The Darkest Minds Preview

Having cast their vigilante personas behind and taken up the mantle of hitmen instead, Jamie and Patrick vow to kill the mysterious Briggs and save Arf Collector once and for all. What do they know about Briggs though? Just that he loves parkour and dogs, which describes literally everyone! “We’re doomed,” Jamie says, shaking his head. “Ah, but you forget,” Patrick counters, “I’ve watched every episode of Murder, She Wrote. It is time to lay our trap!” Donning his cable knit sweater, Patrick bangs out a true crime novel entitled Dog Gone: The Arf Collector Story and calls up his agent who rushes it into production. Watching the online reviews with bated breath their ploy is rewarded with a one star review reading merely  “Not how it happened!” “Quick, trace that IP” Patrick yells, and Jamie smashes away at his keyboard using 1337 h4xx0r skillz as The Prodigy plays at a deafening volume. Sure enough Briggs wrote that review, and they soon arrive at Briggs’ high rise office. Guns blazing they move steadily upwards killing henchmen until they reach the hundredth floor. Opening the door they find Briggs pensively looking out towards the ocean. “By now your reputation precedes you for your detective, hacking, killing, and movie making skills, Bad Movie Twins. Just promise me that you’ll treat Arf Collector with the love he deserves,” and with that Briggs kills himself. Arf Collector barks happily. The Bad Movie Twins did it! But what is this? A mystery novel peeking out of Briggs’ desk? It’s not just good, it is great! “But alas,” Patrick says, “Murder mysteries are totally out right now. Perhaps … if instead the main character was a child with mysterious powers, and the book was instead a YA novel …” That’s right! This week we are watching the newest dystopian YA novel turned mega franchise (they assumed) in The Darkest Minds! A complete box office disaster, The Darkest Minds hopped onto the dystopian YA-novel adaptation right as it was completing its crash, and thus became one of the biggest box office bombs of the year. Let’s go!

The Darkest Minds (2018) – BMeTric: 37.9

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(Really Really low again. I can on one hand say that that is heartening, but at the same time realize that the BMeTric doesn’t distinguish when audiences call something a bad movie because it is boring … actually, something having a high BMeTric early on might literally mean that it can’t please anyone. Which might mean it is either (1) a complete travesty, or (2) boring. Which I guess makes sense.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  When The Darkest Minds book was released in 2012, we didn’t have a government-sanctioned program to separate children from their parents. Conservative adults weren’t attacking teenagers over the issue of gun violence. The movie features a daily broadcast of the president’s lies. Now, that’s just today’s headlines. The environment in which stories like “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent” gained followings has changed, and “The Darkest Minds” has not adapted to survive it.

(Woof. Pretty political take on it, but I guess you can’t really blame them. It is kind of true. The genre has completely collapsed despite the films looking as shiny (and cheesy) as usual. And One explanation for that could be politics. It could also just be that dystopia is out and aliens are in so they should go for aliens now that they are back in … basically stop adapting early 2010 YA novels for a while and pick up a nice Star Wars knockoff.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN8o_E_f9FQ

(Looks pretty intense. I honestly don’t really know what is happening. I am going to guess either the main character is hugely powerful … or can’t control her powers … or she can use all four (or whatever) powers. That is a classic sci-fi thing. The one who can use all four powers! Wow! Wait … am I excited about this?)

Directors – Jennifer Yuh Nelson – (Known For: Kung Fu Panda 3; Kung Fu Panda 2; BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Born in South Korea, she was nominated for Best Animated Feature for Kung Fu Panda 2.)

Writers – Chad Hodge (screenplay by) – (BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Mainly a television writer for things like Wayward Pines and The Playboy Club.)

Alexandra Bracken (based upon the novel by) – (BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: There are now six novels in this series. She wrote he first published novel at 19 while a sophomore at William and Mary College.)

Actors – Amandla Stenberg – (Known For: The Hate U Give; The Hunger Games; Everything, Everything; Where Hands Touch; Rio 2; As You Are; Future BMT: Colombiana; BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Performed with Zander Hawley in the band Honeywater. Their cover of Mac DeMarco’s “Let My Baby Stay” is in Everything, Everything.)

Mandy Moore – (Known For: Ralph Breaks the Internet; Tangled; The Princess Diaries; 47 Metres Down; Saved!; Romance & Cigarettes; Dr. Dolittle 2; American Dreamz; Dedication; Future BMT: Racing Stripes; Love, Wedding, Marriage; Southland Tales; Swinging with the Finkels; How to Deal; Chasing Liberty; Try Seventeen; Hotel Noir; BMT: License to Wed; Because I Said So; The Darkest Minds; Notes: Grew up in Orlando where she was known as the “National Anthem Girl” before being discovered. She literally just got married, November 18th to Taylor Goldsmith.)

Bradley Whitford – (Known For: Destroyer; Get Out; The Post; The Cabin in the Woods; Philadelphia; Scent of a Woman; Adventures in Babysitting; Billy Madison; Saving Mr. Banks; The Client; Awakenings; A Perfect World; The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants; Rex; Presumed Innocent; Kate & Leopold; Bottle Shock; Other People; Unicorn Store; My Life; Future BMT: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise; Masterminds; I Saw the Light; Red Corner; Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory; CBGB; Bicentennial Man; BMT: RoboCop 3; The Darkest Minds; Notes: Was married to Jane Kaczmarek for 16 years. He just got engaged to Amy Landecker last March. You might know him as the bad guy from Billy Madison though.)

Budget/Gross – $34 million / Domestic: $12,695,691 (Worldwide: $41,142,379)

(Wow that’s a complete disaster. The YA novel adaptation scene is a bloodbath at the moment. At least compared to the promise coming off of Hunger Games.)

#61 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

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(Blew up, but now the box office take is just collapsing. The highest grossing film on this list we did for BMT was Eragon (!), and recently we saw Vampire Academy which only did marginally worse overall.)

#8 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated Adjusted chart

(#11 on the unadjusted chart. Narrowly beats out Show Dogs for the worst opening of 2018 for a film released to over 3000 theaters. Really really rough. We’ve only seen five of the top fifteen on that chart, and two of them are from this year!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (21/121): The Darkest Minds does little to differentiate itself in a crowded field of YA adaptations, leaving all but the least demanding viewers feeling dystopian déjà vu.

(Having watched Proud Mary I’m even more concerned. That was boring. This seems merely boring. It is a concern going into the end of the year feeling like we are just ticking boxes unfortunately. Reviewer Highlight: What we’re left with is a Mad-Libs version of a dystopian YA adaptation done by someone who saw half of an X-Men movie on TV once, with no depth, no new ideas, and no point. – Dana Schwartz, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – The Darkest Sklogs (C-)

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(Nah. Not into this. Also why is Ruby kinda disappearing? Having already watched the film I get it… but like… that’s not her power. Anyway, this sucks and doesn’t look very good.)

Tagline(s) – If you’re one of us, come find us. (D)

(I don’t understand this either. Why is this the tagline? It doesn’t really have much to do with the film and it’s not even clever or interesting. Boo.)

Keyword(s) – children; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.0 The Last Airbender (2010); 77.6 Boogeyman (2005); 69.7 Are We There Yet? (2005); 69.1 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998); 68.9 The Haunting (1999); 64.2 Godsend (2004); 63.5 Mr. Nanny (1993); 62.1 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987); 61.9 Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002); 60.9 Cop & ½ (1993);

(Children huh. Boogeyman looks like shit for reals. And I love that two of these films are Hulk Hogan films. It is great.)

Notes – In the book The Darkest Minds, the colors used for categorizing powers are Red (Fire Powers), Orange (Mind Control), Yellow (Electricity), Green (Advanced Intelligence) and Blue (Telekinesis). Yellow however was changed to ‘Gold’ for the film (Oh, this is what we’re getting into huh)

In the books Chubs is a Blue and not a Green like in the movie. (That is a travesty. I’M OUT)

First live-action movie to be directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson.

Peyton Wich and Catherine Dyer also worked together in Stranger Things (2016).

Material Girls Preview

You know we need a clean slate after a terrible film like The Fog. Just gotta pick something that’s not too bad and not too good. Just middle of the road… … … JK! We are watching Material Girls starring Hilary and Haylie Duff! A Girls Night Out travesty sure to destroy our will to live. The Calendar cycle is truly a wonderland of BMT Street Cred. This film was released on August 18th and beat out the likes of Mortal Kombat and Accepted to hold the spot for that day. The fact that it was actually released is a minor miracle in itself (and in 1500 theaters no less). Let’s go!

Material Girls (2006) – BMeTric: 68.3

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(The rating plot for this is unbelievable. So unbelievable I had to do an entire BMT:CSI:SVU (We’re the Special Victims) on it. To add a bit to that post: First, I find the votes/rating trajectory interesting for another reason, it has that distinctive 2011 inflection point in the IMDb votes. But not only that, it has the same inflection in the ratings plot and the BMeTric plot! You can’t move that rating without votes, so it makes sense, but I think that is a first and kind of an amazing example of regression to the mean and how IMDb likely expanded their user base around 2011. Second, the fact that this almost has a 70+ is absurd. The Calendar just keeps on giving street cred, thanks Calendar.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Two spoiled cosmetics industry heiresses lose their money after a controversy involving face cream and a disfiguring skin disease. Forced to suffer indignities like riding the bus and wearing last year’s fashions, they eventually learn the value of hard work and fight to reclaim their company’s reputation. This movie glorifies the “high life” while praising its heroines for transcending it. Filled with absurdities, but fast paced, colorful, and painless.

(Two stars!? Color me shocked. I love how Leonard goes to this length to critique a film like Material Girls, especially when he takes umbrage with the hypocrisy of the plot. It’s Material Girls Leonard. I don’t think they cared. Also a note: this plot is hilariously similar to that of Catwoman starring Halle Berry. [Patrick’s Note: TWO STARS?!?!])

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT_mqkj9ht4

(We will see if this trailer lasts. There was another one which was apparently taken down or something. Oh yeah, this movie looks like a non-movie and awful and I do not look forward to this viewing experience.)

Directors – Martha Coolidge – (Known For: Real Genius; Valley Girl; Rambling Rose; BMT: Material Girls; The Prince and Me; Out to Sea; Angie; Notes: Saaaaay Whaaaat? Real Genius for reals? She was the first female president of the DGA.)

Writers – John Quaintance (written by) – (Known For: Aquamarine; BMT: Material Girls; Hot Pursuit; Notes: Showrunner in television. Executive produced Whitney, Ben and Kate, Undateable, and Workaholics.)

Jessica O’Toole and Amy Rardin (written by) – (BMT: Material Girls; Notes: Writing partners, most of their credits are for An American Girl stories. Co-executive producers of the shows Selfie and Jane the Virgin.)

Actors – Hilary Duff – (Known For: The Lizzie McGuire Movie; Playing by Heart; Human Nature; Bloodworth; BMT: Material Girls; Agent Cody Banks; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; The Perfect Man; Cheaper by the Dozen (BMT); War, Inc.; A Cinderella Story; Raise Your Voice (Seen in); Stay Cool; What Goes Up (BMT); Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2007 for Worst Actress and Screen Couple (Material Girls), Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2006 for Worst Actress (Cheaper by the Dozen 2, The Perfect Man), Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2005 for Worst Actress (A Cinderella Story, Raise Your Voice). Former Disney star and also a musician. Currently on the show Younger.)

Haylie Duff – (Known For: Napoleon Dynamite; The Lizzie McGuire Movie; BMT: Material Girls; I Love Your Work; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2007 for Worst Actress and Screen Couple (Material Girls). Currently does a lot in cooking with a blog, television show, and book called Real Girl’s Kitchen.)

Also stars Anjelica Huston as the eeeeeevil Fabiella (I assume she’s the bad guy)

Budget/Gross – $15 million / Domestic: $11,449,638 (Worldwide: $16,907,725 Worldwide)

#22 for the Summer Girl Power genre – Late Summer (July/August) Girlpower. Ever since Clueless, appealing to the young female audience in July and August has proved quite profitable.

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(Funny that it almost made its money back domestically despite being a gigantic bomb. Not the worst “Summer Girl Power” film of all time. That would be Undiscovered starring Ashlee Simpson which we are definitely watching for BMT. That looks like the worst. Yay! Once again though we are looking at a film in a “dying genre”. Whether this is with how boxofficemojo defines genres there hasn’t been a summer girl power movie since 2010 and this movie appears at the tail end of its existence (sorry for how the plot looks, there are just not than many summer girl power movies so it gets a little jumpy). My guess is that “girl power” movies now tends to come out later, think Hunger Games, but they were amazingly and consistently profitable for a while there.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 4% (2/54): Plagued by paper-thin characterizations and a hackneyed script, Material Girls fails to live up to even the minimum standards of its genre.

(You mean the minimum standards of the “Summer Girl Power” genre? This is truly one of the lowest reviewed films of the 2000’s probably.)

Poster – Double Trouble (D-)

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(There are four rules of thumb for posters: don’t use white as the principal color, don’t feature people without artistic modification, employ some symmetry, and jazz up the font. This (nearly) fails all of them. On top of this, the Duff sisters are on the poster twice(!). It’s like Shaq in the Steel poster (unlikely connection). Only didn’t get an F because of the lipstick “I” in the title.)

Tagline(s) – It’s A Short Trip From The Penthouse To The Poorhouse. (C-)

(… … Oh sorry, I fell asleep while reading that tagline. Too long, needs to be more clever, and needs another “p” word to get some nice alliteration pop.)

Notes – Written for Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen. (Obviously)

This is the first film that both Hilary Duff and Haylie Duff are in together. (Obviously)

Hilary improvised many lines and moments in the film, Coolidge noted on the DVD commentary. Among others, Hilary came up with the Lucy walk when the girls are dressed up as Sassy maids and added the reference to women having their own buses in Japan when the sisters are riding the public transit on the spot. (Can. Not. Wait. To listen to the commentary)

Based on Sense and Sensibility, a novel by Jane Austen. (“Based” might be a strong word here)

Awards

Nominated Razzie Award Worst Actress Hilary Duff Haylie Duff

Nominated Razzie Award Worst Screen Couple Hilary Duff Haylie Duff