The Chamber Recap

Jamie

BMTsolution right off the bat, guys. That’s because The Chamber was actually based on a book and not just on one that exists in my head. It’s a John Grisham book that it quite the slow burn (emphasis on slow), but which grew on me as I understood that it wasn’t a legal thriller at all, but rather a family drama centered around the possible moral issues associated with the death penalty. The main character wasn’t really defending his grandfather to save him (he never had much of a shot) but rather trying to discover his family before his grandfather’s bomb does its final damage. It already destroyed his personal history, it may destroy him, and it may destroy the state that compromises its morals for a notion of justice. It’s a story of how the death penalty is an extension of the crime (or so the main character believes). I liked it quite a bit… which made me nervous for what must have gone wrong for the film to get such bad reviews. The answer? Everything… every… single… thing.

This was the worst. Just the worst. If I had seen this in theaters I would have walked out. I nearly threw my TV out the window for having the gall (the AUDACITY) to dare bring such a thing into my home (my HOME!). It’s like the screenwriters looked at the book and said, “I liked the moral quandary this posed, but what if… it didn’t?” And it’s biggest crime? It wasn’t just a bad adaptation of a book I liked that personally offended me. It was a BORING bad adaptation of a book I liked that personally offended me. So bad that I have to TYPE IN ALL CAPITALS. That being said I thought Hackman was great and the directing good. I also understand that most people who haven’t read the book recently would probably watch the film and be like “Whatever.” Unfortunately I read the book.

A lesser known fact about The Chamber: it’s original working title was MonoSklog Central* and boy did it live up to its name. There were at least five separate MonoSklogs in the film. Some of Hackman’s were quite good. The others, not so much. In the end the best (i.e. worst) is probably Chris O’Donnell’s impassioned speech defending his racist grandfather (which we called Mi Abuelo). Unfortunately there is no available YouTube clip for this monologue. You’ll just have to watch the movie yourself.

*Not all facts presented on badmovietwins.com are true


Patrick

‘Ello everyone. You know what? I’m going to let Jamie’s part stand for The Chamber. He is passionate about it (as disgusting as that it). So just one quick point:

From the perspective of a person who did not read the book the movie was merely boring. You could kind of tell they tried to thrillerize something, but missed on the thrilling part. And O’Donnell was terrible while Hackman was amazing. I think that was sufficiently positive for my BMTsolution.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Juwanna Mann Recap

Jamie

Last week I got to talk a whole bunch about the New Jersey State Prison that was featured in the film Lock Up. Unfortunately, I was never employed by the Charlotte Hornets, so I can’t give similar insight for Juwanna Mann. Instead I’ll take this time to speak about the athletes that were featured in the film (that’s part of the reason it was chosen after all). In the film we got to see Jamal Jeffries play for the Charlotte Beat, a fictional team consisting of him, Vlade Divac, Muggsy Bogues, Dikembe Mutombo, and Rasheed Wallace. This would probably be the most entertaining team in the history of the NBA (two seven-footers, Jamal, the shortest player in the NBA, and Rassshhheeeeed Wallace!), but a trainwreck otherwise. As far as acting goes they were all pretty solid. I was pleasantly surprised. However, they were only featured in the opening scene, which is a shame. If I could have a wish granted regarding this film, it would be that there existed some cut scene where Rasheed shows up to try out for the Banshees dressed in drag, only to get quickly ushered out by Jamal. Rasheed reveals that he knows Juwanna is Jamal (“Balls don’t lie,” says Rasheed, pointing at Juwanna’s crotch) and wants in on the action. Jamal refuses and Rasheed promises to not reveal the secret. Having been neatly tied up, the plot point is never heard from again. Sigh… if only.

I certainly would wonder how it was possible that a man could play on the team for a whole season without having a physical/drug test reveal his gender. I would have to conclude that there was a conspiracy to let it happen (for increased ratings) or that the league was so financially strapped that simple physicals weren’t even conducted. Neither option would be a good look for the league.

