Redline Preview

There is something both gross and enthralling about the action film we chose for the StreetCreditReport.com cycle. The confluence of time and place that created the opportunity for the film to exist is pretty incredible. That’s right! We’re watching the totally forgotten underground racing film Redline! What makes the film really interesting is that the producer of the film was a player in the subprime mortgage crisis. In fact the entire production was funded by his company Quick Loan Funding which went bankrupt the very year that Redline came out, 2007. Even weirder was that this producer used his own cars in the production (allowing a number of his very expensive cars to be destroyed in the process… for fun I guess) and also his own girlfriend. You heard that right. He cast his girlfriend (a soap opera actress) in the leading role of a film that ultimately (and misguidedly) got released to >1000 theaters. Predictably this film bombed, his company went bankrupt, his girlfriend dumped him, and he personally declared bankruptcy in 2009. See? Gross and enthralling. That’s called street cred. Let’s go!

Redline (2007) – BMeTric: 60.4

Redline_BMeT

Redline_RV

(This movie gets its BMeTric basically entirely from its Low Rating. I think there are a handful of different “trends” in these movies. This had regression to the mean, but is very poorly regarded. So over time it will seem less disliked, and ultimately, perhaps, suggests that we are not looking at a movie that is going to sustain its terribleness. After over a year of producing these graphs I have the ability to just kind of read them. I’m almost there … I am just one step away from predicting things based on this.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Real estate developer Daniel Sadek financed, cowrote, produced, and provided his exotic car collection for this slow and curious Fast and the Furious wannabe. Gorgeous woman who happens to be an ace driver gets caught up in the world of illegal drag racing competitions in which filthy-rich men with nothing better to do wager big bucks on the outcome. When she’s not pushing the pedal to the metal, she fronts a band singing lyrics like, “I want to be your car so you can ride me tonight.” Steer clear of this one.

(I am mesmerized by the line “Gorgeous woman who happens to be an ace driver ..” … It is like they were desperately trying to drop one word from the book and finally asked “do we really need this ‘A’ in the Redline review?” This description though sounds like an earnest Torque which bodes extremely well.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-8qDoDrACw

(Holy shit. It is Torque but earnest. Who are all of these people, what was the graphics at the beginning and end (were they supposed to be like car brake lights, or stop lights?). The story sounds simple enough. I just hope it isn’t like Need For Speed which was … boring and kind of okay if you squinted a bit. This better be a goddamned travesty or I will never forgive it.)

Directors – Andy Cheng – (BMT: Redline; Notes: Wow, he is a member of Jackie Chan’s stunt team and now, as Chan has sustained serious injuries in the past, will stand in for him on occasion. Very interesting to see a one-and-done (although he does have a direct-to-DVD credit) stuntman director. Second-unit director for Red Riding Hood (BMT) and Twilight.)

Writers – Robert Foreman (screenplay) – (BMT: Redline; Notes: Uncredited as a Bartender in recent BMT Rumor Has It … Otherwise I can’t find anything about this guy.)

Daniel Sadek (story) – (BMT: Redline; Notes: So yeah, this guy is the producer who had a company called Quick Loan Funding. There is a whole discussion about why he doesn’t have a wikipedia page on Quora, there are insane stories about how that company totally went under in the 2008 sub-prime mortgage crash and the after effects. There is little information about him these days, and I’d rather not speculate. But let’s just say I use the word “gross” to describe the financing of this film multiple times in this preview …)

Actors – Nathan Phillips – (Known For: Snakes on a Plane; Wolf Creek; These Final Hours; Dying Breed; Balibo; BMT: Chernobyl Diaries; Redline; Surfer, Dude; Notes: I think I would only recognize him from Snakes on a Plane, although we are certainly going to watch Chernobyl Diaries at some point. Born in Australia, his most significant roles recently have been on television.)

Nadia Bjorlin – (BMT: Redline; Notes: Mostly known for her role as Chloe in Days of Our Lives. She was also a go-go dancer in Ricky Martin’s Shake Your Bon Bon music video (you can’t see her, I watched it))

Eddie Griffin – (Known For: How the Grinch Stole Christmas; The Last Boy Scout; Undercover Brother; Jason’s Lyric; The Wendell Baker Story; Brain Donors; BMT: Date Movie; Norbit (BMT Hall of Fame); Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo; Redline; Coneheads; The Mod Squad; Pinocchio (BMT); Scary Movie 3 (BMT); Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; The Meteor Man; My Baby’s Daddy; House Party 3; The New Guy; American Hero; Double Take; Armageddon; Notes:  He got married for the first time when he was just sixteen years old and has nine (!) children. His recent defense of Bill Cosby probably won’t help his career …)

Budget/Gross – $26 million / Domestic: $6,881,022 (Worldwide: $8,267,379)

(Yeah, super bad. Pretty much horrible. The good news? I’m willing to bet most of that was for the cars and since the producer sold them to himself to use in the film I’m betting he got a nice write off there. That’s nice.)

#25 for the Car Racing genre

carracing_25

(There is basically no analogy. It made about as much money as Grandview U.S.A. … the big peak in 1995 is also a bit weird, Red Rock West, which made around $2 million, but Box Office Mojo reports its widest release as 22 theaters, making its per theater average incredible. Probably false. The genre was big pre-1990 and has become huge in the last ten years with the Fast and the Furious franchise. Not surprisingly this came just as the genre was going into a slumber, maybe because of the recession? Wrecking ridiculous looking cars might not go over so well when people’s lives are falling apart.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/27): Redline has plenty of bad acting, laughable dialogue, and luxury cars.

(Good, I need some laughable dialogue. Bad acting is a boon. This is one of the worst reviewed films of all time, the 15th most reviews for a film with 0% on rotten tomatoes. This right here is basically the entire reason we are watching this film.)

Poster – Sklogline (B+)

redline

(This isn’t blowing any minds or anything, but it is astonishingly competent given the film. I like the bold red on black, it has one of the more interesting title fonts, and the spacing is good. The background cars seem a bit extraneous, but that’s pretty minor.)

Tagline(s) – Fear Nothing. Risk Everything. (B+)

(Again, astonishingly competent. Like the “nothing” and “everything” juxtaposition. The “fear” and “risk” highlights the racing and gambling aspects of the plot. Concise. Ratchet up the cleverness and uniqueness and we’d be looking at an A+.)

Keyword(s) – ferrari; Top Ten by BMeTric: 60.4 Redline (2007); 60.0 Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007); 58.0 The Counsellor (2013); 53.1 Death Tunnel (2005); 49.6 The Smurfs 2 (2013); 48.5 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (2015); 44.8 American Dreamz (2006); 41.6 Mr. Deeds (2002); 39.4 Playing for Keeps (2012); 32.4 Georgia Rule (2007);

(Number one, number one! Alvin and the Chipmunks get a lot of play there, that smells a bit like product placement. I totally forgot about The Counsellor as well, which is a film we are unlikely to ever see.)

Notes – For the film, Sadek donated his Porsche Carrera GT (which costs over $400,000) to be destroyed in a spectacular crash scene. The mangled remains were on display at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show. (Kind of gross. Truly the pinnacle of pre-subprime mortgage crash waste)

The comedian/actor Eddie Griffin destroyed a rare million-dollar Enzo Ferrari (which belonged to the film’s producer, Daniel Sadek) on Monday 3/26/07, when he crashed it into a barricade while promoting this movie. He was unhurt in the low-speed incident, at Irwindale Speedway, about 20 miles east of Los Angeles. He was practicing for a celebrity charity racing event tied to this upcoming film, causing $300,000 damage to the car (including labor and parts). Sadek estimated that the car was worth $1.1 million, and said he was just happy that Griffin was unharmed. (Sounds like perhaps a guy who just loves cars soooo much … he’d bilk people out of money preying on trash investments. Blah)

The title “Redline” was one of the working titles of The Fast and the Furious (2001).

Prior to the demise of his company, Quick Loan Funding, Sadek was forced to sell off all his car collection, including those featured in the film. One of them, the crash damaged Enzo was acquired by Texan dealer, Matt Groner of Matthews Auto Sales. As the main tub was intact with no chassis straitening, the Enzo only needed new authentic parts bolted in, worth $91,000. The car has since found a new owner. (Well, a happy ending there …)

In the opening sequence of the film, a building with a sign that reads “Quick Loan Funding” can be seen. This was the name of writer/producer Daniel Sadek’s company at the time. (groooooosss)

Most of the rest of the notes are about cars

Blue City Preview

Hoo wee. I’m actually pretty excited for the end of the cycle this time around. Why? Because our transitions have typically turned into an attempt to find a film that matches both the current cycle and the upcoming cycle. However this time our current cycle is films of 1986 and the upcoming cycle are films of 2016 (potential Razzies). Uh oh! No film can both be of 1986 and 2016. What to do? Obviously the only solution is to punish ourselves by watching two films for transition. The transition will be done using two film (one from 1986 and the other from 2016) that have some other property in common. In a way the two film form a small cycle of their own (a bicycle if you will). For this transition we are going to use the final Worst Picture nominee Blue City (never heard of it? Nobody else has either) and the Wayans Bros. spoof Fifty Shades of Black. The bicycle is the “black & blue” cycle. Get it? It’s amazing. So for our preview will we post information for both these films and have to watch both for this week… we are so goddamn good at this whole obsessive bad movie watching! (Patrick’s Note: And at making watching bad movies feel like a chore!) Let’s go!

Blue City (1986) – BMeTric: 14.0

bluecity_bmet

bluecity_rv

(Oooof less than a thousand votes. Kind of a wonder it even manages 14.0 BMeTric, but 4.0 is pretty rough as far as rating is concerned. That low it makes sense it will look linear (which is roughly in line with the vote count). It will basically take off if it could ever even sniff the rough inflection vote point which is currently near-ish to 3000 votes.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Perfectly awful film about wiseguy kid who returns to Florida hometown after five years, discovers that his father was killed, and vows to avenge (and solve) his murder. Senseless and stupid; Nelon’s unappealing character seems to possess a one-word vocabulary, and the word isn’t fudge. Based on a good book by Ross Macdonald.

(Oooooof. The bomb probably comes from this movie being perfectly boring. Leonard is on tip top semicolon game as usual. I like the idea of an unappealing character, after the interestingly okay characters we saw in Keeping Up with the Joneses, it will be fun to see people just drop the ball completely in that regard. Get ready for some F-booooooooooooombs.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9GIsyUgwxE

(Certainly old school and left un-updated from presumably VHS pre-trailers. Does it get me excited though? No. The acting looks sub-sub-par, the soundtrack is poised to be a travesty, and it just looks old. The only hope for this not being boring is that Nelson looks fun in the action scenes they teased. Tenuous.)

Directors – Michelle Manning – (BMT: Blue City; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Director for Blue City. Producer with John Hughes for Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, in 1997 she transitioned to president of production for Paramount where she still works. This is her one and only directing credit. Makes sense though, Nelson and Sheedy means a close connection to Hughes in general. I wonder if she just did not enjoy directing.)

Writers – Ross Macdonald (novel) – (Known For: The Moving Target; The Drowning Pool; BMT: Blue City; Notes: aka Kenneth Millar (Macdonald is a pen name). Most well known for his character Lew Archer. Blue City is his third novel written in 1947 and is one of only six novels which are not Lew Archer. Too bad, I would have liked to see Judd Nelson As ….. Lew Archer!)

Lukas Heller (screenplay) – (Known For: The Dirty Dozen; What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?; The Flight of the Phoenix; Monte Walsh; Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte; Damnation Alley; The Killing of Sister George; Too Late the Hero; BMT: Flight of the Phoenix; Blue City; Notes: German screenwriter died a few years after this film was released. The father of Zoe Heller who wrote the novel Notes on a Scandal which was made into a film with Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett.)

Walter Hill (screenplay) – (Known For: Aliens; The Warriors; Alien³; 48 Hrs.; Undisputed; Streets of Fire; Red Heat; The Getaway; The Driver; The Long Riders; Southern Comfort; The Streetfighter; Wild Bill (BMT); The Drowning Pool; The MacKintosh Man; Hickey & Boggs; BMT: Another 48 Hrs.; The Getaway; Last Man Standing; Blue City; Notes: Directed previous BMT films Bullet to the Head and Wild Bill (which now has a 41% on RT. [Editor’s note: that’s bullshit. I guarantee some of those are duplicates]). Extremely illustrious career and is credited with bringing back the western to an extent. He claims all of his movies are westerns at heart, stripping down to a world beyond normal avenues of social control.)

Actors – Judd Nelson – (Known For: The Breakfast Club; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; St. Elmo’s Fire; New Jack City; The Transformers: The Movie; BMT: Steel (BMT); Airheads; The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day; Blue City; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1988 for Worst Actor for From the Hip and in 1987 for Blue City. Part of the Brat Pack and partially known for several more recent television roles like Suddenly Susan.)

Ally Sheedy – (Known For: X-Men: Apocalypse; The Breakfast Club; Little Sister; WarGames; St. Elmo’s Fire; Short Circuit; Bad Boys; Welcome to the Rileys; High Art; Only the Lonely; Life During Wartime; Betsy’s Wedding; Twice in a Lifetime; Sugar Town; Happy Here and Now; BMT: Short Circuit 2; Man’s Best Friend; Maid to Order; Blue City; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1991 for Worst Supporting Actress for Betsy’s Wedding; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1990 for Worst Actress for Heart of Dixie and in 1987 for Blue City. Another member of the Brat Pack. Was for years married to the nephew of my hero Angela Lansbury, but they sadly filed for divorce in 2008.)

David Caruso – (Known For: First Blood; An Officer and a Gentleman; Session 9; King of New York; Proof of Life; Kiss of Death; Mad Dog and Glory; BMT: Jade; Hudson Hawk; Twins; Blue City; Thief of Hearts; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1996 for Worst New Star for Kiss of Death, and Jade. Actually famous for being the main character in CSI: Miami and NYPD Blue. I do not remember him from Hudson Hawk.)

Budget/Gross – $10 million / Domestic: $6,947,787

(Ooof, that would be a bomb. I had never heard of this film before, so this is no surprise at all.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/4):

(I had to add that in myself because you need at least 5 reviews to actually get a rating from rotten tomatoes. I’ll just copy this dire review’s brief recap: A dull disaster from start to finish. … Another review kind of derisively bashes the film for having Nelson pretend he is gay in the film. Because it kind of suggests Nelson is gay in real life? Always interesting to see a guy who just kind of never acknowledges rumors like that (see Kevin Spacey), and is seems like Nelson hasn’t because there is almost nothing online suggesting it is anything more than rumor.)

Poster – Sklog City (D+)

blue_city

(I really do not like this poster on almost every level… but that font. I can’t quit you poster font.)

Tagline(s) – It’s below Miami and above the law. (B-)

The coolest heat you’ll ever feel (D)

(Haha. This one is both kind of amazing and pretty much the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s got that 1980’s joie de vivre. The second one skips the amazing and lands directly in stupid.)

Keyword(s) – police; Top Ten by BMeTric: 92.7 Batman & Robin (1997); 89.5 Catwoman (2004); 84.6 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 82.6 Street Fighter (1994); 80.5 Home Alone 3 (1997); 79.3 House of the Dead (2003); 77.3 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 77.1 RoboCop 3 (1993); 75.8 Inspector Gadget (1999); 75.0 Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994)

(amazing list. There are also over 100 pages on IMDb of films with this keyword and 564 films with a BMeTric over 20! Reminds me that we have to watch all of the police academy films at some point.)

Notes – Actress Jenny Wright originally was cast in the lead female role of Annie Rayford which in the end was played by Ally Sheedy.

The movie’s two top billed lead stars, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy, were at the time the movie was made and released, part of a then young group of American actors who were known as “The Brat Pack”, a term which referenced the earlier group of American actors who had been known as “The Rat Pack”.

The movie was nominated for 5 Golden Raspberry Awards at the 7th Golden Raspberry Awards Ceremony in 1987. These included Worst Picture, Worst Director (Michelle Manning), Worst Actor (Judd Nelson), Worst Actress (Ally Sheedy) and Worst Supporting Actor (Scott Wilson) but failed to win a Razzie in any category. (Amazing how reviled this movie I’ve never heard of seemed to be)

The make and model of the motorcycle that Billy Turner (Judd Nelson) rode was a 1978/79 750cc Triumph Bonneville T140E. This motor-bike is apparently the same one that was seen in the earlier movie An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) which was also produced by the same Paramount Pictures studio that made Blue City (1986). (Now that is a fun fact. I love this for some reason)

The film was made and released about thirty-nine years after its source Ross Macdonald novel of the same name had been first published in 1947. (Get ready for the book review woooooo)

This is the only film directed by Michelle Manning. (One and done director, oh how far we have come since that delightful cycle earlier this year)

The movie’s marketing connected with the then current hit TV series Miami Vice (1984). This was manifest in the film’s main tagline which read: “It’s below Miami and above the law”. The fictional “Blue City” of the film’s title was, like Miami, set in the state of Florida, where the city of Miami is situated. (huh, also a pretty fun fact)

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (William Hayward, Walter Hill)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Judd Nelson)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Ally Sheedy)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Scott Wilson)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Michelle Manning)

Harlem Nights Preview

Alright, so this week we move onto our Razzie category. We needed a Razzie nominee with a one-and-done director and what better one to do than Eddie Murphy’s only directorial effort, Harlem Nights. In 1989, with Robert Townsend and Spike Lee, there was a bit of a black directing renaissance going on in Hollywood. Eddie Murphy was the it guy and was given the chance to direct a film. He wanted to work with his heroes, so he cast Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx and they cooked up Harlem Nights. Sounds pretty cool and this has definitely got a bit of a cult following over the years, so don’t be surprised if we come back saying some good (or at least alright) things about it. Let’s go!

Harlem Nights (1989) – BMeTric: 23.5

HarlemNights_BMeT

(Yet another weird example of a movie going from “really bad” about 10 years ago (4.8 rating on IMDb) to “mediocre to good” now (5.9 on IMDb). I have to admit, I don’t totally get the migration, but I assume it is just a general IMDb trend, the more people you have voting the higher the average rating tends to be. If this trend keeps up this will end up not even really registering for BMT at all, it if gets to 6.2 it will be near to 15 or so with the BMeTric. Vaguely interesting stuff guys.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Proprietor of an after-hours club in 1930s Harlem (Pryor) and his adopted son (Murphy) try standing up to a white mobster determined to cut in on their take of put them out of business. Murphy’s debut as a writer-director is skimpily scripted and completely devoid of energy. Even pryor’s effortless charisma can’t breathe much life into this one.

(That sounds about right. Not good, but not off-the-rails bad… two stars. Not sounding like the best BMT film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En27DgNW0nY

(Huh. A super understated trailer for what is apparently a super understated movie. I’m starting to get the feeling … oh yeah I’m there, I have a bad feeling this movie is “bad” because it is aggressively and unrelentingly boring. I hope I’m wrong.)

Directors – Eddie Murphy – (BMT: Harlem Nights; Notes: Only directorial effort of his career. His quote about directing: “It was a question of wearing too many hats, and as a result, everything was half-assed. All my peers were directing: Keenan [Ivory Wayans], and Robert [Townsend] and Spike [Lee]. I was like ‘Shit,’ I’m the big cat on the block; let me see what it’s like to direct. So I just did it. I didn’t dig it.”)

Writers – Eddie Murphy (written by) – (Known For: Coming to America; Beverly Hills Cop II; Boomerang; BMT: Norbit (BMT); Vampire in Brooklyn; Another 48 Hrs.; Harlem Nights; Notes: Involved in a well publicized lawsuit, Buchwald v. Paramount, involving the Coming to America screenplay. Murphy’s treatment for the script was alleged to be stolen from a screenplay written by Art Buchwald and the trial ended up being settled. Written about in the book Fatal Subtraction.)

Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Coming to America; Shrek; Mulan; Shrek 2; Trading Places; Beverly Hills Cop; Shrek the Third; Shrek Forever After; Tower Heist; Dreamgirls; Life; 48 Hrs.; The Nutty Professor; Doctor Dolittle; Beverly Hills Cop II; Dr. Dolittle 2; Bowfinger; Boomerang; Imagine That; BMT: Norbit (BMT); Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (Seen it); The Adventures of Pluto Nash (BMT); Vampire in Brooklyn; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man (Seen it); I Spy (Seen it); Beverly Hills Cop III; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child; A Thousand Words (BMT); The Distinguished Gentleman; Harlem Nights; Notes: Major movie star and stand-up comic. One of the most prominent BMT actors of our age.)

Eddie Murphy Razzie Notes – Won 2010 Worst Actor of the Decade; Won 2008 Worst Actor, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress Norbit, 1990 Worst Screenplay Harlem Nights; Nominated 2013 Worst Actor A Thousand Words, 2010 Worst Actor Imagine That, 2009 Worst Actor Meet Dave, 2003 Worst Actor The Adventures of Pluto Nash, I Spy, Showtime, 1990 Worst Director Harlem Nights, 2008 Worst Screenplay Norbit, 2009 Worst Screen Couple Meet Dave, 2008 Worst Screen Couple Norbit, 2003 Worst Screen Couple with Robert De Niro (Showtime) and Owen Wilson (I Spy).

Also stars Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $60,864,870

(Quite a big hit, although not nearly the hit that the producers anticipated (if stories are to be believed). The more famous story from its release is a couple of shooting that occurred in and around theaters during its release. Led to the first metal detectors installed in theaters.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (3/14): No consensus yet.

(Too old for a consensus, so I’ll make one up: Great cast and sharp 1930’s look, can’t make up for the bizarrely unfunny script by first-time-director Murphy. Maybe stick to acting.)

Poster – Classic (A)

harlem_nights

(It’s just classic. I would hang this on my wall. I feel like all the art aspects of this film were off the chain.)

Tagline(s) – They’re up to something big. (D)

(Does this mean something? I’m confused. Is this a film where Eddie Murphy is made into a 50-foot monster through the reverse use of a shrinking ray? Are Murphy, Pryor, and Foxx tasked with transporting an Elephant somewhere? It only doesn’t get an F because it doesn’t offend my senses.)

Notes – In the autobiography, “Pryor Convictions and Other Life Sentences (1997)”, Richard Pryor states that he ” . . . never connected with Eddie [Murphy]. People talked about how my work had influenced Eddie, and perhaps it did. But I always thought Eddie’s comedy was mean. I used to say, “Eddie, be a little nice” and that would piss him off . . . I finished [Harlem Nights (1989)] thinking that Eddie didn’t like me”.

By his own admission, Eddie Murphy felt that he didn’t dedicate enough thought or care to the directing of his debut. He was more concerned at the time with figuring out where the next party was going to be.

Awards – Oscar Nominated for Best Costume Design (Joe I. Tompkins)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Eddie Murphy)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Eddie Murphy)

Eragon Preview

So this week is also an extra special week. No, we are not watching Bulletproof Monk again. Instead we are here to celebrate watching 300 BMT films! It’s a sad day when you can say you are almost to the point where you have an entire year of bad movies under your belt, but we are getting mighty close. We only started the website recently, so you can’t see much of our thoughts on a majority of these films, but trust me we watched them… we certainly did (Jamie says, staring wistfully into the distance). We are sticking to the Stallonian Calendar for this milestone and watching Eragon as the Sci-Fi/Fantasy entry in the one-and-done director cycle. Directed by Stefen Fangmeier, a visual effects artist from ILM that got a chance to direct the film as his first (and last) feature. This one’s got everything: a book it’s based on, a movie that horrified its core fanbase, a failed franchise, and a director’s commentary to listen to in our free time. Perfect as #300. Let’s go!

Eragon (2006) – BMeTric: 62.4

Eragon_BMeT

(Look at that beauty. Took a few months to hit 50 and then never looked back. I’m actually shocked it didn’t get any play for the Razzies because I remember this getting hit hard when it came out. Although it did get some play at the last Stinkers Awards (remember those? Weirdly enough neither do I. And it was much more well known than the Razzies for like 20 years). Anyways, the score suggests I should be rolling down the aisle Pompeii style. Do not make such promises BMeTric, my heart can only take so much.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Orphaned farm boy finds a mysterious egg that hatches the last of an extinct breed of magical dragons. The boy, the dragon, and his world-weary, wise old mentor travel across magical lands to save the oppressed people of his home kingdom from an evil king and his henchman wizard. Scenery is pretty and CGI effects are fine, but the movie is a patchwork quilt of conventions borrowed from other fantasy films and stories (with none of their entertainment value). Based on the first in a series of popular books by Christopher Paolini.

(Oh dear, Leonard. You clearly know this is based on a book series written by a 15-year-old kid. Did you not think the story was going to be a patchwork quilt of conventions borrowed from other fantasy material? Otherwise he seems pretty OK with the film. Things are looking up.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZRHO0d9Nao

(Anyone else amped?! Yeah. Dragons bro! Killing it. Can’t wait for the second and third in the Inheritance trilogy. Get to see that sweet Malkovich Con-Air crazy come out. Boom.)

Directors – Stefen Fangmeier – (BMT: Eragon; Notes: Accomplished visual effects artist nominated for three Oscars in the field for Twister, The Perfect Storm, and Master and Commander. Spent most of his career at ILM before leaving to try directing with Eragon. Since then he has sporadically done visual effects work, most recently on future BMT Allegiant.)

Writers – Peter Buchman (screenplay) – (Known For: Jurassic Park III; Che; BMT: Eragon; Notes: Started as a playwright in Seattle and caught a break when one of his plays was purchased by Scorsese, prompting a move to LA. Another script of his caught the eye of Spielberg who hired him for Jurassic Park III.)

Christopher Paolini (novel) – (BMT: Eragon; Notes: Doesn’t talk about the film adaptation much other than to say that he’s grateful it was made and that a film is the vision of the filmmaker and the book the vision of the artist, so both need to be enjoyed separately. Nice outlook.)

Actors – Ed Speleers – (Known For: Howl; A Lonely Place to Die; BMT: Eragon; Plastic; Notes: Now probably best known as a regular on Downton Abbey. Was on the shortlist for John Boyega’s part in Force Awakens.)

Also stars Dungeons and Dragons legend Jeremy Irons

Budget/Gross – $100 million / Domestic: $75,030,163 (Worldwide: $249,488,115)

(Worldwide success, but lackluster domestic haul is probably why it didn’t spawn the franchise that I’m sure the studio wanted. The 29th highest grossing young adult adaptation of all time. The worst wide-release? A vampire movie called Blood and Chocolate… which I don’t remember coming out, but stars Legends of Oz and Evening BMT hall of famer Hugh Dancy (that’s what he’s known for right?).)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (20/124): Written by a teenager (and it shows), Eragon presents nothing new to the “hero’s journey” story archetype. In movie terms, this movie looks and sounds like Lord of the Rings and plays out like a bad Star Wars rip-off. The movie spins the tale of a peasant boy who is suddenly entrusted with a dragon and must, with the help of a mentor, train, grow strong, and defeat an evil emperor. The way the critics picture it, the makers of Eragon should soon be expecting an annoyed phone call from George Lucas.

(Right off the bat hitting at the author. In fairness, he did not write the film. Also, harping on something because it “ripped off” Star Wars simply because it has a character who must grow strong and fight an evil-doer is hilarious. Is there any fantasy film or book where that isn’t the plot? Are they also going to be getting annoyed phone calls from Bobby Jordan?)

Poster – Yup … That’s a poster. (C-)

eragon_ver7

(Let’s see. I kind of like the symmetry. The color scheme is okay (I wish it wasn’t just generally blue and blah), but otherwise, again, uninspired. I think that might be the theme of the day boys and girls. Uninspired. This film feels uninspired. We do continue our streak of bomb fonts though. Look at that, impossible to fake!)

Tagline(s) – You are stronger than you realize. Wiser than you know. What was once your life is now your legend. (D)

Riders Wanted (D+)

As Darkness Falls, The Last Dragon Will Choose Its Rider. (C+)

(I am less than impressed with all of these. The first is two long and, honestly, try and read it and allow your mind to naturally parse that monster … it doesn’t make sense. The second is fun, but is more suited to a fun kids animated film like How to Train Your Dragon. The last is probably the best, it is just uninspired. And “darkness falls” seems a bit misplaced to me, but I can’t really put my finger one it … well, nothing solid in the lot.)

Notes – Many fans of the book were upset at Stefen Fangmeier’s decisions to take out crucial characters and plot lines.

Plans were made to adapt the other books in the series, but they were dropped.

Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart were offered the role of Brom, but turned it down because of their commitment to X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). (and probably because they thought it was going to be terrible …)

Alex Pettyfer was offered the role of Eragon, previous to the casting of Ed Speleers. Pettyfer said he had turned down the role partly because Eragon was filmed in Budapest and he’s afraid of flying. (Nooooooooooo. My sweet sweet Pettyfer. It is only a few days by train to Hungary. Even if he was in the US at the time there is a boat that takes ten days to England. Easy peasy. What a BMT Disaster!).

Bulletproof Monk Preview

It’s a pretty special week here at BMTHQ. That’s because it’s Bulletproof Monk week. Bulletproof Monk has been recommended for BMT not once. Not twice. But at least three times by three different people. From Minnesota to New Jersey to Massachusetts this movie apparently confuses and delights. Why haven’t we watched it before? It just never felt like the right time. Now is the right time. Not only is the film the epitome of the one-and-done director film, but it also happens to feature Mako, an actor featured in our last Chain Reaction film Conan the Destroyer. It’s almost as if the BMT gods smiled down on us and provided the perfect movie for the perfect moment. Let’s go!

Bulletproof Monk (2003) – BMeTric: 43.0

BulletproofMonk_BMeT

(Again, solid score. I think when you are looking at movies which started and ended a person’s career it is pretty likely you’ll end up near 50 BMeTric if it is bad. When these are bad they are very very bad indeed.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 1/2 stars –  Chow plays a monk that never ages while he guards an ancient scroll that possesses the secret to infinite power … but now it’s time to find a successor, and he think it may be young pickpocket Scott, of all people. Lively and amusing when it doesn’t get too silly; alas special effects take the place of genuine martial arts action most of the time. Coproduced by John Woo, and based on a comic book of the same name.

(First, strong semicolon game from Leonard as usual. Second, “young pickpocket” yes! Third, like The Medallion and The Tuxedo before it, silly movies with garbage CGI replacing genuine martial arts action is the bane of the martial arts action genre for me. Very few movies that try and replace actual martial arts with wire-work or CGI end up working out as far as I’m concerned. Crouching Tiger is an example of the rare exception)

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

(But … but why? Why is this happening to us? The music. The garbage humor. The terrible CGI. The racist/gay panic humor (I’m just guessing on that one). This is the early 2000s. I am officially excited. Brain, you are officially on alert, get ready for a world of pain this week.)

Directors – Paul Hunter – (BMT: Bulletproof Monk; Notes: Famous commercial and music video director that kind of blurred the lines between the two. You would know him best for the Nike Freestyle Rhythm commercial.)

Writers – Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris (written by) – (Known For: Kung Fu Panda; Robin Hood; BMT: Bulletproof Monk; Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight; Notes: Writing partners. Both attended NYU but met for the first time at graduation. The writers of the upcoming Karate Kid sequel… they really love martial arts films.)

Actors – Yun-Fat Chow – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Anna and the King; Curse of the Golden Flower; Hard Boiled; BMT: Dragonball: Evolution; Beginning of the Great Revival; Bulletproof Monk; The Replacement Killers; Notes: Famous Hong Kong actor. Started in dramatic acting, not martial arts, so kind of the reverse of many of the stars we’ve seen in BMT.)

Seann William Scott – (Known For: American Pie; Old School; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Road Trip; American Reunion; American Pie 2; Evolution; Role Models; Ice Age: The Meltdown; Goon; American Wedding; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; The Rundown; The Promotion; BMT: Movie 43; The Dukes of Hazzard; Mr. Woodcock; Dude, Where’s My Car?; Bulletproof Monk; Cop Out; Southland Tales; Planet 51; Notes: Grew up in Minnesota, not too far from Rochester. Got his break as Stifler in American Pie, for which he was reportedly paid $8000.)

Budget/Gross – $52 million / Domestic: $23,358,708 (Worldwide: $37,713,879 Worldwide)

(Jeez Louise, what a bomb. Just a catastrophe. I wonder where the misfire came from? The budget doesn’t seem absurd. I guess just a miscalculation of the genre in the wake of Crouching Tiger maybe? There were a few fake-martial-arts film flops in the early 2000s it seems.)

#17 for the Action – Wire-Fu genre, narrowly beating out (speak of the devil) The Medallion, and one spot below future BMT legend The Musketeer.

#108 for the Comic Book Adaptation genre, incredibly low. Right around The Spirit, I Frankenstein, and Elektra. For movies whose widest release is greater than 1000 theaters, recent BMT hit Steel is dead last. There are some dire films on this list. It is worth a glance.

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (31/133): Venerable action star Chow Yun-Fat is the only saving grace in this silly action flick that more often than not resembles a commercial in style.

(Honestly, I’m a bit surprised this is so high. Just considering how often this has been recommended for BMT. I wonder if RT was making fun of Hunter with the “commercial in style” part, since he was a commercial director.)

Poster – Bulletproof Font (B-)

Bulletproof-Monk-2003

(You may be surprised by that grade, but hear me out. The title font is incredible. Patrick would never be able to spoof that. It’s got a nice blue tone to it. It’s perfectly symmetrical. All good things. The bad? It’s oddly empty and dull. I couldn’t imagine anyone hanging that on their wall cause it’s just too lame. [Patrick Note: I find it simply hilarious that they have “Bulletproof” twice on this poster. It is like they realized Bulletproof Monk sounded dumb and they wished they had just shortened it to Bulletproof, but it was too late.])

Tagline(s) – A power beyond measure requires a protector without equal. (C-)

A monk. A punk. A chick. In a kick-ass flick. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat)

(The first one is the poster tagline and it’s… not great. Too long and not clever. Only positive is that it nicely hints at what the story will be about and has a slight rhythm to it. The second one is bonkers insane. Used on a secondary (oddly shaped) poster. Everything about that second poster is hideous.)

Notes – Jaime King broke her finger during filming, but not in any of the stunts – just while walking up the stairs talking on the phone. (coooooooooool)

The actors who portray the monks in the movie are real martial artists from the Sunny Tang Martial Arts Center located in Toronto, Canada.

Heath Ledger considered the role of Kar but turned it down to star in Ned Kelly (2003).

Down to You Preview

Alrighty girls, time to settle down with your boo and bust out that bottle of wine, because this week is a romantic … comedy? Drama? I actually can’t tell. Teen Romance. There it is, that is a genre, right? Anywho, BMT legend Freddie Prinze Jr., teen star legend Julia Stiles, and a one-off writer-director once got together and made what is apparently a truly baffling movie. There is a story here, I know there is!

Down to You (2000) – BMeTric: 46.7

DownToYou_BMeT

(Nice. Looking like it will just stay a shade under 50 BMeT for all of time. Congrats Down to You, you did it! Otherwise a pretty standard chart at this point. I am genuinely surprised at how high the BMeT is though, 45+ is still incredible.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Prinza and Stiles futilely try chumming us up by speaking directly into the camera, explaining how their once-idyllic college romance went bust (though not as bust as the movie). Somehow, this manages to find room for subplots about a TV cooking show (hosted by Winkler as Prinze’s dad) and a buddy who dabbles as an adult-movie entrepreneur with a kind of bohemian/intellectual porn actress. Numbingly inept comedy.

(Holy cow Maltin, BRUTAL. Buzzed right past passive aggressive and slid face first into straight-up aggressive! This movie is straight busted. The irony is just dripping off of that “somehow”, dirty. And the closer. So succinct and just soul destroying. I’m obsessed with this review for some reason, he just murders this film.)

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

(That looks like the 90s alright. Really just sickly sweet stuff. Cannot wait to sit down with my boo and watch that. I hope they get together in the end!)

Directors – Kris Isacsson – (BMT: Down to You; Notes: see below)

Writers – Kris Isacsson (written by) – (BMT: Down to You; Notes: one-time director and writer? Uh, yes please. He is also an anomaly in that I can find very very little information about him. I think I found his twitter (~100 tweets, mostly retweets) and his instagram (~100 posts, nothing interesting). I don’t really know what happened to him. He did a few tv movies up through 2008, but nothing else on IMDb. There is a story here … [Jamie’s Note: Here’s a little bit of his background. Also here is a link to the short film he did that won a Sundance award.])

Actors – Freddie Prinze Jr. – (Known For: The House of Yes; Brooklyn Rules; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Scooby-Doo; Wing Commander (BMT); Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed; Happily N’Ever After; Summer Catch; Down to You; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Boys and Girls; Head Over Heels; She’s All That; Delgo; Notes: Best buds with BMT darling Matthew Lillard (in my dreams). Only son of late comedian Freddie Prinze. Now more known for his voice acting work, and was heavily involved with WWE for years. Nominated Razzie Award 2003 Worst Supporting Actor Scooby-Doo)

Julia Stiles – (Known For: 10 Things I Hate About You; Silver Linings Playbook; The Bourne Identity; The Bourne Ultimatum; The Bourne Supremacy; Save the Last Dance; O; Closed Circuit; State and Main; Hamlet; It’s a Disaster; Edmond; I Love You, I Love You Not; The Business of Strangers; BMT: Down to You; The Omen; A Guy Thing; The Prince and Me (BMT); Out of the Dark; Girl Most Likely; The Devil’s Own; Misconduct; Mona Lisa Smile; Notes: We saw her last in Prince and Me. Her filmography is incredible considering she hasn’t been a leading lady for years. A former vegan.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $20,069,008 (Worldwide: $24,419,914 Worldwide)

#28 for Teen Romance (right above another Prinze gem, Summer Catch)

(Ooooooooof. First, how could this movie cost that much? I guess maybe the NYC setting and actors? And yes, this was actually shot in NYC according to IMDb. I suppose you expect a Prinze/Stiles film to do better, but first time writer-director? There is a story here, I feel it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (2/59): Down to You is ruined by a bland, by-the-numbers plot and an awful script.

(That is a spectacularly low score. Also, everything about this film screams “This person had no idea how to write or direct a film and yet was somehow given total control”. The question is why and how? My guess … we’ll never know.)

Poster – Hideous Purple Background (D-)

DownToYou

(I have a confession to make: I hate this poster. I hate how they are just kind of cut into it. I hate the background color and pattern. I hate the font and how easy it would be for me to change this into Down to Sklog with me and my dog Tolstoy hugging (and no, I didn’t do it … I was too busy, otherwise you’d be looking at my fake poster right this minute). Why isn’t it an F? Because I like Prinze and Stiles, so there.)

Tagline(s) – A new comedy about giving first love a second chance. (B-)

(Above average, you heard me right. First love. Second chance. I hate the “new comedy” bit, but I like the idea. And hey, as far as taglines goes there are far far far far far worse. Change that to “Sometimes first love needs a second chance” and you got a solid B.)

Notes – First time that Shawn Hatosy and Julia Stiles worked together. Later they would both join the cast of Dexter during Season 5. (cooooooooooool)

Maximum Overdrive Preview

Alright, for this week’s film we continue on our cycle of one-and-done directors with horror/thriller. While the previous entries in the category typically involve an actor taking a stab at directing, or a commercial/music video/television director getting a shot, this film is one of the few examples where a novelist was given the chance to adapt his own work. That’s right, we are watching Maximum Overdrive! Perhaps emboldened by Clive Barker’s success with Hellraiser, Stephen King decided he really, really, really wanted to direct this adaptation. Then afterwards he decided that he really, really, really didn’t want to ever direct again. Let’s go!

Maximum Overdrive (1986) – BMeTric: 40.8

MaximumOverdrive_BMeT

(While fairly standard I am kind of startled by how rapidly this movie’s rating has risen. You can kind of see it here, but the rating has risen from 4.3 in 2007 to 5.4 now! How?! This is a weird trend I see a lot and I think it is because as the “population” of IMDb increases less discerning people (or at least people less willing to just rip a movie apart) join up. Still weird. But 40+ for a film from 1986? Uh, yes please)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Customers and employees at an interstate truck stop are terrorized by the trucks themselves, which have come to demonic life as a part of a global rebellion of machines. Novelist King, making his directorial debut, said he set out to create a junk movie, nothing more… but he made it stupid and boring. Remade as a 1997 cable movie, TRUCKS.

(I searched high and low but can’t seem to find the source for where King implied he set out to create a junk film. I can only presume that it was in some interview lost to time because it is referenced ad nauseum when talking about the film. Patrick and I will have to draw straws to determine who is going to go out of their way to watch the 1997 TV movie.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygWMy-QQNbw

(Is this some sort of sick joke? Stephen King was hopped up on coke while making this film? You don’t say.)

Director(s) – Stephen King – (BMT: Maximum Overdrive; Notes: Nominated for Worst Director, Maximum Overdrive (1986). World famous author. ‘It’ is one of my favorites books. I love it.)

Writer(s) – Stephen King (film by, written for the screen by) – (Known For: The Shining; 1408; The Running Man; Pet Sematary; Christine; Creepshow; Cujo; Salem’s Lot; Stephen King’s ‘The Langoliers’; Stephen King’s ‘Storm of the Century’; Stephen King’s ‘Silver Bullet’; Stephen King’s ‘Cat’s Eye’; BMT: Dreamcatcher; Maximum Overdrive; Creepshow 2; Stephen King’s A Good Marriage; Stephen King’s ‘Thinner’; Stephen King’s ‘Sleepwalkers’; Stephen King’s ‘Graveyard Shift’; Notes: Famous author. Has said the only adaptation of his work he remembers hating is Kubrick’s The Shining. This hatred led to him making his own TV movie adaptation of the film.)

Actors – Emilio Estevez – (Known For: The Breakfast Club; Young Guns; Bobby; St. Elmo’s Fire; Repo Man; The Way; Mission: Impossible; The Outsiders; BMT: The Mighty Ducks; D2: The Mighty Ducks; Maximum Overdrive; D3: The Mighty Ducks; Men at Work; Freejack; Young Guns II; National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1; Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor, Maximum Overdrive (1986). Has not acted in a significant role since 2010’s The Way. Now more focused on directing.)

Budget/Gross: $10 million / $7,433,663

(I heard it was supposed to be a spring film, but King needed a break or something so they moved the release date to July in exchange for him doing a lot of promotion… which didn’t help and it failed miserably. Not the worst release ever for a major Stephen King adaptation… 4th actualy. The worst two are the Mangler and future BMT pick Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 16% (2/12), No consensus.

(Old films never have a huge number of reviews, although RT is getting better at collecting them. I’ll write a consensus: King’s directorial debut proves that if you want something done right, you better not do it yourself.)

Poster – Jeez Louise! (F)

maximumOverdrive

(Holy Moly! That is listed as the theatrical poster! Did Stephen King also make that himself? That is startling.)

Tagline(s) – Stephen King’s masterpiece of terror directed by the master himself. (F)

(There are lots of taglines associated with the theater release/VHS/laserdisc/DVD over the years. I just use the one that’s on the original poster. Obviously it is trash. Nothing more to say.)

Notes – In the movie trailer, Stephen King said he decided to direct the film himself after writing several because he wanted to see Stephen King done right. “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.” When asked why he hasn’t directed a movie since “Maximum Overdrive”, Stephen King responded “Just watch Maximum Overdrive.” (perfect one and done for real)

Stephen King, being a former cocaine addict, later admitted that he was “coked out of my mind” the entire time he was making this picture and often didn’t know what he was doing. He remarked that he’d like to try directing again someday, this time sober. (This is what I like to hear Stephen. I’m willing to bet a solid portion of weird ass movies from the 80s have a similar origin story)

An accident occurred on July 31, 1985 during shooting in a suburb of Wilmington, North Carolina where a radio-controlled lawnmower used in a scene went out of control and struck a block of wood used as a camera support, shooting out wood splinters which injured the director of photography Armando Nannuzzi; as a result, he lost his right eye. Nannuzzi sued Stephen King on February 18, 1987 for $18 million in damages. The suit was settled out of court. (Yeah, there is a bit of a sad tale there. Obviously losing an eye is not ideal for a director of photography).