Underclassman Quiz

You’re deep undercover. This conspiracy, the absolute gall, in a school no less! And then you think to yourself “wait … is my entire life just a rip-off of 21 Jump Street? Like … what have I done with my life where I’m a police officer going to legit high school to break up some car stealing ring?” You decide to quit on the spot. But not before taking this quiz!

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

  1. Let’s start with an easy one. Why did the LAPD send bike-cop-turned-amazing-detective back to school?
  2. Rob Donovan captains the school Blacktop Battle team. How many games does Trey (Nick Cannon) ultimately play in for the school … and I wonder if there is an age limit on competitors …
  3. Trey plays three sports with Rob’s crew during the course of the film. Name them.
  4. Trey prefers to give chance on foot or with his trusty BMX bike (fine, that was only once in the beginning of the film). But twice Trey gets ahold of a motorized vehicle in two chase/race scenes. Name them.
  5. During the film there are three cars stolen by the school carjacking ring. Name the type of any one of them.

BONUS What was the name of the designer drug Headmaster Powers was flipping the stolen cars for?

Answers

Underclassman Preview

Pacing the room and slamming Mountain Dew, Patrick and I brainstorm our barnburner of a film. Chris Klein has already signed on and our mind is on action (and plenty of it, you betta believe). However, when we open the door for our old bag of a stenographer we are taken aback. She’s no old bag at all! Quite the contrary! Did the company not see where we wrote “old bag” in the comment section? Oh well, being consummate professionals we get right to work. She’s efficient and hardworking and together we make quick work of the script. We shake hands with her and provide a glowing review to her temp agency. We offer each other some honest feedback for future improvement. Where boundaries may have been crossed in the name of romance, instead a beautiful professional relationship built on mutual respect had bloomed. After she departs we look at the script. It reads Rich & Poe and boy howdy do these hard-boiled detectives get into some deep undercover action in this action flick. That’s right! We’re watching Underclassman, the Nick Cannon 21 Jump Street knock-off where he’s a cop that has to infiltrate a high school. No doubt we’re gonna have some sweet inappropriate jokes about underage girls and teachers sleeping with students. Can’t wait. Let’s go!

Underclassman (2005) – BMeTric: 51.1

Underclassman_BMeT

Underclassman_RV

(Wow that started amazingly low. Its creeped up to where I think maybe it should be (mid-4.0s, which is basically really fucking bad … but not so bad you’d have heard of it for being bad). Kind of amazing how hated it is though, I would have imagined this would have just gotten forgotten. Maybe because it was released just as IMDb was coming into their own? You can even see this plot starts basically right when the movie was released which is pretty stunning for a 2005 release. Look at the first scrape!)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Pause here for a Jack Webb “uh-huh”: Instead of being canned when he precipitates half a mile’s worth of car-chase damage, barely-literate cop Cannon is assigned to pose incognito as a student at a swanky prep school that’s been victimized by a car-theft ring. Few clichés are missed, including Cannon’s inevitable yen for the campus Spanish instructor (Sanchez). Script is in serious stupor, as if it has spent a month in a locked room with some of Cheech’s old stash.

(Jack Webb was in Dragnet which Leonard is kind of cryptically referencing. This is a very weird review, especially the end. I think Leonard just hates lazy cliché ridden garbage? There is almost no reason this is a BOMB considering some of the other passes he tends to dole out for simple nonsense.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB3rqT7X4Bw

(Ooooof, that looks absolutely terrible. Terrible race jokes. Terrible sex-with-the-teacher insinuations. Terrible sports scenes. Oh wait, did I say terrible? I meant I am very excited for this film.)

Directors – Marcos Siega – (Future BMT: Chaos Theory; Pretty Persuasion; BMT: Underclassman; Notes: He’s pretty exclusively a television producer/director. He directed a ton of The Following, Dexter, and Vampire Diaries among others. He’s also made quite a few television movies as well.)

Writers – Brent Goldberg (story & screenplay) and David Wagner (story) (as David T. Wagner & screenplay) (as David T. Wagner) – (Known For: The Girl Next Door; Future BMT: Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj; My Baby’s Daddy; Van Wilder: Party Liaison; BMT: Underclassman; Notes: These guys killed it in the early 2000s. They really dropped off the radar in 2005 though, here’s an interview concerning their collaboration from 2004.)

Nick Cannon (story) – (BMT: Underclassman; Notes: He actually has a ton of writing credits, but they are either on concert/music projects or the movies he’s been involved with don’t have enough reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. I wish there was a way to know the level of involvement with the “story” Nick Cannon had though.)

Actors – Nick Cannon – (Known For: Chi-Raq; Monster House; Drumline; Bobby; Shall We Dance; Roll Bounce; The Killing Room; King of the Dancehall; American Son; Future BMT: Garfield; Love Don’t Cost a Thing; Whatever It Takes; Goal II: Living the Dream; Men in Black II; Even Money; Weapons; BMT: Underclassman; Notes: Was married to Mariah Carey for eight years, they had a pair of twins (heyyyyyoooo) in 2011.)

Shawn Ashmore – (Known For: X-Men: Days of Future Past; X-Men; X-Men: The Last Stand; X-Men 2; The Ruins; Mother’s Day; Frozen; Strike!; Mariachi Gringo; Future BMT: The Day; Hatchet II; Acts of Violence; Breaking the Girls; The Quiet; BMT: Underclassman; Notes: Played the Iceman in X-Men. Has a twin brother who has mostly been on television, including five episodes of Veronica Mars.)

Kelly Hu – (Known For: X-Men 2; The Scorpion King; The Doors; Strange Days; Americanese; Future BMT: Surf Ninjas; Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man; Wo zhi nv ren xin; BMT: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan; Underclassman; Cradle 2 the Grave; Notes: Was a Miss Teen USA, born in Hawaii.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $5,655,459 (Worldwide: $5,879,555)

(A complete and utter disaster. Kind of a wonder they released it at all. It was apparently delayed from 2004, so they certainly could have pushed it out onto cable. Although … I suppose the movie does skew a bit old for the Nick Cannon demographic. What a strange strange movie.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (5/83): Despite the appealing presence of Nick Cannon, Underclassman is a shopworn Beverly Hills Cop/ 21 Jump Street knockoff.

(Single digits baby. Nearly one hundred reviews as well, which is nothing to sniff at. That time, around 2005, was a weird time huh? Uwe Boll films, and Nick Cannon in actual movies. Wild. Reviewer Highlight: Almost comically unambitious, Underclassman seldom tries to be funny, and never even attempts to be original. – Nathan Rabin, AV Club)

Poster – UnderSklogins (D)

underclassman

(I find it incredibly weird that he’s holding his gun like that in the poster… he’s like casually pointing it at the audience. Put that away! You’re scaring the children! I kid because I love… how terrible this all is. Woof.)

Tagline(s) – A Comedy About Upholding The Law And Disturbing The Peace (C-)

Get Ready To Be Schooled (A-)

(Both are on the poster, both are getting judged. First one is terrible. Too long and self-referential like it’s from the old days or something. “A Comedy About…” really? Just do the joke you’re aiming for. Upholding the law and disturbing the peace… Underclassman. Boom. Easy. Second one is better. Clever, hints at the plot, short and sweet. I like it.)

Keyword(s) – undercover; Top Ten by BMeTric: 84.3 Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994); 82.2 Barb Wire (1996); 81.1 Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992); 74.9 Taxi (I) (2004); 73.6 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 71.8 Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011); 70.4 Big Momma’s House 2 (2006); 70.3 On Deadly Ground (1994); 67.8 Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector (2006); 65.5 Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005);

(Big Momma Like Father Like Son best be there. We’ll probably hit all of these, although the Cable Guy movies will get a bit dicey. There are some things that kind of make you wonder “why am I doing this?” and I have a feeling watching the Larry the Cable Guy movies would be one of those things. Although, I have to admit … he was fine in Madea Christmas, so what do I know?)

Movie Stub – Underclassman (Start-class) – So when I got to this webpage the critical reception and box office response was jammed together. Also the entire thing sounded “non-encyclopedia” and it was suggested that the entire article be rewritten. I wouldn’t go so far, it had the proper structure, it was just a little loosey goosey with the lingo. Finally, I expanded the plot summary to a comfortable 410 words, and re-submitted the article for review. Viola, now that is a start-class wiki page! Actually, I think it is borderline C-class according to the quality guidelines, although some notes about production I think would be needed to put it over the top.

Notes – Originally set for a US theatrical release in 2004. Then two massive waves of layoffs were sustained at Miramax and Dimension, and the infamous Disney and Miramax split reached its height. This film thus remained in the Miramax vaults unreleased during this time of uncertainty. When the Disney and Miramax divorce was finally completed, numerous films under the Miramax and Dimension label were finally released theatrically. (I do love production issues, usually explains a lot)

The scene where Trey shoots Murdock and eventually tackles an undercover DEA agent which results in him explaining that Murdock can’t be a murder suspect because he was out of town on that date is extremely reminiscent of an exact same scene from Point Break (1991) where Tom Sizemore is the DEA agent. (fun fact?)

Alex & Emma Recap

Jamie

When Alex gets in deep with the mob over gambling debt he hires a stenographer, Emma, to help him write his next novel in 30 days. After a tough start, Alex finds inspiration (and maybe more?) in Emma. Can he finish the book (and get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in Alex & Emma.

How?! There isn’t much more to the plot than what I just laid out. Alex is in debt and needs to write a book. Emma is a freelance stenographer he hires. While he dictates to her we get a story within a story about an Alex-type-character who finds love with an Emma-type-character, but there is another women in the middle of it all. In the end they finish the book, but the real life other woman shows and everything is thrown into flux… for like five seconds and then Alex sets up a grand gesture to get her back and “fix” the end of his book… by which I mean he rewrote it so it was cliched garbage. Wow, that’s the shortest plot recap I’ve ever written… probably because the story within the story is largely useless and represents what would almost certainly be a terrible book. THE END.

Why?! Alex needs that green to get the mob off his back. Apparently he got a big advance on his next book but when his lady love left him he gambled it all away (and more) in a fit of depression and heartbreak. Nothing like the threat of death to snap him out of it and get him moving on the book. Emma is just a lonely freelance stenographer. That’s pretty much the long and the short of it.

What?! You would think a film about writing a novel wouldn’t give much product placement to speak of. You would be wrong. Alex macks on Captain Crunch constantly and when his mouth gets shredded by those patented razor sharp edges, he grabs a dasani and slams it down. Gotta keep hydrated when you’re spinning hilarious gold.

Who?! While this was an Alan Griesman production for the purposes of this cycle I did want to highlight that Elie Samaha was also a producer on this film… and Battlefield Earth… and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever… and Texas Rangers. He was also the one convicted of defrauding investors regarding Battlefield Earth. Wonder if he’s turned his life around… nope.

Where?! The real life half of the film pretty obviously takes place in Boston, while the fake part of the film takes place on a fictional French-speaking island off the coast of Maine called St. Charles. That’s a double whammy of specificity. B+.

When?! I mostly don’t care, but we do know that the story within a story takes place in the summer of 1924. Since the entire story mirrors Alex’s life, we can presume that our current story takes place in the Fall (after the summer in which he falls in love and then loses everything). But that’s pretty vague. Maybe a C- just for the specific year in the past, but more likely a D+.

I found this entire film embarrassing for everyone involved. It is straight up terrible. I’m actually surprised it ever got an 11% on RT. I don’t really blame Luke Wilson (he was meh) and Kate Hudson (just being her charming self) because it is one of the worst scripts we’ve gotten to watch in quite a while. So they had very little to work with. It’s just a terrible movie about a terrible book being written. And not in a good way. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Recently I’ve been dictating my first novel to Caryn (she doesn’t love the arrangement) and I have to say … it sounds like complete garbage. According to Alex & Emma though that means it will ultimately be excellent, no problem. See you guys on the New York Times bestsellers list! It is called Dodger: A Garbage Pail Kids Prequel, and I think it might be the next great American novel. Let’s get into Alex & Emma!

The Good – I think Kate Hudson is hilarious and adorable. Fool’s Gold, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, etc. They all kind of work for romantic comedies for me because of her. The novel within a movie concept is intriguing enough with the changing characters that you can understand the misguided attempt at this film as well.

P’s View on the Preview – This movie has an absurdly low Rotten Tomatoes score, nearly in the single digits. So, doing a bit of analysis, the percentage of “wide release” romantic comedies (for the sake of simplicity I just defined this as the top 300 films on this chart) that qualify for BMT is an astounding 44% (this is indeed much higher than average, the percentage of films with Rotten Tomatoes scores below 40% in general is about 25% in my experience). The percentage which have a Rotten Tomatoes score at or below Alex and Emma is around 10%. So this a 90th percentile Romantic Comedy as far as bad reviews go. That’s impressive for a genre which such bad movie cred as Romantic Comedies. BTW, there are 29 Romantic Comedies with worse Rotten Tomatoes scores of which 12 have more than 100 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. We’ve seen eight of those for BMT, the other four being: Serving Sara, The Perfect Man, My Life in Ruins, and The Wedding Date.

The Bad – Sorry Luke Wilson, I’m putting you on blast. He’s just not good in this film. He’s not smarmy enough to fit the role they wanted him for (a gambling addict whose life is in danger because of a series of poor decisions), and the chemistry with Hudson isn’t really there, you don’t buy he’s actually in love with her. The entire thing is just kind of … not interesting in the least. I’ll have to save the main criticism for the rant though.

Get Yo Rant On – The book he is narrating is just awful. Just terrible. It sounds like a mess. He’s changing things in the middle. It is cliche. It sounds boring. And as the entire conceit of the film that is extremely problematic. The film is an embarrassment in that regard. Of all the films that needs a great script to be anything but awful, this might just be it. You have the main character narrating a book that is written in the vein of American classics, but it sounds like garbage. You have Rob Reiner sitting there at the end with a straight face saying “this is incredible” and as a viewer who just heard him write the entire thing you can’t help but think “you’re wrong, you have awful taste, this must be some sick condemnation of American literature.” Rant over.

Welcome to Earf – I forgot to do these recently, but this is, luckily, an easy one. Luke Wilson was in Around the World In Eighty Days with his brother Owen Wilson (they played the Wright brothers), who was in I, Spy with Eddie Murphy, who was in Norbit with Terry Crews, who was in Blended 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 – Nope, this is a completely pointless movie that I will forget in a day. Just throw this in the pile will less entertaining rom coms I guess. Like … a shade below the interest Made of Honor generated (at least there the second half had the destination wedding / weird competition for the bride combo to sustain my interest).

StreetCreditReport.com – As far as street cred goes it does make a few lists. This blog here for example. It doesn’t get much recognition elsewhere, no Razzie Award nomination (although it did get nominated for a late Stinkers Award for whatever that is worth i.e. nothing).

No homework as has been usual recently.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Alex & Emma Quiz

While dictating the next great American novel to the harried freelance stenographer you hired, your publisher called you up and said four words that would change the course of your romantic life! …

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

  1. Throughout the movie Emma (Kate Hudson) bothers Alex (Luke Wilson) by doing what? Hint: It concerns books … I mean Luke Wilson seems perturbed throughout, this seems to offend him.
  2. Rob Reiner just loves Alex’s mojo. How many novels has Alex written in his illustrious career?
  3. In order to lure Emma to her murder … er, to be a freelance stenographer in a highly unlikely literary gambit, Alex advertised the job under what guise?
  4. What nationalities does Emma’s fictional alter-egos in the story-within-a-movie take on throughout the film?
  5. The target of Adam Shipley’s lust is the single mother Penelope Delacroix. Adam is worried that Penelope is going to wed the very rich John Shaw, to whom she owes an enormous sum. What two ways does Adam think to get her out from underneath her debt?

Answers

Alex & Emma Preview

Nothing like New Orleans in the Spring for a relaxing gh-gh-gh-ghost hunting trip with our newly discovered father, mega-star Scott Bakula. He takes us to the spooky abandoned gold mine where he knows the ghosts reside, but we immediately notice something odd about the walls. We touch them lightly with our fingertips… the walls are wet. Uh oh! Are they wet with the blood of the victims of the spooky ghosts?! We look a little closer… no, it’s just paint. Odd. We push on the wall and the entire cave is revealed to be a set built by mega-star Scott Bakula. “But why Dad? Why deceive us again in this cheap looking garbage ruse?” We bellow, with tears streaming down our faces. “Why? For the sweet cash monies of tax breaks. I needed you for the production of this German financed garbage film and now it’s all ruined. I’m not even your father. Bwahahahaha,” he laughs maniacally. The man is clearly deranged. Suddenly a demon monster arises from the broken set and tears Bakula apart. Woah! What a twist! While we are shocked and traumatized by the experience of seeing our fake dad (and favorite TV police detective) torn limb from limb, we also get an idea. Can’t we just write a garbage German film and make boatloads of cash off those sweet tax breaks? It’s the perfect plan to get the Obsidian Dongle back! But we only have thirty days! While I send Patrick off for a load of delicious Mountain Dew to get our creative juices flowing and fuel our X-treme writing skillz, I call up the local papers and put out a want ad for a stenographer. Hope she’s an old bag because we have no time for romance. That’s right! We’re watching that film that everyone knows Alex & Emma. Produced by Alan Greisman, the producer of Texas Rangers, this Rob Reiner film is the Girls Night Out entry in the cycle and by all accounts a total snoozefest. Hooray. Can’t wait to snooze my way through it. Let’s go!

Alex & Emma (2003) – BMeTric: 36.1

AlexEmma_BMeT

AlexEmma_RV

(Below average. Trending up with the number of votes as one would expect. I am quite surprised to see how low the rating is and thus how high the BMeTric is. This seemed like the type of film where it would only be watched by huge Rob Reiner-heads and get like a 6.3 on IMDb just as a routine. Perhaps there is something here …)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Anemic romantic comedy about a novelist who has 30 days to complete a manuscript and his budding relationship with the stenographer he hires to help him do the job. She also turns up, in various guises, as we see his fantasy vision of the story — set in the 1920s — unfold. The two leads are OK, but the big laughs never come. Inspired, believe it or not, by real-life experiences of Feodor Dostoyevsky while he was writing the Gambler.

(Uuuuuuugh this film sounds so boring. Like straight up … fantasy versions with Kate Hudson and just … I’m not looking forward to this boring ass film. Are we sure we aren’t supposed to be watching Kate & Leopold?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_TMQgEtG-E

(Aha I remember the “are you out of your mind” from the beginning from back in the day. Let’s see. Bumping 00s soundtrack misplaced in what is effectively half of a period piece. Some charismatic leads who perhaps lack a bit of chemistry. And what’s that, do I spy with my little eye a Dasani water bottle in Kate Hudson’s hand? Hopefully this saves us from a bit of the boredom.)

Directors – Rob Reiner – (Known For: The Princess Bride; Stand by Me; A Few Good Men; Misery; Flipped; When Harry Met Sally…; The Bucket List; This Is Spinal Tap; The American President; LBJ; The Sure Thing; Ghosts from the Past; Future BMT: The Story of Us; And So It Goes; Being Charlie; BMT: North; Rumor Has It…; Alex & Emma; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for North in 1995; Notes: Y’all know Rob Reiner. But did you know that Tom Cruise once ordered a pig delivered to him at the Carlyle? Fun facts.)

Writers – Jeremy Leven (written by) – (Known For: The Notebook; Real Steel; The Legend of Bagger Vance; My Sister’s Keeper; Don Juan DeMarco; Crazy as Hell; Future BMT: Creator; BMT: Alex & Emma; Notes: A long and winding entertainment career including creating The Proposition, a satirical play that ran for 10 years in Cambridge, MA and off-Broadway.)

Actors – Luke Wilson – (Known For: Measure of a Man; 3:10 to Yuma; Legally Blonde; Idiocracy; Scream 2; Brad’s Status; The Royal Tenenbaums; Charlie’s Angels; Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy; Old School; Rushmore; Concussion; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Death at a Funeral; Bottle Rocket; Blades of Glory; The Family Stone; Rock Dog; My Super Ex-Girlfriend; The Skeleton Twins; Future BMT: Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde; Soul Survivors; Blonde Ambition; Home Fries; Meeting Evil; Hoot; Playing It Cool; The Third Wheel; Masked and Anonymous; Bongwater; Dog Park; Blue Streak; Outlaws and Angels; Best Men; Middle Men; Henry Poole Is Here; BMT: The Ridiculous 6; Around the World in 80 Days; Alex & Emma; Notes: Y’all know Luke Wilson. But did you know he was involved in a car accident with the golfer Bill Haas las February? Not as fun facts, a man died in that accident.)

Kate Hudson – (Known For: Almost Famous; Deepwater Horizon; Marshall; How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days; Kung Fu Panda 3; Wish I Was Here; The Killer Inside Me; The Reluctant Fundamentalist; The Four Feathers; Dr. T & the Women; About Adam; Future BMT: Le divorce; You, Me and Dupree; Good People; Nine; Rock the Kasbah; My Best Friend’s Girl; Raising Helen; 200 Cigarettes; Gossip; A Little Bit of Heaven; The Skeleton Key; BMT: Bride Wars; Fool’s Gold; Mother’s Day; Alex & Emma; Something Borrowed; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 2009 for Fool’s Gold, and My Best Friend’s Girl; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Mother’s Day in 2017; Notes: Daughter of Goldie Hawn and currently expecting her third child with her boyfriend Danny Fujikawa.)

David Paymer – (Known For: Ocean’s Thirteen; Bad Teacher; Drag Me to Hell; Payback; Amistad; Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit; The Five-Year Engagement; The American President; No Way Out; Airplane II: The Sequel; City Slickers; Get Shorty; Mighty Joe; The Hurricane; Night of the Creeps; Nixon; Quiz Show; Heart and Souls; In Good Company; Lemon; Future BMT: Twixt; Perfect; City Slickers: The Legend of Curly’s Gold; Carpool; Bait; The Sixth Man; Crazy People; Unforgettable; BMT: Howard: A New Breed of Hero; No Holds Barred; Chill Factor; Alex & Emma; Notes: He was in the pilot for St. Elsewhere as Dr. Wayne Fiscus, but was replaced by Howie Mandel when the series was picked up.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $14,218,698 (Worldwide: $15,368,897)

(Holy shit that is a disaster. It made $1 million outside of the US. Gigantic bomb. It isn’t like rom coms tend to make a ton, but egad!)

#229 for the Romantic Comedy genre

alexandemma_romanticcomedy

(In the heydey of the romcom boom, so I guess the box office return is even worse than I thought. We just watched the number one romcom BMT film by box office, Bringing Down the House. I think I’ll have to build my tool to pick out BMT films from these lists, I really want to know what the lowest is now!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (15/138): A dull and unfunny comedy where the leads fail to generate any sparks.

(Oh … oh no. Dull and unfunny. Reviewer Highlight: The perfect date movie for pseudo-literary half-wits. – Bruce Newman, San Jose Mercury News. … Oh no.)

Poster – Sklogin’ it Up, Writing Style USA (C-)

alex_and_emma

(If you can’t tell I was having some trouble coming up with an adequate play on the title featuring “Sklog.” So instead I went for the obvious alternative. Not enough good stuff and way too much of everything else. No offensive, but not good either.)

Tagline(s) – Is it love… or are they just imagining things? (B)

(This will likely be my reaction to the film. Ay-o. Spoiler alert, I’ll be imagining things. I kinda like this as a whole. Clever play on the premise. Although it is a tad long and doesn’t have any flow. Still better than average.)

Keyword(s) – writer; Top Ten by BMeTric: 81.7 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 55.8 Eegah (1962); 55.5 The Stepford Wives (2004); 53.7 The Ring 2 (2005); 53.7 Full Frontal (2002); 52.4 Twixt (2011); 51.7 I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016); 51.7 Le divorce (2003); 51.6 Breakfast of Champions (1999); 51.0 Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999);

(Le divorce was one of the movies I considered for the mapstreet’s map alright! cycle from last month. Kind of surprising how few of these we’ve seen given the high BMeTrics. Eegah stars the giant guy from Happy Gilmore.)

Notes – The plot is loosely based on the life of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, author of “Crime and Punishment”. He had promised to complete a new novel by a certain date, but one month before the deadline he hadn’t written anything. After a recommendation, he hired a stenographer named Anna, who helped him complete “The Gambler” in 26 days. The plot of “The Gambler”, which is based off of one of the author’s own experiences, is about a tutor named Alexei who falls in love with Polina, who toys with him. Dostoyevsky and Anna fell in love during the writing process. They later married and had 4 children. (WHAAAAAAAAAAAT)

The German version of the film replaces the Germans-such-as-Adolf Hitler gag with Russians-such-as-Joseph Stalin.

After Alex and Emma ride on a boat, they go out for a walk. A flash is visible as they walk. It was a paparazzo taking a picture. (oh gross)

The bio on the back of Alex’s first book reads, “Alex Sheldon has worked for many years in the Boston area. He is currently not married and lives very much alone.” (HA, Boston though, nice hint)

Despite what Emma believes, Ylva actually is a Swedish name. It means ‘female wolf’.

This movie became well know among fans of comedian Artie Lange after his interview on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast. Lange was describing taking heroin for the very first time in a hotel room. Lange said “when people ask me why is heroin addictive, this is my answer: the movie on the TV was Alex & Emma with Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson, and I never turned it off.” (oh that’s depressing. That isn’t fun. Heroin is ruining his life still! He plays a major part in the Crashing on HBO and is still relapsing and getting arrested!)

Alone in the Dark Recap

Jamie

Monsters are loose in the world and only one man can stop them, supernatural investigator Edward Carnby. Can he team up with his ex-girlfriend archaeologist to take them down before it’s too late? Find out in… Alone in the Dark.

How?! Edward Carnby is one cool cat. Investigating the paranormal by day and boning to heavy metal music all night (probably). In an overly complex aspect of the plot we find that he’s been investigating a long lost Native American tribe that disappeared after opening a portal to a demonic world. At the same time a professor at the museum where his ex-girlfriend, Aline, works has unlocked this very same demonic world and has taken control of the demons within. People are dying and/or being turned into mindless weapons left and right, which eventually leads everyone to an abandoned gold mine near the orphanage where Edward grew up. They venture into the mine to have a totally rad showdown with the professor. He is able to open the demonic world once again, but Edward and his ragtag team of semi-professional killers and academics are able to kill the professor and blow up the mine. When they go back to the surface they find the beautiful city of Vancouver abandoned. Is this the end? Or is it… simply the beginning? Bum bum bum (spoiler alert: it’s the end).

Why?! It’s both personal and professional for Carnby. One the one hand, it was (is?) his job to investigate the paranormal like this demon situation. On the other hand, through an intricate web of coincidence not only does his ex-girlfriend work for the guy attempting to use the demons for world domination, but as a child he was also part of the experiment that the same guy performed to produce weaponized sleeper agents. So he’s got a lot at stake. As for the bad guy, he just wants to control the demon creatures so that he can rule to world.

What?! While a bunch of companies got special thanks for providing product placement (including Volkswagen, which provided the VW bug that Tara Reid drove), I instead want to give a little shoutout to Nuytco. The company specialized in deep sea research and according to the credits provided a research mini-submarine for use in some scenes where a gold sarcophagus is raised from the ocean floor. Just seems insane. You are a legit research company.

Who?! While not actually a role in the film I have to highlight that for whatever reason Uwe Boll decided to score a lengthy sex scene using the 1994 hit (?) Seven Seconds. Nothing like letting the viewer know that your film is hip to what the kids are into these days than a decades old European afrobeat song. You’re welcome.

Where?! While this film is very obviously filmed in British Columbia, it’s not necessarily set there. I waited with bated breath for them to hint that it was set in NYC or Anonymous US City. Instead, when they localize the gold mine they zoom in on a map of… British Columbia. Weird. So this and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever both chose to just set the film in Canada and not worry about it. Interesting. C-.

When?! Getting the location was a treat, getting a temporal setting was probably too much to hope for. I did not catch anything to suggest when the film actually took place. Uwe Boll was probably too busy counting his money to care. F.

Jeez louise, this film is just terrible. Not fun at all to watch really. More sad and boring. I had to take several breaks in my attempt to make my way through it. I would love to say that we’ll never watch another Uwe Boll film again, but who am I kidding? The man has two other major motion picture releases that we will eventually watch. It’s like saying we won’t watch Disaster Movie… we will. It is simply a fact. Sigh. I wish it weren’t the case, but it is our fate. Foretold millenia ago on an ancient Egyptian scroll. Alas. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting something different. That must mean I’m insane for Uwe Boll films. He churns out garbage, but damn … it’s some fine looking garbage. Let’s get into it!

The Good – It looks like a film, sounds like a film, and feels like a film. So I guess it must be a film? If there is one thing good to say about Uwe Boll films it is that he takes a lot of money and makes a film that looks like it costs that amount of money. A lot of bad films you can look at and think “this is close to being a film I could actually make a better version of”, like Steel Sharks and the like. But Uwe Boll films are real films that take a lot of effort and skill to make, and that is something.

P’s View on the Preview – Uwe Boll baby. We’ve only seen one other film by Uwe Boll, the legendary In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Being able to place another film within the context of Uwe Boll is, of course, important to understanding that film in its full scope. And after over five years we finally got around to it. Can’t say I’m excited though.

The Bad – This plot is complete trash. The CGI is complete trash. The writing is complete trash. And any and all action is complete trash. There is no Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Matthew Lillard and the rest of In the Name of the King’s glorious cast to save the film. Christian Slater and Tara Reid are pale imitations in that respect, and so it just kind of … makes you sad watching the film. Someone really wanted to make a film, so badly they didn’t even bother to get that sweet German tax relief scheme for this mess, and they got this. That is profoundly sad.

Get Yo Rant On – Honest question … when was Christian Slater famous? Just looking through his filmography it seems like I might have watched a single Slater film in my life prior to BMT (The Wizard) and yet for whatever reason I was aware that Christian Slater existed and was famous. It is very confusing. Perhaps it was Broken Arrow? True Romance? Were those famous enough that I’d be aware of him at the time? It is blowing my mind! Got to give him credit though, he’s survived thirty years as an actor on the B-list (in the early 90s he was probably A-list, but I don’t know, that’s what this rant is about!), and he survived being in this piece of garbage. Go get yo money Christian Slater.

The BMT – Out of all of the Uwe Boll films In The Name of the Kind and Alone in the Dark are probably the two that are the most BMT of the bunch. And I think it was a tragic necessity to watch another Uwe Boll film, as I said, for context. We’ll eventually watch at least one more I think (BloodRayne, although House of the Dead and Postal will be in play as well), but it never really feels like a pressing issue since the films seem like they are intentionally terrible (even though they aren’t).

StreetCreditReport.com – It does get quite high in a few worst ever lists (21 here, for the record I’ve seen 37 of those 50 films, although a bunch outside of BMT) but surprisingly it didn’t get recognized at all when it was released. Possibly because critics were in the process of willfully ignoring Boll. Possibly because no one actually watched it. Possibly because people thought it was “good” in the sense of being hilarious. For whatever reason no one gave a shit about the film at the time. Surprising stuff.

There is a whole video game series, but as usually ain’t nobody got time for that. All complaints about me not doing my homework can go right into the trash can, heeeyyyyooooo.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Alone in the Dark Quiz

You might be a perfectly (para)normal investigator by day, but in the World of Darkness you are in a spot of trouble. A pack of mostly invisible demon-dogs are hot on your trail and there is only one thing you can do to stop them: ace this quiz!

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

  1. In a long winded opening crawl and flashback scene it is explained that the mad scientist Lionel Hudgens kidnapped a whole gang of orphans for his spoooooky experiments in an abandoned gold mine. How many orphans were kidnapped?
  2. These kidnapped orphans, among others, have now, in the present day, become mindless killing machines. How are they being controlled by the eeeeeeeevil g-g-g-g-ghosts … uh, aliens? … uh, demons?
  3. But, then why oh why wasn’t Christian Slater’s character controlled the same way? He was also kidnapped after all.
  4. What are the demon dogs? I mean, even a basic explanation will suffice, it is very obviously incredibly unclear what is happening at any point in this film.
  5. What are we told is able to kill the demon dogs? What are we told can contain and prevent the electrical interference they exhibit as well?

Answers

Alone in the Dark Preview

Ruffles, our beloved dog lawyer, has been kidnapped by the assassin Aitch and Patrick and I are crushed. We end up going on a weeklong bender in beautiful Vancouver fighting anyone and everyone that gets in our way. Alone except for the booze, we are approached by an NCIS: New Orleans agent who looks suspiciously like mega-star Scott Bakula from the smash television hit Quantum Leap. “Hi, I’m Scott Bakula,” he says and offers us a deal. He will tell us where Ruffles is in exchange for help on a matter of national security. We know what that means: g-g-g-g-g-ghosts! In the end we relent… for Ruffles. When we go to where Ruffles is being held we are ambushed by the cops. Fortunately, Aitch swoops in with some wire-fu and explosions galore and frees us. Turns out Aitch is a lady assassin and is on our side after all. What a twist! She was actually keeping Ruffles safe from mega-star Scott Bakula. But wait, it turns out she’s not a “she” but in fact mega-star Scott Bakula himself! What a double twist! He peels off his Mission Impossible facemask as we look on in shock. “What are you doing here? You betrayed us,” we say. “Did I,” he says softly, “Or did I save you… sons?” What a triple twist! We hug mega-star Scott Bakula and know that there is one final thing to do before we start setting up that production company. “Still need some help fighting those g-g-g-g-g-ghosts, Dad?” To which he responds with a wink, “Hope you’re not afraid of the dark.” That’s right! We’re watching Alone in the Dark. When we watched In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale all those years ago we promised ourselves we would never watch another Uwe Boll movie. Mostly because he doesn’t make real movies, but rather financial scheme disguised as movies. But promises are meant to be broken, especially when we are looking for a producer that also produced that HoFer ItNotK:ADST… which pretty much limits us to Uwe Boll films. Well fuck us, right? Let’s go!

Alone in the Dark (2005) – BMeTric: 90.2

AloneintheDark_BMeT

AloneintheDark_RV

(Legendary naturally. To just sit cold at 2.3 is just nuts. Would be one of the highest BMeTric films if people bothered to watch it. If that vote count doubled (and I’m not sure the rating would go up even if it did) it would exceed Meet the Spartans.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Paranormal investigator Slater tangles with a mad scientist in this unintelligible time-waster based on an Atari video game. The opening crawl is dopey and overlong; what follows is mind-numbingly awful. Casting Reid as an anthropologist is like assigning Curly Howard the role of neurosurgeon.

(Kind of an unnecessary dig at Tara Reid there. That was the obvious intention of the casting, to make it somewhat of a joke in and of itself. I’m glad I get an overlong and awful opening crawl though, I’ll revel in that a bit before my brain starts to scream.)

Trailer – https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0369226/videoplayer/vi4088725785?ref_=tt_ov_vi

(If you get this far the video above that is embedded is just a teaser, the link itself though is to IMDb which has the full trailer (youtube for some reason doesn’t). The CGI looks like complete garbage, the dialogue and action look terrible and blessedly ludicrous. It is pretty sweet I think.)

Directors – Uwe Boll – (Future BMT: House of the Dead; BloodRayne; Postal; Blackwoods; Bailout: The Age of Greed; BMT: Alone in the Dark; In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director in 2009 for In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Postal, and Tunnel Rats; Nominee for Worst Director in 2006 for Alone in the Dark; and in 2007 for BloodRayne; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Postal in 2009; Notes: He literally makes tax shelter films. He is quoted as saying “Maybe you know it, but it’s not so easy to finance movies in total. The reason I am able to do these kind of movies is I have a tax shelter fund in Germany, and if you invest in a movie in Germany you get basically 50% back from the government.” This though can’t actually be one because it was filmed in Canada which violates the agreement.)

Writers – Elan Mastai (written by) – (Known For: What If; Future BMT: The Samaritan; BMT: Alone in the Dark; Notes: Just wrote his debut novel All Our Wrong Todays which is about time travel and seems to have gotten pretty excellent reviews actually.)

Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer (written by) – (BMT: Alone in the Dark; Notes: They have written several Uwe Boll films, although mostly the later ones which didn’t get real releases. Here is an article about the production.)

Actors – Christian Slater – (Known For: Nymphomaniac: Vol. I; True Romance; Heathers; Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; The Wife; Zoolander; The Name of the Rose; Bullet to the Head; FernGully: The Last Rainforest; The Legend of Billie Jean; Broken Arrow; Very Bad Things; King Cobra; Bobby; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; La Cordillera; Pump Up the Volume; Untamed Heart; Future BMT: Hot Tub Time Machine 2; Soldiers of Fortune; Stranded; Playback; Sofia; The Ten Commandments; Hard Ca$h; Slipstream; Windtalkers; Igor; True Deception; Kuffs; Masked and Anonymous; Jimmy Hollywood; The Wizard; Mobsters; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; Mindhunters; Bed of Roses; Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory; Gleaming the Cube; Who Is Cletis Tout?; BMT: Alone in the Dark; Hard Rain; 3000 Miles to Graceland; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1992 for Mobsters, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Notes: Got his break in Heathers, and has been working consistently to a degree since. He’s now a part of the hit television program Mr. Robot.)

Tara Reid – (Known For: American Pie; The Big Lebowski; Cruel Intentions; American Reunion; American Pie 2; Josie and the Pussycats; Dr. T & the Women; Future BMT: My Boss’s Daughter; The Crow: Wicked Prayer; Urban Legend; Body Shots; Just Visiting; Van Wilder: Party Liaison; BMT: Alone in the Dark; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Alone in the Dark in 2006; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for My Boss’s Daughter in 2004; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Just Married in 2004; Notes: Somewhat of a punchline these days unfortunately. An example of how quickly one’s career can crater when you don’t guard against taking on poor projects. Her starring turn in Sharknado kind of revitalized her career a bit, although perhaps ironically.)

Stephen Dorff – (Known For: Public Enemies; Blade; The Iceman; Zoolander; World Trade Center; Somewhere; The Gate; Felon; Cecil B. DeMented; I Shot Andy Warhol; Blood and Wine; Backbeat; The Motel Life; Brake; City of Industry; The Deal; Nanking; Zaytoun; Entropy; Future BMT: Cold Creek Manor; Leatherface; A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III; Space Truckers; American Hero; Immortals; Steal; Deuces Wild; Shadowboxer; Tomorrow You’re Gone; Jackals; Botched; S.F.W.; Judgment Night; Den of Lions; BMT: Alone in the Dark; Feardotcom; Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; Notes: Will play a prominent role in HBO’s True Detective Season 3.)

Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $5,178,569 (Worldwide: $10,442,808)

(Funny enough I had a whole thing written about how this film made money from tax breaks … but it probably actually couldn’t because it was filmed in Canada, not Germany. Which means … as crazy as it sounds, someone decided to make Alone in the Dark with actual financing. Naturally it was a complete bomb … congrats.)

#65 for the Creature Feature genre

aloneinthedark_creaturefeature

(There is a fascination with the creature feature, and there always has been I suppose. Jaws busted it out in the blockbuster, and then with CGI things like Anaconda made them huge in the late 90s. Alien, King Kong, Godzilla, Jurassic World … it really isn’t ever going to stop. A Sound of Thunder and Critters 2 made less money than this piece of garbage, think on that for a hot second.)

#332 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

aloneinthedark_rratedhorror

(This is having a moment naturally, although it is interesting that it isn’t doing exceptionally well financially. By which I mean: with IT and Get Out’s success I would have thought that the dollar per theater number would have just been huge. But really it seems like it has just returned to the position it was in in the late-90s weirdly. At least on average.)

#35 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

aloneinthedark_videogameadaptation

(They really have been trying to make this a thing since it all began. It has actually ticked up a bit on the return recently, and the reviews are coming in … but then again, Marvel/Star Wars/ Disney just kind of consume everything as well, so I don’t really see much room for giant video game franchises. Maybe they’ll end up on television though which could actually be quite cool now that I think about it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 1% (1/120): Inept on almost every level, Alone in the Dark may not work as a thriller, but it’s good for some head-slapping, incredulous laughter.

(This is arguably the second worst reviewed film of all time. It kind of depends on how you define things. Our last movie, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever has less review (116), but all bad. The former BMT thriller Twisted has more reviews (136) but two are good. One missed call also has a perfect 0% with only 80 reviews as well. So depending on how you calculate things I think there is a strong argument this is the second worst reviewed film of all time.)

Poster – Alone in the Sklog (C+)

alone_in_the_dark

(While cheap looking and with totally uninteresting font and color scheme, it’s not as bad as I would have expected. It also has some artistic touch that makes it a bit more interesting that it probably should be.)

Tagline(s) – Evil awakens. (D)

(Blah. Really hard to have an original and interesting two word tagline to a film. This is neither of those.)

Keyword(s) – battle; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.2 Epic Movie (2007); 95.9 Meet the Spartans (2008); 94.6 Battlefield Earth (2000); 93.7 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.6 House of the Dead (2003); 88.6 Street Fighter (1994); 87.4 The Last Airbender (2010); 86.5 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 85.9 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007);

(Given that I’ve seen Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (in theaters …) I am kind of one away from completing this list … that is pretty impressive. For the keyword battle!)

Notes – The lengthy opening text crawl was added after numerous test audience members said they were confused by the plot. (As I assume most such terrible beginnings are made)

After execs read the green draft of the shooting script, the film got an additional $10 million. Uwe Boll poured the money into special effects. (After they saw how real this tax shelter of a film was some rich German decided to evade several million more dollars worth of taxes … that is literally how this probably worked).

Was named worst film of 2005 by the Stinkers Bad Movie Awards. (One of the last ones)

Every piece of body armor worn by the various extra foot soldiers during major battle scenes is paintball body protection made by JT USA. (Sigh)

Uwe Boll wanted Christian Bale and Jessica Alba for the leads. (I’m sure he wanted many a thing in this pipe dream of a film)

One of the two films that received an “F” CinemaScore from audiences upon their release in 2005, along with Wolf Creek (2005). (That is actually pretty awesome. Wolf Creek doesn’t even qualify)

Nuclear Blast spend $30,000 on the soundtrack rights to promote their bands.

Uwe Boll stated on various occasions that he regretted having Tara Reid in the film. (I’m sure she regretted being in the film)

The song that can be heard during the shooting sequence is “Ghost” by Mnemic.

Uwe Boll changed the ending from the original script to make a more ambiguous note.

A love scene between Christian Slater and Tara Reid featuring the song “Seven Seconds” by Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry can be seen in the extended version. (Nooooooooo, I best be getting the extended version)

Awards

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Tara Reid)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Uwe Boll)

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever Recap

Jamie

Ecks is a former FBI agent broken by the loss of his wife, Sever is a former assassin hell bent on getting revenge on the boss who betrayed her. Are they working with or against each other to save a kidnapped child? Find out in… Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever.

How?! If that introduction makes this film sound coherent then I’m sorry, I have misled you. For it is laughably incomprehensible. Almost to the point where Patrick and I disagreed over exactly what happened in the end. But… I’ll give it a shot. Gant is a dangerous weapons dealer who has used his child (or is he? Bum bum bum) to transport a dangerous nanobot assassin across international borders. However, once in the US a rogue assassin, Sever, abducts the child (nanobots and all) with some rad martial arts. Needing someone to help find the kid the FBI approach disgraced FBI agent Ecks. At first resistant, he eventually relents when told that his long presumed dead wife is actually alive and they will lead him to her in exchange for his help. Working against Gant’s goons, Ecks and Sever play a dangerous game of cat and mouse. In order to get Ecks out of the way he is framed for a crime and arrested. While being transported to jail, though, Sever frees him and leads him on a ho-hum but very lengthy motorcycle chase. This culminates in Sever revealing that she is actually a good guy (what a twist!) and that Ecks’ wife is actually Gant’s wife (what a double twist!) and the missing child is actually Ecks’ child (what a… wait, none of this makes sense anymore). They team up to lead Gant to a train yard where they set off giant explosions and kill a whole mess of people. In a final showdown Sever shoots Gant with a nanobot infused bullet leading to his death. Ecks then lives happily ever after with his wife and child who he’s never met. Cool. THE END.

Why?! By all accounts the motivations for Ecks and Sever are what got this film in trouble in the first place. According to the director the producers wanted the leads to have clearer motivations. They rewrote it so that Ecks didn’t just want to help find a kid but that he was doing it to find his not-actually-dead wife and that the kid turned to be his kid… which would be great if it actually made any sense. Patrick and I still aren’t exactly sure what was going on. Was she Gant’s wife, but Ecks’ lover? Was she actually Ecks’ wife and then Gant put together a super elaborate scheme so that he could get with Ecks’ wife and become an international criminal? All I know is that it sure does seem extra dumb.

What?! We do have a nice MacGuffin in this guy with Softkill, the assassin nanobot. Complete with absurd computer graphics showing how said nanobot can totes inject you with dangerous chemicals, Softkill is something that every bad guy can’t wait to get his hands on.

Who?! Little did people know that this film actually completed a mononymous director tril-o-geez for BMT. That’s because we previously watched This Means War directed by McG and Catwoman directed by Pitof. This of course was directed by Kaos. Sweet trilogy bro. Next up Into the Sun directed by mink.

Where?! At first I thought for sure this was one of those classic films set in American City for American Action, but filmed in Canada. However, it wasn’t long before it was clear that this was actually set in Vancouver… which really throws everything for a loop. So the DIA director (a component of the DoD) just lives in Vancouver full time? And several different American law enforcement agencies just waltz into Canada and take over an investigation? Cool. B+.

When?! I cannot recall seeing a date thrown around anywhere, but it might have been because my brain died halfway through watching this film. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. F.

Usually when the reviews for a film say that a film is nearly incomprehensible what they actually mean is that they didn’t feel like paying attention because the film was bad, but in reality if you pay attention the film is coherent enough. Not Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. It’s legit hard to follow. And for that it must be commended. At the same time its incompetence gets in the way of truly enjoying the film as the worst reviewed of all time. It’s a great example of a truly bad film that I wouldn’t love to watch again. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Oooo what’s this, the first cut of that new sweet wife-fu film we commissioned from that up and coming director Kaos. What a sweet name, Kaooooos. The next John Woo I was told. Let’s just pop this guy in … oh, my God. May the lord have mercy on my soul. Let’s get into it!

The Good – There are moments in this film which look good. A specific shot in the rain is a little out of date, but not much different than something you’d see in Max Payne or Sin City. And a shot of a police officer falling off a building, specifically how they did it, is pretty impressive I think, and I think looks good. Like … the good parts make you kind of believe Kaos’ story that the movie was doomed by the production issues, because he filmed at least a few shots amazingly well I think.

P’s View on the Preview – This is the worst film ever reviewed on Rotten Tomatoes. So obviously exploring why that is and the interesting notability there was the number one priority. I also had seen the film once before over ten years ago. The only things I remembered was there is a crazy bus crashing scene, and the movie was so confusing that at one single point the storyline abruptly made no sense. To the point where I was confused as to why it was considered so bad and then all of a sudden I was “ah … there it is”.

The Bad – For the first half of the film it is just kind of confusing (more silly than anything), but then they try and pull Ecks’ wife into the mix and woooooof. It dials the confusion to eleven. Like … was he married to her? If so why did she subsequently get into Gant’s car? What happened to the other lady at lunch? It is fairly obvious that the initial intention was to not make Talisa Soto Ecks’ long dead wife (at least I think so), but they kind of reshot things to add the storyline in to makes things more personal … uh, that’ll be a mistake dawg. Besides that the action looks corny and/or shitty more often than not, the stunts look legit dangerous which makes me sad, and the soundtrack is bonkers. So really it is kind of top to bottom an impressive mess. Also shout out to Antonio Banderas’ character whitesplaining the One Child Policy to an Asian actor in the middle of the film.

Get Yo Rant On – It is kind of sad that it is likely that nothing will ever beat this film from a Rotten Tomatoes perspective. Nothing. There is just no way a film gets 100 reviews and all of them are bad. There was a sweet spot in the early 2000s where there were enough online reviewers for a kind of minor release like this to get 100 reviews, but these days someone out there would give it an ironic “so bad I vomited all over myself in the theater and missed the second half of the movie. Three out of four stars, good for what it is” for anything that a production company would even bother releasing. Something like this probably has a 50-50 shot of being shelved no matter the budget at this point just because of the crowded release schedule. What a time to be alive.

The BMT – So is this the worst movie ever? I wouldn’t personally go that far. It actually kind of reminds me of Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li. And legit, if you recast the film with Chris Klein it would have been a legend and probably made the Hall of Fame. As it stands it probably is the most confusing film I’ve ever watched, and not in the way critics often use the term, as a synonym of messy, I mean like I still don’t know the interpersonal relationships described in the film. That’s just one piece of making a film legendary, and instead I think this will have to settle for merely being a quintessential example of that one particular movie trait.

StreetCreditReport.com – Oh yeah. On a worst-of list here, here, and here. Funny, for a film that was a little too forgettable to get noticed by the Razzies it sure did get noticed by the critics. Hmmmm. Hmmmm. Hmmmm. I revise any previous statements and I think that it didn’t get any nominations because despite being on the early ballot people just hadn’t seen it and couldn’t be bothered to vote. Although, how they could resist voting for a man named Kaos would be beyond me.

No homework, unless you count not playing the Nintendo DS game of the same name … you don’t? Excellent, then cheerios,

The Sklogs

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever Preview

As world famous bad movie scientists, we obviously have a high powered lawyer on retainer to fix the many jams we find ourselves in. Unfortunately he’s far too busy cleaning up our latest scandal to help up set up the BMT Productions, LLC. “No probs, bro,” we say and hop right onto LawyerHelpPleaseAndThankYou.net to find a new lawyer the old fashioned way. We obvs crush it on the message boards and soon snare a lawyer who says she will do it for free (and she sounds pretty cute to boot). When she shows up though we are shocked to find that she’s no lady… she’s a dog! And our country club is no dogs allowed (gulp). But we’re in a jam and we need this LLC quick or else the Obsidian Dongle is doomed. We just got to get it done, dog lawyer or no. Surprisingly, our journey with Ruffles is marked by startling personal growth. Patrick’s rambunctious children realize their Dad can still be pretty cool sometimes and Jamie finally learns to live and love again. Ruffles has changed our lives and become this man’s… best friend. Just as we are about to sign the final papers for the company an assassin jumps through the window and knocks us out cold. When we awaken Ruffles is gone and all that’s left is a note that says “I’ve taken your dog lawyer to Vancouver. Follow if you dare. Signed, Aitch.” While this seemingly makes no sense and veers wildly away from our original plan of creating a film company, we only have one choice. The fate of Ruffles is in our hands. That’s right! We’re watching Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (Produced by Elie Samaha who also produced Battlefield Earth). This is the worst reviewed film of all time and is one that Patrick and I have both seen before (I’ve actually seen it a few times). However recently we decided that we’re going to revisit such gems and give them the full BMT treatment. This one deserves it. Let’s go!

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002) – BMeTric: 77.2

BallisticEcksvsSever_BMeT

BallisticEcksvsSever_RV

(Stock still baby. No regression = super ultra everyone-agrees-this-is-garbage film. Which makes sense considering this is the worst reviewed film on Rotten Tomatoes in history.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Idiotic action film boasts what may be the worst movie title ever coined. Banderas plays an ex-FBI agent still mourning the death of his wife after seven years; his former boss recruits him for a kidnapping case by telling him his wife is still alive, and the kidnapper can lead him to her. But even that sliver of logic dissolves as the story unfolds. Only devotees of cars exploding into fireballs will find any value here.

(If this got anything other than a BOMB my head would have exploded. I remember this movie not making a lick of sense. There is a crazy bus scene, but I don’t remember an inordinate number of car explosions. I think the people who would find value in it are more likely to be wire-fu completionists. I’m loving that semi-colon in the middle of the review as well, you always give your audience what they want Leonard, I love it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tme_SdRv2gk

(A microdevice! Oh no! Two main things. First, them dropping what is the worst like in the film (“I told her you just got beat up by a girl”) and blowing their load with the kind of sweet overhead shot of the guy falling off of the building is just premo marketing. They also give away the plot of the film, like beginning to end. I’ll give them this: the trailer looked a lot better than the actual film is.)

Directors – Wych Kaosayananda – (BMT: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Notes: The son of a Thai diplomat he broke out with Fah in 1998, which had the largest budget for any Thai film to that point. Ballistic basically destroyed his career in the US, although in interviews he chaulks many of the issues it has up to its disastrous production.)

Writers – Alan B. McElroy (written by) (as Alan McElroy) – (Known For: Wrong Turn; Future BMT: Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings; Tekken; Spawn; Thr3e; Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers; The Perfect Guy; Rapid Fire; BMT: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; The Marine; Left Behind; Notes: Interestingly in interviews the director claims the script was heavily rewritten by Peter Lenkov without credit. Amazing career focusing heavily on horror. He was probably in the last wave of people who literally just up and moved to Hollywood with a single script in hand and was hired onto the Columbia screenwriting program based off of that.)

Extra Note: Peter Lenkov wrote Son in Law and Demolition Man. He mainly does tv now, and is notably the writer of the original R.I.P.D. comic book!

Actors – Antonio Banderas – (Known For: Shrek 2; Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Shrek the Third; Spy Kids; Shrek Forever After; Bullet Head; The Mask of Zorro; Frida; Acts of Vengeance; Desperado; Knight of Cups; La piel que habito; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Philadelphia; Black Butterfly; Once Upon a Time in Mexico; The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water; The 33; Puss in Boots; Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams; Future BMT: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D; Machete Kills; Play It to the Bone; Never Talk to Strangers; The Other Man; The Legend of Zorro; The Body; The Big Bang; Original Sin; Two Much; Gun Shy; Autómata; Assassins; Of Love and Shadows; Justin and the Knights of Valour; The 13th Warrior; Four Rooms; Imagining Argentina; Black Gold; BMT: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; The Expendables 3; Notes: Most notable as the bee in those Nasonex ads (j/k). Zorro, Puss in Boots, Spy Kids, Expendables. You know Antonio Banderas! Spanish actor who successfully crossed over into American films.)

Lucy Liu – (Known For: Kill Bill: Vol. 1; Kill Bill: Vol. 2; Chicago; Kung Fu Panda 3; Jerry Maguire; Charlie’s Angels; Kung Fu Panda; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Lucky Number Slevin; Kung Fu Panda 2; Payback; Detachment; The Man with the Iron Fists; Shanghai Noon; TinkerBell and the Secret of the Wings; Kaguyahime no monogatari; True Crime; Gridlock’d; Cypher; City of Industry; Future BMT: Code Name: The Cleaner; Rise; Play It to the Bone; Domino; Hotel; The Trouble with Bliss; Molly; Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You; The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human; BMT: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Notes: American, she is fluent in Mandarin Chinese however. Has played Watson on the long running television series Elementary.)

Talisa Soto – (Known For: Licence to Kill; Don Juan DeMarco; The Pope of Greenwich Village; The Mambo Kings; La Mission; Piñero; Spike of Bensonhurst; Future BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Spy Hard; Mortal Kombat; The Sunchaser; BMT: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Notes: Basically retired from acting after this film. Not because of the film, she happened to marry Benjamin Bratt and have her first child around the same time … but I like to think her experiences on Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever helped her decide.)

Budget/Gross – $70 million / Domestic: $14,307,963 (Worldwide: $19,924,033)

(There is a note below claiming this is the biggest bomb ever, which is obviously false. Yes, $70 million is a lot, but I’m pretty sure at this point films that have cost of $100 million have ended up not being released. It is impossible for this to be the worst ever I think. But this is catastrophic stuff, the whole budget is a write off at that point.)

#20 for the Action – Wire-Fu genre

ecksvssever_wirefu

(Amazing. It really was in that in between period when you could spend the money on this stuff, and when it probably was all replaced with CGI instead. Romeo Must Die, Cradle 2 the Grave, The Tuxedo, Bulletproof Monk, The Medallion … we’ve seen a lot of these films. A very funny genre with a delightful mix of amazing and trash films as well.)

#64 for the Action Heroine genre

ecksvssever_actionheroine

(A bit ahead of the curve there which is interesting, especially considering none of the other combinations in the notes had the character played by a woman. The genre is obviously booming now. Fun fact: We’ve seen the lowest grossing movie on this list, Barb Wire, which is indeed barely a movie.)

#89 for the Spy genre

ecksvssever_spy

(Right in the thick of the peak. The huge dive is, I think, because Pierce Brosnan was James Bond for the last time then (in a terrible movie), so it kind of put a damper on the genre which was kind of subsequently taken over by Bourne for a bit.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/116): A startlingly inept film, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever offers overblown, wall-to-wall action without a hint of wit, coherence, style, or originality.

(From what I remember, this sounds about right. Noteworthy, still, for being the only movie with over 100 reviews all of which were rotten. I don’t think this will ever be broken in the age of ironic viewing and good-for-what-it-is-itis. Which I guess makes this all the more amazing. Reviewer Highlight: Ballistic is a generic blur of metallic blue and fireball orange set to the contrapuntal sounds of throbbing techno and eardrum-puncturing noise. – Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Sklog-llistic: Rich vs. Poe (B+)

ballistic_ecks_vs_sever

(I like this poster, but I don’t love this poster and I’m not totally sure why. It’s got everything: blue tone, unique font, nice enough framing. I guess it just doesn’t tell a story to me. Like if I saw this poster would I want to go see it? Nope.)

Tagline(s) – Your most dangerous enemies are the friends you’ve double-crossed. (D)

(Lol, wot? They talk about this film being a convoluted mess. Same goes for the tagline. Also, I don’t think this has anything to do with the actual plot of this film.)

Keyword(s) – fbi; Top Ten by BMeTric: 81.7 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 78.8 Torque (2004); 77.2 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002); 76.0 Death Note (2017); 74.8 Taxi (I) (2004); 73.7 Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003); 71.9 The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000); 70.3 Big Momma’s House 2 (2006); 68.7 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998); 67.1 Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009);

(Death Note doesn’t count (Netflix original), but the rest of those I am down for. I’m surprised Speed 2 doesn’t have this keyword. It definitely has a higher BMeTric than 67.)

Notes – The film is #1 on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of “The 100 Worst Reviewed Movies of All Time”. (Indeed, I believe it is the only film with over one hundred reviews that are all rotten)

The film grossed less than 30% of its budget at the box office, making it one of the biggest box-office failures in film history. (Weeeeellllllll, not sure I believe that one)

Agent Sever was originally written to be played by a man. The film’s original stars were Wesley Snipes and Jet Li, then Vin Diesel and Sylvester Stallone. (I would have watched any of these three versions)

While filming a large-scale action scene that involved explosives, a detonation occurred too close to Antonio Banderas, who escaped with minor burns. (Scary)

The 2001 Game Boy Advance game “Ecks vs. Sever” was actually based on an early script draft for this film, not the other way around. The game’s producers later made a sequel to that game that was based on the finished version of this movie. (Apparently the one based off of the script is quite good as well. The one based on the movie is less well regarded)

According to director Wych Kaosayananda, co-star Antonio Banderas suggested Lucy Liu come on for the role of Sever after having previously worked with her on Play It to the Bone (1999). When the director had earlier read the script, he felt that it was rather similar to the films The Killer (1989) and Leon the Professional (1994), while actually visualizing that Chou-Yun Fat and Jean Reno could be perfect square-off leads. Franchise Pictures didn’t find either Fat and Reno financially viable though. (… Wait, Chow-Yun Fat and Jean Reno were too expensive … that’s weird. I wonder if it has to do with where they were filming)

The film started in the 1980s as a spec script by Alan McElroy, titled ‘Legion’, then ‘Gunner’. Vestron Pictures tried to make the movie in 1988, with Dwight H. Little directing and Dolph Lundgren starring, but Charles W. Fries didn’t want to do it. (Jesus, there are like seventeen version of this film billed as X vs Y, and all of them sound pretty amusing to be honest)

Roger Ebert included the film on his “Most Hated” list. (No doubt)

Some critics, bloggers and other movie viewers have compared this film to War (2007) due to it containing a similar storyline (disgruntled federal agent figuring out a conspiracy), people varying on the action scenes being exciting or not, both films being advertised as a versus film only for both lead stars to square off briefly on-screen and due to overwhelming dislike with both films. (Another film we have to watch)

“After casting, the real challenges started. We were going to shoot everything in Bangkok while we retouched the script to fit the location. Then the notes came in, and I won’t get into the details but there are only two things anyone needs to know about the changes that were made by request from the studio. One: In the original draft, Sever kidnaps Ecks’ son, and the whole time, the boy is basically kept in a kid-sized glass box just big enough for him to sit in, placed on top of a kilo of C4. That was changed. Two: There was no other motivation for the characters. It was all about family. Gant “kills” Ecks and takes his wife, Vinn, and their son, with both believing each other to be dead. Meanwhile, Sever wants revenge for the death of her family at the hands of Gant and his men. So, believing it was Gant’s son, she kidnaps him and Ecks springs into action. It was all about love and family and nothing else. The nano technology included in the final draft had nothing to do with what I wanted for the story. Granted, we had a fantastic writer. Franchise Pictures brought Peter Lenkov to rewrite Alan McElroy’s script and he did a great job with the instructions he was given. Yes, there were changes made that watered it down to my chagrin, but it was as satisfactory as it needed to be at the time and everybody was on board. Then, tragedy struck in September 2001 and we had to relocate from Bangkok to Vancouver for safety reasons. Those moving expenses ended up in cutting more action scenes out, but thankfully our terrific crew made things feel much easier.” (Wych Kaosayananda on changes made to the film) (Yeah, I guess it shouldn’t be surprising the production was a mess. To be honest, it sounds like 9/11 had a bigger impact that any of the production notes. I understand he wasn’t something different, but it doesn’t really sound like making a note of “don’t put a kid in a glass box on some C4” is that big of a deal)

“Well, I’ll try to explain this as best as I can: I did my first cut which as I understood it was just that-my first cut which was the script as shot and fine tuned. There were scenes I wasn’t sure of, but liked. And we also tested the movie; One scene in particular lost the audience and the experience wasn’t very good. It was a little heavy on melodrama, and I own that. I loved the scene, but also was afraid it wouldn’t work and could easily be cheesy. But again, I honestly felt that was what the tests were for, and I was wrong. We didn’t score well and based on that test, two producers who I was already having issues with for various reasons basically just took over the movie. I found out as I was on my way to the editing room two days after the test screening and just a day after having a big meeting with Warner Bros. executives and marketing people, who were terrific by the way. By the time I got to the edit suites, my editor was Caroline Ross, a wonderful person and a great editor, was also fired and replaced, after all those hours and weeks I spent with her. And I wasn’t too pleased to say the least. So, after consulting with my agents at CAA, it was decided it was best to just walk away quietly and they’d focus on getting my next job. I still had a great relationship with the executives at Warner Bros. I had things in development with Fox 2000 and RKO and we’d just move on. The problem was, I couldn’t. I’d shot an old school actioner in 2002 with the Steve McQueen classic Bullitt as my template. My DP and I had specific needs to be met with the way we shot it, especially when it came to all the action scenes I choreographed while working with Joel Kramer – one the best stunt coordinators in his field. But despite our best efforts, the movie was butchered to the point where certain shots were flipped because the edit no longer made sense. And yes, this also affected the sequencing and pacing of the action – it was horrible to watch. Just so you know, I had only ever seen the theatrical cut once with no audio, during the colour grade with Julio, my DP. At the premier I waited until the movie had been playing for thirty minutes before taking my seat. I did this because I knew the movie was bad. I pretty much hyperventilated for the whole evening.” (Wych Kaosayananda on producer’s interference with the film and his reaction with how it turned out) (Jesus. So the note is a bit confusing, possibly because of a language barrier. But, it seems like he couldn’t walk away because some of the action scenes were specifically templated a certain way, and without him they would have been butchered and nothing would have made sense and it would have besmirched his good name. Whoooooowwwweeeeeee)

Talisa Soto’s last acting role for 7 years until she appeared in La Mission (2009).

Part of Rotten Tomatoe’s Bottom 10 films that were poorly rated. The other nine are One Missed Call (2008), Pinocchio (2002), King’s Ransom (2005), National Lampoon’s Gold Diggers (2004) Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004), Strange Wilderness (2008), 3 Strikes (2000), Redline (2007) and Witless Protection (2008). (This will be our sixth, although this list is quite out of date. I can’t find an updated list)

Despite making several “bad movies of all time” lists, this film has never been nominated nor won any Razzie awards. (It was too unknown to be poked fun at … that isn’t a compliment)

The possibly only good review recorded to dare by a professional critic (yet wasn’t recorded on Rotten Tomatoes’ site) was a review for the Daily Herald by film critic Jean Carey. It was recorded on Sept. 20, 2002 and the headline was ” ‘Ballistic’ a great time at the movies.” (Ha, there is a whole article on this. So it looks like it isn’t on Rotten Tomatoes because the editor wrote it, not the movie critic, and they basically “covered” it with a new terrible review when they realized what they had done. Amazing stuff)