Alpha and Omega Preview

Jamie and the Predator climb aboard his rocket powered skateboard and fly out of the whale. At first they totally don’t get along due to their differences. The Predator is a bloodthirsty monster focused only on killing. Jamie is a cool dude just looking for a party. But soon they find common ground as Jamie realizes the Predator has some pretty cool tech to track the little old librarian and the Predator realizes that Jamie can brew a mean cup of coffee. Turns out that’s not the only thing brewing: we got ourselves a full blown bromance. They spend hours telling each other secrets and braiding the Predator’s hair. They come up with some elaborate handshakes and build a tree fort together. It’s more or less the best. Unfortunately this also means distraction as the Predator totally wrecks his rocket skateboard in the wilderness of Canada while trading baseball cards with Jamie. “Damn it, Predator. What are we going to do? We’ll never get back to civilization in time to kill the little old librarian and rescue Patrick from the terrors of the alternate dimension.” The Predator shrugs his shoulders, downs a can of Mountain Dew, and begins the trek in the general direction of the LOL (little old librarian, duh). Suddenly a pack of wolves emerges from the trees. Just before the Predator blows them to smithereens Jamie intervenes. “Wait,” he says in confusion, “these aren’t real wolves… these are terribly rendered holograms.” That’s right! This week we’re watching Alpha and Omega, that animated wolf film that everyone remembers and loves. There was a time when it seemed like everything rendered in beautiful 3D animation was gold and never got bad reviews. This film came out right after that. But don’t worry it made bank and has a thousand straight-to-DVD sequels (I know you were worried)… sigh, this should be fun. Let’s go!

Patrick awakens on the beach, but now it looks like a beautiful European vista. “I love vistas.” Patrick thinks as a beautiful woman exits the water and approaches him. It is young Elizabeth Taylor, or at least someone who looks like her. In an instant he lives an entire life, they have a torrid love affair that the press can’t get enough of, he wins awards, becomes an alcoholic, and becomes a shattered soul as their love sours, rekindles, and then falls apart. On his deathbed in Switzerland, an old man, Patrick thinks back to that iconic love story before peacefully passing away. Becoming a force ghost, he haunts Elizabeth Taylor for the rest of her days until … Patrick awakens, he isn’t actually dead, he is still in Switzerland and was merely napping, but as if through a thick fog he can hear a familiar voice: “Gosh dern it Patrick, snap out of it!”, he awakens again! It was a dream within a dream! What a twist! The beach is torn to shreds, the birds gone, and Sticks and Stones are battered and bruised. Patrick can barely hear them through the whipping winds. Patrick is lifted into the air at the center of the storm, tears filling his eyes, and fear filling his heart. He doesn’t know what to do. He wishes he could just go back to something comfortable and calming, like illogical and unending product placement within the bad movies that he loves. Bam! The beach set is now a supermarket, and Stick and Stones are cartoon cereal mascots. “Shit, how’d you do that?!” Sticks growls. “It don’t matter, use those twin powers to get us to the precinct!” says Stones. They all jump in a supermarket cart and dash off down the aisle. That’s right, we’re watching Foodfight! Produced in 2003 the film is thought to have been a money laundering scheme gone awry, the gimmick being the promise of product placement covering production costs. After defaulting on loans, the film was auctioned off and, with investors invoking a contractual clause, the film was quietly released on DVD a decade after production began. Let’s go!

Alpha and Omega (2010) – BMeTric: 44.1

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(Shockingly low rating for an animated film it feels like. Not much else to say beyond that it has a very nice vote curve which appears to be asymptotically approaching a value around … fifteen thousand maybe?)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Two wolves, a male and female with opposite personalities names Humphrey and Kate (get it?), are transported to Idaho to mate and expand the wolf population. Instead, they band together to trek back home to Canada, encountering numerous perils along the way; later, they work together to stop their packs from having a turf war. Animated film is aimed at the youngest members of the family, with slapstick antics and cliched characters that will have parents squirming. Produced on a low budget and animated primarily in Mumbai, India.

(So I guess what Leonard is referring to is Humphrey (Bogart) and Kate (Katharine Hepburn I assume)? Although I couldn’t find anything definitive on that actually being the case, so perhaps I’m missing something. While researching this I have discovered there are a number of fan fiction short stories about Kate and Humphrey’s children. So that’s a thing.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXLAvDEpdT0

(Wowza, the animation is terrible! What an Idaho film as well … too bad Georgia Rule already dominates that state on the Mapl.d.map.)

Directors – Anthony Bell – (BMT: Alpha and Omega; Notes: Duckman, The Wild Thornberrys, and Rugrats are just a few of his television credits. Seemingly was a big name in animation directing.)

Ben Gluck – (BMT: Alpha and Omega; Notes: Graduated from the California Institute of Art. Did a few direct-to-video sequels, Bambi II and Brother Bear 2, prior to co-directing this film.)

Writers – Chris Denk (screenplay) – (Known For: Bling; BMT: Alpha and Omega; Notes: Was a production assistant before breaking through as a screenwriter.)

Ben Gluck (story by) – (Known For: Bambi II; BMT: Alpha and Omega; Notes: His last credit both as a director and writer were Madea’s Tough Love, which is an animated Madea film.)

Steve Moore (original screenplay and story) – (Known For: Open Season; BMT: Alpha and Omega; Notes: Created the syndicated cartoon In the Bleachers which Open Season is a spin off from. Alpha and Omega is his only original screenplay it looks like.)

Actors – Hayden Panettiere – (Known For: Remember the Titans; Scream 4; A Bug’s Life; Dinosaur; Ice Princess; The Object of My Affection; Future BMT: Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil; Racing Stripes; Joe Somebody; Raising Helen; Message in a Bottle; The Affair of the Necklace; Fireflies in the Garden; The Architect; BMT: I Love You, Beth Cooper; Alpha and Omega; Notes: Apparently just split up with Wladimir Klitschko after a five year engagement during which they had a daughter.)

Christina Ricci – (Known For: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Sleepy Hollow; The Addams Family; Monster; Casper; Addams Family Values; Black Snake Moan; Speed Racer; Penelope; Mermaids; Small Soldiers; Buffalo ’66; The Ice Storm; Bastard Out of Carolina; The Opposite of Sex; Anything Else; Pecker; The Hard Way; Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain; Around the Block; Future BMT: Cursed; The Smurfs 2; Bel Ami; That Darn Cat; Home of the Brave; 200 Cigarettes; Mothers and Daughters; Distorted; New York, I Love You; The Man Who Cried; Prozac Nation; I Love Your Work; Pumpkin; All’s Faire in Love; Now and Then; Desert Blue; BMT: Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; Bless the Child; Alpha and Omega; Notes: Child star turned actress, she seems to do more television these days, like playing Zelda Fitzgerald in Z: The Beginning of Everything)

Justin Long – (Known For: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; Tusk; Idiocracy; He’s Just Not That Into You; Drag Me to Hell; Funny People; Zack and Miri Make a Porno; Die Hard 4.0; Galaxy Quest; Veronica Mars; Jeepers Creepers; Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story; A Case of You; 10 Years; Herbie Fully Loaded; Going the Distance; The Conspirator; Comet; Youth in Revolt; Frank & Lola; Future BMT: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel; Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked; Yoga Hosers; Alvin and the Chipmunks; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; Jeepers Creepers II; Walking with Dinosaurs 3D; The Break-Up; Serious Moonlight; Trauma; Planet 51; Ghost Team; The Lookalike; Literally, Right Before Aaron; Accepted; Best Man Down; Waiting…; BMT: Crossroads; Movie 43; Old Dogs; Strange Wilderness; Alpha and Omega; Notes: Was the Mac guy in old Mac commercials (opposite John Hodgman, the PC). Apparently might be back together with Drew Barrymore, they were reportedly dating around the time they filmed Going the Distance.)

Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $25,107,267 (Worldwide: $50,507,267)

(A success I would say. Not enough maybe to make a real sequel, but it isn’t that surprising it has … six sequels! Well, it isn’t surprising it has sequels, we’ll leave it at that.)

#191 for the Animation genre

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(Huh … we haven’t watched any traditional animated films. Unless you count Cool World which was only partially so. Most of the recent examples are computer animated, but interesting to see how inconsistent (but extremely successful) the early 90s were for traditional animation with things like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, made alongside things like Rock-a-Doodle.)

#129 for the Animation – Computer genre

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(The Emoji Movie was by far the most recent of the computer animated. Pretty interesting to see the success of the early examples (like Toy Story) and how it almost immediately settles into a steadily rising production / revenue line.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (9/56): With bland visuals and a dull, predictable plot, Alpha and Omega is a runt in 2010’s animated litter.

