Cradle 2 the Grave Preview

Whenever we start one of our long form Challenges like the mapl.de.map or Calendar, we always have a film in mind for a few of the spots. It’s no different for our newest challenge, The Periodic Table of Smellements. That’s right! For the Games entry of the Calendar cycle we’re hitting up Cradle 2 the Grave! Likely the most unnecessary numeral ever inserted into a title. So unnecessary that after picking it up from my local public library my wife asked me “Have you already seen the first one?” I had to inform her that this was the first one and that the 2 is there for no other reason than to amuse me and Patrick (I presume). Let’s go!

Cradle 2 the Grave (2003) – BMeTric: 37.2

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(Certainly seems like a “cult” type of film. A rating of 6.0 is genuinely solid, it is close to average for the top ten thousand films, and it is rising steadily towards average despite its critical ratings. Most of the BMeTric is from being relatively popular while being a bit below average.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  As an array of baddies and rival half-baddies pursue coveted black diamonds that look like oversized Chiclets, most of the actors playing these parts pursue their dramatically diverse audience demographics. Union is around for the demographic that enjoys seeing semi-unclad lookers, but even those viewers may have trouble with a script about diamonds with nuclear capabilities. DMX’s neckwear looks as if it could pick up sandlot baseball games from Radio Havana.

(This review is semi-incomprehensible. But some deep burns. The diamonds look fake, the actors are just there to hit a checklist of demographics, Gabrielle Union in particular is just there to get naked, and even then the story is too ludicrous for any of that being fun! And then he ends with a crazy dig at DMX’s (I’m sure very classy) bling. I was with you up to then Leonard, but don’t take digs at the bling.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3FKBdIA26Q

(People flying around on wires it might as well be called. Have to say … pretty amped for this. DMX sountrack, people flipping around looking dumb, diamonds, Tom Arnold. Kind of surprised they give away that the jewels might not be jewels in the trailer to be honest, but still, I kind of dig that trailer. All I want is to get excited for the film when I watch it, and this does that admirably.)

Directors – Andrzej Bartkowiak – (Future BMT: Exit Wounds; BMT: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Doom; Cradle 2 the Grave; Romeo Must Die; Notes: Primarily a cinematographer, known for his association with Sidney Lumet. He was cinematographer for Twins, which obviously inspired the BMT logo.)

Writers – John O’Brien (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Starsky & Hutch; Future BMT: The Dukes of Hazzard; BMT: Cradle 2 the Grave; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for The Dukes of Hazzard in 2006; Notes: There is nothing about this guy and I fear his name is too generic to get many certain hits elsewhere as well. Going from this to two tv-to-movie adaptations though feels a bit odd.)

Channing Gibson (screenplay) – (Known For: Lethal Weapon 4; Future BMT: Walking Tall; BMT: Cradle 2 the Grave; Notes: Prolific television writer. Won an emmy for his involvement with NYPD Blue.)

Actors – Jet Li – (Known For: The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Lethal Weapon 4; The Forbidden Kingdom; Unleashed; Fearless; Kiss of the Dragon; The Enforcer; Once Upon a Time in China; Future BMT: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor; The One; The Emperor and the White Snake; BMT: Cradle 2 the Grave; The Expendables 3; Romeo Must Die; Notes: Was a Wushu champion in China training with the famous Wu Bin, and upon retiring at the age of 19 he went into acting. He apologized to Jackie Chan for taking part in High Risk, which has a character described as “a famous and popular action movie star famous for doing all of his own stunts. In reality, he is very lazy and lecherous.” … I have to watch this movie.)

DMX – (Future BMT: Exit Wounds; Belly; BMT: Cradle 2 the Grave; Romeo Must Die; Never Die Alone; Notes: A world renowned rapper. Recently though he is probably more well known for his legal issues moving through the court system concerning tax fraud.)

Mark Dacascos – (Known For: Le pacte des loups; Future BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Double Dragon; Code Name: The Cleaner; Köshpendiler; BMT: Cradle 2 the Grave; Notes: Born in Hawaii he is a martial artist proficient in Wun Hop Kuen Do which he learned from his father. He’s studied other disciplines (including Wushu, which Jet Li is known for) as well, although is not considered a master.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $34,712,347 (Worldwide: $56,489,558)

(Decent worldwide, but not great. I’ll have to look below to see how it compared to Martial Arts films of the time. That will indicate a bit more of what the studio was probably expecting, and whether the modest worldwide return would have been considered acceptable.)

#35 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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(This came right at the peak of people thinking Martial Arts were cool. Probably after the Matrix in 1999. The genre has basically died, but this is getting me more interested in looking into it as an “educational” opportunity. Like slashers and westerns, martial arts films never held much appeal for me, but learning the tropes and how they tick could be pretty fun. This scored around Street Fighter unfortunately.)

#15 for the Action – Wire-Fu genre

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(Just above The Musketeer! The genre literally began with The Matrix and died out five years later. One would assume that is because wire work has been replaced by green screen and other cheaper techniques. What a time to be alive!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (31/122): Dumb and by-the-numbers, but serviceable.

(Wow. Thanks Rotten Tomatoes, now I’m getting excited …. In reality this sounds boring. Dumb is good. By-the-numbers if bad. Serviceable though … sounds like they’ve put together a movie which makes sense, which for a martial arts film I think is a bad thing.)

Poster – Cradle 2 the Sklog (B-)

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(Real early 2000’s vibe on this guy. A bit too much going on, but I like the bold black with red features. Unique font and interesting spacing push it up a tad.)

Tagline(s) – Born 2 the life. True 2 the code. Bad 2 the bone. (A)

(Uh, yes. I am into this. Whether or not this has anything to do with the film itself is questionable, but I choose to believe it’s amazing.)

Keyword(s) – diamond; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.4 Batman & Robin (1997); 89.3 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 83.7 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 79.8 Littleman (2006); 70.8 The Spirit (2008); 69.6 Setup (I) (2011); 68.4 The Marine (2006); 67.9 Superman III (1983); 65.5 Thunderbirds (2004); 62.1 Bitch Slap (2009);

(Batman & Robin might be the most diamond-y movie in the history of diamond movies, fueling kick-ass puns throughout the film. All of these are great!! Setup is a crazy looking film starring Bruce Willis, 50 Cent, and Ryan Phillipe of I Know What You Did Last Summer fame! Just fantastic.)

Notes – The casting of Mark Dacascos was the result of a poll on Jet Li’s website where fans were asked who they would like to see him fight next. (The wonders of the Martial Arts movie fanbase … I don’t even know who this person is!)

Jet Li’s character only fights with one hand for a majority of the film.

Real life UFC competitors Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell were recruited by producer Joel Silver for the cage fight sequence with Jet Li. (oooooh yeah, Couture would co-star with Li in The Expendables franchise later)

DMX was constantly late for shooting. (HA)

The film was originally developed as a remake of M (1931). (weird, may have to check that out)

When filming wrapped up on time and the editing was proceeding at a fast pace, Warner Bros. considered opening the film in late August – a mere three months after it finished shooting. They later opted to release the pic in late Feb the following year. (… after watching it)

At one point, Arnold Schwarzenegger was slated to star.

Aaliyah was set to star in the film until her untimely death in 2001. (Oh no. Last seen in Queen of the Damned I would imagine)

2nd film to star Anthony Anderson and Tom Arnold. They share more screen time in this movie than they did in Exit Wounds, where they shared the last scene together. They also have the same kinda ending in this movie where they talk about their mom’s and who would play them in a movie about what they just went through in this movie. It is also the second film to star DMX and Tom Arnold after Exit Wounds. (wait … the Tim Arnold? Yeah, it would appear so. Double weird. This movie is going to be weird as fuck)

Jason X Recap

Jamie

Jason’s back, Jack! It’s the year 2455 and Jason has been cryogenically frozen for centuries. Awakened from his slumber by some unwitting researchers from Earth II, will they be able to stop his murderous rampage before it’s too late? Find out in… Jason X.

How?! We open on Jason being held in the Crystal Lake Research Facility circa 2010. After numerous attempts to kill him with little success the scientists decide to cryogenically freeze him. Competing scientists attempt to prevent this so they can study his incredible power, but in the process set him loose. In a last ditch effort to incapacitate him, the good scientist tricks Jason into the freezing chamber, only to inadvertently freeze herself as well. Centuries later researchers from Earth II discover the scientist and Jason and bring them aboard their ship in hopes of reanimating them. When the scientist wakes up she is shocked to hear that they have brought Jason aboard but at this point he has already woken up and started his rampage (obviously). First the marines are sent to take care of him. Dead. Then the scientists try to dock with their main space station and escape, but Jason kills the pilot. Then they attempt to take an escape pod, but Jason scares a jumpy student to the point where she destroys the pod in terror. A literal robot assassin comes along, thinks she’s defeated Jason, but inadvertently creates an even more powerful super, future version of Jason (that actually happened). They are able to blow up the area of the shuttle that Jason’s on but he survives the vacuum of space and climbs back into the ship. Finally, after distracting him with a hologram simulation of Crystal Lake they are able to board a rescue ship, blow up the rest of the original ship, and Jason lands like a meteorite in a lake on Earth II. The End (or is it?… it is). This is pretty much the logical conclusion to the Jason invincible zombie storyline that they built the series on. He cannot die. Survives everything including the scourge of space. And if it sounded cool or interesting I assure you it’s not. It’s lame as shit.

Why?! Back to good old Jason Voorhees, killing machine. No thoughts or motivations except to destroy. Interestingly, like in The New Blood, there is a teacher character who has monetary motivation at stake. He wants to sell Jason to be studied for his regenerative abilities. This, of course, goes horribly awry. The rest of the characters want to get laid and survive.

What?! Obviously there aren’t a whole lot of products to be hocked in the year 2455, but there are seemingly innumerous terrible one-liners to be thrown away. One of these clunkers included a quick mention of the Microsoft Conflict, a particularly brutal civil war. I guess it’s funny because Microsoft is mentioned?

Who?! Interesting cameo by film director David Cronenberg who plays a creepy scientist intent on discovering the source of Jason’s super powers. Too bad he didn’t pop in his VHS copy of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Would have pretty quickly figured out it’s all due to a worm like creature contained in his body.

Where?! Boom. Gotta love the space setting. It really screams SciFi for this film that straddles both the SciFi and Horror genres. Important to the plot and as exact as we’re gonna get. A

When?! Takes place in the far future… future… future. It’s explicitly stated for expository purposes that Jason was frozen in 2010 and reanimated in 2455. It’s likely the farthest in the future we’ve traveled for BMT (although hard to say since we haven’t been noting settings for all that long). Not exact, but important to the plot. B

This film is rough stuff. Looks like shit, has a terrible script, and plays like a SyFy original. Shocking that it actually ended up in the Friday series and wasn’t abandoned. But I guess that’s the sweet allure of the intellectual property they were hoping to retain. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Jason X? More like Jason X: Leprechaun in Space! Combine a beloved horror franchise with expiring rights and ten years worth of lack of interest and what do you get? Almost no oversight apparently. This movie can be summed up in a single sentence: “fuck it, let’s just send him to space or some shit”. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I think the one thing you can point to an potentially good is the fact that the film is hyper-self-aware. Jason is transporting around, everything looks super cheesy, and he basically smells premarital sex and drug use (quite literally, and one point being irresistibly lured by the actions as if by magic). If you find any rankings that place this installment anywhere but last or second-to-last it will be because of its tongue-in-cheek nature. Let’s go Sequel though! We left Jason in a new lake on Earth II 500 years in the future. I think you see him resurrected there, and, huge twist, he’s sent back in time to the middle ages! Finding himself caught up in a war between two ancient houses Jason emerges a hero leading a ragtag group of misfits in a battle for their (and his!) future! Jason X-2: King Jason and the Knights of Crystal Lake.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – Everything. This movie is terrible. Terrible acting, terrible sets, terrible ideas, terrible dialogue, terribles kills, terrible effects, terrible ending. This movie is an abomination and doesn’t belong in any horror franchise. The turn to self-awareness and going all in as a parody doesn’t work because Jason is a real beloved character, one that cannot be so flippantly denigrated. If they wanted to make this movie (and they didn’t) I would have gone with a mock-Jason original film. But then again, that isn’t how you retain rights or make money. The analogy is, and this is going to come out of nowhere, but that garbage Wheel of Time television pilot from a few years back! A pure distilled last gasp effort for Red Eagle Entertainment to retain the rights to the Wheel of Time television show. Fuck you Red Eagle! (Good news, looks like Sony has the rights now)

The BMT (Legacy) – This film’s legacy is simple: it brings to an end the full 2017 watch of the original Friday the 13th franchise for BMT. “But what about Freddy v Jason!” you scream. Most places don’t count it as a pure Friday the 13th which is understandable. These last two taught me a lot about how slasher films lost their way in the 90s and, in many ways, the filmmakers who grew up with the franchises in the 80s managed to learn the wrong lessons when fashioning films in the 2000s. And I don’t know if we’ll ever see a true slasher franchise after Scream bit the dust a few years ago as well. Sigh.

And in a special installment of StreetCreditReport.com my definitive rankings of the ten Friday the 13th films!

  1. Friday the 13th – A lot more fun that you’d think and only hamstrung by attempting to preserve the twist of who the killer is. Solid slasher.
  2. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter – The most iconic good guy in Tommy Jarvis, good kills, best story with Jason
  3. Friday the 13th: Jason Lives – Brings back Tommy, and feels less cheap than most. Supernatural elements are introduced, but the best post-Final-Chapter.
  4. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood – Most formidable opponent for Jason, and contains the only scary bits of any post-Final-Chapter installment as well.
  5. Friday the 13th: Part 2 – Cheap, with poor character design for early Jason, but still fun kills with decent tension.
  6. Friday the 13th: Part III – The first I would call genuinely bad, only saved to a degree by being the most tongue-in-cheek of the early films.
  7. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan – Terrible film, but kind of fun idea that put Jason on a boat with nowhere to run.
  8. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning – Horrible slap in the face which tries to continue the franchise without Jason as the slasher. Not a good idea.
  9. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday – Slap in the face which again replaces Jason for the most part. New Line’s attempt to ruin a franchise succeeds.
  10. Jason X – Not a real movie.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday Recap

Jason Goes to Hell Recap

Jason’s back, Jack! When the FBI explodes our masked killer, they think he’s finally dead. They are wrong. Uh oh! His spirit possesses a new body and returns to Crystal Lake to be reborn. Can they stop him before it’s too late? Find out in… Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.

How?! We open on an intricate fake-out. The viewer is led to believe that we are watching Jason, fresh off getting dissolved in the acid sewers of Manhattan, stalking a nubile teen at Crystal Lake. Psych! It’s an FBI sting and they straight up explode our favorite serial killer. However, once they bring the pieces back to a top secret FBI research facility an unlucky coroner is hypnotized into consuming Jason’s heart and becomes Jason! Bum bum bum! With this new body in tow Jason heads back to Crystal Lake in order to be reborn. In the meantime we jump straight into some family drama at Crystal Lake as Diana is attempting to reconcile her daughter Jessica with her baby daddy Steve. Just as Jessica returns to town to officially break it off with Steve (and reveal to him that he is a father), Jason returns and starts to wreak havoc, killing people and switching bodies at will. Turns out that Jason’s evil is rooted in a creature that lives within him and that, when killed, he must regenerate using the body of a Voorhees (what?). He can temporarily take over a body, but must switch bodies periodically to avoid decay (oh… ok). Also Jason can only ever be killed by a Voorhees. Unluckily and luckily Jessica is Jason’s niece (wait… since when?) so she is both Jason’s target and worst enemy. They of course learn all this from an eccentric bounty hunter who provides Jessica with a magical dagger to kill Jason with (for real?!). In the end Jason corners Jessica and Steve in the Voorhees old house where he is able to regenerate using Diana’s corpse. In a final epic battle Jessica stabs Jason with the magical dagger and sends him to hell where it’s hinted he finally meets Freddy Kreuger his… uh… arch enemy… I guess. New Line really did a number on this series.

Why?! By creating a totally insane explanation for Jason’s supernatural abilities they also provide a totally new motivation for him. Yes, he’s still a crazed murderer, but now he’s murdering in order to possess a new body so that he can survive to find a Voorhees to be reborn with. It’s quite the pivot. Everyone else is mostly just looking to survive. Very few do.

What?! No notable product placements in the film, but there are a couple easter eggs connecting this film to other horror films (other than being a rip off of The Hidden). The Necronomicon from The Evil Dead films is seen in the Voorhees house and the Kandarian Dagger from the same films plays a major role in killing Jason. Also there is a crate in the Voorhees’ basement that says “Arctic Expedition Julia Carpenter Horlicks University,” which is from the film Creepshow. They seemed to just reuse props for no discernable reason.

Who?! Nice little “scenes deleted” credit here to Survivor superstar Jonathan Penner. He was meant to play Vicki’s boyfriend David who gets killed by Jason (in possession of Josh) by getting his face smashed into a sink. Penner is also known to us as the writer of future BMT film The Bye Bye Man. He’s a big part of my life.

Where?! No matter your feeling on the merits of this film I think we can all agree that they totally fucked up the setting. It is just a fact that Crystal Lake and the Friday the 13th series are set in New Jersey. Well established FACT (shown on a sign in Part I). So when I see Connecticut license plates everywhere and signs for Westport, CT (where the director was born) I just find it disrespectful to the franchise. Is nothing sacred?! Why you gotta mess with what I love just to give a meaningless shout out to your hometown? C.

When?! It’s also well established fact that the temporal setting of this films is a disaster area and it’s better if we pay no mind to it. Given small indications of where this fits in relative to other films in the franchise it’s agreed that it’s probably set in the early 2000’s. But it’s all bullshit anyway. F.

This truly is a perverse corruption of the franchise perpetrated by New Line in their very first attempt at an entry. While I can’t blame a Friday fan or horror fan from enjoying what is probably the goriest and most nudity filled entry in the series, it basically throws everything that came before it in the trash. Not even for something good. They replace it with a bunch of reheated horror tropes and cliches. But I’m not the only opinion. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday? Well, New Line can go to hell! Boom, getting heated in here. So you are the new owner of a long running, eight entry, horror franchise looking to put a bit of pep in the old boy’s step, what do you do? Right, create a movie almost entirely bereft of the franchise’s beloved antagonist, over-explain his monstrous origins, and flip a huge bird to the fanbase … wait, no, that can’t be right. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – This movie in another world would be a niche cult classic among horror fans. Coming out of nowhere in 1993, the supernatural story with decent (at times) practical effects could have really gained a following (despite being a knockoff of The Hidden). But … that isn’t how it worked. Until now! Give me a Remake! Same story, except cut the bookends of Jason wandering around. As a matter of fact, add a horror element of the body-snatched murderers multiplying (so a zombie army is eventually developed) as well. It has a kind of alien-chest-burster meets zombie film, with the ultimate pay off being that they aren’t aliens at all, but rather demons summoned by a cult (or whatever). Bonus, it also served as a remake of The Hidden! Two-for-one! Two-for-one! I would call it Hell on Earth.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – Woof. This is a slap in the face to Friday the 13th fans. This represents the second entry where Jason himself is almost entirely missing from the film (number 5, A New Beginning, is the other). It doesn’t feel at all like a Friday the 13th film, and it over-explains and ruins several aspects of the franchise. It is now explicitly set in Connecticut (what?), they somehow retcon a sister for Jason to want to kill (what is this Halloween?), and they introduce a much more explicit supernatural bent to the entire thing. If this wasn’t a Friday the 13th film I wouldn’t mind it. But it is and I hate hate hate this movie. And I can no longer avoid it: the Sklognalogy is Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (the sixth installment). I have seen this film, although we are likely to revisit at some point in the future to give it the proper BMT treatment. And basically it is the same: they ruin the franchise by making explicit a no-fun “solution” to why Michael Myers is the way he is. Don’t do this. It is unnecessary and cheesy.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I think this will have strong legs for BMT. Friday the 13th is the first mini-challenge we’ve done, and I kind of knew the day would come where it well and truly crossed the rubicon from low-budget fun slasher to garbage. This is the one. I hate this film. I will never not hate this film. It could forever represent 90s horror catastrophes for me. I do want to note this guy, because the second entry there might as well be word-for-word my opinion on the movie. But for the most part Jason Goes to Hell is widely considered the worst or one of the worst of the franchise. It doesn’t get much play in a jam packed 1993, but its cred is from sinking a franchise. Thanks New Line!

I’ll leave the full blown Friday the 13th rankings for Jason X.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Jason X Preview

It’s back, Jack! Right on cue we are continuing our Mini-Challenge journey through the world of Friday the 13th. It’s been an interesting time and I’ll miss the series once it’s gone, particularly since I went from actively disliking the series to fascination with the series and finally anticipation for each successive watch. There may be none more anticipated than the SciFi entry of the Calendar cycle. That’s right! We’re (finally) watching Jason X. Because everyone knows that it’s a super good idea to take a struggling franchise to outer space (see: Leprechaun 4: In Space). Works like a charm. Of course this also means we’ll be doing the 9th in the series, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday as a BMT bonus in preparation for the film. Hooray! I really do love watching these totally unscary horror films. Let’s go!

Jason X (2001) – BMeTric: 77.9

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(INCREDIBLE! It has gone down as more people watch it! This can only mean one thing: this film is going to be great. I can feel it. A Very Popular Bad Film through and through.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In this, the tenth Friday the 13th installment (and first since 1993’s Jason goes to Hell: The Final Friday), cryogenically frozen Jason (Hodder) and a sexy scientist (Doig) are thawed while on board a spacecraft in the year 2455. You can guess what happens next. For dedicated slasher fans only. David Cronenberg appears briefly as Dr. Wimmer. Not to be confused with Malcolm X.

(Not to be confused with Malcolm X? I get you Leonard. This is such a nicely rote review. He definitely either didn’t write this or basically barely watched this film. Leonard gave so many of these films BOMB designations it is kind of weird that the 8th, 9th, and 10th didn’t manage even one. Seems he’s a softy for the more ridiculous horror films maybe.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Sv8eWDEFsM

(I remember the Let the Bodies Hit the Rope soundtrack from when I was younger. This trailer looks atrocious on several different levels: the humor, the acting, the special effects, and Jason’s design. I can’t believe Kane Hodder came back for this garbage to be honest, after 9 years I would have read the script and just said “good luck”. I have a feeling this is going to be the first Friday the 13th that doesn’t even feel like a Friday the 13th as well.)

Directors – James Isaac – (Future BMT: Skinwalkers; House III: The Horror Show; BMT: Jason X; Notes: Was involved with creature effects for both Gremlins and Enemy Mine. Every so often he would give directing a try it would seem. Also involved with special effects on Virtuosity, which I’m only noting because I interviewed for a job with this guy who now works as an MD-PhD at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.)

Writers – Victor Miller (characters) – (Known For: Friday the 13th; Freddy vs. Jason; Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI; Future BMT: Friday the 13th; BMT: Jason X; Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan; Friday the 13th: A New Beginning; Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Friday the 13th Part III; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Friday the 13th Part 2; Notes: I feel like he hasn’t shown up in the credits for a few of these, so weird he would all of a sudden get credit again. He wrote the original movie. The end.)

Todd Farmer (written by) – (Known For: My Bloody Valentine; Future BMT: The Messengers; BMT: Drive Angry; Jason X; Notes: The guy has a crazy life. He dropped out of college and because an independent AmWay distributor, and then moved to LA and started working for Sean S. Cunningham (the other original writer of Friday the 13th). That is how he got this gig and probably his other writing gigs, he was working under Cunningham on different projects he was involved in.)

Actors – Kane Hodder – (Known For: Monster; Daredevil; The Devil’s Rejects; Frozen; Hatchet; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon; Alligator; Lone Wolf McQuade; Hatchet III; Prison; Digging Up the Marrow; The Rapture; California Split; Future BMT: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday; Room 6; House II: The Second Story; Hatchet II; Muck; Wishmaster; Father Hood; Best of the Best II; Out for Justice; BMT: Jason X; Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan; Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Grind; Notes: There is nothing else to say about this guy! He is Jason, and I doubt anyone has a chance of beating him or Englund for dominating a slasher killer like they did.)

Lexa Doig – (BMT: Jason X; Notes: She had the title role in the show Andromeda, and has been in many other television series. The cast for this movie is pretty funny, no wonder Hodder got first billing.)

Jeff Geddis – (Known For: Crime Spree; BMT: Jason X; Notes: Canadian, and a voice actor almost exclusively.)

Budget/Gross – $11 million / Domestic: $13,121,555 (Worldwide: $16,951,798)

(Complete disaster. It is a wonder that they didn’t scrap Freddy v Jason after this. Although maybe they thought that would have more pull. And smartly, it did actually. The franchise went from this pitiful return to over $80 million in Freddy v. Jason only a few years later.)

#64 for the Horror – Slasher genre

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(Around Halloween 5. I mentioned in the other preview that this genre is effectively dead (the last major release was January 2013 according to Box Office Mojo) in theaters. Kind of understandable, the return since 2005 was the same as during the lull in the early 90s.)

#39 for the Sci-Fi Horror genre

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(Near Ghosts of Mars. With Alien Covenant and the final Resident Evil film this genre has had a bit of a resurgence in recent years, and has been going strong since 2000 regardless. It has been flopping a bit recently though, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the release numbers wane a bit as well though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (20/104): Jason goes to the future, but the story is still stuck in the past.

(Nope, terrible Rotten Tomatoes. A few franchises did this (inexplicably send their slashers to the future in space, most notably Leprechaun in Space), but it can’t go well. It also crosses the rubicon from horror to at least close to horror-comedy. Not super great.)

Poster – Jason Sklog (B-)

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(We jump from an early 90’s bonkers poster for Jason Goes to Hell straight to an even crazier early 2000’s bonkers poster for this one. Better font, worse coloring, but I like the artistry.)

Tagline(s) – Evil Gets An Upgrade (B-)

(I’m good with this. Short, sweet, little hint on the futuristic aspect of the plot, but perhaps not quite clever enough. Could be better, but could be a whole lot worse.)

Keyword(s) – scientist; Top Ten by BMeTric: 93.5 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 90.0 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.4 House of the Dead (2003); 88.4 Street Fighter (1994); 85.7 The Avengers (1998); 85.6 Fantastic Four (2015); 84.1 Piranha 3DD (2012); 82.4 Baby Geniuses (1999); 82.1 Inspector Gadget (1999); 82.0 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991);

(Incredible list. This is a marathon I would actually hold, although I would be a bit more discerning. Here … The Avengers would make the cut for sure. Highlander II I think. But a marathon without Bats? Travesty. So there would be some work to do.)

Notes – The first film in the Friday the 13th series to rely on digital effects for death and gore shots. (Interesting. Sad but interesting)

Jason Voorhees’ eyes never blink when they are shown. (Cool idea actually)

During a Q&A;, screenwriter Todd Farmer joked that there were probably about 20,000 people aboard the Solaris space station when Grendel inadvertently crashed into and destroyed it. (Acknowledgment of flippantly killing people, I can respect that.)

Screenwriter Todd Farmer based much of the film on Alien (1979), even naming one of the characters (whom he also played) Dallas, after Tom Skerritt’s character in the Ridley Scott film. (Yeah I feel like you can tell from the trailer)

The name of the primary ship in the film is the “Grendel” which is the name of a monster in the Old English poem “Beowulf”. Grendel was a direct descendant of Cain from the Book of Genesis, a monster described as half-troll, half-ogre. Like Jason, Grendel rose from a lake in search of victims and seemingly could not be killed. Also, in their fight, Beowulf rips Grendel’s arm off, and in the movie, when Kay-Em shoots up Jason, the first thing he loses is his arm. (I … kind of love the comparison)

Because Jim Isaac wanted the acting in his film to “blow every other Friday movie out of the water.” The associate producer videotaped the rehearsals on a camcorder for Isaac, who would view them afterward to get ideas from seeing his characters in action. The problem was with all the script re-writes a lot of the time Isaac didn’t even know if what the actors were rehearsing was still going to be in the movie (most of it wasn’t). (That’s kind of sad all things considered. Kind of sweet how much he cared though, sucks it didn’t work out).

One of the things which won over everyone to the concept of Jason in space was the idea of the kids seemingly killing the hockey mask monster halfway through only for him to be recreated into something even scarier via futuristic technology. The mechanism of this change ended up being nanotechnology, an idea screenwriter Todd Farmer lifted from Virtuosity. However, the actual concept of an UberJason predates Jason X. (Gross and I hate it)

(at around 15 mins) The space debris floating in space has “Cunningham Realty” written on the side. This is a reference to the name of producer Noel Cunningham, the son of executive producer and maker of the original Friday the 13th (1980), Sean S. Cunningham.

During Jason X’s development process, director Jim Isaac, producer Noel Cunningham (Sean’s son), and screenwriter Todd Farmer kicked around any scenario they could think of it, typically “Jason in [insert blank] (the hood, snow, underwater, the arctic, in L.A. fighting gangs, on safari).” They even considered something involving the NASCAR circuit. Farmer suggested “in space” because he knew Freddy Vs. Jason was on the way, and it’d be best if Jason X was set after the events of that epic battle. So, they needed to jump into the future, and going into space certainly did that. They were a little scared of doing a horror sequel in space [see: Hellraiser, Leprechaun, and Critters.], but they thought it could be fun to do a mash-up of Ridley Scott’s Alien and James Cameron’s Aliens with not one but two strong Ripley-type females on a ship of bad-ass space marines hunted by Jason instead of xenomorphs. (When your idea can be boiled down to: it would be best if we could flash forward a bit because a movie that was planned in 1987 and never made it totes going to come out soon … let’s put it in space I guess. That is not great).

Jason murders 28 people, more than any of the other Friday the 13th movies. (Jesus Christ, that is a ton)

In 2010, Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters actually tested out Jason X’s liquid nitrogen head smash kill. It turns out it doesn’t quite pass the smell test. (I think I saw that one. Yeah, doesn’t really work in my mind, wouldn’t freeze all of the way through).

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday Preview

It’s back, Jack! Right on cue we are continuing our Mini-Challenge journey through the world of Friday the 13th. It’s been an interesting time and I’ll miss the series once it’s gone, particularly since I went from actively disliking the series to fascination with the series and finally anticipation for each successive watch. There may be none more anticipated than the SciFi entry of the Calendar cycle. That’s right! We’re (finally) watching Jason X. Because everyone knows that it’s a super good idea to take a struggling franchise to outer space (see: Leprechaun 4: In Space). Works like a charm. Of course this also means we’ll be doing the 9th in the series, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday as a BMT bonus in preparation for the film. Hooray! I really do love watching these totally unscary horror films. Let’s go!

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) – BMeTric: 72.7

JasonGoestoHellTheFinalFriday_BMeT

JasonGoestoHellTheFinalFriday_RV

(That might look like regression, but that is pretty slow. I think it probably will settle solidly below 5.0. Incredible regardless. A popular bad movie. Horror films are always very popular, and tend to be below average, but the BMeTric here just goes up and up. It feels like this is stable, consistent, possibly legendarily bad.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Ninth entry in the Friday the 13th series, ignores the plots of the last six or so, and opens with Jason being blown to pieces in an ambush. However, his evil spirit takes over a convenient bystander, and reborn, he heads for home to confront his (hitherto unmentioned) sister. Erratic, illogical, and pointlessly cruel; some fans liked it because of its delight in including elements from other contemporary horror movie series.

(Oooof the sister thing is an awful idea. And they don’t ignore the other movies. In fact, the task force which blows up Jason in the beginning I believe is set upon him because of the rampage he goes on while heading from NYC back to his home in New Jersey (or Connecticut or whatever). All of this is tight Leonard, don’t be slandering this series like that.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8gRu3t3OF4

(Rough trailer there. I’ll give them credits though, they didn’t give much away, just tantalizing glimpses of what the franchise had in store (specifically you could kind of see an alien looking thing which suggests a bit more supernatural / sci-fi elements than we had seen before). Cannot begrudge them.)

Directors – Adam Marcus – (Known For: Snow Days; BMT: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday; Notes: At the time he was the youngest director ever hired by New Line at the age of 23. Him and his brother often appear in bit roles in the movies he directs.)

Writers – Jay Huguely (story & screenplay) – (BMT: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday; Notes: Sadly died in 2008. Was heavily involved with Magnum P.I. back in the day.)

Adam Marcus (story) – (Future BMT: Texas Chainsaw 3D; Momentum; BMT: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday; Notes: He wrote and directed most of the movies he’s been a part of. He doesn’t have many credits recently though.)

Dean Lorey (screenplay) – (Future BMT: My Boyfriend’s Back; Major Payne; BMT: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday; Notes: Big television guy, including writing nine episodes of Arrested Development. Was a script doctor during development in order to restructure the script.)

Actors – John D. LeMay – (Known For: The Couch Trip; BMT: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday; Notes: Funny enough was in the Friday the 13th television series prior to this film. Has been sticking to theater work in Hollywood more recently.)

Kari Keegan – (Known For: Jerry Maguire; BMT: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday; Notes: I can find nothing about her, her role in Jerry Maguire was uncredited, and I think she quickly dropped out of the acting scene after this film.)

Kane Hodder – (Known For: Monster; Daredevil; The Devil’s Rejects; Frozen; Hatchet; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon; Alligator; Lone Wolf McQuade; Hatchet III; Prison; Digging Up the Marrow; The Rapture; California Split; Future BMT: Room 6; House II: The Second Story; Hatchet II; Muck; Wishmaster; Father Hood; Best of the Best II; Out for Justice; BMT: Jason X; Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday; Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan; Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Grind; Notes: Along with Robert Englund I think Hodder is probably the second most famous horror film slasher around, and for good reason. I’ve loved his personal interpretation of the character. I’m surprised by how much he was able to add, but he does his part to make the later franchise installments a little bit tolerable.)

Budget/Gross – $3 million / Domestic: $15,935,068

(Solid return probably, but always a dwindling with this series. As the slasher genre slipped oh so silently into a slumber the money just stopped coming in.)

#52 for the Horror – Slasher genre

jasongoestohell_slasher

(Only a little above Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, and Psycho III. Brutal. Slashers are interesting. This came out right in the trough between the 80s franchises  But the genre is effectively dead. I don’t think they will return. They’ve gone to the VOD world I think.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 24% (4/17): No consensus yet.

(My consensus: Might work on its own as a supernatural thriller, but within context it is a true incoherent mess. From the first nine in the franchise it might just be the worst of the bunch. Certainly interesting considering number five is just horrid. The good reviews are pretty okay with the movie, but almost anything that is said is framed around how not-Jason-X the film is.)

Poster – Jason Sklogs to Hell: The Final Friday (C+)

jason_goes_to_hell

(Is it better than the posters from earlier in the franchise? No. Is the font good? Hell no. But do I kinda dig how bonkers insane this poster is? Yeah. Early 90’s crazy town.)

Tagline(s) – Evil has finally found a home. (F)

(This tagline intrigues me because it’s a generic piece of shit that I have no idea how it could connect to the horror franchise I’ve grown to love. How could this be?)

Keyword(s) – undead; Top Ten by BMeTric: 81.2 Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959); 80.5 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 77.9 Jason X (2001); 77.7 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999); 72.7 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 72.1 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 72.0 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011); 71.8 Zombie Strippers (2008); 69.9 Cell (I) (2016); 69.3 Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989);

(Twilight and Friday the 13th. I would be down for this movie marathon, would be bonkers. Universal Soldier 2 is intriguing. Both theatrical releases got simply terrible reviews, and the second one is notable for basically relegating JCVD to direct-to-video status until Expendables 2. Interesting indeed.)

Notes – There was a comic book that bridged the gap between Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) and this film. It followed Jason after he was dipped in toxic waste in a New York City sewer, and his killing spree all the way back to Camp Crystal Lake. It also explains why the FBI has a task force specifically for Jason. (I want to read this. What is happening to me? Why am I obsessed with this franchise?)

Jason’s heart was used in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) as Monkey Man’s heart. (I don’t understand this sentence, the prop I suppose?)

(at around 54 mins) The Necronomicon found in the Voorhees house is a prop created by Tom Sullivan for The Evil Dead (1981) and Evil Dead II (1987). Sam Raimi sent a letter asking Sullivan to forgive him for not asking permission to borrow Sullivan’s Evil Dead II (1987) props for this film. Tom Sullivan said he was not paid and would never again loan out props without granting permission. (That is deep prop master stuff)

The original title of the movie was “Friday the 13th Part IX: The Dark Heart of Jason Voorhees”. (WHAT)

There were plans for a high tech video game based on this movie. The game was created but never released. (Uh … so you are telling me this exists).

One early concept for this movie was “Jason Goes To L.A” in which two rival gangs would be fighting; when Jason would show up and start murdering them. This would force the rival gangs to band together to defeat Jason. (Cool idea, but kind of a rip off of Manhattan. That could have been part of the eight one if they were willing to pay for it)

This entry features the strongest clues as to the location of Crystal Lake. Namely, twice (once at the start, once when Steve Freeman sees the hitchhikers), a sign indicating that Crystal Lake is approximately 29 miles from Fairfield and 39 miles from Westport appears. Fairfield and Westport are both located in Connecticut. Previous films had indicated New Jersey or its environs; in part 3, a sign for Pick-It, the New Jersey state lottery, appears on the sign of a window at around 14 minutes into the film, while in part 1, Enos’ truck has New Jersey on the side, and at about 11 minutes into part 1, the gates for a cemetery also has New Jersey on it. (oh goddamit)

The film takes place in 2003. (Ha, loving it. We’ll have to see how that comes up)

There is a substantial amount of male nudity in this film as with female nudity, probably most notably in the “homoerotic shaving scene” as many fans have come to call it. The reason for this that director Adam Marcus viewed the previous “Friday the 13th” film as somewhat sexist, showing only or primarily female nudity, and thought it more acceptable to show male and female nudity in equal amounts. (Good for him Adam. It is sexist, got to give male nudity a chance to shine)

The only film in the series to be released in the 90s. (Which is probably the only interesting thing about it for me to be honest)

Sean Cunningham long since believed actors never took their cues fast enough, meaning it would take them just a couple of seconds too long to (for example) go out of a room through a door because they’d be too busy emoting. His passive aggressive solution was not to communicate more clearly to the actors but instead shoot at 22 frames per second instead of 24, thinking the increased speed would eliminate any sign of slight hesitation from the actor. This put the audio all out of whack, but he could fix that with a harmonizer. Cunningham puts this technique to the test on Deepstar Six, and liked the results enough to force Marcus to employ the method while filming Jason Goes to Hell. An unexpected though obvious consequence of filming everything at a slightly faster frame rate was that (for example) where they thought they had a 90 minute film they only actually had 80 minutes. (WTF That is incredible and bizarre and just one of the most incredibly terrible bullshit).

Conceptually, the notion of Jason’s essence being transferable came from Adam Marcus’ original story treatment. Ignoring Jason Takes Manhattan, he picked up where Part VII: The New Blood left off, i.e., Jason neutralized and trapped at the bottom of Crystal Lake. The film would open with a mystery man dredging up Jason’s body, so that an autopsy could be performed in a nearby cabin converted into a science lab. We were supposed to expect Jason to wake up and go berserk. However, as a surprise, Jason would awake only to watch his own black heart torn out by the the mystery man. This would instantly render him powerless, and the mystery man would consume the heart, thereby absorbing Jason’s “powers.” The big reveal would be the identity of the man: Elias Voorhees, Jason’s never seen, never mentioned father. It’s not clear where the story would have gone from there, but they dropped all of it except the idea of someone eating Jason’s heart, thereby taking his powers. Jason’s body-hopping via mouth-ingested parasite from that point forward, was likely ripped off from The Hidden (1987), a science fiction flick from New Line’s archive. (These notes are long, but they are incredible. Sounds like they decided to go the Halloween 6 route and completely ruin a horror franchise by over-explaining things)

Magnum P.I. writer Jay Huguely’s final draft for Jason Goes to Hell was awful and impossible to understand. Cunningham was coming up against a deadline, as in New Line needed to see the script within a couple of days or else they’d cancel the project. So, he recruited My Boyfriend’s Back writer Dean Lorey, sat with him in a room for 4 days, and wouldn’t let him leave until they had a script they could film. In the process, they basically threw out all of Huguely’s work. (My God, that is just a crazy story! The 90s were a crazy time)

After the film was released, the Wall Street Journal called it “a return to morality in cinema” because of the scene where Luke and Deborah are murdered while having sex after deciding not to use a condom. (That sentence makes me sick to my stomach. Fuck you Wall Street Journal)

The Beverly Hillbillies Recap

Jamie

Jed Clampett strikes oil and strikes out for Beverly Hills in pursuit of a wife to help tame his tomboy daughter. Surrounded by sycophants and con men looking to take advantage of his country naivete, can they be stopped before it’s too late? Find out in… The Beverly Hillbillies.

How?! It’s the classic fish-out-of-water story updated for a modern time. Jed Clampett is out hunting for dinner in rural Arkansas when a stray bullet strikes a giant oil reserve. Selling his land for billions he hoofs it to Beverly Hills with Grannie, Jethro, and Elly May in tow in order to find a wife to help Elly May become a proper young lady (she currently spends her time wrasling bears and the like). Upon arriving they are taken under the wing of the head of the bank, Mr. Drysdale, and his associate Miss Jane Hathaway. Unbeknownst to them, though, a skeezy employee of the bank, Woodrow, and his money-grubbing girlfriend, Laura, plan to trick the country bumpkins into handing over their fortune. Disguised as a French etiquette teacher, Laura infiltrates the family and cozies up to Jed. While the Clampett clan generally charm all those that come across their simple, kind ways, it all seems headed for naught as Jed announces that he will indeed marry Laura. On the day of the wedding Miss Jane and Grannie discover the dastardly plot and at the last moment stop the wedding. The End. The film is also that abrupt in concluding.

Why?! The original TV show was a bit light on motivation. They move to Beverly Hills in order just to take advantage of their new wealth since it seemed like the right thing to do. In the film they solidify this a bit by detailing a fear of Jed’s that his daughter is growing up rough in rural Arkansas without a mother. By moving to ritzy Beverly Hills he hopes to find a sophisticated wife who can teach Elly May to be a proper lady. As for Mr. Drysdale, he’s a sycophant that hopes only to keep Jed’s money in his bank (although he and Miss Jane are pretty nice to the Clampetts nonetheless). Laura and Woodrow are the bad guys that only aim to steal money that is not theirs. Played by Rob Schneider, Woodrow is terribly unfunny and easily the worst part of a pretty silly film.

What?! I was fearing that we wouldn’t get a decent product placement in the entire film and I would be forced to use a conspicuously placed bottle of Shasta soda for this entry (the horror). That is until Jed’s glamorous birthday party when Juthro, shown to be a huge eater in several different scenes (character development!), can’t stand the snobby food. Starving and eager for a decent meal he orders a six-foot sub from Subway! Not joking, it’s a commercial within a film.

Who?! While Zsa Zsa Gabor appears very briefly in a police lineup (for no discernable reason) and the original Jed Clampett himself, Buddy Ebsen, appears as Barnaby Jones, I have to give this section to the queen Dolly Parton. Not only does she sings a full rendition of If You Ain’t Got Love and Happy Birthday, but she wrangled a higher billing than Rob Schneider and Dabney Coleman for a single scene. Good on ya!

Where?! Love the original setting of Arkansas. Fairly brief, but specific. The main setting though sets off a serious A+ Settings Alert! Beverly Hills is essential to the plot and in the title. Can’t beat a satisfyingly A+ setting.

When?! Patrick and I discussed this at length. With some sleuthing it would seem that the film takes place over a 6 month period starting from February 1993, with the wedding taking place on the 10th of August of that year. This is all based on a calendar on Barnaby Jones’ desk and a couple of magazine people read (we are crazy people). Most B- setting that I can remember.

I actually didn’t totally mind this film. Just as silly as something like Dudley Do-Right, but with some characters I liked and I thought the Clampett actors did an admirable job conveying the sweet innocence of the family without becoming insulting… or at least too insulting. Rob Schneider never fails to be terrible though. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The Beverly Hillbillies? More like the Beverly Fail-billies? That’s a toughy. Jed Clampett just fell ass backwards into a billion dollars and wants to find his daughter a new mother … that’s it. That’s the story, let’s get into it.

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I like the actors (although I don’t think anyone comes across as decent besides, maybe, Lea Thompson). And the movie is kind of harmless in an oh-shucks kind of way. I would Remake it obviously. Because there is nothing better than remaking a remake of a 1960s television show. I think I would use it as a launching point for a new show, so cast the show and start it with a Beverly Hillbillies movie (hey, why not?) which tells the tale of Jed Clampett falling backwards into $10 billion (inflation, amirite?) and all of a sudden rubbing elbows with the Hollywood elites. Run it like a faux-soap opera, a kind of pseudo-drama comedy. Not the OC, more like a light-hearted Twin Peaks season 1. Is there a show like that? I feel like if there isn’t there should be, and why not use that sweet IP to do it?

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – When I initially watched this movie I thought it was merely boring and harmless. There was silly sound effects, and a ludicrous story about a wedding and a Swiss bank account. But the longer I ruminate the more I dislike it. It is like a two episode arc of a television show premiere. It adds nothing and I can’t quite figure out why it exists. I’ve subsequently seen a few critics say roughly the same thing (see Ebert’s review below), so it was as obvious at the time as well. It just seems so pointless, which is somehow worse than just making a terrible movie in the first place! The Sklognalogy I think has to be Car 54 Where are You? but at the same time, at least that movie decided to do something interesting with that property. Maybe Dudley Do-Right though … I can barely remember that worthless film.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – No legacy. This film is just along for the ride with other early-90s tv adaptations. I hope to forget it almost immediately. In StreetCreditReport.com the episode of Siskel & Ebert The Beverly Hillbillies was Siskel’s worst tv remake of the year!! Funny enough Ebert chose Coneheads even though he destroys this film in his own review. I’m not surprised, the film is more of a disappointment and boring, not aggressively bad like Super Mario Bros. Buys a bit into my big-targets theory of bad movie criticism: a movie might be objectively better than other films coming out in the same year, but if you have a big target (here, it is the fact that it is based on a beloved classic property), then you’ll get disproportionately slammed when things turn out poorly.

I wish I could say I watched some original Beverly Hillbillies in prep … but I didn’t really see the point. I watched an episode of Car 54 Where Are You? and just kind of realized shows from that era don’t really have arcs, and remakes tend to not stray too far from the general tone anyways. They barely have characters. Meh, that is what I say to you Beverly Hillbillies.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Made of Honor Recap

Jamie

Thomas and Hannah are a couple of platonic besties. When Hannah returns from a business trip with a surprise fiancé and asks Thomas to be her maid of honor, he realizes that he’s in love with her. Can he stop the wedding and get the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… Made of Honor.

How?! Thomas is a ridiculously rich playboy living it up in New York City. While he beds a new girl each day, he has a strict regimen to avoid commitments. His only commitment is his long-time best friend Hannah. When Hannah leaves for a six week business trip in Scotland it tears Thomas apart and he soon realizes that he’s in love with her. Planning to admit this love to her, he’s surprised when she returns with an engagement ring on her finger and a beau in tow. Oh no! When she asks him to be her maid of honor he plans to use the position to prove to her that he’s the one. Cracks in the engagement start to show when they arrive in Scotland for the wedding, but a misunderstanding threatens to send Thomas packing back to the States. On the drive to the airport he realizes that he shouldn’t have given up so easily and races (literally… on a horse) to the wedding to break it up at the last moment. Thomas and Hannah get together and live happily ever. Duh.

Why?! Love, obviously. Seriously, we kind of plop into the film in the middle of Thomas and Hannah’s story. They’ve been best friends for ten years and haven’t fallen in love because Thomas is a stunted man-child who loves to bone any and all beautiful women without committing to anything. So when he realizes he’s in love with her that becomes the entire focus of the film. Everyone else is just a pawn in their game of love, especially Hannah’s poor, perfect fiancé Colin. He can do no wrong and yet still is left standing like a dope at the altar.

What?! The source of Thomas’ fortune is probably the most cliche thing in a film that is built painstakingly from years of cliches cultivated from the rom com forest of love. He is purported to be the inventor of the coffee cup sleeve and gets 10 cents each time a cup of coffee is sold. Ha! So he is made to be so rich that he just bums around NYC slaying ladies. This is our hero, everyone! A side effect of this totally ludicrous aspect of the plot is that Starbucks is sipped aplenty on screen.

Who?! In a perfect demonstration of Poe’s Law, the writers of Made of Honor attempted to make a spoof of a maid of honor instructional video starring Survivor/The View/Fox & Friends’ own Elisabeth Hasselbeck. While it may have seemed extreme enough on paper I actually couldn’t tell whether the video was real or not. I had to go online to find out whether it should go under the What category as a super odd product placement for a real video or under the Who category for a super odd cameo. It was the latter. Either way it wasn’t funny.

Where?! We get the first half of the film set in NYC hard. We get shots of the Met, Central Park, etc. The glorious sights and sounds of the city. Then the action moves to Scotland even harder. Beautiful. I like it enough to give it an A-.

When?! Exact date alert! When Hannah heads to Scotland we see a text from Thomas dated May 27th. The trip is 6 weeks and the wedding is planned 2 weeks after that. So apparently the wedding is set for the end of July. Cell phones really revolutionized our settings game. B-

Despite the incredible genericness of this film, I thought the first half was pretty pleasant. The main character was a nice guy and didn’t stoop to being bad to try to win the girl. But when the action moved to Scotland it got ridiculous real fast. Went right off the rails. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Made of Honor? More like It’s a Goner! Amirite. McDreamy goes to his native home of Scotland (I assume that is where the McDreamys are from) to win his best friend’s hand from a true blue baxter (the name for the dope left at the altar in rom coms). As long as I can stare at Patrick Dempsey all day I should be good … right? Let’s go!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I think Patrick Dempsey is very charming, it is interesting how he kind of reinvented himself years after losing relevancy as a young actor. The first thirty minutes of this film are also pretty refreshing: you have what appears to be a genuine friendship between a man and a woman, it is believable, and how Dempsey decides to give a relationship a go rings true. The lead up to him becoming the Maid of Honor is actually quite good. Spoiler alert: he gets the girl in the end. So naturally you have to do a Sequel in which we explore the nasty divorce proceedings several years later. Think Kramer vs. Kramer, but more dramatic. At the same time Tom’s Cup Caddy business is floundering because his brand is banned in Europe (probably a retaliatory act by Colin, the baxter in the original film), and he is dealing with his father’s death. It is a tear jerker, exposing the limits of human will. Can Tom save his business, reconcile with his wife, and handle his father’s estate? “Wait, is this a sequel to that lightweight romantic comedy from a few years back … I mean, all of the characters have the same names so I guess it must be. Divorce of Honor is a very weird name too.” says Leonard Maltin.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – The instant Patrick Dempsey becomes the titular Maid of Honor things get rolling into what is one of the most ridiculous romantic comedies you’ll ever see. You have a crazy basketball slam dunk sequence, they all go out to Scotland and stay in a big castle, they all participate in a Highland Games scenario, they kiss during a weird Scottish Hen Do celebration, there is the misunderstanding non-sex scene, and a horseback ride to stop the wedding. The last thirty minutes is just nuts, every cliche you can think of rolled into one movie. I should also mention that the three leads in the film are all incredibly wealthy and just have no care in the world, like tens of millions of dollars wealthy, making the entire situation even harder to parse. For the Sklognalogy I think I’ll stick to Rom Coms and go with What to Expect When you’re Expecting, just because it is kind of just a mashup of every cliche in each’s respective subgenres. WtEWYE for ensemble-cast rom coms, and Made of Honor for stop-the-wedding! rom coms.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I think this guy has decent legs. If someone asked me for a recommendation of a stop-the-wedding! romantic comedy, this is officially the one I would point to. It’s just got the perfect rich-people-problems, crazy setting, and baxter combo (the guy is the perfect baxter, straight up a perfect man by design). From the critics it is impressively named on the top 15 worst of 2008 by critics according to The Guardian. Maybe not a surprise there though, it could have been on the Brit’s radar because of its aggressive use of the Scottish setting. And 2008 was a crazy good year for bad movies, that honor is nothing to scoff at.

I’m going to do a short Sklognanlysis for the the 10 cent per coffee sleeve thing Jamie mentioned … those things probably come in a pack of 1000 for a dollar. He would get something like 0.01 cents per sleeve. Still a lot, even that low-ball would probably make him something like $200K a year (based on US statistics alone, so millions worldwide isn’t out of the realm of possibility). They should have said he used his invention money to buy a large early stake in Starbucks and that’s why he is rich, would have made more sense. And maybe that is what they meant … but 10 cents per cup? He’d be a billionaire. There is something like five million cups of coffee sold per day in the US.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs