Blue City Preview

Hoo wee. I’m actually pretty excited for the end of the cycle this time around. Why? Because our transitions have typically turned into an attempt to find a film that matches both the current cycle and the upcoming cycle. However this time our current cycle is films of 1986 and the upcoming cycle are films of 2016 (potential Razzies). Uh oh! No film can both be of 1986 and 2016. What to do? Obviously the only solution is to punish ourselves by watching two films for transition. The transition will be done using two film (one from 1986 and the other from 2016) that have some other property in common. In a way the two film form a small cycle of their own (a bicycle if you will). For this transition we are going to use the final Worst Picture nominee Blue City (never heard of it? Nobody else has either) and the Wayans Bros. spoof Fifty Shades of Black. The bicycle is the “black & blue” cycle. Get it? It’s amazing. So for our preview will we post information for both these films and have to watch both for this week… we are so goddamn good at this whole obsessive bad movie watching! (Patrick’s Note: And at making watching bad movies feel like a chore!) Let’s go!

Blue City (1986) – BMeTric: 14.0

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(Oooof less than a thousand votes. Kind of a wonder it even manages 14.0 BMeTric, but 4.0 is pretty rough as far as rating is concerned. That low it makes sense it will look linear (which is roughly in line with the vote count). It will basically take off if it could ever even sniff the rough inflection vote point which is currently near-ish to 3000 votes.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Perfectly awful film about wiseguy kid who returns to Florida hometown after five years, discovers that his father was killed, and vows to avenge (and solve) his murder. Senseless and stupid; Nelon’s unappealing character seems to possess a one-word vocabulary, and the word isn’t fudge. Based on a good book by Ross Macdonald.

(Oooooof. The bomb probably comes from this movie being perfectly boring. Leonard is on tip top semicolon game as usual. I like the idea of an unappealing character, after the interestingly okay characters we saw in Keeping Up with the Joneses, it will be fun to see people just drop the ball completely in that regard. Get ready for some F-booooooooooooombs.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9GIsyUgwxE

(Certainly old school and left un-updated from presumably VHS pre-trailers. Does it get me excited though? No. The acting looks sub-sub-par, the soundtrack is poised to be a travesty, and it just looks old. The only hope for this not being boring is that Nelson looks fun in the action scenes they teased. Tenuous.)

Directors – Michelle Manning – (BMT: Blue City; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Director for Blue City. Producer with John Hughes for Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, in 1997 she transitioned to president of production for Paramount where she still works. This is her one and only directing credit. Makes sense though, Nelson and Sheedy means a close connection to Hughes in general. I wonder if she just did not enjoy directing.)

Writers – Ross Macdonald (novel) – (Known For: The Moving Target; The Drowning Pool; BMT: Blue City; Notes: aka Kenneth Millar (Macdonald is a pen name). Most well known for his character Lew Archer. Blue City is his third novel written in 1947 and is one of only six novels which are not Lew Archer. Too bad, I would have liked to see Judd Nelson As ….. Lew Archer!)

Lukas Heller (screenplay) – (Known For: The Dirty Dozen; What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?; The Flight of the Phoenix; Monte Walsh; Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte; Damnation Alley; The Killing of Sister George; Too Late the Hero; BMT: Flight of the Phoenix; Blue City; Notes: German screenwriter died a few years after this film was released. The father of Zoe Heller who wrote the novel Notes on a Scandal which was made into a film with Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett.)

Walter Hill (screenplay) – (Known For: Aliens; The Warriors; Alien³; 48 Hrs.; Undisputed; Streets of Fire; Red Heat; The Getaway; The Driver; The Long Riders; Southern Comfort; The Streetfighter; Wild Bill (BMT); The Drowning Pool; The MacKintosh Man; Hickey & Boggs; BMT: Another 48 Hrs.; The Getaway; Last Man Standing; Blue City; Notes: Directed previous BMT films Bullet to the Head and Wild Bill (which now has a 41% on RT. [Editor’s note: that’s bullshit. I guarantee some of those are duplicates]). Extremely illustrious career and is credited with bringing back the western to an extent. He claims all of his movies are westerns at heart, stripping down to a world beyond normal avenues of social control.)

Actors – Judd Nelson – (Known For: The Breakfast Club; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; St. Elmo’s Fire; New Jack City; The Transformers: The Movie; BMT: Steel (BMT); Airheads; The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day; Blue City; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1988 for Worst Actor for From the Hip and in 1987 for Blue City. Part of the Brat Pack and partially known for several more recent television roles like Suddenly Susan.)

Ally Sheedy – (Known For: X-Men: Apocalypse; The Breakfast Club; Little Sister; WarGames; St. Elmo’s Fire; Short Circuit; Bad Boys; Welcome to the Rileys; High Art; Only the Lonely; Life During Wartime; Betsy’s Wedding; Twice in a Lifetime; Sugar Town; Happy Here and Now; BMT: Short Circuit 2; Man’s Best Friend; Maid to Order; Blue City; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1991 for Worst Supporting Actress for Betsy’s Wedding; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1990 for Worst Actress for Heart of Dixie and in 1987 for Blue City. Another member of the Brat Pack. Was for years married to the nephew of my hero Angela Lansbury, but they sadly filed for divorce in 2008.)

David Caruso – (Known For: First Blood; An Officer and a Gentleman; Session 9; King of New York; Proof of Life; Kiss of Death; Mad Dog and Glory; BMT: Jade; Hudson Hawk; Twins; Blue City; Thief of Hearts; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1996 for Worst New Star for Kiss of Death, and Jade. Actually famous for being the main character in CSI: Miami and NYPD Blue. I do not remember him from Hudson Hawk.)

Budget/Gross – $10 million / Domestic: $6,947,787

(Ooof, that would be a bomb. I had never heard of this film before, so this is no surprise at all.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/4):

(I had to add that in myself because you need at least 5 reviews to actually get a rating from rotten tomatoes. I’ll just copy this dire review’s brief recap: A dull disaster from start to finish. … Another review kind of derisively bashes the film for having Nelson pretend he is gay in the film. Because it kind of suggests Nelson is gay in real life? Always interesting to see a guy who just kind of never acknowledges rumors like that (see Kevin Spacey), and is seems like Nelson hasn’t because there is almost nothing online suggesting it is anything more than rumor.)

Poster – Sklog City (D+)

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(I really do not like this poster on almost every level… but that font. I can’t quit you poster font.)

Tagline(s) – It’s below Miami and above the law. (B-)

The coolest heat you’ll ever feel (D)

(Haha. This one is both kind of amazing and pretty much the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s got that 1980’s joie de vivre. The second one skips the amazing and lands directly in stupid.)

Keyword(s) – police; Top Ten by BMeTric: 92.7 Batman & Robin (1997); 89.5 Catwoman (2004); 84.6 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 82.6 Street Fighter (1994); 80.5 Home Alone 3 (1997); 79.3 House of the Dead (2003); 77.3 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 77.1 RoboCop 3 (1993); 75.8 Inspector Gadget (1999); 75.0 Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994)

(amazing list. There are also over 100 pages on IMDb of films with this keyword and 564 films with a BMeTric over 20! Reminds me that we have to watch all of the police academy films at some point.)

Notes – Actress Jenny Wright originally was cast in the lead female role of Annie Rayford which in the end was played by Ally Sheedy.

The movie’s two top billed lead stars, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy, were at the time the movie was made and released, part of a then young group of American actors who were known as “The Brat Pack”, a term which referenced the earlier group of American actors who had been known as “The Rat Pack”.

The movie was nominated for 5 Golden Raspberry Awards at the 7th Golden Raspberry Awards Ceremony in 1987. These included Worst Picture, Worst Director (Michelle Manning), Worst Actor (Judd Nelson), Worst Actress (Ally Sheedy) and Worst Supporting Actor (Scott Wilson) but failed to win a Razzie in any category. (Amazing how reviled this movie I’ve never heard of seemed to be)

The make and model of the motorcycle that Billy Turner (Judd Nelson) rode was a 1978/79 750cc Triumph Bonneville T140E. This motor-bike is apparently the same one that was seen in the earlier movie An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) which was also produced by the same Paramount Pictures studio that made Blue City (1986). (Now that is a fun fact. I love this for some reason)

The film was made and released about thirty-nine years after its source Ross Macdonald novel of the same name had been first published in 1947. (Get ready for the book review woooooo)

This is the only film directed by Michelle Manning. (One and done director, oh how far we have come since that delightful cycle earlier this year)

The movie’s marketing connected with the then current hit TV series Miami Vice (1984). This was manifest in the film’s main tagline which read: “It’s below Miami and above the law”. The fictional “Blue City” of the film’s title was, like Miami, set in the state of Florida, where the city of Miami is situated. (huh, also a pretty fun fact)

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (William Hayward, Walter Hill)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Judd Nelson)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Ally Sheedy)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Scott Wilson)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Michelle Manning)

Keeping Up With the Joneses Preview

This week was supposed to be the end of the 1986 cycle but it has been extended a week. Why? Because it’s time for the final BMT Live of the year! Looking ahead to November and December we became panicked at the weak BMT prospects on the horizon. We felt like the time was now. Of course you’re probably all thinking that we just have to be watching Boo! A Madea Halloween. I wish. Unfortunately our cousins across the pond have yet to discover Tyler Perry (shame!). Once again defeated by the lackluster UK release schedule we instead turned our attention to the other comedy released last week to even worse reviews. That’s right, the Jon Hamm, Zach Galifianakis, and Isla Fisher comedy Keeping up with the Joneses. By all accounts it’s supposed to be pretty boring. Great. Thanks UK. We could have been having fun watching Madea say “Hellur” to some ghosts. And now we have NOTHING. Boo on you!… A Madea Halloween. Let’s go!

Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016) – BMeTric: 9.0

(There is no plot this week! This movie is small enough that the archive hasn’t taken a snapshot since the 14th when the movie was not open to reviews. Interesting that this hasn’t happened yet, but we’ve mostly done larger movies than this for BMT Live! And those tend to get earlier premieres outside of the United States.)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  “Keeping Up with the Joneses” has a few mild laughs here and there … and I have the feeling that it might wind up playing better on television, where all the sitcom trappings might seem more at home. As a prospect for going out one night and paying money for tickets and parking and popcorn in order to see it, however, it comes up decidedly short.

(The reviews I found for this film are kind of surprisingly okay. Basically like … don’t spend money on this film but if you’ve stumbled into the theater you won’t demand your money back at the end. Indiewire gave is a similarly middling review. Promising in general, but will only make me wish I was watching Boo! A Madea Halloween all the more.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPfYXXg65qA

(I feel like this trailer must give away the entire film. There are some OK gags in there (like the cobra wine), but I’m afraid we’ll just watch these mildly entertaining scene cut between fluff.)

Directors – Greg Mottola – (Known For: Superbad; Paul; Adventureland; The Daytrippers; BMT: Keeping Up with the Joneses; Notes: Directed a number of episodes of the short-lived TV show Undeclared. Probably how he ended up getting the Superbad gig.)

Writers – Michael LeSieur (written by) – (BMT: You, Me and Dupree; Keeping Up with the Joneses; Notes: Writing the upcoming new adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.)

Actors – Zach Galifianakis – (Known For: Into the Wild; The Hangover; Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance); Up in the Air; It’s Kind of a Funny Story; Due Date; The Campaign; The Muppets; Puss in Boots; Dinner for Schmucks; Youth in Revolt; Muppets Most Wanted; BMT: G-Force; Corky Romano; Are You Here; Bubble Boy; The Hangover Part III; Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie; What Happens in Vegas; Gigantic; The Hangover Part II; Out Cold; Masterminds; Keeping Up with the Joneses; Notes: Has won two primetime Emmys for his online talk show Between Two Ferns.)

Isla Fisher – (Known For: Nocturnal Animals; Now You See Me; The Great Gatsby; Wedding Crashers; Definitely, Maybe; Rise of the Guardians; Bachelorette; Rango; Hot Rod; Horton Hears a Who!; Life of Crime; I Heart Huckabees; The Lookout; BMT: Scooby-Doo; Confessions of a Shopaholic; Visions; The Pool; Wedding Daze; The Brothers Grimsby; Burke and Hare; London; Keeping Up with the Joneses; Notes: Always found it interesting that she was born in Oman. Married to Sacha Baron Cohen and has three children.)

Jon Hamm – (Known For: The Town; Bridesmaids; The A-Team; Minions; A Single Man; We Were Soldiers; Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie; Shrek Forever After; Space Cowboys; Million Dollar Arm; Friends with Kids; BMT: The Day the Earth Stood Still; The Ten; Sucker Punch; Stolen; Keeping Up with the Joneses; Notes: Obviously best known for Mad Men for which he won two Golden Globes and an Emmy.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $5,875,943 (Worldwide: $8,348,744)

(Weird that this bombed so badly. There were a number of big new films that week though and it’s a weird time for a comedy to come out, so maybe not. Third worst opening of this year for a 3000+ theater film behind Burnt and Hardcore Henry… forgot about those films.)

#8 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated chart

(Crazy how few of these we’ve seen. One other one in the top 10 (Seeker the Dark is Rising) and two others in the top 20 (New York Minute, although I’ve seen Astro Boy outside of BMT). The decision to move the release to October probably has something to do with the performance, it is competing with much better films than it should be. And this week won’t be any different, at least in the UK almost all screens are being devoted to Doctor Strange starting Friday.)

#33 for the Comedy – Spy genre

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#98 for the Spy genre

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(Interesting graphs. As far as spy-comedy is concerned there are three main peaks. Early 2000s, around 2010 and a recent resurgence. The first seems to have been kicked off by Austin Powers and quickly burned out after that series failed. The second coincides with Casino Royale and the return of Bond. I think that died with Killer and Knight & Day, but then Spy, Central Intelligence, The Brothers Grimsby and this offers a return of the genre. But then looking at the Spy genre you see the graphs basically overlie each other … which made me wonder)

Spy – Not Comedy

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(Very interesting. Indeed it looks like, strangely, non-comedy spy movies lag a bit behind spy comedy films. How strange … I guess we should expect a bunch of spy films in the next few years. I wonder if it is a financing / speed of production thing. Spy movies in general become of interest. Comedies are cheaper and quicker to make so they come out faster. Then they both burn out and the cycle repeats. I like this theory. I’m going to accept it as truth)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (17/90): Keeping Up with the Joneses squanders a decent premise — and a talented cast full of funny people — on a witless and largely laugh-free suburban spy adventure.

(So Tammy. Like … Tammy but with Zach Galifianakis? I sure hope not, because Tammy was awful. I see this as like a The Killers thing. Which makes sense given the subject matter. But just that you think the spy genre is ripe for lampooning, but then the goofy guy or everyman stuck in a secret world aspect of things sustains humor for about 10 minutes and then you get tired. As long as Galifianakis isn’t horribly irritating this movie could be a win by default.)

Poster – Keeping Up with the Sklogses (B-)

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(This is the poster in the theaters, but not on imdb for whatever reason. I like the yellow… underused as a primary color of posters and gives it something bold to catch the eye. The symmetry isn’t bad, though the stagger of the tagline is weird. Could use a better font. OK all things considered.)

Tagline(s) – License to kill. License to chill. (C)

(Not clever enough. Repeat of the front of the tagline messes with the cadence. Short and sweet though and at least sounds like a tagline. Mediocre.)

Keyword(s) – tied feet; Top Ten by BMeTric: 58.0 The Phantom (1996); 57.9 Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009); 49.7 Bride of Chucky (1998); 49.1 Charlie’s Angels (2000); 49.1 Knock Off (1998); 48.8 Glen or Glenda (1953); 47.7 Turistas (2006); 46.4 Sinister 2 (2015); 41.7 House at the End of the Street (2012); 39.6 Excess Baggage (1997);

(You shitting me? … weirdly good list though. Like we should legit have seen the top 4 and then Excess Baggage. Glen and Glenda is kind of an old school by-reputation-only entry as well but … touche weird keyword, you managed a solid list.)

Notes – The home brew shop scenes were filmed at Red Brick Brewing Company, the oldest craft brewery in Georgia. (Can we assume this movie is actually set in Georgia. Let’s get an intertitle, haven’t seen that in a while I feel like)

The movie was initially slated to premiere during early April 2016 but the release date was deferred for about six months until late October 2016. (but … why? October doesn’t really feel like comedy season. It is bad horror and borderline oscar season)

First cinema movie directed by Greg Mottola in around five years with his last theatrical feature film being Paul (2011). (Really, you’re going to bait us with that and just leave it. I assume there is a reason. And there it is, he co-executive produced The Newsroom. Presumably this took up a bunch of time in 2012 and 2013. Took me five seconds).

Under the Cherry Moon Recap

I went bonkers with Settings 101 this week so I’ll keep my assessment to a minimum. Besides my take is boring, while Patrick’s is fun. That’s because I was mostly bored by Prince’s bizarre vanity project. Unlike Purple Rain we don’t get to be entertained by random Prince concerts (which was obviously amazing). Instead it kinda meanders around whatever plot it has (a Pygmalion-like knock-off) with Prince primarily tasked with ogling Kristin Scott Thomas and occasionally dancing around or playing the piano… but not performing. It was only not boring because it gave you the opportunity to observe some pretty terrible acting. This is made all the more amazing by the fact that Kristin Scott Thomas was only in the movie because Prince’s girlfriend (who was the original casting choice) turned out to be so bad that they literally couldn’t keep her in the movie. Yes it is real bad, but leaning towards boring for me.

It was a very lucrative Settings 101 for Under the Cherry Moon. That’s because I was looking for both the physical and temporal setting. In the case of physical it was pretty straight forward. We are introduced to the setting of the film using a shot of a hotel in Nice, France. How do I know it’s in Nice? Well the hotel is labeled “Nice.” Further, as Prince aims to establish his character as a hustler looking to marry rich he and his hustler friend peruse the newspaper for hints of rich ladies in the area. One article that catches their eye is the announcement of the birthday party of heiress Mary Sharon in Grasse, France… just a short 40 minute drive from Nice. So perfect, it is clear that we are set in the French Riviera, but not so much to get to A territory. Still at the C-C+ range. Clear enough, but not instrumental to the plot (just instrumental to Prince making the film), and not specifically provided to the audience. As for the temporal setting there are no moments where anyone says “Oh hey, what a wonderful day in 1985.” But we can pretty easily assume that it takes place in the 80’s given that there are personal computers seen occasionally in the background and Prince whips out a chrome-style boombox at one point. Lucky for us we can somehow still narrow it down to an exact date. That’s because that same newspaper article announcing the birthday tells us that it is occurring on Friday, September 13th. No year is given, but 1985 did have September 13th land on a Friday. We get further proof of 1985 in a later scene where Prince has the record ‘You’re Under Arrest’ by Miles Davis conspicuously propped up on a chair. That record was released in 1985, so unless we are to presume the film takes place in the future in 1991 (the next year where September 13th is on a Friday… unlikely) then we get a very soft exact date of September 13th, 1985 as the day of the birthday party in the film. Phew. That would be a C-. Exact date but not important to the plot and very difficult to ascertain. Boom. I. Love. Settings

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Under the Cherry Moon? More like Cautionary Swoon (nailed it). I think Jamie and I disagreed on this, but let’s savor those moments before you realize my true feeling, let’s go:

  • The Good – The music is at the very least ok and at the very best glorious Prince. I thought parts of the direction were interesting as was the eventual choice to release it in black and white … and I’m done.
  • The Bad – I think this film competes strongly with Howard the Duck for the worst film of 1986 and I thought it was far worse than any of the other films we’ve seen for the 1986 cycle (outside of perhaps King Kong Lives which isn’t a real movie so that doesn’t count). It is not shocking that Howard the Duck and Under the Cherry Moon ultimately tied for worst picture that year. Let’s see: worse actors is easily Under the Cherry Moon, worse writing I think was Howard the Duck, worse direction I think goes to Under the Cherry Moon, worse soundtrack goes to Howard the Duck. And ultimately Howard the Duck is the worse movie, but it was closer than I could have expected. The acting alone in Under the Cherry Moon is like watching amateurs dress up and crack jokes in a period comedy (oh wait … that’s exactly what this movie is). I did not like this movie, and yet it is fascinating in a very strange and magnetic way.
  • The BMT – Yes, a thousand times yes, although this film is more boring that something nuts like Howard the Duck. This is more like you are watching bad jokes and bad acting sustained on screen all wrapped up in a bizarre gift. I think the BMeTric would be something like 40, distinctly above average, but not alluring enough to attract the number of votes necessary to get over the top.

Phew. I hated that movie didn’t I? I think, in the end, that is going to be the one takeaway from this cycle that kind of made it all worth it. Under the Cherry Moon is probably top 25 as far as bad movies of the 80’s for me and it needed to be watched at some point.

Let’s Remake this guy! Imagine that. I’m thinking Justin Bieber hanging in Paris fleecing young debutantes out of their millions. And then he finds love, oh what a world. The bumping Bieber tunes anchor this romantic turn for the young music phenom who appears poised to become a movie star in his own right! Starring Justin Timberlake as his world weary partner in crime and … I was trying to find a young french actress and the only one that kind of fits the bill is Adèle Exarchopoulos from Blue is the Warmest Color. Funny enough Bieber and her are the same age. One word Netflix … fate.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Under the Cherry Moon Preview

Nearing the end of our time wallowing in 1986 and this week we get to target a Razzie release from that year. Of the five films nominated for Worst Picture we still have two unwatched: Under the Cherry Moon and Blue City. I think the choice is obvious. This was Prince’s follow-up to Purple Rain and he decided to direct it himself to… interesting results. Not much more to say. Let’s go!

Under the Cherry Moon (1986) – BMeTric: 24.5

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(Yet again a pretty standard linear BMeTric plot but … can we revel in the fact that Under the Cherry Moon barely broke 2000 votes at this point? That is absurd. It won a Worst Picture for the Razzies. It has the late great Prince in it! Just weird and wild stuff)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Supremely silly vanity film with Prince self-cast as American gigolo/entertainer in the south of France who has a devastating effect on women (yes, it’s a science fiction story). Stylish-looking fairy tale/fable, filmed in black & white, is a triumph of self-adoration, and overall embarrassment. Some music throughout, but in fragmented scenes. Kristin Scott Thomas’ film debut.

(The mere fact that this got 1.5 stars instead of bomb is pretty unlikely in the first place. Also it is like Leonard Maltin can’t help himself: what is the deal with the alternative-separated-by-a-slash in this review? “gigolo/entertainer” I could have dismissed, but to follow so closely with “fairy tale/fable”? Unacceptable. At least he doesn’t dismiss it as merely boring. We got that going for us, considering this feels like the spiritual successor to Harlem Nights.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwkqXsWPY1k

(This trailer consists of a series of random clips from the film with Prince’s ‘Kiss’ playing over them and an announcer telling me to “See it”… and it was amazing.)

Directors – Prince – (BMT: Under the Cherry Moon; Graffiti Bridge; Notes:  Won the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Actor, Director, and Original Song for Under the Cherry Moon; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2000 for Worst Actor of the Century;  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1990 for Worst Actor of the Decade; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1990 for Worst New Star of the Decade for Under the Cherry Moon; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1991 for Worst Actor, Director, and Screenplay for Graffiti Bridge; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1985 for Worst Original Song for Purple Rain; He only made three major movies and directed two of them! Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota (holla!) he did a lot for that community his whole life. He had season tickets to the Vikings and I believe owned part of the concert venue First Avenue (which featured in Purple Rain). Is recognized for his highly sexualized lyrics which got him into some trouble with parents groups early in his career … I liked Prince, it was very sad that he died earlier this year.)

Michael Ballhaus – (BMT: Under the Cherry Moon; Notes: From a show business family (his father was a German actor and his sons are cinematographers and second unit directors). He is German and mostly known for cinematography (he’s been nominated three times for an Oscar including for Gangs of New York). He was kicked off of this movie after disagreements with Prince and is often listed as uncredited.)

Writers – Becky Johnston (screenplay) – (Known For: Seven Years in Tibet; The Prince of Tides; BMT: Under the Cherry Moon; Arthur and Mike; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Screenplay for Under the Cherry Moon. Very strange, hard to find info. I say it is strange because she wrote Seven Years in Tibet and was nominated for an Oscar for Prince of Tides. I can only assume she is a producer / script doctor now … but seriously, I can’t find anything.)

Actors – Prince – (Known For: Purple Rain; BMT: Under the Cherry Moon; Graffiti Bridge; Notes: See above for Razzie details and biographical details. Graffiti Bridge is a sequel to Purple Rain by the way … I didn’t know that.)

Jerome Benton – (Known For: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Purple Rain; BMT: Under the Cherry Moon; Graffiti Bridge; Notes:  Won the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Supporting Actor for Under the Cherry Moon. Musician and comedian who worked with Prince and Janet Jackson among others. As a member of The Revolution he obviously had major parts in all of Prince’s films)

Kristin Scott Thomas – (Known For: The English Patient; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Only God Forgives; The Golden Compass; Suite Française; Mission: Impossible; Gosford Park; The Other Boleyn Girl; Ne le dis à personne; Bitter Moon; The Horse Whisperer; Salmon Fishing in the Yemen; Life as a House; Nowhere Boy; Easy Virtue; The Invisible Woman; Dans la maison; Richard III; BMT: Random Hearts (BMT); Bel Ami; Confessions of a Shopaholic; Under the Cherry Moon; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Supporting Actress and New Star for Under the Cherry Moon; Most recently we saw her in Random Hearts with Harrison Ford. Off the top of my head I do know she is fluent in French and tends to provide her own French dubbings in film. A lot of her films are French for the same reason.)

Budget/Gross – $12 million / Domestic: $10,090,429

(Yeah … so that isn’t a good result. It is specifically mentioned in Prince’s IMDb biography as a giant bomb like … why mention it? Anyways, yeah, catastrophic.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (10/31): Under the Cherry Moon may satisfy the most rabid Prince fans, but everyone else will be better served with this vanity project’s far superior soundtrack.

(Kind of shockingly high given it might as well as swept the Razzie Awards. I am excited for the soundtrack especially given that it appears to be a Harlem Nights-esque period piece vanity project.)

Poster – Under the Cherry Sklog (B-)

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(Really old fashioned looking. I like the font on the letters and the fact that Prince is drawn. Should have scrapped the screenshots of Jerome Benton and Kristin Scott Thomas. Benton’s in particular is really odd with him standing there holding a phone.)

Tagline(s) – See It – Hear It – Feel It – Live It (C+)

(Hate it (slaaaaaammed). I think it is a classic sounds-like-a-tagline tagline. But have to give it some credit for being short and trying to have some cadance.)

Keyword(s) – love; Top Ten by BMeTric: 85.2 The Last Airbender (2010); 84.9 Date Movie (2006); 81.4 Alone in the Dark (2005); 80.6 Vampires Suck (2010); 78.9 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 75.4 Troll 2 (1990); 74.7 From Justin to Kelly (2003); 72.9 Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009); 70.4 Grease 2 (1982); 70.2 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999);

(Weird list, but that’ll happen when literally like 800 movies have the same keyword. Has some of the worst of the worst according to the BMeTric, and yet only Grease 2 really should be watched for BMT. Only From Justin to Kelly is really a “romance” per se, which is a bit annoying. There are so many bad romance movies too.)

Notes – Prince took over from original director Mary Lambert over “creative differences”. Because the production was filming in Europe, it did not come up against the Director’s Guild of America, which has rules against firing a director in favor of a lead actor. (Oh shit, not that is a fun fact)

Kristin Scott Thomas has since been disdainful of the film. In an interview in 2005, she said that “When I left drama school…I was more afraid of not working at all than of the actual material I was being offered. And if you look at my very first film, you’ll understand exactly what I mean.”

The movie had an unlikely spot for its world premiere – the Centennial Twin Theater in Sheridan, Wyo. – in June 1986. Local resident Lisa Barber won the right to host the premiere by being the 10,000th caller in MTV’s “Prince Under the Cherry Moon” contest. Several members of the cast (including Prince) and a few notables such as Joni Mitchell and Ray Parker Jr. showed up in the north-central Wyoming city for the event, which also featured a post-movie party and a 45-minute private concert from Prince at the local Holiday Inn. (Prince is a cool dude. I still kind of regret not going to his pancake pajama party in Minneapolis a few years back. That also involved an impromptu private concert)

Filmed in color, released in black and white.

Prince wrote the Bangles’ “Manic Monday” using the pseudonym Christopher Tracy, the character he plays in this film. The song became a hit for the band the same year this film was released.

Madonna was originally offered the role of Mary Sharon. Susannah Melvoin was then cast as Mary but was replaced before filming began. (Goddamn)

The picture was nominated for Worst Picture at the Hastings Bad Cinema Society’s 9th Stinkers Bad Movie Awards in 1986. (The Stickers! Rarely mentioned these days)

Awards – Won the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Prince)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Jerome Benton)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Prince)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Prince)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Kristin Scott Thomas)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Becky Johnston)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Kristin Scott Thomas)

Solarbabies Recap

Jamie

Ahhh, here’s the 1986 I know and love. Unlike No Mercy (which was Not That Bad and fairly typical) this falls right in line with King Kong Lives, Howard the Duck and (from what I’ve heard) Under the Cherry Moon. Read: weird shit. But despite only existing through a series of lapses in judgement, it actually has some bright spots. It looks a lot better than I expected and the game they play is legit the best fake sport I’ve seen put to film (this would be a good deep dive to undertake: fake sports in film). Overall though, it kinda reminded me of Ice Pirates, except not in on the joke.

On the face of it Solarbabies is not particularly interesting for Settings 101. There is little to no evidence of where it takes place outside of “in the desert.” The only evidence that can be seen is a license place on a car that some bounty hunters use as a primitive horse-and-buggy. While it’s not exactly clear what state the license plate is from (through some internet sleuthing I’m pretty sure it’s California), you would only really be able to say that it’s likely that the film takes place in America. A single California license plate can show up anywhere. So while it’s tempting to give this a D-, you have to give it an F. There is no setting that you would ever be able to put on a mapl.de.map. Sigh. These types of films are pretty rare. All of the angst about the physical setting of Solarbabies did get me thinking of a second class for BMIT similar to Settings 101. Instead of asking where the film takes place (and seeing how definite and specific you can get), you ask when the film takes place. Most every film can be narrowed down to an past, present, and future. A number will get to a year. There are a set of fun ones that can be narrowed down to particular weekends due to movie matinees, calendars on the wall, holidays, and funny stuff like that. Then there will be the solid few that get to an exact date by virtue of a intertitle or a major plot point revolving around it (think Back to the Future). While Solarbabies doesn’t have an exact temporal setting per se, it is stated that the film takes place in the year “41.” Most people take this as meaning that it takes place 41 years after some apocalyptic event dried out the Earth. So that’s something, but not really an exact year. There are some interesting internet theories about what else the “41” could mean, including one spoken about on the podcast How Did This Get Made? that gives us an exact year. This is that the film takes place in an alternate timeline where the nazis won the war in 1941 and started a thousand year reign. Thus the film takes place 1000 years later in the year 2941 and the climactic destruction of the Eco-Police HQ/hydroelectric dam marks the end of the reign. There are actually several aspects of the film that support this theory including the nazi-like characteristics of the villains’ uniforms. It’s certainly interesting, but the temporal setting is not definite and at best would be a C- (it does have an exact year of sorts, but it’s not great).

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Solarbabies? More like Bizarre Eighties! Amirite. Like, … this movie makes the eighties look bizarre, you know? Anyways, Solarbabies, Theodore Rex, Barb Wire, Left Behind. Potato, potato, potato, potato, let’s get into it!

  • The Good – This movie is way way better than it should be all things considered. When they say it is a rip off of Mad Max that is actually a compliment: this isn’t like the Asylum ripoffs you see (like Transmorphers or Atlantic Rim), this is like a group of people got together and tried to make a Mad Max film. And it isn’t nearly as bad as you would have expected given that description. The rollerball-esque future sport they play actually looks like a real sport: I would watch the London Bridges versus Manchester SBRGC play that game (SBRGC = SolarBabies Roller Game Club obviously).
  • The Bad – Most things, but you see that list of four ridiculous movies I wrote in my intro? This is the best of those four. It might be the best not-a-movie we’ve seen actually. That isn’t the say it is good. This movie is obviously awful. The music is so dumb. The acting is pretty bad across the board. The script (from dialogue to the basic premise) is ludicrous. This movie is bad. But if you know that going in … it would probably satisfy a thirteen-year-old on a rainy Saturday. That is the highest praise this film is going to get, revel in it.
  • The BMT – Yes, but only based on reputation I think. The movie is crazy and I would definitely watch it in a BMT marathon, but the marathon would be something along the lines of Barely There Movies. Solid 25 BMeTric.

Actually let’s see if I can’t get a solid cycle for a 6 movie Barel Movie-Thon extravaganza (Transition and Chain Reaction are impossible to predict so…): Theodore Rex (Comedy), Gymkata (Action), Troll 2 (Horror), From Justin to Kelly (Romance), Solarbabies (SciFi), Barb Wire (Razzies). Mac and Me would also need to get in there somehow, so maybe force a transition. Solid cycle right there of barely-movies for sure. I think there is actually a name for this game, like The Ideal Ideal Cut Cycle or something, so I’ll leave it right there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Solarbabies Preview

This week we get to do SciFi/Fantasy. The film for this genre has been set from the jump for this cycle. That’s because one of the biggest bombs of the year (and all-time) was a post-apocalyptic rollerblading film called Solarbabies… that’s the actual title and plot of the film. It doesn’t even sound real. Oh but it is. And we’re watching it. Should be weird and wild stuff. For those interested How Did This Get Made? did this film a few weeks ago and a rather interesting oral history was developed for it by Slash Film. It includes an interview with the writer Metrov and also an interview with Mel Brooks the producer of the film. Let’s go!

Solarbabies (1986) – BMeTric: 29.6

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(And we’re back to the classic 1980s BMeTric plot (i.e. pretty linear). Boring stuff once you’ve seen basically the same plot over and over again (linear BMeTric, regression to the mean rating, steadily increasing vote count). If anything the only startling thing is how high the IMDb rating is. Remember Shanghai Surprise has a 3.0 on IMDb. This is more than a point better and far above the likes of other barely-movies like Theodore Rex and Barb Wire.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Futuristic teen junk has Gertz and her mostly male cohorts imprisoned by Nazi-like Jordan inside a fortress; the group plots an escape with the help of “Bohdi” — an ancient mystical force. Appallingly bad stinker from (Mel) Brooksfilm that barely got released.

(Nice. Semi-colon. Work. Leonard. With that out of the way this is going to probably be the first true blue barely-a-film we’ve seen in a long while. We tend to avoid them, but The Room, Troll 2, and Plan 9 From Outer Space were all at one point seen for BMT. Theodore Rex was probably the most recent … Barb Wire? This certainly has Barb Wire vibes coming all out of it. … Steel might have been the last one. Hmmm, nevermind, we’ve seen quite a few.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFcDCJyP9fo

(Oooooo that is bumping yo. I’m amped for Solarbabies now. Definitely not going to be one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. Definitely not going to be Nukie-esque (look it up, Nukie). Trailers were certainly … different back then.)

Directors – Alan Johnson – (Known For: To Be or Not to Be; BMT: Solarbabies; Notes: He was a choreographer mostly and on many of Mel Brooks’ films. To Be or Not to Be is Brooks as well. He is a three-time Emmy award winner and probably most well known for choreographing Springtime For Hitler in The Producers.)

Writers – Walon Green (screenplay) – (Known For: WarGames; The Wild Bunch; Dinosaur; Sorcerer; The Border; The Hi-Lo Country; Crusoe; BMT: RoboCop 2; Solarbabies; Eraser; Notes: One of the most expensive screenwriters of the time he merely wrote the revised script for Brooksfilms if Metrov is to be believed (see: Oral history). So apparently a hearty chunk of the budget for the film was for basically nothing. An Emmy and Oscar winning writer, he has been more involved with television in recent year, specifically the Law & Order series)

D.A. Metrov (screenplay) (as Douglas Anthony Metrov) – (BMT: Solarbabies; Notes: Trained as a fine arts painter he ultimately wrote a short treatment for Solarbabies which was picked up and promoted by the producer Mark Johnson. I would highly recommend the Slashfilm oral history for more information, but he has continued to write and direct mostly short films since.)

Actors – Richard Jordan – (Known For: Dune; The Hunt for Red October; Logan’s Run; Gettysburg; Klute; Rooster Cogburn; The Secret of My Succe$s; Interiors; Raise the Titanic; The Friends of Eddie Coyle; The Yakuza; Lawman; The Mean Season; Romero; BMT: Solarbabies; Posse; Notes: A stage, film, and television actor who died in 1993 from cancer. His career spanned 30 years and he’s probably most well known for Logan’s Run.)

Jami Gertz – (Known For: The Lost Boys; Sixteen Candles; Twister; Less Than Zero; Mischief; Crossroads; Seven Girlfriends; BMT: Endless Love (BMT); Solarbabies; Quicksilver; Renegades; Keeping Up with the Steins; Sibling Rivalry; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1997 for Worst Supporting Actress for Twister. Made her acting debut in Endless Love, just like Tom Cruise! Classic BMT. She’s more known for television work now. Part owner of the Milwaukee Brewers apparently, fun fact)

Jason Patric – (Known For: The Lost Boys; Sleepers; My Sister’s Keeper; The Losers; In the Valley of Elah; The Abandoned; Narc; Rush; Geronimo: An American Legend; After Dark, My Sweet; The Journey of August King; Your Friends & Neighbors; Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound; Expired; Keyhole; Three Days of Rain; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; The Prince; Solarbabies; The Outsider; Cavemen; The Alamo; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1998 for Worst Screen Couple for Speed 2: Cruise Control, and Sandra Bullock. I feel like Speed 2 might have derailed his career a bit. Grandson of Jackie Gleason, according to IMDb he is very good friends with Laura Dern.)

It should be noted that Lukas Haas of Material Girls fame is also in this, it was his third feature film a year after Witness.

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $1,579,260

(Huge bomb. In the oral history there should be a link to the interview with Mel Brooks. Interesting stuff. Mel Brooks thought the script was a disaster, but kind of produced the film to help a friend out. He indicates it got him very close to financial ruin because he immediately broke the number one rule: don’t give more money to a failing movie. The original budget was something like $10 million and the director basically spent that immediately. They used way too much film if I recall and Brooks ended up taking out loans just to get it made and released. Leonard is not joking, the film was barely released. Metrov indicates as much as well referring to the film as a miracle in and of itself because by all accounts it shouldn’t exist. It is an interesting story if only from a production standpoint.)

#42 for the Post-Apocalypse genre

postapoalypse_42

(Right on the downswing of the early 80s boom of post-apocalyptics with the Mad Max series and Escape from New York. There isn’t really a good corollary with older BMT films either, this is in the class of low-budget sci-fi which we’ve never really ventured into before. Post-apocalyptic films naturally go in waves. Reminds me of the Patton Oswalt book Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, that there are three types of nerds in the world. The zombie enjoys the idea of a civilization broken down, one where you infrastructure exists but you effectively operate on your own. The spaceship looks outwards to aliens, the unknown coming to a world much like our own (or us going to a totally alien world). The wasteland is about society in complete obliteration with no infrastructure at all remaining. I’m guessing these types of films going in waves like that. I think we came down from zombie a while back and wasteland took over bit by bit. Wasteland (Maze Runner, and Hunger Games to an extent) is now coming down and we are seeing a resurgence of alien. And thus the cycle will continue. Maybe. I’m sure there are counterexamples).

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/6): No consensus yet.

(Zero percent. Like Theodore Rex these kind of movies even having a score is kind of a flukey bad-movie-people-review-DVDs type deal. I’ll make a consensus based on Ebert’s original 1986 review: Dull and derivative of the Road Warrior films that preceded it, Solarbabies boasts impressive locales and costuming, so it is a wonder that such care and attention was never devoted to the script as well.)

Poster – Sklog it, baby! (D+)

solarbabies

(Hahahahaha, that is just the worst. The coloring, the spacing. Only positive would be the unique font for the font. Would be tough to make Sklogbabies out of it.)

Tagline(s) – Who will rule the future? (C+)

Spectacular science-fiction/adventure on blazing skates! (Wha?)

(Don’t know where either of these come from (the poster doesn’t have a tagline, although it certainly had a lot of empty space to include one) so I kept them both. The first is simple and short and gives a little hint at the plot. Pretty much meh. The second explodes my brain. Can’t wait to see those blazing skates!)

Keyword(s) – post apocalypse; Top Ten by BMeTric: 87.7 Battlefield Earth (2000); 78.2 Ultraviolet (2006); 72.2 Barb Wire (1996); 70.9 After Earth (2013); 63.6 The Darkest Hour (2011); 58.8 The Crow: City of Angels (1996); 56.3 Cell (I) (2016); 56.2 Beowulf (1999); 55.9 The 5th Wave (2016); 55.3 Vanishing on 7th Street (2010);

(Great great list right there. The Darkest Hour has been on the BMT shortlist a ton of times. The others there are also interesting because they are rarely if ever mentioned for BMT. The Cell is an interesting one though, direct to VOD, so again, we are seeing the VOD creep into BMT.)

Notes – All of the main characters’ names are from enlightenment legends and myths from various cultures.

The movie was filmed on location in Spain, a country selected for its abundant desert landscape. Ironically, production was held up for several weeks due to–of all things–rain. (Classic, same thing happened to the Death of Don Quixote, or whatever, the Gilliam production which has failed to come through two or three times now)

A year later Jami Gertz and Jason Patric would appear in The Lost Boys together.

The key speechless character, named “Bodhi”, is also referred to in the film as the “Sphere of Longinus”.

The end theme song, “Love Will Set You Free” performed and written by Smokey Robinson, is about Jesus offering an invitation for Christian discipleship, with direct quotes from Jesus’ sermons in the Bible. (Fun fact right there)

The name Solarbabies refers to the characters’ seeing themselves as the children of the Sun in the dry water-less future in which they live. (So it’s like the opposite of Waterworld?)

The movie has several religious references. The orb can perform what could be described as miracles, one of the red tents in the Bartertown has a crescent moon on it that looks like the one from the Turkish flag, the neon sign in town says Xanadu, which refers to a paradise-like place, and the villain calls the orb “the sphere of Longinus” at one point, which is a clear reference to the biblical spear called The Holy Lance (as well as the spear of Longinus) that killed Jesus Christ. Also, the characters have what could be described as religious experience when they interact with the orb outside together. (That is all incredibly strange… I wonder if this film has ever been a part of a film thesis… probably not)

No Mercy Recap

Jamie

It’s such a rare occurrence for us to get a film like No Mercy for BMT that I gotta get hyped for writing about it. Whew… here it goes… you ready? IT’S NOT THAT BAD. (“It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad!” the crowd chants as Patrick and I strut eagerly about the arena). That’s right, I actually liked this film. If you are looking for a JCVD-ish type action thriller with better actors and a shockingly gritty and emotional storyline then I RECOMMEND No Mercy. You saw that right. I would recommend this film. Is it a somewhat by-the-numbers thriller? Of course. Is the final fight a bit anticlimactic? Sure. But it also has a number of solid aspects to it: the acting is good (even Basinger puts in a nuanced performance), the setting is good, and the relationship between Basinger and Gere is actually really good. In particular, the level of emotion brought to Basinger’s character and the situation she is in was completely unexpected. She is kept woman by a Cajun gangster in New Orleans. In the beginning of the film you don’t know much about her other than that she was present at the murder of Gere’s partner. You soon come to learn that she was given over to the gangster as a child and has basically known nothing but terror at the hands of this monster for years. It’s pretty raw. The best part of the film is when the gangster finally catches up with them and is getting Basinger out of jail. She is handed a form to sign and he matter-of-factly states “she can’t read or write,” and there is a look of embarrassment on her face as she looks at Gere who stands there shocked. It was kind of beautiful and terrible and done with a single look. In that moment I really felt like not only was the film not bad, but perhaps the best BMT film we’ve watched. Anyway, I’ll let Patrick give a slightly less glowing (and probably more realistic) review of the film. I really liked it though.

No Mercy nails two separate locations for Settings 101. The first is Chicago, where Gere operates as a Chicago PD detective. It’s made pretty clear where we are set, but not so plot defining to be considered in the A range. Pretty solidly in the C range as it could have been NYC or Houston even a place like Memphis. However, when the film transitions to the New Orleans area we go all in. Not only do we start out with an extended Old South plantation scene and Gere walking around Bourbon Street, but then we get some extremely specific scenes located in the 15th ward of New Orleans called Algiers (also where Shaq is from in the film Blue Chips) and Gere and Basinger wading around a bayou bumping up against Cajun people and eating crawfish. Basically it descends into New Orleans: The Movie. It jumps right over the B range and in the A range, where the setting begins to be inseparable from the plot itself. I would even say that it lands right in A, given that so many aspects of the plot could be done in so few other places. Perhaps you could transfer this over to parts of Florida or Alabama, but even that would be hard. I really love settings and I really liked this film. Perfect combo.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! No Mercy? More like No, More Please! I guess, let’s quickly get into it.

  • The Good – I kind of dug this movie. The first 30 minutes is reminiscent of the hard-boiled detective movies of the 70s, a little tiny bit of a Dirty Harry vibe going on. And while the middle gets a bit slow the Home Alone 3: Lost in New Orleans ending is also rather well done. And Richard Gere is quite quite good. While it feels like a rich man’s Steven Seagal movie, you can’t imagine either him, JCVD or Norris pulling off this movie. But Gere does. I was diiiiigging this soundtrack.
  • The Bad – The middle is just blah. And while I can’t tear into Basinger for a ludicrous Cajun accent (she basically didn’t try and do an accent which was … sigh … practical), she wasn’t the best. The bad guys and henchmen feel like they belong in a mediocre Steven Seagal movie as I indicated. But I liked this movie enough that that is it.
  • The BMT – Sing it with me now: It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! No BMT film, more like a GMW film (Good Movie Wednesday, no one has time to watch two movies in a night, c’mon, I got work). Maybe a front runner for the Freddie Got Fingered “It’s Not That Bad” Smaddie Baddie this year? We’ll have to see. Likely considering we only have three non-2016 films left on the docket. And I agree with Jamie, going through all of the previous surprisingly good movies we’ve watched this one seemed real and less good-for-what-it-is and something I would just kind of accidentally watch on Netflix and like.

Quick game and then we are done. A Sequel/Prequel/Remake might be nice. Sequel. Set today, Gere and Basinger live in a quiet town in Wisconsin, him having been pushed out of the Chicago PD as part of the cover up of his brutal murders committed in New Orleans. Little does he know a little bit of the past has come back to haunt him. After women in the town start going missing he uncovers that it was all a trap laid out by Losado’s brother, fresh from … uh, the Bayou or wherever he was supposed to be from. Time to go back to Algiers to find the kidnapped ladies, and crush the villains who have secretly run the city for centuries. I’m digging it! Cheerios, and back to you Jamie.

No Mercy Preview

Alright, this week we have to pause and feed the cycle beast. That’s right, it’s time for the Chain Reaction where we continue our misguided attempt to connect each cycle to each other through shared actors. Someday this will bite us in the ass, but that day isn’t today! Last film in the chain was Random Hearts (based-on-a-book). We used Charles S. Dutton to connect from there to a 1986 film called No Mercy starring Richard Gere and BMT favorite Kim Basinger. Not a huge amount to say about the film other than the fact that it’s surprisingly not well known given the star power that it has up front. Let’s go!

No Mercy (1986) – BMeTric: 22.7

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(Not very interesting beyond the fact that this looks more “normal” than the recent 1986 film trajectories. Basically, it reaches a asymptote which is far more typical of a 2000 film if I recall correctly (whereas the 1986 films have looked more linear recently). Compared to other recent films this is a much lower BMeTric as well, but Chain Reaction can do that.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Chicago cop Gere storms into Louisiana Bayou country seeking the killer of his partner, falls for Cajun beauty Basinger — who’s been ‘sold’ to the kingpin perpetrator of the murder. Even the mindless melodramas have to make sense, at least on their own terms; this one’s pretty ridiculous. The two sexy stars don’t really click.

(Alright, let’s get this out of the way: great semi-colon work as usual Leonard. But … do my ears deceive more or is there a suggestion that Kim Basinger plays a Cajun beauty in this film? One second, I just need to catch my breath. You are telling me BMT megastar Kim Basinger pretends to be Cajun in this film? It is like Christmas. If you could see the look on my face right now you would think “huh, must be his birthday or something, because he seems unreasonably happy for no reason”. There are no words for how excited I am right now.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehtJo9B98TQ

(I really thought for a while there that Kim Basinger wouldn’t speak for the whole trailer and it would keep up the hope that she actually attempts a Cajun accent. Unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be the case. Alas. In an alternate universe this film was made in 1992 and stars JCVD, which makes the fact that Gere actually stars all the more ridiculous.)

Directors – Richard Pearce – (Known For: Leap of Faith; A Family Thing; The Long Walk Home; Country; Heartland; BMT: No Mercy; Notes: Won the Golden Bear for best film at the Berlin Film Festival for Heartland. Father of Remy Pearce, a prominent costume designer and married to Lynzee Klingman, an Oscar-nominated editor.)

Writers – James Carabatsos (written by) – (Known For: Heartbreak Ridge; Hamburger Hill; BMT: No Mercy; Notes: Not much to find about him. Served in Vietnam and then became a screenwriter, but hasn’t done much since the 80s.)

Actors – Richard Gere – (Known For: Pretty Woman; Chicago; Primal Fear; Unfaithful; Hachi: A Dog’s Tale; An Officer and a Gentleman; The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; The Mothman Prophecies; I’m Not There.; Brooklyn’s Finest; Arbitrage; Days of Heaven; American Gigolo; The Cotton Club; Shall We Dance; Runaway Bride; First Knight; Sommersby; Time Out of Mind; Internal Affairs; Looking for Mr. Goodbar; Dr. T & the Women; Breathless; The Hunting Party; Final Analysis; The Hoax; Hachi-gatsu no rapusodî; Mr. Jones; Power; Yanks; Bee Season; BMT: Movie 43; Autumn in New York; Intersection; The Double; Amelia; The Benefactor; No Mercy; Nights in Rodanthe; The Jackal; King David; Red Corner; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1986 for Worst Actor for King David; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Screen Couple for Autumn in New York.)

Kim Basinger – (Known For: The Nice Guys; L.A. Confidential; Batman; 8 Mile; The Natural; 9½ Weeks; Never Say Never Again; Cellular; Wayne’s World 2; The Door in the Floor; Final Analysis; People I Know; Nadine; Fool for Love; BMT: Cool World; My Stepmother Is an Alien; Ready to Wear; The Informers; Bless the Child; While She Was Out; The Real McCoy; The Getaway; Blind Date; The Sentinel; No Mercy; I Dreamed of Africa; The Marrying Man; The Man Who Loved Women; Grudge Match; Even Money; Third Person; Charlie St. Cloud; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2005 for Worst Razzie Loser of Our First 25 Years; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Actress for Bless the Child, and I Dreamed of Africa in 1995 for The Getaway; in 1993 for Cool World, and Final Analysis; in 1992 for The Marrying Man; and in 1987 for Nine 1/2 Weeks)

Also stars Jeroen Krabbé who we’ve seen in The Punisher outside of BMT. Otherwise famous for Ocean’s Twelve and The Fugitive.

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $12,303,904

(That is probably a giant bomb. But there is little information to tell. But based on the previous films in the cycle I would assume that the budget was something around $15 million dollars at the least.)

#19 for the Travelogue – New Orleans genre: Movies set in or near the city

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(Kind of boring. Funny that this is even a chart. And a little surprising New Orleans has been a film mecca for so long. I knew Nic Cage lived nearby and the city gave good tax breaks for filming, but I didn’t really have a good idea for how long. Seemed only recently that Trespass and Escape Plan and whatnot all were set in New Orleans)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (3/14): No consensus yet.

(Uh oh, time to generate a consensus: The stars fizzle in this neo-noir thriller with no chemistry. Gere tries hard to save what amounts to a safe and formulaic New Orleans cop drama. It is the best I can do. Funny enough Ebert liked the film and gave it three out of four stars, so it seems a little divisive. A lot of people complimented Gere whereas another reviewer straight up said he hoped he never got another starring gig. That reviewer was disappointed I think. Also, check out the WaPo review for some comedy gold.)

Poster – Sklog Mercy? I don’t know … (B-)

no_mercy

(I actually kind of dig this poster even though it too prominently features the two actors alone with no filter (too many colors as a result). But there is something interesting done with the poster that makes it look like a classic pulp book cover or something and I obviously love the unique font used for the title. Weird framing of everything though.)

Tagline(s) – He is entering her world to track down the killer she is desperate to be free of (C-)

Murder brought them together. Passion keeps them there. (B)

(Two separate taglines appear on the poster. The first one is too long and not clever and a bit botched on its wording. The second is much better but still botches the wording. Would have probably been an A- if it flowed a little better.)

Keyword(s) – neo noir; Top Ten by BMeTric: 77.0 RoboCop 3 (1993); 72.6 Striptease (1996); 69.0 Feardotcom (2002); 62.3 Setup (I) (2011); 58.8 The Crow: City of Angels (1996); 57.3 Daredevil (2003); 56.3 Body of Evidence (1993); 55.8 Catch .44 (2011); 54.6 The Prince (I) (2014); 54.5 The Canyons (2013);

(Okay, The Canyons is certainly a very weird neo noir, but I’m a bit skeptical about the others. Like I feel like Striptease is pushing the definition. Feardotcom is certainly pushing it. This list does remind me that I absolutely want to watch Robocop III. It is apparently a huge load of crap. And Robocop II was already a giant piece of crap.)

Notes – As told in his memoir, Kim Basinger’s then husband Ron Snyder found two love letters penned by Richard Gere stashed in a drawer in Basinger’s home gym at the end of April 1986, decided to follow his wife on one of her late night shoots with Gere, tracked the cheating superstars to a restaurant and watched them passionately making out in the parking lot in Gere’s limo. Snyder later confronted her and the marriage survived the affair, until Basinger started another romance on the set of Batman (1989). (uuuuuuuuuuuuuuh, that is quite awkward. But stars will be stars you know?)

The swamp-lands region seen in the picture was the Louisiana Bayou. Producer D. Constantine Conte said: “The bayou scenes were also shot in North Carolina, in swamps full of alligators and cottonmouth snakes. Richard Gere and Kim Basinger’ were very brave to do these scenes without stunt doubles. Director Richard Pearce said: “The air temperature was about thirty-five degrees and the water temperature about forty-five”. SPOILER: Ironically, it is within these scenes shot in the bayou that Eddie Jillette (Richard Gere and Michel Duval (Kim Basinger) warm toward one another and then fall in love. (awwwwwwww)

To offset the cost of production on several films, Tri Star Pictures, who usually released their films on the home market through parent company RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video, sold off the foreign video rights to No Mercy (1986), 8 Million Ways to Die (1986), Night of the Creeps (1986), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), The Squeeze (1987), Nadine (1987) and Gardens of Stone (1987) to CBS/Fox Home Video. (It was a different time back then. 8 Million Ways to Die was very much on our radar for films to watch this cycle, but didn’t make the cut).

The Louisiana leg of shooting also included scenes set in the Vieux Carre Police Station. Production designer Patrizia von Brandenstein said: “We converted a tourist-information-society building with wonderful murals of old New Orleans into our police station. The funny thing was that the building was due to be converted into a real police station and the department asked to keep some of our counters and other fixtures”. (Now that is a fun fact).

King Kong Lives Recap

Jamie

Wow, 1986… it’s unbelievable that King Kong Lives was a major motion picture release from that year. It was released in over 1000 theaters and yet more closely resembles a MST3K film than an actual film. It was horrible. Like if someone told me to write a King Kong script as quickly as I could, this might be what I would come up with as a first draft. There is motivation for NOTHING and the characters are caricatures. Just listen to this plot: the entire film is based on the premise that an Atlanta institution of higher learning is trying to bring King Kong back to life (last seen in 1976’s King Kong falling to his death off the World Trade Center buildings). And yet we have no idea why. They seem to indicate that whatever school obtains and studies the giant ape will somehow skyrocket to the top of the research ranks… but… but… why? It’s never answered. The artificial heart they made to revive him won’t work without a blood transfusion (because apparently Kong merely has heart failure from falling of the WTC) and so they conveniently find a female giant ape and bring her to Georgia. Predictably the two apes escape together and… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry I fell asleep cause this movie was terrible. Long story short is basically descends into a family drama with a lot of scenes involving the two apes creepily smiling at each other and hugging. Eventually Lady Kong (as she is credited) gives birth to an extraordinarily tiny baby the size of a normal gorilla. God damn! I literally recommend this to no one.

Like all King Kong films, King Kong Lives has a pretty solid setting for Settings 101. In this case we open with a nice intertitle letting us know that the film takes place 10 years after the events of the first film in Atlanta, Georgia at the Atlanta Institute. Whew. That’s a lot of settings for one little intertitle. It’s kind of funny that they made up a school for this film but even funnier that we are supposed to seriously believe that King Kong fell off the WTC, was critically injured, and then survived for ten years waiting for a heart transplant. Jesus. This film is a mess. It’s setting is not though. It rockets to a B- by simply nodding to the audience and acknowledging that we are in George. Atlanta is mentioned a few more times, but not enough to get up to B level. Ever since introducing Settings 101 we’ve actually had shockingly few films where the setting was difficult to ascertain. Convinces me that if we went back to the older films we could find a lot of hidden gems. Maybe even a Delaware or South Dakota that the world has yet to discover (it’s my dream).

Patrick

King Kong Lives? Well they should have let this movie die! Booooom, NY Post you did it again! We watched what some people might call a movie. Other people might refer to it as something more akin to lighting millions of dollars on fire. Let’s get into it.

  • The Good – Not much. At times the enormous animatronics are impressive. I would also say the two lead actors perform admirably all things considered.
  • The Bad – What the Sound of Thunder is to bad CGI, King Kong Lives is to bad practical effects. Not only is this three years after Return of the Jedi as far as CGI is concerned, it is also four years after The Thing, a pinnacle of practical effect magic! We don’t like to harp on story too too much, but this is legit the absolute worst storyline you will watch outside of non-films like The Room. They are replacing King Kong’s heart ten years after his fall from the World Trade Center? He’s been in a coma for ten years!? They happen to find a female just in time?!? I’m not sure what happened in 1986, but there is something wrong with the movies they produced in that year. Oh wait, now I remember, this is the year of Maximum Overdrive … so cocaine happened.
  • The BMT – In my opinion, no. It is very strange, but the Official Razzie Movie Guide features this movie and claims it is “hilarious”. But it is hilarious in the same way White Comanche with William Shatner is hilarious. You go: “Oh, hilarious, William Shatner is playing a half Native American and his own twin …. Welp this movie is boring”. Somehow this one weird ludicrous thing is supposed to sustain entertainment for hours, but for me it usually doesn’t. In this case? The absurd creepy smiles on the giant apes’ faces are supposed to be the clinchers. The apes are certainly funny for as few minutes. One hundred minutes though? Yeah, not so much. Boring movie, straight up. Although it is kind of fun it a Mystery Science Theater kind of way. Needs a commentary I think. Without it you’ll be left wondering “what am I doing with my life”. You can put that on the poster!

I’ll try to keep the game short. I was going to try and make a prediction about this film, but turns out a prediction of “this will be a garbage non-film and I will hate it” is no fun. So let’s remake the film! Sequel / Prequel / Remake: First, no Kong surviving. Garbage. No, instead, a research team has been scouring the world looking for evidence of other Kongs. Indeed, the extent to which the Skull Island inhabitants worshipped the Kong suggested its kind must have been around for many years prior to his death. And they succeed, a female Kong is located and brought back to the states. But the research team’s intentions are less than honorable! Indeed, they plan on dissecting and experimenting on the Kong in an attempt to unlock the secret to its gigantism and age. Upon the discovery that the Kong is pregnant a primatologist who accompanied the team frees the Kong into the wild. A chase occurs down the California coastline whereby the Kong, ultimately surrounded and on the verge of death, gives birth and dies (mirroring the ending of the first film). The idea would be a trilogy with the third continuing this story with the child. Would it be great? Prob not, but at least you cut out the ludicrous heart surgery storyline.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

King Kong Lives Preview

This week we really get down in the muck for Horror/Thriller. That’s because we are doing the sequel to the 1976 King Kong remake, King Kong Lives. Never heard of it? You shouldn’t have. It is well known for having some of the most horrendous special effects of the age. It also sounds like a B-movie straight-to-video release and yet still got a wide theatrical release (1000+ theaters). We’re really only doing this because it is a major part of the Razzie book as one of the most enjoyable bad movies of all time. Hard to pass up on those credentials for a 1986 film when we’re doing a cycle restricted to just that year. Guess we’ll get to find out whether it’s truly enjoyable or if this is just another White Comanche (shudder). Let’s go!

King Kong Lives (1986) – BMeTric: 40.7

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(Finally something interesting in these plots! First, what happened in 2006? All of a sudden there is a weird uptick in the votes. And then twice the vote count goes down! My theory? These events are more common with “confused” movie titles. Here there are a multitude of King Kong titles available and they every so often try to make sure there aren’t mistaken votes. Tenuous, but it is weird that the event seems so rare (remember the Bratz effect) and with no real rhyme or reason. Still, seems odd for IMDb to do, and confusing for this movie in particular, there is no way bots are trolling a random movie from a defunct production company. It is absurd.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Dino De Laurentiis sequel gives the ape a mate with everything he loves: She’s tall, statuesque, with great mossy teeth. The Army tried to kill them (naturally), but not before the finale that actually rips off the final scene in Spartacus. Desperate.

(And with one single word Leonard effectively eviscerates this film. Desperate. As we know from Raw Deal De Laurentiis was desperate at the time. This is the second Dino De Laurentiis film in a row, and the studio declared bankruptcy basically right after these colossal failures. This actually makes me a bit more enamored with the 1986 bad movie catalogue. There is an underlying theme of the pre-blockbuster studio system going through a tiny death as executives like De Laurentiis desperately try to sell films that feel more comfortable in the 70s to audiences whose minds are being blown by Return of the Jedi)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0HvmgZfbl8

(I mean … what is this? Seriously? Again, three years after Return of the Jedi! People went from lightsaber battles to a King Kong sequel which looks like it uses effects from the 60s. The entire trailer is complete and utter trash as well. This movie is going to be a distinct non-pleasure to watch I think.)

Directors – John Guillermin – (Known For: King Kong; The Towering Inferno; Death on the Nile; Shaft in Africa; BMT: King Kong Lives; Sheena; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1985 for Worst Director for Sheena. Accomplished Action-Adventure filmmaker who was also well known for being incredibly difficult to work with. I will say that out of everything in King Kong (1976) the direction was probably the best part of the film, the sets were rather incredible to behold. No wonder he basically fell out of favor with the rise of digital effects though.)

Writers – Steven Pressfield (screenplay & story) – (Known For: The Legend of Bagger Vance; Above the Law; BMT: King Kong Lives; Freejack; Notes: Notable author, specifically The Legend of Bagger Vance, and screenwriter. He is particularly notable for his non-fiction and fiction work in military history as his father was in the Navy and he was a Marine for a time. Was homeless as he struggled to get Bagger Vance published early in his career.)

Ronald Shusett (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Alien; Aliens; Prometheus; Total Recall; Alien: Resurrection; Alien³; Above the Law; Dead & Buried; BMT: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; King Kong Lives; Freejack; Total Recall (2015); The Final Terror; Notes: Famous for his work with Dan O’Bannon in Science Fiction he helped write Alien and Total Recall. He moved into producer roles in the 90s and now basically produces B-level horror for a living.)

Edgar Wallace (Known For: King Kong (multiple); Notes: Made the character of King Kong in a script he penned for RKO Studios. Was incredibly prolific, but all of his films are from pre-1940 and King Kong is his only major lasting character.)

Merian C. Cooper (character) – (Known For: King Kong (multiple); Mighty Joe Young (multiple) BMT: King Kong Lives; Notes: Co-inventor of the Cinerama technique he is probably most famous for creating King Kong and Mighty Joe Young. Edgar Wallace penned the script, but Cooper allegedly had a dream imagining a giant gorilla attacking New York. I assume the final product is basically both Wallace and Cooper’s ideas smushed together.)

Actors – Brian Kerwin – (Known For: The Help; 27 Dresses; Murphy’s Romance; Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain; BMT: King Kong Lives; Jack; Getting Away with Murder; Notes: He has an amazingly varied career bouncing from extensive work in theater, to film, to daytime tv (where he won a daytime emmy).)

Linda Hamilton – (Known For: Terminator 2: Judgment Day; The Terminator; BMT: King Kong Lives; Children of the Corn; Dante’s Peak; Shadow Conspiracy; Black Moon Rising; Terminator Salvation; Notes: Obviously the original Sarah Conners from the Terminator franchise. It is kind of incredible how poorly her career went outside of that franchise. Was notably married to James Cameron for a time, and revealed that she suffers from Bipolar Disorder. She mainly does television now in guest spots.)

Budget/Gross – $18 million / Domestic: $4,711,220 (N/A)

(Obviously a complete unmitigated disaster. I assumed as much since this was probably a major contributing factor in De Laurentiis filing for bankruptcy. It also seems ludicrous to me, based on the trailer, that this films would cost $18 million, but whatever.)

#63 for the Creature Feature genre

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(Seen for Critters 2: The Main Course (#66) where we said: The creature feature is a staple of classic horror, but I think it kind of rose to prominence again after Jurassic Park (in case you were wondering what that gigantic peak around ’93 was). Since then it comes and goes in waves, but will probably rise again with Jurassic World killing it at the box office. King Kong may add to it soon as well. King Kong Lives certainly contributed to BMT sooner than I expected.)

#22 for the Remake – Sequel to a Remake genre

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(This was also seen for Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (#8) where we said: My God, those waves! They just get bigger and bigger. Presumably the troughs are where they release the original remake. I think ‘05 to ‘10 might end up going down in history as an anomaly in bad movie history, just prior to the tentpole movies crowding the release schedule and VOD becoming a real option, a true heyday of traditional bad movie watching. Another dying genre it looks like, possibly because these sequels are now more regularly being released by alternative means. Funny that King Kong Lives appears to be one of the first sequel to a remake ever! Groundbreaking.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/9): No consensus yet.

(Time to make a consensus which unfortunately would go a little like this: This movie is boring. Period. Oof, this is looking more dire by the minute. This is literally all Ebert mentions in his review, that the actors look bored and the movie is boring.)

Poster – King Sklog Lives (A)

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(I’m going to give this the benefit of the doubt and say that the old school look is intentional. In which case I really do like the poster. I might even love it. It is energetic, and kind of cool, and the artistic styling is just fun. A very cool idea and surprising to see from a film made in 1986. There are a few other posters (on rotten tomatoes for example) which are straight terrible, but I’m going to go with this one.)

Tagline(s) – The Legendary Kong is Back! (C-)

America’s Biggest Hero is back…and He is not happy. (F)

(Okay, the first guy is standard and just boring, but hard to complain about it. The second … honestly why is King Kong considered America’s Biggest Hero? How is he a hero? In the 1976 film what did he do that was heroic? Nothing. That tagline is ridiculous.)

Keyword(s) – ape; Top Ten by BMeTric: 86.1 Dragonball: Evolution (2009); 83.6 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 68.1 The Flintstones (1994); 57.6 Congo (1995); 40.7 King Kong Lives (1986); 38.8 Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973); 29.6 King Kong (1976); 24.7 Speed Racer (2008); 22.7 Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970); 21.3 Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972);

(Hey, after watching this film and all of the planet of the apes we’ll have watched all of the top “ape” keyword films. Not a terrible list, but also not amazing. I can’t remember why Dragonball would have ape listed. Or Scary Movie 5. Or Flintstones …. This list is weird.)

Notes – Peter Michael Goetz’s cheque for post release royalties came to 3 cents. He has it stapled to the film poster in his house, having never cashed it. (Ha, see these are the more lighthearted notes I like)

Peter Weller was offered a part in this film; but he opted to play the title role in RoboCop (1987) instead. (good choice)

Writer Steven Pressfield mentions “King Kong Lives” as a live-changing, validating failure in his book ‘The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.’ This was his first professional writing job after 17 years of trying. After the movie bombed, he realized he had become a professional. He hadn’t yet had a success, but “had had a real failure.” (very cool, Pressfield seems like he has a cool story)

This film is listed among the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John WIlson’s book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE. (This guide is garbage and I think that probably none of these films are enjoyable beyond thinking “oh wow King Kong looks like crap in this …. Cool”. Hard to sustain enjoyment of a bad movie based on something like that)

As of 2015, it remains as the last theatrical film directed by John Guillermin. (Wow, that is pretty amazing. It does look old school)

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Visual Effects (Carlo Rambaldi)