By the way there is a fantastic MonoSklog in this film. We knew this film probably had a MonoSklog (because… well… it just would) and it really, really delivered. Big Momma’s House level banananananananas. I call it Mi Equipo  Es muy bonito. Well worth checking out if you can find it (it does not appear to be on YouTube).

As for my BMTsolution: this film was not based on a book… but if it was it would be a 1970s postmodern novel about how Buffalo Braves star Jared Jefferson struggles to cope with the pressures of NBA stardom along with those related to his secret life as a man in the midst of a male-to-female sex change operation. I would have read the book and been touched by its stirring portrayal of Jared’s vulnerabilities in a world that has yet to know his true self. Then I would watch Juwanna Mann and realize what the film was trying to tell us all along: life’s too short. Laugh once in awhile. It would then go on to win the Smaddies Baddies Freddy Got Fingered Award for film that isn’t that bad. Alas, what could have been.


Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Juwanna Mann? More like Iwanna Turn This Movie Off! Heeeeeyooooo. BMTsolution means I need to be positive …. I believe in myself, I can do this. Let’s get into it.

  • Good – I thought Pollak, despite apparently having no desire to be in this film, was pretty solid, especially in the second half of the movie. The movie’s premise isn’t as ludicrous as I thought it would be. And the movie is charming in a we-aren’t-going-to-even-address-the-absurdity-so-don’t-even-worry-about-it kind of way.
  • Bad – The premise is ludicrous and absurd. It only gets more so when they finally address the fact that Juwanna would have been immediately drug tested by the league, and then forget about it two seconds later.
  • Nunez is okay, but there is no way a movie like this should rely on him.
  • In something like Big Momma’s House or Norbit the makeup itself was enough to warrant the movie existing. It was legitimately impressive (there is a reason Norbit was nominated for an Oscar, the makeup). Here … Nunez pretty much wears some foundation and fake boobs. Congrats guys.
  • I’ll end it just by saying: in the movie his team is allowed to continue playing in the playoffs after he is caught, WTF?! That is ridiculous.

Let’s do a new game called BMT News with George Sklogonopoulos. In this game I’ll pose a social-impact question from the recently watched movie and try and answer it. Here: If the events of Juwanna Mann occurred in real life what would this mean for the WNBA, and what would happen to Jefferies?

In my opinion: The playoffs would be suspended pending a large scale investigation and most of the high-level executives for the WNBA would be removed. Jamal Jefferies would be banned for life from all sporting activities and would become a pariah, especially once allegation of sexual assault are uncovered (and they would be, he assaults all of the women throughout the film). This would be the biggest sports story in history, so explosive it would potentially take down an entire league. And it would make an incredible movie eventually, a truly heart-breaking drama of a man who wanted to play basketball so badly he lied to the world. I’m tearing up here. Get Netflix on the horn, we’re doing a reboot of the franchise.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Be Cool Recap

Jamie

Be Cool. Ugh. Patrick is having me do the full recap for this one because he’s putting all of the information on the BMeTric that he’s been developing together [which is now on the website!]. What a film to leave me with though. I surprisingly despised this film. It is terrible. I cannot believe that it garnered a 30% on RT. Were those reviewers crazy? Did they watch this travesty of a film that tarnished everything the Get Shorty built? I really need to read the book now just to know whether Leonard (Elmore that is… Maltin wishes) screwed up in conceiving the plot for a sequel seemingly made as a result of Get Shorty’s success, or whether the acting, adaption, and production choices combined into a super storm of shit. I sure hope it’s the latter, cause that would be a shame for Elmore Leonard. I fully expected this film to just be a ‘meh’ film that I would forget about until three years from now I wonder ‘wait, did we watch Be Cool for BMT? I think we did but can remember nothing of the plot.’ Not the case. I hated this film.

Onto my three points:

  1. John Travolta! You know what happens when you try to make a sequel to a John Travolta film 10 years after the original? You go from having John “Too Cool for School” Travolta in your film to have John “Scary Mask Face” Travolta who seems just super thrilled with how great things are going in the music biz. You almost expect his scary stretched out face to start exclaiming, ‘Oh boy, this sure is fun. Neato,’ as he smiles uncontrollably at the camera. It would be interesting to look at the films in between Get Shorty and Be Cool to try to pinpoint exactly where John Travolta “lost it”. Can Patrick and I quantify it? As scientists we may be the only ones capable of unlocking the mystery. My guess? A little film called Battlefield Earth. I think it broke something in his brain… and face.
  2. The cameos! So many cameos to go along with ridiculously long music video sequences for Aerosmith and The Black Eyed Peas. I recently watched the Entourage movie (yes, of my own volition. Don’t you judge me) and found the movie pretty shitty, but the cameos at least a bit fun. This was the opposite. The cameos made everything worse. Seemed like they were more interested in filling the movie with meaningless fluff, than actually filming anything relevant. Oh and Andre 3000, who had an actual role in the film, wasn’t much better than the cameos. Pretty rough stuff all around for musicians on the big screen.
  3. The Rock! Finally something good to say. Almost all of the comedic roles in the film were pretty bad. Cedric the Entertainer was just OK, Vince Vaughn was awful, awful, awful. The Rock, though, was the only part of the film that I kinda liked. He had a fun role as a gay bodyguard of sorts and you can really tell that he’s going to be a star. The only critique I have is more in the writing of the role. His homosexuality seems to just be used as a one note joke throughout the film. He is simply gay and everyone laughs at the idea that The Rock is gay… but there isn’t any substance to it. Just felt a bit dated even for 2005. In fact the entire film just felt dated and weird and awful and I hated everyone in the film.

That’s kind of the entire take away from the film. Everything is dated. nothing feels like it was made in 2005. What once felt real and interesting in Get Shorty now feels super lame. Chili Palmer (Travolta’s character) is no doubt about it super lame in this film. God, he’s the lamest. Thank God I’m done with this. Great end to the map. A film I really didn’t care for, apl.de.ap singing a little tune on the big screen, and a beautiful finished map. Love it.

Well, I really, really, really wanted to get a MonoSklog from this film, but Netflix failed me and couldn’t get me the disc in time (whaaaaa? Let the people in charge know. Not good for their brand when they let down a media juggernaut like BMT). Lucky for us the MonoSklogs I wanted are available on Youtube. The first one is an absolute gem by The Rock. I call it Mi MonoSklogio:

Hilarious, albeit a bit shorter than we usually go for. The second one is the “infamous” MonoSklog by Cedric the Entertainer. I call it Mi Cultura:

This is explicitly mentioned as not being in the book and written for the film. Egad! Both are pretty ridiculously bad. Which makes them good… for their badness.

Cheers,

The Sklogs

What Goes Up Recap

What goes up, must come down. Spinning wheel got to go round. Woooo! Love that song and love this documentary about the making of the Blood Sweat & Tears classic

… what’s that? Did I watch the wrong movie? It’s the one starring Steve Coogan, Hilary Duff, and Josh Peck, right? Yeah… I just assumed all the bullshit in the film was an extended allegory for the literal blood, sweat, and tears that David Clayton-Thomas poured into the making of that song and struggles of leading a contemporary American jazz-rock ensemble. No? Huh. Well then I’m completely flabbergasted cause nothing in the film really meant anything and it was all super weird and unnecessary. It was actually pretty unpleasant to watch. The main character was a doucher whose whole life is a sham and the kids all had upsetting lives. In particular, Olivia Thirlby’s character who had a pretty rough incest/abortion storyline. That’s right, second week in a row with an incest storyline! Last week it was A Thousand Acres, and this week What Goes Up followed it right up… because that’s what everyone’s clamoring for in their film selections: incest.

Alright, well I’m glad they made this film for the sake of my precious, precious map, but also kinda wish we could have just pretended we had never seen Eight Crazy Nights (or as I like to call it, Eight Cray Cray Nights). Like, would any of you have really cared or knew that Patrick and I tricked you? No. But we would have known in our hearts, and much like Coogan in What Goes Up, the lie would have been necessary, but also soul-consuming.

Anywho, gonna keep my MonoSklog section brief this week. Loved, loved, loved Josh Peck’s MonoSklog in What Goes Up. I call it Mi Panegírico, and if you can catch it it is worth it. There is something about how Josh Peck says “But everyone says ‘No… You gotta fucking accept it.'” that really make that scene. Just a really solid job right there. But like usual, Monosklogs are not for the website. Fair use just isn’t our bag you know?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What Go Up … Brings me down! What a depressing, weird, small, weird movie.

  • It was weird. It is hard to even make fun of. There is just so much that goes into it that seems like it is super serious. Probably super personal. But I feel like it is a mess. Just a jumble of symbols and messages and nothing really gets done particularly right.
  • Side stories alongside side stories. There’s a girl who was paralyzed in an accident, we get to see a story about that. There is Hilary Duff’s story of trying to seduce Coogan. Another girl was in love with the teacher who died. Two other girls are weirdos, and get involved in a variety of shenanigans. Josh Peck has a strange story about being fascinated with the principal’s wife and newborn child. The music teacher (who was in love (?) with the teacher who killed himself) is having a meltdown for various reasons. And Coogan has been fabricating stories about the woman he loved for months to deal with her suicide …. None of these storylines are particularly interesting.
  • Probably because Coogan’s character is a bad person whom I do not like.
  • This is unpleasant and it was a bad BMT film. The BMeTric based on IMDB votes and rating nailed it again (11.7/100 (NOTE: As of July 9, 2016) if you recall, where 25 is just about the BMThreshold for Enjoyment). This week we probably have a bit better chance (Critters 2 has a BMeTric of approximately 35/100, not bad).

That’s it. I want to see the Prequel to this movie called The Shed. It is about all these characters, how they get to be in Mr. C’s class, and how they learn acceptance and love. It ends with Coogan rolling into town. Literally no one will watch this film. Netflix, get off the horn, this movie does not and never will need to be made.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

A Thousand Acres Recap

Jamie

It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! Every once in a while we at BMTHQ stumble across a film that, for whatever reason, was underappreciated at the time. This doesn’t mean that the films were good by any means (looking at you Freddy Got Fingered), just that it seems odd that they got such bad reviews. A Thousand Acres is one of those films. Perhaps it was due to the fact that it was based on a beloved (at the time) book or maybe it was because there was a bit of drama in the pre- and postproduction stages of the film. I don’t know. All I know is that this was essentially a straight adaption of a book I loved (read: good story) which some really good acting. Could it have been better? Sure, there is a bit of a tonal problem when the film seems to set out to be a family film (or at least a film about families) and then shift into the realm of incest. But despite that shortcoming the rest of the film seemed perfectly reasonable. At the very least it shouldn’t have ended up at 23% on RT. That seems ridiculous.

Alright, it’s been a little bit since our last MonoSklog so you can thank A Thousand Acres for providing a gem for this week. I call it Mi Hermana [EDITOR’S NOTE: Link to video has been removed for rights reasons] (I don’t think we used that one yet). That is some serious staring-at-each-other-and-crying action. I can’t wait to use that in my regional theater auditions and shush the casting director if he doesn’t let me stare and cry long enough at the end. “It says 40 seconds of staring and crying God damn it and that’s what I’m going to do! Geez! Can’t an artist get a break in this town!”

Before I throw it to Patrick I would like to note that this is not the first film involving incest that we’ve watched for BMT. Not even the first on the map. That would be Georgia Rule, set in the great state of Idaho. And thinking about it, that film also suffered from a significant tonal problem as it vacillated between a family comedy and incest… And with that I’m out.

Patrick

It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! ‘Ello everyone. A Thousand Acres wasn’t that bad:

  • Actually, I rather enjoyed it. Sure some of the complex ideas from the book seemed to have been slightly lost in translation, but the performances were, dare I say, excellent?
  • I had two (minor) complaints. First, a little boring. It isn’t the most exciting movie you’ll ever watch. Second, Colin Firth’s character probably played a bigger role in the book, but in the movie the character just kind of melts away after the climax of the film. I understand the point of the character, but the movie as written kind of doesn’t need him.

That’s it! That’s the complaints. I’m not sure why it got such a poor reception at the time. I think a few years later and this guy does just fine. Whatever, not my problem, and a poor poor (but necessary addition) to the map (for another example, see this week). Since this is so short let’s get really into some BMT:CSI:SVU, non-Thousand Acres addition.

[NOTE: The following discussion was fleshed out in later posts, and then collected into this Institute post. I’ve removed the plots because, for the most part they are old and non representative of the ultimate analysis, but left as mch of the discussion as possible for archival reasons. Enjoy!]

So in the past few months I’ve become more and more fascinated by IMDB user ratings. The value is enigmatic, but I can’t get over how useful a measure of “popularity” is in assessing potential BMT candidates. The thing is it can’t be used for 2015 films because films gain a ton of their lifetime votes in their first year of release. So, using the way back machine (the internet archive) I’ve been collecting the IMDB vote and rating trajectories from the past. Rough, but kind of fascinating.

But … there is something weird. Baiscally there is an inflection point in 2011, so what is happening? That inflection point is often there regardless of the age of the movie. At first I thought it was a cult-film thing with Grandma’s Boy … but Big Momma’s House isn’t a cult film. Then I thought maybe it was something to do with non-US users, but the proportion of votes coming from outside the US has been steadily rising since the early 2000s, no weird bump in 2011. Then I thought maybe bots. It could be bots, but you’d think since they have to “trick” bots into thinking they are voting by actually recording (but ignoring) their votes that you’d see a larger and larger discrepancy between the calculated rating and real rating, but nope, nothing special in 2011.

I’m now convinced the answer is simple: 2011 marks a point in time in which smartphones became effectively universal, and a point in time in which IMDB upgraded their site, the iOS app was launched, etc. A point in which IMDB went from auseful tool (for people who knew about it), to basically the first resource people access. Looking at Google trends for IMDB you do see this weird bump around 2011. It is subtle, but it is there. It appears to coincide, indeed, with their app going “universal”. So then, if you look at a films which have been pretty stable over time it still seems to get the same bump!

Phew … Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Into the Storm Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Into the Storm? More like … Merely Lukewarm? Not many good rhymes there, plus I hate hate hated this movie (to quote Roger Ebert). I think Jamie was more okay with it and I should get one thing out front: I think it was supposed to be a comedy a bit. A poor bit of comedy, but a comedy … but I’m going to ignore that and eviscerate this thing. Get ready to get slammed, Into the Storm:

  • I wasn’t straight up dog poo in my face (a phrase reserved for, really, only the best of the worst), but it was maybe the dumbest movie I’ve ever seen.
  • The found-footage part of it was not only done poorly (in that they were recovering footage that was literally unrecoverable and thus admitting that it was really just a real movie, just shot in POV), but also unnecessary. The movie would have been better as the spiritual successor to Twister instead of an excuse to get bad actors jobs (I feel bad about this burn, but beyond Armitage it was a who’s who of TV and bad young actors).
  • The story was nonsense: Two of the main characters are just stuck in a smashed building and shown maybe three times before getting rescued. Dumb.
  • There’s a side story with two hillbillies (who Jamie loooooved, or so I’m assuming) which is not only pointless, but also just the cherry-on-top to the ridiculousness when they survive getting sucked up into a category 5 tornado.
  • The entire movie is just people running from set to set culminating in the good guys hiding in a “storm drain” aka a wind tunnel built as the only expensive set piece for the production.
  • Now it wasn’t all bad. At times the CGI looked okay (although in 5 years that will not be the case). If you’re into disaster porn it will sate your disaster lust (gross). And the storm chaser story, while a little preachy, did provide interest at times. Plus I will always support TV and film that gives former Prison Break actors work (get yo’ money Dr. Tancredi).
  • I think you go Sequel here. Jamie had his own idea (about a tornado named Pete wreaking havoc in … Japan I think, can’t remember), but mine is Into the Storm: London Eye. In the movie they mention that global warming will lead to tornadoes in new and unprepared places (LA, London, etc.). Well, I live in London! It’s 2040, and a British child has to make a hologram diary for his school graduation (ooof, bad start). But what is this? A tornado in London?! … That’s it … that’s all I got. I feel like this writes itself since it is going to be shot found footage style. I can lead production here in London if Netflix wants to add this to their slate of original programming.

Alright, I’ll leave it there.

Jamie

Wait, are you telling me that the “That thing got a hemi?” guy wasn’t your favorite character?

I was waiting for him to say the catchphrase. Or maybe see a mack truck sucked into a tornado and scream “that thing got a semi!” and look directly into the camera and then everyone involved kill themselves.

Moving on. Hoo wee, I just watched Into the Storm and boy did that storm blow… hard. (thank you, thank you). In seriousness I have to recap the movie with a bit of a qualifier: I actually thought the concept was fun. It’s a weather disaster film. Lots of tornadoes coming out of nowhere and chasing people and shit. And if I went to the theater looking to see some tornadoes, I would have been pretty satisfied. I thought the storms themselves looked good and when the “characters” (if you could call them that) were in the middle of the storms I was on the edge of my seat. This movie though had a major flaw and destroyed the experience for me.

WHY IS THIS A FOUND FOOTAGE FILM?! This has hands down the worst conceit for a found footage film I have ever seen. Usually these films start with a character filming some big change in their lives (“honey, we just got married. Let’s document our lives for our children and junk.”) with some bullshit background about how the character used to do this all the time, but hadn’t done it in years (I think this is to make the directing and editing skills of our otherwise unskilled and incompetent character believable) which then gets ramped up into obsession when they realize they caught some weird stuff on film (here the genre generally fails as we usually see footage of the character editing his film… why would they film themselves editing film?). What I’m driving at is that there is usually a lot of time spent creating a situation where filming all this stuff makes a modicum of sense. Into the Storm? They seemed to just say “Fuck that, let’s not address it,” and continued on their merry way. The number of random overhead shots is startling (where is that footage from? A totally random weather helicopter from which an anonymous editor decided to take footage for B-roll?), the intersection of four independent sets of characters all religiously documenting everything before the storms even hit is ridiculous, and the fact that all this happens in the middle of a disaster area makes it impossibly unlikely that any of the film would be recovered (there is literally a scene where we see from a camera point of view a character sucked up into a fire tornado… how did they recover the footage from that camera?). It’s awful. Just make it a regular film. It would have been good. I would have liked it. Instead you made it ridiculous. The only explanation for why the film is found footage is that they wanted to make the film on the cheap and had a week to write the script so they needed characters to explain things directly into the camera. The whole genre has to go. We’re nearing rock bottom here, where a perfectly good concept is ruined by making it found footage. The only thing I ask before they finish up and kill the genre is to make a found footage rom com. I don’t know why, but I would like for that to happen and be a complete disaster.

Dipping back into MonoSklog for the game this week. Into the Storm probably broke the record for the most number of MonoSklogs ever because the script had characters speak at length directly into the camera just to keep everything rolling along. So while I had four or five to choose from I think the MonoSklog by the main character (if you could call him that) as he believes he’s about to die is the best. I call it Mis Ojos Aguados. [Editor’s Note: In order to make sure our website if legally kosher in our analyses we’ve removed links to the monosklogs from the online record. We apologize, but do encourage readers to watch and revel in the described monologues for they are glorious]. God, that’s even better than I remember. That’s a solid 2 minutes of face-to-camera found footage bullshit action.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs