“Lindsey Appleton, hardscrabble investigative reporter from the Brooklyn Gazette Tribune,” Lindsey says, flashing her RTHQ badge. The officers at the gate peer at the badge, which denotes her status as a “full-blown journalist” and nod their heads, but just as Jamie, Patrick and Kyle walk through the gate the K-9 units start to bark wildly. Suddenly suspicious, the officers ask Lindsay who the bozos are tagging along. “These are my cameramen and audio technicians, Jerry, Lee and Lewis… and their baby” The officers narrow their eyes at the three men and a baby but eventually relent. The plan has worked! “Oh and Ms. Appleton,” the head officer notes, “We’ve had reports of some highly dangerous hang gliding terrorists attempting to infiltrate The Rock (as we call it). We are advised to shoot on sight. Would hate for your pals to get caught in the crossfire.” Lindsey coolly nods her head and ushers them inside, but Jamie and Patrick look at each other in shock. Someone tipped them off! The cyborgs are closer than they imagined. “We should split up,” Patrick says, “it’ll give us the best shot of finding the, and excuse the technical term, hack jack port that Niall needs to hack into the system.” Seeing that the adrenaline of the heist seems to have put a wild spark into Jamie and Lindsey’s eyes, Patrick suggests maybe Kyle and Lindsey pair up. There is no time for thrills, erotic or otherwise. But Jamie and Lindsey are already off and running. Patrick sighs and communicates with Rachel via earpiece to find the quickest way to the hack jack port… it’s now up to him and Kyle. Jamie and Lindsey are lost to an adventure of the senses. That’s right! We are indeed watching the ultimate adventure of the senses: Wild Orchid. A real classic erotic thriller film and it should go without saying that it’s been on our radar for a very, very, very long time (if you know what I mean). Gross. Anyway, it should be fun in a probably unpleasant way. Let’s go!
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 1.6%; Notability: top 71.7%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 0.7% Higher BMeT: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child; Higher Notability: Troop Beverly Hills, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child, Fletch Lives, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Harlem Nights, Leviathan, Pink Cadillac, Lock Up, Three Fugitives, Dead Bang, Renegades, Let It Ride, Millennium, Slaves of New York, The Karate Kid Part III, Who’s Harry Crumb?, Cookie, Gross Anatomy, Her Alibi, and 26 more; Lower RT: Wired; Notes: Back to back 1989 films huh? That’s interesting. Sub-5.0 is amazing as usual. Hmmm maybe we should watch Wired at some point … seems depressing though.
Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Prim lawyer Otis, employed by banker Bisset, gets assaulted by Rio de Janeiro carny-time temptation: semi-public fornicators, limousine raunch, and the right of earringed Rourke in deep bronze makeup. Notorious simulated sex scene caused a stir, but it’s all for naught; this picture is enough to make any two bananas roll over in Carmen Miranda’s grave. Followed by a sequel.
(Semicolon? You know what I like to see Leonard. I kind of get the Carmen Miranda reference I guess … I think I do at least. It is kind of super weird if I’m being honest. Basically every review mentions the rumors about the final sex scene which notoriously some thought (incorrectly) was unsimulated.)
(“A man … struggling to unleash his emotions.” Ha! That’s an understatement. Having watched the film I have to say I wasn’t expecting them to so openingly state the plot as “A woman discovering her desires … a sociopath who can’t feel.”)
Directors – Zalman King – (Known For: Two Moon Junction; Wild Orchid II: Two Shades of Blue; Delta of Venus; Pleasure or Pain; In God’s Hands; Wildfire; BMT: Wild Orchid; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Nine 1/2 Weeks in 1987; Notes: Notoriously was an erotic films producer / director in the 90s and 00s, including the television program Body Language which he produced.)
Writers – Patricia Louisianna Knop (written by) – (Known For: 9½ Weeks; Delta of Venus; Siesta; Lady Oscar; The Passover Plot; Silence of the North; BMT: Wild Orchid; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Nine 1/2 Weeks in 1987; Notes: She was the wife an collaborated for Zalman King. She was a producer on Red Shoe Diaries.)
Zalman King (written by) – (Known For: 9½ Weeks; Two Moon Junction; Wild Orchid II: Two Shades of Blue; Pleasure or Pain; Return to Two Moon Junction; In God’s Hands; Roadie; Wildfire; BMT: Wild Orchid; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Nine 1/2 Weeks in 1987; Notes: He was an actor in the 60s and 70s including starring in the television show The Young Lawyers.)
Actors – Mickey Rourke – (Known For: Iron Man 2; Body Heat; Sin City; The Expendables; Immortals; The Rainmaker; The Wrestler; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Once Upon a Time in Mexico; 9½ Weeks; Angel Heart; Buffalo ’66; Rumble Fish; Heaven’s Gate; 1941; Girl; The Pledge; Spun; Diner; Year of the Dragon; Future BMT: Domino; Desperate Hours; Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man; Man on Fire; BMT: Double Team; Wild Orchid; Get Carter; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1991 for Desperate Hours, and Wild Orchid; Notes: Notable went back to professional boxing in 1991 well into his career as an A-list actor where he sustained severe facial injuries. He’s gotten extensive plastic surgery in an attempt to correct the issues.)
Jacqueline Bisset – (Known For: Bullitt; Murder on the Orient Express; Casino Royale; The Deep; L’amant double; Airport; Day for Night; 9/11; Blue Night; Dangerous Beauty; Miss You Already; Latter Days; The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean; Two for the Road; Death in Love; Backstabbing for Beginners; The Detective; The Man from Acapulco; Cul-de-sac; Under the Volcano; Future BMT: Domino; When Time Ran Out…; Class; Inchon; BMT: Wild Orchid; Notes: Nominated for an Emmy for Joan of Arc. Is Angelina Jolie’s godmother, as she was asked while working with Jon Voight on End of the Game.)
Carré Otis – (Known For: Exit in Red; Going Back; BMT: Wild Orchid; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Wild Orchid in 1991; Notes: Famously married Rourke in 1992, a romance that has fueled (unfounded) rumors that the final sex scene was unsimulated.)
Budget/Gross – $7 million / Domestic: $11,060,485 (Worldwide: $11,060,485)
(Not super great obviously, but not a complete bomb maybe. The budget is so low though, must basically be all salary for the actors at that point.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (2/29): Body Orchid is a tease-too-long, with overblown editing with an already slipping Mickey Rourke and unexperienced actress Carrie Otis.
(I had to look it up, and no, nowhere was the film called Body Orchid … is it just a weird play on words or something? Maybe they are mashing the title with Body Heat? Reviewer Highlight: What I couldn’t believe was the chemistry between Rourke and Otis, whose passion is supposed to shake the earth but seemed more like an obligation imposed on them by their genitals. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Wild Sorkin is the high school comedy about Aaron Sorkin’s wild youth. This poster is… not that. It makes me feel sweaty and dirty, so mission accomplished I assume. I do like the font and the color scheme fits what I would call “nude,” which is probably the point. Anyway, it could be better. C+)
Tagline(s) – An adventure of the senses. (C-)
(Grosssss. No thanks. Those words on that poster is just… just the worst. Leave my senses out of this garbo. It’s certainly telling you exactly what you can expect in just a few words, but it’s not something I want.)
Top 10: American Beauty (1999), Call Me by Your Name (2017), Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), Sin City (2005), Brokeback Mountain (2005), Don Jon (2013), Coyote Ugly (2000), Fifty Shades Freed (2018), Body Double (1984), Showgirls (1995)
Future BMT: 71.2 Showgirls (1995), 60.5 Obsessed (2009), 54.1 Bolero (1984), 49.4 In the Cut (2003), 46.2 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002), 43.7 Coyote Ugly (2000), 41.3 Addicted (2014), 41.0 Jawbreaker (1999), 37.8 Never Talk to Strangers (1995), 33.0 Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016);
BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), Fifty Shades Freed (2018), The Boy Next Door (2015), Basic Instinct 2 (2006), Striptease (1996), Cool World (1992), Good Luck Chuck (2007), Color of Night (1994), Wild Orchid (1989), Fifty Shades of Black (2016), The Specialist (1994), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), Miss March (2009)
(I had to try this one out. We have a few left, and a bunch of those are, in reality, not erotica. But Bolero and Showgirls definitely are. I’m pretty surprised that the notability plot is as stable as it is. I would have thought it would have dropped off a cliff after 2000, but that didn’t really happen until 2010.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 11) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Bruce Greenwood is No. 5 billed in Wild Orchid and No. 6 billed in Here on Earth => 5 + 6 = 11. There is no shorter path at the moment.
Notes – Mickey Rourke and Carré Otis were a couple at the time this film was made, and there is a persistent rumor that the sex scenes were not faked.
In a 2004 interview, Carré Otis denied the rumors that suggested the infamous last sex scene was real.
Brooke Shields turned down the role of Emily because she knew that nudity would be required.
Willem Dafoe turned down the role of James Wheeler.
The hotel construction site was actually the skeleton of an abandoned hotel in Salvador, Bahia that was never completed. It was imploded a few years later, after decades of abandonment.
Anne Archer was signed to play the Jacqueline Bisset part, but she had a disagreement with the producers over the scripts R rated content.
Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Mickey Rourke, 1991)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Carré Otis, 1991)
Dooley is a cop that doesn’t play by nobody’s rules. He pulls out all the stops and takes charge of a police dog, Jerry Lee, to go after a major drug kingpin. But danger is around every corner as the kingpin goes after Dooley, the people he loves, and even *gasp* Jerry Lee. Can they stop the baddie before it’s too late? Find out in… K-9.
How?! Dooley is a cop that doesn’t play by nobody’s rules… did I mention that already? Anyway, he’s starting to think the drug kingpin he’s after, Lyman, is getting wind of his investigation. How? Well, Lyman blew up his car using a helicopter. Man he wants this bust so bad, but his captain says he needs a partner and Dooley’s like “I don’t play well with others, man.” But seeing as he’s got a drug kingpin to bust he gets a pretty sweet idea: drug sniffing dog. How hard could it be to handle a K-9? Pretty hard when that K-9 unit is Jerry Lee, a dog that don’t take no guff from nobody. Dooley and Jerry Lee are a pretty potent combination, both rude, crude, and full of ‘tude and Dooley ain’t liking it. He’s always fighting the dog (like physically), but also Jerry Lee is getting him out of jams and stuff too so there forms a begrudging respect. Just as he’s on the verge of the big bust (oh man, he wants it so baaad) Dooley is shocked and horrified to find that Lyman has kidnapped his girlfriend. Oh no! Dooley, playing by no rules and taking no guff, barges in on a big party at Lyman’s house and starts to act super crazy. But it’s all a ruse! After getting arrested, Dooley and Jerry Lee steal the police car and make their way to bust the big shipment, just knowing that Lyman won’t miss a chance to move his stuff while Dooley is (allegedly) in jail. He’s right and Dooley and Jerry Lee (but mostly Jerry Lee) chase down and steal the truck carrying the drugs. They drive it to the meet up with Lyman and a shootout occurs during which Lyman is killed and Jerry Lee is shot! Double oh no! Dooley and his girlfriend rush him to the hospital (like a human hospital) where he is saved and everyone is super happy. THE END.
Why?! I’ll have to think of the BMT term for this type of film. Where there is a higher concept to the film itself (human-dog buddy cop film) that has almost nothing to do with the motivations (wanting to bust a ruthless drug kingpin). It’s the A plot that’s really a B plot. Cause who gives a shit why Dooley ends up with a dog partner? Who really cares what Lyman’s up to? Not a single person. They just want that dog to make Dooley crazy with his dog antics. It’s the main storyline of the film that slips off the mind the instant you step out of the theater and could have been replaced with thousands of other storylines. There is a multiverse of possibilities for the plot and motivations of K-9.
Who?! Big time shout out to the dog who portrayed Jerry Lee. He also played Jerry Lee in the short lived TV series in 1991, which was also sadly when he passed away. Although this is all disputed. Some places say the dog was Koton, an actual K-9 officer from Kansas City that continued to work and was killed in the line of duty in 1991. Other places are like ‘not so fast,’ he was actually Rando, a dog from Germany with a much less interesting history. The latter seems like the truth.
What?! I want to note that Dooley’s house is a Diet Pepsi house as further evidence for his clinical insanity. Beyond that it’s super fun when video games (such an up and coming industry) make appearances in the 80’s and 90’s. In this case Dooley is always playing around with a Game and Watch from 1983. It’s version 2 of a game called Manhole.
Where?! This is the best of the categories for sure as it quickly becomes clear that Dooley lives and works in San Diego. It makes some sense with the drug running storyline and it’s a bit refreshing given that San Diego isn’t as common as one would think given proximity to LA. I’m going to give it a B+.
When?! Do I think there might be some hint in this film for when it takes place? Possibly, although I didn’t find any. It seems hot… like maybe summer hot and we do know it’s near the beginning of a month cause of a schedule in the police station. But these are just things I notice when I don’t have anything else to say. F.
The juxtaposition of a rather straight buddy cop storyline with a totally insane cop-dog relationship has to be seen to be believed. Jim Belushi literally gets in a fist fight with the dog. And you might be thinking I’m employing the modern usage of the term ‘literally.’ Nope. Jim Belushi, fed up with Jerry Lee butting in on his love life, takes the dog out and begins to fist fight him. And it’s not even the only time you wonder whether they found a buddy cop script lying around and just searched the name of Belushi’s partner and replaced it with the word ‘dog.’ The dog seems to be written more like a human than a dog. But honestly I didn’t mind all that. Cause the dog was kinda dope. What I did mind was the police investigation storyline, which paints Belushi as both dangerously incompetent and a menace to those he claims to love. For the sake of the citizens of San Diego the mad man should have been stopped long ago. Thank god he delivers not one, but two mega human-to-dog MonoSklogs the likes of which we’ve never seen. Overall, I think I would describe the film as quietly insane. If you can get past the general concept of a human-dog buddy cop film I think you could watch this and be like “OK, that was fine,” but it’s not fine if you think about it for even a minute and that helps make it an OK BMT film. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We’ve got drug dealers! We’ve got a police officer who don’t play by no one’s rules! We have a police dog who also don’t play by no one’s rules! It’s K-9! Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – Was there a time in the late-80’s/early-90’s where critics were like “for real, just cut the shit with the dogs already!”? It sure seems like it. Coming out around the same time as Turner & Hooch, the critics eviscerated this film seemingly for no other reason than it was yet another human-dog buddy-[blank] film and they were sick of it. What were my expectations? There is a problem here. If I’m right about the critical thing then the film should be underrated because it was dunked on for its genre and not genuine quality. But … Jim Belushi isn’t funny or a good actor, so it seems unlikely to be true. So which will it be? I hope it is genuinely awful because that would be more interesting.
The Good – I do love a good animal actor, and while this one isn’t as good as the dog in The Mask, he is still pretty good. Solid tricks including a silly drinking-from-a-straw trick. I also appreciated that they chose to treat the dog almost as an unruly human partner instead of a dog. At times Belushi gives random commands as if this thing is magical and will intuit that it needs to do. “Go get a search warrant and then get drugs and any firearms you find from this warehouse” might as well have been a command. The movie is at its best when there are a few people being charming with a dog. Best Bit: Doggies.
The Bad – The issue comes in with the A-story which a la 48 Hrs. or Beverly Hills Cop is a far more serious affair that you might expect from a comedy. Belushi is out of control. He goes so far beyond “I don’t have time for rulez” that he basically destroys his own investigation leaving the only option to be to get into a firefight and hope the bad guy dies in the process. He almost gets killed multiple times, and ultimately everyone he loves gets kidnapped or shot. And I just don’t see how he ends up not losing his job, he fired his weapon within a citizen’s house, escaped custody, stole a cop car, and then ended up in an altercation where three people died. In what universe would they just be like “well, got’em bud, our bad” at the end of that? Fatal Flaw: The main character hates rulez so much he might as well have murdered the bad guy in cold blood and called it a day.
The BMT – I’ll be up there in best bad dog-cop films (but surely Top Dog is worse right?). It sits as a nice introduction to leading-man Belushi who we will see again. It is a legendary San Diego film to be sure. But the police investigation is so absurd that it sinks the film. You simultaneously have to take it seriously for the film to work and can’t take it seriously because Belushi’s character makes no sense. It is a tough circle to square. Did it meet my expectations? I can definitely see a reason why critics might have hated this film since it makes no sense … but I do think it was underrated to a degree. A BOMB seems harsh from Leonard without specifically calling out the silliness of the police story.
Roast-radamus – I kind of love the Product Placement (What?) for of all things Game & Watch which plays a pivotal role in the climax of the film. A legendary Setting as a Character (Where?) for San Diego, which must be a pretty rare movie setting with LA just up the coast. And we have a MacGuffin (Why?) option for The Big Bust that Belushi is pursuing throughout. Closest to BMT I think, the police story is that weird.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Do I dare? … I do, we are going BMT Crossover Episode yet again, I’m going to do it until it isn’t funny anymore. Sasha Petrosevitch now runs the Half Past Dead division of the FBI where agents who have gone beyond death use their new found knowledge for law enforcement purposes. And guess who else is half past dead? That’s right, Jerry Lee! Sasha needs a drug dog to sniff out the culprits behind a drug running operation which is running drugs up and down the California coast. And guess who is behind it all? That’s right, Chad, the pilot from the first film. He is, in fact, an international drug smuggler using his pilot’s license and connections to get that sweet uncut snow into San Diego and up the California coast. Naturally, Sasha takes him down and gets a new doggie friend in the process. K-10: All Dogs Go to Heaven.
You Just Got Schooled – And do I dare? I do. I watched the television movie K-9000 which, according to wikipedia, is an attempted soft pilot for a television series based on this film … I somehow doubt it. First, it was made by a completely different production company (Fox instead of Universal). Second, no one involved in the film is involved in the series. Third, it is a sci-fi film about a guy who accidentally gets implanted with a microchip that allows him to talk to a super smart police dog. The film is pretty brutal, but a one season series could have been fun. It just ends up being overly long and the dog doesn’t even show up until 40 minutes into the film. Has that cheap sheen of made-for-syndication television of the early 90s, and is as boring as you would expect … but it does make me wonder why exactly people think it is based on K-9. I listened to a podcast on it that is one of two wikipedia sources for it being an adaptation and they suggest K-9000 was written in 1989 and shelved which is just more evidence that it definitely isn’t based on K-9, no way they make this weird adaptation the same year as the movie, right? It really really (really) seems like it isn’t. D. Not enough doggies and boring to boot.
So here I was trying to make the big bust with my new K-9 partner Jerry Lee, when wham! I get bopped on the head by my dog who is quite the rascal. Anyways, I can’t remember a thing since I sustained a pretty serious concussion. Do you remember what happened in K-9?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) Dooley is a cop with a ‘tude, and he needs a new car. Why does he need a new car and under what condition will he get one?
2) And Dooley needs a car because he’s going to get a big bust. And to get the big bust he needs a dog. But under what condition can Dooley get a dog from Ed O’Neill?
3) Dooley and his new pal Jerry Lee head out to the port to check out the bad guy’s warehouse where oh shit! They are going to find some drugs. What do they find though?
4) So what is the big deal going down, what big plan is Dooley chasing with the big bad guy?
5) What is Belushi’s big plan to nab the bad guy and get his girl back?
Bonus Question: What big case landed on Dooley’s desk just as Jerry Lee recovered from his gunshot wound?
1) Well, his car was blown up by the bad guys because he was getting too close to their operation. So a helicopter came through and blew up his car, tough luck. But he’ll only get a car from the department if he takes a partner, which he doesn’t want to do. I have a feeling he’s going to get one anyways.
2) Ah, Dooley has to handle the dog himself. You see, Ed O’Neill is all out of K-9 unit handlers, he can’t spare a handler. So Dooley will have to command the dog himself for the big bust. I’m sure that’ll work out fine without any issues at all.
3) Well … they do find some drugs. The issue is that it is some guy smoking a joint in a back room instead of a giant cache of cocaine or whatever. But Dooley is going to be back, you can swear by that!
4) Well, there is a big shipment of drugs coming in, but it isn’t going to the streetz of San Diego. Nope, it is going to a single person, which Dooley, it turns out, ends up finding and chasing down at the beach. He’s really on the trail now!
5) Well, he waits for the transport to go by because he knows where the drugs are coming from, and he ultimately hijacks it with the help of Jerry Lee. He then pretends to make an exchange pretending his little Game & Watch is a bomb trigger, and when it goes off a big firefight ensues where ultimately the bad dude is killed. Much like Dooley’s general attitude towards law enforcement, the plan is a bit half-baked.
Bonus Answer: You have to follow the Beverly Hills Cop route so the second film should be about police corruption. I mean, in the first film the bad guy was all but openly discussing all of the drugs he was running and people he was murdering so there must have been loads of corruption. Dooley is handed a notice from those bums down in internal affairs who drag him into a secure interrogation room. He has a choice, help them root out corruption in the department, or go to jail for all the shit he pulled in the last investigation. Using his contacts (and Jerry Lee of course) Dooley rolls into the San Diego red light district to hit up the strip joint that is frequented by the SDPD brass. Dooley long suspected it was a front for more nefarious police-endorsed business. Instead of investigating though he just releases Jerry Lee on the terrified patrons and unloads multiple rounds into the ceiling (f rulez amirite?). Well, … that doesn’t work out, he’s arrested and internal affairs is pretty displeased by how much he hates rulez. After three years in prison he is released, moves to Los Angeles with his girlfriend, and becomes a school teacher (and now he loves rulez). The end.
It’s a prequel to Dangerous Minds obviously. Jim Belushi is basically George Dzundza in the film. It actually makes a ton of sense that former marine Louanne Johnson would know a former San Diego police officer as there is a big naval base there.
Jamie, Patrick and Kyle (aka Three of a Kind (aka The Three Amigos)), fresh out of the hospital and with baby in tow, look over a ridge at the towering skyscraper that is Rotten Tomatoes HQ. Despite racking their brains for at least several minutes, they can’t figure out how they are going to get into the impenetrable fortress. Just then they hear a cough and notice that Rachel the Pretzel Girl has rejoined the gang. “Kinda forgot about you,” mumbles Jamie, ashamed, “sorry.” But Rachel doesn’t seem to hear him as she says a quiet hello to Kyle, who turns crimson red in response. Jamie and Patrick narrow their eyes at the pair and quickly snap their fingers. “Hellllo, we got an HQ to infiltrate, Rachel. You can talk to our ex-con BFF later,” Patrick huffs. But Rachel just waves them off and smirks in a way that lets them know that she’s got a plan and it’s going to work. We see a montage of them going over some blueprints and nodding their heads (“This just might work,” Patrick says). They try on some blond mullet wigs and moustaches (“We’ll pretend to be cameramen for a big time movie review show. Brilliant,” Jamie adds). They work on their hang gliders and high five (“Perfect way to get onto the roof undetected,” Kyle replies). Suddenly they all look at each other in confusion. If they are all cameramen from Hang Gliders Monthly, then who’s the reporter?! Suddenly another lady appears out of the bushes. “Lindsey Appleton!” Jamie exclaims, recognizing the hardscrabble investigative reporter from St. Mary’s Church. “That’s right,” she says smoothly, “I’ve been hard at work tracking your every move and I can get you into HQ. There’s just one problem… the RTHQ dogs.” That’s right! We are jumping into a classic with K-9, taking the chain from Problem Child 2 using Alan Blumenfeld. This falls into the microgenre of buddy cop films featuring dogs, which still continues to today (just look at Show Dogs). Interestingly, very few other animals have ever been a buddy cop… maybe even just Theodore Rex. Let’s go!
K-9 (1989) – BMeTric: 30.5; Notability: 38
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 12.8%; Notability: top 28.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 16.8% Higher BMeT: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, Cyborg, The Karate Kid Part III, The Fly II, No Holds Barred, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Cutting Class, Nightmare Vacation 3, Shocker, Pink Cadillac, DeepStar Six, The Punisher, Leviathan, The January Man; Higher Notability: Troop Beverly Hills, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child, Fletch Lives, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Harlem Nights, Leviathan, Pink Cadillac, Lock Up, Three Fugitives, Dead Bang, Renegades, Let It Ride, Millennium, Slaves of New York, The Karate Kid Part III, Who’s Harry Crumb?; Lower RT: Wired, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, DeepStar Six, No Holds Barred, Rooftops, She’s Out of Control, Millennium, Winter People, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, The Karate Kid Part III, The Salute of the Jugger, Chattahoochee, Nightmare Vacation 3, The Lemon Sisters, Three Fugitives, Troop Beverly Hills, Cookie, Her Alibi, Cyborg, Rude Awakening and 4 more; Notes: All the way up to 6.0 on IMDb, so pretty much in that “people kind of don’t think this is that bad” territory. Pretty weak overall. We clearly have a ton of bad 1989 films to go, I’m probably most excited for DeepStar Six.
Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Cop Belushi teams with a German shepherd (Jerry Lee) to crack a drug case. Dubbing this one a dog would be much too kind. Followed by two direct-to-video sequels.
(Kind of a weird review. First, there is no way the capitalization in “German shepherd” is correct right? According to wikipedia it is not, but who knows? The second bit is that Jerry Lee is the name of the dog in the film I’m pretty sure. The film credits Jerry Lee and Jerry Lee as well, but the dog was actually named Rando so I find that weird. But what can you do, right?)
(I don’t mind the fake out at the beginning. It kind of works in this case, which is surprising. The rest looks aggressively dumb, although I kind of like that Belushi seems to be playing it like the dog is just a human partner. That is kind of funny in its own way.)
Directors – Rod Daniel – (Known For: Teen Wolf; Future BMT: Beethoven’s 2nd; The Super; BMT: K-9; Notes: Nominated for three Emmys for WKRP in Cincinnati. Retired from filmmaking in 2010 to focus on photography.)
Writers – Steven Siegel (written by) – (BMT: K-9; Notes: Most of his credits are related to this series. K-9000 is maybe the most interesting, a 1991 television movie spin-off that was meant to be a pilot for a potential television series. In the series the main character has an implanted microchip which allows him to talk with his dog partner.)
Scott Myers (written by) – (Known For: Trojan War; Future BMT: Alaska; BMT: K-9; Notes: Seems to have moved on to production in some degree as he was an executive producer of a reality television program in the mid-2000s.)
Actors – Jim Belushi – (Known For: Last Action Hero; Trading Places; The Little Shop of Horrors; The Whole Truth; Thief; Wonder Wheel; The Ghost; About Last Night…; Red Heat; Hoodwinked; Wag the Dog; The Fury; Return to Me; Salvador; Home Sweet Hell; Thunderstruck; Only the Lonely; Canadian Bacon; The Man with One Red Shoe; Cougars Inc.; Future BMT: Underdog; Snow Dogs; The Wild; Joe Somebody; Destiny Turns on the Radio; Curly Sue; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Who’s Harry Crumb?; The Pebble and the Penguin; Race the Sun; Once Upon a Crime…; Mr. Destiny; Filofax; BMT: Pinocchio; Jingle All The Way; New Year’s Eve; Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return; K-9; Notes: Brother of John Belushi, he was a genuinely big comedy star in the late-80s/early-90s. Does a lot of television now including the recent Twin Peaks series.)
Mel Harris – (Known For: Raising Cain; Imagine That; Suture; The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie; Hangman’s Curse; The Lodger; Cameron’s Closet; Sonic Impact; Purple Heart; Future BMT: The Pagemaster; Wanted: Dead or Alive; BMT: K-9; Notes: Was married to the official White House photographer for Gerald Ford in the 80s, at which time she also won a decent amount of money on $10,000 Pyramid.)
Kevin Tighe – (Known For: Yours, Mine and Ours; What’s Eating Gilbert Grape; The Graduate; My Bloody Valentine; School Ties; Geronimo: An American Legend; Eight Men Out; Shadow Makers; Matewan; Mumford; Men of War; The Road Home; City of Hope; The Deal; Bright Angel; I Love a Man in Uniform; Future BMT: Race the Sun; Newsies; BMT: Jade; Another 48 Hrs.; K-9; Road House; Notes: I know him mostly as John Locke’s con-man father from Lost. His daughter Jennifer Tighe is also an actor, mostly in television.)
(That seems like a lot of money. I’m pretty surprised they only managed to get a few direct-to-video sequels out of it. But maybe dealing with a co-star dog is just terrible enough that you have to make a ton of money to make it worthwhile.)
(My consensus: Only amusing to the most ardent dog fans. Tom Hanks’ dog film wasn’t good, so why should this be any different?Reviewer Highlight: We start with a standard drug movie and end up with so many monologues to the dog that the dialogue coach must have needed a pooper scooper. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
(That’s the name of the Tango & Cash sequel starring a dog named Patch after Cash has run off with Tango’s sister. Anyway, when a poster like this comes along I like to imagine what would happen if I saw something like this hanging in a movie theater as a coming attraction. I might faint. It does almost everything wrong. Bad color scheme. Bad font. But it does tell a story and it’s oddly pleasing despite being bad. So maybe a C-.)
Tagline(s) – Meet the two toughest cops in town. One’s just a little smarter than the other. (C-)
(I don’t really get this tagline. It’s long, so you would hope it gets where it needs to go… but does it? Like what does the second sentence have to do with the first? What does them being tough have to do with one being smarter than the other? On the other hand it is a nice little implied hit… that the dog is smarter than this big ol’ dumbo haha. So I can see what they wanted, they just reached too far for it. Double C-’s on this one.)
Top 10: Turner & Hooch (1989), Scooby-Doo (2002), 101 Dalmatians (1996), The Secret Life of Pets (2016), Isle of Dogs (2018), Alpha (2018), Bolt (2008), Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004), Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993), Beethoven (1992)
Future BMT: 68.8 The Shaggy Dog (2006), 67.3 Scooby-Doo (2002), 66.0 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (2010), 64.6 102 Dalmatians (2000), 64.0 Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004), 63.9 Underdog (2007), 62.0 Beethoven’s 2nd (1993), 56.5 Snow Dogs (2002), 45.9 Beethoven (1992), 39.5 Top Dog (1995);
BMT: A Dog’s Purpose (2017), K-9 (1989), Marmaduke (2010), Show Dogs (2018), Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998)
(Lame plot, but great look at how few of these we’ve actually watched. I’m looking forward to none of these, although running through the Beethoven series could be fun. The first two are the only theatrical releases, but I spy an animated television series from 1994! That’s fun.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Ed O’Neill is No. 4 billed in K-9 and No. 1 billed in Dutch, which also stars JoBeth Williams (No. 3 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 3 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 4 + 1 + 3 + 3 + 6 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch The Pebble and the Penguin we can get the HoE Number down to 14.
Notes – Jerry Lee was played by Rando, a 3-year-old German Shepherd from West Germany. A year-long search was held to find the right dog for the role. Over 40 dogs were considered but none of the American German Shepherds were deemed suitable. Rando trained for 3 months with Karl Lewis Miller and learned to understand commands in English.
At the dinner party given by the gangster, there is a butler walking across a room behind a doorway. The butler is Michael John Robert Gill who was working with the catering staff hired for the film. After the filming, he actually served the food used in the scene to the cast and crew. Gill was not an actor but was actually a real English butler, and for seven years he was butler to British actor Laurence Harvey, prior to his death.
The game played by Dooley in his car is a Game and Watch from Nintendo. The game is called “Manhole” second version released in 1983.
Contrary to the claim made by Jim Belushi’s character that his car is a classic 1965 Mustang, the only ’65 mustang in the movie is the one at the end when they are driving to Vegas. Any others used in the movie are ’66 models.
Rando faking being dead or asleep after he is brought out of surgery into the recovery room wasn’t in the script. When the crew saw Rando doing it while filming, the camera crew was in a perfect position to capture him being sneaky in one take.
Two versions of Lyman’s death scene have been broadcast. In the first, when running towards a helicopter, he shoots Jerry Lee and is subsequently shot by Dooley. In the second, he shoots Jerry Lee and is then shot by the escaping helicopter crew.
We open in Heaven… seriously… where God is like “Earth is dunzo” but some angels convince him to give it another chance if a miracle happens. So God is like, “Fine, I’ll spare it if total trash human, Zack, becomes a not trash person.” The angels are sad, cause Zack is trash. Can Zack be redeemed (and perhaps even get the girl?) before it’s too late? Find out in… Two of a Kind.
How?! God is ready to dump Earth. Just trash it, cause it’s garbage. But the angels beg him to give Earth one more try. So he’s like, “Fine, if that guy over there miraculously turns out to be a good person then I won’t trash Earth.” When we look down, that person is John Travolta and we are like “shit.” That’s cause he’s Zack and he’s an inventor in debt with the mob. In order to get the money he owes he decides to rob a bank, but the teller, Debbie, has different ideas. Seeing a juicy opportunity she gives him a bag of trash and takes the money herself. Distressed and still on the run, Zack tracks down Debbie and despite being a total creeper is able to woo her and start a romantic relationship. Meanwhile, The Devil has joined the game and begins to try to mess with Zack’s journey to salvation. Things come to a head when, after a nice time out on the town together, The Devil has led the mobsters to Debbie’s apartment. Even after they escape, he has also led the police there with a tip about the bank robbery. Using the temptations of El Diablo, the police are able to get Zack to turn on Debbie. She refuses to turn on Zack and with the help of the angels is able to beat the rap. Realizing that Debbie never betrayed him, Zack has a change of heart and chases after Debbie. At the same time The Devil realizes that if Zack actually does lose and God destroys the Earth then he’s out of a job, so he orchestrates taking Debbie hostage. Realizing he’s in love Zack jumps in front of a bullet for Debbie, but miraculously survives. Thus we fulfill the requirements of the bet and Earth is saved. Hooray. THE END.
Why?! I have two readings of this film. One is that Travolta is simply a survivor. Always running and scrambling to live (and invent) another day. That’s his motivation and the distillation of his character, so when he reverses course and takes a bullet for ONJ it’s truly a miracle. That’s the way I like to read it. I do wonder, though, whether the extensive God/Devil/Heaven/Angels storyline is pointing more towards a strained Adam and Eve metaphor. That Travolta and ONJ are simply human, no better or worse, who are able to be tempted by the Devil into their bad deeds.
Who?! Once again ONJ is pretty charming and puts out some bangers for an otherwise very strange movie. Like check out Twist of Fate. Daaaaaang. I just added that to my running playlist. Otherwise, it’s notable that Gene Hackman voices God and goes uncredited. Sometimes you can get a sense of why someone goes uncredited. In contemporaneous reviews everyone appears to assume it’s because he knew the film wasn’t good and decided not to take the credit.
What?! This has one of the craziest product placements (or probably not even product placements) I can remember. When Zack and Debbie have their grand date on the town, we see them on a ferry eating a box of Chicken Delight… a major chicken franchise in the US until 1971, when a legal victory for franchisees resulted in the owner pulling out of the US, leaving the franchisees to fend for themselves. By 1983 (and onto today) there would have just been the independent franchises left. So can’t really be a product placement. Maybe the director liked Chicken Delight, or maybe they felt it gave the film an NYC feel. Fun one though.
Where?! Given my reading of the film in the Why section I think there might be a chance this is more of an NYC specific film that one might first imagine. Could it have been set in LA? Sure, but given the time period I do wonder whether the miracle-of-miracles had some more special meaning coming in the form of an NYC dweller. A man living day to day, always scrambling, surviving like a cockroach. So I’m tempted to give it an A-.
When?! Not really many clues here other than a general sense that it’s summer in the cit-ay. In particular ONJ’s roommates are a couple of jokesters dead set on getting out to Fire Island to “catch some serious rays.” They are actually pretty mean about it too, huffing and puffing about missing their train out there after having to help Debbie following the bank robbery. C-
I think somewhere deep in this film there is something that might be worthwhile. There are moments between Olivia Newton-John and Travolta where you can see a little spark and you wonder why on earth they decided to a) muddle everything up with unnecessary and boring God vs. The Devil shenanigans and b) make Travolta a trash caricature of a person. Just slim this whole thing down: Travolta is a down-on-his-luck inventor who has fallen deep into the underbelly of NYC after crossing the wrong people. In a moment of desperation he robs a bank, but is duped by an equally desperate teller. After finding each other they go on the run and rediscover their own humanity. I mean, that’s the crux of the film, and yet this very serious concept is buried under a mound of silly fluff. You don’t even get to understand Travolta’s character because it’s mostly played for a laugh. Just play into the innate charm of ONJ and Travolta and let the steamy action carry you. They did the opposite and I guess it’s kind of fun in a stupefying way. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We’ve got Travolta! We’ve got ONJ! What more could you need or want?! Well … a script would be nice, but them’s the breaks. Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – If I got one chance to look at the post of this film and guess the plot I would have never guessed “two pieces of garbage fall in love while God tries and decide whether humanity is worth saving” … huh? We couldn’t just get a meetcute between Travolta and Olivia Newton-John and call it a day? What were my expectations? I don’t know. The film looks like it is barely a movie. Or maybe more accurately it looks like a television movie masquerading as an actual film. That usually means boring, but sometimes things like Can’t Stop the Music just end up being so silly and bizarre they are kind of okay. So who knows. I wish it was a musical though.
The Good – Bit here and there involving Travola and Newton-John falling in love are pretty okay. It all comes across as a television movie, but that isn’t actually that bad, it just means it looks cheap and is a bit trite. Travolta can play a surprisingly good heel at this point in his career. He is a believable grifter piece of garbage. Actually, Newton-John does too, although her character is far far more redeemable than Travoltas. Best Bit: The romance probably, they do pair up well.
The Bad – The whole thing with God and the Devil fighting over these two people concerning the fate of the world is amateur hour. It feels like the movie does need a hook, but this ain’t it brother, even if the angels and devil are fun in their own bizarre way. Travolta is a genuine piece of trash in the film. Every time you think he’s going to turn a corner and be a little good, he ends up revealing even further depths of his garbage heart. It actually ends up sinking the film. The whole thing would be trite nonsense if he was a normal human being. But he is instead a garbage man and it becomes incredibly hard to root for his redemption. Fatal Flaw: Travolta’s character is a big ol’ pile of trash.
The BMT – This film goes into a group of bad movies which are basically television movies that were released to theaters. Maybe you can track these back to holdovers from the pre-blockbuster era or something. And Travolta obviously rockets to the top of the BMT Villains list with his character of Zack … am I joking, or am I deathly serious? Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, it is a television movie which is pretty fun. It feels like an 80s episode of Touched by an Angel or something, like a soft pilot, but somehow released to theaters. That’s fun.
Roast-radamus – A very surprising Product Placement (What?) for Chicken Delight, and I’ll let Jamie get into that a bit more. A very solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for NYC which you see in multiple montages, and Newton-John is trying to break out on Broadway. And an entry for Worst Twist (How?) for the obvious life sacrifice by Travolta at the end to save the world. Closest to Bad I think, but I could be convinced of its BMT-ness as well.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I might have to add BMT Crossover Episode as an official category as I’m finding those delightful recently. This time, guess who we are adding to the cast? That is right, 90’s era Steven Seagal! He’s back as Sasha Petrosevitch, and he’s been called upon by God to do deep cover in Hell to try and figure out what that rascal Beasly is up to. Naturally, Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are along for the ride as they are good friends with all of the angels and Beasly and stuff. Sasha finds out that Beasly has been trying to find out the location of a stash of combination television/VCR players that was hidden before a real bad dude died and went to hell, but the bad guy (played by Brian Cranston, remember this is the 90s) isn’t giving up the secret. Can Sasha pry the secrets to the stash (and the afterlife) before Beasly gets the loot and destroys the world economy with cheap combination television/VCR players? Find out in Three of a Kind: Full Past Dead.
Oh man, so here’s the thing. I’m a huge piece of shit grifter/inventor who is really driving his life into the ground, and I got chased by a bunch of gangsters and then fell off of a bridge (long story). One thing led to another, and now I have a massive concussion and don’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Two of a Kind?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) God’s back jack! And he ain’t happy with his angels, who’ve let the world go to shit. What’s God’s big plan for the world and what deal do the angels strike to save humanity?
2) Let’s get a little back story. Zach (Travolta) is a giant piece of trash who is being chased by gangsters. Why?
3) Debbie (Olivia Newton-John) is a bank teller and aspiring actress. Why does Zach suspect Debbie of screwing him over in his heist-turned-farce?
4) Well naturally, this odd couple falls in love (awwwwwwwww) but it all comes to a head when Zach flips on Debbie concerning the failed heist. Why does he flip on her?
5) In the end Zach totally redeems himself during an encounter with a robber who has taken Debbie hostage on the roof of a restaurant. How?
Bonus Question: How long do Debbie and Zach stay together?
While Jamie sobs and goes over all the events that led to the deaths of his friends, he is comforted by Wally, a kangaroo wearing a tophat, and Phillip Von Snout, a tiny elephant. “I just don’t understand,” Jamie says through sniffles, “I feel torn to pieces and yet it’s like the crash happened only moments ago, you know?” The top hat wearing animals nod in understanding but suddenly disappear as Jamie wakes up to find that it was all a dream! Phew! Except, wait, his friends are still dead. And he’s now in the middle of a psychology midterm! And he’s got only ten minutes left! And he’s naked and all his teeth have fallen out! He looks through bleary eyes at the test and just barely makes out the first question: “What’s in the bag?” He looks up to see a bag dripping blood. When he looks back at the paper an answer is scrawled in blood: “A SHARK OR SOMETHING.” Jamie wakes with a start. Another dream. Phew. Except, wait, his friends are still dead. And he’s making out with a sexy lady! Cool! But wait, he also lost a bet regarding hacking the planet and is wearing a leather dress of some sort! “Wait,” he says to the sexy lady, “weren’t we heading to hack the planet when I crashed the car?” She seems confused, but Jamie now understands. It’s all a dream and they still have to hack the planet. He’s gotta WAKE UP!
Jamie’s heart starts beating and he blinks his eyes open. He smiles at Kyle, Baby Niles, and Patrick and mumbles that none of them were there in his dream and it was super lame. They all laugh and Patrick predator high fives Jamie. The dynamic duo back together. Just… that’s right! Two of a Kind… is the movie we’re watching. You know, the laugh-a-minute Travolta-Newton-John joint that everyone remembers. No, you remember. It’s the one where Angels are hoping bank robbers Travolta and Newton-John redeem themselves and fall in love? No? Well it’s a movie. Let’s go!
Two of a Kind (1983) – BMeTric: 39.4; Notability: 38
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 8.5%; Notability: top 19.7%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 8.0% Higher BMeT: Jaws 3-D, Superman III, Smokey and the Bandit Part 3, Amityville 3-D, Curse of the Pink Panther, Porky’s II: The Next Day, Hercules; Higher Notability: Superman III, Curse of the Pink Panther, Deal of the Century, Flashdance, Doctor Detroit, The Lords of Discipline, The Osterman Weekend, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, The Black Stallion Returns; Lower RT: The Survivors, Amityville 3-D, Deal of the Century, Porky’s II: The Next Day, Still Smokin, Jaws 3-D, Smokey and the Bandit Part 3; Notes: That is a much higher BMeTric than I would have expected I think. We have a lot to go for 1983 it looks like, we’ve only seen those top two, Jaws 3-D and Superman III. Also higher Notability than I might have expected for a comedy in 1983 as well. Interesting.
Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Puerile fantasy-romance with a script that must have been scrawled on a gum wrapper. A quartet of angels try to persuade God to give the human race another chance – using two pretty unappealing subjects (an inventor-turned-bank robber and a not-so-innocent bank teller) as guinea pigs. Just awful.
(Ha. You could just cut out the front bit and have it just say “Just awful” and it would be the same review.)
(Man … the smash cut from Travolta and Olivia Newton-John clearly having sex and him assuring her that he doesn’t intend to sexually assault her to “rated PG” is pretty amusing. In their defense the PG-13 rating would be introduced less than 8 months after this film was released.)
Directors – John Herzfeld – (Known For: Escape Plan 3; 2 Days in the Valley; Bobby Z; Collection; Future BMT: 15 Minutes; BMT: Two of a Kind; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Two of a Kind in 1984; Notes: Was a bit actor before becoming a director, even having a named part in Cobra (as Cho), probably because apparently he was the roommate of Sylvester Stallone at the University of Miami.)
Writers – John Herzfeld (written by) – (Known For: Escape Plan 3; 2 Days in the Valley; Collection; Voices; The Last Winter; Hard Feelings; Future BMT: 15 Minutes; BMT: Two of a Kind; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Two of a Kind in 1984; Notes: Nominated for an Emmy for directing Don King: Only in America. Went from directing ABC Afterschool Specials all the way to Escape Plan 3 most recently.)
Actors – John Travolta – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Grease; Saturday Night Fever; Carrie; Face/Off; Austin Powers in Goldmember; Blow Out; The Thin Red Line; Hairspray; Savages; Urban Cowboy; Eye for an Eye; Get Shorty; The Taking of Pelham 123; Bolt; Broken Arrow; Look Who’s Talking; Gotti; Life on the Line; The Fanatic; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Now; Look Who’s Talking Too; Staying Alive; Lucky Numbers; Domestic Disturbance; Michael; White Man’s Burden; The Punisher; From Paris with Love; The General’s Daughter; Mad City; Basic; BMT: Battlefield Earth; Old Dogs; Be Cool; Perfect; Wild Hogs; Two of a Kind; Swordfish; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor in 2001 for Battlefield Earth, and Lucky Numbers; and in 2020 for The Fanatic, and Trading Paint; Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Battlefield Earth in 2001; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1984 for Staying Alive, and Two of a Kind; in 1986 for Perfect; in 2002 for Domestic Disturbance, and Swordfish; in 2010 for Old Dogs; and in 2019 for Gotti; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Shout in 1992; Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Gotti in 2019; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Perfect, Staying Alive, The Experts, and Two of a Kind; and in 2010 for Battlefield Earth, Domestic Disturbance, Lucky Numbers, Old Dogs, and Swordfish; Notes: His daughter Ella is set to make her lead acting debut with Get Lost, a modern adaptation of Alice in Wonderland set in Budapest. We’ve seen her before, she was one of the kids in Old Dogs.)
Olivia Newton-John – (Known For: Grease; The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee; She’s Having a Baby; A Few Best Men; Sordid Lives; It’s My Party; Toomorrow; Score: A Hockey Musical; Funny Things Happen Down Under; BMT: Xanadu; Two of a Kind; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 1981 for Xanadu; and in 1984 for Two of a Kind; Notes: Y’all know ONJ, right? English (but notably Australian) pop singer from the 70s and 80s who headlined multiple John Travolta films. Was weirdly just in Sharknado 5, which is just a weird choice.)
Charles Durning – (Known For: Scarface; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; Sisters; Dog Day Afternoon; The Sting; Dick Tracy; Tootsie; The Final Countdown; The Muppet Movie; When a Stranger Calls; The Hudsucker Proxy; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; The Fury; One Fine Day; True Confessions; Sharky’s Machine; Cat Chaser; The Man with One Red Shoe; Breakheart Pass; I.Q.; Future BMT: Spy Hard; V.I. Warshawski; Stick; BMT: Two of a Kind; Solarbabies; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars (To Be or Not to Be, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas). Apparently was a Dance instructor and studied judo for a time.)
Budget/Gross – $14 million / Domestic: $23,646,952 (Worldwide: $23,646,952)
(That is maybe okay. It isn’t great, it is definitely a poor showing given the budget, but I would have thought that it would have made far less than $25 million in 1983, so that seems pretty all right for a weird borderline TV movie.)
(My consensus: Mediocre Travolta and not at all what you expect from what should have been an interesting Travolta / Newton-John reunion after Grease. Reviewer Highlight: This movie should have been struck by a lightning bolt. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
(This poster is absurd. Like I understand the concept of a poster just being a star’s face and begging audiences to pay money to see that face act, but this isn’t even staged in an interesting (or sane?) way. It looks like they are posing for headshots. Like the font though. C-)
Tagline(s) – It took a twist of fate to make them two of a kind. (B-)
(Why do I kinda like this? Why does “twist of fate” paired with “two of a kind” sound so good to my ears. Is it just the repeat ‘of’? Is it the hard ‘t’ sound of took, twist and two? I think maybe it’s because the pacing is so nice… you can almost hear a spokesperson saying the line. This is a great example of nonsense tagline writing actually. You can replace every word with “dah” and it still sounds good. Otherwise a little long, kinda nonsense, and not very clever. But the heart wants what the heart wants. )
Top 10: Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Constantine (2005), Natural Born Killers (1994), Click (2006), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), What Dreams May Come (1998), Old School (2003), Coraline (2009), Legion (2010), Dogma (1999)
Future BMT: 64.9 The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2014), 61.0 Legion (2010), 53.3 Over Her Dead Body (2008), 43.4 Down to Earth (2001), 40.8 Michael (1996), 39.0 The Final Conflict (1981), 37.0 The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013), 35.8 Hideaway (1995), 35.7 The Perfect Holiday (2007), 34.1 The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009);
BMT: Little Nicky (2000), Ghost Rider (2007), Bless the Child (2000), Two of a Kind (1983)
(I still can’t quite believe we haven’t watched Legion, that has been on my radar for literally years. Michael is another Travolta and really weird if I recall correctly. Anyways, do you think the plot jumps up at 1990 for a reason? Like, is that just because that is when keywords start showing up in the data, or is there some sort of evangelical story here? I honestly don’t know, the IMDb keyword data is fun to peruse, but hard to take seriously most of the time.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: John Travolta is No. 1 billed in Two of a Kind and No. 2 billed in Wild Hogs, which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 12. If we were to watch Shout we can get the HoE Number down to 10.
Notes – Although she’d starred in three theatrical movies and had made countless TV appearances in the 15 year prior to this movie, Olivia Newton-John was insecure about her acting abilities and decided to enroll in acting training in preparation for the film.
The movie’s soundtrack was so successful that it went platinum.
After striking box office gold in Grease (1978), the 20th Century Fox studio re-teamed John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John for the second and final time in this film.
Bill Conti was the original composer for this film, but he left the project as his original score was rejected by writer/director John Herzfeld. He was then subsequently replaced by composer Patrick Williams. Williams had been asked by Herzfeld and producers Joe Wizan and Roger M. Rothstein to create a melody based off Olivia Newton-John’s hit single “Twist of Fate” which was released just before the film. However this was done so late that 20th Century Fox was unable offer to preview screenings to the news media, and final prints were unavailable until a few days prior to the December 16, 1983 release. Meanwhile, Conti was allegedly unaware that he had been replaced. Lionel Newman, the senior vice president of music for 20th Century Fox said that Conti’s dismissal was “amicable”. Conti’s credit is retained on the back cover of the film’s soundtrack album as well as a 1995 VHS Reissue and on the back cover of the film’s DVD release.
The movie was part of a 1980s cycle of Hollywood angelic comedies which had started with Heaven Can Wait (1978). The films included that movie and Two of a Kind (1983), The Devil and Max Devlin (1981), Defending Your Life (1991), Oh Heavenly Dog (1980), Kiss Me Goodbye (1982), The Heavenly Kid (1985), Made in Heaven (1987), Almost an Angel (1990) and Oh, God! (1977) and its two sequels. The phrase “Heaven Can Wait” forms part of the lyrics in Two of a Kind (1983)’s theme song “Twist of Fate” sung by Olivia Newton-John.
Travolta played an angel himself later on in Michael (1996).
Debut theatrical feature film as a director for John Herzfeld.
The picture was nominated for Worst Picture at the Hastings Bad Cinema Society’s 6th Stinkers Bad Movie Awards in 1983.
The same year this movie came out, Charles Durning also appeared in the Mel Brooks remake of To Be or Not to Be (1983). That film was also released by 20th Century Fox on the same day as this film, December 16, 1983. (He was nominated for an Oscar for that one)
“Twist of Fate” and “Take a Chance”, both song titles from the soundtrack, were considered as possible film titles.
Robert Stigwood was originally involved with this project as a producer because of his then-ongoing picture deal with John Travolta . But he subsequently left the project because of creative differences between him, co-producer Joe Wizan and writer/director John Herzfeld. Stigwood wanted to have more of a say in casting as well as the film’s soundtrack as he also wanted to have The Bee Gees write and record some songs for the film in addition to the songs Olivia Newton-John had written. After Stigwood left the project, he then brought on his friend Roger M. Rothstein to take over his duties as the two had worked together on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978).
Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Roger M. Rothstein, Joe Wizan, 1984)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (John Travolta, 1984)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Olivia Newton-John, 1984)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (John Herzfeld, 1984)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (John Herzfeld, 1984)
Cassie is off to college for one last hurrah with her boyfriend, Sean. But when a car accident leaves him dead she feels like she’s going crazy. Add to that a hovering ex-boyfriend, an antagonistic BFF, Sean’s spooky ghost, and a whole lotta creepy guys following her and she really feels insane. Can she uncover the truth before it’s too late? Find out in… Soul Survivors.
How?! Cassie and Annabel are BFFs going off to college. Tagging along for the first weekend is Cassie’s ex-boyfriend, Matt, and her new boyfriend, Sean. It’s a pretty boring weekend until Annabel suggests a weirdo rave and everyone is like coooool. Off they go where they dance the night away having a grand old time. At the end of the night a jealous Matt convinces Cassie that he needs one last kiss (you know, for closure) and she’s like, fine. But, uh oh! Sean saw and he’s a bit jelly. In the car they fight and a distracted Cassie ends up crashing. A few weeks later Cassie is mourning the death of Sean at school. She is struggling to keep up with her classes, Annabel is like ‘get over it’, and she’s starting to see ghosts and a couple of real creepy dudes she recognizes from the night of the crash. Fearing some sort of occult conspiracy and feeling like she is being chased she ends up fainting and being saved by a kind priest. The next day Matt arrives and starts to care for her in a definitely not creepy way… for sure not a hovering weirdo. Anyway, Cassie continues to see the creepy dudes everywhere and even starts to get a suspicion that Matt is in cahoots with the creepy dudes. Ultimately after a bunch of other nonsense happens and despite her fears about Matt, she asks him to drive her home. Instead he takes her back to the rave place and she’s like “what thuuuuu,” and tries to escape. It’s then that she (and we the audience, who never saw this coming for sure) learn that all the events of the film have been but a dream (what a twist!). A dream occurring in the final moments of Cassie’s life in the hospital after the crash. It’s all led to this question: does she want to live? And she’s like hellllll, yeah. Check out her boyfriend. He’s Casey Affleck… Ben Affleck’s brother. So… uh… yeah… she wants to live. THE END.
Why?! I mean, I could be snide and say, “seriously, what was the point of this totally ridiculous movie that meant nothing because none of it actually happened?”… and I will. But I’ll also say that the point is really about life and love and what makes someone want to live. Matt and Annabel are also fighting for their lives but in the end they are seduced by the weirdo rave people because they promise better things for them (for Matt it’s being with Cassie, for Annabel it’s being free). Cassie though has Sean waiting for her and that is what she chooses.
Who?! There are a couple credits that go to “Jump Rope Twins” which I don’t really recall much about in the film. I went back and looked and literally it’s just some twins in a school yard that are jumping rope… not a hallucination or anything. Cassie just sort of smiles at them and goes on her way. Weird. But at least this can now win Best Twin Film award.
What?! This is a pretty major twist. In fact it’s one of the holy grails of what we are looking for in a BMT twist-em-up. Some of the best of all time have employed this tragic mistake of a plot device (i.e. I Know Who Killed Me), so always a treat. Bonus points for being obvious from the jump.
Where?! It’s hard to pin down in a fun kind of way. From the license plates in the beginning they are from Illinois. They are heading East since Matt is tagging along on his way to Harvard, while Sean has to then fly out to California. Given the name of the college (Middleton) I presumed it was some play on Middlebury and we are in the Northeast. All checks other than Sean saying he’ll be 2000 miles away in CA. Likely just an estimate, but pretty vague overall. Interesting too that we see the characters drinking some Goose Island at one point that totally gives away they they filmed in Illinois and Indiana. D, cause it is fun to try to figure out.
When?! I agree with Patrick that it does appear that there is a September 2001 calendar indicating that the film takes place around September 26th. However, I would like to also point out that that’s bullshit. It’s also clear that she took her midterm on the 19th of some month. So she had a midterm on September 19th? Also there are children that jump out screaming trick or treat in costumes… in September? Also… ALSO… it’s all a dream. So this doesn’t matter. B… I mean it’s still a secret holiday film even if it’s a secret dream holiday film.
This is as close to not being an actual film as we get. Narratively it resembles a baffling dream more than a horror film and indeed about four seconds into the film you can be pretty sure none of it is actually happening. “It was all a dream,” is such a bad movie twist that you rarely actually see it in the wild, and yet… Soul Survivors exists. They probably should have just trashed it at some point. The acting wasn’t good, the story was a mish-mash of nonsensical sequences held together by a thread (or perhaps not held together at all), and ultimately the twist meant everything was meaningless. So of course I loved it! It is a truly horrid piece of BMT cinema! A relic of the Scream high school/college horror bonanza that (rightfully) barely qualified for BMT as a wide release. I’m a real sucker for a high school/college setting, but even that couldn’t rescue this dog poo. Like Half Past Dead from last week I think this film will get some play at the year end awards, but for very different reasons. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We got spooky ghosts. We got a barely-there Luke Wilson. We got (checks notes) Melissa Sagemiller. We got Soul Survivors! Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – For a bit while reading the preview I thought “uh oh … this looks like a trite horror film from the 2000s.” But it does have a lot of cred. Top 10 BMeTric for 2001, a sub-10% on Rotten Tomatoes, a BOMB by Leonard Maltin. It is doing everything you want it to do. What were my expectations? I was obviously hoping for a The Fog (2005) situation, but secretly dreading that it was actually just going to be boring.
The Good – Hmmmmmmmmmm. Nothing I don’t think. I literally can’t think of a single thing they did well in this film, which is kind of mind blowing to think about. The only thing maybe is the goth aesthetic they have going for it? That is a very late-90s to early-00s thing and in a way it is a bit charming to see on screen 20 years later. Best Bit: Goth aesthetic.
The Bad – My god, let me count them. The two main actors aren’t as good as their supporting actors. It cribs from about five different horror films (not all of them good). The soundtrack is an abomination. Maybe back in 2001 it was a different story, but I made a YouTube playlist from the soundtrack to get a feeling for it and wooooooooof. Let’s just say I’m not a fan, a lot of death metal or whatever that genre is and I’m just not a fan. The bad guys are also just a weird choice, and the direction makes the film feel chopped to shit and borderline incomprehensible. I would call it incomprehensible, but because all of the ideas are stolen from other films it is actually pretty easy to follow. Fatal Flaw: Dare I? I do, the soundtrack makes me sad and I hate it, sorry.
The BMT – There is a long list of bad stuff and I got into it a bit, but the film is very flat and just kind of happens while you sit there wondering when they are going to reveal that she is in a world between life and death … because about 20 minutes in it is abundantly obvious that that is where it is going. It is a really bad horror film, but also not so bad that I would want to watch it again, so where does that leave us? With a flat kind of boring but genuinely dog poo in my face film I think. Notable for the year, but probably not to BMT overall. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, blessedly not as boring as it could have been. Just enough interestingly bad choices to keep me a bit entertained.
Roast-radamus – Eagle eyes Jamie with the Bad Movie Twin (Who?) as well for jump rope twins which I’ll add here for posterity. A fun Setting as a Character (Where?) for Middleton College, which is somewhere within driving distance of Chicago. A weird Super Secret Holiday Film (When?) because we see Trick or Treaters … but it is also by all accounts September, but also a dream? Which brings us to obviously the worst of the Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that it was all a dreaaaaaaaam. Otherwise just closest to BMT I think, as I said, just enough bizarre choices to keep viewers entertained.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Are you ready for that Sequel / crossover that no one was asking for? That’s right, we get to see what happened to Sasha Petrosevitch in Half Past Dead in the time between when he is shot and almost killed and when he becomes Half Past Dead! He goes to the in-between world where Ja Rule keeps trying to get him to stop jacking cars and come back to life with him, and his dead wife is smooching on him and trying to get him to stay with her in this definitely-not-death-ghost-world. All the time he’s getting back into Akito, dropping the pounds, and feeling better about himself every day. Could death be so bad when you look and feel so good and are smooching your wife every day? But in the end with the help of Ja Rule he realizes he has unfinished business in the real world, smooches his wife, and returns to the land of the living. Soul Survivors 2: Dead O’Clock.
You Just Got Schooled – At a loss for Melissa Sagemiller bangers I had to just turn to a similarly gothy film from the era, The Craft which I had never seen. The cast is stacked though. Neve Campbell (who says “sooory” with such a thick Canadian accent I didn’t even need to check that she is Canadian), Fairuza Balk (from The Waterboy), Robin Tunney (about to hit her apex with Supernova and Vertical Limit), with Christine Taylor and Skeet Ulrich in smaller roles! That’s a pretty solid cast top to bottom right there. And the film is good. I liked the good vs. bad witch thing they got going, and they didn’t bother really dealing with hanging a franchise off of it like they definitely would have these days. B+. Holds up well even 25 years later.
Oh man, so I got in a huge blow up with my girlfriend and was distraught and distracted on the road and wouldn’t you know it? I flipped my SUV and got into a terrible accident where I bopped my head pretty hard. Naturally I can’t remember a thing (because of ghosts, you know?). Do you remember what happened in Soul Survivors?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) Cassie and Sean are young high school sweethearts saying goodbye as college begins. Why are they saying goodbye, where are they going?
2) Then they become Soul Survivors after a traumatic event. What event?
3) After having what looks to be a super fun paint fight, Cassie falls asleep and has what looks like a really fun dream. What happens in the dream?
4) Luckily Cassie meets a nice priest named Father Jude. But there is something off with Father Jude that she learns from the other father at the church?
5) In the end how does Cassie survive?
Bonus Question: How long do Cassie and Sean stay together after the tragic events of the film?