Manos: The Hands of Fate Recap

Jamie

Michael and Margaret are on vacation but become lost in the desert. As night descends they stumble on a ranch where they take shelter only to find strange things afoot. Can they escape the clutches of the evil master, Manos, before it’s too late? Find out in… Manos: Hands of Fate.

How?! Michael, his wife Margaret, their daughter, and their dog are on their way to a ranch for vacation. After taking a wrong turn in the desert they stumble upon a ranch maintained by a satyr (who looks more like a normal person with giant legs than a mythical being) named Torgo. Asking if they can stay the night Torgo warns them that his master, Manos, won’t be happy but Michael insists that they stay there until they can find the ranch in the morning. Almost immediately creepy (but mostly suuuuuppper boring) things start to happen. When Torgo takes a liking to Margaret he goes to his hibernating master and tells him that he has enough wives and this one is his. He incapacitates Michael and imprisons Margaret only to have Manos awaken and plan all of their deaths. After a brief argument on what to do with Margaret and the child they agree that Torgo and Michael must die. Torgo is sacrificed, but when they go to collect Michael and his family they find that they have run into the desert. After a brief escape Michael and Margaret agree that the desert spells certain death and they return to the ranch to ultimately be taken prisoner by Manos for all of eternity. The End.

Why?! Our “heroes” just want a place to stay for the night and directions to the ranch. After Manos reveals himself they only want escape. As for Manos he just wants more wives and people to sacrifice. In fact we get very little insight into what, who, and why he is (but why would we… it was made by a delusional person who didn’t know how to write or make a movie). The only other character is Torgo and he’s just a sad satyr with giant legs that hops about hoping to find a wife. Sad.

What?! Not really sure what to highlight here, so I’m just not going to. This film was basically amateur hour made up of 95% awkward pauses. It’s a film that deserved to disappear forever, but instead lives on in infamy. There is no what in the entire thing. Only a distinct lack of what.

Who?! Michael is played by writer/director Harold P. Warren. He was in the amateur theater scene of El Paso and bet a local screenwriter that he could make a horror film on a low budget… I guess he lost that bet.

Where?! The location is not given specifically, but obviously filmed in El Paso and the location certainly had the feel of the Texas desert. But that won’t cut it for BMT! D.

When?! A film of this level transcends time and space. It is unknowable in so many ways, so to expect any insight into the exact date is far far far too much to expect. F.

So that’s about it. Manos pretty much was as expected. It may be one of the most boring experiences of my life. Almost the entire thing is just people staring at each other not saying a word. In the end I’m not surprised that MST3K made this film famous. Not only can they so effectively use all the dead space in the film, but they can play on how much the film messes with your head. Throughout the film you wonder what the point of the entire thing is and it drives. You. Crazy. By itself though? Just mind melting. Do not recommend and this is part of the reason we generally avoid films like this for the main entries of BMT. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What do you get when you cross an amateur filmmaker / full-time weirdo with a bet he refuses to lose? A boring piece of garbage. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I mean, it is obviously nothing, the film doesn’t make sense or anything. The only really good thing you get out of it is the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode which is often listed as one of the (if not the) best episode of the original run. During that episode the evil scientists end up apologizing for subjecting Joel and the robots (who are often weeping about how boring the movie it) to Manos: The Hands of Fate. It is honestly the only way to make it bearable since they interject during extended sequences of silence. If we were to go Sequel I think I would rather they just do another Mystery Science Theater 3000. Literally, just make the new crew do the same episode in a weird seance-like ritual to resurrection the MST3K of the past. I think it could be fun just because the movie has now been dissected so much since MST3K injected it into the collective consciousness 30 years ago.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – Everything obviously. The acting is ridiculous. The entire thing doesn’t make sense. The lighting is awful. The story is garbage. The acting is ridiculous. The idea is creepy. The story is trash, … wait where was I? Oh yeah, Manos: The Hands of Fate is awful. Don’t watch it (although maybe just watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version and call it a day). The Sklognalogy is strangely obvious: Plan 9 From Outer Space. The same kind of surreal nonsensicalness. The director who is delusional and is making schlock almost as a compulsion. The stilted crazy acting. Weird choices, etc. etc. etc. If Warren, the director / writer / star, had any clout he might have been able to continue making films like a crazy person. Luckily he didn’t have an clout outside of the insurance industry.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The legacy will be merely that we watched a movie we kind of had to watch at some point for BMT. The film, like Plan 9, is mostly boring and actually no fun to watch beyond marveling that such a thing could be created. The street cred though is up the wazoo. There aren’t many reviews online, so perhaps I’m over-blowing it, but this film is, I think, considered among the top 5 worst films ever made. The Room and Plan 9 From Outer Space are for sure there. Then there would be some debate about more modern films like Mac and Me, Ballistic Ecks vs. Sever, etc. But I think it would be hard to box it out of top 5. But that isn’t a good thing necessarily. Bad movies are bad. We want fun bad movies. This is not a fun bad movie. It is a bad movie. Remember that.

I’ll leave the discussion about pre-1980s bad movies for The Bye Bye Man recap, and just end there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Clan of the Cave Bear Recap

Jamie

After an earthquake kills her mother a Cro-Magnon child, Ayla, is rescued by a clan of Neanderthals. While most accept her into the clan, she is tormented by the future leader, Broud, and struggles to abide by the strict customs of the clan so alien to her own. Can she overcome the evolutionary gap before it’s too late? Find out in… The Clan of the Cave Bear.

How?! We open on Ayla’s mother getting sucked into the earth due to an earthquake. Left to fend for herself she wanders about, eventually getting attacked by a lion and surviving only long enough to be found by a Neanderthal clan looking for a new cave. The leader of the clan wants to abandon the child, but eventually relents when Ayla leads them to a perfect new cave. She seems destined to be one of their own. Over the years Ayla is slowly accepted into the clan, except by the jealous future leader Broud who resents the freedom that Ayla seems to have. While she bucks the strict cultural dogma of the clan by secretly learning to use a sling, Broud takes pleasure in beating her and forcing himself upon her, eventually leading to her pregnancy. Soon thereafter she is caught using the sling when she saves a young boy from a wolf attack. Exiled for a month in the harsh winter there seems to be little chance of her survival, but through her adaptation skills and ingenuity she gives birth and survives the winter alone (seems unlikely, but whatever). After her return, her place in the clan only grows, much to the chagrin of Broud. In the end Broud is officially named leader of the tribe whereby Ayla is exiled and forced to forge her own way in the world. This injustice causes an irreparable rift in the clan meant to show how unwillingness to adapt is the eventual downfall of the Neanderthals. Science! I know that synopsis sounds uneventful, but I assure you it’s even less eventful than I described. The End.

Why?! Motivations in the film are few and far between. As in the book, the film spends most of its time speculating on the lives of Neanderthals. The day to day struggles of Ayla are rooted in her having a different sense of self and concept of gender roles due to differences in the brain of Neanderthals compared to Cro-Magnon humans. This is of course based on science… JK LOLZ. It’s not. The Neanderthals can see into the past and the future and shit with their crazy Neanderthal brains and are basically magic. If there is any motivation at all it’s for the clan to survive and Ayla to fit in. The clan cannot adapt to her feminist ways and her exile presages the decline of the Neanderthals as a dominant species on Earth. Boom roasted, Neanderthals. You might be magic, but Ayla can do math. You donzo.

What?! There is nothing more I would have loved than to see product placement in this film. Would have made up for a somewhat bizarre but mostly boring BMT film. But alas, no quick draughts of Coca-Cola before the big musk ox hunt and I’m unfamiliar with the brands of cocaine from the 80’s.

Who?! We get a true celebrity appearance in this film. During a large clan gathering there is a bear fight. The bear is played by none other than Bart the Bear, one of the most famous animal actors ever. We’ve seen him before in On Deadly Ground and we’ll see him again in Meet the Deedles. The funniest rumor is that he got enough votes to be nominated for an Oscar for the 1988 film The Bear, but rules precluded animals from receiving nominations, so it couldn’t go forward. I guess the Oscars figured out what the officials in Air Bud couldn’t.

Where?! The book is pretty clear exactly where this all takes place (Ukraine), but the film obviously doesn’t have a good way of talking about the setting. Doesn’t even really try. But ignorance is no excuse for the law. Jamie’s law of settings is ironclad. F.

When?! Likely takes place in the Late Pleistocene period when the Neanderthals were heading towards extinction. Impossible to get any more accurate than that. D-.

I could not resist the allure of reading the smash hit novel that this film was based on, even if it was a 500 page feminist novel from the 80’s. In the end it was a pretty slow go. I liked the characters and it was certainly interesting to read the speculation on the life and biology of Neanderthals (although a lot of the magic memory stuff she did was more than laughable). At the same time I don’t think the message and construction of the book aged very well. It’s primarily an allegory pertaining to the second-wave feminism of the 60’s and 70’s, which makes the life and culture of the Neanderthals oddly modern feeling and yet the message dated. This actually penetrated the film as well where a major complaint by reviewers was how modern everything seemed. Overall it was a pretty straight adaptation with some events merged together and small changes near the end… but largely faithful probably to its detriment. Patrick?  

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Have you ever had a dream where things are happening around you but it is all kind of fuzzy and unfocused and when you wake up you can’t remember it? When you are awake and that happens to you it’s called a Clan of the Cave Bear. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Prequel, Sequel, Remake) – You can appreciate why the book exists and what the author was trying to do. She had researched the time period and decided to make a fictionalized version of this world she knew so well. The movie basically has some decent sets and settings. Other than that though … let’s remake it! So, the one good thing really was the setting. So we get back to Vancouver, start shooting those vistas! No sign language, as a matter of fact I want this to be action packed! Hunting, the empowerment of young women, a strong independent lead living in Clan of the Cave Bear. I’m going to go ahead and cut out the multiple rape scenes as well, and let’s go ahead and give the main villain his comeuppance and the lead a happy ending, and … What’s that? Yes, I said multiple rape scenes, it is … not fantastic. You know what? This is irredeemable, I don’t even want to watch my own remake!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – First, this movie is stone cold boring. It is effectively an art piece showing in painful detail the machinations of caveman sign language. Second, there are, as I said, multiple uncomfortable rape scenes and in general the struggle of the lead is neither particularly fulfilling nor ultimately redemptive. They stayed a bit too close to home in creating a villain and then never bothering to punish him, and creating a hero and never bothering to save her. Dare I say the film comes across as somewhat nihilistic even. It takes place before any familiar religion so … alright, this is getting a bit heavy, but let’s say by the end I just kind of felt horrible for early human beings more than anything else. Finally, and maybe it is a matter of a brutal filming schedule or demanding make-up process, but some of the actors look a little zonked out. I don’t want to speculate about drugs or anything else, but I literally laughed out loud a few times as the actors looked around with unfocused deadpan looks on their faces. It was weird. I’m going to go with an old favorite of BMT for the Sklognalogy with God and Generals. This 4+ hour epic is basically just an exercise in filming accurate portrayals of Civil War troop maneuvers. And it is as exciting as it sounds. The one thing I thought it lacked was detailed sign language though.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – Legacy will be the same as Gods and Generals in which I might remember it for being so boring. Unlike Gods and Generals though it didn’t have a comically long running time going for it, so it is more likely just remembered as a more-bad-than-BMT film of this year. I’m kind of stunned, but the film has almost no cred. No Razzies (an Oscar nod even) and nowhere really mentioned it as a particularly bad film. It just kind of got forgotten. Hey, look at that … we all agree.

You can read the review of Air Bud: Golden Receiver separately, but does it change our minds about Kids’ films? Actually … the more I reflect on it the more it kind of does. I liked watching Air Bud 2. I thought it was fascinating from two levels. First, the B story is kind of an interesting part of the kids’ film genre, and exploring that more could be very fun. Second, something like a nearly-direct-to-DVD sequel has its own kind of charm. Little Giants, The Big Green, The Mighty Ducks, all had that kind of charm. Perhaps sports movies are the key? Regardless it is definitely something to consider, especially in the new year when we are considering a modification to the cycle. Stay tuned.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas Recap

Jamie

Kirk Cameron loves Christmas and is dismayed to find his brother-in-law Christian is not as enthusiastic. Can he sway his opinion about the holiday with some totally unassailable logic and deep biblical knowledge before it’s too late? Find out in… Saving Christmas.

How?! Kirk Cameron is ready to settle in with some strictly Xmas related things: hot chocolate, fireplaces, and sweaters… just some typical religious icons. But some people in this world don’t want you to enjoy all those super nonsecular things. No sir. They either want you to not be so enthusiastic or they want you to celebrate only Jesus. Booooooo. Scrooges, the lot of them. So Kirk is rightfully shocked to find his brother-in-law Christian is one of the Scrooges! Oh no! He thinks presents are dumb, Christmas trees are pagan heresy, and Santa is a capitalistic monster. Bah humbug! Luckily Kirk Cameron is there to save the day (and that day is Christmas), because he know everything about the bible and all of those things are totes in there and totally cool. Don’t worry about it. You probably didn’t pick up on all the Christmas trees in the bible because you weren’t as smart as Kirk Cameron. He’ll explain it to you. Once Christian is convinced he heads into the house for a little nog, a little dance party, and a swell Christmas dinner with his BFFs. The End.

Why?! To save Xmas, bro! Duh! People are literally at war with Christmas. They want to stamp out all of your beliefs. Kirk will help you defeat the theist and atheist fiends alike with some airtight counterpoints. Everyone else… uh… wait, there isn’t anyone else in this film. Just him talking to you while he sits in a car.

What?! The idea that this film would have a product placement is laughable. The closest we get is a prominent shot of the GMC truck that Kirk and Christian sit in for an hour while they talk at us. But yeah, it def wasn’t a product placement… right?

Who?! Solid Director-turned-actor here with Darren Doane playing second fiddle to Kirk Cameron. A little foreshadowing with my boy Doane: he also directed another of the films that is part of the Bring A Friend cycle, which is absurd. Also have to note the Christian dance troop that is featured prominently in the last 15 minutes of the film: God Squad Dance Crew. I would link to their website but I don’t actually want to go to it.

Where?! Pretty obviously takes place in LA, but not explicitly stated. You do get a straight shot of the license plate of the car they sit in for an hour and it definitely has a California plate. So you got the state. C-.

When?! A+ Setting Alert! Best part of a Christmas movie is you have the temporal setting sitting right there for the taking. Worst part is you occasionally have to see absolute trash like this. Gross. A+.

This. Film. Is. Terrible. I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever watch it again… Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! So you are want to create something wonderful for your flock to enjoy in the Christmas (with a capital Christ) season to combat the liberal War on Christmas? Who are you going to call? Child-star-turned-evangelical-icon Kirk Cameron of course! I hope he knows how to make movies … he does know how to make movies right?! Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – The film quality is … good. Like the picture itself. They rented cameras that were good enough for a feature length production. Honestly, I’m having trouble even thinking through whether I should do sequel/prequel/remake … I mean, like, Remake. Remake this movie with real actors? Although you’d probably just end up with Left Behind starring Nic Cage. So, what is there to say? This will serve its purpose. People will watch it in Sunday school and it’ll give a few tough questions answers that sound good. But is there anything in this movie that is “good”? No, it is not a real movie. It can amuse more than you would think, but mostly it made me angry by just how disingenuous it managed to be.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – This is a real one: at one point they talk about “santa” and about how Saint Nicholas was a real person. Then they show him beating the shit out of someone and everyone is like “man, Santa’s a badass”. That’s assault brotha, and it is nothing to celebrate, especially not in a purported Christian film. The acting is terrible, the film is not a movie. By technical definitions even. It opens with a five minute intro by Cameron talking to the camera about how much he loves hot chocolate, and then ends with (not kidding) a 20 minute sequence involving a dance party, a dinner scene, and then blooooooopies. This movie is less than an hour long. The Sklognalogy is … no not Left Behind. Even when we did Left Behind, at least that had a story. This does not, it comes across as almost stream of consciousness. It is produced by Liberty University! No, the Sklognalogy is Atlas Shrugged III: Who is John Galt? A pure propaganda film that isn’t a real movie, disingenuous, holier than thou, and wholly terrible.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – For at least a year, and this will be expanded upon more in the Christmas with the Kranks, this I think puts the nail in the coffin of doing more explicitly religious films (like God’s Not Dead 2 for example). It just isn’t really worth it. I will come out of it the same way: angry and with a simple five word review: “This is not a movie”. This had the streetcred though. Due to Kirk Cameron’s own idiotic victim mentality he went to social media to decry the unfair online reviews his movie got! … which promptly got him more negative reviews and single-handedly caused his movie to nearly sweep the Razzies. It did get a shout at 18th worst of the year at the AV Club, but often was overshadowed by Left Behind and God’s Not Dead from the same year. Every review basically calls it an experimental film trying to figure out how little actual movie can be made while still releasing to theaters.

I’ll probably leave it mostly there. I will point out something I thought was rather humorous from this entire humorless affair. Darren Doane’s character Christian sits around in his car the whole time while his wife is slaving away in the kitchen preparing this absolutely enormous dinner for friends and family … then when dinner comes around, who is at the head of the table as if he didn’t just sulk around for days on end like an asshole? Christian. The patriarchy, am I right?

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Beverly Hillbillies Recap

Jamie

Jed Clampett strikes oil and strikes out for Beverly Hills in pursuit of a wife to help tame his tomboy daughter. Surrounded by sycophants and con men looking to take advantage of his country naivete, can they be stopped before it’s too late? Find out in… The Beverly Hillbillies.

How?! It’s the classic fish-out-of-water story updated for a modern time. Jed Clampett is out hunting for dinner in rural Arkansas when a stray bullet strikes a giant oil reserve. Selling his land for billions he hoofs it to Beverly Hills with Grannie, Jethro, and Elly May in tow in order to find a wife to help Elly May become a proper young lady (she currently spends her time wrasling bears and the like). Upon arriving they are taken under the wing of the head of the bank, Mr. Drysdale, and his associate Miss Jane Hathaway. Unbeknownst to them, though, a skeezy employee of the bank, Woodrow, and his money-grubbing girlfriend, Laura, plan to trick the country bumpkins into handing over their fortune. Disguised as a French etiquette teacher, Laura infiltrates the family and cozies up to Jed. While the Clampett clan generally charm all those that come across their simple, kind ways, it all seems headed for naught as Jed announces that he will indeed marry Laura. On the day of the wedding Miss Jane and Grannie discover the dastardly plot and at the last moment stop the wedding. The End. The film is also that abrupt in concluding.

Why?! The original TV show was a bit light on motivation. They move to Beverly Hills in order just to take advantage of their new wealth since it seemed like the right thing to do. In the film they solidify this a bit by detailing a fear of Jed’s that his daughter is growing up rough in rural Arkansas without a mother. By moving to ritzy Beverly Hills he hopes to find a sophisticated wife who can teach Elly May to be a proper lady. As for Mr. Drysdale, he’s a sycophant that hopes only to keep Jed’s money in his bank (although he and Miss Jane are pretty nice to the Clampetts nonetheless). Laura and Woodrow are the bad guys that only aim to steal money that is not theirs. Played by Rob Schneider, Woodrow is terribly unfunny and easily the worst part of a pretty silly film.

What?! I was fearing that we wouldn’t get a decent product placement in the entire film and I would be forced to use a conspicuously placed bottle of Shasta soda for this entry (the horror). That is until Jed’s glamorous birthday party when Juthro, shown to be a huge eater in several different scenes (character development!), can’t stand the snobby food. Starving and eager for a decent meal he orders a six-foot sub from Subway! Not joking, it’s a commercial within a film.

Who?! While Zsa Zsa Gabor appears very briefly in a police lineup (for no discernable reason) and the original Jed Clampett himself, Buddy Ebsen, appears as Barnaby Jones, I have to give this section to the queen Dolly Parton. Not only does she sings a full rendition of If You Ain’t Got Love and Happy Birthday, but she wrangled a higher billing than Rob Schneider and Dabney Coleman for a single scene. Good on ya!

Where?! Love the original setting of Arkansas. Fairly brief, but specific. The main setting though sets off a serious A+ Settings Alert! Beverly Hills is essential to the plot and in the title. Can’t beat a satisfyingly A+ setting.

When?! Patrick and I discussed this at length. With some sleuthing it would seem that the film takes place over a 6 month period starting from February 1993, with the wedding taking place on the 10th of August of that year. This is all based on a calendar on Barnaby Jones’ desk and a couple of magazine people read (we are crazy people). Most B- setting that I can remember.

I actually didn’t totally mind this film. Just as silly as something like Dudley Do-Right, but with some characters I liked and I thought the Clampett actors did an admirable job conveying the sweet innocence of the family without becoming insulting… or at least too insulting. Rob Schneider never fails to be terrible though. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The Beverly Hillbillies? More like the Beverly Fail-billies? That’s a toughy. Jed Clampett just fell ass backwards into a billion dollars and wants to find his daughter a new mother … that’s it. That’s the story, let’s get into it.

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I like the actors (although I don’t think anyone comes across as decent besides, maybe, Lea Thompson). And the movie is kind of harmless in an oh-shucks kind of way. I would Remake it obviously. Because there is nothing better than remaking a remake of a 1960s television show. I think I would use it as a launching point for a new show, so cast the show and start it with a Beverly Hillbillies movie (hey, why not?) which tells the tale of Jed Clampett falling backwards into $10 billion (inflation, amirite?) and all of a sudden rubbing elbows with the Hollywood elites. Run it like a faux-soap opera, a kind of pseudo-drama comedy. Not the OC, more like a light-hearted Twin Peaks season 1. Is there a show like that? I feel like if there isn’t there should be, and why not use that sweet IP to do it?

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – When I initially watched this movie I thought it was merely boring and harmless. There was silly sound effects, and a ludicrous story about a wedding and a Swiss bank account. But the longer I ruminate the more I dislike it. It is like a two episode arc of a television show premiere. It adds nothing and I can’t quite figure out why it exists. I’ve subsequently seen a few critics say roughly the same thing (see Ebert’s review below), so it was as obvious at the time as well. It just seems so pointless, which is somehow worse than just making a terrible movie in the first place! The Sklognalogy I think has to be Car 54 Where are You? but at the same time, at least that movie decided to do something interesting with that property. Maybe Dudley Do-Right though … I can barely remember that worthless film.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – No legacy. This film is just along for the ride with other early-90s tv adaptations. I hope to forget it almost immediately. In StreetCreditReport.com the episode of Siskel & Ebert The Beverly Hillbillies was Siskel’s worst tv remake of the year!! Funny enough Ebert chose Coneheads even though he destroys this film in his own review. I’m not surprised, the film is more of a disappointment and boring, not aggressively bad like Super Mario Bros. Buys a bit into my big-targets theory of bad movie criticism: a movie might be objectively better than other films coming out in the same year, but if you have a big target (here, it is the fact that it is based on a beloved classic property), then you’ll get disproportionately slammed when things turn out poorly.

I wish I could say I watched some original Beverly Hillbillies in prep … but I didn’t really see the point. I watched an episode of Car 54 Where Are You? and just kind of realized shows from that era don’t really have arcs, and remakes tend to not stray too far from the general tone anyways. They barely have characters. Meh, that is what I say to you Beverly Hillbillies.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace Recap

Jamie

Superman is back, Jack! This time he’s looking to eliminate all nuclear weapons, but finds Lex Luthor standing in his way. Can he stop him before it’s too late? Find out in… Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

How?! Superman is back and feeling real down about the state of world affairs. Everyone is super stressed about the threat of nuclear war and he figures that if anyone can be expected to bring it to an end it should be him (talk about a boring plot). In the meantime Lex Luthor escapes prison and comes up with a devious plan to create a Nuclear supervillian by stowing some super DNA on one of the nuclear weapons Superman is throwing into the sun. This ridiculous plan works (of course) and Nuclear Man is born. When Superman attempts to do battle with this new foe he ends up being poisoned by his intense radiation and has to use his last Kryptonian energy module to heal himself. Once recovered he battles Nuclear Man in space and again looks like a total dope when Nuclear Man easily pummels him into the surface of the moon. Fortunately he frees himself, pushes the moon into a solar eclipse (draining Nuclear Man of his sweet, sweet sun power), and destroys him. This synopsis of course ignores the major and mostly inconsequential plot line where the Daily Planet is bought by a Rupert Murdoch-like tabloid newspaper mogul and his daughter falls in love with Clark… cause that was even more boring than the nuclear weapons plot.

Why?! Most superhero films (and every other film in the Superman series) has the superhero take on a supervillian hell bent on world domination or gaining extreme wealth. It’s very reactionary: bad guy shows up, Superman stops him. This film on the other hand has Superman with an explicit motivation: he wants to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Because he chooses to use his power to influence humanity’s course he leaves himself open to have this plan exploited and of course Lex Luthor (still just wanting world domination and excessive riches) does just that. Very different than the rest of the series.

What?! This didn’t have nearly as much product placement as the first three films in the series. I did like the prominent Pepsi cooler visible in the Daily Planet office and that Lenny was clearly a rad teenager as demonstrated by the NES he messed around with.

Who?! There is a true art to a Planchet and Superman IV delivered. A classic Planchet is a guy just trying to do good but is basically ridiculous and everyone constantly makes fun of him. Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor’s nephew Lenny fits that bill to a T. Look at this asshole! He’s ridiculous and Lex Luthor constantly reminds him of that fact. Perfect Planchet.

Where?! This entry in the series is almost entirely set in Metropolis. As mentioned in the Superman III recap it’s amazing that in all my years of bad movie settings research I never stumbled across the fact that in the DC canon Metropolis is located in none other than our arch nemesis Delaware. This would be amazing and earth shattering if it were ever explicitly mentioned in the film. As it is it’s just a D-.

When?! Didn’t get so lucky on the temporal setting for this one. Nary a close-up of a newspaper or check to be found (although it seemed like they got mighty close a couple of times). F.

Creepy Superman saved Superman III from being a boring mess. Nothing was around to do the same for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. But let’s throw it to Patrick for his thoughts. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Superman IV: The Quest for Peace? More like Super Lame Bore: Puts Me to Sleep! Hey, that wasn’t bad, and is actually very apropos. What do you get when you cross a movie studio desperate for a hit with a writer-star who seems like he might be a little light on the “writer” in that combo? You get a sequel that legit destroyed a franchise for 20 years. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I think there is a kernel of a good movie here, because the idea is okay. Beyond that the movie is a bore, none of the actors seem to have bothered to care about it, so let’s explore that a bit in a Remake! So the kernel is the idea of Superman as the good American boy. He gets a letter from a child saying innocently: “Hey Superman, why don’t you get rid of the nukes?” and he thinks to himself “Well, golly, why not? Let’s give it a shot”. In this though it would explore the futility of disarming the world in the face of those intent on defying him. He spends time deflecting nukes, capturing them, and running global diplomacy, he loses sight of the little guy as Metropolis slips into a crime wave. The ultimate result is him having to trust the President to take care of the geopolitical game while he fights against a ruthless Metropolis crime lord. The result is the world staring into the face of nuclear disaster without Superman willing to get in the way, and the resulting peaceful disarming. More serious tone, but again, an idea of Superman finding his place among humanity: he isn’t a global peacekeeper or a policeman, he’s just there to protect the little guy from danger (big and small). And when humanity realizes that, they change a bit to take the load off of Superman so that he can continue to help the little guy as much as possible. But … less boring and cheesy than I’ve managed to make it sound.

The Bad (Sklognaology) – It is boring (aggressively so). Hackman does not give a shit, and Lex seems a bit out of place as a weird gun runner in this film. He gains a Planchet sidekick who is … terrible and absurd is the only way to describe him. He’s like a mall rat or something, it is weird. And Nuclear Man might be the worst thing I’ve ever seen as a bad guy. I had to think long and hard about this one and I think the analogy might be Fast & Furious (that’s the fourth one for those playing at home). Just blah. Overwrought, hitting some of the same old notes, but also really terrible if you take the time to think about it. Decent analogy I think.

BMT: Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com – This will get mentioned on occasion for having an amazing Planchet for sure. As far as fourth installments and franchise killers as well. Decent legs, but in the face of Creepy Superman it really will mainly be mentioned as the one after Creepy Superman. And as with Superman III this mostly gets mentioned as a bad superhero film as opposed to a terrible film in general. It gets a cover photo for the top 10 worst superhero sequels. But beyond Razzie nods there is very little else to mention for street credit.

Because Superman III was a bonus and I had already seen Superman and Superman II (multiple times) over the years, there isn’t much I can say concerning the homework in this film. So I’ll leave it there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Hot to Trot Recap

Jamie

Who would have thought that watching an entire cycle of films that received the rare <10% RT score would result in us getting dog poo shoved ever so slowly into our faces over and over again? That’s our BMT life. Let’s go!

What?! After the death of his mother, Fred Chaney needs to prove to his asshole stepdad that he can handle the family biz. Fortunately his mother has bequeathed him a talking horse with a nose for stock trading. Can he amass a fortune, get the lady, and shove it in his stepdad’s face before it’s too late? Find out in… Hot to Trot.

How?! Comedy business storyline alert! As is the case with most 80’s comedies, this film concerns our main characters lust for success and money in the world of finance. Fred’s mother dies, leaving him with half an investment company and one talking horse named Don. He’s a deadbeat loser, so naturally his asshole of a stepdad wants to buy him out of his stake in the company, but Fred hates his stupid face so decides to stay on out of spite. By sheer luck, Don overhears some important business tips around the stables and Fred is soon raking in the dough and living it up (with Don) in a penthouse apartment. His luck soon runs out, though, when one of Don’s tips comes up a dud and he loses everything. With only Don to his name (weird that he still “owns” Don even though he’s basically his friend and talks with him all day), he stakes it all on a big horse race. Riding Don to victory as the unlikeliest of jockey’s, Fred finally gives his stepdad the comeuppance he deserves. As for Don, his storyline is a sad affair concerned mostly with loneliness and wanderlust. As for our storyline while watching this film, it was also a sad affair concerned only with sadness and dog poo in our faces.

Why?! Technically Fred’s goals are two-fold. He primarily wants to prove that he’s not the black sheep bozo that his stepdad assumes he is (and he certainly is in actuality). There is a secondary romantic goal of getting with Allison, a coworker at the office, but that is a pretty weak romantic storyline. As for Don, he’s just looking for three simple things: a friend, a nice filly to make baby talking horses with, and all the TaB he can guzzle. The final race provides an answer to all these goals. If they win they get rich (to buy TaB, probably), Fred gets the girl, and Fred wins all of his stepdad’s horses, including the filly of Don’s dreams. How convenient! I guess that’s why they made a documentary about it since it was such a crazy convenient storyline.

Who?! We’ve been on a roll with uncredited appearances (and in a major slump on Planchets) and this film is no different. Appearing unbilled as the voice of Don’s dad is Mickey himself, Burgess Meredith. Pretty big role to go unbilled (three major scenes), but just a voice so maybe didn’t think a terrible talking horse film was worth the billing in the end. I like to imagine he was really good friends with Bobcat Goldthwait and did him a solid.

Where?! California setting. Lots of license plates and California living. Most notably though is the climactic horse race, the El Segundo Stakes, set outside LA. Pushes it from a C+ to a B-.

When?! There is no clear temporal setting for this film. There were a couple glimpses of newspapers and computer screen, but all were prop constructions. No dates to be seen. The only conjecture we can make is on the date of the El Segundo Stakes. There is a race by that name that seems to run in the third week of May, but it is so small that I can’t tell if it even existed in the 80’s or is always run in May. So that’s pretty weak. D+.

Let’s see what Patrick thought of this dog poo. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Hot to Trot? More like Dog Poo In My Face! Or Should I say Horse Poo In My Face!? Amirite? John Candy voices a stock-tip giving, best-bud of a party animal in this hilarious comedy showcasing the one of a kind talents of Bobcat Goldthwait! What could possibly go wrong! Oh yeah, I already told you, it was like dog poo being pushed slow motion into my face, let’s get into it:

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Some of the performances, like Virginia Madsen, were okay which is only more confusing as to how they got them in this movie in the first place. Besides that literally nothing. But we obviously are going to go Sequel! Here we see mega-billionaire Fred Chaney who, with the help of Don the talking horse, has skyrocketed to the top of the financial world. But Don is concerned after finding some discrepancies in the company’s books … could Fred be stealing from his clients and friends? Paranoid, and afraid, Don seeks out Allison Rowe to help unravel the mystery of Fred Chaney. Is he the man they thought he was, or could he be a crook … even a killer? Hot to Trot 2: Money Never Sleeps. “A tense thriller … although the talking horse deflates it a bit” says the New York Times.

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – Where to start? Everything about the talking horse and the lore surrounding it is cheesy and awful and not funny. The direction is bonkers, there are parts which legit look like they filled out the film with stock footage. The writing is awful, bouncing between a kind of weird talking horse financial comedy and a surreal odd couple situation (with a talking horse). It is aimless, and at times boring, aggravating, annoying, and predictable all wrapped up in one. It is legitimately one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. The sin is Greed. And that is only because stupidity isn’t a sin. Why they thought they could just make easy money with this bit of schlock is beyond me.

The BMT: Legacy – Boy oh boy, this film is awe inspiring in how bad it is, a rarity even. This could go down as one of the worst earnest 80s films we’ll ever watch. We’ve probably seen worse actual films (Can’t Stop the Music comes to mind), and I’ve certainly seen other terrible films quality-wise, but this is somehow indicative of the legacy of the 80s. Like Maximum Overdrive it is cocaine distilled, a heady hubris-driven idea of doing whatever you want and expecting it to come up heads every time. It is special, and deserves to be in any conversation about terrible 80s films, especially in a BMT context. It is nearly beyond words … so naturally I wasted a ton of them trying to explain it. This movie is like smoke, ungraspable and ephemeral. Enjoy it while you can.

Boom, and shine that off with a little StreetCreditReport.com! Interestingly Hot to Trot doesn’t get a lot of love as a bad movie. It is the 3rd worst talking animal film ever though, but then gets 23rd on a list concerning all of the 80s. That guy is a random guy from Tampa Bay, but we have seen 5 of his top 10 (Cobra, Rhinestone, Ishtar, Over the Top, and Gymkata) … I’m sticking to my guns, this easily gets into my top 10. Anyways, I think why this doesn’t get more notice is because no one remembers. This list seems to suggest that is plausible. That is what Bad Movie Twins give you though, the unpopular opinions. You heard it here first … Hot to Trot is a bad movie.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

10,000 BC Recap

Jamie

Let me transport you back 12,000 years to a time where movies were super boring. That’s right! We watched 10,000 BC. Let’s get into the details.

What?! After most of his prehistoric tribe is captured and taken as slaves by an advanced civilization, D’Leh follows in pursuit in an attempt to rescue his lady love Evolet. Will he rescue Evolet (and more importantly live up to a legend) before it’s too late? Find out in… 10,000 BC!

Why?! In the grand scheme of the plot there are three different reasons for the pursuit. Most obviously it is to rescue the tribe since the remaining tribesmen won’t survive without enough hunters. The second is to rescue Evolet specifically since she is, according to legend, a major cog in the tribe’s future. Without her it is feared that the legend will not come to be. Finally, for D’Leh himself it is because he is in love with Evolet and wants to get her back so he can get laid and paid (classic motivation, really). As for the advanced civilization doing the capturing, all they want is more slaves to build their sweet pyramids.

How?! Early in the film we see Evolet arrive as a child to the tribe. She has blue eyes and their priest determines that she is the future wife of a legendary warrior who will save them when their main food source, mastodons, runs scarce. D’Leh sees Evolet and is instantly smitten. As they grow up they grow to love each other, but no one really thinks D’Leh is the warrior of legend and worthy of her hand (even D’Leh). After the tribe is attacked and captured, including Evolet, D’Leh puts his big boy pants on and goes in pursuit of the attackers, following them across mountains, jungle, and desert. As he travels the many civilizations they encounter determine that D’Leh is their legendary hero and he builds a mighty army. Once he tracks the attackers to the hub of their advanced civilization he uses this army to dispatch their leader. At the very last moment Evolet is killed, only to be Deus Ex Machina-ed back to life. Phew! That was close. They return home, bringing with them new farming techniques that allow for the extended survival of their tribe just as the legend foretold.

Who?! There is literally no humor in this film at all so there is no Planchet. There is a pretty good cameo by Omar Sharif as the narrator of the film (and boy, the narration doesn’t quit). Most important though I need to throw out an Animal Friend Alert for this film. After D’Leh rescues a sabertooth tiger from drowning he is rewarded by the tiger becoming his friend, adding to his legend. They also did this in After Earth with a giant bird and gotta say, still doesn’t work.

Where?! The advanced civilization in this film is almost certainly Egypt. Not only are they building a pyramid and the sphinx in scenes, but the alternate ending that I watched on the DVD makes it pretty clear that the pyramid is the Khafre pyramid. Additionally, D’Leh follows the North Star to get to the civilization, while the tribe’s attackers took boats up a river (the Nile). I would say this safely suggests that the tribe in the film lives somewhere in the Ethiopian Highlands (supported by the fact that the Semien Mountains in that region is the only place where snow regularly falls in Africa and there is a bunch of snow in the film) and they were following The Nile. Boom. Solid sleuthing.

When?! 10,000 BC, duh. That’s an A+ setting even if you can’t get any more specific. Besides, during the film a tribe travels from Ethiopia to Egypt. Likely took a really long time.

That’s way more details than you needed for this snoozefest. A couple solid aspects regarding the tiger friend, but not much else. But I’ll leave that up to Patrick. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! 10,000 BC? I certainly feels like I watching that film for thousands of years! Zing! Roland Emmerich is every so often asked to convert tens of millions of dollars into an impressive looking film. A good film? Well … let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – If there was anything good to say about this film it is that the ultimate villain (a god-like figure building a pyramid in the desert) had some interesting ideas woven into his lore. He’s a weirdo no one is allowed to look at (for no other reason that maybe they’d figure out he was an old man? … unclear. Either that or he was albino … ), they seem to have come from Atlantis. I was kind of digging that a bit. So Prequel duh. Let’s get into 10,000 BC: The Fall of Atlantis. We meet our god like villain when he was, spoiler, a slave in Atlantis! He leads a rebellion and in the process destroys the machinery keeping the sinking continent above the ocean surface. Could be fun … unless.

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – I left you waiting there, … unless the movie was so boring you just didn’t even care about the solid CGI and ultra-polished directoral work. The actors might as well have had no faces they were all charisma sinks, the oppressive voice over basically build a story out of nothing, and I just didn’t care about this stupid hero’s journey we were being slowly spoonfed. The sin is sloth, it made me feel like a waste of life watching his borefest. And no one could even be bothered to punch that script up. Boo! I had such high hopes 10,000 BC, such high hopes for you.

The BMT: Legacy – If anything this is a movie I will look back on as a weird missed opportunity. It is like a better looking Pathfinder, but has none of the absurd actors that entertain you throughout. Instead you have faceless nobodies, a voiceover supplying plot details, and a sagging middle where the protagonist just puts an army together. Maybe it could break out as an example of bad historical details? Like there are domesticated horses 6000 years before they should exist, and man-eating birds in a place that definitely is not New Zealand (among many other things). But I feel like that is it. I specifically don’t want to slog my way through another 2 hours of that I can tell you that much. Blah.

Hmmm, I feel like this needs something else now … Ah, how about a Street Credit Report (dot com)! I thought up this as a kind of extension of the BMT: Legacy. But while that is focused on what the movie meant to BMT, this focuses a bit more on perhaps a more global perception. And interestingly … this appears on a lot less worst of lists that I would expect. But Joe Neumaier has it as his worst film of 2008 for the NY Daily News. It is number 8 on this blog, NME.com. And probably most noteworthy Richard Roeper has it as his number 4. Solid cred I think (phew). It is also blowing my mind that this movie came out the same year as Love Guru … that was one of our first films (#3 in fact). Anywho, cheerios,

The Sklogs