Cats Recap

Jamie

A cat is abandoned in London and learns about a group of cats called the Jellicle cats. Periodically they have a talent show to determine who goes to heaven to be reborn and that is tonight, but the evil McCavity wants to hijack the show. Can the rightful cat be chosen before it’s too late? Find out in… Cats… it’s about cats. Let’s go!

How?! Victoria is not a Jellicle cat. She’s just a cat dropped into a Jellicle world of London. All the cats dance and sing about how they are Jellicle cats and Victoria is like “damn, that’s cool. I wish I were Jellicle,” but she isn’t. The cats let her know that tonight is a very special night because Old Deuteronomy is in town and ready to judge a cat talent show and send one cat to heaven to be reborn into the life they’ve always dreamed of. There is this one cat that is kinda fat and makes mice and cockroaches sing. Then there is like a more R&B cat who’s breaking all the rules. Then there is another fat cat that loves to eat… that’s kind of his thang. Then there is a mysterious cat called Macavity who is the bad guy who is trying to hijack the competition by kidnapping the competition to make sure he wins (oh no!). Victoria briefly gets entangled with some cat burglar cats, but Mr. Mistoffelees comes in and saves the day, phew. Victoria also takes pity on a rejected cat, Grizabella, who used to pal around with Macavity and so all the Jellicle cats hate her, but Victoria is like “her story is sad, yet beautiful… like life and/or dance.” When the competition starts, an old cat named Gus sings a song (but come on, he ain’t winning). Then Taylor Swift cat sings a song and everyone is mesmerized, allowing for Macavity to swoop in and demand to win. When denied by Old Deuteronomy he kidnaps her and forces her to walk the plank into the Thames. Everyone is like “but wait, Mr. Mistoffelees is a magical cat… get her back.” And he sings a song and is real sad cause he think it didn’t work, but guess what? It did. In the end, Victoria convinces Grizabella to sing and it’s beautiful and she wins and flies up in a hot air balloon and everyone’s heads explode in confusion and glee for the wonderful cats and the newly minted Jellicle cat, Victoria. THE END. Big Question: What is this about? Oh wait… it’s about cats. Also, how does this exist?

Why?! Motivation, shmotivation. Let’s just appreciate that this exists and is in our lives. Sure they all want to win the competition because they want to have all their dreams come true by being born into the life they were destined for, but also, like, it’s about cats and they did it all for us the viewer.

Who?! Secret Twins Alert! We actually had been eyeing this film as a twin film for a potential twin cycle and so it’s still important to point out that Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer are twin cat burglars. There is also a brief appearance of cats called Plato and Socrates that are probably twins… or at least they are played by Les Twins who are twins in real life (duh). Oh and Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson and Jason Derulo and a million ballerinas are in the film too.

What?! Back in 2000, once the musical had completed its legendary run on Broadway, it auctioned off all of the set pieces for the benefit of charity. Which is kinda cool. Even cooler would have been getting my paws on some of those Cats wigs. They would immediately become part of my new bowling team, The Jellicle Cats and we’d be pretty feisty. I doubt the film will have a similarly celebrated prop auction so I’m just biding my time to get my hands on… I guess the motion capture leotards? Damn you, technology.

Where?! Obviously set in London as evidence from the scenery, accents, and most notably the Thames. They even go out of their way to make a Thames pronunciation joke for us Yankees. How fun. Pretty important, but not that important. B.

When?! From the set pieces you assume that this is set in the past but it’s never made exactly clear. They don’t seem particularly interested in establishing anything other than what a Jellicle cat is and all the interesting Jellicle cats… and you’re probably like “Jamie, what is a Jellicle cat?” and I’ll tell you… it’s a Jellicle cat. Cat! It’s about cats! F.

Cats is a wild ride of both the best and worst CGI you’ve ever seen. Seriously, one second you are amazed at the visual splendor and then next terrified by the horrible cat monsters. It’s also a very expensive film made for the twelve biggest Cats fans in the world (and no one else). Theater geeks are going to be thrilled by it. The rest of humanity will just be confused. For me it was so weird and great and confusing and I was watching ballet and tapdance and shit for two hours and I couldn’t understand how it all came to exist or if it was good or bad or if it didn’t matter. It’s as if Rocky Horror started out as a $200 million Christmas release and the creators were like “wait… why didn’t people see our great movie?” What I’m saying is that they made a major motion picture cult film. It will lose them a lot of money, but there is a chance people are sitting in theaters throwing tuna fish at the screen in ten years. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I’m pretty stunned people find Cats to have an odd story. Like … Beautiful Cat meets the Jellicle Cats who sing and dance about themselves, and then Old Cat picks Downtrodden Cat to be the Special Cat. The End. Seems really straightforward. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I was actually really amazed by the cast for the film. Given all of the previews focused on the big names (Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, and Jennifer Hudson in particular) I had kind of assumed the cast was top to bottom big names. But the main three cats are ballerinas or no name actors, and even a lot of the other cats are directly from the stage production from what I can tell. It feels like a good decision on their part, but then again, we’re watching it for BMT so maybe not. What were my expectations? A wild visual ride. A mind-meltingly weird film. And some terrible CGI. That seems to be it, just a weird weird film with bad CGI mostly.

The Good – When you watch this film you are watching film history. It is such a bizarre choice to release a wildly expensive adaptation of Cats. The songs are obviously very good, and a lot of moments make you think “wow, this is beautiful”. The side cats are quite good, like Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer in particular worked well despite coming directly from theater (I think). As a matter of fact the acting is all rather good. Even the bits that might not have worked (Rebel Wilson, James Cordon, and Taylor Swift) all mostly work in my opinion.

The Bad – But holy shit, at times the CGI is just some of the worst stuff you’ll ever see. The entire Gumbie Cat song with Rebel Wilson is extremely bad. I thought it was bad with the creepy children mice, but then the line dancing cockroaches … it sounds like I’m joking, but I’m not. If the background was kept as CGI and everyone was in costumes it might have worked, but the CGI ends up being so distracting at times that you can’t help but think “yeah, they should have waited a bit to release this”. It got around 20% on Rotten Tomatoes, and that sounds right, but the base story is like a 60-70% film, it really just is impossible not to downgrade the film for the technical issues it presented. I also guessed the original song based solely on the Les Miz Criteria: The worst song in a film adapting a famous musical is the original one. Victoria’s Song, nailed it. Finally, I don’t know if it is the same as in the original production, but the first rendition of Memories is so low-key as to be boring. I was honestly stunned that that was it when it ended. That feels bad.

The BMT – I think in 15 years when they release this as an “update” instead of a “remake” we’ll know we’ve made film history. Hear me out: the expensive bit of paying all of the actors and the giant production is done. The CGI is obviously expensive, but you could “remake” the film by just updating the CGI in 15 years using the base footage. I honestly think it is possible that is the future. Instead of re-releasing Disney animated classics as live action, we’ll start seeing things like Toy Story “updated” to use modern CGI techniques and released as “new” movies to a new generation. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, although I expected it to be worse. I guess I shouldn’t have really, it is a famous musical production for a reason, the songs are just going to be bangers no matter what. The CGI is mind meltingly bad, but book it: it’ll be updated in the future and people will say “you know what? Cats ain’t so bad”.

Roast-radamus – Definitely gets a Setting as a Character (Where?) for London which is very much a huge part of all of the sets. And Best MacGuffin (Why?) as well think for the general purpose of the entire film being to rise to the Heaviside Layer. As Jamie points out there is a Best Twin Film (Who?) possibility here with both Les Twins and the characters of Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer being twins. That’s a twin heavy film for sure.

StreetCreditReport.com – Obviously a huge amount of street cred. First, the trailer broke the internet (as the kids say) producing what scientists claim is the creepiest of all possible valleys. Second, it is a colossal financial failure (especially if the rumored budget of like $300 million is correct, but … it couldn’t possibly be, right?). And finally, the critics are loving to hate it, unloading all of their best cat puns on unsuspecting readers. It didn’t make the AV Club list, possibly because the list was released prior to Cats and never updated. But Variety specifically updated their list to include it, and the Hollywood Reporter also has it. It is a true triple threat.

BMT Live Theater Report – A secret BMT Live indeed. It isn’t official, but obviously I had to go out and see the film in theaters. And boy oh boy it was a wild ride. Again, I was in a small theater at Vue in Westfield, so it was nearly sold out when I arrived (!). It was 6pm on a Monday, so obviously the theater was filled with children. And there was a boy there who was not having a good time. First, his brother ate all the popcorn like 10 minutes before the movie started, so he was running in and out of the theater up through 15 minutes of the movie trying to find his mother/nanny to complain about it. Then he was literally walking around at parts because he was bored. And then, after getting upset again about something his brother did, he started intentionally making a ruckus until his mother/nanny pulled him out of the theater … but then he came back in alone! To be fair, it didn’t really affect my viewing experience, Cats is wall to wall music with not much storyline, so it was more like a little side show I got to enjoy. But by far the most disruptive theater experience I’ve ever been in, D.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Cats Quiz

Oh boy, it happened again, I got a concussion and forgot all about this movie I watched … what’s that? I didn’t have a concussion, I just watched the incredibly bizarre film Cats? … Well, do you remember what “happened” in Cats?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Before our hero Victoria can be delighted by the song about Jellicle Cats she needs to arrive into the world of the Jellicle Cats. How does she get there?

2) Name as many of the cats as possible. Spelling doesn’t matter. As a matter of fact names don’t matter, just like … describe as many as you can.

3) What are all of the cats competing for?

4) What is the eeeeeevil Macavity’s plan for winning the competition?

5) Who actually wins and why?

Answers

Cats Preview

“You can’t fire me, it’s my money,” Banks says calmly, weathering Jamie’s wrath. “Beside we have just two weeks before our Christmas release date and as far as I can tell you have 25 minutes shot.” Jamie and Patrick squint at Banks and ask if it can be pushed back, but Banks shakes his head. Whatever they have will be going out, so they better get their lazy asses into gear and find 2 hours of footage from somewhere, with or without the crew they just fired. Using dream sequences and flashbacks cut from previous entries in the series they get up to about an hour, but they begin to panic. “What about public domain footage?” Patrick asks, but even having Rich and Poe sing Happy Birthday to each other while watching an entire episode of The Three Stooges only gets them so far. Suddenly, while lazing away their remaining days on their helicopter cruise ships, Jamie has a brilliant idea to get the last 45 minutes of film. “Patrick! You have a beautiful mind, right?” Patrick shrugs, duh. “Well why don’t you put that beautiful noggin to work and craft some sweet AI computer magic to bring our vision to life!” Patrick agrees and gets down to coding. Mere hours before the premier they get their finished film in the can and ready for the show. Jamie and Patrick are beaming. Despite the many roadblocks they persevered and their vision is complete. The theater hushes and the lights dim and a gasp arises from the audience as the terrible, freakish computer generated figures of Rich and Poe dance eerily across the screen. Jamie looks at Patrick for an answer but Patrick can only shake his head and mutter, “I guess the AI decided to make us monster cats.” That’s right! For the final entry in the 2019 entry we decided to catch one final bonus BMT Live, given the Christmas release of one of the worst reviewed films of the year. Indeed we decided to watch Cats, the much reviled adaptation of the long-running hit musical. This also gives a little hint to the first cycle of next year. Let’s go! 

Cats (2019) – BMeTric: 79.1; Notability: 34 

CatsIMDb_BMeT

CatsIMDb_RV

(Incredibly BMeTric, which I guess makes sense given how much the internet hates his film. The notability is quite low, maybe because much of the cast is made up of dancers? Notability is somewhat depressed in the year of release because there are people who aren’t yet famous but will be in the future. I’ll have to run a study on it, but perhaps it is cut in half? It is hard to tell without looking at the data.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – In 1939, T.S. Eliot published a book called Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, filled with poems he had written about cats to amuse his godchildren. A far cry from The Waste Land, almost 20 years before, Eliot’s poems are sweet and sneakily profound, detailing different kinds of cats, their behaviors, personalities, and mysterious self-involvement. … There’s not nearly enough of that in “Cats,” but I enjoyed the film for what it is. It’s “London’s Got Talent” for the feline set.

(That is a really really positive review. I mean, relatively at least. I’ve heard inklings of “if you ignore the CGI the film is kind of good” coming from some places, it is just hard to tell how much of it is critics being contrarian after the fact.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtSd844cI7U/

(This is the cleaned up trailer I think. There is another one which is truly mind-boggling. Like, Idris Elba’s face is kind of floating in the general vicinity of his creepy cat body it looks like. This looks mostly fine. It takes a lot of dancing cats and stuff for your brain to start rejecting it, although that is always a bad sign given that you have to watch 2 hours of dancing cats and stuff.)

Directors – Tom Hooper – (Known For: Les Misérables; The Danish Girl; The King’s Speech; The Damned United; BMT: Cats; Notes: Met the British director and producer Matthew Robinson through his father who was somehow involved with ITV in England. Via that connection he got work in television, and made the transition to major motion pictures from there.)

Writers – T.S. Eliot (poetry collection “Old Possum’s Books of Practical Cats”) – (BMT: Cats; Notes: Was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1948 and is considered one of the greatest poets of modern times.)

Lee Hall (screenplay) – (Known For: Rocketman; Billy Elliot; War Horse; Victoria & Abdul; BMT: Cats; Notes: Also wrote the book for the musical adaptation of Billy Elliot.)

Tom Hooper (screenplay) – (BMT: Cats; Notes: The first writing credit he’s received since the short film he produced while in school.)

Andrew Lloyd Webber (musical) – (BMT: Cats; Notes: A titan of musical composition having developed Jesus Christ: Superstar, Phantom of the Opera, Evita, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.)

Actors – Francesca Hayward – (BMT: Cats; Notes: Principal ballerina at the Royal Ballet in London. Took a sabbatical to make this film.)

Taylor Swift – (Future BMT: The Giver; BMT: Cats; Valentine’s Day; Notes: Y’all know Taylor. Reported to be worth over $300 million including nearly $100 million in real estate assets.)

Laurie Davidson – (Known For: The Good Liar; BMT: Cats; Vampire Academy; Notes: Got his start as William Shakespeare in the television show Will.)

Budget/Gross – $95,000,000 / Domestic: $22,950,935 (Worldwide: $43,450,935)

(So … first, the run isn’t over, there is, in theory, plenty of time to make some sweet cash. But, second, the rumor is the budget is in fact much higher than that given the issues with CGI and reshoots. Over twice as much even, which would be disastrous. We legitimately might have just witnessed Tom Hooper’s directing career end.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (56/272): Despite its fur-midable cast, this Cats adaptation is a clawful mistake that will leave most viewers begging to be put out of their mew-sery.

(An absolute abomination of a critical consensus. For shame Rotten Tomatoes, for shame. Reviewer Highlight: Cats is terrible, but it’s also kind of great. – Stephanie Zacharek, TIME Magazine)

Poster – Sklogs (B+)

cats

(I actually kind of like this. Very nice symmetry and color. Although makes the cats seem human size which, let me tell you, is not the case. Obviously also has that classic Cats font we all know and love.)

Tagline(s) – You will believe (C-)

(Nah. Way too generic. Seems more appropriate even for a sci fi picture which this… is, I guess. Not even sure what I’m supposed to be believing… that they actually made a major motion picture about Cats. At least it’s short.)

Keyword – based on stage musical

Cats_based on stage musical

Top 10: Cats (2019), Les Misérables (2012), Annie (1982), The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Mamma Mia! (2008), Dreamgirls (2006), Into the Woods (2014), Chicago (2002), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Little Shop of Horrors (1986); 

Future BMT: 51.9 Fame (2009), 42.3 The King and I (1999), 37.6 Nine (2009), 20.9 Chorus Line (1985), 5.4 The Phantom of the Opera (2004); 

BMT: Cats (2019)

(Pretty amazing that we’ve only seen one of these in the end. At the very least Fame should have been on our radar, with Nine being a close second. The 90s really were as bereft of musicals as it would seem. Newsies was supposed to be the big comeback for the West Side Story type major musical production, but instead it flopped. I would imagine the genre will eventually be relegated to streaming, headlined by musicians hoping to break into acting instead of the more rare triple threats like Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman. Which might honestly be the prudent financial path in the end … musicals are really really hit-or-miss.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Idris Elba is No. 5 billed in Cats and No. 7 billed in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 5 + 7 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 20. If we were to watch The Dark Tower, and Two for the Money we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – On December 21st 2019, a mere 2 days after its release, Universal Pictures announced they would be releasing a new version with updated CGI at an undisclosed time. (This was known prior to that, but it is still apparently unprecedented. It marks a major moment in both film and BMT history)

One week after its release, it was revealed by The Daily Mail that director Tom Hooper edited and re-cut the film after it was panned by many critics.

Dame Judi Dench was cast in the original 1981 London stage production in the dual roles of Jennyanydots and Grizabella. However, shortly before the opening of the original production, she suffered an injury that forced her to withdraw from the show, to be replaced at the last minute by Elaine Paige.

Was originally intended to be a traditionally animated movie before Tom Hooper came on board to direct. (Animated? Would make much more sense for actors in costume shrunk down if anything)

Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote new songs exclusively for the film. (Like Les Miz the new songs are probably terrible)

Universal Pictures originally planned to release Wicked (2021) on this release date. (Oh yeah, I heard this as well)

The cast attended “cat school” for preparation, according to Taylor Swift.

This is the first movie adaptation of “Cats” since the 1998 made-for-television BBC movie. (Which appears to just be a recording of the musical itself)

Andrew Lloyd Weber has had to fight off charges that he plagiarized “Memory”, which is said to be influenced by Ravel’s Bolero.

Tom Hooper’s second musical movie after Les Misérables (2012).

Serenity (2019) Recap

Jamie

Baker Dill is a simple charter boat captain on Plymouth Island trying to make a living. When his ex-wife shows up wanting him to kill her new, abusive husband for the sake of their child he has a choice to make… but that’s not the craziest thing about this film. Oh no. Can he stop the abusive husband (and reunite with his son… sorta), before it’s too late? Find out in… Serenity.

How?! Baker Dill, a charter boat captain on Plymouth Island, just wants to make a buck and catch Justice, the giant Tuna that has evaded capture for as long as he can remember. This obsession with the fish is turning business bad, but things only get worse when his ex-wife, Karen, shows up begging him to save her and their son Patrick from her abusive husband Frank. You see, she has convinced Frank to go on a fishing trip with Baker and she wants him to get him drunk and toss him overboard. But Baker is hesitant and tries his darndest to get out of it, even while Frank proves over and over to be worthy of killing. At the same time Baker is getting the weird feeling that he is somehow communicating with his son which is confirmed when a strange man reveals that in fact everything we are watching is occuring in an AI built video game that his genius son has created (what a twist!). As long as the game sticks to the rules of catching fish then Frank can’t die. Overcome by this earth-shattering totally logical revelation, Baker goes on a drinking binge all while the game continually throws roadblock after roadblock in front of him trying to prevent him from killing Frank. Unfortunately for the game Baker isn’t one to be daunted and realizing his role in the plan takes Frank out on the fateful fishing trip and when Justice takes a nibble on the line lets a totally wasted Frank take the reel and gets pulled to the bottom of the ocean. Here, faithful viewers, we are informed that Patrick has killed Frank in real life. He then uses his beautiful mind to rework the game so that he and his dad can spend time together. Hooray! THE END. Big Question: Is Patrick coding the game or is the AI just kinda making it up as it goes along… or is this all nonsense?

Why?! There is a little play on the classic MacGuffin here, as Baker Dill’s whole purpose in life is seemingly to catch an impossibly huge Tuna named Justice. They kinda turn it on its head, though, as they acknowledge that this is simply an arbitrary goal of the game and has no real meaning. In the end the motivation is for Patrick to kill his abusive stepfather, which is played out by the AI McConaughey character letting Justice drag him into the sea. Ya dig?

Who?! Actor Hakeem Kae-Kazim promoted the film a bit and clearly had a role in it, but ended up with a “special thanks” credit. Interesting, as we’ve even seen in other films where actors are cut they usually just go uncredited on IMDb. At least they acknowledged him, I guess, despite that fact that he did not ultimately appear in it.

What?! Now this is what I live for. There are several scenes in the film where people are drinking beer from Phoenix Brewery, as well as some coasters bearing its logo. This is a brewery on Mauritius… so like… how does the film not take place on the real island of Mauritius? Or did the AI machine in Patrick’s computer decide that that beer would also be brewed on Plymouth Island. Riddle me that, Patrick?

Where?! Clearly takes place on the imaginary island of Plymouth. Likely the island is a fake former French colony in the Caribbean (given some connections to Miami) and is perhaps modelled after Montserrat, whose capital, Plymouth, became a ghost town due to a volcanic eruption. In reality this is all made up and the entire film takes place in Miami where Patrick lives and codes on his sweet ‘puter. Uh… I don’t know. I guess it’s an A despite being fake.

When?! Time and space are not really a thing in the film as explained above. It can be whatever time the little boy genius wants it to be. Perhaps even the entire film takes place in the moments before he kills his stepfather. Perchance it all occurs in the beat of a butterfly’s wings. Deep, man. Deep. F.

I can’t believe they actually got huge movie stars to sign onto Serenity. It thinks it’s way smarter than it actually is and does the “nothing in this film is real or matters” so hard that you just kinda have to laugh at it. It’s real weird though, which is a plus I guess. It really went for it and was interesting. Particularly Anne Hathaway… I feel like she must be in on the joke, but she is acting so hard that it’s difficult to tell. For the Bring a Friend, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is astonishing. It’s the lowest budget, lowest quality major horror franchise film I’ve ever seen. The beginning is so horrible that I would have probably turned it off if I wasn’t obligated to watch the entire thing. Strangely it’s revealed near the end that the (new) motivation of the family is their part in a large illuminati type conspiracy cult where the fear the family instills in its victims is part of what gives the group its power… It’s like a mini Cabin in the Woods and if you just read the concept you might even say it’s interesting. But it’s just a cheap, terrible rip-off of the original so you can’t really say that. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I remember watching Serenity in theaters, it was in New York City with my bro- … huh? This is a different Serenity? Like they just reused the same name? Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I didn’t know much about the film going it beyond that it was a huge bomb with big stars. If you watch the trailer before watching the film you should be able to figure out the twist … which maybe suggests it isn’t really a twist? Something to chew on when analyzing things. What are my expectations? I was just hoping it wasn’t boring. I don’t really like noir films to be honest. They kind of stress me out because I end up getting frustrated when I can’t untangle the plot.

The Good – Honestly, I liked this film more than I should have. I think it is because the twist is so very obvious that I no longer got stressed about figuring things out … I had already figured out the important bit. Everything else, indeed, turned out to be rather straightforward. I do wonder whether the director thought the twist was good and so he hid it from critics, and once they realized it was bad they put it into trailers hoping people would just enjoy the ride. Well guess what? I enjoyed the ride. The film’s twist is trash, but the acting and visuals are good. Which at least made it not boring to me.

The Bad – The twist is awful, and it ends up really being the entire film. There is no other point to the film beyond the twist. Sadly I actually find the plot pretty interesting, but then if you didn’t have the twist it would be the worst noir ever made (like … a guy’s ex-wife hires her ex-husband to kill he husband and he does … the end). So you end up being stuck between a bad twist and a bad noir … and they chose the bad twist. I think they made the right choice though, the film would have been unwatchable if the ending was just him getting $10 million and seeing his son again.

The BMT – As a tropical noir I think it’ll be remembered if that niche genre ever crops up again. Otherwise, again it will only be notable for its we-all-live-in-a-game twist which I can definitely see being reused in the future. Those are the only two reasons I can think for ever revisiting the film, I have no intention of recommending it to anyone. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, but because I kind of ignored the twist and enjoyed the very straightforward noir plot for what it was. I doubt very many people would get much out of this film if they even remotely like noir though.

Roast-radamus – I think this has a really really interesting Setting as a Character (Where?) in that the setting is the fictional Plymouth Island and is almost literally a character in the film. I’ll throw in Worst Twist (How?) as well since it is much maligned. I agree that it is dumb … but I still didn’t mind it all that much. It has an ubbelivable MacGuffin (What?) … almost a MacGuffin as a Character in the shape of a large tuna that McConaughey can’t seem to catch. I think it’ll sneak into BMT Live! as well, although I don’t think it’ll win when we vote.

StreetCreditReport.com – This is probably the most well known of the big bombs that came out this year, mainly because it has a bunch of those Big Targets that people like to take aim at (not to say the film doesn’t deserve it, but this is the type of film that if you didn’t want to watch bad movies you could write a hell of a lot about without having seen it given how notable the cast is). But it also has some of that real cred, is it is 12th on the AV Club list. It manages to appear on the Variety list as well. And the Hollywood Reporter! See? People can’t help but hate this film, it is just too tempting!

You Just Got Schooled – I needed a place to put my review of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, so you’re going to get that and the Bring a Friend analysis below. Now, fans of the franchise seem to either hail this as a hilarious send up of the first, or a travesty which besmirches the franchise’s good name. Surprisingly, I lean more towards the former. I am no one to promote horror-comedy, far too many end up being not very good comedies or horror films in the end. This is no different really, it is a terrible horror film. But there is just enough fun over-the-top nonsense to entertain me. I actually think this is one of the best horror film follow-ups to a classic I’ve seen. Rehashing the films never work, this at least gave you a bigger, badder version of what you liked in the first place (which necessitated a level of comedy). A solid B from me, I kind of wish the series had gone a bit more in this direction, at least it had interesting bad guys.

Bring a Friend Analysis – Ah, you might have been wondering why I’ve been reviewing four Texas Chainsaw Massacre films during the recap of Serenity. And here it is, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. You know … that horror classic starring Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger (wait … wow, yeah it does). So we get to see the original McConaughey, and now the risen-from-the-ashes hot-off-the-presses McConaughey … they’re kind of the same, it is amazing how this man ages. The film itself is awful. A remake of the original, but somehow people forgot how to make horror films using no money? Hint: it isn’t just by filling an old house with garbage and having a guy moan with a mask on. There is actually more to it. Like having interesting bad guys, or interesting good guys, or people without robot legs. The film is straight up dog poo in my face, I can’t believe they released it to theaters! F, how dare you make this and besmirch the good name of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. How daaaaaare you.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III Recap

Jamie

Leatherface is back, Jack! With their relationship falling apart, Michelle and Ryan see if a cross-country road trip might patch things up. Unfortunately they are duped and captured by the crazy, chainsaw wielding family of backwater misfits we know and love. Can they take out Leatherface before it’s too late? Find out in… Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.

How?! Michelle and Ryan are going through a rocky time in their relationship. He seems like kind of a snob and she’s not into it. Stopping for gas, they are saved from a creepy gas station attendant by a man named Tex. While they flee the gas station, taking Tex’s advice for directions, it appears that Tex is murdered by the attendant. A series of creepy things start to occur on the backcountry Texas road including, but not limited to, Leatherface attacking their car with a chainsaw and an injured man forcing them to crash into a weekend survivalist’s jeep. The weekend survivalist, Benny, helps them from their car, but doesn’t believe the crazy things that have occured. That is until a crazy hook-handed man drives up offering help, but clearly only offering to chop him up with a chainsaw. Wandering the woods, Michelle and Ryan are periodically chased by Leatherface, eventually resulting in the capture of Ryan. Meanwhile Benny is also chased by Leatherface, but he’s helped by an escaped captive of the family to evade him. Instead he encounters the gas station attendant and throws him into a swamp when it becomes clear he’s just an unhelpful crazy person. Eventually Michelle ends up in the family home where instead of finding help she finds a new crazy family of Leatherface, including Tex (what a twist!). They nail her to a chair for dinner and have her watch them murder Ryan. Then, after giving Leatherface a new chainsaw as a present, they are going to murder Michelle, but Benny shows up and blows half the family away with a machine gun. Running away, they dispatch Tex and take down the gas station attendant and drive away just as we see Leatherface start up his chainsaw. Bum bum bum! THE END. Big Question: I honestly wonder whether the creepy little girl that is part of Leatherface’s family was meant to play a big role going forward. She and Leatherface are the only two that clearly survive.

Why?! To survive, duh. The motivation for the family is pretty consistent for the first three films (and then changes wildly for the fourth one). It’s all just for fun and food as the people they capture are turned into BBQ for family dinner and to sell at their local gas station or in BBQ competitions… for real.

Who?! I’m pretty interested in the idea of a movie monster, particularly one where a stuntman can launch a career off of how they portray an iconic figure. Leatherface is much more like Michael Myers in this way in that there are eight total films and seven different people have portrayed him. Probably the most famous is Gunnar Hanson from the first one, just because he was the first, while Andrew Bryniarski is the only one to play him twice, in the remake and its sequel from 2003 and 2006 (both future BMT films).

What?! Apparently you can buy a replica of the iconic chainsaw from this film. Something to think about for the Xmas season. Additionally, I saw that the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films are mentioned in the context of product placement somewhat frequently. Mostly negatively as they talk about how you will see a soft drink in the background while a girl runs around screaming and covered in blood. Overall minor in the series though.

Where?! Classic example of an A+ setting as every film in the series almost by definition must be placed in rural Texas. They never went crazy and took Leatherface to Manhattan or anything like that I don’t think.

When?! In the first four films it’s almost played like a joke that each one takes place at the time of the release of the film, so large chunks of time separate the massacre events where there was a survivor to tell the story. The first has an exact date. The second takes place during the OU-Texas rivalry football game, so approximate. This one is more like a general time, summer 1990 probably. The fourth then jumps back to being more specific: May 1995. C for the third entry, the worst grade of the bunch.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series seems to struggle for lack of imagination a bit. The first one is really great and ahead of its time and it’s amazing it was made in the early 70’s. The second is super fun and a very good, different sequel that at time cribs from the original, but it is interesting in its own right. This one though, starts to fall backwards as it attempted to reboot the series in a heavy metal, 90’s kind of way. They threw away all the characters from the first two and made a whole new family… without it really making much sense where they came from. It also makes it clear that they were striving for that Freddy/Jason/Michael kind of vibe with Leatherface, with the rest of the family being peripheral… and I think that is just a mistake. The family in its entirety had value, but then they just started throwing out everyone but Leatherface. Anyway, I thought it was a poor film, clearly suffering from the edits that had to be made for rating (to the point where sometimes it was hard to understand what was happening in certain scenes), but got slightly better as the film went on. I’ll save my Next Generation through for the Serenity recap. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If there is one thing in BMT that I well and truly love, it is the opportunity to watch like … five films in a week from a horror franchise. It sounds like a joke, but while the task is difficult, it is very rewarding. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – So here’s the deal: I had watched the original long ago and found it rather disturbing and unpleasant and never ended up watching the second one (which also didn’t qualify). This one seemed to be the goriest of the original series, but I’ve also watched a lot more horror films and have become rather desensitized to gore in particular. So what I actually looked forward to was watching the original two and seeing how I felt about the series as a whole. What were my expectations? I expected to find the second film dumb, and the third to be unnecessarily gross and probably misogynistic (it is the way of horror after all). But sometimes horror surprises me, sometimes the bad ones are just boring (which is honestly a more pleasant option).

The Good – I don’t mind the core idea of the franchise, which is very much the same as The Fast and the Furious: it’s all about Fambly. Leatherface has the mind of a child, but is supremely good at killing (well … you assume he is usually, he had an off day in this film), and thus attracting an insane family of cannibals around him wherever he goes. As a direct sequel to the first film I think they could have made this point a bit clearer, but it comes through well enough to be interesting.

The Bad – Mostly everything else. I think there is a pretty specific mistake the third and fourth film make which is to retain the idea of Leatherface having the mind of a child. As a demented killer controlled by his brothers in the first and second film it is fine, he’s a terrifying side player. But once you remove that part of the equation (assuming the first is always canon) then Leatherface becomes maybe the most boring of all of the slasher villains. He kills, he barely knows why beyond that that is how he gets food, the end. It is boring. Given the tone of the second film, I think there was an opportunity to continue in that more comedy vein, but reverting back to the classic slasher tropes was a huge mistake in the end and doesn’t work at all. I also really really didn’t appreciate that they reused the gas station twist from the original.

The BMT – It’s a franchise. Out of the three main horror franchises we’ve seen (Friday the 13th, Dawn of the Dead, and this), this is by far the worst of the three. It has a decent second film (kind of Halloween II level), but then falls completely apart without building any interesting lore around its killers or protagonists. Ends up being more of a missed opportunity than anything, given it is probably the biggest cannibal horror franchise to date. Did it meet my expectations? Actually yeah. It didn’t go insane with gore (to avoid an X rating), and didn’t seem to revel in the torture of its female protagonist. It gave me just enough to chew on that I walked away not very disappointed in watching the film in the end.

Roast-radamus – You have to throw a bone to the A+ settings, so Setting as a Character (Where?) for Texas (Chainsaw Massacre) seems pretty natural. I’ll also throw out the Worst Twist (How?) for reusing the twist from the first film. Of course Viggo’s in on it, of course so is the gas station attendant, of course, of course. I don’t think it’ll get into any of the superlatives, so that is about it.

StreetCreditReport.com – It is going to be tough to find the third on any lists. It seems like it tends to be overshadowed by the worst of the remakes (which is 3D apparently), and the worst of the originals (the fourth). It ends up mid-table on this list by collider. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure this film ends up qualifying if not for the fact that the original is so beloved. Which actually makes sense, it is the one they tried to make the most like the other franchises (Nightmare in particular), and they kind of just made a meh one with a boring secondary villain (Viggo).

You Just Got Schooled – Since this will be posted first I’ll put by review for the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre here (the second will go with Serenity). As I said up top when I watched the film originally I remember feeling a bit queasy. I was unaccustomed to gore and really didn’t enjoy it. This time? It is one of the best horror films ever made. Probably most notably for creating an impactful horror classic on a shoestring budget, but you can throw most of the movie away just for the final family dinner scene. Suddenly, it goes from the single masked killer, to a family of manipulative cannibals. There is so much to explore … and yet the creators fritter it all away. Sigh. Still, like Halloween, Black Christmas, and The Thing, it is required viewing for anyone wanting to learn about horror. A-. The minus is mainly because the first hour of the film is pretty useless.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Serenity (2019) Quiz

I think my years of living off the grid and drinking massive amounts of run on Plymouth island has given me brain damage because I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Serenity (2019)?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film McConaughey is out fishing with some tourists. When one of the rods gets a nibble McConaughey takes over, much to the chagrin of his paying customers. Why does he take it over?

2) Might as well get this over with: Where is Plymouth Island located?

3) What three ways do we see McConaughey make money during the course of the film?

4) What two gifts does he receive to help him catch the giant tuna Justice?

5) Oh yeah, the plot of the film … McConaughey is asked to kill his ex-wife’s abusive husband. How much would he be paid to complete this task, and why is this person so rich and powerful?

Answers

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III Quiz

Hmmmmm. I remember getting captured by a cannibal family, and then getting a series of light concussions from a nearly-dead old man trying to hit me in the head with a hammer. Do you remember what happened in Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) At a creepy gas station our heroes Michelle and Ryan are accosted by the creepy attendant and saved by the handsome Tex. After witnessing Tex getting shot, Ryan insists they go down a back road. Why?

2) Soon after it becomes dark Michelle and Ryan crash their car into Benny, a gun-loving militia man. What caused them to crash?

3) After getting split up from Michelle and Ryan, Benny meets another woman in the woods. Why is she wandering around the swampy backwater?

4) Michelle and Ryan, unfortunately, are captured by a psychotic cannibal family. Can you name the people in the family?

5) Who survives the whole ordeal, both the good and bad guys we’ve met throughout?

Answers