Transformers: The Last Knight Recap

Jamie

Cade Yeager is back, Jack! A final showdown is afoot between Earth and the Transformers planet Cybertron. An ancient staff is the key to either Earth’s destruction or salvation. Can Cade obtain this staff and stop Earth’s demise before it’s too late? Find out in… Transformers: The Last Knight.

How?! I fear that I may have waited too long to write this up and now won’t be able to make heads or tails of the terribly convoluted plot that is the hallmark of all Transformers films. Here it goes: five years after the last movie Transformers are hunted by the US government. Despite this many more arrive from space each day. Why? Turns out that their home planet Cybertron is all kinds of fucked up. The creators that dwell there are angry so they brainwash Optimus and send him in search of a magic MacGuffin… er… staff that will bring life back to their planet. Meanwhile on Earth, Cade Yeager is a Transformer sympathizer hiding out as a fugitive. He finds a powerful talisman in the ruins of Chicago which results in both the US government and Megatron trying to track him down. Cade manages to escape with the help of a British robot who knows that he’s part of a larger prophecy for the final showdown with Cybertron. They team up with a British historian who tracks the magic MacGuffin staff to a submarine, which turns out to be a Transformer, that takes them to an ancient underwater spaceship (you following this? No? Good). Inside they find the staff, but it’s stolen by Optimus, who is temporarily a bad guy. Optimus then has the staff stolen by Megatron and turns back into a good guy (this is real). All our friends and foes head to Stonehenge where Cybertron is using the staff to suck the core out of the Earth. Cade and the historian head up to Cybertron and a bunch of shit happens. People are screaming “Physics!” and “Science!” at the screen and then Cybertron is stopped by our friends. In the end Optimus says that humans and Transformers have to learn to work together… they obviously will not because he says this at the end of every film and no one listens. THE END.

Why?! Did you just read that? It’s impossibly stupid. If you insist on diving into the motivations of Cade it’s mostly about protecting his daughter. He knows that the Transformers are good and the only thing that can save the Earth. If he doesn’t help them the US government will destroy them and doom the Earth. As for the adversaries, they are led by Quintessa, a robot god creator. She is angry at the destruction of her planet Cybertron and plans to use the power within Earth (actually a giant Transformer called Unicron) to rebuild. Gonna sap on that sweet, sweet molten core a la Independence Day 2.

What?! May as well make the MacGuffin Alert a permanent fixture in the Transformers franchise. This is particularly true in The Last Knight which revolves around the recovery of the powerful staff. Hits every possible box of a stereotypical MacGuffin. As for product placement, they really toned it down in this entry. We get a nice shot of Cade drinking a refreshing Bud Light, but that’s about it.

Who?! Jerrod Carmichael is the designated Planchet of this film. He fills the role of comic relief, but is also made fun of constantly and turns out to be more helpful than anyone gives him credit for. Textbook. Also want to point out an uncredited role for Freya, that dog that Michael Bay adopted. Nice touch.

Where?! You can always count on a Transformers film giving you some sweet locations provided by intertitles. In this case I would say the primary setting is England, with a secondary in South Dakota (!). There are also some scenes set in the deserts of Namibia which would be fantastic for a World Mapl.de.map. Overall this is an A-, given the importance of Stonehenge to the climactic battle.

When?! We get a brief glimpse of a universal time clock at CalTech in the beginning of the film that places the start on the 309th day of the year: November 5th. This doesn’t jive super well with everyone prancing about in t-shirts in South Dakota, Chicago, and England, but the UTC clock don’t lie. We can presume this takes place in present day I guess… but that’s pretty hard when every film says it’s been five years since the events of the last film. Would seem like we would have gotten to at least 2022 by this point. But who knows. B.

This movie is truly terrible. I hope they make a sixth one. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You’re Michael Bay, and you promised the world you wouldn’t direct another Transformers film. But promises are meant to be broken, right? I mean … that’s the saying, right? Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel / Prequel / Remake) – This movie is a wasteland. The only good thing is that I’ve now learned there is a Submarine Museum in London. Which, yes, I will be going to at some point in the near future. Thanks Transformers 5! Let’s do a Remake. As a matter of fact, let’s do a remake of the entire “second trilogy” of the Transformers franchise. I think an interesting idea would have been to jump forward in time to after a catastrophic war between the Autobots and Decepticons has devastated humanity (something they explored in this movie to an extent). Introduce the new character (the person Wahlberg was kind of meant to be) as a genius human inventor who could be the edge in the battle between the two sides. Combining the heart and ingenuity of Cade Yeager with the driven leadership of Optimus Prime, can the Autobots turn the tide of war and bring peace to Earth? Come see in … The Transformers Warzone Trilogy.

The Bad (Sklognalysis) – This movie straight up makes no sense. Like, the storyline is so muddled that at times you have to just throw your hands up in the air and be like “whatever, I guess show me some explosions?” They also have way too many characters who are just really bad comic relief. From the kids in the beginning (who are promptly forgotten about) to the grating Cogman (voiced by Jim Carter), none of it works. I’m also glad they are shedding Cade in future installments. The idea of him being an “inventor” doesn’t really work in the context of the film they are trying to make. And don’t get me started with the whole Deus Ex John Turturro they tried to throw into the mix as he used his single day of shooting to lob exposition at the protagonists from Cuba. Uuuuuugh. For the Sklognalysis I feel like I want to just mull on Michael Bay a bit here. Bay must have some motivation for what he does. I recall watching documentaries about The Island and the original Transformers and his claim to fame at the time was attaching cameras to very nice (and fast) cars and shooting crashes and explosions and chases in intense adrenaline-fueled intimacy. He still does this … but why does it feel like that it all he cares about? He’s an odd duck when you think of his pet project Pain and Gain from a few years ago. This is the first time I looked at Transformers and thought “this franchise is irredeemable, they have to start completely over”. It makes me sad, but it also makes sense that they should just part ways and never look back.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I think Transformers as a series will ultimately hold a strong position as one of the worst franchises we’ve watched. The films are so incoherent. Maybe something like Resident Evil could take the crown, but for some reason I think Transformers, having an original film I actually liked, has an interesting transformation (ha!) across BMT. For StreetCreditReport.com we finally have a fully mature set of lists to consider. I am genuinely shocked to see the A.V. Club lacking delicious Transformer bashing in their list. Luckily Rolling Stone had it as their number one. I would actually say, without seeing Emoji Movie yet, that Fifty Shades Darker and Transformers: The Last Knight are shockingly close together as far as what I think are the worst films of the year. Usually we hate some random film a little more (like Mechanic: Resurrection), but this year the big boys really came to play.

