Armageddon Quiz

Don’t wanna close my eyeeeeeeeees. Don’t want to fall asleep, ‘cause I’d miss you baby, and I don’t want to miss a thiiii-iiing. Did you miss anything?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Harry is the baddest m-f-ing oil driller on the high seas, and his crew? It’s the best. AJ though, he can get a little wild. What two major mistakes does AJ make to get himself fired?

2) Let’s get into some asteroid facts! How big was the asteroid, which city do we see get hit by the asteroid in the beginning of the film, and which city is completely destroyed by the asteroid in the middle of the film?

3) Describe in as much detail as possible the actual plan to destroy the asteroid. And while you do this please laugh as little as possible.

4) Who were in the crews, who died, and how did they die? No need for names, but please, an hour of silence for our fallen heroes.

5) At the end of the film all of the remaining heroes draw straws to see who has to stay behind and detonate the bomb manually. Why do they have to detonate it manually?

Answers

Armageddon Preview

Rich and Elvira the tree monster nanny are smooching hard. It’s real sexy and steamy and inappropriate to describe the scandalous nature of their forbidden love. Oh how forbidden! What a mismatched pair! What a indecent proposal! What a fatal attraction! What a… uh… wild orchid! In between bouts of steamy make-out sessions Elivira reveals that her real name is Jade and that Elivira is just a front that Gruber convinced her to put on to further his dastardly plan. “But what’s the plan?” asks Rich, taking a break from their sensual lovemaking. But Jade doesn’t know. “Well there’s only one way to find out.” Jade protests, but Rich quiets her with a kiss. “Nothing can stop us when we’re together,” and off they go to deliver him into Gruber’s hands. As they enter the arcade, it’s empty. Were they gone for so long totally frenching? Suddenly Gruber spins around in a chair, “well, well, well Rich. How nice of you to join us. Seems like you and Elvira have been having quite the time… or should I say… Jade?” Gruber already knows! Rich rips off his shirt ready to pound on Gruber, but he puts up his finger, “Not in front of your best friend and his little old granny.” Suddenly a panel in the wall spins around revealing Poe and his granny hanging suspended above a tank of electric eels. “You bastard,” Rich says through clenched teeth, “What do you want from us?” Gruber laughs, “Always so slow. Perhaps this will give you a clue.” With that another wall panel spins. “My god, it’s Jim McBrawn, renowned astronaut and sex symbol,” Rich exclaims. Gruber laughs again, “That’s right and you’re going to impersonate him and help me… hold the moon ransom!” That’s right! We’re watching one of the greatest movies ever made, Armageddon. You’re probably like, “bro, you even watch bad movies. That shit can’t possibly qualify.” Oh but it does. By the slimmest of margins. And that’s the first mistake, because leave an opening for us to watch Armageddon and we’re gonna slither in like a couple of greased up snakes at a county fair. Hooooooo weeeeeeeeeeeeeee… anyway, this indeed was Ebert’s worst film of 1998 while Siskel gave his award to none other than Patch Adams. All I gotta say is I’m much more excited to watch Armageddon than I would be to watch Patch Adams. Let’s go!

Armageddon (1998) – BMeTric: 14.8

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(Wow, the BMeTric just collapsed. Probably appropriate. Armageddon is ridiculously fun. I’ve seen it like 15 times. It is a little shocking just how much the critics hated the film. But that’s an opportunity for us to watch a good film for BMT)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Opens with a bang, and sets up an exciting (it improbable) story about NASA and the U.S. government turning to a veteran oil-well driller and his motley team to save humanity by flying to an asteroid and planting a nuclear bomb. After a while it becomes so routine, so predictable, and so redundant that all the fun is drained away.

(Hard disagree, but two stars sounds about right. It is a perfectly even film. On the one hand it is fun as hell and so so sincere. On the other it is just such a logical conclusion to 80s/90s action films that, as Leonard says, you can predict what is going to happen at every moment.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vizwnpbwO0w/

(I love it. “You have twelve days” … why? Why not just do it in 10 or 11? Why? Then you’d just have however long you want to complete the mission instead of literally (spoiler alert) blowing up the asteroid with one second to spare.)

Directors – Michael Bay – (Known For: Transformers; The Rock; Bad Boys; 13 Hours; Pain & Gain; Future BMT: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Pearl Harbor; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Bad Boys II; The Island; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director in 2010 for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; and in 2015 for Transformers: Age of Extinction; and Nominee for Worst Director in 1999 for Armageddon; in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; in 2012 for Transformers: Dark of the Moon; and in 2018 for Transformers: The Last Knight; Notes: Loves English Mastiffs, and produces a bunch of horror films like the Friday the 13th reboot.)

Writers – Jonathan Hensleigh (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle; Jumanji; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; Kill the Irishman; A Far Off Place; Future BMT: Next; The Saint; The Punisher; BMT: Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Armageddon in 1999; Notes: )

J.J. Abrams (screenplay) – (Known For: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens; Super 8; Mission: Impossible III; Joy Ride; Forever Young; Regarding Henry; Future BMT: Gone Fishin’; Filofax; BMT: Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Armageddon in 1999; Notes: His father is Gerald William Abrams a television producer from the 80s. His sister is also a screenwriter.)

Tony Gilroy (adaptation) – (Known For: Rogue One; The Devil’s Advocate; The Bourne Identity; The Negotiator; The Bourne Supremacy; The Bourne Legacy; The Bourne Ultimatum; Dolores Claiborne; State of Play; Michael Clayton; The Cutting Edge; Duplicity; Extreme Measures; Future BMT: The Great Wall; Bait; Proof of Life; BMT: Armageddon; Notes: Has two brothers. Tony Gilroy is a very accomplished editor. And Dan Gilroy is also a writer (and married to Rene Russo).)

Shane Salerno (adaptation) – (Known For: Savages; Shaft; BMT: AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem; Armageddon; Notes: Was just 21 when he began writing on NYPD Blue. He is apparently writing Avatar 3.)

Robert Roy Pool (story) – (Known For: Outbreak; The Big Town; BMT: Armageddon; Notes: A little unclear what he’s been up to for the last 20 years, but worked with Laurence Dworet, a doctor, on writing the Outbreak screenplay.)

Actors – Bruce Willis – (Known For: The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part; Pulp Fiction; Split; Unbreakable; The Sixth Sense; The Fifth Element; Die Hard; Sin City; RED; Looper; Twelve Monkeys; RED 2; Moonrise Kingdom; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Die Hard 4.0; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Ocean’s Twelve; Planet Terror; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Too; Vice; The Cold Light of Day; The Prince; Extraction; Lay the Favorite; Precious Cargo; Breakfast of Champions; First Kill; Cop Out; Reprisal; Once Upon a Time in Venice; Marauders; Acts of Violence; Fire with Fire; Perfect Stranger; Striking Distance; Rock the Kasbah; The Story of Us; Blind Date; Rugrats Go Wild; Mercury Rising; Loaded Weapon 1; Billy Bathgate; Surrogates; Sunset; The Jackal; Last Man Standing; Tears of the Sun; Hostage; Grand Champion; Glass; Four Rooms; BMT: North; A Good Day to Die Hard; Color of Night; The Whole Ten Yards; The Bonfire of the Vanities; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Hudson Hawk; Death Wish; Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Winner for Worst Actor in 1999 for Armageddon, Mercury Rising, and The Siege; and Nominee for Worst Actor in 1992 for Hudson Hawk; in 1995 for Color of Night, and North; and in 2019 for Death Wish; Notes: Y’all know Bruce Willis. Famously married to Demi Moore for years, now married to model Emma Heming Willis.)

Billy Bob Thornton – (Known For: Tombstone; Love Actually; The Judge; Monster’s Ball; Princess Mononoke; Faster; Bound by Honor; Whiskey Tango Foxtrot; Sling Blade; Intolerable Cruelty; Dead Man; Puss in Boots; Friday Night Lights; The Man Who Wasn’t There; A Simple Plan; U Turn; Bad Santa; Bandits; Bad News Bears; Parkland; Future BMT: The Informers; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Bad Santa 2; Into the Grizzly Maze; London Fields; Indecent Proposal; School for Scoundrels; Waking Up in Reno; The Alamo; Our Brand Is Crisis; South of Heaven, West of Hell; Cut Bank; Eagle Eye; The Baytown Outlaws; Entourage; Levity; The Winner; The Badge; Jayne Mansfield’s Car; BMT: On Deadly Ground; Mr. Woodcock; Armageddon; Notes: Y’all know Billy Bob. All the news on google is about his band which I think is called Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters … I would have thought it was just The Boxmasters, but given the ‘t’ isn’t capitalized it has to include his full name.)

