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 

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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 

TheLawnmowerManIMDb_BMeT

TheLawnmowerManIMDb_RV

(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-)

lawnmower_man

(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.

Hackers Preview

“This is bullshit, bro,” says Rich staring sullenly at the screen. “What is?” asks Blaze. They’ve been playing the new “tech” in the computer lab for ages and have lost several thousand dollars. Dollars they don’t have. Gulp. “Well check this out,” says Rich and he goes all Beautiful Mind and Good Will Hunting on a chalkboard nearby. “Woah, you got a big ol’ brain! So what you’re saying is that the fact that the other player got three straight royal flushes is not likely.” But Rich shakes his head, “not just unlikely… statistically impossible.” And Blaze and Bryce look at each other “Woah.” But now they need to figure out what to do about it. Should they report them to the gaming commission… Rich shakes his head, it would blow his cover. They need to lure the creator of the tech out so they can get access and steal it for Gruber. What would lure a maniac like that out from hiding? Suddenly Rich has an idea, “the man is clearly an egomaniac and driven only by greed,” Blaze and Bryce nod their heads, “and what can’t an egomaniac handle? Calling his prized new tech garbage.” He quickly uses his 1337 skills to hack the mainframe and rewire the auxiliary dilator into the predictor array. Searching through files, he finds a blinking folder named “Garbage.” “There it is,” Rich says as he drags and drops the entire file into the garbage folder. With that his screen turns into a screen of mathematical equations flying in all directions. “Woah,” they all say in unison, but are interrupted by a cackling laughter behind them… That’s right! This week we’re doing what obviously must be done for the Sci-fi entry in the cycle. The inspiration itself: Hackers. While absurd that it qualifies, I also recognize that it is objectively a bad movie and is worth revisiting in BMT. Let’s go!

Hackers (1995) – BMeTric: 26.4 

HackersIMDb_BMeT

HackersIMDb_RV

(6.2 is pretty solid, I can respect that. I have a feeling this will continue dropping. Honestly it might nit even qualify if they start backfilling reviews from blogs in the future, I’m sure 80s / 90s children who grew up with Hackers will like it a lot more than the adults at the time.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  A group of young computer fanatics is framed for crimes committed by computer whiz and would-be master criminal Stevens, and have to use their own hacking skills to prove themselves innocent. No great shakes, but fast pace and vivid direction make it fun.

(THANK YOU. Yes, this movie is a lot better than the reviews suggest. And not even in a “good for what it is kind of way”, it is genuinely fun to watch and is competent at worst. “No great shakes” is throwing me off as I don’t know what that means. Also it is spelled “skillz”, so that’s a rare typo for Leonard.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql1uLyuWra8 

(Straight into my veins. I love it. I’ve never noticed this before, but in the movie the Da Vinci Virus naturally has a fake italian accent. In the trailer it is very very clearly just Fisher Stevens’ voice … while would have made the whole gambit more obvious to the FBI.)

Directors – Iain Softley – (Known For: K-PAX; Backbeat; The Wings of the Dove; Future BMT: Inkheart; The Skeleton Key; Trap for Cinderella; BMT: Hackers; Notes: The Wings of the Dove was nominated for four Oscars. He was a music video director prior to turning to film.)

Writers – Rafael Moreu (written by) – (Future BMT: The Rage: Carrie 2; BMT: Hackers; Notes: He was mostly an uncredited producer for Hallmark Entertainment prior to making Hackers. He appears to be mostly teaching since.)

Actors – Jonny Lee Miller – (Known For: T2 Trainspotting; Trainspotting; Byzantium; Mansfield Park; Afterglow; Melinda and Melinda; Endgame; The Flying Scotsman; Future BMT: Dracula 2001; Dark Shadows; Mindhunters; Plunkett & Macleane; Love, Honour and Obey; BMT: Æon Flux; Hackers; Notes: More recently has become a pretty accomplished television actor, specifically Elementary which ran for over 150 episodes. Was married to Angelina Jolie for 4 years.)

Angelina Jolie – (Known For: Girl, Interrupted; Wanted; Maleficent; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Kung Fu Panda; Salt; Changeling; Beowulf; Kung Fu Panda 3; The Good Shepherd; Kung Fu Panda 2; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; Pushing Tin; A Mighty Heart; Playing by Heart; Hell’s Kitchen; Future BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Alexander; By the Sea; Life or Something Like It; The Tourist; Shark Tale; Playing God; Original Sin; Taking Lives; Foxfire; Beyond Borders; The Bone Collector; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Hackers; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 2002 for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Original Sin; in 2003 for Life or Something Like It; in 2004 for Beyond Borders, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; and in 2005 for Alexander, and Taking Lives; Notes: A huge star both for her major film roles, and for her somewhat wild marriage to Billy Bob Thornton, and subsequent relationship with Brad Pitt which ended somewhat messily a few years ago.)

Jesse Bradford – (Known For: Romeo + Juliet; Bring It On; Presumed Innocent; W.; Flags of Our Fathers; The Year of Spectacular Men; Falling in Love; King of the Hill; Happy Endings; My Blue Heaven; Cherry Falls; Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog; Prancer; Heights; Bound; A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries; Future BMT: Clockstoppers; 10 Rules for Sleeping Around; Dead Awake; Dancing at the Blue Iguana; Speedway Junky; Eulogy; BMT: Swimfan; I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell; Hackers; Notes: Jesse B from Swimfan is third billed? Bomb. He is also doing a bit of television recently, specifically as a guest star on Shooter.)

Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $7,563,728

(Oh no, that is a depressingly low number. No wonder we didn’t get Hacker 2: Hack the Universe, the story of how Zero Cool / Crash Override and Acid Burn, now working for the NSA, thwart an alien invasion via their 1337 hacking skillz.)

#15 for the Virtual Reality genre

hackers_virtualreality

(Goes in little cycles, and this indeed came out during one of the major peaks for this rather small genre. We’ve only seen Vanilla Sky and Johnny Mnemonic otherwise. Ready Player One was the most recent example.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 33% (15/45): Hackers has a certain stylish appeal, but its slick visuals and appealing young cast can’t compensate for a clichéd and disappointingly uninspired story.

(At the time people seemed to not like that it bought into the rebel Hacker trope that was booming at the time, and that it was a visual bombardment / mess. Reviewer Highlight: The movie is well directed, written and acted, and while it is no doubt true that in real life no hacker could do what the characters in this movie do, it is no doubt equally true that what hackers can do would not make a very entertaining movie. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Hack the Planet (A)

hackers_ver1

(I really love this poster. The general color scheme tells you a little story about the film. Obviously they are highlighted by the glow of a computer. A mysterious blue that goes hand in hand with the mysteriousness of the hacker culture at the time. I’m intrigued. It also, as a bonus, avoids having our big stars portrayed without a clear color scheme. Finally, to tie it up nicely we have a sweet font for the title to let us know they aren’t messing around.)

Tagline(s) – Boot up or shut up! (B-)

Their crime is curiosity (C-)

(Neither of these are great. Boot up or shut up is a valiant try, but comes off a bit cheesy nowaways. Do you still boot things up? Did I boot up my phone today? The second one is just bland. It’s almost like the poster sets them up as being super rad and cool and then the tagline is like “don’t worry, they aren’t cool supercriminals, they’re just curious little cats.”)

Keyword(s) – computer virus; Top Ten by BMeTric: 74.5 Rings (2017); 65.5 Pulse (I) (2006); 57.0 Geostorm (2017); 55.7 Stormbreaker (2006); 51.8 Blackhat (2015); 49.5 The Lawnmower Man (1992); 47.7 Employee of the Month (2006); 43.2 Hitman: Agent 47 (2015); 38.4 Ghost in the Machine (1993); 35.5 The Net (1995);

(Oh we have to watch the Net at some point. It is like this movie except really really boring … in my opinion.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Matthew Lillard is No. 4 billed in Hackers and No. 9 billed in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 4 + 9 + 4 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch Mindhunters we can get the HoE Number down to 9.

Notes – Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie were married shortly after the making of the film, and then were divorced four years later.

All of the hacker handles proposed by the Joey were actual handles already used by real hackers. (This film is very accurate, no matter how it seems to look on screen)

The film’s writer, director, and some cast members attended the New York City 2600 meeting, a monthly hangout of the local hacker community, to observe and talk with real-life hackers.

The “Hacker Manifesto” read by Agent Bob was actually written by a hacker of great renown in the 1980s named Loyd Blankenship, who went by the name of The Mentor. It was published in PHRACK magazine, issue 07, file 03 in 1986.

The high school scenes were filmed at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, one of a few elite, exclusive high schools for students gifted in math, science and computers. Real school seniors were extras in many scenes.

The “pool on the roof” prank is actually based on an old Stuyvesant H.S. prank of the “Sixth Floor Pool”. The original Stuy building on East 15th Street in Manhattan had only five floors, and freshman were sent to look for a pool upstairs. The building had no pool. There was a literary publication at Stuyvesant referencing the prank called “Sixth Floor Pool”. The school moved into the new building (featured in the movie) shortly before filming began. (It is a fun prank, because like … you would never actually build a pool on the roof right? People do, but it is much cheaper from a design perspective I imagine to not have tons (literally) of water on top of a building).

The character name “Emmanuel Goldstein” is taken from George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. It is also used as a pseudonym by Emmanuel Goldstein (aka Eric Corley), who publishes the magazine “2600, The Hacker Quarterly”. Corley was an uncredited consultant for this film.

The “hacking”-sequences – the scenes where you see the “inside” of a computer – are mostly motion-controlled models, because director Iain Softley thought that actual computer graphics would look too artificial. (It was a good choice and something more movies should have done for much of the 90s)

Eugene Belford uses the pseudonym Babbage at the end of the film. Charles Babbage was the inventor of an early form of the computer.

William Gibson “invented” the term “Cyberspace” in 1982 for his book, Neuromancer.

The computer they break into is a fictional mainframe computer called a “Gibson” – a homage to cyberpunk author William Gibson.

“ARF! ARF! GOTCHA”, which appears near the end, when the Gibson is about to crash, is a reference to one of the earliest Trojan horse programs, EGABTR from 1985. Disguised as a graphics utility, EGABTR spread by email, wiped out everything on a victim’s hard disk, and left only the message, “Arf, arf, Gotcha!” on the screen. “ARF” may also serve double duty as a reference to the German hacker group “Asoziale Randgruppe Frankfurt”.

All of the books identified by Dade at the club were real manuals. All but two, the Pink Shirt Book and the Unix Bible, were published by the DoD and were part of a set of books known as the Rainbow Series.

Scenes in the movie, and in Razor and Blades show, depict using a cassette recorder to play tones into a phone to make free calls. Coins dropped into pay phones used to trigger specific sounds that actually could be duplicated and used to fool pay phones into thinking you had paid for a call. This was also accomplished using a device called a tone generator. Also known as a Red Box.

Cyberdelia was built from scratch in an abandoned indoor swimming pool on the outskirts of London, with the center of the club in the depths of what was the pool. Producer Ralph Winter notes, “We never knew why, but the pool was designated an historic landmark, so great care had to be taken not to damage anything and to return it to its original state.” (Uh …. Where is this?)

The bearded London hacker is Dave Stewart of Eurythmics.

“The Plague” writes a program that embezzles small amounts of money from the company at a time, thus amassing millions of dollars in a secret bank account. He tries to distract from his crime by framing the hackers with a computer virus set to capsize an oil tanker. The embezzlement-by-increments plot is called “salami slicing.” Richard Pryor’s character in Superman III (1983) does the same thing. (Yuppppp)

The part of Kate “Acid Burn” Libby was originally offered to Katherine Heigl, but due to prior commitments to Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995) she had to turn it down. (Near miss there)

The hackers take over the Gibson computer with a Cookie Monster virus that starts gobbling up all the data. This is based on a real program from the era. Cookie Monster would come up on the screen and demand a cookie. You would type “cookie” and it would go away for a while. If you typed “Oreo,” it went away for a longer period of time. (Ha!)

Runner Runner Recap

Jamie

Richie Furst is a former Wall Street guru turned Masters student who is cheated out of his tuition on an online poker site. Taking his evidence to the site’s founder he is offered everything he’s ever wanted: wealth and ladies. And he only has to become a criminal to get it! Can he escape his life of crime (and get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Runner Runner.

How?! Richie Furst is a poor widdle former Wall Street guy who, having been unjustly robbed of his wealth due to the financial crisis, is now forced to get his Masters from Princeton (gross). Trying to make ends meet for tuition in the only legal way he knows how, he loses all his savings playing online poker. Given that he’s way too smart to lose he suspects treachery and uses big ol’ computers and his brain to discover that what happened is mathematically impossible. He decides to go straight to the source and confronts the owners of the poker company in Costa Rica and is all like “math, bitch.” The founder, Ivan Block, is impressed by his bravado and big brain and decides to give him a job and everything he’s ever wanted: ladies, money, and power. Richie of course suspects nothing of getting such an offer from an obviously terrible criminal like Ivan and is like “OK,” like a dope. From there he continues to act like a dope by throwing away all his scruples to blackmail and bribe people just like Ivan tells him too. Even when FBI agents are all up in his business he’s like “but Ivan said…” because he’s actually an idiot. However, when his friends start to bail on the company and one discovers that it’s actually a Ponzi scheme set up by Ivan, it finally dawns on him that literally everything is pointing towards him being involved in a terrible criminal activity. Uh oh! When his dad is used by Ivan as a bargaining chip, Richie has had enough and starts to set up an elaborate scheme to get the upper hand on Ivan. So when Ivan turns around and tries to move the company to Antigua, leaving Richie as the fall guy, Richie is already one step ahead and bribes the pilot to reroute his plane to Puerto Rico. Once there, Ivan gets arrested and Richie, with his big ol’ brain and his new girlfriend, fly off into the sunset. THE END

Why?! We can start from the beginning. We know that Richie is motivated mostly by greed. He feels somewhat robbed by having earned a bunch of money on Wall Street and watching all his money disappear while others got away with millions. He again feels somewhat robbed when he loses his tuition money in a rigged online poker game. This double swindling of our boy Richie apparently breaks his brain because this turns him into a criminal motivated only by greed. We even see him blackmail a guy who is about to have a new baby by purposefully tempting him with hookers and filming it. That’s just a shitty move, man. I know the guy is also shitty for giving into the temptation but our main character is just clearly a terrible person for purposefully setting all that up for a business deal. In fact, I’m not sure why I’m making this section so long. The motivation here is greed across the board. We are forced to watch a bunch of greedy assholes for two hours and it sucks. 

Who?! There is a very brief cameo by the DJ Deadmau5, who is DJing Ivan Block’s very exclusive party. It’s funny to think that in Hollywood you can be like, “hey we need a bunch of money to get Deadmau5 to DJ the fake party for the movie in order to lend credibility to the scene,” and then they just have a massive party and Deadmau5 is shown for less than a second. Also Laurence Mason (aka Lord Nikon and the reason we watched this terrible film) goes uncredited because his scene as the Governor of Antigue got cut… but don’t worry I saw it on the DVD extras. And indeed, totally unnecessary to the film.

What?! Lots of the classics in this one: cars, TVs, phones. I do like JT being like “no thanks” to the expensive stuff people are drinking because he can’t get enough Bud Light. Also they hide all of the evidence of Ivan Block’s nefarious deed in boxes of cereal, but mention that they use cereal that no one wants to eat… always makes me curious why companies would agree to have their cereal used in a film where the main character is like “that cereal is gross.”

Where?! Fantastic fantastic fantastic setting film. We start in Princeton and jump straight over to Costa Rica, which plays a prominent role in the plot. I’d have to look around but this almost certainly will be the top Costa Rica film we’ll get for BMT. Add it to the (imaginary) map! A

When?! The beginning of the film takes place in December most likely as it’s somewhat cold in Princeton and our boy Richie leaves just before finals (but don’t worry, he got extensions). From there it’s all lost to time. He could have been working for Ivan for a few months or over a year. Hard to tell. D.

I haaaaaaaaaaaaaated this film. I actually found it hard to watch. Despite being an objectively nice looking film (can’t go wrong with an exotic locale), I couldn’t understand how they wrote a film where I never cared what happened to any of the characters. I didn’t care whether he got the girl. I didn’t care how Richie was going to get out of the clusterfuck he got himself into. I just didn’t care. He was a criminal and a terrible person and I’m supposed to care about whether he gets out of the jam he’s gotten into through his own greed? No thanks. I’m not even sure whether the plot was coherent (probably not). And I’m not sure the acting is all that good (almost certainly not). I didn’t care. Because this movie sucked and I didn’t want to watch it. Not since Mile 22 have I had a collection of bozos I cared less about. Patrick?  

Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! This film had too little exciting poker action, and a little too much garbage people doing garbage things to each other and making me hate them … you know? Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I didn’t have much hope for this film to be honest. Here’s the thing, we always kind of get forced into films in the chain reaction category towards the end of the year. Regardless, I suppose I was most excited for the Costa Rican settings, I want to see those vistas! What were my expectations? Again, low low expectations, but if there could be some thrills and the film didn’t make me hate the main character and gives me something to root for I would have been delighted.

The Good – Not much. I mean, it looks good. They do a lot with the interesting setting. It certainly focuses on a unique subject as far as a film goes. Online gambling doesn’t get much play in Hollywood. I like Affleck and he does a good amount with the role in the end. And he gets his comeuppance. But otherwise it is pretty rote nonsense.

The Bad – JT is genuinely awful and it is kind of no wonder he doesn’t get a lot of leading man roles. He’s a decent second banana, but he isn’t a very good main character. Speaking of which the main character is a garbage person, and I did not care for a moment whether he lived or died. He did so many bad things in the end he kind of deserved everything he was getting. The glorification of these terrible people exploiting gamblers and living glamorous lives in the Central America doesn’t really make a compelling movie in my opinion.

The BMT – Naw screw this movie. I have no intention of ever watching this again. It does have the setting going for it. We would have watched it either way eventually I imagine as it is far and away going to be the best Costa Rica movie ever released. Plus it got actually destroyed by the critics, and it isn’t the worst goal to watch every sub-10% Rotten Tomatoes film ever made … there aren’t really that many of them. Did it meet my expectations? No, JT is a terrible person in this film and I didn’t care if he lived or died. That’s all I wanted with this film and it did the exact opposite.

Roast-radamus – I actually think this has a decent shot at the Bad section of the awards as I think both Jamie and I really didn’t like the film. I initially couldn’t remember a good Product Placement (What?), but then Jamie reminded me that JT guzzles Bud Light throughout which is awesome. I think looking through the rest of the things the only obvious one is Setting (Where?) and honestly it could win it. It is such a Costa Rica film it is amazing. Every country should get such a terrible film made in / about it in my opinion.

StreetCreditReport.com – Incredibly despite being a relatively rare sub-10% Rotten Tomatoes film it gets nary a mention on the year end lists. Only a small dishonorable mention on IndieWire. I would think this is maybe like … the second worst gambling film available. I’m of course referring to 21 as being the worst. It may not have gotten as bad of reviews, but I can assure you it is terrible. It didn’t help that the book that movie is based on (Bringing Down the House) is fantastic, and they just completely throw it out for … again, wait, it just ends up being a weird techno-thriller with a love story. It is the same movie! Two peas in a pod showing the evolution of gambling from Vegas card counting to online fraud … great.

Sklognalysis – Ohhhhhhh shiiiiiiiiiiit. It’s back. You see I have like 40 films to watch over the next few weeks so I couldn’t really be bothered to go with my original plan of watching Rounders. Instead I’ll go through some thoughts I had on thrillers after watching Swimfan and Runner Runner. With Swimfan I was rather upset. You see, in that film a high school student cheats on his girlfriend with a psycho who then proceeds to frame him for murder, dope him with steroids, and generally destroy his life. In Runner Runner you have a greedy garbage person getting stuck in a jam because of his greed and terrible behavior. You see the difference? In Runner Runner the consequences were proportional to the misdeeds of our protagonist. Which made me think of how thrillers like these are often morality tales of a sort. You commit a sin (lust in Swimfan, greed in Runner Runner), you get punished, you find redemption. But the punishment has to be proportional to the crime. You blackmail a family man and bribe some officials, you get framed for drug trafficking in response. You cheat on your girlfriend in high school and … fill in the blank, but the answer isn’t that your friend is killed, you get framed for his murder, and you get doped with steroids to ruin your life … that isn’t proportional, you see? This could, perhaps, be something fairly common in many genres across the board, but thrillers seem the most appropriate. The tension of seeing someone succumb to base desires, acts often left unknown and unpunished, getting punished in a spectacular and terrifying way, and narrowly escaping to find redemption is thrilling. I guess that is where Runner Runner fails … Timberlake doesn’t just succumb to base desires, he dives head first into a pile of money like Scrooge McDuck and just expects to get away with it like a goober. It just makes you feel gross. I’ll leave it at that, but I’ll be looking at other movies for such desires going forward for sure.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Runner Runner Quiz

Let me see. What is the last thing I remember … I remember getting the shit kicked out of me by a bunch of people and then feeding another guy to an alligator … Whatever, do you know what happened in Runner Runner?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Justin Timberlake, much like in real life, is a super genius. Why is he at Princeton, and what is he getting a degree in?

2) But soon our boy JT (super genius) is cheated while playing online poker with Ben Affleck‘s online gambling company. Where does JT find Affleck, and what is his grand plan to get his ill-betaken gains back?

3) And now JT is rolling in the dough. Problem in it turns out Affleck wants JT to do all kinds of gross / illegal stuff. Naturally, JT does all of these happily because … I guess because he’s a bad guy. Wait, I thought he was our hero? … Whatever, name the two super gross things JT does for Affleck.

4) After that things pretty swiftly go to shit. He’s being squeezed from two sides, by the FBI who want to arrest Affleck, and by Affleck himself. What are both sides using to squeeze him?

5) What was Affleck’s crime, how does JT get all of the evidence to implicate him, and how does he get him to the FBI?

Answers

Runner Runner Preview

Poe flips his bat, admiring the bodacious bomb he just hit to left field. As he crosses home plate he is greeted by a scowling Rich, “Isn’t it about time we bust these guys and get that tech? You’ve done enough showboating for the both of us.” Now it’s time for Poe to scowl, “Showboating? I think you’re slump has you a little jelly. Besides, this is all part of the plan. How else are we supposed to get to the tech if we can’t get close to Brock? A star player only hangs with a star player like me,” and with that he bumps Rich out of the way. “Locker room talk, am I right?” he says, sitting down next to a laughing Brock. Rich goes back to sit with Blaze. “Stupid Brock, stupid Poe. Whatever, I’m not jelly. He’s jelly. Besides, I’m not playing that badly, right Blaze?” But Blaze just looks at him. “Shit.” Just then an out of breath Bryce runs up. “Rich! I was wrong. This is just boring ol’ baseball.” He knew it! “I just stopped by the computer lab and saw some people playing a game. I asked what it was and they said it was some new tech. Something big.” Rich is intrigued. Perhaps they are finally on the right track. He turns to tell Poe the news, but sees him charging the mound after taking umbrage at a late called strike. Rich shakes his head sadly and turns back to Blaze and Bryce, “We’ll have to split up and take this on ourselves. We’ve lost Poe. He’s in too deep. Alright, so what’s this game you saw?” Bryce scratches his head, “well, it just looked like online poker to me, but no one ever seems to win.” That’s right! This week we’re moving ever forwards in the Chain by jumping from Armageddon with Ben Affleck to Runner Runner. This was a Justin Timberlake vehicle that I had no interest in seeing at the time and continue to have no interest in seeing. Great. Laurence Mason (aka Lord Nikon) had a bit part in the film. It counts. Let’s go!

Runner Runner (2013) – BMeTric: 45.7 

RunnerRunnerIMDb_BMeT

RunnerRunnerIMDb_RV

(… Runner Runner came out in 2013?! Anywho, this is an amazing rating which just sticks at 5.6 no matter what. It is actually genuinely its rating: substantially below average. Maybe people just don’t give a shit about poker films?)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  As an exercise in style, “Runner Runner” has its moments, especially early on, but some of Affleck’s torpor seems to infect the film itself after a while. Inventive framing and shot selection give way finally to let’s-get-this-done conversations, filmed in unimaginative shot/reverse-shot style.

(Yeah the entire review is kind of a hit on Affleck for being a bit too big to allow the film to end on its own terms, instead it had to accommodate him as a star and the film suffers.)

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

(Do you need me to do it again! That is the Extraordinary Measures moment for the film. I always remember that from the trailer. Looks super generic and boring though.)

Directors – Brad Furman – (Known For: The Lincoln Lawyer; The Infiltrator; The Take; BMT: Runner Runner; Notes: Is attached to direct an upcoming Mel Gibson project, War Pigs.)

Writers – Brian Koppelman (written by) – (Known For: Ocean’s Thirteen; Rounders; Runaway Jury; The Girlfriend Experience; Solitary Man; Future BMT: Knockaround Guys; Walking Tall; BMT: Runner Runner; Notes: Big into the gambling scene which is basically what all of his films focus on.)

David Levien (written by) – (Known For: Ocean’s Thirteen; Rounders; Runaway Jury; The Girlfriend Experience; Future BMT: Knockaround Guys; Walking Tall; BMT: Runner Runner; Notes: Wrote / created smash hit Billions. Also has written crime novels.)

Actors – Ben Affleck – (Known For: Dazed and Confused; Triple Frontier; Gone Girl; Good Will Hunting; The Accountant; The Town; Field of Dreams; State of Play; Argo; Daredevil; The Sum of All Fears; Dogma; He’s Just Not That Into You; Shakespeare in Love; Mallrats; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; School Ties; Chasing Amy; Clerks II; Boiler Room; Future BMT: Surviving Christmas; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Reindeer Games; Suicide Squad; Man About Town; Pearl Harbor; 200 Cigarettes; The Third Wheel; Live by Night; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Justice League; Smokin’ Aces; BMT: Gigli; Runner Runner; Phantoms; Paycheck; Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor in 2004 for Daredevil, Gigli, and Paycheck; Winner for Worst Screen Combo for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2017; Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Gigli in 2004; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; in 2005 for Jersey Girl, and Surviving Christmas; and in 2017 for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for Daredevil, Gigli, Jersey Girl, Paycheck, Pearl Harbor, and Surviving Christmas; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 1999 for Armageddon; in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; and in 2005 for Jersey Girl; Notes: Ya’ll know Ben Affleck. Rumor his next project, I think called The Last Duel, is the first team up between him and Damon since Good Will Hunting.)

Justin Timberlake – (Known For: The Social Network; Trolls; Friends with Benefits; Black Snake Moan; Bad Teacher; Inside Llewyn Davis; Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping; Shrek the Third; Alpha Dog; Trouble with the Curve; Future BMT: Yogi Bear; Southland Tales; Edison; On the Line; The Open Road; Wonder Wheel; In Time; BMT: The Love Guru; Runner Runner; Notes: Married to Jessica Biel. Got in a spot of trouble by taking a selfie in a voting booth, whoops!)

Gemma Arterton – (Known For: Murder Mystery; Quantum of Solace; The Boat That Rocked; RocknRolla; The Girl with All the Gifts; The Voices; The Disappearance of Alice Creed; Byzantium; The Escape; Tamara Drewe; Their Finest; Gemma Bovery; 100 Streets; A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures; Song for Marion; Future BMT: Clash of the Titans; St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold; St. Trinian’s; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; BMT: Runner Runner; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Notes: Interestingly enough according to wikipedia she was born with extra fingers which were then removed. Fun.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $19,316,646 (Worldwide: $62,675,095)

(That is a terrible domestic take. Kind of amazing it didn’t do better actually. I would have thought some people would have just gone and seen a Timberlake / Affleck film out of habit. Maybe made back the budget worldwide, but it would have been close.)

#51 for the Crime Time genre

runnerrunner_crime

(Crime Time! It is extremely depressing that films surrounding criminals absolutely peaked right after the financial crisis. Like that is the only way people could get a grip on it. Either in the glorification of comeuppance of criminals.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (9/120): It has an impressive cast and an intriguing premise, but Runner Runner wastes them on a bland, haphazardly assembled thriller with very little payoff.

(Hmmmm. I’m only a thriller kick though. Methinks I can get something out of this. That being said 8% is astonishing low. Reviewer Highlight: The actors hit the jackpot, but only in terms of their paychecks. The audience gets a tension-free, tight-assed, Casino ripoff that leaves them thoroughly fleeced. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Renner Renner: The Jeremy Renner Story (D+)

runner_runner

(The poster used for the DVD cover is better than this one, but we default to IMDb as presumably they know better than us what the primary theatrical poster was. This is not good. It’s got an overall blue tone that’s OK, but pretty much everything else kind of sucks. I would say it’s the most boring poster ever if I didn’t know the poster for The Tourist exists. Look at that… it’s almost a masterpiece in being a boring piece of shit.)

Tagline(s) – Play. Or be played. (C-)

(I mean, I guess it has something to do with the plot and it’s not overly long. But not clever and generic to book. Blah on top of blah.)

Keyword(s) – poker; Top Ten by BMeTric: 74.5 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011); 64.9 In the Mix (2005); 63.6 Boat Trip (2002); 51.4 McHale’s Navy (1997); 50.8 Iron Eagle II (1988); 49.1 The Specialist (1994); 47.5 MacGruber (2010); 45.7 Runner Runner (2013); 44.0 Unaccompanied Minors (2006); 40.4 The Break-Up (2006);

(Incredible that Runner Runner made it on.I only vaguely remember MacGruber’s poker scene, doesn’t he just lose all of his money immediately? Great film.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Ben Affleck is No. 1 billed in Runner Runner and No. 1 billed in Gigli, which also stars Al Pacino (No. 7 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 7 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 14. If we were to watch Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 7.

Notes – Although set in Costa Rica, the majority of the scenes in the movie were filmed in Puerto Rico. (SETTING ALERT. That is a high quality setting)

In a 2017 interview with Entertainment Weekly Gemma Arterton said on Runner Runner (2013) “It made me stop wanting to be an actor. The whole thing wasn’t right for me. It wasn’t the type of thing I enjoyed watching or doing. I had a moment where I thought, ‘Okay, I got into this because of Michael Haneke and Lars von Trier and now I’m making action movies.’ Not that I wouldn’t ever do [action movies] again but I realized then that it wasn’t for me and I decided to do more theater and collaborate with people.” (Lol, holy shit, Runner Runner made Arterton look at herself in the mirror and change her life!)

Canadian EDM star Deadmau5 makes an appearance as himself at a party playing a set. (Cool)

The Shorts Skyvan aircraft taking off near the end of the movie, is the same one that was used for the movie Welcome to the Jungle (2013), with tail number N106SW, and it was the property of MN Airlines until late 2014. (And now is presumably owned by a movie studio? Weird)

Summer Catch Recap

Jamie

Ryan Dunne has all the talent needed to make the Big Leagues, but a temper that has always gotten in the way. When his hometown Cape Cod League team gives him one last shot, will he finally have it all come together (and get the girl (or perhaps because he got the girl))? Find out in… Summer Catch.

How?! Ryan Dunne is on his last chance. After getting kicked off the baseball teams at Boston College and Framingham State, he’s been stuck mowing lawns with his dad. But this summer he’s getting to play with the Chatham A’s, his hometown Cape Cod League baseball team that could actually get him recognized by scouts. That is if his bad temper and personal troubles don’t get in the way. First, he’s pretty much always at odds with his dad and brother. Bummer. Second, he’s totally into a summer girl, Tenley, who is also totally into him. Sounds great, except her snobby dad is being a real snob and is trying his damndest to get him out of the picture. Double Bummer. Third, he keeps on blowing games… which actually seems like the biggest issue. Mix into this a whole bunch of shenanigans by Ryan’s teammates, including his best bud Matthew Lillard, and we got ourselves a game. But most of that is fairly trivial. That’s because we are super invested in this love story. Can’t get enough of it. Forget baseball, give me more of those sweet, sweet Ryan-Tenley (RyLey?) scenes. Near the end of the season, and after he’s been benched, Ryan saves the star pitcher of the team from a burning building. This results in the star pitcher being sent home and Ryan starting The Big Game and getting One Last Chance. Meanwhile, Tenley is ready to listen to her father and say goodbye to Ryan forever. While she heads off to the airport Ryan is pitching the game of his life and is on the verge of a no-hitter. Suddenly in the ninth inning he realizes that it’s all about love (and I’m not talking about the love of the game) and ditches the no-hitter and stops Tenley before she leaves. But that’s not all! He still gets a contract with the Phillies (yay!). They smooch and everyone is like ‘fuck baseball, right?’ THE END. 

Why?! Love. Duh. Both the love between Tenley and Ryan and the love that each have for their passions (his passion for throwing heat and her passion for being an architect and probably… like… designing a real eco-friendly building or something). Everyone else just wants to get laaaaaiiiidddd. Nice. *high five*

Who?! Check out them cameos. I personally enjoyed Ken Griffey Jr.’s cameo at the end the best, but Hank Aaron randomly showing up as a scout is pretty astonishing. But this all pales in comparison to John C. McGinley being uncredited in the film. He has numerous lines in the film, all of which are done in what might be the worst accent I have ever seen put to film. Every once in a while a role this big goes uncredited (Kathy Bates in Rumor Has It… comes to mind) and it’s always a little bit of a mystery to me. Interestingly Beverly D’Angelo also went unbilled in a slightly smaller part… starting to look like a trend.

What?! My word. A full Chatham A’s uniform went on sale last year and allegedly was sold for $50… I say allegedly because, seeing as I do not currently possess said uniform, I do not believe such a thing could have occurred. We also had a large number of product placements here including, but not limited to, Coca-Cola, Life cereal, Sam Adams, Bass, etc. etc. etc. They almost came so fast and furious that I couldn’t keep up.

Where?! The sheer number of times the town of Chatham’s name is invoked might in fact be a Settings record. We even have Biel’s sister trying to figure out the best Chatham mascot that really evokes the true spirit of Chatham. Turns out that’s a drunk sailor. Gonna give this an A because the large setting of Cape Cod is indeed irreplaceable.

When?! It should be a crime that there wasn’t a brief July 4th Jamboree scene in the middle of the film. Perhaps our boy Freddie is going to scope out the chicks at the Jamboree with his teammates, but also kinda knows that Biel will be there. And then when he meets up with her he’s like let’s go grab an ice cream cone and they go up in the ferris wheel. And then maybe it gets stuck and it’s cute and they joke around. And then her boyfriend shows up and he gets drunk and dances with cows and gets thrown into a drum set… you know, classic July 4th Jamboree shenanigans. Anyway, this is obviously an A+ summer flick. It lives summer.

This really hits a lot of marks for a classic BMT film. We’ve got audio flashbacks and cameos up the wazoo. We’ve got some big hysterical acting choices by the adults in the room (John C. McGinley being the biggest culprit… no wonder he went uncredited). And we’ve got what is essentially Here on Earth level rom com schlock mixed with semi-competent sports movie (with a dash of insulting locker room talk). It all should have worked out to be a HoF contender… except that like 40% of the film is actually an OK baseball film. It really did boggle the mind. I can only assume that the film was written as a straight baseball film, but then was turned into a rom com in rewrites. It just has to be… right? RIGHT?! I still kinda loved it for BMT. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Boys of Summah! Boys of Summah! Boys of Summah! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Give me that Lillard / Freddy duo. They are best buds and I needed them to show it. Also I want to see how bad they all probably are at baseball. Finally, since I grew up on Cape Cod, the setting is naturally rather intriguing. My expectations for the film: I had seen this film before, so it is a little tough to get my expectations up. If the setting was solid, the romance was steamy, and the boys of summer looked terrible trying to play baseball the film would have went far beyond any reasonable expectations. I hoped for at least two of those three.

The Good – I actually thought they did a good job developing and showcasing the different types of players one might see in the Cape Cod League. The local decent player, the guy just looking to boost his bargaining power, the college player looking for some experience between semesters, etc. And surprisingly the baseball often didn’t look half bad (as long as an actor wasn’t actually hitting a ball). Good balance between baseball and non-baseball as well.

The Bad – Which is actually weird, because they go all in on the locker room talk in the baseball scenes. Lillard in particular is just disgusting. And they are balancing those gross male-dominated scenes with … maybe the cheesiest romance ever filmed? So while the time allotted to each subject is balanced, somehow the entire film is off-balance because of it. North Carolina doesn’t really look like the Cape even if Hollywood wants you to believe it does. The acting is atrocious, basically top-to-bottom (Fred Ward is maybe an exception). Even people who are good, like John C. McGinley, are just horrible. And with the film ending with audio and visual flashbacks galore, and maybe like four cheesy monologues that go on for days … I have a feeling the director specifically was overwhelmed by the project, and was probably giving McGinley directions like “just play it like an old timey scout you know? Like ‘Hey, Ryan, you really got the stuff, you see? Just toss it like a real bag of beans, you see?’, and then snap your suspenders”.

The BMT – Hmmmm, it is a decent question. Like, is this a top ten worst sports movie? It is a quintessential sports rom-com. Fever Pitch and Playing For Keeps come to mind. But bad ones are surprisingly rare. Sports comedies you have things like Juwanna Mann, Caddyshack 2, Benchwarmers, Rookie of the Year, etc. … I don’t know. I think this is just one of many. It’s best bet is in a compilation of Freddy Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard bromance films. That’s really where it shines. Did it meet my expectations?: I think so. While it kind of missed on the markers I set out in the preview, the thing I wasn’t really expecting was how poorly directed it was going to be. This is Audio Flashback: The Movie, and that saves it a bit. I wrote a lot of notes, which means I wasn’t bored, it was just a different experience than I was preparing myself for which threw things off.

Roast-radamus – I think the Sam Adams alone is crazy enough to warrant consideration for Worst Product Placement (What?). And we definitely get Setting as a Character (Where?) with Chatham, Massachusetts, which is deep Cape Cod. The film is all about Cape Cod and what it is like living on a set in North Carolina that is supposed to look like it. Is this a labor day film? Nope, looking at the schedule the entire film likely takes place in June and July. I’m surprised that there wasn’t a little Fourth of Juuuuuuuuly celebration though, great opportunity for some canoodling. Could have a shot at BMT maybe, but I doubt it.

StreetCreditReport.com – While I can find a few worst baseball films lists with this included naturally, I don’t feel the need to link them since they are of questionable quality. It managed to make a surprising appearance on this top 50 worst rom coms list. Which seems appropriate. And then is manages an astonishing 12th on this top 20 worst sports movies list. Impressive cred. That last review is spot on as well … why even bother with the baseball when the relationship dramas dominate most of the storylines anyways?

You Just Got Schooled – This is starting to look like a Good Movie Twins section. This week I decided to look around for a baseball documentary. I would have watched the Ken Burns doc, but it is like … 20 hours long or something. Instead I watched Netflix’s Battered Bastards of Baseball about the Portland Mavericks owned by Bing Russell, Kurt Russell’s father. The first half of this film is super interesting, kind of showing how the death of independent baseball in the US really did leave behind a weird amount of talent, and how a guy who cared for the game could harness that for good. The second half ends up less interesting, but overall it certainly is a cool tale. I used to live right near the Saint Paul Saints stadium in Saint Paul, and their games were a blast despite the fact that they were independent, and teams do end up getting talent from those types of leagues a lot more often these days. Very good doc to go with Summer Catch, even if I think it would have worked better as a 40 minute 30 for 30 or something.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Summer Catch Quiz

Huh, the last thing I remember I was playing catch with my best bro Bru and then I got knocked in the head with a baseball and I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Summer Catch?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) When Ryan (Freddie Prinze Jr.) first sees Jessica Biel, besides his eyes popping out of his head like a cartoon wolf, what two things does he do wrong with his landscaping duties? Wowza!

2) This is Ryan’s last chance to make it big. Where did he play his college ball, and why was he thrown off of the team?

3) Well we all know what Ryan wants to do with his life, but what does Jessica Biel’s character want to do with her life?

4) Well Ryan sucks at baseball it turns out and is relegated to the bullpen. That’s a bummer. But what luck! The star pitcher just burned down the pressbox and was thrown off of the team. Great. How did the fire start?

5) In the final game of the season Ryan (almost) throws a no hitter, but guess what? He’s got to go see about a girl (at the airport). But it isn’t too late! John C. McGinley is there to tell him he’s being called up to single A! Which Major League team is he involved with and where is he going to play?

BONUS: Who hit a home run off of Ryan in his first at bat in his major league debut?

Answers