We had the possibility to look at bringing number 2 and 3 into the fold this time around … but they felt like a different series. I didn’t even bother to re-watch the fourth one either. So no homework.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Rings Recap

Jamie

Samara is back, Jack! Holt is off to college leaving behind his girlfriend Julia. When he stops answering her calls she races to campus to find that he’s watched the Ring video for a research project. She saves his life by watching his copy, but realizes too late that the video is mutated and can’t be copied. Can they unravel this new mystery before it’s too late? Find out in… Rings.

What?! When a Very Cool Professor (we know he’s rad because he smokes weed and sleeps with his students… uh… cool?) stumbles upon the Samara tape at a flea market he begins research into the effects of the tape. Some time later we are introduce to Holt and Julia. They are super in love and whispering sweet nothings to each other before Holt heads away to college. They keep in touch diligently until Holt straight up ghosts her one day shortly before she is meant to visit. That ain’t cool, Holt! She rushes to campus and finds that he’s been caught up in the Very Cool Professor’s project! Oh no! After witnessing the death of another subject in the experiment, Julia takes matters into her own hands and watches Holt’s copy to save his life. It’s all cool says the Very Cool Professor, but when he tries to make a copy for Julia it turns out the video is mutated and rendered unreproducible. Decidedly uncool, Very Cool Professor! Analysis of the new scenes all point to Sacrament Valley, the town where Samara was ultimately buried. When Holt and Julia go there they find a near ghost town filled only with sadness. In their explorations Holt and Julia discover that this town was where Samara’s mother Evelyn was from and that she was impregnated by the town priest and kept captive in a secret room under the church. Creepy. Unfortunately for them that very priest is still there and attempts to murder them before his secret is out. Just before he kills them, Samara pulls the ol’ switcheroo and crawls out of a phone to kill him instead. All seems well until at the very end we get a Spoiler Alert where it turns out that Sarama has possessed Julia and is spreading the Ring virus to all corners of the world. THE END.

Why?! Like the first Ring film this asks the question of how far one is willing to go for love. After Holt is roped into the video experiment, Julia makes the choice to save his life by watching a copy of his video. She took on that risk for love and honestly it didn’t work out. Should have let that dumbo die. After that their motivation is to help Samara find peace in the hopes that it cures Julia. Unfortunately that doesn’t work out because she’s pure evil. People keep making this mistake. Stop helping Samara! She is clearly a hate-filled demon that cannot be trusted.

What?! This film seems particularly focused on the effectiveness of Apple products to communicate to your long-distance beau, copy death videos for the viewing pleasure of your next victim, light up a creepy underground dungeon, or bring Samara wherever you go so she can kill the homicidal priest that’s trapped you in his house. Makes you wonder if they actually paid for this because it makes their products out to be horror devices.

Who?! God do I wish there was a Planchet in this film. Would have loved a chubby best friend cracking jokes about Samara as she crawled towards him. Since we don’t I just want to use this space to give a round of applause for writer Akiva Goldsman. What. A. Year. This, Transformers: The Last Knight, and The Dark Tower. It’s glorious.

Where?! Most of the film takes place in Washington state. First in Spokane, where Holt goes to college, and then in the made up town of Sacrament Valley, where Samara is from. I bump this up to a B for how Washington has played a big role in the entire Ring series.

When?! A true favorite of mine for a Secret Holiday Film Alert! Julia and Holt are going to see each other six weeks after he leaves for college. That’s when he has a long weekend for, that’s right, Columbus Day! In fact when Holt ghosts her we see a series of texts of her trying to reach him spanning from October 6-8, meaning that major events in this film take place on the all important date of October 9th. Boom. That’s a B+ because it’s amazing.

This film started off in the way that I kind of hoped The Ring Two would have gone: the release of the tape being part of dark web culture and researched by rogue scientists. It’s a great story. Unfortunately they abandon it almost immediately to rehash the mystery surrounding Samara’s past. Seems to be a trend in the story. Stick your toe into something different and then quickly retreat back into the thriller-mystery convention that made the first film a hit. I’m always up for some more lore when it comes to franchises, just wish it wasn’t so lame and bleak. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The Golden Boy became the Golden Dud after he botched the sequel to the megahit (and his baby) The Ring. Meanwhile, everyone else is just copying his game with this supernatural horror shit. The Golden Boy is going he back in the game! Show these children what is what! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read The Ring Two recap. Meanwhile, let’s get into it!

The Good (BMulTiverse Theory) – I’m glad they got some closure on the story of Samara. It would seem like with the final rebirth of Samara here they can leave the video behind and start, if they so choose, to explore more about the demon itself. I kind of hope they do it. The story itself isn’t terrible, it is just unfortunate it was done in such a trite way in movies that didn’t live up to the original’s promise. Since I’m going to do a remake in the Bad section this week let’s explore another BMulTiverse Theory. I honestly believe if The Ring had been made about 10 years later this would be The Conjuring. The Conjuring has had three films, but then a spin-off series (Annabelle) and two more spin-offs in production (The Nun and The Crooked Man). The Ring could have gone deep into the origins of Samara, and then started to explore other demonic beings that have, in their own way, touched the world, exploiting are growing dependence on technology to make their power grow. The Ring was too far ahead of its time and instead ushered in an era of bad J Horror adaptations instead, many of which I’m sure we will discuss in the future.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – The acting is pretty rough. They toss out a fairly interesting story (a scientist studying Samara’s abilities) in yet another Janus Device (see The Ring Two recap for the definition) whereby the movie is almost perfectly split in twain: First the discovery of the college experimentation with Samara, and then a road trip to Samara’s mother’s home town. In this case I think the back half is weakest, partially because it seems like they kind of copying Don’t Breathe’s blind-man-hunting-you-down-in-a-darkened-house routine. The biggest Crime Against BMT-anity in this film is definitely the lost opportunity in exploring Samara’s powers. The rumor is that they were hoping to create a whole Ring Cinematic Universe, and the scientist would have been a perfect jumping off point. Almost like a Stephen King thinner idea Samara represents the potential to discovering a demonic power unknown to this world. And when they drill down into that power it unleashes a pandora’s box of other demon. Johnny Galecki is a pretty big name, and could have been that evil Crichton-esque Mad Scientist and a constant to the series, insistent that the pursuit of knowledge (and by extension fame) is so pure that even death and destruction can be ignored in the face of it. It would have been an interesting twist if they had a place to go with it. Hmmm, this is almost a remake in an of itself, and could have gone into the good part as well. Maybe I need to watch more supernatural horror. I would have thought someone would have gone after the thinner idea from Stephen King books. It is a great idea, it is just that Stephen King adaptations are usually terrible.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – Like The Ring Two the legs can go on for days because The Ring likely marks a point in which BMT will start to look at a watch J Horror a bit more. Finally, we do have a bit of street cred because I can find a … it looks like a blog, but it is mentioned here. Unlike some of the recent films we’ve done I am confident Rings, being the descendant of a well respected horror film, will get some play in worst-of lists.

