Oh man, so here I was with my twin bro trying to find our father (and man was that a comedy of errors!), and all of a sudden Ving Rhames destroyed me while I was playing catch with Terry Bradshaw! And now I can’t remember a thing (and I think I shattered my spine, but whatever). Can you remember what happened in Father Figures?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) We open the film at a wedding, with two best men played by Ed Helms and Owen Wilson, twins with a somewhat rocky relationship. What do both twins do for a living?
2) Ed Helms learns that the person he thought was his father was not, in fact, his father. How does he learn this fact?
3) Name the four people the twins end up thinking is their father during the course of the film, and where do they live?
4) Prior to the big end scene, the twins meet Katt Williams, who plays a hitchhiker. Where is he trying to go and why?
5) In the end of the movie what new job do the twins have together?
Rich is dragged into a dark ceremonial chamber. He looks wildly between the identical Nic Cages. How could such a monstrosity be? Their ideniticalness is perverse. Unnatural. And yet their grips are like iron, with full twin power. And Poe! Sweet Poe. Dragged to whatever depths by John Travolta’s dark magic. The horror, the horror. As Rich is strung up to a ceremonial table, the Nics prep a variety of terrible tools to extract the delicate shard of the Obsidian Dongle from his heart. They sing a jolly Christmas tune, showing off those pipes that both Nic Cage and John Travolta are well known for. The tune brings back memories, and spur on vivid hallucinations of his past life as it flashes before his eyes. His childhood in Louisiana, a place of wonder. His mother’s fresh baked bread, the smell mingling with his father’s pipe smoke. His denim jacket! Oh how he and Poe laughed over the jackets. They were a present from his parents to both of them. They always treated Poe like a son, especially after… the accident. The jackets were totally rad and had a couple white cobras stitched into the back with the words “No Rulez 4 Life.”. He remembers when they first put them on. It felt like they’d never take them off. In fact, they never had and have been wearing them this entire time. They were so intertwined with those jackets that there was no need to ever mention them before. And in that moment when they first donned their trademark jackets his father said, “look at my boys… brothers for life. As long as you have each other you’ll never lose.” His father… Poe’s father, too, after… the accident. Using the last of his strength, Rich utters one word, “No.” That’s right! We’re watching Father Figures from 2017. I remember seeing the trailer for this film and thinking, “someday we’ll watch that for BMT.” And here we are. Destiny that a twin cycle would come along and Father Figures would be there to take its rightful Place. Let’s go!
Poe awakens. He’s covered in dirt and rocks and can barely move. Suddenly he feels the Earth shift above him and two hulking hands pull him from the rubble. “Are… are you dead?” two hulking identical monsters ask him, their ludicrous fashion stretched to the breaking point by their muscles. Using the last of his strength, Poe utters one word, “No.” That’s right! As a twin friend for this twin cycle we are watching Twin Sitters starring bodybuilders-turned-actors David and Peter Paul aka The Barbarian Brothers. They are twins and they are babysitting twin. Need I say more.
Father Figures (2017) – BMeTric: 41.9; Notability: 32
(That notability is precisely what I would expect for a big comedy, I now know enough about notability to know that. And I bet in a few years this is a 50+ BMeTric. Just need to drop a few points off of that IMDb rating.)
RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – “Father Figures” is what you might call a bastard comedy, and not just for the fact that it was once boldly titled “Bastards” and tells of two twins (played by Ed Helms and Owen Wilson) road-tripping to find their biological father. As a kicked-around project originally meant for a November 2016 release, and then a January 2017 release, and now coming out in time to be the comedy alternative to “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” it has that uncertain lineage in its very construction. Filled with insincere wackiness and sappiness, “Father Figures” never quite figures out whether it wants to be a raunchy, zippy road movie or a more dialogue-driven dramedy. Despite having no personality of its own, this movie just yearns to be recognized at all.
(Love the twin shoutout in the review itself. And this appears to be a very common complaint: the film has the feel of a family friendly road trip film, but then swerves inexplicable into a rauchy sex farce randomly. That could be interesting I suppose.)
(This definitely seems like a cheerful road trip comedy for the most part. Really weird they kind of went the Wedding Crashers route in the end. Probably just was received poorly with notes like “I want to see Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers, and Ed Helms in Hangover again please.”)
Directors – Lawrence Sher – (BMT: Father Figures; Notes: Primarily a cinematographer he was nominated for an Oscar for his work on Joker. He also was the Director of Photography on the Hangover films, so he worked with Ed Helms before at the very least.)
Writers – Justin Malen (written by) – (Known For: Office Christmas Party; BMT: Father Figures; Notes: Wrote a Chinese comedy called Wished (under what I assume is a pseudonym Hongwen Mai), and is writing the script for the upcoming Clifford the Big Red Dog film.)
Actors – Owen Wilson – (Known For: Wonder; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Midnight in Paris; Cars; Wedding Crashers; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Inherent Vice; Night at the Museum; Cars 3; Night at the Museum 2; Meet the Parents; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; The Royal Tenenbaums; Starsky & Hutch; Zoolander; The Cable Guy; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; No Escape; The Big Year; The Darjeeling Limited; Future BMT: Breakfast of Champions; How Do You Know; Little Fockers; You, Me and Dupree; Are You Here; Drillbit Taylor; Hall Pass; Masterminds; Free Birds; Cars 2; Meet the Fockers; The Internship; The Hero of Color City; BMT: Zoolander 2; Anaconda; Marmaduke; The Haunting; I Spy; Father Figures; Around the World in 80 Days; Behind Enemy Lines; Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Zoolander 2 in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Notes: Went to the University of Texas with Wes Anderson with whom he’s collaborated a number of times including The Royal Tenenbaums. Says “wow” in a distinct and easily mimicked way.)
Ed Helms – (Known For: We’re the Millers; The Hangover; Tag; Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story; Night at the Museum 2; Monsters vs. Aliens; A Futile and Stupid Gesture; The Senator; They Came Together; Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay; Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie; Jeff, Who Lives at Home; Stretch; Everyone’s Hero; Mune, le gardien de la lune; Cedar Rapids; Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story; Future BMT: Meet Dave; Evan Almighty; Coffee & Kareem; The Hangover Part III; The Clapper; Semi-Pro; Confessions of a Shopaholic; The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard; Christmas with the Coopers; Corporate Animals; Vacation; Someone Marry Barry; I Do… Until I Don’t; The Hangover Part II; BMT: Father Figures; Notes: At this point maybe most famous for his role in The Office than anything else. Started in UCB, and was a correspondent for the Daily Show as well, and is an accomplished banjo player.)
Glenn Close – (Known For: Guardians of the Galaxy; Dangerous Liaisons; The Natural; Mars Attacks!; Fatal Attraction; What Happened to Monday; Air Force One; Tarzan; 101 Dalmatians; The Big Chill; The Girl with All the Gifts; In & Out; Crooked House; The Wife; The World According to Garp; Cookie’s Fortune; Hoodwinked; Albert Nobbs; 5 to 7; Reversal of Fortune; Future BMT: 102 Dalmatians; Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil; The Stepford Wives; The Divorce; Mary Reilly; The Wilde Wedding; Anesthesia; Hook; Maxie; The House of the Spirits; The Chumscrubber; BMT: Pinocchio; Father Figures; Evening; Warcraft: The Beginning; Notes: Has won three Tony awards for her work on Broadway. Her role in Hook is as the Boo Box guy in an undisclosed cameo role.)
Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $17,501,244 (Worldwide: $25,601,244)
(Not great. A film like this you’d expect at the very least a $50 million take, but you’d be quite pleased if you could pull off that rare $100 million comedy. Instead it kind of scrapes out what was likely a break even result once VOD was counted.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (8/48): Success has many fathers, but failure is Father Figures.
(Wowza, someone pay whoever came up with that insane consensus! I kind of love it, but probably because I hate it so much. Reviewer Highlight: Distinguished mainly by its overqualified cast and lack of inspiration, “Father Figures” can’t decide whether it’s a gross-out comedy or an uplifting tale of brotherly love; it embraces the worst of both worlds. – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times)
(Nooooooooooo. This is everything I’ve been fighting against in talking about these posters. Look at that color scheme. Just a bunch of dumb human faces on a white background. Gross. Look at the spacing, the font, what story does it tell?! My god, it’s horrible. F.)
Tagline(s) – Finding Their Father Would Be a Family Miracle (F)
(Is… is “family miracle” a phrase? Are they doing this on purpose just to hurt me? What the hell is this tagline? Either my brain isn’t working and I’m missing a pun or this is one of the most nonsensical, trash taglines in history. You better hope my brain is broken.)
Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Despicable Me 3 (2017), The Great Outdoors (1988), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), Meet the Robinsons (2007)
Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 13.4 Little Women (2018);
BMT: Jack and Jill (2011), Father Figures (2017), Pluto Nash (2002), The Identical (2014)
(Note for the coming weeks, I’ve added this keyword to a bunch of the upcoming films … so that’ll be nice. I mean, if they come in. I haven’t had much luck with IMDb keywords if I’m being honest, they are sticklers over there at IMDb. Unlike wikipedia, where I rule the roost. As for this film, you can see by 2017 we had entered the post-Harry Potter lull. I predict twins will be charging back to become a keyword force in American cinema yet!)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Owen Wilson is No. 1 billed in Father Figures and No. 2 billed in Zoolander 2, which also stars Penélope Cruz (No. 4 billed) who is in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (No. 2 billed), which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch The Internship, and Wicker Park we can get the HoE Number down to 12.
Notes – The script was sold less than two days after being pitched, in an impressive thirty-six hours.
Originally titled “Bastards”, but changed to “Father Figures” in September 2017, just three months before release.
The front desk worker in the hotel is Andrew Wilson; Owen Wilson’s older brother. (Oh wow, a rare Andrew Wilson sighting. He’s in quite a few small films at this point)
Bill Irwin filmed scenes as Dr. Tinkler, but Christopher Walken took over the role during re-shoots. (Big oooooof)
Although they play twins, Owen Wilson is five years older than Ed Helms in real-life..
Near the end of the film, Helen mentions that Peter (Ed Helms) and Kyle (Owen Wilson) were born “three days before Christmas” in December 1975. The film was released on December 22, 2017, Kyle and Peter’s 42nd birthday. (That’s fun, although likely unintentional since I think it was delayed for a bit before release)
Paramount Pictures was originally attached to the project, but they ended up dropping out, sending the script into turnaround and leaving Warner Brothers to release the film.
Ed Helms says that ” this is a ’75 stingray, the car is a 1981 corvette, not a ’75 (Huh)
During the epilogue, it is revealed that Kyle had twin babies. While there is no evidence that identical twins run in families., non-identical twins can do. (YUP. Actually also happened in The Identical where our Elvis stand in also is shown having had twins at the end of the film)
Towards the end of the film, Helen (Glenn Close) reveals to the boys their mother was an unmarried girl; she would not reveal the father’s name and her name was Jenny. Glenn Close played Jenny Fields in The World According to Garp (1982), a single mother who only knew her child’s father as “Technical Sergeant Garp”. (Now that is a fun fact!)
Ryan Wade and Drexel Hemsley are identical twins separated at birth. Drexel ends up gaining worldwide fame as a musician, while Ryan struggles with his passion for music and his calling to God. This ultimately results in Ryan making a name for himself impersonating his brother on stage. Can he… uh… live his dream before it’s too late? Find out in… The Identical.
How?! There’s really not much to it. Ryan and Drexel are twins born to very poor parents in the Depression. Hearing a minister speak, they decide that fate is telling them to give one of the babies to the minister and his wife. While Ryan struggles to balance being a good minister’s son and a musician, Drexel rises from poverty to international fame. Ryan becomes a huge fan of Drexel’s without knowing their relationship and when a contest is held to find the best Drexel impersonator he enters and wins. And boy does he! Because an agent sets him up touring the country singing Drexel songs and things are pretty great. Ultimately, the inability to sing his own songs and life on the road bring him back home. Ultimately he finds out about his twin too late, as he tragically dies in a plane crash. But he is able to reconcile this and begin to tour again singing both his brother’s songs and his own. THE END.
Why?! Love… of music. Duh. The motivation is really life. He grows up with music in his bones and spends his life searching for it. Ultimately he finds it, but too late to share it with the only other person who could have understood. In some ways it’s like if Patrick and I were separated at birth and never got to combined our passion for bad movies and give it to the world *shudder* a truly terrible thought.
Who?! You have to highlight the wild story of Blake Rayne, our main character, for this section. The dude basically lived the story and then read the script and was like “wait, this is what happened to me… minus the twin part,” and then got the gig… even though he wasn’t an actor. Basically he entered an Elvis impersonator contest on a dare and won and then spent years doing that.
What?! Didn’t know what to put here, really, but did notice that this won an award according to IMDb. When I checked what it was it was “Worst Picture” from the Houston Film Critics Awards. Which is kinda hilarious that they give it out. In fact they even have nominees. This beat out Blended, Dumb and Dumber To, Left Behind, and Transformers: Age of Extinction. Interestingly, it looks like the category was discontinued starting this year. Must have seen the Smaddies Baddies buzzsaw coming its way.
Where?! This opens in Alabama, where Drexel is born and raised. Ryan is then separated and lives and grows up in Tennessee. That’s where most of the film takes place, besides some roadtrip type stuff while Ryan is on tour. All around pretty solid and plays a minor role in the film given the role of music in the plot. B+.
When?! The twins (feels good writing that) are born in 1935 and so the bulk of the film takes place from the early 50’s into the 70’s. Most of it probably takes place in the 60’s. Not bad given that we get a pretty clear picture of the exact birth date for our main character. Not important though. B.
I might have been able to forgive the film’s interminable length, directionless plot, and weird Elvis knockoff story. I even thought the story was pleasant enough and acting was all around decent. But the music… the music is terrible. I had to spend the entire film listening to these not very good songs play over and over. Sure there were a few halfway decent ones, but I literally thought Ryan’s first “hit” was supposed to be bad so that people would be like “he needs some work, but he’s otherwise good.” But no, it was apparently supposed to be that way. Then the final City Lights song that is supposed to be his crowning achievement is even worse. I’m not sure how you are supposed to make an Elvis knockoff and then write terrible songs to try to sell it. Boo. As for Sorceress, great choice by us. The film is ludicrous and I honestly am shocked it doesn’t get more play in bad movie circles. It is both unpleasant to watch and mesmerizing. A perfect combo. My only thought is perhaps it’s a little too R rated to be part of culture. Perhaps, but I don’t care. The film is Twins to the max and hilarious. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! What happens when you mix Elvis impersonators with a heavy dose of Christian film production? Apparently a twin film called The Identical. Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – I was not looking forward to watching this film. Mainly because the preview made it incredibly obvious that it was a barely-released Christian films. One of the delights of BMT is that we tend to occasionally go out of our comfort zone to watch films where we aren’t really the intended audience. But Christian films? They are almost always boring. The one saving grace perhaps would be Ray Liotta. What were my expectations? To be bored. But perhaps with a healthy dose of Ray Liotta wearing a Ray Liotta mask and cackling at me? A boy can dream.
The Good – The main actor / elvis impersonator was better than you would expect, the expectations being so low as to effectively be non-existent. I can’t decide if Ray Liotta looking like a normal human being is a positive or negative, but his performance was more subtle that a bad movie aficionado would hope as well. It is a very very very twin film, and that has to be a positive. And at least one of the songs I think was halfway decent (Angel of Mine). And Joey Pants is great as usual. Best Bit: Low Expectations.
The Bad – The film is, as expected, a nothing film. It, indeed, had a ham-fisted attempt to insert some pro-Isreal weirdness (specifically a scene where the cast prays for Israel to win the Six-Day War), likely at the bequest of the production company. Most of that stuff is just vaguely amusing (like the “other” twin finding out he’s half Jewish), but on occasion it is so weird as to be jarring. The music is mostly crap. And I could do without one twin dying in a plane crash. Fatal Flaw: Boring nothing film.
The BMT – I’m not sure. In the future I’m sure we’ll have to pick up a bunch of Christian films in some capacity, although I’m not exactly sure how to do that properly. There is a non-insignificant number of “wide” release films, but really just films barely released to 600 theaters and they’ll mostly be like this. Let’s sum up the storyline for most of these films: Man thinks he has the perfect life, man meets adversity he can’t immediately overcome, man questions his faith in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, man has epiphany about what faith really is all about, man achieves actual perfect life. I guarantee like 80% of the films are just that with various forms of adversity plugged in. Did it meet my expectations? Sadly yeah, this film was boring. Not only that, Ray Liotta looked normal and didn’t cackle at me. So overall a disappointment I think.
Roast-radamus – Who What Where When Why How – I think I’m going to count Seth Green as a Planchet (Who?), a character who just kind of gets into trouble and the rest of the cast bemusingly pokes fun at? I can get behind that. A decent Setting as a Character (Where?) for I think both Tennessee (where most of the film takes place for obvious reasons) and Alabama (where the beginning and end up for a bit). Definitely a good Period Piece (When?) for the 50s / 60s setting to coincide with Elvis’s rise. I think the unconscious search for his twin brother counts as a MacGuffin (Why?), f-it. Closest to Bad in the superlatives.
StreetCreditReport.com – The street cred comes from it being a twin film, for it being a weirdo half-biopic of Elvis, and it being a nothing-Christian film. But interestingly 2014 was a big Christian film year. According to Rolling Stone in a 2014:God’s Not Dead, Son of God, Heaven Is for Real, Persecuted, The Identical, Left Behind, and Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas were all released! We’ve now seen three of those and God’s Not Dead will eventually be on the docket, but no wonder no list includes The Identical, it was competing with the notorious God’s Not Dead and Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas!
Bring a Friend Analysis – As a friend this week we reached deeeeeep into the depths of the early 80s Roger Corman filmography to retrieve the absolutely dire Sorceress. Starring Leigh and Lynette Harris (Playboy Playmates) the film had a somewhat notorious production. Explicitly developed to build off of the success of Conan, Jack Hill (who often worked with Corman) was roped in with the promise of a big budget, and Hill thought it could revive his career (instead this would be the last film he would direct). Amazingly, this is actually a lot more similar to The Identical than it appeared at first blush. Hill specifically wrote the script in reference to The Corsican Brothers, which sounds suspiciously similar to moments in The Identical! I can tell you this much: The Satyr in the film is the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen, the Harris twins are not actors, the effects are horrible, and the multiple beastiality and rape scenes and jokes made me very uncomfortable. I would recommend this to no one, and may God have mercy on Roger Corman’s soul for producing this pile of garbage. And yet … I’m very very surprised that this isn’t more well known in bad movie circles (it does seem to be mentioned a lot on grindhouse lists due to it being directed by Hill) because it is like watching a slow motion car crash on screen. I’m going to give it an A. I hate it, but I cannot deny the allure. Somehow it feels like this is exactly the type of films we should be watching for Bring a Friend in general, and yet I never want to watch anything like this ever again. The juxtaposition is tantalizing. It’s the satyr. It is so horrifying that one must understand the demented mind that created it. And I can’t stop thinking about it.
Twins Analysis – How twins-y was The Identical? Extremely!! There were some extreme identical twins. You had identical twins separated at birth, both destined to be songwriting stars in their own right. When one twin dies tragically the other feels the others death instinctively without having to hear of the news. These guys were one step away from being Stigmata Twins. A. I won’t be docking points for not using twins because in most cases it doesn’t make sense. Like here, what? You’re going to go out and find twin Elvis impersonators?! That’s insane. And what about Sorceress. Five words for you: The Two That Are One. The entire plot is about twin destiny and how twins are the only thing that can defeat an evil wizard. Bomb. A-, I docked a bit for the twins being such horrible actors and besmirching the good name of twins.
Oh man, last thing I remember I got bopped on the head while winning an Elvis impersonation contest. When I awoke I was a world famous recording artist! Go figure. Otherwise I don’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in The Identical?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) In the beginning of the film Brian Geraghty gives up one of his two twin boys to Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd. What promise does he make Ray Liotta keep about the boys?
2) Ryan Wade has a bestest friend in the whole world in Seth Green. What instrument does Seth Green play?
3) During the course of the film Ryan Wade has three jobs. What are they?
4) How did Ryan’s secret twin brother Drexel Hemsley die and what happened to Ryan when he did?
5) During the course of the film Ryan and Drexel see each other once. When?
With their powers combined the robot vixens are no match for Rich and Poe. They bust those robots up and boy howdy, bustin’ makes them feel good. Rich looks at Poe and realizes that this is his moment to say goodbye. “It’s time to set yourself free,” he tells him. Poe steels himself and despite the love in his heart he delivers one last crosskick that sends the bots back into the puzzle box. With a second flying kick he forces the box close, thus sealing them away. With the spell finally broken, Poe picks up the box and has a moment of contemplation. Perhaps he should just throw the box into the fire and end it. Rich steps in, “I know you’re not ready to say goodbye and perhaps… just perhaps, we’ll see that puzzle box again down the road.” With that he gives a little wink and Poe nods, leaving the box behind. As they leave the ship they are greeted by a smiling Nic Cage and the masked gamemaster. “Congratulations, Rich and Poe, you have won. Earth is saved.” They smile and breathe a sigh of relief. “Unfortunately, the universe is lost,” the other gamemaster says and begins to cackle in glee. What? This doesn’t make sense! “But we won!” they scream. “Oh yes, you won, and for that you will pay dearly, for it revealed what is inside of you… what we are destined to possess,” and the gamemaster holds up the Obsidian Dongle! With a small shard missing! Rich’s hand immediately goes to his chest. “Nic Cage! Stop him,” they plead, but he just shakes his head and smiles. He then turns to the gamemaster who slowly takes off his mask to reveal… a second Nic Cage. They’re… they’re… identical. That’s right! We are kicking off the Twins battle cycle where we watch BMT films featuring twins paired with Bring a Friend’s also featuring twins! It’s a veritable twinstravaganza! First up The Identical. ‘What’s that?’ you ask. Who cares, no one remembers it, but it was all about an Elvis twin or something. Let’s go!
The Identical Nic Cage peers at Poe. “Oh, you don’t recognize me? Of course. The face. You see I had them take my face… off. And then I had his face put… on. You getting it yet?” Poe’s aghast. Travolta! The sequence of events is still a little confusing, but before he can get it clarified Travolta uses his sorcerer’s powers to send Poe deep into the Earth… to Hell! That’s right! We are pairing The Identical with Sorceress, an 80’s film that features magical creatures in some anonymous time of the past. Oh and sexy twin warriors. Pretty appropriate stuff. Let’s go!
The Identical (2014) – BMeTric: 25.4; Notability: 18
(Odd plot. I think maybe the initial ratings were exclusive to people who actually went and watched the film in theaters … so like Elvis impersonators? Just seems insane the drop which almost definitely coincides with the film coming out on VOD or something.)
RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – On January 8, 1935, a woman gave birth to twin boys in a little shack built by her husband in Tupelo, Mississippi. It is not known whether or not the twins were identical. One twin was stillborn, the other grew up to be Elvis Presley. For the entirety of his life, Elvis missed his twin (named Jesse). He prayed to him, talked about him all the time. If you visit Graceland, there is a small gravestone for Jesse in the family burial plot outside the house. Elvis wondered if he had somehow sapped the strength of his twin brother in the womb, and if that was why he became the superstar that he did. He had guilt about it. … One positive thing about “The Identical” is that it will make you want to bust out Elvis Presley’s early Sun and RCA recordings, songs like “That’s All Right,” “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” “My Baby Left Me,” or “Good Rockin'” just to remind you that no, it didn’t happen the way it did in “The Identical”. Thank goodness.
(Oh wow … wait, this is basically some screenwriter who read this story about Elvis and made a fictionalized version of it with an Elvis impersonator? That is crazy. Do you know what else it crazy? Ray Liotta’s face which is the only thing about this film that I’m looking forward to.)
(Hmmm, they really hide the fact that this is pretty explicitly a Christian film. Not that I blame them for that, but you’d think this was just a vague fantasy biopic thingy based on the trailer. It assuredly is not.)
Directors – Dustin Marcellino – (BMT: The Identical; Notes: There is nothing about this person. I have a theory: there is a real estate agent in Tennessee with this name. This film was likely produced and shot in Tennessee where both Wade Cummins and Blake Rayne live. I think he probably directed impersonator / local commercials / real estate stuff and these two people are one in the same.)
Writers – Wade Cummins (written by) – (BMT: The Identical; Notes: Also had a cameo part in the film. He is also an Elvis impersonator!! Here’s his website.)
Howard Klausner (screenplay) – (Known For: Space Cowboys; The Last Ride; Future BMT: God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness; The Grace Card; BMT: The Identical; Notes: Seems to have transitioned to Christian films, including directing a small Kevin Sorbo film called The Secret Handshake.)
Actors – Blake Rayne – (Future BMT: Hounddog; BMT: The Identical; Notes: An elvis impersonator. Was a web designer prior to winning an Elvis impersonator content in Columbus, Ohio in 1998. His real name is Ryan Pelton.)
Ray Liotta – (Known For: Goodfellas; Marriage Story; Blow; The Place Beyond the Pines; Identity; Killing Them Softly; Field of Dreams; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Bee Movie; Cop Land; The Iceman; Heartbreakers; Kill the Messenger; Date Night; Wanderlust; Muppets Most Wanted; Observe and Report; Something Wild; Youth in Revolt; No Escape; Future BMT: The Son of No One; Operation Dumbo Drop; Go with Me; Crazy on the Outside; Revenge of the Green Dragons; Forever Mine; Revolver; The Lonely Lady; The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud; Slow Burn; Even Money; Better Living Through Chemistry; Powder Blue; Unforgettable; Smokin’ Aces; Hannibal; Corrina, Corrina; Crossing Over; Flock of Dudes; Pilgrim; John Q; Local Color; A Rumour of Angels; BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Turbulence; Wild Hogs; The Identical; Notes: Was adopted. Was a genuine A-list star in the 90s, but in more recent years he’s focused on television, like Shades of Blue with Jennifer Lopez.)
Ashley Judd – (Known For: Heat; Divergent; Natural Born Killers; A Time to Kill; Olympus Has Fallen; Frida; Barry; A Dog’s Way Home; Bug; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; Animal Attraction; Simon Birch; Dolphin Tale; Smoke; De-Lovely; Dolphin Tale 2; The Passion of Darkly Noon; Ruby in Paradise; Normal Life; Helen; Future BMT: Tooth Fairy; Eye of the Beholder; Allegiant; Insurgent; Kuffs; Good Kids; High Crimes; Big Stone Gap; Flypaper; Double Jeopardy; Crossing Over; Where the Heart Is; Trafficked; A Secret Sin; BMT: Twisted; The Identical; Kiss the Girls; Notes: Went to the University of Kentucky and considered a run for U.S. Senate from Kentucky in 2014, but ultimately decided not to pursue the position. Was in Twin Peaks: The Return.)
Budget/Gross – $16 million / Domestic: $2,827,666 (Worldwide: $2,840,991)
(I cannot believe the budget was actually that large … I guess maybe they knew you could pull in church groups and make bank like Tyler Perry. Weird story to try that strategy with though.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (4/69): With nearly every element ringing as hollow as the ersatz Elvis at the story’s core, The Identical looks destined for a bright future on the ironic viewing circuit.
(Ironic viewing? Check. A saw a few reviews that mention the odd pro-Isreal slant the movie takes. Sounds like some weird and wild stuff. Reviewer Highlight: The script is so determined to deliver an upbeat message of faith and love, it forgets to be interesting. – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune)
Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Great Outdoors (1988), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), Despicable Me 3 (2017), The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000)
Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 41.3 Father Figures (2017), 13.4 Little Women (2018);
BMT: Jack and Jill (2011), Pluto Nash (2002), The Identical (2014)
(Wow, how have we done so few? What a disaster. Looks like we are ready to fill up this keyword. Stay tuned because this same keyword plot will be coming at you every week for two months as we slowly watch every single BMT qualifying twin film (and I guess add the keyword to a few movies as well because this looks mighty incomplete to me!))
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Ray Liotta is No. 2 billed in The Identical and No. 3 billed in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 = 10. There is no shorter path at the moment.
Notes – Blake Rayne is a famous Elvis Presley impersonator. He was cast after one of his performances as Elvis garnered the casting director’s attention.
Joe Pantoliano appeared in La Bamba 27 years earlier, playing Ritchie Valens’ music manager, another movie about music and set around the 1950s. (I would have deleted this note as pointless … but there are so few notes for this film I’ll leave it in. Yes, sometimes actors act in two films with an extremely tenuous and vague connection …)
Ray Liotta and Amanda Crew previously starred together in the 2010 film Charlie St. Cloud, but shared no screen time together. (How is this a note? Step up your game random people on IMDb!)