The Fog (2005) Preview

Leaving The Avengers behind, we make our way to the Horror/Thriller category of the calendar. Unfortunately, the calendar is woefully bereft of thrillers so this is really just  a horror category. With that in mind, why not choose one of the worst reviewed horror films released in the 2000’s? That’s right, we’re doing the remake of The Fog from 2005. The original was directed by one of my favorite directors of all time John Carpenter, so at the very least we’ll get to enjoy watching that before being disappointed by the new version. It’s the most BMT film released on October 14th, beating out Elizabethtown, Domino, Exit to Eden, and (most interestingly) the 2011 prequel of The Thing. A different John Carpenter material made (terribly) for the modern world. What are the chances that it would be released on the exact same day 6 years later? Let’s go!

The Fog (2005) – BMeTric: 76.4

TheFog_BMeT

TheFog_RV

(So I have a theory. The past few weeks we’ve hit the 70+ BMeTric hard, and the plots have looked amazingly similar. Cat in the Hat, Taxi, The Avengers, this … they don’t half ass it. They go balls to the wall and hit that 70+ hard. Really I think that is the key. When Jack and Jill came out, for example, everyone knew this was a catastrophe (it sits pretty at 80+ these days). I think that these are movies that just seem like a bad idea on paper and then double down with terrible execution to boot. And yet … out of those four doesn’t The Fog kind of stand out? Seems like an outlier, like it doesn’t belong? For me I barely remember this thing. I wonder why people were so immediately against the film (2.9 rating early on is absurd). I have theories … see the box office section below for more. I finally put the votes/rating chart up because why? Why would The Fog’s rating rise over time? All part of the weird world of IMDb user ratings)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – A dense fog from the Pacific creeps over a Northwest seaside village, bringing with it murderous, vengeful ghosts. Lame remake of John Carpenter’s 1980 movie alters the plot slightly but is no improvement. Carpenter and his longtime partner Debra Hill produced this. Alternate version also available.  

(This sounds like a 1.5 star review considering Leonard already didn’t like the original all that much (2.5 stars). For those that are interested, the alternate version is an unrated widescreen edition that includes a director’s commentary that I may or may not have ordered through my local library system [Editor’s note: little old library ladies seemingly don’t know what unrated means. I. Am. Furious].)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWH1WlzXbko

(Not sure what I’m supposed to get out of that trailer besides the fact that Antonio Island is perpetually shrouded in darkness. Not even sure who the main characters are.)

Directors – Rupert Wainwright – (BMT: The Fog; Blank Check; Stigmata; Notes: Say whaaaaaaaaaaaat? You telling me staple-of-the-sklogs-childhood Blank Check was (1) a bad movie, and (2) directed by the guy who directed The Fog? Count me in, this movie is definitely amazing. An apparently prolific music video director he was featured on the British Millionaire Matchmaker.)

Writers – Cooper Layne (screenplay) – (Known For: The Core; BMT: The Fog; Notes: Saaaaaaaaaaay Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? You telling me staple-of-the-sklogs-late-night-movie-watching-indulgences The Core was (1) a good movie, and (2) written by the same guy who wrote The Fog? Count me double in, this movie is definitely double amazing. There isn’t much more about him besides that he had a small part in Coneheads.)

John Carpenter (1980 screenplay) – (Known For: Halloween; They Live; Escape from L.A.; Escape from New York; The Fog; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Prince of Darkness; Assault on Precinct 13; Assault on Precinct 13; Eyes of Laura Mars; Dark Star; BMT: The Fog; Halloween: Resurrection; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Ghosts of Mars; Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; Halloween 5; Halloween; Black Moon Rising; Halloween II; Notes: A lot of these credits are for this kind of stuff, remakes. But BMT classic Ghosts of Mars is pretty special. Honestly, Halloween, Escape from New York and especially his directing credits like The Thing are all remarkable both as films, but also for their mind blowing practical effects. I can say without hesitation he is one of my favorite filmmakers of all time.)

Debra Hill (1980 screenplay) – (Known For: Halloween; Escape from L.A.; The Fog; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; BMT: The Fog; Halloween: Resurrection; Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; Halloween 5; Halloween; Halloween II; Notes: One of the most famous female producers of her time she worked with Carpenter on many of his early films. Was serving as producer of The Fog right around when she was diagnosed and subsequently died of cancer sadly.)

Actors – Tom Welling – (Known For: Draft Day; Parkland; BMT: The Fog; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Cheaper by the Dozen; Notes: Owns (or maybe owned) a house on Martha’s Vineyard (what, what) where he was married. Probably best known for playing Superman on Smallville.)

Maggie Grace – (Known For: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Taken; Knight and Day; Faster; The Jane Austen Book Club; BMT: The Fog; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Taken 3; We’ll Never Have Paris; Lockout; Taken 2; The Choice; Notes: Best known for running really weird in Taken… oh and for her work on Lost.)

Also stars Selma Blair who is becoming a BMT staple with The Sweetest Thing and Down to You in her repertoire.

Budget/Gross – $18 million / Domestic: $29,550,869 (Worldwide: $46,201,432 Worldwide)

(Actually looks OK just by the numbers, but it was considered a pretty big disappointment when it came out. Just a year before The Grudge was able to make $187 million worldwide on a smaller budget, so I think that’s what they had in mind. That obviously did not happen.)

#32 for the Horror Remake genre

TheFogAnalysis

(Bam, new plot. I made this to explore my theory on why this movie was so destroyed in BMeTric. Using a windowing method, it sums up the number of theaters showing movies of this genre on a date plus or minus a year from a date in time (blue). And also the gross per theater for these movies (over their entire domestic run, green). The Fog is shown as a dashed red line in time. Hypothesis: This movie was the last straw for horror movie fans for remakes of 80’s films. And the plot bears this out! The genre was almost born in 2000 and grew to a plateau right when The Fog came out. And right as the gross was a-tumbling. It has since appeared to almost die as a genre. But I think this is a product of the blockbuster (Star Wars, Marvel, DC, etc.) dominating and saturating the theaters over the last five year. But we’ll see. Regardless I am convinced this is part of the reason this movie was thoroughly destroyed on IMDb (and thus the BMeTric), horror fans are … particular and love to vote on IMDb it seems. Right around future BMT classics The Eye and One Missed Call as well)

Rotten Tomatoes – 4% (3/68): The Fog is a so-so remake of a so-so movie, lacking scares, suspense or originality.

(I feel like this and Taxi have the funniest RT consensuses. Just very matter-of-fact despite summing up two of the worst reviewed releases of the decade. Maybe it was just a sign of the times. Before they started shoehorning puns into everything.)

Poster – The Meh (C-)

fog

(Just meh. A bit boring, needs to pick a color other than grey, and the font is too easy to turn into the spoof poster of The Sklog. Also, where’s my tagline? Bullshit. I would have put it down into D+ range, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with it, just nothing good.)

Tagline(s) – None. (F)

(There are taglines from DVDs and stuff, but there is no official tagline from the poster or major advertising. Unacceptable.)

IMDb Keyword – fog

(I had to note this little guy. Both of the Silent Hill BMT classics make this very prestige-ish list. Get it? … The Prestige is number one on the list).

Notes – Selma Blair did almost all of her own stunts. For her underwater scenes, she spent 12 hours in a water tank, with only short surface breaks, for two days straight. (… I don’t believe you)

In between takes in Vancouver, press were granted access to the set. During Selma Blair’s interview, director Rupert Wainwright made a joke she didn’t like. In response, Blair reached into her shirt, pulled out a rubber “falsie,” and flung it across the conference room at the director, deadpanning, “That’s the Adrienne Barbeau part of the role.” (wat)

Before Tom Welling was cast, actors considered for Nick Castle included David Boreanaz, Jesse Metcalfe, Matthew Davis, Henry Cavill, Adam Garcia, Michael Cassidy, Oliver Hudson, and Peter Facinelli. Matthew Fox and Ben McKenzie, were also considered for the role and met with the director, but due to conflicting television schedules they did not read for producers. (If only the charmless walking mannequin that is Henry Cavill would have been in this, perfecto)

Fergie (of The Black Eyed Peas) was attached to play Stevie Wayne before a last-minute conflict prevented her contract from closing. (Well they lost a fan here. Everyone loves musicians and especially Black Eyed Peas in any major motion picture. The more the better and this film is worse for that egregious casting misstep. Unforgivable)

Maggie Grace beat Emilie de Ravin, her Lost (2004) co-star, for the role of Elizabeth. (And with that we end, what a loss for Emilie de Ravin)

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The Avengers (1998) Preview

I gotta tell you that I’m pretty excited for this next film. I remember when it came out and even as a middle schooler I was like “WTF mate.” It’s been bandied about for BMT before and its time in the sun is finally here. That’s right, we are watching The Avengers! Before you gasp and retire to your fainting couch let me make clear that this is not Marvel’s The Avengers. It is the 1998 adaptation of the 1960’s television show The Avengers. By all accounts the entire post-production for the film was a disaster and resulted in an incomprehensible mess. Released on August 14th (in the midst of the dump months) it is easily the worst film released on that day. Other than The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, it’s really the only qualifying movie for August 14th period.

The Avengers (1998) – BMeTric: 78.4

Avengers_BMeT

(As usual with these types of things it just has gone up and up since IMDb became big-ish. Curiously, the rating has increased a bit over the time period. I have no idea why. Who was just clamoring to go to IMDb to give this a four or whatever? No one.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Retread of the popular British TV show of the ‘60s about two saucy secret agents tries in vain to capture its stylishness and insouciance – but Fiennes is woefully miscast, Connery gives a one-note performance as a bad guy who wants to control the Earth’s weather, and a fine supporting cast is wasted. Thurman is likable enough, but the film is utterly flat.

(Insouciance – noun – casual lack of concern; indifference. Thanks Mr. Maltin, I’ve learned a new word that I would struggle to use in any context. Funny enough he destroyed this movie on his podcast, so where the hell does two stars come from? Also this sounds boring.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgTiFsCMCo4

(Ugh. This trailers insouciance is offensive. You can almost tell they were trying their best to make a trailer out of what is definitely going to be a movie almost entirely constructed from cutting room scraps. This could either be our greatest triumph or literally the most boring moving on the planet.)

Directors – Jeremiah S. Chechik – (Known For: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; Benny & Joon; Tall Tale; BMT: The Avengers; Diabolique; The Right Kind of Wrong; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Director for The Avengers. Weirdly sparse bio for such a oddly impressive short directing career. Has stuck to tv for about twenty years now.)

Writers – Sydney Newman (television series The Avengers) – (BMT: The Avengers; Notes: Extremely influential titan of British television including heading the the BBC for several years. Sadly passed away within a year of this movie coming out.)

Don MacPherson (written by) – (Known For: Absolute Beginners; BMT: The Avengers; The Gunman; Crossing the Line; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Screenplay for The Avengers. What a strange guy. Wrote Crossing the Line in 1990, this in 1998 and then the Gunman in 2015 … nothing much else officially credited. According to wikipedia though it seems like he is the script doctor on a ton of movies and series.)

Actors – Ralph Fiennes – (Known For: The Harry Potter Series, Hail, Caesar!; Spectre; A Bigger Splash; Schindler’s List; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Skyfall; The Hurt Locker; In Bruges; Red Dragon; The Prince of Egypt; The English Patient; The Reader; Maid in Manhattan; The Constant Gardener; Great Expectations; The Duchess; Nanny McPhee Returns; Strange Days; Coriolanus; The Curse of the Were-Rabbit; The Invisible Woman; Quiz Show; BMT: The Avengers; Clash of the Titans; Wrath of the Titans; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Actor and Screen Couple  for The Avengers. Probably most famous for his roles in Schindler’s List, The English Patient and as Voldemort in Harry Potter. Incredible British stage and screen performer with the absolutely incredible real name of Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes)

Uma Thurman – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Nymphomaniac: Vol. I; Kill Bill: Vol. 1; Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief; Gattaca; Kill Bill: Vol. 2; Beautiful Girls; Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind; Dangerous Liaisons; The Producers; Les Misérables; Henry & June; The Adventures of Baron Munchausen; My Super Ex-Girlfriend; BMT: Batman & Robin; Movie 43; The Avengers; Even Cowgirls Get the Blues; Johnny Be Good; Bel Ami; Be Cool; Motherhood; Playing for Keeps; Paycheck; Chelsea Walls; Jennifer 8; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Actress and Screen Couple for The Avengers, Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1998 for Worst Supporting Actress for Batman & Robin, Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1995 for Worst Actress for Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Very famous for her involvement with Tarantino films, her career has been somewhat winding. Once married to Ethan Hawke and Gary Oldman as well.)

Also stars Sean Connery

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $23,384,939

(Enormous, ridiculous, astounding bomb. So bad that it was the keystone to what is widely considered to be one of the worst summers in hollywood history, the summer of 1998.)

#49 for the Action Heroine genre (Just below BMT classic Elektra)

#64 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre (That is a ridiculous ranking coming in below recent bomb Entourage)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (4/82): A TV spinoff that lacks enough energy to spin, The Avengers is an ineptly written, woefully miscast disaster.

(Low energy. A foreboding statement indeed. Everything about these descriptions makes this sound dull. This best have crazy BMstreeT Cred)

Poster – The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Seen (F)

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(This is literally the worst thing that’s ever happened to posters. If (when?) I teach a class on bad movie posters and taglines this will be used as the example for when everything goes wrong. An insane person made this.)

Tagline(s) – Two amazing secret agents. One diabolical madman. Conditions are dark. The forecast is deadly. Tea, anyone? (F, what the hell?)

Saving the World in Style (B-)

(Alright, so I guess both kind of try and get the insouciance across. The first is just … it is the longest tagline. It was like I was reading it forever. At one point I think I fell asleep while reading it, then woke up, made breakfast, and I was still reading it. The second is okay but somewhat meaningless. I mean … I get the insouciance, but not much else.)

Notes – The film’s critical and commercial failure, along with the equally unsuccessful and equally maligned The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), was partly responsible for Sean Connery’s decision to retire from the film business. (As The Cat in the Hat would say: Ohhhh Yeaaaahhhhhhhh!)

Peter Bart’s book “The Gross” covered the film’s unfolding disaster in great detail. Among other facts: Warner Brothers greenlit the film largely on the strength of a star-packed cast and their appreciation of Jeremiah Chechik’s work on Diabolique (1996) and were horrified when seeing what the first cut was like. The first screening took place in front of a “largely Spanish-speaking, working class” audience in Phoenix, AZ who hated the film; the studio then forced Chechik to cut many of his favorite scenes and conduct reshoots; and the final cut went from 115 to 89 minutes and was completely incoherent. The studio even refused to hold further test screenings, or to have an official premiere before the film’s August 1998 release. (holy shit, yes!)

Speaking at the 2006 AFI Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony, Eddie Izzard said that he took a role in the film in order to meet Sean Connery. (ha!)

In the original script the part of Sir August was much smaller but when Sir Sean Connery joined the project he asked for the part to expanded. (Reminds me a little of Bulletproof Monk, where the role of The Bulletproof Monk was nonexistent in the material, but since Chow Yun-Fat was attached it became a main role)

At one point, David Fincher was interested in writing and directing the film with Charles Dance starring as John Steed. (If only there were alternate universes where we could see such a thing)

Producer Jerry Weintraub had hopes for sequels to the film, having spent around a decade trying to get the project green-lit. (Will be interesting to see whether the ending sets up for a sequel)

Awards – Won the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Ralph Fiennes)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Uma Thurman)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Sean Connery)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Jeremiah S. Chechik)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Don MacPherson)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Storm

 sounds like a Bond opening)

Taxi Preview

Alright, this week we transition fully to the Calendar rotation and start in with a comedy. The Calendar is pretty good for BMT street cred, as each film is more or less the worst film released on the day in question. Because of this there is a chance that we will be able to watch a number of 70+ BMeTric films (which is an amazing score). So starting it off right, we dive into the 70.2 BMeTric rated film Taxi starring Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. This is the worst film released on October 6th. Other notable films: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Employee of the Month, and Assassins. All solid BMT, but not 70.2 BMeTric solid.

Taxi (2004) – BMeTric: 70.2

Taxi_BMeT

(Boom. Right out the gate a disaster. Barely sticking above that 70 threshold though. Really depends on the rating now (those fits and starts in the trajectory are it jumping between ratings). I was genuinely shocked at this btw. I didn’t really imagine that this film could be this reviled, I barely remember it exists on the good day.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Hotshot cabbie teams up with an incompetent hot-dog cop in this weak action-comedy. Latifah and Fallon are strangers-turned-buddies out to catch a team of bank robbers (who happen to look like supermodels). Not a good showcase for the Queen or for former Saturday Night Live member Fallon. Produced by Luc Besson, based on the 1998 French film of the same name, which he wrote and coproduced. Extended version runs 112m.

(Leonard is a little familiar with Latifah, just calling her “the Queen.” Weird. I don’t really recall that being a common thing people called her. I do like the pairing of “hotshot” and “hot-dog” that Leonard uses here. Could be used for most every buddy-cop film.)

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

(Huh. Having already watched the French version of this film I can tell you that about 30% of the scenes they showed are from the climax of the film. Including three that are from the very last stunt where they catch the bad guys. Oh shit, spoiler alert. Guess I shouldn’t have revealed that Fallon and Latifah catch them at the end. My bad. Now you won’t be surprised.)

Directors – Tim Story – (Known For: Barbershop; Think Like a Man; BMT: Taxi; Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic Four; Think Like a Man Too; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes: The top grossing African-American director of all time (domestic at least, not sure about worldwide). Actually just retook the top spot from Tyler Perry with Ride Along 2.)

Writers – Luc Besson (earlier screenplay) – (Known For: Lucy; Léon: The Professional; The Fifth Element; Taken; The Transporter; Point of No Return; Transporter 2; La Femme Nikita; The Big Blue; Unleashed; District B13; District 13: Ultimatum; BMT: Taxi; The Transporter Refueled; Brick Mansions; Taken 3; Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard; Transporter 3; Lockout; Arthur 3: The War of the Two Worlds; Arthur and the Invisibles; 3 Days to Kill; Taken 2; The Family; Fanfan; Colombiana; The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc; From Paris with Love; Revolver; Notes: Very influential French filmmaker. Founder of EuropaCorp, a major studio in France.)

Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon (screenplay) – (Known For: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Night at the Museum; Mr. Peabody & Sherman; Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian; Herbie Fully Loaded; BMT:Taxi; Balls of Fury; The Pacifier; Hell Baby; Jessabelle; Reno 911!: Miami; Let’s Go to Prison; Notes: Never nominated for a Razzie, which is a bit of a surprise. Seems lately that Garant has been writing more independent of Lennon. Perhaps because Lennon is busy with the CBS show The Odd Couple. Or should I say the CBS smash-hit The Odd Couple.)

Jim Kouf (screenplay) – (Known For: Rush Hour; National Treasure; Gang Related; Stakeout; BMT: Taxi; Snow Dogs; Operation Dumbo Drop; Another Stakeout; Class; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Notes: Recently in the news after a Puerto Rican film Vasos de Papel was pulled from theaters for being a blatant copy of a film he wrote called Secret Admirer.)

Actors – Queen Latifah – (Known For: Miracles from Heaven; 22 Jump Street; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; Hairspray; Chicago; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Stranger Than Fiction; Ice Age: The Meltdown; The Secret Life of Bees; Juice; Jungle Fever; Bringing Out the Dead; Last Holiday; Set It Off; Brown Sugar; Just Wright; BMT: Taxi; The Dilemma; Scary Movie 3; Pinocchio; Bringing Down the House; Valentine’s Day; The Country Bears; Beauty Shop; The Cookout; The Perfect Holiday; Sphere; House Party 2; Mad Money; What Happens in Vegas; Joyful Noise; Ice Age: Continental Drift; The Bone Collector; Notes: Rapper/hip-hop artist/singer/actress. Has won a Grammy, Emmy, and nominated for an Oscar (Chicago). She’s set up pretty well for potentially completing an EGOT before her career is over.)

Jimmy Fallon – (Known For: Jurassic World; Almost Famous; Whip It; Fever Pitch; Anything Else; BMT: Taxi; Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; Doogal; Jem and the Holograms; Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard; Get Hard; Arthur 3: The War of the Two Worlds; Arthur and the Invisibles; Factory Girl; Notes: Who would have thought that over a decade after making this film together, Gisele would go on The Tonight Show and teach Jimmy how to walk the runway? I wonder if they reminisced about Taxi backstage.)

With a rare appearance from Gisele Bündchen!

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $36,611,066 (Worldwide: $68,895,435 Worldwide)

#14 for the Remake – French genre

(There really aren’t any bad movies on the list besides this one. The more interesting thing is just how far down this is. Below 1989 Three Fugitives? Yeeeeeesh. Wasn’t even really a bomb either, but they must have been planning on more than $36 million domestic)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (11/105): Silly and unfunny remake of a French movie of the same name.

(Wow. RT got real serious on this one. Those are certainly the facts of the matter.)

Poster – Taxi Tilt (C-)

taxi

(Likes: Bright yellow base, integration of the title into the scene (clever), and actually provides a lot of visual info about the plot in the scene. Dislikes: Tilt, terrible font and block coloring for all the words on the poster, too basic/not artistic, and the weird foggy background is… not good. Almost a D+, but juuussssst better than that.)

Tagline(s) – He’s armed, but she’s dangerous. (A)

(Out of nowhere Taxi hits on a nearly perfect tagline. Short and sweet? Yup. Clever in some way? Yup. Gives an idea of the plot? Yup. Three for three.)

Notes – Ingrid Vandebosch, one of the female robbers in this film, is married to Jeff Gordon, who has an uncredited cameo in this film. (Athlete film!)

Kevin Bray was originally set to direct, but dropped out. (director of potential BMT films Walking Tall and All About the Benjamins)