In this case we did have a bit of a Homework Sklog-signment in the original The Ring. I loved The Ring on second viewing. The movie isn’t really scary per se, but the investigative aspect of it is really interesting. They keep the mythos tight, don’t fall into a trap of over-explanation, and have a great twist ending (Naomi Watts you doofus, why’d you help Samara!). Others don’t agree apparently, both Leonard Maltin and Roger Ebert gave The Ring Two a better review than The Ring (I think the same scores even, 2 and 2.5 stars for the original and sequel respectively). I disagree, but I also think it depends on how many scares you require in your horror films. I would tend to punish non-scary horror films, but here I think the investigative-thriller is a fine look for the first film. It is far bigger crime that the second does half the investigation and is just as not-scary, in my opinion. Such is life. I still haven’t seen Ringu unfortunately, but I’m certainly looking forward to that. It is unlikely I’ll read the books (because they are weird as fuck apparently), or see the Japanese sequels (because they are terrible apparently). So Ringu will complete The Ring lore for me for now.

I’ll leave it there. Cheerios

The Sklogs

Baywatch Recap

Jamie

Mitch Buchannon is a lifeguard extraordinaire protecting all Emerald Bay visitors from harm. When a ruthless businesswoman moves in hoping to privatize the beach and sell illicit drugs, Mitch and his crew aim to stop her. Can they bring down the baddie and learn valuable life lessons at the same time? Find out in… Baywatch.

How?! Mitch Buchannon runs the beach at Emerald Bay like a boss and everyone loves him for it. When a ruthless businesswoman moves in on the beach hoping to privatize it Mitch becomes suspicious. What is she up to and does the recent influx of street drugs have anything to do with her? He’s dead set on finding out. At the same time his crew is looking for three new members and after some political maneuvering disgraced olympian Matt Brody is thrust onto the team despite his sour attitude and general douchiness. After several high-profile bodies wash up on the beach, local officials blame Mitch and his obsession with the businesswoman which they say has driven him to distraction. Despite a large amount of circumstantial evidence they have uncovered he is replaced by Matt Brody as head lifeguard. This plan backfires though as Matt turns out to have learned the meaning of family and teamwork (the underlying theme of every Dwayne Johnson film) and continued Mitch’s detective work. This culminates in a climactic fight aboard a fireworks barge where they are able to blow the evil businesswoman to smithereens and uncover the larger conspiracy involving the corrupt local officials. If this doesn’t sound at all like the plot of a comedy it’s because it isn’t. It’s an action film that they turned into a comedy… or at least tried. THE END.

Why?! The Rock is an interesting actor in that I think he’s often used as a charisma machine to fill roles with little or no underlying motivations or character depth. He is simply an empty vessel filled with honor and truth. His greatest weakness always seems to be that he cares too much about honor and truth (also my greatest weakness, per any job interview I might have). Baywatch is no different. He just wants to stop the bad guy and keep the beach safe because he is a perfect, upstanding citizen of Emerald Bay. The more interesting character is actually Efron’s character. He suuuuuuucks. He care only about getting drunk and being lauded for his olympics feats of the past. This only changes once he is able to learn a thing or two about life and love from Mitch. Once he does his motivation is also all about truth and justice.

What?! This film is an absolute onslaught of product placements. First we have a TAG Heuer watch play a vital role in the plot of the film. It’s such a good watch that an upstanding local politician is persuaded to break the law just to get his hands on it. Then we have The Rock relegated to working in a Sprint store after losing his job at the beach. Like seriously. Here’s a picture of The Rock rocking a Sprint shirt in the movie:

BaywatchRecap1

Shameless. But I think my favorite was when Zac Efron, showing that he’s too cool for school, sits out the lifeguard tryouts sipping on a delicious Mike’s Hard Lemonade… when I first saw it I thought it was going to be played for a joke. Then it wasn’t and I realized that he was just hanging and drinking it unironically. Unironically!!!!!

Who?! There are a number of cameos in the film, most prominently former Baywatch stars David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson. Their cameos are done pretty well compared to something like the new Ghostbusters film where they make no sense. Much like the rest of the film they serve a singular purpose: to poke fun at the premise of the original Baywatch.

Where?! By all accounts this takes place in Emerald Bay, Florida. I didn’t necessarily notice anything to confirm this while watching the film, but there are a bunch of pictures online with the lifeguard boat with “Broward County” prominently displayed. So that does it. C.

When?! Another case where I bet if you had a really high resolution of a film then you would be able to get an exact date. In particular there is a close up of a land deed that I’m sure has the date on it, but the DVD resolution makes it impossible to figure out. It’s an F, nothing else to be done about it.

Despite everything horrible about this film I actually expected worse. It had some amusing moments, played the action well, and the leads are dopes but you want them to succeed. It is super lame, just not as lame as I thought it would be. One big question this raised, though, was how we are still at the point where several jokes in a major motion picture are based entirely on the concept of gay panic? A whole scene devoted to the hilariousness of convincing a man to touch a guy’s balls? Really? An ending where Efron is shocked and horrified to find that he is getting CPR from The Rock? He is saving your life using the medical standard in resuscitation. Why are you yelling in terror as a result? Will we ever be beyond this? Seems like the answer might be no. Can’t wait to be further baffled in this area by CHiPs, which I’ve heard is even worse. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You’re a producer looking wistfully at the office memo concerning the cast party for 22 Jump Street. No, you are not invited, and yes you are pissed about this. What can you do though? Wait! Sweet IP! Of course, you just need some of that sweet IP. We got Baywatch right? That show was ridiculous. Nailed it. Cast party with The Rock incoming, what could go wrong? Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Honestly, the film is kind of fun. They are right there on the cusp of being okay I think, just needed to not hire literally seven writers to write the thing and they would have been fine. The action scenes are on point and by far the best part of this film. I was practically on charisma overload with The Rock and Efron. And they didn’t gross me out too much with the portrayal of women, which was a pleasant surprise. I want a Remake with a twist: give me a tv show! Make it a kind of half-serious melodrama action thing. Use the template of Riverdale, brand it as a kind of self-serious (but still secretly ironic) crime serial that takes place on the beach, and try your best to kind of knowingly build up something fun. It is a difficult maneuver, but I think that is where this movie shined. If it had pumped the brakes a bit on the comedy (which was the worst part of the film) it might have had something kind of Fast and the Furious like fun. But I acknowledge that it is a tough ask.

The Bad (Sklog-cabulary Quiz) – The character of Ronnie which was supposed to kind of be an audience stand-in who lampshades the rest of the ridiculousness, but he is really the one thing that stands in the way of this film just going for being an action film instead of an action-comedy. The comedy bits are the worst part of the film. Part stupid dick-jokes, part gay panic, basically nothing works. And the root cause of this I think is Ronnie who, acting as straight man, makes everything comedic in comparison. Ronnie also serves as the “hacker” solving all of the problems right at the end, which it itself a crime. Really the only unforgivable bit of all of those is the gay panic. It is dumb this is still a thing in comedies in 2017. I’m introducing a new game for the bad section which is where I coin a term for a bad movie trope. Perhaps coin is inaccurate, I don’t actually check to see if the term is coined elsewhere, but it should highlight a bad movie idea of some kind anyways. This week for the Sklog-cabulary Quiz we have

Deus Ex Hackina (n.) – an unexpected computer hacking power saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a terrible movie.

It is basically what I described above, it is when a character is endowed with a special “hacking” ability that allows him or her to solve everyone’s problems all at once right at the end. Otherwise known as “Ronnie from Baywatch”, who manages to not only gather a ton of incriminating evidence to prove the baddies are bad, but they also foil their getaway by (not joking) hacking a fireworks display. Geostorm actually gives a decent example as well in the character of Dana played by Zazi Beetz, and I’m sure there are countless other examples.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – As usual these are a little tough for recent films. For legacy I think this has none unless an (unlikely) sequel is made. We might look back fondly at Ronnie as the origin of our thoughts on Deus Ex Hackina events though (much like Planchet from The Three Musketeers represents the idea of a tangential character whose sole purpose is to be made fun of by the main characters) For the street cred it has a bit because it can be grouped with future-BMT CHiPs as kind of a weird situation in which people started to reboot television shows again. But of that pair CHiPs is going to be the one people look at as more terrible.

I think that’s it. Nothing to report as far as homework is concern, I chose not to watch any of the original Baywatch television show in prep. I’ll see if I decide to watch any CHiPs in a few months. I probably won’t.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Bye Bye Man Recap

Jamie

Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. He’s the Bye Bye Man and he’s out to get some Wisconsin college students. Once they learn his name he has the ability to manipulate them into committing terrible deeds. Can they say bye bye to the Bye Bye Man before it’s too late? Find out in… The Bye Bye Man.

How?! Ethan, his girlfriend Sasha, and his best bud forever John take the plunge and rent an off-campus house to live it up like real adults. When his brother comes to visit, Ethan’s niece discovers some odd coins near an old end table. When he goes to put the coins back in the drawer, Ethan discovers some creepy writing repeating the phrase, “Don’t think it. Don’t say it,” and the name The Bye Bye Man etched into the wood. “Who’s that?” he wonders. “He must be super rad with such a rad name that is in no way ridiculous or silly sounding.” During a seance set up to ease Sasha’s mind about the super creepy house they moved into, Ethan is spooked into invoking the name of the Bye Bye Man. Almost immediately everyone who heard it starts to have crazy things happen to them. Ethan keeps imagining a man in a dark cloak, Sasha gets a mysterious sickness, and John keeps hallucinating death and pestilence of those around him. Delving into the mystery Ethan discovers a local journalist who wrote a story with the Bye Bye Man’s name in it. The story was never published, but it turns out that just days after writing it the journalist went crazy and killed a bunch of his neighbors and himself. Realizing that they are being haunted by the Bye Bye Man, Ethan races to save his roommates. Knowing that there is only two things that can kill the Bye Bye Man: 1) killing everyone you know or 2) not fearing him, Ethan opts for the second choice (obvs). But when he gets back to his house to inform his roommates of the Bye Bye Man’s weakness, Ethan is tricked by the Bye Bye Man into killing Sasha. Seeing no end to the horror he burns down the house and kills himself before he can tell anyone else. Unfortunately in a huge unforeseeable twist, John survives the fire just long enough to tell a police officer the Bye Bye Man’s name. Uh oh! Do I smell a franchise?!

Why?! Our main victims are simply living and loving. They want to get out of the dorms and live it up in a house like adults. They can and will have it all. We get a little taste of some motivation for Elliot in the oft-mentioned death of his parents as a kid. It’s why he’s best friends with John, it’s why his brother is worried about him, and seems to be part of the grow-up-fast mentality that gets him into trouble. He pushes himself forward so that he can have the family that he lost at such a young age (and which he misses even more now that his big brother has a family of his own) and playing house with Sasha in a creepy mansion haunted by the Bye Bye Man is part of that. As for the titular Bye Bye Man, he just wants to spread like a virus infecting all that hear his name because he’s an evil demon whose only aim is chaos. His plan is particularly shitty though because he drives all who hear his name insane which leads to them killing themselves and everyone else who heard the name. So much for spreading the virus. You would think the Bye Bye Man would start out like a salesman. “Forgive my weird pale skin, lack of tongue and eyes, and weird demon dog but the deals I can provide you will drive you craaaaazzzzy. That’s Bye Bye Man. Spread the word and say my name.” Soon people would find themselves driving all over the country selling Bye Bye Man door-to-door only to discover that it was all a ruse and they’ve doomed the world to chaos and destruction! That would be a better plan. Fortunately for humanity the Bye Bye Man is a big ol’ dumb dumb who thinks only in the short term. His fatal flaw really.

What?! Good place to note just how many accessories The Bye Bye Man already has in only the first installment of the series (there will be five more, right? I hope). He has gold coins that jingle and jangle when he’s near, he’s got a spooky cloak that he wears, he has a creepy demon dog that he keeps close by, and he has a train that he rides (in your dreams! Oooooo, spooky). Super rare to get to this height in the accessory game and extra rare to get a vehicle. Worst part? The train is never explained nor really comes into play in any significant way at all. If you’re gonna give him a train the least you can do is let him use it.

Who?! Writer and Survivor celeb Jonathan Penner shows up in the film as Mr. Daizy, the landlord of the house who helpfully reminds our young tenets that they signed a lease, Bye Bye Man infestation or not. Also would like to point out that we had a particularly bad American accent by Cressida Bonas. She’s young and has time to work it out but for all those that say how unfair it is that British actors can seemingly play American with ease I would use this as a counterpoint.

Where?! We get an intertitle in the beginning informing us that the intro to the film takes place in Madison, Wisconsin. This setting continues for the whole film evidenced by a plethora of Wisconsin license plates. B-

When?! Like the Wisconsin setting we are treated to an intertitle placing the flashback scenes on October 20, 1969. Finding the date for the main thrust of the film is a little tougher. We can presume that it’s winter due to all the ice we see, but it’s not until later when we catch a glimpse of a sticky note in a gardening shop detailing a recent order for nightshade placed on “12/15” that we get that sweet, sweet exact date. Gonna give that a C+.

It’s been awhile since Patrick and I have had as much fun with a film as this one. It’s a silly film, with a silly name, and an even sillier monster. It is inherently hilarious and I cannot wait for The Bye Bye Man 2. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I can see the producers meeting now. Mr. Penner, love the Bye Bye Man. Super atmospheric, super spooky. Helps that horror films just print money, amirite? I just have a few notes. So this Bye Bye Man, he’s like an albino with a cloak right? But, like, what if he also had a dog? Amps up that spook-factor and the kiddies love it, amirite? And how about people hear train noises when he’s around, and like find gold coins and stuff. Think on it, think on it, but I’m just saying … it would be a shame if something were to happen to your movie if you didn’t at least consider my notes … amirite, Mr. Penner? Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – The film had a decent bit of atmospheric haunted-house spookiness to it early on. That is it. That needs a Remake there is just so much that could be done. First, strip down The Bye Bye Man! It is so obvious he has too much going on. I think you go train and that’s it. Even his look is off. He should be a raggedy man. Like a serial killing hobo riding from town to town. A ghostly figure which infects a person, makes them go crazy, and makes them kill for him like he used to back in the day. No need for the haunted house. Strip out the weird jealousy love triangle B-story. A guy is living with his two roommates. One day he finds an old coin along some train tracks and he begins to go mad. Ultimately, The Bye Bye Man comes to life and kills his roommates and as a final act makes the protagonist kill himself which is ultimately passed off as a mass murder. Easy peasy! Close with another person across the country finding an identical coin along some train tracks. Bam! This movie botches literally everything about what is kind of an interesting urban legend. It is nuts.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – Let’s see. The acting is terrible. The Bye Bye Man looks hilarious (I hate horror films and I can’t stop making jokes about The Bye Bye Man. Like he looks goofy as fuck. You look goofy Bye Bye Man! Yo goofy). The scares are non-existent. And what’s the one weird trick all Bye Bye Mans hate? If you just don’t fear him he can’t hurt you. Who’da thunk it? What a waste. And yet … this week’s Crime Against BMT-anity is that I just could not get over the spooky (not really) haunted house these guys live in. First, when was this movie supposed to take place? They just started to rent a house in Wisconsin, the keys are frozen to the ground when they get there, and they are wandering around in like light jackets? What kind of janky trimester system are they running over at Buchanan-Williams University that they are moving house in like November? Already call bullshit on that. Second, that house would be a nightmare to heat. It is huge. And it has these little tiny radiators. You better be snagging some plastic wrap at Menards Elliot. You better be saving big money. Because you are going to need to double wrap those definitely-not-double-paned windows in this ancient house. Ugh, I’m cold just thinking about it. The most horrifying thing about this movie is their monthly heating bill.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – Um, this is one of the most hilarious films I’ve ever seen for BMT. The movie is actually rather dull, but you cannot help but make fun of it after seeing it. I think this has a bright Smaddies Baddies future ahead of it. Man, bad horror films can be so fun. This is like The Fog level silliness. As for the StreetCreditReport.com, there won’t be many official lists until the year it nearly up, but I did find at least one list which places the Bye Bye Man in the top 20 worst of the year so far. I think it might be ultimately forgotten though, it came out quite a long time ago and wasn’t really a big film. We’ll see.

And we’ll wrap with a short Bring and Friend analysis. This week we watched the legendary Manos: The Hands of Fate, which was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (considered possibly the best episode they’ve ever done) as a kind of pre-1980 what does the pre-Blockbuster era have to offer us. This is a good example of a Z-film from the 50s/60s. It actually does remind me of Plan 9 From Outer Space. But would I want to watch more of them? Not really. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians would be another I would consider doing eventually, but they need to be special, on the IMDb Bottom 100 or something. Verdict: Good for special occasions and not much else.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Geostorm Recap

Jamie

After the world’s weather went crazy the nations of the Earth, led by Jake Lawson, banded together to build a weather manipulation satellite system. Years later this system goes haywire and Jake is sent to fix it, only to find that it’s not a bug after all, but rather a scheme for world domination. Can Jake save the world before it’s too late? Find out in… Geostorm.

What?! We open on an extended voiceover explaining that in the near future the world’s weather began extreme fluctuations resulting in worldwide death and destruction. In an effort to curb the damage the world’s nations came together to build a complex satellite system led by a rough and tumble scientist, who don’t take no guff from nobody, named Jake Lawson. This inability to take guff sends Jake Lawson to the unemployment line and the satellite system marches on without him. Years later things start acting kooky (sorry for the technical terms) and Jake is pulled back into action and sent to space in an effort to find and fix whatever bug is causing the issue. In the least realistic aspect of the film Jake insists that there aren’t any bugs in the system (sure bro, whatever you say) and yet it becomes immediately clear that the weather catastrophes are not in fact caused by a bug at all but rather a virus that has been planted in the system. Needing the presidential kill codes to reboot and flush the virus, Jake’s brother Max rescues the President from a superstorm in Orlando and escorts him to Kennedy Space Center. They are able to upload the kill codes but not before self-destruct is initiated on the space station. Uh oh! Jake stays behind to make sure everything is rebooted and proceeds to climb aboard a satellite and ride it back to Earth an international hero. Wooooooooooooo! Geostorm! The End.

Why?! Action films provide the best motivations. Not for our main characters or course (Jake Lawson is only concerned with quelling the slanderous claims against his entirely bug-free complex satellite system), but for our vast criminal enterprise hell bent on world domination. Basically the Secretary of State has devised a plan whereby he got a lackey on the space station to upload a virus. This virus will ever so slowly begin the systematic destruction of the world in order to make it seem like an accident. The aim is to wipe out most of the world, including all those that stand in the way of the Secretary of State’s ascension to the presidency, and lead to total domination. What he didn’t plan for was Jake Lawson, international hero, stepping in and saving the day… What’s that? That actually was explicitly in the plan… get international hero Jake Lawson to take the blame and die in space. What a terrible plan… he’s Jake Lawson! International hero! He obviously would be the last person you’d want up in space trying to stop you… literally the only person. In fact wouldn’t you just go ahead and kill him before even starting the plan? I already just fixed your plan. Step 1. Kill Jake Lawson.

What?! After a long day of stopping a conspiracy to destroy your reputation for bug-free coding (and also destroy the world) there’s only one thing that will quench that thirst for justice: a nice cold Coors Light. It’s the taste of the Rockies and the choice of international hero Jake Lawson.

Who?! Two weeks in a row for fake US Presidents. This time it’s Andy Garcia’s President Andrew Palma. While it seems like President Palma is well on his way to reelection (before a Geostorm so rudely interrupts his DNC speech #DemsInDisarray, amirite?) he probably has to reevaluate his vetting criteria for his most valued advisors. I mean, having most of your cabinet wiped out in a conspiracy set in motion by your own Secretary of State? Not a great look.

Where?! Great settings film. Not just because we spend most of our time in space, DC, and Florida, but also because we so specifically spend such a long time in Orlando for a fake future Democratic National Convention. This after we spent the entirety of Jaws 3D in Orlando. Having quite the BMT moment. I give it a solid B.

When?! Little point of contention here. It’s hard to get a good idea of exactly when everything takes place for a film in theaters. I think they said things started going crazy in 2019 and in three years we built the satellite system (going off of my memory here, so might be slightly inaccurate). When we jump forward we are close to the ten year mark for the system. So we should be somewhere around the 2032 election? We’re also going through nominations for that election so must be summer 2032? This is all +/- 4 years. C+ if I go back and confirm all this from the DVD (Spoiiler Alert: I’m not going to be doing that).

Overall, the film is not well made. It was clearly rewritten and reshot (unless they meant for the beginning to just be a series of expository scenes that are super boring. If so then they just made a bad movie from the jump) and made the start of the film a mess. Once we get to space and the Geostorm starts things picked up and a lot of the scenes in space were shockingly beautiful. Funny enough there was one aspect of the film that everyone I know who saw it couldn’t help focusing on: Max Lawson a.k.a. Jim Sturgiss’ haircut. The most catastrophic disaster in the entire film, but I’ll let Patrick explain a bit more. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! GEOOOOOSTORM. What will cure those summer boxoffice blues? A disasterpiece from the maker of Independence Day (I call it ID4). GEOOOOOSTOOOOORM in my face! Yeah. What’s that? It’s been delayed by a bit? That isn’t so bad, I mean … oh, two years? It was delayed by two years and stars Gerard Butler. I mean the co-stars though … what’s that? The co-star is the guy from 21 with a terrible hair cut? Uh … you know what, I have a refrigerator to defrost, I’ll see you later, tell me how it is. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Seuqel / Prequel / Remake) – The space visuals were stunning. When I say the first one I legitimately wondered exactly how cheap it had all gotten, is this just going to be normal now? No more hilarious spikey comet set from Armageddon? If you squint you might not hate this movie because it is so dumb. This time I think I want to see the Sequel. Why? Because think of what the sequel would actually involve. Another almost Geostorm! How could such a thing happen? In this case I think we revisit Jake Lawson, but this time it’s … President Jake Lawson. The world owns Dutch Boy, and all is peachy keen until (uh oh!) it isn’t! Storms they are a-brewin’, and things are looking dire. How could this happen again!? What a twist! It was Jake Lawson causing the issues after he realizes the world had begun to recover from humanity’s ecological ruin and scientists are about to recommend that Dutch Boy be shut down completely! Wait, that sounds shaky, why would he want to keep Dutch Boy around? Because he thinks the instant humanity gets pulled back from the brink of disaster we’ll fall back into our disastrous ways (probably true). Anywho, he turns heel and audiences cheer in Geostorm 2: Jake Lawson Strikes Back.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – The entirety of the story on the ground was absurd. Gerard sleepwalks through the film. The bad guy is so obvious and mustache twirling-ly eeeeevil that it is almost sad when the finale comes into play. It is also aggressively stupid. Which I have decided is both a good and bad thing. It is cut to shit and at times just makes no sense, complete with super hero hacker who makes nearly anything possible and then is promptly forgotten during the finale. And now, for a new game! In Crimes Against BMT-anity I identify a specifically perplexing part of a terrible film. In this case (was there ever any doubt?) it was Jim Sturgiss’ amazingly distracting haircut. Are we to believe he dates an incredibly attractive secret service agent for three years and she never once asks who his barber is any why he still uses him? Or more likely makes him stop cutting his own hair. The most ludicrous part of the story bar none. Congrats Jim Sturgiss’ haircut! You have a non-zero chance of getting a nomination for Worst Screen Couple at the Razzies this year.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – This has some serious cred potential. It is one of those movies that will kind of vaguely live in the collective conscious of a generation because it’ll just be like always on Netflix or something. Out of all of the bad movies of 2017 it is the one I can imagine people talking about along the lines of “you know what was a decently fun movie everyone thought was terrible at the time …”. An Armageddon for another generation. It was one of the worst reviewed films of the year, although it did manage to avoid an incredible sub-10 on Rotten Tomatoes (which seemed quite possible for a time). Still, for both legacy and street cred this I think measures up very well among BMT Lives.

A quick BMT Theater Review and I’m out. I went with the much posher Fulham Vue this time around and it was a pleasure indeed. And given the movie not a wary eye was cast at the lonesome creeper catching a movie on Tuesday night. There were some noticeable guffaws when something particularly ridiculous happened, but for the sparsely populated theatre (as the Brits call it) the tone was expectedly muted. Can’t say I don’t miss the raucous crowds I would expect at something like Transformers 11, but it was pleasant enough. B-. Nice theater, muted crowd.

And with that our BMT Live season is complete. A highly successful season I think marked by a patience we didn’t exercise last year much to our own chagrin.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

First Daughter Recap

Jamie

Samantha MacKenzie dreams of being just another girl heading off to college. One problem, she’s the daughter of the President. While attempting to blend in she falls for the hot RA down the hall. When it turns out he’s actually a secret secret service agent her world is turned upside down. Can she gain her independence and get the guy before it’s too late? Find out in… First Daughter.

What?! We open in 1952… or at least the movie seems like it in a totally wholesome gee whiz kind of way. Samantha is a sheltered young teen ready to leave for college, but unlike most teens she’s also the daughter of the President. When she heads off to the University of Redmond in the middle of election season there is a lot of pressure for her to not screw up, but the only thing that Samantha cares about is fitting in (and the secret service agents aren’t helping). After a particularly embarrassing overreaction at a frat party Samantha insists they tone down her security and she seems to get her way. At the same time she meets cute the new hot and steamy 40-year-old RA down the hall. After discovering that they both belong to the Maggie Grace Running Fan Club:

 Samantha is smitten and decides to bring her new beau home for a fabulous ball. While there she discovers that this 40-year-old man is not actually a college student (whaaaaaa?) and is actually a secret secret service agent. Devastated she decides to go on a bunch of dates and act the fool to make him jealous. Predictably this ends badly and she’s pulled from school to focus on her dad’s reelection. Everything is basically shit for a while, but after she valiantly plays the good daughter and Prez Mac is reelected she is rewarded with a one way ticket back to school sans all the pressure, minus a few agents, and plus a long distance secret service boyfriend. The End.   

Why?! The may actually be the most wholesome movie I’ve ever watched. In fact everyone almost seems like they were cast with the question “would this person seem out of place in a film from the 1930’s?” in mind. Samantha’s only motivation is to feel normal. She’s been First Daughter since she was fourteen and just wants to go off to college and find herself. She’s wide-eyed and naive and as a result just seems to want to sip malts down at the soda shop with her new beau. Unfortunately there is a larger national motivation of her dad’s reelection that throws a monkey wrench into all of it. It’s interesting that the movie actually has her motivation take a back seat to the election in the end without anyone really saying, “wow, that really sucks for her.” It seems like they expect her to accept it and she does so valiantly.

What?! There is only one thing that Samantha MacKenzie reaches for after a long day of running around with a hot secret service agent avoiding the droves of paparazzi on her tail. A nice cold Diet Dr. Pepper. Mmmm, there’s nothing diet about it.

Who?! 4x the Who?! action this week as we have singer Amerie doing a serviceable job in the major role as Samantha’s roommate. We also have a fictional POTUS alert, with Michael Keaton as Prez Mac. We get a several cameos with Jay Leno, Joan Rivers, and Vera Wang all portraying themselves. Finally, Michael Kamen, an Oscar nominated composer, got an “In Memory” credit after passing away during production. That’s a lot of BMT magic right there. Bah dah bah bah bah. I’m loving it.

Where?! The majority of the film takes place in Redmond, CA at the University of Redmond. These places are of course made up and it’s always interesting to have a fake university in a film that is meant to be on par with institutions like Georgetown. Some parts of the film also take place in Washington, D.C., but not enough to get an A. B.

When?! Takes place at the start of college (end of August) and finishes at the Inauguration Ball after her father’s election. So the film takes the entire fall and into winter. Gonna bump up the grade as well for a clear Halloween scene where Samantha gets too drunk and makes a fool of herself while dressed in a skimpy costume. Not a secret holiday film, but close. B-.

As for our mockbuster Friend this week, Transmorphers is pretty much the most useless thing I’ve ever watched and I almost exclusively spend my time watching terrible movies. It’s not even dog poo in our faces. It’s like they computer generated some dog poo and then tried to push it into your face and claim that it was just as gross and that you totally experienced dog poo in your face. But you didn’t. At least a real dog poo in your face makes you feel something. This film made me feel nothing except sorrow that I was still watching it. I can assure you we will not being watching any more mockbusters any time soon. They are terrible. The Asylum should be ashamed. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Teeny bop romantic comedies are all about three things: a hot guy to bring on the romantical storylines, growing up and learning some valuable and wholesome lessons, and, of course, a relatable young starlet. And what is more relatable that being literally the daughter of the President of the United States!? Well … at least two movies thought so, let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I thought how they handled her life in the university was perhaps somewhat realistic (all the way down to her just bouncing to go campaigning for months without a second thought). I’m also pretty shocked Amerie hasn’t really been in anything else, she was better than you would think. Besides that basically the only bright spot was Michael Keaton as the President. Let’s get a Prequel! Like I could see him being the same character from Gung Ho! working his way up from the auto industry, through the reinstated union system. We open on his election campaign for the governor of Pennsylvania where he is struggling to get go-get-em attitude across to the down-and-out workers across the commonwealth. Abandoning a fundraising event, he walks anonymously through a rural coal mining town when who should he meet-cute but a young bar owner Melanie who shows him a thing or two about what the locals really value. After a day or two his ruse falls apart as his campaign absence begins to make national news. Can he get back into Melanie’s (and Pennsylvania’s) good graces? Gung Ho! 2: First Daughter 2 … huh, we’ll have to work on the name, that makes no sense.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – Katie Holmes cannot run, it is not quite Here on Earth level, but it isn’t far off. The “twist” is so obvious I literally couldn’t figure out whether I had seen the movie before. I was like “wait, yeah, now I remember, he’s a secret service agent … wait, I thought I had seen Chasing Liberty not this … does that have the same twist?!”. It really sinks the movie. In the current political climate it is also bonkers that she takes her friends on a joyride on Air Force One. Like, that is thousands of taxpayer dollars dude, chill out on exploiting your father’s position. I feel like the relatively recent Down to You with Julia Stiles is the Sklognalogy here. Just how silly it is, and the collegiate setting I guess. Mainly because the real analogy is Chasing Liberty, which we have not seen. [Editor’s Note: Wait… we haven’t seen Chasing Liberty? I feel like we’ve watched it… or maybe it was just us watching this movie.]

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I don’t think this has a legacy unless it turns out Chasing Liberty is basically an identical movie. In which case it would have serious double feature potential. As far as StreetCreditReport.com, it it likely tough given that the mid-00s were chock-full of terrible films. And indeed, besides a smattering of IMDb lists, this film just gets lost among Ella Enchanted and Christmas with the Kranks it would seem. Only so many places for a terrible light-hearted comedy (more like light-on-the-comedy, amirite?) to go I suppose.

Finally, a blessedly short word about our Friend Transmorphers! This was a Mockbuster friend and as one would expect from a cheap intentionally-bad knockoff, it was so-intentionally-bad-it-is-actually-somehow-worse. Ten minutes into this film I thought to myself “you know, I could probably just turn this off and pretend I watched it. Jamie would never know”. I almost walked out of BMT … it was a devastating moment. Existential even. BMT has been so good to me over the years I would never dare question its role in my life, but somehow Transmorphers made me question the unquestionable. How DARE you Transmorphers you big ol’ pile of shit. How dare you. Mockbusters are out! You hear me Transmorphers!? ONE STRIKE AND YOU ARE OUT …

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs

Air Bud: Golden Receiver Recap

Jamie

Everything is going smoothly for Josh and his basketball playing dog Buddy until a new man shows up in his Mom’s life. Turning to football to get out of the house he finds that Buddy is just as good at catching a pass as scoring some hoops. Can they team up to win the big game and become emotionally open to his Mom’s new beau? Find out in… Air Bud: Golden Receiver.

