Cool World Recap

Jamie

Writer Jack Deebs is released from prison only to find himself sucked into the world of the comic books he wrote while behind bars. There he is seduced by Holli Would, a sultry cartoon who wants to become human and enter the real world. Can Cool World detective Frank Harris stop her before it’s too late? Find out in… Cool World.

What?! Frank Harris is back from WWII and almost immediately accidentally kills his mom in a motorcycle accident. Nice going, IDIOT. Just as we think we are going into a drama involving Frank dealing with his grief and guilt, a hole randomly opens in space and time and transports him to Cool World thanks to a “doodle” doctor and his invention, the Spike of Power. We jump to present day where Jack Deebs, the incarcerated comic book writer who based his comic book’s world off of Cool World, is about to be released. We see him get pulled into Cool World where he sees Holli Would, a sultry femme fatale who wants to totes bone him (a “noid”) in order to gain power to enter the real world herself. Jack comes and goes from Cool World a couple more times where he learns from Frank that there are rulez that prohibit noids from boning doodles and that he better watch out for Holli… which he promptly ignores and the two have crazy noid-doodle sex. This turns Holli into a real woman and her and Jack flee Cool World for Vegas, baby! Holli immediately spurns Jack to try to find the Spike of Power in order to break down the barrier between Cool World and the real world and gain ultimate power. She kills Frank, gets the Spike, and breaks the barrier only to have a doodle-fied Jack take the Spike and reverse it all. Frank is then reborn in Cool World as a doodle and is super psyched because now he can fuck cartoons to his heart’s content. THE END.

Why?! The motivations that matter the most are that of Holli. She wants power and more than just what a cartoon life gives her. She has heard stories of a doodle who used the Spike of Power to enter the real world and wants to get there in order to get what she thinks she deserves: everything. Having sex with a noid is her way of doing this and she’s been bringing human men into Cool World to try to accomplish that. Jack’s just one of those dopes who thinks he’s created Cool World. When he finds that it’s actually a real place he ignores advice at every turn and just can’t resist having sex with Holli… which is pretty weird.

What?! Can’t recall any significant product placement. There is the mysterious object called the Spike of Power that was used to bridge the gap between Cool World and the real world. Holli Would seems to assume this object will also help her stay in noid form at the end of the film because… well, because it’s a MacGuffin I guess and you don’t really have to explain why it would have the power to do that.

Who?! Frank Sinatra Jr. makes a cameo appearance in a nightclub in Vegas. He was the son of a famous singer, a famous singer in his own right, and a famous victim of kidnapping. His daddio had to fork over a whole bunch of money to get him back. Cool stuff.

Where?! Vegas, baby! Seems like Cool World is somehow inexorably linked to Vegas as both Frank and Jack come from there. Perhaps it’s some meditation on Vegas as a cartoon world created by those who dreamt it up? Could have been an A- maybe if that was the case, but hard to know for sure. B+.

When?! We are given an intertitle setting us in 1992 for the main thrust of the film. While not exact it is still an intertitle so that pushes it to a B-.

What a strange, terrible film. I can understand the ambition and artistry here. The creator of this was obviously very much an artist in animation. The way that the doodles manically interact with each other and ghostly, half-drawn faces float around the world seems to indicate that he thought long and hard about what a world of cartoons would be and took it to the logical dark and twisted conclusion. But narratively this is a mess and just not worth watching. He even dropped the ball when it came to having real people interact with the cartoon and it looks like garbage. So I can’t even say that you could watch it for only the visual pleasure. Just an odd, weird thing that exists that maybe you can find aspects to appreciate (maybe?). Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Not-very-cool world is more like it, amirite? What if you could animate things and had a ton of cocaine? Let’s find out!

The Good – Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is a charming wonderful film, and this makes you appreciate the patience and skill it took the animators, director, and Bob Hoskins to make that film work. And then some jabronis made this … go figure.

P’s View on the Preview – The only thing this film had going for it was that it seemed like it could try and be a more mature (even r-rated) version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Once you read the preview though you realize the insane producer and Kim Basinger basically hijacked that vision, kicked the shit out of the director, and tried to force what was a fine (if misguided) idea into a PG box. To see them fail miserably and produce a steaming pile of shit was the only thing of interest here.

The Bad – This is a steaming pile of shit. The movie is scattershot and off from the get go. None of the acting or writing is good. The set design and direction is just … it takes the idea from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and basically did it on the cheap with cheap looking hand painted cutouts. Cool World isn’t fleshed out and instead comes across as merely a riff on the hard boiled detective cliche more than anything else. It is a marvel, but an unpleasant one, and one that never begs for a rewatch or showing anyone. It exists only to be put on worst of lists and to be compared to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Just terrible.

Get Yo Rant On – Cool World. Can anyone tell me what happens in Cool World? Who anyone is, what the rules are, the geography, the culture. They intentionally divide the Noids (humans) from the Doodles (cartoons), which basically hamstrings the entire thing as well, because the Doodle culture is not an amalgamation of human cultures of any kind, there is no riff on the oddity whereby age and mortality contrast with the humans that inhabit the same world. What was even the idea?! What did this movie have going for it that they would even consider making it?! Out of all of the films I wish I could read up on the background for this is either the most or least interesting one. Either there is a crazy story of how this was made … or the answer is simply “cocaine, hubris, and a dash of genuine insane people with power”.

