The Lawnmower Man Recap

Jamie

Dr. Angelo has unlocked the key to super smartness through virtual reality, but when he shares it with his developmentally delayed lawnmower man, Jobe, he soon finds it out of control. With new telekinetic powers Jobe is ready to take over the world. Can Dr. Angelo stop him (and maybe get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Lawnmower Man.

How?! Dr. Lawrence Angelo is a super smart scientist who has unlocked the key to learning through virtual reality. When the most talented of his ape subjects goes berserk and kills a bunch of people before being killed itself, Dr. Angleo kinda loses his shit. Soon his life is in shambles and he decides to take the testing underground and prove that it works on human patients without the aggressive factors his funders want him to use. Working with his developmentally delayed landscaper, Jobe, he soon makes him super smart just like him… except like way smarter. Like he’s beating everyone in video games smart… and he also all of a sudden has a super smokin’ bod and all the ladies are like “who’s that?”… and also he starts having headaches and can hear what people are thinking… oh, and also he can move stuff with his mind. Anyway, While Dr. Angelo is out of town meeting with his funders, Jobe decides to share his powers with his lady love and unknowingly uses the old formulation and busts her brain. Enraged, he decides that it’s time to take over the world and goes off on a killing spree against those that he feels have wronged him or others that he cares about. Dr. Angelo learns of the swapped drugs and comes back in time to try to stop Jobe in his ultimate goal of entering cyberspace and taking over everyone’s minds. He is able to lock Jobe out of communication with the internet, leaving him trapped in the computer that Dr. Angelo has rigged with explosives. Just before they go off, though, Jobe is able to find a backdoor out. Feeling pretty jazzed Dr. Angelo is ready to go off and probably smooch on some ladies but BUM BUM BUM… Jobe is out there. Uh oh! THE END.  

Why?! Science! Dr. Angelo sees the promise in virtual reality for expanding the mind. Particularly for helping those that have trouble learning. His funder though, termed The Shop, see it differently and insist he use aggressive factors. Dr. Angelo is pretty short sighted apparently, because this obviously is because The Shop wants to make a new weapon using VR. As for our unwitting antagonist, Jobe, he just wants to be a lawnmower man… you know before he decides that the world must bow down before his great intellect.

Who?! Not much to highlight here, so I’ll just mention the curious fact that this was originally marketed as Stephen King’s The Lawnmower Man after combining an unrelated script called CyberGod with one of his short stories. King is well known to not like adaptations that veer from the source, so I could understand that this would drive him bonkers. What’s even crazier is that the studio kept on ignoring the court orders and he had to sue them over and over. Anyway, I read the story before and I honestly didn’t even think it was that crazy of an adaptation. They took a very short story about a Greek god/satyr/killer lawnmower man and made it about a man that is turned into a god and becomes a killer lawnmower man… it’s at least inspired by Stephen King.

What?! There is so little to highlight here that I started to read about the video game adaptations that came out. Apparently it’s a mix of action and puzzles and flying and mostly got bad reviews. In fact at the time it made it on some lists of the worst video games ever made. I think I just got an idea for a new blog.

Where?! Patrick and I had a long discussion about this. Mostly stemming from the fact that Wikipedia has this listed as a film set in California. While it obviously is filmed in LA, I contest that there is just no way it is set there. Dr. Angelo has a meeting in Washington DC. We see him escape at night and start the drive back to his house. The next morning he arrives at his house. It just has to be in New York or perhaps, given the source, Maine or something. But I’m pretty confident it’s not set in California. Or at least confident that Wikipedia can’t be confident it’s set in California. Regardless, D-.

When?! Fortunately for us (and the criminal justice system) Dr. Angelo keeps a running diary of his illegal human experimentation. We seem him start it in early May and then finish it on July 10th. So the whole movie runs about two months. You can say a lot of things about Dr. Angelo, but you can’t say he didn’t get results in his unethical underground human trial. B+

I think there are a lot of interesting things going on in this film and probably the only BMT thing about it is that you get the sense that it’s been hacked to shit. Like… Dr. Angelo’s wife is there for three seconds and then just disappears, never to be heard from again. No wonder the Director’s Cut is like double the length. But really the thing you hear about it is the computer graphics and how dated they are but… I didn’t really mind them. They were actually very clever given the limitations of the time. Like abstract art. I was actually impressed more than anything else. My biggest gripe with the film is that Dr. Angelo is allegedly our “hero” but is more or less a criminal. He seems to have no issue with the fact that he experiments on a human being and is very invested in the “end justifies the means” method. Then, when this all blows up in his face due to the unethical nature of his funders, he doesn’t reflect on the fact that what he did was wrong and had disastrous consequences. In fact, at the end of the film he is still talking about having to take his work underground… mere seconds before his work causes a worldwide disaster! He’s a pretty bad dude, but the film never really addresses or acknowledges that fact. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! So what happens when we schedule a film and forget that the previous one also qualifies? Well … we watch three movies in a weekend. We don’t leave men behind here at BMTHQ. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – The main thing is the computer graphics. Those can easily sink an otherwise fine film. I was also genuinely curious about Pierce Brosnan. Just because outside of James Bond I don’t think I’ve really seen young Pierce Brosnan act very much. Fahey had a little outside shot at the Tropic Thunder Simple Jack corner going on as well, I was very curious as to how he would act out his character early in the film. What are my expectations? I was I guess hoping the entire thing would be a silly disaster with people going into computers TRON style and everything just going off the rails in the end. Otherwise it is just a stepping stone to its sequel.

The Good – I actually thought this film was pretty decent for the most part. The computer graphics have aged in such a way that it all kind of makes sense. I think the recent trend towards 8-bit and cheap-looking graphics helps immensely to make it seem mostly stylized at this point. I was also pleased with the evil corporation, which was giving me whiffs of RoboCop. Once you get past some of the early issues, the film does mature a bit into a decent techno-thriller.

The Bad – The beginning of the film is a mess, in particular the character of Pierce Brosnan’s wife was obviously cut from the film … except they couldn’t cut her so they just had her leave at one point. The entire film also spreads itself too film. The Lawnmower Man has beefs with: the abusive father, the abusive priest, the abusive guy at the gas station, the evil corporation / government entity, and Pierce Brosnan. Too many. They should have cut the priest and merged the gas station attendant and the abusive father. It would have focused Fahey’s simmering anger onto a single figure and clarified things. There is a decent argument that the eeeeeeeevil corporation / government entity was a bit too moustache twirlingly eeeeeeevil, but what can you do, it’s the 90s.

The BMT – Only by association. I think this is a lot closer to Good than Bad in the end, and its association with its sequel is what makes it BMT. If Highlander got bad reviews it would have been the same thing with Highlander 2: The Quickening. Did it meet my expectations? No I don’t think so. Or at least, not as a bad movie. It wasn’t nuts enough and the computer graphics weren’t terrible enough to get it over the top. As a good movie, it was a pleasant surprise though.

Roast-radamus – I think it has a very very outside shot at Good. And maybe the only other category it has a chance at is Worst Twist (How?). The twist being The Lawnmower Man getting into the telephone system and making all of the phones in the world ring all at once in the end, his birth cry as he says. I guess by itself it is jarring and perhaps a bit scary. But it is also incredibly obvious, and it is completely thrown away in the sequel. It is just a weird choice. The film won’t get anything in the end I don’t think.

StreetCreditReport.com – I’m not surprised it didn’t hit on any of the worst of lists I could find. It did get a shoutout at 35 for worst computer graphics in film (fair). And then both Lawnmower Man films get a shoutout on this list of films with virtual reality. Otherwise I can’t really think of another category it would qualify for … maybe for actors playing a disabled person, or worst Pierce Brosnan films.

Sklognalysis – Again, no time for schooling people. Here, … let’s go with a short analysis of eeeeeeeeevil scientists in BMT. The main one I always go back to is Dr. Alexander McCabe in the movie Bats, who ultimately is hoisted by his own petard when his mutant bats tear him apart with their razor wings. Brosnan is definitely an evil scientist. His arrogance convinces him that he can save humanity, that his science trumps the ethics surrounding human testing of new scientific methods. And in the end he creates a living god who can kill at will and take over the world. Sure the eeeeeeeevil corporation / government entity causes some of the issues by trying to hijack his research to create the ultimate weapon, but Brosnan’s inability to see that he is already creating a weapon with or without the enhanced aggression protocol is his downfall. I do love the neo-luddite aspects of evil scientists in film (a staple of Michael Crichton). Unfortunately, Brosnan misses it a bit as they pull the punch and place most of the blame on The Shop, the weird corporation / government entity that is funding him. I would have enjoyed the movie even more if Brosnan created his God and then sacrifices himself to save humanity from his abomination. It would have further simplified an already pretty messy film as well.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Hackers Recap

Jamie

Dade Murphy is an elite hacker just looking to have some fun. After moving to NYC he gets involved with a hacking group that finds itself the target of an evil corporate hacker who is worried they will expose his criminal scheme. Can they stop the evil hacker (and get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Hackers.

How?! Dade Murphy aka Zero Cool aka Crash Override is just a regular ol’ high school student… other than being a totally elite hacker! C00ool! As a kid he crashed a bunch of Wall Street computers and has spent his youth on probation. So when he moves to New York City he goes through all the trials and tribulations of the “new kid” while also being drawn into the hacker scene that he’s been barred from enjoying. When one of the hacker gang, Joey, gets caught hacking a Gibson supercomputer run by an eeeeevil oil company they have to figure out why they are claiming the Joey is part of a hacker group looking to use a virus to crash oil tankers. Due to his record Dade is intimidated into giving over a copy of the disk Joey partially copied off a garbage file on the Gibson. Realizing his mistake, he joins up with his crew to figure out what the hell is going on. Using his beautiful mind hacking skillz, Dade figures out that the garbage file contains a worm that the oil company’s computer security expert/elite hacker, The Plague, has been using to steal millions of dollars. Worried that Joey may have copied everything in the file, The Plague is using the virus as a cover so he can blame the hackers for the theft. Realizing that they are going to take the fall, Dade concocts a scheme to hack the Gibson and download the whole garbage file to get definitive proof. They band together a worldwide network of hackers to distract The Plague with viruses. In an epic hack battle (as the kids say) they are able to copy the garbage file and take down the Gibson before getting arrested. But with the new proof they are able to implicate The Plague and Dade totes smooches his lady love Kate. Rad. THE END.

Why?! The Plague wants money. He sees himself as a hired hand. A cowboy out there taming the wild west of the computer world and so has little qualms stealing from the people he considers beneath him. As for the hackers they just want to free information for the good of the people. They see the government and corporations using the power of computing to ruthlessly make money and spy on people. They just expose this information to the people for examination. When this gets them mixed up with The Plague this turns the motivation towards a MacGuffin. The garbage file in the mythical Gibson supercomputer. Unhackable… or is it? It’s like a bank heist where the safe is the Gibson and the treasure is the garbage file. Solid.

Who?! For films like this I knew there would be interesting credits like what you find for Dave Buchwald, who served as a “computer hacking consultant”. This is the only one on IMDb, but on the film itself there are several other Hackers credited in that capacity (including Emmanual Goldstein, Cereal Killer’s real name). There is also a performance by Urban Dance Squad near the end of the film. Fun fact: the band also had a song on the soundtrack for Gigli. Nice. Oh and as Patrick pointed out, Joey is actually a really nice example of a Planchet. 

What?! The sheer number of Coca-Cola product placements is impressive, not to mention an in-film commercial for Jolt Cola. I obviously would have loved to garb myself head-to-toe in Dade’s wardrobe if possible, but unfortunately, while some of it is listed online, it seems that they are just for show and not for sale. Well, duh. Who would willing part with such treasure?

Where?! This is a fantastic NYC film. Really of the city with the hacker culture, the techno music, Stuyvesant, and just ‘blading up and down town. You could say that there are a number of cities it could take place, but I disagree. Just wouldn’t feel the same anywhere but New York. A.

When?! This actually made me angry. It certainly seemed like summer when they moved to NYC and then Dade starts up at school that Fall and seems to pretty quickly integrate into the Hacker crowd. So when they said the Da Vinci virus was going live on the 14th was pretty set on a vague October 14th date. Then Dade checks his watch the day of the big hack and it says it’s Wednesday, October 18th 1995. WTF, Hackers. You just told me that it was all going down on the 14th and then whoever is responsible for getting a shot of Dade’s watch fumbles the perfectly lobbed pass? At that point I turned off the film and vowed never to watch it again. B+. Nice exact(ish) date, but not necessary to the plot.

I certainly had a fun time watching this movie. In fact, if you removed some of the sillier looking visuals used for the computers and hacking stuff, then I’m not sure I’d say there was much to it that was even BMT. It’s still enjoyable to watch and I think better written than perhaps its given credit for. It’s always fun to watch something like this for BMT because we end up paying so much more attention to the plot. Not just about the intricacies of The Plague’s entire scheme, but about The Plague himself. The film intentionally sets up the world of hacking, which is a world of curiosity, not crime. They are using computers to bring freedom, in that they use their skills to enter and expose things to the light that people want hidden. It’s their belief that they aren’t committing crimes, and in fact the people and companies they are hacking are often the ones committing crimes and then covering it up under the guise of going after the hackers. Is The Plague a hacker, then? Not according to the film. He is obviously elite (duh), but he also is using his skills to keep things hidden (mostly his own crimes). He thinks he’s a hacker, but he’s not. He even tries to be a hacker with his skateboard and disdain for the government agents, but it’s a disguise. One that he exchanges at the end in his attempt to escape to Japan. See? BMT movies that actually aren’t all that bad always get me thinking a lot more than I expect. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I have seen Hackers approximately 30 times … so yeah, let’s go ahead and pretend this is a bad movie. This sounds like a fun game. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Nothing can convince me this is a bad movie. There are ways for me to realize it is maybe a messy movie, or a dumb movie. But a bad movie? Impossible. But I was amused to see if my viewing changed at all given we were now doing it for BMT. What are my expectations? To pop a big bowl of popcorn and enjoy a movie night in. I had no plans to think any less of this movie so don’t even try.

The Good – The movie is pure entertainment, in the cheesiest more hilarious early 90s computer-y way. The choice of doing the computer sequence practically ages incredibly well. While I could imagine these days the film could have aged into its effects over time, there would have been a ten year period from maybe 2000-2010 where Hackers would have looked dumb as shit with out-of-date graphics. Instead the “graphics” still kind of look state of the art because … well, they aren’t graphics, they are models. Lillard and Jolie are really good and it is kind of incredible they are in this movie. It makes New York look mythical, even though in reality it had a pretty bad crime problem at the time. Oh, did I mention it is an incredibly entertaining movie I love?

The Bad – The movie is a complete mess from a directing perspective. I know it is apparently his trademark, but the random pop culture clips they occasionally cut to haven’t aged very well because, to be honest, it has been done better since then. Additionally, they completely botch the timeline of the film which makes it incredibly confusing. It was only now, on probably my 30th watch, and with the intention of close watching the film that I fully discerned The Plague’s ploy and how all of the pieces fit together. The film is non-linear at times, and it is definitely not intentional. The hackers are more criminal than they seem to want to make you believe, but it is all in good fun but like … poor Agent Gill. Mostly messy, with some brutal acting.

The BMT – I love this movie and I’m offended it even qualifies. So no, it is not BMT. It probably enters into a select list of “genuinely good movies” we’ve watched for BMT. Freddy Got Fingered, Tango & Cash, and this. Genuinely good movies. I declare it. Did it meet my expectations? Actually yeah. I’m pretty shocked that I noticed new things during the viewing. The power of BMT close watching I guess. Who knew I still had wonderful things to learn from this film.

Roast-radamus – This will easily enter in The Good for the year. Wait .. is Joey a Planchet (Who?) … I think he is! That’s pretty wonderful. If we had realized this we could have named it the Joey instead. What a life, I love you Jesse Bradford. The Product Placement (What?) is off the chain for this film, but the craziest one I think is for Jolt Cola which runs an honest to god ad in the middle of the film during Razor and Blade’s show. And I do think this is a Setting as a Character (Where?) in that New York City, the city that never sleeps, is quintessential to the plot. Also a great MacGuffin (Why?) with the Gibson and the garbage file, which most characters only know as the thing that Ellingson Minerals really really wants for some reason. That is quite the list for a genuinely good film.

StreetCreditReport.com – While I obviously disagree, CNN did throw it onto a list of worst “tech” films. I have now seen all but Antitrust on that list. Also they admit it is a cult classic, so I think that is a win. Otherwise I couldn’t find it on either underappreciated or worst of lists for 1995. I would put it at number one best Jesse Bradford movies ever. Unfortunately it can’t be on Matthew Lillard’s best of list because Freddy Prinze Jr. isn’t in it.

You Just Got Schooled – Since I watched three movies this weekend I didn’t have time to watch anything else to “school” you. Luckily, the Hacker Manifesto from January 8, 1986 is pretty short and also still online, preserved in Phrack Magazine where it originally appeared. “This is our world now… the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud.  We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn’t run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals.” That was pretty much read out loud in the film. The rest of it sounds frighteningly like the “lazy genius” nonsense you hear people claim sometimes, but … well in this case Loyd Blankenship is actually probably a genuine genius and those fundamental misunderstandings with adults probably did happen when growing up in Texas in the 70s.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace Quiz

Hmmmm, let’s see. I remember being resurrected from cyberspace in dystopian LA, but to be perfectly honest I didn’t really pay much attention to what’s been happening. Did you? Do you know what happened in Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film Jobe is recovered and revived. Why?

2) Peter Parkette now lives in post-apocalyptic LA with his gang of wiley orphans (what happened to his mother? Who cares, I guess she’s dead, did you hear what I said? We’re in dystopian LA! It’s Double Dragon all over again!). Where is their hideout located?

3) In the middle of the film a government official of some kind visits the facility. Why? And what happens to him?

4) Ultimately, Dr. Benjamin Trace the inventor of the Chiron Chip is coaxed out of hiding. What is his plan to stop Jobe before it is too late!?

5) And when that doesn’t work, what is the plan to infiltrate cyberspace and stop Jobe in his natural habitat: VR ‘puter-town? I’m pretty sure that is what the weird city they created is called.

Answers

The Lawnmower Man Quiz

Hmmmm, last thing I remember I was playing this weird VR game with my best bud Dr. Angelo. The next thing I remember I was looking hot, smashing ladies, and super smart to boot! Do you remember what else happened in The Lawnmower Man?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film Dr. Angelo is sidelined by The Shop for an indeterminate amount of time. Why?

2) So Angelo decides to continue his work (without the aggression factor) on The Lawnmower Man, a mentally handicapped assistant to his gardener. What is, on a superficial level, Dr. Angelo’s research?

3) There are four people in town that The Lawnmower Man beefs with during the movie. Name them.

4) Initially The Shop is interested in Angelo’s research to create a super soldier. Eventually why do they become interested in The Lawnmower Man?

5) In the end what does The Lawnmower Man want to do, what is his goal in life?

Answers

Hackers Quiz

Man, the last thing I remember I was in Grand Central hacking the Gibson, you know, the usual. But then this totes elite bad guy kicked me out of the kernel! Way not cool. Can you remember what happened in Hackers?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) To start let’s get all of the main players’ hacker handles. That’s the five good guys (without Joey who doesn’t have a handle), and the main bad guy.

2) What are the four most common passwords?

3) Meanwhile Fisher Stevens has a big plan to striking it rich, what is it?

4) During Miller and Jolie’s hacking competition they do four bad things to hassle Agent Gill and make his life hard. What are they?

5) Explain the plan to stop Fisher and the FBI from stopping them on the day that they are to be arrested.

Answers

Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace Preview

Meanwhile… Poe and Brock are getting psyched for the big championship game. Suddenly Poe watches in alarm as the lawnmower men around the field stop in unison, their eyes suddenly glassy and unseeing. “Lawnmower Men,” Poe whispers while Brock stares on in shock. “Lawnmower Men? It can’t be. They… they are just silly legends used to scare kids.” But no, they are real and something has brought them out of their slumber. Poe suddenly realizes what it is and turns to Brock, “It’s Rich. He needs my help.” One of the other players begins to protest, but Brock stops them, “If you need my help, you have my bat, bro.” And they seal the deal with a Predator Handshake. That’s right! In celebration of the 500th BMT film (say what?!) we are also watching The Lawnmower Man and Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace. The sequel has been on my bad movie bucket list forever because it actually seems impossible that it got released to theaters. But it did and we couldn’t have asked for a better pairing for this celebration than the hacking computer technobabble extravaganza of Hackers and the Lawnmower Man franchise. Let’s go! 

Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996) – BMeTric: 67.2 

LawnmowerMan2BeyondCyberspaceIMDb_BMeT

LawnmowerMan2BeyondCyberspaceIMDb_RV

(Holy shit! That is really low. How does it only have 67 BMeTric? I guess 8000 votes it really really low, which is itself rather astonishing. This is blowing my mind.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Moron-turned-genius Jobe is back, still intent on ruling the world from cyberspace. This involves ruthless billionaire Conway, reclusive computer expert Bergin, docter Pouget, and young O’Brien, returning from the original film. The plot is both complicated and simpleminded, and aimed primarily at teenage computer fans – but the standardized Blade Runner future, routine action, and only intermittent computer graphics will likely leave them as disinterested as everyone else. Aka: Lawnmower Man 2: Jobe’s War.

(WHAT? This got a better review than the first one? Well I am now intrigued. Also this review is somehow longer than the review for the first one, which was already an epic that is uncharacteristic of Leonard. Of all the movies to become verbose over, the Lawnmower Man franchise?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MubmJ2jwvOM/

(To think, these two trailers came from a Stephen King short story that really doesn’t have much to do with either storyline. This thing is wild and reminds me of Highlander 2: The Quickening. Gloriously cheap sci-fi nonsense. Sock it to me.)

Directors – Farhad Mann – (BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Notes: Mostly a television and commercial director, it kind of suggests he developed Max Headroom, although he’s only credited as the director of the pilot.)

Writers – Farhad Mann (story & screenplay) – (BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Notes: Appears to mostly director British Crime procedurals like Murdoch Mysteries.)

Michael Miner (story) – (Known For: RoboCop; RoboCop; BMT: RoboCop 3; Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; RoboCop 2; Notes: Wait one second … we finished Miner’s filmography? That is awesome. A self-described technophobe.)

Actors – Patrick Bergin – (Known For: Patriot Games; Free Fire; Ella Enchanted; Map of the Human Heart; Mountains of the Moon; The Boys from County Clare; Silent Grace; Future BMT: Eye of the Beholder; Sleeping with the Enemy; The Invisible Circus; Love Crimes; Age of Kill; The Wee Man; Strength and Honour; BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Notes: A former math teacher in Ireland, he also had a top 10 hit song in Ireland called The Knacker. I’m sorry, but that is awful.)

Matt Frewer – (Known For: Watchmen; Hercules; 50/50; Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Dawn of the Dead; The BFG; The Meaning of Life; The Fourth Protocol; A Home at the End of the World; Twenty Bucks; Weirdsville; Foreverland; Future BMT:Supergirl; Riding the Bullet; Cannonball Fever; Senior Trip; Going the Distance; Spies Like Us; Frankie & Alice; BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Ishtar; Pixels; Notes: A significant voice and television actor now. He’s Big Russ in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (the neighbor) and also interestly enough was Max Headroom, which makes sense considering the director.)

Austin O’Brien – (Known For: Apollo 13; The Baby-Sitters Club; Future BMT: My Girl 2; The Lawnmower Man; Last Action Hero; BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Last Action Hero in 1994; Notes: Mostly a child actor. He was in the (non-qualifying) Prehysteria!)

Budget/Gross – $15 million / Domestic: $2,409,225

(Aaaaaaand, there is it. Play stupid games, win … a catastrophic box office bomb. There is an important lesson here: when you make a sequel hot garbage sometimes people don’t want to go see it no matter how rad it is.)

#18 for the Virtual Reality genre

lawnmowerman2_virtualreality

(YES, three for three! We went from having seen two films to having seen five in this category. Wait a second, I have to check something … there are nine total qualified films, of which we will have actually only seen four after this because Vanilla Sky is a rare non-qualifying film we did for BMT once. Still almost halfway through the genre now.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (1/9)

(I’ll have to make a consensus … Oh, wait, there are only two reviews with actual snippets and it seems like Rotten Tomatoes’ full review links are broken, so I can’t make one. Weirdly one of the two Top Critics was the only good review basically saying the special effects were okay. Reviewer Highlight: Mowing the lawn might be more involving than watching this subpar sci-fi sequel, which manages to be complicated and witless at the same time. – Andy Seller, USA Today)

Poster – The Lawnmower Man 2: Inspired by The Lawnmower Man: Inspired by Stephen King’s The Lawnmower Man (C-)

lawnmower_man_two_beyond_cyberspace

(Wow. So they just reused the same poster but made it even sillier (and removed Stephen King’s name, obviously). What could you possibly think this film was about if you didn’t already know?! Downgraded because it’s a blatant rip off.)

Tagline(s) – God made him simple. Science made him a god. Now, he wants revenge. (F)

(Oh for God’s sake. At this point they should have just stopped making the film. Unacceptable.)

Keyword(s) – psychotronic film; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.8 Battlefield Earth (2000); 94.6 Batman & Robin (1997); 92.2 Son of the Mask (2005); 91.1 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 89.8 The Wicker Man (2006); 89.2 Vampires Suck (2010); 89.2 Jaws: The Revenge (1987); 89.0 House of the Dead (2003); 88.6 Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966); 86.5 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987);

(Psychotonic – denoting or relating to a genre of films that typically have a science fiction, horror, or fantasy theme and were made on a low budget. That does seem to fit. Vampires Suck doesn’t really though, and neither does Son of Mask. Battlefield Earth had an enormous budget.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 26) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Matt Frewer is No. 2 billed in Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace and No. 10 billed in Ishtar, which also stars Warren Beatty (No. 1 billed) who is in Town & Country (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 9 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 2 + 10 + 1 + 1 + 9 + 3 = 26. If we were to watch Eye of the Beholder, The Island, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – Director Farhad Mann found himself locked out of the editing room by the producers who wanted a film which would appeal more to their target demographic – teenage boys. (shiiiiiiiit)

Austin O’Brien is the only returning cast member from the first film. (Oooooof. A regular Atlas Shrugged up in here)

Although the film was set in the future, the cast donated their old 80s computers for the set in order to save money in the budget. (What? That is bizarre)

The 1993 VHS tape of the widescreen version of the first film had an announcement screen that read “Look out for Lawnmower Man 2: Mindfire” in 1994. This obviously never happened, and the film appeared 2 years later with a different title. (Huh, that is kind of fun. It also has a different name in Europe, Jobe’s War.)

The Lawnmower Man Preview

Meanwhile… Poe and Brock are getting psyched for the big championship game. Suddenly Poe watches in alarm as the lawnmower men around the field stop in unison, their eyes suddenly glassy and unseeing. “Lawnmower Men,” Poe whispers while Brock stares on in shock. “Lawnmower Men? It can’t be. They… they are just silly legends used to scare kids.” But no, they are real and something has brought them out of their slumber. Poe suddenly realizes what it is and turns to Brock, “It’s Rich. He needs my help.” One of the other players begins to protest, but Brock stops them, “If you need my help, you have my bat, bro.” And they seal the deal with a Predator Handshake. That’s right! In celebration of the 500th BMT film (say what?!) we are also watching The Lawnmower Man and Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace. The sequel has been on my bad movie bucket list forever because it actually seems impossible that it got released to theaters. But it did and we couldn’t have asked for a better pairing for this celebration than the hacking computer technobabble extravaganza of Hackers and the Lawnmower Man franchise. Let’s go! 

The Lawnmower Man (1992) – BMeTric: 49.5 

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(Solidly below average. If it gets a few thousand more votes it could creep back up above 50, and that seems pretty appropriate given everything I know about it now.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Scientist Brosnan needs a guinea pig for hitherto failed experiments in drug therapy and computer instruction; who better than the grinning mental defective who mows his lawn? At least the pyrotechnics at the end (simulating “virtual reality”) are full of visual buzz. Fahey in a blond wig is really tough to take. Has nothing to do with the Stephen King short story it’s ostensibly based on.

(As usual Leonard teases me with his semi-colon work, he’s a true artist. And then “hitherto”? Now I’m really into it. This review is also somehow a novel, it is incredibly long, and I love it. He clearly just hated this film.)

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

(NOT FROM THE IMAGINATION OF STEPHEN KING. That is very very specifically not the case. That trailer makes the film look a lot more interesting that I suspect it ultimately will be.)

Directors – Brett Leonard – (Known For: Feed; T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous; Future BMT: Man-Thing; Virtuosity; Hideaway; BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Notes: Also a major music video director at the time. Won the 1994 MTV Music Award for best video for Peter Gabriel’s Kiss That Frog.)

Writers – Stephen King (title only) (credit removed following lawsuit) – (Known For: It; Pet Sematary; The Shawshank Redemption; The Shining; Stand by Me; Pet Sematary; The Green Mile; Gerald’s Game; The Mist; Carrie; 1922; Misery; The Running Man; Christine; Carrie; Cujo; The Dead Zone; Creepshow; Silver Bullet; 1408; Future BMT: Cell; The Rage: Carrie 2; The Mangler; Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice; Sleepwalkers; Graveyard Shift; The Dark Tower; Children of the Corn; Riding the Bullet; A Good Marriage; Thinner; Firestarter; Creepshow 2; The Night Flier; Needful Things; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; BMT: Dreamcatcher; The Lawnmower Man; Maximum Overdrive; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Maximum Overdrive in 1987; Notes: This is a hilarious credit (apparently removed). I’ve read The Lawnmower Man short story by Stephen King and it has literally nothing to do with this film… I haven’t even see this movie but I guarantee you that.)

Brett Leonard (screenplay) – (BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Notes: He actually did kinda start the Cyber genre with The Lawnmower Man. Only major feature writing credit.)

Gimel Everett (screenplay) – (BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Notes: Producer who worked with Leonard on a number of credits. Died in 2011 at the age of 60.)

Actors – Jeff Fahey – (Known For: Alita: Battle Angel; Grindhouse; Machete; Planet Terror; Silverado; Wyatt Earp; Too Late; Psycho III; Body Parts; Sushi Girl; White Hunter Black Heart; Future BMT: Urge; Stranded; Impulse; BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Notes: Has had a very interesting life traveling the world and doing dance, then theater, and then film.)

Pierce Brosnan – (Known For: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again; The World Is Not Enough; Mrs. Doubtfire; Mamma Mia!; The Foreigner; The World’s End; GoldenEye; Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief; Mars Attacks!; Die Another Day; Tomorrow Never Dies; No Escape; The Ghost; The Thomas Crown Affair; Final Score; Seraphim Falls; Spinning Man; The Long Good Friday; The Tailor of Panama; The Mirror Has Two Faces; Future BMT: I Don’t Know How She Does It; Urge; I.T.; Survivor; Dante’s Peak; Lessons in Love; The Love Punch; Laws of Attraction; Salvation Boulevard; Nomads; The November Man; After the Sunset; Live Wire; Love Affair; A Long Way Down; The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot; The Only Living Boy in New York; Grey Owl; A Christmas Star; BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Mamma Mia! in 2009; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The World Is Not Enough in 2000; Notes: They just announced he is going to be working with Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams in a comedy film focused on the Eurovision Song Contest. I highly recommend Eurovision, it is hilarious.)

Jenny Wright – (Known For: St. Elmo’s Fire; Near Dark; Pink Floyd: The Wall; The World According to Garp; A Shock to the System; The Chocolate War; I, Madman; Future BMT: Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory; Queens Logic; BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Notes: Apparently people don’t even know where she currently is as they attempted to locate her for a Near Dark reunion unsuccessfully. Was apparently involved with Nic Cage for two years.)

Budget/Gross – $10 million / Domestic: $32,100,816

(That is an astonishingly high number. I’m going to assume that that is partially because the Stephen King name actually carried a lot of cache at the time. And it is absolutely no wonder they were already considering a sequel by the time the VHS was released (see the notes))

#135 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(This predates most of the other R-rated Horror films that have some out which have become a very on trend genre of late.)

#9 for the Virtual Reality genre

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(Oh wow, I kind of didn’t realize both this and Hackers were put into this genre. That is awesome. We’ve officially doubled the number of Virtual Reality movies we’ve seen for BMT.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 35% (14/40): The Lawnmower Man suffers from a predictable, melodramatic script, and its once-groundbreaking visual effects look dated today.

(Basically all the reviews say that it is cheesy and the only thing it really has going for it are the special effects which admittedly dazzled at the time. Reviewer Highlight: So loosely based on a Stephen King short story as to constitute fraud, The Lawnmower Man goes right to the bottom of a growing list of failed King adaptations. – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – The Lawnmower Man: Inspired by Stephen King’s The Lawnmower Man (B-)

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(This entire thing is silly. Look at that poster. It is literally a man mowing grass with a giant eye in the sky with a… gyroscope? In the center? What are you supposed to think this film is about? Spacing is fine, as is the color scheme. The font is unfortunate and I know in my heart they could have done better.)

Tagline(s) – God made him simple. Science made him a god. (A-)

(I like this. Tells me what’s up and does it in a clever way. It’s a little long, but you get what you pay for.)

Keyword(s) – virtual reality; Top Ten by BMeTric: 82.8 Spy Kids 3: Game Over (2003); 78.9 Jason X (2001); 67.2 Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996); 55.7 Stormbreaker (2006); 54.6 Soldiers of Fortune (2012); 52.0 Let’s Be Evil (2016); 51.9 Surfer, Dude (2008); 49.5 The Lawnmower Man (1992); 47.3 Open Windows (2014); 46.3 Kill Switch (I) (2017);

(Two of the ten! I quite like that. None of the other one except maybe Spy Kids 3 are on our radar.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 26) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Dean Norris is No. 7 billed in The Lawnmower Man and No. 3 billed in Death Wish (2018), which also stars Bruce Willis (No. 1 billed) who is in The Whole Ten Yards (No. 1 billed), which also stars Natasha Henstridge (No. 4 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 7 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 26. If we were to watch I Don’t Know How She Does It, If Lucy Fell, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – New Line Cinema had obtained the rights to the Stephen King short story “The Lawnmower Man”, and the producers also had an unrelated script called “Cyber God”. They simply placed King’s title on the production of “Cyber God”. King was furious at this abuse of his name, and he sued the studio to have his name and title removed from the film and promotion. They refused, until the studio was ordered to pay ten thousand dollars and full profits. (Yeah that makes more sense than actually thinking this was an adaptation)

The scene where the cop (Troy Evans) says that the missing piece of the dead man is in the bird bath, is the only thing in the movie that was taken from Stephen King’s short story.

The eight minutes of computer generated effects took seven people eight months to complete on a budget of five hundred thousand dollars. (Wow, impressive)

It was discovered through FBI tapes that this was former Waco cult leader David Koresh favorite movie

Several of the symbols Jobe (Jeff Fahey) sees flying at him, during his first VR treatment, are demon evocation seals taken from the infamous Key of Solomon.

A remote controlled lawnmower was specifically built for the movie. In another movie adapted from a Stephen King story, Maximum Overdrive (1986), a remote controlled lawnmower chases a teenager. (And in yet another movie everyone almost dies in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids! due to a remote controlled lawnmower)

Dr. Angelo’s line “I’ve decided to take my work back underground”, was used as a sample in the intro track for the Music For The Jilted Generation album by The Prodigy. (Yet another connection to Hackers, Voodoo People from that album is on the soundtrack)

There are three video games based on the movie. Scrolling action game The Lawnmower Man (1993) for Game Boy, Genesis, and Super Nintendo, loosely follows the plot of the movie. FMV adventure game The Lawnmower Man (1993) for DOS, Macintosh, and SEGA CD, uses clips from the movie, and is a direct sequel to the movie, since Its plot begins where the movie ends. Adventure game Cyberwar (1994) for DOS and PlayStation is a non-FMV sequel to the FMV game.