How?! When we last saw Josh in Air Bud he was just coming to terms with his father’s tragic death through the magic of his basketball playing dog. Now we jump forward and Josh’s mom is looking for that companionship that has been missing for the last several years. One day while out rollerblading she meets cute the new veterinarian in town and boy howdy do the sparks fly. Josh is pretty confused about all this and turns to football to take his mind off things and get him out of the house when the vet comes over (of course this backfires and only brings them closer. Gah!). Happily taking up the role of backup QB, Josh is thrust into action following a shoulder injury to the starter. Oh no! But they suck! He’ll look like such a loser! But wait! Buddy runs onto the field and helps Josh score a touchdown. Suddenly Buddy is the new star player of the team and no one seems to have an issue with this (even when a dog is chasing kids down to force fumbles… which seems problematic). On the day of the big championship game Buddy is kidnapped by a couple of Russian circus owners (in a completely forgettable subplot), leaving the team to fend for themselves. After going down big, they’re saved when the vet rescues Buddy and brings him to the game. On the final play Josh finds the Air Bud within himself and tosses a Hail Mary to an actual human player for the big win! That’s not the only win of the day either because the vet wins in Josh’s heart and the family lives happily ever after. The End.

Why?! I got to say, you can make fun of this film all you want (and there’s a lot to make fun of… a dog plays on a football team after all), but the motivations in this film are actually touching and done with a nuance that you see surprisingly rarely in kids films. Josh’s entire motivation for playing football is to get out of the house when his Mom’s new boyfriend comes over. He wrestles with the emotions that comes with watching her date again and wondering whether liking this new man in his life is a betrayal to his dead father. Buddy once again helps him find love in the sport and grow to realize that not all change is bad and that just because you love football doesn’t mean you love basketball any less (get it?)… it’s nice.

What?! I barely mentioned the subplot of the film which is a pair of Russian circus owners going around the country stealing talented animals. It is a film ruiner and something that should have just been cut in favor of literally anything else. Why do I mention this terrible storyline in the What?! Section? Because one of the owners gets his kicks by watching the 1976 film Gus about a field goal kicking mule who can kick 100 yard field goals. I ran the numbers and indeed that would make them almost undefeatable. A team averages 12 possessions a game. If they could score three points on each they would average at least 36 points a game! They better add a “No Mules” rule… but leave the question of dogs playing open.

Who?! By the second film the original Buddy has passed away, so his part was portrayed by four different dogs: Chance, Zak, Chase, and Rush (sounds like fraternity buddies at Delta Omega Gamma, boom). Surprisingly none of them reprised their role in the subsequent films.

Where?! Like its predecessor this film is set in beautiful Fernfield, Washington. Of course they bely the Vancouver filming location by the ridiculously Canadian way that everyone says “sorry.” B.

When?! We open on the first day of school and end at the football championship. So we can safely say this runs from September to November… however, no exact date was observed so have to keep this a D+.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! A sad boy sits at home, his mother on a date, his world reeling. The babysitter asks “Do you want to watch a movie?” Fine. What’s this? A sequel to Air Bud? He likes dogs, he liked that movie. Whatever. But the movie speaks to him! He understands! Just because his mother might go on dates or even get married doesn’t mean she doesn’t love him! And he doesn’t need to forget his father! Air Bud 2 you did it!! One problem: he doesn’t like Air Bud anymore because this movie was trash. It’s a wash! Let’s get into it.

The Good (Sequel / Prequel / Remake) – As I hinted at in the intro the film, much like its predecessor, has its heart in the right place. The B-story works. Which, for a kids film is rare. Examples of real B-stories from children’s films: In Old Dogs Robin Williams and John Travolta are trying to sign Japanese baseball players to a sports marketing contract; In Nine Lives Kevin Spacey’s protege is trying to push him out and force a hostile takeover of his company … in what universe are kids interested in such things? Here, the B-story is that a kid’s mother is starting to date again a few years after the sudden tragic death of his father, and the conflicted feelings of what this means in the young boy’s life. That is a real B-story which probably actually did help some poor kid get through a tough time. The guy who plays the coach also is a very well-written character with a great message to give to the kids. I can appreciate those parts outside of the quality of the surrounding film. I want a sequel though. In this long-awaited sequel we find Air Bud finding success in the most unexpected of all places: high finance! When Air Bud shows an uncanny ability to pick stocks, Josh, now a small fry at the biggest investment bank on Wall Street, quickly finds himself climbing the corporate ladder. Trying to keep his secret weapon under wraps he ultimately uncovers a terrible conspiracy: his boss is selling highly leveraged real estate options to the state teacher union pension fund in an immoral get-rich-quick scheme! Uh-oh! Can Josh expose his boss (and get the girl) before it is too late?! He better, because if he doesn’t Air Bud might just do it for him! Air Bud: Board of Direct-Furs!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – The Boris and Natasha-esque bad guys are by far the worst part of this film. They probably would have been cut if not for the fact that the film would then be a svelte, far more entertaining 60 minutes long. The first half of this film has basically no football playing dog which is a tragedy. But its biggest crime is the football itself. A few things: (1) The images of a dog chasing down children in a fun middle school football game is terrifying. Immediately parents would be like “nope, this is actually too far. It was funny for a second, but dogs actually can’t play middle school football”. (2) A kid destroys Air Bud in the championship game and injures him! Insane, but well within the rules set out in the Air Bud universe. (3) The first touchdown by Air Bud should have resulted in a  too many men on the field penalty since he comes off of the sideline to catch the ball. Completely takes you out of the movie. What? Did they line up with ten men to start? Get out of here! I didn’t even get to the announcers, and the bumbling Abbott and Costello-esque fat-and-skinny refs which appear solely for the Championship game. I’m going to go future on the Sklognalogy because I think the closest film I can think of is Little Giants, a staple of childhood viewing for us, but not yet a BMT film. Ludicrous, actually the same B-story (her father dating, and a bonus am-I-not-feminine-enough? tom-boy story … huh, kid’s films are kind of all the same), and the rags-to-riches tale of a down-and-out sports team winning the championship against all odds.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – This could have a solid legacy if it revived our trust in bad kids films. And even then it is probably the most entertainingly bad kids film I’ve seen in quite a while. So it has that going for it. No street cred, but that isn’t a surprise. I was somewhat stunned to see Leonard Maltin even have a review for the film. And people like Ebert tend to pick on the “big boys” of the year like Armageddon. Both films this week with no cred, for shame.

I’ll leave the bring a friend analysis for the Clan of the Cave Bear recap. And, no, I did not feel the need to rewatch Air Bud, which I have seen. So no homework to report. Cheerios,

The Sklogs