Gangster Squad Preview

Patrick drags himself, broken and bleeding, onto the highway shoulder. His captors would be back, but he just needs a second to think. Just then a dark limousine pulls up and an intimidating figure rolls down the window. “So you escaped. Good,” the man says, chomping down on a cigar, “that makes our lives a little easier. Get in.” Patrick hesitates, but when he looks back up the highway he sees Lost and Found’s truck driving erratically back down the road in search. Hopping in he asks the man who he is and why he was following him. “We have a mutual friend in Nic… Nic Cage,” he says as Patrick’s heart leaps. “He still holds out hope that you two can save the world. I’m not so sure, especially after you so easily fell into Sticks and Stones’ trap. But you don’t let down Nicky. Not in this world… or any other.” Patrick’s blood has run cold… Sticks and Stones… no wonder they seemed so familiar. “You’re with my squad now, so relax,” he finishes as he and his companions load their guns. That’s right! We’re using Anthony Mackie from Runner Runner to go to Gangster Squad starring… everyone basically. It was a classic style-over-substance critique for the film that dropped it into BMT territory and we pounds like BMT tigers going after BMT prey. Let’s go!

Jamie zooms through the air, taking his hanglider to the limit. As he skirts the highest building in New Angeles he sees a figure lean out of one of the windows. Jamie happily waves at him, but stops when he sees the crossbow. His beautiful hanglider takes an arrow her majestic wing and only through the immense power of his biceps and pilot skills is he able to land safely. Steam rises from the street and neon lights flash as his hanglider companion slides out of the mist on a skateboard. Jamie’s heart sinks when he sees the gun in his hand. “Welcome to the future,” the man says, “Where you either fight… or you die.” That’s right! We are pairing the Sean Penn Gangster Squad with the Chris Penn futuristic martial arts (?) film Future Kick. It starred one of the best kickboxers of all time, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, and is about kickboxing robots. Don’t think there’s more to say than that. Let’s go!

Gangster Squad (2013) – BMeTric: 14.7 

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(Ooooo the first one in a while that started really high and is regressing down instead of up. I do know that there are fans of this film, mostly due to the stellar cast.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  In 1949 L.A., police chief William Parker (Nolte) hires square-jawed WW2 veteran Brolin to assemble an elite team that will work under the radar to bring down ferociously ambitious gangster Mickey Cohen (Penn, in an outlandish performance), who wants to take over California. Garishly colorful but ludicrous, despite a promising start; a comic-book rendering of a fascinating true story as reported by Paul Lieberman in his book of the same name. Worth a glance for Maher Ahma’s stylish production design.

(Well I got my semi-colon so I can’t complain. An absolutely epic review though which honestly mostly just describes the film? Like, the actual review boils down to: Penn is crazy, the film is ludicrous, but worth a watch just for the production design alone.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlbN5cQKZik/

(I AM THE FUTURE! It does look very stylish, and I like the song. But it also looks a little too badass for its own good. Showing the true story of taking down crooks using their own criminal ways is one thing … but this is arguable the glorification of extrajudicial punishment which is a whole other thing. But we’ll see.)

Directors – Ruben Fleischer – (Known For: Zombieland; 30 Minutes or Less; Future BMT: Venom; BMT: Gangster Squad; Notes: Is married to Emma Stone’s publicist, Emma Stone introduced them. They got married in 2012, so all of that definitely happened prior to Fleischer presumably casting Stone in this film.)

Writers – Will Beall (written by) – (Known For: Aquaman; BMT: Gangster Squad; Notes: Was a story editor for Castle for years, and then developed the Training Day show as well. He is tapped to write the up coming Conan sequel starring Schwarzeneggar.)

Paul Lieberman (book) – (BMT: Gangster Squad; Notes: He wrote for the Los Angeles Times for 24 years, which is where he researched and wrote the book the movie is based on.)

Actors – Sean Penn – (Known For: Mystic River; Fast Times at Ridgemont High; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; The Tree of Life; The Game; Angry Birds; I’m Still Here; The Thin Red Line; Being John Malkovich; Carlito’s Way; Risky Business; 21 Grams; U Turn; Fair Game; Milk; Bad Boys; Taps; Dead Man Walking; This Must Be the Place; At Close Range; Future BMT: It’s All About Love; The Weight of Water; All the King’s Men; Hugo Pool; Crackers; BMT: Shanghai Surprise; The Gunman; Gangster Squad; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Shanghai Surprise in 1987; Notes: Somewhat notably gave David Spade a tattoo somewhere outside of New York (he wasn’t licensed) during SNL. Recently he gave Spade a second tattoo as well.)

Ryan Gosling – (Known For: Blade Runner 2049; The Big Short; First Man; Remember the Titans; La La Land; The Notebook; Drive; The Nice Guys; Crazy, Stupid, Love.; Blue Valentine; The Place Beyond the Pines; The Ides of March; Fracture; Only God Forgives; Song to Song; Lars and the Real Girl; Half Nelson; The Believer; The Slaughter Rule; Future BMT: Murder by Numbers; All Good Things; Stay; BMT: Gangster Squad; Notes: Was a child actor, primarily with Beaker High and Young Hercules, and has been nominated for two oscars.)

Emma Stone – (Known For: The Favourite; Superbad; Zombieland; La La Land; The Help; The House Bunny; Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance); Crazy, Stupid, Love.; The Amazing Spider-Man; Easy A; The Amazing Spider-Man 2; Friends with Benefits; The Croods; Irrational Man; The Interview; Battle of the Sexes; Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping; Magic in the Moonlight; The Rocker; Future BMT: Aloha; Unlikely Hero; BMT: Movie 43; Marmaduke; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Gangster Squad; Notes: Won the oscar for La La Land. Broke out with Superbad which was genuinely her first feature film.)

Budget/Gross – $60–75 million / Domestic: $46,000,903 (Worldwide: $105,200,903)

(Not good, although that isn’t that far off from the budget for Rambo 4 and the eventual gross, and for some reason Stallone places $100 million worldwide as the market for the success of a “small-ish” film. So maybe this is a success … less opportunity for product placement in a period piece though.)

#24 for the Crime Time genre

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(Weirdly of the now six crime films we watched, this is the highest grossing. This came right at the peak of the post-2008 financial collapse boom in crime based films. You can discuss the psychology of that trend amongst yourselves.)

#9 for the True Crime genre

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(The first true crime film we’ve watched. Other potential options: The Black Dahlia, Texas Killing Fields, King of Thieves, and Wonderland (2003). We could just polish those right off.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (64/202): Though it’s stylish and features a talented cast, Gangster Squad suffers from lackluster writing, underdeveloped characters, and an excessive amount of violence.

(Stylish seems to be the name of the game here. And I knew it! Excessive amounts of violence is code for “I feel uncomfortably with how they seem to be glorifying extrajudicial punishments here.” Dollars to donuts.)

Poster – Gangster Sklog (A-)

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(This is checking off a lot of boxes for font, spacing, and look. A little too stylish for its own good maybe and dark in tone, but I think they are doing an homage to an era of film I’m probably not knowledgeable enough about to really appreciate. Still good though.)

Tagline(s) – No names. No badges. No mercy. (A+)

(Uhhhhhh, yah. This is what I want. All day every day give me that clear, concise, and clever tagline with flow for days. This is pretty much perfect.)

Keyword(s) – police vigilantism; Top Ten by BMeTric: 83.1 RoboCop 3 (1993); 58.5 The Mod Squad (1999); 58.5 Alex Cross (2012); 55.6 Leatherface (2017); 54.6 Max Payne (2008); 51.7 The Crow: Salvation (2000); 48.0 Samurai Cop (1991); 46.3 Machete Kills (2013); 45.8 Edison (2005); 42.8 Exit Wounds (2001);

(I’ve actually seen Machete Kills, it is awful. I think I watched it outside of BMT for the Razzies or something. We’ll finish these up at some point )

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Nick Nolte is No. 3 billed in Gangster Squad and No. 4 billed in Zookeeper, which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 3 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 4 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Stay, The Island, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – In the movie, the Gangster Squad is assembled to go after Mickey Cohen. However, in real life Chief W.H. Parker set up the squad to prevent other gangsters from taking over Cohen’s rackets after Cohen went to prison on income tax evasion. Whenever the squad learned that out-of-town gangsters were coming to Los Angeles to try to set up new operations, the Gangster Squad would kidnap them, beat them up (some rumors say torture) and then send them back to wherever they came from with the warning that if they ever returned, they would be killed. (Fun facts)

There are two surviving members of the original gangster squad, and they, along with relatives of the deceased members, came to visit the set.

De’aundre Bonds’ first film role in ten years. He served ten years in prison for manslaughter. (There is no additional information about the killing, but good for him, seems to still be acting a bit)

Two of the reasons Ryan Gosling decided to make the movie was because he wanted to act in a scene with Sean Penn and shoot a Tommy gun. He was disappointed when he found out he didn’t have any scenes with Sean Penn. (I guess that means he shoots a Tommy gun)

Nick Nolte, who portrays Chief W.H. Parker, previously played the leader of the gangster squad in Mulholland Falls (1996). (WHAT)

Robert Patrick lost 30 pounds for the part, in order to look more like a “cowboy”. (Weird, but okay)

The big nightclub in the film was originally an old furniture store that was converted. Bellflower, CA–where this was shot–was hit hard by the 2007 recession, and the production company was able to take over a main street in the city and turn it into period Los Angeles.

The film is based on a series of L.A. Times articles that were turned into a book written by Paul Lieberman. He turned those stories into a book..

Ryan Gosling’s character makes a joke where he pretends that the only famous Mickey he has heard of is Mickey Mouse. As a child, Gosling starred in MMC (1989). (Huh, I wouldn’t have caught that)

Ryan Gosling agreed to join the film in exchange for the studio financing his directorial debut Lost River. (B-b-b-b-b-b-ut I thought he wanted to shoot a Tommy gun!)

Nick Nolte portrays Police Chief W.H. Parker. The real W.H. Parker was in his mid-40’s during the time this movie is set. Nick Nolte was 71 years old when the film was released. (He also sounds like he has smoked all of the cigarettes in the world)

The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2010 Blacklist; a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year.

Body count: 59.

The movie culminates in a giant shootout at the hotel in which dozens of gangsters are mowed down by Tommy guns. The leader of the squad, Jack O’Mara (Josh Brolin) assaults Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) and arrests him for murder. In real life, Mickey Cohen was arrested for tax evasion. Also, by the time Cohen was imprisoned in 1961, the real Jack O’Mara was retired and watched the trial as a civilian.

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Perfect Recap

Jamie

Adam is a journalist looking for a story. What he doesn’t expect to find is love (awww). While writing a puff piece about LA gym culture, he encounters an aerobics instructor, Jessie, and immediately falls in love. Can he get the bog scoop (and still get the girl) before it’s too late and he ruins it by being an asshole? Find out in… Perfect.

How?! Act I: Adam is a journalist. But just not any journalist. He’s got integrity up the wazoo. He’s got a big ol’ story in the works and it might even be a book… but while he waits to find out if he can score the big interview he decides to start his next story: a sexy puff piece about young singles who frequent the gym. Sexy. Act II: Adam arrives in LA and is immediately like “woah, who’s that?” about Jessie, the top aerobics instructor (in the world? Probably). As a result, a funny thing happens on the way to writing the story when he totes falls in love and realizes that he actually wants to write about how gyms are the next philosophical frontier (you dig?) as society attempts to take responsibility for oneself and become… perfect. Unfortunately this all crashes and burns when despite scoring the big interview he needed he also inadvertently ruins what he has with Jessie. Act III: Under pressure from lawyers regarding the big interview and also suffering heartbreak, Adam decides to write the original puff piece anyway. This ends up double backfiring when Jessie attempt to reconcile but discovers what he’s done. Attempting to make up for it, Adam writes the Emersonian version of the piece, but his editors are like “this is clearly the writings of a pompous asshole” and write an even worse version of his original story. Even worse he’s heading to jail for contempt of court for not giving up his notes from the original story. Gah! Lucky for him, though, Jessie is a first amendment fanatic and they reconcile upon his release. THE END. 

Why?! It’s pure journalism, baby. Adam is just all about that first amendment and won’t compromise on anything. Whether it’s writing about financial crimes or the Emersonian nature of the gym, he is a totally uncompromising asshole. It’s only when Jessie realizes that he’s only an asshole because of the first amendment that she can be like “oh, I love him.” Her motivation is like… life, man. She just wants to win and be the best and be… perfect.

Who?! Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner played himself as did Carly Simon in a cameo. I believe there are a number of other cameos in the film, including thanks given to Mick Jagger who allowed photos of himself to be used in the film. There are some notable special thanks as well including Kathryn Bigelow. I still can’t figure out how she was involved in Perfect in any way.

What?! Every once in a while we get a film that is basically just a long commercial for something. Here it’s Rolling Stone, which is depicted as more than just a music magazine… it’s got journalistic integrity for days. Look at all that goddamn journalistic integrity! It’s oozing off John Travolta’s body like sweat.

Where?! There is a fun minor setting of Morocco late in the film, but this is a NYC-LA production with a slight edge to LA because that’s really where the sexiness and love occur. That’s actually a big part of my grading: how sexy is the setting. I think this is an A-. Both NYC and LA are pretty indispensable for the plot… perhaps only Miami could have swooped in and ruined it. 

When?! Near the end of the film they set up the exact time frame. Takes place over a number of months culminating in the publishing of the article and portions of the final trial at the end of July. They give an exact date for a few of these times. It’s actually pretty solid. B+.

I’m not sure what to even say about this film. It felt like the longest movie in the world. Took me at least three full days to watch and yet the clock told me it was only two hours. There are long stretches of just male and female hips thrusting in your face for reasons unknown… probably to convey how people would easily see this and think “new singles bar of the 80’s” but this would be wrong. They are Emersonian philosophers, duh. Beyond the length, I think the biggest crime is the self-serving, pompous attitude of how journalism is depicted. Gets really tired as the film drags on to see Travolta stand up six or twelve times to declare his journalistic integrity. The only positive, weirdly, is that I genuinely think Travolta and Curtis had *gulp* sexual chemistry. That seems weird to say. As for To the Limit, that film may in fact be the single most confusing thing Patrick and I have watched. We tried to recap exactly what happened in the film to each other and it is simply put absolute nonsense. Throw in Anna Nicole Smith barely acting in a monotone voice and several playboy level sex scenes and we got something that’s… well… it exists I guess. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! As I sculpted my Perfect bod I thought of Emerson and the pursuit of man’s true physical potential. Also I thought about beating up dweebs. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I had only heard of this film via How Did This Get Made? basically. I knew it was about aerobics and that it is supposed to be terrible. The connection between Stallone and the director seemed interesting. What were my expectations? I just hoped it was just in your face aerobics sexy action. Without that why am I even watching this film?

The Good – There is wall-to-wall aerobics action … which I’m going to say is good. Jamie Lee Curtis I thought was great. And in a different universe where the aerobics story didn’t exist, the trial that occurs during the film could have been an interesting story. Instead it comes out as absurd, but the idea is a kind of in the weeds interesting story. Quite a thin section this week, but the film is very weird and hard to “enjoy” in traditional terms.

The Bad – The acting. Travolta is only the most high profile offender. The Rolling Stone founder plays himself and he is straight up terrible at acting. They just hired a load of aerobics instructors as actors and it shows, all of them are incredibly stilted and distracting. There are very very very long aerobics scenes, they last forever, it is crazy. The entire thing comes across as just the most snobbish trash. It really seems like the guy wrote a story where he nobly goes to jail for his craft (magazine writer), and nobly stands up for the dignity of subjects … give me a break. The entire thing just seems like a giant pat on his own back from a writer who really thinks he does things that are important … and people should know it.

The BMT – Yeah. It is a very unique film. About a sport (arguably) which really doesn’t have another film made about it. Made about a profession (magazine journalist) which gets overshadowed by their newspaper peers and thus doesn’t feature in films very often. And the acting is almost second-to-none terrible. I was intrigued by the film and would definitely watch it again with someone. Did it meet my expectations? More than I could have imagined. There is a crazy number of aerobic scenes with those full body suits that have thongs, and guys gyrating their hips. It is great. Highly recommend those scenes, they last forever.

Roast-radamus – This is actually a really good example of Product Placement (What?) … since the entire movie is a placement for a product: Rolling Stone magazine. They fight for the truth! Decent argument for Setting as a Character (Where?) since the strangeness of Los Angeles plays a huge role in the story. Outside shot at BMT, otherwise I don’t think it really has much of anything. I would have went with a specific temporal setting (since the magazine article was published specifically on June 6, 1983), but that is kind of unconfirmed, and also we have enough holiday films that that would never actually be nominated this year.

StreetCreditReport.com – Amazingly this has two giant pieces of cred. First, it is on Siskel and Ebert’s worst of list of 1985 which is obviously enough in and of itself. And then second it was features on How Did This Get Made? which is a rubber stamp for amusingly bad movies. I have to imagine this is the worst film ever made about aerobics or about a magazine journalist as well, although I have no proof of that.

Bring a Friend Analysis – With any John Travolta film we obviously have to watch a Joey Travolta film. To this end we watched the Anna Nicole Smith feature from 1995 called To the Limit. Full disclosure: I barely remember this film. Like, I straight up don’t understand what happened. I think it is because the movie was written strangely. It is like they had a plot sketched out on a napkin (A man’s wife is killed and friend murdered because of a mysterious CD-ROM. His friend’s wife, secretly a CIA agent, helps him to take down those responsible while keeping the disc safe), and then thought “that is too straightforward … let’s add some twists.” But then … they only do half twists because they don’t really know how to adapt their story (oh no, a girl is kidnapped! Oh wait, she just ran away and is back now. And then our main character is kidnapped! Oh no, he just ran away and is back now. And Anna Nicole Smith is a bad guy! Nope nevermind she isn’t). Anna Nicole Smith is a marvel to behold and kind of makes the whole thing worthwhile. The film is soft-core porn though which was just sad and gross. I’m going to give it a C+. I wouldn’t want to watch it again or anything like it because it is 90s pornography. But Anna Nicole Smith’s acting is just insane enough to legitimize the initial viewing.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Perfect Quiz

Let’s see, one minute I was in my daily jazzercise / aerobics class with a sexy instructor, and the next I got kicked in the head during a particularly jazzy 80s guitar riff. I do not remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in the movie Perfect?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) During the course of the film John Travolta works on two stories. One of them is about the trial of a businessman named MacKenzie. What was he arrested for, and what big scoop does Travolta get from him?

2) What is Jamie Lee Curtis’ nickname at the health club?

3) What was Jamie Lee Curtis’ previous career and why doesn’t Jamie Lee Curtis trust journalists?

4) Ultimately what story does John Travolta write about the gym? What was the original story?

5) In the end why does Travolta go to prison?

Answers

Perfect Preview

As Patrick completes his sensual solo twin dance within the confines of the semi he notices that the evil lady has tears in her eyes. He stops and wipes them from her face, “what’s wrong?” he asks, “isn’t this sensual dance to your liking?” But she shakes her head. “It’s great, but… but it’s like watching Hall without Oates, you know?… it’s just not that smooth Hall & Oates sound.” Patrick nods, “No, you’re right. So wise. This is a dance I used to do with my brother… but it’s not the same without him. I’m sorry.” She shushes him with a finger to his lips. “No,” she says, “I’m the one who should be apologizing. I’ve helped put a beautiful bald eagle into a cage. A cage where you can’t spread your wings. And now I need to set you free.” With that she opens the back of the truck, still speeding along. “Now fly, my beautiful bird. Find your Oates,” and with a swift quick Patrick is sent rolling along the highway. Bloodied and gravely injured Patrick comes to a stop on the side of the road. “Perfect,” he whispers from his broken face, congratulating himself on a job well done. That’s right! We are watching Perfect starring John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis. It’s a film about a journalist and aerobics instructor falling in love to the rhythm and dance of sexy aerobics. Hooooooo weeeeee, gonna be sexy. Let’s go!

“Rad!” Jamie yells in glee zooming about on his souped up hang glider with the man in black. “Is that New Angeles?” Jamie yells and the man in black nods. He points to the tallest building in the skyline and tells Jamie that it’s too dangerous to fly too close. They’ll have to go around. But that’s all that Jamie needs to here as he zooms away laughing, this bozo doesn’t know who he’s dealing with. He’s gonna take these hang gliders to the limit. But the man in black just smirks in satisfaction. That’s right! We’re also watching To The Limit starring Joey Travolta and Anna Nicole Smith. Yes, this is not only Travolta’s brother, but also a woman who goes by a three-part name is the co-star. Spooky stuff. Oh, this is about some mob or assassin shit. I don’t know. Looks real dumb. Let’s go!

Perfect (1985) – BMeTric: 43.5 

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(Still really low. How did this get made did this film as a live show in 2015. I don’t see much evidence of a bump in extra votes, but perhaps that is the reason it is climbing in the ratings a bit … but probably not, that seems like classic regression to the mean.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Rolling Stone reporter Travolta is writing an exposé of L.A. health clubs but finds himself attracted to aerobics instructor Curtis, whom he’s about the trash in print. A smug, overlong, misguided, miscast movie, with hints of intelligent intentions; written by Bridges and reporter Aaron Latham. Real-life Rolling Stones editor Wenner plays himself. Wait till you hear John and Jamie Lee expound on Emersonian values!

(I. Can’t. Wait. To hear Travolta talk about Emersonian values! Great semi-colon game as usual, plus an actual genuine accent on exposé. I’m loving it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd7tVAIOWjI/

(Dance Tunes the movie! I’m excited to see all these hot bods. Hip Thrust the movie. Scream While Exercising the movie. I’m so amped.)

Directors – James Bridges – (Known For: Urban Cowboy; The China Syndrome; Bright Lights, Big City; The Paper Chase; BMT: Perfect; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Perfect in 1986; Notes: He died of cancer in 1993. Started out writing screenplays including one for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.)

Writers – Aaron Latham (story “Looking for Mr. Goodbody – Health Clubs: The New Singles Bars” & screenplay) – (Known For: Urban Cowboy; The Program; BMT: Perfect; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Perfect in 1986; Notes: He wrote the article, Mr. Goodbody, for Rolling Stone that inspired the film. Weirdly he also wrote an article that inspire Urban Cowboy.)

James Bridges (screenplay) – (Known For: Urban Cowboy; The China Syndrome; Colossus: The Forbin Project; The Paper Chase; White Hunter Black Heart; BMT: Perfect; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Perfect in 1986; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars for his writing for The China Syndrome and The Paper Chase.)

Actors – John Travolta – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Grease; Carrie; The Taking of Pelham 123; The Thin Red Line; Face/Off; Savages; Hairspray; Austin Powers in Goldmember; Saturday Night Fever; Bolt; Urban Cowboy; Broken Arrow; Blow Out; In a Valley of Violence; Get Shorty; Look Who’s Talking; Ladder 49; Phenomenon; Lonely Hearts; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Now; Look Who’s Talking Too; Staying Alive; Gotti; Killing Season; Lucky Numbers; Domestic Disturbance; I Am Wrath; Michael; Two of a Kind; Eye for an Eye; Life on the Line; White Man’s Burden; The Forger; The Devil’s Rain; The Fanatic; The General’s Daughter; The Punisher; Mad City; From Paris with Love; Trading Paint; Basic; BMT: Battlefield Earth; Old Dogs; Be Cool; Perfect; Wild Hogs; Swordfish; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Battlefield Earth in 2001; Winner for Worst Actor for Lucky Numbers in 2001; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1984 for Staying Alive, and Two of a Kind; in 1986 for Perfect; in 2002 for Domestic Disturbance, and Swordfish; in 2010 for Old Dogs; and in 2019 for Gotti; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Shout in 1992; Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Gotti in 2019; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Perfect, Staying Alive, The Experts, and Two of a Kind; and in 2010 for Battlefield Earth, Domestic Disturbance, Lucky Numbers, Old Dogs, and Swordfish; Notes: On a very not good run as of late in his career. I think he’s been in something like 5 films in a row with 0% on Rotten Tomatoes prior to the release of The Fanatic later this year (18% on Rotten Tomatoes).)

Jamie Lee Curtis – (Known For: Knives Out; Halloween; Halloween; Trading Places; Veronica Mars; My Girl; True Lies; Escape from New York; A Fish Called Wanda; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Freaky Friday; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension; The Fog; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Forever Young; Prom Night; The Tailor of Panama; From Up on Poppy Hill; Beverly Hills Chihuahua; Blue Steel; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; Virus; My Girl 2; You Again; Drowning Mona; House Arrest; Terror Train; Halloween II; Queens Logic; BMT: Christmas with the Kranks; Perfect; Notes: One of the original Scream Queens. The daughter of Tony Curtis of Some Like it Hot fame.)

Jann Wenner – (Known For: Almost Famous; Jerry Maguire; Future BMT: Perfect; Notes: The actual co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine. He effectively plays himself in this film.)

Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $12,918,858

(That is very very not good. Who would have thought a weird movie about a journalist creating a hard hitting story about (checks notes) … gyms / dating? Well who would have thought that wouldn’t be a smash hit … these guys apparently.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (3/16)

(Let’s do a consensus: Smug and manipulative. Ends up as a muddled mess that comes across as unintentionally hilarious more than anything else. Reviewer Highlight: Perfect is too superficially knowing to be a camp classic, but it’s an unintentionally hilarious mixture of muddled moralizing and all-too-contemporary self-promotion. – Vincent Canby, New York Times)

Poster – Perfecto (C+)

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(I think it’s clever and that’s something. Slightly embarrassing… but clever. Usually I’d say too many words, but makes some sense here. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I think the lighting / color on my face in the fake poster is off, but if you don’t have the actual poster right next to it it looks better. I decided just to do some swaps instead of making up new headlines because fonts are hard. Stay tuned for more shallow fakes!)

Tagline(s) – Reporter Adam Lawrence ignites two hot stories. One leads to love. The other could lead to jail. (C+)

The perfection of the body and the senses mean RHYTHM! JOHN TRAVOLTA and JAMIE LEE CURTIS in a one-hundred-thousand-volt Dance Ecstasy! (A++++)

(From the poster it’s clear the first one is the actual tagline. Too long, but it has some flow. I have no idea where the second one comes from but I love it so much that I kept it.)

Keyword(s) – aerobics; Top Ten by BMeTric: 86.5 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 49.1 Repossessed (1990); 43.5 Perfect (1985); 41.1 C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud (1989); 38.9 Club Dread (2004); 37.8 Private Resort (1985); 35.0 Meatballs Part II (1984); 31.7 Armed and Dangerous (1986); 29.1 Blood Diner (1987); 27.6 Legally Blonde (2001);

(Wow, really? We got to get that sweat going! We are slacking on our workout films.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: John Travolta is No. 1 billed in Perfect and No. 2 billed in Wild Hogs, which also stars Ray Liotta (No. 5 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 3 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 5 + 3 + 4 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Based on the famous Sports Connection (a giant up-scale athletic facility in West Los Angeles that also contains a restaurant and bar), which was known in the late 1970s and 1980s for its singles scene. (Weird!)

Jamie Lee Curtis trained for several months before shooting began. All the scenes that show her leading classes were filmed first, with the narrative and dramatic sequences shot next. The last sequence filmed was the closing credits workout. It is noticeable that Curtis had lost 10 pounds of muscle since the workout scenes had been filmed. She also filmed a music video with Jermaine Jackson to promote the movie. (Ah interesting. That makes a ton of sense actually)

This film is listed among The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson’s book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE. (Terrible book … but having watched it now he ain’t wrong)

Even though the film was a major box-office failure and temporarily derailed John Travolta’s A-list career, he claims he doesn’t regret doing it, mostly due to his friendships with the cast and the chance to work again with James Bridges. (So it really was about the friends he made along the way … huh)

Debut cinema movie of Rolling Stone magazine’s then real editor, publisher, and co-founder Jann Wenner who portrayed Rolling Stone magazine editor-in-chief Mark Roth in the film. Wenner said: “I think the film shows Rolling Stone as it really is. I think that the movie will explain Rolling Stone to a lot of people who may have misconceptions about what it is. The magazine covers a lot of arenas in addition to music-politics, cultural affairs, sociology, movies”. Wenner was actually cast in “Perfect” following a full screen test opposite actor John Travolta. How realistic did Wenner find the film? Wenner reported: “Dead-on accurate. There are naturally some liberties taken, but Jim’s movies are all somewhat journalistic in that they look at a scene and report it accurately. Jim [James Bridges] would frequently ask me, ‘Would you really do something like this?’ or ‘Would the magazine really do something like that?’.” (He is absolutely awful in the film, but so are a ton of people so I guess it didn’t make much of a difference)

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis was eager to be in the movie: Curtis once explained: “I’m an athletic person, a minor sort of closet jock. Whenever I would take an exercise class, I would imagine myself giving one. But while I was certainly intrigued by the story, I was mostly excited about working with these people”. (Good enough reason)

The “Linda” character is based on Leslie Borkin aka Leslie Suzanne Borkin (now known as Leslie Suzan) who was referenced in a June 9, 1983 article from Rolling Stone magazine and was portrayed as a “sleaze.” The production notes for the film describe the “Linda” character as “one of the more promiscuous women at the Sports Connection” health club.

John Travolta and Marilu Henner were in a relationship at the time this movie was released. The picture was the first of two that the former couple have made together, the other being Chains of Gold (1990). (Fun)

Quentin Tarantino in a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone magazine said that this film was “greatly under-appreciated due to Curtis’ very tight performance”. Tarantino worked with John Travolta on 1994’s Pulp Fiction (1994). (I can’t tell if he’s saying that it is a good or bad performance … tight as in “effectively to the point” like a tight script? Or tight as in nervous? She’s honestly the best actor in the entire film so hopefully the latter)

The cover page of the main edition of Rolling Stone magazine in the movie that related to the film’s fitness center story had the same cover photo and headline “Looking for Mr. Goodbody – Health Clubs: The New Singles Bars” as the real-life one used as an inspiration for the movie. The two are practically the same, bar the byline for the writers, Adam Lawrence (played by actor John Travolta) in the fake one, and Aaron Latham (Rolling Stone journalist and the film’s screenwriter) in the real one, which was published in real life on June 9, 1983, two years before this film came out.

After this film, John Travolta would not appear in another one for four years, until The Experts (1989) and Look Who’s Talking (1989). (Interesting)

According to trade paper Variety, John Travolta’s character “is a semi-autobiographical version of writer Aaron Latham, who based the script on a searing story he originally wrote for Rolling Stone”. (Ugh)

The newspaper photo of Jamie Lee Curtis’ character with her swim coach is from Love Letters (1983). (Oh, fun!)

The movie’s screenwriter Aaron Latham said of this picture: “Part of the film is about what’s wrong with journalism”. Latham wrote “Perfect” with director James Bridges, based in part upon articles Latham had written for Rolling Stone magazine. And indeed, the reporter in the film approaches his health club piece with a lack of objectivity, having more interest in getting his story than in how it affects his subjects. Latham added: “But the other half of the story is about what’s right about journalism”. (Nonsense)

Since it was impractical to shoot the film’s Rolling Stone sequences at the magazine’s headquarters in New York, an almost identical, two-story duplicate of those offices was built on a pair of sound stages at Laird International Studios in Los Angeles.

“Sports Connection” health club scenes were filmed in the actual real-life “Sports Connection” fitness center in West Los Angeles.

Like the two earlier John Travolta pictures, Urban Cowboy (1980) and Saturday Night Fever (1977), this Travolta movie’s screenplay was based on a magazine article. These earlier film’s source magazine articles were called “The Ballad of the Urban Cowboy” and “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night” respectively. For Perfect (1985), the source material article was entitled “Looking for Mr. Goodbody – Health Clubs: The New Singles Bars”. (What the fuck? There was actually a time when Travolta was in like three straight films adapted from magazine articles. What a bizarre and, frankly, terrible idea)

The “Looking for Mr. Goodbody” title of the Rolling Stone article in the film’s story referenced the earlier 1977 Mr. Goodbar (1977), based on the Judith Rossner novel which was about the singles bar scene, whereas this film is about the singles health club scene. (Hmmm, do I need to read a book)

On the media aspects of the movie’s storyline, screenwriter Aaron Latham offered: “Back in the 1930s and 1940s, you had this stream of newspaper writers who came to Hollywood and made these wonderful old newspaper movies. Well, there’s a ’40s newspaper drama embedded in this 1980s movie, only now he’s a magazine reporter covering health clubs. But nonetheless, it’s the story about a reporter who falls in love with his subject”. (Ugh, just a terrible idea. You can make the film about a magazine writer … just don’t make it about yourself as some noble magazine writer)

The movie’s “Perfect” title logo was designed in the same fashion as the font typeface of the cover masthead of magazine ‘Rolling Stone”. (I love font facts, that’s a fact)

The approach that director James Bridges suggested to writer Aaron Latham, was to make the Rolling Stone journalist the central character in the movie. The film, which Bridges went on to produce and direct from the screenplay he wrote with Latham, then was sculptured to take a look at both contemporary journalism and modern sexual mores. (Bad move Bridges, I think it makes it feel pretentious)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (John Travolta, 1986)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Marilu Henner, 1986)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Aaron Latham, James Bridges, 1986)

Sleeping with the Enemy Recap

Jamie

Laura is trapped in an abusive marriage to a controlling man. She is able to escape by faking her own death and moving to Iowa where she learns to live and love again. However, when she dares to visit her elderly mother her ex-husband is able to track her down. Can she take him out (and perhaps get the guy) before it’s too late? Find out in… Sleeping with the enemy.

How?! Act I: Laura and her husband seem to have the perfect life but underneath the visage he’s a controlling abusive maniac! Get out of there, Laura! And she does just that by faking her own death by drowning and escaping to picturesque Iowa where she can’t possibly fall in love with anyone. Act II: She immediately falls in love with the drama teacher next door. With his plaid shirts and flowing locks for days, he’s just a dreamy dreamboat and Laura is smitten. She learns to live and love again and he helps her figure out a good way to safely see her mom using his flair for costumes… or is it?! Because Laura’s husband from hell has figured out that she’s still alive and is staking out the old folks home. Using his own acting chops he finds out that Iowa is the place to be. Act III: Everywhere that Laura looks it seems like her husband has come for her… that’s because he has! Oh no! He shows up and is all like “you won’t kill me.” But jokes on him because she does. THE END. Big Question: Is Laura falling in love with a drama teacher a twist on the fact that she was married to a man who spent his life acting the role of happy family man, when in reality he was an abusive monster? Chew on that.

Why?! I mean… he’s a psycho. So there’s that. As for her… well she wants to get away from the psycho she married. It is pretty jarring to see an older movie like this where domestic abuse is depicted in what seems like a fairly accurate way. Pretty scary.

Who?! I think the most interesting thing is the BMT implications of possible casting choices for this film. Apparently Kim Bassinger and Sean Connery were attached to co-star. That’s just a powerhouse BMT couple right there (assuming of course that Connery was attached as love interest… not sure why he would join the project as the husband from hell).

What?! While there isn’t something for sale that fits our traditional definition of a prop, there is an entire house for sale. The house that Julia Roberts moves into in Iowa (really Abbeville, South Carolina) has been on the market and valued at 160K. You’d make that up in no time doing full time tours and entry fees for the museum.

Where?! This is a truly great BMT setting film. Clearly takes place on Cape Cod, Iowa, and in small parts Minnesota. It’s a wonder we didn’t end up doing this one for the mapl.de.map because it really is super duper duper Iowa and that seems somewhat rare. Loved it. B+

When?! Secret Holiday Film Alert! While much of the film takes place generally in the summer, there is a big scene at a Fourth of July parade that leads straight into a scene where Julia Robert and Mullet McGee try on costumes, laugh, love, and live along to the song Brown Eyed Girl. *chef’s kiss* A-

I can fully understand why this film is a bit of a cult classic. Julia Roberts was quite good and I thought the writing was pretty good too. As I said, I think the depiction of the husband as an abuser seems scarily accurate and makes some of the later scenes really interesting from a psychological perspective. And it was thrilling to boot. I think the biggest critique is that the directing really lets everything else down. Has the look and feel of a Lifetime film with the acting and writing of a Hollywood film. Let down by schlockiness… which is pretty much the tagline of this website. As for T.N.T., it was my first Olivier Gruner viewing experience, which probably brought more joy in itself than anything the actual film had to offer. He seems like a poor man’s JCVD but somehow way worse at acting. His weird smiling face seemed to throw everyone off until they all seemed like aliens trying to pretend to be human. It was quite the experience and definitely made me excited to see more of his films. Patrick?  

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! There’s nothing like a hefty dose of harrowing domestic violence drama to really make one wonder: should I make jokes about this film? Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I straight up had to ask Jamie whether Safe Haven was a readaptation of Sleeping with the Enemy … before remembering that that movie was based on a Nicholas Sparks novel. Not surprisingly a ton of reviews from when Safe Haven was published made the exact same comparison, so I wasn’t alone. I hoped for an amazing Ghost Wife twist at the end of this film, but I didn’t expect it. What were my expectations? A solid performance from Roberts, and otherwise I just wanted the craziest thriller possible. Give me Color of Night, please. One Color of Night for Patrick.

The Good – I genuinely liked this film. It probably helps that I went into it expecting precisely what I got: a thriller. It seems like at the time reviewers were rather put off by the apparent bait-and-switch performed by the director by starting the film off as a very intriguing drama, and then tacking towards the more rote thriller tropes at the end. I can understand that, but this movie gave me mostly what I wanted: A solid Roberts performance, a crazy thriller stalker man, and a love interest with quite literally a mane of hair. I’m hoping Jamie finds an online auction where I can buy that man’s wig / real hair because mein Gott!

The Bad – The aforementioned thriller tropes. Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled. But yeah, the movie didn’t need it. Give me an opening with Roberts seemingly happy at the beach. Give me a flashback to how they met, the wedding, a concerned warning from a friend, and the first time he hits her. Give me the establishment of the boating accident, and the suggestion that maybe she killed herself. And then bam! While he is out looking for her she kills him to make it look like an accident and goes off with her assumed identity. Let Roberts carry the drama, and drop the thrills. I don’t have much of a complaint about what I got, but I understand why critics hated it now, it was definitely not what you were hoping the director would do.

The BMT – I think this is a weirdly special BMT. It is another amazingly Iowa-y film. I’m honestly not too sure how we didn’t end up doing this for Iowa, but then again Iowa basically only produced weird dramas so whatever. Other than that I just kind of like when we get dramas in the mix, and especially when we get films where I think contemporary critics disagree with the critics at the time about the merits of the film. Gives us a lot to chew on. Did it meet my expectations? Not as a bad movie, it had to be maybe 10 times crazier. But I liked it. So … whatever.

Roast-radamus – I think we could definitely consider this as a Setting as a Character (Where?) because Iowa represents everything quaint and small-towny that the cosmopolitan Roberts is looking to escape back to. I’ll throw in a Worst Twist (How?) for the moment at the end when the ex-husband baddy basically comes back to life to try and kill Roberts. A classic Halloween / Michael Myers thing, but it works especially poorly when contrasted with the domestic violence drama we were sold in the first half of the film. And finally it’ll almost definitely be one of my nominations for Good for the year because guess what? I genuinely think this is a fine film all things considered, so there.

StreetCreditReport.com – I legit can’t find any worst-of lists with this film on it. I’m genuinely surprised because Ebert absolutely eviscerated the film. While I agree with the thesis, I actually mostly disagree with the nitpicks he reluctantly lobs out at the end of the review. (1) Yes the toilet hadn’t been used for weeks, the distraught Bergin I think rather obviously packed up the house and hadn’t visited again. (2) The woman saw the obituary in the newspaper which would have mentioned that she was survived by her husband, a financial adviser at Yada Yada Inc. (3) Roberts has been secretly squirreling away money for years it looked like, so why is it hard to believe she had done so for that purpose? (4) He knows she loves books and previously worked at a library so he could have just asked them where the “new girl” lives. (5) He only did the rearranging when she was out, either prior to his arrival or during the picnic and (6) because he is a psycho. This is why I don’t like dumb plot hole nitpicking of films, it is pretty easy to nitpick back. But I get the point: the movie isn’t very well written. And I generally agree.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we went with possibly one of the less well-known sibling pairs with Julia Roberts’ brother Eric Roberts (famous for playing the titular role in A Talking Cat?!). He has been in over 300 film (wowza) so we had the pick of the litter. Unfortunately we chose T.N.T. which mostly just reminded me of Black Friday in that it appeared to have been put together with little thought or care as a starring vehicle for a martial artist. Starring kickboxer Olivier Gruner, the film is effectively a knock off of a Van Damme feature: this French guy who is inexplicably in the U.S. military is just too good to do bad things and retires to the quiet life. But the baddies don’t want him to have a quiet life, so they’re here to make some noise. The End. Gruner has an impressive kickboxing background and gets to show it off a bit. Eric Roberts is barely in it and, I swear to god, is just playing Steve Jobs (perhaps not coincidentally Jobs rejoined Apple in 1997 and so would have been in the headlines around the time). The film is pretty worthless and trashy, but I’m glad I got to tick off my Olivier Gruner box on my martial arts bingo card. I’m going to give it a … B-. It would take some convincing to get me to watch it again, but for a martial artist actor completionist it is must see.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Sleeping with the Enemy Quiz

Hmmmmm, let’s see I was on my new friend’s boat in a storm, and then got tossed overboard by the boom … and then I can’t remember anything. Where’s my wife again?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film the happy couple takes a boat ride with their new next door neighbor. Why doesn’t Julia Roberts like to go sailing, and why does she spash two lights on shore before leaving?

2) What state did Julia Roberts live in? Where did she move? Where did she apparently grow up (i.e. where was her mother’s original nursing home)?

3) What song if Julia Roberts’ new beau singing in the garden he he dances his fro out into a curly god-like lion’s mane?

4) What job does Julia Roberts get in town, and what job does her beau Kevin Anderson have?

5) What four pieces of evidence does the baddy collect before becoming convinced that his wife is alive?

Answers

Sleeping with the Enemy Preview

Rolled up in the carpet in the back of the semi, Patrick is disoriented. Normally in such a situation either he or Jamie would wriggle free of their binding and then free the other. But alas, Jamie is gone and the ropes containing Patrick’s raw athletic ability seem tight… almost too tight. Getting an idea he slowly dribbles sweat over his rippling abs into the rope. As it swells the tension becomes too great and the rope breaks! Ha! Who needs stupid Jamie anyway. Unrolling himself he comes face to face with a beautiful lady. “Hey!” says Patrick, “If you were back here the whole time why didn’t you help me?” But as a sultry smile graces her lips he realizes exactly why, “oh, you’re the enemy aren’t you?” She simply nods, but her eyes are telling him that maybe she’s thinking about him in a more friendly way. He looks at his wedding ring and thinks of his children. Jamie would sure come in handy for this part. Putting on a stylish hat to complement his shirtless bod and wrangler jeans, he winks at her and asks, “but maybe we can be more like frienemies.” That’s right! We’re watching Sleeping with the Enemy, the Julia Roberts thriller about the husband from hell. This is one of those films that has a bit of a cult following presumably because it played on cable TV back when people either watched cable TV or stared at a wall (legends say). Always nice to get a star vehicle. Let’s go!

Teamed with the dark figure, Jamie is able to dispatch the mailmen with ease. It’s like there’s some telepathic link with the man, but Jamie shakes off his unease. “Hiya, bro. I’m just trying to find my way back to New Angeles and could use a ride. You got another pair of those sweet RBlades?” The man grimaces but quickly turns it into a friendly smirk. “I’ll do you one better… bro,” he hisses as he reveals a totally pimped out hang glider. “Cool,” Jamie breathes as he buckles up for the ride of his life, “This is going to be T.N.T.” That’s right! We’re pairing the Julia Roberts entree with an Eric Roberts dessert in T.N.T. That of course stands for Tactical Neutralization Team. And lest you think that some lame backronym… there actually was a Tactical Neutralization Team in the Air Force. So… jokes on you (and probably us because we’re watching this film). Let’s go!

Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) – BMeTric: 25.7 

SleepingwiththeEnemyIMDb_BMeT

SleepingwiththeEnemyIMDb_RV

(Wow this really actually genuinely made a comeback. That is more than regression to the mean, because that usually regresses to around 6.0 or a little higher. It is a little higher, but the trajectory is suggesting people actually like this film more now I think.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Practically suspense-less thriller about a young woman who flees from her brutal husband and tries to start life anew in Iowa. Unabashed star vehicle for Roberts (complete with “cute” montage set to the oldie “Brown-Eyed Girl”) is relentlessly predictable.

(Suspense-less would be bad. That’s all I’m here for. The rest of it I don’t really see as criticism … so what if it is a star vehicle for Roberts. She was one of the big up and coming stars of the time. Just a strange idea, although maybe that came across more cynically back when this review was written.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcQqsrf2gik/

(WOW, they start the trailer like it is a romantic comedy! That is a crazy way to advertise what is legitimately a thriller, and then by the end it looks like a horror film complete with creepy John Carpenter synth music. Nope, don’t like it.)

Directors – Joseph Ruben – (Known For: Dreamscape; Return to Paradise; True Believer; The Stepfather; Future BMT: Money Train; The Forgotten; The Good Son; The Ottoman Lieutenant; BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy; Notes: He’s amazingly still working having directed The Ottoman Lieutenant in 2017, a rare WWI movie.)

Writers – Nancy Price (novel) – (BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy; Notes: This appears to basically be her only novel. She has a few others, but nothing significant. Amazingly this film was made within four years of publication.)

Ronald Bass (screenplay) – (Known For: My Best Friend’s Wedding; What Dreams May Come; Rain Man; Stepmom; Waiting to Exhale; The Joy Luck Club; When a Man Loves a Woman; Black Widow; How Stella Got Her Groove Back; Gardens of Stone; Future BMT: Amelia; Entrapment; Passion of Mind; Dangerous Minds; Snow Flower and the Secret Fan; Before We Go; Snow Falling on Cedars; BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy; Notes: Apparently very prolific employing his own team of research assistants to help him out.)

Actors – Julia Roberts – (Known For: Wonder; Steel Magnolias; Notting Hill; Charlie Wilson’s War; Ocean’s Eleven; My Best Friend’s Wedding; Pretty Woman; Mystic Pizza; Closer; Ocean’s Twelve; Erin Brockovich; Stepmom; August: Osage County; Flatliners; Ben Is Back; The Pelican Brief; Michael Collins; Runaway Bride; The Player; Conspiracy Theory; Future BMT: Full Frontal; Ready to Wear; Love, Wedding, Marriage; I Love Trouble; America’s Sweethearts; Eat Pray Love; Something to Talk About; Mary Reilly; Larry Crowne; Smurfs: The Lost Village; Dying Young; Secret in Their Eyes; Mona Lisa Smile; Fireflies in the Garden; Grand Champion; Hook; BMT: Valentine’s Day; Mother’s Day; Sleeping with the Enemy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 1997 for Mary Reilly; and in 2017 for Mother’s Day; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Hook in 1992; Notes: Somewhat notorious early in her career for leaving Kiefer Sutherland at the altar and running away with his friend Jason Patric. Her niece Emma Roberts has herself become rather famous.)

Patrick Bergin – (Known For: Free Fire; Ella Enchanted; Patriot Games; Mountains of the Moon; Map of the Human Heart; The Boys & Girl from County Clare; Silent Grace; Future BMT: Eye of the Beholder; The Invisible Circus; Strength and Honour; Love Crimes; Age of Kill; The Wee Man; BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Sleeping with the Enemy; Notes: I kind of used up all my fun facts on Lawnmower Man 2 … he was apparently at a Dog Festival in Dublin with his dog Kayla the other day, that’s fun.)

Kevin Anderson – (Known For: Risky Business; Charlotte’s Web; Hoffa; Heaven Is for Real; Salomé; The Night We Never Met; Firelight; In Country; Liebestraum; Miles from Home; Orphans; Eye of God; Future BMT: Rising Sun; BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy; A Thousand Acres; Notes: Has portrayed both JFK and RFK which is apparently quite rare.)

Budget/Gross – $19 million / Domestic: $101,599,005 (Worldwide: $174,999,005)

(That is a massive success. Obviously they kind of stopped releasing these to theaters over the years, possibly because it is so difficult to capitalize on the success … like it isn’t like you’re going to make a sequel or anything.)

#2 for the Thriller – Psycho / Stalker / Blank from Hell genre

sleepingwiththeenemy_psychothriller

(Easily the highest grossing bad film. And amazingly the only other one that grossed over $100 million besides Fatal Attraction. Amazing. The wave-like pattern is nice. Like they just regurgitate the same thriller ideas over and over every ten years.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (7/33): A game Julia Roberts gives it her all, but Sleeping with the Enemy is one stalker thriller that’s unlikely to inspire many obsessions of its own.

(Obsession feels like an odd way of putting it … like, this is a domestic abuse situation, and one more about control and paranoia at that. Not really an obsession right? Whatever. Reviewer Highlight: There are good performances all through the movie, but the filmmakers don’t keep faith with their actors. – Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Sleeping with the Frienemy (C+)

sleeping_with_the_enemy_ver2

(Very odd. Looks more like a book cover (spoiler alert on the tagline). Font is weird and bland and even the spacing is a little jarring. I’m not sure what to think… I think I appreciate it?… Like how I appreciate modern art.)

Tagline(s) – She is a stranger in a small town. She changed her name. Her looks. Her life. All to escape the most dangerous man she’s ever met. Her husband. (D)

(If I wanted to read a book I would have went to my local public library.)

Keyword(s) – psychopath; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.9 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 83.9 The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011); 82.7 Prom Night (I) (2008); 82.3 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 82.2 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 79.7 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 79.3 Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994); 78.9 Jason X (2001); 75.0 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 74.5 The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) (2015);

(Noice. All basically horror films as you would expect. Highlander II and Speed 2 out of nowhere. Speed 2 is a weird one as well. Dafoe was a psycho? He was a man who was made sick by his job seeking revenge on the corporation who screwed him over … is that a psycho? That is just a weird take on that character.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Julia Roberts is No. 1 billed in Sleeping with the Enemy and No. 2 billed in Mother’s Day, which also stars Jennifer Aniston (No. 1 billed) who is in Just Go With It (No. 2 billed), which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Hook, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Julia Roberts caused a controversy after she left Abbeville, South Carolina, where the film shot some location work. She said the place was “a living hell” and a “horribly racist” town and she would never return there. (Holy shit!)

Julia Roberts’ lead female role in Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) was originally written for Jane Fonda. (Really? Huh, it works really well for Roberts)

The name Laura chooses for herself is connected to her past life. The first name of Sarah means Princess, which is what Martin used to call her, and the last name of Waters symbolizes Laura’s supposed drowning. (Cool)

Julia Roberts, aged 22 when the film was shot in spring 1990, became the youngest actress to earn a seven-figure fee for a single performance. (She deserved it, this movie made bank wholly supported by her main performance and not much else)

It was Patrick Bergin’s idea to use composer Hector Berlioz’s song, one of his favorite pieces of music, as Martin Burney’s song of choice. (I liked it … although it seemed a bit over wrought in the end)

At the time director Joseph Ruben was hired, Kim Basinger was attached to the project as Laura Burney. She ultimately turned down the part, though, feeling she wasn’t right for the role. The character in the end was cast with Julia Roberts. (Kimmy B could have been good there, just a bit after her Batman role)

When this movie was submitted to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)for a rating it was given a rating of NC-17. An NC-17 rated film can only have limited advertisement in the US and many theaters will not show an NC-17 rated film. So to make a profit, the movie had to have a rating of R. In order for the MPAA to give this film an R rating, several seconds of the first sex scene between Martin and Laura had to be cut. The version of this film with the entire sex scene is known as the International version which was seen in the UK and other parts of Europe. (Huh, none of the sex scenes were crazy, and that is pretty crazy in retrospect)

[There was a long note here about Bergin’s potential sociopathy which just seemed a bit too speculative for my liking]

Upon its release, the movie ended an eleven week and almost three-month reign of Home Alone (1990) at the top of the North American box office. Both pictures were from the same 20th Century Fox.

The stars that were originally attached to the film’s lead roles were Kim Basinger, Sean Connery and Aidan Quinn. (Sean Connery would have been amazing).

The use of Berlioz’ “Symphonie Fantastique” is appropriate since the piece is a programmatic symphony depicting a young man, under the influence of opium, dreaming that he kills his girlfriend, is executed and ends up in hell. (Cool)

The film was made and released about four years after its source novel of the same name written by Nancy Price had first been published in 1987. (That is quick!)

The scene that Ben’s students are rehearsing when Martin spies on the class is from the play ‘The Seagull’ by Anton Chekhov.