Ben Affleck – (Known For: Triple Frontier; Justice League; Gone Girl; Dazed and Confused; The Accountant; Good Will Hunting; Argo; The Town; He’s Just Not That Into You; Field of Dreams; Daredevil; Dogma; Shakespeare in Love; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; The Company Men; Chasing Amy; Clerks II; Mallrats; State of Play; The Sum of All Fears; Future BMT: Surviving Christmas; Runner Runner; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Reindeer Games; Suicide Squad; Man About Town; Pearl Harbor; 200 Cigarettes; The Third Wheel; Live by Night; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Smokin’ Aces; BMT: Gigli; Phantoms; Paycheck; Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor in 2004 for Daredevil, Gigli, and Paycheck; Winner for Worst Screen Combo for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2017; Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Gigli in 2004; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; in 2005 for Jersey Girl, and Surviving Christmas; and in 2017 for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for Daredevil, Gigli, Jersey Girl, Paycheck, Pearl Harbor, and Surviving Christmas; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 1999 for Armageddon; in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; and in 2005 for Jersey Girl; Notes: His next film Torrance sounds suspiciously like Hardball with Keanu Reeves. Had a giant Netflix success with Triple Frontier recently.)

Budget/Gross – $140 million / Domestic: $201,578,182 (Worldwide: $553,709,788)

(These days that would be an underperformance, but that is kind of okay in the end. Bay’s biggest success until the Transformer franchise, so I think this was basically the ceiling for the type of action film Bay was producing around that time.)

#7 for the Disaster genre

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(Absolute pinnacle of the genre in 1998. It tried to make a comeback recently, I think because people tend to like disaster stuff when things are going well in the US. Seems like that is waning now though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 38% (45/120): Lovely to look at but about as intelligent as the asteroid that serves as the movie’s antagonist, Armageddon slickly sums up the cinematic legacies of producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay.

(Basically nails it. Prior to the re-watch I decided this film was the logical conclusion to Top Gun and disaster films smushed together. Reviewer Highlight: It’s strictly a side issue whether mankind will survive colliding with an asteroid the size of Texas; the real question is whether Liv Tyler, who plays Bruce Willis’s daughter, gets to keep her boyfriend. – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader)

Poster – Sklogageddon (A-)

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(It’s actually beautiful. Well spaced. I like the orange color, which is both the color of fire and Michael Bay as a whole. A little on the fence whether the font is good or not… you can barely see that it’s unique because of the fire. But it is unique.)

Tagline(s) – For Love. For Honor. For Mankind. (A)

(Yes, yes, and yes. That tagline is nearly perfect. Maybe add a dash of wit and you’d be up at the top. I also feel like it would be a good advertising scheme. Like, “For Love. For Honor. For Mankind… Four Loko.” Nailed it.)

Keyword(s) – asteroid; Top Ten by BMeTric: 74.8 After Earth (2013); 52.0 Green Lantern (2011); 48.3 Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007); 46.5 Space Station 76 (2014); 41.9 Meteor (1979); 41.6 Ice Age: Collision Course (2016); 38.4 Galaxina (1980); 38.4 The Phantom Planet (1961); 34.8 The Green Slime (1968); 34.4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009);

(Wow, how haven’t we seen more of these? Well, I guess I’ve seen Green Lantern and all of the Transformers. I’m excited for Fantastic 4 2 though.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Michael Clarke Duncan is No. 8 billed in Armageddon and No. 4 billed in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 8 + 4 + 2 + 2 = 16. If we were to watch Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 9.

Notes – N.A.S.A. shows this film during their management training program. New managers are given the task of trying to spot as many errors as possible. At least one hundred sixty-eight have been found. (Makes sense, I can’t help but laugh that they decided to have both space shuttles blast off at the same time)

Regarding the film’s premise, Ben Affleck asked Director Michael Bay, “Wouldn’t it be easier for N.A.S.A. to train astronauts how to drill rather than training drillers to be astronauts?” Bay told Affleck to shut up. Besides, the reasoning behind sending drillers, rather than training astronauts, is explained in the movie. (Straight from the notorious audio commentary. To be fair to Ben he acknowledges that it is explained in the movie … that explanation was “my guys are the best” which is equally ridiculous. I don’t doubt the scene was added to the script precisely because it was glaringly obvious that that was the better solution)

Steve Buscemi claimed that the role of Rockhound was pitched to him as a heroic geologist, which he eagerly accepted, wanting a change from the lowlifes, as whom he had been typecast. He noted that after he had been cast in the role, Rockhound’s sleazy characteristics were written into the script. (Great. Out of everything this aspect ages the worst. They suggest he’s a rapist basically so …)

Rockhound’s line about sitting on a million pounds of fuel in a rocket built by the lowest bidder is a variation of an actual radio transmission by Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, just prior to lift-off. (Cool)

Because of the patriotic nature of the script, and the success of using Top Gun (1986) as recruitment material, the producers persuaded N.A.S.A. to allow Director Michael Bay and company to shoot in the normally restricted space agency. This included the neutral buoyancy lab, a sixty-five-million-gallon, forty-foot-deep pool used to train astronauts for weightlessness, and the use of two ten-million-dollar space suits. The crew was also allowed to shoot in the historic launch pad that went out of service after the Apollo 1 disaster, and parts of the movie were filmed at Edwards Air Force Base in California. (Yup. Works really well it turns out)

Michael Bay had the actors write their list of demands on the papers from which Bruce Willis read.

The shuttle launches were filmed for real. Disney (Touchstone Pictures) was allowed to put cameras (about sixteen of them) all over the place. The camera on the launch pad was shaken so hard (25G) that all the screws fell out of the lens, and it had to be returned to Panavision in a box of pieces (which they put back together).

The film crew was also allowed to shoot sequences at the top of a real launch pad, with an actual space shuttle docked to it. The only condition was that they not step into the shuttle itself. Ben Affleck admitted to stepping inside the orbiter for a brief moment, before N.A.S.A. technicians ordered him out of the spacecraft. (Maybe for contamination reasons, but that’s hilarious)

Bruce Willis has said that he did not care for Michael Bay’s directing style, and he refuses to work with him again. (ha!)

When asked why he did this film, Steve Buscemi replied, “I wanted a bigger house”.

Bruce Willis came to the film after he decided a comedy he was filming called “Broadway Brawler” could not be salvaged, and sought a way to exit the project. Disney’s then-head Joe Roth worked out a deal where Willis would star in Armageddon and two future films for the studio, and in exchange, Disney would absorb the failed project’s costs as an advance against his initial salary. The two films Willis later made under this deal were The Sixth Sense (1999) and Unbreakable (2000). (I love these silly stories from Hollywood, what a weird business)

Michael Clarke Duncan improvised the line, “Come and get Papa Bear!” This later became one of the actor’s nicknames.

Despite playing one of the principal characters, Michael Clarke Duncan’s name does not appear in the opening credits.

Michael Bay thinks Armageddon is his worst film. “I will apologize for Armageddon, because we had to do the whole movie in sixteen weeks”, he told The Miami Herald in 2013. “It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could.” (Yeah, it is definitely the weakest part. The asteroid looks ridiculous, and the movie suffers a bit. Plus the time jumps are crazy. They’ll be like “Hey can we do this in two hours?” and then literally two seconds later “We only have ten minutes left!” It is really jarring)

Billy Bob Thornton told Michael Bay that his backstory for Truman was that he was on track to join N.A.S.A. as an astronaut, but suffered crippling nerve damage as a young man, and was only able to serve as an administrator. Bay loved the idea, and had a scene written that refers to this by showing a metal brace on Truman’s leg.

During the filming of this movie, the cast and crew worked around nineteen billion dollars worth of equipment, including a real oil rig and real space shuttle.

According to the Criterion Collection commentary, many of the errors found in the film were acknowledged by the director, and known even during filming and production and were left in deliberately (such as fire in space). Michael Bay said, “It’s a movie and not many people know about it”, so they were kept in for entertainment value.

Billy Bob Thornton has admitted to doing this film for the money and often jokes about acting in it. He has, however, called it “not THAT bad”. (It isn’t that bad)

By the time of its release, this was the Walt Disney Company’s highest-grossing live-action film (without adjustment for inflation). (Oh so times have changed)

The convenient existence of a fault plane passing right through the asteroid is not unrealistic. Several asteroids are now believed to be “contact binaries”, each apparently consisting of two separate lumps of rock that are just sitting on each other.

The original script did not include the romantic subplot between A.J. (Ben Affleck) and Grace (Liv Tyler), and instead had more emphasis on Truman. It was added after the success of Titanic (1997) with teenage girls. Most of the romantic scenes were written by Scott Rosenberg and were filmed late in production. (WHAT, that’s crazy. I think it works though, Liv Tyler’s scenes with Affleck and Willis is a touch of humanity the movie needs as cheesy as it all is)

Michael Bay said in a magazine interview that the solution in the movie for dealing with the asteroid was very clever, but not realistic, but that one idea for countering the threat was in line with actual N.A.S.A. research (anti-gravity systems). He also said that a problem with a film like this, was that it would make Americans erroneously think that if a situation like the movie actually occurred, then there was anything that could be done about it. (Yeah we’d all be dead. That being said, we would have known about the asteroid waaaaaay before that. We would have known about the errant comet and its path through the asteroid belt years before it ever happened, as if we wouldn’t track a comet flying through our solar system)

Stanley Anderson, who played the U.S. President, also played the U.S. President in The Rock (1996). (I love fake presidents)

Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered for the role of Harry Stamper. (Wow, what a movie that would be … that is blowing my mind)

Scott Rosenberg, Robert Towne, and Ann Biderman all did uncredited work on the screenplay. J.J. Abrams’ original contribution was also going to be uncredited, but Michael Bay liked it so much, that Abrams was brought back for additional dialogue work, and ended up sharing a Story credit with Shane Salerno.

Ben Affleck has practically disowned the movie, even repeatedly making fun of it on the commentary.

Bruce Willis was given a second trailer that housed a full working gym, at an estimated cost of one hundred seventy-five thousand dollars. It was reportedly never used. (HA, go get yo’ money Bruce)

Lawrence Tierney repeatedly turned down the part of Harry’s father, until he was offered a substantial pay raise. (……… he is uncredited in the film … but that must have been cut. I don’t recall a scene with Harry’s father)

DIRECTOR CAMEO (Michael Bay): As a N.A.S.A. scientist. Shown after Carl asks to name the asteroid Dottie. (I noticed this real time during the watch. It is super quick)

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #40. (It’s in the Criterion Collection?)

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Sound (Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell, Keith A. Wester, 1999)

Nominee for the Oscar for Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing (George Watters II, 1999)

Nominee for the Oscar for Best Effects, Visual Effects (Richard R. Hoover, Pat McClung, John Frazier, 1999)

Nominee for the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song (Diane Warren, 1999)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Bruce Willis, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Jerry Bruckheimer, Gale Anne Hurd, Michael Bay, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Liv Tyler, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Michael Bay, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Jonathan Hensleigh, J.J. Abrams, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Diane Warren, 1999)

Jade Recap

Jamie

David Corelli is the future DA of San Fran. That is until a prominent art dealer is found dead and his best friend’s wife, who also happens to be his ex-lover, is the lead suspect. It seems she’s been living a double life as the sultry Jade, mistress of the rich and powerful. Can he solve the crime, clear her name (and perhaps find love) before it’s too late? Find out in… Jade.

How?! The presumed future DA of San Fran, David Corelli, is pulled away from a high powered function to a gruesome murder scene of a rich businessman, Kyle Medford. He’s shocked to find that all evidence starts to point towards his former lover and prominent psychologist Katrina Gavin, wife of his best friend, defense attorney Matt Gavin… you getting this? They’re all rich… it’s all about rich people. Anyway, amongst Medford’s possessions is a video of the Governor of California having sex with a prostitute. Additionally a plethora of evidence suggests that Medford acquired high-end prostitutes for powerful men and then tapes them for blackmail. Things start going seriously awry as one of their only witnesses is killed, David has his brakes cut, and evidence begins to mount against Katrina. When shown the evidence, Katrina and Matt’s messed up married life spills over resulting in Katrina attempting to seduce David, which turns out to be her only alibi for another witness’s murder. Enraged, Matt confronts David at gunpoint, but they both realize that Katrina is in danger and rush to her aid. Arriving at the house they find an associate of the governor and colleagues of David’s attempting to kill her. They are subdued and the audience is like “phew, I’m really glad everything worked out a-ok for these rich fucked-up assholes. I hope there isn’t a twist where it turns out that they actually did it and got away with it.” But then there is. What a twist! Matt killed all the people and they got away with it and now uses that to blackmail Katrina into not leaving him… which is really gross. THE END.

Why?! As is typically the case, erotic thrillers kind of muddle the motivations. David just wants to solve the crime while Katrina really was living a double life as a high-end escort seemingly because she was bored with her life with adulterous Matt. Matt turns out to be the real sleezeball in the end. After finding out about Jade he creates the intricate plot of murder and mayhem to further entrap Katrina in his world and force her to take on her persona of Jade with him. It’s really quite gross when you lay it all out there. Not sexy really at all.

Who?! Usually we are highlighting Presidents here, but it is interesting to find the governor of a major state depicted. Richard Crenna plays Governor Edwards in this film. I wondered whether he played a President in his time. Answer? Yup. He played Ronald Reagan in the TV Movie The Day Reagan Was Shot… Governor of California and then onto the presidency… sounds familiar.

What?! I crossed my fingers and googled “Jade 1995 hatchet prop for sale” but alas not every dream can come true. I will instead highlight the rididididiculously long car chase that occurs in the middle of the film where David chases a suspect through a very very slow moving parade. The car in the chase was a modified ‘92 Thunderbird XL with some swizzeeet window louvers on the back. That’s kind of a product placement, for those that wish to be rad.

Where?! This is quite a good setting considering that you could easily imagine it set in Miami, Los Angeles, or any number of hot and steamy cities. In fact, thinking about it it’s really appropriate that it’s set in San Francisco since it’s not your typical hot and steamy erotic thriller. Doesn’t feel like a Miami erotic thriller. Got some sights and sound in there too. A-

When?! A nice solid A here as not only do you get a clear picture of a newspaper letting you know that it’s March 16, 1995, but there is a scene with an autopsy where it’s clearly stated exactly when the event is occurring. I think that might end up being the triad of temporal settings: newspapers, police stations, and medical facilities. Almost always get a non-holiday setting from one of those. A

Well… I did think this was watchable, but had a very, very strange tone to it all the way through. It almost felt like a less ridiculous 88 Minutes. That film seemed like a prank that someone played on Al Pacino a la The Game. Here everyone seemed like willing participants at least. It just seems very strange to have everyone in the film end up being the bad guy… like no one really comes out looking good in the end. And while I don’t require my films to have happy endings, I still squirm a little when it’s so unpleasant. I was pretty disappointed because erotic thrillers are usually so much fun with the weird twist and turns and the idea of “sexy” that shines through from the time period. This had all the ingredients, but instead of being “sexy” it’s like Friedkin was like, “well, if an erotic thriller happened in real life then it probably wouldn’t be sexy at all… it would probably be real depressing and gross… I got it!” Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We were getting all hot and heavy with another erotic thriller. It really is just the best bad movie genre around. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – The second Friedkin film in a row, but I was far more interested in Eszterhas, the writer. This film and Showgirls were both released within a month of each other in 1995. Quite the time for people to realize almost all of Eszterhas’ films were just kind of erotic garbage. Jade partially marks the end to the erotic thriller era in the early 90s, and thus has always been an exciting prospect for BMT.

The Good – Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh. There are maybe some decent car stunts? Some nice San Francisco vistas. It runs like a erotic R-rated version of a tv show, like Law & Order. Which means the story itself is fairly uninteresting, but the progression through the investigation has a few nice spots along the way. It is pretty slim pickings to be honest.

The Bad – Shockingly the directing I thought was fairly terrible. Especially the beginning. The music was also rather intrusive at times. The acting is basically top to bottom terrible, I can’t think of a single person who came out looking good here. The film is very confusing and the twist is somehow both telegraphed and completely ridiculous. If it was just a bit clearer it might have been tolerable. And the film is more thriller than sexy and it is not nearly funny enough to manage a Color of Night legacy, instead it just demonstrated perfectly why these films stopped being made. If I could make up a tagline for the film I might go with “It’ll make you feel gross!” … that is the best way to describe the film.

The BMT – Erotic thrillers are always good for BMT as examples of a genre that is basically dead and only lives in our collective memory of the early 90s. This is the weakest I’ve seen and likely marks the genre’s last gasping breath. Otherwise there is very little reason I will ever watch this film. I will certainly not recommend it. It sadly isn’t a very good BMT film in the end.

Roast-radamus – A very minor Setting as a Character (Where?) for San Francisco here, although I think you could move this to Seattle or Los Angeles without too much issue. Would actually probably make the more sense in LA to be honest. It definitely falls into a Worst Twist (How?) category though with the reveal that Chazz Palminteri was the actual murderer after learning of his wife’s alter ego Jade and her infidelity … it is honestly quite confusing, but that is roughly what I gleaned from it. I think this could sneak into Bad as just an unpleasant film to watch, but hopefully we get worse films that Jade to flesh that category out.

StreetCreditReport.com – It manages an astonishing number two in the Rolling Stone list from 1995, just behind Eszterhas’ other film Showgirls. Also gets a number 7 shout from Den of Geek’s 10 most unerotic thrillers. The second is better cred. I’ve come around on my idea of cred recently I think. Being a very bad example of a small genre is more interesting that just being such a disaster that it is the worst of a year for me.

You Just Got Schooled – While it isn’t quite as good as Jade, I just had to get my eyes on David Caruso’s tour de force CSI: Miami. … What? You think I’m joking? I watched the first episode of CSI: Miami for BMT. And guess what? It was kind of good? Like, not good good, but like out of CSI, CSI: Miami, and NCIS I would go Miami every time based solely on the first episode. Things going for it: David Caruso isn’t a colossal dick to all of his subordinates, none of the subordinates sexually harass their co-workers, and you get those Miami vistas. I hated the two episodes of CSI I’ve seen, and I think it was the main characters fault as he was just a weirdo. NCIS while amazing and hilarious is literally the opposite of all those things I listed and makes me feel gross when I watch it. Will I watch more? Hell no. But David Caruso could have done a lot worse and seems like a good (tv) actor. So he’s got that going for him.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Jade Quiz

My mind is all cloudy. I remember meeting a sexy seductress named Jade and I was like “hey lady, I’m married, get your sexy antics outta here!” But then next thing I knew like fourteen people had died. Can you remember what happened in Jade?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film our hero detective David Corelli is schmoozing it up at a dinner with his ex-girlfriend (Katrina) and her husband (Matt). What do these two people do for a living?

2) During this dinner David is called away to investigate a murder most foul. A creepy rich guy has been killed, and guess what? Katrina was there just that afternoon! Why was she there?

3) Creepy rich guy it turns out was extra creepy. He keeps little tins of pubic hair, a bunch of masks, and other bits and bobs … like blackmail! What super sensitive blackmail item do the detectives discover in creepy rich guy’s house?

4) Who is Jade?

5) In the end how is the case closed, and who was the murderer?

Answers

Jade Preview

Rich leans against the tree. He didn’t remember leaving the arcade and entering a dense forest, but it’s all good. His tree monster nanny goddess is here. “You must be Elvira. I’m Rich,” he says as he kisses her hand. “Pleasure,” she says and draws him deeper into the forest. Rich stumbles over a branch and Elvira catches him. “Just a Stumblebum Stanley,” they both say at the same time. “That’s my favorite saying,” again in unison. Elvira blushes. Rich rubs his neck, “I’m Stanley… I mean Rich,” He says and they both laugh. They soon find themselves discussing more of their favorite things: justice, love, kittens, and brown paper packages tied up in string. They attend a baseball game and end up on the kiss cam. They are driven apart by how different they are, but soon realize that those very differences are what make their love beautiful and they find themselves smooching in the rain. Suddenly Elvira is crying. Rich moves to wipe her tears away, “did I do something wrong?” he asks, but Elvira shakes her head. “Only made me love you,” she says, “which is why this is so hard.” While Rich wants to make a crude joke about exactly what else is hard, he doesn’t. Has he grown as a person? Is this… love? Elvira proceeds to tell Rich of Gruber’s dark plan to use her to deliver Rich and Poe into his clutches. “You must hate me,” she wails. But he can’t hate her. Never her. “Elvira, I’m just a boy, standing in front of an ancient tree monster nanny asking her to love him. I know our love is forbidden, but will you… will you make out with me… hard?” Gasping, with tears streaming down her face she whispers, “the hardest.” That’s right! We’re watching Jade. So out of the Friedkin pan and into the Friedkin as we go two in a row with the Exorcist director. This time it’s an erotic thriller (my personal favorite genre of BMT film) and apparently Siskel did not like this in the least. In fact he named it his least favorite film of 1995. Interestingly Ebert didn’t have it in his bottom five at all. His least favorite from that year was Mr. Payback… which I don’t think can be physically watched anymore… like literally I think that’s a lost film. Anyway, I’m just hoping we get some steamy action. Let’s go!

Jade (1995) – BMeTric: 45.1

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JadeIMDb_RV

(I feel like ten thousand votes is sooooooo low in this context. How isn’t the genre of 90s erotic thriller not a more attractive bad movie option … they are almost always hilarious.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  While investigating the brutal murder of a wealthy San Franciscan, assistant D.A. Caruso realizes to his dismay that his old flame (Fiorentino, married to his good friend Palminteri) may be involved. Sordid mystery/thriller from the seedy pen of Joe Eszterhas; has its moments (including an exciting S.F. car chase) but never rises above the mire. Unrated video edition has 12m. additional footage.

(Two stars is … interesting. Also this description sounds a lot more tame than I expected. I was hoping for a little more information about the sex scenes. Are they sexy? Are they not sexy? Yeah I checked his review of Color of Night and that’s about the extent of the discussion of sex scenes, so I’m not sure what I was expecting really.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yQ1L97C9FU/

(I have no idea what this film is about, but I’m excited. It look like a super erotic thriller. And by that I don’t mean super erotic, I mean a super “erotic thriller” and of the terribleness that genre implies.)

Directors – William Friedkin – (Known For: The Exorcist; The French Connection; Killer Joe; To Live and Die in L.A.; Cruising; Sorcerer; Bug; The Boys in the Band; Rampage; The Brink’s Job; Future BMT: Deal of the Century; The Hunted; Blue Chips; Rules of Engagement; BMT: Jade; The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Cruising in 1981; Notes: Second Friedkin film in a row. Started in television directing an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.)

Writers – Joe Eszterhas (written by) – (Known For: Basic Instinct; Jagged Edge; F.I.S.T.; Music Box; Betrayed; Hearts of Fire; Telling Lies in America; Szabadság, szerelem; Future BMT: Showgirls; Sliver; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Nowhere to Run; Flashdance; BMT: Basic Instinct 2; Jade; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actor, Worst New Star, and Worst Original Song for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; Winner for Worst Screenplay for Showgirls in 1996; Winner for Worst New Star for Ringmaster in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1984 for Flashdance; in 1994 for Sliver; and in 1996 for Jade; Notes: Famous for his erotic thrillers. He used to write for Rolling Stone before starting to write screenplays. Showgirls and Jade were released less than a month apart in 1995.)

Actors – David Caruso – (Known For: First Blood; Twins; An Officer and a Gentleman; King of New York; Session 9; Mad Dog and Glory; Kiss of Death; Future BMT: Proof of Life; Thief of Hearts; BMT: Jade; Hudson Hawk; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star in 1996 for Jade, and Kiss of Death; Notes: Definitely most famous now for his starring role in CSI: Miami. Prior to that he was mostly notable for his part in NYPD Blue.)

Linda Fiorentino – (Known For: Men in Black; Dogma; After Hours; Vision Quest; The Last Seduction; What Planet Are You From?; Where the Money Is; The Moderns; Chain of Desire; Future BMT: Larger Than Life; Liberty Stands Still; Kicked in the Head; Unforgettable; Gotcha!; Ordinary Decent Criminal; Queens Logic; BMT: Jade; Notes: Apparently won her role in Men in Black in a poker game with Barry Sonnenfeld.)

Chazz Palminteri – (Known For: The Usual Suspects; A Bronx Tale; Legend; Stuart Little; Running Scared; A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints; The Last Dragon; Analyze This; Hoodwinked!; Jolene; Bullets Over Broadway; Underdogs; The Perez Family; Hurlyburly; Henry & Me; Yonkers Joe; The Dukes; Future BMT: In the Mix; Down to Earth; Diabolique; Arthur and the Invisibles; The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure; A Night at the Roxbury; Mulholland Falls; Innocent Blood; Noel; Oscar; Faithful; BMT: Little Man; Jade; Notes: Has two children who act. His son Dante Palminteri has actually been in quite a few things, most notably Sharknado 2.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $9,851,610

(That looks like a disaster. I don’t think mid-90s erotic thrillers were expensive per se, but I also don’t think you are making them for like … $4 million, which is what would be what was required for this to be a success.)

#27 for the Thriller – Erotic genre

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(The sweet spot for erotic thrillers was ‘92 to ‘96. It really seems like eventually everyone shrugged and was like “yeah that’s enough of that.” Recent examples include The Boy Next Door, but the best of them all I think was Color of Night. Can’t wait to see what the dying breath of the 90s boom looked like.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (4/29): An ostensible erotic thriller that’s largely neither erotic nor thrilling, Jade marks one of several unfortunate low points for aggressively sexual mid-’90s cinema.

(You see that’s what I’m looking for. Just tell me whether it is sexy. We all know most erotic thrillers aren’t, just say it. Reviewer Highlight: Writer Joe Eszterhas’s follow-up to his Showgirls fiasco is every bit as hopeless, and this time he takes some good actors down with him. – Bruce Diones, New Yorker)

Poster – Sexy Dangerous (A)

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(I actually like this poster quite a bit. The framing is artistic, the color scheme is good, and the font is… different? Right? That ‘J’ is just a little too long (if you know what I mean), right? I’m not imagining it? It’s telling me a story and that story is sexy dangerous.)

Tagline(s) – Some fantasies go too far. (B-)

(Just not clever enough. The ‘J’ on the poster is more clever than this… it’s just a tad bit too long, right?…. RIGHT?!)

Keyword(s) – female full frontal nudity; Top Ten by BMeTric: 85.8 Piranha 3DD (2012); 73.6 Showgirls (1995); 66.1 The Canyons (2013); 65.7 Rape Me (2000); 62.5 9 Songs (2004); 61.7 Srpski film (2010); 57.7 Wild Orchid (1989); 55.3 Color of Night (1994); 54.9 Nurse 3D (2013); 54.5 The Informers (2008);

(Some of those aren’t happening. We’ve seen The Canyons (at least … I have, for the Razzies if I recall correctly). Showgirls I’ve also seen, but we need to rewatch it (for sure). And Wild Orchid kind of rounds things out. The rest are bigger question marks.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 24) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: David Caruso is No. 1 billed in Jade and No. 7 billed in Hudson Hawk, which also stars Bruce Willis (No. 1 billed) who is in The Whole Ten Yards (No. 1 billed), which also stars Natasha Henstridge (No. 4 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 7 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 24. If we were to watch Unforgettable we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – According to Joe Eszterhas’s autobiography he hated the final film. Director William Friedkin changed Eszterhas’s script so much, he threatened to remove his name from the credits. Paramount settled with him by giving him a “blind script deal” worth two to four million dollars. Later, Friedkin admitted that he did virtually rewrite the script, but Friedkin also said that this film was his most favorite film he had ever made. (Probably made it better)

Linda Fiorentino initially turned down the script because she didn’t want to play a prostitute. She changed her mind when her character was changed through rewrites. (See, Friedkin’s work already working out)

Warren Beatty turned down the role of David Corelli. (That would have been fun)

David Caruso’s second starring role of 1995 after Kiss of Death (1995). Both pictures were box-office disasters. Ironically, Caruso had left the highly successful NYPD Blue (1993) to star in these films. (And then he became a CSI mega-star)

When O.J. Simpson’s Trial of the Century ended with a Not Guilty verdict, he stated to the press that he was going to see this movie. (Weird … oh yeah, he also saw Showgirls which was written by the same person, and came out like three weeks before)

Kenneth Branagh was the first choice for the part of Matt Gavin. (Whaaaaaaaaa?)

2nd film that Michael Biehn did with William Friedkin. The first was Rampage (1987). (Ebert loved that film)

Kevin Tighe who appears as district attorney Arnold “Cliff” Clifford in Jade was also in another 48 hrs when he played an internal affairs officer working with the DA looking at Nick Nolte’s character Jack Cates on a manslaughter charge which turns out to be a frame up. Both movies were composed by James Horner and set in San Francisco. (Cooooooool)

The rest of the notes just aggressively gave away the end of the film

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Joe Eszterhas, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (David Caruso, 1996)

The Guardian (1990) Recap

Jamie

A young LA couple hire a nanny to take care of their young son but, while great with the child, she unfortunately turns out to be a tree spirit monster that literally feeds children to trees. Can they stop her from… feeding their child to a tree before it’s too late? Find out in The Guardian (1990).

How?! After moving to LA and having a baby Kate and Phil decide to hire a nanny so they can both continue to work. After their first choice dies in a tragic and highly suspicious bike accident, Camilla, their second choice, moves in and is wonderful. They seems like quite the cozy family, you know other than the fact that Camilla is in fact a tree witch who sacrifices babies to a tree. Oops. But at least the tree is super far away and hard to get to… oh wait, it’s basically in their backyard. Double oops. When Phil starts to have weird dreams about Camilla and their next door neighbor is killed by a pack of wolves randomly (for real) Phil starts to have some suspicions. It’s only after getting a call from a woman who tells him in great detail exactly how Camilla stole her baby and sacrificed it to a tree does he finally decide that it’s time for her to go. Unfortunately Camilla doesn’t think so and she transforms into a monstrous tree creature and attempts to take the baby against their will. After unsuccessfully trying to kill her by running her over with a car, Phil takes a chainsaw and runs into the forest where he does battle with the tree (I’m seriously not joking. This is real). He’s able to injure the tree enough for Kate to overpower the tree monster witch nanny and send her back to… Hell, I guess. I’m not sure where she’s actually from. THE END.

Why?! It’s become a trend that the motivations of the antagonists are always much more interesting than the main characters. Mostly protagonists do things for justice or love. Same here. Phil and Kate just love their baby. As for the tree nanny, she’s scouring the greater LA area looking for babies that are just on the verge of ripeness (apparently just about four weeks, according to this movie… which by all accounts in the definitive source). At that point she can sacrifice them and the tree gets that sweet baby juice so it can keep living and make Camilla stronger.

Who?! I thought for sure that such a small film wouldn’t have anything of interest for these categories. I was wrong as Def Leppard drummer Frank Noon played one of the wildly stereotypical punks that get killed by the tree (how scary. I super scared of that tree). He’s actually had a long career in TV and film.

What?! I do occasionally like to highlight some specific plot devices these films use when there isn’t anything to note otherwise (and there really isn’t here). I probably should do it more since I’m sure there have been some hilarious Chekhov’s Guns thrown around. Anyway, we do have a pretty solid Deus Ex Machina here as the film spends a long time telling us how amazing the tree monster nanny is at taking care of children to the point where it would be hard to imagine what would make Phil and Kate decide that their wonderful nanny was a tree monster… apparently a call from a stranger who happens to own a Hansel and Gretel children’s book you dreamed about once. Good enough for me, “get the fuck out of here, wonderful nanny! You are clearly a deranged tree monster in disguise. I have been given all the clues needed.”

Where?! As implied above this is a great example of late-80’s, early-90’s Los Angeles, which honestly seems like one of the weirdest places on Earth. These films make it seem like a totally foreign land full of complete weirdos living in crazy houses… about 400 ft from a giant, ancient tree that a nanny feeds babies to. B+

When?! While we can’t get an exact date from it, Phil and Kate do mention that the baby is a Libra and was born in October. Considering a majority of the film takes place between when the baby is 2 and 4 weeks old, we can assume that it’s end of October into November. Part of me thinks that this is probably hinting that the baby will be four weeks just around Halloween… but that’s just me wishing it were so. C+.

I feel like Friedkin fell into all the trapping of a Color of Night and yet somehow made a less ridiculous film, despite basing the entire premise of his film on a nanny that feeds children to trees. It’s literally “what if I made Hansel & Gretel except set in cocaine fueled LA instead?” and yet he swam out of it with a film that is certainly bad, but also has a ton of kinda weird visual stuff going on (which I can appreciate). Pretty easily the worst part of it all is the actual storytelling and acting. Everything seems to just float along until the main character gets a call from someone who is like “your nanny is a tree monster” and he’s like noooooooo, I 100% believe you despite there being no evidence for this being the case and it’s also insane. Then he runs into the forest and has to literally battle nature with a chainsaw and try to cut down her tree before it’s too late. It’s actually kind of amazing in a literal metaphor kind of way. I’m not sure I didn’t kinda dig it. But it’s hard to tell. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! For the second time we’ve watched a film called The Guardian for BMT. This time it was the one with the creepy tree nanny. I know there is nothing scarier than a creepy tree nanny. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I was actually genuinely excited for this film. It was a genre I traditionally haven’t watched a ton of (horror), and a sub-genre which was very weird (nature horror? Religious horror?), from a director who is known for one of the greatest religious horror films ever (The Exorcist, which I hadn’t seen prior to watching The Guardian either). There was literally no frame of reference going into the film. None.

The Good – I think the fact that mid-way through the film the main character strikes a woman across the face and my reaction wasn’t a shock or horror it was “yeah!” is a testament to Friedkin’s ability to make me think of Seagrove’s character as a non-human monster despite looking like a young woman throughout. I do think that at the very least Friedkin was up to the task even if ultimately the film was a losing effort on his part. The practical effects at times were also decent.

The Bad – The film looks cheap, and has cheap acting (beyond, I think, Seagrove). While eerie the film still falls short. First by resorting to kind of gorey nonsense horror, and later by not pulling out the cool makeup effect earlier and instead using the (fairly weak) wolf scene. For something like this you don’t really have to be scary, but it just wasn’t very spooky at all. Even the idea of a nanny who manages to get away with giving fake references twice (at least) from same company where a baby went missing months prior just doesn’t really fly.

The BMT – Eh I don’t think so. I’ll certainly add it to my horror film repertoire, but I don’t think this is a BMT film really. I think we’ll get to that more in the awards predictions as well. There just is not very much meat on the bone. The film is honestly a bit too good in some respects, definitely a bit too weird and interesting, for me to call someone up and tell them to watch this bad movie. There is very little reason to watch this as a bad movie in the end, unless you are a huuuuuge Friedkin-head.

Roast-radamus – There is a very tiny Setting as a Character (Where?) here for Los Angeles. I wish I could say it was a secret holiday film, but despite taking place around Halloween (the baby was an October baby they say, and is only two weeks old) there is no actual evidence of that fact in the film. Does the tree count as a MacGuffin … I don’t think so, because people aren’t trying to obtain it, it doesn’t really drive the plot. The very tiny setting is really it, I don’t think it gets a Good, Bad, or BMT nod in the end. See, the film really brings very little to the table.

StreetCreditReport.com – First I will just say this film has at least some cred. It was on an end of the year worst of list for Siskel and Ebert. So a reviewer watched this film and thought “that was terrible”. Otherwise I can find no evidence this film exists let alone was considered bad at the time. In my defense though, it is basically impossible to search for The Guardian as it is the name of a giant British tabloid.

Good Movie Twins – Prior to The Guardian I had seen Friedkin’s The French Connection, which I quite liked. But I had never seen The Exorcist. So I popped that in and I have to say I loved it. The film takes on a 70s style as you would expect, the story initially just follows the daily lives of our characters to lend insight into their personalities, which has been how I tend to feel 70s cinema operated from my limited experience. The young priest is very compelling, a conflicted man who loses his mother and is in crisis just as he is enlisted to battle a demon on Earth. Linda Blair and especially Ellen Burstyn were amazing. Bringing a religious horror element up against a very (almost overly) scientific analysis of Regan is a crux of many horror films to this day, specifically in J-Horror where demons and spirits often exploit or inhabit the newly technological world we live in. You can see elements of The Exorcist in The Guardian as well, just from a pagan perspective instead. There the modern yuppie culture is infiltrated by the ancient almost unknowable evil that is Camilla and they do battle with what sometimes feels like nature itself. Consider the storyline in which Camilla wants Kate to continue breastfeeding Jake instead of using formula. Nature versus the modern sensibilities of child-rearing. It kind of makes me wish the end of the film was Phil hacking the tree apart with an ax, an idea of returning to a more natural state (an ax instead of a chainsaw) to destroy the natural evil that is the tree. Horror films are great.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Guardian (1990) Quiz

Oh man. Last night I go soooooo drunk, and then woke up naked in a tree. It was real strange. I vaguely remember The Guardian had the same storyline, it must have been hilarious. Can you help me remember?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning we see the creeeeeepy nanny taking care of two children, a young boy and a newborn baby, while their parents go off for the weekend. What story is the young boy reading?

2) Months later we meet a young advertising writer, Phil, and his wife Kate newly arrived in Los Angeles for a job opportunity. Where did they live previously?

3) This young couple decides to have a baby, and in the meantime also make some very good friends. Phil’s two bosses come over for dinner parties, but also Ned Runcie who lives nearby and has taken a shine to their nanny Camilla. What unique relationship does the couple have with Ned?

4) The climax of the film comes when Phil receives two messages on his answering machine concerning the nanny. What were these messages?

5) During the film how many people do we see the tree / nanny kill?

Answers

The Guardian (1990) Preview

Hats backward and cargo shorts a-baggin’, Rich and Poe skateboard their way to the Italiano Arcade & Pizzeria to smash on some video games and eat some ‘za. They immediately own a bunch of middle schoolers in Super Mario Bros 3 like some video game wizards and make their way to the top of the social pyramid. There are some dope tweens around, but they are by far the dopest. “Haven’t seen you two around here before. You guys sure can whiz on the j-stick,” one of the kids say, “they call me Toad, who are you?” Rich steps up, “I’m Big M and this is my bro LJ. We’d mash the ‘cade all day, but our Granny is a real lamester. You chilling me?” Toad nods and laughs while Poe tries not to cry. That’s his beloved Granny they’re talking about. Nobody calls her a lamester. Rich continues, “but maybe that’s not the worst thing, you feelz? We heard some real slippery things going on around here.” Toad looks a bit nervous, “Yeah, real canopy thang. But it’s just Elivira, the new nanny. Everyone else is icy.” Rich and Poe look at each other. Elvira? That doesn’t sound like Gruber. They looks around but Poe can’t see anyone that looks suspicious. “Rich, I don’t think this is working… Rich?” Rich is staring off into the distance. The crowds part between him and the most beautiful woman in the world. She flips her golden hair to the side and beckons to him. He floats towards her… the seductive and super creepy nanny who looks both ageless and yet thousands of years old. His mind is telling him to resist, but he has eyes only for this scary witch nanny and the creepy tree she’s sitting in. Wait, what? That’s right! You knew right from the start when I was talking about witch nannies and creepy trees that there was only one film I could be talking about. Let’s say it all together. The Guardian (1990). Of course. That film that everyone knows. Well at least one person knew about it and his name was Roger Ebert and he hated this film. In fact he said it was one of the worst he had ever seen. Good enough for us. Let’s go!

The Guardian (1990) – BMeTric: 31.9

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(The rating feels really low for a film from the early 90s and for a film I’ve never heard of. Even after the regression that is pretty astonishing. It really must be a terrible horror film. Getting a little excited here.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Yuppie couple hires a nanny for their newborn child, but we know there’s something odd about her: she feeds babies to a tree in a nearby gully. Friedkin’s first return to horror after The Exorcist has a few good scenes, but a ludicrous story and a hormorless approach. Seagrove is very good in an almost unplayable role. Cowritten by the director from the novel The Nanny by Dan Greenburg.

(I probably knew this was based on a book and forgot to be honest. Everything in this preview is about Friedkin. He really squandered a lot of his good will by 1990 it seems. He only really directed sporadically after 1985.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbl1b664ivk/

(‘Member the Exorcist? Me too … member that thing where William Friedkin was the director … cool me too.’ I literally have no idea what this film is about or what it is beyond a horror film made by the director of the Exorcist. Should I watch the Exorcist then? It feels like a good extra homework assignment.)

Directors – William Friedkin – (Known For: The Exorcist; The French Connection; Killer Joe; To Live and Die in L.A.; Cruising; Sorcerer; Bug; The Boys in the Band; Rampage; The Brink’s Job; Future BMT: Jade; Deal of the Century; The Hunted; Blue Chips; Rules of Engagement; BMT: The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Cruising in 1981; Notes: Given he directed The Exorcist it might be surprising to know he grew up Jewish, became agnostic, and then is clearly a Christian in some capacity given recent quotes.)

Writers – Dan Greenburg (novel & screenplay) – (Future BMT: Private Lessons; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Was married to Nora Ephron ages ago. His son was the kid in Lorenzo’s Oil.)

Stephen Volk (screenplay) – (Known For: The Awakening; Gothic; Future BMT: Octane; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Famously wrote and directed Ghostwatch, a fake documentary which played on the BBC which confused a bunch of people who thought it was real. It was banned from replay for a decade.)

William Friedkin (screenplay) – (Known For: To Live and Die in L.A.; Cruising; Rampage; BMT: The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Cruising in 1981; Notes: Cruising was considered by many as anti-gay, and the film was protested by the gay community at the time of production)

Actors – Jenny Seagrove – (Known For: Local Hero; Another Mother’s Son; Moonlighting; Future BMT: Run for Your Wife; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Long time partner of Bill Kenwright who is an actor and … the chairman of Everton F.C. since 2004? Still works as an actress, although not as often.)

Dwier Brown – (Known For: Field of Dreams; House; Red Dragon; Gettysburg; To Live and Die in L.A.; The Cutting Edge; Reunion; Future BMT: House II: The Second Story; Mom and Dad Save the World; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: If you’re racking your brain trying to figure out who he was in Field of Dreams, he was Kevin Costner’s father at the end.)

Carey Lowell – (Known For: Leaving Las Vegas; Licence to Kill; Sleepless in Seattle; Fierce Creatures; Future BMT: Club Paradise; Love Affair; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: You’d know her from Law & Order, she was on the order side of things, as a DA.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $17,037,887

(Probably not great … although you could make these things for less than a million around this point in time, so maybe it turned as profit.)

#233 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(It feels like this came at a peak of the genre in the late eighties. Kind of went on a bit of a hiatus after. Still having a moment now, especially with It Part 2 coming out this year, should be good for R-rated horror.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (2/9): No Consensus

(Nice I get to make a consensus: Hysterically funny … wait, it was supposed to be a horror film? Reviewer Highlight: Maybe after years of banging his head against the system Friedkin decided with “The Guardian” to make a frankly commercial exploitation film. … give us a break. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – The Guardian Not Starring Kevin Costner (B+)

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(Too many words and the image itself is a bit small, but I’m digging the simplicity of it and the coloring. The font isn’t the worst either. Good effort.)

Tagline(s) – Tonight, while the world is asleep… an ancient evil is about to awaken. (F)

(I literally don’t understand this… when? Tonight? Is that like… when I’m watching the movie or is the film set over a single night during which the ancient evil awakens? Neither? Cool cool cool. Just one more thing. Would it have mattered if that ancient evil awoke while everyone was awake? No? Interesting.)

Keyword(s) – baby; Top Ten by BMeTric: 92.6 Date Movie (2006); 92.1 Son of the Mask (2005); 91.0 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 84.0 Baby Geniuses (1999); 76.3 Junior (1994); 75.9 In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011); 74.7 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 73.9 Look Who’s Talking Too (1990); 70.6 The Animal (2001); 69.0 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013);

(Shit. I have to watch The Animal for a third time. Maybe Jamie will appreciate it more given it stars someone from Survivor. [Editor’s Note: I will])

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 24) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Xander Berkeley is No. 10 billed in The Guardian and No. 6 billed in Seeking Justice, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 10 + 6 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 24. If we were to watch Savage Islands we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Jenny Seagrove was unhappy with the film’s constant re-writes, and wanted to make a completely different film. She said to The Guardian in 2007: “It was about this druid nanny who became a tree. I begged Universal to make it about a real nanny who kidnaps babies. ‘No, no, we can’t do that,’ they said, ‘the thirty somethings in America won’t come and see the film.’ I said, ‘I think you’re completely wrong; this film is total fantasy, and it’s just awful.’ Two years later The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992) was released, so I rang up my friend at Universal and he said, ‘Don’t. Don’t even talk about it, you were right.’ ” (haha)

Was to originally be directed by Sam Raimi, but he left the project early to direct Darkman (1990). Producers brought in William Friedkin, and the project suffered through several re-writes sending co-writer Stephen Volk into a breakdown. Friedkin eventually took over the writing duties. (oooooooooooof)

William Friedkin’s first horror movie in seventeen years since The Exorcist (1973). (Maybe a mistake)

One of only two feature films that William Friedkin wrote nothing about, positive or negative, in his memoir The Friedkin Connection (see also Deal of the Century (1983)).

A new effects crew was brought onto the scene after the initial tree failed to work mechanically. The new team constructed a tree that held 500 gallons of fake blood and detachable bark. (oh no, haha)

The delivery scene used real footage of an actual live birth. (oh no … I would just say haha here, but that would feel redundant)

The film was released three years after its source novel “The Nanny” by Dan Greenburg had been published in 1987. (Fact: I did not read this book)

The movie’s dark villain, Camilla (Jenny Seagrove), is included in the compilation film Boogeymen: The Killer Compilation (2001).

A cable television version of the film is not billed to William Friedkin, but to Alan Smithee, a generic name which is used by directors when they don’t want to be associated with a picture. This, despite the fact that Friedkin claims on the film’s audio-commentary he never heard of such a version. There are two versions of “The Guardian”: the theatrical cut, credited to Friedkin, and a modified cut, credited to Smithee. The Smithee cut has never been released on home video or DVD, and has only been shown on cable. It includes new scenes, including another scene in the hospital, different dream sequences, a scene of the nanny waking the wife up and alternate angles for other scenes. Also, the ending of the cable cut is different and omits much of the gore. (Oh wow, that is kind of cool. They cut a version and clearly didn’t ask him about it. Sounds like we can’t get it though)

Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert named the picture one of his “Most Hated Films” of all-time. (Noice, it is on his end of the year worst of list so …)

One of three movies with “The Guardian” title made during the modern era of Hollywood. This supernatural horror movie was made and released around six years after the 1984 action crime thriller The Guardian (1984) and sixteen years before the sea rescue drama The Guardian (2006). (We have now watched two for BMT. Martin Sheen’s 1984 film doesn’t have any reviews. That sounds like I have to cook up 5 fake reviews to get this onto Rotten Tomatoes …)

Super Mario Bros. Recap

Jamie

Mario and Luigi are just a couple of plumbers trying to make ends meet in Brooklyn. When Luigi meets the love of his life, Daisy, only to have her taken through an interdimensional portal to Dinohattan the bros follow after her. Can they stop King Koopa from merging the dinosaur and human worlds (and find love) before it’s too late? Find out in… Super Mario Bros.

How?! In the midst of a string of kidnappings of women, two Brooklyn plumbers, Mario and Luigi, are just trying to get by. When a beautiful researcher, Daisy, who is excavating some strange fossils in a local construction site catches Luigi’s eye things seem like they are looking up. That is until she is becomes the next victim of the kidnappers. Even weirder is that Mario and Luigi witness Daisy getting dragged through what looks like a solid rock wall, but in actuality is a portal to another dimension (oooooooo). Luckily they grab Daisy’s necklace before she is dragged through because it turns out to be the key to everything (more on that later). Refusing to lose his chance at totally smooching this pretty lady, Luigi jumps in right after and Mario is not far behind. They find themselves in Dinohattan, an alternate dimension where the dinosaurs never went extinct, but instead evolved into intelligent humanoids themselves. This realm is ruled by the eeevil King Koopa, who needs Daisy’s necklace in order to make complete the meteorite that split the dimensions millions of years ago. By completing the meteorite he will merge the two dimensions and he can use his advanced deevolution technology to take over the world (bwawawawa). Hearing that the plumbers have the necklace, Koopa puts out an APB. Before they can be arrested, though, they are mugged and the necklace is taken. Once arrested, they are told the entire intricate MacGuffin-centric plan but totes escape before Koopa can do anything about it. Ending up in the wasteland they are helped by some of Koopa’s toadies (and now defectors) to get back into the city and locate the necklace. Almost immediately after getting it back, though, Koopa’s lady love Lena gets the necklace and decides that actually she wants to rule the world and goes off to use it on the meteorite. Mario and Luigi decide it’s time to rescue Daisy (and all the other kidnapped girls) and infiltrate Koopa’s building and take everyone out like the Super Mario Bros that they are. Once outside Mario confronts Koopa, while Luigi and Daisy confront Lena, who immediately is killed when she attempts to merge the dimensions. While the dimensions are briefly merged Koopa deevolves Mario’s biggest rival into a chimpanzee before Luigi and Daisy remove the necklace and Koopa is dispatched. Dinohattan rejoices, Daisy’s dad is reevolved from a fungus into a humanoid by unknown means, and Luigi and Mario return to their own dimension. Luigi is real bummed because he doesn’t get to smooch Daisy, but is surprised when she returns to let them know about their next great adventure in the sequel. THE END… or is it? (it is). Believe it or not this is me being brief… the plot is a disaster.

Why?! Major MacGuffin Alert over here. In fact, I’m going to call it right now. This is the best MacGuffin in the history of BMT. I’d have to go back through all our films to confirm it, but the Meteorite Necklace is kind of a perfect level of stupidity. You see, King Koopa really wants this Meteorite Necklace that Princess Daisy has. Why? Because it’s part of the meteorite that sent the dinosaurs into an alternate dimension. By putting the meteorite back together he’ll be able to merge dimensions because… why not. Obviously that would be the case. But that’s not all. Even if he had the piece of the meteorite he wouldn’t be able to merge the dimensions. Why? Because only Princess Daisy would be able to do that and survive the power surge (?). Again… why? I literally have no idea. Because it was laid down in an ancient scroll probably. Or maybe… like Princess Daisy’s mom was actually human and so she’s the offspring of both dimensions and thus can bridge the gap… I just made that up, but good enough for me. Everyone else is motivated by love (awwwww).

Who?! Weird musician-turned-actor in this as Toad was played by a guy by the name of Mojo Nixon, a psychobilly musician who’s heyday was in the early 90’s. He appeared a few films around this time… in fact this isn’t the first film we’ve seen him in. He was also in Car 54, Where Are You? I should also mention that Lance Henriksen has a very brief cameo as the Mushroom King after he is reevolved back into a… mushroom human, I guess. Never a real explanation why he even reevolves either. It just kinda happens at the end.

What?! Again, one of the greatest product placements in BMT history. So good that I remember being puzzled by it even when I watched this film as a child. In the climactic scene where the Super Mario Bros take out Koopa with a Bob-omb we get a very clear shot of the bottom of the bomb’s feet… which for no explainable reason are emblazoned with the Reebok logo. Magnifique.

Where?! Brooklyn, baby. In both dimensions Brooklyn/NYC exists and plays a prominent role in the action. The best part is that they actually give some pretty clear details of Dinohattan and the world that it exists in. Apparently it’s a small inhabitable city surrounded on all sides by a wasteland that covers the rest of the planet… which is exactly how Patrick and I describe the Z-Universe in our ongoing Bad Movie Twins saga. Great minds. A-.

When?! My guess is that this is actually identifiable given that there are a number of prop newspapers with news stories regarding the missing Brooklyn girls. I just couldn’t catch a clear glimpse of a date on them, but they exist. I just need to scour the dark web for some of those sweet sweet props. F.

There are moments in my life where I know I’m watching a first ballot HoF film. This was one of them. It is truly the crowning BMT achievement in multiple categories close to our BMT hearts. The MacGuffin is a masterpiece, the product placement is inexplicable, and the stories behind the production may very well be a case study in how arrogance and ego mixed with cynicism and disillusionment mixed with greed comes together into a perfect BMT film. They weren’t trying to make a BMT film, they were trying their damndest to make a hit, and yet they produced something that is so odd and weird and nonsensical that it became beautiful. A beautiful piece of trash. The only good thing about it was how invested it seemed that Bob Hoskins was in an obviously terrible role… and then I learned he was drunk the whole time and didn’t give a shit. Give the man an Oscar. I could not tell. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! For about two years now we’ve allowed ourselves to rewatch movies for BMT. Now, I thought Batman & Robin was going to be the quintessential example of why this is a good thing. Apparently I forgot about Super Mario Bros. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Everything I remember about the film and everything I heard about it subsequently kind of focuses on the set design of Dinohattan. All of the cast hated the two directors, and part of why the two directors were being insufferable was because they were being limited in their vision of a surreal alternate dimension Mushroom Kingdom. I noted during the Double Dragon recap that these two movies are kind of the same: let’s adapt this video game, but since we are a bit light on story … uh, it is also post-apocalyptic. I was intrigued and very very excited due to all three prospects.

The Good – In an alternate dimension this film is fantastic and ushers in a wave of bizarre metaphorical adaptations of video games. There is something just so bold and brash in the vision. The leads are solid I think, at least as good as you would hope given the material. Dinohattan in all of its misguided glory is kind of amazing, and tells you a lot about how films were being made in that sweet spot of the late 80s / early 90s. Finally, Yoshi is a very very impressive puppet, right before Jurassic Park killed the need for cinematic puppets once and for all.

The Bad – The story makes no sense. The fan service is off the chain. It is completely operating on the level of “well we have this script that is just a sci-fi post-apocalyptic film … how much Super Mario shit do we need to add to it to make it a Super Mario film again?”. Hopper is awful, just awful in the King Koopa role. It is clear the directors were out of their depth, the script was re-written daily, and Nintendo was offering no guidance. It is awful … even if it is incredibly fun to watch.

The BMT – The film is somehow one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, and a cinematic achievement. I absolutely expect to watch this film many more times in my life. I will show my children this film. They will watch it with me. And guess what? When they are like 30 years old they’ll say “What was that weird Mario film we watched with dad those twelve times when we were kids? Jesus, you want to watch that again in our holo-cinema, Robo-Butler?”. This is the first film in a while that might make the Hall of Fame simply on bad movie merits alone. It will endure for BMT.

Roast-radamus – Last week we had evil Laurel & Hardy, and this week let’s go with Evil Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Who?) because this film is somehow almost definitely a rip off of Hamlet, and the two cousins of King Koopa play R and G for sure. One of the best Produce Placements (What?) we’ve had in a while with Reebok sponsoring the grand finale bom-bomb. Naturally a small Setting as a Character (Where?) for Brooklyn and alternate reality Brooklyn (Dinohattan) which is pretty great. It actually literally is a character, as the Mushroom Kingdom is covered in Princess Daisy’s father who was de-evolved into a fungus. We have a fantastic MacGuffin (Why?) in the meteorite shard which will somehow merge the two dimensions back together. And finally I think this has a good shot at both the BMT award this year, and also an eventual Hall of Fame in the future, but we’ll see. That’s five years away. Very impressive award potential though.

StreetCreditReport.com – Obviously Siskel and Ebert put this in their worst of list of this year. Normally that would be well and good as far as street cred is concerned. Rifftrax has it on their worst of the 90s list at number 3. Gamestop puts it at number 13 on their worst video games list. And variety put it maybe at number one (but it seems to be in no particular order) as a top 7 worst video game films list as well. This has the cred. Up the wazoo as they say.

You Just Got Schooled – Another video game film, another speedrun. Well, not precisely. In this case it is Mario 64 TAS (tool-assisted super-run) involving not pressing the A button (at all) in the final level. But how you might wonder, well take a look at the video:

Basically the computer is just pressing B, manipulating its environment, and pausing to eventually get all of the red stars and defeat Bowser. Obviously this can only be done via computer, but still pretty impressive. The entire game can in theory be done with a single half-A press, which I understand to be that you come into the game with A pressed down and merely release it at a single point in the game to achieve the only jump currently required in the entire game. If that video intrigued you I would suggest watching the previous video he uploaded (it is in the description), and reading that description. It explains a bunch about how the B jump works. Other videos explain the pausing mechanisms, and other junk. And Games Done Quick (summer event is June 23rd to 30th) does a few TAS breakdowns as well which is the only reason I know anything about this. And there you have it, you’ve been schooled on deeeeeeep Mario 64 super-run knowledge.

And that’s it. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Super Mario Bros. Quiz

I had this very strange dream. I entered the world of Super Mario, but … like it was just a generic post-apocalyptic thing instead of being anything like the video game. I can’t remember anything else. Can you help me out?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film we are introduced to Mario Mario, Luigi Mario, and Princess Daisy who all, for whatever reason, live in real world Brooklyn. Daisy is tangled up with an eeeeeeeevil real estate developer over a construction site in Brooklyn. Why?

2) And how do the Mario Bros. get all mixed up in Daisy’s mess?

3) Dinohattan looks a lot like New York City … but filled with human dinosaurs, really dangerous, and covered in fungus. Wait … why is it covered in fungus?

4) Describe the path of the MacGuffin Meteorite shard from the instant we see it in the film.

5) What is King Koopa’s plan with the MacGuffin Meteorite?

Answers