(Huh, bland and predictable doesn’t seem too great. At least it is a real animated film I guess. Reviewer Highlight: There’s nothing here that Disney hasn’t done much better decades ago, and the script is a lame mixture of slapstick and sentiment. – Christopher Tookey, Daily Mail)

Poster – I’m Uncomfortable With How Sexily They Have Drawn That Girl Wolf (B)

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(If you think that’s uncomfortable wait until you see how they animate that sexy girl wolf. It gets weird. Anyway, nice font, good balance, and OK coloring. Overall pretty good.)

Tagline(s) – A Pawsome 3D Adventure (Nope)

(Woof! That one’s… ruff. They sure let this tagline… go to the dogs.)

Keyword(s) – park; Top Ten by BMeTric: 91.1 The Room (2003); 75.8 Look Who’s Talking Too (1990); 71.4 Getaway (I) (2013); 68.9 The Happening (2008); 65.7 Yogi Bear (2010); 61.6 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987); 60.5 The Snowman (2017); 56.5 Befikre (2016); 56.4 Rough Night (2017); 55.7 Ri¢hie Ri¢h (1994);

(Well, I suppose The Room does have a scene in a park … Yogi Bear seems like the only actually park film. Richie Rich does end in a park as well, but that is a fairly minor part of that atrocious film.)

Notes – Dennis Hopper’s last film. (yes, this is sadly true)

It was Lionsgate’s highest grossing animated feature, before 2017 when it was dethroned by My Little Pony: The Movie (2017).

The names of the two main characters are Humphrey and Kate, which are the names of the co-stars of The African Queen (1951) Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. (Hey, I guessed right!)

In reality, northwestern wolves that originated from Alberta, Canada, were used to repopulate Yellowstone National Park.

The first of five movies released in a seven-month period, that set the record of the worst debut for a 3-D movie. This movie debuted to 9.1 million dollars, setting the then-record, losing it to My Soul to Take (2010) (6.8 million dollars) three weeks later, which lost it to Gulliver’s Travels (2010) (6.3 million dollars) eleven weeks later, which lost it to Drive Angry (2011) (5.2 million dollars) ten weeks later, which lost it to Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (2011) (4.1 million dollars) nine weeks later. However, despite its rather disappointing opening at the box-office, the movie did much better later on, managing to make three times more than its twenty million dollar budget. (Probably just reflects the growing ubiquity of 3D films in the US at the time, that eventually even really small films were getting 3D released in 2011)

Gained a cult following among audiences, and developed a decent fanbase. It’s also Crest Animations’ and Lionsgate’s most famous and popular movie. (I mean … maybe Crest. But certainly not Lionsgate. Maybe their most famous released together?)

The actors, actresses, directors, and crew would actually act out the performances themselves, and then send out the footage to the main studio in Mumbai, India to be fully animated. (whaaaaaaa)

The movie didn’t do as well as expected at the U.S. box-office, earning a little over twenty-five million dollars on its twenty million dollar budget. However, it did better in the rest of the world, eventually grossing almost fifty-one million dollars.

Steve Moore originally intended to give the movie a slightly darker and more serious story, but Lionsgate wanted it to be aimed more towards children, leading the original script to be re-written.

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Garfield Preview

Jamie awakens to find himself hanging by his feet in the rafters of the old mansion. “I know it’s a shock being a vampire and all,” says a voice. Turning to his side Jamie sees a young vampire smiling back at him. “But don’t worry. The name’s Odin and I’ll help you learn all the coolz vampire rulez at Dracula School.”  Jamie does love rules, but he also knows that the librarian could be back at any moment to squeeze his twinzo powers out of him. “I’ll pass bro,” he says, pausing momentarily to turn his hat backwards, “I gotta find my brother, Patrick.” “Well maybe I can help you,” Odin replies, “you see we’re both Larbagios, those are vampires made by other vampires. We are mortal enemies of Hedgermias, those are vampires who made themselves vampires. There are also Royeldrums, those are vampires that were always vampires. We all fight and can never love unless bound by the Oaths of Keldronia, for otherwise our blood lust will overtake us and we will become Hedgermias. Thus we must be pure and remember that the flesh is sacred…” Rolling his eyes Jamie interjects, “Wish I could stay but look at the time…” As he turns to leave Odin suddenly transforms before his eyes into a large dog. “I didn’t get to the useful part yet,” the large dog says, “Larbagios can also transform into animals.” Oooo, that is helpful. With such a power Jamie will be able to sneak right by that librarian and start figuring out where Patrick is. Concentrating real hard he feel himself transform. Looking down he sees a mass of orange hair and black stripes. Great, a big ol’ fat orange cat. Not super inconspicuous, but it’ll have to do. That’s right! We’re (finally) watching Garfield and Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.

Patrick is mesmerized by the terrible teenage witch rap dance, unaware of time slipping away from him. Days pass, his lips cracked with dehydration, his mind lost in the glorious inanity he is viewing, his body dying. All of a sudden the door explodes, splinters showering Patrick and awakening him from his daze, bullets zip and crack, raining down on all manner of teenage witch and wizard. “LAPD! You have the right to remain dead,” a grizzled officer growls. Another officer, dressed in overalls with no shirt, shakes his head, “Gosh dern it Sticks, this was supposed to be an easy in and out job, just grab the kid and let’s get outta here!” The grizzled officer grabs Patrick roughly. “You’re welcome punk, Stones and I just saved your mind.” They drag Patrick through the front door and … onto another set? This one is dressed up as an alleyway. They drop Patrick into a pile of garbage, Sticks and Stones look at each other and nod, “Light’er up” says Stones. As they gleefully firebomb the witch’s house set, black doll eyes gleaming, Patrick’s mind begins to clear. Just then an alley cat walks by. “You don’t belong here” the cat says with a wink, and walks off. Wait … A talking cat!?! What is this place? That’s right! We’re also watching A Talking Cat!?!!

We move forward in the Bring A Friend cycle to watch two films that involve talking cats. That’s because Garfield is in fact a talking cat!?! We used to avoid films like Garfield (and the BONUS Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties) thinking they were “just for kids” and not worth our time. We eventually realized that that was patronizing and decided to give them a chance… and they turned out to mostly be not worth our time. But sometimes they can be fun. Here’s to hoping! As for A Talking Cat!?! It’s is a film!?! The verdict is still out. It certainly exists and it will play in front of our eyeballs, but it’s hard to say how or why this film(!?!) has become something of a cult classic. Even leading to a podcast A Talking Cast!?! Which broke down the film minute-by-minute. Jesus. What a week. Let’s go!

Garfield (2004) – BMeTric: 66.2

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(Nothing super interesting. Kind of fun seeing a film that goes all the way right back to when the internet archive started. Was very stable for about a decade, but has started regressing up towards the mean a bit. A 5.0 is absurdly low though.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Murray is an ideal voice for the world’s laziest (and hungriest) cat in this innocuous, uninspired comedy combining computer-generate animation and live action. Meye is Garfield’s hapless owner, who tries to woo attractive veterinarian Hewitt by adopting Odie, a homeless mutt, which spurs Garfield into defensive action. Based on Jim Davis’ comic strip and animated TV series. Followed by a sequel.

(Innocuous is the worst thing you’d want to hear with something like this I think. Translation is it is merely boring and not worth anyone’s time. Even the review is kind of boring.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GV5y4yTDtBI

(Everything but the dancing seems fine to me. The dancing … well it is something people do. They straight Marmaduked it and there isn’t much we can do about it now is there?)

Directors – Peter Hewitt – (Known For: Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; The Borrowers; Thunderpants; Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?; Future BMT: Zoom; Tom and Huck; BMT: Garfield; Notes: Not that old, it is pretty plausible the one-two punch of Zoom and Garfield killed his career. British, born in Brighton.)

Writers – Jim Davis (comic strip “Garfield”) – (BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Notes: His life is mostly identical to Jon Arbuckle, who also grew up on a farm in Indiana and was a cartoonist, although Davis has been married a few times. Also wrote the strip U.S. Acres, which was part of the Garfield & Friends brand.)

Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow (written by) – (Known For: Toy Story; Future BMT: Daddy Day Camp; Evan Almighty; Money Talks; Goodbye Lover; BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Cheaper by the Dozen; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar as part of the team that wrote Toy Story. They jointly directed a Monster Mash film in 1995 which looks … not super great.)

Actors – Breckin Meyer – (Known For: Clueless; The Craft; Road Trip; Can’t Hardly Wait; Rat Race; The Insider; Escape from L.A.; Go; Herbie Fully Loaded; Josie and the Pussycats; Kate & Leopold; Prefontaine; Dancer, Texas Pop. 81; Blue State; Future BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Rebound; 54; Caffeine; Touch; Tail Lights Fade; BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Pinocchio; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for Pinocchio in 2003; Notes: Went to grade school with Drew Barrymore who introduced him to his first agent. At one point I knew him as that guy who had basically back-to-back one-and-done television series, Inside Schwartz, and Married to the Kellys.)

Jennifer Love Hewitt – (Known For: Tropic Thunder; Can’t Hardly Wait; Heartbreakers; Future BMT: Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit; Delgo; The Suburbans; The Truth About Love; House Arrest; Jewtopia; Telling You; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; The Tuxedo; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Notes: Possibly most famous for Party of Five. She is in the new show 9-1-1.)

Stephen Tobolowsky – (Known For: Memento; Basic Instinct; Spaceballs; Mississippi Burning; Freaky Friday; Groundhog Day; Thelma & Louise; Robots; Buried; Sneakers; Adaptation.; The Insider; Single White Female; Mr. Peabody & Sherman; Great Balls of Fire!; Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!; Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco; Murder in the First; Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael; The Grifters; Future BMT: Mr. Magoo; View from the Top; Little Black Book; The Glimmer Man; National Security; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; My Father the Hero; Black Dog; Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde; Bird on a Wire; You May Not Kiss the Bride; Memoirs of an Invisible Man; Calendar Girl; Peep World; Blind Dating; Funny About Love; Romeo Is Bleeding; Radioland Murders; The Pickle; Josh and S.A.M.; BMT: Freddy Got Fingered; Garfield; Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous; The Country Bears; Failure to Launch; Wild Hogs; Atlas Shrugged: Part III; Notes: Very prolific character actor, Ned from Groundhog Day. Had a very long running podcast, The Tobolowsky Files, although it looks like it may have ended last year.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $75,369,589 (Worldwide: $200,804,534)

(Giant success I would say. For $50 million you might have wanted to break $100 on the home front, but certainly a good reason to make a sequel one would think.)

#40 for the CGI Star genre

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(Cutting edge! This plot just goes up and up … until it just becomes every film I guess. Highest BMT is Transformers: Age of Extinction and lowest is Transformers: The Last Knight … lots of Transformers I guess. Rocky and Bullwinkle will be fun.)

#20 for the Family – Talking Animal (Live action) genre

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(Right in the middle of the talking animal live action family film boom it looks like. Highest grossing BMT is Zookeeper, although that will be trounced by Alvin and the Chipmunks at some point. Hot to Trot is very low naturally, back in the day when they did talking animal films the right way (shakes fist))

#19 for the TV Cartoon (Live Action) genre

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(Right before a big boom in the mid 2000s (the Transformers franchise I guess). BRATZ and Dudley Do-Right back-to-back as our lowest BMT examples is fantastic. Although only BRATZ is really worth watching in any capacity.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (20/137): When the novelty of the CGI Garfield wears off, what’s left is a simplistic kiddie movie.

(I guess in our case it will be the morbid fascination with 2004 fully CGI characters … Reviewer Highlight – There’s nothing to recommend about this film except its sheer innocuousness. – Desson Thomsom, Washington Post (uh oh…))

Poster – This Cat is Morbidly Obese, Call Social Services (B-)

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(I like the furriness and realism of Garfield and the unique font. Otherwise though this falls into the very bare-bones, mostly white posters that I generally dislike.)

Tagline(s) – Get ready for frisky business (D)

(No thanks. That is a crazy tagline with no real tangible connection to this film and should have been immediately thrown in the trash.)

Keyword(s) – cat; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.7 Catwoman (2004); 92.4 Date Movie (2006); 88.9 Vampires Suck (2010); 86.2 The Cat in the Hat (2003); 84.4 Movie 43 (2013); 82.5 Inspector Gadget (1999); 82.5 Home Alone 3 (1997); 81.8 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 80.4 One Missed Call (2008); 78.4 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000);

(These are real deal cat films. I wonder if we will ever watch Home Alone 3. That is probably one of the most surprising “this actually genuinely qualifies, it was released to thousands of theaters” films we’ve never seen.)

Notes – Bill Murray named this film as one of his regrets in Zombieland (2009).

Bill Murray has said during interviews that he hates that he didn’t think to have Garfield say his famous Ghostbusters (1984) line “Dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!” (in the scenes of Odie being introduced to the house) until after all post-production had been completed, and it was too late to add it. (Decent point)

Jim Carrey turned down the role of Jon Arbuckle. (A tad bit too famous at the time I think, he ended up doing Mr. Popper’s Penguins seven years later)

In an interview, Bill Murray stated that he originally thought the script was written by Joel Coen. It wasn’t until the recording process, and watching dailies, that he realized that it was written by Joel Cohen, not the same person, of whom he was thinking. (Imagining a Garfield film written by Joel Coen is … an interesting idea)

Bill Murray and Lorenzo Music have both played Garfield and Dr Peter Venkman. Murray plays Garfield in this film and Dr Venkman in the Ghostbusters films, and Music voiced Garfield in Garfield and Friends (1988) and Dr. Venkman in The Real Ghost Busters (1986). (Yes, unfortunately Music died in 2001 otherwise I do imagine he’s be the voice in the film)

Joe Towne who plays a technician in the film (as Ariel Joseph Towne) was hired during production as the on-set voice of Garfield. (Oooooo fun fact)

In the film, Jon adopts Odie from his vet Liz’s animal hospital. In the comic strip, Odie was originally the pet of Jon’s friend Lyman. (Wow, some deep Garfield knowledge)

In the film, Nermal is a Siamese cat who lives on the cul-de-sac. In the comic strip, Nermal is a grey tabby kitten who originally belonged to Jon’s parents. (This is some great shit right here)

The license plate on Liz’s pickup is “Pet Doc”.

Jim Davis: Garfield’s creator has a cameo as the train conductor who makes the “all aboard” announcement. (Ugh)

The Game Plan Preview

Rumors of a giant robot spiders generally travel fast and in little time Patrick and Jamie are hot on its trail. They bicker over the extensive number of MacGuffins they’ve had to collect, almost as if some invisible hand has guided them from task to task. They know that this just has to be the final step, for what else could they be missing? As they round the next corner they see the small cave that an old prospector pointed them to. They take a step towards it but without warning the protective giant robot spider is upon them. They do battle, hoping only to survive. Even with twin powers combined it seems that they are no match for the robotic beast. Finally it turns its laser beam eyes upon them. This is it! It’s the end for our heroes. Patrick suddenly remembers the Obsidian Dongle in his hand and turns it towards the spider as it shoots. The laser beam is absorbed and he feels the Dongle pulsate with energy. The spider cocks its robot head in confusion, but only for a moment as Patrick then blasts it away with the power of the Dongle. “My God,” they say with looks of horror on their faces. It’s a power too great for mankind to possess and they know in that moment that their quest has been righteous. They enter the cave expecting the next MacGuffin or a new riddle, but instead find a small child. She looks upon Jamie and speaks, “Father?” Jamie is confused, but deep down he knows the fact is true. But how can a child… his child… be the key to destroying the Dongle? How can a child be a MacGuffin? That’s right! We’re watching The Game Plan. In an effort to repair the Chain Reaction that Cannonball Run II destroyed we are shifting that film over to the Game section of the cycle (as a Razzie award nominee) and jumping to The Game Plan starring The Rock through Roselyn Sanchez. Phew. What a mess. Thanks IMDb. Let’s go!

The Game Plan (2007) – BMeTric: 25.9

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(Quite a low BMeTric compared to other recent films. The interesting thing actually is how the rating just stalls. Been around 6.2 forever, which is basically exactly average for wide release films since 1980. No one will ever see it as anything more or less than that: average.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Egocentric superstar quarterback (Johnson) becomes a better person – and a better player – after he spends quality time with the 8-year-old daughter (Pettis) he never knew he had. Predictable mix of rib-tickling and heart-tugging elements; this family-friendly comedy sticks close to the rulebook for movies about self-absorbed workaholics suddenly saddled with parental responsibilities.

(First, no way The Rock is a quarterback. Middle Linebacker for sure. Second, love the hyphen and semicolon game here, strong stuff. Finally, “sticks close to the rulebook”? I’m not mad Leonard, I’m just disappointed.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okZ4S4yjvlw

(I had to look it up: apparently you can just put a person’s name on a birth certificate. If you do so knowing the information is false you can be charged with a crime. But in this film I imagine the mother was fairly certain The Rock was the father, so I guess s’all good. That trailer? It was fine. Looks like a kid’s film.)

Directors – Andy Fickman – (Known For: She’s the Man; Race to Witch Mountain; Future BMT: You Again; Parental Guidance; BMT: Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2; The Game Plan; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 in 2016; Notes: Is now mainly a producer and has directed over 40 episodes of Kevin James’ show Kevin Can Wait.)

Writers – Nichole Millard and Kathryn Price (screenplay & story) – (Future BMT: Fallen; BMT: The Game Plan; Notes: Both Price and Millard were lawyers. The only difference in their credits is Price wrote for the reality show The Mole, which was a fantastic show.)

Audrey Wells (story) – (Known For: Under the Tuscan Sun; George of the Jungle; Shall We Dance; The Kid; The Truth About Cats & Dogs; Guinevere; BMT: The Game Plan; A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: Busted into the biz as an assistant for novelist and screenwriter Alan Sharp who wrote Rob Roy and Night Moves among other things.)

Actors – Dwayne Johnson – (Known For: Skyscraper; Rampage; Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle; Moana; Fast & Furious 8; Get Smart; Fast & Furious 7; Central Intelligence; Hercules; San Andreas; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; Furious 6; The Other Guys; Fast & Furious 5; The Mummy Returns; Pain & Gain; Race to Witch Mountain; Welcome to the Jungle; Snitch; The Scorpion King; Future BMT: Tooth Fairy; Jem and the Holograms; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Southland Tales; You Again; Reno 911!: Miami; Planet 51; Walking Tall; BMT: Doom; Baywatch; Be Cool; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; The Game Plan; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Doom in 2006; Notes: Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? According to news reports he’s cooking the acceptance of animal abuse … by taking his family to an aquarium apparently. Y’all looney animal right activists, aquariums are fun, save the hate for Sea World.)

Kyra Sedgwick – (Known For: The Edge of Seventeen; Born on the Fourth of July; Submission; Secondhand Lions; Kill Your Darlings; The Possession; Singles; Phenomenon; Murder in the First; The Woodsman; Heart and Souls; Cop Car; The Last Act; Time Out of Mind; Mr. & Mrs. Bridge; Critical Care; Personal Velocity: Three Portraits; What’s Cooking?; Future BMT: Something to Talk About; Collection; Loverboy; Big Sky; Man on a Ledge; Tai-Pan; Kansas; BMT: Gamer; The Game Plan; Notes: The Closer. Personally I love her more at Wuntch in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Wuntch time is over! She’s married to Kevin Bacon.)

Madison Pettis – (Known For: Horton Hears a Who!; That’s What I Am; Future BMT: Do You Believe?; BMT: The Game Plan; Notes: Had a few leading roles in television including a number of voice parts. She is now twenty, and I believe attends Tisch.)

Budget/Gross – $22 million / Domestic: $90,648,202 (Worldwide: $147,880,543)

(Huge hit. But probably not something The Rock wanted to continue as he transformed himself into movie star Dwayne Johnson. Also I feel like these types of films rarely get sequels, what with children growing up and stuff.)

#9 for the Comedy – Fish-Out-of-Water Father genre

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(Ah a classic. Cheaper by the Dozen is the most successful one we’ve watched, but it is juuuust beat by Big Daddy which currently has a 39.8% on Rotten Tomatoes, it wasn’t qualifying for the last ten years (!), a bad review was added in March. For some reason there hasn’t been films added to this list in five years.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 29% (29/101): Despite The Rock’s abundant charisma, The Game Plan is just another run-of-the-mill Disney comedy.

(Hmmmm, does not bode well for us. Likely boring, inncuous, laugh-free, heart warming, and hard to hate. Like the Pacifier. Reviewer Highlight: Having tamed one muscled man-child (Vin Diesel in The Pacifier), Disney sets its sights on The Rock. – Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly (see))

Poster – The Sklog Plan (D+)

game_plan

(A very Disney poster. As you all know I hate posters that are predominantly white in color tone. Feels very empty and messy. Mediocre font and the balance is all off anyway. Weird and generally bad poster here. I do like the poses that the football players in the background are making to show their displeasure at the situation. They all be like “say whaaaaaaa? You got a whaaaaaaa?”)

Tagline(s) – Joe Kingman had the perfect game plan to win the championship… but first, he has to tackle one little problem. (D)

(Hahahahaha. No. It is egregious and insane that that entire thing actually appeared on the poster. No thanks. Give it a D for the puns, but otherwise useless.)

Keyword(s) – tween girl; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.1 Grease 2 (1982); 75.0 Daddy Day Camp (2007); 55.1 The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990); 52.2 Annie (2014); 48.4 Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005); 45.8 Unaccompanied Minors (2006); 39.1 Blue Crush (2002); 38.9 Ladybugs (1992); 36.3 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003); 34.7 Monkey Trouble (1994);

(I cannot wait to see Neverending Story II again, it is just a bonkers film. He’s like loving his memory and shit. I’ve seen Annie (2014) … in theaters … why did I watch that in theaters if it wasn’t for this? I guess The Razzies maybe? Blah.)

Notes – Dwayne Johnson said he came up with the idea for his character to be such a huge Elvis fan, and suggested the idea to the writers, who loved it and added it to the script. Johnson later said that when they asked how he came up with the idea, Johnson responded that he is Elvis’ biggest fan, and much of the Elvis memorabilia his character owns actually belongs to Johnson. (Fun facts. I have a feeling we are going to get a ton of fun facts. This screams: The Rock went on a three week press tour for this film)

Dwayne Johnson has said that this film will be the last film in which he will be credited as “The Rock”. (That makes sense. I’m like 50-50 whether I refer to him as Dwayne Johnson or The Rock at this point, although not to other people I guess)

Two bulldogs, named Tubbs and Tank, shared the role of Spike. (I love dog facts, Tubbs is on IMDb but this is his only credited role)

Dwayne Johnson’s character, Joe Kingman, suffers a separated shoulder that temporarily knocks him out of the big game. In real life, The Rock actually did suffer a season-ending shoulder separation while playing defensive tackle as a freshman at the University of Miami. (Fun fact)

Production was pushed back by several months after Dwayne Johnson suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon injury during a football practice session. (Oh shit. You aren’t getting any younger Dwayne, got to chill on those stunts I guess)

The scene in which “Joe Kingman” (Dwayne Johnson) runs the whole way through the city to the hospital carrying his daughter Peyton resembles Dustin Hoffman doing the same for his son in the movie Kramer vs. Kramer (1979). Also a movie about a father raising a child on his own. (Honestly … I think that is just something stressful fathers could relate to, that helplessness and duty that comes with being a father)

Originally the script called for the football team to be the New England Patriots, but negotiating with the NFL became difficult for producers so they made up the team name instead. (Gross)

The Rebels and New York Dukes stand in for the NFL’s New England Patriots and New York Giants. In the film, the Rebels play the Dukes in the last game of the regular season, and later in the League’s Championship game. The movie was released during the 2007 NFL regular season, and in that season the Patriots played the Giants in both the last game of the Regular season and in Super Bowl XLII (2008). (You know what? Let’s not think about that game)

The football referees were from the Association of New England Football Officials (What’s up with New England being all over this film?)

The Country Bears Preview

The obvious follow up to a film as sexy as Fifty Shades Freed is one that is even sexier. That’s right! We’re watching the theme park ride adaptation The Country Bears. You’ll never see anything quite as sexy as the scary animatronic bear monsters of The Country Bears. We’re watching this one for the game portion of the cycle as it appears on our Calendar for the July 26th entry. I don’t think I really have to justify more about this film for BMT… it’s The Country Bears! Let’s go!

The Country Bears (2002) – BMeTric: 47.8

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(I’m surprised at how few votes there are (this was released to theaters, right?) and also at how low the rating is (this was almost exclusively viewed by children, correct?). Pretty standard regression to the mean though, so nothing really surprising. Will almost definitely hit 50 at some point this year and hover there for the rest of eternity.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  “Inspired by” a Disneyland attraction, this lazy excuse for a kid film has a young bear (who’s been adopted by a human family) going back to his roots, and helping a legendary music group to stage a reunion and rescue their performance hall. It they spent time on the script and less time setting up cameo performances (Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, etc.) it might have been better.

(Why doesn’t that feel like a two star review? He brutalized it. Anyways, I do love cameos, they simple ruin even already terrible films. So bring it on, I’ll count them up with excitement at all of the excellent quiz questions I can make.)

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

(My god, what have we done? What horror have we found ourselves watching? I thought this was a real film. It seemed like a real film. And yet I watch this trailer and it is like I’m watching a trailer for Air Bud 3. I don’t get it. Was it a real film? Are they gaslighting us? Is Disney like “Oh, this old thing. This was a straight-to-video movie though. You must be misremembering, no company would release this to theaters”. And I’m sitting here like “Yeah, I guess you’re right Disney. I must be mistaken” … but I’m not, this is a real movie they released to theaters and made people spend money on.)

Directors – Peter Hastings – (BMT: The Country Bears; Notes: He is mainly a cartoon writer and story editor, primarily for WB things like Pinky and the Brain and Animaniacs. This was his only directorial gig, likely due to his voice work experience. Performed with the Groundlings in the 80s and has a degree from Berklee College of Music.)

Writers – Mark Perez (written by) – (Known For: Herbie Fully Loaded; Future BMT: Accepted; BMT: The Country Bears; Notes: Writing the upcoming Game Night, which honestly looks like the Man Who Knew Too Little updated with modern comedic actors.)

Actors – Haley Joel Osment – (Known For: Forrest Gump; The Sixth Sense; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Tusk; Secondhand Lions; Pay It Forward; Sex Ed; Me Him Her; The World Made Straight; Bogus; Sassy Pants; Future BMT: Yoga Hosers; The Jungle Book 2; Mixed Nuts; I’ll Follow You Down; Entourage; BMT: The Country Bears; Notes: As a child star he received an oscar nomination at the age of 11 for his role in The Sixth Sense. Went to Tisch, but his acting since has been mostly indie films and tv guest spots. I’ve heard him on a few podcasts and he seems cool.)

Diedrich Bader – (Known For: EuroTrip; Napoleon Dynamite; Office Space; Ice Age; Bolt; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Surf’s Up; Recess: School’s Out; Dead & Breakfast; Sassy Pants; Calvin Marshall; Future BMT: Meet the Spartans; Vampires Suck; The Starving Games; Balls of Fury; BMT: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous; The Beverly Hillbillies; The Country Bears; Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike; Notes: Ah our old friend. A lot of his recent acting has been voice work including a ton of Batman cartoons. He even played Batman in the Batman / Scooby Doo straight-to-video crossover film.)

Candy Ford – (BMT: The Country Bears; Notes: Likely hired because of her voice work … she’s been in almost nothing otherwise. Had a small part in Curb Your Enthusiasm as Jacket Saleswoman … she’s been in almost nothing.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $16,990,825 (Worldwide: $18,012,097)

(Oh wow, a complete disaster. Who could have guessed the film based on a terrible Disney World ride would do terribly. And don’t even say the words “Pirates of the Caribbean”. You know this is a much different and worse idea than that.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 30% (24/81): Despite all the celebrities on hand, this spin-off from a theme park attraction still feels tired and hokey.

(I honestly can’t even believe it did that well. I guess that is what you can get when you are innocuous enough. The cast is pretty impressive … but so was Marmadukes, so … Reviewer Highlight: By turns numbingly dull-witted and disquietingly creepy. – Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle)

Poster – The Country Sklogs (A)

country_bears

(Nice balance. Nice color. And unique font. I honestly can’t think of anything bad to say about it other than that it is a poster for The Country Bears.)

Tagline(s) – They’re legends. Bearly. (C)

(This started as an F as my brain rejected it… but it’s creeping up on me. It’s already climbed up to a C as it tickles something in my brain. Quick! We gotta run before I give this an A.)

Keyword(s) – bear; Top Ten by BMeTric: 76.4 Hercules in New York (1970); 71.8 Furry Vengeance (2010); 70.6 Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001); 70.1 On Deadly Ground (1994); 67.0 Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009); 65.4 Yogi Bear (2010); 65.3 Chernobyl Diaries (2012); 61.2 Norm of the North (2016); 60.4 The Guardians (2017); 57.4 Zombeavers (2014);

(We probably aren’t going to watch Hercules in New York. It isn’t a real movie. Yogi Bear on the other had is definitely in play as is, gulp, Norm of the North if we are feeling particularly bad about our state of mind one week. I’m personally offended that The Great Outdoors didn’t make the list)

Notes – After Tennessee and Trixie’s performance in the bar, a bar patron comments that it was better than Eagles. The patron is Don Henley, who is one of the founding members of the Eagles and who provided the singing voice for Tennessee. The female companion he says it to is Bonnie Raitt, who provided the voice for Trixie. (Ugh)

This is the first Disney film to feature Christopher Walken, who never made another Disney film until The Jungle Book (2016), 14 years later.

Though Haley Joel Osment voices Beary, veteran voice-over actress Elizabeth Daily provided his singing voice.

Disney’s later film, The Muppets (2011) featured a nearly identical plot to this one. (HA)

An outside shot of Country Bear Hall pans up to the night sky to shot a constellation, the Big Dipper aka Ursa Major aka Big Bear.

When Henry gives Beary a tour of Country Bear Hall, he names a few performers who had played there back in the day, including Liver Lips McGrowl. McGrowl is one of the many singing bears featured in the “Country Bear Jamboree” in Walt Disney World, on which the movie was based. (These notes make me sad)

While on the tour bus, Fred shows Beary his harmonica that his dad gave to him. In the “Country Bear Jamboree” show at Walt Disney World that the movie is based off of, it is mentioned in song that Fred picked up his harmonica playing from his father. (Please stop, I can only take so much of this)

Peter Hastings Directorial Debut. (One and done. One and done. One and done)

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Christopher Walken)

Air Bud: Golden Receiver Preview

There are a number of Bring a Friend films that we really went out of our way to accommodate. This week is one of those. When it came to the category of Kids films we really wanted to watch something that was a major release, but we would never ever ever ever watch. Not something like Son of Mask, Marmaduke, or the recently watched Baby Geniuses films, where they transcend the “Never Watch Kids Films” BMT rule, but rather a run-of-the-will children’s film that happened to be terrible. So you know what that means. That’s right! We’re watching Clan of the Cave BeAir Bud: Golden Receiver! There is literally a 0% chance that we would have ever watch Air Bud 2. Wouldn’t have happened without Bring a Friend. The same could almost be said about the BMT film that brought it along. Clan of the Cave Bear is a 1986 adaptation of a 1980 historical fiction book set in the Paleolithic era. I has come up before for BMT, but more seriously as an entry for a book-to-film cycle, since the book was a worldwide success and spawned five sequels. I’ve always been curious to read it and now’s my chance. The film ended up being a gigantic box office flop, so hopefully it can live down to that hype. Let’s go!

Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998) – BMeTric: 44.8

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(This really really has that 2011 inflection, although not very many votes at all. And I’ve never seen that U-shape before on the rating, at least not so far after the release. Why it goes down from 2004 to 2007 is beyond me, a true mystery. I smell a little forensic research perhaps: Why did the IMDb rating for Air Bud 2 drop to 4.0 in 2007?!)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Title canine catches pigskins rather than shoots hoops. He and his young owner (Zegers, the lone cast member from the original) join the school football team – plus, a pair of Boris and Natasha-like villains plot to abduct the pooch for their traveling circus. Predictable but harmless fun. Followed by several direct-to-video sequels.

(Predictable but harmless fun, the reason why the Bad Movie Twins no longer watch kids’ films (until now!). I’m sure this will be a non-stop thrill ride … given that the film has a sub-5 on IMDb it is kind of weird Leonard gives it such a break. It is no doubt a stone cold terrible film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBFhdl17YJ0

(Probably the most incredible use of Tubthumping I’ve ever seen. And honestly, the director probably regretted having the kid call the dog the “new wide receptor” instead of the new wide receiver. Seems like just a dumb error instead of a dumb joke. The whole trailer kind of blows my mind honestly.)

Directors – Richard Martin – (BMT: Air Bud: Golden Receiver; Notes: An experimental filmmaker, he is the son of Dick Martin who was a comedian in the 60s appearing on things like Match Game.)

Writers – Kevin DiCicco (character “Air Bud”) – (Known For: Air Bud; BMT: Air Bud: Golden Receiver; Notes: Air Bud’s trainer, who found him as a stray and trained him in a variety of sports. He made a franchise out of the character of Air Buddy he created which featured on America’s Funniest Home Videos initially.)

Paul Tamasy (characters & written by) – (Known For: Patriots Day; The Finest Hours; The Fighter; Air Bud; BMT: Air Bud: Golden Receiver; Notes: Despite being nominated for an academy award for The Fighter, there is very little information about this guy. Air Bud was his first gig, so likely just something he did to break into Hollywood.)

Aaron Mendelsohn (characters & written by) – (Known For: Air Bud; BMT: Air Bud: Golden Receiver; Notes: Born in Alaska, he has been heavily involved with the Writer’s Guild over the past ten years.)

Actors – Kevin Zegers – (Known For: Aftermath; Wrong Turn; Dawn of the Dead; In the Mouth of Madness; Frozen; It’s a Boy Girl Thing; The Jane Austen Book Club; Air Bud; Transamerica; Gardens of the Night; Fifty Dead Men Walking; The Stone Angel; Future BMT: Zoom; The Colony; The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones; MVP: Most Valuable Primate; Life with Mikey; The Curse of Downers Grove; BMT: Air Bud: Golden Receiver; Notes: I don’t know how this guy survived being a child actor starring in four Air Bud films and MVP: Most Valuable Primate. But he has had an impressive recent career on television including an extended stint on Gossip Girl.)

Cynthia Stevenson – (Known For: Jennifer’s Body; Happiness; The Player; Home for the Holidays; Forget Paris; Tiger Eyes; Future BMT: Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London; Agent Cody Banks; Case 39; Full of It; Live Nude Girls; BMT: I Love You, Beth Cooper; Air Bud: Golden Receiver; Notes: She did six Air Bud movies! She’s been all over television and movies for years. The Air Bud movies make sense considering they are show in Canada and both her and Zegers are in fact Canadian.)

Tim Conway – (Known For: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water; The Apple Dumpling Gang; The Shaggy D.A.; The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again; Future BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Cannonball Run II; Dear God; BMT: Air Bud: Golden Receiver; Notes: He got third billed? He’s the announcer for the final State Championship game at the end so …)

Budget/Gross – $11 million / Domestic: $10,224,116

(Not great. Why does an Air Bud movie cost $11 million to make I wonder? These small mysteries surround this film. Probably made mad cash on DVD purchases and rentals though, that is a shockingly large amount of money, especially in 1998.)

#42 for the Dog genre

airbud2_dog

(Not too far ahead of Fluke … not a good look. What I see from this graph is that everyone loves dogs. I kind of love this plot because there is almost a specific trough when Air Bud 2 is released. As if the American people collectively said: No, unacceptable.)

#36 for the Family – Animal (Live action) genre

airbud2_animal

(Below Monkey Trouble which isn’t a great look. I would have guessed Babe was the start to the big 90s boom, but I actually think it is Beethoven, Homeward Bound and Free Willy in ‘92/’93. I have other more unfounded theories about the genre in general, specifically that this was when home video took off and family focused entertainment became a big deal, and animal training was still super cheap.)

#30 for the Sports – Football genre

airbud2_football

(Below Little Giants which isn’t a great look. Football films come in waves, although I couldn’t say why. Perhaps there is a natural rhythm to American audience’s tastes in sports films? Couldn’t say. Last big one was Concussion unfortunately (for the sport, I would assume interest overall is waning with a decline in general))

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (6/29): No consensus yet.

(Let’s make one: A shadow of the original, this lazy sequel is predictable and poorly written, even if it is an innocuous family-focused affair. Some of those are from the time even, like Ebert’s, which is somewhat surprising.)

Poster – Sklog Bud: Golden Receiver (C-)

air_bud_golden_receiver_ver1

(The lower quality makes it a bit tough to judge, but I like the symmetry (even if it suggests, against all odds, that Buddy is the star center for the Timberwolves). Otherwise, just a bright colorful kids’ movie poster, what is there to say?)

Tagline(s) – Just dog it. (F)

(NOPE)

Keyword(s) – russian; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.4 Street Fighter (1994); 86.2 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 83.2 Rollerball (2002); 65.0 Fair Game (1995); 64.1 Tekken (2010); 61.4 Virus (1999); 59.3 xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017); 58.8 The Transporter Refueled (2015); 58.8 A Good Day to Die Hard (2013); 58.6 Jupiter Ascending (2015);

(Sadly we have basically already done Street Fighter outside of the scope of BMT. We did Legend of Chun Li (Hall of Fame inductee) in our first year and back then BMT was like the wild west. We weren’t reading books, doing homework, or anything! A true disaster. So we have both seen Street Fighter fairly recently, so it is unlikely to earn a spot in the rotation anytime soon. So many bad movies, so little time, you know?)

Notes – Six dogs played Bud.

Movie is in memory of “Buddy” who starred in “Air Bud” as a dog who played basketball.

Are We Done Yet? Preview

Onwards and upwards to Chain Reaction. After painting ourselves into a corner last year we finally fully extricated ourselves from the mess by landing on Ride Along 2. This cycle we get to move from that to the Are We There Yet? Series through Ice Cube. While this is not the worst reviewed set of films in history (that would obviously go to Baby Geniuses and Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 with a shocking 2% and 0% RT scores, respectively), this is pretty spectacular in its own right with 11% and 8% RT scores for the two films. Also, it has the strange distinction of having the first film be totally original and then having the second film be a remake of the Cary Grant film Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House (that was in turn based on a book which itself was expanded from a short story). Sometimes you can’t make this shit up. Let’s go! Finish up the week’s previews with the home-reno laugh-fest installment of the mega-franchise:

Are We Done Yet? (2007) – BMeTric: 64.7

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(Unlike its predecessor I’m not very surprised with how these graphics look because it is a sequel to a terrible film. I am rather delighted by how close the BMeTrics are (Are We There Yet? has a BMeTric of 62.5). The rating does regress to the mean more this time, although perhaps the rating is just rising to reach the equally terrible Are We There Yet?? I don’t know. Nice 2011 inflection like usual. Clockwork at this point.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Inevitable sequel to Are We There Yet? Is also an official remake of the 1948 comedy Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (complete with RKO Radio PIctures logo), but Ice Cube isn’t Cary Grant and this script is much more bland than Blandings. Premise is basically the same: a man moves his growing family out of the crowded city and into his “dream house” in the suburbs, where everything goes wrong. Endlessly unfunny slapstick antics may have you looking at your watch and asking the real question: “Is it over yet?”

(Ugh, much more bland? As a person who has now seen Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House … I’m skeptical a movie could be more bland. Or at least I hope Are We Done Yet? isn’t as frustrating. I was squirming in my seat and only survived because of the telegraphed happy ending. Sigh.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op8AlTe5Js8

(Boooooo. These don’t look like fun bad movies, they look like bad boring movies. You better not bore me for three hours. Give me something to latch onto, a little lifesaver I can float on in the rocking bad movie seas.)

Directors – Steve Carr – (Known For: Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life; Dr. Dolittle 2; BMT: Movie 43 (BMT); Are We Done Yet?; Paul Blart: Mall Cop (BMT); Daddy Day Care; Rebound; Next Friday; Notes:  Won the Razzie Award in 2014 for Worst Director for Movie 43; Wouldn’t be surprising to complete this guy’s filmography in the not-too-distant-future. Used to be a music video director and got his start with Next Friday after directing one of Ice Cube’s music videos. Currently attached to the terribly named Cinderfella which has a perfectly obvious plotline … it is Cinderella by the opposite.)

Writers – Hank Nelken (screenplay & screen story) – (BMT: Are We Done Yet?; Saving Silverman; Mama’s Boy; Notes: The only screenwriter on this project it would seem as the others are credited for either Are We There Yet? or the “original movie” Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. This guy has a true blue pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps story starting in Mississippi and Texas making Bar Mitzvah videos and ultimately in Hollywood. He has no credits since 2011, but I would guess he’s been working behind the scenes for a while. He was at one point attached to a remake of the film Outlaw Blues.)

Steven Gary Banks and Claudia Grazioso (characters) – (BMT: Are We Done Yet?; Are We There Yet?; Notes: Wrote the predecessor Are We There Yet? Their note in that preview is quite interesting as it would seem they were tapped to write Just Go With It (probably with the intention of starring Ice Cube) which was eventually made without these guys and with Adam Sandler starring instead.)

Norman Panama (screenplay) – (Known For: Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House; White Christmas; The Court Jester; Road to Utopia; My Favorite Blonde; BMT: Are We Done Yet?; Notes: Long time writing partner with Frank. It is kind of amazing to see one of the founding partnerships of Hollywood, they started writing together at the University of Chicago in 1942! They only have a credit on this film because Are We Done Yet? Is apparently an adaptation of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, which is in turn based on a book, which was expanded from an original short story. I find it nuts that they so explicitly consider it an adaptation, the movie was made in 1950!)

Melvin Frank (screenplay) – (Known For: Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House; White Christmas; The Court Jester; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; A Touch of Class; Road to Utopia; My Favorite Blonde; BMT: Are We Done Yet?; The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox; Notes: Long time writing partner with Panama. Considered to be by far the more successful of the two because after going their separate ways in the 1960s Frank continued to direct (including the Oscar winning film A Touch of Class) and produce. Fun fact: I’ve always meant to watch The Court Jester because it stars a young Angela Lansbury and I am a Murder She Wrote mega-fan. Not joking.)

Actors – Ice Cube – (Known For: xXx: Return of Xander Cage; 21 Jump Street; Friday; The Book of Life; 22 Jump Street; Boyz n the Hood; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; Three Kings; Barbershop; Rampart; Higher Learning; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; Trespass; The Glass Shield; The Longshots; BMT: xXx²: State of the Union (BMT); Anaconda; Torque (BMT); Are We Done Yet?; Ghosts of Mars (BMT); Are We There Yet?; First Sunday; Lottery Ticket; Ride Along 2 (BMT); Friday After Next; I Got the Hook Up; All About the Benjamins; Dangerous Ground; Ride Along (BMT); Next Friday; The Players Club; Notes: It is always weird writing two previews back to back when the same actors are in both. I’ll just say that I would put him right up there with The Rock as far as people who I would watch in a movie based on charm alone.)

Nia Long – (Known For: Friday; Keanu; Boyz n the Hood; Boiler Room; Alfie; Soul Food; The Best Man; The Best Man Holiday; Lemon; Roxanne Roxanne; The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy; BMT: Big Momma’s House 2 (BMT); Are We Done Yet?; Are We There Yet?; Big Momma’s House (BMT); Made in America; Premonition; The Single Moms Club; Held Up; Stigmata; Notes: Same as with Ice Cube, this is the third little write up I’ve done for here in about a month.  I would think Premonition is the last major BMT left in her filmography … which does actually qualify for our next planned cycle, Films That Got <10% on Rotten Tomatoes. So maybe a fourth Nia Long vehicle is coming our way.)

John C. McGinley – (Known For: Se7en; The Belko Experiment; Platoon; Office Space; Point Break; Identity; The Rock; Any Given Sunday; Wall Street; 42; Born on the Fourth of July; World Trade Center; Set It Off; Kid Cannabis; Nixon; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening (BMT); The Animal; Are We Done Yet?; On Deadly Ground (BMT); Alex Cross (BMT); Get Carter (BMT); Summer Catch; Stealing Harvard; Car 54, Where Are You?; Get a Job; Wagons East; Wild Hogs (BMT); Three to Tango; Notes: I love McGinley and will look forward to completing his BMT filmography one day. Five movies is incredibly impressive. Favorite fact from IMDb? Raised in Millburn, NJ, and attended Millburn Senior High School, the alma mater of Anne Hathaway. Fun because that means he attended the same high school as bad movie mega-star Elliot Kalan of the Flop House, The Daily Show, and producer for the remake of Mystery Science Theater 3000.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $49,662,533 (Worldwide: $58,388,068)

(Interesting that there is no budget, so I can only really comment with regards to what I would consider to be a successful comedy and expectations given the first film. Considering that the first film got close to what I would call a comedy hit ($100 million) this was probably a disappointment. Perhaps it is why, I think, Ice Cube has not starred in a PG film since.)

#21 for the Comedy – Fish-Out-of-Water Father genre

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(Ah sliding right in there as the genre is dying. Classic. This came in right around Hall of Fame nominee Old Dogs. As I said in the Are We There Yet? preview the genre could potentially be dead? There hasn’t been a new contribution since 2013. Bumbling father is a classic though, I feel like it’ll come back.)

#59 for the Comedy – Sequel (Live Action) genre

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(Ride Along 2, Paul Blart 2, Big Momma 2, Be Cool and last week’s Miss Congeniality 2 are all live action comedy sequels we’ve seen in the last year or so! Coming in a shade above Miss Congeniality 2 is not a good look, and it came just as the genre was taking a little financial nap. Once they see a bit of money they bleed any and all potential franchises dry, that includes terrible family comedies with Ice Cube.)

#21 for the Comedy Remake genre

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(Ooooooo right at the end of producers yelling to their assistants: “Hey, Carl, what sweet IP we got?” and getting the response “Uh, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House from 1948” … “Make that a sequel to something”. This comes in right above Yours, Mine and Ours (2005) and the genre has taken quite a hit recently with very few productions and a lackluster return from Ghostbusters.)

#20 for the Family – Remake genre

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(……. these last two graphics are basically the same. So yeah, Family/Comedy Remakes aren’t doing so hot. Actually, most comedy remakes are probably family oriented if the source material was from before the 80’s now that I think of it. This came in just below the classic Angels in the Outfield. Recently Jungle Book was a smash hit … wait a minute, these graphs don’t include the live action remakes of the Disney movies like Cinderella. That doesn’t really make sense but whatever.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (7/93): Are We Done Yet? plays it way too safe with generic slapstick and uninspired domestic foibles.

(Less than 10% on rotten tomatoes is very rare, and more so when you consider that the film garnered almost 100 reviews. I think I can turn my brain off and enjoy generic slapstick. The domestic foibles on the other hand …)

Poster – Are Sklogs Done Yet? (D+)

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(This is the same poster as for the last one so why not copy that: There is a whole class of posters that a similar to this that I just hate, hate, hate. Too much empty space and not enough stylization of the characters on the poster. The font is still okay and, bonus, making Are Sklogs Done Yet? would be a bit harder because so much stuff is all over the title. I docked a grade because they plagiarized themselves.)

Tagline(s) – New house. New family. What could possibly go wrong? (F)

(Fuck this. This is the same as the last tagline too!! The last tagline was: 24 hours. 350 miles. His girlfriend’s kids. What could possibly go wrong? Everything. We get it. Everything can and will go wrong.)

Keyword(s) – renovation; Top Ten by BMeTric: 80.8 Home Alone 3 (1997); 74.1 Prom Night (I) (2008); 64.7 Are We Done Yet? (2007); 56.5 Poltergeist III (1988); 46.1 Meet the Browns (2008); 40.2 Xanadu (1980); 33.3 From Prada to Nada (2011); 26.4 Psychosis (I) (2010); 25.9 Baby Mama (2008); 24.1 Dark Shadows (2012);

(I think this is the first time I’ve found a keyword where we haven’t seen any of the movies. Xanadu will happen soon enough I think. Besides that though I don’t really see any of the others on the BMT horizon.)

Notes – A quote from Nick, “I don’t know karate, but I know ka-razay!” when he’s confronting Chuck, are actually lyrics from James Brown’s 1974 single “The Payback” from the album of the same name.

Shipped to theaters under the name “Needs Work” (I honestly hate these “fun” facts. It just never seems all that important what a movie shipped as, nor are they ever clever or funny)

When Nick tells Chuck, who is played by John C. McGinley, that he feels good sitting on a private toilet, Chuck says, “Feeling good is good enough.” That line is said by Willem Dafoe in the 1986 Oscar winner Platoon, which stars McGinley. (Fun fact I guess)

Ice Cube was approached to do another sequel, but declined, saying that he wanted to go in a different direction. He then proposed that the movie idea be turned into a TV show, which it did: Are We There Yet? (2010). (Smart. Ice Cube seems like a smart dude. My guess is he realized he didn’t want to be shoehorned into family comedies like Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, and Martin Lawrence seemed to be. Also my guess as to why the writers got dropped from Just Go With It when they realized they couldn’t get Cube)

Are We There Yet? Preview

Onwards and upwards to Chain Reaction. After painting ourselves into a corner last year we finally fully extricated ourselves from the mess by landing on Ride Along 2. This cycle we get to move from that to the Are We There Yet? Series through Ice Cube. While this is not the worst reviewed set of films in history (that would obviously go to Baby Geniuses and Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 with a shocking 2% and 0% RT scores, respectively), this is pretty spectacular in its own right with 11% and 8% RT scores for the two films. Also, it has the strange distinction of having the first film be totally original and then having the second film be a remake of the Cary Grant film Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House (that was in turn based on a book which itself was expanded from a short story). Sometimes you can’t make this shit up. Let’s go! To start the road trip extravaganza:

Are We There Yet? (2005) – BMeTric: 62.5

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(There are two interesting things in these graphs. First, I’m genuinely surprised at how high the BMeTric is. I would have assumed a film with a sequel wouldn’t have been a complete catastrophe. Second, if you ignore the initial uptick the rating is pretty stable over the years and at a surprisingly low 4.2(ish). All signs point to this being a simply terrible film. Can’t wait.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  If you wait long enough, just about anything can happen, including Ice Cube turning into Fred MacMurray. Actor Cube isn’t the problem here, but a stale premise is: the child-hating owner of a sports memorabilia store transports two headstrong kids over a long, disaster-prone trip to Vancouver, all to help hottie-mama Lond out of a scheduling ham while getting into her good graces. Before turning in this box-office success, director Levant did Problem Child 2 and Snow Dogs. Forewarned is forearmed.

(So much to unpack here. (1) Forewarned is forearmed? I honestly had never heard the phrase until now and it just seems so strangely out of place to me. And yet looking it up it dates to at least the 16th century and has been used throughout the years and has a quite literal meaning. (2) Calling out the director specifically for Problem Child 2, who do you think you are Leonard … me? (3) Name dropping Fred MacMurray in a review of an Ice Cube family comedy. All bold moves. Something just makes me love this entire review.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cn7IPP2bc5c

(Wow the music. I will say this though: this is a straight kids movie, why are we watching this and how are we going to judge it. Also the Paul Bunyan Ax would have seriously injured Ice Cube)

Directors – Brian Levant – (BMT: The Flintstones; The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; Are We There Yet?; Problem Child 2; Snow Dogs; Jingle All the Way; The Spy Next Door; Beethoven; Notes:  Won the Razzie Award in 1995 for Worst Screenplay for The Flintstones; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1997 for Worst Director for Jingle All the Way; Notable television writer starting his career on the Jeffersons and writing for other huge shows like Happy Days. He wrote Sklog childhood staple Problem Child 2. Egad, imagine doing that for BMT?! Gross.)

Writers – Steven Gary Banks and Claudia Grazioso (story & screenplay) – (BMT: Are We Done Yet?; Are We There Yet?; Notes: Writing duo. Not much about them … but their not-a-movie Family Dude seems to morph into Just Go With It, no? Just in Hawaii with Adam Sandler instead of Montana. That is kind of nuts, they must have landed Sandler and then cut Banks and Grazioso free. As a matter of fact I wonder if they were thinking of Just Go With It as the third Are We There Yet? movie starring Ice Cube as well. Would have had to be a different character though, he doesn’t need to pretend to have a family. But perhaps it was supposed to be Cube’s next PG film and he bailed in favor of better projects.)

David Stem (screenplay) – (Known For: Shrek 2; Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius; The Rugrats Movie; Rugrats in Paris; BMT: Daddy Day Camp; Are We There Yet?; The Smurfs (BMT); The Smurfs 2 (BMT); Clockstoppers; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Screenplay for Daddy Day Camp; The next two have also been writing partners since 1992. These guys worked on the Nickelodeon classic Roundhouse! Be still my beating heart. Is in the process of writing the sequel to Enchanted with Amy Adams.)

David N. Weiss (screenplay) – (Known For: Shrek 2; All Dogs Go to Heaven; Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius; The Rugrats Movie; Rugrats in Paris; BMT: Daddy Day Camp; Are We There Yet?; The Smurfs (BMT); The Smurfs 2 (BMT); Clockstoppers; Rock-A-Doodle; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Screenplay for Daddy Day Camp; Before he teamed up with Sterm this guy wrote All Dogs Go to Heaven and Rock-A-Doodle. I’m star struck over here. He’s written several children’s books and both Weiss and Stern were nominated for an Emmy as part of the writing team behind Rugrats.)

Actors – Ice Cube – (Known For: xXx: Return of Xander Cage; 21 Jump Street; Friday; The Book of Life; 22 Jump Street; Boyz n the Hood; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; Three Kings; Barbershop; Rampart; Higher Learning; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; Trespass; The Glass Shield; The Longshots; BMT: xXx²: State of the Union (BMT); Anaconda; Torque (BMT); Are We Done Yet?; Ghosts of Mars (BMT); Are We There Yet?; First Sunday; Lottery Ticket; Ride Along 2 (BMT); Friday After Next; I Got the Hook Up; All About the Benjamins; Dangerous Ground; Ride Along (BMT); Next Friday; The Players Club; Notes: Slowly creeping up the ladder of BMT legends. Obviously most famous for being part of NWA and in my opinion he has made an incredible transition to acting. Seeing xXx 3 as non-BMT makes me sick to my stomach. Disgusting.)

Nia Long – (Known For: Friday; Keanu; Boyz n the Hood; Boiler Room; Alfie; Soul Food; The Best Man; The Best Man Holiday; Lemon; Roxanne Roxanne; The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy; BMT: Big Momma’s House 2 (BMT); Are We Done Yet?; Are We There Yet?; Big Momma’s House (BMT); Made in America; Premonition; The Single Moms Club (BMT); Held Up; Stigmata; Notes:  Against all odds these two movies will be the second and third Nia Long movies we’ve watched in this cycle alone! If only she had appeared in Big Momma Like Father Like Son. The younger half-sister of comedian Sommore)

Also stars Aleisha Allen (who was in School of Rock)

Budget/Gross – $32 million / Domestic: $82,674,398 (Worldwide: $97,918,663)

(That is a pretty significant success so not shocking they made a sequel. Anything near $100 million is quite good for a comedy.)

#10 for the Comedy – Fish-Out-of-Water Father genre

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(This comes in right above a recent BMT (Cheaper by the Dozen) and far above Hall of Fame inductee Old Dogs. Naturally right at the peak of as genre which may or may not attempt a comeback soon. The fact that zero films have been placed in this genre on Box Office Mojo since 2013 makes me think the odds aren’t good.)

#10 for the Comedy – Road Trip genre

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(I love it! I feel like we haven’t seen a “novel” trend in one of these in a while. Here the genre was put to quite the long term test from around 2000-2010. Given how there was an intense burst with Dumb and Dumber in 1995 and then the genre slowly climbed its was back to reasonable box office returns, I’m surprised by the lull in 2010. If I were to guess it is, like many other things, a genre that kind of got pushed to the side as tentpoles were being hastily assembled. It is nice to see that it has recovered and has not been relegated to VOD forevermore … although recent ones have not been great including the sequel to the aforementioned Dumb and Dumberer. This came in near the reviled Tammy. BMT classic Wild Hogs came in number one, where’s my sequel?!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (13/116): This supposed family comedy staring [sic] the usually blameless Ice Cube and Nia Long has provoked most critics to write, “Is it over yet?”

(Hilarious type in the consensus. Not actually as uncommon as you would think. For an initial movie in a two part series that score is very very low. Supposed comedy is a little concerning. Sounds … boring.)

Poster – Are We Sklog Yet? (C-)

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(There is a whole class of posters that a similar to this that I just hate, hate, hate. Too much empty space and not enough stylization of the characters on the poster. Here the font is OK and the visual tells me a story so not a total loss. For the record: it would still be really easy to make Are We Sklog Yet?)

Tagline(s) – 24 hours. 350 miles. His girlfriend’s kids. What could possibly go wrong? (D-)

(That is for real the tagline for this film and it is terrifying. Like the worst. Can’t give it an F though cause it does give me some tantalizing details about the plot. What could possibly go wrong indeed.)

Keyword(s) – car fire; Top Ten by BMeTric: 62.5 Are We There Yet? (2005); 62.3 The Last Exorcism Part II (2013); 59.9 Cell (I) (2016); 56.7 The 5th Wave (2016); 55.7 Spring Breakers (2012); 53.2 Cold Creek Manor (2003); 49.9 Point Break (2015); 46.1 Sleepwalkers (1992); 42.1 The Black Dahlia (2006); 41.6 Southland Tales (2006);

(Thinking about it I can’t wait to watch Southland Tales. Somehow that has just flown under the radar for years. Otherwise a sparse list with the 5th Wave seeming particularly weak … kind of amazing it is near 60 BMeTric at the moment)

Notes – Ice Cube’s first PG-rated movie. (And I think this series is his only foray into that genre. Prob will stay that way I would think)

Actor Ice Cube stated on Late Night with Conan O’Brien (1993) that this film was originally intended as an Adam Sandler vehicle. (Jeez, that makes a ton of sense)

Despite the film’s title, “Are We There Yet?” is only said once in the film. (Small blessings)

Kevin said his mom (Nia Long) thinks Nick is better looking than Taye Diggs. Nia Long and Taye Diggs played love interests in The Best Man and The Best Man Holiday. (fun facts)

When Nick is asked what Suzanne’s kids names are, he answers ‘Theo and Rudy [Huxtable]’ from The Cosby Show (1984). (ooooof that joke has not aged well to say the least)