Harlem Nights Preview

Alright, so this week we move onto our Razzie category. We needed a Razzie nominee with a one-and-done director and what better one to do than Eddie Murphy’s only directorial effort, Harlem Nights. In 1989, with Robert Townsend and Spike Lee, there was a bit of a black directing renaissance going on in Hollywood. Eddie Murphy was the it guy and was given the chance to direct a film. He wanted to work with his heroes, so he cast Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx and they cooked up Harlem Nights. Sounds pretty cool and this has definitely got a bit of a cult following over the years, so don’t be surprised if we come back saying some good (or at least alright) things about it. Let’s go!

Harlem Nights (1989) – BMeTric: 23.5

HarlemNights_BMeT

(Yet another weird example of a movie going from “really bad” about 10 years ago (4.8 rating on IMDb) to “mediocre to good” now (5.9 on IMDb). I have to admit, I don’t totally get the migration, but I assume it is just a general IMDb trend, the more people you have voting the higher the average rating tends to be. If this trend keeps up this will end up not even really registering for BMT at all, it if gets to 6.2 it will be near to 15 or so with the BMeTric. Vaguely interesting stuff guys.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Proprietor of an after-hours club in 1930s Harlem (Pryor) and his adopted son (Murphy) try standing up to a white mobster determined to cut in on their take of put them out of business. Murphy’s debut as a writer-director is skimpily scripted and completely devoid of energy. Even pryor’s effortless charisma can’t breathe much life into this one.

(That sounds about right. Not good, but not off-the-rails bad… two stars. Not sounding like the best BMT film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En27DgNW0nY

(Huh. A super understated trailer for what is apparently a super understated movie. I’m starting to get the feeling … oh yeah I’m there, I have a bad feeling this movie is “bad” because it is aggressively and unrelentingly boring. I hope I’m wrong.)

Directors – Eddie Murphy – (BMT: Harlem Nights; Notes: Only directorial effort of his career. His quote about directing: “It was a question of wearing too many hats, and as a result, everything was half-assed. All my peers were directing: Keenan [Ivory Wayans], and Robert [Townsend] and Spike [Lee]. I was like ‘Shit,’ I’m the big cat on the block; let me see what it’s like to direct. So I just did it. I didn’t dig it.”)

Writers – Eddie Murphy (written by) – (Known For: Coming to America; Beverly Hills Cop II; Boomerang; BMT: Norbit (BMT); Vampire in Brooklyn; Another 48 Hrs.; Harlem Nights; Notes: Involved in a well publicized lawsuit, Buchwald v. Paramount, involving the Coming to America screenplay. Murphy’s treatment for the script was alleged to be stolen from a screenplay written by Art Buchwald and the trial ended up being settled. Written about in the book Fatal Subtraction.)

Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Coming to America; Shrek; Mulan; Shrek 2; Trading Places; Beverly Hills Cop; Shrek the Third; Shrek Forever After; Tower Heist; Dreamgirls; Life; 48 Hrs.; The Nutty Professor; Doctor Dolittle; Beverly Hills Cop II; Dr. Dolittle 2; Bowfinger; Boomerang; Imagine That; BMT: Norbit (BMT); Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (Seen it); The Adventures of Pluto Nash (BMT); Vampire in Brooklyn; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man (Seen it); I Spy (Seen it); Beverly Hills Cop III; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child; A Thousand Words (BMT); The Distinguished Gentleman; Harlem Nights; Notes: Major movie star and stand-up comic. One of the most prominent BMT actors of our age.)

Eddie Murphy Razzie Notes – Won 2010 Worst Actor of the Decade; Won 2008 Worst Actor, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress Norbit, 1990 Worst Screenplay Harlem Nights; Nominated 2013 Worst Actor A Thousand Words, 2010 Worst Actor Imagine That, 2009 Worst Actor Meet Dave, 2003 Worst Actor The Adventures of Pluto Nash, I Spy, Showtime, 1990 Worst Director Harlem Nights, 2008 Worst Screenplay Norbit, 2009 Worst Screen Couple Meet Dave, 2008 Worst Screen Couple Norbit, 2003 Worst Screen Couple with Robert De Niro (Showtime) and Owen Wilson (I Spy).

Also stars Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $60,864,870

(Quite a big hit, although not nearly the hit that the producers anticipated (if stories are to be believed). The more famous story from its release is a couple of shooting that occurred in and around theaters during its release. Led to the first metal detectors installed in theaters.)

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

(Too old for a consensus, so I’ll make one up: Great cast and sharp 1930’s look, can’t make up for the bizarrely unfunny script by first-time-director Murphy. Maybe stick to acting.)

Poster – Classic (A)

harlem_nights

(It’s just classic. I would hang this on my wall. I feel like all the art aspects of this film were off the chain.)

Tagline(s) – They’re up to something big. (D)

(Does this mean something? I’m confused. Is this a film where Eddie Murphy is made into a 50-foot monster through the reverse use of a shrinking ray? Are Murphy, Pryor, and Foxx tasked with transporting an Elephant somewhere? It only doesn’t get an F because it doesn’t offend my senses.)

Notes – In the autobiography, “Pryor Convictions and Other Life Sentences (1997)”, Richard Pryor states that he ” . . . never connected with Eddie [Murphy]. People talked about how my work had influenced Eddie, and perhaps it did. But I always thought Eddie’s comedy was mean. I used to say, “Eddie, be a little nice” and that would piss him off . . . I finished [Harlem Nights (1989)] thinking that Eddie didn’t like me”.

By his own admission, Eddie Murphy felt that he didn’t dedicate enough thought or care to the directing of his debut. He was more concerned at the time with figuring out where the next party was going to be.

Awards – Oscar Nominated for Best Costume Design (Joe I. Tompkins)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Eddie Murphy)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Eddie Murphy)

Eragon Preview

So this week is also an extra special week. No, we are not watching Bulletproof Monk again. Instead we are here to celebrate watching 300 BMT films! It’s a sad day when you can say you are almost to the point where you have an entire year of bad movies under your belt, but we are getting mighty close. We only started the website recently, so you can’t see much of our thoughts on a majority of these films, but trust me we watched them… we certainly did (Jamie says, staring wistfully into the distance). We are sticking to the Stallonian Calendar for this milestone and watching Eragon as the Sci-Fi/Fantasy entry in the one-and-done director cycle. Directed by Stefen Fangmeier, a visual effects artist from ILM that got a chance to direct the film as his first (and last) feature. This one’s got everything: a book it’s based on, a movie that horrified its core fanbase, a failed franchise, and a director’s commentary to listen to in our free time. Perfect as #300. Let’s go!

Eragon (2006) – BMeTric: 62.4

Eragon_BMeT

(Look at that beauty. Took a few months to hit 50 and then never looked back. I’m actually shocked it didn’t get any play for the Razzies because I remember this getting hit hard when it came out. Although it did get some play at the last Stinkers Awards (remember those? Weirdly enough neither do I. And it was much more well known than the Razzies for like 20 years). Anyways, the score suggests I should be rolling down the aisle Pompeii style. Do not make such promises BMeTric, my heart can only take so much.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Orphaned farm boy finds a mysterious egg that hatches the last of an extinct breed of magical dragons. The boy, the dragon, and his world-weary, wise old mentor travel across magical lands to save the oppressed people of his home kingdom from an evil king and his henchman wizard. Scenery is pretty and CGI effects are fine, but the movie is a patchwork quilt of conventions borrowed from other fantasy films and stories (with none of their entertainment value). Based on the first in a series of popular books by Christopher Paolini.

(Oh dear, Leonard. You clearly know this is based on a book series written by a 15-year-old kid. Did you not think the story was going to be a patchwork quilt of conventions borrowed from other fantasy material? Otherwise he seems pretty OK with the film. Things are looking up.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZRHO0d9Nao

(Anyone else amped?! Yeah. Dragons bro! Killing it. Can’t wait for the second and third in the Inheritance trilogy. Get to see that sweet Malkovich Con-Air crazy come out. Boom.)

Directors – Stefen Fangmeier – (BMT: Eragon; Notes: Accomplished visual effects artist nominated for three Oscars in the field for Twister, The Perfect Storm, and Master and Commander. Spent most of his career at ILM before leaving to try directing with Eragon. Since then he has sporadically done visual effects work, most recently on future BMT Allegiant.)

Writers – Peter Buchman (screenplay) – (Known For: Jurassic Park III; Che; BMT: Eragon; Notes: Started as a playwright in Seattle and caught a break when one of his plays was purchased by Scorsese, prompting a move to LA. Another script of his caught the eye of Spielberg who hired him for Jurassic Park III.)

Christopher Paolini (novel) – (BMT: Eragon; Notes: Doesn’t talk about the film adaptation much other than to say that he’s grateful it was made and that a film is the vision of the filmmaker and the book the vision of the artist, so both need to be enjoyed separately. Nice outlook.)

Actors – Ed Speleers – (Known For: Howl; A Lonely Place to Die; BMT: Eragon; Plastic; Notes: Now probably best known as a regular on Downton Abbey. Was on the shortlist for John Boyega’s part in Force Awakens.)

Also stars Dungeons and Dragons legend Jeremy Irons

Budget/Gross – $100 million / Domestic: $75,030,163 (Worldwide: $249,488,115)

(Worldwide success, but lackluster domestic haul is probably why it didn’t spawn the franchise that I’m sure the studio wanted. The 29th highest grossing young adult adaptation of all time. The worst wide-release? A vampire movie called Blood and Chocolate… which I don’t remember coming out, but stars Legends of Oz and Evening BMT hall of famer Hugh Dancy (that’s what he’s known for right?).)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (20/124): Written by a teenager (and it shows), Eragon presents nothing new to the “hero’s journey” story archetype. In movie terms, this movie looks and sounds like Lord of the Rings and plays out like a bad Star Wars rip-off. The movie spins the tale of a peasant boy who is suddenly entrusted with a dragon and must, with the help of a mentor, train, grow strong, and defeat an evil emperor. The way the critics picture it, the makers of Eragon should soon be expecting an annoyed phone call from George Lucas.

(Right off the bat hitting at the author. In fairness, he did not write the film. Also, harping on something because it “ripped off” Star Wars simply because it has a character who must grow strong and fight an evil-doer is hilarious. Is there any fantasy film or book where that isn’t the plot? Are they also going to be getting annoyed phone calls from Bobby Jordan?)

Poster – Yup … That’s a poster. (C-)

eragon_ver7

(Let’s see. I kind of like the symmetry. The color scheme is okay (I wish it wasn’t just generally blue and blah), but otherwise, again, uninspired. I think that might be the theme of the day boys and girls. Uninspired. This film feels uninspired. We do continue our streak of bomb fonts though. Look at that, impossible to fake!)

Tagline(s) – You are stronger than you realize. Wiser than you know. What was once your life is now your legend. (D)

Riders Wanted (D+)

As Darkness Falls, The Last Dragon Will Choose Its Rider. (C+)

(I am less than impressed with all of these. The first is two long and, honestly, try and read it and allow your mind to naturally parse that monster … it doesn’t make sense. The second is fun, but is more suited to a fun kids animated film like How to Train Your Dragon. The last is probably the best, it is just uninspired. And “darkness falls” seems a bit misplaced to me, but I can’t really put my finger one it … well, nothing solid in the lot.)

Notes – Many fans of the book were upset at Stefen Fangmeier’s decisions to take out crucial characters and plot lines.

Plans were made to adapt the other books in the series, but they were dropped.

Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart were offered the role of Brom, but turned it down because of their commitment to X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). (and probably because they thought it was going to be terrible …)

Alex Pettyfer was offered the role of Eragon, previous to the casting of Ed Speleers. Pettyfer said he had turned down the role partly because Eragon was filmed in Budapest and he’s afraid of flying. (Nooooooooooo. My sweet sweet Pettyfer. It is only a few days by train to Hungary. Even if he was in the US at the time there is a boat that takes ten days to England. Easy peasy. What a BMT Disaster!).

Bulletproof Monk Preview

It’s a pretty special week here at BMTHQ. That’s because it’s Bulletproof Monk week. Bulletproof Monk has been recommended for BMT not once. Not twice. But at least three times by three different people. From Minnesota to New Jersey to Massachusetts this movie apparently confuses and delights. Why haven’t we watched it before? It just never felt like the right time. Now is the right time. Not only is the film the epitome of the one-and-done director film, but it also happens to feature Mako, an actor featured in our last Chain Reaction film Conan the Destroyer. It’s almost as if the BMT gods smiled down on us and provided the perfect movie for the perfect moment. Let’s go!

Bulletproof Monk (2003) – BMeTric: 43.0

BulletproofMonk_BMeT

(Again, solid score. I think when you are looking at movies which started and ended a person’s career it is pretty likely you’ll end up near 50 BMeTric if it is bad. When these are bad they are very very bad indeed.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 1/2 stars –  Chow plays a monk that never ages while he guards an ancient scroll that possesses the secret to infinite power … but now it’s time to find a successor, and he think it may be young pickpocket Scott, of all people. Lively and amusing when it doesn’t get too silly; alas special effects take the place of genuine martial arts action most of the time. Coproduced by John Woo, and based on a comic book of the same name.

(First, strong semicolon game from Leonard as usual. Second, “young pickpocket” yes! Third, like The Medallion and The Tuxedo before it, silly movies with garbage CGI replacing genuine martial arts action is the bane of the martial arts action genre for me. Very few movies that try and replace actual martial arts with wire-work or CGI end up working out as far as I’m concerned. Crouching Tiger is an example of the rare exception)

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

(But … but why? Why is this happening to us? The music. The garbage humor. The terrible CGI. The racist/gay panic humor (I’m just guessing on that one). This is the early 2000s. I am officially excited. Brain, you are officially on alert, get ready for a world of pain this week.)

Directors – Paul Hunter – (BMT: Bulletproof Monk; Notes: Famous commercial and music video director that kind of blurred the lines between the two. You would know him best for the Nike Freestyle Rhythm commercial.)

Writers – Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris (written by) – (Known For: Kung Fu Panda; Robin Hood; BMT: Bulletproof Monk; Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight; Notes: Writing partners. Both attended NYU but met for the first time at graduation. The writers of the upcoming Karate Kid sequel… they really love martial arts films.)

Actors – Yun-Fat Chow – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Anna and the King; Curse of the Golden Flower; Hard Boiled; BMT: Dragonball: Evolution; Beginning of the Great Revival; Bulletproof Monk; The Replacement Killers; Notes: Famous Hong Kong actor. Started in dramatic acting, not martial arts, so kind of the reverse of many of the stars we’ve seen in BMT.)

Seann William Scott – (Known For: American Pie; Old School; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Road Trip; American Reunion; American Pie 2; Evolution; Role Models; Ice Age: The Meltdown; Goon; American Wedding; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; The Rundown; The Promotion; BMT: Movie 43; The Dukes of Hazzard; Mr. Woodcock; Dude, Where’s My Car?; Bulletproof Monk; Cop Out; Southland Tales; Planet 51; Notes: Grew up in Minnesota, not too far from Rochester. Got his break as Stifler in American Pie, for which he was reportedly paid $8000.)

Budget/Gross – $52 million / Domestic: $23,358,708 (Worldwide: $37,713,879 Worldwide)

(Jeez Louise, what a bomb. Just a catastrophe. I wonder where the misfire came from? The budget doesn’t seem absurd. I guess just a miscalculation of the genre in the wake of Crouching Tiger maybe? There were a few fake-martial-arts film flops in the early 2000s it seems.)

#17 for the Action – Wire-Fu genre, narrowly beating out (speak of the devil) The Medallion, and one spot below future BMT legend The Musketeer.

#108 for the Comic Book Adaptation genre, incredibly low. Right around The Spirit, I Frankenstein, and Elektra. For movies whose widest release is greater than 1000 theaters, recent BMT hit Steel is dead last. There are some dire films on this list. It is worth a glance.

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (31/133): Venerable action star Chow Yun-Fat is the only saving grace in this silly action flick that more often than not resembles a commercial in style.

(Honestly, I’m a bit surprised this is so high. Just considering how often this has been recommended for BMT. I wonder if RT was making fun of Hunter with the “commercial in style” part, since he was a commercial director.)

Poster – Bulletproof Font (B-)

Bulletproof-Monk-2003

(You may be surprised by that grade, but hear me out. The title font is incredible. Patrick would never be able to spoof that. It’s got a nice blue tone to it. It’s perfectly symmetrical. All good things. The bad? It’s oddly empty and dull. I couldn’t imagine anyone hanging that on their wall cause it’s just too lame. [Patrick Note: I find it simply hilarious that they have “Bulletproof” twice on this poster. It is like they realized Bulletproof Monk sounded dumb and they wished they had just shortened it to Bulletproof, but it was too late.])

Tagline(s) – A power beyond measure requires a protector without equal. (C-)

A monk. A punk. A chick. In a kick-ass flick. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat)

(The first one is the poster tagline and it’s… not great. Too long and not clever. Only positive is that it nicely hints at what the story will be about and has a slight rhythm to it. The second one is bonkers insane. Used on a secondary (oddly shaped) poster. Everything about that second poster is hideous.)

Notes – Jaime King broke her finger during filming, but not in any of the stunts – just while walking up the stairs talking on the phone. (coooooooooool)

The actors who portray the monks in the movie are real martial artists from the Sunny Tang Martial Arts Center located in Toronto, Canada.

Heath Ledger considered the role of Kar but turned it down to star in Ned Kelly (2003).

Down to You Preview

Alrighty girls, time to settle down with your boo and bust out that bottle of wine, because this week is a romantic … comedy? Drama? I actually can’t tell. Teen Romance. There it is, that is a genre, right? Anywho, BMT legend Freddie Prinze Jr., teen star legend Julia Stiles, and a one-off writer-director once got together and made what is apparently a truly baffling movie. There is a story here, I know there is!

Down to You (2000) – BMeTric: 46.7

DownToYou_BMeT

(Nice. Looking like it will just stay a shade under 50 BMeT for all of time. Congrats Down to You, you did it! Otherwise a pretty standard chart at this point. I am genuinely surprised at how high the BMeT is though, 45+ is still incredible.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Prinza and Stiles futilely try chumming us up by speaking directly into the camera, explaining how their once-idyllic college romance went bust (though not as bust as the movie). Somehow, this manages to find room for subplots about a TV cooking show (hosted by Winkler as Prinze’s dad) and a buddy who dabbles as an adult-movie entrepreneur with a kind of bohemian/intellectual porn actress. Numbingly inept comedy.

(Holy cow Maltin, BRUTAL. Buzzed right past passive aggressive and slid face first into straight-up aggressive! This movie is straight busted. The irony is just dripping off of that “somehow”, dirty. And the closer. So succinct and just soul destroying. I’m obsessed with this review for some reason, he just murders this film.)

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

(That looks like the 90s alright. Really just sickly sweet stuff. Cannot wait to sit down with my boo and watch that. I hope they get together in the end!)

Directors – Kris Isacsson – (BMT: Down to You; Notes: see below)

Writers – Kris Isacsson (written by) – (BMT: Down to You; Notes: one-time director and writer? Uh, yes please. He is also an anomaly in that I can find very very little information about him. I think I found his twitter (~100 tweets, mostly retweets) and his instagram (~100 posts, nothing interesting). I don’t really know what happened to him. He did a few tv movies up through 2008, but nothing else on IMDb. There is a story here … [Jamie’s Note: Here’s a little bit of his background. Also here is a link to the short film he did that won a Sundance award.])

Actors – Freddie Prinze Jr. – (Known For: The House of Yes; Brooklyn Rules; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Scooby-Doo; Wing Commander (BMT); Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed; Happily N’Ever After; Summer Catch; Down to You; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Boys and Girls; Head Over Heels; She’s All That; Delgo; Notes: Best buds with BMT darling Matthew Lillard (in my dreams). Only son of late comedian Freddie Prinze. Now more known for his voice acting work, and was heavily involved with WWE for years. Nominated Razzie Award 2003 Worst Supporting Actor Scooby-Doo)

Julia Stiles – (Known For: 10 Things I Hate About You; Silver Linings Playbook; The Bourne Identity; The Bourne Ultimatum; The Bourne Supremacy; Save the Last Dance; O; Closed Circuit; State and Main; Hamlet; It’s a Disaster; Edmond; I Love You, I Love You Not; The Business of Strangers; BMT: Down to You; The Omen; A Guy Thing; The Prince and Me (BMT); Out of the Dark; Girl Most Likely; The Devil’s Own; Misconduct; Mona Lisa Smile; Notes: We saw her last in Prince and Me. Her filmography is incredible considering she hasn’t been a leading lady for years. A former vegan.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $20,069,008 (Worldwide: $24,419,914 Worldwide)

#28 for Teen Romance (right above another Prinze gem, Summer Catch)

(Ooooooooof. First, how could this movie cost that much? I guess maybe the NYC setting and actors? And yes, this was actually shot in NYC according to IMDb. I suppose you expect a Prinze/Stiles film to do better, but first time writer-director? There is a story here, I feel it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (2/59): Down to You is ruined by a bland, by-the-numbers plot and an awful script.

(That is a spectacularly low score. Also, everything about this film screams “This person had no idea how to write or direct a film and yet was somehow given total control”. The question is why and how? My guess … we’ll never know.)

Poster – Hideous Purple Background (D-)

DownToYou

(I have a confession to make: I hate this poster. I hate how they are just kind of cut into it. I hate the background color and pattern. I hate the font and how easy it would be for me to change this into Down to Sklog with me and my dog Tolstoy hugging (and no, I didn’t do it … I was too busy, otherwise you’d be looking at my fake poster right this minute). Why isn’t it an F? Because I like Prinze and Stiles, so there.)

Tagline(s) – A new comedy about giving first love a second chance. (B-)

(Above average, you heard me right. First love. Second chance. I hate the “new comedy” bit, but I like the idea. And hey, as far as taglines goes there are far far far far far worse. Change that to “Sometimes first love needs a second chance” and you got a solid B.)

Notes – First time that Shawn Hatosy and Julia Stiles worked together. Later they would both join the cast of Dexter during Season 5. (cooooooooooool)

Maximum Overdrive Preview

Alright, for this week’s film we continue on our cycle of one-and-done directors with horror/thriller. While the previous entries in the category typically involve an actor taking a stab at directing, or a commercial/music video/television director getting a shot, this film is one of the few examples where a novelist was given the chance to adapt his own work. That’s right, we are watching Maximum Overdrive! Perhaps emboldened by Clive Barker’s success with Hellraiser, Stephen King decided he really, really, really wanted to direct this adaptation. Then afterwards he decided that he really, really, really didn’t want to ever direct again. Let’s go!

Maximum Overdrive (1986) – BMeTric: 40.8

MaximumOverdrive_BMeT

(While fairly standard I am kind of startled by how rapidly this movie’s rating has risen. You can kind of see it here, but the rating has risen from 4.3 in 2007 to 5.4 now! How?! This is a weird trend I see a lot and I think it is because as the “population” of IMDb increases less discerning people (or at least people less willing to just rip a movie apart) join up. Still weird. But 40+ for a film from 1986? Uh, yes please)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Customers and employees at an interstate truck stop are terrorized by the trucks themselves, which have come to demonic life as a part of a global rebellion of machines. Novelist King, making his directorial debut, said he set out to create a junk movie, nothing more… but he made it stupid and boring. Remade as a 1997 cable movie, TRUCKS.

(I searched high and low but can’t seem to find the source for where King implied he set out to create a junk film. I can only presume that it was in some interview lost to time because it is referenced ad nauseum when talking about the film. Patrick and I will have to draw straws to determine who is going to go out of their way to watch the 1997 TV movie.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygWMy-QQNbw

(Is this some sort of sick joke? Stephen King was hopped up on coke while making this film? You don’t say.)

Director(s) – Stephen King – (BMT: Maximum Overdrive; Notes: Nominated for Worst Director, Maximum Overdrive (1986). World famous author. ‘It’ is one of my favorites books. I love it.)

Writer(s) – Stephen King (film by, written for the screen by) – (Known For: The Shining; 1408; The Running Man; Pet Sematary; Christine; Creepshow; Cujo; Salem’s Lot; Stephen King’s ‘The Langoliers’; Stephen King’s ‘Storm of the Century’; Stephen King’s ‘Silver Bullet’; Stephen King’s ‘Cat’s Eye’; BMT: Dreamcatcher; Maximum Overdrive; Creepshow 2; Stephen King’s A Good Marriage; Stephen King’s ‘Thinner’; Stephen King’s ‘Sleepwalkers’; Stephen King’s ‘Graveyard Shift’; Notes: Famous author. Has said the only adaptation of his work he remembers hating is Kubrick’s The Shining. This hatred led to him making his own TV movie adaptation of the film.)

Actors – Emilio Estevez – (Known For: The Breakfast Club; Young Guns; Bobby; St. Elmo’s Fire; Repo Man; The Way; Mission: Impossible; The Outsiders; BMT: The Mighty Ducks; D2: The Mighty Ducks; Maximum Overdrive; D3: The Mighty Ducks; Men at Work; Freejack; Young Guns II; National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1; Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor, Maximum Overdrive (1986). Has not acted in a significant role since 2010’s The Way. Now more focused on directing.)

Budget/Gross: $10 million / $7,433,663

(I heard it was supposed to be a spring film, but King needed a break or something so they moved the release date to July in exchange for him doing a lot of promotion… which didn’t help and it failed miserably. Not the worst release ever for a major Stephen King adaptation… 4th actualy. The worst two are the Mangler and future BMT pick Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 16% (2/12), No consensus.

(Old films never have a huge number of reviews, although RT is getting better at collecting them. I’ll write a consensus: King’s directorial debut proves that if you want something done right, you better not do it yourself.)

Poster – Jeez Louise! (F)

maximumOverdrive

(Holy Moly! That is listed as the theatrical poster! Did Stephen King also make that himself? That is startling.)

Tagline(s) – Stephen King’s masterpiece of terror directed by the master himself. (F)

(There are lots of taglines associated with the theater release/VHS/laserdisc/DVD over the years. I just use the one that’s on the original poster. Obviously it is trash. Nothing more to say.)

Notes – In the movie trailer, Stephen King said he decided to direct the film himself after writing several because he wanted to see Stephen King done right. “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.” When asked why he hasn’t directed a movie since “Maximum Overdrive”, Stephen King responded “Just watch Maximum Overdrive.” (perfect one and done for real)

Stephen King, being a former cocaine addict, later admitted that he was “coked out of my mind” the entire time he was making this picture and often didn’t know what he was doing. He remarked that he’d like to try directing again someday, this time sober. (This is what I like to hear Stephen. I’m willing to bet a solid portion of weird ass movies from the 80s have a similar origin story)

An accident occurred on July 31, 1985 during shooting in a suburb of Wilmington, North Carolina where a radio-controlled lawnmower used in a scene went out of control and struck a block of wood used as a camera support, shooting out wood splinters which injured the director of photography Armando Nannuzzi; as a result, he lost his right eye. Nannuzzi sued Stephen King on February 18, 1987 for $18 million in damages. The suit was settled out of court. (Yeah, there is a bit of a sad tale there. Obviously losing an eye is not ideal for a director of photography).

The Tuxedo Preview

Moving onto this week’s film, we were on a quest for a comedy film where the director never directed anything before or since it’s release. This actually turned out to be pretty tough for the genre. Not sure why. Perhaps it’s just more common for comedy directors to be given second or third chances at directing. Who knows. Regardless, we ended up finding the Jackie Chan classic The Tuxedo to fit into the cycle, which was directed by Kevin Donovan, a director known mostly for commercial directing. I’m excited for a little martial arts action comedy adventure. Let’s go!

The Tuxedo (2002) – BMeTric: 52.0

TheTuxedo_BMeT

(I am stunned this ended up with this high of a rating! A BMeTric of 50+ is incredible high echelon stuff. Knowing the medallion though I can see it. It has been dropping a bit recently, probably (this is my current theory) because people who watched the film as children (you love everything when you are a child, see Hook and Hackers in my case) are now older and rating things online. I bet there are more than a few people who are like “The Tuxedo is bad?!??!”)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5/4 stars – The movie is silly beyond comprehension, and even if it weren’t silly, it would still be beyond comprehension.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Dreadful concoction casts Chan as a cabbie-turned-chauffeur who must take the place of his new boss, a dashing government spy; when he dons the secret agent’s tuxedo, he acquires superhuman skills. Boneheaded movie replaces (or augments) Chan’s dazzling martial arts skills with special effects; what’s more, the script’s t&a “humor” is a poor fit for the ever likeable star. Hewitt is incredibly obnoxious as Jackie’s new partner. Bob Balaban appears unbilled.

(Lots to unpack here. Leonard certainly has a lot to say. Love his excessive use of semicolons. Classic Len. Also love the shade he’s throwing at the script through the use of quotation marks around “humor.” Finally, he singles out Hewitt for being incredibly obnoxious. Is it possible that she’s more obnoxious than Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour series? If so, bravo.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHAOLihH58s

(This is late 90’s, early 2000s candy for my brain. I’m so excited. I think my two favorite things from the trailer are the “shake_booty” option on the tux… which is wonderfully awful and the fact that the tux is Devlin’s “2 billion dollar secret.” Haha, what? Why that amount of money? Is the cost of production an important plot point?)

Director(s) – Kevin Donovan – (BMT: The Tuxedo; Notes: An internationally recognized commercial and music video director. Was attached to direct Beverly Hills Chihauhau, but dropped out due to creative differences.)

Writer(s) – Michael Leeson (screenplay) – (Known For: The War of the Roses; What Planet Are You From?; BMT: The Tuxedo; The Survivors; Notes: A prolific and renowned tv writer he has been nominated (and won) several Emmys and was nominated for a BAFTA and Academy Award. Wrote for the Cosby Show)

Michael J. Wilson (story, screenplay) – (Known For: Ice Age; BMT: Shark Tale; The Tuxedo; Notes: Mostly a kids film writer as far as credits, I wouldn’t be surprised is he was a script doctor.)

Matt Manfredi  and Phil Hay (story) – (Known For: Crazy/Beautiful; The Invitation; BMT: Clash of the Titans; R.I.P.D. (BMT); Ride Along; The Tuxedo; Ride Along 2; Aeon Flux; Notes: Look at that filmography! They kind of got their break with The Tuxedo and that have really come up from there. Ride Along in particular was a huge success. This movie was a patchwork operation though, for sure.)

Actors – Jackie Chan – (Known For: Kung Fu Panda; Rush Hour; Rush Hour 2; Shanghai Noon; The Forbidden Kingdom; Shanghai Knights; The Karate Kid; Kung Fu Panda 2; Rumble in the Bronx; Enter the Dragon; Kung Fu Panda 3; Supercop 2; The Legend of Drunken Master; Supercop; Police Story 2; Police Story; Operation Condor; New Police Story; BMT: Rush Hour 3 (seen it); Around the World in 80 Days (BMT); The Tuxedo; The Spy Next Door; The Medallion (BMT); Police Story: Lockdown; The Protector; The Cannonball Run; Cannonball Run II; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Notes: Has the potential to be a BMT darling of sorts. The Medallion was a great BMT, so we are excited for this and Spy Next Door in particular. His movies often feature fight scene using props, cheeky slapstick humor, and a series of during-credits outtakes)

Jennifer Love Hewitt – (Known For: Can’t Hardly Wait; Heartbreakers; BMT: I Know What You Did Last Summer; I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; The Tuxedo; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; The Audrey Hepburn Story; The Hunchback of Notre Dame II; Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit; Delgo; The Suburbans; House Arrest; Garfield – The Movie; Notes: Probably best known for her television work (Party of Five for example). Married to Brian Hallisay (only BMT film: Jessabelle), and according to IMDb is a huge fan of the Glasgow Celtic Football Club.)

Budget/Gross: $60 million / $50,547,998 ($104,391,623 Worldwide)

(That is quite the budget. At the time Chan was huge though. Rush Hour (30 million budget ballooning to 140 million by the time Rush Hour 3 came about), Shanghai Noon (55 million budget), and this each came out 2 years apart from each other (1998, 2000 and 2002). I think they were looking for their next franchise to insert him into. Shanghai Knights and Rush Hour 3 subsequently kind of stopped Chan’s career progressing in its tracks. This movie didn’t help, 100 million worldwide, yikes!)

Rotten Tomatoes: 21% (30/138), Chan is as charming as ever, but his talents are squandered by special effects and bad writing.

(I feel like this consensus from RT could have also been used for Around the World in 80 Days. Like Chan was charming, but the writing was shit and he didn’t get to do his usual stunt magic.)

Poster – Ooooo, look at that font, sexy (D)

tuxedo_ver3

(I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really do not like that background mix of colors. Makes it look like garbage. Only good thing I can say about it is the font for the title is bomb (Patrick Note: While staring transfixed by this poster I exclaimed “The font on The Tuxedo is … incredible!” Twin time). I would love to see Patrick try to spoof that shit.)

Tagline(s) – He’s Not Looking For Trouble… He’s Wearing It. (B)

Class. Action. Suit. (A…. mazing)

(I generally stick to just the tagline on the poster, but the second one here is just too good. The one from the poster is surprisingly decent. Just a little wordy. Otherwise fairly clever and tells me a bit about the film. The second one is ridiculous. Like what does “Class action suit” have to do with anything? It makes me laugh. I’m laughing at it right now.)

Notes – When Jimmy goes through Mr. Devlin’s address book looking for “Walter Strider”, he finds phone numbers for Claudia Schiffer, Norman Schwarzkopf, Stephen Sondheim, and George M. Steinbrenner III (first names added). All of the numbers have special characters inserted to ensure that they are not real numbers that people might try to call. (Literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard)

The “high tech” sniper rifle featured in the movie, is really a scoped competition air rifle from Steyr. Nothing is done to hide this fact, the gun is in its original state. (get me the internet movie firearms database stat! It’s a real thing and, yes, this note is specifically made here)

At the premiere there was a chimp in a suit and hat. (What, why?)

Bill Murray: Can be seen in the final gallery scene as a customer. (WTF, that is kind of hilarious)

Can’t Stop the Music Preview

This week we finally come to the conclusion of our Airball category (pro athletes in film). This also means that we are excited to make the transition to the second cycle of the year. We are proud to announce that this cycle will be… [drumroll] … [more drumroll] … [still drumrolling] … [even more drumroll] … [seems like the drumroll is coming to an end] … [he tricked you, still drumrolling] … [now he’s done] … [JK, still drumrolling] … [and now it’s done] … One and Dones! That’s right, the next cycle will be films where the director never made a feature film prior to or since making the film. It will be the only feature film in their filmography. So for the Scattegories week we were required to find a film that fit both categories. This led straight to a Razzie classico (the week of the Razzies nonetheless) as we were able to watch Can’t Stop the Music, the Village People film that won the first ever Razzie award for Worst Picture. It stars Caitlyn Jenner (at the time of filming Bruce Jenner, of course), Olympic Gold Medal winner in the Decathalon. It was also the only feature film directed by famed television actress Nancy Walker. It’s rare that we find such a perfect transition film, but this time we did. It feels good. Let’s go!

Can’t Stop the Music (1980) – BMeTric: 26.2

CantStopTheMusic_BMeT

(So, now having some experience reading these graphs this actually is indicating that Can’t Stop the Music is, illogically, decreasing in BMeTric over the last 6 years. Why people are feeling compelled to give this higher ratings I wouldn’t dream of speculating on. Regardless, 25+ for a film from 1980 is incredible.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – One or two catchy production numbers aren’t enough to salvage otherwise stiff comedy about the music-publishing biz, though some will feel they have to see what V. People and Jenner are doing in same film. Gay subtext abound, despite eye-boggling profile shots of Perrine.

(Funny little review here. Why does he call them the “V. People” (Patrick’s guess: This was for a newspaper blurb which restricted him to a certain number of characters)? Super strange. I’m also not sure I like Leonard talking about the “eye-boggling” profile shots of Perrine. Getting a little Rhinestone “look at that body” vibe and I don’t like it. Deep cut right there, guys. Deep cut.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU21LKlfrmA

(What… the… fuck.)

Director(s) – Nancy Walker – (BMT: Can’t Stop the Music; Notes: Nominated for Worst Director, Can’t Stop the Music (1980). Much more famous as a television actress she won multiple Golden Globe and Emmy awards for Rhoda and McMillan & Wife)

Writer(s) – Bronte Woodard (written by) – (Known For: Grease; BMT: Can’t Stop the Music; Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay, Can’t Stop the Music (1980). Died in August 1980 6 months prior to “receiving” the Razzie Award.)

Allan Carr (written by) – (Known For: Grease; BMT: Can’t Stop the Music; Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay, Can’t Stop the Music (1980). Won a Tony for La Cage aux Folles in 1984. Well known for his disastrous production of the 61st Academy Awards, which became a laughing stock and destroyed his career.)

Actors – The Village People (BMT: Can’t Stop the Music; Notes: Obviously a highly successful band from the 70s and 80s)

Valerie Perrine – (Known For: What Women Want; Superman; Superman II; Lenny; Slaughterhouse-Five; The Electric Horseman; BMT: Can’t Stop the Music; Maid to Order; Boiling Point; 54; The Amateurs; Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress, Can’t Stop the Music (1980). A former Las Vegas Showgirl.)

Budget/Gross: $20 million / $2 million

(No entry on Box Office Mojo, so all we know is that this was clearly a massive flop. The release of this and another flop Raise the Titanic, both in 1980, are blamed for the failure of the film company AFD.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 7% (1/13), No consensus yet.

(Per usual a film this old just doesn’t have the review numbers to give a solid RT score or consensus. I’ll make one up. Consensus: For those that weren’t convinced that disco was dead, this film just killed it.)

Poster – Can’t Stop the Headache (D)

CantStopTheMusic

(Wow. I’m not sure I can even unpack everything on the poster. There are the V. People, NYC skyline, a giant piano keyboard, and showgirls dancing on said keyboard. It’s giving me a headache.)

Tagline(s) – The Movie Musical Event of the 80’s (D)

(It’s 1980! You can’t say that! Booooo.)

Notes – The lead role was originally offered to Olivia Newton-John, who turned it down to do Xanadu (1980). (oooooof, out of the frying pan into the fire!)

Tensions on the set between Walker and Perrine rose to the point where Walker wouldn’t be present for any scene Perrine had to shoot. Cinematographer Bill Butler had to step in to film those scenes

The film was originally entitled Discoland: Where the Music Never Ends! (egad!). But when the disco craze failed just prior to the film’s release, the producers tried to distance themselves from the genre. (Ha! Good luck with that. I’m sure no one suspected that the Village People film was about disco).

The film “won” the very first Razzie® award for Worst Picture. It was nominated for every category of the inaugural Golden Raspberry Awards except Worst Supporting Actor. (That year was literally in the guy’s living room and had waaaay more nominees. It was a super weird year, look it up, I guarantee you won’t recognize most of the films)

Half of the film’s $20 million (US) budget was spent on a lavish world-wide publicity campaign that included spectacular openings across the United States and Europe. (See, this is the stuff I like to hear about. I wonder who got fired for that blunder)

After the movie’s theatrical release, Village People member David Hodo said “When I first read the script, I threw it across the room. I thought it was a piece of crap. It read like one of those stupid old Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney pictures. We didn’t believe in the movie, but no one would listen to us! You can only go on for so long being a joke.” (Poor form, just embrace it, man. Like Jane March in Color of Night, smile and say you liked being in the film so much you didn’t even notice it was bad until it was too late).

Razzie Awards 2005: Nominated for Worst ‘Musical’ of Our First 25 Years

Razzie Awards 1981: Won for Worst Picture, and Worst Screenplay (Bronte Woodard and Allan Carr); Nominated for Worst Actor (Caitlyn Jenner), Worst Actress (Valerie Perrine), Worst Supporting Actress (Marilyn Sokol), Worst Director (Nancy Walker), and Worst Original Song (Jacques Morali, For the song “(You) Can’t Stop The Music”)