Death Wish (2018) Recap

Jamie

When Dr. Paul Kersey’s wife is killed and daughter seriously injured in a botched robbery he becomes obsessed by the idea of getting justice in a world filled with injustice. He buys all kinds of guns and starts killing people. Will the police be able to stop this madman before it’s too late?… wait, that’s not what this is about!?! Find out in… Death Wish.

How?! Dr. Paul Kersey has the perfect life, the perfect daughter, the perfect wife, and the perfect deadbeat red herring of a brother. They are all having a perfect time not fighting or killing people until one day a botched robbery leaves his wife dead and daughter in a coma. With his sense of justice broken, Paul gets a gun by illicit means and begins to practice using it. One day he ventures into a bad part of town and upon witnessing a crime in progress proceeds to murder a couple of people. We are meant to wonder whether these people perhaps deserved to be murdered by an armed vigilante (hint: no). Anyway, high off satisfying his bloodlust, Paul continues to look for opportunities to kill people. He eventually finds another target in a drug dealer named the Ice Cream Man and the legend of Paul’s anonymous persona The Grim Reaper grows. Apparently though, Paul was actually just using those people as target practice (cool) because he then stumbles upon a clue that leads him to those responsible for the destruction of his family and that immediately becomes his primary focus. He proceeds to murder all of those people, but is injured in trying to kill the ringleader, Knox. Just at that moment his daughter awakens from her coma so he knows he’ll have to stop killing people without remorse. So he sets up the bad guys for one final climactic battle and blows them all away with legally purchased firearms. The police come and are like “Cool beans, bro.” THE END.

Why?! Paul wants revenge plain and simple. But since he doesn’t know who harmed his family he takes out his vengeance on those that he can find. Unlike the original this is all thrown away when he gets the opportunity to kill those that are responsible for the crime against his family. It’s made pretty clear, pretty quickly that he will stop once he gets his true vengeance.

Who?! Several prominent radio hosts appear in this film to demonstrate “serious arguments” about the merits of a serial killer roaming the streets of Chicago. A real life Dexter is prowling about and Sway and Mancow have to sit there and be like “But like, isn’t this serial killer good because he kills bad dudes or something?” Obviously Mancow was actually defending that idea because he is trash while Sway chose to go uncredited.

What?! Watches come up often in BMT action films, usually to identify someone on surveillance video (Exit Wounds), identify that someone is corrupt (Baywatch), or just to look super rad (The Expendables series). So when Bruce Willis had a couple watches stolen in this film I was like *product placement alert*. I turned out to be wrong though as I didn’t realize that by being in so many action films Bruce Willis has himself turned into a watch fanatic. So those two watches? A Rolex Yacht-Master and Panerai Radiomir straight out of his personal collection. Wowzer.

Where?! ChiTown, baby. Obviously this film uses the tragic gun violence in Chicago to further its pro-vigilante narrative, which is great. On a positive note they go out of their way to give a super exact address for Paul’s house: 20 Dorset Rd., Evanston, IL. A.

When?! We also get an Exact Date Alert for this guy as Paul gets a look at the murder board in the office of the detective working his wife’s case. They spell out explicitly that the murder occured on 26th of April, 2017 at 8:36 PM and so all events are centered around that. A.

This movie is obviously bad and not because it is a poorly made film. Sure the acting is some rough stuff most of the time, but the film itself is polished and adeptly made. It’s bad because it has a terrible message made for terrible people. The original film is actually more shocking in how explicitly it plays with the idea of an upper-class white professional being confronted by a world of crime that has generally not touched him in his life. We get a picture of a broken man whose only pleasure in life is the notoriety he gets from lashing out at the anonymous criminals who wrecked his family because he knows he will never see true justice. You get a sense that he assumes he will die in this pursuit, but when confronted with arrest instead he gives it up. In the new film this is all thrown away. Yes, Bruce Willis is lashing out, but in a much more “white knight” type of way. For example, he finds the Ice Cream Man because a young patient of his has been hurt by him. In the end even this is thrown away for a more cliched storyline where Bruce Willis hunts down those responsible for the original crime. While this is supposed to make it all the more palatable for a viewer it made it worse in my view because it seemed like they were trying to make me be like “yeah, vigilantes are good.” They aren’t. Sorry. Also it’s necessarily built on a pyramid of coincidences that cheapened whatever terrible message they were going for. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Bruce Willis wishes for only one thing. Well … fine, first he wishes for an easy paycheck that requires little to no acting. But a close second comes “death”. He’s got that death wish bro. Let’s get into it!

The Good – It ended up being a little kinder to the main character about his motivations (nearly all of the people he killed had something to do with his wife’s murder) in this current film. It is obvious when they do it, but they also manage to do an okay job with head faking you with the brother, and also explaining how Willis avoids detection by the police.

P’s View on the Preview – What else could you possibly care about with this film? I needed to see how weirdly pro-vigilante it ended up being and whether it was just wink-wink pro-gun, or blatant with catering to that audience. I will never begrudge whatever film tastes people have, and if that is seeing over-the-hill action stars shooting large guns at people then so be it. But that plus vigilante worship was going to be a one way ticket to me disliking this movie. So that’s all I really cared about.

The Bad – The film comes across as far more pro-vigilante than the original. The original you can kind of see he’s a monster who gets off on it. He doesn’t even bother to try and figure out who hurt his family. He kind of just dumps his daughter in a hospital eventually to go blow randos away. In this one he’s killing people he knows hurt his family and the public and police are both kind of rooting for him. It is weird shit. Bruce Willis just sleepwalks through the entire film as one would expect. None of the bad guys have motivations beyond “I want to kill innocent people for money please.” Like … a smash and grab B & E crew would typically just run when people come home, not wait around to get themselves a murder conviction. But whatever.

You Just Got Schooled – Hey a real one. So I did watch the original Death Wish which was … still weird. The background as I understand it is very similar to Dirty Harry. The original concept was meant to condemn a universal evil (vigilantism for Death Wish, cops working outside the rules with Dirty Harry), but ultimately either because of interference or general mismanagement both muddle things enough that audiences were like “these guys are awesome!” In both cases the creators were horrified and wrote a sequel directly condemning the actions. With Magnum Force (Dirty Harry 2) it is pretty explicit: the dirty cops are the bad guys, they are Dirty Harry but without the charm or protagonist shield. I think you have to get it: working outside the rules makes everyone less safe not more. As for Death Wish 2, the book makes it pretty obvious in exactly the same way (the main character has to hunt down a copycat vigilante to stop the madness), but apparently the films just ignore that and eventually Charles Bronson is blowing up gangbangers with bazookas … so lesson not learned. Did I like the original Death Wish? I thought it was interesting, like I thought the original Mechanic was interesting. But I’m not sold on Bronson. He comes across as an old school Seagal basically, you can’t believe they exist in the world without people constantly exclaiming “Who is this weirdo?!” Still excited to watch the rest of the series though.

The BMT – Ehhhh, I love that it has opened the door for the entire Death Wish series. Charles Bronson is one of those old school actors which seems influential in how someone like Steven Seagal eventually shaped his career. But would 2018 Death Wish stand on its own? Only in a gross way. I would have preferred to pair it with Peppermint, but that hadn’t been released to DVD at the time of viewing. Then I would have emphatically gushed about its influences on BMT as the first ever non-series BONUS ever. Instead I will will it from my brain and forget I ever watched it.

Welcome to Earf – A shockingly tough one, I had to remind myself that Bruce Willis was in both Death Wish and A Bonfire of the Vanities with Morgan Freeman, who narrated Conan the Barbarian with Ron Perlman, who starred in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – It makes lists based on critic score at least. And it does get some major cred from the mere fact that is was notoriously poorly timed, as noted here. And a film like this could have passed under the radar is not for that I think. But because of the terrible timing it managed to get number five on Kermode’s midseason list which is pretty impressive. It’s got the cred we love to see.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

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Death Wish (2018) Quiz

Death Wish! You know I love three things in life: Bruce Willis, guns, and vigilante justice. Fine … I only like one of those things (no, not guns! Bruce Willis of course). Let’s get into it!

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) What school does Bruce Willis’ brilliant and beautiful daughter get into at the beginning of the film?

2) What did Elizabeth Shue, Bruce Willis’ wife, get Willis for his birthday?

3) Bruce Willis learns the way of the vigilante from his father-in-law. What event on the father’s land makes Willis think of doing things his own way?

4) D’Onofrio plays Willis’ brother, who seems to often be in a tight spot. What is his deal? Like why does he need Bruce’s money and shit?

5) Approximately how many people does Bruce Willis kill during the course of the film? I’m not going to get it perfectly, but I have a decent guess I think. We’ll count anyone who dies in the course of his misdeed effectively.

Answers

Death Wish (2018) Preview

As Jamie and Patrick eat some mega ice cream cones and take in the wonderful doggies at the Premier Dog Show they just feel thankful that they don’t have to deal with any vampires or interdimensional cops for a moment. Just time to relax to the max and wear some rad sunglasses while taking in all that Nashville,TN has to offer. As the show is wrapping up and the world famous Arf Collector Von Schnauzer is about to win again (duh), the #1 dog in the world is snatched up by a bunch of thieves who parkour their way out of the arena. Jamie and Patrick shake their heads at each other as if to say “Here we go again.” Hot on the trail of the parkour fiends they eventually corner them in a darkened alleyway. “Let him go, scumbags, and we might not have to use our twin powers on you.” Laughing, the head thief grabs Von Schnauzer and makes the tiniest nick in his ear. “Bwahaha, he shall never win another show again,” and they grab his diamond studded dog collar and parkour out of the alley. Concerned only for the safety of Von Schnauzer, Jamie and Patrick rush over. He’s fine, but his economic livelihood had taken a serious hit. With tears streaming down their faces both Jamie and Patrick lift the hoods of their sweatshirts simultaneously to declare, “you just created some twin vigilantes, mother…” That’s right! We’re watching Death Wish, the Bruce Willis remake of a Charles Bronson classic. It’s supposed to be terrible and offensive and more or less a walking advertisement for guns. Great! Let’s go!

Death Wish (2018) – BMeTric: 20.0

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(I probably shouldn’t be terribly surprised that this film is basically “above average”, but I still, somehow, am. It is pretty interesting that what I would call “average” gets a 20 BMeTric. I think this does, ultimately, make sense. The way we do it currently kind of suggests a 20 is very borderline, and could either be a good or bad movie. I tend to specifically hunt for 50+, with 25+ kind of representing a minor cutoff. The rating will tumble as well.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  Eli Roth’s remake of “Death Wish,” starring Bruce Willis as a surgeon tracking the criminals who murdered his wife and put his daughter in a coma, is either the film we need right now or the film we absolutely don’t need. It depends on whether you think the movie’s self-aware take on vigilante daydreams speak deep and eternal truths about manhood, or reheat macho white guy fantasies of urban badassery that were questionable when Charles Bronson first incarnated them back in 1974.

(Yeah … that is basically what it seems like. The author of the book was pretty upset about the original somewhat glorifying vigilante justice. To bring it back during what could be described as a mass shooting epidemic seemed to require a delicate hand. Which doesn’t exactly describe Eli Roth.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsPLw7I06eY

(Poor music choice I think. Definitely comes across as very pro-vigilante. I’m glad they tipped the shock jock part as that is quite a large part of the film in general, and also probably its worst aspect for me. I think you have to be ready to buy into morning zoo nonsense to really “accept” the film as it is presented.)

Directors – Eli Roth – (Known For: The House with a Clock in Its Walls; Inglourious Basterds; Hostel; Cabin Fever; Hostel: Part II; Grindhouse; Future BMT: Knock Knock; The Green Inferno; BMT: Death Wish; Notes: Arguably ushered in an era of torture porn in horror films. Played The Bear Jew in Inglourious Basterds.)

Writers – Joe Carnahan (screenplay by) – (Known For: The A-Team; The Grey; Stretch; Narc; Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane; Future BMT: Smokin’ Aces; Pride and Glory; BMT: Death Wish; Notes: One of the writers for Bad Boys for Lif3 … you didn’t read that wrong, the third Bad Boys film has the number three instead of an “e” in the word “life”. Is the brother of Matthew Michael Carnahan.)

Brian Garfield (from the novel by) – (Known For: Death Wish; The Stepfather; Hopscotch; Future BMT: Death Wish V: The Face of Death; The Stepfather; Death Wish 4: The Crackdown; Death Wish 3; Death Wish II; Stepfather II; Death Sentence; BMT: Death Wish; Notes: Grisham credits him for helping him write The Firm via his Ten Rules For Suspense Fiction.)

Wendell Mayes (based on the 1974 motion picture by) – (Known For: The Poseidon Adventure; Death Wish; Anatomy of a Murder; In Harm’s Way; The Spirit of St. Louis; North to Alaska; Von Ryan’s Express; The Enemy Below; Advise & Consent; Future BMT: Monsignor; BMT: Death Wish; Notes: Died in 1992 and hadn’t written anything of consequence since the early 80s. Interesting that he would get a credit here as it is arguably just a re-adaptation of the book.)

Actors – Bruce Willis – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Split; The Sixth Sense; Unbreakable; Die Hard; Sin City; Le cinquième élément; Moonrise Kingdom; Twelve Monkeys; Looper; Death Becomes Her; Die Hard 4.0; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Ocean’s Twelve; RED; The Expendables; Grindhouse; Planet Terror; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; Alpha Dog; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Too; Vice; The Cold Light of Day; The Prince; Extraction; Lay the Favorite; Breakfast of Champions; Precious Cargo; Cop Out; First Kill; Once Upon a Time in Venice; Fire with Fire; Perfect Stranger; Marauders; Acts of Violence; Striking Distance; Reprisal; Rock the Kasbah; The Story of Us; Blind Date; Mercury Rising; Loaded Weapon 1; Billy Bathgate; Surrogates; Sunset; The Jackal; Last Man Standing; Armageddon; Tears of the Sun; Hostage; Four Rooms; Grand Champion; BMT: North; A Good Day to Die Hard; Color of Night; The Whole Ten Yards; The Bonfire of the Vanities; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Hudson Hawk; Death Wish; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Winner for Worst Actor in 1999 for Armageddon, Mercury Rising, and The Siege; and Nominee for Worst Actor in 1992 for Hudson Hawk; and in 1995 for Color of Night, and North; Notes: Y’all know Bruce Willis. Most of the recent news is about him selling a home in Idaho for $5+ million, and his vintage hot rod just went up for auction. It doesn’t look like he is having financial issues, although his recent film choices suggest otherwise perhaps. He has five daughters from his two marriages.)

Vincent D’Onofrio – (Known For: Full Metal Jacket; Jurassic World; The Magnificent Seven; Sinister; Men in Black; The Cell; Mystic Pizza; Escape Plan; Ed Wood; JFK; The Judge; Adventures in Babysitting; Brooklyn’s Finest; Strange Days; Kill the Irishman; Run All Night; The Player; El Camino Christmas; Cadillac Records; Chained; Future BMT: Fire with Fire; The Break-Up; Feeling Minnesota; Ass Backwards; Hustlers; Dying Young; Impostor; Chelsea Walls; The Velocity of Gary; Don’t Go in the Woods; Staten Island; The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman; Broken Horses; In Dubious Battle; The Winner; The Salute of the Jugger; BMT: Rings; CHIPS; Stuart Saves His Family; Death Wish; Notes: Can’t get enough of the D’Onofrio. Best known for his early role in Full Metal Jacket and then later for his long running lead role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. It’s been a veritable D’Onfrissance lately with CHIPS, Rings, and Death Wish in the last year or so.)

Elisabeth Shue – (Known For: Battle of the Sexes; The Karate Kid; Back to the Future Part II; Piranha 3D; Leaving Las Vegas; Back to the Future Part III; Adventures in Babysitting; Mysterious Skin; City of Angels; Tuck Everlasting; Soapdish; Hope Springs; Heart and Souls; Deconstructing Harry; Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story; The Trigger Effect; Gracie; Hamlet 2; Twenty Bucks; Underneath; Future BMT: Behaving Badly; House at the End of the Street; Hollow Man; Hide and Seek; The Saint; Palmetto; Molly; Link; Don McKay; BMT: Cocktail; The Marrying Man; Death Wish; Notes: The always beautiful Elisabeth Shue actually graduated from Harvard with a degree in Government. Nominated for an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $34,017,028 (Worldwide: $34,017,028)

(Wait … the budget was $30 million? Why? What a disaster. Who decided that was a good idea?)

#15 for the Action Remake genre

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(Rollerball, Get Carter, Point Break, and Red Dawn are the big four. And we’ve seen three of those already! Action remakes are in a lull, probably because most action films are either franchises or adaptations at the moment, so there isn’t much room to remake the classic action films of … the 90s I guess? All of the remakes on this list are 70s and 80s, and the list is also surprisingly short, so maybe there just is no need to remake action films or something.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (24/141): Death Wish is little more than a rote retelling that lacks the grit and conviction of the original — and also suffers from spectacularly bad timing.

(You know, I think this nails it (against all odds). It really is the conviction that manages to win you over a bit with the original. Here it seems like it is trying to play both sides. Winking when trying to convince itself it isn’t gross, and being gross when it wants its target audience to cheer. Reviewer Highlight: Vigilante dad rock. – Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com)

Poster – Gun Porn: The Movie (A)

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(This font is perfection. It’s exactly the type of creativity that I’m looking for. I also like the staging and artistry of the poster with a hit of red as the dominant color. Still needed a small bit more for the A+, but this is very good.)

Tagline(s) – How Far Would You Go To Protect Your Family? (F)

(I give this an F for the fact that it is terrible and has nothing to do with the film. Bruce Willis’ family is killed/seriously injured in a botched robbery while he is at work. So… how does becoming a vigilante after the fact “protect his family?” Also, even if he had a shitload of guns at the time, he wasn’t home, so… Oh, and also if the night had went as planned then he and his family would have been out to eat together when the robbery occurred, so guns would have played no factor other than being something that might have been stolen in the robbery… I need to stop because this is nonsense.)

Keyword(s) – remake; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.6 The Wicker Man (2006); 89.0 The Last Airbender (2010); 86.9 Left Behind (I) (2014); 86.1 The Avengers (1998); 85.8 Fantastic Four (2015); 85.1 The Fog (2005); 84.5 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 83.7 Rollerball (2002); 82.6 Inspector Gadget (1999); 82.2 Prom Night (I) (2008);

(Well … Super Mario Bros. isn’t a remake … and neither is Inspector Gadget really. So Prom Night is the only one we are missing. Hooray? This keyword is a mess and makes me wonder why I even bother.)

Notes – During a torture scene, Bruce Willis comments saying it’s “the most pain a human can endure before going into cardiac arrest”. This was discovered by scientists of Unit 731 (a covert biological and chemical warfare R&D; unit of the Imperial Japanese Army during WW II) who experimented with various ways to torture someone without killing them by actually torturing prisoners of war. (ugh)

Eli Roth spent a lot of time with Chicago detectives to get the details of the police district (station) correct. In the film in the corner of an open murder case board appears a card that says “We’re gonna need a bigger board,” a reference to the famous Jaws (1975) line “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” This was something Roth actually saw on a board in the police captain’s office. (ugh)

Eli Roth wanted the film to be a modern, contemporary take on the story and used morning radio DJs Sway in the Morning and Mancow Muller as a Greek chorus to comment on the violence and function as the film’s moral compass. Roth wanted the scenes to feel totally authentic, and sent them the situations and let the DJs film and direct themselves and comment how they would naturally as if it was happening. Roth also used viral videos, memes, and the urban gossip site mediatakeout, which director Roth is a fan of. Roth wanted to show the reactions the way they would really happen, making the point that tragic violence becomes a internet meme within hours. (Oh god, I’m going to hate this film)

Originally set to star Sylvester Stallone, however Stallone backed out after “creative differences” and to work on other projects. (Honestly would have made a whole lot more sense with him)

Although not credited, Dean Georgaris re-wrote the screenplay from page one with director Eli Roth. There were nine writers on the screenplay by the final shooting draft, and the Writer’s Guild ultimately decided to give Joe Carnahan sole credit despite the fact almost none of his dialogue remained in the final version of the film. (The mystery of the writer’s guild)

In the original Death Wish (1974), Charles Bronson’s Paul Kersey character’s profession was an architect. In this remake, Bruce Willis’ Paul Kersey character’s profession is now a surgeon. (Which I believe is in the original book? Although I could be wrong)

Eli Roth cast Camila Morrone in the lead role of Jordan Kersey despite her never having acted in a feature film before. Roth met Morrone with her mother Lucila Solá in 2011 at the Ischia Global Film Festival, and Roth thought she would be perfect for the role. After shooting the movie, Morrone signed with agency WME and booked two other films. (Wait … who is this person? No seriously … who is this person?)

Eli Roth met with Chicago musician Chance the Rapper before shooting to discuss violence in Chicago and talk about possibly collaborating on the film musically. Although the collaboration did not happen, Chance’s brother Taylor Benett’s appears in the opening montage of radio calls, talking with Sway in the Morning about violence in Chicago. (coooool)

Eli Roth and actress Camila Morrone did the “snowball challenge” all throughout shooting during the cold, snowy winter. The challenge was to ask a serious question during a scene but then suddenly throw a snowball in the other’s face and post it on social media. Roth was nearly always the recipient of said snowball, posted to Morrone’s 1 million fans on social media. (Jesus, these notes are nuts? And why are there so many of them? Because it is a Roth film?)

After the debut of the film’s first theatrical trailer, it sparked criticism from left-wing journalists and film critics, with many criticizing the film as “alt-right” and “racist”, due to the film’s premise and setting. (Which is probably is though? Like … even the original film is pretty much exactly that?)

This is a remake of Death Wish (1974) which was widely considered to be star Charles Bronson’s breakout role as a major action hero.

When the original was made in 1974 New York was the murder capital of the United States and had one of the highest crime rates. When this version was made murders and in New York their murder rate and crime rate had significantly dropped and Chicago had become the city with the highest murder and crime rate in the country setting records in 2016 and 2017 and a record over a three year span from 2016-2018.

Show Dogs Recap

Jamie

Frank and Max boy are a odd police pairing. That’s because one is a human and the other is a *gulp* dog?! WHAAA?! That’s right, and they’re on the trail of a stolen panda straight into a super prestigious dog show. Can they steal the show and nab the bad guys before it’s too late? Fine out in… Show Dogs.

How?! Max is NYPD and Frank is FBI. But that’s not the only thing different about them. That’s because Max is a police dog who talks (kinda) and Frank is a human who can’t stand dogs. Gaaahhhh! So when they’re paired up to recover a stolen panda from an exclusive dog show they are like “No way.” But then they realize as they try to navigate a world foreign to both of them that they need each other to solve the case. They soon realize that the bad guys are targeting the Best in Show winner to sell on the black market (along with that panda) and know that they will need to win the big one to keep on the trail. By tricks and wily street smarts they are able to make it to the best in show competition, only to have the sexy female dog lead (and boy is she a sexy dog… which makes like three sexy dog films we’ve watched recently… bizarre) win instead. In a mad dash they track her and the bad guys to an airplane where they take them all out and win the day. THE END.

Why?! It’s more about finding love and acceptance in this world both professionally and personally, you know? For real, Max has spent his life as a macho but lonely police dog that doesn’t need a human “best friend’s” help. He’s a good cop in his own right, but ends up finding that teamwork makes the dream work (I just made that up, myself. A Jamie original). Frank seems more like a bozo that doesn’t like dogs but then finds that he does and also that he like the dog grooming lady… honestly his character is much more shallow than the dog characters. The bad guys just want some sweet cash.

Who?! Luda! That’s right, Ludacris is the voice of the titular show dag, Max. Another Singer-turned-actor, Jordin Sparks, is the sexy dog Daisy. Shaq plays a dog that actually makes a joke about being Shaq. Hilarious. There is also a Planchet-type dog that follows Max around voiced by Gabriel Iglesias who at this point seems to have become a voice actor… seriously, it’s pretty much every credit he’s had for the last few years.

What?! This is a walking, talking, (woofing?) advertisement for Las Vegas including a scene where people seem totally not confused by a couple of dogs out on a date ziplining around the city. How did they pay for that? Or was it some cruel joke played by some evil zipline employees on two unsuspecting (but surprisingly game) dogs?

Where?! As stated above this is not only very specifically set in Las Vegas but it inexplicably shares the exact same plot as the original Miss Congeniality (whose sequel was also set in Las Vegas). This film lives and breathes Vegas. I could give it an honorary A+ since Show Dogs is clearly a play on Showgirls and so it’s basically in the title. But it’s not, so it’s an A.

When?! Exact Date Alert!… kinda! This film is a rare case of messed up props indicating two distinct dates for when the film takes place. Signs can be seen around the dog show stating that it is taking place July 13-16. However at the end (immediately following the end of the show) the bad guy gets a mug shot which says he was arrested on September 18th, 2017. Are we to believe that he was arrested two months later while still showing fresh injuries from the tiger attack/plane crash/fist fight that happened on July 16th? I can only suspend my disbelief so much!!!! B.

Short version of the review: this film runs like someone is writing it in real time. There was moments where a dog would be like ‘I need your help.” and another dog would be like “you don’t have the passion for dog shows, so no.” and then the first dog would be like “come on! I need your help.” and the other dog would be like “you just might have what it takes.” I had to rewind these segments to make sure I didn’t miss something. I didn’t. Perhaps they just filmed a bunch of dogs and had people improvise on top of the footage for a while. So like a dog would walk somewhere and they would make up a reason why, but then it would walk back so they would reverse course and start something new. I’ve convinced myself. This is what happened (hint: this is probably not what happened). Anyway, this film looks like it was made as a parody trailer for part of a larger, funnier film and… basically that’s what the entire film ends up like. It’s trash for children. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We watched Show Dogs. Yup … that’s right, we sat down, and we watched the film Show Dogs. It went through my eyes and bored deep into my brain pushing out precious memories, presumably of my friends and family. May God have mercy on my soul. Let’s get into it.

The Good – I like doggies. Doggies are often cute. And I’m sure these doggies had a ton of fun playing around with the other doggies and doing doggie things. I enjoy it when bad films are in Las Vegas because Las Vegas is a ludicrous place filled with ludicrous things and you can just imagine the entire production crew getting smashed every night and also having a ton of fun.

P’s View on the Preview – This is widely considered to be the worst film of the year (see below), and really the only thing of interest for me was about the talking dogs. Could the humans hear the dogs? The trailer made it actually rather unclear (surprisingly). How would the CGI look? How much would Will Arnett care about anything that is happening around him? All fascinating questions!

The Bad – The CGI often looked fine, but also on occasion looked terrible. The humans couldn’t hear the dogs, although the suggestion that the dogs had human level intelligence begged all sorts of other questions. Could they vote? Are they being kept as slaves of some kind? It made the ending very disturbing as the lady dog is basically almost sold into sex slavery. Speaking on that some more: sexy dog alert. Why?! Why do they do this to us? Why must there be romantic subplots in films about dogs or any animals at all? Honestly, I’m imploring them to stop this as soon as possible. Will Arnett was fine, even if he did have a very weird accent in the film and seemed very bored.

You Just Got Schooled – I might as well take the opportunity (again) to point out that this is a rare film that was edited while it was still in theaters. You see, they may have (just a bit, totally accidentally) used a child molestation grooming technique as a joke in the film. I’m not joking. Basically, one of the main barriers Max has to get past in the group stage (!) is to allow this to happen (despite his protests) by going to a zen place. Fun fact: that entire group stage scene must have been replaced with the agility contest, which is an incredibly misplaced and strange scene. That explains it. I bet the agility course was a separate “for fun” event they then recut into a part of the actual competition defying all sense and logic. Finally, the puzzle that is Show Dogs is clicking into place.

The BMT – A few years ago I think we hesitate on this one. I think now it definitely had to be done, and I think the more kids films I do the more I get the hang of the amusing tropes they have. Like sexy animals. Like … I think we’ve watched three films with sexy dogs this year. It is weird. Just … so weird.

Welcome to Earf – There are quite a few paths from this film. The easiest is via Shaquille O’Neal who played a sheepdog named Karma who was also in Grown Ups 2 with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – Here, here, and number one (!) here. I disagree with the assessment provided, I don’t think it the leading candidate for the Razzie. I think Fifty Shades Freed will get the nod as a kind of Return of the King special Oscar deal. Still, cred up the wazoo.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Show Dogs Quiz

Once upon a time I was basically like … obsessed with dogs. I knew a ton about them. Now? Well, I bet I would fail this quiz. That’s right, it’s a pop quiz about that movie you watched Show Dogs!

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) How do Frank (Will Arnett) and Max (voiced by Ludacris) end up being partners in the beginning of the film?

2) In order to better blend in Max recruits Philippe, a former champion show dog, to help train him. Why was Philippe thrown out of competitive show … dogging?

3) Similarly, what is Mattie’s (who is showing Daisy, Max’s dog love interest) secret past which makes her perfect in aiding the investigation?

4) There are three sections to the dog show, name them.

5) In the end the dastardly Gabriel is behind the animal smuggling operation. What three animals do we see him smuggling in a small prop plane out of Las Vegas?

Answers

Show Dogs Preview

Awakened by the stench of Frang, Jamie and Patrick are stunned to find themselves on a submarine. Suddenly a man busts into the room flipping a coin in the air, “Captain Luckman’s my name and welcome to my understaffed boat. The stench from this corpse knocked out my crew, laddies, and now we’ll never navigate the Straits of Sklogvania to rescue the President of the goddamn United States. Unless…” he says as he flips the coin again, “I knew it! Heads again. I guess you boys are my new crew. Get moving.” As Jamie and Patrick are hurried to the bridge they look at each other in wonderment. Was the world in fact torn asunder through their adventures across dimensions? Over the next several months they run and maintain the submarine under the tutelage of Captain Luckman. They come to consider the submarine their home and forget the lives they left behind. When it finally comes time to navigate the Straits of Sklogvania they do it deftly without hesitation. Captain Luckman looks at them with the pride of a father for his sons and decides to gift them his lucky coin. With tears in his eyes, he prepares to pay them a fond farewell, for after 25 years on the job he’s ready to retire. As he shakes their hands for that final time he looks them hard in the eyes and says, “Wake up.”

Jamie and Patrick awaken once again. The world is whole. It feels the same as before, but they somehow feel different… they just can’t figure out how. The Ivory Socket and the Obsidian Dongle are nowhere to be found, but they know they are safe. “Was it real? Or was it a dream,” asks Patrick. “We may never know,” responds Jamie. Suddenly when he reaches into his pocket he feels the lucky coin. “The coin…” he says. “And Frang,” gasps Patrick pointing to the very large shark corpse sitting in their living room. They collapse on the couch. “So what do you want to do now?” Jamie asks. Patrick smiles and puts on a pair of sunglasses. “I think we’ve earned ourselves some R&R. You thinking what I’m thinking?” Jamie and Patrick nod at each other. “Dog show!” They shout simultaneously. That’s right! We’re watching the worst talking dog movie in years (and that’s saying something). It’s got everything! A talking dog, … and I’m not sure what else. This is this generation’s K-9 starring Jim Belushi! Let’s get into it!

Show Dogs (2018) – BMeTric: 41.4

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(Firstly, to open below 6.0 is already nuts. The early votes are always skewed super high because … well, probably because of people getting paid to trump up word of mouth. But then to be below 4.0! I’m actually shocked the BMeTric is so low. It has less than 3000 votes on IMDb so far! That is crazy.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars –  “Show Dogs” is essentially “Miss Congeniality” in the dog show world, and if that doesn’t sound like your cup of kibble, well … you’d be right. Even by the low standards of this type of live-action, family friendly comedy, “Show Dogs” is especially lame. It’s actually kind of amazing that it’s getting a theatrical release at all.

(Holy shit that review. I’m a bit shocked it didn’t get the whole thumbs down once you read it. I’m actually not entirely sure where the 0.5 comes from. There isn’t anything in the review (at all) which suggests this is anything but a complete and utter travesty. How very very very odd.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7H0fCTBdFQ

(Loving this is set explicitly in Las Vegas. That is great. There are so many bad films in Las Vegas. And wow … the review was right! This is literally just Miss Congeniality with dogs. And Miss Congeniality 2 was set in Las Vegas as well. Amazing.)

Directors – Raja Gosnell – (Known For: Never Been Kissed; Beverly Hills Chihuahua; Future BMT: Home Alone 3; Scooby-Doo; Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed; The Smurfs; The Smurfs 2; Yours, Mine & Ours; BMT: Big Momma’s House; Show Dogs; Notes: Was an editor for over twenty years on major pictures, then transitioned to director in 1997 and has only done children’s films since. This film was a mini-comeback of sorts, having not directed a film for five years prior.)

Writers – Max Botkin (written by) – (Known For: What Happened to Monday; BMT: Show Dogs; Notes: Started writing in television for the animated X-men and Wolverine show in the late 2000s. He’s sold a few scripts, but has nothing officially upcoming.)

Marc Hyman (written by) – (Known For: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; Osmosis Jones; Future BMT: The Perfect Score; Meet the Fockers; BMT: Show Dogs; Notes: Started his writing career with All That (!). He has a writing credit for the Da Brat episode which I vividly remember for some reason. Has been a script doctor for the most part.)

Actors – Will Arnett – (Known For: Teen Titans Go! To the Movies; Despicable Me; Ratatouille; Men in Black 3; The Lego Batman Movie; The Lego Movie; Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping; Blades of Glory; Grindhouse; Monsters vs. Aliens; Hot Rod; The Rocker; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Horton Hears a Who!; Wristcutters: A Love Story; Arrietty; Brief Interviews with Hideous Men; Spring Breakdown; The Great New Wonderful; Series 7: The Contenders; Future BMT: The Comebacks; G-Force; R.V.: Runaway Vacation; Monster-in-Law; The Brothers Solomon; Semi-Pro; The Nut Job; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows; The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature; Let’s Go to Prison; Southie; BMT: Jonah Hex; When in Rome; Show Dogs; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Notes: Most famous for the character of Gob on Arrested Development, he’s blown up since then. Was married to Amy Poehler for over ten years.)

Ludacris – (Known For: Fast & Furious 8; Fast & Furious 7; Crash; RocknRolla; No Strings Attached; Furious 6; Fast & Furious 5; Hustle & Flow; Future BMT: The Wash; Fred Claus; BMT: Max Payne; New Year’s Eve; Show Dogs; Gamer; 2 Fast 2 Furious; Notes: Rapper turned actor probably most notably in the Fast and the Furious franchise. Was dropped by Pepsi after a protest instigated by noted sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly. Pepsi sucks anyways.)

Natasha Lyonne – (Known For: American Pie; American Reunion; American Pie 2; Sleeping with Other People; A Futile and Stupid Gesture; Robots; Detroit Rock City; The Intervention; Hello, My Name Is Doris; Kate & Leopold; Slums of Beverly Hills; Heartburn; Everyone Says I Love You; G.B.F.; #Horror; Antibirth; The Grey Zone; 4:44 Last Day on Earth; He’s Way More Famous Than You; Zig Zag; Future BMT: Yoga Hosers; Scary Movie 2; Dennis the Menace; Krippendorf’s Tribe; Blade: Trinity; Girl Most Likely; Girlfriend’s Day; Jack Goes Home; Addicted to Fresno; Freeway II: Confessions of a Trickbaby; Party Monster; But I’m a Cheerleader; Flirting with Love; BMT: Show Dogs; Notes: She’s been acting forever basically, dropping out of Tisch at 17 and working since then. She might now be starting to become more famous for her role on Orange is the New Black.)

Budget/Gross – $5.5 million / Domestic: $17,857,020 (Worldwide: $39,106,642)

(Wow that budget. The budget is extremely reasonable and made even the extremely modest box office take a roaring success. Incredible stuff.)

#37 for the Dog genre

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(Marmaduke is the second highest Dog film by BMeTric (the 2006 Shaggy Dog is number one). I honestly think the giant gap is the period of time in which live animal wrangling became uncouth, and now we generally have the technology to avoid the more distasteful part of that business … and people love dogs.)

#34 for the Family – Talking Animal (Live action) genre

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(We’ve watched Garfield: The Movie, Marmaduke, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, and Hot to Trot this year alone! The top are naturally the Alvin movies. I stand by my analysis above, the technology has made talking animal films more practical.)

#14 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated chart

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (10/60): Show Dogs may entertain very young viewers, but for anyone else, it threatens the cinematic equivalent of a rolled-up newspaper on the snout.

(No, stay away from the dog puns please. It is enough to just say that people who are older than ten will find the film unfunny and boring. Reviewer Highlight: Make a stand to Hollywood and vote with your wallet: We all deserve a better live-action talking-dog movie than this. – Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle)

Poster – Sklog Dogs: Karate Dogz 4 Life (F)

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(Woof (Thank you). This is already a travesty on every count (including some super cliche bubble font, come on) but then they tilt it… why is this tilted!?!?!? Is that dog laying on a towel in Vegas? Why is any of this happening?)

Tagline(s) – Unleashed and Undercover (B+)

(Uhhh, I guess this is good. It’s hard to tell because my brain melted while trying to process that poster. I mean it’s short and kinda clever with a double meaning of unleashed and tells me a little about the film. It’s fine.)

Keyword(s) – dog movie; Top Ten by BMeTric: 77.7 Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008); 68.0 The Shaggy Dog (2006); 67.1 Marmaduke (2010); 67.0 Scooby-Doo (2002); 64.7 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (2010); 64.0 102 Dalmatians (2000); 63.6 Beethoven’s 2nd (1993); 63.3 Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004); 61.8 Cats & Dogs (2001); 60.9 Underdog (2007);

(Yeah see above, we haven’t seem many of them. We were going to do the Cats & Dogs sequel but it turned out Cheech Marin wasn’t in Cannonball Run. And we’ve always meant to do the Scooby Doo series, but we’ve never gotten around to it. Our previous ban of kids movies covers most of the rest.)

Notes – Filmed at Pinewood Studios in Cardiff, Wales. (In Wales! I’ve been watching an inordinate amount of Only Connect recently which is filmed in Cardiff as well).

One of the two credited screenwriters, Max Bodkin, claims that the film was heavily rewritten by the other credited writer Marc Hyman and 12 uncredited writers. (Just a little peek into just how many people seem to write Hollywood films)

American Humane monitored the animal action. No animals were harmed® .(AHD 07402) (Noice)

During the first scene at the dog show the chihuahua Chloe and her mate Papi from the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua get a short cameo, with Chloe (noticible by the same voice from the movie and same diamond necklace) having a quick line about talking dog movies not being mainstream anymore. (They aren’t. I actually don’t think they ever will be. I think there will be more of them, but the truly dire kids ones will just go straight to VOD).

C’mon now, we can’t forget the most important note of all! Show Dogs was accused of making light of sexual abuse and was re-edited while in theaters to remove the scene. This is why we should really just watch every bad movie in theaters the instant it comes out. Once that BMT money rolls in I plan to do just that.

The 15:17 to Paris Recap

Jamie

Lifelong friends Spencer, Alek, and Anthony have spent their lives trying to find where they fit and best follow their sense of right. When they end up on a train targeted by a terrorist they will have to find their courage within. Can they stop the tragedy before it’s too late? Find out in… real life when this happened… but also The 15:17 to Paris.

How?! This is gonna be a hard one to write about because on the one hand it details a truly courageous act of bravery by a few young men and on the other hand it’s a film experiment that is at times the worst thing I’ve ever seen put to screen. Perhaps on the level with the Atlas Shrugged films. Anyway, the story is very straightforward, Spencer, Alek, and Anthony meet as kids in Sacramento and become good friends. They are outsiders fascinated by the military and serving the country. Despite moving away from each other they keep in touch throughout their life. Spencer and Alek join the military and both have somewhat underwhelming experiences. While Spencer is medically rejected for special forces, ending up instead in a support branch of the Air Force, Alek enlists in the Oregon National Guard and is mired in Afghanistan. Hoping to see a little of the world on break they travel to Europe with Anthony and travel from Italy to Germany to Amsterdam and eventually grab a train to Paris (I forget which one). On the train a terrorist attempts to take control but the three friends (along with a couple other passengers) tackle and subdue the assailant. They are heroes. THE END.

Why?! Why was the film made? Oh, no. The motivations of the characters. Right. Uh… it’s just life, man. Seriously, the film does a pretty good job of feeling pretty true to life. It’s doesn’t shirk over the fact that Spencer hoped to be a search and rescue ranger in the Air Force, but didn’t medically make the cut. It shows both his frustrations along with Alek’s in feeling like the military didn’t live up to what they imagined it would be. This does a good job of framing the final scene for exactly what it was, an act of bravery that easily could have resulted in their deaths.

Who?! Obviously one of the defining features of this film is that many of the real life people involved portrayed themselves… to mixed results. There was a funny rumor that Clint Eastwood asked France if the actual terrorist could portray himself which cannot possibly be true. So you heard it here first: the internet sometimes lies.

What?! This is actually a hard category given how true to life (almost cinema-verite) style this film is. There is a small moment later in the film where the two main characters make fun of a tiny Coke can on the train which is probably less product placement than Clint Eastwood asking them what they remember from the first part of the train ride and them saying “uh, we made fun of a tiny Coke can and fell asleep.”

Where?! This is actually an interesting entry given that the film was partially chosen as an A+ setting film. In reality Paris is in the title but they never actually reach Paris (until the end when they get military honors from the French President). It is actually mostly set in Sacramento and then Italy is the main setting for their actual road trip. So I’m downgrading it. B+

When?! Ha! Also interesting since 15:17 is a weird exact time in the title. Not the traditional A+ setting for this either.  Since it’s based on a real event there is technically a brief moment in the film where you know the date and exact time at which things are happening, which is kinda amazing. It deserves it. A+

This film is more or less a mixture of a Christian and experimental film that somehow was released to theaters for reason that are… actually readily apparent. It was directed by Clint Eastwood. For the first twenty minutes I had to seriously consider whether this was the worst film I had ever seen. I had to turn it off twice and take breaks to get through it. Once we got to when the main characters were grown up it got a bit better. The acting was still pretty rough (the main guy Spencer was actually surprisingly OK) but it felt brutally honest and I appreciated that. The ending was actually pretty crazy with how close they come to death and having to recreate that must have been really hard. Anyway, it’s bad and only worth watching if you are interested in seeing a (failed) experiment in filmmaking. As for Hard Ticket to Hawaii, I can 100% see why this is a beloved Z-movie series by Andy Sidaris. It is over the top and pretty much hits every cliche of 80’s/90’s action all in one neat package. We got crazy clothes, crazy frisbee and skateboard scenes (what the kids want), crazy boobs everywhere (what the kids want), giant explosions (what the kids want), etc. etc. etc. It does seem to toe the line between inadvertently hilarious and purposefully so. That always makes it tough, but kudos to them if they did purposefully make a bad film… because it’s certainly hard to tell. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Sometimes I wonder, hey, why can’t I get a job that will allow me to mess around and pay me millions of dollars to flush $30 million dollars down the toilet. Well if you’re Clint Eastwood you can! Let’s go!

The Good – I do think there is a place for films like this. I actually felt a bit embarrassed in watching it, because it felt like I was making fun of some good hearted story and people and actors and ideals somehow. None of the multitude of problems with the film reflect on the actual values on screen. People should be able to have and appreciate art that reflects their wholesome all-American flag-waving values. The final third of the film picks up and I can kind of see why Eastwood made the film and decided to make it like this. It is an interesting story as well, although maybe more interesting as a book rather than a movie.

P’s View on the Preview – Is there any doubt at all what everyone would be curious about going into this film? Can these people act? Would this experiment Eastwood cooked up work? If not for that you would kind of just have a not very interesting idea for a drama if I’m going to be frank. Otherwise it was going to be vaguely interesting to see what parts of the lives of these three people we would see, and whether Eastwood would pull a fake-baby-in-American-Sniper on us or something.

The Bad – Whhhhhoooooooooo doggy, these people can’t act. And the stunner? The worst part of the movie is the beginning when nearly everyone was actual established (cough, television, cough) actors! The first third of the film is a travesty. The middle is a whole lotta nothing, and then the end is fine if the people could act (but they can’t). Also, if this wasn’t made by Clint Eastwood it would (1) have a budget of $1 and (2) be a straight up Christian film released to 400 theaters. The grand experiment was a failure, despite all the potential good the film might have going for it in the end.

The BMT – Yeah I think it has to be, and perhaps it’ll get us to venture into the drama sphere more. While bad dramas tend to be dull, there was a lot of meat on this bone to pick apart. And it certainly took me out of my bad movie comfort zone. Something to think about.

Welcome to Earf – Judy Greer was in The 15:17 to Paris and Marmaduke with Owen Wilson, who was in I, Spy with Eddie Murphy, who was in Norbit with Terry Crews, who was in Blended with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earth!

StreetCreditReport.com – Uh, what is the word I’m looking for? Oh yeah UP THE WAZOOOO! Here and here and here and here. People hated this film. It actually legit had to be done. How many bad dramas do we really get? I mean … considering we don’t really watch those low budget Christian films or VOD Nicholas Sparks knock-offs. Not many I tells ya!

Bring a Friend Analysis – Ah, the final friend of the cycle was Hard Ticket to Hawaii. This film is fun as hell. The stars are playboy playmates (wowza!) and they are extremely game for some silly shenanigans in Hawaii. Made by Andy Sidaris, the film is probably the closest we’ve gotten to the classic Room or Troll 2 territory. Actually it is probably really close to Troll 2. The issue I think I ultimately had was I had a hard time determining whether Sidaris was serious or not. The ending of the film certainly made me think he wasn’t (a giant terribly fake snake comes out of a toilet and they blast it with a bazooka), which is an obvious problem. You can’t make intentional bad films … but holy crap this gets close. A solid A- with an option to bump it to an A if I watch some other Sidaris films and realize that he is for reals.

You Just Got Schooled – I can’t think of something to do for 15:17 to Paris … but what about Hard Ticket to Hawaii! Maybe we can answer this question now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAVNlXUqaqI

Welp … yeah they are serious. For reals. “I’ll be a very sorry feminist” wowza! “A trained ape can make a movie” Phew! They compared their films to the Louvre! They don’t seem to be as delusional as someone like Tommy Wiseau or Claudio Fragasso, but they do seem very serious … fine I’ll give it an A!!! I’ve been convinced!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs