Serenity (2019) Preview

Jamie and Patrick stop dead in their tracks as they espy Chris Klein and Josh Hartnett by the craft station. “What thuuuuuu…” Patrick says before storming over and knocking their Nespresso’s out of their hands. Chris and Josh are stunned, “what the hell, bro,” Chris says annoyed, “I thought we were friends. You know how much I love my Nespresso.” But Patrick isn’t having any of it and demands to know why they are there. “We’re just here to be your body doubles, man. Chill. The studio was getting a little worried about… well…” he looks away embarrassed. But Patrick presses him on it. “Well,” Josh continues, “it’s because you gained sixty pounds and have been wearing a fedora in every scene.” Patrick is shocked and looks down at his body. It’s not that bad… right? And everyone loves his hats. But even Jamie looks away at that. Patrick storms back to their trailer. “What are we going to do?” he asks Jamie, “we’re losing control of the production. First body double, next they’ll replace us entirely and then our vision will never be realized.” Jamie rubs his hands in glee. Finally, it is happening and they will get full control, just like he wanted from the beginning. A fire lights in his eyes. “We’ll burn it all down,” and they both cackle in glee.

“They did what?!” Banks says upon hearing that Jamie and Patrick had fired the entire cast and crew of the film. Unbelievable. This just went from a debacle to a disaster and all because Patrick was a glutton and Jamie a vengeful maniac. As a last resort he arrives on set to find Patrick smiling peacefully at the quiet serenity of the abandoned set and Jamie tearing it all down with a chainsaw. Perfect. That’s right! We’re watching (another) film that somehow attracted crazy huge stars but ended up bombing at the box office. It’s Serenity starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. Never heard of it? We have and apparently it’s gotta be seen to be believed. This is for Bring a Friend and we’re gonna do something a little different by celebrating the 25th anniversary of a major BMT straight-to-video release. How is this connected to Serenity you ask? Well it also stars our boy Matthew McConaughey 25 years younger. That’s right! We’re watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, the absolute bottom of one of the major horror franchises in film history. This also means we’ll get the third film, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, as a bonus. Perfect. Let’s go!

Serenity (2019) – BMeTric: 51.5; Notability: 14 

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(That is a really high BMeTric for something that seems to be an independent film gone awry. The more I dive into this preview the more intriguing this movie becomes … I imagine actually having to watch it will reveal that it is in fact merely a boring drama.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – “Serenity” is terrible and insane, and will surely end up being one of the worst films of 2019. But it’s also such a wildly ambitious roller coaster ride that it must be experienced, preferably with friends, to laugh together at its cheesy dialogue, over-the-top performances and multiple, major plot twists.

(Huh. That is kind of how I feel about Cats to be honest. So maybe this will end up being more interesting that I would have initially thought.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3zMlsEK8xA/

(Wow, that really spelled out the whole mystery of this thing. I thought the film was just a weirdo paradise noir or something, and people hated the genre mash up. It seems like it is way way more nuts than that.)

Directors – Steven Knight – (Known For: Locke; Hummingbird; BMT: Serenity; Notes: He is one of three original creators of the British television game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? … impressive.)

Writers – Steven Knight (written by) – (Known For: Allied; Locke; Eastern Promises; The Hundred-Foot Journey; Hummingbird; Woman Walks Ahead; Pawn Sacrifice; Amazing Grace; Dirty Pretty Things; Closed Circuit; Future BMT: November Criminals; The Girl in the Spider’s Web; Burnt; BMT: Serenity; Seventh Son; Notes: The Girl in the Spider’s Web is quite interesting because it is the only major bad movie I could find that is set in Sweden. It is also really borderline, it is at like 39.8% on Rotten Tomatoes last I checked.)

Actors – Matthew McConaughey – (Known For: The Wolf of Wall Street; Interstellar; Sing; The Beach Bum; Tropic Thunder; Dazed and Confused; Between Two Ferns: The Movie; White Boy Rick; Dallas Buyers Club; A Time to Kill; The Lincoln Lawyer; Magic Mike; Contact; How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days; Mud; Reign of Fire; Killer Joe; Gold; Amistad; Free State of Jones; Future BMT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; The Wedding Planner; Surfer, Dude; The Dark Tower; Sahara; Paparazzi; My Boyfriend’s Back; Larger Than Life; Angels in the Outfield; The Sea of Trees; Two for the Money; BMT: Serenity; Failure to Launch; Tiptoes; Fool’s Gold; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Notes: He had a resurgence with Dallas Buyers Club and the HBO series True Detective in particular. From Texas, he was a bankable rom-com star for years.)

Anne Hathaway – (Known For: Dark Waters; Interstellar; The Dark Knight Rises; Les Misérables; Ocean’s Eight; Don Jon; Alice in Wonderland; Brokeback Mountain; The Devil Wears Prada; The Princess Diaries; Love & Other Drugs; Get Smart; The Intern; Rio; Rachel Getting Married; Colossal; Ella Enchanted; Rio 2; Becoming Jane; Havoc; Future BMT: The Hustle; The Princess Diaries 2; Passengers; Song One; Alice Through the Looking Glass; Don Peyote; The Other Side of Heaven; BMT: Serenity; Bride Wars; Valentine’s Day; Notes: Not a great year for her as this is our second Hathaway film we’ve seen for the 2019 bad film cycle. Oh wait, *checks notes* … she might have just had her second child. So strike that, a fantastic year for Anne Hathaway.)

Diane Lane – (Known For: Justice League; The Outsiders; Inside Out; Man of Steel; Trumbo; Unfaithful; Chaplin; The Perfect Storm; The Cotton Club; Streets of Fire; Rumble Fish; Hardball; Under the Tuscan Sun; Hollywoodland; Secretariat; Bonjour Anne; A Walk on the Moon; My Dog Skip; Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains; Future BMT: Jack; The Glass House; Must Love Dogs; Nights in Rodanthe; Murder at 1600; Movie Madness; Knight Moves; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Every Secret Thing; Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House; Fierce People; BMT: Serenity; Judge Dredd; Jumper; Untraceable; Wild Bill; Trigger Happy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 1985 for Streets of Fire, and The Cotton Club; Notes: Really didn’t do any television at all (beyond the miniseries Lonesome Dove, but that is more of a movie) before kind of randomly appearing in the last season of House of Cards.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $8,547,045 (Worldwide: $14,387,413)

(Pretty rough. I’m not sure where they were thinking they were going to make up that budget.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (37/185): A high-concept mystery with a twist, Serenity isn’t what it appears to be at first — unfortunately, it’s also not anywhere near as clever or entertaining as it thinks.

(That is the thing, if the entire point of your film is to be clever, then it probably should be clever. You know? Reviewer Highlight: What an infuriating mess the makers of Serenity have unloaded on an unsuspecting public. It’s still only January, but this batshit bonkers trip through the subconscious has already earned a place among the year’s worst movies. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Sklog-renity (A-)

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(I actually really dig this. Nice color scheme and overall cool and artistic. I always wish in cases like this they would put that final cherry on top and give us that sweet, sweet Serenity specific font.)

Tagline(s) – On Plymouth Island, No One Ever Dies…Unless You Break the Rules (D)

(Seems a bit specific since I don’t know what Plymouth Island is. And is that actually the plot of the film… an island where no one dies… the trailer made it seem like maybe a few people are going to die. Too long and not clever and I also don’t really know what it means.)

Keyword – fishing boat

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Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Angel Has Fallen (2019), Gemini Man (2019), Aquaman (2018), Justice League (2017), Dunkirk (2017), Serenity (2019), Man of Steel (2013), The Meg (2018), X-Men: Apocalypse (2016); 

Future BMT: 55.5 Point Break (2015), 48.3 Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), 41.0 Flipper (1996), 36.3 Gemini Man (2019), 31.0 Pearl Harbor (2001), 24.4 Heaven’s Prisoners (1996), 23.2 Criminal (2016), 22.8 After the Sunset (2004), 12.0 Angel Has Fallen (2019), 9.7 Snow Falling on Cedars (1999); 

BMT: Serenity (2019), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), Sabotage (2014), Godzilla (1998), The Fog (2005), Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997), The Guardian (2006)

(It is kind of tough to find good keywords that are both informative (not too many movies have it), and interesting (enough movies have it). Here … weirdly the BMT ones I think I can specifically remember each of the fishing boats in them, so that’s fun. I might have to rethink the plots as well, a lot of them seem very same-y to me.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Diane Lane is No. 4 billed in Serenity and No. 2 billed in Judge Dredd, which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.

Notes – The movie was filmed in Mauritius.

Uma Thurman was originally cast but dropped out and replaced by Diane Lane.

The film strongly references some famous literary works, including Moby-Dick (the protagonist’s Captain Ahab-like obsession), The Old Man and the Sea (the character’s obsession to catch the one fish that got away), The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (the same symbolic bird always following the boat), and Shakespeare’s The Tempest (the “we are such stuff as dreams are made on” quote).

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer Preview

Clearly when we double our work for a week by watching a double bill there is only one thing that we can do. That’s right! Watch another double bill for the horror entry in the Calendar cycle. My Gawwwwwd! Is that… I Know What You Did Last Summer/I Still Know What You Did Last Summer’s music? I’ve been really looking forward to watching this series for BMT. Not only is the title ridiculous, but it’s based on a book (!) and features one of the underrated stars of BMT, Freddie Prinze Jr. It landed on the Calendar for November 13th beating out the likes of 2012, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, and Love the Coopers. Let’s go!

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) – BMeTric: 76.1

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(This is much more like a really terrible film. The regression to the mean maybe means this will be more boring that really funny-bad, but I still have some hopes. It has an impressive number of votes, but a lot of horror films do. Popular – bad film here, and a classic step down as far as a sequel goes.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Hewitt and friends win a vacation to a Caribbean island, where they are pursued by the killer with a hook from the first movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer. Another film in which the cast runs around screaming while being killed, one by one. Plotless mess lacks any suspense, and makes the original look like a classic. Jack Black appears unbilled.

(Deep burn on the first one Leonard. Although I’ve mentioned time and time again that Maltin has said he doesn’t particularly enjoy horror films, so I doubt he would have considered it a classic regardless. I’ll have to watch out for Jack Black, hopefully it is more substantive than his bit part in Waterworld.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99yCJwP97Uo

(Ahhhh, now that looks like complete shit. There we are, everything is right with the world. Everything looks like shitty sets, it looks like they repeat a bunch of stuff, and the storyline appears to be ludicrous. It went full Scream 3, but with worse acting for sure. Congrats.)

Directors – Danny Cannon – (Known For: Goal!; Phoenix; Future BMT: The Young Americans; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Judge Dredd; Notes: Started as a movie director, but is now mainly a television director / producer including most recently Gotham. He is from Luton in the UK which is home to the airport you really hope you don’t fly into because it means it will take you forever to get to London.)

Writers – Lois Duncan (characters) – (Known For: Hotel for Dogs; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Notes: Mentioned above she is the author of the original book. In more sad info, one of her books is a non-fiction account of her search for the person who killed her daughter in the 80s, a cold case that was never solved. She became a children’s book author after the event, not being able to write thrillers anymore.)

Trey Callaway (written by) – (BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Notes: Almost exclusively a television producer / writer, this was one of his first writing gigs. Given that his only writing credit prior to the film was two episodes of Timon & Pumbaa, one might wonder how he got the job …)

Actors – Jennifer Love Hewitt – (Known For: Tropic Thunder; Can’t Hardly Wait; Heartbreakers; Future BMT: Garfield; Garfield 2; Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit; Delgo; The Suburbans; House Arrest; The Truth About Love; Jewtopia; Telling You; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; The Tuxedo; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Notes: At the age of 12 she recorded her first album Love Songs. It was released exclusively in Japan and made her a pop star in Japan for a brief period. She released a few other albums all the way up to 2002, but never really found success in the United States.)

Freddie Prinze Jr. – (Known For: The House of Yes; Brooklyn Rules; Future BMT: Scooby-Doo; Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed; Happily N’Ever After; Summer Catch; Boys and Girls; Head Over Heels; She’s All That; Delgo; To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday; Jack and Jill vs. the World; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Wing Commander; Down to You; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Scooby-Doo in 2003; Notes: I know him best as Best Friend Forever to Matthew Lillard. He was in Scooby Doo, Scooby Doo 2, Summer Catch, Wing Commander, and She’s All That with him, it is crazy!)

Brandy Norwood – (Known For: Arachnophobia; Osmosis Jones; Future BMT: The Perfect Match; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor; Notes: A singer / rapper first who made an incredibly successful transition to acting, although mostly in television, most famously as the title character in Moesha. Kobe Bryant took her to senior prom.)

Budget/Gross – $24 million / Domestic: $40,002,112

(Still not too bad. I’ve mentioned before during our viewings of various Friday the 13th films that slasher films ultimately don’t really make money. Two Scream films are the only ones to have broken one hundred million domestic, and $40 million is honestly a rather impressive take. Especially considering it got such bad reviews.)

#17 for the Horror – Slasher genre

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(This came right at the peak of post-scream 90s horror. How big the genre got in the early to mid 2000s kind of surprised me, but that was fueled by a binge on remakes of the big 80s franchises. It has since, obviously, collapsed. Which is kind of sad. Slashers never made money, but you can make them on a shoestring, which should be right up Blumhouse’s alley. Hopefully it hasn’t been permanently relegated to VOD. This came in a shade above the original Friday the 13th’s gross in 1980 … yeah, maybe not so great.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (4/56): Boring, predictable, and bereft of thrills or chills, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is exactly the kind of rehash that gives horror sequels a bad name.

(Boring? Boring?! I don’t believe it. This looks like a cartoon come to life and a testament to everything that is wrong with horror (and specifically slashers) since the major franchises up and died. How can one not be entertained watching the film that gives horror sequels a bad name!)

Poster – I Still Know What You Sklogged Last Summer (B+)

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(Ehhhh, not loving the hook they added in this one. But the coloring is slightly better and they added some flair to the font for “Still.” Only a small step back.)

Tagline(s) – Some secrets will haunt you forever. (C+)

Someone is dying for a second chance. (C-)

(Both of these are not good. The first is the better of the two. Short and a small hint at the concept of these films, but lacking creativity. The second makes me sad. All I can think of when I read it is someone smirking and saying “nailed it.” Too clever by half and largely meaningless besides letting us know that this is indeed a sequel.)

Keyword(s) – fisherman; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.0 Vampires Suck (2010); 76.1 I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998); 73.2 Swept Away (2002); 52.5 Free Willy 3: The Rescue (1997); 52.3 Gone Fishin’ (1997); 52.0 Sura (2010); 47.4 I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997); 44.1 The Incredible Melting Man (1977); 42.3 Flipper (1996); 41.1 Clash of the Titans (2010);

(Wow, this is like a who’s who of films I feel like we should have seen. Swept Away I actually did see (we illogically owned that on VHS whilst in high school, a combination of the local rental place’s bargain bin and gag gifts), but not yet for BMT. It is coming. Gone Fishin’ is also on the calendar, and we will see Elijah Wood’s tour de force Flipper at some point.)

Notes – Peter Jackson was asked to direct. (and he said NO)

The character of Karla Wilson was originally intended to be a Caucasian girl, until Brandy auditioned and won the role. (I’m sure the character description in the script read “Karla, a caucasian woman white as the driven snow”. Give me a break)

Scheduling conflicts with Dawson’s Creek (1998), The Faculty (1998), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), and gearing up to direct Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999) prevented Kevin Williamson from writing the screenplay for both this film and Scream 3 (2000) after having written their predecessors. (If it gave us Dawson’s Creek then ANYTHING GOES. Dawson’s Creek is a national treasure. They had a student-teacher relationship in the FIRST EPISODE!!)

Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Muse Watson are the only actors to reprise their roles from the previous film, with Sarah Michelle Gellar only reappearing as Helen Shivers via a photograph. (I presume this is a spoiler alert: I would guess Gellar’s character died)

Due to the negative critical reaction to the film upon its release, Freddie Prinze Jr. admits that he has never seen the film because of its reputation. (ha!)

Early promotional material, including the theatrical trailer, credit Stephen Gaghan as co-writer of the screenplay. In the final credits, only Trey Callaway is credited. (That is strange. I wonder how such a thing happens)

While the film is set in The Bahamas, it was actually shot at: El Tecuan Marina Resort Costalagree, in Jalisco, Mexico.

Brandy’s second time playing a character that won a fixed radio contest. Once in this film and a second time in Double Platinum (1999) in the following year. (hilarious fun fact)