Shanghai Surprise Preview

This week we move to a romantic epic for the ages for our Girls Night Out. That’s right, we’re watching one of 1986’s worst picture nominees Shanghai Surprise starring Sean Penn and Madonna. Filmed back when they were married, it was made as a starring vehicle for Madonna after her breakout role in Desperately Seeking Susan. Obviously didn’t go great and was the first of many bumps in the road for Madonna’s acting career. I’m actually somewhat excited for this film considering it has an astonishingly low IMDb user rating (3.0). I honestly trust that a bit more than the Razzies. Let’s go!

Shanghai Surprise (1986) – BMeTric: 42.6

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(Well … I guess I can’t not acknowledge the weird rating dip in 2003 for this movie. It goes from 2.9 to 2.3 in a matter of months and has since just kind of regresses to the mean. The rating it also astonishingly low, at one point the film was likely in the bottom 100 on IMDb. The BMeTric trajectory is very very similar to King Kong Lives. Someday I’ll do a meta-analysis on graphics like this. I would call this the Classic Bad Movie trend. The BMeTric plot just goes up in a straight line because the rating is so low and the votes were already high enough when IMDb began that is never crosses from non-BMT to BMT, it is always BMT.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Missionary Madonna hires adventurer Penn (her then real-life husband) to capture a cache of stolen opium (for medicinal purposes only) in 1937 China. It’s all stupefyingly dull. As one critic noted, it’s tough for Penn to succeed in the grand adventure movie tradition when the screen legend he most reminds you of here is Ratso Rizzo. Coexecutive producer George Harrison, who appears briefly as a nightclub singer, wrote the songs.

(This cycle has so far been 2.5 stars, BOMB, 1.5 stars, BOMB, BOMB … there are no words. The irony being that this cycle has also been terrible by BMT standards. I think it is because bad films from 1986 are basically all stupefyingly dull. Sigh, We aren’t going to like this are we?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhX89dDoAw4

(Oh wow that ending. Does seem more of a comedy that you would have thought given the leading actors. Looks low budget and bizarre and I can see this either being one of the worst or one of the weirdest BMTs we’ve ever had the displeasure of viewing.)

Directors – Jim Goddard – (BMT: Shanghai Surprise; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Director for Shanghai Surprise. He was fifty at the time of release which seems relatively old for the golden age of the blockbuster. British and primarily known for his television work his almost complete anonymity in the US was even noted in his obituary.)

Writers – John Kohn (screenplay) – (Known For: The Collector; Theatre of Blood; BMT: Shanghai Surprise; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Screenplay for Shanghai Surprise. He was sixty at the time of release! His last screenplay. Nominated for a screenplay oscar in 1965 for The Collector. Mainly known for his production work he died of cancer in 2002.)

Robert Bentley (screenplay) – (BMT: Shanghai Surprise; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Screenplay for Shanghai Surprise. I can literally find nothing about this person on the internet. His only credit is this movie.)

Tony Kenrick (from the novel “Faraday’s Flowers”) – (BMT: Shanghai Surprise; Notes:  An Australian advertising writer he’s had two books adapted into movies and at least three others have been optioned with stars attached and never made. He wrote 14 books and Shanghai Surprise was adapted from his fourth.)

Actors – Sean Penn – (Known For: Angry Birds; The Game; Mystic River; Risky Business; Fast Times at Ridgemont High; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; The Tree of Life; The Thin Red Line; Carlito’s Way; 21 Grams; Milk; Taps; Fair Game; At Close Range; I’m Still Here; Colors; Dead Man Walking; U Turn; This Must Be the Place; Bad Boys; Casualties of War; Persepolis; The Interpreter; BMT: Shanghai Surprise; The Gunman (BMT); It’s All About Love; All the King’s Men; The Weight of Water; Hugo Pool; Crackers; Gangster Squad; I Am Sam; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Actor for Shanghai Surprise. This movie is notable for the fact that Penn and Madonna were in a relationship at the time. Five time academy award nominee for best actor (two time winner) and famous (some might say notorious) speaker on human rights. He is no stranger to controversy over the years including accusation of domestic violence towards Madonna, explicit support of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, allusions to Argentina’s claims towards the Falkland Islands (not a good look, I can tell you the Brits are sensitive about that guy), and the recent El Chapo interview. Most recently seen in The Gunman.)

Madonna – (Known For: A League of Their Own; Die Another Day; Dick Tracy; Desperately Seeking Susan; Vision Quest; Evita; BMT: Swept Away; Body of Evidence (BMT); The Next Best Thing; Who’s That Girl; Shanghai Surprise; Girl 6; Arthur and the Invisibles; Razzie Notes: Won the Razzie Award in 2000 for Worst Actress of the Century for Body of Evidence, Shanghai Surprise, and Who’s That Girl; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2010 for Worst Actress of the Decade for Die Another Day, The Next Best Thing, and Swept Away; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1990 for Worst Actress of the Decade and New Star of the Decade for Shanghai Surprise, and Who’s That Girl; Won the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Actress for Swept Away, in 2001 for The Next Best Thing, in 1994 for Body of Evidence, in 1988 for Who’s That Girl, and in 1987 for Shanghai Surprise; Won the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Supporting Actress for Die Another Day, and in 1996 for Four Rooms; Won the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Screen Couple for Swept Away; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1992 for Worst Actress for Madonna: Truth or Dare, in 1990 for Worst Supporting Actress for Bloodhounds of Broadway, in 2003 for Worst Original Song for Die Another Day, and in 2001 for Worst Screen Couple for The Next Best Thing; Notes: A very strange career now that I look at it. She’s worked incredibly consistently (26 films in almost exactly 30 years). A smattering of small and big films. A smattering of great and terrible films. Even her Razzie acumen seems out of place considering how few movies she’s been in. Strange stuff. The two actors are really the only thing this movie will have going for it likely.)

Also stars Paul Freeman – (Previously in BMT future HoFer Getaway and Double Team)

Budget/Gross – $17 million / Domestic: $2,315,683

(Wow. What a complete unmitigated disaster. That boxoffice doesn’t even really make sense. Then again, I had literally never heard of this film that appears to be considered one of the worst films of the 80s, so maybe just no one has ever seen it?)

#44 for the Off-Screen Couples On-Screen genre: Movies with Real Life Romance Between Lead Actors at the Time of Release or Shortly Before

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(Huh, the waves don’t really make sense to me. Maybe we follow certain couples until they stop making movies (see Brangelina) and then it takes a few years to find the hot new couples? I don’t know. Kind of funny how ubiquitous the movies have been through the years though. Indeed looking down the list of recent examples nearly all couples are now broken up.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 13% (1/8): No consensus yet.

(Uh oh, time to make a consensus: Madonna’s incompetence gave her an acting reputation she’s never shaken, all for a movie that appears to function solely as a vehicle to star the real-life couple as a novelty. The consensus seems a little scattered, but there is little anyone said about it that was good.)

Poster – Sklogging Surprise (D+)

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(I don’t like this poster. It is way way way too close in on Penn and Madonna. It is merely a shot from the movie (you can see it in the trailer). The red words are too bright atop the soft focus blues elsewhere. Why the plus? That’s sweet S on that Shanghai Surprise. Just complex enough that Sklogging Surprise would be a delight to produce (in that I wouldn’t need to change the S and it would make the title look snazzy). But what would it be? Soft focus Patrick kissing his wife? You would barely be able to tell I did anything! Boring.)

Tagline(s) – A romantic adventure for the dangerous at heart. (F)

(What in the hell? For the “dangerous at heart”? Is that a phrase? The answer is no. In fact, the only other time it appears in google searches is for a 1994 book of that very title. Here’s the synopsis of said books: Life was the pits for Rachel Hart. Single and pregnant, at least she’d had the good sense not to marry the no-good father of her child! Things couldn’t get worse, she assured herself. Then her ex-fiance turned up dead. And Rachel was the prime suspect… Big-city cop Delaney Parker didn’t fancy working undercover in this two-bit town. He liked even less getting involved with beautiful, sexy Rachel – she aroused his feelings as a man, a lover and a substitute daddy. Del was in over his head… he had to remember he was a cop first. But could he really send a pregnant woman to jail? You’re welcome. That’s an F.)

Keyword(s) – china; Top Ten by BMeTric: 59.6 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008); 49.8 Independence Day: Resurgence (2016); 48.2 The Man with the Iron Fists (2012); 47.9 Chandni Chowk to China (2009); 47.9 Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003); 46.2 Blackhat (2015); 46.1 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007); 43.2 Babylon A.D. (2008); 42.6 Shanghai Surprise (1986); 42.4 Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014);

(Methinks this list will be growing in the future with the growth of the Chinese market in determining the profits of Hollywood films. Transformers 4 is a perfect example of this. Something like Pacific Rim 2 and Need For Speed 2 could easily enter this list with a few missteps.)

Notes – Apparently, after principal photography wrapped, executive producer George Harrison allegedly said of lead stars Madonna and Sean Penn: “Penn is a pain the ass . . . [whilst] she has to realize that you can be a fabulous person and be humble as well”. (Brutal George, although I assume this is mostly him being a bit bitter about the inevitable financial loss of the film)

Ex-Beatle and executive producer George Harrison performs five songs on the movie’s soundtrack. (And apparently this is the only bright spot in the movie)

Lead stars Madonna and Sean Penn were married at the time the movie was made and released.

Awards – Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Madonna)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Sean Penn), Worst Director (Jim Goddard), Worst Screenplay (John Kohn, Robert Bentley), and Worst Original Song (George Harrison)

Deadly Friend Preview

And this week we are excited to announce the next cycle, a very special cycle indeed. This October the bad movie twins will be turning thirty (it’s a pretty big deal), and we we thought it would be fun to do movies that are also turning thirty years old. That’s right, the cycle is the Sklog’s Birthday Bonanza, The Films of 1986. And since we are in a transition period between cycles we had to find a movie that is not only based on a book, but also specifically came out in 1986. And that means there is really only one choice (no, seriously, I think there was literally only one decently qualified movie to choose from in this case): Deadly Friend. A Wes Craven picture based on Friend by Diana Henstell, this is considered somewhat of a cult classic, but is also very well known for the meddling of producers during production. It looks … really strange. Getting me kind of excited. Let’s go!

Deadly Friend (1986) – BMeTric: 24.2

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(Ah, very similar to last week’s plots and I think this is a trend for films from the 80s / early 90s. It rises until it reaches a stable rating/votes proportion in the BMeTric, and this again is a very good example of a film regressing to the mean as time goes on. I think movies that existed prior to IMDb going “mainstream” tended to have a much broader range of ratings (perhaps) and so with older movies you see this regression to the mean much more starkly. Always interesting (to me))

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Inventive teenager, in love with the girl next door, revives her (a la Frankenstein) after she’s killed. More heart, and more actual entertainment, than you’d expect from a Wes Craven horror film … though it’s probably the only movie ever made in which someone is beheaded by a basketball!

(Yeah, this movie sounds bonkers insane. I also don’t believe Leonard actually reviewed this. Maltin is notoriously uneasy about horror films, he’s like me, he finds them spooky scary. Maybe at the time he might have watched it as a job requirement, but I have a feeling this was compiled for the book and represents a review by some staff writer. Two and a half stars for this bullshit horror film. I don’t believe it. All that being said, this movie sounds like a genuinely terrible idea.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQj2GKwKp5w

(Wow! I’m actually shocked at how cheap this looks. This was made after Nightmare on Elm Street, which I think is a surprisingly beautiful film, but this looks like an amateur film in comparison. Another weird thing? Nary a robot to be seen. And I know for a fact that there is a hilarious yellow robot in this.)

Directors – Wes Craven – (Known For: Scream; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Scream 4; Red Eye; Scream 2; The Hills Have Eyes; The Last House on the Left; Swamp Thing; New Nightmare; Paris, je t’aime; Music of the Heart; The Serpent and the Rainbow; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Cursed; My Soul to Take; Scream 3; The Hills Have Eyes Part II; Shocker; Deadly Friend; Deadly Blessing; Notes: Died last year from brain cancer. Was set to direct Superman IV: The Quest for Peace but was dropped after feuding with Christopher Reeve.)

Writers – Diana Henstell (novel) – (BMT: Deadly Friend; Notes: Horror/Thriller writer in the 80s. Apparently worked in publishing for most of her career. That’s all I could find about her.)

Bruce Joel Rubin (screenplay) – (Known For: Ghost; Deep Impact; The Last Mimzy; Jacob’s Ladder; Stuart Little 2; Brainstorm; My Life; BMT: Deadly Friend; Deceived; The Time Traveller’s Wife; Notes: Won an Oscar for Ghost. The story is that he was going to turn down this film on principle as he had higher ambitions, but thought better of it because he really needed the money.)

Actors – Matthew Labyorteaux – (Known For: Mulan; Kaze tachinu; A Woman Under the Influence; Everyone’s Hero; King of the Gypsies; BMT: Bride Wars; Pinocchio; Deadly Friend; Notes: You hear that? That’s us improbably completing this random dude’s BMT filmography with what must be the most bizarre set of movies I’ve ever seen.)

Kristy Swanson – (Known For: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Big Daddy; Pretty in Pink; The Phantom; Hot Shots!; The Program; Higher Learning; BMT: Dude, Where’s My Car?; Mannequin: On the Move; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag; The Chase; Flowers in the Attic; Deadly Friend; Notes: Started dating Alan Thicke when he was 40 and she was 17 (wot?). They were engaged but never married.)

Budget/Gross – $11,000,000 / Domestic: $8,988,731

(Wow, 10 times the budget of Nightmare on Elm, but made a fraction of the box office. Probably didn’t help that it was part of a publicly troubled production process and got terrible reviews once actually released.)

#39 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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(Look at those waves. This guy came right on the heels of Terminator and Short Circuit and a little before Robocop, so definitely a trend. Now Ex Machina and Chappie are coming at a semi-boom in the same category. The waves may be indicative of how bad robot movies often are (see the keyword below) you make a few with great care and dedication … and then you saturate the market with garbage, then start all over again. Blah.)

#54 for the Sci-Fi – Based on Book genre

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(The second example quickly on the heels of The 5th Wave, this is far less interesting. Maybe this was introduced at a time when book adaptations were waning a bit, but hard to tell. Still, the amount of sci-fi movies based on a book now dwarfs those from the eighties. It is pretty stunning.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/7): No consensus yet.

(A rare, but kind of cheap 0% movie since it only has six (often far after the fact) reviews on rotten tomatoes. I’ll make a consensus though: While filled with its fair share of Cravenisms, it is also filled with classic Craven miscues. An interesting premise is squandered as the film instead becomes merely another cliched teenaged revenge fantasy.)

Poster – Deadly Sklog (C-)

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(Personally I like it. I like the style, very classically 70s/80s horror I feel like. I like the idea of it in a way. But … I mean, what does it have to do with anything? What is this movie about? It doesn’t really scream “this is about a killer robot!”. It doesn’t say “this is a teenaged revenge fantasy!”. It is just … surreal. If anything it screams “like Nightmare on Elm Street this is a movie focused on the terror found within dreams”. If I was only given this poster I would say this movie is about a bullied teenage girl who discovers that through incredible psychic power she can control other people’s dreams and terrorizes those who terrorize her in the real world … hey, that sounds like a pretty good movie actually. Kind of a what-if-you-could-be-Freddy-Krueger in real life. Could actually be a fun movie)

Tagline(s) – She can’t live without you. [trailer] (A)

There’s no one alive who’ll play with the girl next door! [poster] (what in the fuck? F.)

(The second one being on the poster is a travesty. How? It is awful. The trailer tagline is a nice, concise play on words. Hints at the connection to Frankenstein. Hits all the right notes.)

Keyword(s) – robot; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.3 Meet the Spartans (2008); 78.4 The Avengers (1998); 76.9 RoboCop 3 (1993); 76.8 Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003); 75.6 Inspector Gadget (1999); 72.3 Jason X (2001); 71.2 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005); 69.8 Pluto Nash (2002); 66.5 Scooby-Doo (2002); 65.1 Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982);

(That is a simply fantastic list of terrible movies. Robots do seem to enter into a lot of ludicrous and hilarious plotlines. If only Lindsay Lohan’s robot leg and arm from I Know Who Killed Me counted! Also this is an amazing set of sequels too. I just can’t get over it!)

Notes – Director Wes Craven’s and screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin’s original vision for the film was a PG-rated supernatural science fiction thriller, with the primary focus being on the macabre love story between Paul and Samantha, as well as a secondary focus on the adults around them and how they are truly monsters inside themselves. Craven filmed this version of the film and Warner Bros. decided to screen it to a test audience mostly consisting of Wes Craven’s fans. The response from fans was negative, criticizing the lack of violence and gore seen in Craven’s previous films.

I would say that this is part of the Michael Eliot trilogy. Eliot was an editor brought in by Warner Bros. to reedit this film, along with Out for Justice and Showdown in Little Tokyo.

BB robot cost over $20,000 to build. Craven used a company called Robotics 21. His eyes were constructed from two 1950 camera lenses, a garage remote control unit, and a radio antenna taken from a Corvette. BB could actually lift 750 pounds in weight.

Bonfire of the Vanities Preview

On the precipice of finishing the Now A Major Motion Picture cycle, we of course chose the longest book in the world for the Razzie section. That’s right, we’re watching The Bonfire of the Vanities starring Tom Hanks and BMT Legend Bruce Willis. The film was based on the Tom Wolfe classic of the same name, which comes in at a weighty 630 pages (oof). Luckily I started in on the behemoth weeks ago. This has been on my BMT future prospects list since almost the beginning of time, mostly because I couldn’t believe that there was a Hanks-Willis collaboration that bombed so badly. It was nominated for five Razzies (Picture, Screenplay, Director, Actress, and Supporting Actress) and an entire book was written about its troubled production (look at that street cred!). I did not get a chance to read that book… yet. Let’s go!

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) – BMeTric: 39.5

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(Beautiful. Regression to the mean is there, as the votes rise the rating rises as well. But also there is no 2011 inflection point, why? I believe it is because this movie is kind of perfectly “average”. It isn’t popular by any means, but it also isn’t unpopular, probably because of the book it has a built in audience. Make the BMeTric plot interesting as well, where it reaches a pretty strong plateau.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Appallingly heavy-handed “comedy” about a cocky Wall Street wheeler-dealer whose well-insulated life begins to crumble when his wife learns he’s fooling around, and he and his paramour are involved in a hit-and-run accident. With all the power – and nuance – of Tom Wolfe’s novel removed, and all the characters turned into caricatures (racist and otherwise), what’s left is a pointless charade, and a pitiful waste of money and talent.

(Racist caricatures? Pitiful waste of talent? Nearly endless sentence to start what is in reality a fairly banal review for a rare BOMB from Leonard. All point to this being an enigma, a bizarre unfortunate twisting of BMT in general. Uh oh … I feel like my brain is already melting and I’m not even watching this nonsense movie…)

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

(Wow, this is a truly classic trailer. Heavy voiceover and film clips of characters seemingly responding to the voiceover. It’s almost like a short film. That being said, this trailer doesn’t tell me much about what the film is supposed to be about or what the conflict will be. It comes across as, well… a pointless charade.)

Directors – Brian De Palma – (Known For: Scarface; Mission: Impossible; The Untouchables; Carrie; Carlito’s Way; Dressed to Kill; Body Double; The Fury; Casualties of War; Blow Out; Femme Fatale; Snake Eyes; Obsession; BMT: The Black Dahlia; Mission to Mars; Passion; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Wise Guys; Notes: Actually went to Columbia University for Physics, but after graduating decided to pursue filmmaking and enrolled in a theater graduate program. Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Director for Mission to Mars, 1991 for Bonfire of the Vanities, 1985 for Body Double, 1984 for Scarface, and 1981 for Dressed to Kill.)

Writers – Michael Cristofer (screenplay) – (Known For: The Witches of Eastwick; Casanova; Falling in Love; Mr. Jones; BMT: The Bonfire of the Vanities; Original Sin; Notes: Probably best known for winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony for The Shadow Box. Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1991 for Worst Screenplay for The Bonfire of the Vanities)

Tom Wolfe (novel) – (Known For: The Right Stuff; BMT: The Bonfire of the Vanities; Almost Heroes; Notes: Acclaimed novelist. I presume his credit for Almost Heroes is a case of mistaken identity, but it is hard to prove. Not mentioned on his wikipedia page, so I’m leaning towards it being not true. Funniest thing is that it’s mentioned in books and shit… presumably because the author saw the “fact” on imdb.)

Actors – Tom Hanks – (Known For: A Hologram for the King; Forrest Gump; Saving Private Ryan; Bridge of Spies; The Green Mile; Cast Away; Cloud Atlas; Catch Me If You Can; Cars; Toy Story; Captain Phillips; Charlie Wilson’s War; Toy Story 3; You’ve Got Mail; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; Road to Perdition; Apollo 13; A League of Their Own; Splash; The Terminal; Saving Mr. Banks; Big; Toy Story 2; Philadelphia; The ‘Burbs; Sleepless in Seattle; That Thing You Do!; Turner & Hooch; The Simpsons Movie; The Money Pit; The Polar Express; The Ladykillers; Bachelor Party; Dragnet; Joe Versus the Volcano; The Great Buck Howard; Nothing in Common; Volunteers; The Man with One Red Shoe; Punchline; BMT: The Bonfire of the Vanities; Larry Crowne; He Knows You’re Alone; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; Notes:  With someone this famous you almost just have to link to some current news. Check out the Instagram selfie posted by wife Rita Wilson, cause why not?)

Bruce Willis – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Sin City; The Fifth Element; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; The Sixth Sense; Looper; Die Hard; Moonrise Kingdom; Alpha Dog; RED 2; RED; Twelve Monkeys; Ocean’s Twelve; Unbreakable; The Expendables; Die Hard 4.0; The Expendables 2; Grindhouse; Die Hard 2; Lucky Number Slevin; The Last Boy Scout; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Planet Terror; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; BMT: Look Who’s Talking Too; The Cold Light of Day; Vice; A Good Day to Die Hard; North; The Prince; Color of Night; Lay the Favorite; Breakfast of Champions; The Whole Ten Yards; Extraction; Cop Out; The Bonfire of the Vanities; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Hudson Hawk; Perfect Stranger; Fire with Fire; Striking Distance; Precious Cargo; Rock the Kasbah; The Story of Us; Blind Date; Mercury Rising; Marauders; Loaded Weapon 1; Surrogates; The Jackal; Sunset; Last Man Standing; Armageddon; Hostage; Tears of the Sun; Notes:  Again, too famous. Recently got sued for his acting fee on an unfinished film. Kind of incredible story. Paid him $8 million dollars and then shut down cause they couldn’t pay the crew! Won the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Actor for Armageddon, Mercury Rising, and The Siege; Won the Razzie Award in 1992 for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1995 for Worst Actor for Color of Night, and North and in 1992 for Hudson Hawk.)

Also stars Melanie Griffith.

Budget/Gross – $47 million / Domestic: $15,691,192 (N/A)

(Oooooooof what a disaster. No wonder this is so well known in bad movie circles. $47 million seems like a ton for a comedy book adaptation, I wonder what the thought process there was as well.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (8/51): No consensus yet.

(RT must be busy. Fifty-one reviews for a 1990 film is incredible! Must be diving through the newspaper archives. Good for them. My consensus guess would be: Solid acting performances by Willis and Hanks can’t save this satirical dud from going up in flames.)

Poster – Sklogfire of the Vanities (B+)

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(I like that it has a color theme and the classic symmetry. I particularly like the story that it tells with the city seeming to being on fire and consuming the actors above. The “bonfire” if you will. Could have been done in an artsier way, though. Lacks some aesthetic. Interesting thing about this poster though? If you saw this poster in a theater what time period would you think the film takes place? I would certainly not guess the 80’s.)

Tagline(s) – Take one Wall Street tycoon, his Fifth Avenue mistress, a reporter hungry for fame, and make the wrong turn in The Bronx…then sit back and watch the sparks fly. (F)

(That is super old school. Before they mastered the art of the tagline. Horrendously long. Unacceptable.)

Keyword(s) – accident; Top Ten by BMeTric: 80.2 The Love Guru (2008); 63.1 Zoolander 2 (2016); 61.2 Ghost Rider (2007); 59.3 God’s Not Dead (2014); 58.1 Doom (2005); 57.3 Daredevil (2003); 54.8 Hot Pursuit (2015); 54.1 Cool World (1992); 51.1 Sorority Row (2009); 49.5 The Mangler (1995);

(You might ask yourself: what does this keyword even mean? I don’t know. In Zoolander 2 they were in a crazy massive car crash at one point. In Doom a disease or something is released into a Mars facility. In Daredevil he gets sprayed with toxic superhero chemicals. Solid list regardless though. Reminds me that we have to do Cool World at some point.)

Notes – Alan Arkin was replaced by Morgan Freeman when it was decided to change the judge’s ethnicity from Jewish to African-American in order to moderate criticism of the film’s racial politics. (Kind of a funny choice. If you make a film adaptation that is a satirical take on the racial politics of 80’s New York City and you get criticized for the racial politics… then you probably aren’t doing satire right.)

Steve Martin was the original choice to play Sherman McCoy by original director Mike Nichols. Nichols left the project and was replaced by Brian De Palma who also wanted Martin for the role but the producers disagreed and wanted Tom Hanks cast instead. (Martin is an odd choice for the role. Hanks fits the part naturally much better.)

Actresses considered for the role eventually played by Melanie Griffith include Lena Olin, Lolita Davidovich, and Uma Thurman, (who tested for the part and actually came close to getting it.) Brian De Palma preferred Thurman to Melanie Griffith, but Tom Hanks reportedly felt uncomfortable over Thurman’s relative inexperience and persuaded the director against her casting. (Lena Olin better fits the role physically, actually. But Griffith was good.)

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Brian De Palma)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Melanie Griffith)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Kim Cattrall)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Brian De Palma)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Michael Cristofer)

The 5th Wave Preview

Exciting times for BMT this week. We have our last genre film of the Now a Major Motion Picture cycle for SciFi/Fantasy and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check off 2016 film as the Razzies fast approach. That’s right, we’re watching The 5th Wave! It’s based on the first book of a YA trilogy, but I probably won’t read all of them (it’s not even certain whether they will even film the franchise). But that’s not the only exciting thing about the film. It also stands as the introduction to the next great BMT game! We call it Chris Klein’s Number Line and it’s where Patrick and I try to collect films with numbers in the the title (kind of like how the mapl.de.map was a way for us to collect states). From the beginning of the year we had eyed The 5th Wave for the (surprisingly rare) 5 spot on the line and it fortunately turned out to be a terrible film. Phew. I’ll work on a graphic to accompany the game soon. For now, it’ll just be theoretical. Let’s go!

The 5th Wave (2016) – BMeTric: 55.3

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(Okay … this plot is actually really cool. The regression to the mean not only goes backwards, but this is actually a prime example of it defying that usual trend, because it drops a lot lower than you’d expect given just regression to the mean. I can, with confidence, say that this is an example of fans of the book rating the movie early and then as more and more people who just watched the movie on a whim go and see the film the rating plummets. Interesting that it doesn’t have much of an affect on the BMeTric trajectory. That 30-50+ double plateau is very very normal. I think three films have it this year: The 5th Wave, Zoolander 2, and The Forest all have roughly the same trajectory.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  Important elements are sketched-in and undeveloped in the film. We’re left with Cassie and Evan throwing longing looks at one another, confusing monologues where people figure out what the “5th wave” is, and reunion scenes that have no punch. The closing narration is milquetoast cliche, something the Cassie in the book, with her raw tenderized heart, would never have tolerated.

(Uh… did you say “confusing monologues?” Yes, please. No need to say more. I’m also pretty sure Milquetoast Cliche and Raw Tenderized Heart are emo bands from the early 2000s. [Patrick Note: Also if you read this review it is by a person who clearly not only read but liked the series of books the movie is based on, and their feelings about the book clearly color their attitude towards the movie. It is interesting. A little peak into the alternative universe where Jamie is a movie critic. Slammed?])

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmxLybfGNC4

(They made it look exciting enough. However, having just finished the book I can tell you that it looks like a pretty straight adaptation, which [spoiler alert] is not a good sign for how exciting it actually will be.)

Directors – J Blakeson – (Known For: The Disappearance of Alice Creed; BMT: The 5th Wave;  Notes: Interesting story here. Alice Creed was a microbudget thriller film that Blakeson made in order to gain interest from studios to direct. He certainly got interest, having been tapped for The Imitation Game and several other major films. All fell through, though, and he ended up taking on The 5th Wave. Not the studio debut he hoped for probably.)

Writers – Susannah Grant (screenplay) – (Known For: Erin Brockovich; Charlotte’s Web; EverAfter; Pocahontas; In Her Shoes; The Soloist; BMT: The 5th Wave; 28 Days; Catch and Release; Notes: Wow, this is way outside her norm. Not really anything that would sugest Sci Fi in her previous filmography. Although, the book is pretty heavy on the emotional and romantic side of an alien invasion (seriously). So it oddly fits.)

Akiva Goldsman (screenplay) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; Batman Forever; I Am Legend; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; Cinderella Man; The Client; BMT: Batman & Robin; Lost in Space; The 5th Wave; Practical Magic; A New York Winter’s Tale; Insurgent; The Da Vinci Code; Notes: One of the most successful screenwriters and script doctors in Hollywood. Won Screenplay Oscar for A Beautiful Mind. Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1998 for Worst Screenplay for Batman & Robin; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1997 for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill)

Jeff Pinkner (screenplay) – (Known For: The Amazing Spider-Man 2; BMT: The 5th Wave; Notes: Big time television writer (Lost, Alias, Fringe), before breaking into film with Spider-Man. Now on tap for The Dark Tower, Jumanji, and a bunch of other garbage.)

Rick Yancey (novel) – (BMT: The 5th Wave; Notes: Writer of three YA series (the Alfred Kropp series, the Monstrumologist series, and the 5th Wave) and one adult detective series… seems to like making series.)

Actors – Chloë Grace Moretz – (Known For: Bad Neighbours 2; The Equalizer; Kick-Ass; 500 Days of Summer; Carrie; Hugo; Let Me In; Diary of a Wimpy Kid; Say When; Bolt; Clouds of Sils Maria; Muppets Most Wanted; Kaguyahime no monogatari; The Poker House; Wicked Little Things; Heart of the Beholder; BMT: Movie 43; Big Momma’s House 2; The 5th Wave; The Eye; Room 6; Hick; Texas Killing Fields; The Amityville Horror; Dark Shadows; Not Forgotten; Dark Places; Kick-Ass 2; Notes: She’s in Big Momma’s House 2?! Yes, please. She is apparently now dating Beckham’s son.)

Also stars Nick Robinson and Alex Roe (lol, who? Oh, one was in Kings of Summer which was pretty solid.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $34,912,982 (Worldwide: $109,902,567)

(Pretty small budget. Probably why they chose the director, since they knew he could make a big film on budget. Did have a rough time in the US box office, but overall seems to have a profit. Wonder if it will get the sequel.)

#32 for the Sci-Fi – Alien Invasion genre

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(We’ve seen this plot before for The Day the Earth Stood Still. New observations: Looks to me like there was a slow increase starting in 2000 for this genre and over the years a pretty consistent return per theater (slowly trickling down over the years). It exploded in the 2010s, probably because of the abundance of cheap CGI now available. And now is going down to a more stable level, possibly because there doesn’t seem to be a huge “tentpole” market for something as niche as sci fi. It feel weird calling Sci Fi niche, but unlike comic book films it doesn’t seem like they could yet sustain a big multipart franchise. Like fantasy the fanbases tend to be small and passionate. A few weeks ago I speculated that Independence Day 2 might pull the genre a bit more into the mainstream, but that I think is wrong.)

#33 for the Sci-Fi – Based on Book genre

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(This is obviously having a moment almost entirely fueled by YA novels: Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, The Host, this. Fifth wave sits right above BMT “it’s not that bad” classic Dreamcatcher. The theater return looks stable, which means there should be plenty more to see in the future. Although with Divergent diverting into a tv movie finale this might signal a realization that the trend is dying. Smaller budget productions like this one (which has half the budget of a Hunger Games or Divergent movie at most) will probably be the trend).

#40 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

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(It is kind of amazing right? It is as if YA novels just weren’t thought of before 2000. Maybe because kids were perceived as not having disposable money to spend? Or perhaps the literature genre itself was rather small previously? Regardless it is basically slowly developed into a fairly powerful box office draw over the past 15 years it would seem. Something like $1.2 billion if you estimate from the chart over a 24 month span at this point. It looks to be regressing a bit (it feels that way too), which makes sense. They overshot a bit, but are coming back to earth. Pretty standard.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (20/125): With unimpressive effects and plot points seemingly pieced together from previous dystopian YA sci-fi films, The 5th Wave ends up feeling like more of a limp, derivative wriggle.

(I’m not sure I understand the “limp, derivative wiggle” joke at the end. Pretty lame attempt by RT for a clever consensus. I also can never truly buy the “unimpressive effects” critique after seeing A Sound of Thunder. Nothing will ever compare.)

Poster – http://www.impawards.com/2016/posters/fiveth_wave_ver5.jpg (C)

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(I actually kind of like the color scene (blue/orange) but the tilt is unnecessary. Fairly innocuous otherwise.)

Tagline(s) – Can we survive the 5th wave? (F)

(Gross gross gross. It’s like they purposefully made a tagline to hurt me. Can I survive The 5th Wave? Probably not judging from this tagline. Gross.)

Keyword(s) – based on young adult novel; Top Ten by BMeTric: 80.5 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 71.5 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 71.4 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011); 55.3 The 5th Wave (2016); 49.7 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012); 42.1 Beastly (2011); 39.7 Vampire Academy (2014); 33.2 Allegiant (2016); 32.7 The Host (2013); 29.6 The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013);

(Totally forgot about The Mortal Instruments. That would have been a great one for this entry. Alas, have to feed the 2016 Razzie beast.)

Notes – During filming in Macon, GA, a bus explosion damaged several businesses along Cotton Avenue. (Word)

Tye Sheridan, Nick Robinson and Mitchell Hope auditioned for the role of Ben Parish. (I like Tye Sheridan as an actor, but that would have been a hilarious miscasting.)

The book is set in Dayton, Ohio. (And the movie? I’m on pins and needles in anticipation of finding out. I’m gonna guess it’s now Georgia.)

Originally, the film had a sex scene between Cassie and Evan, but the scene didn’t make it to the final cut. However, the scene is included as part of ‘deleted scenes’ on the DVD. (Ha, wot? That was not in the book, which makes it an odd addition to the script.)

Random Hearts Preview

Thankfully we are past the garbage book that is The Choice and get to jump right onto our Chain Reaction. Last time we watched Cheaper by the Dozen 2 starring Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, and Eugene Levy. Oddly enough very few of the cast actually appeared in a film based on a book (or at least not one that worked for Chain Reaction for the rest of the year). Fortunately there was one gem amongst the stones. It is Random Hearts starring Harrison Ford and featuring Bonnie Hunt in a supporting role! It’s based on the Warren Adler novel of the same name, which I’ve already read. All I will say is that the book is super duper weird, so hopefully the film is a loose adaptation. Otherwise we are in for a bumpy ride. Let’s go!

Random Hearts (1999) – BMeTric: 47.2

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(Pretty typical stuff. Regresses to the mean as the number of votes increases. That vote total (~16K at the moment) seems … low for some reason. But maybe it has to do with this being kind of a forgotten movie of the time. And it just cannot quite break through that 50 BMeT barrier. Sad stuff all around for poor Random Hearts)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Sub-par political movie, sub-par D.C. cop movie and sub-par romance get bludgeoned into one in this critical/commercial flop about a police sergeant and congresswoman who discover that their mates – recently killed in the same airliner crash – were having an affair. Gloomy, lugubrious, heavily altered adaptation of Warren Adler’s novel suffers from one of the rare constipated Ford performances. Every once in a while it wakes up long enough to remember it’s an Internal Affairs movie and that a few heads have to be bashed.

(What the hell Leonard. First, how many times does Leonard just give a movie a tepid 2 star review, but somehow this gets one and a half! Second, constipated? Really Leonard? Third, too bad I haven’t gotten that far back in the archive, but lugubrious has quite the history with Leonard. In the review for Evening he notes that it is a “lugubrious translation of Susan Minot’s time-skipping novel…”. I also seems like a synonym for gloomy, making its use here all the more confounding. I will not become lugubrious Leonard, I promise you that!)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zGdCzEzzPg

(Alright, I’m into it. I’m ready to go. Watching that trailer I was thinking “oh, that looks interesting”. So it makes me more and more curious how it could have gone wrong. Just old-fashioned? Boring? I need to know!)

Directors – Sydney Pollack – (Known For: The Firm; Sabrina; Three Days of the Condor; Tootsie; Out of Africa; The Way We Were; The Interpreter; Jeremiah Johnson; They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?; This Property Is Condemned; The Electric Horseman; The Swimmer; Absence of Malice; BMT: Random Hearts; Havana; Bobby Deerfield; Notes:  Look at that filmography. Died in 2008 from cancer. Often appears in cameos in the films he driects (including Random Hearts). Was an accomplished Jazz Pianist.)

Writers – Warren Adler (novel) – (Known For: The War of the Roses; BMT: Random Hearts; Notes:  Currently in the process of making a sequel to War of the Roses (jeez Louise) and adapting another one of his novels Funny Boys at the ripe age of 88. Famous for his novel War of the Roses, but also was an accomplished crime writer as well.)

Darryl Ponicsan (adaptation) – (Known For: Taps; The Last Detail; School Ties; Vision Quest; The Boost; BMT: Random Hearts; Nuts; Notes: An author himself, The Last Detail is an adaptation of his own novel of the same name. An accomplished screenwriter as well. Appears to also be a fairly accomplished artist as well.)

Kurt Luedtke (screenplay) – (Known For: Out of Africa; Absence of Malice; BMT: Random Hearts; Notes: Former reporter and editor of the Detroit Free Press. All three of his screenplays were directed by Pollack. Even wrote a script for Bridges of Madison County when Pollack was attached to direct, but was rejected by Warner Bros.)

Actors – Harrison Ford – (Known For: Star Wars: The Force Awakens; The Age of Adaline; Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope; Apocalypse Now; Raiders of the Lost Ark; Blade Runner; Air Force One; Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi; Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; Ender’s Game; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; The Fugitive; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; Working Girl; American Graffiti; Patriot Games; Cowboys & Aliens; Clear and Present Danger; The Conversation; Sabrina; What Lies Beneath; Witness; 42; Morning Glory; K-19: The Widowmaker; BMT: Hollywood Homicide (BMT); Random Hearts; Six Days Seven Nights; Paranoia (Seen it); Firewall (BMT); The Expendables 3 (BMT); More American Graffiti; The Devil’s Own; Extraordinary Measures; Notes: We do love our Harrison Ford BMT flicks. What more is there to say about him? He’s great. Astonishing, all things considered, that he’s avoided a Razzie Nomination. I would have though Paranoia at least would have gotten him one)

Kristin Scott Thomas – (Known For: The Other Boleyn Girl; Only God Forgives; Mission: Impossible; The English Patient; The Golden Compass; Suite Française; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Gosford Park; The Horse Whisperer; Salmon Fishing in the Yemen; The Invisible Woman; Tell No One; Bitter Moon; Life as a House; BMT: Random Hearts; Bel Ami; Confessions of a Shopaholic; Under the Cherry Moon; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Supporting Actress for Under the Cherry Moon; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst New Star for Under the Cherry Moon; Has lived in Paris since she was 19 and typically dubs herself for French releases of her films. Accomplished stage actor, and future BMT mega-star in Under the Cherry Moon, released almost exactly 30 years ago: July 2, 1986)

Also stars Charles S. Dutton – (Will see him in future BMT Legion)

Budget/Gross – $64 million / Domestic: $31,502,583 (Worldwide: $74,608,570)

(failure, but borderline I suppose. It definitely lost money, but less that I would have thought. But look at that budget. Woof. $65 million for a romantic drama based off of a book that cannot possibly be as well known as they thought it was. Not a good look.)

#58 for the Romantic Drama genre

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(Two in a row! The Choice was #76 and obviously was this year during the new age of rom drams. Random Hearts came right befor the fall. You can see it sitting in a nice box office trough too after the pre-2000s heyday too. Then it all came a tumbling down. Just so strange. Maybe, and this is pure speculation, prior to 2000 the idea was big star leads in the rom drams (like Ford). And then the bottom just fell out of the genre. And then in 2008 or so they realized they could just get actors from the CW to be in micro-budget borderline-VOD rom drams and print money. And then The Choice was made. The End. I like that theory, but there is no basis in reality for it).

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (13/87): Even Harrison Ford could not save the dull plot and the slow pacing of the movie.

(You can tell this consensus was written way after the release of the film. Would clearly say “Even Harrison Ford can’t save the dull plot…” nowadays. Also just vague enough to make me think whoever wrote it had never seen the film and probably had no idea what it was about.)

Poster – Random Sklogs (C-)

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(I like the color theme personally, something about the subtle blue in the black in white works for me when you are dealing with a poster that is mostly a face. And that is it. I hate the weird fade to the right and resulting asymmetry. And it is boring.)

Tagline(s) – In a perfect world…they never would have met. (B+)

(I like how it is short and sweet. I like the little plot detail. I like that it seems like a clever twist on an idea: the star-crossed lovers. That in a perfect world you find each other and live happily ever after. Twisted into the opposite, that all of this depended on a catastrophe to happen. But given the poster and the tagline and the title, how am I supposed to know anything about this film? It would be totally impenetrable to me I think)

Keyword(s) – plane crash; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.8 Skyline (2010); 63.5 The Darkest Hour (2011); 60.0 Stealth (2005); 57.5 Congo (1995); 53.7 Batman Forever (1995); 49.1 Red Dawn (2012); 47.2 Random Hearts (1999); 46.2 Green Lantern (2011); 41.3 Whiteout (2009); 40.4 King Solomon’s Mines (1985);

(Da-da-da-da-da I’m loving this list. Makes me want to watch Whiteout and whatever King Solomon’s Mines is. Would be a great “completed” accomplishment … by certain people’s definitions of “great”)

Notes – The neon in the “Parkway Lanes” sign had not worked for over 20 years. It was repaired by the production company. At night, the lit sign may be seen from the northbound lanes of the Garden State Parkway. (nice)

Based on the novel by Warren Adler, the film rights were obtained soon after the novel’s release in 1984. However the film then languished in “development hell” for 15 years. In the 1980s, Dustin Hoffman was attached to star in the film but later withdrew as he did not like the earlier drafts of the script. By the 1990s, Kevin Costner was attached to star and James L. Brooks was attached to direct it, though this never came to fruition either. Eventually, Harrison Ford and Sydney Pollack showed interest in the project and it finally went into production. (A troubled production usually spells a great film in the end, right?)

The 1984 novel by Warren Adler that the film is adapted from was based on the January 1982 “Air Florida” plane crash into the Potomac River, flying out of National Airport, Washington, D.C. (An adaptation of a book that is based on real events. Noice)

This is the only film in which Harrison Ford plays a character who wears an earring, as the actor does in real life. (Not a great look Harry, in my opinion, but who am I to talk shit about Harrison Ford, do you dude)

The simulated plane crash that starts the film was so realistic that 40 people called 911, convinced that it was a real disaster.

The Choice Preview

This week is the Romance category. Usually we look for a RomCom, but in based-on-a-book there is only one possible choice and his name is Nicholas Sparks. Given that we are already a little behind on the (admittedly mediocre) crop of 2016 films, it seemed appropriate to go for the latest (and last?) Nicholas Sparks adaptation, The Choice. I know little about the film other than the certainty that it could not possibly live up to the insanity of Safe Haven (with it’s spooky gh-gh-gh-ghost), but let’s hope it tries its best. It’s weird too, cause if you look at the cast I know a lot more of the side actors (Maggie Grace, Tom Welling, Tom Wilkinson, Alexandra Daddario) than either of the stars (Teresa Palmer and Benjamin Walker). Seriously, how did they get Daddario to be in this as a super minor character? Let’s go!

The Choice (2016) – BMeTric: 10.1

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(Let that ratings plot sink in for a second. There was the initial plateau in which the movie reached just about the IMDb average of 6.3 which already seems high, but whatever. Then, when the DVD comes out, the votes spike and … the rating goes up! People are rating this movie a 7+! It stands at 6.5 at the moment, but this is straight up nonsense I feel like. Warcraft-esque in never being able to represent the actual quality of the films. Oh IMDb, why you got to be so bad with recent films?)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  You, too, have a choice to make while looking for diversions this weekend. Unless you desperately want to hear the football term “take a knee” associated with a marriage proposal, seeing “The Choice” should probably not be on the list.

(What a weird thing to nitpick. Did it really bother you that much that they used that football term during a proposal? Stretching too hard to be clever here.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3igwHv6Msjo

(I felt like I was getting whiplash from that trailer. So many cuts and so many things happening. I’m not sure I understood the plot at all and in particular what choice must be made by the characters. They also gave away what is supposed to be the “twist” in the book, so… Spoiler alert. You know, if you cared.)

Directors – Ross Katz – (Known For: Adult Beginners; BMT: The Choice; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars as a Producer for Lost in Translation and In the Bedroom. More recently turned to directing.)

Writers – Bryan Sipe (screenplay) – (Known For: Demolition; BMT: The Choice; Notes: Worked to get Demolition made for more than 6 years. It was also released this year.)

Nicholas Sparks (novel) – (Known For: The Notebook; BMT: The Last Song; Nights in Rodanthe; Message in a Bottle; Dear John; The Lucky One; Safe Haven (BMT); The Choice; The Best of Me; The Longest Ride; A Walk to Remember; Notes: His films have been in box office decline the last few years (his last three are the lowest grossing of all 11 adaptations) and unsurprisingly shuttered his production company last month.)

Actors – Benjamin Walker – (Known For: In the Heart of the Sea; Flags of Our Fathers; The Notorious Bettie Page; Kinsey; BMT: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter; The Choice; Notes: Started his career as a stand-up comic. Turned down the role of Beast in X-men: First Class in order to star as Andrew Jackson on Broadway in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.)

Teresa Palmer – (Known For: Lights Out; Triple 9; Knight of Cups; Warm Bodies; The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Wolf Creek; December Boys; Wish You Were Here; BMT: The Grudge 2; Point Break; I Am Number Four (BMT); Bedtime Stories; Kill Me Three Times; Love and Honor; Take Me Home Tonight; Cut Bank; The Choice; Notes: Was supposed to star in Jumper (one of the early early BMT films), but was replaced by Rachel Bilson before filming began.)

Also stars Maggie Grace (recent star of The Fog 2005).

Budget/Gross – $10 million / $19 million

(Has the 72nd worst opening ever for a film released in 2500+ theaters. It came in just worse than Everyone’s Hero(!). That animated film about a talking baseball bat? What?! You lost to a film about a talking baseball bat? No wonder Sparks shuttered his production company.)

#72 for Romantic Dramas

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(Wow, look at that mid-2000’s collapse! I think it has to do with a couple bombs in a row, but it could easily be that some other genre was sapping things up. Everyone knows that the trough there is the true heyday of bad movies! The dizzying heights we live in now I think is the result of micro-budget film companies. But it is hard to tell. To put all of this in perspective there was a single romdram in 2006, and in 2016 there has been four already so far (9 last year, 12 the year before, it is slowing down). All very interesting. Especially how consistently profitable the genre has been through thick and thin.)

It is also 11/11 for Nicholas Sparks movies on box office mojo.

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (9/73): Like the 10 Nicholas Sparks movies before it, The Choice finds tragedy striking star-crossed lovers in the sun-dappled South — yet even for those who loved its predecessors, this gauzy melodrama may feel painfully formulaic.

(Really? Considering I’ve already read the book for this one I have to say: this is probably a horrible consensus. I’m sure it doesn’t score a 12% by just being a bit too formulaic.)

Poster – From the Best-Selling Author of The Sklogbook and Sklogwagon … The Sklog (D+)

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(While this poster is the worst, I couldn’t totally pan it because I actually think the color tone is surprisingly pleasant. Unfortunately that zoom is bizarre, the text font is too simple, and the spacing on the poster is not working for me.)

Tagline(s) – Let your heart decide. (D)

(Cool story, bro.)

Keyword(s) – lawn chair; Top Ten by BMeTric: 41.5 A Dirty Shame (2004); 36.4 Track of the Moon Beast (1976); 30.5 See Spot Run (2001); 19.2 Swing Vote (2008); 16.4 Hail, Caesar! (2016); 9.9 The Choice (I) (2016); 9.8 Jodi No.1 (2001); 9.0 Snowtown (2011); 6.3 Desert Blue (1998); 5.8 All Over the Guy (2001);

(An inaugural entry into the booming lawn-chair genre! I don’t know how the hell this is the top keyword for this film. It makes no sense. But I look forward to finding out. I’m also incredibly intrigued by the 1976 flick Track of the Moon Beast. A BMeTric of 36.4 is incredible for such an old movie. It was a Mystery Science Theater film, which pretty much explains that I suppose. Lawn chair has to be a joke keyword. But what kind of sick weirdos find making a mockery of IMDb’s prestigious keyword system funny?)

Notes – Clint Eastwood’s son, Scott Eastwood, was originally cast in this film but was replaced by Tom Welling. Eastwood ended up starring instead in The Longest Ride (2015), another Sparks adaptation, which came out in April 10, 2015.

The Choice (2016) is Nicholas Sparks’ eleventh book made into a movie. (I threw up in my mouth, but was kind of happy too, you know?)

Second film where Tom Welling and Maggie Grace co-star. The first was The Fog (2005). (Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes)

This is the first Nicholas Sparks adapted film where no character (whether they’re main or supporting) dies by the end of the movie.

Phantoms Preview

Just moving right along in our Now a Major Motion Picture cycle we had quite a conundrum on our hands with Horror/Thriller. There is an obvious champion of the Horror-based-on-a-book genre and it’s called One Missed Call (one of the rare 0% on RT). The movie was based on a Japanese film that was based on a Japanese novel. Unfortunately the book never received an English translation! So we just couldn’t do it. We just couldn’t allow One Missed Call to turn this cycle into a sham. I must read them all, damn it! Another option was Sliver… but that was weird too because it’s an erotic thriller starring Billy Baldwin and Sharon Stone… both of whom we just saw in different BMT films (Fair Game and Basic Instinct 2). No go. Gotta keep it fresh. So instead we chose the freshest film around. A film that Ben Affleck was the bomb in, yo. That’s right! Phantoms! This has always been on our BMT bucket list, so I’m pretty excited. On top of that I’m a huge Stephen King and horror lit fan, so It’ll be nice to be able to expand my repertoire with a Dean Koontz book. I’ve never read one by him. Let’s go!

Phantoms (1998) – BMeTric: 38.7

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(Obviously beautiful regression to the mean there with the rating following right along with the number of votes. It has been a while since we’ve seen a nice two plateau plot. This one is basically caused by the rating initially rising more than it should (reaching 5.0 in 2006) countering the rising in votes. After that the votes go through an inflection (going from 3000 to 10000 votes on IMDb is incredibly important for the BMeTric) and then again the rise in rating kind of counters the steady vote rise. Not super interesting, but you can kind of see the shape of the BMeTric in the plots which is kind of cool. Also 40 is solid, surprisingly so in my opinion.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars – Sisters are frightened to find a Rocky Mountain town totally deserted, except for a few dead bodies; sheriff Affleck shows up to help, followed by scientist O’Toole. The answer is a mysterious underground monster from the beginning of time: intelligent, deadly, and amorphous. Not-bad thriller with good performances, astute use of locations, and some suspenseful scenes.  

(I often facetiously say SPOILER ALERT for mundane details provided by Leonard as a joke, but Jesus Leonard: SPOILER ALERT. How am I supposed to be suspended if I already know that the bad guy is an amorphous underground monster from the beginning of time? Come on!)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HynK3ZkjtcE

(I gotta say, the effects actually look OK from the short trailer. That would be a pleasant surprise. Best part though was Affleck delivering his line as if he’s the postmaster general… cause he’s mailing it in. Ay-o.)

Directors – Joe Chappelle – (BMT: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; Phantoms; Notes: Got his shot in film and didn’t work out. Now a TV director and producer of some pretty big and influential shows. Includes The Wire and currently Chicago Fire.)

Writers – Dean R. Koontz (novel & screenplay) – (Known For: Demon Seed; BMT: Phantoms; Hideaway; Notes: Horror author. Still active. Actually has a number of books adapted for film, but almost all had limited or no theatrical release.)

Actors – Peter O’Toole – (Known For: Troy; Stardust; Ratatouille; Lawrence of Arabia; The Last Emperor; The Lion in Winter; How to Steal a Million; Man of La Mancha; Venus; Lassie; FairyTale: A True Story; My Favorite Year; Becket; The Stunt Man; Zulu Dawn; Bright Young Things; The Ruling Class; Goodbye, Mr. Chips; Rosebud; Lord Jim; BMT: Supergirl; Caligula; Casino Royale; King Ralph; Phantoms; Club Paradise; High Spirits; What’s New Pussycat; One Night with the King; Notes:  Nominated for 8 acting Oscars, but never won one. Got an honorary Oscar in 2003. Died in 2013. Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Supporting Actor for Club Paradise; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1985 for Worst Actor for Supergirl)

Rose McGowan – (Known For: Scream; Death Proof; Grindhouse; Machete; Planet Terror; The Doom Generation; Class of 1999; Fifty Dead Men Walking; Going All the Way; BMT: Bio-Dome; Conan the Barbarian; Monkeybone; The Black Dahlia; Jawbreaker; Phantoms; Ready to Rumble; Encino Man; Notes: She was part of an Adam Sandler related BMTMZ regarding a casting note for The Do-Over. Love it.)

Also stars Joanna Going and Ben Affleck.

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $5,624,282

(Truly an unknown budget. Can’t find it anywhere other than some hints that it was a “low-budget” film. It better have been a super low-budget film cause this shit the bed. Opened at #9 in the box office. Not good.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 13% (4/30)

(Hard to comment on a film like this. Released just before RT became big. Looking around you can find a one-star review by Ebert that basically just derides it for being unoriginal. Although, again, he says the effects are pretty good. I’m starting to get excited for this.)

Poster – Spooky Sklog Ghosts (A-)

phantoms

(This does seem to be the official poster, although you more commonly see the DVD cover. I kinda dig it. Old fashioned. Stark light against a deep black background and organized well. I kinda wish the light was less dominated by white… more green. But it’s good.)

Tagline(s) – For centuries they told us the terror would come from above. We’ve been looking the wrong way. (C+)

(Centuries? Ha, not really. I like what they were going for and way they turn it around at the end is clever. But it’s too long and clunky to get a good grade. Just can’t do it.)

Keyword(s) – town; Top Ten by BMeTric: 47.7 Vehicle 19 (2013); 42.5 Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White (2012); 38.7 Phantoms (1998); 34.6 The Bay (II) (2012); 32.0 Never Talk to Strangers (1995); 17.8 Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003); 17.7 The Philadelphia Experiment (1984); 16.6 Snow Beast (2011); 15.6 The Village (2004); 14.3 A Night in the Woods (2011);

(Ha, what the hell does this keyword even mean? Like … there is a town in the movie? Weird list with an almost unknown Paul Walker film up top. Also The Village, I suspect, has a village in the film, not quite a town, so also this list is bullshit. I liked Mirror Mirror as well, although that might just be compared to the atrocity that is Snow White and the Huntsman.)

Notes – An adaptation of Phantoms was originally set to be made in the late 1980s/early 1990s by New World Pictures & Allied Vision Entertainment but was shelved after New World filed for bankruptcy. (I bet that would have been an even worse film)

Categorically one of the chief cinematic influences for Konami’s original Silent Hill (1999) on the PS1 and to the series overall, along with Jacob’s Ladder (1990) and Session 9 (2001). (Ha)

Get Carter (2000) Preview

Since the inception of the Stallonian Calendar we’ve kind of been avoiding sweeping up the last of the Stallone films available to us. That’s because we need some in the arsenal for the rare Stallone Days ahead. However, it’s really quite rare for a film in the action genre to be adapted from a source. So it was a bit hard to avoid choosing the very best of the bunch (that happens to also star Stallone). Coincidentally it was also his 70th birthday last week, so we can chalk up our viewing of the Get Carter remake to a celebration of sorts. The film is based on the Ted Lewis crime noir Jack’s Return Home. The book was first adapted into 1971’s Get Carter starring Michael Caine, which has grown into a classic. The remake? Not as much. Pretty excited to read the book, watch the original film, watch the new film, maybe watch the other adaptation (1972’s Hit Man), and listen to the director’s commentary. Welcome to Crazytown (Population: 2). Let’s go!

Get Carter (2000) – BMeTric: 52.3

GetCarter_BMeT

GetCarter_RV

(Nothing very interesting here actually, pretty standard regression to the mean in the rating, twenty-five thousand votes seems normal, and the BMeTric plot is standard stuff. Disturbingly boring.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Las Vegas enforcer goes home to Seattle to investigate his brother’s death and meets one sleazy character after another who may have been involved. Routine crime drama, enlivened by high-powered car chases but burdened by show-offy visual gimmicks. Remake of the far superior 1971 film that starred Caine, whose role here is thankless. Gretchen Mol appears unbilled.

(Look at those settings. Magnifique. How in the hell does a Get Carter remake have show-offy visuals. We can only hope that there is a talking dog or an animated sidekick, because I can’t for the life of me think why this film would need to show off any visuals. Just be a badass action film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQg27CqCV_M

(I guess now I understand what show-offy visuals are… weird coloring and the occasional dutch angle. This also might have been the peak of Sly Stallone mumblemouth. Just listen to that delivery on the line, “I’m Jack, Richie’s brother.” A simple line made incomprehensible.)

Directors – Stephen Kay – (BMT: Boogeyman; Get Carter; Notes: Directs mostly television now. Married to Piper Perabo (Cheaper by the Dozen 1 & 2). Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2000 for Worst Screenplay for The Mod Squad)

Writers – Ted Lewis (novel) – (Known For: Get Carter; The Snake; BMT: Get Carter; Notes: British author. Started as an animation specialist even working on Yellow Submarine. His Jack Carter series started the noir school of British crime fiction.)

David McKenna (screenplay) – (Known For: American History X; Blow; S.W.A.T.; Bully; BMT: Get Carter; Body Shots; Notes: Had 6 feature films made in 6 years following his break-out American History X. Used the pen name Zachary Long for Bully because he was unhappy with the finished product.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Creed; Rocky; The Expendables 2; The Expendables; Escape Plan; First Blood; Rocky Balboa; Bullet to the Head; Demolition Man; Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over; Rocky III; Antz; Rocky II; Victory; Cop Land; Cliffhanger; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Driven; Rocky V; Staying Alive; Zookeeper; Get Carter; Judge Dredd; The Specialist; Rhinestone; Eye See You; Cobra; Rambo III; Over the Top; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Avenging Angelo; Daylight; The Expendables 3; Reach Me; Tango & Cash; Assassins; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Lock Up; Grudge Match; Oscar; Notes: There is literally nothing I can say to emphasize how important Sly is to BMT. We named the yearly cycle the Stallonian Calendar for God’s sake.)

Razzie Cred for Stallone: Won – 2000 for Worst Actor of the Century; 1990 for Worst Actor of the Decade; 2004 for Worst Supporting Actor for Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over; 1995 for Worst Screen Couple for The Specialist; 1993 for Worst Actor for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; 1989 for Worst Actor for Rambo III; 1986 for Worst Actor, Worst Screenplay for Rambo: First Blood Part II; 1986 for Worst Director, Worst Actor for Rocky IV; 1985 for Worst Actor for Rhinestone; Nominated – 2014 for Worst Actor for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; 2011 for Worst Director for The Expendables; 2002 for Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actor, Worst Screen Couple for Driven; 2001 for Worst Actor for Get Carter; 1999 for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; 1997 for Worst Actor for Daylight; 1996 for Worst Actor for Assassins, and Judge Dredd; 1995 for Worst Actor for The Specialist; 1994 for Worst Screenplay for Cliffhanger, and Michael France; 1992 for Worst Actor for Oscar; 1991 for Worst Actor, Worst Screenplay for Rocky V; 1990 for Worst Actor for Lock Up, and Tango & Cash; 1989 for Worst Screenplay for Rambo III; 1988 for Worst Actor for Over the Top; 1987 for Worst Actor, Worst Screenplay for Cobra; 1986 for Worst Screenplay for Rocky IV; 1985 for Worst Screenplay for Rhinestone, and Phil Alden Robinson)

Also stars Rachael Leigh Cook (Texas Rangers) and Miranda Richardson (The Prince and Me).

Budget/Gross – $63.6 million / Domestic: $14,967,182 (Worldwide: $19,412,993)

(What in the fuck happened here? This is a trainwreck. This is even worse than Driven, which was released around the same time. Stallone’s worst major motion picture release until the recent Bullet to the Head (god I hate that film).)

#22 for the Action Remake genre

actionremake_22

(I. Love. Remake. Plots. The waves …. The waves! This is yet again one of those coming in at a downswing. It also looks like we are on a little downswing ourselves these days. The last three big ones were Red Dawn, Robocop, and Point Break. Oooooof. Yeah, we should probably let this genre breath for a bit boys.)

#59 for the Crime Time genre – Dramas or thrillers centered on the criminals and the world of crime.

crime_59

(Ha, holy shit. First, the steady incline through the 10’s is interesting. My theory? It is actually just a really consistent genre and the number of total theaters (either in total or reported by boxofficemojo) is just generally going up. And then, BOOM, the genre explodes and then reverts right back to pre-2010 levels again. Looking through the last five years they do seem to be very rarely very successful, so it was probably people getting all excited about The Departed, The Town, and American Gangster coming out post 2005. Get Carter came at kind of a nadir there.)

#52 for the Revenge genre

revenge_52

(A rare one where the movie we look at predates the boom. And a boom that is still ongoing, this plot doesn’t include the hugely successful Deadpool from this year. The undesirable lead has been pretty big on tv recently (Breaking Bad, Fargo, etc.) and I would guess this plot kind of reflects that same growth since the early 2000s. A movie focused on revenge will typically have pretty dark elements to the leads I would guess.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (7/60): A remake that doesn’t approach the standard of the original, Get Carter will likely leave viewers confused and unsatisfied. Also, reviews are mixed concerning Stallone’s acting.

(How… strange. This consensus must harken back to the days where RT actually tried to sum up reviewers’ feelings rather than just make a witty pun. That last tacked on part about Stallone’s acting is something I don’t recall ever seeing before.)

Poster – Get Skloger (B-)

get_carter

(Not a huge fan of the black and white poster because I don’t like posters that are mostly white. I do like the white font. That’s artistic. And I like how Stallone is artistically modified as well. Can’t totally blame them for the black and white either because there is an outside chance this is based on some of the original Get Carter art. Gonna give is a mediocre B-. Nothing special, but some good things too.)

Tagline(s) – The Truth Hurts (B-)

(I understand what they’re going for here. Stallone is going to hurt you and I guess he’s the truth (?). I just don’t think it’s particularly original (a lot of movies could use it) and doesn’t hint at the story enough (in fact it might be a bit misleading). Still pretty good as a whole once you think through it.)

Keyword(s) – enforcer; Top Ten by BMeTric: 52.3 Get Carter (2000); 25.4 The Package (I) (2013); 25.3 Mercenary: Absolution (IV) (2015); 21.4 Hummingbird (I) (2013); 19.9 Repo Men (2010); 18.1 Predators (2010); 15.0 Savages (2012); 11.8 B. Monkey (1998); 10.9 Interview with a Hitman (2012); 10.4 New Jack City (1991);

(What is this list. I’m starting to regret adding this keyword thing because this one is just weird. Honestly Get Carter is the only enforcer movie we would ever consider for BMT apparently. What a weird keyword IMDb)

Notes – Franchise Pictures was reluctant to cast Mickey Rourke in light of his troubled past as a Hollywood bad boy. Friend Sylvester Stallone, who put Rourke up for the role, guaranteed a portion of his salary so if Rourke did cause any delays or problems, the production would be covered. Rourke turned up every day on time and was a complete professional. His work impressed Franchise enough that they hired him shortly after for their next film The Pledge.

When Doreen asks Carter why he went away for so long, Carter responds, “That’s a long story.” Doreen replies, “It’s a long ride back.” These lines were also spoken in Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) when John Rambo is speaking with his Vietnamese insider.

The original screenplay Stallone signed on for was much more violent and focused more on the “revenge” element.

Director Stephen Kay clashed with Franchise Pictures, the financier, over the tone of the film. Kay wanted the film to be more of an “anti-revenge” film, while Franchise wanted a more traditional Stallone action picture. (Ha. Odd, but I agree with the studio here)

There were plans to do a sequel which never materialized.

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel

Pinocchio (2002) Preview

This week we move fully into the Now a Major Motion Picture cycle with the comedy entry. Since I’m required by BMT law to read each book that the film is based on, I requested that we do something real short for this entry just to make sure I don’t fall behind right off the bat. This worked out wonderfully as one of the worst reviewed films of all time just happens to be based on a 150 page children’s book. That’s right, we are watching Roberto Benigni’s much reviled adaptation of Pinocchio! Did I say that Basic Instinct 2 was a vanity project? We ain’t seen nothing yet. Let’s go!

Pinocchio (2002) – BMeTric: 47.1

Pinocchio_BMeT

Pinocchio_RV

(This is another super weird rating plot! It goes down and then completely recovers over years. It doesn’t make sense. Typically for a kids movie I would say this might be the youth factor, the fanbase of a shitty movie coming of age and using nostalgia to rate things. But what kind of weirdo kid was watching Pinocchio starring Roberto Benigni? No one. It is impossible. There has to be a weird “it was a hit in Italy” thing going on. It has to be foreign audience power.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  A carved wooden puppet comes to life as a mischievous boy who can’t resist temptation of any kind. Benigni’s interpretation of the beloved 1885 story by Carlo Collodi emerges as a test of one’s tolerance for the bombastic comic actor. This was a big hit in Italy … but then, so was Mussolini. U.S. Version was cut to 100 m. and dubbed with Breckin Meyer (as Benigni) and a host of stars.

(Goddamn Leonard that film had a family! Let’s all revel in Leonard’s need to invoke Italy’s fascist past in order to deliver an adequate burn for this travesty of a movie. This was well known at the time as a disastrous American dubbing as well and somewhat inexplicable if not for Benigni’s Academy Award a few years prior.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnyD71SK-wk

(Well that’s unfortunate. Notice that they do not let anyone talk in the trailer other than to say the word “Pinocchio!” Didn’t want to reveal that it was foreign in hopes to attract more people. Didn’t work. From the trailer it also looks a bit like those Israeli live-action fairy tales we used to watch as a kid. The Frog Prince used to freak me out. Giant scary frog. But I loved them. So maybe I’ll love this.)

Directors – Roberto Benigni – (Known For: Life Is Beautiful; The Monster; Johnny Stecchino; The Tiger and the Snow; BMT: Pinocchio; Notes: Nominated for Best Director Oscar for Life is Beautiful. Although he only sporadically works in film now he is still beloved in Italy and very active in the political scene there.)

Benigni Razzie Notes: Won the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Actor for Pinocchio with Breckin Meyer; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Screen Couple with Nicoletta Braschi, Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Pinocchio with Vincenzo Cerami; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1994 for Worst New Star for Son of the Pink Panther

Writers – Roberto Benigni (screenplay) – (Known For: Life Is Beautiful; The Monster; Johnny Stecchino; The Tiger and the Snow; BMT: Pinocchio; Notes: Nominated for Best Screenplay Oscar for Life is Beautiful. Also a poet and songwriter.)

Vincenzo Cerami (screenplay) – (Known For: Life Is Beautiful; The Monster; Johnny Stecchino; The Tiger and the Snow; BMT: Pinocchio; Notes: Longtime writer and assistant director collaborator with Benigni. Died in 2013 after a long illness. Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Screenplay for Pinocchio with Roberto Benigni)

Carlo Collodi (novel) – (Known For: Pinocchio (1940); BMT: Pinocchio (2002); The Adventures of Pinocchio Notes: Wrote the original story as a serial in the 1800s. Apparently, the original ending to the tale was that Pinocchio was such a bad puppet that he hangs himself in despair. Solid.)

Brendan Donnison (English adaptation) – (BMT: Pinocchio; Notes: Super weird. This guy is primarily a casting director for ADR and voice work. In fact has a company Lyps Inc. based in the UK that is a major player in the ADR voice casting game. Makes one wonder how he is the only english adaptation credit for the film… particularly since he has no other writing credits.)

Actors – Roberto Benigni – (Known For: Life Is Beautiful; To Rome with Love; Night on Earth; Coffee and Cigarettes; Down by Law; Luna; The Monster; Johnny Stecchino; BMT: Pinocchio; Son of the Pink Panther; Notes: Won the Best Actor Oscar for Life is Beautiful. Had a brief moment of fame in American film in the early 90s ending with Son of the Pink Panther.)

Also starring Nicoletta Braschi his costar in Life is Beautiful (and real life wife)

Budget/Gross – €40 million / Domestic: $3,684,305 (Worldwide: $41,323,171)

(An absolute travesty of a US release. Still 150th on the worst openings for a 600+ theater release (it opened at #19!), but obviously earned enough in Italy to break even (probably). The rumor is that it was well received in Italy and that a lot of the negative reaction here in the US was due to odd and off-putting voiceover choices. Sounds like it may have come down with a serious case of the Doogals.)

#13 for the Toys Come to Life genre

toys_13

(Normally I wouldn’t show this, but … what is this genre? Turns out it is Chucky movies, the Toy Story series, Pinocchio adaptations, and, of course, the classic smash hit Small Soldiers. We’ll just forget about Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. There is obviously no trends in the all-important toy’s coming to life genre.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/55): Roberto Benigni misfires wildly with this adaptation of Pinocchio, and the result is an unfunny, poorly-made, creepy vanity project.

(Yuuuuuup you are reading this right. This is an extremely rare 0% on RT. To name some of the BMT films with 0%: A Thousand Words, Bucky Larson Born to be a Star, The Ridiculous 6, Mac and Me, Highlander II The Quickening, and American Anthem. And guess what? Pinocchio has more actual reviews than any of them! It really is incredible.)

Poster – Sklognocchio (B+)

pinocchio

(This seems to be the primary poster. I like the base color and creativity used in both the image and the title font. Kinda striking and beautiful in its simplicity. And he can get away with it due to the popularity of the source material. Needs a tagline and almost too simple to be interesting, but doesn’t assault the senses.)

Tagline(s) – None! (F)

(Unacceptable.)

Keywords – fairy; Top Ten by BMeTric: 80.7 Movie 43 (2013); 56.1 Tooth Fairy (I) (2010); 47.8 Troll (1986); 47.1 Pinocchio (2002); 32.6 Pan (2015); 29.0 Arthur and the Great Adventure (2009); 27.5 Snow White and the Huntsman (2012); 27.2 Spanish Movie (2009); 27.1 Get Over It (2001); 25.9 Return to Never Land (2002);

(Interesting list. I still need to see Pan (not BMT unfortunately). Besides that the only for sure BMT film I think would be Get Over It which looks like an absolute travesty. I need to watch that film.)

Notes – This was the most expensive production in Italian film history, with a budget of about $45 million.

This is the first film in a non-English language to be nominated for Worst Picture at the Razzie Awards.

Roberto Benigni originally conceived this project as a collaboration, with Federico Fellini directing it. When Fellini died, Benigni became its director. (wow)

Awards – Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Roberto Benigni, Breckin Meyer)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Roberto Benigni)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Vincenzo Cerami, Roberto Benigni)

Wild Bill Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Wild Bill?! More like Mild Bill! Hey look at this a relatively short recap. New Years come early for all y’alls (you like my southern accent?):

  • Do I regret doing Wild Bill for BMT? Relevant question. The answer is no, but only because:
  • The direction is straight up insane. Dutch angles (might as well be called Wild Dutch Angles! Buuuuurn), black and white flashbacks (might as well be called Wild Black and White Flashbacks! Slammed!!!!) and overexposure galore (might as well be called Wild Overexposure Galore! Roasted!). Out of everything this is what really struck me about the film.
  • During my conversation with Jamie a couple things came up. First: just how bad Ellen Barkin and David Arquette were. This related to a conversation about Scarlet Letter and how reviews for that film, oddly, appeared to excuse Demi Moore’s acting (which was atrocious) as a simple miscasting. In this movie a similar thing happened: Arquette is ignored while Christina Applegate (who was actually okay) was eviscerated. Kind of a weird “state of the industry” thing going on. Looking back now Demi Moore’s career was never really the same after Scarlet Letter. Arquette ended up okay, he was young, but this movie strongly suggests his future would have been better served in smaller character actor roles. And Applegate is now a strong supporting or leading female comic actor. Go figure.
  • The writing and acting overall are okay. There is interesting things here and there. But nothing that warrants the 90 minutes you’ll spend watching this film. So whatever.
  • I think I’m going to steal this one from Jamie as a game: Secret Prequel/Sequel. Hear me out. Wild Bill is the prequel to … R.I.P.D. Jeff Bridges plays a not-so-reputable wild west lawman with a strange obsession with his hat. Add a short prequel explaining why Bridges goes by a different name and we’re good to go.

Alrighty. Prequel/Sequel/Remake. Well, I wouldn’t remake it, no point. I do think a prequel could work though. The legends of the west are interesting. Do a little Unreliable Narrator action with people telling stories about Bill overlaid with the much more reasonable, dirty and mundane “true” story as Bill remembers it acted out. Could work. Who knows? I don’t. I know sometimes my intelligent discourse on the industry can be deceiving, but I do not in fact work in a high-level position in any production house (yet …).

Jamie

Last week we captured South Dakota with Wild Bill. We worried quite a bit whether this would truly qualify as a BMT film, but I think we rest assured after viewing. Not the best, but certainly not the worst. Middle of the pack. Kind of the down side of a strict BMT criterion. I’m sure there are a number of hilarious BMT films between 40-50% on RT, but we can’t risk the false positives we would have to wade through to find them unless we must.

Since I was able to read both sources materials for the film (Deadwood by Pete Dexter and Fathers and Sons by Thomas Babe) before watching, I’ll mostly discuss the adaptation. Really only one line and two short scenes are taken from Deadwood. It’s otherwise almost entirely based on the play Fathers and Sons. Actually startling that they gave Dexter a writing credit. It is also amazing that Walter Hill wanted to adapt Fathers and Sons to the big screen. It’s a minor 70’s play that was written with little historical accuracy in mind. In fact it was written as an allegory for the Kent State and Jackson State shootings that occurred in the early 70’s, concerning generation-on-generation violence. So Babe didn’t blink an eye when claiming that Wild Bill’s murderer Jack McCall was his son and homosexual. The change to McCall’s character serves only to deepen the allegory he had in mind, and yet many of these types of changes show up in the film. Reviews for the film derided it for playing more into legend than fact and I would say that that’s not even true. It played into a fictionalization of Wild Bill’s death (its source material) instead of fact… it didn’t even worry about legend. There is no legend of McCall being his son, and it certainly wasn’t true. It’s super weird that it sticks so closely to the play and even weirder on some of the changes Walter Hill decided to make. Which leads me to my biggest problem with the film: the mere presence of John Hurt as some bullshit fake British character, Charlie Prince, they used as a replacement of a real, historical character named Charlie Utter who was a major character in the play. Why? There is no acceptable explanation for this. The only plausible one is that they wanted John Hurt in the film, but he refused to do an American accent… which is bullshit. Tell him to go jump in a lake (if we lived in the 1950’s) and get someone willing. You even had Bruce Dern in a minor role in the film. Promote him to Charlie Utter and give Hurt the heave ho.

Also I’m glad Patrick mentioned the Applegate thing. Reviewers were aghast at her “miscasting” (but… but…. but… she’s on Married with Children! Scandalous! Harumph!). I thought she was fine and people were being particularly mean about it. So she’s more attractive than you would want your precious Wild West prostitutes? Boo hoo. Barkin is more attractive than I like my Calamity Jane. So there. Now for my game. Since the film was based primarily on a play I was certain that the film would have a perfect little MonoSklog for us. It didn’t disappoint as it delivered a wonderful Diane Lane monologue during one of the crazy flashback, black-and-white, dutch angle, nightmarescapes that Patrick mentioned. I call it Mi Vida [Editor’s Note: Apologies, as usual to avoid any legal issues with hosting video clips from movies we have to remove the monologue itself. Have fun renting and watching the clip yourself though. And by fun I mean not-fun]. Beautiful. BTW, that’s the actual quality of the film in those scenes. Purposefully grainy. This helps you get an idea of what Patrick was talking about in his recap.

Phew, with that I’m done. I love Walter Hill, but the film wasn’t for me. Cheerios,

The Sklogs