The Snowman Recap

You think you know everything there is about Harry Hole … wait, that name can’t be right? He’s called Harry Hole? Whatever, take the quiz!

Jamie

Harry Hole is a gritty Oslo detective struggling with alcoholism. When a string of murders start, he and his partner suspect it’s the work of a savage serial killer. Can they catch the monster before it’s too late? Find out in… The Snowman.

How?! Oh man, Harry Hole is such a mess. Waking up drunk, not going to work, and dealing with a break-up with his ex-girlfriend (as he struggles to continue to be in her son’s life). But he’s obviously the best goddamned police detective Oslo has, so back off! Anyway, he just needs a juicy new case to keep his head straight. Turns out this case is the work of a serial killer that his new partner is already familiar with. While Harry seems to find links between the women murdered and their personal life involving adultery and children out of wedlock, his partner becomes convinced that it’s the work of a prominent businessman in town. As they investigate each murder the killer seems to toy with Harry, sending him notes, setting him up to meet victims before they are murdered, and framing a suspect as The Snowman. This culminates in the murder of his partner by The Snowman as she attempts to further investigate the businessman. When Harry finally gets too close to the murderer it is revealed that he is his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. He has kidnapped her and her son and taken them to his childhood home. In a final confrontation The Snowman is killed by falling through the ice on a frozen river. Harry wins again just like he always does and always will in the many sequels this wildly successful film will have… jk. This was terribly boring and unsuccessful. THE END.

Why?! Due to the nature of this film this is actually difficult to answer. Harry Hole is solving the crime because he is a detective. Duh. Boring. But the killer seems to be killing women because they have affairs… or is it that they are having children out of wedlock… or is it that they are having children who never know their fathers… or is it that they are having abortions? It’s all a little murky because the killer’s MO seems to change depending on his mood. Oh yeah and he also kills random people to try to cover his tracks… whatever. It all stems from his childhood in which he was the product of a violent affair that resulted in the suicide of his mother.

What?! No major product placement or plot devices so I’ll use this space to talk about the adaptation from the book, which I read years ago. I commend them on the changes they made to fit the story to a cinematic release. It’s pretty common now to take a story with a built in fan base and adapt it straight. They certainly didn’t do that here. At the same time almost all the changes made were for the worse or at least more confusing… that’s all I got.

Who?! There is a very special thanks to Truls Kontny, head of the Film Commission Norway, for obvious reasons. I’d rather reiterate the weirdness of Val Kilmer in this film. It’s understandable but still shocking that not more was made of his involvement in the film. He obviously has been significantly impacted physically from his illness and it was at times hard to watch him struggle through his scenes. Hate to say they should have recast his part but… yes, they probably should have.

Where?! Norway, duh, they gave a special thanks to Truls Kontny after all. If they had kept the book’s ending of Harry hanging off the iconic ski jump that overlooks Oslo then this would get an A… as it is it is just heavily set in Oslo but able to be set elsewhere. Like, if this film was made 20 years ago it would have been set in Alaska and starred Sly Stallone who wouldn’t have been an alcoholic but rather addicted to health and fitness. B+.

When?! Harry buys concert tickets as a birthday present for Friday, November 21st. We see him go to the concert so all the events of the film occur on or around that day. Weird thing is that you have to jump to 2020 or go back to 2014/2008/etc. to get a November 21st on a Friday. I guess I would think maybe this took place in 2008 or before since the book was set in 2004 and written in 2007… or they didn’t really care much. B+.

The murkiness of the motivations is part of the mess that is this film. Not only does it sometimes seem like parts of the film are missing, but it also seems to mix and match it with portions of the book. This messes with the internal logic of the film because while we see some motivation of the killer derived from childhood trauma (slightly different than in the book), the rest of the murders aren’t changed significantly enough to match the new motivation. Problematic. It’s actually startling that this film was released in this state. Should have thought about reshoots maybe. It did no one any favors and seems to have harmed the reputation of a young director in the process. And I didn’t even mention Val Kilmer. Egad. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When I am shaken awake by a terrible dream, sweating in the cold moonlight, staring out into the clear London night, I tremble, my mind running a thousand miles per hour over the anxieties to come upon morning. My heartbeat slowing, I whisper to myself “At least I’m not the person who had to edit The Snowman” and fall soundlessly asleep. Let’s get into it.

The Good (Sklognalysis) – I like Fassbender and many of the side actors in the film. The vistas are beautiful, what more could you ask for? Well … we’ll get to that. But if this movie was a screensaver it would be just magnifique. Unfortunately it’s actual intention is to entertain, sooooo … A tiny Sklognalysis to end it. The rumors surrounding this movie are basically that the production started before the director even got on board, they couldn’t afford to film in Norway as long as necessary, and thus only about 85% of the script was actually filmed. This is what I would call an uneditable film. The material wasn’t there to fashion a story out of the pieces, it is an editor’s nightmare. Given the condition of Val Kilmer (his voice still recovering from throat cancer and thus totally dubbed) it is pretty obvious they were not allowed to reshoot … it is just bonkers. Just, absolutely incredible stuff. Once the Bad Movie Twins Media Empire is launched we’ll get to the bottom of these mysteries.

The Bad (Sklogcabulary Quiz) – Val Kilmer is completely dubbed in this film and barely appears in it. I needed to come up with a catchy description of what this kind of represented and settled on:

Star Poser (n.) – An actor hired to bring star power to a film who instead, ironically, ends up being the weakest part.

Val Kilmer, in this film, is a Star Poser. It is no slight to Val Kilmer, but someone had to tell him he just couldn’t do it. His voice is shot and the voiceover is just … you couldn’t find a voice actor who could kind of sound like him? It is just weird. I’ve covered it several times, but the film is just put together very very poorly. They must have just had nothing to work with because the result is kind of indescribably bad.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The legacy I think is that this is kind of a rare example of a film I watched juuust after the Razzie awards were given where I thought “huh, kind of surprising this didn’t get a nod”. Most of the time we hit the big targets, so it is pretty surprising we hit something just a little too late to put it in our current year worst at the Smaddies Baddies. And street cred? Woof. Fourth worst at both AV Club and Variety. What more could we ask for really?

I did not read the book this was based on, but I can say with assurance this was very very Norway. Continue to check out the evolving Map Streets Map Alright! as we add more European countries Sklog-packing across Europe.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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The Snowman Preview

Big week for us at BMTHQ as we transition from the adaptation cycle into the second cycle of the year which introduces a new game to BMT. That game is an extension to the wildly popular Mapl.de.map and is basically the International Mapl.de.map. It gets the Backstreet Boys inspired nickname of the Mapstreet’s Map, Alright! This whole venture will start with a focus on Europe with the Sklogs’ backpacking adventure. So we’ll attempt to hit nine films with different European settings and require that each must either be the first film we’ve watched from a particular country OR it must have a higher BMeTric score than whatever currently holds the spot on the map. Obviously the transition must be an adaptation of a book that also takes place in such a European country. And you know what that means. That’s right! We’re watching last year’s The Snowman. Based on the Jo Nesbø novel about an Oslo police officer, Harry Hole, they decided to keep the original setting (all the better for us) of Norway. It’s the first film we’ve watched for BMT that is set in Norway, so easy entry on the map, and I’ve already read the book. So basically NBD from the start. Let’s go!

The Snowman (2017) – BMeTric: 58.2

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(This is basically by definition people voting on IMDb before they saw the film. This ain’t people going to film festivals and being like “hmmm, indeed, what a coherent and affecting crime thriller, I was thoroughly enthralled throughout. Sure to be a box office sensation”. Because 8.0 is hilarious. Who are these … what? Fassbender-heads? What world are we living in where people / robots do this kind of shit?)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  In the year 2075, if man is still alive, if woman can survive, and they start writing histories of 21st century cinema, “The Snowman” will make a very excellent case study. Perhaps by that time sufficient evidence will have been gathered to explain just why a movie assembled by a group of mostly first-rate talents wound up such a soggy, slushy mess.

(Oh snap. I held off from the rest of the review because as much as they tried to avoid it the review started to get mighty close to some spoilers. And honestly, with a soggy slushy mess such as this what things to you have to look forward to beyond the obvious misdirection the filmmakers will inevitably throw at you?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF2Ksrxu_QY

(Hmmm, actually pretty intense. Considering the film is supposed to be rather boring I can’t help but think this is a ruse to get me to watch the film … worked. I even was rather intrigued when the trailer debuted and shocked by just how back the reviews were.)

Directors – Tomas Alfredson – (Known For: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; Let the Right One In; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Brother of Daniel Alfredson who directed two of the The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo films. From Sweden.)

Writers – Peter Straughan (screenplay by) – (Known For: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; The Men Who Stare at Goats; Frank; The Debt; Mrs. Ratcliffe’s Revolution; Sixty Six; Future BMT: Our Brand Is Crisis; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Possibly involved as a frequent collaborator with Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). He was nominated for an Oscar along with his lote wife Bridget O’Connor for that film.)

Hossein Amini (screenplay by) – (Known For: Drive; Snow White and the Huntsman; Our Kind of Traitor; The Two Faces of January; Killshot; The Four Feathers; The Wings of the Dove; Jude; Future BMT: 47 Ronin; Shanghai; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Iranian-British, born to an Iranian diplomat he attended boarding school in Britain and eventually went to Oxford University.)

Søren Sveistrup (screenplay by) – (BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Was the head writer on the original Dutch television show The Killing.)

Jo Nesbø (based on the novel by) – (Known For: Hodejegerne; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: He’s written a number of novels (mainly involving the detective Harry Hole), but also wrote a television series, Occupied. It involves Russia occupying Norway because Norway, citing the environment, tries to stop all oil extraction in the North Sea.)

Actors – Michael Fassbender – (Known For: Inglourious Basterds; Alien: Covenant; X-Men: Apocalypse; 12 Years a Slave; Prometheus; X: First Class; 300; X-Men: Days of Future Past; The Light Between Oceans; Shame; Song to Song; Steve Jobs; Macbeth; Jane Eyre; Eden Lake; A Dangerous Method; Frank; Centurion; Hunger; Haywire; Future BMT: The Counsellor; Assassin’s Creed; BMT: Jonah Hex; The Snowman; Notes: German-Irish he resides in London. He now has a production company called Peanut Productions.)

Rebecca Ferguson – (Known For: The Greatest Showman; The Girl on the Train; Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation; Life; Hercules; Florence Foster Jenkins; Future BMT: Despite the Falling Snow; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Swedish-British, she speaks both languages. She came into the business through modelling.)

Charlotte Gainsbourg – (Known For: Nymphomaniac: Vol. I; Antichrist; 21 Grams; I’m Not There.; I Think We’re Alone Now; Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer; The Science of Sleep; Jane Eyre; Les fantômes d’Ismaël; The Cement Garden; Samba; 3 coeurs; The Tree; Ils se marièrent et eurent beaucoup d’enfants; La petite voleuse; Incompresa; Nuovomondo; Prête-moi ta main; Ma femme est une actrice; Kung-fu master!; Future BMT: Every Thing Will Be Fine; Confession of a Child of the Century; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; The Snowman; Notes: Her father is Serge Gainsbourg, a kind of jack-of-all-trades in the music and art business, notable for producing popular music in a multitude of genres. Her start in the business was somewhat controversial, appearing in a movie where she plays a young girl molested by her father … her actual father directed and starred in this film as the father. So … yup.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $6,700,035 (Worldwide: $43,084,060)

(I would call that a complete disaster. We certainly won’t see another Harry Hole film for a bit. A bit like Cross, which has kind of killed prospects for more Alex Cross adaptations, although I hope that isn’t the case. Despite being … problematic (Alex Cross is written by a very white person, and the protagonist is very much attempting to represent a certain set of black virtues, I’ll leave it at that), I do think a reboot of Alex Cross could touch on some very interesting subjects in the current cultural climate.)

#43 for the Thriller – Serial Killer genre

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(Huh, the genre is all but dead. I actually think this is a two-fold problem. First, with true crime podcasts booming and things like Mindhunters (and Dexter and Hannibal before it) on television the market for serial killers is saturated. Second, will the history of serial killers in film, books, and across all media, there is very little of interest to show in a single 2 hour film. So the thriller has looked elsewhere for their thrills. And honestly … given the reviews it does look like maybe a little 6 episode BBC series would have at least made Harry Hole’s debut a but more coherent.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (12/162): A mystery that feels as mashed together and perishable as its title, The Snowman squanders its bestselling source material as well as a top-notch ensemble cast.

(That isn’t very illumination. So like … boring? Maybe a Review Highlight will help: “The Snowman” is ugly and nasty, but that’s not the worst of it. The worst is that it’s boring and makes no sense. – Mick LaSalle, The San Francisco Chronicle … nope, it sounds like it is mostly boring.)

Poster – The Sklogman (B-)

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(They really missed on this one. Good font and spacing. It’s just… too much white. If you insist on having a white poster you better be more artistic and can’t spoil it like they did here.)

Tagline(s) – Soon the first snow will fall, and the hunt for a killer begins. (D)

(What year is this tagline from? Jesus. Can you make it any longer? I fell asleep halfway through reading it. Not clever, too long, and too explicit with the plot.)

Keyword(s) – snowman; Top Ten by BMeTric: 58.4 The Snowman (2017); 52.9 Christmas with the Kranks (2004); 51.7 Jack Frost (1998); 51.6 Dorm Daze (2003); 49.3 Snow Day (2000); 43.5 Fred Claus (2007); 35.3 Christmas with the Coopers (2015); 32.9 Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011); 31.6 Sint (2010); 29.1 Every Thing Will Be Fine (2015);

(Wow, we really don’t like Christmas movie huh? In reality the issue is that for the past three years we’ve done the year recap cycle to try and get as many of the established worst-of of the year off the docket. And it kind of spoils any possibility of doing a Christmas film … we end up having to do it offseason which is a little weird/)

Notes – Martin Scorsese was originally attached to direct this movie. He remained on board as executive producer.

The film is NOT a remake of The Snowman (1982). It’s based on the 2007 novel Snømannen (The Snowman), the seventh book in Norwegian crime-writer Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole series. (hahahahaha. Obviously)

Michael Fassbender started shooting this movie only two days after wrapping on Assassin’s Creed (2016).

Tomas Alfredson has said that production was too rushed. He came on board late, and reckons that up to 15% of the screenplay was never filmed. Location filming in Norway was shortened so production could move to London, which compromised the story. (Ah yeah, that sounds like a disaster)

Part of the film was shot at The Schrøder Restaurant in Oslo, where Harry Hole is regular guest in Jo Nesbø’s books. Also, according to the book, Harry’s home is at Sofies gate 5, a few minutes walk from Schrøder. (S-s-s-s-s-s-s-ettings)

The Snowman (2017) and Downsizing (2017) were the first two international features shot in Norway to receive funding from the new state incentive program to attract foreign film and TV productions. Togther, the two films spent $24 million in Norway during their Norwegian location shoots. [2016] (And bother were a box office disaster I think)

Jo Nesbø has a cameo in the movie.

All of Val Kilmer’s lines are dubbed throughout the film. According to a Reddit AMA in May 2017, Kilmer disclosed that he had “a healing of cancer,” and his tongue “was still swollen although healing all the time.” (Yeah … )

Although mostly shot in Norway, great care was taken to remove any Norwegian language from the movie. No Norwegian is spoken and anything normally written in Norwegian is changed. This includes newspaper headlines and destinations on public transportation. Norwegian police cars normally have “politi” written on them (meaning “police”) but this was simply removed. (That is very strange as well. I guess, what? They wanted to be able to do reshoots in London or something?)

In the source novel, the police discuss several Swedish serial killers, including Thomas Quick (a.k.a. Sture Bergwall). However, Quick/Bergwall was eventually acquitted of the alleged murders. Brother Sten-Owe Bergwall and lawyer Pelle Svensson wrote books criticizing the Swedish authorities’ handling of the cases.

Apparently, Michael Fassbender bought drinks for the whole crew after a long day of shooting. The next day, rigging electrician Karl Andre Bru walked up to Fassbender and said jokingly, “Thanks for the hangover, man!” Rumor has it Fassbender cracked up and was unable to keep a straight face for the rest of the day. (NOPE! There is no way Fassbender heard that cheesy joke and was like “holy shit, that’s the funniest shit. It is so funny it is ruining my day, that’s how funny it is.” It is just impossible)

The ringtone of Rakel’s phone is cover of Edvard Grieg’s piece “In the Hall of the Mountain King”.

Leading up to the release of the movie, Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang released a series of mock articles in collaboration with Universal, intended to show how the newspaper would normally cover a case like the one depicted in the movie. They included articles about the murder weapon, Harry Hole himself, and grisly details of the antagonist’s murder spree.

The snowmen in the film are made by Norwegian kids in a small town, in collaboration with DesignIce from Trøgstad.

This is the second collaboration between Tomas Alfredson, David Dencik, and Toby Jones. The first was Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). That film had Michael Fassbender as part of the original cast, in the role of Ricki Tarr, but he had to turn it down because of another project.

The film received a “D” CinemaScore. (Which is terrible, but not surprising considering the reviews. A thriller getting such bad reviews is pretty abnormal, mainly because I think you just release straight to VOD normally. I wonder if they had some deal with Norway which required the release)

Rebecca Ferguson shot this film before the press junket for Despite the Falling Snow (2016). In one interview, she talked about just shooting the other film while growing out her bangs (fringe) from this film.

The song “Popcorn” by the group Hot Buttered is playing every time the killer is at another murder scene. Either before a murder or during the setup. (So many music notes)

(Considering the terrible reviews it is somewhat odd that not only was this film not nominated for a Razzie, it wasn’t even pre-nominated if I recall. I would think at least the director would have had a shot.)

The Country Bears Recap

 

If you think you are the world’s number one Country Bears groupie, then you need to get on this quiz. Jamie, naturally got 100% so … good luck.

Jamie

Beary feels like he just doesn’t belong and so runs away to find his place in the world with the help of his heroes The Country Bears. Will he be able to get the band back together, save Country Bear Hall, and discover the meaning of life before it’s too late? Find out in… The Country Bears.

How?! Beary Barrington seems just a little different. That’s because he’s a bear and his family are humans. Thinking that he might fit in better elsewhere he runs away to get advice from those he identified most with: The Country Bears. They are of course a band of animatro… I mean, totally real bears who used to be one of the biggest bands in the world. After mauling several civilians to death (one can only presume), Beary arrives at Country Bear Hall to find that it is about to be demolished by the evil Reed Thimple. Oh no! Beary suggests that the band get back together and tots put on a huge concert to earn the necessary funds to save the hall. A series of misadventures and oddly placed dance and music numbers ensue, culminating in the band reuniting, but getting in a big fight and deciding not to play the concert. A distraught Beary realizes that the being a family doesn’t mean you have to look alike, but that it’s the love that’s inside that counts. Awwwww. Rushing back home he is greeted not only by his loving family but also The Country Bears who have been inspired by his courage to play the big concert after all. Double awwww. Just at that moment though the country bear bus (and several members of the band) are kidnapped by Reed Thimple. This lasts approximately five seconds before Beary and his family bust them out, rush over to Country Bear Hall, and put on the big (clearly overpriced) concert to earn the $20000 they needed. THE END.

Why?! Like many kids’ films this is primarily about feeling different but realizing that that’s OK. Beary wants to feel like he belongs somewhere, most importantly with his family. Only once he gets a taste of human flesh (probably) and sees that even a band (which seems so tight knit) might have their problems does he realize that fitting in is more about love than looks. Everyone else just wants to get paid and laid. They are a world famous band after all. The Country Bears hooking up with groupies is probably on the extended DVD.

What?! Is this a product placement for itself? Like was this not supposed to get people all jazzed about the Country Bear Jamboree and want to see them up close and personal? If this was a major blockbuster a la Pirate of the Caribbean would we have Country Bear World instead of Harry Potter World? Also funny reading up on the attraction and realizing there are literally like a thousand bears in the show. We really only got the… bear minimum (AY-OH).

Who?! Big Al is like a Planchet, but awesome and everyone loves him. He talks real slow, loves his grass, and puts one over on those that mean to do harm to The Country Bears. Love you, Big Al. More importantly there are like a trillion musician cameos in this film. The most prominent of those are Jennifer Paige and Krystal, who both get solo songs to sing (and were apparently never heard from again). Elton John, Willie Nelson, Don Henley, etc. etc. etc. all appear as themselves in a Making the Music type documentary shown at the beginning and end of the film.

Where?! Tennessee, baby! It’s pretty obviously TN, but I had trouble proving it for most of the movie. Luckily there was a close-up of a license plate and some police officer uniforms that confirmed it. C+.

When?! My best guess here is September 2001. This is based on a table calendar on a desk in an office store (so not an exact science). For obvious reasons I would expect that the events of the film took place in the beginning of the month… unless 9/11 didn’t happen in the human-bear world that the film took place in… which is real weird to think about. C+.

I was actually a little surprised how much I didn’t mind this film while at the same time realizing that it is bonkers insane. The entire film takes place in a world where humans and talking bears coexist and everyone just understands and accepts this. Bears are just sprinkled here and there throughout the world. If this weren’t a kids’ film I would say there might have been some allegory to race in America, but no… right?… wait… right? Once you get past that it’s pretty much a harmless kids’ film with some pretty elaborate song and dance numbers performed by C-list musicians. Real weird but not totally bad. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Sometimes, when you feel like you just don’t belong, there is only one thing to do … watch a kids movie about how to feel like you belong. Spoiler alert: it turns out you belonged the whole time! Thanks, Country Bears! Let’s go!

The Good (Sklognalysis) – The movie is extremely linear, which makes it pleasant enough at times. Basically Beary Barrington doesn’t feel like he belongs with his human family, so he goes to live with his heros the Country Bears, who he helps to save Country Bear Hall … the end. Literally that is the entire movie. And if you were to make this movie, maybe you could make it better, but at least they can say you couldn’t streamline it any more than they did. They got some decently solid comedic actors to be in this. I wanted to pop a little Sklognalysis here mainly because we here at BMTHQ started to turn around a bit on watching kids’ movies for BMT. This is mainly because of the B-story in these movies, like the hostile corporate takeover in Nine Lives, which are endlessly fascinating, why would a kid want to watch that? Well, here you see a kids film without a B-story at all. It is so linear that they couldn’t even really squeeze in a short section where Mr. Barrington is whistleblowing on his logging company or whatever. Is this good? I think so, it kind of reminds me of Air Bud, where even the B-story (Air Bud’s original owner comes and tries to get Buddy back) is really a part of the A-story, and makes for a more pleasant and clear watching experience. But it certainly makes the movie less fun as well. So kind of a mixed bag. We’ll keep you up to date on our evolving kids’ movie thoughts.

The Bad (Sklog-quel) – The musical acts are not the worst musical acts I’ve seen in a movie. … Er, well … beside one:

My god, is it weird that I’m only mainly concerned about where the guitar player came from? The animatronics are disquietingly creepy (as one reviewer put it). Walken as the bad guy is just weird, and leads to some poor directorial decision making (like the triple take smashing of a model Country Bear Hall:

which is just weird). Diedrich Bader pulls double duty, but his live action performance in particular is very not good. For the Sklog-quel I think I want a remake. Basically, the suggestion that the bears kind of inexplicably just live in the real world (and people seem to think they are indistinguishable from humans?) is very problematic for me. Let’s see a movie where the bears kind of live in the woods in a secret community. Make Tobolowsky the manager in a logging company and Walken his eeeeevil boss who wants nothing more than to destroy the Country Bears home. The concert is more of a coming out party, to make the world aware of the Bears, and the main character is merely Tobolowsky’s (human) son who discovers and decides to help them save their home. I’m just imagining the Ewok Village of a set they would have built for this and am enamored with the idea. Would it suddenly make the movie much better? Maybe, maybe not. But for me it extracts one of the more perplexing choices they decide to make, which is having the Country Bears just kind of … around.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The legacy I think is all part of BMT coming home to one of its original genres, the kids’ movie. If kids’ movies continue to grow in popularity with the Bad Movie Twins, then so shall the legacy of trailblazers like The Country Bears. The StreetCreditReport.com is also pretty solid. Mentioned in at least a few worst of lists in a year marked by some truly dire options like Ballistic Ecks vs Sever. It is mostly dismissed as a kids movie, but still finds some play here and there.

Now how is it as an adaptation … actually quite good. All things considered what do you do with The Country Bears? You make a big animatronic romp. And given that requirement they dish in spades, I mean … there are a ton of animatronics. I think I give it a B+. If it was actually a good movie you’d be seeing Pirates level of adaptation grades there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Country Bears Preview

The obvious follow up to a film as sexy as Fifty Shades Freed is one that is even sexier. That’s right! We’re watching the theme park ride adaptation The Country Bears. You’ll never see anything quite as sexy as the scary animatronic bear monsters of The Country Bears. We’re watching this one for the game portion of the cycle as it appears on our Calendar for the July 26th entry. I don’t think I really have to justify more about this film for BMT… it’s The Country Bears! Let’s go!

The Country Bears (2002) – BMeTric: 47.8

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(I’m surprised at how few votes there are (this was released to theaters, right?) and also at how low the rating is (this was almost exclusively viewed by children, correct?). Pretty standard regression to the mean though, so nothing really surprising. Will almost definitely hit 50 at some point this year and hover there for the rest of eternity.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  “Inspired by” a Disneyland attraction, this lazy excuse for a kid film has a young bear (who’s been adopted by a human family) going back to his roots, and helping a legendary music group to stage a reunion and rescue their performance hall. It they spent time on the script and less time setting up cameo performances (Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, etc.) it might have been better.

(Why doesn’t that feel like a two star review? He brutalized it. Anyways, I do love cameos, they simple ruin even already terrible films. So bring it on, I’ll count them up with excitement at all of the excellent quiz questions I can make.)

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

(My god, what have we done? What horror have we found ourselves watching? I thought this was a real film. It seemed like a real film. And yet I watch this trailer and it is like I’m watching a trailer for Air Bud 3. I don’t get it. Was it a real film? Are they gaslighting us? Is Disney like “Oh, this old thing. This was a straight-to-video movie though. You must be misremembering, no company would release this to theaters”. And I’m sitting here like “Yeah, I guess you’re right Disney. I must be mistaken” … but I’m not, this is a real movie they released to theaters and made people spend money on.)

Directors – Peter Hastings – (BMT: The Country Bears; Notes: He is mainly a cartoon writer and story editor, primarily for WB things like Pinky and the Brain and Animaniacs. This was his only directorial gig, likely due to his voice work experience. Performed with the Groundlings in the 80s and has a degree from Berklee College of Music.)

Writers – Mark Perez (written by) – (Known For: Herbie Fully Loaded; Future BMT: Accepted; BMT: The Country Bears; Notes: Writing the upcoming Game Night, which honestly looks like the Man Who Knew Too Little updated with modern comedic actors.)

Actors – Haley Joel Osment – (Known For: Forrest Gump; The Sixth Sense; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Tusk; Secondhand Lions; Pay It Forward; Sex Ed; Me Him Her; The World Made Straight; Bogus; Sassy Pants; Future BMT: Yoga Hosers; The Jungle Book 2; Mixed Nuts; I’ll Follow You Down; Entourage; BMT: The Country Bears; Notes: As a child star he received an oscar nomination at the age of 11 for his role in The Sixth Sense. Went to Tisch, but his acting since has been mostly indie films and tv guest spots. I’ve heard him on a few podcasts and he seems cool.)

Diedrich Bader – (Known For: EuroTrip; Napoleon Dynamite; Office Space; Ice Age; Bolt; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Surf’s Up; Recess: School’s Out; Dead & Breakfast; Sassy Pants; Calvin Marshall; Future BMT: Meet the Spartans; Vampires Suck; The Starving Games; Balls of Fury; BMT: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous; The Beverly Hillbillies; The Country Bears; Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike; Notes: Ah our old friend. A lot of his recent acting has been voice work including a ton of Batman cartoons. He even played Batman in the Batman / Scooby Doo straight-to-video crossover film.)

Candy Ford – (BMT: The Country Bears; Notes: Likely hired because of her voice work … she’s been in almost nothing otherwise. Had a small part in Curb Your Enthusiasm as Jacket Saleswoman … she’s been in almost nothing.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $16,990,825 (Worldwide: $18,012,097)

(Oh wow, a complete disaster. Who could have guessed the film based on a terrible Disney World ride would do terribly. And don’t even say the words “Pirates of the Caribbean”. You know this is a much different and worse idea than that.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 30% (24/81): Despite all the celebrities on hand, this spin-off from a theme park attraction still feels tired and hokey.

(I honestly can’t even believe it did that well. I guess that is what you can get when you are innocuous enough. The cast is pretty impressive … but so was Marmadukes, so … Reviewer Highlight: By turns numbingly dull-witted and disquietingly creepy. – Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle)

Poster – The Country Sklogs (A)

country_bears

(Nice balance. Nice color. And unique font. I honestly can’t think of anything bad to say about it other than that it is a poster for The Country Bears.)

Tagline(s) – They’re legends. Bearly. (C)

(This started as an F as my brain rejected it… but it’s creeping up on me. It’s already climbed up to a C as it tickles something in my brain. Quick! We gotta run before I give this an A.)

Keyword(s) – bear; Top Ten by BMeTric: 76.4 Hercules in New York (1970); 71.8 Furry Vengeance (2010); 70.6 Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001); 70.1 On Deadly Ground (1994); 67.0 Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009); 65.4 Yogi Bear (2010); 65.3 Chernobyl Diaries (2012); 61.2 Norm of the North (2016); 60.4 The Guardians (2017); 57.4 Zombeavers (2014);

(We probably aren’t going to watch Hercules in New York. It isn’t a real movie. Yogi Bear on the other had is definitely in play as is, gulp, Norm of the North if we are feeling particularly bad about our state of mind one week. I’m personally offended that The Great Outdoors didn’t make the list)

Notes – After Tennessee and Trixie’s performance in the bar, a bar patron comments that it was better than Eagles. The patron is Don Henley, who is one of the founding members of the Eagles and who provided the singing voice for Tennessee. The female companion he says it to is Bonnie Raitt, who provided the voice for Trixie. (Ugh)

This is the first Disney film to feature Christopher Walken, who never made another Disney film until The Jungle Book (2016), 14 years later.

Though Haley Joel Osment voices Beary, veteran voice-over actress Elizabeth Daily provided his singing voice.

Disney’s later film, The Muppets (2011) featured a nearly identical plot to this one. (HA)

An outside shot of Country Bear Hall pans up to the night sky to shot a constellation, the Big Dipper aka Ursa Major aka Big Bear.

When Henry gives Beary a tour of Country Bear Hall, he names a few performers who had played there back in the day, including Liver Lips McGrowl. McGrowl is one of the many singing bears featured in the “Country Bear Jamboree” in Walt Disney World, on which the movie was based. (These notes make me sad)

While on the tour bus, Fred shows Beary his harmonica that his dad gave to him. In the “Country Bear Jamboree” show at Walt Disney World that the movie is based off of, it is mentioned in song that Fred picked up his harmonica playing from his father. (Please stop, I can only take so much of this)

Peter Hastings Directorial Debut. (One and done. One and done. One and done)

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Christopher Walken)

Batman & Robin Recap

Jamie

Batman is back, Jack! The new baddies in town are Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Bane. Can Batman and Robin work together (perhaps with a little help from Batgirl) to take them down before it’s too late? Find out in… Batman & Robin.

How?! While Batman and Robin struggle to learn to work as a team a new bad guy has risen and is stealing all the diamonds in sight. His name is Mr. Freeze and he requires his body to be kept at a super low temperature at all times due to a lab accident. The diamonds he steals both power a cryogenic suit he wears and fund his continued research into curing his wife of MacGregor’s Syndrome. In a wild coincidence Alfred has just come down with MacGregor’s Syndrome and is steadily dying (if only someone was doing some research into curing that!). His niece Barbara comes to visit and basically disappears for most of the movie. At the same time a researcher in a Wayne Enterprise funded botany lab is accidentally turned into a powerful plant-human hybrid called Poison Ivy who vows revenge on Bruce Wayne. These two baddies converge on a trap laid by Batman at a fundraiser featuring the showing of a large diamond. While Mr. Freeze attempts to steal the diamond, leading to his capture, Poison Ivy demonstrates her ability to pit Batman and Robin against each other through the use of pheromones. After Poison Ivy breaks Mr. Freeze out of Arkham, Batman and Robin learn to trust each other again and go after her. Remember Barbara? She’s back and is now Batgirl for some reason. Great. They all converge on Poison Ivy’s hideout and take her out like it ain’t no thang. They then go after Mr. Freeze and totes crush him too and save Gotham from getting frozen. Having captured Mr. Freeze they then remember that he can cure Alfred and they’re like, “What up, give us the cure,” and Mr. Freeze is all like “OK.” They then cure Alfred and everyone laughs and they ask Barbara to stay because she is a vital and interesting character for the series. THE END.

Why?! Batman and Robin are same old, same old. As for Batgirl, she dropped out of school and is trying to earn money to free Alfred from his servitude before he dies. Only after he accidentally reveals Batman’s secrets to her does she understand the importance of his work and decide to take part (not really for justice or anything). Poison Ivy wants to kill everyone basically because she wants Mother Earth to fight back against the human race that is killing it. Finally, Mr. Freeze is the weirdest character we have in the series because he’s not really insane. He steals the diamonds because he needs them for his suit and research. It’s actually pretty confusing. Just help the dude. He’s sick and just wants to do valuable research. He doesn’t even want to kill Batman until Poison Ivy tricks him into thinking Batman killed his wife.

What?! Another Batman film, another case of an almost product placement. When Poison Ivy seduces Batman and Robin at the charity auction they get in a bidding war ending with Batman pulling out the official Batman credit card. It should have of course been a Visa or MasterCard or something. But no. It just says Batman on it… wonder what the bank makes of the fact that Bruce Wayne keeps paying Batman’s credit card bills.

Who?! Coolio appears in this film in a comically minor role. It may be my favorite example of a musician-turned-actor in the history of film. Also notable is Vivica A. Fox playing the hot love interest (?) of Mr. Freeze for exactly 12 seconds before unceremoniously being ejected from the film. It’s actually unclear why she is even in the film at all.

Where?! Gotham, duh. But in seriousness Gotham doesn’t have a location in this iteration of the Batman adaptations. This is pretty clear from the license plates that simply read “Gotham” at the top. In the comics there have been a number of hints dropped that it’s in New Jersey, which is apparently made explicit in Suicide Squad. Exciting. F.

When?! While Batman Forever was an amazing settings film, this film did turn out to purposefully obscure when this took place as well. To the point where an invitation to an event is clearly shown with no indication of where or when the event takes place… terrible planning. F.

This movie is terrible, but not nearly terrible as everyone seems to make it out to be. It is pretty obviously rushed and put together in a slapdash kind of way. This is best demonstrated by Batgirl who is forgotten for long stretches of the film in what was apparently unhappiness by the studio at her having gained some weight and them forcing Schumacher to cut her scenes… which is really just sad. This and the excessive use of quips and puns by Mr. Freeze is what seems to have set it apart in people’s minds when thinking about bad films. But I was somewhat shocked at how coherent it was given all that. Yes it strayed pretty far into the goofy side of Batman, but not really much further than Batman Forever already had. I truly blame the quips… and maybe that time that all the bad guys played hockey and then Batman and Robin did too and then the NHL had to fold (I think). Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What do you get when you cross a deluded director trying to make a live action cartoon, and the Dark Knight himself? The highest BMeTric of all time, that’s what. Let’s go!

The Good (Pop Quiz Hot Shot!) – The film is shockingly coherent given its reputation. It is also ludicrously fun, way beyond it has any right to be. I think the bright spot across the entire Burton-Schumacher series is that the performances are usually great, and Uma, Clooney, and Arnold all do rather well (despite the puns). And without further ado: Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

  1. When Poison Ivy and Bane interrupt the charity bachelorette auction they are dressed as what animal?
  2. When Robin is frozen at the end of the opening heist how long does Mr. Freeze claim Batman has to thaw him to prevent his death?
  3. Barbara Wilson (Batgirl) comes to Gotham after dropping out of what fictional school in England?
  4. When Alfred contracts MacGregor’s Syndrome he composes a cd detailing Bruce Wayne and his secret identity to be delivered to his brother in India. What is Alfred’s brother’s name?
  5. Both Robin and Barbara Wilson enter a underground motorcycle street race. Robin, naturally, has a Robin painted on his helmet, what is painted on Barbara’s helmet?

A tougher one this week which I think is indicative of a film with a rather simple plot line. Just trivia, but I hope someone who had recently finished the film could get two or three, the last two are tough for sure.

The Bad (Homework Sklog-signment) – The writing is, as usual, sloppy. The movie is too cheesy for its own good. The sick Alfred storyline is just not a great one, worst personal issue Bruce Wayne goes through in a series which is kind of excellent at exactly that. But … it is hard to judge, but it is easier to explain with a Homework Sklog-signment. I watched all four Burton-Schumacher films and I have to say: the Burton ones are kind of messy, dark, and not very fun. They are good, especially the second, but not head and shoulders above the others like I expected. Forever is actually fine if you can get past Lee and Carrey acting like idiots. And this one, while terribly cheesy, is actually a lot more fun than I remembered … but it is hard to tell how much watching this film multiple times when I was ten has warped my mind. It is a danger of re-watching films for BMT. If I saw this movie clean I probably would have been rolling on the floor laughing, but I knew every beat before it happened, so nothing surprised. Nothing was shocking. I think it is a problem.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – This could, eventually, mark a turning point for BMT, possibly for the better. I think there is a clear issue with watching a movie we’ve seen before. It distracts from the analysis. Perhaps we need to consider recruiting others into the fold for a guest review? We’ll have to have a think on whether this is a problem or not. I’ll just leave this here if you ever thought to doubt the cred on this one.

I’ll forgo the detail in the adaptation grade to lighten things up, but I think it is a C+, too silly given how Batman evolved in the 80s basically. Worse than Forever, but, given how Batman is just straight murdering people in the first two, not bad relatively to the Burton films. The answers to this week’s quiz are: (1) Gorillas, very impressive costumes actually; (2) 11 minutes, which was later referred to in the climax of the film as the time it would take for everyone in Gotham to die as well; (3) Oxbridge, an intentional mix of Oxford and Cambridge; (4) Wilfred Pennyworth; (5) A very creepy looking angel.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Batman Forever Recap

Jamie

While Batman struggles to guide a young orphan, Dick Grayson, whose parents deaths he feels responsible for, Two-Face terrorizes Gotham and a new nemesis, The Riddler, rises. Can he stop the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Batman Forever.

How?! Let me set the scene: Batman is still the coolest cat in Gotham. He’s slaying it with a smoking hot Dr. Chase Meridian (both as Bruce Wayne and as Batman) and torching Two-Face daily. Unfortunately even the worst bad guys get lucky and Two-Face is able to kill Dick Grayson’s family in a botched bombing attempt. So while Bruce Wayne takes in and struggles to connect with the loner orphan who reminds him so much of himself, he allows for a much more competent bad guy, The Riddler, to rise. Using Two-Face’s criminal enterprise (he’s otherwise useless), The Riddler is able to take over Gotham through the sale of a 3D TV type technology which is wildly popular (in what is the least realistic aspect of the film). This technology not only turns the denizens of Gotham into mindless consumer zombies (not sure I’m picking up on this metaphor, wish it was a little heavier) but supplements the smarts of The Riddler, making him the smartest man in the world. After deducing that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same The Riddler kidnaps Chase and baits Batman (and his new sidekick Robin) into a final showdown… which Batman immediately wins. Oh and Two-Face dies in an embarrassing way because his character is an embarrassment. The End.

Why?! Batman exists because of his parents’ deaths. Same with Robin. Plain and simple. They are out for justice. Two-Face wants to kill Batman because he didn’t prevent acid from being thrown into his face… which seems a little vain. I understand that it’s not fair that Batman didn’t save you but you gotta deal with it man. The Riddler wants to kill Bruce Wayne because he dismissed him as a crazed lunatic when he worked at Wayne Enterprises… granted Wayne was correct about that, but still.

What?! The original Batman franchise is notable for stepping as close to product placement without actually getting all the way there. Case in point, in the beginning of Batman Forever Batman tells a concerned Alfred that he’ll “get drive thru” for dinner. I waited with bated breath to see the Batmobile zoom through a McDonalds drive thru and snag a greasy bag of snacks. Instead… nothing happened. I could have sworn that I remembered Batman zooming through a drive thru. Turns out that was tied into an actual commercial that aired on television and not in the film itself. Didn’t want to soil the Batman brand I guess.

Where?! Gotham, duh. See: recap of Batman & Robin. It’ll tell you all you need to know. F.

When?! You would think this would be an F, since almost everything is obscured in this series, but it’s actually a Secret Holiday Film Alert! That’s right! This film takes place on and around Halloween as evidenced by The Riddler and Two-Face ambushing Alfred wearing Halloween costumes and pretending to be trick-or-treaters.

This entire series is much worse than I remembered it being. Two-Face is pretty easily the worst character in the entire series and it really dives deep into the camp with The Riddler given that the rest of the film is played straight. But while the highs didn’t seem as high as maybe I used to think as a kid, the lows also didn’t seem as low. The entire Burton directed/produced series took Batman to an extreme that I don’t think aged particularly well, but also can be appreciated for the ambition and vision that it had. Just doesn’t work anymore.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! This year we have decided to hit up some of the old faves from our youth to really give them the proper BMT treatment. Batman Forever has it all, Jim Carrey with ridiculous orange hair, Jim Carrey in a sparkly green jumpsuit, Jim Carrey in a sparkly silver jumpsuit … honestly, Jim Carrey off-the-wall performance was really the only thing I remembered about this film. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Pop Quiz Hot Shot!) – I liked Kilmer in this, it was kind of shocking trying to evaluate all of the Batmans across the series. They were all actually kind of good in their own way and for what they were asked to do. At least Carrey’s performance is insane, otherwise Tommy Lee Jones’ horrible Two-Face would have dragged to movie completely down. There is a lot to like in this movie, I think it is actually not that much worse than Burton’s two films despite what critics say. Mainly it is just that the Burton-Schumacher Batmans as a whole are quite a bit worse than I remembered them being. Trying out a new segment called Pop Quiz Hot Shot! which will posit a few questions, try and play along at home!

  1. Nicole Kidman’s Dr. Chase Meridian (great name) gives Bruce Wayne a dream doll that is meant to protect his dreams. From which country did this doll come from?
  2. Throughout the movie Bruce Wayne is haunted by the memory of his parents’ wake in which he sees a leather bound book sitting atop a table in Wayne Manor. What book is this and/or what writings did it contain?
  3. Throughout the film you see Two-Face toss his famous coin into the air. What is displayed on both sides of this coin?
  4. Prior to becoming Robin, Dick Greyson discovers the batcave is hidden behind a locked door near the main staircase in Wayne Manor. What did Alfred claim was behind this door earlier in the film?
  5. While trying to decide on his super-villain persona Edward Nigma rejects four possibilities before settling on The Riddler. Name any of these four options.

If you watched the film recently I think the first four questions are possible. The fifth is tough and is the only one I probably wouldn’t have gotten myself. Check below to see how you did!

The Bad (Too Sklog; Didn’t Watch) – The movie is just kind of written sloppily, the plan by The Riddler and Two-Face is probably the best scheme in any of the four Burton-Schumacher Batman films, but it manages to basically make no sense because of how it is presented. Two-Face is a horribly designed villain played lazily by Jones. In trying to brighten up the dingy Gotham in the Burton films Schumacher loses some of the charm of the series (even though I do think he made the series more fun in the process). Somehow the worst final fight of a series which had exactly zero satisfying villain fight scenes. Another new segment! In Too Sklog; Didn’t Watch I’ll try and highlight a single portion of the film that really embodies what makes this a great bad movie. For Batman Forever it is definitely the scene where Two-Face meets The Riddler:

Watch these five minutes of film … it tells you everything about what makes this film both ludicrously entertaining, and just complete garbage at the same time.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I don’t think this has legacy beyond maybe being a great example of the fleeting nature of BMT. This film wasn’t BMT qualified a month ago, and now it is, this is legit the first time I’ve seen that happen for sure for a film that wasn’t just released. Batman Forever somehow escaped street cred, although that is likely because, as this list points out, it is so disposable people barely remember it. Jones makes a list for worst performances by good actors though. And let’s just say, some people didn’t give Forever as much slack as I did in this rewatch.

I’ll leave a small Adaptations Grade here: oddly, among all of the Burton-Schumacher Batman films this is probably the best adaptation. First, unlike the Burton films Batman isn’t running around violating his one rule and killing people. Second, it gets that dingy gothic look while also being garish and colorized when it needs to for the villains. For this one I think I would give it a B. I’ll leave the homework assignment for the Batman & Robin recap.

The answers to this week’s quiz are: (1) Malaysia; (2) His father’s journal, Bruce Wayne was upset knowing his father would never write in it again; (3) The statue of liberty’s head, scratched out on one side; (4) The silverware closet; (5) The Puzzler, The Gamester, Captain Kill, and Question Mark Man.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Batman & Robin Preview

Big week highlighting one of the few changes the BMT Board of Directors (BMTBD) proposed for the year. That was to try to bring in some of the many major bad movies that we had watched prior to BMT and as a result never gave the full BMT treatment. Originally such films were totally excluded from consideration. No more! So for the SciFi/Fantasy/Other category of the adaptation cycle we went straight for the crown jewel. That’s right! We’re bringing the single highest scoring BMeTric film of all time, the critically reviled superhero film Batman & Robin. We obviously watched this as kids and probably didn’t even think it was all that bad (we were like 11, so I’m not sure I had ever watched a film and thought it was bad). Let’s see if it holds up (holds down?) on a rewatch. Also have to note that Batman Forever qualifies (RT 39%) so it will be included as a bonus. Let’s go!

Batman & Robin (1997) – BMeTric: 94.5

BatmanRobin_BMeT

BatmanRobin_RV

(That, boys and girls, is the highest BMeTric in existence. Nearly 200K IMDb votes and a sub-4 rating, it is incredibly, almost impossibly, poorly rated. Let it sink in.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Batman #4 spotlights two colorful villains, Schwarzenegger’s lusty Mr. Freeze and Thurman’s deliciously nasty Poison Ivy, who (for different reasons) want to destroy Gotham City, but even their antics can’t sustain an overlong, episodic film in which the “story” often makes no sense. Clooney is OK but unremarkable as Bruce Wayne/Batman, ditto for Silverstone as the new Batgirl. The action and effects are loud, gargantuan, and ultimately numbing.

(He gave a better review to this one compared to Batman Returns! Incredible. Maltin doesn’t like “dark” things, at least that is what he complains about with the early Burton films. Hell, he gave The Dark Knight two stars! He thought Batman & Robin was better than The Dark Knight. Because of “colorful” villains basically.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RBXypX4qWI

(How did Uma Thurman end up doing this and The Avengers? The trailer is actually pretty cool. It looks like a cartoon, sure, but there isn’t really a good reason that that is a bad thing. Gotham looks cool. Arnold seems like he could work as an intimidating villain. I don’t know. I kind of expected the trailer to be garbage, but it isn’t really garbage, it is surprisingly compelling I think.)

Directors – Joel Schumacher – (Known For: Flatliners; The Lost Boys; A Time to Kill; St. Elmo’s Fire; Falling Down; Phone Booth; The Client; Flawless; Tigerland; Town Creek; Veronica Guerin; Cousins; Future BMT: Bad Company; Dying Young; The Incredible Shrinking Woman; 8MM; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Trespass; The Number 23; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director for Batman & Robin in 1998; Notes: In a recent Vice article, Schumacher said “Look, I apologize,” Schumacher told me in a phone interview last week. “I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that.” Good times.)

Writers – Bob Kane (Batman characters) – (Known For: Justice League; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Batman Begins; The LEGO Batman Movie; Batman; Batman Returns; The LEGO Movie; Batman: The Killing Joke; Batman: The Movie; Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders; Future BMT: Suicide Squad; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; BMT: Catwoman; Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Notes: The creator the Batman Character. There are a ton of articles about Bob Kane and his relationship with Bill Finger, the co-creator of Batman. Let’s just say it isn’t a super happy tale, although Finger is getting more credit now than he did in his time.)

Akiva Goldsman (written by) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; I Am Legend; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; Cinderella Man; The Client; Future BMT: Lost in Space; The Dark Tower; Practical Magic; Insurgent; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Batman & Robin; Rings; Transformers: The Last Knight; The 5th Wave; Batman Forever; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominated for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill in 1997; Notes: There is only so much to say right? He is currently overseeing the Ology book series adaptation with other heavy hitters like Michael Chabon on his staff.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: True Lies; Kindergarten Cop; Total Recall; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; Killing Gunther; Predator; The Terminator; Escape Plan; The Expendables; Aftermath; Conan the Barbarian; The Expendables 2; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; The Running Man; Commando; Welcome to the Jungle; The Last Stand; Maggie; The 6th Day; Red Heat; Future BMT: Hercules in New York; Junior; Red Sonja; Jingle All the Way; Collateral Damage; End of Days; Twins; Cactus Jack; Eraser; Last Action Hero; Terminator Genisys; The Kid & I; BMT: Batman & Robin; Raw Deal; Sabotage; Around the World in 80 Days; Conan the Destroyer; The Expendables 3; Notes: Former governor of California his marriage to Maria Shriver famously fell apart when it was reported he had fathered a child with their former housekeeper. I didn’t realize it, but the child is 20-years-old and goes to Pepperdine.)

George Clooney – (Known For: Tomorrowland: A World Beyond; Ocean’s Eleven; From Dusk Till Dawn; Gravity; Hail, Caesar!; The Men Who Stare at Goats; The Thin Red Line; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; Burn After Reading; Ocean’s Thirteen; Up in the Air; Ocean’s Twelve; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Spy Kids; The Descendants; Money Monster; The American; Michael Clayton; Out of Sight; The Perfect Storm; Future BMT: Return of the Killer Tomatoes!; The Monuments Men; The Good German; BMT: Batman & Robin; Notes: Once the world’s most eligible bachelor, he’s found love with his wife Amal. And guess what? They had twins! A son and a daughter, so fraternal, but still, that’s pretty good.)

Chris O’Donnell – (Known For: Scent of a Woman; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Kinsey; Vertical Limit; School Ties; Blue Sky; Circle of Friends; Kit Kittredge: An American Girl; A Little Help; Cookie’s Fortune; Men Don’t Leave; Future BMT: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore; The Bachelor; Mad Love; 29 Palms; In Love and War; The Three Musketeers; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Max Payne; The Chamber; Notes: He’s one of the guys whose career was potentially derailed by this disaster. But he seems like he’s doing okay having starred in all 168 episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles. I saw the pilot and him and LL Cool J tear it up, so there we go.)

Budget/Gross – $125 million / Domestic: $107,325,195 (Worldwide: $238,207,122)

(An absolute disaster at the time. Movies like this are more common these days, but at the time the budget was mind-blowing, so not making it back at the domestic box-office was crazy. I’m sure they made a mint on toy sales though.)

#64 for the Comic Book Adaptation genre

batmanrobin_comicbookadaptation

(The same as above. The largest two we’ve seen for BMT are Fantastic Four and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies … did we watch those for BMT? I think we saw the first one for BMT, but not the second. Which is weird, because I’ve definitely actually seen the second. I must have watched it on a plane.)

#61 for the Superhero genre

batmanrobin_superhero

(There really isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said about the genre in the Batman Forever preview. Let’s just say that we’ve had a few gems in our time watching the dregs of Superhero films. You remember Elektra? You remember that piece of garbage? We need to watch a few of these too, like Blankman. Blankman is crazy.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (9/86): Joel Schumacher’s tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that’s too jokey to care much for.

(Hmmm, kind of surprising it isn’t below 10%. I do like the consensus though, I think it very much rings true with what can go wrong with the jokey superhero paradigm. It works fine for Marvel, but this is the logical conclusion of the style and it can get ugly.)

Poster – Sklogman and Sklogin’ (D-)

batman_and_robin_ver9

(This is horrific. This is where you can take the Batman Forever poster (good) and make what seems to be mild changes and dive straight into F territory. Too many colors and too much going on. That being said still has the font… so maybe just narrowly missing that The Avengers F level… barely.)

Tagline(s) – Strength. Courage. Honor. And loyalty. On June 20, it ALL comes together… (D)

(It’s like a child wrote this. I really don’t like it… the more I look at it the more I hate it and I better just grade it before I give it an F.)

Keyword(s) – bat; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.5 Batman & Robin (1997); 72.5 Are We Done Yet? (2007); 67.8 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 65.9 Bodyguard (2011); 64.5 Bats (1999); 63.6 Dracula 2000 (2000); 57.3 Little Nicky (2000); 55.4 Batman Forever (1995); 49.5 The Order (2003); 41.3 City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold (1994);

(I modified this one a bit, but I do like the ultimate list … I wonder is any of these guys are concerning like a baseball bat? Not an animal bat. City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold is the greatest title for a film of all time as well.)

Notes – Most of the scenes with Batgirl, played by actress Alicia Silverstone, were cut out because Silverstone had gained a few pounds during production and the wardrobe team had to refit her costume. When the press discovered the news, they slammed Silverstone’s weight gain and mocked the actress for being “too fat” to fit into her costume. As a result, director Joel Schumacher publicly defended Silverstone during interviews and press meetings, joking “What is this girl’s big sin – that she ate some pizza?” When the press continued to taunt Silverstone’s weight gain, mostly from female journalists, Schumacher again intervened and lashed out at the reporters that taunted her. Schumacher went on record about the weight gain to one magazine by saying: “”It was horrible. I thought it was very cruel. She was a teenager who gained a few pounds – like all of us do at certain times. I would confront female journalists and I’d say, ‘With so many young people suffering from anorexia and bulimia, why are you crucifying this girl?'” Alicia Silverstone Batgirl in this movie is the only time Batgirl was ever shown on screen for a live action Batman movie. (Huh. Makes Schumacher sound like a decent dude. That story kind of sucks)

Due to the difficulty and large amount of time it took to remove the Batman suit, George Clooney reportedly urinated in his suit on at least one occasion. (Jesus Christ these notes)

George Clooney has been known to refund people who saw this film. (I would rather watch the film with him in his house. That would be an experience. I don’t need money back)

In later interviews, director Joel Schumacher would blame studio pressure to make the film more “toyetic” (i.e., a showcase for marketable toys and games), and in a “making-of” documentary on the DVD, apologized to disappointed fans.

Final film of wrestler Jeep Swenson (Bane), who died two months after the film’s release. (Oh no, that is awful. Died of heart failure at 40.).

Joel Schumacher had several meetings with Warner Bros. to get them to reconsider letting him do another Batman movie. Schumacher wanted to take the film back to its darker roots and make a “Batman: Year One” movie. Schumacher wanted to cast Kurt Russell as a young Commissioner Gordon and would have had Selina Kyle as a young, beautiful African-American woman living in the ghetto. However, Warner Bros. decided not to rehire Schumacher and the Batman film franchise remained in development limbo for years until Batman Begins (2005). (Probably a fine decision all things considered. Schumacher would have been poison regardless)

Last Batman film viewed by Batman creator Bob Kane. He would die one year after the release of this film. This is also the last film which Kane worked as project consultant.

Mr. Freeze says 27 “ice puns” throughout the movie. (This is why we watch bad movies)

Voted as the #1 in Empire magazine’s “50 Worst Movies Ever” (February 2010). (Streeeeeeeeet credit report dot coooooooom)

In the evidence room at the prison where Freeze is held and before Bane breaks in, both the Riddler’s and Two-Face’s outfits can be seen. (Noice)

In an interview the cast members were asked what item from filming they would like to take home with them. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he would be taking Mr. Freeze’s armor home, Uma Thurman said that she wanted Ivy’s floral throne, and Elle Macpherson said that she just wanted a cap or something with the “Batman & Robin” logo before anyone else. When asked, George Clooney said he wanted Elle Macpherson. (ha … kind of creepy though)

After filming was completed, Arnold Schwarzenegger went in for heart surgery. Because studios were anxious about insuring Schwarzenegger in one of their action movies, he couldn’t get work again until End of Days (1999). (Huh, didn’t know that. Interesting story.)

The only film in the original series in which Tim Burton had no involvement during the development stages (he directed Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), and worked as producer in Batman Returns and Batman Forever (1995)).

After the poor reception of Batman & Robin, several Batman projects were considered to substitute for the next Batman movie. One was a direct sequel, Batman Unchained written by Mark Protosevich. The second was an adaptation of the graphic novel, Batman: Year One. The last was a live-action adaptation of Batman of the Future (1999). None of those projects came to fruition, instead the franchise was rebooted with Batman Begins (2005). (These notes are really good)

Arnold Schwarzenegger is reputed to have earned $25 million for playing Mr. Freeze.

Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to reprise the role of Conan for “Conan the Conqueror”, which was rewritten as Kull the Conqueror (1997), to star as Mr. Freeze in the film. (Too bad. That film would have probably been terrible)

The Oxbridge Academy, Barbara’s fictional university in England, is really a combination of the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. Oxbridge is used jokingly in American pop culture to refer to any British college graduate. (British people to refer to the two colleges as such. It is often a boon to hire an “Oxbridge” graduate)

Uma Thurman and Elle MacPherson both went on to have children by Arpad Busson who refused to marry either of them. (Wow, I’ll leave that as the last note. Keep it classy IMDb note makers)

Awards

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Alicia Silverstone)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Peter Macgregor-Scott)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Chris O’Donnell)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Uma Thurman)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Joel Schumacher)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Akiva Goldsman)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Billy Corgan)