Welcome to Earf – I admit, I had to look up Kimmy B’s filmography to remind myself. Kim Basinger is in both Cool World and Grudge Match with Sylvester Stallone, who was in Zookeeper with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

The BMT – This will live on a bit because of the obvious correlation to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. I would never ever recommend this to anyone to watch ever though. It is boring and unpleasant. So there isn’t much there. To put in on a BMeTric like scale I would give it a 35, just a shade below where you’d want to be before recommending it to someone I feel like.

StreetCreditReport.com – The movie is so lame people write entire articles about it these days. To say the least it has some serious cred and had been on our radar for years (and is on the Calendar, which holds it own sort of cache). I found it difficult to find actual lists from the time, but retrospectives seem to be a bit more kind to it at this point. Whatever, this movie is hot garbage.

And that’s it. I wish I had watched Who Framed Roger Rabbit? for this recap, but I didn’t. But that’s just because that movie is awesome. This movie is just trash, so let’s forget about it.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

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Cool World Quiz

Are you having one of those days where you just got out of prison, but you keep on getting transported to an alternative dimension populated by cartoons which you thought had come from your mind? Wait … what?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film Brad Pitt is returning from where, and when does this sequence take place?

2) How is Brad Pitt’s character transported to Cool World (the parallel dimension populated by Doodles) in the first place?

3) During the course of the film Brad Pitt has a partner named Nails, an anthropomorphic spider. At one point Nails is semi-kinda-not-really killed? What is one way to kill a Doodle apparently?

4) In the end of the film Brad Pitt is killed after being shoved off of a Las Vegas casino by Holli Would. But, what is this? He lives! Why didn’t Brad Pitt ultimately die?

5) In the beginning of the film Gabriel Byrne is in prison … what was his crime?

Answers

Cool World Preview

After seeing Rich get accused of vigilante murder (again), Poe quickly pulls out a small evidence notebook to reveal that he is also a vigilante cop (what a twist!). Secretly we know this is all a frame job and they just need to stick together so they can take down their ultimate foe. They go on trial and are thrown in the slammer (again). Luckily, being Rich and Poe, they escape like the badasses they are, punching people in the throats and faces along the way. They track their arch nemesis back to a secret iron smelting plant/cocaine factory/headquarters and find that it is none other than Helmut Gruber! He’s alive! Gruber leads them on a chase through a house of mirrors. There appears to be twenty Grubers… who do they shoot? Wrong question, who don’t they shoot? They blow him to pieces with their dual miniguns and with dead doll eyes set the factory ablaze, evidence and all. They high five a whole bunch and are reinstated to the force no questions asked. THE END … [fade from imagination script world] … We nervously sit across of a high powered studio executive, the script to Rich & Poe in his hands. We’ve been waiting for hours while he’s read it in a single sitting. “Jamie and Patrick. This script is a true masterpiece. I love it more than my children. Just one thing.” We hold our breath. “I think we need to change this ending… what if, and hear me out… what if we have Rich and Poe fuck a cartoon” That’s right! We’re watching Cool World. It’s the classic tale of boy meets cartoon girl, boy has sex with a cartoon. Straight from the deranged mind of Frank Mancuso Jr., the producer of I Know Who Killed Me, this is like Who Framed Roger Rabbit except super weird and a guy has sex with a cartoon. This also officially transitions to the Calendar cycle of the year where we try to knock a few more dates off that challenge. Let’s go!

Cool World (1992) – BMeTric: 61.4

CoolWorld_BMeT

CoolWorld_RV

(Makes sense it would slowly increase. It sounds like something that animation fans would kind of grow to respect over time despite its problems at the time of release. Even pulling punches on hard-R and ending up at PG-13 can be forgiven given when it was released.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Pointless live-action / animation feature from Bakashi, who’s covered this ground before, much more successfully. Ex-con comic-book artist Byrne discovers his cartoon creations are real, and live in a parallel universe called Cool World. After sexy “doodle” Holli (Basinger) has sex with Byrne, she becomes human and escapes to the real world, with detective Pitt in tow. Too serious to be fun, too goofy to take seriously; lead characters unlikable and unappealing. Looks like a Roger Corman version of Roger Rabbit.

(Such a long review. Too serious to be fun and too goofy to be serious sounds exactly like I expected. Sounds ludicrous.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kJAVgY8DMk

(Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a trailer that seemingly walks through the entire plot of a film so precisely… and boy does it seem really weird and yet super boring.)

Directors – Ralph Bakshi – (Known For: The Lord of the Rings; Fritz the Cat; Wizards; American Pop; Heavy Traffic; BMT: Cool World; Notes: Considered one of the greatest animators of all time.)

Writers – Michael Grais and Mark Victor (written by) – (Known For: Poltergeist; Future BMT: Poltergeist; Poltergeist II: The Other Side; Marked for Death; BMT: Cool World; Notes: Grais co-wrote Poltergeist with Steven Spielberg which basically influenced the rest of these two guys’ careers. Surprisingly little about them online though.)

Actors – Gabriel Byrne – (Known For: Hereditary; The Usual Suspects; Excalibur; Little Women; Enemy of the State; Miller’s Crossing; Assault on Precinct 13; Dead Man; Mad to Be Normal; The 33; Point of No Return; Vanity Fair; Louder Than Bombs; Spider; Gothic; Carrie Pilby; A Dangerous Woman; Shade; P.S.; No Pay, Nudity; Future BMT: Vampire Academy; End of Days; The Bridge of San Luis Rey; The Keep; Stigmata; Hello Again; The End of Violence; All Things to All Men; The Man in the Iron Mask; Quest for Camelot; Trial by Jury; Siesta; BMT: Cool World; Ghost Ship; Trigger Happy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2000 for End of Days, and Stigmata; Notes: Irish. Is notable for only starting acting when he was 29, far later than most actors.)

Kim Basinger – (Known For: The Nice Guys; L.A. Confidential; Batman; 8 Mile; Nine 1/2 Weeks; Wayne’s World 2; Never Say Never Again; The Natural; The Door in the Floor; Cellular; Final Analysis; People I Know; Nadine; Fool for Love; Future BMT: The Informers; Prêt-à-Porter; My Stepmother Is an Alien; While She Was Out; The Getaway; The Real McCoy; Blind Date; The Sentinel; The Man Who Loved Women; Even Money; Third Person; I Am Here; The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud; The Burning Plain; BMT: Fifty Shades Darker; Cool World; Bless the Child; No Mercy; I Dreamed of Africa; The Marrying Man; Grudge Match; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Fifty Shades Darker in 2018; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 1987 for Nine 1/2 Weeks; in 1992 for The Marrying Man; in 1993 for Cool World, and Final Analysis; in 1995 for The Getaway; and in 2001 for Bless the Child, and I Dreamed of Africa; Notes: Kimmy B! I missed her in Fifty Shades Freed. Her daughter Ireland is a model now.)

Brad Pitt – (Known For: Deadpool 2; Ocean’s Eleven; Inglourious Basterds; Fight Club; Se7en; Ocean’s Thirteen; Ocean’s Twelve; Troy; Fury; 12 Years a Slave; The Big Short; Snatch; World War Z; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Twelve Monkeys; Megamind; True Romance; Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Allied; Future BMT: The Counsellor; Full Frontal; By the Sea; Cutting Class; The Devil’s Own; The Favour; Johnny Suede; BMT: Cool World; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Notes: Basically just in the new recently for his high profile divorce proceedings involving Angelina Jolie, they have five children together which … complicates things.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $14,110,589

(Complete bomb, but honestly that is expected. It is a Roger Rabbit knockoff and a terrible one at that.)

#222 for the Animation genre

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(Shockingly only the fourth animated film we’ve seen (The Emoji Movie, Escape From Planet Earth, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, Doogal). I believe the big jumps are introductions of new technology (CG in the mid-90s), and the various phases of those technologies. Recently, I think the jump is the complete takeover of cheap animation by CG leaving basically no traditionally animated features being released.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 4% (2/46): Cool World throws a small handful of visual sparks, but they aren’t enough to distract from the screenplay’s thin characters and scattered plot.

(I did not realize how low this rating was. That is pretty stunning. Review Highlight: A realm with precious little humor and zero pathos, to be admired only for its considerable technical achievements. – Brian Lowry, Variety … at least it is a technical achievement.)

Poster – Sklog World (C)

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(Brad Pitt looks so out of place on this poster… which is probably foreshadowing to how the effect will work in the actual film. Doesn’t even have good framing with the toons even. OK coloring and some kooky toon font rescues it a bit.)

Tagline(s) – Holli would if she could …and she will (C-)

(A little play on the character’s name and her ambitions to seduce a human… which we wouldn’t know because it’s not based on some known property. So it kinda just ends up being a meaningless play on words.)

Keyword(s) – profanity; Top Ten by BMeTric: 85.8 Troll 2 (1990); 71.5 The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) (2015); 68.1 Vice (2015); 65.8 Problem Child 2 (1991); 64.4 Stealth (2005); 63.7 Body of Evidence (1993); 63.1 Ben & Arthur (2002); 61.9 Blair Witch (2016); 61.4 Cool World (1992); 61.1 Transformers: The Last Knight (2017);

(Problem Child 2? It is rated PG-13 and basically made for like … 13-year-olds. Why would it get a profanity keyword. You’d think you’d save that for like … specifically profane movies.)

Movie Stub – Cool World – Rated GA-Class – GA is very high by the way, likely because of the pretty big sections on the production, release, and reception. Reception is actually often noted as a blind spot for film wikipedia pages. I’m not sure what they tend to look for, I guess a few choice soundbites from bit critics, but almost all C/B-class pages mention that the reception section is lacking. To me this is a perfect wiki page for the film, and I would hope that all BMT films could aspire to the svelte plot summary and expansive notes.

Notes – Ralph Bakshi was almost fired and sued by Frank Mancuso Jr. for punching him in the nose after he told him this film was being changed.

Ralph Bakshi wanted Brad Pitt to play Jack Deebs. Brad said he wanted the same, but Paramount Pictures disagreed.

As a publicity stunt, Paramount Pictures placed a huge cut-out of Holli Would on the D of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. Although they did not have to pay any fees, the studio still had to make a donation of $27,000 to the sign’s maintenance fund, another $27,000 to the Rebuild L.A. fund (this was just after the L.A. riots), and the cost of two park rangers to guard the sign 24 hours a day. However, the publicity stunt angered local residents who picketed and demanded that the cut-out be taken down. (ha, fun fact)

Since the characters were simply created from scratch, the directors thought this to be appropriate to parody both popular Disney and Warner Bros. cartoon characters. A few examples would be the medium used for the rabbits, the old bald man and their own version of Geppetto and Pinnochio in a larger character’s stomach, or Daffy Duck’s face seen in a building on the movie.

In Ralph Bakshi’s original script, Holli Would was named Debbie Dallas, after the porn film Debbie Does Dallas (1978). (Kind of gross)

The movie was originally sold as a “hard-R” animated/live action horror film. The original concept art that Ralph Bakshi used to pitch the film was significantly more disturbing than what ultimately ended up onscreen, and had character designs stylistically similar to those found in Frank Miller’s “Sin City”. Once Kim Basinger became attached, she and the studio became ambivalent about the kind of reaction the movie would generate, resulting in the studio deciding to “soften” the picture to a PG-rated dark comedy (though the ratings board ultimately gave this a PG-13). (Ambivalent seems like the wrong work, to change things so dramatically one would have to be concerned about the negative buzz the picture could generate).

In the press release for the film, the studio tried to sell the movie both as a down-and-dirty Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and as a technical achievement in creating a multiplane effect using live-action and animation. The claims were somewhat foolhardy as Roger’s adult situations better served its plot and Roger had scores of technical breakthroughs in its attempt to seamlessly combine live-action and animation. (Alright, calm down IMDb trivia writer. I agree, but no need to throw Roger Rabbit’s “scores” of technical breakthroughs in their faces)

Ralph Bakshi originally wanted Drew Barrymore to play the sultry Holli Would. (Oooof, that would have been weird … did they decide that was a bad idea before or after they realized she was 17 at the time? …)

The character of Nails the Spider is borrowed from Bakshi’s own Christmas in Tattertown character Sidney the Spider. Charlie Adler provides the voices for both characters.

As of 2017, this is Ralph Bakshi’s last film, though he does intend to return to filmmaking soon, after being annoyed by every major animated film being made with computer animation. (He’s going to be annoyed for a long time sadly)

Despite the film’s less than stellar performance, its soundtrack gained critical acclaim and popularity which consists of electronic dance and rock songs by David Bowie, Moby, Neil Tennant and Mark Isham, the film’s composer.

The song, “Disappointed” by Electronic, appeared on the film’s soundtrack before this appeared on any of the band’s own albums. In 2006, this was finally released on the band’s compilation album, “Get the Message – The Best of Electronic”. (WHAT that is crazy)

During a meeting mid-production, Kim Basinger told Ralph Bakshi and Frank Mancuso Jr. that this would be wonderful if she could show this movie to sick children in hospitals. Bakshi replied “Kim, I think that’s wonderful, but you’ve got the wrong guy to do that with. Why didn’t you tell me that on the way in? How are you telling me that halfway through the picture?” Mancuso reportedly agreed with Basinger that this was a good idea. (This I assume was the incident that Bakshi punched Mancuso in the nose over. I love that this is the producer of I Know Who Killed Me as well.)

Awards

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Kim Basinger, 1993)

Righteous Kill Recap

Jamie

Detectives Turk and Rooster are on the trail of a scumbag-killing serial killer. Only when they discover that the killer is a vigilante cop do they realize that he may be closer than they thought. Can they stop the killer before it’s too late? Find out in… Righteous Kill.

What?! We open on Turk telling the camera that he is totes a vigilante cop killing people like no big deal (seriously, don’t worry about it. It’s definitely him). We then go back in time to when he and his total weirdo of a partner Rooster first found the trail of a serial killer called the Poetry Boy Killer. They track him all over the city and battle a different pair of detectives for authority over the case. At the same time Turk coaches softball, helps out a young lawyer he got in trouble in a sting operation, and occasionally has kinky sex with his considerably younger girlfriend… it’s real weird. When Poetry Boy unsuccessfully attacks a Russian mobster he knows that the jig is up. He attempts to kill him in the hospital only to be interrupted in the act. In a final act of desperation he goes to Turk’s girlfriend’s house and rapes her. Turk confronts Rooster after discovering that he is Poetry Boy from a little journal he is keeping. We then realize that all the scenes we saw of Turk admitting his guilt were just him reading the journal on camera like and idiot and it’s real dumb (like super dumb (I’m not sure you are getting how dumb this is))… oh yeah, and what a twist or whatever. Ultimately Turk confronts Rooster and is coaxed into shooting him. Rooster begs Turk to let him die and Turk acquiesces. THE END.

Why?! The reason for Rooster’s vigilantism is a little convoluted despite Turk trying to explain it directly to the viewer via the framing device. Apparently there was this criminal who killed a young girl and got away with it. Turk, who by all accounts was a very good, stand-up detective couldn’t handle this and framed the guy for a different crime. Rooster saw this event as indication that the justice system is corrupted and it broke down all the barriers of law and order in his head. Then once he got a taste of justice through his first righteous kill, Rooster just couldn’t stop (in other words he was a super crazy psychopath) and ended up killing like fifteen people.  

What?! It’s hard to ignore the fact that there was a lawsuit regarding the use of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro’s images in advertisements for the watch company Tutima. But if there was something that could make me forget that it’s the sheer number of Heinz ketchup bottles that are seen on screen. And lest you think this is just coincidence, they get a Special Thanks at the end of the credits. Thank you indeed.

Who?! In one of the briefest and strangest cameos I can remember, former pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek is seen for about five seconds in the role of a skateboarding pimp Rambo. This character is immediately killed and never talked or thought of again. Of course this isn’t the only celebrity actor in the film as 50 Cent plays a drug dealer Spider.

Where?! They are NYPD detectives so ‘nuff said… except I’ll say some more. 50 Cent’s club is the Club 404 in Harlem, they play softball in Central Park, and the entire cast of Friends are victims of Poetry Boy (note: not all BMT facts are true). B+ for prominence, could have been set in Seattle or Chicago or wherever really.

When?! I bet if you really scoured this film you’d find an exact date. Or at least a month, given that there are a lot of scenes in police stations, which are prime places for calendars to be hanging on walls. I went back through the film though and didn’t find a trace of anything… Spring or Summer probably because the police softball league is up and going. F

This movie is unbelievably incompetent. Like 88 Minutes all over again and no wonder since it was made by the same people. It is so poorly written you have to wonder whether it somehow fell apart in editing or they simply gave up on trying to make all the pieces fit together. And the twist was so dumb and obvious that it’s stupid they tried to trick the audience with it. All that being said, I found great joy in watching Al Pacino. You can tell just how little he gives a shit and is just goofing off and doing Al Pacino stuff the whole time. He is hilarious. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Righteous Kill? More like Fractious Mess, amirite? After the rousing success of Heat the studio executives all got together and declared “after thirteen years of hype we’ve done it! We’ve brought Pacino and De Niro back together to old-man-act together terribly like everyone always wanted!” And everyone thought “wait, who’s this now?” Let’s get into it!

The Good – If this movie existed in a vacuum with two actors you kind of didn’t know you might be able to squint your eyes and think “hey, whatever I like cop thrillers and serial killer stuff.” … But it doesn’t. Al Pacino’s acting is a beautiful thing to behold and something that should be cherished at every opportunity.

P’s View on the Preview – This movie is all about that cast isn’t it? But by far the most interesting thing discovered while making the preview was that Al Pacino was in both this film and BMT Hall of Fame film 88 Minutes in the same year. Not only that both films were directed by the same person! That is nuts. So obviously looking out for the similarities between Righteous Kill and 88 Minutes was high priority.

The Bad – It’s biggest crime is the film is kind of long and boring unlike the svelte 88 Minutes (which is naturally 88 minutes long … not joking). The acting was entertaining but bad. Carla Gugino’s role came across as a bit exploitative and gross. And the twist (if you can even call it that) is amazingly telegraphed and pointless. The story is just one big cliche we’ve seen before. By the end of it you are left wondering what was even the point when you can just watch 88 Minutes. They are stylized in the same weird way, which is the only enjoyable relic of the two movies being made in the same year by the same person.

Get Yo Rant On – If this move was released today it would star John Travolta and Nicolas Cage and it would be released direct-to-VOD. They would bill it as some sort of reunion of Face/Off, but it would be some rote story about a lawyer trying to take down some mafia boss and ending up as some vigilante hero or some crap like that. And ultimately all it would do is remind you of your own mortality and about how your best years are also probably behind you and how every good thing fades and is forgotten into an uncaring universe. That’s Righteous Kill. Thanks Righteous Kill, just what I needed while pointlessly wasting my life watching bad movies. Rant over.

Welcome to Earf – Easy obviously. Al Pacino is in both Righteous Kill and 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf you beautiful Al Pacino vehicle.

The BMT – It is kind of paired with 88 Minutes in an interesting way I think. And it is on the Calendar. So there are a few things going for it. But it probably won’t get anything fun in the end of the year Smaddies Baddies and it won’t make the Hall of Fame or anything like it’s twin film 88 Minutes. It isn’t anything special even if it is a total mess and a disaster.

StreetCreditReport.com – It does get a bit of credit here and there, although often overshadowed or mentioned alongside 88 Minutes (naturally). I am actually a bit shocked I could find anything, it feels like one of those movies where everyone would just forget it exists a month after it is released.

And that is that. I will say I took some homework upon myself for this one watching Heat. Which I liked. I can’t say I’m super sold on Michael Mann’s work. I liked Thief well enough (which is surprisingly similar to Heat I think, just in 1981), and Collateral, but I haven’t seen of ton of his stuff. Heat has a ridiculous cast and maybe the best bank robbery scene I’ve seen, which is enough, a very good heist / action film, if a bit long. This film is an abomination next to that one, and doing the homework was unnecessary to say the least.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Righteous Kill Quiz

A quiz on the film Righteous Kill. To ace it won’t require much skill. Just patience and time. Obsess on fictional crime. And it’ll help if you’re mentally ill. – Poetry Sklog

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1. Detectives Cowan (De Niro) and Fisk (Pacino) intentionally do not use their names during the film (in order to not give away the big twist ending, what a twist!). What are their nicknames?

2. During the course of the film Poetry Boy (spoiler alert, it is Al Pacino) kills multiple people, but what event started it all?

3. Name or describe the five people we “see” Pacino kill during the course of the film.

4. When Pacino and De Niro send a lawyer into Spider’s club (a converted Bank, it is so Hollywood Badass I love it) to get some cocaine while wearing a wire, what does she say she needs the cocaine for?

5. We’ll end with a tough one. In the NYPD softball game we see De Niro score a run. How would you log the run in the scorecard?

Answers

Righteous Kill Preview

Rich and Poe have gone undercover in a high-stakes middle school D&D game to uncover a conspiracy involving the latest designer drug DeezNuts. Sitting across from their prime suspect Helmut Gruber, they don their characters of Sorsaron the Barbarian and the powerful Mage, Brawln. “Shall we begin?” Gruber says, smirking and lightly touching the scar beneath his eye. “Your merry band of adventurers are aiming to recover the Crown of Blizarion from a horde of goblin thieves, what do you do?” Rich looks over at Poe and they nod. “I shoot the wooden tire of their wagon with an arrow, it splinters apart, and the resulting explosion kills half of the horde.” Gruber’s eye twitches. Rich and Poe pound fists “and I summon my sea demon, whose tentacled arms consume the other half of the horde”. Gruber smiles “Fools! Do you even know what kind of roll that would require?!” Rich and Poe’s eyes glaze over, small black orbs of unseeing bloodlust, and they roll twenty twenty-sided dice. “I believe that is a natural 400, Gruber,” they say in profoundly creepy unison. “And now Rich and Poe draw their police issue Glock .22s and place you under arrest, Gruber. Would you like to roll to Disarm? Be warned, any Attack of Opportunity will be met by deadly force”. Gruber screams, “But my rules, how did you know all of the rules?!” Rich handcuffs Gruber and smugly says “Because everyone knows, rulez=coolz, dirtbag”. Back at the station, Rich and Poe enter to a muted crowd. The commissioner comes out of his office and says, “Rich and Poe … Gruber’s dead. And we know you are the Limerick Killers. You’ve been killing criminals across this city for years.” Poe laughs, “Accused of murder again, Rich. And to think, I was only ten days from retirement.” That’s right! We’re watching Righteous Kill, which reunited Al Pacino and Robert De Niro for the first time since Heat. It was produced by Randall Emmett who also produced the Al Pacino vehicle 88 Minutes. Crazily both films were directed by Jon Avnet and produced so close together that Al Pacino got a Razzie nomination for worst actor for both Righteous Kill and 88 Minutes! Let’s go!

Righteous Kill (2008) – BMeTric: 33.0

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(That is actually a surprisingly high rating. And for several years it was above 6.0 as well. Six … seems right. You are going to get those De Niro and Pacino-heads all over this artificially bumping up the score I think.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Overly busy whodunit storyline follows manhunt to identify a serial killer who only murders sleazy types “who deserve it,” and whose m.o. suggests that he may be a cop. Pairing of De Niro and Pacino as longtime partners on the NYPD gives this film its raison d’ȇtre; their commanding presence and effortless teamwork makes this movie watchable.

(Huh. Honestly surprised. This film had “Pacino and De Niro sleepwalk through this borefest” written all over it. Instead it basically just says it check the boxes needed to make this film exist and nothing more … which I can live with I think. I’m an Order guy more than a Law guy for the most part, but I don’t mind cop movies.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpd18t9UfYQ

(One, that is an incredibly long trailer. Two, they drop not one, but two f-bombs in the trailer! An R-rated trailer! Three, the music is bonkers, specifically just rolling into the strangely misplaced Sympathy for the Devil near the end. This is somehow just as big of a mess as the movie itself.)

Directors – Jon Avnet – (Known For: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Future BMT: Up Close & Personal; Red Corner; The War; BMT: 88 Minutes; Righteous Kill; Notes: He’s kind of broken into the experimental content and distribution area in the past decade. He ran a pseudo network specializing in very specialized tv shows starring very famous actors (and basically no one else). Wild stuff. Made 88 Minutes (BMT Hall of Fame) the same year)

Writers – Russell Gewirtz (written by) – (Known For: Inside Man; BMT: Righteous Kill; Notes: Somewhat odd career, broke out with Inside Man, did this, and then is in the news all the way up to 2015 whenever someone gets him for a job, but he has no credits. I assume he specializes in first drafts of optioned property, but there is little information.)

Actors – Robert De Niro – (Known For: Goodfellas; Heat; Taxi Driver; The Godfather: Part II; Casino; A Bronx Tale; American Hustle; Stardust; The Intern; The Deer Hunter; Sleepers; Once Upon a Time in America; Silver Linings Playbook; Cape Fear; Limitless; Jackie Brown; Meet the Parents; Raging Bull; The Untouchables; Brazil; Future BMT: Little Fockers; Killing Season; Showtime; The Carrier; The Fan; Hide and Seek; Analyze That; Shark Tale; Arthur et les Minimoys; The Bridge of San Luis Rey; 15 Minutes; Heist; Red Lights; Meet the Fockers; The Family; The Comedian; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; Bloody Mama; Killer Elite; Stanley & Iris; Great Expectations; BMT: Godsend; The Big Wedding; New Year’s Eve; Dirty Grandpa; Righteous Kill; Grudge Match; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Dirty Grandpa in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for Showtime; Notes: Recently proclaimed “Fuck Trump” at the Tonys … which turns out is a fairly divisive comment on several fronts.)

Al Pacino – (Known For: The Godfather; Heat; Scarface; The Godfather: Part II; Ocean’s Thirteen; The Godfather: Part III; Insomnia; The Devil’s Advocate; Scent of a Woman; Donnie Brasco; Carlito’s Way; The Pirates of Somalia; Dog Day Afternoon; Serpico; Dick Tracy; Glengarry Glen Ross; The Insider; Any Given Sunday; Danny Collins; The Recruit; Future BMT: The Son of No One; Misconduct; Hangman; Revolution; Two for the Money; Stand Up Guys; Bobby Deerfield; BMT: Jack and Jill; Gigli; 88 Minutes; Righteous Kill; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Jack and Jill in 2012; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1986 for Revolution; and in 2009 for 88 Minutes, and Righteous Kill; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Gigli in 2004; Notes: Recently played Joe Paterno in a made for television movie to somewhat great acclaim. Has a bird’s nest for a wig. One of those statements was false.)

Carla Gugino – (Known For: Watchmen; San Andreas; Man of Steel; Gerald’s Game; Sin City; American Gangster; Night at the Museum; This Boy’s Life; Spy Kids; Race to Witch Mountain; Faster; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams; Mr. Popper’s Penguins; Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco; Snake Eyes; The Lookout; Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael; Miami Rhapsody; Bling; Future BMT: The Unborn; Rise; Michael; Elektra Luxx; The One; Son in Law; Troop Beverly Hills; The Singing Detective; Women in Trouble; Every Day; I Melt with You; The Centre of the World; Even Money; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Hotel Noir; BMT: New Year’s Eve; Righteous Kill; Sucker Punch; The Space Between Us; Notes: Her aunt Carol Merrill was a model for Let’s Make a Deal during its original run and encouraged her into show business.)

