Kiss the Girls Recap

Jamie

Alex Cross is a psychologist/cop who specializes in understanding the criminal mind. When his niece is captured by a serial killer whose motives may not exactly be what they seem, it’s up to Alex to figure out his next move. Can he stop the killer and rescue his niece before it’s too late? Find out in… Kiss the Girls.

How?! Alex Cross, D.C. detective extraordinaire and part-time psychologist is the master of getting into the mind of a criminal. When he finds out that his niece has gone missing, along with a number of girls in the Durham, NC area, he will stop at nothing to solve the crime. He goes down there and is like “guess what, I’m now a part of this,” and the cops there are like “well yeah, duh, you’re Alex Cross, welcome aboard.” He gets all up in that investigation and things get pretty thrilling/chilling when the kidnapper, calling himself Cassanova, appears to communicate with Cross directly. When Dr. Kate McTiernan is kidnapped and subsequently escapes it becomes clear that the killer is collecting talented women and is keeping them alive as part of a fantasy harem he is building. From the drugs used on Kate they track down a doctor in LA that must be involved. Their sting goes disastrously awry, though, and things are looking pretty dire and the audience is like “how will Alex Cross recover?” but we all know how: he’s Alex Cross! He swiftly uses his beautiful mind to track down the general area of Casanova’s hideout and when he hears a gunshot is able to find and free the missing girls. The LA doctor, known as The Gentleman Caller, is killed, but Casanova escapes. While Cross is just chilling out waiting for a dinner date with Kate he realizes that Casanova is in fact one of the police officers working the case! He rushes to Kate’s house to find her having handcuffed Casanova to the stove and him threatening to blow the house up in a gas explosion. Cross again breaks out that gorgeous mind and shoots Casanova through a carton of milk, thus killing him and preventing the explosion. THE END. Big Question: This is just good, right?

Why?! Cross’ motivation is personal, as his niece is one of the kidnapped women. No need to go into more detail than that really. For Casanova and The Gentleman Caller, they get pretty deep into their motivations. Casanova considers himself a great lover and kidnaps and drugs talented women for his “harem” to live out his fantasy that he is irresistible and a man of great power. The Gentleman Caller is just a sadist really… so not as much thought for his character I guess. 

Who?! Interesting tidbit that Anna Maria Horsford went uncredited in the role of Vicki (Alex’s sister) in this film, but then reprised her role in Along Came a Spider and was credited in that. She basically had the same amount of screentime in each. Curious. Billy Blanks also made an appearance as Ashley Judd’s kickboxing instructor. He’s, of course, the inventor of Tae Bo.

What?! Sometimes when you’re watching a film that’s set in a particular place (especially when there is a good chance they actually filmed on location) you’ll see some funny product placement specific to the area. I always like to see local beers play a role in films. Here Alex Cross shoots Casanova in the climactic final scene through a Maola milk carton. You gotta run with that Maolo, get on the “Alex Cross’ Milk of Choice” ad campaign.

Where?! The beginning of the film takes place in D.C. and there is a small part in California, but otherwise all the action is in Durham, NC. Same as in the book. Interestingly there is a reason it does. Because of the Research Triangle in the area I think they were going for the idea that it would be a perfect place to pick up super talented women in a relatively small area. B+.

When?! I think this likely takes place in either April or May ‘96. They have a big wall that charts the disappearances of the girls. To the left is a series of calenders for January-May of 1996. Presumably this is the range over which the girls were kidnapped. Considering Alex Cross’ niece had just been the latest victim you presume that it’s somewhere near the end of that range. Although, weird that it seems so chilly in NC that time of year. C+.

I’ve realized that I have a soft spot for thrillers. Last year I raved about Mercury Rising and now I have to say… Kiss the Girls is closer to being just fine to being BMT. I thought Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd were excellent. In particular I thought Judd should have been a bigger star from what I saw in this film. Sad given what has been revealed about that in recent years. The thriller itself had enough thrills and chills for me and I think its biggest error was being way too predictable and stumbling over some lazy red herrings. I can’t really tell whose fault that might have been. The director I guess, but it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the film. So I give it the patented BMT hand heart of approval… you know, the classic rating system that fans of BMT have come to know and love. And for those that are wondering, yes I did think through the other hand symbols we’d have as part of the system. Turn that hand heart upside down and it turns into a butt for our “poo in the face” rating. For fun BMT films? Turn your hands into goggles through which we are watching the films in amazement. Everything we make up for BMT is the lamest possible thing and I’m very proud of this. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If I made this film I would have changed the name to Smooch the Girls. ‘Cause Casanova be smooching. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I had read this book ages ago after we watched Alex Cross. Out of the two books I read this is by far the most adaptable, although it is still rather disturbing. I will say, I very much enjoy serial killer fiction, and this is very much that. The book wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever read, but the subject was definitely up my alley. I was excited to see Morgan Freeman in the role as well. What were my expectations? I expected it to just be kind of confusing. Those are pretty common issues for thrillers, and I can very much imagine that being the issue since, honestly, I found the book pretty confusing.

The Good – I actually liked this film to be honest. We’ll get to some of the issues, but Ashley Judd must have been a revelation in the late 90’s. She is so good in the film, and it is pretty crazy the film got such bad reviews when the main two actors are so good. I thought the setting was cool, a very good use of the Research Triangle of North Carolina. I’m glad they kept it there instead of trying to force it back to DC (which is where Cross tends to be based in the earlier novels). And it wasn’t nearly as confusing as I remembered the book being, because they resolve the Casanova / The Gentleman Caller confusion really quickly.

The Bad – They try and half-heartedly foist the actual twist from the book (in which the reader wonders right to the end which of the police detectives is in fact Casanova) into the film even though it is abundantly clear Carey Elwes is the only logical choice. The fact that the twist is so obvious is an issue, and one easily solved: just make the detective such a minor character you’d never think he’s the culprit. But nope, it’s the late-90s, so you have to get that big name for the bad guy. Dumb. The Gentleman Caller serial killer story is as bad as in the book. It is so unnecessary it kind of annoys you that they are drawing you away from Casanova who is the far better story of the two.

The BMT – Just because we are completing the Alex Cross franchise. That’s really the only real BMT cred its got. Otherwise it’ll end up being one of my favorite BMTs ever I suppose, just because of Judd’s performance which is genuinely quite good. Did it meet my expectations? No, but in a good way. This is a very good adaptation of a book that deals with difficult subject matter and is somewhat confusing as written. The film manages to deal with the difficult subject manner tactfully, and is considerably less confusing that the book I thought.

Roast-radamus – I think this is a decent Setting as a Character (Where?) for North Carolina, with the Research Triangle in particular playing a big role in the film. I’ll also give it a shoutout for Worst Twist (How?) for even daring the headfake the audience about Detective No Name being a legit potential Cassanova. And finally I think this has a decent shot at Good since at least I expect this will be my favorite thriller this year.

StreetCreditReport.com – I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising that this doesn’t have much cred in the media at the time. It isn’t that bad, and there wasn’t as much media coverage of bad films at the time. The cred comes from Alex Cross anyways, both the amazing Tyler Perry adaptation, and the fact that the books have been around for so long. It isn’t even close to the worst serial killer film. Hell, it’s the best Alex Cross film ever made!

You Just Got Schooled – As I said I read the book long ago, but I’ll try and remember as much as I can. I read Along Came a Spider first (I’ll save that review for that recap), but that really set up the character for me. This takes him out of DC and sends him to the South, and I remember being supremely confused about how they were splitting the story between Cassanova and The Gentleman Caller (the two killers in the film). They kind of wanted you to wonder if they were the same person, but it was obvious that they weren’t. And then the twist of which detective was the killer was weak because … I mean, who cares? So yeah, the book was a bit more confusing and leaned into the lame twists a bit too much. These types of books are also terribly written … as I said, somehow the film is loads better than the book. C+.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Along Came a Spider Quiz

The last thing I remember I was trapped in a boat after being kidnapped from my rich-kid school. Otherwise because of all of the drugs I don’t remember anything … wait these two films are really rather similar, just a lot of drugs and kidnapping. Do you remember what happened in Along Came a Spider?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) At the beginning of the film Alex Cross’s partner is killed. How does she die?

2) Now distraught, Alex Cross is semi-retired and painting boats. Meanwhile a Senator’s daughter gets kidnapped. How does Alex Cross get involved in the case?

3) So Alex Cross goes to the scene of the crime and immediately figures out all about the sneaky sneaky kidnapper. First he locates a picture which opens an internet portal to a live feed. What was the picture and how does he subsequently figure out where the feed is located IRL.

4) In the end Alex Cross figures out our kidnapper isn’t really the kidnapper anymore because a second set of kidnappers have kidnapped the Senator’s daughter off his boat. Whoops! How does Alex Cross deduce this fact?

5) Finally it is revealed that the secret service agent Alex Cross has been working with is the culprit. What, vaguely, was their plan?

Answers

Kiss the Girls Quiz

So last thing I remember I was bopping around N.C. as a doctor, but now I appear to be drugged in a dungeon. I don’t remember anything … because of the drugs that my kidnapper gave me. Anywho, do you remember what happened in Kiss the Girls?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film Morgan Freeman’s Alex Cross comes home to find his partner Sampson waiting with some dire news. Naomi has been kidnapped! How is he related to Naomi?

2) So Alex Cross is off to N.C. to see what he can see. Once there he learns there have been a lot of kidnappings by a man named Casanova. He also meets Naomi’s boyfriend. What secretly useful interest does this boyfriend have?

3) And then we meet Ashley Judd, the most recent kidnapping victim. She’s a doctor, but she’s also an athlete. What sport do we see her participating in during her introduction?

4) After Judd escapes Casanova, they learn that the drug used against her was purchased by a doctor in California. He goes by a different nickname. What is it?

5) In the end Alex Cross figures out one of the detectives in N.C. is in fact Casanova (Carey Elwes). How does he figure it out?

Answers

Along Came a Spider Preview

As Rich and Poe approach an encampment with Sorsaron and Brawln they reflect on the walk through the waste. It sure was a walk to remember during which Poe met a wandering beauty and fell in love only to have her perish due to a rare medical condition. It was all very sweet and yet devastating. But no need to dwell on the past, time to focus on the future and the task at hand. As they peer down toward the camp they are told that the gamemaster spoke of the goblins within as thieves who stole a magical crown that would help Sorsaron and Brawln escape back to their dimension. “The Crown of Blizarion?” asks Rich and the centaur nods his head, “You’ve also heard of its power? Get it for us and we’ll take you to the school.” Rich and Poe are confused as to why everything feels so familiar and yet slightly different, but agree to the task nonetheless. First off they must ingratiate themselves with the goblins. While Rich wants to mesmerize and bewilder with their chiseled abs and spectacular dance moves, Poe has a different idea. A short time later they bust into camp. “Police!” they shout and the goblins freeze, demanding to know what they’ve done wrong. “How about a little thing called… MURDER!” shouts Rich waving his gun wildly around the crowd. The goblins gasp and implore them to help find the real culprit, for they are innocent. Rich and Poe agree and ask to take a quick look around, particularly in places where people hide things. The goblins sigh with relief, “thank you, officers. What are your names?” At that Rich and Poe look at each other. “Uh… well… this is Officer Chriss and I’m Officer Cross. Officers Chriss and Cross.” That’s right! We’re diving (back) into the world of Alex Cross only seven years after watching Tyler Perry play the character in Alex Cross. This time should be better as we get the precursors Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Both star Morgan Freeman and had considerably better reviews than the later adaptation, but still bad enough for us. I’m ready for some thrills and/or chills. Let’s go!

Along Came a Spider (2001) – BMeTric: 21.1; Notability: 49 

AlongCameaSpiderIMDb_BMeT

AlongCameaSpiderIMDb_RV

(Actually still quite good. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a big contingent of people who forgive the film because of Freeman. Even acting in terrible movies he is usually good and elevates the material.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – A few loopholes I can forgive. But when a plot is riddled with them, crippled by them, made implausible by them, as in “Along Came a Spider,” I get distracted. … [Y]ou [are] gonna be talking when you come out of this movie! Saying things like “but why . . .” and “if she . . .” and “wouldn’t he . . .” and “how come . . .” as you try to trace your way back through the twisted logic of the plot. Here’s a sample question. Dr. Cross mentions a $12 million ransom and later explains that the person he was talking to should have known it was $10 million but never said anything. And I’m thinking, should that person have even known about the ransom at all? Well, maybe, if . . . but I dunno. There are places in this movie you just can’t get to from other places in this movie.

(Haha, riddled with plotholes. It isn’t what you want with your early-2000s thriller. As he says, if the killer is interesting you forgive a few, but when there are too many it ends up taking all the fun out of figuring things out.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kswRbwYqn3k/

(Ohhhhhhh snap, I think you can see the aborted ending in the trailer. That scene where the daughter and the parents are hugging by the water isn’t in the film. In the film it all ends at night at a barn. Also, they very much indicate that the President of the United States is involved. He is not, it is the son of the Russian Ambassador.)

Directors – Lee Tamahori – (Known For: Die Another Day; The Edge; The Devil’s Double; Once Were Warriors; Mahana; Future BMT: Next; Mulholland Falls; BMT: xXx: State of the Unionl; Along Came a Spider; Notes: From New Zealand, started as a photographer and then transitioned into the film business as a boom operator.)

Writers – James Patterson (novel) – (Known For: Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life; BMT: Alex Cross; Kiss the Girls; Along Came a Spider; Notes: He apparently came up with the slogan Toys R’ Us Kid.)

Marc Moss (screenplay) – (BMT: Alex Cross; Along Came a Spider; Notes: Was also uncredited on Kiss The Girls doing a continuity check / re-write or something. So he’s been involved in writing all three films.)

Actors – Morgan Freeman – (Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Seven; Batman Begins; Unforgiven; Lucy; Oblivion; Deep Impact; Now You See Me; Olympus Has Fallen; War of the Worlds; Million Dollar Baby; Wanted; Going in Style; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; RED; Gone Baby Gone; The Lego Movie; Bruce Almighty; Future BMT: Evan Almighty; Just Getting Started; Edison; The Nutcracker and the Four Realms; Eye for an Eye; Chain Reaction; The Contract; Ben-Hur; Momentum; Last Knights; High Crimes; Now You See Me 2; Harry & Son; Feast of Love; Levity; That Was Then… This Is Now; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Dreamcatcher; The Bonfire of the Vanities; London Has Fallen; Hard Rain; Transcendence; Along Came a Spider; Kiss the Girls; Angel Has Fallen; Notes: He owns a jazz club in Mississippi, and learned to fly at the age of 65.)

Michael Wincott – (Known For: The Count of Monte Cristo; The Crow; Ghost in the Shell; Alien Resurrection; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Treasure Planet; Born on the Fourth of July; Knight of Cups; Dead Man; The Doors; Strange Days; Hitchcock; The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Basquiat; What Just Happened; Talk Radio; Before Night Falls; Curtains; Seraphim Falls; Forsaken; Future BMT: Metro; The Sicilian; The Three Musketeers; 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: Along Came a Spider; Notes: Is the brother of Jeff Wincott who we’ve seen as Jeff Devreaux in the two Universal Soldier television sequels.)

Monica Potter – (Known For: Saw; The Last House on the Left; Con Air; Without Limits; A Cool, Dry Place; Future BMT: Head Over Heels; Bulletproof; Patch Adams; Martha – Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence; BMT: Along Came a Spider; Notes: Starred in over 100 episodes of the television show Parenthood, she has mostly focused on television in her later career.)

Budget/Gross – $60,000,000 / Domestic: $74,078,174 (Worldwide: $105,178,561)

(Hmmm, I wonder why they felt the need to double the budget. It isn’t like this film is particularly more complex than the first. At least the way they adapted makes it pretty straightforward.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 31% (39/125): Derivative and contains too many implausible situations.

(Wait a second … this one did better review-wise than the first? That doesn’t make much sense. I’ve read Along Came a Spider, it is effectively unadaptable, which means it is either a terrible adaptation, a terrible movie, or both. Reviewer Highlight: Like a paperback plucked from a counter at an airport, Spider is an impulse buy of a film, a time killer that will neither tax your brain nor challenge your memory. – Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today)

Poster – Along Came a Spiderman (B)

along_came_a_spider

(I think this is solid. Although maybe a little too close to their faces. Back it up a bit. Also could have done with some sweet font.)

Tagline(s) – The game is far from over. (D-)

(That is decidedly mediocre. When did the game even start? What game are we talking about? Is this somehow a continuation of the previous film. This is a very confusing choice… but blessedly short. It’s just a few words away from being an F.)

Keyword – ransom

AlongCameaSpider_ransom

Top 10: Tropic Thunder (2008), The Big Lebowski (1998), Fifty Shades Freed (2018), In Time (2011), Captain Phillips (2013), Inherent Vice (2014), Angels & Demons (2009), The Rock (1996), A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014), All the Money in the World (2017); 

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 73.5 Snatched (2017), 62.1 Half Past Dead (2002), 50.3 Son of the Pink Panther (1993), 46.4 The Wash (2001), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 41.5 Excess Baggage (1997), 39.7 Pink Cadillac (1989), 39.3 That Darn Cat (1997), 35.2 City Heat (1984); 

BMT: Fifty Shades Freed (2018), Along Came a Spider (2001), The Avengers (1998), Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005)

(This I think is even more straightforward than the serial-killer one. This is basically just showing the trajectory of kidnapping thrillers. And indeed, they have tailed off as VOD absorbed most of the schlock that genre has to offer.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Morgan Freeman is No. 1 billed in Along Came a Spider and No. 5 billed in Transcensdence, which also stars Paul Bettany (No. 2 billed) who is in Firewall (No. 2 billed), which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 5 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 17. If we were to watch Chain Reaction, Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – When Alex is looking through Jezzie’s computer, there is an article on the Casanova Killer from the previous film, Kiss the Girls (1997).

The ending for the film was re-shot, due to poor test audience reception. (Oh God, I wonder what the original ending could have been)

The film takes place over the course of a few days, but in the novel the story takes place over approximately two years. Also, in the book Alex Cross is 38 years old with two kids, whereas in the film he is in his mid to late fifties.

The film’s title comes from its source novel by James Patterson. The title is taken from a nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffet”. The early Cross novels were all named after nursery rhymes (Jack and Jill, Pop Goes the Weasel, etc.), while the later ones used Cross’ name in the title, either in a punning context (Cross Fire, Double Cross, etc.) or a matter-of-fact one (The Trial of Alex Cross, The People vs. Alex Cross, etc.) (Huh, I didn’t know that, I kind of like how it splits it up into eras)

Gary Soneji’s prosthetic makeup and affected British accent make him look and sound like actor David Thewlis. (It really really really does)

Kiss the Girls Preview

As Rich and Poe approach an encampment with Sorsaron and Brawln they reflect on the walk through the waste. It sure was a walk to remember during which Poe met a wandering beauty and fell in love only to have her perish due to a rare medical condition. It was all very sweet and yet devastating. But no need to dwell on the past, time to focus on the future and the task at hand. As they peer down toward the camp they are told that the gamemaster spoke of the goblins within as thieves who stole a magical crown that would help Sorsaron and Brawln escape back to their dimension. “The Crown of Blizarion?” asks Rich and the centaur nods his head, “You’ve also heard of its power? Get it for us and we’ll take you to the school.” Rich and Poe are confused as to why everything feels so familiar and yet slightly different, but agree to the task nonetheless. First off they must ingratiate themselves with the goblins. While Rich wants to mesmerize and bewilder with their chiseled abs and spectacular dance moves, Poe has a different idea. A short time later they bust into camp. “Police!” they shout and the goblins freeze, demanding to know what they’ve done wrong. “How about a little thing called… MURDER!” shouts Rich waving his gun wildly around the crowd. The goblins gasp and implore them to help find the real culprit, for they are innocent. Rich and Poe agree and ask to take a quick look around, particularly in places where people hide things. The goblins sigh with relief, “thank you, officers. What are your names?” At that Rich and Poe look at each other. “Uh… well… this is Officer Chriss and I’m Officer Cross. Officers Chriss and Cross.” That’s right! We’re diving (back) into the world of Alex Cross only seven years after watching Tyler Perry play the character in Alex Cross. This time should be better as we get the precursors Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Both star Morgan Freeman and had considerably better reviews than the later adaptation, but still bad enough for us. I’m ready for some thrills and/or chills. Let’s go!

Kiss the Girls (1997) – BMeTric: 16.1; Notability: 50 

KisstheGirlsIMDb_BMeT

KisstheGirlsIMDb_RV

(Honestly, given the rest of this preview, that 6.6 is right on target. It seems like maybe at the time it wasn’t very well received, but some of the reviews feel like maybe it actually wasn’t that bad.)

RogerEbert.com – 3.5 stars – When the film is over and we know all of its secrets, there’s one we’d like to know more about: What exactly is the dynamic of the relationship between the two most twisted members of the cast? But being left with such a question is much more satisfactory than being given the answer in shorthand Freudian terms. What we’re also left with is the real sense of having met two very particular people in the leads. Freeman and Judd are so good, you almost wish they’d decided not to make a thriller at all–had simply found a way to construct a drama exploring their personalities.

(This actually might legit be the best review we’ve ever features on a recent BMT film! Basically, Freeman and Judd are good actors and it is a fine thriller … so why does everyone seem to hate this film? Hinteresting. Methinks I’m going to enjoy this film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiHGk64-eNE/

(I like this old school trailer. Also a bit surprising that they manage to give away a good chunk of the film, but then don’t touch on The Gentleman Caller. So they manage to restrain themselves possibly as a red herring to distract the audience from realizing the two killers are distinct people initially.)

Directors – Gary Fleder – (Known For: Homefront; The Express; Runaway Jury; Future BMT: Impostor; Don’t Say a Word; Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead; BMT: Kiss the Girls; Notes: Primarily has stuck to television more recently, and is primarily a producer at this point. Homefront I think was his most recent feature release in 2013.)

Writers – James Patterson (novel) – (Known For: Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life; Future BMT: Along Came a Spider; BMT: Alex Cross; Kiss the Girls; Notes: He started as an advertising executive for Burger King.)

David Klass (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Desperate Measures; Walking Tall; Emperor; BMT: Kiss the Girls; Notes: Has produced and written a handful of Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes.)

Actors – Morgan Freeman – (Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Seven; Batman Begins; Unforgiven; Lucy; Oblivion; Deep Impact; Now You See Me; Olympus Has Fallen; War of the Worlds; Million Dollar Baby; Wanted; Going in Style; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; RED; Gone Baby Gone; The Lego Movie; Bruce Almighty; Future BMT: Evan Almighty; Just Getting Started; Edison; The Nutcracker and the Four Realms; Eye for an Eye; Chain Reaction; The Contract; Ben-Hur; Momentum; Last Knights; Along Came a Spider; High Crimes; Now You See Me 2; Harry & Son; Feast of Love; Levity; That Was Then… This Is Now; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Dreamcatcher; The Bonfire of the Vanities; London Has Fallen; Hard Rain; Transcendence; Angel Has Fallen; Kiss the Girls; Notes: He became so concerned about the decline in honeybees that he turned his 100+ acre estate into a bee sanctuary.)

Ashley Judd – (Known For: Heat; Divergent; Olympus Has Fallen; Natural Born Killers; A Time to Kill; Frida; A Dog’s Way Home; Bug; De-Lovely; Dolphin Tale; Simon Birch; Smoke; Barry; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; Animal Attraction; Dolphin Tale 2; Ruby in Paradise; Helen; Normal Life; Come Early Morning; Future BMT: Tooth Fairy; Eye of the Beholder; Allegiant; Insurgent; The Identical; Kuffs; Good Kids; High Crimes; Flypaper; Big Stone Gap; Double Jeopardy; The Passion of Darkly Noon; Crossing Over; Where the Heart Is; Trafficked; BMT: Twisted; Kiss the Girls; Notes: IT was rumored that she would run for Senate in Kentucky where she went to college, but ultimately decided not to.)

Cary Elwes – (Known For: Bram Stoker’s Dracula; The Princess Bride; No Strings Attached; Saw; Liar Liar; Twister; The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn; Hot Shots!; Robin Hood: Men in Tights; Glory; The Jungle Book; Ella Enchanted; A Christmas Carol; Shadow of the Vampire; Lady Jane; Whisper of the Heart; Porco Rosso; The Cat Returns; Another Country; The Cat’s Meow; Future BMT: The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure; Behaving Badly; Black Christmas; Saw 3D; Edison; The Alphabet Killer; Billionaire Boys Club; Days of Thunder; The Crush; The Chase; Collection; Sugar Mountain; The Bride; The Queen of Spain; The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot; Factory Girl; Delhi Safari; Being Charlie; BMT: New Year’s Eve; Georgia Rule; Kiss the Girls; Notes: Was recently features in the third season of the smash hit streaming television program Stranger Things.)

Budget/Gross – $27,000,000 / Domestic: $60,527,873 (Worldwide: $60,527,873)

(That’s not great I don’t think. You would have expected more from a Morgan Freeman vehicle in the late 90s. Bad thrillers though probably had terrible word of mouth back in the day.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 29% (9/31): Detective Alex Cross makes his inauspicious cinematic debut in Kiss the Girls, a clunky thriller that offers few surprises.

(Surprises? This must have come out right when a few thrillers really smashed the Twist-y McTwist side of thrillers out of the park. As a matter of fact Primal Fear did come out the year prior. Reviewer Highlight: Even those engrossed by the build-up here are likely to kiss off the rest after suffering through Girls’ groaner of a wrap-up. – Mike Clark, USA Today)

Poster – Kiss the Sklogs (C-)

kiss_the_girls

(Ha. Well… this is less than a stellar effort. Looks like Alex Cross is going to battle a spooky ghost or something. Only good thing is the pop of color that ghost brings with it. But also not offensive.)

Tagline(s) – A detective is searching for a deadly collector. His only hope is the woman who got away. (D)

(They chose the wrong tagline for the poster. This is too long and not clever. It’s just telling us what the basic premise of the film is… and wasting our time in the process. It is still at least understandable.)

Keyword – serial killer

KisstheGirls_serial killer

Top 10: Joker (2019), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Pulp Fiction (1994), Zodiac (2007), Heat (1995), Shutter Island (2010), Split (2016), Glass (2019), Seven (1995), American Psycho (2000); 

Future BMT: 74.3 Psycho (1998), 68.4 Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), 65.9 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), 64.3 Valentine (2001), 63.6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 62.4 The Hills Have Eyes II (2007), 59.1 Child’s Play 3 (1991), 57.6 Sorority Row (2009), 55.8 Jury Duty (1995), 51.1 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010); 

BMT: The Snowman (2017), Kiss the Girls (1997), Friday the 13th (2009), Basic Instinct 2 (2006), Cobra (1986), Leprechaun (1993), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Zoolander 2 (2016), Color of Night (1994), Alex Cross (2012), Righteous Kill (2008), Species II (1998), Untraceable (2008), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Jade (1995), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Twisted (2004), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), 88 Minutes (2007), Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Bless the Child (2000)

(For a bit I wondered if notability tailing off like that was a quirk of the underlying data, but I don’t think so. I legitimately think “thrillers”, much like horror, went through a popularity boom and bust in the late-90s and early 2000s. They now mostly got to VOD with smaller big names. This was one of the big ones in the 90s though.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Morgan Freeman is No. 1 billed in Kiss the Girls and No. 5 billed in Transcensdence, which also stars Paul Bettany (No. 2 billed) who is in Firewall (No. 2 billed), which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 5 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 17. If we were to watch Chain Reaction, Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Ashley Judd took kick-boxing lessons from stuntman David Lea before filming. She insisted on doing many of her own stunts, but the studio finally put their foot down, when she wanted to leap off a 150 foot waterfall. A stuntman, wearing a wig, made the jump instead, narrowly missing the rocks as he plummeted through the falls to the water below. (Uh … yeah you can see it, he gets really close. I can’t believe they put it in the movie)

Gillian Anderson was initially going to play Dr. Kate McTiernan during her hiatus from The X Files (1993). (Huh interesting. They are the exact same age)

At one point, Denzel Washington was to star, but he had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts, and Morgan Freeman was brought into the project. (That would have been a cool Alex Cross)

A split diopter lens is used in the final kitchen scene. The two-shots show both characters in sharp focus, even though one is much farther from the camera. Normally, one or the other would be out of focus. But a half-width lens placed in front of the camera’s main lens adjusts the focal plane of one side of the scene, allowing close and distant subjects to appear sharp. Brian De Palma often uses this filming technique. (Yeah … it is really old school. I was watching an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and they got the same effect but clearly there is some digital way to do that because instead of being weirdly fuzzy and looking like shit in my opinion, it looks super smooth.)

It was during the making of this film that Ashley Judd was subjected to sexual harassment by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. She would finally open up about the ordeal in 2017. (Gross!)

Campus officials at the University of North Carolina refused to agree to allow filming on campus in Chapel Hill, because of the subject matter of the film. Hence the only UNC-Chapel Hill campus scenes are the flyover shots. There is one other scene shot on UNC’s campus. After the flyover shot of Duke Chapel, the next scene is the detectives car turning onto Medical Drive in Chapel Hill.This can be seen by the sign behind the tree which is the old School of nursing sign on Columbia street.

Whenever Casanova speaks from the shadows, as well as in the opening credits, it is Tony Goldwyn’s voice being heard. Goldwyn’s voice was used to throw the audience off the trail so the unveiling of the real killer at the end would be more of a surprise. Goldwyn’s Casanova voice is easily distinguishable from Cary Elwes’ affected Casanova voice, which Ruskin uses as he is revealed as the real killer at the film’s close. As a result, when Rudolph is shouting at the hidden Casanova, Tony Goldwyn is essentially arguing with himself. (Yup, you can tell they are too totally different voices, it was an odd stylistic choice. Why not just have Elwes use his own British accent?)

MythBusters (2003) proved that it is nearly impossible for the muzzle flash of a gun to cause a room full of natural gas to explode.

A Walk to Remember Recap

Jamie

Landon Carter is just your typical teenage rebel. When he gets in trouble for a prank gone awry, he is forced to join the school play with Jamie Sullivan. She’s a good girl and Landon would NEVER fall in love with her. So can he fall in love with her and overcome the secret reason why he shouldn’t fall in love with her before it’s too late? Find out in… A Walk to Remember.

How?! Landon Carter is a teenybopper rapscallion who, along with his scallywag friends, gets in trouble for the literal definition of peer pressure… like… he gets a dude to jump off a bridge by pretending like he’s going to do it too. Pretty on the nose. Anyway, the school is like “you rascal, you now have to volunteer teach and participate in the school play,” and Landon is like, “pffft, whatever. Definitely won’t fall in love with a total nerd.” But then he sees Jamie Sullivan and she’s a total nerd but also… intriguing. But still, definitely NOT falling in love with her. However, realizing that he’s probably going to totally bomb the play he asks Jamie to help him out. Through this process they strike up a friendship and they totally own the play, but afterwards go their separate ways. That is until Landon’s so-called friends play a prank on her and he’s like “yo, not cool and also she’s my girlfriend and I love her.” The audience is confused but thrilled as we get to watch young love blossom over fancy dinner dates and dancing. But Jamie is always on guard and we soon find out why. She’s dying from cancer and the audience rends their clothes in despair. But Landon isn’t ready to give up yet. He still totally is in love and they keep on dating and making her dreams come true in the short time they have. Realizing the profound change in his life he decides that despite her imminent death he wants to marry Jamie and despite the misgivings of their parents they do and boy oh boy, let me tell you, it’s… a walk… to remember. In fact, I’m remembering it right now and it’s beautiful. We then find out that after her death the once wayward Landon is now studying to become a doctor and likely cures cancer in the future. THE END. Big Question: Would the story have been less profound if they didn’t get married? Just wondering how much the marriage itself factors into the story.

Why?! Love… oh, you probably want me to say more. Well, I think Jamie always realized that Landon was really nice (and very handsome *wolf whistle*), but through a combination of peer pressure and difficulties with his parent’s divorce was straying from the straight and narrow. So I think she kinda knew that if they hung out that side would come out and they would fall in love. So still, love all the way.

Who?! Mandy Moore is the star and at the time was a pretty big pop star. Not like Britney, bitch. But like a bench player on the all-pop star team. There were also a couple “In memory of” credits at the end of the film. These went to Nicholas Sparks’ sister, who was the inspiration for the book, and Jimmy Everest, who was a child who died of bone cancer and whose memorial helped establish the University of Oklahoma’s pediatric cancer center.

What?! A bunch of places mentioned how crazy the product placement in this film was and I was like “what?” but then I was reminded that there is pretty much a full-blown commercial for the Star Registry in the middle of the film (you can name your own star!). And this came just a mere three years after they were forced to stop claiming that you were buying the official naming of a star… so it’s officially unofficial. That is pretty good.

Where?! I mean… it’s Nicholas Sparks. Where else but North Carolina. But also like most of his books it’s not necessary, just made very clear. So like a B or B+. Obviously this film could also have taken place on Martha’s Vineyard… starring me. Obviously. Also, interestingly this film features a scene with a “Welcome to Virginia” highway sign. Add that to the list.

When?! Now if you thought the product placement was great for this film, wait until you get a load of the temporal setting. Eventually the film revolves around Jamie having all of her dreams come true thanks to Landon. This includes seeing a once-in-a-lifetime comet. What comet? Well she specifically mentions it’s the Comet Hyakutake… which was visible in Spring 1996. Interestingly she wouldn’t have needed a telescope to see that comet… it was very bright and visible to the naked eye. But yeah, I’m gonna give that an A. Somehow the exact time of the film is relevant to the plot.

The film is fine, but eventually gets quite weird. It’s all very saccharine, so if you’re into high schoolers falling deeply, madly and/or truly in love and marrying despite imminent death from cancer then this will do nicely. If you aren’t looking for that then it’s a tough watch. The big critique is how much time they spend on the front half of the film (sometimes even on trivial things) only to put the pedal to the metal as Landon goes from scoffing at Jamie in the hallway, to holding her head in his hands and asking “baby, are you all right?” in what feels like five second. It’s pretty jarring, but still less jarring than them getting married just moments later. The book does a better job with the pacing and as a result is probably more successful. But still… it’s OK. We all need a little sweetness every once in a while. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Oh man, that walk. You know what? That was a walk that I’m going to remember, that’s how good that walk was. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – This was a long time coming. We almost audibled to Sex in the City 2, but then it just felt right. It had been so long since we had done a Nicholas Sparks film, and this is the true OG Nicholas Sparks film. I was a bit surprised to learn that the leading man is also somewhat musically inclined. I was not surprised after watching it to learn they didn’t let him sing in the film. What are my expectations? A whole lotta schlock. What I want is Midnight Sun. Someone has to be a terrible actor, and I want to tear up and think “Peter Coyote, you done right, don’t you feel bad.” If I don’t get that I’ll be disappointed.

The Good – I thought Mandy Moore did a decent job. If I knew nothing about her I wouldn’t have thought it was a singer-turned-actor, she held her own amongst the rest of the young cast. The film is mostly just syrupy sweetness, which often is enough to get me through a teen drama. The first hour is quite good in that regard. We get to learn who Landon is, see him change and start dating Jamie, ah young love. Then they gut-punch you, but that isn’t always a bad thing either.

The Bad – I did not like the weird pacing they chose for the adaptation. The relationship is building for about an hour, and then in order to connect the dots to the ending they kind of just have to fast forward months into the relationship. It makes the whole flow of the end of the film seem off. I don’t want to get into it too much, but having the two 18 year old lead characters get married at the end is very old fashioned. It dates the movie to a different time in America. And the play-within-a-movie was objectively awful and everyone should feel bad about that storyline.

The BMT – Of course, all Nicholas Sparks novels are going to inevitably result in BMT glory. This had to be done, so from that perspective it is obviously BMT. The issue is probably that this is one of the better Sparks films in the end. Like, you couldn’t even throw us one ghost wife? Not even a single one? That’ll ultimately sink it in my estimation. Did it meet my expectations? Nope. Neither of the leads were amusingly terrible at acting. They were both serviceable, and their relationship was earned and very sweet. And then, I felt nothing for Peter Coyote when his terminally ill daughter died. Sorry. It is probably his dour preacher demeanor that turned me off, whereas Rob Riggle in Midnight Sun was a constant amusing delight. So take some notes Sparks, your father figures should have an irreverent sense of humor. Just a tip.

Roast-radamus – There isn’t a Planchet, but there is a frenemy with a ‘tude named Dean. I mean, we don’t award things for that, but still, it is important to consider awards for sheer ‘tudeness. I’ll definitely allow for Setting as a Character (Where?) for North Carolina, they even filmed on the Dawson’s Creek set. And lob over an easy Worst Twist (How?) for the now-classic tragic-death-of-the-leading-lady-for-romance. I think this has a chance for a Good nomination at the end of the year, but it is highly dependant on how many films we think could get that designation.

StreetCreditReport.com – Not surprisingly this film got very little play in 2002. It might have just been floating in that fine-but-too-sweet area such that it really wasn’t the worst. Or 2002 was a particularly “good” year for bad movies. Whatever the case, the cred mostly comes from Sparks anyways who managed to mostly tarnish his reputation as a writer for a whole group of people who would never be interested in his books by releasing terrible adaptations for a decade. That’s it though, it is all Sparks.

You Just Got Schooled – Jamie (me, not Sullivan) jumping in because, guess what? I totally read this book. Don’t worry, it’s pretty short. Anyway, it’s a very sweet book, which focuses much more on the spiritual and religious aspects of Jamie’s (and eventually Landon’s) life. It also takes place in the 50’s and is told from Landon’s point of view decades later. Both these aspects make the pacing of their relationship and their eventual marriage much more logical. There is also a lot more discussion about their choices in the book, so the film feels like it hits hyperspeed at a certain point as they jump from not dating at all to marriage in a relatively short time frame. Besides that though I think it’s a pleasant enough adaptation of a pleasant enough book. Do I recommend it? No… why would you read this?

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

A Walk to Remember Quiz

Huh. So the last thing I remember I was pulling this awesome prank on my friend where we were going to make him jump into this lake and almost kill him. It was awesome. But then I crashed my car and got a pretty big concussion and don’t remember anything else (pretty ironic considering the title of the film). Do you remember what happened in A Walk to Remember?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) As I mentioned in the intro, our main man Landon and his crew are going to initiate a new member by making him jump into a reservoir of some kind. But, how many people are currently in the crew?

2) Due to Landon’s prank being too hilarious (and also because it almost killed poor Clay) he is punished in three ways by the school principal. What are his punishments?

3) Via this punishment, Landon reconnected with Jamie. How does he know Jamie?

4) Why does Landon hate his father? And why does he forgive his father?

5) Where do Landon and Jamie get married?

Answers