Hall of Fame Speech #10: I Know Who Killed Me

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a second class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly seven years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. This is the last installment leading up to the fifth (seventh?) Smaddies Baddies bringing you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. We close with the Lindsay Lohan redemption story (er … strike that, this turned out to be the final nail in the coffin … whoops!) I Know Who Killed Me. The intention is to reminisce a bit about what we remember about the film, what we think of it now, and why it deserved a special place in BMT history. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for I Know Who Killed Me

If there is one thing the Bad Movie Twins love it is twin films. A classic in its own right this serial killer thriller was meant to be a redemption story for its star Lindsay Lohan, an actress who, at the time, was haunted by stories of outrageous behavior and drug use. Instead, the exploitative film turned out to be the last thing studios needed to see to confirm Lohan’s career was, for all intents and purposes, dead. The Bad Movie Twins pride ourselves in finding the wonderful badmovieness in even the most non-thrilling of thrillers, but sometimes you have to recognize greatness. This is a bad movie fan’s bad movie, the kind you just marvel at, so consider its induction more of a victory lap if anything.

As was the case with all of the Hall of Fame movies it has been over five years since we saw the film, so what did I remember?

  • The ultimate twin film! That’s right, Lindsay Lohan plays two girls who are, in fact, stigmata twins. She answers the age old question “if I hurt your twin do you feel it?” with a resounding YES.
  • The entire film is colored blue and red. It is quite in your face, which is basically because the director was not very experienced.
  • The killer is super telegraphed. Like it is obviously her piano teacher, he cuts off her hand and leg … which she is using to play the piano earlier in the film.
  • Yet another Neal McDonough film! He is just a jewel, savor him, he only has so many movies left to watch.
  • ROBOT ARM AND ROBOT LEG. That’s right, in the film Lohan almost inexplicably receives a futuristic robot arm and robot leg. You may wonder: wait? When does this movie take place? The near future I guess. It never quits, and it is almost entirely for budgetary purposes and it is awesome.

As usual I tried to keep the first and last entries as the most important. The twin film aspect of it is legendary. At the time we watched this we didn’t really have an idea of Twin Films or even that we were the Bad Movie Twins. We just had Bad Movie Thursday. We didn’t even have an email let alone a full-blown website. The stigmata twin aspect of the film is probably foundational to identifying elements of films that we couldn’t help but love. Black Eyed Peas, the Calendar, the Smellements, possibly all ultimately came from us personally identifying with twin films and trying to recapture that moment of just loving something in a profoundly illogical way.

The robot arm and robot leg on the other hand is completely unparalleled in bad movie lore. There is no other set piece in a bad movie that is as delightful as this (definitely budgetary) choice to give Lohan a robot arm and leg to drag around after getting them stigmatically removed by her sister’s torturer. They have to be plugged in and thus slow her down at times, it allows her to have a kind of super strength in other instances, and best of all it sets the film in some near future where this stuff not only exists, but is accessible to a high school student. For all I know it does exist! It leaves so many more questions than answers it kind of saves the middle of a film from being just boring as Lohan tries and figure out why she is hanging with this family she doesn’t know.

So how did the rewatch go? As you can kind of tell by my excitement above, it obviously went super well. Is the movie a bit slow at times? Yes. Is it gross and exploitative and make you feel terrible? It does! I actually did forget about that bit. The idea that this was supposed to allow Lohan back into the limelight by having her strip and show her “adult” side is just so misguided considering her main issue at the time was drugs and alcohol. But overall the film has to be the worst major serial killer film you can watch. As a plus you get to hang out with Lohan and McDonough in the slow bits, so it is still pretty fun even when it is a run-of-the-mill mystery thriller.

And there were some great bits I totally forgot about. Just how gross the film is is hard to describe. It is fully in the body horror genre at times, which is possibly my least favorite genre (maybe torture porn, but who can choose?). And there is an aspect of the direction I also forgot about: the mirror shot. We’ve watched a few films which use this conceit. Torque I think used mirror shots somewhat ironically, and Color of Night very earnestly. This is closer to Color of Night and kind of shows that the director just wasn’t really ready for a major motion picture, he was using directorial stylings from early-90s erotic thrillers. Might as well have shown us some Bruce Willis dong while you’re at it.

This film is the quintessential twin film and the quintessential bonkers set piece film. For the twin film aspect and the robot arm and robot leg the movie would easily slide head first into the Hall of Fame. But add that mirror shot directorial choice and it solidifies its place as the top of the serial killer bad movie genre. Congrats I Know Who Killed Me, you did it.

Advertisements

I Know Who Killed Me Preview

A small note prior to this post: Once again we take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews back in 2011/2012 we also decided to provide a preview for the movie as well. This is the final preview in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediate afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

I Know Who Killed Me (2007) – BMeTric: 81.5

IKnowWhoKilledMe_BMeT

IKnowWhoKilledMe_RV

(Something happened at the start of ‘08ish. The number of votes just stalls for what appears to be several months. At the same time the rating all of a sudden jumps up and then jumps back down once another archived page is sampled. My guess? Someone was gaming the system trying to get the rating for the movie to jump up, and IMDb got wise to it and locked down the page. After a bit they purged the fake votes and it returned to being one of the worst films of all time. The End.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Hopeless thriller in which a young woman is kidnapped and terrorized by a serial killer. When she wakes up in a hospital, she tries to convince everyone she is not who they think she is. Woefully inept, with an incoherent plot and incompetent cinematography.

(Directly to the point. Basically this movie isn’t just acted poorly, or written poorly, it is technically poorly made and it is crazy inept. Inept filmmaking. This is what we are here for boys.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZgwl7nlP5E

(Wowzer. That trailer looks terrible. The story could be interesting, but the way it is presented is decidedly not interesting. It makes it look unintentionally funny. Almost like 88 minutes actually. Interesting concept but obviously not well made or cared for.)

Directors – Chris Sivertson – (Known For: All Cheerleaders Die; The Lost; BMT: I Know Who Killed Me; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Director for I Know Who Killed Me in 2008; Notes: There is surprisingly little information about this guy. He broke onto the scene doing small horror films, had a flurry of films including this one around 2007, and since they has done relatively minor releases.)

Writers – Jeff Hammond (written by) (as Jeffrey Hammond) – (BMT: I Know Who Killed Me; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for I Know Who Killed Me in 2008; Notes: Now this guy … yeah there is nothing about this guy. Literally nothing. I did stumble onto a few weird script review sites … but couldn’t find anything about him. The only article on Variety is the announcement for this film. WHO ARE YOU?!)

Actors – Lindsay Lohan – (Known For: Mean Girls; The Parent Trap; The Holiday; Freaky Friday; Machete; Herbie Fully Loaded; Bobby; A Prairie Home Companion; Future BMT: Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen; The Canyons; Just My Luck; InAPPropriate Comedy; Chapter 27; BMT: Scary Movie 5; I Know Who Killed Me; Georgia Rule; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for I Know Who Killed Me in 2008; Nominated for Worst Actress in 2007 for Just My Luck; and in 2014 for The Canyons; Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress in 2014 for InAPPropriate Comedy, and Scary Movie 5; Nominated for Worst Screen Combo for Scary Movie 5 in 2014; and Nominated for Worst Actress of the Decade in 2010 for Herbie Fully Loaded, I Know Who Killed Me, and Just My Luck; Notes: This film was meant to catapult her from teenage star to serious actress. But it managed to be a final nail in the coffin for her career at the time. It looks like perhaps she’s making a good move starring in 8 episodes of the Rupert Grint / Nick Frost television series Sick Note. Television could be the place to stage a comeback.)

Julia Ormond – (Known For: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Legends of the Fall; Inland Empire; My Week with Marilyn; First Knight; Sabrina; The East; Che: Part One; Chained; Albatross; Kit Kittredge: An American Girl; Surveillance; Smilla’s Feeling for Snow; The Music Never Stopped; Nostradamus; The Prime Gig; Future BMT: Rememory; BMT: I Know Who Killed Me; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress for I Know Who Killed Me in 2008; Notes: The was the next big thing among British actresses in the mid-90s, and has since then made a fine transition into television primarily. Has a great track record all things considered.)

Neal McDonough – (Known For: Captain America: The First Avenger; Minority Report; 1922; RED 2; Flags of Our Fathers; Star Trek: First Contact; Darkman; Ravenous; Greater; Traitor; Falcon Rising; Little Birds; Future BMT: The Hitcher; Angels in the Outfield; Walking Tall; Telling You; The Last Time; Three Wishes; BMT: I Know Who Killed Me; Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2; Fire Down Below; Timeline; 88 Minutes; The Guardian; Notes: A true BMT legend. One of the first actors I remember noticing being in an inordinate number of BMT films. People like him make me wonder about the best path to managing a career. He has been in an amazing number of terrible films, but I think he is a great actor, and he not only stars in a multitude of television series (Suits, Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow recently), but has five films coming out next year. How do you do it!?)

Budget/Gross – $12 million / Domestic: $7,498,716 (Worldwide: $9,669,758)

(A complete and utter bomb. It was known to be one of the worst films ever made when it was release, so it is no surprise no one went for it, despite the creepy promise of Lindsay Lohan being in some sort of strip club scene.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (5/75): Distasteful and ludicrously plotted, I Know Who Killed Me is a career nadir for all involved — particularly Lindsay Lohan in a dual role.

(Distasteful, tawdy, vile. Some of the words used to describe this film by critics. And honestly? It rings true. It was all of those things from what I can remember.)

Poster – I Sklog Who Killed Me (B)

i_know_who_killed_me

(The pros: I like the color scheme. I like the symmetry. Reminds me of classic 90s thrillers. The cons: The photoshop with the faces looks like crap. The flower looks cheap. The font looks like cheap 90s thrillers and it too easily mimicked. I’m going to bump it up to a B because if I saw this from across the street and I was in the mood for a thriller this immediately gets me curious and interested in seeing the film.)

Tagline(s) – If you think you know the secret…Think twice. (F)

(Boooo. I’m going to give it a bit of a pass because the poster itself is actually tagline-less, so it is less consequential. But this is a terrible tagline even if it does hint at the stigmata twin twist. I assume that is the secret. Also all of the twists in the film are glaringly obvious, so it isn’t even good from that perspective.)

Keyword(s) – stripper; Top Ten by BMeTric: 84.2 Piranha 3DD (2012); 81.5 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 79.8 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000); 78.7 Striptease (1996); 77.7 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999); 73.2 Showgirls (1995); 71.9 Zombie Strippers (2008); 68.4 Stan Helsing (2009); 67.5 It’s Pat: The Movie (1994); 66.4 The Crow: City of Angels (1996);

(Gross! We’ve seen Striptease, and will have to do a Showgirls viewing at some point as well for the record (at least one of us has definitely seen that one). The rest are kind of throwaway, which is actually weirdly disappointing. You’d think there would be better bad movies with stripping in it.)

Notes – Lindsay Lohan’s legal issues became a problem during filming as there were some days were she would either show up late or not show up at all, it got so out of hand that Chris Sivertson was forced to use a body double and digitally replace her face with Lohan’s while filming the climax of the film for the days she was not on set. (This was I think for drugs? I don’t think this was the stealing one)

Blue objects are dominant throughout the runtime of the picture (as the color represents Aubrey’s personality). In the first 35 minutes alone we see Aubrey’s dark blue shirt, along with her blue dress, blue gloves, a blue pill, blue football uniforms, football fans wearing blue sports shirts and blue body paint, Thomas Tofel’s blue ring, a blue mouth gag, a blue laptop bag, a blue cat collar, Aubrey’s blue Lexus car, Thomas’s blue car, blue tools of torture, a blue solution poured on a hand, blue everything in an operating room, a blue hospital gown, a blue iPod, blue roses, a blue pen with blue ink, a blue photo album, blue walls in a classroom, and blue hospital walls, even some characters have blue eyes. (Yup, it is super in your face, overwhelming, and honestly amateurish)

Lindsay Lohan actually took pole-dancing lessons to prepare for her role as a stripper but because of her strict no-nudity clause in her contract she was not willing to strip nude for the film. (Good for her I say. Don’t do it for some schlock like this at least. Perhaps for something you are proud of with a purpose to it all)

This is the third time Lindsay Lohan played two characters in one film. Her first time was as Hallie Parker and Annie James in The Parent Trap (1998) where she played twins and her second time was in Freaky Friday (2003) where she played mother and daughter Anna Coleman and Tess Coleman, whose bodies were swapped after an unfortunate Chinese curse.

In the first week of production, filming was halted after Lindsay Lohan had her appendix removed, filming was delayed even longer after the incision was infected and the filmmakers were waiting for a doctor’s approval for Lohan to continue working. This occured at the same time Lohan entered rehab for the first time in January 2007. Filming finally resumed in February. (Drugs, the above not was definitely about drugs)

Held the record for the most Razzie Award “wins” by one film in a single year, with 8 awards including Worst Picture of 2007. A record that was previously held by both Battlefield Earth (2000) and Showgirls (1995) and was later broken by the Adam Sandler comedy Jack and Jill (2011) (another movie where the lead actor plays two characters), with an incredible ten awards, including Worst Picture of 2011. The film received 9 nominations and only won 8 of those awards, the only award the film lost was Worst Supporting Actress for Julia Ormond who lost the award to Eddie Murphy for his role in drag in Norbit (2007). (The Jack and Jill “victory” was a crime in my opinion. Bucky Larson was a worse film that year)

Was not screened in advance for critics.

Because of her negative reputation, Lindsay Lohan could not even walk to her trailer without the paparazzi photographing her, sometimes they would even end up in the background of some shots of the film.

The only film that received an “F” CinemaScore from audiences upon its release in 2007. (I assume that is “in 2007” specifically. Mother! this year joined that club if I recall correctly)

Lindsay Lohan’s DUI arrest in late July 2007 prevented her from doing promotion for this movie. She was scheduled to appear as a guest star on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992) to promote the film. (DUI! Had to be drugs or alcohol related to involve rehab)

Scenes in the trailer that didn’t appear in the theatrical cut include Jerrod (Brian Geraghty) talking to Aubrey about her story “Dakota” and stating “Aubrey you talk about her like she’s real, it’s a stupid assignment for class” and an unidentified character talking to another character and saying “she looks just like her but it ain’t Aubrey”.

Chris Sivertson took inspiration from the works of David Lynch, Brian De Palma, and Alfred Hitchcock incorporating their use of surrealistic imagery and creative color choices for the film.

Jeff Hammond’s first (and last) film as a screenplay writer. (awwwww, but I can’t really feel that bad. You wrong I Know Who Killed Me, what did you expect?)

Chris Sivertson’s favorite works such as Vertigo (1958), Blue Velvet (1986), Dressed to Kill (1980), and Twin Peaks (1990) all served as inspiration for this film.

Film debut of YouTube celebrity Jessica Lee Rose.

Shay Aster, Leslie Cohen, Dan Walters, and Clint Johnson all played supporting characters in the film though their scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.

Oddly, while most store-exclusive bonus discs with special features are included in an envelope in the case, the bonus disc with cast and crew interviews for this film was instead included in it’s own case separate from the film. (Very odd … that was sarcastic by the way)

In Aubrey’s bedroom seen throughout the film, if looking closely behind her door, you can spot a familiar purple guitar leaning against the dresser drawer. Not only is purple a color made from combining blue and red, the two dominant colors of the film, it’s also the same guitar that appears on the cover of Lindsay Lohan’s album “Speak.”

When Dakota is about to do a Google search on Aubrey’s laptop, she finds it’s locked with a password and somehow figures out what it was. The password was actually Dakota, named after her story of the same name. Although we don’t see the password on the screen, if looking closely at the keys Dakota is typing, you can see she’s hitting the letters that spell that name. (excuuuuuuuuuuuuse me. She does not do a Google search. This movie takes place in an alternate universe in which Ask.com has won the search engine wars and is a groudbreaking technology)

According to behind the scenes interviews, during the interrogation of Daniel Fleming by detectives searching for a missing Aubrey, a mural containing several paintings and drawings can be seen right behind Daniel as he’s talking to them. This mural’s paintings actually contain several clues and hints towards the twists and turns that will happen in the film.

In her hospital room, after Dakota has been treated, she is interrogated by a psychiatrist. He starts asking Dakota questions and writes her answers down in a notepad divided in half, with various bits of info on Aubrey written in blue while Dakota’s answers are written in red.

The Flemings and Dakota are driven home from the hospital by the police to avoid the reporters, while in the backseat, Dakota’s face is lit up, alternately, in blue and red from the police car sirens. This is supposed to be a motif that plays on the idea on whether or not she is really Aubrey or Dakota. (This shit is just bonkers. Just ridiculous stuff)

The original ending revealed that the characters Aubrey and Dakota were not real and that the entire film was simply an unnamed college student’s script (also played by Lindsay Lohan). This ending was cut after test audiences found it “too predictable” (it is included on the DVD and Blu-ray extras). (Jesus Christ, you gonna Jacob’s Ladder this thing?)

The neon sign above the strip club entrance malfunctions with the arm and the leg fading in and out, a foreshadowing technique for the fact that Aubrey and Dakota have their arms and legs amputated. (Robot arm and robot leg, the best part of this crazy bad film)

Jeff Hammond said his main inspiration for writing the screenplay was to write a story that featured the concept of stigmatic twins, siblings with a psychic connection that lets them feel each other’s pain and experiences. Producer Frank Mancuso Jr. saw this script and helped get it greenlit for production because he was impressed by the original concept. (Stigmata twiiiins. Maybe the best twin film of all time)

Several moments in the film allude to the idea of doubles, or two halves. Aubrey at one point mentions that she feels like half of her soul is missing, a student in the biology class asks if cutting a worm in half will result in two more worms, and the motorist who rescues Dakota off the side of the road talks over the phone about feeling like “half a person”, all of which foreshadowes the revelation that Aubrey and Dakota are psychic twins.

Awards

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture of the Decade

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress of the Decade (Lindsay Lohan)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Lindsay Lohan, Lindsay Lohan)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Lindsay Lohan, Lindsay Lohan)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Lindsay Lohan)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Rip-Off

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Chris Sivertson)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Jeff Hammond)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Julia Ormond)

88 Minutes Preview

A small note prior to this post: Once again we take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews back in 2011/2012 we also decided to provide a preview for the movie as well. This is the third in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediate afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

88 Minutes (2007) – BMeTric: 37.1

88Minutes_BMeT

88Minutes_RV

(Wow, I think this is a first. It regressed down from what appears to be roughly above-average rating on IMDb. No wonder its BMeTric is so low. I cannot believe it has over fifty thousand votes and a rating of around 6.0, that is truly mind-boggling.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Dreadful thriller about a forensic psychiatrist (and professor) who’s received an all-too-palpable death threat from a man he helped send to Death Row (McDonough). Lumbering, heavyhanded theatrics and clumsy attempts at suspense make this a total waste of time.

(aaaaaaaaaye I see what you did there Leonard. 88 minutes … a waste of time. I got you. This is what I live for though. Heavyhanded theatrics. If anything says good-bad thriller or drama it is heavyhanded theatrics. I want dolly zooms all over my film, I want rending of clothes, chewing of scenery. You’ve given me everything I need to know Leonard … this is why 88 minutes is great (from what I recall).)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUCd805JDJk

(The bird’s nest they tricked Al Pacino into wearing on his head is absurd. Tick tock doc. Tick tock! Getting me amped. He got a guuuuuuuun ….)

Directors – Jon Avnet – (Known For: Fried Green Tomatoes; Future BMT: Righteous Kill; Up Close & Personal; Red Corner; The War; BMT: 88 Minutes; Notes: Not sure if this ended his feature directing career, but it was the last film he directed. He produces and directs a lot of television. His filmography is tripping me out, he does a lot of scripted television for his own channel WIGS previously funded by YouTube and digital exclusive, so a lot of his credits are shows I’ve legit never heard of with giant stars in them. Like this.)

Writers – Gary Scott Thompson (written by) – (Known For: Fast & Furious 8; Furious 6; Fast & Furious 7; Fast 5; Future BMT: Hollow Man; BMT: The Fast and the Furious; 2 Fast 2 Furious; 88 Minutes; Fast & Furious; Notes: If you can’t tell he wrote the original Fast and The Furious (the rest are character credits). He also created the show Las Vegas, and wrote the show Taxi Brooklyn (the American show based on the French film Taxi which was remade into the Fallon and BMT classic Taxi!))

Actors – Al Pacino – (Known For: The Godfather; Heat; The Godfather: Part II; Scarface; The Devil’s Advocate; The Godfather: Part III; Insomnia; Ocean’s Thirteen; Donnie Brasco; Scent of a Woman; Glengarry Glen Ross; Dog Day Afternoon; Danny Collins; Dick Tracy; Carlito’s Way; The Insider; Any Given Sunday; Serpico; Cruising; Dabka; Future BMT: The Son of No One; Misconduct; Revolution; Righteous Kill; Two for the Money; Stand Up Guys; Bobby Deerfield; BMT: Jack and Jill; Gigli; 88 Minutes; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Jack and Jill in 2012; Nominated for Worst Actor in 1986 for Revolution; and in 2009 for 88 Minutes, and Righteous Kill; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Gigli in 2004; Notes: Y’all know Al Pacino. Let’s go with a nice BMT themed fun fact for him: for a bit he was in both the best rated film on IMDb (The Godfather) and the worst rated film on IMDb (Gigli).)

Alicia Witt – (Known For: Dune; Two Weeks Notice; Mr. Holland’s Opus; Last Holiday; The Upside of Anger; Cecil B. DeMented; Citizen Ruth; Liebestraum; Bodies, Rest & Motion; Fun; Playing Mona Lisa; Future BMT: Urban Legend; Peep World; Bongwater; Four Rooms; BMT: Vanilla Sky; A Madea Christmas; 88 Minutes; Notes: Born in Worcester, MA. She is also a rather accomplished pianist and has gone on tour with Ben Folds and others.)

Leelee Sobieski – (Known For: Eyes Wide Shut; Public Enemies; Deep Impact; Never Been Kissed; Roadkill; Max; Walk All Over Me; My First Mister; A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries; Future BMT: Jungle 2 Jungle; Branded; The Glass House; Finding Bliss; BMT: The Wicker Man (HoF); In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (HoF); Here on Earth; 88 Minutes (HoF); Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress in 2009 for 88 Minutes, and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Notes: Her filmography is a lot more impressive that I would imagine considering she will have been in four of the first fifteen BMT Hall of Fame films. I think she’s taken a bit of time off from acting as she is now a mother of two. Was previously married to Matthew Davis who is best known as the jerk boyfriend of Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $17,213,467 (Worldwide: $32,593,385)

(Bombtastic. Stunning that they’d spend $30 million on a weird thriller starring Pacino, but he had a bit more … clout at the time I think. Just not good.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (6/122): 88 Minutes is a shockingly inept psychological thriller that expertly squanders the talent at hand.

(“Talent” … Pacino. You are referring to Pacino. I love Leelee and McDonough, but they are BMT all stars. To put in another way: This will be, along with In the Name of the King A Dungeon Siege Tale, Leelee Sobieski’s third Hall of Fame BMT film (Wicker Man is the other). And along with I Know Who Killed Me this is also McDonough’s third (Street Fighter Legend of Chun Li is the other). That is amazing. So the cast might not be the tops … all I’m saying.)

Poster – Eighty-Sklog Minutes (C-)

eighty_eight_minutes_ver3

(I actually kind of hate this poster. The stylization comes across as cheap and half-assed. The red letters are kind of embossed in a weird way as well. We’ve had posters similar to this before and we came to the same conclusion: it looks cheap.)

Tagline(s) – Jack Gramm has 88 minutes to solve a murder. His own. (D)

(I also kind of hate this. It repeats the title (strike one). It is kind of expectedly inevitable, in that of course the “twist” on the tagline is that it is his own murder (strike two). And I don’t even like the name of the main character. I can’t even figure out why I hate all those things so much. I gave a little bump from an F because it at least tells me something about the movie.)

Keyword(s) – serial killer; Top Ten by BMeTric: 81.0 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 78.9 Basic Instinct 2 (2006); 78.8 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 78.2 Feardotcom (2002); 76.8 The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1994); 76.2 I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998); 74.1 Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005); 73.9 Species II (1998); 73.5 Psycho (1998); 72.9 Zoolander 2 (2016);

(I wonder if the Deuce Bigalow 2 note is a spoiler … is that part of the storyline or a one off joke. I’m intrigued. Otherwise we’ll likely watch all of those .. maybe not Psycho unless we are rolling through a remake cycle of something. Nice list though, those are some real bad horror / thriller films. Shout out to fellow Hall of Fame inductee I Know Who Killed Me.)

Notes – The film runs in “real time” meaning that at the moment Jack Gramm is first told he has only 88 minutes to live, the remaining running time of the motion picture until the identity of the person who set Gramm up is exactly 88 minutes. (yiiiiiiissssss. From what I recall they don’t make a big deal out of this, it was just kind of a fun trick)

The movie trailer of the film reveals parts of scenes that failed to reach the final cut, most obvious of which were flashbacks of the trial convicting Jon Foster. (I wish this movie was called 888 minutes so I could just live inside of it. Let’s get a tv series going, call me Netflix)

Was scheduled for release in 2005 but the release date was pushed back numerous times. (awesome)

Jon Avnet replaced James Foley as director. (Probably at the last minutes, and I thank him for it)

Filmed on campus at the University of British Columbia and in Vancouver, BC, Canada

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

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Leelee Sobieski)

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale Preview

A small note prior to this post: Once again we take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews back in 2011/2012 we also decided to provide a preview for the movie as well. This is the first in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediate afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007) – BMeTric: 85.7

IntheNameoftheKingADungeonSiegeTale_BMeT

IntheNameoftheKingADungeonSiegeTale_RV

(Wow that started low. The way this is fading makes me wonder how much actual legs this has in the end, but there is a reason this is one of the worst reviewed films on IMDb. Other than that not much else to say, classic legendary bad movie.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Reluctant warrior Statham joins forces with a brave king (Reynolds) to battle a treacherous usurper (Lillard) and a wicked wizard (Liotta). Another video-game-inspired fiasco from the unfortunately prolific Boll. Even with a bigger budget and better actors than usual, this is a plodding patchwork of haphazardly edited action sequences. Alternate version runs 162 min.

(I will likely try and watch the (gulp) three hour cut. Jamie owns it, although on Blu-Ray I think. Regardless that cut it likely happening and I will not enjoy. Deep burn on Uwe, but that is expected since Uwe is a terrible filmmaker who has been openly ridiculed by critics for years.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Um98FZei8

(You can kind of see the ridiculousness of the fight scenes in this film from the trailer. And you can kind of see how ridiculous everyone’s costumes are. But they keep this generic-fantasy for now. Smart.)

Directors – Uwe Boll – (Future BMT: Alone in the Dark; House of the Dead; BloodRayne; Postal; Blackwoods; Bailout: The Age of Greed; BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Director in 2009 for In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Postal, and Tunnel Rats; Nominated for Worst Director in 2006 for Alone in the Dark; and in 2007 for BloodRayne; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Postal in 2009; Notes: Well known for spitting out tons of schlock. Was a critic in the 80s and seems to revel in bad reviews. He challenged a number of critics to a boxing match and won all of the matches as chronicled in Raging Boll)

Writers – Doug Taylor (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Splice; A Christmas Horror Story; They Wait; BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale in 2009; Notes: Canadian. He had a few interesting articles written about how he still lived in Montreal, even while working on promoting a big project like Splice. I don’t know what he’s precisely up to know, but it is an interesting glimpse into a screenwriters world. The number of projects he was working on was noted as “head-spinning” and yet he only has had four credited screenwriting jobs result in a theater release. It sounds nuts.)

Jason Rappaport and Dan Stroncak (story) – (BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Notes: I don’t think these guys are necessarily writing partners, but there is no info on them. I think they probably work for Uwe Boll’s production company? Would make sense to have Taylor write the script, and then have some of your own guys help with whatever Uwe wants in there.)

Chris Taylor (video game “Dungeon Siege”) – (BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Notes: Just the video game guy. Was named the 30th most influential developer of all time in 2002. Left his company in 2016 to work on indie games)

Actors – Jason Statham – (Known For: Fast & Furious 8; Fast & Furious 7; Snatch; Spy; Furious 6; The Italian Job; Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Collateral; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Parker; Homefront; The Mechanic; The Transporter; Death Race; The Bank Job; Hummingbird; Transporter 2; Future BMT: The Pink Panther; Wild Card; The One; Transporter 3; 13; Turn It Up; Killer Elite; Revolver; Mean Machine; London; BMT: Crank; Crank: High Voltage; In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Ghosts of Mars; Mechanic: Resurrection; The Expendables 3; Notes: An all-star of BMT naturally. I’ve also heard great things about him over the years. Mainly that he’s hilarious and has a magnetic personality. Makes sense.)

Ron Perlman – (Known For: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Pacific Rim; Drive; Hellboy; The Bleeder; Tangled; Alien Resurrection; Blade II; Hellboy II: The Golden Army; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; Enemy at the Gates; The Book of Life; The Spiderwick Chronicles; The Name of the Rose; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; Titan A.E.; The City of Lost Children; Kid Cannabis; Poker Night; La guerre du feu; Future BMT: Police Academy: Mission to Moscow; The Island of Dr. Moreau; Conan the Barbarian; Mutant Chronicles; Sleepwalkers; Bad Ass; Down; The Ice Pirates; Stonewall; Skin Trade; Outlander; Bunraku; Star Trek: Nemesis; Crave; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Season of the Witch; Notes: We should watch Ice Pirates. Ron Perlman is probably most well known now for either Sons of Anarchy or Hellboy, but he’s been in a bunch of stuff obviously. Was in Del Toro’s debut Chronos in 1993 which lead to a life-long friendship.)

Ray Liotta – (Known For: Goodfellas; The Place Beyond the Pines; Blow; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Identity; Killing Them Softly; Bee Movie; Date Night; The Iceman; Field of Dreams; Cop Land; Kill the Messenger; Heartbreakers; Youth in Revolt; Muppets Most Wanted; Narc; Something Wild; Unlawful Entry; Battle in Seattle; Observe and Report; Future BMT: Turbulence; The Son of No One; Operation Dumbo Drop; Crazy on the Outside; Revenge of the Green Dragons; The Identical; Forever Mine; Even Money; Powder Blue; Revolver; Better Living Through Chemistry; The Lonely Lady; The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud; Unforgettable; Slow Burn; Smokin’ Aces; Corrina, Corrina; Hannibal; Crossing Over; Pilgrim; BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Wild Hogs; Notes: He is most well known for looking like he is wearing a Halloween mask of himself. Joking, but this is the first movie I watched where I was like Liotta looks a little odd these days. Hugely famous, mainly for Goodfellas, he still gets decent enough jobs. Definitely an interesting career.)

Budget/Gross – $60,000,000 / Domestic: $4,775,656 (Worldwide: $13,097,915)

(So, Uwe Boll had a decent racket going for a while. The way it works is detailed here, but here’s the short version: if you are a German citizen looking for a tax shelter you can set up a shell company, “finance a film” for millions of euros (immediately tax deductible), and then lease back the rights to a Hollywood studio for almost the entire amount saving millions in taxes. The key is having a German director to direct … wait a minute I know a German director by the name of Uwe! I think they closed that loophole, it is the only explanation as to why Uwe isn’t still churning out trash. This is also the definition of “sweet IP”: video games no one else wanted to make into movies … so sell it to Uwe.)

#106 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

inthenameoftheking_liveactionfantasy

(A genre of the 2000s. Just about at the nadir of the genre though. Below Troll from 1986, and paired up with Seeker the Dark of Rising (twin film) for bringing down the gross for a time. Has held mostly steady since, but the new Harry Potters could help it along the way.)

#32 for the Sword and Sorcery genre

inthenameoftheking_swordandsorcery

(Literally the lowest grossing example released to more than 4 theaters! There isn’t much to the graphic except that it is small and kind of consistently made over the years. Hopefully the disaster that was Warcraft doesn’t handicap the genre too much going forward.)

#34 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

inthenameoftheking_videogameadaptation

(This guy basically sits … well around other Uwe films. Not that many video game adaptation are super successful. They are coming hot and quick now though, so we’ll see if they can cross that $100 million threshold consistently.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 4% (2/50): Featuring mostly wooden performances, laughable dialogue, and shoddy production values, In the Name of the King fulfills all expectations of an Uwe Boll film.

(Sick burns … although true. The film looks like a few episodes of The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers strung together. Considering it is through and through a German production … that might actually not be a bad analogy.)

Poster – In the Name of the Sklog: A Dungeon Sklog Tale (C+)

in_the_name_of_the_king_a_dungeon_siege_tale_ver3

(I like the color, but not much else. I can kind of give it credit for being in that high-fantasy mold. It is shockingly similar to some of the artwork for Lord of the Rings. But too much going on and not enough done with the font. I’m giving it a C+ for at least being derivative of something good, but most of the deduction is for being cheap looking to boot.)

Tagline(s) – Rise and fight (C+)

(I’ll give it credit for being short and sweet and fantasy-epic-esque. Doesn’t tell you anything, and is boring though, so I mark most of the credit off. Sorry Uwe.)

Keyword(s) – farmer; Top Ten by BMeTric: 85.7 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 84.1 Piranha 3DD (2012); 69.8 Year One (2009); 58.0 Monsters: Dark Continent (2014); 57.7 The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007); 49.3 Seventh Son (I) (2014); 45.0 Jeepers Creepers II (2003); 43.8 The Watch (I) (2012); 43.7 The Giant Spider Invasion (1975); 43.7 Priest (2011);

(We will never watch Piranha 3DD, but Priest is going to happen. Farmer is prooooobably pushing it, although The Seeker and Seventh Son did genuinely have farmers in it … and the main character of this is literally “Farmer”.)

Notes – Kevin Smith and Juliette Lewis were filming Catch and Release (2006) on an adjoining set, and came to visit this set. Burt Reynolds saw them steal two boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts. (I believe it, but Burt Reynolds throughout these notes sounds ridiculous).

Script development took over a year. In the end, Doug Taylor re-wrote eighty percent of the script, because the original story was considered too reminiscent of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. (Amazing, what could the storyline have even been?)

Production of the computer graphics imagery in the movie was convoluted and problematic. Uwe Boll claims he had to fire several different CGI providers, who outsourced their jobs to lower-quality providers, who worked for less money. (Yup, this is why graphics in movies causes so much trouble, bullshit like this)

The “medicine” Merick gives Farmer was actually tea mixed with ketchup. Uwe Boll purposely concocted the mixture to get a disgusted reaction from Jason Statham.

During production, Uwe Boll sponsored a charity visit to the set. Guests got to see behind-the-scenes work, and proceeds were donated to a children’s hospital. Reportedly, Ray Liotta was extremely upset by it. In future interviews, he talked about how “crazy” Boll was for allowing so many spectators onto the set.

Siu-Tung Ching’s salary was higher than Uwe Boll’s. (HA!)

Jason Statham filmed many of his action scenes while nursing an injured tendon in his foot. He is noticeably impaired while running.

John Gajdecki had trouble filming many visual effects shots, especially scenes with outdoor “greenscreens”. Jan Kruse left the project, due to conflict with Gajdecki, who was eventually fired, and replaced by Doug Oddy. (These notes are ridiculous)

Some of the Krug costumes cost over ten thousand dollars each to produce. (Not a great idea)

Uwe Boll considered releasing the original cut of the film in two installments because of its length. Instead, it was edited into a theatrical release, and the Director’s Cut was released on DVD. (Smart …)

While filming an outdoor fight scene, Burt Reynolds grew overheated in his armored costume, became unconscious, and fell from the platform, on which the duel was being filmed. Reynolds claims this was the only time in his career that he had to miss a day of filming, due to sickness or injury.

Kevin Costner was offered the lead role. Uwe Boll claims Costner wasn’t interested in filming a large-scale action film, and instead offered Boll the opportunity to direct the project he was working on at the time, Mr. Brooks (2007). Boll turned it down. (WHAT, why would anyone offer Boll to director anyone?)

Claire Forlani was the last major performer to be cast. Her role had been previously offered to Jessica Alba and Jessica Biel. (Who probably just laughed into the phone for half a minute)

Though Siu-Tung Ching was the action Director, Uwe Boll personally choreographed the scene featuring Jason Statham and Ron Perlman fighting the Krug in the barn. (The one where it literally looks like Puttys from Power Rangers I think)

A day of filming was lost due to heavy fog. Some of the forest terrain and mountaintops could only be accessed via helicopter, and on a particular foggy day, Uwe Boll and part of his crew were literally stranded on a mountain for over two hours, because the helicopter wouldn’t take off.

Burt Reynolds extensively re-wrote and edited the dialogue for his death scene, creating friction with Script Supervisor Ingrid Kenning. Reynolds had never played a character who died in a film, and was adamant that the scene be something special.

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Uwe Boll)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Leelee Sobieski)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Burt Reynolds)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Doug Taylor)

Hall of Fame Speech #5: Battlefield Earth

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a first class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly six years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. This is the last in the series of Hall of Fame speeches we made leading up to the fourth (sixth?) Smaddies Baddies. You can find all of the previews in our archive and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films in the Smaddies Baddies section of the website. The final speech is for John Travolta’s ultimate adaptation of the L. Ron Hubbard classic Sci Fi epic, Battlefield Earth. The intention is to reminisce a bit about what we remember about the film, what we think of it now, and why it deserved a special place in BMT history. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Battlefield Earth

Battlefield Earth? More like General Appeal Dearth (c’mon now!). I rewatched what many consider the worst movie ever made in Battlefield Earth. Last week I claimed it to be, probably, the most famous and rewarding bad movie we’ve seen. This movie isn’t nominated because it is the most BMT film, or the worst film, it is because it was made by the Church of Scientology and was hewn from a one-thousand page book that was called unfilmable. It has something that lurks deep within BMT and comes out only on rare occasions (and almost never with big budgets): A mad man wants a movie to be made, and he is going to make it no matter what! And that is what makes Battlefield Earth so special, it is to big budgets as The Room is to independent films.

First, let’s get into what I remembered from oh so long ago:

  • I remembered that the most striking thing about the movie was the directing. This was prior to the previews and recaps and the website, so I was compelled to look up the director after watching the film and, upon learning that he was a second unit director on some Star Wars films, everything kind of clicked. He does the same weird fades and wipe transitions. Perhaps that is the legacy of Battlefield Earth for BMT: it is probably the first real example where learning about the film prior to watching enhanced the viewing. And I think that is a solid reason for it to be in the Hall of Fame. Prior to the second viewing I was still learning stuff about the craziness that was this production!
  • I also remembered that the director constantly used Dutch angles. Dutch angles are used in a few bad movies, but this one was insane. And I remember thinking “I can’t wait until I see more movies with this kind of insane direction”. And with the wealth of bad movie information I now have at my disposal … it really isn’t as common as I had thought and hoped at the time. Again, a solid legacy for the film, for years I would call out Dutch angles whenever I saw them, which it turned out was rather rarely.
  • As far as the acting was concerned: I remember being very enamored with Barry Pepper and somewhat obsessed with how this guy ended up as the lead in this film. Travolta’s performance slaps you in the face. Given Wicker Man we were hitting some classic performances and this one stands tall among the best of the bunch. And for some reason I thought Whitaker could not care less about this film (during the second viewing that is false though, the guy kills it! He’s hilarious).
  • And finally I would always remember it as a precursor to the settings obsession of BMT it was blowing my mind that the movie/book was set in Denver for unknowable reasons. I figured it was from the book, but wouldn’t know until I (gulp) read the book … or at least most of it.

At the time I distinctly remember

thinking “oh yeah, so this is what a truly and profoundly terrible movie is like”. Over the years that attitude wouldn’t really change, and the movie will enter the Hall of Fame at the top of the class for incompetent directing, the pinnacle of Dutch angles, and the beginning of the BMT film previews (although not in real written form just yet).

To recap the second viewing I will, once again, go with my classic Good/Bad/BMT:
I need to include a short review of the book which I’m still in the process of reading (I started it in November … so you get the idea at how much I eventually disliked it). The first 30% of the book is what the movie is actually based on, and honestly I thought that 30% was quite good and I got through it at quite a good clip. From about 30%-50% might be the worst and most worthless book I’ve ever read. It might as well have been about nothing. I’m up to around 65% and it is getting okay again. Weird review, but never read this book. It is an exercise in writing totally-accurate Sci Fi and just isn’t very fun. All that being said: this movie is an okay adaptation of that first 30%, and it is probably the reason the script was able to be written and filmed at all. It is also shocking to realize that when Travolta says things like “crap-brain” that all comes from the book. I have a theory guys: Hubbard was kind of a crazy weirdo.

I’ll leave you with this: In the first six months of BMT we watched some very terrible films because we had basically all of the bad movie filmography to choose from. This always stuck out as the most wide appeal bad movie we ever watched bar none. It is a classic for a reason, and there is a reason it is one of the very rare big budget films on the IMDb bottom 100. Sometimes you just have to admit when greatness is great. And Battlefield Earth is a great bad movie.

Hall of Fame Speech #4: Norbit

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a first class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly six years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. Over the next two weeks leading up to the fourth (sixth?) Smaddies Baddies we’ll bring you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. This is the fourth, for the raucous Eddie Murphy comedy magnum opus, Norbit. The intention is to reminisce a bit about what we remember about the film, what we think of it now, and why it deserved a special place in BMT history. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Norbit

Helllllluuuuuuur everyone! I rewatched the movie (gulp) Norbit this week. Norbit was, for me, top of the class for the BMT Hall of Fame. Not because it was the most BMT film (Street Fighter of Chun Li takes that award). It isn’t the most famous and rewarding bad movie (that is probably Battlefield Earth). Rather, Norbit is, bar none in my opinion, the worst film we have ever ever done for BMT. Stunning! How can this be? Just hear about what I remember about this film (not what I gleaned from subsequent viewing, oh no … this is what I remember from a single viewing nearly six years ago):

  • I remember the extremely racist chinese character played by Eddie Murphy. The character is mind-bending. It is genuinely shocking to see the character get into a film. It makes you think about how much creative control Murphy must have still had at the time. He was still able to churn out $100 million dollar comedies, and it did come out about a year after Dreamgirls. I think, upon reflection using all of the accrued BMT knowledge I have, one of the major reasons this movie is Hall of Fame was it is a nearly perfect example of what happens when you hand over complete control to a single (crazy?) person, and this character exemplifies it.
  • I remember actually literally being sick to my stomach in the middle of this film. You are watching a man in a seriously abusive relationship. Physically and emotionally abusive. If Rasputia was a man and Norbit was a women this would be a horror film. I don’t feel the need nor do I think it is my place to comment on social issues in the context of BMT, but in all seriousness I wonder how Eddie Murphy (and Charlie Murphy and the other two screenwriters) thought this was funny. Was the script really old and Murphy punched it up and updated it a bit after getting a greenlight from Dreamgirls? It is perplexing to me, and sadly I know I will never get an answer to that question (indeed, the DVD does not have a commentary with any of the writers that could have illuminated the mysteries of this film).
  • I remember being blown away from the makeup. Compare this to Big Momma’s House: There is no contest. I’ll be paying close attention to the faces in this film. There is a reason this film was nominated for an Oscar for makeup.
  • I remember the beach scene. Mostly because I had, at that point, been exposed to BMT favorite Madea only once by then. In the show Meet the Browns she shows up to teach one of the children good manners. The conversation went something like this:
    Madea: Now say helluurrrr
    Child: Hello!
    Madea: No! You got to say it fancy when you are speaking to an adult, say it like this: Helllluuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrr

    This is significant because in the beach scene Eddie Murphy as Rasputia says things in the exact same manner. For me this was kind of a mind blowing moment. One of those meta out-of-body moments where all of a sudden it hit me: I am not the audience for this film! Something deep within the shared culture of Eddie Murphy and Tyler Perry came a common impersonation of what I assume is someone acting like what they think a “proper” southern lady sounds like. This is part of the reason I genuinely love Madea films (and Tyler Perry films in general). I think there is something to watching movies not made for you and to sometimes allowing subjectivity to be a part of reviewing Hollywood films.

Hoooooooweeeeee I’m telling you, this film stuck to my bones. I’m happy it came up so early in BMT, because comedies are a tricky genre, and to have a few really impressive ones perform early was probably instrumental in keeping us going with our strict genre rotation.

So how did the film hold up? You know what … let’s do this recap style:

  • The Good – This movie is better than I remembered! Norbit himself is actually a solid character well acted by Murphy. The film is also heartwarming at times, how much the town seems to love Norbit indicates in a strange way that a much better movie could have maybe been made. Really star studded cast.
  • The Bad – I felt physically ill again in the middle of the film. Rasputia is a monster. In one of the first scenes with Norbit as an adult he tries to merely say that he didn’t mess with his wife’s car seat and she punches him in the face. She throws him through a window. She runs down a dog and then says she only regrets that she didn’t kill it. She pushes a speaker onto Norbit and puts him in the hospital. The kicker? When mad with jealousy of Norbit’s childhood friend Kate she indicates that if he talks to her again she’ll throw industrial acid in Kate’s face … empty threat? She literally melts a potato with industrial acid. The film isn’t funny, it is a testament to domestic abuse and how we dismiss it because of misguided perception that men can’t be weak and women can’t be physically abusive. I have to say this as well: Mr. Wong was just as racist as I remembered. He says (and I quote): “We got a brack one this time!” … He said brack … with an r instead of an l. It’s in the trailer! He is illogically obsessed with whaling. He is awkward, and unnecessary, and yeah … he’s a fucking racist caricature, and awful. If this character didn’t exist I might have been able to look past Rasputia antics as a misguided idea of comedy … but the one two punch is hard to move past without feeling bad about yourself.
  • The BMT – Yes. This movie is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen and is easily a 70+ BMT. Did you read the above two paragraphs, get out of here.

This movie was better than I remember, but that isn’t saying much at all. The story is fine, the acting is at worst below average, and I thought Murphy as Rasputia and Norbit was quite good. But the jokes are top to bottom awful. Spouted by unpleasant people doing sickening things. I’ve written a lot, but I will say this as a final thought: Through all six years of BMT I still maintain this is the worst film I’ve seen, and a rewatch did nothing to dissuade me of that feeling. That feeling of being literally ill while watching a film is hard to replicate. And that is why Norbit belongs in the Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame Speech #3: Street Fighter Legend of Chun Li

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a first class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly six years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. Over the next two weeks leading up to the fourth (sixth?) Smaddies Baddies we’ll bring you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. This is the third, for the action (and Chris Klein) packed martial arts masterpiece, Street Fighter Legend of Chun Li. The intention is to reminisce a bit about what we remember about the film, what we think of it now, and why it deserved a special place in BMT history. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Street Fighter Legend of Chun Li

From the first batch of HoF films, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is probably the one that best represents BMT. This is simply because it is the film furthest from what bad movie aficionados typically look for in a top film. If you follow bad movie sites and podcasts, this film is rarely mentioned and when it is it is largely dismissed. Part of that is the lack of true BMT star power. While Battlefield Earth has Travolta, The Wicker Man has Cage, Norbit has Eddie Murphy and Old Dogs has a devastating Travolta/Robin Williams one-two punch, SF:TLoCL merely provides a solid dose of Chris Klein (a BMT fave, but hardly top-tier Hollywood royalty). But for us it hit a magical spot that reverberated through the BMTverse for years.

So what did I remember about the film from my last viewing 5 years ago:

  • The film is about Chun-Li aiming to take down M. Bison because… something, something, something. Chris Klein is also there as Charlie Nash, an interpol agent with one-liners for days, who is also going after M. Bison because… well I presume he must be a criminal if Interpol is after him. In the end Bison is taken down because he wanted to bring his daughter to Bangkok… which doesn’t seem illegal at all in retrospect. I really don’t remember much about the plot to be honest.
  • I mostly just remember Nash’s super rad one-liners. Much like Nic Cage with The Wicker Man, The Legend of Chun-Li had a Chris Klein supercut of his lines circulate in the years following its release because they are so ludicrous. I think it’s only gotten funnier over the years:
  • Additionally, while this was an introduction to our beloved Chris Klein (this, Rollerball, Say It Isn’t So, and Here on Earth), it also introduced BMT to Neal McDonough (this, Timeline, The Guardian, I Know Who Killed Me, 88 Minutes, Fire Down Below, and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2) and The Black Eyed Peas (namesake of mapl.de.map). Without Taboo playing Vega in this film there likely wouldn’t have been a mapl.de.map. Or at least it would have been named something different.

The first major thing to discuss regarding the rewatch of this film is just how ridiculous it is that this was released to theaters. The film is flat out poorly made. It looks a bit like a SyFy film with B-list actors, shoddy effects, and plot line that takes a lot of suspension of disbelief (mostly the disbelief that it was actually a real film). I guess this is probably why so many people are dismissive of the film. It doesn’t have the looks or actors of some of the biggest flubs, but also doesn’t go to the extreme of a The Room or Birdemic. It’s just in the middle where people merely ask, “Wait, was this really released to theaters?” The answer is yes, over a thousand of them. Why? Because this film cost… wait for it… … … $50 million to make so they kinda had to release it. This had to be some kind of financial scam. It makes absolutely no sense. This looks like a $10 million picture at most. Where did the money go?! Follow the money!

The second thing to note is that Chris Klein delivers. It is pure joy when he is on the screen. The most unfortunate thing about the film is that he is the third biggest character after Bison and Chun-Li, so doesn’t get as much screen time as one would hope. But boy does he put in the BMT work. Beyond his lines my favorite thing I rediscovered about the film is just how bad of a cop his character is. He constantly screws everything up. The best scene is when he and fellow cop Moon Bloodgood are supposed to be following Balrog and he inexplicably takes the opportunity to totally make out with Bloodgood (rad). While doing that Balrog switches cars and they lose him… all because he wanted to cop a feel. It’s pretty great. Without Chun-Li he would have just fucked around for a few days and not solved a single thing.

Finally, I had really forgotten how ridiculous the entire plot is. Back then we had a hard and fast rule to not focus on the plot, but in the age of close-watching that is no longer the case. Listen to this: We have M. Bison, a ruthless criminal slumlord, who takes Chun-Li’s father hostage. Years later Chun-Li goes to Bangkok to join forces with the Order of the Web and take revenge on Bison. Learning that Bison is importing something called the White Rose, Chun-Li goes to stop him (presuming it’s something illicit and could bring down his enterprise if he’s caught shipping it in). After the White Rose arrives it’s discovered that it’s Bison’s daughter, who he imbued with his conscience in a satanic exercise during her birth. She is the yang to his yin, basically. Chun-Li then murders him. Wait, what?! I don’t understand. I get that Bison is a criminal that should be brought to justice, but the White Rose is totally tangential to that. She could have went to his house and fought him literally any time… why wait for the White Rose to even appear? It was set up as if it was some major illegal shipment that they would nail him for and in the process fight him, but instead it turned out to be mostly legal (if they had her papers in order). But instead of waiting for another chance they then follow him to his compound and go ahead and kill him in the most gruesome way possible (Chun-Li quite literally kicks Bison’s head 180 degrees around to the other side of his body). It’s one of the best worst plotlines I can remember. The White Rose is a classic McGuffin and McGuffins are already lazy, but this one is even half-assed. A half-assed McGuffin!

Overall, this will stand as the most BMT of the first batch of HoFers. A film that is beloved by us, but by no one else. At a time when we were still somewhat beholden to a couple bad movie sources, this was an important separation. Something that was truly our own to love and cherish. I was happy to find that many of the things that we loved at the time continue to hold up today and many of the things we hold dear in today’s BMT world (close watching the motivation of the characters, settings, etc.) would be gangbusters as well. Fun watch and really, really, really, really, really, really, really not a good film.

Jamie out.