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $40,081,410 (Worldwide: $78,460,699)

(Fairly bad return there. I’m sure they expected more, but $60 million for a buddy cop film? Too much. The financing seems messed up from the start.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (27/144): Al Pacino and Robert De Niro do their best to elevate this dowdy genre exercise, but even these two greats can’t resuscitate the film’s hackneyed script.

(Matches Maltin’s review to a tee actually. So I guess that is encouraging. Reviewer Highlight: What a waste. – Mark Rahner, Seattle Times)

Poster – Righteous Sklog (F)

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(That can’t be right… [checks IMDb]… my God. That is simply atrocious.)

Tagline(s) – Most people respect the badge. Everybody respects the gun. (B-)

(Hmmmm, I like the sentiment here. A little forced with the “most” at the front. And it’s a bit long. But good juxtaposition and hint at the plot. Not bad.)

Keyword(s) – nypd; Top Ten by BMeTric: 68.0 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 58.7 Ghostbusters (2016); 54.8 Crossfire (2012); 51.9 The Son of No One (2011); 46.6 Serving Sara (2002); 35.1 Anamorph (2007); 33.0 Righteous Kill (2008); 32.8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016); 29.6 Stonewall (2015); 27.9 Spider-Man 3 (2007);

(Ghostbusters is kind of fake news considering it doesn’t qualify for a long shot. Serving Sara will be fun though. I’ve seen quite a few of these already, like Spider-Man 3, which also doesn’t qualify.)

Movie Stub – Righteous Kill – C-class – Nothing much to say, this is a very good wiki page with very little that needs adding. Funny note here from a decade ago though: “Shouldn’t the video game based on the movie be mentioned? I think it came out even before the film did. — Frecklefσσt | Talk 16:27, 2 October 2008 (UTC)” … No one has done that, but I certainly think that should be included in the release section personally. I’ll be looking into that soon enough.

Notes – Carla Gugino played the sex partner of Robert De Niro in this movie. She played his daughter in This Boy’s Life (1993). (Wow, that’s pretty gross)

This is the first movie where Al Pacino and Robert De Niro have extended interaction. They never shared a scene in The Godfather: Part II (1974) and in Heat (1995) they only had two scenes.

The initial cut of this movie ran for two hours, but after a rather negative test screening, Nu Image hastily re-cut the film down to its slender one hour and forty-one minutes to make it more fast-paced and action-orientated. Snippets of some of the deleted scenes can be seen in the trailer. (I want to see that extended cut bro)

Overture Films paid a little over twelve million dollars for the American distribution rights, beating out Warner Brothers Pictures and Universal Pictures, who also put in bids of over ten million dollars. (Terrible choice obviously)

Robert De Niro and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson appeared in Freelancers (2012) and Last Vegas (2013).

When Al Pacino is asked by the psychiatrist what he would do if he retired, Rooster answers “I don’t know, buy a boat.” In the movie, Donnie Brasco, Al Pacino plays Lefty, who has an affinity for boats, and wants one he cannot afford. Near the end of the movie, Donny Brasco asks Pacino if he had his boat would he sail away & leave organized crime. (I’ll leave this weird note as it sounds the most plausibly like an actual call back than many of the others in these fake IMDb notes).

Awards

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Al Pacino)

Conan the Barbarian (2011) Recap

Jamie

After surviving an attack by the warlord Zym as a child, Conan grows up to be a powerful pirate, pilfering and banging ladies all day (high five). But when he overhears that Zym is back in town and looking for immense power Conan knows what needs to be done. Can he stop Zym (and get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in Conan the Barbarian.

What?! Conan’s totally the boss from day one. He’s like ten years old and totes crushing his enemies under his Cimmerian heel. Unfortunately a dangerous warlord Zym and his sorceress daughter are hoping to get all the pieces of the powerful Mask of Acheron which definitely does… something… and guess who has the last piece? That’s right, Conan’s daddio and he gets killed trying to protect it. Flash forward years and Conan is still the boss and he’s a pirate extraordinaire. While he loves crushing brews and the ladies with his bros, he finds destiny calling when he learns that Zym is out to finish the job with the mask. To bring it to full power Zym needs the blood of a totally bodacious pure-blood and he’s right on her trail. But Conan’s right there to be like ‘psych’ and grab her instead. He pretends to want to trade her to Zym but really he’s there to karate chop Zym in the neck, but Conan is seriously injured in the ensuing fight. They go off oto recover on his pirate ship and eventually bone in a cave (obviously) immediately after which she’s captured by Zym and taken to his magical cave shaped like a skull (lots of caves in this one). Conan comes to the rescue, fights an octopus, battles with the sorceress, and eventually Zym falls into a crevasse and dies because he’s dumb. Conan and the lady then go off to setup a sequel. If anyone wants to put this in as the synopsis on Wikipedia feel free to do so. I’m pretty sure I summed it up the best. THE END.

Why?! Well the bad guy wants that sweet looking mask that definitely is super powerful. He wants to use it to bring his sorceress wife back from the dead using the pure-blood as a vessel. His daughter is like “but I’m also like a powerful sorceress,” but Zym isn’t too impressed and is like “you’ll never be like your mom. She was rad.” Conan mostly wants to freely kill and pillage to his heart’s desire, but when the chance to avenge his father comes about he’s pretty into that too.

What?! Sometimes even I forget that this section isn’t just for product placement (which might be hard to come by in Cimmeria), but also for MacGuffins. MacGuffins like the Mask of Acheron that Zym hopes to put back together to attain ultimate power. Except that the crown seems to need the blood of a pure-blood to work… so doesn’t that make the blood the real MacGuffin and the crown just something rad you wear while killing innocents? Something to think about.

Who?! As often seems to be a requirement in these types of films the main bad guy has an underling of immense size which our hero must overcome. In this case it’s Pro wrestler/MMA fighter/kickboxer/former pro football player Bob Sapp. While he doesn’t do much of any of that in the US anymore, he is still a pretty big star over in Japan fighting people and apparently a bear. He also pretty much loses every fight he participates in (including against said bear) and recently was accused of domestic violence… so things not looking great for Bob Sapp.

Where?! The lands of the Hyborian Age, duh (emphasis on the -Bor-, amirite?). Conan is from Cimmeria, but his adventures take him all over the place… which is just not worth me talking about since it’s all made up anyway. Hard to judge these things so I usually give it an N/A.

When?! After the sinking of Atlantis, duh (emphasis on the… uh… -Anti-… amirite?). People have tried to place this sometime around 10,000 B.C. but I don’t think that’s worth the effort. This is all made up. Don’t know if you heard but Atlantis is fictional. N/A.

At first I actually thought I might like this. There were bare-breasted ladies, limbs getting chopped, and other things that my lizard brain liked. But it pretty quickly got bogged down in the main thrust of the film focused around the mask and revenge. Blah. Can’t I just enjoy Conan being a pirate and learning of a big time treasure he wants to get (which turns out to actually be a sexy princess, ooh lah lah) and eventually coming to rule a kingdom? Do I need you to rehash and ruin the origin story of Conan? It seemed like they couldn’t even decide how to ruin the plot so they not only had a MacGuffin in the Mask, but also had the revenge subplot. Choose one and stick with it. Also Rose McGowan was not good. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Conan the Barbarian? We haven’t had a movie about him in like … 30 years! Call up that swords and sandals screenwriter we have on retainer and give him a million, I want a script by Tuesday, we’ll lunch. That’s my impression of the producer of this film. Let’s go!

The Good – Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh … uuuuuuuuuuuuuuh … this movie got me to watch the original again, and read another Conan short story. I know a lot more about pulp novels of the 30s and Conan because of it. Thanks terrible Conan movie.

Ps View on the Preview – I like where I went a few weeks ago with this, so I’m going to try again. There are 15 qualifying films in the sword and sorcery genre in Box Office Mojo (nearly 50% of the wide release films qualify, which I’ve now discovered is a higher percentage than 75% of the other Box Office Mojo genres). We’ve seen 9 of 15 qualifying films, the other six being Highlander 3 and 4, Red Sonja, Kull the Conqueror, Krull, and Quest for Camelot. There was a lot of cred to live up to for sure.

The Bad – This is the kind of movie which makes you think they ruined Conan the character (even though they didn’t really). It is an action film starring Conan instead of a Conan story. The acting is dire. And not just Momoa (who sadly captures none of the charm Arnold brought to the role), but everyone, especially Rose McGowan. The story is a bit too expositiony. The action a bit too clean. … I’m doing a terrible job describing this, but having watched the original and read another short story (see below) the heart of Conan was missing and replaced with Dungeons & Dragons (the movie). And that makes me sad.

Get Yo Rant On – This movie is far too convenient for me. Oh, Conan cuts the nose off of one of the villains henchmen so that he immediately recognizes him 20 years later, how convenient. Oh, Conan happens to fall in with an escaping thief who is something of a king of thieves and can pick any lock in the world, hope we have some locks to pick later (oh, we do? How convenient). Conan happens to save Tamara, totally by accident, who is (quite literally) the only pure blood of Achemon in the entire world, how convenient. Hell, the entire last fight scene involved Conan kind of accidentally not falling into a giant pit and dying. Too convenient, bad writing, kind of loses itself trying to set up big action set pieces. End of rant.

Welcome to Earf – Luckily this is a short one. Ron Perlman is in Conan the Barbarian and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale which also starred Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

The BMT – I think this will only be notable once we finish off the three and a half Conan films available (Conan the Destroyer, Conan 2011, Red Sonja, and Kull the Conqueror which was originally written as Conan the Conqueror). We’ve done two, and the other one and a half should be easy enough. I think this will be the least pleasant, if only because it is the only one without that 80s/90s sword and sorcery charm going for it.

StreetCreditReport.com – Looks like plenty. Here is it 19. Here is it 6. And Stuckman has it at 5. Basically it isn’t beating out things like Jack and Jill or The Zookeeper very often, but it was on the critics radar and widely disliked at the time. Since? I imagine it has mostly been forgotten. Maybe they’ll reboot or sequelize the older movies again.

Whoooeeeeee. And I actually did some homework! I re-watched the original Conan and read another of the short stories, Shadows in the Moonlight. The story was quite good. Goes into Conan’s chivalry, and also his tendency to be both a pirate and a thief, but also never actually pillaging or stealing during the story (it is always before or after the story). He’s an interesting character, and one I think Arnold portrayed quite well in the original. Which also had a much more effective beginning to the film (yada yada yada-ing a bunch of stuff with “and he was a slave and became super strong and learned to fight”), and a generally pleasant and true-to-character thief story that evolves into revenge. I don’t think the new movie did the character wrong in any way, it is a lot closer than I expected. But it still felt like a modern version of Conan with a heart and conscious of gold, not enough barbarian. It just doesn’t really sit correctly with the 1930s pulp novels vibe I would want. C- adaptation, better than I expected, but worse than it easily should have been.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs