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

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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 

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(… 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

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(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+)

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(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

Summer Catch Preview

Rich, Poe, and Blaze sit in the stands at swim practice watching the swim team do laps. In mere weeks they had progressed from fist bumps to bro hugs and had just received an invite to the captain Bryce’s latest pre-meet bash. Poe was feeling pretty good about their progress, but Rich was clearly getting antsy. He even almost forgot to pop the second collar on his polo later that evening when they were getting ready for the party. “Bro,” Blaze chastises, “you’re gonna blow up our spot.” But Rich is just excited because he knows that this is the night. Tomorrow all the scouts are gonna be there to see Bryce swim and see if he will be the Olympic champion gold medalist. So tonight he was sure to use the tech Gruber was after. When they get to the party everything is going swimmingly. They are just jamming to tunes and posting pics and vids to Insta and TikTok or some shit. Suddenly they see Bryce go into a back room. “It’s hammer time,” Rich says as they bust into the room. But instead of sweet tech Bryce is just taking boring ol’ steroid. Rich is incensed, “Steroids?! You serious, bro? You go to Seattle Tech. You can’t do better than that?!” But Bryce just shakily asks whether they’re going to turn him in to the Olympic gold medal committee. At that Poe sees an opportunity, “Not if you help us find some sweet tech we’re looking for.” Hope blooms in Bryce’s eyes, “yes, yes. I can help you. I know where to find this tech. The baseball team. They’ve hacked the Gibson and they know how to mathematically win. It’s boring, bro. Real boring… because of the tech.” Blaze, Poe, and Rich look at each other and nod, “looks like we’re playing a little catch.” That’s right! We’re watching Summer Catch, the Freddie Prinze Jr., Matthew Lillard (of Hackers fame), and Jessica Biel classic as the Girl’s Night entry in the cycle. I recall watching this film, but also don’t remember a thing about it. That’s a good sign, right? Let’s go!

Summer Catch (2001) – BMeTric: 53.9 

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(Two in a row! Just like Swimfan this started at a completely astonishing 4.0ish, and has since recovered a bit to barely get to 5.0. I think that is kind of the “bad but normal” range for films that are specifically targeting young women.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Substandard comedy/romance/coming-of-age story set in Cape Cod, with underprivileged baseball player Prinze falling for local rich girl, then having to deal with her snobby father, while tending his budding career. Takes itself too seriously, though Lillard adds welcome comedy relief. Beverly D’Angelo and John C. McGinley appear unbilled.

(Love the shout out for Lillard. His career has made a marked turn around in the last 5 years or so, including The Descendants and a pretty crazy appearance in the revival of Twin Peaks.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dub5wacnpDU

(Alright, so we’ve confirmed babes, bros, and baseball. I’ll be looking for burgers, beers, and any number of other very important bro-tastic B-words.)

Directors – Michael Tollin – (Future BMT: Radio; BMT: Summer Catch; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for a documentary about Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream. Writes and directs all sports stuff, but produces a ton of television including the All That revival this year.)

Writers – Kevin Falls (story & screenplay) – (Future BMT: The Temp; BMT: Summer Catch; Notes: Wrote a good number of West Wing episodes with Aaron Sorkin in the first three seasons. More recently he produced This is Us.)

John Gatins (screenplay) – (Known For: Power Rangers; Kong: Skull Island; Flight; Real Steel; Coach Carter; Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story; Future BMT: Hardball; BMT: Summer Catch; Need for Speed; Notes: Also kind of an actor including in the BMT Hall of Fame film Norbit. He was in Leprechaun 3 and has had a lot more success as a writer.)

Actors – Freddie Prinze Jr. – (Known For: She’s All That; The House of Yes; Brooklyn Rules; Future BMT: Scooby-Doo; Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed; Happily N’Ever After; Boys and Girls; Head Over Heels; Delgo; To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday; Jack and Jill vs. the World; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Wing Commander; Summer Catch; Down to You; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Scooby-Doo in 2003; Notes: Was kind of a movie star for a while, but after that (and his own show, Freddie) I would say he’s best known for his voice work and his podcast Prinze and the Wolf. Weirdly wrote for WWE for a season.)

Jessica Biel – (Known For: The A-Team; The Rules of Attraction; The Illusionist; Cellular; Hitchcock; The Tall Man; Easy Virtue; Ulee’s Gold; Future BMT: Accidental Love; Blade: Trinity; I’ll Be Home for Christmas; A Kind of Murder; Home of the Brave; Planet 51; Next; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Total Recall; The Truth About Emanuel; Elizabethtown; Powder Blue; Shock and Awe; Spark: A Space Tail; The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea; London; BMT: Stealth; Summer Catch; Valentine’s Day; New Year’s Eve; Playing for Keeps; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 2008 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, and Next; and in 2013 for Playing for Keeps, and Total Recall; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry in 2008; Notes: Married to Justin Timberlake. She has a new show coming out called Limetown which is based on a podcast and premiering on Facebook Watch …)

Fred Ward – (Known For: Tremors; Road Trip; The Right Stuff; Escape from Alcatraz; 2 Guns; Silkwood; 30 Minutes or Less; Henry & June; The Player; Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult; Dangerous Beauty; Short Cuts; Southern Comfort; Big Business; Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous; Armoured; Uncommon Valor; Catchfire; Thunderheart; Bob Roberts; Future BMT: Corky Romano; Abandon; The Crow: Salvation; Chain Reaction; Enough; Joe Dirt; Masked and Anonymous; Best Men; Circus; Feast of Love; Equinox; Secret Admirer; BMT: Summer Catch; Sweet Home Alabama; Notes: He was “not Kevin Bacon” in Tremors if you were wondering. A character actor, he’s apparently good friends with Ed Harris.)

Budget/Gross – $34 million / Domestic: $19,753,553 (Worldwide: $19,772,447)

(That is straight up terrible. My God! No wonder we didn’t get Summer Catch 2: Up to the Majors)

#203 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(Naturally on the low end of the many many many Romantic Comedies we’ve seen, around the Down to You … also starring Freddy Prinze Jr. Go figure. This came right as the genre reached maturity, and more recently while the profits still exist the screens the films are released to just aren’t available. But the genre lives on on VOD, with Always Be My Maybe being a recent example.)

#39 for the Sports Comedy genre

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(There really is a strange boom in the 2000s for this genre, which this somewhat predates. This is actually much more akin to classics like Bull Durham, but just mix in the high school romance films of the period, basically. The later ones are like … Wimbledon and Mr. 3000. Maybe people were just itching to rent out stadiums in the 2000s?)

#32 for the Teen Romance genre

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(Beastly is somehow the highest grossing for this category … the big profit in the 2000s is Twilight. And really, this is the one true teen rom com boom. The genre is still going strong somehow, in and out of theaters, with Netflix releasing smash hits like The Kissing Booth as well.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (7/91): A cliched and predictable sports comedy that’s mostly devoid of excitement or laughs, Summer Catch is strictly bush-league.

(Get that garbage pun out of here. They play in a summer league, it is already bush-league. Astonishingly low review score considering the genre shouldn’t have been overstaying its welcome yet … you’d think more people would at least tolerate it as a change of pace. Reviewer Highlight: Stars Freddie Prinze Jr. (strike one), features more male virgins trying to lose it (strike two) and disses the legendary baseball league in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, by filming this mess in North Carolina (strike three). – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Bros, Babes, and Baseball (D+)

summer_catch_ver1

(This is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. Why… why did this happen. It’s very similar to Swimfan but like a thousand times worse. I could have made this.. Wait… did I make this? Did I make this as an example of a terrible terrible poster? The only good thing is that title font. You can always get me with some solid font work and that’s some solid font work.)

Tagline(s) – Are you game? (D)

(Jesus, that’s all you got? It’s got all the aspects of a good tagline, but it’s just so boring and generic. I can’t reward that. It makes me think that this film will also be boring, which I just don’t think is true. This has Matthew Lillard and Freddie Prinze Jr. in it. It might be super lame, but it won’t be boring.)

Keyword(s) – baseball; Top Ten by BMeTric: 86.8 Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004); 86.5 Troll 2 (1990); 86.5 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 78.8 Little Man (III) (2006); 73.6 Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003); 73.4 Species II (1998); 68.6 The Ridiculous 6 (2015); 67.7 Poltergeist (2015); 66.0 Envy (2004); 65.2 Ed (1996);

(I mean. Ed? Yes please. I don’t know why Legally Blonde 2 would have baseball in it, I haven’t seen it. But I suppose we’ll have to remedy that. Maybe it has to do with the big case.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jessica Biel is No. 2 billed in Summer Catch and No. 2 billed in Valentine’s Day, which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 1 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 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) => 2 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 14. If we were to watch Wicker Park we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Marc Blucas’ character can be seen wearing a Wake Forest basketball cap early in the movie. It is black with a yellow “WF” on the front. Blucas actually attended and played basketball on a full scholarship to Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem North Carolina. He started along with Tim Duncan there. (Cool)

Wilmer Valderrama’s film debut.

The batter at home plate when the camera pans Veterans Field (Chatham’s real home field on Cape Cod) is Hyannis’s Brendan Harris, who made his major league debut in 2004 with the Chicago Cubs.

John Schiffner is the real life coach and manager of the Chatham A’s.

Curt Gowdy and Hank Aaron both make appearances in this film. Gowdy was the NBC play-by-play announcer in the booth when Hank Aaron hit home run number 715 to pass Babe Ruth on April 8th, 1974 in what was then known as Atlanta Stadium (later named Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium). Real-life baseball player, Christopher Rosado (a Boston College graduate), appears briefly as the left-fielder on Ryan Dunne’s team. (This is going to be chockablock full of cameos, I love it)

This marks the third film out of five that Matthew Lillard and Freddie Prinze Jr. have worked on together. The other films are Wing Commander (1999), She’s All That (1999), Scooby-Doo (2002) and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004). (They are best buds)

John McGinley plays a scout for the Phillies named Hugh Alexander. There really was a scout named Hugh Alexander who signed many future MLB all-stars while working for multiple teams during a 64-year career including the Phillies for 16 years. (What are these next-level refs?!)

A pseudo/quasi premier was held in Seattle at the now-defunct theater chain “General Cinemas Pacific Place” in order to coincide with that year’s all-star game. Which happened to be Cal Ripken Jr’s last game/retirement game. (Ooooooo fun fact)

Swimfan Recap

Ben Cronin is a swimming god with a totally dope girlfriend so what could go wrong? How ‘bout a new girl in town ready to turn his life upside down. When it turns out that she’s totally cray he’s like WTF and tries to bounce. But, uh oh! She’s like, now way and gets even crazier. Can he kill her (seriously, that’s what happens) before it’s too late? Find out in… Swimfan.

How?! Ben Cronin is the man. He can swim like he’s in the Olympics, he has a gf that’s totally into him, and he’s got cargo pants for days. Nothing can ruin him life now, especially with Stanford scouts coming to town for the big meet, right? Wrong. He meets the new girl in town, Madison, and is immediately intrigued. He’s like “maybe I can just hang out with her and definitely not bone her in the pool.” This turns out to be a mistake because they definitely immediately bone in the pool. Realizing that that wasn’t the best move in the world he tries to distance himself from Madison, but she ain’t having it. But instead of revealing the dirtbag move to his girlfriend, Madison is unfortunately insane and begins to ruin his life piece by piece. After she gets him to fail a drug test, kills his best frenemy, and runs his girlfriend off the road (in an attempt to frame him for her murder), Ben decides that enough is enough. He tricks her into confessing on camera and gets her arrested. Phew. That must be the end. But not so fast, the edge of your seat is about to get a bit more worn, because Madison escapes from the police and kidnaps Ben’s girlfriend. He tracks her to the pool where she attempts to murder his girlfriend, but instead inadvertently falls into the pool. In a stroke of irony, despite her well known swim fandom, she never learned to swim and ends up drowning while Ben saves his girlfriend. Realizing that she’s all that he really wants, Ben leaves the world of competitive swimming behind… or does he? Bum bum bum… he does. THE END. 

Why?! The question we all are asking. Ben is on the verge of getting a swimming scholarship to Stanford and his girlfriend (who along with swimming he credits with saving him from a life of drugs and crime) is ready to join him. Life seems pretty sweet, but we get a hint that he’s not so sure he really wants his girlfriend following him to college. Now this is somewhat reasonable. Perhaps he’s just not sure that such a drastic move is prudent given their age. Or perhaps he fears she’s sacrificing her dreams just to be close and feels bad about that. Regardless, we don’t really get much clarity on this other than that he must feel really strongly about it because he immediately goes off and bangs the new girl in the pool in a stunning act of self-sabotage. Normally this would just result in him losing his girlfriend and perhaps a lackluster performance in the pool (swimming, not sexual obviously. That seemed to go… swimmingly), but unfortunately Madison’s motivation is that she’s a crazy swimfan (née baseballfan).

Who?! No less than 25 Special Thanks credits given out on this film. There must have been a massive rewrite or reshoot on this because there are composers, writers, producers, editors, etc. that get Special Thanks on this. So perhaps they had a cut where they really explored Ben’s motivation but then they were like “It’s called Swimfan, not CharacterDevelopmentFan, OK?” and got rid of that shit.

What?! It is actually mentioned in a book about product placement as a target for some newer sources (outside of the typical beverages, cars, clothing, etc.). That included some Apple products (which hadn’t previously done a lot of placement) and a mention of Viagra (a rare pharmaceutical product placement). I really dug into that because I assumed there wouldn’t be any Swimfan props for sale. Boy was I wrong. Anyone want to dress as Jesse Bradford at his hospital job wearing his bronze swimming medal? Yeah me neither, totally unrealistic. Ben Cronin don’t get third.

Where?! Fun New Jersey setting. Very specific and with license plates everywhere. Not vital to the plot other than to make Stanford seem very far away and I guess maybe to have NYC close enough to make Madison seem somewhat big city exotic (with a boyfriend drafted by the Mets to boot). But still a solid B+.

When?! Hard work always pays off and originally I didn’t think you get an exact date on this one. Wrong! When Ben is casually browsing world record swim times on the interweb just before he gets the first of many creepy messages from swimfan85 we see that the website was updated on May 7th, 2001. Assuming that our boy Ben is only using the best resources to check up on his world record aspirations we can assume that the film takes place around that time. B+ because I love it so much.

I was pretty jazzed for this film. Who wouldn’t be? And while I enjoyed it for its complete devotion to the swimfan aspect of it (and the lack of interest in exploring the characters in any other way) it was otherwise pretty formulaic. She is crazy almost immediately and we proceed almost straight to her getting murdered in a pool (or maybe murder isn’t the right word. He just kinda lets her drown in the pool while saving his girlfriend… so it’s more a tragic accident, I guess). If I had to point to something that I really liked about it I think I would say pretty much everything that Jesse Bradford wears in the film. There were multiple times where I stopped the movie and was just like “what is he wearing?” So many baggy jeans, a cargo pants sighting, and some ill-fitting leather jacket ensembles… it’s almost impossible to pick my favorite of the bunch. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Daaaaaaaaaaaang, I got all into swimming shape and now I have this scary swimfan stalking me. Whoops! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Jesse Bradford. I needed to know exactly how dreamy his eyes are. More seriously though it occurred to me while watching the trailer that this was a weird time where they were making erotic thrillers … but for like teenagers? That seems like a bad look. But Cruel Intentions (and its straight-to-DVD sequels) and this are an intriguing trend. My expectations for the film: I had to think long and hard about what would make me love this film. I decided that it needed to be over the top crazy. Jesse needed to think he was going insane, and they needed to dial the thrills up to 11. He had to kill her at the end of the film, he had to be forced to kill her in order to get his life back! I was all in at this point and ready to be sorely disappointed.

The Good – They definitely had some thrills. And they definitely ruined Bradford’s life and made him think that he was going crazy. The film is ludicrous enough that I was engaged throughout and it ultimately worked for me. The woman who played the girlfriend was solid, really plays the good girlfriend type well. And they gave a lot more depth to Bradford’s character than I expected, I was actually getting a little worked up about his life getting ruined.

The Bad – Which is also kind of my biggest problem with the film. The formula for an erotic thriller like this is pretty simple: have a kind of trashy guy attract a femme fatale, his life gets mixed up, he is convinced he is going to die or go to prison, and then … the psycho dies and everything is going to be okay. With a teenager though? His life is pretty irreversibly screwed (at least tangibly worse) the instant he is doped with steroids. I doubt a serious college program would consider him (despite his dope times, because they would think they were dope doped times). And that upset me. If things were a little more minor, or they gave him a less melancholy ending I think this would be a personal favorite. But with the stress I was under it brings it down a notch. Also the acting is pretty rough with only the exception of the girlfriend. Also, no offense, but the femme fatale is not hot enough to warrent the craze all the dudes have for her … seriously no offense, but she should have been like insane hot. Even like … a teacher maybe? Whatever, you can see by how much I’ve written just how much I care about this film. It is tearing me up inside!

The BMT – I think this is a fine BMT, as a matter of fact I think this will be looked upon fondly as a starting point for me differentiating the very specific teen erotic thriller as a minor genre of the late 90s and early 00s. There are plenty of things I wish it had done better to really push it over the top, but all of those are forgivable in the face of Jesse Bradford’s dreamy eyes. Today, we are all swimfans. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, but only half way. As I’ve said, I think I underestimated how unpleasant it felt to see a young person ruin their lives rather than an adult who mostly has it coming (hoisted by their own petard as it is). But the thrills were cranked up, and he thought he was going crazy, and he did kill her in the end, so it did check all of the boxes.

Roastradamus – The only product placement I can remember was the fact that Bradford very obviously drives a Ford truck. It is only set in New Jersey in a very minor sense. Is the Stanford swimming scout a MacGuffin? … no not really. I will say that Worst Twist (How?) is a credible option with Bradford (and friends) entrapping Madison Bell with the ol’ secret video tape trick. But much like everything about this film … it kind of half asses all of the categories and is unlikely to earn any of them. It does have a good shot at BMT as a nominee though, that is probably the best bet.

StreetCreditReport.com – I am genuinely shocked. I couldn’t find a single yearly list that includes it. I couldn’t find a worst of sports list that includes it. The only list I could find was a Buzzfeed article about unintentionally hilarious teen films. If you could make a list of worst ever swimming films it should probably make it … but it also might be the only film on the list. Very surprising, I figured some sports film list would include it due to its trashiness.

You Just Got Schooled – And how could I watch Swimfan without watching the original classic, Fatal Attraction? This movie was 100 times better than Swimfan. It is a true thriller. I was thrilled throughout, on tenterhooks during every slow pan as tension built. It is one of the best films I’ve ever seen to bridge the thriller / horror gap, as I often found myself horrified (in contrast to most creature features which are vanilla thrillers in my opinion). Dougles, Close and Archer are all amazing, and unlike Swimfan it manages to build the story without just ruining Douglas’ life which I appreciated. I think this finally made me understand why Swimfan just got dunked on by critics, they must have looked at Swimfan and been like “oh, so it’s Fatal Attraction except with bad acting and 100x worse and a garbage story? One star”. As a kind-of adaptation Swimfan is officially an F, it doesn’t even deserve to be in the conversation with Fatal Attraction. Oh no … do I hate Swimfan now? No, never! I will always love you Swimfan with your sexy downtrodden Jesse Bradford!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Swimfan Quiz

Huh, last thing I remember I was super great at swimming which had attracted a scary swimfan. Do you remember what else happened in Swimfan?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film it is revealed that a big scout is coming to check out our boy Jesse Bradford for a spot in the big leagues (well, D1 NCAA Swimming). Which school is scouting him?

2) But in strolled Madison, the new girl in school, with whom Jesse immediately has sex (for some reason), and in the pool no less (gross). What weird thing does Madison make Jesse do while having sex with her?

3) During the next week or so Madison does some pretty crazy shit to Jesse. Can you name the four craziest things she does. Remember … this is all happening in like … a week.

4) And then Jesse, with his trusty sidekick weirdo-cousin-of-Madison, discovers Madison’s deep dark secret about the boy she left back in New York. What was it?

5) In a final twist how does Jesse get out from under all of this mess he’s kind of brought onto himself by cheating on his girlfriend (a true morality tale guys …)?

Answers