Actually a pretty solid list and most of these definitely have a cat in it in some way shape or form. Movie 43’s cat vignette was directed by Elizabeth Banks I think and was the reason she got Pitch Perfect 2 if I recall correctly.)

Notes – Up to 70% of Nine Lives was computer-generated. (Oh wow, that does explain a bit about how this was made)

A subplot involving catnip as an allegorical analogue for addiction was originally planned, but was cut both for time and because executives believed it would be too much for a PG children’s movie. (ha! This is going to be a kid’s movie)

The movie was released as Mr. Fuzzypants in United Arab Emirates. (makes sense, that is the cat’s name)

Five of the cast members have appeared in superhero productions. Marlina Weissman (Rebecca Brand) played Young Kara in the TV series of Supergirl, Teddy Sears (Josh Myers) & Robbie Amell (David Brand) starred in CW’s The Flash with Teddy as Hunter Soloman/Zoom & Robbie as Ronnie Raymond/Firestorm. Kevin Spacey portrayed Lex Luthor in Superman Returns and finally Jennifer Garner portrayed Elektra in the Daredevil & Elektra Marvel movies.

Rated the worst film of 2016 by Metacritic critics.

Gods of Egypt Recap

Jamie

I’d like the record to show that I actually didn’t mind Gods of Egypt all that much. It was at times beautiful (albeit inconsistently so) and played a bit like Thor (patently ridididiculous, but still fun). So in the end I was actually surprised that this landed at 16% on RT. I guess perceived/actual racism can go a long way. Let’s get into it.

What?! It’s been years since Set took the throne of Egypt from Horus and left him blind and powerless. A mortal thief, Bek, steals and returns Horus’ eye (the source of his power) in the hopes that Horus can bring order (and the woman he loves) back to Egypt. They must work together to defeat Set before he destroys both the world and the afterlife in his own vain pursuit of immortality. Gods of Egypt!

Why?! The main driving force in the film is the aim to take down Set and return Horus to the throne. Even before we learn that Set is aiming to destroy the world and obtain immortality, we know that Horus, Bek, and his lady love Zaya want to take that power from him for totally different reasons. We have Zaya who worships Horus and wants him to bring order back to Egypt, we have Bek who needs Horus to bring Zaya back to life (she died, duh), and we have Horus who really doesn’t give a shit about Bek and is more focused on his own sweet tale of vengeance. Interestingly, this whole triangle of motivation is very similar to the motivations in Ride Along… It’s basically just Ride Along in Egypt… Now I’m having fun imagining this film starring Kevin Hart instead of [Insert Anonymous Actor’s name here].

How?! The original plan is that Horus is going to squelch the source of Set’s power, the desert fire, to leave him weak and vulnerable. Then he’ll have a chance to defeat him since he only has one eye. They first go on a quest to get some of the heaven’s water to squelch the fire, then they need to find Thoth to solve the riddle of the Sphinx who guards the fire, but they are stopped before they get a chance to destroy Set. When all seems lost and the world is being eaten by a giant space demon (seriously), Horus learns that all he ever had to do to defeat Set was to believe in himself a whole bunch and everything was cool (it’s like a children’s movie). Unfortunately none of this actually makes it possible for Horus to bring Zaya back from the dead… psych! Ra totally comes down from his spaceship and is like “No probs, bro,” and everyone is alive again at the end. It may be the truest example of Deus Ex Machina in cinematic history. Literally God comes down from the heavens and fixes everything. Hoo wee, what a weird plot.

Who?! I wanted this part to be highlighting the “Planchet” of the film, however so many of these films don’t have a shred of humor in them. Sure there are quips between Bek and Horus, but it’s on a Hitman: Agent 47 level of laziness. Instead I’ll just highlight that this marked the return of Rufus Sewell to our BMT lives (seen first in Bless the Child). Hopefully we can complete the Sewell trilogy with the XxX precursor Extreme Ops, which looks aaammaaaazzzzziiinnnggggg.

Where?! Boom. A+ in the hizzouse. Set in Egypt as the title informs you. Although, you would have thought it was set in Europe given the cast and accents. Zing!

When?! Uh…. ancient? It’s… uh… ancient times. D.

If that didn’t get you excited for the film then… you probably won’t like it because it’s just as ridiculous as I described.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Gods of Egypt? More like God I Feel Ripped Off (I was going to say gypped, but that is racist. The more you know). This was one of the most anticipated movies of the year for us, so I went in with a bunch of expectations. Let’s go!

  • The Good – I liked the world building. It was interesting and the script was able to be a lot tighter than you would think given the subject matter. I hate the “this should have been a Game of Thrones like show, not a movie” nonsense, you could say that about almost anything. But this could have probably sustained itself as such a thing, and I would have been thoroughly entertained. It’s not that bad … because “that bad” for this movie is literally the worst film of the year. It isn’t the worst film of the year which is actually an achievement.
  • The Bad – The acting. The CGI was pretty atrocious. Actually, the movie itself is beautiful, no joke. But a bunch of scenes are really just terrible. I would say that while he gives it his all, having Gerard Butler in the film hurts it because it ends up too over the top. They should have stuck to totally television actors and gone from there, I think it would have ended up being a bit better.
  • The BMT – Yes. I would say 40 is just about appropriate for the film. Definitive, top 10 (maybe 5) for a year. But not the worst by any stretch. To kick it up a notch it either would have had to make literally no sense (it was shockingly coherent as I said) or just looked like a complete pile of shit throughout. But it didn’t. Part of me is impressed it managed to charm me at all, I’m down for a sequel to be honest.

Boom. Speaking of which let’s do a little Sequel Prequel Remake and rock a sequel. I think you fast forward a bunch of years and Horus is killing it as the main god. He rules a prosperous Egypt and the people love him. But alas, all good things come to an end. Ra is set to perish (they make it clear gods merely age slowly and aren’t in fact immortal in this world), and he reveals that Horus as the ruler of Egypt must lay down his mantle and take the throne. Refusing, Horus goes in search of a mythical weapon to forever strike down Apophis that would allow him to remain in Egypt after Ra’s passing. Meanwhile, Set, escaping death and returning to an Egypt missing its king, attempts a takeover of the kingdom. In the end, Horus battles Set yet again, and ultimately strikes a deal: Set can remain in the land of the living on Ra’s ship to battle Apophis, a beast which it turns out is vital to Egypt’s continued existence as well. … Confused? Me too.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Gods of Egypt Preview

This week we finally get to do a film we were meant to watch almost a year ago. Destined to be the first BMT Live! of the Stallonian Calendar, it was cruelly yanked from the UK release schedule mere days before we were supposed to watch it. So we had to wait until now. Hopefully the excitement for 2016’s Gods of Egypt aged like a fine wine. Let’s go!

Gods of Egypt (2016) – BMeTric: 45.6

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(The main thing of interest here is that the rating went in the opposite direction as what you would expect. So truly the die hards liked it okay, and general audiences more reasonably thought it was definitely below average. Sixty thousand votes is incredible, as is a 45.6 BMeTric for the same year as release. Come on BMeTric, don’t fail me now.)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  After a point, this proudly silly film about gods and mortals in ancient Egypt devolves into an sword-and-sorcery-flavored riff on a weak Marvel movie.

(I find this little soundbite strange, if only because it gives a lot more credit to the film than I expected. I knew a number of reviews would boil down to “good for what it is”, but a comparison to a Marvel movie is a bit bold. Isn’t Thor already a sword-and-sorcery riff on a Marvel movie?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJBnK2wNQSo

(Oh, be still my beating heart. I saw this trailer when it came out and immediately I fell in love. The white washed egyptian populace, the terrible young actors, the literal saturation of CGI and action set pieces, Gerard Butler. Everything pointed towards achieving great heights with this film. How this didn’t get released to UK theaters until the summer is beyond me.)

Directors – Alex Proyas – (Known For: I, Robot; The Crow; Dark City; Garage Days; BMT: Gods of Egypt; Knowing; Notes: Was actually born in Egypt, which is interesting since he got a lot of flack for having an all-white cast for this film. The only Egyptian was behind the camera.)

Writers – Matt Sazama (written by) – (BMT: Gods of Egypt; The Last Witch Hunter; Dracula Untold; Notes: Wrote the story for the upcoming Power Ranger film. He also was an editorial assistant on BMT film Master of DIsguise, which is a bit of a coincidence.)

Burk Sharpless (written by) – (BMT: Gods of Egypt; The Last Witch Hunter; Dracula Untold; Notes: Writing partner of Sazama. Son of John Sharpless, a professor at the University of Wisconsin.)

Actors – Brenton Thwaites – (Known For: Maleficent; Oculus; The Signal; Son of a Gun; Ride; Ruben Guthrie; BMT: Gods of Egypt; The Giver; Notes: We’ll probably get to see him in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean. If history is any indicator.)

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – (Known For: Black Hawk Down; Oblivion; Mama; Wimbledon; Enigma; A Second Chance; Blackthorn; BMT: Gods of Egypt; Firewall (BMT); The Other Woman (Seen); Notes: Obviously best known as my namesake Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones.)

Gerard Butler – (Known For: 300; Olympus Has Fallen; How to Train Your Dragon; RocknRolla; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Reign of Fire; Tomorrow Never Dies; Coriolanus; Nim’s Island; Beowulf & Grendel; Mrs Brown; Dear Frankie; Harrison’s Flowers; The Cherry Orchard; BMT: Movie 43 (BMT); Dracula 2001; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; The Bounty Hunter (BMT); Gods of Egypt; Timeline (BMT); Gamer (BMT); Tale of the Mummy; Playing for Keeps (BMT); London Has Fallen (BMT); The Ugly Truth; Notes: We know it all. Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2011 for Worst Actor and Screen Couple for The Bounty Hunter;)

Budget/Gross – $140 million / Domestic: $31,153,464 (Worldwide: $150,680,864)

(Oooooooooooooof, that’s a lotta dough (to lose). This was probably something on the order of a $75 million write off, maybe a cool $100 if they spent a bunch on advertising. Who thought this was a good idea? Who thought a white washed action period piece heavy on CGI was just going to rake in dough? Didn’t they watch Pompeii!?)

#195 for the 3D genre

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(Last seen for Warcraft (#169 at the time of writing) I said of it that we might be seeing a bit of a downturn with the number of theaters since tentpoles were sucking all of them up … since they it has gone up again. I’m going to wonder aloud again: since I perform a rolling average up to a year ago, Warcraft didn’t include the summer. I wonder if, with the clear saturation of the 3D market, we’ll observe a clearer seasonal pattern emerge with more 3D theaters in peak summer blockbuster season … maybe, I don’t know. This guy was near RIPD for crying out loud, what a disaster!)

#68 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

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(Right below the other recent unmitigated disaster Pan. Harry Potter kicked the genre into overdrive (after Lord of the Rings of course) and from that point forward it has been The Hobbit, Marvel, and soon more Harry Potter driven. It rakes in cash, if you can make the movie not horrible. Also last seen with Warcraft. It is going to be weird watching this movie with the understanding that Warcraft is universally considered to be the better of the two films. Without question.)

#173 for the IMAX (Feature-length) genre

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(Ah yes, this graph is great. Last seen for Day the Earth Stood Still: I almost didn’t even generate this one, but this is amazing! First how it just goes up and up. Second, because of how stable the monetary output from IMAX movies has been. If only all the genre plots had this much data too, so smooth and nice to look at. Still basically agree with that assessment. And the additional months of data hasn’t changed much, still just printing money basically.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (26/161): Look on Gods of Egypt, ye filmgoers, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of this colossal wreck, boundless and bare. The lone and level sands stretch far away. (Apologies to Shelley.)

(This is a classic rotten tomatoes consensus. So quippy. So snarky. Kind of pretentious? It isn’t like this got 0%. 16% of critics said “this is good for what it is, which is trash. It is king of trash mountain”. You can kind of tell they had this ready to rock before the reviews came in and pulled the trigger the instant it was certified rotten.)

Poster – Sklogs of Egypt (D-)

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(Oh my gods. That may be one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. Only redeeming feature is a general consistency in using a horrific color and some symmetry. I want to give this to Patrick as an Xmas present just because of how bad it is.)

Tagline(s) – The battle for eternity begins (C-)

(There are a number of taglines, but this is the one on the main poster. Underwhelming… at least it’s short? That’s all I got.)

Keyword(s) – egypt; Top Ten by BMeTric: 77.0 The Legend of Hercules (2014); 45.6 Gods of Egypt (2016); 37.9 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009); 33.2 Tale of the Mummy (1998); 32.4 Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (2014); 31.4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009); 29.9 Orgy of the Dead (1965); 27.6 Jumper (2008); 27.1 Singh Is Kinng (2008); 26.7 Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014);

(Mmmmmm, this list is nice. A few are dumb fake films (mega shark, I’m looking at you), but those highlighted are all pretty solid bad films. Go get yo pyramids movie executives.)

Notes – Gerard Butler said that as soon as he read the word ‘God’ in the script to describe his character, he knew would have to embark on a huge bodybuilding process. He said he started his work-outs immediately because he plays a God in the film and ‘wanted to make sure he looked liked one by the time shooting began.’ (You’re an idiot Gerard Butler, no offense. “The instant I asked my agent if Gods wore shirts and he said ‘no’ I knew I had to hit the gym”)

Filmed in the Australian desert. Filming in the Sahara was considered too dangerous. (and less lucrative apparently, see the next note)

Lionsgate/Summit’s exposure on the production budget is only around $10 million, because Lionsgate/Summit were able to recoup most of the budget via international pre-sales and Australia tax incentives. (say what? Guess I was wrong, they made sooooo much money… maybe, I don’t know). I do usually assume big films already have made money with attached advertising. Rumor was that Quantum of Solace made its budget back with a single ad campaign with Heineken worth over a hundred million dollars. And it was widely considered to be a good deal for Heineken. Yeah, movies are kind of small potatoes next to something like alcohol companies. But I’m surprised a period piece could do it. Can’t really have Set open a budweiser in Horus’ empty eye socket or something.)

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau got down to 7% body fat for his role in the film. (lol, okay. Did he read the word God in the script and whisper “time to hit the gym”?)

The film features no Egyptian actors. (yuuuuuuup)

Ride Along 2 Recap

Jamie

What?! Ben is on the force and marrying Angela, but James is not sure he can cut it as an officer. To prove it he takes him down to Miami for a routine pickup to show him he doesn’t have what it takes. On this ride along Ben needs to prove his stuff or lose his badge. Ride Along 2!

Why?! Ben wants to be a detective. James doesn’t want him to be a detective. It’s the same story as last time except switch out Angela for a career in law enforcement.

How?! After screwing up a major operation, Ben is on thin ice with the Lieutenant, so he clearly thinks sailing smoothly through an easy operation will help him out. For whatever reason, though, James thinks that even on this routine pickup in Miami Ben will screw it up to the point that he’s fired. In some senses he’s right (since they bumble and stumble their way to the edge of unemployment), but there is little reason to think that he will. Unfortunately though, once again this routine “ride along” uncovers a massive criminal enterprise that Ben eventually takes down. Really fortuitous… although I guess that’s why they made these documentaries about him.

Who?! Can’t believe I’m going to say this but I kinda have to give a little shoutout to Ken Jeong (famed star of Furry Vengeance), who played the computer hacker James and Ben went to pick up. I generally have not found any character he has played funny, but in this case I didn’t mind him. There was a level of self-deprecation that I think worked for the character. He kinda sucked, kinda knew it, but couldn’t help himself.

Where?! Miami playa. Gotta get out of the hometown for this one and Miami was the primo spot. This one edged up into the B range, not only because the location was a little more necessary to the plot (needed to be close enough to Atlanta to drive), but also because the film used a “Miami” intertitle to alert the audience to the new locale. Next up for Ride Along 3? I say international (Cuba, Rio, China?) or Los Angeles (bring it home for Cube).

When?! I bet you’re all like, “Uh uh, no way does Jamie get another exact date for this film. Impossible. Only a master of disaster could do that.” Well, that’s Dr. Master of Disaster to you. That’s because 25 minutes into the film our main bad guy holds up a giant check that he’s giving to the Miami PD. Date on the check? March 13th. Boom. Takes place in present day so you can only assume a current year. I call that an exact date (years are dumb unless we’re in the past or the future. At best current years can be mildly interesting). B again.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Ride Along 2? More like Way Too Long Too! (Not really, it was a fine length I think). Let’s get into in quickly, I’ve already spent too much time watching and thinking about these movies:

  • The Good – I liked Ken Jeong in this, his character was less grating somehow than the ones he is often cast as. I also thought Benjamin Bratt was a good bad guy. Good use of the Miami setting. It actually got me excited to see where they might take the odd couple next.
  • The Bad – Olivia Munn, but she didn’t have much to work with. As a matter of fact this film was a little bit less … kind to the female cast. Tika Sumpter’s only major scene saw her dress up as a sexy police officer, and Olivia Munn showed up in simply ludicrous costumes. The cast exploded Lethal Weapon style except in one movie instead of across three sequels. There were more “bad” scenes, like a particularly dire short scene of Kevin Hart pointlessly emerging from the water Predator-style, and a really bad CGI crocodile.
  • The BMT – But still nope. I don’t mind these films. They aren’t not-that-bad, but they aren’t really that bad either. You just have to buy into Kevin Hart and some of Story’s weirder choices (the video game car chase comes to mind). I wouldn’t recommend sinking four hours into watching the series, but if you’re looking for something dumb that will give you a chuckle or two they might work. Does not supplant Dirty Grandpa as worse comedy of the year for me.

Final game and we are home free, this time we have a new Audio Sklogentary! This is the second Tim Story audio commentary I’ve listened to (the first being Taxi), and the review is basically the same: (1) Commentaries are always worse when it is only one person. (2) But you can do a lot worse than Tim Story for a solo directoral commentary. He has funny anecdotes, he tells you a lot about the filming (the bar was a courthouse! The police station a nice hotel lobby!! The bikini shop was a very wealthy man’s foyer!!!), and generally just has glowing things to say about everyone and everything. Pleasant. I would give it a B.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Ride Along Recap

Jamie

Gotta split this into two parts to accommodate our double feature this week. First up, Ride Along.

What?! Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) is dead set on two things: becoming a cop and marrying his girlfriend Angela. Both depend on him getting along with Angela’s tough-as-nail cop brother, James (Ice Cube). When James offers to take him on a ride along, Ben knows that he’s in for the ride of his life. Ride Along!

Why?! The entire why of this film can be summed up in a single sentence: Ben wants to marry Angela and James doesn’t want Ben to marry Angela. Done. That’s it.

How?! Confused? Not sure how a ride along with Angela’s brother is connected to either of those goals? It’s like a constellation in the night sky. Stars connected to make a shape that only vaguely resembles a swan (or in this case, a plot of a film). Here it goes: Ben says he can’t marry Angela until he is a cop. Angela says he can’t marry her until he gets along with James. James says he can’t marry her until he proves he’s a man. For Ben all three of these goals can be accomplished via the ride along. For James all three of these goals can be mercilessly crushed via the ride along. Fortunately for Ben they get directly involved in a major police operation whereby he is able to save the day and wins Angela’s hand in marriage. If that didn’t happen James probably succeeds and crushes all of Ben’s dreams. It’s kind of the theme of the series. Ben sucks at everything… but comes out on top at the most opportune moments.

Who?! Give a little shout-out to Lil’ P-Nut, a child actor/rapper who appears in the film. When  you got a music video like this and you’re 7-years-old you know you’re crushing it.

Where?! HOTlanta alert! Second film in a row set there. However, unlike the lily white Atlanta portrayed in Mother’s Day, we get a much more diverse cast representing the city in this case. This is pretty much as clear as you can get with a location without it being necessary to the plot. Obviously could have been LA or Chicago or Boston or New Orleans. C+

When?! Exact day alert! Near the beginning of Ride Along Ben gets a letter from the Atlanta PD informing him that he made the academy. That letter is dated October 16th. Word up. The satisfaction I get from an exact date is somewhat sad… it’s just so exciting. That’s a B.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Ride Along, more like Misguided Slog (ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-half rhymes, ya heard?). We’ll make this quick, we got two to do, woo!

  • The Good – I honestly find Ice Cube, this director, and Kevin Hart (to an extent) very entertaining. I think the way the go about making light of and parodying cop dramas is somewhat unique in the present landscape, in that it isn’t an over the top parody, but instead a ridiculous (but relatable) person being put in extreme situations and acting accordingly. The soundtrack is excellent.
  • The Bad – As one would expect it is a bit too much Kevin Hart. The way they portray women in general is basically just to have them as eye candy (you could make an argument that Tika Smpter has equal footing to her fiance and brother, but in reality that comes across as very token, we’ll get more into that in the second recap). The movie is long and too unstructured, it is classic string-of-vignettes screenplay common in a punched up comedy.
  • The BMT – No, not this one I don’t think. I was pretty entertained to be honest. I like what Tim Story and Kevin Hart are trying to do here and I totally get why Story is the most profitable black director in history.

I’m going to do a Sequel/Prequel/Remake here because I have something else for the second one, so let’s complete the trilogy (apparently coming out in 2018 by the way). So they started in Atlanta, they went to Florida, it is time to go to California I think. Story already said he wanted to get Ice Cube’s childhood home in the film, so make the story focus on finding the killer of Ice Cube and Tika Sumpter’s father in LA. With Hart and Olivia Munn tagging along (not to mention Ken Jeong, we got a regular Lethal Weapon level exploding cast up in here!) they discover a little bit about the family. My twist? Their father is still alive and a crime kingpin in LA. Amid questioning who he is Ice Cube discovers there’s more to being family than blood. Throw in a half-brother police officer trying to take Papa Cube down and we got a red hot Kevin Hart Brother-In-Law meltdown. Book my trip to the Oscars boys, I got best adapted screenplay on lockdown.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Ride Along 2 Preview

Alright, so this week we arrive back at our most misguided genre, the Chain Reaction. It was incredibly difficult jumping from 1986 to 2016. Not many actors, even big stars, are still making BMT films after 20 years. So jumping from 1986’s No Mercy to a 2016 film seemed an impossible task. Thank god for Bruce McGill. Unlike Richard Gere and Kim Basinger, McGill is still going strong, and allowed us to jump straight from No Mercy to 2016’s sequel du jour, Ride Along 2. This also means we got extra content this week as the original Ride Along is also BMT (and both DVDs have commentaries by director Tim Story). Lucky us. Let’s go!

Ride Along 2 (2016) – BMeTric: 28.8

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(Alright, like Ride Along this guy is also super stable. I love the giant drop at the end. Classic. The fans of the film give it 10’s, and then it gets a bunch of 1’s from idiots early, and then it bounces right to where it eventually lands at 5.9. Also pretty good considering its reviews. A BMeTric of 30 is solid considering it was released less than a year ago.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – This second helping of Hart’s hyper hijinks as rookie cop Ben, once more paired with Ice Cube’s glowering bulldog presence as rule-flouting veteran James, exists for the same reason that “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” does: money. Probably a good test of whether you should consider riding along with this low-rent version of “Bad Boys” meets “Rush Hour” is if you are tickled by Ben suggesting that he and James call themselves “The Brothers-in-Law.” Get it? They are brothers-in-law and they are “brothers” IN Law. OK. You can stop giggling now

(Sounds about right. But also something you could feasibly say about nearly any franchise comedy sequel. They exist for money. And if you like the jokes they are going to make you’ll like the movie. Groundbreaking. The reviewer does note that the film is more diverse which is nice.)

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

(Ha! This is basically the plot of Dirty Grandpa … not really, but weird that both start in Atlanta and go to Florida and the main character has to get back in time for his wedding while getting pulled into trouble by a relative. C’mon, that’s weird. What’s that I smell? Is that a Hollywood badass bar? I hope it is brightly lit with sparsely and even distributed dancers! I hope there is just no crowd around the bar area and getting a drink seems convenient!)

[NOTE: I just copied these notes from the Ride Along preview as these are literally all of the same people minus Jason Mantzoukas]

Directors – Tim Story – (Known For: Think Like a Man; Barbershop; BMT: Taxi (BMT); Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic Four; Think Like a Man Too; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes:  From the Taxi preview: The top grossing African-American director of all time (domestic at least, not sure about worldwide). Actually just retook the top spot from Tyler Perry with Ride Along 2. I’ll add that he has announced he is directing Humbug starring Ice Cube as a real estate mogul in a modern retelling of A Christmas Carol. Be still my beating heart.)

Writers – Greg Coolidge (screenplay & story) – (BMT: Employee of the Month; Sorority Boys; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes:  Not much about him online, but that is an incredible filmography. I need to see Sorority Boys at some point, just an absurd White Chicks-esque premise.)

Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (screenplay) – (Known For: The Invitation; Crazy/Beautiful; BMT: The Tuxedo (BMT); Æon Flux (BMT); R.I.P.D. (BMT); Clash of the Titans; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes: Legends. How does one go from Crazy/Beautiful to The Tuxedo exactly? If you want some insight this article is incredibly in depth. Turns out … you do one solid adaptation and you’ll basically be tapped for a million more. Honestly I don’t think the script was the problem with most of these movies so get yo money.)

Actors – Ice Cube – (Known For: 22 Jump Street; 21 Jump Street; Friday; The Book of Life; Boyz n the Hood; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; Three Kings; Barbershop; Rampart; Higher Learning; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; Trespass; The Glass Shield; The Longshots; BMT: xXx²: State of the Union (BMT); Anaconda; Torque (BMT); Are We Done Yet?; Ghosts of Mars (BMT); Are We There Yet?; First Sunday; Lottery Ticket; Ride Along 2; Friday After Next; I Got the Hook Up; All About the Benjamins; Dangerous Ground; Ride Along; Next Friday; Notes: Cube! A legend in his own right if only for Ghosts of Mars, a secret BMT favorite. Most famous for being a primary player in NWA he has since become somewhat of a comedy staple. Started with Friday in the 90’s and then the Barbershop series in the 00’s, he’s a full blown comedian at this point. Impressive dude.)

Kevin Hart – (Known For: The Secret Life of Pets; Central Intelligence; This Is the End; The 40 Year-Old Virgin; Death at a Funeral; The Five-Year Engagement; Think Like a Man; Top Five; About Last Night; Death of a Dynasty; BMT: Epic Movie; Superhero Movie; Soul Plane; Scary Movie 4 (BMT); Meet Dave; In the Mix; Scary Movie 3 (BMT); Little Fockers; Fool’s Gold (BMT); Drillbit Taylor; Along Came Polly; Think Like a Man Too; Get Hard; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Grudge Match (BMT); The Wedding Ringer (BMT); Notes: He exploded as one of the most prolific comedic actors a few years ago (and trust me, some people are not happy about that for some reason) with Ride Along, Get Hard, Central Intelligence, Ride Along 2, and the Wedding Ringer coming out in the last 3 years basically.)

With Tika Sumpter again (from Madea Christmas and now Ride Along … I’m going to be honest, I’m surprised she’s in this considering this movie takes place in Florida now. They could have easily kind of just said “she’s in Atlanta, don’t worry about it” kid-from-London-Has-Fallen style. Save some cash.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $90,862,685 (Worldwide: $124,246,152)

(Definitive success if probably a disappointment considering the take of the original. Here I’ll highlight one thing. If you look through some big name multi-film series starring black actors there is a possibly-not-surprising trend. The Barbershop series has an average foreign percentage of gross of 1.6%. The Friday series has an average 2.6%. All of the Madea movies have an average of 1.1%. It is at least somewhat well known that films geared towards African American audiences basically don’t get released to foreign markets. This is probably because there is a cultural factor that is (perceived?) to not translate. Ride Along 2 though actually seems to have bucked the trend a bit taking 26.9% of its take overseas. Promising. Kevin Hart said he wanted to remove the stigma off films that are called “black films” and it seems like he is doing it.)

#19 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre

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(Not much is going to change from the commentary from the Ride Along preview. I will say it has to be a bit disappointing to see the take slip a bit in the second installment for this genre considering how consistent Ice Cube’s other series 21 Jump Street has been. Being near Green Hornet is domestic take is not so hot.)

#27 for the Comedy – Sequel (Live Action) genre

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(Unfortunately this might reveal a bit of why this film as a disappointment as it sits near Sex and the City 2 and Madea Goes to Jail on the domestic charts, oooof. We most recently saw this chart with Cheaper By the Dozen 2 where we noted these bad ones tend to come as a peak is a-tumbling. And I have a feeling we’ve crossed the rubicon and we’ll be seeing a new crop of original comedy rise so that sequels can be made a plenty in about 5 years)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (15/104): Ride Along 2 presents a cop-comedy sequel whose well-matched stars can’t break the law of diminishing returns — or lock up a script that unabashedly steals from the original.

(Ooooooof. For an original that was in itself simplistic, linear, and predictable being forced to borrow from oneself is a bit rough. They painted themselves into a corner a bit I think. What movie are they intending to parody in this case (or set of movies). Miami Vice? 2 Fast 2 Furious? For a little more absurdist take there are a million directions to go in, but I can’t really think of what they can do here except drug dealer in Miami, he’s bad, brightly lit clubs, the end.)

Poster – Sklog Along 2: Sklog-ami Vice (D)

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(They really liked that first poster apparently. This is still drab and dull, but instead of of effectively using yellow they throw in some crazy pants and a blue car… that blue car really bums me out. Such simple things can ruins so much. Sklog Along 2 anyone?)

Tagline(s) – The brothers-in-law are back. (C+)

(I’m digging this one a little more than the first Ride Along tagline. Here they keep it more concise and have a couple b’s popping. A light pun on “brothers-in-law” that doesn’t work great visually. No plot at all though, other than the fact that it is a sequel.)

Keyword(s) – drugs; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.0 Disaster Movie (2008); 75.7 LOL (2012); 72.6 Basic Instinct 2 (2006); 71.3 Showgirls (1995); 67.1 Year One (2009); 65.0 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 62.5 Ghosts of Mars (2001); 59.3 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991); 59.0 The Crow: City of Angels (1996); 56.0 Sliver (1993);

(… How is “drugs” a part of Jason Goes to Hell? I guess that is one of the smoke-weed-and-you-get-murdered tropes from horror franchises. Again, garbage list because the keyword is too general.)

Notes – The title “Ride 2gether” was strongly considered but they chose to remain with the original title. (This make come as a shock, but I think that is a horrible title. It isn’t close enough to actually remind you of the first smash hit film, so it would be difficult to pull off as a sequel)

In the beginning of the film Ben (Kevin Hart) is sitting in a surveillance van with “Packer” written on the side. This is named after the film’s producer Will Packer. (Fun facts are the best facts)

A “Gears of War 3” poster can be seen in Ben’s apartment when he is being asked to go to Miami. (okay)

Ashanti is seen as one of the party girls with Kevin Hart and Ken Joung at Ben’s bachelor party. (say what. That is weird. Sadly not many good notes for this film. Have to wait for those PAs to dish I guess)

Ride Along Preview

Alright, so this week we arrive back at our most misguided genre, the Chain Reaction. It was incredibly difficult jumping from 1986 to 2016. Not many actors, even big stars, are still making BMT films after 20 years. So jumping from 1986’s No Mercy to a 2016 film seemed an impossible task. Thank god for Bruce McGill. Unlike Richard Gere and Kim Basinger, McGill is still going strong, and allowed us to jump straight from No Mercy to 2016’s sequel du jour, Ride Along 2. This also means we got extra content this week as the original Ride Along is also BMT (and both DVDs have commentaries by director Tim Story). Lucky us. Let’s go!

Ride Along (2014) – BMeTric: 22.5

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(Kind of interesting BMeTric, so stable. That is unusual. Graphs like this come about when, against all odds, a movie’s rating doesn’t change and they were released after 2011 (so no potential for the 2011 bump). Except it isn’t really against all odds, 6.1 is literally the average rating on IMDb, so there is just no regression to the mean at all. Anyways, 6.0+ is more common than you think for BMT, but it is always fun to watch them … usually means that we are not the target audience. And with this movie … yeah, we aren’t the target audience.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Intermittently funny vehicle for the fast-talking comedic talent of Hart finds him playing a motor-mouthed security guard who joins tough-as-nails cop Ice Cube on a 24-hour ride-along. Object: to prove himself not only worthy of fulfilling his dream of joining the department, but also of marrying his one-day partner’s sister. Nothing we haven’t seen before in buddy-cop movies, from 48Hrs. to Lethal Weapon, yet this one is apparently striving to be a comic version of Training Day. Cube is a perfect foil for Hart, who’s amusing in short spurts – but this movie provides an overdose.

(First, that is one long review. Second, nice hyphen game as usual Leonard (I’m convinced someone on his staff has a bet going to see how many hyphens they can fit into a short review, we’ve seen this before). And third, yeah, I would have blindly guess two stars from Maltin before reading this review. This movie is going to be vaguely funny, ten minutes too long, and occasionally aggravating. And not that bad. Book it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5klp6rkHIks

(Meh. I obviously remember this trailer from when it came out and it looks meh. Does seem like they went the Training Day route which is fine. Do not like the portrayal of video games in this movie … that isn’t how they work, but whatever.)

Directors – Tim Story – (Known For: Think Like a Man; Barbershop; BMT: Taxi (BMT); Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic Four; Think Like a Man Too; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes:  From the Taxi preview: The top grossing African-American director of all time (domestic at least, not sure about worldwide). Actually just retook the top spot from Tyler Perry with Ride Along 2. I’ll add that he has announced he is directing Humbug starring Ice Cube as a real estate mogul in a modern retelling of A Christmas Carol. Be still my beating heart.)

Writers – Greg Coolidge (screenplay & story) – (BMT: Employee of the Month; Sorority Boys; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes:  Not much about him online, but that is an incredible filmography. I need to see Sorority Boys at some point, just an absurd White Chicks-esque premise.)

Jason Mantzoukas (screenplay) – (BMT: Ride Along; Notes:  WHAT. So apparently there is news reports about him getting hired to rewrite the script when it was about a hard boiled detective taking his potential brother-in-law on a ride along, but the brother was a uptight white psychiatrist. It was rewritten after though. Kind of surprised he hasn’t gotten writing credits on anything else. Obviously from The League and the How Did This Get Made podcast among many other things, but most recently seen in a major role in Dirty Grandpa. I love Jason Mantzoukas, he’s hilarious.)

Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (screenplay) – (Known For: The Invitation; Crazy/Beautiful; BMT: The Tuxedo (BMT); Æon Flux (BMT); R.I.P.D. (BMT); Clash of the Titans; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes: Legends. How does one go from Crazy/Beautiful to The Tuxedo exactly? If you want some insight this article is incredibly in depth. Turns out … you do one solid adaptation and you’ll basically be tapped for a million more. Honestly I don’t think the script was the problem with most of these movies so get yo money.)

Actors – Ice Cube – (Known For: 22 Jump Street; 21 Jump Street; Friday; The Book of Life; Boyz n the Hood; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; Three Kings; Barbershop; Rampart; Higher Learning; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; Trespass; The Glass Shield; The Longshots; BMT: xXx²: State of the Union (BMT); Anaconda; Torque (BMT); Are We Done Yet?; Ghosts of Mars (BMT); Are We There Yet?; First Sunday; Lottery Ticket; Ride Along 2; Friday After Next; I Got the Hook Up; All About the Benjamins; Dangerous Ground; Ride Along; Next Friday; Notes: Cube! A legend in his own right if only for Ghosts of Mars, a secret BMT favorite. Most famous for being a primary player in NWA he has since become somewhat of a comedy staple. Started with Friday in the 90’s and then the Barbershop series in the 00’s, he’s a full blown comedian at this point. Impressive dude.)

Kevin Hart – (Known For: The Secret Life of Pets; Central Intelligence; This Is the End; The 40 Year-Old Virgin; Death at a Funeral; The Five-Year Engagement; Think Like a Man; Top Five; About Last Night; Death of a Dynasty; BMT: Epic Movie; Superhero Movie; Soul Plane; Scary Movie 4 (BMT); Meet Dave; In the Mix; Scary Movie 3 (BMT); Little Fockers; Fool’s Gold (BMT); Drillbit Taylor; Along Came Polly; Think Like a Man Too; Get Hard; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Grudge Match (BMT); The Wedding Ringer (BMT); Notes: He exploded as one of the most prolific comedic actors a few years ago (and trust me, some people are not happy about that for some reason) with Ride Along, Get Hard, Central Intelligence, Ride Along 2, and the Wedding Ringer coming out in the last 3 years basically.)

Also stars Tika Sumpter (seen in A Madea Christmas!!! So exciting)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $134,938,200 (Worldwide: $154,468,902)

(A huge hit. No wonder they made a sequel and are planning on making it a trilogy. Tim Story is box office gold for a reason. And that reason seems to be he can wrangle comedians into making something that resembles a coherent comedic feature film. And he’s friends with Ice Cube who is also an amazing comedic actor it turns out.)

#13 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre

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(Super successful. Between Lethal Weapon 4 and 21 Jump Street. Picking out an interesting era, 2000-2005 seems to be a little bit of a Buddy Comedy Rush. Strangely enough the common denominator is Jackie Chan, which is interesting. Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon and their sequels all came out at the tail end of the Lethal Weapon (and general buddy cop) era and may have ushered in more of a general dual lead action-comedy formula into Hollywood. A lot of the films of the subsequent era naturally plays on this: Central Intelligence, 21 and 22 Jump Street, and The Other Guys all play off of the 80s and 90s buddy comedy formula in interesting ways. And perhaps that is where this movie failed: it doesn’t play off of it, it plays into it, and chose to poke fun at the late 90s / early 00s cop dramas instead. We’ll see.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (23/124): Kevin Hart’s livewire presence gives Ride Along a shot of necessary energy, but it isn’t enough to rescue this would-be comedy from the buddy-cop doldrums.

(Too bad I’m not a huge fan of Kevin Hart, otherwise there might be some hope. I just hoping to not be bored. Can you give me that Ride Along. Give me some horrible lines and stupid characters to make fun of, please.)

Poster – Sklog Along (D+)

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(Weird. This is like the opposite of my poster philosophy, detailed in my upcoming book Posterized! The Michael Jordan Story. It’s drab and dull with meager symmetry and a simplistic font that can easily be changed to Sklog Along. Get out of here. Only plus is that I like posters that use yellow effectively.)

Tagline(s) – Propose to this cop’s sister? Rookie mistake. (C-)

(They really shoehorn the plot right in there, huh? Wish it was more clever and had better flow.)

Keyword(s) – police; Top Ten by BMeTric: 92.8 Batman & Robin (1997); 89.5 Catwoman (2004); 84.6 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 82.7 Street Fighter (1994); 80.6 Home Alone 3 (1997); 79.3 House of the Dead (2003); 78.7 Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966); 77.4 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 77.2 RoboCop 3 (1993); 75.8 Inspector Gadget (1999);

(Amazing and horrible list at the same time. This list should be movies like RIPD and the like, but they are drowned out by movies “with a police officer in it”. Bull. But whatever. I’m just thankful there is a relevant keyword at all for a recently released movie. The keywords are generally trash. At least this reminds me that I really want to watch Robocop 3)

Notes – Originally the movie intended for Dwayne Johnson to play James and Ryan Reynolds to play Ben. (say whaaaaaaaat, that might have been an incredible movie)

When Ben is surrounded by the group of bikers he quotes multiple lines from Denzel Washington’s speech in Training Day (2001), such as his line about playing basketball in Pelican Bay. This is one of many references to Training Day made throughout the film. (yup, it is supposed to be kind of a comedic take on it clearly)

When Ice Cube is talking in the conference room about the 126 experience, he says “today was a good day.” He is actually quoting one of his popular songs titled “It Was A Good Day.”

Ben is considered short. Kevin Hart is only 4.5 inches shorter than Ice Cube. (ha!)

While James’ car is an unmarked police car, throughout the film, James never turns on any siren or lights (however Ben attempts to). (okay … I was hoping to end it with a fun fact, but that is just kind of dumb)