There is a world within your phone where emoji’s live and work. Each emoji has a job to do and must never deviate. No so for Gene, a ‘meh’ who feels all kinds of complex things. When Gene ruins an important text for his user he runs away trying to find a way to fix his defect. Can he fix the trouble he’s caused before it’s too late? Find out in… The Emoji Movie.
How!? Remember all those other animated films about secret communities of things that us humans think are inanimate objects. Toy Story? Lego Movie? Inside Out? Yup, this is exactly the same except the corporate sellout version of it. Gene is a ‘meh’ emoji. He really wants to start work making emoji magic in Textopolis, but on his very first day he ends up ruining a very important text for his owner Alex! Oh no! He is sentenced to die because he’s defective (naturally) so he runs away with the help of the thumbs up emoji in search of Jailbreak, who knows how to hack the cloud and fix Gene’s defect. Fearing the consequences of his defect the denizens of Textopolis send killer bots in pursuit. At the same time Alex decides he’s going to get his phone wiped and rebooted in order to fix the problem. After finding Jailbreak, Gene and his gang of misfits run through Just Dance, Candy Crush, Instagram, and Spotify in search of the Dropbox app (it actually hurts me to write that sentence) while overcoming some difficulties or whatever. When they get there Gene and Jailbreak decide that they like him just the way he is, but just then Gene is captured by the killer bots. Thumbs up and Jailbreak hop on a Twitter bird (ugh) and race to save him. At the very last moment before the phone is erased Gene uses his special ability to mimic complex feelings to send a unique emoji to Alex’s crush. Thrilled that his phone might lead to him getting paid and laid, Alex stops the phone wipe and Gene becomes a hero. THE END.
Why?! Why did we watch this garbage? Because we had to. Why does anything else happen in the movie? Mostly because Gene feels like an outsider. Everyone in Textopolis is content doing their job and only their job, while Gene likes to smile or cry or laugh and all that jazz. Think the exact same motivations as Lego Movie… and the same characters really. In fact it’s pretty much just the Lego Movie remix… if it was remixed with dog poo.
What?! Not since our last Adam Sandler film did we get so much product placement in a film. And at least in the Sandler film it’s him sitting around a Hooters wearing a Dick’s Sporting Goods shirt and you can laugh at the absurdity. Here it just felt sad. Popping into Instagram and Spotify for a little adventure without the shame to call it InstaPost or MusicSpot to keep it imaginary garbage. When they entered Dropbox as if it was literally fucking heaven I think this officially took the cake for the worst product placement in the history of BMT.
Who?! We had a couple cameos here with singer Christina Aguilera making an appearance along with celebrity chef Rachael Ray. There is also a special thanks credit to Constance Buccafurri. She seems to be an artist but also runs a big data film analytics company… so I wonder if she got her thanks for work in that arena. She has a pretty crazy list of blockbusters on which she got a special thanks credit so I would be interested to know what exactly she does for all of them.
Where?! Textopolis, duh. 95% of the film takes place in a phone, so that’s pretty much the best we can do. Makes me wonder how many fictional settings we’ve encountered in BMT. Ehb in In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Alagaesia in Eragon, Izmir in Dungeons & Dragons, etc. It’s in good company. Good company of getting an Incomplete. “Keep your head out of the clouds and in the real world,” writes Mr. Sklog.
When?! Textopolis obviously has no sense of time. They gotta be popping night and day, 24/7/365. So… F, I guess. You’re in my world now, Emoji Movie. My world is one of pain and ultimate grade deflation. Enjoy your F.
This movie sucks and kinda made me sad watching it. It starts out as a ripoff of Lego Movie and then proceeds into a series of commercials for apps. At least with the Lego Movie you had the idea that Legos help children be creative. This basically had the message that emoji are not good and in fact have to be different in order to better convey the emotions of the user. Only when Gene can do things that no emoji can actually do does Alex successfully talk to the girl he likes… maybe don’t use emojis then dope. In terms of where this places in the world of adaptations (a true BMT favorite), The Emoji Movie is kind of alone in the wilderness here. In fact if we started to see more of these we might have to shut down Hollywood. Imagine if we looked to 2018 and saw The Great SpaceX Adventure or Lyft Life on the schedule… would almost be as terrifying as seeing Fifty Shades Freer. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! It is super tempting to fill this space with a bunch of emojis or whatever, but my emoji game is not great. Not rusty, because that would suggest it was good at some point. My emoji game has always been weak … Anyways, let’s get into it!
The Good (Sklognalogy) – Honestly, the only really good thing I can say about it is that it is mostly an innocuous kids’ movie. It sends a decent message (be yourself!), it gives a decent message to the girls (you can do computer things!), and it looks … fine. The Sklognalogy? I’m sending out a flier: The Wizard of Oz. That’s right. The basic storylines are the same. The protagonist needs something that can only be obtained from a powerful entity, so he/she sets out on the road collecting a rag-tag team of misfits. Travelling through a series of magical places, combating the minions of an evil witch, the team comes together, learns lessons, and realizes what they needed was actually inside them the whole time. Ah, perfection … except for the part where this is a derivative piece of garbage.
The Bad (Sklog-cabulary Quiz) – Too long, unfunny, boring, ugly, you name it it has it. It sets a record for product placements which made me feel a bit ill while watching it … corporate propaganda amirite? The movie is very lazy. I am kind of convinced it is a new paradigm for cheap animated films. Basically the idea is: here are three characters. They will travel from A to B. But to get from A to B they have to go through little areas. These areas are totally independent of one another. The key? Parallelization:
Parallel Plotting (n.) – A plot which can be filmed / produced a piece at a time by many different teams, and then combined together again at the end to get the correct result.
This seems trivial maybe, but while most (all?) movies achieve this to a degree, a film like The Emoji Movie takes it to the next level. They could give a single idea to a animation team: The three protagonists are in Candy Crush. The three protagonists are in Just Dance. Etc. And after each you return to the same place you were before (the wallpaper) with no obvious side effects (they don’t even discuss where they were before!). No wonder it set records for speed in its production.
The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I don’t think it has the legacy. It isn’t a shoddily made animated film, not like FoodFight! or Doogal. It is more like … a condemnation of culture in general. But that ain’t our business now is it? I have watched over 400 terrible movies in 7 years, so, that tells you everything you need to know about how I lead my life. Street cred up the wazoo though. It will get countless Razzie nominations this year (it is known). It is number 3 on the AV Club worst of list. It is number 2 on the Variety worst of list. And it is number 10 on the Rolling Stone list. I imagine it will easily get Worst Picture.
Given we are in the adaptations cycle I might as well make a brief note about whether this was a good / bad adaptation. This was a bad one. I think. The only analogue is You’ve Got Mail, but in that case it painted AOL (and the attached messenger / email features) in a charming, even romantic, light. It brought two people together. Emojis … I get them, but I still don’t really get them you know? I don’t think the movie gives a good case for emojis in general is what I’m saying … doesn’t help that the movie is garbage. D+ adaptation.
Gotta end 2017 with a bang and there isn’t any BMT film bigger than the one tapped for the transition to 2018’s first cycle. It came into the year as one of the most anticipated BMT releases (along with Geostorm and Fifty Shades) and only escaped the BMT Live! treatment because we had already watched Fifty Shades and The Mummy by the time it came out. Better late than never. That’s right! We’re finally watching The Emoji Movie. This movie looked like absolute trash from the get go and now we get to see if it lived up to the hype as one of the few sub-10% films of the year (standing at 9% RT). As for the transition, we are starting 2018 off with a cycle of adaptations. Like a lot of cycles we are going to try to do nine different adaptations so not just books, but TV shows, comic books, theme park rides, etc. That’s where The Emoji Movie fits in. It is one of the few cases where technology in general has been adapted into film (the only one that came to mind for us was You’ve Got Mail… great example). What a start! Let’s go!
The Emoji Movie (2017) – BMeTric: 86.9
(Steadily rising, but it won’t get much higher that the mid-3’s I don’t think. People obviously pile on at first, but even early reviewers were giving it reviews in the 2-3 range, so it’ll settle at a more reasonable 3-4 over time I would think.)
RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars – The failure of imagination in “The Emoji Movie” is not limited to its depiction of the app world. This is a film that has literally nothing to offer viewers—there are no moments of humor, excitement or insight regarding a culture that considers emojis to be the pinnacle of contemporary communication. The actors go through their lines with such a lack of enthusiasm that they make Krusty the Klown seem focused and committed by comparison.
(If you read the rest of this preview you’ll learn this is one of the fastest produced computer animated films ever made. So it isn’t that surprising that the voice work is sub-par. The rest of the review doesn’t give much else besides suggesting it is just cynically made, and that he like other obviously superior animated films more.)
(Yeah … so, that trailer is not great. It doesn’t really present any major plot and really is just a mishmash of a bunch of different apps I guess. It manages to just look really really dumb. But I am not 10 years old so what do I know?)
Directors – Tony Leondis – (Future BMT: Igor; BMT: The Emoji Movie; Notes: Been involved with another animated film B.O.O. about ghost secret agents. Lots of actors attached but seems like Igor and The Emoji Movie might have put it on permanent hold.)
Writers – Tony Leondis (screenplay by & story by) – (Future BMT: Igor; BMT: The Emoji Movie; Notes: Cut his teeth as a story artist. Most notably on The Prince of Egypt.)
Eric Siegel (screenplay by & story by) – (BMT: The Emoji Movie; Notes: Husband of longtime CSI: NY actress Anna Belknap.)
Mike White (screenplay by) – (Known For: School of Rock; Brad’s Status; Nacho Libre; Beatriz at Dinner; The Good Girl; Year of the Dog; Chuck & Buck; Future BMT: Dead Man on Campus; BMT: The Emoji Movie; Notes: Probably best known for School of Rock, IMDb also says he wrote nine episodes of Dawson’s Creek. Coolio.)
John Hoffman (additional screenplay material) – (Known For: Good Boy!; Future BMT: Igor; BMT: The Emoji Movie; Notes: Must have known Tony Leondis from Igor. He’s also one of the executive producers of Grace and Frankie.)
Actors – T.J. Miller – (Known For: Office Christmas Party; Deadpool; Big Hero 6; She’s Out of My League; How to Train Your Dragon; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Rock of Ages; Cloverfield; Goon: Last of the Enforcers; Get Him to the Greek; Seeking a Friend for the End of the World; Extract; Our Idiot Brother; Future BMT: Gulliver’s Travels; The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard; Search Party; BMT: The Emoji Movie; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Notes: There is a fair chance he is a terrible person as he has been accused of doing terrible things.)
James Corden – (Known For: Trolls; Into the Woods; Begin Again; The Lady in the Van; Starter for 10; The History Boys; One Chance; All or Nothing; Pierrepoint; Telstar: The Joe Meek Story; Heartlands; Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?; Future BMT: Gulliver’s Travels; Norm of the North; Lesbian Vampire Killers; Konferenz der Tiere; Planet 51; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; Kill Your Friends; BMT: The Emoji Movie; The Three Musketeers; Notes: Our very own Planchet. Obviously now a major talk show host.)
Anna Faris – (Known For: Brokeback Mountain; Just Friends; Lost in Translation; The Dictator; Scary Movie; The House Bunny; 22 Jump Street; Keanu; Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs; Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2; I Give It a Year; Observe and Report; My Super Ex-Girlfriend; May; Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel; Smiley Face; Future BMT: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel; Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked; Scary Movie 4; Scary Movie 2; Scary Movie 3; The Hot Chick; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; Mama’s Boy; What’s Your Number?; Take Me Home Tonight; Waiting…; BMT: The Emoji Movie; Movie 43; Notes: Been in the news since she and Chris Pratt broke up in what was probably 2017’s biggest celeb split.)
Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $86,089,513 (Worldwide: $216,970,871)
(That is a lot of money. I hope they don’t make a sequel though. Not because people shouldn’t go get their money. I just don’t want to watch another Emoji Movie.)
(Animation has apparently held steady over the years as far as gross is concerned. The big jumps are likely technologically related. Late-90s was the advent of computer animated films. Mid 2000s is when that process became cheaper than traditional animation. And the big jump around now is likely concerning the ability for a single studio to produce a full-length feature in roughly the same amount of time as live-action production (something like that, i.e. the ability for a film like this to be made and profitable).)
(Tells the same story as above, basically confirming the mid-2000s jump was computer animation supplanting traditional animation. It makes sense with the above as well actually. The mid-2010s probably marks when animation because easy and cheap enough to produce television shows and made “kids films” almost entirely computer animated.)
(Sub-10% means we kind of have to do the film at some point. It is kind of the crown jewel of any BMT year. The consensus here though is an embarrassment and Rotten Tomatoes should be embarrassed. It is an emoji if you can’t tell … I thought my email generator program was broken at first.)
(Not into it. This is essentially a slightly better version of the Father Figures poster. Slightly better because… well how couldn’t it be better than that disaster? But only marginally. That font is embarrassing. I’m embarrassed for you, poster.)
Tagline(s) – An adventure beyond words (A+)
(Oh shit… that’s actually pretty clever. Oh man. I’m starting to really like it. I better grade this before I give it an A+ because I take pride in how tough my grading is. Too late. That’s an A+ if I’ve ever seen one. Short, sweet, and clever. Gives a hint at the plot and works as an effective advertisement for emojis to boot. Daaannnnggggggg.)
Keyword(s) – food; Top Ten by BMeTric: 86.9 The Emoji Movie (2017); 85.8 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 85.4 Troll 2 (1990); 84.1 Home Alone 3 (1997); 75.7 In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011); 71.7 The Flintstones (1994); 64.8 10,000 BC (2008); 64.0 Leprechaun (1993); 63.1 North (1994); 61.2 Foodfight! (2012);
(Ah yes. In the Name of the King a Dungeon Siege Tale and … food. Two peas in a pod. Amazingly there appears to be no … food in Batman & Robin. A strange mix of films here which nearly pushes an actual food movie (Foodfight!) off of the list. Foodfight will be done as part of a Worst Movie Ever series I assume, it is apparently quite the experience.)
Notes – John Douglass, owner of the “jacksfilms” YouTube account, was invited to the world premiere of this movie by Sony because he praised it sarcastically since its announcement. (So getting early fake good reviews is actually a thing huh?)
Sony promoted the latter release of the trailer by hosting a press conference in Cannes, the day before the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, which featured T.J. Miller parasailing in. Variety called the event “slightly awkward” and The Hollywood Reporter described it as “promotional ridiculousness.” (That doesn’t sound fun or funny, good job Emoji Film PR team)
According to T.J. Miller, this is the fastest produced animated film in history. (I’m loving this fact for some reason)
Tony Leondis, the director of the movie, does not take emoji’s seriously. He sees them as “the toys of the 21st century” and said he needed to rush the movie because “who even knows if people are going to like emoji’s in [six years]”.
The film was shown alongside Puppy, a short film based on the Hotel Transylvania films.
The original title was Emoji Movie: Express Yourself. (Would have joined The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle on the list of 2017 films that inexplicably used a random song title as the subtitle to a film. Not loving that trend)
In the Latin American Spanish version, the name of Jailbreak was changed with the name of “Lady Hacker”.
A week before the film was released, Sony tweeted a controversial promotional picture parodying the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale (2017). It was immediately met with criticism for being tasteless, considering the content and themes of the Hulu series. Following the backlash, the tweet was deleted. (Haaaaaaa)
The official artwork of the main trio bears a strong resemblance to the final poster for Free Birds (2013). (So artwork in posters follows a kind of wave-like pattern. Father Figures, which just came out, has a very similar poster to Emoji Movie among a few others actually. I do not like the seven-faced-shoved-together look though)
The opera music being played when the trash is being emptied translates to “If Sarastro does not through you feel the pain of death” (weird)
NOTE: Most of the other notes are just saying how many animated film each of the ten or so main cast members were in prior to the Emoji Movie. I’m genuinely shocked at how few notes there are, I would think a ton of gross set stories would have come out once everyone realized this was going to be critically panned.
Just dumped by the Best Man, Eloise decides to go to the wedding of her best friend anyway. Relegated to the far reaches of the reception, she and her table of misfits band together to have the time of their live. Can they find closure to the issues that brought them to this wedding in the first place before it’s too late? Find out in… Table 19.
How?! After a long debate with herself Eloise decides to attend the wedding of her best friend despite having just been dumped by the Best Man. Once the Maid of Honor, she has now been placed at Table 19, the table for those who should have known not to come. This table is full of people with secrets like the bride’s childhood nanny (who also is terminally ill), the bride’s cousin (who is also a white collar criminal), a couple who knows the groom’s father from work (who are also having marital issues), and the son of a family friend (who is skipping his prom to attend). It’s no different for Eloise who has a secret of her own: she’s pregnant. This revelation leads to a fight with her ex which culminates in the destruction of the wedding cake. Totally bummed (much like the audience watching the film) the group goes off to smoke some weed and crash the other wedding happening at the resort. This is a massive failure when Eloise realizes that a guy she was flirting with and kissed earlier in the film is actually the groom of the other wedding. Guys suck, emirite?! They decide to steal the wedding cake from that wedding, thus saving the day, and come to find that Eloise’s ex is actually a sweet guy and their relationship is worth saving. The table rouses Eloise from her melancholia and pushes her to make a grand gesture to her ex, which results in their happily ever after. THE END.
Why?! The motivations in this are all hazy. You get a sense that Eloise and her boyfriend broke up from the stress of the unexpected pregnancy but from there it’s a bit of an unreliable narrator. They both have different stories of what happened. Certainly her motivation for attending the wedding is to get him back… which she does. Everyone else is just kind of sad and finding friends in Table 19 bring them back hope in an otherwise hopeless world. Very much a Duplass film.
What?! Not much product placement in this guy. Maybe I’ll just point out the similarity this film has to The Breakfast Club. A group of misfits are thrust together. They have assumptions about each other but also secrets about themselves. They end up finding that these misfits are the first people that they can be honest with and everything turns out peachy. The Breakfast Club for the Millennial generation… so much worse and barely released.
Who?! A bunch of interesting “The producers wish to thank” credits. The obvious one is Helen Mirren who presumably gave the film permission to use her name and image as part of a joke. After that Anthony Jeselnik, Keegan-Michael Key, and Lennon Parham also get special thanks, but for what? It’s anyone’s guess. Maybe they were connected to the film before the Duplass brothers stepped back from directing? Impossible to tell.
Where?! Takes place on an imaginary island in “Lake Alma” in Michigan. You can tell from the address sent for the wedding invites that this is likely the case. They then seem to go to some trouble not to be very specific after that. Probably since it was actually filmed in Atlanta. B-
When?! The only hint we get of when the film takes place is that the high school student Rezno is skipping his spring prom to go to the wedding (because his mom thinks he has a better chance of meeting a girl there than at the dance). So this is probably set in May or something. Not super specific. D+
Overall this is a really tiny film. I thought it was crazy that it got such a big release and that seems even crazier after seeing the film. A bit paint-by-numbers, but not Waiting for Forever crazy weirdness, so overall just a film that exists in the BMTverse. Not much different than something like What Goes Up… you know, except actually released to theaters. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! For those just following along at home you are probably stunned at our ability to pick bad movies. Like … we pick the worst of the worst quite well it would seem. Do we ever miss the mark?! You must be wondering that … well wonder no more! Let’s get into it!
The Good (Sklognalogy) – This film has genuine heart, it has an interesting structure (with the emotional climax occurring in the middle of the film blowing up the relatively uninteresting suitcase plot they were setting up), and has several quality actors involved (Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant, and Craig Robinson are all quite good). I’m … actually not sure why people were so hard on the film. Seems like a fairly straightforward mumblecore awkward-fest. What Goes Up would be a perfect analogy maybe (although I didn’t like that as much as this one), but for the Sklognalogy I’m going to look back to our 1986 cycle from last year to the movie No Mercy starring Richard Gere. There are things wrong with it, it is a bit rote and dull at times, but ultimately it is just kind of crazy that people are so hard on the film. There are so many trite cop thrillers (and coming-of-age dramas in this case) it blows my mind when everyone decides to hate one of them for being “standard fare”.
The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – Mostly it is just dull. And the actor playing opposite of Anna Kendrick lacks context or fleshing out. This is likely intentional (to play up an unreliability to Kendrick’s narration), but it still comes across as kind of lazy. At least one character is totally unnecessary (the kid skipping his prom), and the film would have seems more sincere without him, although I wouldn’t say that is why the film got destroyed by critics. Probably the biggest Crime Against BMT-anity in the film though is the way they ultimately did exposition in the film. Craig Robinson at one point just says that he love detective novels and is very good at spotting things. This is somewhat amusingly contrasted with him not being able to spot that his wife intended on using the wedding to cheat on him with a business associate / old friend (who ultimately no-shows the wedding). But then, throughout the film, every character takes a movie cliche and uses it to deduce major plot points that move everything along briskly. Kendrick vomits at the table? She’s pregnant. The old lady has a bunch of weed? She has cancer. Etc. Lazy lampshading with a dumb detective novel device that is mainly unnecessary.
The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – A rare dud in the BMT filmography I think. Like What Goes Up or like … Evening, the film just seems destined to be forgotten … well except for being the only film with the number 19 in the title. That is awesome. I’m going to declare no street cred here as well. I can see it on a few lists (like pop sugar), but I think that is because it had a relatively bad Rotten Tomatoes score and those are fake algorithmically derived articles. Given that places like the AV Club included The Space Between Us, somehow this movie managed to be so small that it will fly under the radar completely.
Congrats to us to filling in a new spot on the Periodic Table of Smellements for the first time in quite a while. The number 19 is sufficiently rare that I don’t think there will be another movie for it … ever? Bully for us.
We need to get some new games started up. At the moment we mostly have our Periodic Table of Smellements and Calendar, which puts us in a tough spot for the end of year cycle. Obviously none of the films on the Calendar are 2017 films, leaving us with trying to find a movie for the Table… which just wasn’t super fruitful in 2017. As a result we have a particularly small film to watch this week. That’s right! We’re populating the extremely rare 19th element with Table 19. Never heard of it? Don’t worry. No one else has either. Written by the Duplass brothers, this film somehow got a wide release to 868 films. We would have watched it eventually as there are no other films with a 19 in the title, but boy howdy I did not expect to have this show up in such a coveted BMT spot. Here’s to hoping we have a little Waiting for Forever magic in this one and it’s just off the chains… not super optimistic. Let’s go!
Table 19 (2017) – BMeTric: 31.2
(Actually kind of interesting. Basically nobody saw this film in theaters … and then once they did on VOD they disliked it a ton more than the rare few who seeked it out. We do not do films this small / recent though, so it is kind of new territory regardless.)
RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – “Table 19” is a movie for everyone who has ever felt deeply uncomfortable at another person’s wedding reception. … [T]here is such a thing as a under-served market, and this movie serves it. Maybe too well, as we’ll see. … [T]he more the movie tries to satisfy the conventional requirements of the Hollywood romantic comedy that ties everything up in a cute little bow, the more forced and unremarkable it seems.
(This is a shockingly solid review. It appears to perhaps fail colossally at being a romantic comedy, but perhaps is somewhat successful as a mumblecore suitcase film. It does seem to take place at a single table at a wedding which is interesting.)
(Very rote romantic comedy based on the trailer. I do like all of the people at the table though … well Craig Robinson and Stephen Merchant and Anna Kendrick at least. But they should be fun.)
Directors – Jeffrey Blitz – (Known For: Rocket Science; BMT: Table 19; Notes: He has mostly directed television, including 11 episodes of The Office.)
Writers – Mark Duplass (story by) – (Known For: Creep 2; Creep; Blue Jay; Cyrus; Hannah Takes the Stairs; Jeff, Who Lives at Home; Baghead; Black Rock; The Puffy Chair; The Do-Deca-Pentathlon; BMT: Table 19; Notes: Star of The League on FX. Him and his brother signed a multi-picture deal with Netflix for a variety of off-beat comedies. I’m sure this one started that way, although this is not a Netflix production.)
Jay Duplass (story by) – (Known For: Cyrus; Jeff, Who Lives at Home; Baghead; The Puffy Chair; Outside In; The Do-Deca-Pentathlon; BMT: Table 19; Notes: I don’t really recognize him, but he’s been in a variety of television projects like The Mindy Projects. Works with his brother quite office.)
Jeffrey Blitz (story by & screenplay by) – (Known For: Rocket Science; BMT: Table 19; Notes: Wrote multiple episode of the Andrew Daly series Review for Comedy Central.)
Actors – Anna Kendrick – (Known For: Trolls; Pitch Perfect; Scott Pilgrim vs. the World; The Accountant; Pitch Perfect 2; Twilight; Into the Woods; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; End of Watch; Happy Christmas; Up in the Air; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; 50/50; Mr. Right; Drinking Buddies; Cake; The Hollars; The Voices; Digging for Fire; The Company You Keep; Future BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Get a Job; Rapture-Palooza; Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates; The Marc Pease Experience; BMT:What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Table 19; Notes: Probably most famous now as the star of Pitch Perfect. Was the second youngest person to be nominated for a Tony starting her career on Broadway.)
Lisa Kudrow – (Known For: The Boss Baby; The Girl on the Train; Bad Neighbours 2; Easy A; Bad Neighbours; Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion; Analyze This; Hotel for Dogs; The Opposite of Sex; Dr. Dolittle 2; Bandslam; Happy Endings; Clockwatchers; Mother; All Over the Guy; Americano; Kabluey; Future BMT: Hanging Up; Marci X; Lucky Numbers; Analyze That; Powder Blue; Love and Other Impossible Pursuits; Wonderland; Unlikely Hero; BMT: Table 19; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst New Star in 1997 for Ed, Mother, She’s the One, and The Pallbearer; Notes: Most famous for Friends obviously. Has had a very successful post-Friends career with The Comeback and a variety of smaller projects.)
Craig Robinson – (Known For: Sausage Party; This is the End; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; Pineapple Express; Hot Tub Time Machine; Knocked Up; Night at the Museum 2; Zack and Miri Make a Porno; Tragedy Girls; Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story; Shrek Forever After; Get on Up; Morris from America; Future BMT: Hot Tub Time Machine 2; Post Grad; Rapture-Palooza; The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard; Daddy’s Little Girls; Peeples; Father of Invention; Fanboys; BMT: Dragon Wars; Miss March; Escape from Planet Earth; Table 19; Notes: Was a music teacher before breaking into acting. Often plays keyboard and sings in the movies and television shows he is in.)
Budget/Gross – $5 million / Domestic: $3,614,896 (Worldwide: $5,042,014)
(Didn’t even make back a $5 million budget. That isn’t too too surprising though, it was barely released to theaters.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (26/103): Table 19 is marginally more entertaining than actually sitting with a table full of strangers at a wedding — although most screenings won’t come with an open bar, which makes it a wash.
(That is what the trailer looks like. Off-beat Duplass comedies sounds kind of like that … what did people expect again? Isn’t that the MO of mumblecore in the first place?)
(Like the pink color and clever visual joke with the fork kinda giving the middle finger to everyone. Simple and artistic.)
Tagline(s) – You’re invited to the wedding of the season. (D-)
Don’t Fit In? Take A Number. (A-)
(Just remove the first one from the poster. Why even have it. Only thing it does is indicate that it’s a wedding film. Otherwise bland. The second is actually quite good. Clever play on the title, hint of the plot, and straight to the point.)
Keyword(s) – drug use; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.5 The Room (2003); 78.0 Superhero Movie (2008); 76.0 Junior (1994); 64.6 The Crow: City of Angels (1996); 62.1 Sliver (1993); 59.5 9 Songs (2004); 56.1 See No Evil (2006); 54.7 The Ten (2007); 54.5 Max Payne (2008); 54.1 Bachelorette (2012);
(We will be watching … most of these actually. How haven’t se watched any of these films? Half are classics.)
Notes – Co-stars Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson previously worked with each other in an episode of Friends (1994). Robinson’s character was the one who enabled the possibility for Kudrow’s character to change her name from Phoebe to ‘Princess Consuela Bananahammock’. (There is an entire video about this actually. She doesn’t remember it and seems quite embarrassed that he found he to be so “kind” merely by suggesting he try and get his joke in the film)
Jeffrey Blitz’s first feature since Rocket Science (2007), which also starred Anna Kendrick. It was one of her first film roles.
Brothers Mark and Jay Duplass were originally set to direct the film. Jeffery Blitz took over the project in 2011 although the Duplass brothers get story credits. (That is interesting. At the time they weren’t necessarily booked with anything else so it is interesting they would drop out for whatever reason).
The fourth collaboration between actress Anna Kendrick and cinematographer Ben Richardson.
Craig Robinson and Anna Kendrick have both starred in Rapture-Palooza (2013).
Craig Robinson, Jeffrey Blitz and Stephen Merchant all work on The Office.
Both Amanda Crew and Andrew Daly have appeared on the series Silicon Valley.
Cade Yeager is back, Jack! A final showdown is afoot between Earth and the Transformers planet Cybertron. An ancient staff is the key to either Earth’s destruction or salvation. Can Cade obtain this staff and stop Earth’s demise before it’s too late? Find out in… Transformers: The Last Knight.
How?! I fear that I may have waited too long to write this up and now won’t be able to make heads or tails of the terribly convoluted plot that is the hallmark of all Transformers films. Here it goes: five years after the last movie Transformers are hunted by the US government. Despite this many more arrive from space each day. Why? Turns out that their home planet Cybertron is all kinds of fucked up. The creators that dwell there are angry so they brainwash Optimus and send him in search of a magic MacGuffin… er… staff that will bring life back to their planet. Meanwhile on Earth, Cade Yeager is a Transformer sympathizer hiding out as a fugitive. He finds a powerful talisman in the ruins of Chicago which results in both the US government and Megatron trying to track him down. Cade manages to escape with the help of a British robot who knows that he’s part of a larger prophecy for the final showdown with Cybertron. They team up with a British historian who tracks the magic MacGuffin staff to a submarine, which turns out to be a Transformer, that takes them to an ancient underwater spaceship (you following this? No? Good). Inside they find the staff, but it’s stolen by Optimus, who is temporarily a bad guy. Optimus then has the staff stolen by Megatron and turns back into a good guy (this is real). All our friends and foes head to Stonehenge where Cybertron is using the staff to suck the core out of the Earth. Cade and the historian head up to Cybertron and a bunch of shit happens. People are screaming “Physics!” and “Science!” at the screen and then Cybertron is stopped by our friends. In the end Optimus says that humans and Transformers have to learn to work together… they obviously will not because he says this at the end of every film and no one listens. THE END.
Why?! Did you just read that? It’s impossibly stupid. If you insist on diving into the motivations of Cade it’s mostly about protecting his daughter. He knows that the Transformers are good and the only thing that can save the Earth. If he doesn’t help them the US government will destroy them and doom the Earth. As for the adversaries, they are led by Quintessa, a robot god creator. She is angry at the destruction of her planet Cybertron and plans to use the power within Earth (actually a giant Transformer called Unicron) to rebuild. Gonna sap on that sweet, sweet molten core a la Independence Day 2.
What?! May as well make the MacGuffin Alert a permanent fixture in the Transformers franchise. This is particularly true in The Last Knight which revolves around the recovery of the powerful staff. Hits every possible box of a stereotypical MacGuffin. As for product placement, they really toned it down in this entry. We get a nice shot of Cade drinking a refreshing Bud Light, but that’s about it.
Who?! Jerrod Carmichael is the designated Planchet of this film. He fills the role of comic relief, but is also made fun of constantly and turns out to be more helpful than anyone gives him credit for. Textbook. Also want to point out an uncredited role for Freya, that dog that Michael Bay adopted. Nice touch.
Where?! You can always count on a Transformers film giving you some sweet locations provided by intertitles. In this case I would say the primary setting is England, with a secondary in South Dakota (!). There are also some scenes set in the deserts of Namibia which would be fantastic for a World Mapl.de.map. Overall this is an A-, given the importance of Stonehenge to the climactic battle.
When?! We get a brief glimpse of a universal time clock at CalTech in the beginning of the film that places the start on the 309th day of the year: November 5th. This doesn’t jive super well with everyone prancing about in t-shirts in South Dakota, Chicago, and England, but the UTC clock don’t lie. We can presume this takes place in present day I guess… but that’s pretty hard when every film says it’s been five years since the events of the last film. Would seem like we would have gotten to at least 2022 by this point. But who knows. B.
This movie is truly terrible. I hope they make a sixth one. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! You’re Michael Bay, and you promised the world you wouldn’t direct another Transformers film. But promises are meant to be broken, right? I mean … that’s the saying, right? Let’s get into it!
The Good (Sequel / Prequel / Remake) – This movie is a wasteland. The only good thing is that I’ve now learned there is a Submarine Museum in London. Which, yes, I will be going to at some point in the near future. Thanks Transformers 5! Let’s do a Remake. As a matter of fact, let’s do a remake of the entire “second trilogy” of the Transformers franchise. I think an interesting idea would have been to jump forward in time to after a catastrophic war between the Autobots and Decepticons has devastated humanity (something they explored in this movie to an extent). Introduce the new character (the person Wahlberg was kind of meant to be) as a genius human inventor who could be the edge in the battle between the two sides. Combining the heart and ingenuity of Cade Yeager with the driven leadership of Optimus Prime, can the Autobots turn the tide of war and bring peace to Earth? Come see in … The Transformers Warzone Trilogy.
The Bad (Sklognalysis) – This movie straight up makes no sense. Like, the storyline is so muddled that at times you have to just throw your hands up in the air and be like “whatever, I guess show me some explosions?” They also have way too many characters who are just really bad comic relief. From the kids in the beginning (who are promptly forgotten about) to the grating Cogman (voiced by Jim Carter), none of it works. I’m also glad they are shedding Cade in future installments. The idea of him being an “inventor” doesn’t really work in the context of the film they are trying to make. And don’t get me started with the whole Deus Ex John Turturro they tried to throw into the mix as he used his single day of shooting to lob exposition at the protagonists from Cuba. Uuuuuugh. For the Sklognalysis I feel like I want to just mull on Michael Bay a bit here. Bay must have some motivation for what he does. I recall watching documentaries about The Island and the original Transformers and his claim to fame at the time was attaching cameras to very nice (and fast) cars and shooting crashes and explosions and chases in intense adrenaline-fueled intimacy. He still does this … but why does it feel like that it all he cares about? He’s an odd duck when you think of his pet project Pain and Gain from a few years ago. This is the first time I looked at Transformers and thought “this franchise is irredeemable, they have to start completely over”. It makes me sad, but it also makes sense that they should just part ways and never look back.
The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I think Transformers as a series will ultimately hold a strong position as one of the worst franchises we’ve watched. The films are so incoherent. Maybe something like Resident Evil could take the crown, but for some reason I think Transformers, having an original film I actually liked, has an interesting transformation (ha!) across BMT. For StreetCreditReport.com we finally have a fully mature set of lists to consider. I am genuinely shocked to see the A.V. Club lacking delicious Transformer bashing in their list. Luckily Rolling Stone had it as their number one. I would actually say, without seeing Emoji Movie yet, that Fifty Shades Darker and Transformers: The Last Knight are shockingly close together as far as what I think are the worst films of the year. Usually we hate some random film a little more (like Mechanic: Resurrection), but this year the big boys really came to play.
We had the possibility to look at bringing number 2 and 3 into the fold this time around … but they felt like a different series. I didn’t even bother to re-watch the fourth one either. So no homework.
There were a number of high profile candidates for BMT Live! this year, but as with any crowded BMT field we couldn’t get to all of them. One obvious candidate that missed out on that prime spot was the 5th in a major SciFi blockbuster series. That’s right! We’re finally watching Transformers: The Last Knight! The second in the Cade Yeager (actual name from the film) set of Transformers films. This one didn’t garner any better reviews than most of the entries in the series. Not surprising since they seem to unapologetically produce big screen gobbledegook in the hopes that everyone is so confused that they shrug their shoulders and say “Good for what is it.” But as Mother Teresa once said, “you can’t polish a turd,” so let’s just see how shiny they made this thing. Let’s go!
Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) – BMeTric: 60.5
(While the vote count is a classic (I do love it when you have enough data points to see the almost perfect asymptotic approach that occurs with a limit, i.e. theatrical release) the rating is somewhat abnormal. Usually a low rating will rise as more people see a film. Here it has fallen slightly. Maybe because in VOD more people who aren’t big fans will see it? I would expect it to rise a bit over the next few years though. It is just the nature of the game.)
RogerEbert.com – 1 star – Here’s where the chorus of Critic-Proof Franchises kicks in. Michael Bay made this for fans of the franchise and not the notoriously-hard-on-it critics. Diehards will ignore that I liked the first film and parts of the third and fourth films (the second is still a cinematic abomination). I get it. We love to forgive the failures of franchises we adore. Even critics do that. But even fans of this series have to take a hard look at the outright, shocking laziness of this movie—one that does the bare minimum to get butts in seats.
(Yup. I’ve been convinced that the Transformers producers have been bringing Bay back to try and get one thing: movie critics to just say “it’s good for what it is!” and then waltz to the bank for that cool billion dollar payday. Fast and the Furious does it, why can’t this? Mainly it is because the charisma of Vin Diesel and The Rock keep that franchise from seeming lazy. I do think Bay is gone from the series now and I don’t think they’ll ever reach that F&F place. Too bad for them.)
(That song is a big old pile of shit. The movie seems entertaining if you kind of pretend this is the first or second in the series. The issue is they keep on revising when and how the transformers got here. First they followed the Allspark to Earth. Oh wait no there was The Fallen way long ago. Oh wait, they were at the moon landing. Oh wait, they were around with the dinosaurs. Oh wait, they’ve been in literally every war in human history. To hard to keep straight at this point. Should have jumped forward to after the war has torn Earth apart in the third movie and ignored the mythology crap at that point.)
Directors – Michael Bay – (Known For: 13 Hours; Transformers; The Rock; Bad Boys; Pain & Gain; Future BMT: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Pearl Harbor; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Armageddon; Bad Boys II; The Island; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Director in 2010 for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; and in 2015 for Transformers: Age of Extinction; and Nominated for Worst Director in 1999 for Armageddon; in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; and in 2012 for Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Notes: Director Hall of Famer I would guess. I’ve seen nearly all of his movies, but we have to BMTize them at some point. Bad Boys II is actually an interesting one, because people online love it for some reason. It is, in fact, a giant load of shit.)
Writers – Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Iron Man; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Punisher: War Zone; Notes: Already tabbed to write the next two (ugh) Transformers films. Wrote a script for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot which was never used.)
Ken Nolan (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Only the Brave; Black Hawk Down; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Notes: Bother of actor Matt Nolan who has kind of bumped around doing small film parts and minor television roles, although in big projects like 24. He is one of those guys who has been in Hollywood as a full time scriptwriter for over 20 years with only a few movies produced. His first spec, In Contempt, for example, was sold for over a million dollars, but never produced. He has multiple major unproduced scripts floating about Hollywood at this point.)
Akiva Goldsman (story by) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; Batman Forever; I Am Legend; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; Cinderella Man; The Client; Future BMT: Batman & Robin; Lost in Space; The Dark Tower; Practical Magic; Insurgent; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Rings; Transformers: The Last Knight; The 5th Wave; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominated for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill in 1997; Notes: We mentioned him in the Rings preview obviously. He is a gigantic screenwriter, although now a producer as well. He’s executive producing the new Star Trek series for example.)
Actors – Mark Wahlberg – (Known For: The Departed; Boogie Nights; Planet of the Apes; Lone Survivor; Deepwater Horizon; Shooter; Patriots Day; Ted 2; 2 Guns; The Other Guys; Ted; Four Brothers; The Italian Job; Rock Star; Pain & Gain; Invincible; The Fighter; Date Night; The Perfect Storm; The Basketball Diaries; Future BMT: Max Payne; The Truth About Charlie; Daddy’s Home; Mojave; Broken City; Fear; Renaissance Man; Daddy’s Home 2; Entourage; The Lovely Bones; BMT: The Happening; Transformers: The Last Knight; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor in 2009 for Max Payne, and The Happening; Notes: Basically a Hall of Famer solely from The Happening where his performance is off the chain. We have a million to go with him … brother of Donnie Wahlberg and co-owner of the Wahlberger franchise.)
Anthony Hopkins – (Known For: Thor: Ragnarok; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Thor; Thor: The Dark World; The Silence of the Lambs; Dracula; Noah; Legends of the Fall; Meet Joe Black; Fracture; Howards End; Red Dragon; The Elephant Man; Beowulf; Chaplin; Mission: Impossible II; The Mask of Zorro; RED 2; The Lion in Winter; A Bridge Too Far; Future BMT: Alexander; Freejack; Bad Company; Misconduct; The Wolfman; Slipstream; The Rite; Desperate Hours; Collide; Kidnapping Freddy Heineken; All the King’s Men; 360; Solace; Instinct; Surviving Picasso; Hannibal; The Innocent; The Trial; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; A Change of Seasons; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor for A Change of Seasons in 1981; Notes: Obviously a giant star as well. Notably won the Oscar for Best Actor in Silence of the Lambs, a movie he appeared in for approximately 15 minutes total.)
Josh Duhamel – (Known For: Transformers; You’re Not You; Ramona and Beezus; Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!; Wrecked; Future BMT: Paradise Lost; The Romantics; Misconduct; Fire with Fire; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; CHIPS; The Institute; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Life as We Know It; Don Peyote; Lost in the Sun; This Is Your Death; Strings; BMT: Movie 43; Transformers: The Last Knight; When in Rome; New Year’s Eve; Safe Haven; Notes: I’m a big Duhamel-head after Safe Haven. Interesting like. Born in North Dakota he was a construction worker at 26 and ended up kind of falling into modelling. Ultimately that lead to acting when he was specifically asked to audition for The Picture of Dorian Grey.)
Budget/Gross – $217–260 million / Domestic: $130,168,683 (Worldwide: $605,425,157)
(Reasonably. It isn’t blowing people away anymore though. They kind of want / expect / need this to be a billion dollar franchise. But a few hundred million is also nothing to sneeze at all said and done. I assume they will complete the second trilogy. We’ll see what happens then.)
(You might wonder what happened in 2010 to make this so highly profitable. It was Avatar. This movie is actually quite low, around the Ang Lee Hulk film as far as domestic gross. Saved by Chine it would seem. There were also 6 films with a CGI star this year! That’s ridiculous.)
(Three this year and this guy comes in just after I, Robot which is pretty bad. The plot is pretty uninteresting though. Films about robots have been popular from around 2005 it would seem … basically when the original Transformers came out.)
(Peaked around 2012 when The Avengers came out. This is below Chicken Little! The more I read the more I realize that domestically this was an incredible bomb! Anyways, the genre is kind of waning a bit, at least the per theater take is.)
(Transformers has kind of fueled the genre a bit, but Alvin and the Chipmunks is also obviously pretty dominant as well. Right behind The Flintstones … my God.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (31/202): Cacophonous, thinly plotted, and boasting state-of-the-art special effects, The Last Knight is pretty much what you’d expect from the fifth installment of the Transformers franchise.
(Cacophonous. Cacophonous … I’m liking the sound of that in a way. Very nice. I want to see some transforming and a plot that make literally no sense. Let’s do it.)
(This poster tells me a story. That story is “your brain will explode as you try to discern what is happening on screen just like your brain is exploding trying to understand what is going on with this mess of a poster.” Why is everything in the world on this poster? At least it has some font action.)
Tagline(s) – For one world to live, the other must die. (A-)
(Nice cadance and use of live-die. Short and sweet and a little hint at the plot. Overall this is pretty good. A fun pun would have gone a long way to hitting that A+.)
Keyword(s) – based on toy; Top Ten by BMeTric: 77.7 Bratz (2007); 75.6 Ouija (II) (2014); 62.1 Max Steel (2016); 60.8 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987); 60.5 Transformers: The Last Knight (2017); 53.4 Jem and the Holograms (2015); 44.8 Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014); 40.9 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009); 40.8 G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013); 34.4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009);
(Ooooooh yeah. We almost watched Max Steel. We were really close. Ouija is almost obviously the creme de la creme for these guys. Just ridiculous that was made. Even more ridiculous that its sequel ended up being good!)
Notes – With a budget of $217 million dollars, the most expensive Transformers at the time of release. (Until the next one)
The scenes of Sir Edmund Burton visiting 10 Downing Street were filmed at the actual office of the British Prime Minister in October 2016. (This is what happens when you’re Michael Fucking Bay)
Mark Wahlberg announced this will be his last Transformers movie as Cade Yeager. He had signed a contract for three films, with the knowledge that he could be relieved earlier. (But… but… but… I was promised a second trilogy)
Director Michael Bay is a noted dog lover, and he cast Freya, a British dog with epilepsy that many homes had rejected, in the film. (I wanted to say this was an obvious PR plot but apparently it is not. Actual true story. Wow)
Writer Matt Holloway is a fan of the drama Downton Abbey (2010), and jokingly said that Jim Carter (who plays the butler Mr. Carson in the show) should voice Cogman. He was shocked when Michael Bay got Carter signed on as Cogman. (Again, this is just Bay seeing how far he can push his Bay-ness)
Michael Bay said that this will be the last Transformers film he will direct, for the moment. He is open to doing more films in the future, if he gets a good story. (A good story never stopped him before. Ay oh)
After the release of Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), a writers’ room was setup to plan the franchise’s future beyond the main film series. Two of the ideas pitched involved the Arthurian myth and World War II respectively. Michael Bay liked them so much that he decided to incorporate them into the script for this film. (I want an entire television series just about this writer’s room. I’ll call it Michael Bay’s Writers Room)
Shia LaBeouf and Nicola Peltz appeared in this film, although it was only their portraits. (Count it! Shia LaBeouf is in this movie)
While shooting in England, Mark Wahlberg spent time at St. Aidan’s Church incognito, and made donations. No one knew anything until afterwards. Reverend Father Des McGiven said, “It’s great that we had him in for the service, and we appreciate his generosity towards our church.” (I’m not sure how to respond to this obviously pandering imdb trivia note… good for Mark Wahlberg I guess)
This film features the myth of King Arthur. Michael Bay was previously going to direct King Arthur (2004), and had worked on that film for five years, before leaving it, due to budget issues. (Michael Bay gets the budget that he wants. No questions asked).
Michael Bay originally wanted to pass on directing this film, but was persuaded to do one more by Peter Cullen. (So you’re telling me the voice actor who voices Optimus Prime for like 2 days in a sound studio convinced Bay to return… that is just clearly bullshit).
Part of the film was shot at Stonehenge. Michael Bay requested to shoot an explosion on the location, but was denied, so he had a set of Stonehenge constructed to shoot the explosion. (Wait, Michael Bay was denied something?! That… that doesn’t make sense. Michael Bay gets what Michael Bay wants and if he wants to blow up Stonehenge then you let him do it)
Peter Cullen, Reno Wilson, and Mark Ryan are the only actors to appear in all five live-action Transformers films, with Cullen as Optimus Prime, Wilson playing Frenzy, Mudflap, Brains, Mohawk, and Sqweeks, and Mark Ryan voicing Bumblebee, Jetfire, a military drone operator, Lockdown, and Bulldog. (This is actually a really good factoid. An impossible trivia question).
The filmmakers admitted that there were production difficulties in this film, which resulted in a lot of material planned and filmed, but which never made it to the film. (Give me those cut scenes and bloopies. I needs them)
Hot Rod’s French accent was Michael Bay’s idea, as he thought it would give Hot Rod a unique character. (Well I hope he’s as racist as the Mexican robots he had in previous installments.)
Ken Nolan wrote the role of Sir Edmund specifically for Sir Anthony Hopkins. (Facts like this are said too often to actually be true. Later we’re going to hear about all the actors that were up for the part of Ken Nolan)
Though this film was successful, grossing over $600 million worldwide, this is the lowest grossing film of the Transformers franchise. (They must have been so disappointed that they immediately greenlighted Transformers 6 for a 2019 release.)
This is the third Transformers film to be outgrossed by a computer animated threequel. This film was outgrossed by Despicable Me 3 (2017). The first was Transformers, (2007) which was outgrossed by Shrek the Third (2007), and the second was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), which was outgrossed by Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009). But while Transformers was $89.7 million behind Shrek the Third and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was $50.4 million behind Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, this film is over $420 million behind Despicable Me 3. (This is a really weird and interesting factoid)
This is the second Transformers installment for Stanley Tucci, who played Merlin. Previously he played Joshua Joyce in Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014). (Wait… what?!)
The Autobot Topspin from Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) appears in this film, but with a head akin to Leadfoot’s, and a new name, “Volleybot”. (Wait… WHAT?!)
The original cut of the movie supposedly was much longer and roughly a whole hour’s worth of footage was cut for theatrical release. (Yeesssssss, release the Director’s Cut, Bay… do it)
Despite his seeming death during Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), the police car Decepticon Barricade returns, and has apparently survived up to the events of this movie, with a completely new design, including a new vehicle mode. (Ha! I think Bay and the writers eventually realized that no one cares)
The film contains tributes to Transformers Prime (2010): Earth is revealed to be the planet-eating Transformer Unicron.Optimus briefly loses his identity. An ancient breed of Transformer, who can transform into a dragon appears (Predacons, Knights).The final battle is set in the sky, with the Decepticons trying to engage a machine that will destroy the Earth, and the Autobots fighting to stop them. (Wait… is this the actual plot of the film?! WTF!)
The Transformers’ creator is Quintessa is based on the Quintessons from Transformers (1984), but incorporates elements of Solus Prime, a female Transformer god from Transformers Prime (2010). (I like lore like this. It’s part of the issues I have with the series. They really screw with any coherent mythos associated with the series… which is kind of the entire attraction of a franchise)
In the movie, it is mentioned that Fidel Castro allows Transformers to live in peace in Cuba. Since then, Castro died on November 25, 2016, it implies that the movie was filmed before his passing, in the way that there wasn’t time to change his mention. (Ha! You done dated yo film Bay.)
Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) is the first film in the live-action series to feature Bumblebees true voice. (For some reason I already knew this)
Meet Bailey, the loveable dog of a loveable boy in a loveable world full of triumph and tragedy. Reincarnated over the years trying to understand his purpose on Earth, Baily is always looking out for his owners, particularly his original owner Ethan. Can he bring Ethan that ultimate joy he’s been looking for before it’s too late? Find out in… A Dog’s Purpose.
How?! I have a feeling this will be a short one. That’s because the film is not really a film at all but rather a series of vignettes strung together by a continually reincarnated dog named Bailey. As a puppy Bailey is rescued from a hot car by Ethan. Ethan and Bailey grow up together and we see him struggle with his father’s alcoholism and yet have a fulfilling life playing football and hanging with the girl he loves, Hannah. After getting a football scholarship to Michigan State, a jealous rival throws a firecracker through the mail slot of his house. Bailey wakes Ethan and helps him save his mom from the fire but not before Ethan injures his leg, dashing his hopes of a football career. Devastated he breaks it off with Hannah and heads off to agricultural school. We then get a glimpse at Bailey’s slow death (fun!) culminating in him being put down with Ethan at his side (double fun!). Over the ensuing decades we seen Bailey reincarnated as a police dog and a corgi companion for a lonely woman. Through these adventures Bailey learns two things: loneliness is bad and loneliness can be cured by finding a companion to be with. After a couple more heart wrenching dog deaths (I’m have so much goddamned FUN!) Bailey is reincarnated in Michigan and finds his way back to Ethan’s farm. Hooray! Taken in by Ethan he notices that he is lonely. From the lessons of his past life Bailey goes out and find a widowed Hannah. Reunited, Ethan and Hannah fall in love all over again and the film ends with their wedding and Ethan’s realization that his new dog is just his old dog reincarnated… for some reason he doesn’t find this amazing at all and basically shrugs it off. Presumably Bailey dies again after the credits role but the filmmakers spared us that one death at least. THE END.
Why?! Like the title suggests, this film is entirely motivated by the search by Bailey for meaning in his various lives. At first he thinks perhaps playing with Ethan is his purpose. As a police dog he learns that he can have a greater purpose in saving people, but he also sees that his owner is still sad and lonely despite their success at their job. As a corgi companion he sees that this loneliness can be cured by finding a someone to be with. Finally back with Ethan he puts this all together and realizes that life’s purpose is having fun, helping people, being with people you love, and living in the moment. Wait a second… these are all lessons humans can use too! Goddamn it, A Dog’s Purpose. You’ve done it again.
What?! Not much in the way of plot devices, props, or product placement. If anything this is a giant commercial on how a dog might die. Don’t let it get out, it might end up in the pound and DIE. Don’t leave it in a hot car, it might end up overheating and DIE. Don’t love it too much, it might grow old and make you sad when it DIES. Valuable lessons. The more you know.
Who?! I have to admit that I don’t know much about credits for animals but I would have thought this would have been a perfect candidate for IMDb to highlight an animal actor. Alas, not the case. No credits to be seen. Instead there is a plethora of Special Thanks doled out to members of the Manitoba community where the film was made. Even the owners of a local carnival, Wonder Shows, each get a Special Thanks… I’m starting to think these don’t mean much.
Where?! Clearly there are a number of locations in this film for each of the lives of the dog. Fortunately there is still a primary setting as Ethan spends his entire life in Michigan. There are also large portions of the film set in Chicago and Atlanta. A solid B.
When?! Road Trip Film Alert! That’s right, I’m calling an alert for a Road Trip Film in the When?! section. The films skips through time starting around the Cuban Missile Crisis and ending in modern day. We don’t spend a huge amount of time in one era, but get a taste of each decade (as evidenced by the style of clothes, etc.). It’s nice, but not specific most of the time. C+.
I think Patrick’s part touches on my major complaint for the film. I didn’t really understand Josh Gad’s entire role. They took what might would have been a drama and seemingly punched it up with ADR jokes by a dog. I realize this isn’t actually what happened (it’s based on a book after all), but I can’t help not liking it. Just give me the dog being a dog. Everything would be understood by what was shown on the screen. That’s what a movie is supposed to do. Besides that I think the only weird thing was that I didn’t cry during the film. It was basically a dog slaughter and yet nary a tear escaped my eye. That’s a failure in my book. I needs my sweet, sweet pathos. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! After months of meetings, editing, reshoots the film is finally here. The premier is a few weeks away, but you’re going to take the time from the office to relax a bit. The stars can handle the press junket … oh what’s this, my phone is ringing. The office? But … huh, controversy about the treatment of the dogs on your set, well that’ll probably blow over, right? Like 24 hours from now it’ll all be cleared up … right? Let’s get into it!
The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – The doggies are cute as usual. Can’t avoid that. I actually thought the transition from early 60’s to present day was super cool. Subtle enough that it isn’t really thrown in your face that there are 4 or 5 “periods” being pieced in the movie. The story was interesting at times, at least the parts not involving the main character Ethan. Did I mention the dogs were cute? Let’s see a Sequel. Or at least an idea of a sequel. We’ve completed the story of Ethan, so this thing can be a franchise! A whole universe! The dog’s purpose seemed to just be “stand by your owner no matter what, help them be the best they can be”. Great! That can be done with anyone. Let’s see one that starts now and then goes into the future. Let’s see one that starts in 1910 and goes through the depression and the world wars! It is a fine idea for a kind of “slice of Americana” or slowly shifting time frame. I wouldn’t mind it. Maybe you can try to not get a giant PR disaster to happen right before the movie is released.
The Bad (Sklognalogy) – Josh Gad adds nothing with his voice over work. It almost feels like an add on. Bailey doesn’t really have a personality, unlike Homeward Bound and others which do the same thing, here they go a bit too far into a “realistic” dog mind. In that his mind is rather simple and direct. Considering this is literally the main character and crux of the film this isn’t great. At least it isn’t very amusing. They also suggest his first “life” as a dog was just immediately getting killed, … if you’re going sickly sweet can we not have a puppy get murdered in the opening scene? Weirdly the Sklognalogy for the week is kind of the movie we just watched: The Space Between Us. Both are cloyingly sweet. Both are light, and intended to deliver a family friendly product. But yet I thought The Space Between Us was much better than this guy. This is a shadow of Homeward Bound, as I said, which holds a template on how to do the voice-over pet film (give them interesting personalities, really anthropomorphize them). Whereas The Space Between Us is kind of the be all end all of YA space romance films, which is why it is a bit more acceptable to me.
The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – There is likely no legacy for the film. This is becoming a trend with the year-end cycle I think. But that is kind of understandable. How many films have an impact on BMT every year? Ten? Twenty? Half of them? Considering we’ve now watched for seven years, that is somewhere in 100-200 films having an impact release between 1980 and now, about 40 years. So you’d think like 2.5-5 films a year. So most of a 9 film cycle won’t have any impact whatsoever I would imagine. We watch around 15 current-year films a year (4 Lives and 9 in the cycle, plus a few more likely) so when we cover those high impact films you’ll know it. This isn’t it. As for Street Cred the Telegraph puts it in the worst of the year (behind a paywall unfortunately, so no link), and Slate puts it in their bottom 20. It’ll get play in end of year lists for sure because of the controversy.
Was there a book? There was, right? Didn’t read it. Someday in the distant future maybe I will. I’ll put an Editor’s note here to tell me to add it to the archive when that happens … which will be never most likely.
Alright, well for all our faithful fans who were worried about the treacherous route we took through the Chain Reaction this year this is the main event. Last cycle we sunk all the way back to 1983 for Jaws 3-D and now we pop back 34 years later to the Dennis Quaid sad-fest A Dog’s Purpose. Probably not at the front of everyone’s mind when it comes to 2017 BMT films, but it is a qualifier and set us up nicely for next year’s chain. It also was for a brief time the most hated film in America when it was alleged that the film engaged in animal cruelty on set. This was ultimately proved incorrect, but it was enough to get the US premiere cancelled. Then everyone forgot about it. I cannot wait to bawl my eyes out watching a dog die over and over again. Sound like a blast. Let’s go!
A Dog’s Purpose (2017) – BMeTric: 9.9
(I straight up have never seen anything like this before. You can even see that the rating started at literally 1.0, everyone gave it a one. There were actually several days in which the rating was 1.0, but then they shut the page down again because people were piling on (I assume). It then makes its long slow trek to 7.0! This could be the highest rated film we’ve ever done (it isn’t, but it is darn close). Truly bizarre.)
RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – This movie has its moments—no movie with such an adorable array of pooches could not, plus Mr. Quaid, who in addition to being movie-star handsome is also a pretty good actor, sells his fifteen or so onscreen minutes. But the tonal weirdness and the philosophical fallacies and the general level of treacle did not sit very well with me. Then again, I have to admit I’m really more of a cat person
(The reviews for this film as obviously off because they were made literally days … weeks? after the abuse scandal broke. There is a question of whether any abuse happened in the end. But I’m sure I’ll have the same reaction: a little sickly sweet, but overall okay … if I didn’t have my doubts about the intentions of the film. I am much more of a dog person though, so …)
(I just got diabetes from that trailer. Sickly sweet. And I know I’m going to cry too. I’m not going to like this one at all.)
Directors – Lasse Hallström – (Known For: Hachi: A Dog’s Tale; What’s Eating Gilbert Grape; Chocolat; The Hundred-Foot Journey; Casanova; The Cider House Rules; Salmon Fishing in the Yemen; An Unfinished Life; The Shipping News; My Life as a Dog; The Hoax; Once Around; Future BMT: Something to Talk About; Dear John; BMT: Safe Haven; A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: Swedish. Was nominated for Best Director in 1988, notable as the first time the Best Director category was all non-Americans.)
Writers – W. Bruce Cameron (screenplay & based on the novel by) – (BMT: A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: The writer of the original book. He is in the process of adapting the sequel as well, A Dog’s Way Home.)
Cathryn Michon (screenplay) – (BMT: A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: Has been working with Cameron for his last few movies (Cook Off! and Muffin Top: A Musical). Prior to that she worked mostly on television, so possibly she met him when he worked on 8 Simple Rules.)
Audrey Wells (screenplay) – (Known For: Under the Tuscan Sun; George of the Jungle; The Kid; Shall We Dance; The Truth About Cats & Dogs; Guinevere; Future BMT: The Game Plan; BMT: A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: Seems to be a Kids’ Film and Romantic Comedy writer. She also directed Under the Tuscan Sun, which was her only major directorial effort.)
Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky (screenplay) – (Known For: Monsters vs. Aliens; Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days; Infinitely Polar Bear; The Rocker; The Polka King; Future BMT: Seeing Other People; BMT: A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: You knew there had to be a writing team when there are five writers attached. Wolodarsky producer and wrote for the Simpsons. Forbes produced and wrote for The Larry Sanders Show.)
Actors – Josh Gad – (Known For: Murder on the Orient Express; Beauty and the Beast; Frozen; Marshall; Angry Birds; Love & Other Drugs; Thanks for Sharing; The Rocker; Wish I Was Here; Future BMT: Marmaduke; The Internship; Ice Age: Continental Drift; 21; Crossing Over; BMT: Pixels; Jobs; The Wedding Ringer; A Dog’s Purpose; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor in 2016 for Pixels, and The Wedding Ringer; Notes: Probably in the news recently because of the 25 minute long “short” starring Olaf the snowman that was playing in front of Coco. Also was the star of The Book of Mormon in its original Broadway run in 2011.)
Dennis Quaid – (Known For: The Parent Trap; The Day After Tomorrow; Stripes; The Right Stuff; Traffic; Footloose; The Rookie; Innerspace; Any Given Sunday; Soul Surfer; DragonHeart; Wyatt Earp; Frequency; Enemy Mine; Breaking Away; Dreamscape; Truth; Far from Heaven; Postcards from the Edge; Suspect; Future BMT: Legion; Cold Creek Manor; Yours, Mine & Ours; Beneath the Darkness; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Horsemen; Something to Talk About; Flight of the Phoenix; The Alamo; Caveman; Undercover Blues; Vantage Point; Switchback; Wilder Napalm; Pandorum; All Night Long; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Movie 43; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Playing for Keeps; A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: Has a band called The Sharks, is a five-handicap golfer, and has a pilot’s license. This video makes his band seem … well, I’m sure they have their fans.)
Peggy Lipton – (Known For: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; True Identity; Future BMT: The Postman; Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects; BMT: When in Rome; A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: She was in the original and recent revival of Twin Peaks. Is the mother of Rashida Jones as well, who played Ann Perkins in Parks and Recreation.)
Budget/Gross – $22 million / Domestic: $64,321,890 (Worldwide: $196,200,124)
(Despite the controversy this was a giant success … how strange. For whatever reason I thought this completely bombed after it was torn apart for allegedly abusing dogs. It is weird to think that this would have been a much bigger deal only a year later. It this happened now this shit wouldn’t have even made it to theaters I think.)
(There were a few from this year here as well, the funniest being The Great Wall for “white-washing”. Controversy films make a chunk of change it turns out. I don’t want to say “outrage culture”, but they’ve gotten a lot more popular since 2000 … just saying.)
(Everyone loves doggies! Well … they like them less since 2010 it seems. Do you know which dog movie came out in 2010? That’s right, Marmaduke. Coincidence? Yuuuuuuup. Anyways, this comes in around 102 Dalmatians, which kind of tells you all you need to know.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 33% (43/130): A Dog’s Purpose offers an awkward blend of sugary sentiment and canine suffering that tugs at animal-loving audiences’ heartstrings with shameless abandon.
(I will almost certainly be crying during this film. If not, then it has failed because I’m a softy. Hopefully it won’t pull at my heartstrings any harder than Bing Bong did in Inside Out… I might melt.)
(Obviously great color and unique framing. Terrible font. Really bad choice. But otherwise I like what they decided to do here. Tells me everything I need to know.)
Tagline(s) – Every dog happens for a reason. (C+)
(Every dog happens… every dog… happens. Huh, that is really not rolling off the tongue. It’s short and gets at the idea of the film, but not super clever and weird phrasing. It seems like they should have been able to do better.)
Keyword(s) – reincarnation; Top Ten by BMeTric: 87.4 The Last Airbender (2010); 80.5 Dragon Wars (2007); 65.1 The Haunted Mansion (2003); 58.6 Jupiter Ascending (2015); 57.3 Little Nicky (2000); 54.0 The Return (I) (2006); 52.9 Lost Souls (2000); 51.4 Jack Frost (1998); 51.3 Tank Girl (1995); 50.3 Mannequin: On the Move (1991);
(Give me a little Fluuuuuuke … wait? No Fluke? I guess not that many people watched Fluke. Fair, but I think the story will have some passing similarities, so I’m still glad I watched Fluuuuuuke.)
Notes – Prior to theatrical release, controversy arose when behind-the-scenes footage surfaced and appeared to show a distressed dog being forcibly submerged into turbulent pool water during filming. As a result of the leaked footage, the filmmakers chose to cancel the U.S. premiere. However, it was announced on February 4, 2017 by the American Humane Association that the footage was misleadingly edited and no abuse had taken place. (I totally forgot about that. Wow.)
Bradley Cooper was originally slated to provide the voice of the titular dog; however, he was ultimately replaced with Josh Gad. (I love this fact. Would it have been the same script?… seems like wildly different choices).
The Maya segment of the film differs from the events in the book. In the book, Maya is a K9 officer who takes over handling Ellie after her first handler Jakob (Carlos in the film) is shot and injured by a kidnapper. In the movie, it is Ellie who is shot – fatally – by the kidnapper, then reincarnated as Tino the Corgi and adopted by Maya, a college student. (Damn, I forgot this was based on a book. I don’t think either of us will end up reading it. Are we losing our edge?).
Dennis Quaid plays adult Ethan, who was once starting quarterback with a full scholarship but was injured. In Everybody’s All-American (1988), Quaid played a star high school quarterback no longer playing. In Any Given Sunday (1999) he played a quarterback past his prime trying to relive his days. (We get it, Dennis Quaid. You love sports).
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?
‘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.
It’s been a strange year for the Romance film. While there is a major ongoing BMT saga in the Fifty Shades series, with Fifty Shades Darker coming in as a BMT Live! this year, there wasn’t much besides that. Even Nicholas Sparks seems to have taken himself out of the game. We basically found ourselves choosing between the Reese Witherspoon RomCom vehicle Home Again and the SciFi/Romance The Space Between Us. I think you know which one won that battle. That’s right! We’re watching the very rare SciFi/Romance film in The Space Between Us. This film is about a boy born on Mars who yearns only about experiencing Earth, but is denied that opportunity because his body wouldn’t handle our gravity… until he takes the matter into his own brittle-boned hands. I would have loved to save this film for a Set in the Future cycle (as romances are hard to come by), but alas. Guess we’ll just have to go with Heartbeeps instead. Let’s go!
The Space Between Us (2017) – BMeTric: 19.3
(The number of votes is a bit surprising and the rating is very surprising. Who watched this film? How does it end up being one of the worst opening of all time and then gets 30K votes on IMDb and decent enough (average at least) ratings. It makes no sense! This could be a mystery, but I think I have to watch the movie first to see if it is worth an investigation.)
RogerEbert.com – 2 stars – Butterfield and Robertson (who’s about 10 years too old to be playing a high-school student at this point) don’t exactly get sparkling dialogue with which to convince us of their burgeoning love. Neither does the score, which works overtime to make us feel all the feels. But hey, at least there’s an exploding barn. That’s something you don’t see on Mars every day.
(The score! I love when a score is all up in your face, it is the best. I think this film is going to be boring, but there is an outside shot it’ll be just silly and self-serious enough to keep me interested.)
(That … kind of looks interesting. Uh oh … this movie is going to be crazy boring isn’t it? How long is this? Two hours?! Goddamnit.)
Directors – Peter Chelsom – (Known For: Hannah Montana: The Movie; Serendipity; Shall We Dance; The Mighty; Funny Bones; Hear My Song; Future BMT: Town & Country; BMT: The Space Between Us; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director for Town & Country in 2002; Notes: British, his long career has seen him nominated for BAFTAs and Razzies. A classically trained actor originally he played alongside Patrick Stewart and Anthony Hopkins among the Royal Shakespeare company.)
Writers – Allan Loeb (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps; Rock of Ages; The Switch; Things We Lost in the Fire; Future BMT: So Undercover; Here Comes the Boom; 21; Collateral Beauty; The Only Living Boy in New York; BMT: The Dilemma; Just Go with It; The Space Between Us; Notes: His story seems very inspiring. He was struggling and almost bankrupt when he moved to New York, joined Gambler’s Anonymous, and developed the script for The Only Living Boy in New York. This sparked his career despite only just having being produced this year.)
Stewart Schill (story by) – (BMT: The Space Between Us; Notes: Almost exclusively a television editor of all things. He’s managed to earn just about one writing credit every ten years. I assume him and Lewis punch up in their spare time.)
Richard Barton Lewis (story by) – (BMT: The Space Between Us; Notes: Almost exclusively a producer (including being the Executive Producer of The Outer Limits), it is interesting he’s a writer here as this is his first writing credit it nearly twenty years.)
Actors – Gary Oldman – (Known For: Darkest Hour; The Dark Knight; Dracula; Léon: The Professional; The Dark Knight Rises; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; True Romance; Batman Begins; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; The Fifth Element; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; The Book of Eli; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; A Christmas Carol; Lawless; JFK; RoboCop; Air Force One; Future BMT: The Unborn; Lost in Space; Paranoia; Planet 51; Man Down; Criminal; Criminal Law; Quest for Camelot; Child 44; Hannibal; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: Red Riding Hood; The Scarlet Letter; Tiptoes; The Space Between Us; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; Notes: Most of the recent news concerning him is about the Oscar buzz for Darkest Hour where he plays Winston Churchill. He also just got married for a fifth time.)
Asa Butterfield – (Known For: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children; Hugo; The Boy in the Striped Pajamas; Ender’s Game; Journey’s End; Nanny McPhee Returns; A Brilliant Young Mind; 10,000 Saints; Son of Rambow; Future BMT: The Wolfman; BMT: The Space Between Us; Notes: He broke onto the scene in Son of Rambow, but Hugo was his biggest role in his young career. Born on April Fool’s Day and a supporter of Arsenal (booooo).)
Carla Gugino – (Known For: Man of Steel; Gerald’s Game; Watchmen; San Andreas; Sin City; American Gangster; Spy Kids; Night at the Museum; This Boy’s Life; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Faster; Race to Witch Mountain; Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams; Snake Eyes; Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael; Mr. Popper’s Penguins; The Lookout; Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco; Miami Rhapsody; Match; Future BMT: The Unborn; Rise: Blood Hunter; Michael; Elektra Luxx; The One; Son in Law; Righteous Kill; Troop Beverly Hills; The Singing Detective; Women in Trouble; Every Day; I Melt with You; The Center of the World; Even Money; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Hotel Noir; BMT: New Year’s Eve; Sucker Punch; The Space Between Us; Notes: Was turned on to acting by her aunt Carol Merrill, who, oddly I think, was really only a model on Let’s Make a Deal where she made $77 an episode.)
Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $7,885,294 (Worldwide: $14,793,385)
(A catastrophe. It is rare that what amounts to a YA romance is so reviled and gets released so widely when it looks to be a disaster.)
(The genre is a-boomin’ and making a ton of cash. But what I’m interested in is the boom period in the early 2000s where the genre was still not making much money. 2002 in particular is crazy: Star Trek: Nemesis; Treasure Planet; The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Star Wars Episode II – Attack of the Clones; The Time Machine. Woof.)
(This chart is quite interesting. We’ve only seen three of the films above this one, although we’ll hit three or four of the others in the future for sure. Sometimes these films are just not even on the radar though. Like Won’t Back Down. Ludicrous trailer, but I doubt we ever bother with it.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (19/118): The Space Between Us strands its star-crossed young lovers in a mind-numbingly vast expanse of shameless cheese that will send all but the most forgiving viewers eye-rolling for the exits.
(I had to read this consensus twice. Am I going crazy or does it not make a lick of sense? I think “mind-numbingly vast expanse” just rubs me the wrong way. Seems like it could be fun though. Like Safe Haven maybe? A boy can dream.)
(Nice artistic poster here with the moon as part of the text and an astronaut standing in a field of flowers. Not super cohesive otherwise.)
Tagline(s) – What’s Your Favorite Thing About Earth? (D)
(Ha! I guess I never thought about it. Maybe the air. Probably the air. It’s nice to breath and it makes the sky and sunsets and maybe gives you a nice breeze on a sweaty summer day. Certainly my favorite thing about Earth does not include this tagline. I could do without this nonsense.)
Keyword(s) – mars; Top Ten by BMeTric: 66.9 Ghosts of Mars (2001); 46.1 The Last Days on Mars (2013); 46.0 Mission to Mars (2000); 45.5 Mars Needs Moms (2011); 44.6 Approaching the Unknown (2016); 41.7 Red Planet (2000); 40.8 Ice Age: Collision Course (2016); 30.6 Avalanche Sharks (2014); 24.8 RocketMan (1997); 21.6 Stranded (2001);
(Wow, at least we hit up the number one. Mission to Mars, Red Planet, and maaaaybe RocketMan are on the docket I would say. Mars Needs Moms … we’ll probably have to figure out a way to choke that pile of garbage down at some point, but I don’t want to. Kind of like this weird list, just wonky.)
Notes – The original title of The Space Between Us was Out of This World.
In the scene where Gardner arrive on Earth, the space suit masks, worn by some of the scientists, are actually a brand of full face snorkel masks. (Not a surprise, I feel like I know exactly what these look like)
Highland High school in Albuquerque was used in some scenes, during school hours which caused a hassle between school administrators and the State Film commission (Oh that sounds awful)
Spaceport America in New Mexico hosted their first movie shoot. There were over 400 crew, actors and extras at the spaceport during the shoot.
With less than a month to go before its debut, STX Entertainment has changed “The Space Between Us” release date from December 16, 2016 to February 3, 2017. This will take the sci-fi drama out of the competitive holiday movie season into the less crowded mid-winter timetable where it will open against the horror sequel “Rings”. (What what)
The Space Between Us is the second space-related movie Asa Butterfield has started in, Ender’s Game being the first.
Just after the video call with Tulsa, Gardner is watching a movie left by one of the German scientists. That movie is “Wings of Desire.”
Cameo appearances by YouTube stars Joey Graceffa and Lele Pons during the classroom scene (boooooooooooo)
The Space Between Us stars Britt Robertson, who had also starred in a major role in Tomorrowland. Both movies involve futurology and “illegal” adventures.
Both Asa Butterfield and Janet Montgomery were in BBC’s Merlin as Mordred and Mithian. (Yeah, I didn’t realize Butterfield was in Merlin … my dog has watched every episode twice if that is worth anything (spoiler: it isn’t)).
Britt Robertson also plays a role in the 2-season TV show “Life Unexpected”. In both roles, she plays a foster child who is seeking emancipation.
In Ender’s Game, Asa Butterfield played Ender who had a second in command named Bean. From the Ender’s Game novels, Bean was a baby who was born as part of an illegal experiment, was highly intelligent, was reunited with his biological family, grew to extreme proportions with an over sized heart that would eventually kill him in Earth gravity, left behind the woman he loved, and went into space to prolong his life. This mirrors much of the story of The Space Between Us. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat I’ve read Ender’s Game but I didn’t know the backstory to Bean. Thanks random IMDb note, spoiler alert).