The Bye Bye Man Recap

Jamie

Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. He’s the Bye Bye Man and he’s out to get some Wisconsin college students. Once they learn his name he has the ability to manipulate them into committing terrible deeds. Can they say bye bye to the Bye Bye Man before it’s too late? Find out in… The Bye Bye Man.

How?! Ethan, his girlfriend Sasha, and his best bud forever John take the plunge and rent an off-campus house to live it up like real adults. When his brother comes to visit, Ethan’s niece discovers some odd coins near an old end table. When he goes to put the coins back in the drawer, Ethan discovers some creepy writing repeating the phrase, “Don’t think it. Don’t say it,” and the name The Bye Bye Man etched into the wood. “Who’s that?” he wonders. “He must be super rad with such a rad name that is in no way ridiculous or silly sounding.” During a seance set up to ease Sasha’s mind about the super creepy house they moved into, Ethan is spooked into invoking the name of the Bye Bye Man. Almost immediately everyone who heard it starts to have crazy things happen to them. Ethan keeps imagining a man in a dark cloak, Sasha gets a mysterious sickness, and John keeps hallucinating death and pestilence of those around him. Delving into the mystery Ethan discovers a local journalist who wrote a story with the Bye Bye Man’s name in it. The story was never published, but it turns out that just days after writing it the journalist went crazy and killed a bunch of his neighbors and himself. Realizing that they are being haunted by the Bye Bye Man, Ethan races to save his roommates. Knowing that there is only two things that can kill the Bye Bye Man: 1) killing everyone you know or 2) not fearing him, Ethan opts for the second choice (obvs). But when he gets back to his house to inform his roommates of the Bye Bye Man’s weakness, Ethan is tricked by the Bye Bye Man into killing Sasha. Seeing no end to the horror he burns down the house and kills himself before he can tell anyone else. Unfortunately in a huge unforeseeable twist, John survives the fire just long enough to tell a police officer the Bye Bye Man’s name. Uh oh! Do I smell a franchise?!

Why?! Our main victims are simply living and loving. They want to get out of the dorms and live it up in a house like adults. They can and will have it all. We get a little taste of some motivation for Elliot in the oft-mentioned death of his parents as a kid. It’s why he’s best friends with John, it’s why his brother is worried about him, and seems to be part of the grow-up-fast mentality that gets him into trouble. He pushes himself forward so that he can have the family that he lost at such a young age (and which he misses even more now that his big brother has a family of his own) and playing house with Sasha in a creepy mansion haunted by the Bye Bye Man is part of that. As for the titular Bye Bye Man, he just wants to spread like a virus infecting all that hear his name because he’s an evil demon whose only aim is chaos. His plan is particularly shitty though because he drives all who hear his name insane which leads to them killing themselves and everyone else who heard the name. So much for spreading the virus. You would think the Bye Bye Man would start out like a salesman. “Forgive my weird pale skin, lack of tongue and eyes, and weird demon dog but the deals I can provide you will drive you craaaaazzzzy. That’s Bye Bye Man. Spread the word and say my name.” Soon people would find themselves driving all over the country selling Bye Bye Man door-to-door only to discover that it was all a ruse and they’ve doomed the world to chaos and destruction! That would be a better plan. Fortunately for humanity the Bye Bye Man is a big ol’ dumb dumb who thinks only in the short term. His fatal flaw really.

What?! Good place to note just how many accessories The Bye Bye Man already has in only the first installment of the series (there will be five more, right? I hope). He has gold coins that jingle and jangle when he’s near, he’s got a spooky cloak that he wears, he has a creepy demon dog that he keeps close by, and he has a train that he rides (in your dreams! Oooooo, spooky). Super rare to get to this height in the accessory game and extra rare to get a vehicle. Worst part? The train is never explained nor really comes into play in any significant way at all. If you’re gonna give him a train the least you can do is let him use it.

Who?! Writer and Survivor celeb Jonathan Penner shows up in the film as Mr. Daizy, the landlord of the house who helpfully reminds our young tenets that they signed a lease, Bye Bye Man infestation or not. Also would like to point out that we had a particularly bad American accent by Cressida Bonas. She’s young and has time to work it out but for all those that say how unfair it is that British actors can seemingly play American with ease I would use this as a counterpoint.

Where?! We get an intertitle in the beginning informing us that the intro to the film takes place in Madison, Wisconsin. This setting continues for the whole film evidenced by a plethora of Wisconsin license plates. B-

When?! Like the Wisconsin setting we are treated to an intertitle placing the flashback scenes on October 20, 1969. Finding the date for the main thrust of the film is a little tougher. We can presume that it’s winter due to all the ice we see, but it’s not until later when we catch a glimpse of a sticky note in a gardening shop detailing a recent order for nightshade placed on “12/15” that we get that sweet, sweet exact date. Gonna give that a C+.

It’s been awhile since Patrick and I have had as much fun with a film as this one. It’s a silly film, with a silly name, and an even sillier monster. It is inherently hilarious and I cannot wait for The Bye Bye Man 2. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I can see the producers meeting now. Mr. Penner, love the Bye Bye Man. Super atmospheric, super spooky. Helps that horror films just print money, amirite? I just have a few notes. So this Bye Bye Man, he’s like an albino with a cloak right? But, like, what if he also had a dog? Amps up that spook-factor and the kiddies love it, amirite? And how about people hear train noises when he’s around, and like find gold coins and stuff. Think on it, think on it, but I’m just saying … it would be a shame if something were to happen to your movie if you didn’t at least consider my notes … amirite, Mr. Penner? Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – The film had a decent bit of atmospheric haunted-house spookiness to it early on. That is it. That needs a Remake there is just so much that could be done. First, strip down The Bye Bye Man! It is so obvious he has too much going on. I think you go train and that’s it. Even his look is off. He should be a raggedy man. Like a serial killing hobo riding from town to town. A ghostly figure which infects a person, makes them go crazy, and makes them kill for him like he used to back in the day. No need for the haunted house. Strip out the weird jealousy love triangle B-story. A guy is living with his two roommates. One day he finds an old coin along some train tracks and he begins to go mad. Ultimately, The Bye Bye Man comes to life and kills his roommates and as a final act makes the protagonist kill himself which is ultimately passed off as a mass murder. Easy peasy! Close with another person across the country finding an identical coin along some train tracks. Bam! This movie botches literally everything about what is kind of an interesting urban legend. It is nuts.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – Let’s see. The acting is terrible. The Bye Bye Man looks hilarious (I hate horror films and I can’t stop making jokes about The Bye Bye Man. Like he looks goofy as fuck. You look goofy Bye Bye Man! Yo goofy). The scares are non-existent. And what’s the one weird trick all Bye Bye Mans hate? If you just don’t fear him he can’t hurt you. Who’da thunk it? What a waste. And yet … this week’s Crime Against BMT-anity is that I just could not get over the spooky (not really) haunted house these guys live in. First, when was this movie supposed to take place? They just started to rent a house in Wisconsin, the keys are frozen to the ground when they get there, and they are wandering around in like light jackets? What kind of janky trimester system are they running over at Buchanan-Williams University that they are moving house in like November? Already call bullshit on that. Second, that house would be a nightmare to heat. It is huge. And it has these little tiny radiators. You better be snagging some plastic wrap at Menards Elliot. You better be saving big money. Because you are going to need to double wrap those definitely-not-double-paned windows in this ancient house. Ugh, I’m cold just thinking about it. The most horrifying thing about this movie is their monthly heating bill.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – Um, this is one of the most hilarious films I’ve ever seen for BMT. The movie is actually rather dull, but you cannot help but make fun of it after seeing it. I think this has a bright Smaddies Baddies future ahead of it. Man, bad horror films can be so fun. This is like The Fog level silliness. As for the StreetCreditReport.com, there won’t be many official lists until the year it nearly up, but I did find at least one list which places the Bye Bye Man in the top 20 worst of the year so far. I think it might be ultimately forgotten though, it came out quite a long time ago and wasn’t really a big film. We’ll see.

And we’ll wrap with a short Bring and Friend analysis. This week we watched the legendary Manos: The Hands of Fate, which was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (considered possibly the best episode they’ve ever done) as a kind of pre-1980 what does the pre-Blockbuster era have to offer us. This is a good example of a Z-film from the 50s/60s. It actually does remind me of Plan 9 From Outer Space. But would I want to watch more of them? Not really. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians would be another I would consider doing eventually, but they need to be special, on the IMDb Bottom 100 or something. Verdict: Good for special occasions and not much else.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Manos: The Hands of Fate Preview

As mentioned in the Bye Bye Man preview, Manos: Hands of Fate doesn’t fit traditionally into BMT because of its pre-1980 release. Buuuuuut, since it is so iconic, we felt like it deserved the real preview / recap respect. Shot in 1966 on a super low budget by a random Texan businessman/amateur theater actor I have no more expectations for this than I would a film like Birdemic. It’s just an amateurish film made by a delusional person that should never have seen the light of day. Will likely be a bore, but that’s what this cycle is all about. Finding out whether these categories are as boring as we assumed when we precluded them. Let’s go!

Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966) – BMeTric: 88.1 (#5 on the IMDb Bottom 100)

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(Obviously the reason we are here. I’m most interested in that jump in 2013. I found two plausible explanations in the wikipedia page. First there was a kickstarter that year to get a puppet version made. I think that is a bit niche and thus unlikely. That was also the year they announced a prequel being made. I’m more inclined to believe something like that’s when the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode went on netflix, but I don’t really have any evidence for that. A mystery, although likely an extremely solvable one.)

?????? – ??? stars –  ????

(I couldn’t really find a review for this film at all. There are some … but they are about at the level of this blog anyways (and our monthly hits are … not impressive). Rather than confusingly link to something like that let’s marvel at the fact that a film can be as revered at this one and yet no legitimate news source has decided to retroactively review the film. C’mon … that’s weird.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRcGukCdr3c

(I mean … like what the fuck? Just like … what the fuck?)

Directors – Harold P. Warren – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: Often referred to as a fertilizer salesman even though he actually sold insurance at the time of filming.)

Writers – Harold P. Warren (screenplay) – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: Ultimately even though he admitted the film was terrible he remained proud of it and would often where his costume throughout the rest of his life.)

Actors – Tom Neyman – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: I going to be be in some strange revival of the film (Manos Returns) next year, may God help us all.)

John Reynolds – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: Helped to design the trademark “knees” of Torgo in the film, for which he would become (mildly) famous.)

Diane Adelson – (BMT: Manos: The Hands of Fate; Notes: Became a rather accomplished model after Manos and is currently, seemingly, an antiques dealer.)

Budget/Gross – $19,000 / N/A

(Not real obviously. This film made no money basically only being shown in El Paso, Texas where is was made. The budget it seemingly real at least.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (1/14): No consensus yet.

(I’ll have to make a consensus: Barely a movie, in that soul-crushingly not-fun way we all know and love. Oof. Always though with films like this since all of the reviews are from now. Was a 0% until literally months ago for example.)

Poster – Manos: Sklogs of Fate (F)

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(This certainly didn’t have a poster when released. I think everything online is probably from the post-fame era of the film’s existence. Still an F.)

Tagline(s) – It’s Shocking! It’s Beyond Your Imagination! (F)

(I doubt this had any taglines in reality. It was basically not released so why would it need a tagline. I kept this one as a warning to all those that attempt to pass something like this off as a real tagline. I don’t accept it!)

Keyword(s) – family in peril; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.1 Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966); 57.7 The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007); 17.4 Supremacy (I) (2014);

(NOPE. Hilarious that Seeker comes up in both this and Bye Bye Man in a way though. Although in the most tangential way possible. This movie shares a keyword with it. The Bye Bye Man’s main character’s brother was in Seeker … small world?)

Notes – Cast and crew recall that John Reynolds was on LSD during filming, explaining his confused behavior and incessant twitching in virtually all of his scenes.

The entire film was shot with a hand-held camera that could only record 32 seconds of film at a time. It was also shot without sound; all the lines were dubbed later by two men and one woman. Jackey Neyman Jones cried when she first heard her dubbed voice.

The film had a gala premiere in El Paso. Many local dignitaries attended. Members of the audience began heckling the film during the premiere. Many of the film’s cast and crew sneaked out of the theater before the film ended, to avoid having to admit being part of it.

The only cast members who were paid for their performances were Jackey Neyman Jones, who got a bicycle, and the Doberman, which got a bag of dog food. The rest of the cast was supposed to receive a cut of the movie’s profits, which never materialized. Director Harold P. Warren also gave the crew shares, instead of a salary.

Lighting was limited for the film, which explains the infamous scene in which two cops literally take two steps to investigate, then turn back.

Despite the film’s negative reception, Harold P. Warren was so proud of it that he began wearing the Master’s robe every Halloween. His son Joe Neal Warren has carried on the tradition.

The film was popularized by a 1993 episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (1988), in which Joel and the Bots, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot, go mad while suffering through the film’s endless boredom. The creators of the show called this the worst film that had been featured.

In 2011, Benjamin Solovey found the work print, made from the original 16mm reversal stock. It was in pristine condition. Solovey released the digitally restored film in DVD and Blu-ray formats in October 2015. A new short documentary about the Making of Manos, including interviews with surviving cast members, was included.

The endless driving sequences at the beginning were supposed to have the opening credits over them.

The snake Michael shoots looks a lot better than the rest of the film because it was stock footage lifted from a Disney nature documentary. It’s also why the snake is on purple carpet.

Harold P. Warren only did two takes of each shot. If things didn’t go well, he reassured the novice cast that the magic of Hollywood would fix any errors in post-production.

As filming dragged on and on, the increasingly disgruntled crew began to refer to the movie as “Mangos: The Cans of Fruit”.

The Bye Bye Man Preview

We finish up our Bring a Friend cycle by transitioning to the final cycle of the year, our traditional year-end Smaddies Baddies year in review cycle. It’s where we get to watch many of the worst films of 2017 that we didn’t get to watch in one of our BMT Live! events. Now that we are BMT horror fans and aspiring aficionados it’s only fitting that we start by pairing one of the worst reviewed horror films of 2017 with one of the worst films of all times. That’s right we’re watching The Bye Bye ManOs: Hands of Fate. The Bye Bye Man has been on our radar ever since it’s pretty ridiculous trailers (and even more ridiculous name) that seemed to air constantly during last football season. In quite the coincidence I was also watching a past Survivor season (yes, I watch past seasons of Survivor for fun in my spare time. So what?) that happened to feature a contestant by the name of Jonathan Penner. Why is it a coincidence? Because Penner also wrote The Bye Bye Man. So it was literally seared into my brain that we must, must, must watch this film in the future. As for Manos: Hands of Fate, while it’s considered one of the worst films of all time it doesn’t fit traditionally into BMT because of its pre-1980 release. Shot in 1966 on a super low budget by a random Texan businessman/amateur theater actor I have no more expectations for this than I would a film like Birdemic. It’s just an amateurish film made by a delusional person that should never have seen the light of day. Will likely be a bore, but that’s what this cycle is all about. Finding out whether these categories are as boring as we assumed when we precluded them. Let’s go!

The Bye Bye Man (2017) – BMeTric: 63.4

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(That VOD bump though! This looks like a classic in the making. It ticked up a bit after the VOD release, but staying steady at 4.4 is very impressive indeed. Looking very promising for staying above 50+ BMeTric for its career.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars –  Both as a straightforward horror exercise and a look at the perils revolving around off-campus housing in Wisconsin, “The Bye Bye Man” is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.

(Oooooooh yeah. Don’t tantalize me like this RogerEbert.com, my heart can only handle so much. This movie is either going to be hilarious, or an unfortunate mind-bending disaster like The Devil Inside. I’m excited to see which.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDPf9fZl4Bs

(It’s …. The Bye Bye Man. Looks ridiculous. Like funny ridiculous. Like the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen, and my mind can only accept one thing: this is a steaming white hot pile of garbage. I’m excited.)

Directors – Stacy Title – (Known For: The Last Supper; Let the Devil Wear Black; Future BMT: Hood of Horror; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Directed her husband Jonathan Penner in this, The Last Supper, and Let the Devil Wear Black. He also wrote The Bye Bye Man.)

Writers – Jonathan Penner (screenplay by) – (Known For: Let the Devil Wear Black; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Multiple time contestant on Survivor. Despite being on three seasons he never made it all that far into any season but was a fan favorite. Also husband of director Stacy Title.)

Robert Damon Schneck (based on “The Bridge to Body Island” by) – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Guy who specializes in writing about urban legends and supernatural phenomena. His books sounds kind of fun for maybe a future read.)

Actors – Douglas Smith – (Known For: Miss Sloane; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; Blast from the Past; Antiviral; State’s Evidence; Future BMT: Ouija; Sleepover; Stage Fright; Hangman’s Curse; Terminator Genisys; The Beautiful Ordinary; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Brother of Gregory Smith who we saw in previous BMT films The Seeker: The Dark is Rising and American Outlaws.)

Lucien Laviscount – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: British actor knew to American film, but in so much British TV that I’m guessing Patrick has inadvertently seen him before in something.)

Cressida Bonas – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Tulip Fever; Notes: British actress just on the scene. Already making a BMT splash with this and Tulip Fever that also got terrible reviews this year.)

Budget/Gross – $7.4 million / Domestic: $22,395,806 (Worldwide: $26,667,197)

(Like many horror film this wins largely by being made for next to nothing. This makes me wonder whether we’ll be treated to The Bye Bye Man 2, even if it is straight to DVD. I would watch it. Gotta keep up with the development of the lore of the Bye Bye Man.)

#90 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(The chart is a tiny bit deceiving. It might look like the genre isn’t growing because the money is mostly stagnant, but given that year over year more and more theaters show a supernatural horror film that money does indeed translate to more and more profit. Kicked off by The Blair Witch Project the claim to fame and fortune for the genre is simple: like the slashers of the 80s you can make these on a dime and there is a built-in opening day audience for $10-20 million for anything even remotely coherent. Strike that: anything that promises a jump or two will turn a profit given the business model. It is incredible.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (16/69): The Bye Bye Man clumsily mashes together elements from better horror films, adding up to a derivative effort as short on originality as it is on narrative coherency or satisfying scares.

(Lack of narrative coherency? Sign me up. As for lack of scares? I’m indifferent. While I’m not scared by many older horror films, the jump scares that are sprinkled throughout modern horror still make for an uncomfortable watch even when other people say it’s not scary, so I’m skeptical. I bet that Bye Bye Man is popping up all over the place.)

Poster – The Sklog Sklog Man (A-)

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(I actually like a lot about the poster. Nice font, nice coloring, and I like the artistry that makes it look kinda like an old photo. I wish there was a bit less detail on the main monster. Should be even more of a dark silhouette. But that’s just my opinion.)

Tagline(s) – Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. (Ha. Not a tagline.)

The evil behind the most unspeakable acts has a name (D+)

(The first is not a tagline. It’s just an artistic use of text on the poster for effect, but I like how many times imdb wrote it out. So exact. The second is just not a good tagline and should just be thrown out. Just let those “Don’t think it. Don’t say it” sets of text do their job. No need for this extra shit.)

Keyword(s) – supernatural; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.4 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 75.5 Ouija (II) (2014); 72.7 The Apparition (2012); 71.0 The Last Exorcism Part II (2013); 70.6 Cell (I) (2016); 70.5 The Gallows (2015); 70.4 Devil’s Due (2014); 67.6 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 67.4 Pulse (I) (2006); 67.2 666: The Prophecy (2011);

(We kind of now need to see Ouija, and perhaps we will for an upcoming cycle (SPOILER ALERT!). Man, there are some shit supernatural films out there, I feel like all of these will be watched, and would probably represent a final completion of the Sklog’s horror film education.)

Notes – Previously rated R by the MPAA for “bloody horror violence, language and some sexuality.”

Filmed in November and December 2015, but not released until January 2017.

Doug Jones, who plays the title character, previously played Slender Man (who has similar abilities) in Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story.

The story on which the film is based, “The Bridge to Body Island,” has a much more complex mythology for the Bye Bye Man: He was an albino born in New Orleans in 1912 who ran away as a child and became a derelict who lived in a train yard. After going blind he began murdering people and cutting out their eyes and tongues, which he sewed together and brought to life using voodoo. The resultant creature became the Bye Bye Man’s literal seeing-eye dog, helping him hunt his prey. Several elements from the story- notably the dog and the motif of trains– were retained for the movie, though their purpose is left more elliptical. (Spooky)

The Bye Bye Man is the 2nd collaboration between Carrie-Anne Moss & Douglas Smith. They played doctor and patient in the film, Treading Water.

First Daughter Recap

Jamie

Samantha MacKenzie dreams of being just another girl heading off to college. One problem, she’s the daughter of the President. While attempting to blend in she falls for the hot RA down the hall. When it turns out he’s actually a secret secret service agent her world is turned upside down. Can she gain her independence and get the guy before it’s too late? Find out in… First Daughter.

What?! We open in 1952… or at least the movie seems like it in a totally wholesome gee whiz kind of way. Samantha is a sheltered young teen ready to leave for college, but unlike most teens she’s also the daughter of the President. When she heads off to the University of Redmond in the middle of election season there is a lot of pressure for her to not screw up, but the only thing that Samantha cares about is fitting in (and the secret service agents aren’t helping). After a particularly embarrassing overreaction at a frat party Samantha insists they tone down her security and she seems to get her way. At the same time she meets cute the new hot and steamy 40-year-old RA down the hall. After discovering that they both belong to the Maggie Grace Running Fan Club:

 Samantha is smitten and decides to bring her new beau home for a fabulous ball. While there she discovers that this 40-year-old man is not actually a college student (whaaaaaa?) and is actually a secret secret service agent. Devastated she decides to go on a bunch of dates and act the fool to make him jealous. Predictably this ends badly and she’s pulled from school to focus on her dad’s reelection. Everything is basically shit for a while, but after she valiantly plays the good daughter and Prez Mac is reelected she is rewarded with a one way ticket back to school sans all the pressure, minus a few agents, and plus a long distance secret service boyfriend. The End.   

Why?! The may actually be the most wholesome movie I’ve ever watched. In fact everyone almost seems like they were cast with the question “would this person seem out of place in a film from the 1930’s?” in mind. Samantha’s only motivation is to feel normal. She’s been First Daughter since she was fourteen and just wants to go off to college and find herself. She’s wide-eyed and naive and as a result just seems to want to sip malts down at the soda shop with her new beau. Unfortunately there is a larger national motivation of her dad’s reelection that throws a monkey wrench into all of it. It’s interesting that the movie actually has her motivation take a back seat to the election in the end without anyone really saying, “wow, that really sucks for her.” It seems like they expect her to accept it and she does so valiantly.

What?! There is only one thing that Samantha MacKenzie reaches for after a long day of running around with a hot secret service agent avoiding the droves of paparazzi on her tail. A nice cold Diet Dr. Pepper. Mmmm, there’s nothing diet about it.

Who?! 4x the Who?! action this week as we have singer Amerie doing a serviceable job in the major role as Samantha’s roommate. We also have a fictional POTUS alert, with Michael Keaton as Prez Mac. We get a several cameos with Jay Leno, Joan Rivers, and Vera Wang all portraying themselves. Finally, Michael Kamen, an Oscar nominated composer, got an “In Memory” credit after passing away during production. That’s a lot of BMT magic right there. Bah dah bah bah bah. I’m loving it.

Where?! The majority of the film takes place in Redmond, CA at the University of Redmond. These places are of course made up and it’s always interesting to have a fake university in a film that is meant to be on par with institutions like Georgetown. Some parts of the film also take place in Washington, D.C., but not enough to get an A. B.

When?! Takes place at the start of college (end of August) and finishes at the Inauguration Ball after her father’s election. So the film takes the entire fall and into winter. Gonna bump up the grade as well for a clear Halloween scene where Samantha gets too drunk and makes a fool of herself while dressed in a skimpy costume. Not a secret holiday film, but close. B-.

As for our mockbuster Friend this week, Transmorphers is pretty much the most useless thing I’ve ever watched and I almost exclusively spend my time watching terrible movies. It’s not even dog poo in our faces. It’s like they computer generated some dog poo and then tried to push it into your face and claim that it was just as gross and that you totally experienced dog poo in your face. But you didn’t. At least a real dog poo in your face makes you feel something. This film made me feel nothing except sorrow that I was still watching it. I can assure you we will not being watching any more mockbusters any time soon. They are terrible. The Asylum should be ashamed. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Teeny bop romantic comedies are all about three things: a hot guy to bring on the romantical storylines, growing up and learning some valuable and wholesome lessons, and, of course, a relatable young starlet. And what is more relatable that being literally the daughter of the President of the United States!? Well … at least two movies thought so, let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I thought how they handled her life in the university was perhaps somewhat realistic (all the way down to her just bouncing to go campaigning for months without a second thought). I’m also pretty shocked Amerie hasn’t really been in anything else, she was better than you would think. Besides that basically the only bright spot was Michael Keaton as the President. Let’s get a Prequel! Like I could see him being the same character from Gung Ho! working his way up from the auto industry, through the reinstated union system. We open on his election campaign for the governor of Pennsylvania where he is struggling to get go-get-em attitude across to the down-and-out workers across the commonwealth. Abandoning a fundraising event, he walks anonymously through a rural coal mining town when who should he meet-cute but a young bar owner Melanie who shows him a thing or two about what the locals really value. After a day or two his ruse falls apart as his campaign absence begins to make national news. Can he get back into Melanie’s (and Pennsylvania’s) good graces? Gung Ho! 2: First Daughter 2 … huh, we’ll have to work on the name, that makes no sense.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – Katie Holmes cannot run, it is not quite Here on Earth level, but it isn’t far off. The “twist” is so obvious I literally couldn’t figure out whether I had seen the movie before. I was like “wait, yeah, now I remember, he’s a secret service agent … wait, I thought I had seen Chasing Liberty not this … does that have the same twist?!”. It really sinks the movie. In the current political climate it is also bonkers that she takes her friends on a joyride on Air Force One. Like, that is thousands of taxpayer dollars dude, chill out on exploiting your father’s position. I feel like the relatively recent Down to You with Julia Stiles is the Sklognalogy here. Just how silly it is, and the collegiate setting I guess. Mainly because the real analogy is Chasing Liberty, which we have not seen. [Editor’s Note: Wait… we haven’t seen Chasing Liberty? I feel like we’ve watched it… or maybe it was just us watching this movie.]

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I don’t think this has a legacy unless it turns out Chasing Liberty is basically an identical movie. In which case it would have serious double feature potential. As far as StreetCreditReport.com, it it likely tough given that the mid-00s were chock-full of terrible films. And indeed, besides a smattering of IMDb lists, this film just gets lost among Ella Enchanted and Christmas with the Kranks it would seem. Only so many places for a terrible light-hearted comedy (more like light-on-the-comedy, amirite?) to go I suppose.

Finally, a blessedly short word about our Friend Transmorphers! This was a Mockbuster friend and as one would expect from a cheap intentionally-bad knockoff, it was so-intentionally-bad-it-is-actually-somehow-worse. Ten minutes into this film I thought to myself “you know, I could probably just turn this off and pretend I watched it. Jamie would never know”. I almost walked out of BMT … it was a devastating moment. Existential even. BMT has been so good to me over the years I would never dare question its role in my life, but somehow Transmorphers made me question the unquestionable. How DARE you Transmorphers you big ol’ pile of shit. How dare you. Mockbusters are out! You hear me Transmorphers!? ONE STRIKE AND YOU ARE OUT …

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs

First Daughter Preview

I know what all of our faithful readers are thinking and it rhymes with Geostorm, but slow your roll. At the time that we had to choose the films for this week we just didn’t know what the reviews for Geostorm would be like… … … OK, so we did pretty much knew what the reviews for Geostrom would be like, but we couldn’t risk it getting “good for what it is” bullshit reviews that propelled it to 41% on RT. So this week we stayed the course and moved to our Games category where we aimed to get a Mockbuster friend to tag along. A Mockbuster is a film released with a similar title and concept to a major blockbuster hoping to ride the hype to minor profits. In the end there was only one Mockbuster that would do. That’s right! We’re watching TransmorFirst Daughter! Transmorphers is obviously a play off of Transformers and makes me sad to even think about… should be excruciating. As for First Daughter, the Katie Holmes vehicle is both on the Calendar and is an abstract part of the Periodic Table of Smellements (for #1). An unexpectedly important film in the BMTverse. Let’s go!

First Daughter (2004) – BMeTric: 56.5

FirstDaughter_BMeT

FirstDaughter_RV

(Sub-5.0 is a brutal IMDb score, but that isn’t a surprise, the film has brutal reviews. Other than that you have the regression to the mean and 2011 inflection, but not much else interesting. In other world, these plots take after this movie (boom).)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Fairy-tale romance for wholesome teens centers on the sheltered daughter of the U.S. President who goes off to college to get away from her omnipresent Secret Service detail and falls for a hunky student whose true identity holds a big surprise (not really). Chasing Liberty was bad enough; did we really need another formulaic, juvenile variation of Roman Holiday the same year?

(The answer to the last question is no. I’ve never seen Roman Holiday (I know, a travesty, I have too little experience with film prior to 1980 I admit), but maybe I’ll check it out now. How can I properly assess this purported retelling if I never experienced the original telling?)

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

(That looks … generic. Honestly they kind of give away the twist hinted at by Leonard Maltin … just look at what Marc Blucas is wearing in certain scenes and you’ll get it. The soundtrack for this trailer is also bonkers.)

Directors – Forest Whitaker – (Known For: Waiting to Exhale; Future BMT: Hope Floats; BMT: First Daughter; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Battlefield Earth in 2001; Notes: Wait wait wait wait wait … the Forest Whitaker directed this? Weird shit. He’s enjoying a bit of a career resurgence with Lee Daniel’s The Butler and the most recent Star Wars films.)

Writers – Jessica Bendinger (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Bring It On; Aquamarine; Future BMT: The Truth About Charlie; Stick It; BMT: First Daughter; Notes: A former model turned novelist turned screenwriter/director. She hasn’t done much after her directorial debut Stick It, but she certainly had a burst of success in the mid-2000s.)

Jerry O’Connell (story) – (BMT: First Daughter; Notes: Yuuup, that Jerry O’Connell. Derisively known as the fat kid from Stand By Me, he ultimately had a very successful career in film. He is currently married to Rebecca Romijn with whom he has twin daughters. We. Love. Twin stories. Especially because Jerry O’Connell seems like a cool cat.)

Kate Kondell (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde; BMT: First Daughter; Notes: There isn’t much about her, but she’s written multiple pixie / fairy direct-to-video films including the Tinkerbell pirate fairy film I remember seeing a million advertisements for at one point in my life.)

Actors – Katie Holmes – (Known For: Logan Lucky; Batman Begins; Phone Booth; Woman in Gold; The Gift; Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark; Go; Thank You for Smoking; The Ice Storm; Wonder Boys; The Unbeatables; Pieces of April; Muppets from Space; Touched with Fire; The Extra Man; Future BMT: The Son of No One; Teaching Mrs. Tingle; Abandon; The Romantics; Disturbing Behavior; Mad Money; The Singing Detective; Miss Meadows; The Giver; Days and Nights; All We Had; BMT: Jack and Jill; First Daughter; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screen Couple for Jack and Jill in 2012; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress in 2006 for Batman Begins; and in 2012 for Jack and Jill; Notes: Most famous for her role in Dawson’s Creek. She subsequently became famous after marrying (and divorcing) Tom Cruise. She’s worked steadily throughout her career and is in the cast of the upcoming Ocean’s Eight.)

Marc Blucas – (Known For: Brawl in Cell Block 99; Sleeping with Other People; We Were Soldiers; Knight and Day; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Pleasantville; Red State; The Jane Austen Book Club; I Capture the Castle; Mother and Child; Sunshine State; Prey for Rock & Roll; Future BMT: Meet Dave; They; Summer Catch; View from the Top; Eddie; Thr3e; Stay Cool; The Alamo; The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human; BMT: First Daughter; Notes: Most well known for having a super fake sounding name. He’s had moderate success in television most recently, and will be in a new Nic Cage film coming out next year, exciting stuff.)

Michael Keaton – (Known For: Spider-Man Homecoming; Beetlejuice; The Founder; Spotlight; Batman; Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance); Cars; Batman Returns; Minions; Jackie Brown; Toy Story 3; The Other Guys; RoboCop; Much Ado About Nothing; Out of Sight; Herbie Fully Loaded; Mr. Mum; Night Shift; The Merry Gentleman; Multiplicity; Future BMT: Jack Frost; White Noise; Post Grad; Desperate Measures; Speechless; Gung Ho; One Good Cop; Inventing the Abbotts; The Squeeze; American Assassin; The Last Time; BMT: First Daughter; Need for Speed; Notes: He’s originally from Pittsburgh (all the way down to starting his career working on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood). He had a few minor roles before landing in Ron Howard’s Night Shift where he and Henry Winkler famously swapped roles (or at least characteristics) to much critical acclaim.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $9,055,921 (Worldwide: $10,592,180)

(Disaster. If you look at the notes there is a whole thing about moving the release because Chasing Liberty flopped so hard … didn’t help.)

#26 for the President genre

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(The thing I think I like the most about this genre is that is really is a recent phenomenon. There is a kind of Blockbuster aspect to representing Presidents and speculating about their lives. And this is despite that fact that political cartoons have been skewering presidenting for literally hundreds of years! We love fake presidents (so much we once considered a whole mini-game concerning it), so it is great to see Keaton put on the suit and try out the role.)

#260 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(Why do I remember speculating about this … anyways, comes right in the long plateau of a peak for the genre which has had a rather sudden downturn. I probably guessed this last time, but: romantic comedies aren’t tentpoles and are simply getting less screens I think in the new franchise era. Probably doesn’t help that of all film types this one might actually benefit the least from the big screen experience. VOD here we come!)

#47 for the Teen Romance genre

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(Just below Here on Earth (be still my beating heart!). That giant peak? You guessed it, the Twilight Saga. The John Hughes era of the 80s were the heyday, but the late 90s saw a small resurgence. With The Fault in Our Stars and other YA novels starting to find an audience it is possible we might be entering a new post-Twilight bump as well. We’ll see.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (7/85): First Daughter is a bland and charmless fairy tale that fails to rise above the formula.

(Wow. Sub-10% is nuts, and I’m stunned a film like this gets a coveted position like that. Especially when the consensus might as well be: Blah. I’m getting intrigued.)

Poster – First Sklog-hter (D)

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(Gah! I’m blind! Why is this poster sooooo white? Jesus. It’s also just a poster for Katie Holmes: The Movie… there is nothing First Daughter in this at all. Font is shit too. Boooo. Not an F because it doesn’t actually hurt my brain, only my eyes.)

Tagline(s) – The girl who always stood out is finally getting the chance to fit in. (B)

(I like the effort and the construction. Just too long and still doesn’t work in the whole “daughter of the president” thing.)

Keyword(s) – college; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.6 The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000); 71.3 Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011); 67.4 Pulse (I) (2006); 66.9 Teen Wolf Too (1987); 65.6 Bodyguard (2011); 64.1 The Roommate (I) (2011); 63.3 The Comebacks (2007); 62.7 Smiley (2012); 60.3 Soul Survivors (2001); 59.9 Flubber (1997);

(Top one is fake, but this does remind me we need to watch Teen Wolf Too at some points. Probably the only one that I really want to see from that list.)

Notes – Vera Wang designed all of Katie Holmes’ ballgowns for this film. (Her originals usually retail for over $10,000 each.) (That last bit is not a comment by us, the parentheses are in the IMDb notes. No comment otherwise)

The release date for the film was pushed back after the similarly themed Chasing Liberty (2004) flopped at the box office. (Ha! I think I’ve seen that one at one point …)

The movie James and Samantha are watching in the movie theater is The Girl Can’t Help It (1956). Director Forest Whitaker was originally set to direct a remake of the 1956 comedy after the release of “First Daughter”.

This film is dedicated to Michael Kamen, the film’s composer.

The book Katie Holmes is reading in the library is Hermann Hesse’s ‘Siddhartha’. (It’s on the BMT Not-Necessarily-Bad Book List!)

In the scene where Katie Holmes and Ameriie are sliding down the slope on the slip-n-slide, Katie Holmes inadvertently pulled down Aneriie’s sweatpants while struggling to climb over the hay bales, exposing Ameriie’s bottom in view of the camera. The director chose to leave this in the final cut of the film, since it was a spontaneous event and quite in line with the carefree nature of the scene. (The director being Forest fucking Whitaker)

Clan of the Cave Bear Recap

Jamie

After an earthquake kills her mother a Cro-Magnon child, Ayla, is rescued by a clan of Neanderthals. While most accept her into the clan, she is tormented by the future leader, Broud, and struggles to abide by the strict customs of the clan so alien to her own. Can she overcome the evolutionary gap before it’s too late? Find out in… The Clan of the Cave Bear.

How?! We open on Ayla’s mother getting sucked into the earth due to an earthquake. Left to fend for herself she wanders about, eventually getting attacked by a lion and surviving only long enough to be found by a Neanderthal clan looking for a new cave. The leader of the clan wants to abandon the child, but eventually relents when Ayla leads them to a perfect new cave. She seems destined to be one of their own. Over the years Ayla is slowly accepted into the clan, except by the jealous future leader Broud who resents the freedom that Ayla seems to have. While she bucks the strict cultural dogma of the clan by secretly learning to use a sling, Broud takes pleasure in beating her and forcing himself upon her, eventually leading to her pregnancy. Soon thereafter she is caught using the sling when she saves a young boy from a wolf attack. Exiled for a month in the harsh winter there seems to be little chance of her survival, but through her adaptation skills and ingenuity she gives birth and survives the winter alone (seems unlikely, but whatever). After her return, her place in the clan only grows, much to the chagrin of Broud. In the end Broud is officially named leader of the tribe whereby Ayla is exiled and forced to forge her own way in the world. This injustice causes an irreparable rift in the clan meant to show how unwillingness to adapt is the eventual downfall of the Neanderthals. Science! I know that synopsis sounds uneventful, but I assure you it’s even less eventful than I described. The End.

Why?! Motivations in the film are few and far between. As in the book, the film spends most of its time speculating on the lives of Neanderthals. The day to day struggles of Ayla are rooted in her having a different sense of self and concept of gender roles due to differences in the brain of Neanderthals compared to Cro-Magnon humans. This is of course based on science… JK LOLZ. It’s not. The Neanderthals can see into the past and the future and shit with their crazy Neanderthal brains and are basically magic. If there is any motivation at all it’s for the clan to survive and Ayla to fit in. The clan cannot adapt to her feminist ways and her exile presages the decline of the Neanderthals as a dominant species on Earth. Boom roasted, Neanderthals. You might be magic, but Ayla can do math. You donzo.

What?! There is nothing more I would have loved than to see product placement in this film. Would have made up for a somewhat bizarre but mostly boring BMT film. But alas, no quick draughts of Coca-Cola before the big musk ox hunt and I’m unfamiliar with the brands of cocaine from the 80’s.

Who?! We get a true celebrity appearance in this film. During a large clan gathering there is a bear fight. The bear is played by none other than Bart the Bear, one of the most famous animal actors ever. We’ve seen him before in On Deadly Ground and we’ll see him again in Meet the Deedles. The funniest rumor is that he got enough votes to be nominated for an Oscar for the 1988 film The Bear, but rules precluded animals from receiving nominations, so it couldn’t go forward. I guess the Oscars figured out what the officials in Air Bud couldn’t.

Where?! The book is pretty clear exactly where this all takes place (Ukraine), but the film obviously doesn’t have a good way of talking about the setting. Doesn’t even really try. But ignorance is no excuse for the law. Jamie’s law of settings is ironclad. F.

When?! Likely takes place in the Late Pleistocene period when the Neanderthals were heading towards extinction. Impossible to get any more accurate than that. D-.

I could not resist the allure of reading the smash hit novel that this film was based on, even if it was a 500 page feminist novel from the 80’s. In the end it was a pretty slow go. I liked the characters and it was certainly interesting to read the speculation on the life and biology of Neanderthals (although a lot of the magic memory stuff she did was more than laughable). At the same time I don’t think the message and construction of the book aged very well. It’s primarily an allegory pertaining to the second-wave feminism of the 60’s and 70’s, which makes the life and culture of the Neanderthals oddly modern feeling and yet the message dated. This actually penetrated the film as well where a major complaint by reviewers was how modern everything seemed. Overall it was a pretty straight adaptation with some events merged together and small changes near the end… but largely faithful probably to its detriment. Patrick?  

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Have you ever had a dream where things are happening around you but it is all kind of fuzzy and unfocused and when you wake up you can’t remember it? When you are awake and that happens to you it’s called a Clan of the Cave Bear. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Prequel, Sequel, Remake) – You can appreciate why the book exists and what the author was trying to do. She had researched the time period and decided to make a fictionalized version of this world she knew so well. The movie basically has some decent sets and settings. Other than that though … let’s remake it! So, the one good thing really was the setting. So we get back to Vancouver, start shooting those vistas! No sign language, as a matter of fact I want this to be action packed! Hunting, the empowerment of young women, a strong independent lead living in Clan of the Cave Bear. I’m going to go ahead and cut out the multiple rape scenes as well, and let’s go ahead and give the main villain his comeuppance and the lead a happy ending, and … What’s that? Yes, I said multiple rape scenes, it is … not fantastic. You know what? This is irredeemable, I don’t even want to watch my own remake!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – First, this movie is stone cold boring. It is effectively an art piece showing in painful detail the machinations of caveman sign language. Second, there are, as I said, multiple uncomfortable rape scenes and in general the struggle of the lead is neither particularly fulfilling nor ultimately redemptive. They stayed a bit too close to home in creating a villain and then never bothering to punish him, and creating a hero and never bothering to save her. Dare I say the film comes across as somewhat nihilistic even. It takes place before any familiar religion so … alright, this is getting a bit heavy, but let’s say by the end I just kind of felt horrible for early human beings more than anything else. Finally, and maybe it is a matter of a brutal filming schedule or demanding make-up process, but some of the actors look a little zonked out. I don’t want to speculate about drugs or anything else, but I literally laughed out loud a few times as the actors looked around with unfocused deadpan looks on their faces. It was weird. I’m going to go with an old favorite of BMT for the Sklognalogy with God and Generals. This 4+ hour epic is basically just an exercise in filming accurate portrayals of Civil War troop maneuvers. And it is as exciting as it sounds. The one thing I thought it lacked was detailed sign language though.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – Legacy will be the same as Gods and Generals in which I might remember it for being so boring. Unlike Gods and Generals though it didn’t have a comically long running time going for it, so it is more likely just remembered as a more-bad-than-BMT film of this year. I’m kind of stunned, but the film has almost no cred. No Razzies (an Oscar nod even) and nowhere really mentioned it as a particularly bad film. It just kind of got forgotten. Hey, look at that … we all agree.

You can read the review of Air Bud: Golden Receiver separately, but does it change our minds about Kids’ films? Actually … the more I reflect on it the more it kind of does. I liked watching Air Bud 2. I thought it was fascinating from two levels. First, the B story is kind of an interesting part of the kids’ film genre, and exploring that more could be very fun. Second, something like a nearly-direct-to-DVD sequel has its own kind of charm. Little Giants, The Big Green, The Mighty Ducks, all had that kind of charm. Perhaps sports movies are the key? Regardless it is definitely something to consider, especially in the new year when we are considering a modification to the cycle. Stay tuned.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Air Bud: Golden Receiver Recap

Jamie

Everything is going smoothly for Josh and his basketball playing dog Buddy until a new man shows up in his Mom’s life. Turning to football to get out of the house he finds that Buddy is just as good at catching a pass as scoring some hoops. Can they team up to win the big game and become emotionally open to his Mom’s new beau? Find out in… Air Bud: Golden Receiver.

How?! When we last saw Josh in Air Bud he was just coming to terms with his father’s tragic death through the magic of his basketball playing dog. Now we jump forward and Josh’s mom is looking for that companionship that has been missing for the last several years. One day while out rollerblading she meets cute the new veterinarian in town and boy howdy do the sparks fly. Josh is pretty confused about all this and turns to football to take his mind off things and get him out of the house when the vet comes over (of course this backfires and only brings them closer. Gah!). Happily taking up the role of backup QB, Josh is thrust into action following a shoulder injury to the starter. Oh no! But they suck! He’ll look like such a loser! But wait! Buddy runs onto the field and helps Josh score a touchdown. Suddenly Buddy is the new star player of the team and no one seems to have an issue with this (even when a dog is chasing kids down to force fumbles… which seems problematic). On the day of the big championship game Buddy is kidnapped by a couple of Russian circus owners (in a completely forgettable subplot), leaving the team to fend for themselves. After going down big, they’re saved when the vet rescues Buddy and brings him to the game. On the final play Josh finds the Air Bud within himself and tosses a Hail Mary to an actual human player for the big win! That’s not the only win of the day either because the vet wins in Josh’s heart and the family lives happily ever after. The End.

Why?! I got to say, you can make fun of this film all you want (and there’s a lot to make fun of… a dog plays on a football team after all), but the motivations in this film are actually touching and done with a nuance that you see surprisingly rarely in kids films. Josh’s entire motivation for playing football is to get out of the house when his Mom’s new boyfriend comes over. He wrestles with the emotions that comes with watching her date again and wondering whether liking this new man in his life is a betrayal to his dead father. Buddy once again helps him find love in the sport and grow to realize that not all change is bad and that just because you love football doesn’t mean you love basketball any less (get it?)… it’s nice.

What?! I barely mentioned the subplot of the film which is a pair of Russian circus owners going around the country stealing talented animals. It is a film ruiner and something that should have just been cut in favor of literally anything else. Why do I mention this terrible storyline in the What?! Section? Because one of the owners gets his kicks by watching the 1976 film Gus about a field goal kicking mule who can kick 100 yard field goals. I ran the numbers and indeed that would make them almost undefeatable. A team averages 12 possessions a game. If they could score three points on each they would average at least 36 points a game! They better add a “No Mules” rule… but leave the question of dogs playing open.

Who?! By the second film the original Buddy has passed away, so his part was portrayed by four different dogs: Chance, Zak, Chase, and Rush (sounds like fraternity buddies at Delta Omega Gamma, boom). Surprisingly none of them reprised their role in the subsequent films.

Where?! Like its predecessor this film is set in beautiful Fernfield, Washington. Of course they bely the Vancouver filming location by the ridiculously Canadian way that everyone says “sorry.” B.

When?! We open on the first day of school and end at the football championship. So we can safely say this runs from September to November… however, no exact date was observed so have to keep this a D+.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! A sad boy sits at home, his mother on a date, his world reeling. The babysitter asks “Do you want to watch a movie?” Fine. What’s this? A sequel to Air Bud? He likes dogs, he liked that movie. Whatever. But the movie speaks to him! He understands! Just because his mother might go on dates or even get married doesn’t mean she doesn’t love him! And he doesn’t need to forget his father! Air Bud 2 you did it!! One problem: he doesn’t like Air Bud anymore because this movie was trash. It’s a wash! Let’s get into it.

The Good (Sequel / Prequel / Remake) – As I hinted at in the intro the film, much like its predecessor, has its heart in the right place. The B-story works. Which, for a kids film is rare. Examples of real B-stories from children’s films: In Old Dogs Robin Williams and John Travolta are trying to sign Japanese baseball players to a sports marketing contract; In Nine Lives Kevin Spacey’s protege is trying to push him out and force a hostile takeover of his company … in what universe are kids interested in such things? Here, the B-story is that a kid’s mother is starting to date again a few years after the sudden tragic death of his father, and the conflicted feelings of what this means in the young boy’s life. That is a real B-story which probably actually did help some poor kid get through a tough time. The guy who plays the coach also is a very well-written character with a great message to give to the kids. I can appreciate those parts outside of the quality of the surrounding film. I want a sequel though. In this long-awaited sequel we find Air Bud finding success in the most unexpected of all places: high finance! When Air Bud shows an uncanny ability to pick stocks, Josh, now a small fry at the biggest investment bank on Wall Street, quickly finds himself climbing the corporate ladder. Trying to keep his secret weapon under wraps he ultimately uncovers a terrible conspiracy: his boss is selling highly leveraged real estate options to the state teacher union pension fund in an immoral get-rich-quick scheme! Uh-oh! Can Josh expose his boss (and get the girl) before it is too late?! He better, because if he doesn’t Air Bud might just do it for him! Air Bud: Board of Direct-Furs!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – The Boris and Natasha-esque bad guys are by far the worst part of this film. They probably would have been cut if not for the fact that the film would then be a svelte, far more entertaining 60 minutes long. The first half of this film has basically no football playing dog which is a tragedy. But its biggest crime is the football itself. A few things: (1) The images of a dog chasing down children in a fun middle school football game is terrifying. Immediately parents would be like “nope, this is actually too far. It was funny for a second, but dogs actually can’t play middle school football”. (2) A kid destroys Air Bud in the championship game and injures him! Insane, but well within the rules set out in the Air Bud universe. (3) The first touchdown by Air Bud should have resulted in a  too many men on the field penalty since he comes off of the sideline to catch the ball. Completely takes you out of the movie. What? Did they line up with ten men to start? Get out of here! I didn’t even get to the announcers, and the bumbling Abbott and Costello-esque fat-and-skinny refs which appear solely for the Championship game. I’m going to go future on the Sklognalogy because I think the closest film I can think of is Little Giants, a staple of childhood viewing for us, but not yet a BMT film. Ludicrous, actually the same B-story (her father dating, and a bonus am-I-not-feminine-enough? tom-boy story … huh, kid’s films are kind of all the same), and the rags-to-riches tale of a down-and-out sports team winning the championship against all odds.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – This could have a solid legacy if it revived our trust in bad kids films. And even then it is probably the most entertainingly bad kids film I’ve seen in quite a while. So it has that going for it. No street cred, but that isn’t a surprise. I was somewhat stunned to see Leonard Maltin even have a review for the film. And people like Ebert tend to pick on the “big boys” of the year like Armageddon. Both films this week with no cred, for shame.

I’ll leave the bring a friend analysis for the Clan of the Cave Bear recap. And, no, I did not feel the need to rewatch Air Bud, which I have seen. So no homework to report. Cheerios,

The Sklogs