Stone Cold Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. But wait, this is going in the Hall of Fame? Maybe, it’s going head to head with another film for the final spot in this year’s class. That preview will follow. Enjoy!

Stone Cold (1991) – BMeTric: 21.8; Notability: 35 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 27.6%; Notability: top 31.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 21.1% Higher BMeT: Cool as Ice, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Problem Child 2, Child’s Play 3, Suburban Commando, Nothing But Trouble, Mannequin: On the Move, Kickboxer 2: The Road Back, King Ralph, Double Impact, Zandalee, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, Hudson Hawk, V.I. Warshawski, House Party 2, The Butcher’s Wife, Curly Sue, Scenes from a Mall, Drop Dead Fred, Ernest Scared Stupid, and 21 more; Higher Notability: Hook, Hudson Hawk, Mobsters, Switch, Flight of the Intruder, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Life Stinks, The Five Heartbeats, Necessary Roughness, He Said, She Said, The Marrying Man, Oscar, Out for Justice, Rock-A-Doodle, Billy Bathgate, Teen Agent, Driving Me Crazy, F/X2, Another You, King Ralph, and 12 more; Lower RT: Nothing But Trouble, Cool as Ice, Mobsters, Problem Child 2, Drop Dead Fred, Pure Luck, The Marrying Man, Strictly Business, Another You, Oscar, The Hitman, Mannequin: On the Move, Curly Sue, Driving Me Crazy, One Good Cop, Suburban Commando, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, Ernest Scared Stupid, Life Stinks, Eve of Destruction and 11 more; Notes: It jumping to 6.0 is pretty weird. Overall, kind of middling on all counts, but that I think it is inevitable with smaller films from the 80s and early 90s. And this … is a small film.

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Football’s “Boz” infiltrates a gang of Mississippi bikers whose extortion antics have caught the attention of both the Feds and the Mob. Only some amazing stunts save this silliness from the BOMB scrap heap. Written and executive produced by Walter Doniger, who once directed Mantle and Maris in Safe at Home!

(Good to hear about the stunts. Maybe a bit foreboding that they don’t specifically call out the Boz for his acting. It means they either didn’t give him enough to do to embarass himself, or he is just so blandly boring it wasn’t notable.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bNfag1hosI/

(Oh my God … how is this a real trailer? It is the most 90s and worst thing I’ve ever seen. This is for a widely released film, correct? Not for a straight-to-DVD Billy Drago film? Absurd.)

Directors – Craig R. Baxley – (Future BMT: Action Jackson; Dark Angel; BMT: Stone Cold; Notes: A legendary stunt coordinator, and part of the three generation Baxley stunt coordinator family. His grandson is a stunt performer, so it is very possible they will be a four generation stunt family, coordinating stunts for over 70 years.)

Writers – Walter Doniger (written by) – (BMT: Stone Cold; Notes: Nominated for a Golden Globe in 1949 for Rope of Sand. Worked for Universal in the 40s and made U.S. Army films during the war. Directed 173 episodes of Peyton Place.)

Actors – Brian Bosworth – (Known For: What Men Want; Three Kings; Future BMT: The Longest Yard; Do You Believe?; BMT: Stone Cold; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Stone Cold in 1992; Notes: Was a huge college football star and is considered to be somewhat of a bust in the NFL playing for Seattle. Maybe most notable for being trucked by Bo Jackson in a high profile game.)

Lance Henriksen – (Known For: Aliens; The Terminator; The Quick and the Dead; Falling; Jennifer’s Body; Dog Day Afternoon; Alien³; Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Network; Tarzan; The Right Stuff; Near Dark; Hard Target; Dead Man; Powder; Mom and Dad; Jagged Edge; Appaloosa; Pumpkinhead; Omen II: Damien; Future BMT: Piranha Part Two: The Spawning; When a Stranger Calls; Harbinger Down; Scream 3; House; House III: The Horror Show; Man’s Best Friend; Phantom; Jennifer Eight; Nightmares; The Slammin’ Salmon; Excessive Force; The Next Man; Modigliani; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Color of Night; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; Stone Cold; Notes: Just saw him in X-Files, as he plays Frank Black in the spin-off series Millenium (for which he was nominated for three Golden Globes).)

William Forsythe – (Known For: Once Upon a Time in America; The Rock; Dick Tracy; Cold Pursuit; Raising Arizona; The Devil’s Rejects; American Me; Extreme Prejudice; The Substitute; Cloak & Dagger; City by the Sea; Patty Hearst; Hell’s Kitchen; Weeds; The Waterdance; The Hollow; Palookaville; Lethal Vengeance; Future BMT: Freedomland; Virtuosity; Hard Ca$h; Halloween; Awake; Career Opportunities; Out for Justice; Blue Streak; The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag; Loosies; War on the Range; Dead Bang; Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead; The L.A. Riot Spectacular; Run with the Hunted; BMT: Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; Firestorm; 88 Minutes; Stone Cold; Notes: Firestorm also stars an NFL player, Howie Long. You probably know him from John Doe, the Fox series starring Dominic Purcell … no, you don’t remember that series? 10PM on Fridays, absolutely killer time slot, right after Firefly.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $9,151,887 (Worldwide: $9,151,887)

(Ooof, that budget can’t be right though can it? Unless the Boz was getting paid a ton. No matter how you cut it I don’t think $10 million is what they were hoping for as a return.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 33% (3/9)

(Another consensus for me: The Boz is serviceable in a rote actioner which ends up being too dumb to be fun. Reviewer Highlight: Brian Bosworth’s acting debut in Stone Cold carries about the same wallop The Boz did in the late stages of his very brief career in professional football. – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – Frosted Tips

(First, I’ll say I like the custom font and I like the color scheme. Maybe a bit on the nose with stone/cold = blue, but I still think it works. It is advertising the film in the only way it knows how: The Boz, front and center, something about bikes. The only odd bit is the tagline is soooo small and just floating in the sky, and it looks a bit cheap. B+.)

Tagline(s) – A cop who enforces his own brand of justice. (C+)

(Generic. That describes about 100 films since the early 80s unfortunately. I don’t think it is necessarily bad, it just doesn’t do anything to add to the film itself, so it gets a medium grade.)

Keyword – undercover cop

Top 10: The Departed (2006), Bad Boys for Life (2020), Batman Begins (2005), Baby Driver (2017), BlacKkKlansman (2018), Scarface (1983), Point Break (1991), The Fast and the Furious (2001), American Gangster (2007), Sin City (2005)

Future BMT: 58.7 The Mod Squad (1999), 49.1 Showtime (2002), 46.7 Cop Out (2010), 44.7 Tomcats (2001), 42.1 Sleepless (2017), 41.6 Boiling Point (1993), 40.7 Brick Mansions (2014), 38.8 Action Jackson (1988), 37.1 Fled (1996), 36.9 Bulletproof (1996);

BMT: Fast & Furious (2009), Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), Gangster Squad (2013), Ride Along (2014), Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), Exit to Eden (1994), Ride Along 2 (2016), Stone Cold (1991), Exit Wounds (2001), No Mercy (1986)

(I have to say, not super into most of the films available with this keyword. Action Jackson is maybe notable for having the same director as this film though. He certainly had a type.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: William Forsythe is No. 3 billed in Stone Cold and No. 5 billed in 88 Minutes, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 5 + 3 + 1 = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Michael Douglas was executive producer of the film but received no credit, according to his wishes.

Brian Bosworth has said in an interview that as a keen biker, he had previously built the bike that his character rides in the film and suggested that it be used instead, since he was more comfortable with it.

Lance Henriksen wrote his own lines for every scene.

In a Q&A with the audience after a special screening of the film in Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse in 2014, Brian Bosworth talked about how original director Bruce Malmuth was fired due to some “personal issues that he couldn’t control which poured out on set”, and his firing caused all the original backstory for Bosworth’s character to be removed and changed after Craig R. Baxley was hired to direct. About four weeks was spent filming scenes with Bosworth’s character and his family (wife, child and sister), which in the end were completely axed out after $4 million was spent shooting them.

The meal Brian Bosworth makes for his Nile monitor (the big lizard) is not at all suitable for that animal.

Shooting began June 4, 1990. Craig R. Baxley replaced Bruce Malmuth as director in late June 1990. Production was halted due to an IATSE dispute, resulting in the departure of director of photography John R. Leonetti and other IATSE members of the crew. Completed shooting September 26, 1990. (IASTE = International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees)

Chains states, “God forgives, The Brotherhood doesn’t.” This is based on the slogan of The Outlaws Motorcycle Club, an actual outlaw motorcycle club.

The United States Military Academy’s Army football team had adopted GFBD as a team slogan for many years, players having first heard it in this film. The Academy officially removed the slogan in 2019 after learning that the phrase originated with the Aryan Brotherhood.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brian Bosworth, 1992)

Silent Hill: Revelation Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. But other people might just say we want to watch Kit Harington struggle with an American accent while being chased by Triangle Head. Enjoy!

Silent Hill: Revelation (2012) – BMeTric: 65.6; Notability: 30 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 2.8%; Notability: top 46.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 4.1% Higher BMeT: Piranha 3DD, LOL, The Devil Inside, Paranormal Activity 4, The Apparition, ATM, Chernobyl Diaries; Higher Notability: Battleship, Red Tails, This Means War, Dark Shadows, Total Recall, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Red Dawn, Wrath of the Titans, Resident Evil: Retribution, The ABCs of Death, Man on a Ledge, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike, The Watch, Underworld: Awakening, Girl Most Likely, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, The Babymakers, Gambit, and 10 more; Lower RT: One for the Money, The Apparition, Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike, Playing for Keeps, The Cold Light of Day, The Devil Inside, So Undercover, Fire with Fire, The Babymakers; Notes: Sitting around 5.0 with that many votes is pretty impressive.I think the BMeTric is the most impressive as far as cred. Obviously also a notably bad video game film.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  When her father (Bean) disappears, teenager Clemens and a high school friend (Harington) enter a mysterious town of Silent Hill, which she’s been warned about It’s the gateway to a bunch of weird other dimensions (or something) with monstrous beings calore … and it has something to do with her past. Colorful but drab, lots of visual effects but boring, and never scary. This sequel is a waste of time. Based on the video game.

(Wow, these days when I can just snap up Ebert review semi-automatically, the Maltin review is a rare treat. And to hit a BOMB with one? That is a great time. Maltin notoriously doesn’t like horror films, so for him to say it isn’t scary is something indeed.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f06VJSsh8II/

(It is incredible … you can tell that Kit Harington has a terrible accent in the trailer. In the absolute most important scenes he just sounds vaguely Welsh or something (which I suppose is what might happen when a British person does a terrible American accent). In a way it looks really cool … but it also looks cheesy because you know once you are watching it it’ll just be laughable.)

Directors – M.J. Bassett – (Known For: Rogue; Solomon Kane; Future BMT: Deathwatch; Wilderness; BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; Notes: His commercial career is almost entirely horror (and not a lot of television as well). He started out as a wildlife photographer and documentary maker before breaking out with Deathwatch.)

Writers – M.J. Bassett (written by) (as Michael J. Bassett) – (Known For: Rogue; Solomon Kane; Future BMT: Deathwatch; BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; Notes: Writes most of what he directed, including Rogue, which, by the way, stars Megan Fox of all people.)

Laurent Hadida (adapted by) – (BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; Notes: The only thing he is credited as writing. He seems to mostly be a producer, so I would guess he helped with translating Silent Hill 3 into a screenplay and did just enough to warrant a credit.)

Hiroyuki Owaku (story “Silent Hill 3”) (uncredited) – (BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; Notes: Was involved in Silent Hill 2, 3, and 4. I’m actually a bit surprised that there were really only ever four numbered titles in that series.)

Keiichiro Toyama (video games) (uncredited) – (BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; Notes: Also worked on Silent Hill, although it seems like he is not more heavily involved in a series called Gravity Rush.)

Actors – Adelaide Clemens – (Known For: The Great Gatsby; No One Lives; To the Stars; The World Made Straight; Wasted on the Young; The Automatic Hate; Future BMT: Generation Um…; Certainty; BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Notes: Australian. Currently she is in the Edie Falco series Tommy.)

Kit Harington – (Known For: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Brimstone; Testament of Youth; Spooks: The Greater Good; Future BMT: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan; BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; Pompeii; Seventh Son; Notes: Looks like he’s involved in the upcoming Eternals film for the MCU, so he’s transitioning to the big time.)

Sean Bean – (Known For: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; Wolfwalkers; The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; Possessor; Troy; The Martian; GoldenEye; National Treasure; Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief; Ronin; Patriot Games; Mirror Mirror; Equilibrium; The Field; North Country; Black Beauty; Black Death; Dark River; Caravaggio; Future BMT: Soldiers of Fortune; The Hitcher; Outlaw; Drone; Flightplan; Don’t Say a Word; Essex Boys; Anna Karenina; The Island; Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV; BMT: Silent Hill: Revelation; Jupiter Ascending; Pixels; Silent Hill; Notes: A voice in Wolfwalkers which is the hot new animated film of 2020. Famously dies in a huge number of the films he appears in and currently is in the Snowpiercer television show.)

Budget/Gross – $20,000,000 / Domestic: $17,529,157 (Worldwide: $55,362,705)

(Not bad. Whoever took over the franchise made a correct choice. The original made about twice as much on twice the budget, but I think this is more definitely near a break-even point all things considered. Horror is meant for low budget to get that risk-reward going.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (6/60): Mediocre effort even by the standards of video game adaptations, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D features weak characters and an incomprehensible plot with a shortage of scares.

(Brutal consensus. “Bad even for a video game film” isn’t what you want when there have basically never been a good video game film ever. Reviewer Highlight: It confirms once again that with the notable exception of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, a film that feels like a videogame is never a positive development. – Nathan Rabin, AV Club)

Poster – Silent Sklog: Revolutionaries in Smell-O-Vision

(So I’m of two minds here. On the one hand I love the unique perspective, the unique custom font, and the contrasting fire vs. ghoulish green coloring. On the other, the 3D-ness of it makes it feel dated, it is really busy, and it just looks like a movie I don’t want to watch. I’m going to go with a straight B because I have garbage taste maybe? Something about it says I like it, I guess because it is really unique.)

Tagline(s) – This Halloween prepare for a 3D ride through hell. (F)

(This though I hate. You could write this about any horror film that comes out in October basically (as long as it’s in 3D I suppose). Like, why ride? Why not something more video game-y? This tagline feels more Haunted Mansion, not Silent Hill.)

Keyword – alternate reality

Top 10: Tenet (2020), Avengers: Endgame (2019), Interstellar (2014), Inception (2010), The Matrix (1999), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Watchmen (2009), Groundhog Day (1993), The Golden Compass (2007), Doctor Strange (2016)

Future BMT: 61.6 Soul Survivors (2001), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 51.1 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010), 40.8 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), 38.9 House II: The Second Story (1987), 36.5 The One (2001), 36.0 Premonition (2007), 31.7 White Man’s Burden (1995), 30.4 Arthur and the Invisibles (2006), 30.1 Mirrors (2008);

BMT: Howard: A New Breed of Hero (1986), Sucker Punch (2011), Event Horizon (1997), The Cat in the Hat (2003), Super Mario Bros. (1993), Flatliners (2017), Cool World (1992), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), Silent Hill: Revelation (2012), Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike (2012), A Sound of Thunder (2005), Alex & Emma (2003)

(For real though, they really did seem to like alternative realities in 2010 didn’t they? Must have been when CGI was cheap and they could do full CGI monsters adequately or something. I’m excited for the Resident Evil series eventually, which we always put off because, you know, it is six movies.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Deborah Kara Unger is No. 7 billed in Silent Hill: Revelation and No. 6 billed in 88 Minutes, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 7 + 6 + 3 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Suspect Zero, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – Red Pyramid is a full body costume that was blended at Roberto Campanella wrists, requiring only 25 minutes of preparation for each scene, as opposed to the three hours it took in the first film.

For the scene of the goldfish “dying”, the crew placed the fish in specially prepared water that would cause the animals to fall asleep, creating the appearance of a dying animal without actually causing them any harm. (cool)

Kit Harington admitted trying to play the Silent Hill games for research but quit because they were too scary for him.

When it came time to work with Carrie-Anne Moss, an unexpected dynamic occurred on set between her and the lead Adelaide Clemens. At base camp, Moss was pleasant in her conversations with Clemens, but once they both arrived on set, Moss changed. As Adelaide Clemens describes, “She ceased any contact and kept a two meter distance from me. I did not fully realize this distancing until we started shooting; she came over and put her hand on my chin and I’ve never felt a more intense invasion of personal space. I just shuddered. It was fascinating and powerful.”

All the monsters in the film, with the exception of the Mannequin Spider which was completely CGI, were practical effects done on set with stunt performers portraying the creatures. The creatures would later be enhanced with CGI effects.

After the release of the film, Bassett apologized to any fans disappointed with the film on his blog and has remained uninvolved in the Silent Hill series since then.

Roger Avary was originally set to write the film and had actually begun writing a draft when he was sent to jail for gross vehicular manslaughter and two felony counts of causing bodily injury while intoxicated. The film was then delayed until the studio hired M.J. Bassett in Fall 2010 to write and direct. (For those curious he did eventually serve a year in jail, and appears to have just begun getting movies made again)

Konami’s marketing for the film in Japan included a special ramen to tie in with the theatrical release.

The first film had underperformed below expectations at the box office (grossing only $99 million against a $50 million budget) and received generally negative reviews, leading Sony to sell the sequel rights to Universal and a reduced budget of $20 million.

M.J. Bassett stated in a interview at New York Comic-Con that due to shooting in 3D he was not able to use hand-held camera or Steadycam.

One of the very few mainstream films where the character of Sean Bean does not die (although he does die in a dream).

The mannequin storeroom scene happened earlier in the script, occurring immediately after Douglas is killed by the Missionary. This makes more sense because the mannequin storeroom is in the mall.

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights Recap

Jamie

Totally filthy dancing is back, Jack! And this time it’s hot hot hot in Havana. When all-american girl (and total nerd) Katey is plopped in the middle of Havana on the eve of the Cuban Revolution she starts to feel the heat with Javier, a local who works at the hotel. Can she dance her heart out (and get the guy) before it’s too late? Find out in… Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.

How?! Katey is a total nerd alert ready to crush it at college. That is until her dad gets a job in Cuba and they have to move during her senior year. Lame. Or is it? That’s because she pretty quickly catches the eye of a pretty rad dude. Unfortunately he turns out to be a total jerk. But she isn’t crying over spilled jerk (nailed it) cause she’s more into the waiter at the hotel, Javier, anyway. He’s nice and hard-working and moves to the groove like no one she’s ever seen (and that includes her ballroom champion parents). But nothing is going right because Javier is fired for hanging out with her! Oh no! Being poor and all he has to turn to a life of crime to support his family. Darn. But wait! What about the big dance competition where the winners get to go to America? Hooray! Training in secret (and with the help of her secret weapon, old Patrick Swayze) Katey and Javier dance their hearts out and to the shock and awe of all that know her (particularly her own parents) they make it to the finals on New Year’s Eve. Despite the angst this all creates, everyone learns to live and love again just in time for Katey and Javier to win the competition, right? Wrong! That’s because the Cuban Revolution literally happens in the middle of their routine. Katey is all like “Hooray! Viva la revolution!” but Javier knows what’s up and makes her realize that despite the fact that they’ll have to separate because of this international event, they will always have love and they will always have dance and they will always have the filthy steamy dirty memories of their dance. THE END. 

Why?! Love and dance, duh. But seriously, it’s weird, because Katey’s purpose is just like love and happiness. She’s trying to find herself as teens are wont to do and she finds that the rhythm of the beat evokes something stronger than all those nerd books ever did. But Javier is dealing with some shit. He’s trying to feed his family because his dad was killed by the government for sympathizing with the revolutionaries. So the idea of winning a dance contest and going to America is pretty sweet at first, but after the revolution not as much. It’s pretty intense and serious while Katey just goes back to America with her rich family afterwards… they are operating in two totally different worlds.

Who?! Obvs the big one is The Swayz cameo. He appears only for a bit and comes off a little differently in the role of old man briefly encouraging a young woman to dance while covered in sweat. Rather than in the original where he was an old man constantly encouraging a young woman to dance while covered in sweat. We also have a big performance by Mya during the main dance scene that kinda counts as a musician turned actress.

What?! Generally speaking I anticipate a difficult time for this section in the upcoming cycle. Past and Future films aren’t necessarily focused on delivering timely product placements. This one is slightly different in that at the time there was some press regarding a pretty intense integrated marketing campaign by Revlon. There are some appropriately silly names for the different shades of nail polish and the like… Pink Cha-Cha-Cha. Ooof.

Where?! A+ Setting Alert. They say Havana Nights and they mean Havana Nights. There is actually no moment that doesn’t take place in Havana. No scene of them moving from America. No nothing. Havana all day and all night, dancing to the rhythm of the city… Havana. A+. Weird part was that I knew this was actually shot in Puerto Rico. How? Because I recognized some of the locations from the Keanu Reeves film Replicas.

When?! Somewhere in that same city on the same night of the big dance competition is Michael Corleone. That too depicted the fall of the Batista regime on December 31st, 1958. I think the question on everyone’s mind is who wore the Cuban Revolution best? The Godfather Part II or Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. Scientists contend we may never know. Those scientists? Us. A.

There is a charm to this film. The dancing is quite steamy and I really did find myself rooting for the characters to find happiness with each other through dance. If that sounds cheesy that’s because it is. The entire thing is a cheesefest. So while it’s not a particularly good movie (it probably had more of a place on ABC Family) you can’t help but find yourself lulled into a sense of comfort by the cheese. That is until it all explodes at the end with the Cuban Revolution. Why they even felt the need to set the film in 1958 (somehow making this a prequel to the original film) with a nonsensical cameo by The Swayz (let’s call him the estranged father of Swayze’s character from the original) is almost beyond explanation. Just set it in current day Miami and you got everything you need. Namely sweaty steamy dirty filthy dancing. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When’s a sequel not a sequel? When it is a low-key remake where the original star appears as a different character? Whatever, I still call it Dirty Dancing 2. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – After watching both Dirty Dancing films (both? What, you don’t remember the ABC original remake? It was really really bad) we somehow sidestepped the sequel-remake set in Cuba. A period piece and destination sequel? Yes please. I went into this with little knowledge about the film beyond that Patrick Swayze appears in a cameo. What were my expectations? I think this was supposed to be one of the worst sequels ever made. Anything less than a complete catastrophe would be a disappointment.

The Good – The dancing (besides being wholly inappropriate for a 50s teenager to partake in … wait, am I getting old?) is indeed hot and sexy. While you can kind of tell Diego Luna and Romola Garai were just taught how to dance right before filming, the dancing at times is still pretty cool. And unlike the original Dirty Dancing film they replace the somewhat uncomfortable central relationship (how old was Patrick Swayze supposed to be again?) and abortion story, with a charming innocence of Luna and a backdrop of the Cuban Revolution. While the movie is a shadow of the original, I take that trade ten times out of ten. Best Bit – The dancing is better than one would expect.

The Bad – The movie is a television movie pretending to be a theatrical feature. From involving a ton of television actors, to trying to build a teaching moment around the Cuban Revolution, and overall just exuding innocence. If the original was as chaste as this film is, I’m not sure it is as big of a cult film as it is. The main actress is pretty rough, slipping into a pretty obvious British accent on occasion. Finally, I don’t know whether this is a good-bad thing or just a bad thing, but the final scene in which our protagonist is flabbergasted that Luna wants to stay in Cuba after the revolution is great. It is both extremely real concerning the naivety of a teenager, and extremely hilarious in just how dumb she seems. Fatal Flaw – Television film.

The BMT – We’ve now watched all of the Dirty Dancing films! USA! USA! So including Lifetime/ABC originals I’ve managed to complete both Dirty Dancing and The Blue Lagoon in the last few months. My self-learning is getting out of control! I think for Cuba and remake-sequels this film will always have a place in the history of BMT. What more could you want. Did it meet my expectations? Nope, I truly expected this film to be a catastrophe. For some reason I thought this film was going to be like … ultra-sexy early-00s weirdness? But it is actually (much like The Blue Lagoon) the exact opposite of that, bizarrely chaste given the material. I kind of want the gross too-sexy version, but maybe we’ll find that in one of the many Step Up sequels in the future.

Roastra-damus – Definitely a solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for Cuba. Indeed, it is a double dose of Cuba and the temporal setting in that the climax of the film takes place during the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959. But that also makes it a Secret Holiday Film (When?) as the original dance competition takes place on Christmas Eve 1958 (at least around then), and the final round of the competition is on New Years’ Eve, and the night in which the Cuban Revolution kicked off. I do think those are the only superlatives it has a chance on. Bet chance on Good in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – Ended up being named a top 25 worst Sequel ever which is pretty solid cred. Which speaks to the film’s cred in general. It is a not-really-sequel to a pretty beloved cult film. No matter how okay the film was, there was always going to be an impression that it was a disaster. Possibly the worst film set in Cuba ever made? But yeah, as is typically for certain years, the official cred is a little difficult to find.

You Just Got Schooled – Naturally, after watching Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, I was itching to see some more sexy dancing in Cuba. And Michael Mann’s Miami Vice bizarrely fits the bill perfectly. Despite the fact that I find cops-worship films pretty distasteful, there is something incredibly alluring about this film. I think it is because, despite being pretty trashy, the main characters still exude a weird charm. And the vistas and boats are beautiful, and everyone is just pouring sweat throughout the film … it is so fake-real that I can’t look away. Pretty long, and the characters mumble all of their lines, but I still couldn’t help but like it. I don’t know why! Is my brain broken? As promised Colin Ferrell and Gong Li go to Havana to get a Mojito and dance the night away. Ultimately, I think Miami Vice shows why Mann’s career stalled in the mid-00s, and predicts the failure of Public Enemies three years later. B-. Liked it, but I don’t know why.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights Quiz

Oh man, so here’s the thing. I was doing some super-sexy Cuban ballroom dancing with my beau, and then a revolution broke out! I got bopped on the head, the usual, and forgot everything. Do you remember what happened in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot

1) Katey Miller and her family are moving to Cube in the late-50s on the eve of the Cuban revolution. Why are they moving there?

2) There she meets Javier Suarez who works at the hotel they live at. How do they meet?

3) Katey starts seeing a whole lot more of Javier once they both realize their mutual interest in dance. Why is Katey initially interested in dancing? And why does Javier agree to be her dance partner in the big ballroom dance competition?

4) In order to train for the big competition though Katey needs some alibis. Who provides them and why?

5) Finally the Cuban Revolution breaks out. How is Javier involved in the revolution in such a way that it results in him remaining in Cuba instead of going to America with Katey?

Answers

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights Preview

Rich and Poe awaken in a world of blinding light. A light snow of ash is falling from the sky. They get up and look around, but they can’t see anything. Just the ash and the light. In front of them are footprints they begin to follow. Suddenly there is a glimmer of a man, a fleeting glimpse of a shadow fleeing. They take chase. They hear a scatter of words through the eerie silence. “Face” A mystery is afoot and they are the only ones that can solve it. “Stop, police!” they yell, but their words feel muted and no matter how they use their lightning-quick speed and muscled physiques they can’t seem to catch up to the figure. “It’s” They suddenly seem woozy, uncoordinated. “For” They are crawling, unable to keep track of where the man could have gone. “Time” The stare silently at the whirling sky of white ash. “Off” The man is above them staring down through a mask. The gamemaster laughs a horrible laugh. “Who?” Rich and Poe mumble. Or are they Jamie and Patrick now? Are they dead? Was the blinding white light, Rich’s quickening, their final moments? The gamemaster stops laughing and begins to take off his mask. Rich and Poe scream silently in horror as the face is revealed to be Nic Cage. Tears slide silently down their faces as Nic Cage slowly shakes his head. The shaking gets faster and faster until it stops revealing John Travola instead… “What?” Rich and Poe ask. They are on their feet. Travolta is in front of them clad in a leisure suit. “This is all just a dream,” he states bluntly, “but it’s no less deadly. You ready? Because when you fight with dance the whole earth is your battlefield… and all time.” That’s right! We’re making the leap from our around the world mapl.de.map cycle to a journey through time (we’re calling it The Past and Future Kings here at BMTHQ). Fortunately for us when they made an ill-advised sequel to Dirty Dancing they decided to set in Cuba during the Cuban Revolution. So let’s get ready for a blast from the past with some straight up filthy dancing to boot. Let’s go!

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004) – BMeTric: 29.6; Notability: 32 

(Actually a lot higher rated than I thought it would be … something in the back of my mind made me think this was the worst film of 2004 or something. Not only does it eke out a 6.0 on IMDb, but it breaks 20% on Rotten Tomatoes. This might just be one vista away from being okay.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Romola Garai and Diego Luna. You remember him from “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” and here again he has that quirky, winning charm. She is a beauty and a gifted comedian, who played Kate in “Nicholas Nickleby” and was the younger sister, Cassandra, in the wonderful 2003 film “I Capture the Castle.” They must be given credit for their presence and charisma in “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” and together with the film’s general ambiance, they do a lot to make amends for the lockstep plot. But here’s an idea: Rent “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” “Nicholas Nickleby” and “I Capture the Castle,” and eliminate the middleman.

(To note, Ebert openly dislikes Dirty Dancing. He gave it one star at the time, and from what I can tell he never bothered to update the rating, despite years of cult status that followed, as he often did. In the review he wonders if he has gone soft. And honestly, while he dances (heyoooo) around it, I think by 2004 he had definitely fully developed his “good for what they are” idea behind popcorn films, which I think is going “soft” in a way. I might be satisfied by vistas and dancing? Ebert, you know me too well.)

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

(Huh the film is vaguely based around a competition at the end eh … this might be one of our best and most direct “secret sports movies” ever. Also there is a multitude of bad dancing films, and we rarely touch on them for whatever reason. Maybe watching this will change our minds. Much like vistas, watching people dance is fun regardless of how terrible the film surrounding the sequence is.)

Directors – Guy Ferland – (Known For: Telling Lies in America; Future BMT: The Babysitter; BMT: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Notes: )

Writers – Kate Gunzinger (story) – (BMT: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Notes: Not much information on her, it seems like she was working with Segal on this at the time.)

Peter Sagal (story) – (BMT: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Notes: He is the host of the very popular radio show What Wait … Don’t Tell Me. He also wrote the Olivier Gruner classic Savage.)

Boaz Yakin (screenplay) – (Known For: Now You See Me; Safe; Fresh; Death in Love; A Price Above Rubies; Future BMT: The Punisher; The Rookie; Now You See Me 2; Boarding School; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; Max; BMT: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Notes: His career looks like it was split in half. He was preparing to eventually direct, and was going to get his chance with Batman: Year One in 2005 … but that then became Chistopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. He then got Prince of Persia in 2010, and has been a consistent writer since, including the upcoming Idris Elba film The Harder They Fall.)

Victoria Arch (screenplay) – (Known For: Pali Road; BMT: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Notes: One of the only films she has a writing credit on, but did not direct. Got a Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting.)

Actors – Diego Luna – (Known For: A Rainy Day in New York; Rogue One; If Beale Street Could Talk; The Bad Batch; Y Tu Mamá También; The Terminal; Contraband; Elysium; Blood Father; The Book of Life; Milk; Frida; Open Range; Before Night Falls; Casa de mi Padre; Mister Lonely; Wander Darkly; Rudo y Cursi; Criminal; Nicotina; Future BMT: Vampires: Los Muertos; Berlin, I Love You; Fade to Black; BMT: Flatliners; Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Notes: You better believe Luna started his career on a Mexican soap opera! One of his first roles was on El abuelo y yo, although only for three episodes. Interestingly his Y Tu Mamá También costar Gael García Bernal was in 90 episodes of that same show.)

Romola Garai – (Known For: Atonement; The Windermere Children; Scoop; Suffragette; Vanity Fair; Nicholas Nickleby; Amazing Grace; I Capture the Castle; Glorious 39; Inside I’m Dancing; Angel; Renaissance; Junkhearts; Future BMT: The Last Days on Mars; The Other Man; As You Like It; One Day; BMT: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Notes: Was a leading actress around 2003-2005. Born in Hong Kong, she has mostly done BBC mini-series and shows in the last ten years, including The Hour and Emma both of which she was nominated for a Golden Globe.)

Sela Ward – (Known For: Gone Girl; The Day After Tomorrow; The Fugitive; Runaway Bride; Nothing in Common; My Fellow Americans; Future BMT: The Stepfather; 54; Hello Again; The Man Who Loved Women; The Badge; Rustlers’ Rhapsody; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Independence Day: Resurgence in 2017; Notes: You’d recognize her, she’s a huge television star, she won an Emmy for Once and Again. She was a big TV Movie star in the 80s and 90s, and was one of the stars of CSI: NY and FBI.)

Budget/Gross – $25,000,000 / Domestic: $14,161,590 (Worldwide: $27,685,016)

(Not great. I don’t know what they thought a sequel made 20 years after the original would be good for $50 million? Smells like Hollywood accounting. Doubt it made much money regardless.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (25/108): Cheesy, unnecessary remake.

(Suitably succinct consensus I suppose. One of the big complaints appears to be a lack of chemistry between the leads. That was certainly not a problem in the first film, I tell you what. Reviewer Highlight: The movie, more wan than wicked, proves you can’t go home again. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Destination Sequel

(Oh boy. That dancing looks filthy. Shield your eyes! I think it’s getting the job done with an OK color scheme. Not sure why they gave the classic Dirty Dancing font the boot. That’s the one big mistake. B-)

Tagline(s) – Break the rules. Find your freedom. Live your life. (B-)

(This is a tagline classic straight from the Jamie School of Taglines. I mean, talk about arule of three. I wish the three things were better connected, but I appreciate the effort.)

Keyword – cuba

Top 10: Scarface (1983), X: First Class (2011), Die Another Day (2002), GoldenEye (1995), Fast & Furious 8 (2017), Big Fish (2003), Bad Boys II (2003), Original Sin (2001), JFK (1991), Octopussy (1983)

Future BMT: 62.5 Big Fat Important Movie (2008), 48.9 McHale’s Navy (1997), 34.0 Captain Ron (1992), 28.9 Original Sin (2001), 20.5 Live by Night (2016), 19.5 Havana (1990), 16.9 Bad Boys II (2003);

BMT: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)

(These graphs always seem to come in such interesting waves. Bad Boys II is probably the most “Cuba” of the remaining films. Things like McHale’s Navy and Captain Ron probably have plot points surrounding it, but they both seem to primarily take place in a more fictional Caribbean.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: January Jones is No. 6 billed in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and No. 3 billed in Seeking Justice, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 6 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 17. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Neither Romola Garai (Katey) nor Diego Luna (Javier) had any professional dance training. Before production began, the two spent ten weeks in Puerto Rico, training for eight hours a day with Producer JoAnn Fregalette Jansen and four additional dancers and choreographers.

The plot is loosely based on the life story of Producer JoAnn Fregalette Jansen, who moved to Cuba with her family in 1958. Thus, the “Based on True Events” title. (Huh, that’s interesting)

The movie was filmed in Puerto Rico, and made to look like Cuba. Most of it was done in the colonial part of San Juan, Old San Juan, a very popular hangout for Puerto Ricans, and a very touristy area. In order to maintain the look and esthetic of the pre-Cuban revolution era, producers secured underground parking places for people that would visit Old San Juan during the shoot, so that there wouldn’t be any modern cars parked in the streets.

Natalie Portman was considered for the role of Katey, and Ricky Martin was considered for the role of Javier. They were both the first choices. (I usually don’t leave casting stuff in the notes because it is sketchy and boring but … Ricky Martin?! If only)

Story Writer Peter Sagal is the same Peter Sagal who hosts the National Public Radio program “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” The script is loosely based on an earlier screenplay that Sagal had written as an original story, not as a Dirty Dancing sequel. (Weird)

Patrick Swayze appeared in this movie as Johnny Castle, since this movie took place in 1958, and Dirty Dancing (1987) took place in 1963. Before the ending credits, a new instrumental version of “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” can be heard. (Weird to think about … uh, how old was Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing?)

Rated number eleven in Entertainment Weekly’s Top 25 Worst Sequels Ever Made (2006).

Whiteout Recap

Jamie

Carrie Stetko is a US Marshall assigned to an Antarctic scientific base. She’s ready to retire after serving out her time in the remote outpost, but just before the base closes for the winter she is confronted by a murder. Soon everyone is a suspect and a storm is closing in. Can she solve the case and take down the bad guy before it’s too late? Find out in… Whiteout.

How?! Carrie Stetko is a US Marshall whose heart is just not in it since a tragic incident earlier in her career. She has isolated herself by taking an assignment in Antarctica, but with another dark winter (and inopportune major storm) on the horizon, she’s decided to retire. That is until a dead body (literally) falls out of the sky. Tracking down where this body came from she starts to piece together a crazy situation involving a remote research outpost and long missing Soviet diamonds. As she gets closer, with the help of a dashing UN security agent and a pilot, a killer starts after her trying to make sure the diamonds get on the last plane out of Antarctica and she doesn’t! She’s nearly stabbed, shot, and trapped in a plane buried in the snow, but this all only brings out the best in Carrie. It may be freezing outside, but suddenly she’s got the burning desire to solve crimes and take down the baddies. This all culminates in the capture and killing of one of the other pilots. But something doesn’t sit right when it turns out that that pilot unknowingly was trying to escape with a jar full of jellybeans instead of diamonds. Saboteur! There must be a co-conspirator. Look no further than Carrie’s own friend, Dr. Fury. He admits to the crime and decides to end his own life by walking into the storm rather than be arrested. Flash forward to where Carrie has rescinded her resignation and is ready for some new assignments. Am I smelling a sequel? (hint: I’m not). THE END.

Why?! There is a little juice to Carrie’s motivation (besides crushing crime and subduing criminals left and right). That’s because she lacks confidence and belief in herself ever since her partner betrayed her and she was forced to shoot him in the line of duty. So really she’s searching for herself and solving this crime is a way to prove to herself that she’s still got it. As for Dr. Fury, well he has a classic bad guy motivation. After years of low pay and a shit assignment in Antarctica he sees the diamonds as a way to finally get his in this unjust world. Unfortunately he didn’t account for the mega-sleuthing abilities of Carrie Stetko.

Who?! There really isn’t much to note for this so I will mostly just note my surprise that Gabriel Macht played a UN security agent in the film. Back in the 80’s and 90’s the UN showed up in a lot of action films as a global body of incredible power, often dictating exactly how the world is to respond to an international disaster. Which is funny. Case in point, Street Fighter where JCVD plays Guile, no longer in the Air Force but rather part of the U.N… OK, fine, he’s part of the A.N., but it’s the same thing. Get off my back.

What?! There is a lot of food talk in this film given that the people at the base can’t ever leave, so variety seems limited. I’m sure there are some interesting products throughout the film along those lines, but the only one I remember is the fact that when they crack open the case that’s supposed to contain the diamonds they just find a bunch of what are clearly Jelly Belly’s. They really should have had one of the characters pick one up, pop it in their mouth and then spit it out and say with a grimace “black licorice.” Would have really brought it home.

Where?! Antarctica, baby, with a little flashback to Miami. If we were to make a mapl.de.map for BMT films that truly embodied a location then I think this might beat out AvP. AvP being set in Antarctica is just some weird shit. This, though, is ‘Artica (as the kids call it) through and through. In fact… this probably should have been called Antarctica and gotten the full A+. Missed opportunity. A.When?! Interesting exact date on this guy. Kate Beckinsale hacks into the mainframe and checks some flight logs for the day she thinks the original body would have been dumped (which have been *gasp* erased). The day in question? Right around Valentine’s Day! Is this a Super Secret Holiday Film Alert? Seems so. Although a previous scene suggests that it might be early March (which kinda makes more sense for when the researchers would have to leave the base for the winter) so methinks that not everyone was on the same page for this one. B.

When?! Interesting exact date on this guy. Kate Beckinsale hacks into the mainframe and checks some flight logs for the day she thinks the original body would have been dumped (which have been *gasp* erased). The day in question? Right around Valentine’s Day! Is this a Super Secret Holiday Film Alert? Seems so. Although a previous scene suggests that it might be early March (which kinda makes more sense for when the researchers would have to leave the base for the winter) so methinks that not everyone was on the same page for this one. B.

I swear when I started this film my mind began to chant “It’s not that bad” in hot anticipation. I was digging the vibe and I was ready for them to bring it home in a freezing hot climax that would knock the socks off of BMT. Unfortunately they couldn’t do it and it fell apart in the face of a ludicrously predictable ending. I was ready to forgive the consistently terrible acting as long as it could land the finale. Alas, it was not to be. That stumble alone kinda took it right into nomansland when it comes to BMT. It’s good enough to imagine throwing on the TV, but bad enough that I would never recommend it to someone. And not really BMT in any way (unless people find it funny to know who the killer is about 1/6th of the way through a film). As for Black Eagle, I was really surprised at how competent the otherwise poorly regarded martial arts film was. Usually those types of films can end up quite boring when they fall flat. And the IMDb score certainly made me think that it would. But I really didn’t mind watching it at all. Add in a genuinely interesting (and dare I say good?) bad guy role for Jean Claude Van Damme and I think I actually would recommend the film to people. JCVD should have been a bad guy more often. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When you want those thrillz, but you also need those chillz, but like, in a cooooool Antarctica way, who you gonna call? That’s right, super cool (literally) U.S. Marshal Kate Beckinsale. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – As a rare film set in Antarctica this was always on our radar. Otherwise I literally knew nothing about it going in which was fun. I could have guessed it was about thrills and chills as a murderer strikes in Antarctica, but I couldn’t have named anything about it. As a matter of fact I was pretty shocked to learn they were legit at the actual South Pole! That’s fun. What were my expectations? Thrillz. In reality my expectations were that it was going to be a generic thriller. It turns out that screenwriters exhausted all possibilities for thrillers by 2002 … that’s a joke, but sometimes it feels that way.

The Good – The setting does, in fact, work wonders for the film. Ends up being super spooky, and allows for real danger in the simple act of investigation. That is something taken for granted in a normal crime thriller, the hero who has enough brains and gumption to solve the case. Here, you have to have brains, gumption, and a healthy dose of self-preservation. That’s pretty cool. Spoilies, but it is also rather excellent that they took the risk to have the protagonist lose two of her fingers to frostbite in the film. It left a solid sense of the consequences hanging over the murders that Beckinsale gets saddled with on her last day at the South Pole (she’s about to retire! Amazing that that trope is actually used here). Best Bit – Antarctica setting.

The Bad – This film is an incredibly generic thriller. If not for that I think I might have gone with it being a true It’s-Not-That-Bad BMT film. A psychologically broken woman about to quit the force catches one last case, the masked murderer hunts her in an effort to hide his crimes, it turns out a good friend was involved the whole time. Yeah, that might be the storyline in about a dozen major films, and countless cheesy police procedurals by 2004. It completely sinks the film since understandably the entire thing becomes hopelessly predictable. There are only ever two possible suspects! At least some of this is likely because it is based on a graphic novel, but that isn’t really an excuse. Fatal Flaw – Generic.

The BMT – I think the only real record this will have in the history of BMT is that it is set in Antarctica. But to be honest, if this ended up being on randomly when I was chilling with some friends on a lazy Saturday afternoon or something? Yeah, maybe I leave it on? It is pretty fun in the end, kind of like the first Alex Cross film (Kiss the Girls), the performances and setting is just good enough to be really fun I think. Did it meet my expectations? Sadly I suppose, yes. It was as generic as one would have expected. Which is too bad because it isn’t nearly as bad as one might think, a normal generic thriller.

Roast-radamus – Definitely a strong Product Placement (What?) with the cold weather gear being used. In particular there are plenty of Northface all over this film. Huuuuuuuge Setting as a Character (Where?) for Antarctica. In some ways you could argue the real murderer was Mother Nature and the continent of Antarctica … one could argue that. Great Super Secret Holiday Film (When?) for Valentine’s Day! There is a shot where it pretty clearly indicates that it is either February 14th or 15th in 2007 (if the days are to be believed). Had to be intentional. Solid MacGuffin (Why?) in that there is a whole preamble set during the Cold War concerning a mysterious downed Russian airplane, which ultimately results in a bounty of diamonds that kicks off the murders. And finally a very bad Worst Twist (How?) for the “reveal” that the murderer’s accomplice is none other (and inevitably) Beckinsale’s doctor friend played by Tom Skerritt. That is an incredible set of superlatives, and I think it has an okay shot at the Good award as well in my opinion.

StreetCreditReport.com – Interesting this is very much not the worst film set in Antarctica as I would say Alien vs. Predator takes that crown … while looking that up it has occurred to be that Alien vs. Predator also came out in 2004. That’s pretty weird. Antarctica ended up having a major thriller and horror film set there in 2004. I wonder if that was the moment that people realized they could do an entire film in CGI for the backgrounds, and thus setting a film in Antarctica became feasible. Also weird because both were based on graphic novels, although it seems like the Alien vs. Predator comics weren’t set in Antarctica. Anyways, not much cred, just an amazing coincidence.

Bring a Friend Analysis – In a white/black motif, we watched Black Eagle alongside Whiteout this week. One of the first Van Damme films. So early in his career he was still playing the bad guy (Bloodsport was released about a month prior to this which obviously made him into a leading man). I’m genuinely shocked at the reception for this film. It isn’t good by any measure, but it has like a 3.8 on IMDb which is incredibly low. I thought Van Damme was actually really good in the film. And the storyline, in real James Bond spy convolution, is complicated, and yet this terrible direct-to-video film manages to keep the events relatively coherent. The cons for the film are basically that Shō Kosugi has a lot of trouble with English. It could have used a dub I think. I don’t think it is a good film, but I think for a martial arts spy film … it’s better than Gymkata right?! So I don’t really get the rating. The film is a bit too boring to recommend beyond for those looking to complete Van Damme’s filmography. C+, a bit too boring, but is a fine martial arts spy film I think.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Whiteout Quiz

Uh oh. I was a down and out U.S. Marshal stationed at the South Pole and I am ready for a holiday (I tell you what). Unfortunately there’s a killer on the loose, and he bopped me on the head with an ice ax (how am I not dead?) and I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Whiteout?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open with our hero Carrie taking a shower and talking to her best bud Dr. Fury. Why is this a very very special day for Carrie and Fury?

2) What is the reason Carrie came to the South Pole? Bonus points if you can explain vaguely why Dr. Fury is there.

3) They soon meet up with Robert Pryce while investigating (spoilees) missing diamonds from a crashed Russian Cold War aircraft. Who does Robert Pryce work for?

4) How did Carrie lose two fingers during the film?

5) Ultimately who is the culprits and what were their motivations and plan and what happens to them?

Answers

Whiteout Preview

As the monsters descend to the beautiful (not creepy) lagoon it becomes clear that they are gigantic super soldiers from General Tiniman’s army. They are outgunned and outmatched and this is where their journey will end. They hug Rio and pat Bessy on the head. They reminisce about all the fun times they had. “Remember that time we karate chopped the President in the neck?” Rich says, “and it turned out he wasn’t even a robot,” he recalls and oh boy how they laugh. Back in the real world Rich has a wife and six wonderful children. Poe has a very solid collection of old books. But most importantly they have love. Rich and Poe nod and go in for one final Predator high five. But this isn’t a time for high fives. This is a time for hugs. With tears in their eyes, they bro hug it out. Suddenly Poe is blasted away from Rich as the beam of light shoots forth once more from his chest. Screaming in pain from the quickening he is experiencing, Rich watches in joyful horror as it destroys all the foes in front of them. No matter how advanced their super armor is, the power of love emanating from Rich’s chest destroys it. The power is so great… unstoppable. Almost as if… and in that moment Rich realizes what is happening. A chill runs down his spine. So long ago, when they destroyed the Obsidian Dongle. When they made the universe whole once more. It was never destroyed. It lay in wait, embedded in the body of Rich. It brought them to Nic Cage. It brought them to this tournament. It is the ultimate prize. They are the ultimate prize. They are fighting for themselves. And with that thought everything goes white. That’s right! We’re watching Whiteout starring Kate Beckinsale. I feel like this has always been on the horizon as there is always room for another Antarctica film in BMT. This one won’t beat out AvP and its bullshit Predator-Human collaboration, but it’ll give it a shot. Let’s go!

One man takes out several guards with his bionic karate chops while the other does a patented Robot Split and takes out several more. Their prize is so close… their revenge. “Eagle has fallen, eagle has fallen!” one of the guards screams watching in horror as the men approach. They smile and then everything goes black. That’s right! We’re bringing along Black Eagle as a friend for this one. It’s a classic martial arts film from the 80’s which also features Van Damme as a bad guy and is set in Malta! What fun. Let’s go!

Whiteout (2009) – BMeTric: 47.0; Notability: 29 

(Pretty low actually. I’m always surprised when these smallish films, films I kind of barely remember existing, seem to get pretty thoroughly trounced on IMDb. I just imagine in my mind that there would be super fans of some kind flooding the ratings … but nope, hit mid-5.0 hard and hasn’t budged in years.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Good-looking but paper-thin thriller involving U.S. marshal Beckinsale, stationed in Antarctica, who struggles to exorcise her demons while investigating some gruesome killings. Even though her character is constantly in danger, Beckinsale is always perfectly coiffed; early on, she even peels off her clothes to take a steamy shower. Only in the movies … Based on a graphic novel by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber.

(Only in the movies indeed! Very interesting he gave it what I would say is a pretty decent review? Like two stars doesn’t seem so bad. Maybe there is something salvageable from it after all.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqxjF9qR5Cg/

(Pretty intense actually. Honestly the CGI looks like garbage, and it looks like a rote thriller, but the setting is interesting.)

Directors – Dominic Sena – (Known For: Kalifornia; BMT: Season of the Witch; Whiteout; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Swordfish; Notes: Won a Grammy for Best Music Video (Long Form) for the Janet Jackson song Rhythm Nation 1814. We have officially completed his BMT filmography, and I think he retired from directing in 2011.)

Writers – Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber (screenplay) – (Known For: The Meg; My Spy; RED; RED 2; BMT: Whiteout; Battleship; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Battleship in 2013; Notes: They are writing a live-action Naruto film (not a good idea). They are also tagged to write the sequel to The Meg. They are brothers.)

Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes(screenplay) – (Known For: The Conjuring; The Conjuring 2; Future BMT: House of Wax; The Turning; The Reaping; The Crucifixion; BMT: Whiteout; Notes: Twin brothers. Amazingly they wrote ten episodes of Baywatch Nights, the straight crime-drama spin off of Baywatch. They have been tapped to write the Die Hard prequel McClane. They were non-theatrical all-stars in the late-90s, and somehow transitioned back to wide releases in the 2000s.)

Greg Rucka (graphic novel) – (Known For: Wonder Woman: Bloodlines; BMT: Whiteout; Notes: Wrote Stumptown which has been adapted into a television show starring Colby Smulders. His graphic novel Queen & Country is being adapted into a film by Ridley Scott.)

Steve Lieber (graphic novel) – (BMT: Whiteout; Notes: An illustrator. He also illustrated the sequel novel Whiteout: Melt. There was supposed to be a Whiteout: Thaw, but I don’t believe it was ever released.)

Actors – Kate Beckinsale – (Known For: The Aviator; Contraband; Much Ado About Nothing; Serendipity; Eliza Graves; Vacancy; Love & Friendship; Laurel Canyon; Farming; Everybody’s Fine; The Last Days of Disco; Haunted; Snow Angels; Fragments; The Golden Bowl; Shooting Fish; Future BMT: The Disappointments Room; The Face of an Angel; Underworld: Blood Wars; Absolutely Anything; Van Helsing; Pearl Harbor; Total Recall; Click; Underworld Awakening; The Only Living Boy in New York; Underworld: Rise of the Lycans; Brokedown Palace; Underworld: Evolution; Underworld; BMT: Whiteout; Tiptoes; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Pearl Harbor in 2002; Notes: Voiced Queen Aryenn in multiple Elder Scrolls games. Had a child with Michael Sheen in 1999.)

Gabriel Macht – (Known For: Love & Other Drugs; The Good Shepherd; The Recruit; The Object of My Affection; A Love Song for Bobby Long; Grand Theft Parsons; The Adventures of Sebastian Cole; A Bag of Hammers; Future BMT: The Spirit; Simply Irresistible; Bad Company; Middle Men; BMT: Whiteout; Because I Said So; American Outlaws; Behind Enemy Lines; Notes: Most famous for his role as Harvey Specter in the show Suits. This film came out right in that brief moment where he was a genuine movie star.)

Tom Skerritt – (Known For: Top Gun; Alien; Steel Magnolias; Ted; Contact; The Dead Zone; A River Runs Through It; M.A.S.H.; Up in Smoke; Harold and Maude; SpaceCamp; Singles; Lucky; A Hologram for the King; Big Bad Mama; Smoke Signals; The Turning Point; At Middleton; Ice Castles; The Big Town; Future BMT: Poltergeist III; Poison Ivy; The Rookie; The Devil’s Rain; Beer for My Horses; Knight Moves; Tears of the Sun; The Other Sister; Fighting Back; BMT: Whiteout; Texas Rangers; Notes: Nominated for two Emmys for his role in Picket Fences. This film is his last leading role in a wide release film.)

Budget/Gross – $35,000,000 / Domestic: $10,275,638 (Worldwide: $17,976,667)

(Yeah not great. The budget at least makes sense. They definitely had to build something that looked vaguely like the South Pole station. There is only so much smoke and mirrors you can pull off with blue screen and stagecraft.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (8/115): Kate Beckinsale is as lovely as ever, and does her best with the material, but moribund pacing and an uninspired plot leave Whiteout in the cold.

(The reviews kind of outline the problem with most 00s thrillers don’t they? Bad plotting, bad twists, no thrillz. It seems like there was a streak of weird thrillers based around a poorly thought out twist, or just a book (in this case a graphic novel) which doesn’t adapt well. That was the issue with the (frankly cheesy) Alex Cross books. Reviewer Highlight: Even in a whiteout, you can see the plot twists coming. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Chillz

(Artistic and does its job pretty well. While I don’t understand the font they’ve chosen, I still appreciate it. I guess the only question is whether going all in on “Kate Beckinsale vehicle” was the best move or if they should have highlighted something else. Because that’s really the only story you get. B+)

Tagline(s) – See Your Last Breath. (A-)

(Huh… I think… I think I might like this. Telling me about the danger. Telling me about the cold. Short and sweet and a little bit of a twist on the phrase “Take Your Last Breath.” I dig it. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty solid.)

Keyword – antarctica

Top 10: Watchmen (2009), Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), The Thing (1982), Madagascar (2005), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), The Thing (2011), AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004), Happy Feet (2006), Good Luck Chuck (2007), Minions (2015)

Future BMT: 64.7 Norm of the North (2016), 42.3 The Brothers Solomon (2007), 27.2 The Thing (2011), 25.6 The Pebble and the Penguin (1995);

BMT: AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004), Good Luck Chuck (2007), Whiteout (2009)

(Amazing that we’ve seen three films either set in Antarctica or with plot elements concerning Antarctica. I genuinely believe such films boomed in the 00s because that was when juuuuust enough cheap CGI was available to make it look … fine, without having to set it inside or at night most of the time. Oddly, the only really good movie of the bunch is The Thing and that was made long before cheap CGI. Huh.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Kate Beckinsale is No. 1 billed in Whiteout and No. 4 billed in Tiptoes, which also stars Gary Oldman (No. 1 billed) who is in Lost in Space (No. 1 billed), which also stars Heather Graham (No. 5 billed) who is in Say It Isn’t So (No. 2 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 17. If we were to watch Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 9.

Notes – Dominic Sena is a fan of the “Whiteout” graphic novel, and when rights were acquired by Dark Castle Entertainment Sena petitioned president Joel Silver for the opportunity to direct. (Oh snap, this is based on a graphic novel? That’s … a bit surprising considering the reviews)

Warner Bros. shelved the film for about two years, according to Entertainment Weekly (Issue #1085). (Whaaaaaaaaaaa?)

Screenwriter and novelist Alexander Stuart wrote an early draft of the script, while Reese Witherspoon was still attached, following a studio-sponsored research trip to Barrow, Alaska (the northernmost point in continental North America) – which scientists said was the closest location in “feel” to McMurdo Station in Antarctica. (Could have been cool)

The British Flag in the Communications room is hanging upside down. This is an inside joke common among South Pole installations. Since they are at the bottom of the world, if you were to look at the globe proper, the flag would appear to be right side up.

Both real and fake snow were used in production. (There was too much of it at times for it to be fake I think. I have to imagine they breathed in a crazy amount of it by accident)

The Darkest Hour (2011) Recap

Jamie

Sean and Ben are aspiring tech bros traveling to Moscow to sell their new social media app. Unfortunately while getting their tech stolen there is also an alien invasion and they must fight for their lives (along with a few other lucky survivors). Can they learn how to beat the seemingly invincible aliens (and maybe find love) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Darkest Hour.

How?! Sean and Ben are totes ready to expand their big new social media travel app (that hopefully will also help them snag some chicks… tight) to Russia. Despite having a fully functional app with actual users, they still manage to get their app entirely stolen by the Russian company somehow. Despondent they head to a rad Moscow bar where they meet up with some hot chicks, Natalie and Anne, using their (or not, I guess) app. Drinking their worries away, they have a great time until some glowy orange things start to descend from the sky. Everyone is like, ‘cooool’, that is until the glowy things start disintegrating people. Hiding for several days, they manage to evade the initial onslaught along with the Swedish dude who stole their app (what a coincidence!). Creeping around Moscow they come to realize that the aliens are totally invisible (except that they make electrical equipment go wild when their energy field touches them) and can’t see through glass. This knowledge allows them to make it to the American embassy where they realize that there has been a global invasion and a submarine rescue is planned for survivors. At that point they start getting picked off one-by-one as they meet up with a crazy inventor survivor, who has a theory on how to kill the aliums, and start to make their way to the submarine. They get rescued by a survivalist militia who agree to help them. On the way Ben is killed and Natalie is separated from the group. Sean begs for help to save her and with the help of the submariners are able to figure out how to start killing the aliens. In a climactic battle they are able to take out a number of the baddies and save Natalie. The survivalists vow to use the knowledge in the new war against the aliens and Sean and Natalie head off into the sunset on their submarine dream machine. THE END.

Why?! Survival, duh. Per usual, the motivation of the good guys is so pure that it’s almost boring. More interesting is the motivation for why the aliens have invaded Earth. In this case it’s the well-worn idea that the aliens need Earth for its sweet sweet natural resources and humans are just an extraneous nuisance that must be exterminated. Not so fast, Aliums! You underestimate the human race.

Who?! As the beginning of Crimson Tide tells us, one of the most powerful men in the world is a submarine captain. It certainly seems like this film had one such powerful man, however it’s a little hard to tell from the credits who that is. I think perhaps the character was given the name Anton Batkin? Really need to make this more clear… I mean… he’s a pretty powerful man.

What?! Add this to the list of Faraday cage related films we’ve watched (looking at you, Transcendence). On top of that there was also a whole article about how 2011 was the year of the tourism product placement where it seemed like every film released was set in a new and interesting location. But really the real winner of this film was the oft forgotten Hollywood Badass Bar. We don’t get to talk about it much but these bars are far too bright, far too quiet, and super “cool” in a “girls dancing in a cage” kind of way. And this one had a really nice example.

Where?! Russia for days. It’s funny to see that article about tourism product placement because most of what I learned about Russia from this film is that people steal your sweet IP, you mostly just meet other Americans, and aliums fall from the sky. Not the most ringing of endorsements in my opinion. A.

When?! I have no idea. I wonder if there is more indication of when this took place than I think, just because I really wasn’t paying attention. Def not Xmas, no matter what the tagline led us to believe, though. They would have been freezing if that were the case. So tagline, you lied. F… for now.

It’s hard to really like a film whose main character seems like a terrible person and never really acknowledges that fact… he just kinda wins and gets the girl and that’s fine because obviously it’s better that he beats the aliums. But it also seems like a little carry over from a time when tech bros were all the rage and, well, that hasn’t aged well as of late. Add on top that the CGI only held up as long as the aliens were virtually invisible (not a great sign) and we were looking at what felt like a prequel… or sequel… or concurrent-quel to Skyline that was similarly interesting to watch in a trainwreck kind of way. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When some baaaaaaaad ‘tricity comes down from the clouds in Moscow, whatchu gonna do? Run to that submarine, you know it! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – For real we’ve almost done this film like ten times in BMT history. It was one of the worst reviewed films of 2011, the year we started BMT, but prior to when we like … spent money on watching recent films or even really organized things in a coherent fashion. And it almost got bumped again. But finally, we’re going to watch this film about … aliens I think. They’re bad electricity or something. At the time I remember being rather confused about it. What were my expectations? I was hoping for a crap Independence Day knock off and not much more. Set Independence Day in Russia and that’s what I hoped this film was.

The Good – Parts of this film play like a video game. They get a microwave gun, and can freeze the enemies with it. They can then use water to chain the freeze mechanism across multiple aliens, etc. It is precisely the kind of thing you’d see in a video game … makes you wonder why they didn’t just do that? Have they? They could actually try and do the opposite. Make the good video game after the terrible movie adaptation. That would be a new one. Other than that the setting is pretty fun all things considered. And there is a submarine which is always very very fun. Cool gadgets and a submarine? That’s a bit more than I expected from the film. Best Bit – The alien design.

The Bad – Absolutely terrible CGI. Despite a cool and innovative alien design, it suffers from some of the worst CGI you’ll see in a BMT film and that is saying something. Emile Hirsch has a redemption arc in the film that is fully undeserved. It is made abundantly clear that he’s flakey and kind of a dick. Instead of holding a mirror up to him to show his previous attitude as dangerous, it instead decides to double down by revealing that he’s actually a genius and just the right kind of street smart to get their group through the mess they are in … wha? If you can ignore how cheap the film looks, then that is really what sinks it, especially once they kill off multiple much better characters. Fatal Flaw – Deplorable main character.

The BMT – We had to eventually do this film. It came out at a perfect time for BMT, less than a year after we started, we had matured our formula a bit … and yet we just didn’t do it. Well we finally have. And it’ll stand in a pantheon for some of the worst alien invasion films we’ve seen (and we’ve seen a few), and some of the worst CGI we’ve seen as well. Plus I don’t think it’ll get supplanted as a worst Russia-set film anytime soon. That’s some sweet BMTness right there. Did it meet my expectations? It kind of did. I was surprised that the alien design didn’t suck more, but it more than made up for it by spending maybe $10 dollars on CGI to bring that vision to life. So yeah, really just dumb enough for me to find enjoyable.

Roast-radamus – Definitely some solid Product Placement (What?) with McDonald’s getting featured multiple times while panning over a devastated Moscow. Obviously a good Setting as a Character (Where?) for Russia in general, and Moscow specifically. There are multiple references to “Welcome to Russia” and the Russian attitude. I think there is an okay argument for the single-minded pursuit of getting to the submarine as a kind of MacGuffin (Why?) in the context of the film.

StreetCreditReport.com – This one isn’t really mentioned anywhere. Probably because it was kind of buried in early early 2012. Once you get into that January releases you won’t make the lists which will be compiled in mid-December. Besides that I’m a bit shocked no one seemed to put it on a list of worst alien invasion films. It certainly feels like one of the worst alien invasion films ever made.

You Just Got Schooled – I was quite pleased with myself here in that I was racking my brain trying to think of an equivalent “good” version of this film. I finally settled on The War of the Worlds from 1953, and it turned out to basically be a perfect analogue. Weird aliens descend suddenly on Earth, humanity is overrun in the face of what appears to be impenetrable alien defenses, humanity solves the issue … fine in this case, spoiler, it turns out the aliens can’t live on Earth due to not having immunity to any of our diseases (apropos indeed!). If you like the pacing of 50s films this is one of the better ones I’ve seen. The entire thing operates as a thought experiment on how scientists and the military might respond to an attack from an unknown and formidable opponent. A-, would highly recommend especially if you’ve seen the Spielberg version, but again, it has 50s pacing and effects.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Darkest Hour (2011) Quiz

Oh boy, last thing I remember is glowing things falling from the sky, and then I got bopped on the head and woke up a week later in a desolate city. Do you remember what happened in The Darkest Hour?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open on our heroes, Sean and Ben, heading off to Russia to close a big deal for their startup. But what does their startup do?

2) After that deal … doesn’t happen, the boys hit the town and meet up with Natalie and Anne. How do they know / have heard of these two women before?

3) After the aliens attack the, now fivesome, hide in a storage room in the bar. After that they make a plan to escape to where?

4) In the shopping center they figure out a way to detect the aliens, a way to hide form the aliens, and later on with the help of Sergei, how to kill the aliens. How?

5) In the end, the reason the aliens have come to Earth is alluded to. Why?

Answers