The Women (2008) Recap

Jamie

When her perfect world seems to crumble all at once with the loss of her job, husband, and best friend, Mary Haines has to figure out what it means to be her (what it means to be a woman?) to help put back the pieces. Can she do it before it’s too late? Find out in… The Women.

How?! Mary Haines has the seemingly perfect life. A good job working in fashion for her father, a super successful husband, a wonderful daughter, and a group of supportive best friends. But when this all goes down the tubes with the discovery of her husband’s infidelity with a curvaceous aspiring actress and the loss of her job, she finds herself lost in the woods. Wallowing in self-pity and undecided on how to proceed in her once happy marriage, she eventually discovers that maybe she needs to figure out what she wants out of life before any of these things can be fixed. She starts a new company, rediscovers the meaning of being a mother and best friend, and finds happiness. Only then can she attempt to fix what had fallen apart with her husband. This very simple and straightforward story is of course told over two hours, which seems impossible. Oh and not a single male actor is seen or heard from in the entirety of the film… which is bonkers and actually pretty deftly done.   

Why?! Interesting question. Mary’s motivation throughout the film is her struggle to decide what to do about her husband’s infidelity. She starts out trying to ignore it (the advice given to her by several older women in the film), then she kinda gives up on everything, and finally on the advice of a (randomly and conveniently placed) successful independent women she starts her own company and sets out on her own. In this she realizes that the underlying reason for her husband’s infidelity may not totally be his fault. By not really knowing who she was herself, and thus not being able to give all of herself over to her husband, how could they have built a truly successful marriage? And so she is able to make a decision in the end: give it a shot with him and if he can love her true self then perhaps they can find true happiness in a second chance.

What?! We are on a role in terms of major product placements. This film is a walking advertisement for Saks Fifth Avenue. Almost the entire first half of the film takes place in the store. This all hits a crescendo when a character leans and very seriously tells a child that “no one hates Saks.” Gotta say, that line itself got me mighty close to hating Saks. The film is also heavily sponsored by Dove. We get some noticeably placed hand creams throughout along with a postcredits advertisement for a short film “The Women Behind The Women” which was part of Dove’s Real Beauty campaign.

Who?! While we’ve been on a role in terms of major product placements, I can’t even remember the last Planchet we’ve had. Doesn’t change here. Do want to point out that Mick Jagger apparently was a producer on this film, which seems weird. It’s only made weirder that IMDb also claims he’s a producer on a 2004 short film titled The Women… alright Mick. We get it.

Where?! This is basically as close to being an A+ film without having the title be The New York City Women or like, I don’t know, Sex and the City or something. It’s all about Saks Fifth Avenue and as such is all about living it up in the cit-ay. A.

When?! All times forever really. The story jump from summer to fall to Halloween (which plays an unexpectedly large role in the plot) and finished on Xmas. I hesitate to say that it’s a Secret Holiday Film Alert because this film kinda flows through time as if time is not a concept that it understands, but it’s still pretty solid. B.

Will I do it? Can I say it?… This film is just not that bad (It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad!). I think it suffered through some rough directing by a novice filmmaker that they unfortunately tried to patch over with some weird choices in post, but this film had something to say and had interesting people saying it. It occasionally got lost in some extracurricular screwball elements (looking at you random birth scene at the end), but I did not mind this film and I thought it did a nice job telling a story of the complications of love and marriage in the age of successful women. Here’s hoping our next film is similarly good. Let’s see, that would be… Marmaduke… … … alright. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Bust out that gallon jug of white wine, time for Patrick and Jamie to have a girls night in. With nary a man to be seen, we’re dishing on life, love, work, and play. Ain’t nothing going to stop us from travelling with Meg Ryan and the gang as they teach us what it really means to be …  The Women! Let’s go!

The Good (Sklognalogy) – The first hour or so of this film, I thought, was quite good. I liked all of the characters, I liked the story they were going after: when infidelity strikes a perfect (upper-class …) life, what is the expectations of a modern woman? The film gets lost in the middle, but the conceit of not once showing a male (non-newborn-baby) character works super well in the context of this film. I’m pretty shocked with how this film was treated by the critics, and I can now totally understand Ebert’s review where he gave it three stars. This is a 2.5 / 4 film, just not that bad (it’s not that bad! Except for the whole part in the middle where it was). A natural Sklognalogy is the other ensemble piece that came out that year: Sex and the City. One could forget that the original actually got okay reviews and the show that preceded it was at the time cutting edge. This is more familiar and comfortable than that, but I think both illustrate where we were at with movies directed towards women at this point in time.

The Bad (Sklog-cabulary Quiz) The film has a sequence that appears to take place over the span of several months where Meg Ryan is going to like a canoeing retreat, and her daughter is dressing up … all of that doesn’t work. The film gets seriously lost in the woods after they blow up the question of how the modern family woman is expected to act in the face of infidelity, an interesting question in the context of a film being a remake of a film/play from the early 20th century. There is also something fascinating about romantic comedies where they almost need to function in a world where monetary problems don’t exist. All of the characters in this film are fabulously wealthy. Thus all of the problems focus solely on their relationships. I’m going to try my best to fashion Sklog-cabulary Quiz about this:

Ab Initio Genre (n.) – A genre reduced to first principles, stripping out all characteristics that distract you from the purpose or function the genre serves

I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a real thing, but it is like how you can have a comedy where the focus is really only on the jokes (not even concerned with making sense), or an action film where the action itself is the focus, no romantic lead, no comedy. Hard Sci-Fi csan fall into the category as well. The Ab Initio Romance film takes every other problem out of the film: no money problems, no personal crises, all relationship, all the time. And for romance the ab initio approach seems quite popular … we’ve seen like three “upper-class Manhattanites falling in love” romance films in the last year. It is pretty amusing. They might as well be called Rich People Problems.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I don’t think this film is much of anything as far as bad movies go (perhaps something with the large female cast? The issue is it really isn’t that bad!). It could make an appearance in the beginning of 2019 if I remember that I actually liked the film for the Smaddies Baddies film that wasn’t that bad award. Considering how strong of a bad movie year 2008 it isn’t a terrible surprise there isn’t much as far as StreetCreditReport.com, although it did get a small mention in this Vulture poll. The first Sex and the City film came out the same year as The Women which is pretty bizarre.

I ain’t reading a play, and I’ve been too busy to watch the original The Women from the 30s (the films from that era are always like two and a half hours long). I know I’m failing you guys in the adaptations cycle. I promise to be better as the year goes on. I promise. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Advertisements

Table 19 Recap

Just dumped by the Best Man, Eloise decides to go to the wedding of her best friend anyway. Relegated to the far reaches of the reception, she and her table of misfits band together to have the time of their live. Can they find closure to the issues that brought them to this wedding in the first place before it’s too late? Find out in… Table 19.

How?! After a long debate with herself Eloise decides to attend the wedding of her best friend despite having just been dumped by the Best Man. Once the Maid of Honor, she has now been placed at Table 19, the table for those who should have known not to come. This table is full of people with secrets like the bride’s childhood nanny (who also is terminally ill), the bride’s cousin (who is also a white collar criminal), a couple who knows the groom’s father from work (who are also having marital issues), and the son of a family friend (who is skipping his prom to attend). It’s no different for Eloise who has a secret of her own: she’s pregnant. This revelation leads to a fight with her ex which culminates in the destruction of the wedding cake. Totally bummed (much like the audience watching the film) the group goes off to smoke some weed and crash the other wedding happening at the resort. This is a massive failure when Eloise realizes that a guy she was flirting with and kissed earlier in the film is actually the groom of the other wedding. Guys suck, emirite?! They decide to steal the wedding cake from that wedding, thus saving the day, and come to find that Eloise’s ex is actually a sweet guy and their relationship is worth saving. The table rouses Eloise from her melancholia and pushes her to make a grand gesture to her ex, which results in their happily ever after. THE END.

Why?! The motivations in this are all hazy. You get a sense that Eloise and her boyfriend broke up from the stress of the unexpected pregnancy but from there it’s a bit of an unreliable narrator. They both have different stories of what happened. Certainly her motivation for attending the wedding is to get him back… which she does. Everyone else is just kind of sad and finding friends in Table 19 bring them back hope in an otherwise hopeless world. Very much a Duplass film.

 

What?! Not much product placement in this guy. Maybe I’ll just point out the similarity this film has to The Breakfast Club. A group of misfits are thrust together. They have assumptions about each other but also secrets about themselves. They end up finding that these misfits are the first people that they can be honest with and everything turns out peachy. The Breakfast Club for the Millennial generation… so much worse and barely released.

Who?! A bunch of interesting “The producers wish to thank” credits. The obvious one is Helen Mirren who presumably gave the film permission to use her name and image as part of a joke. After that Anthony Jeselnik, Keegan-Michael Key, and Lennon Parham also get special thanks, but for what? It’s anyone’s guess. Maybe they were connected to the film before the Duplass brothers stepped back from directing? Impossible to tell.

Where?! Takes place on an imaginary island in “Lake Alma” in Michigan. You can tell from the address sent for the wedding invites that this is likely the case. They then seem to go to some trouble not to be very specific after that. Probably since it was actually filmed in Atlanta. B-

When?! The only hint we get of when the film takes place is that the high school student Rezno is skipping his spring prom to go to the wedding (because his mom thinks he has a better chance of meeting a girl there than at the dance). So this is probably set in May or something. Not super specific. D+

Overall this is a really tiny film. I thought it was crazy that it got such a big release and that seems even crazier after seeing the film. A bit paint-by-numbers, but not Waiting for Forever crazy weirdness, so overall just a film that exists in the BMTverse. Not much different than something like What Goes Up… you know, except actually released to theaters. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! For those just following along at home you are probably stunned at our ability to pick bad movies. Like … we pick the worst of the worst quite well it would seem. Do we ever miss the mark?! You must be wondering that … well wonder no more! Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sklognalogy) – This film has genuine heart, it has an interesting structure (with the emotional climax occurring in the middle of the film blowing up the relatively uninteresting suitcase plot they were setting up), and has several quality actors involved (Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant, and Craig Robinson are all quite good). I’m … actually not sure why people were so hard on the film. Seems like a fairly straightforward mumblecore awkward-fest. What Goes Up would be a perfect analogy maybe (although I didn’t like that as much as this one), but for the Sklognalogy I’m going to look back to our 1986 cycle from last year to the movie No Mercy starring Richard Gere. There are things wrong with it, it is a bit rote and dull at times, but ultimately it is just kind of crazy that people are so hard on the film. There are so many trite cop thrillers (and coming-of-age dramas in this case) it blows my mind when everyone decides to hate one of them for being “standard fare”.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – Mostly it is just dull. And the actor playing opposite of Anna Kendrick lacks context or fleshing out. This is likely intentional (to play up an unreliability to Kendrick’s narration), but it still comes across as kind of lazy. At least one character is totally unnecessary (the kid skipping his prom), and the film would have seems more sincere without him, although I wouldn’t say that is why the film got destroyed by critics. Probably the biggest Crime Against BMT-anity in the film though is the way they ultimately did exposition in the film. Craig Robinson at one point just says that he love detective novels and is very good at spotting things. This is somewhat amusingly contrasted with him not being able to spot that his wife intended on using the wedding to cheat on him with a business associate / old friend (who ultimately no-shows the wedding). But then, throughout the film, every character takes a movie cliche and uses it to deduce major plot points that move everything along briskly. Kendrick vomits at the table? She’s pregnant. The old lady has a bunch of weed? She has cancer. Etc. Lazy lampshading with a dumb detective novel device that is mainly unnecessary.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – A rare dud in the BMT filmography I think. Like What Goes Up or like … Evening, the film just seems destined to be forgotten … well except for being the only film with the number 19 in the title. That is awesome. I’m going to declare no street cred here as well. I can see it on a few lists (like pop sugar), but I think that is because it had a relatively bad Rotten Tomatoes score and those are fake algorithmically derived articles. Given that places like the AV Club included The Space Between Us, somehow this movie managed to be so small that it will fly under the radar completely.

Congrats to us to filling in a new spot on the Periodic Table of Smellements for the first time in quite a while. The number 19 is sufficiently rare that I don’t think there will be another movie for it … ever? Bully for us.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Space Between Us Recap

Jamie

Gardner is a teenager born on Mars and unable to go to Earth for fear his body can’t handle it. When he connects with a girl on Earth, Tulsa, and finds information about his father he insists it’s time to return “home.” Can he fall in love and find his dad before it’s (literally) too late? Find out in… The Space Between Us.

What?! We open on the first mission to populate Mars funded by billionaire Nathaniel Shepard. On the way it’s revealed that the mission leader is pregnant. Fearing PR backlash NASA keeps the pregnancy confidential. Shortly after arrival she gives birth to a healthy child, Gardner, but dies in childbirth. Due to the differences in gravity they fear bringing the child home will kill him so Gardner is left to grow up on Mars. Flash forward 16 years and he is living a happy but isolated life with a robot friend and everything. He’s a total nerd alert, but spends his time chatting it up with an equally isolated girl in Colorado named Tulsa. He really wants to go to Earth to find his father (but we also know he wouldn’t mind finding this girl, wooing her, and getting it in). Finally NASA relents and after a rigorous physical preparation he is flown back to Earth. Hooray. When he arrives it looks like he’ll be sent right back for health reasons so he escapes to meet up with Tulsa. She is totally freaked out by this weirdo saying he’s from Mars (so much for getting it in), but helps him escape when NASA comes a-knocking. Thus begins their road trip together. They track Gardner’s father from New Mexico to Arizona to California. On the way, Tulsa and Gardner fall in love and he actually does get it in. Wow. Took you like five hours on Earth to lose your virginity. He then starts to show symptoms of an enlarged heart. When he finally finds the man he thinks is his dad he is told he was wrong the whole time. The man is actually his uncle. Sad but in love he walks into the ocean to die only to be rescued by Nathaniel Shepard, who turns out to be his real dad (duh, it was pretty obvious). They are able to save his life and get him back to Mars where we see him enjoying time with his dad. We are also treated to a scene of Tulsa preparing for her own trip to Mars. Awwwwwwww. THE END.

Why?! While Gardner is literally from Mars his motivations are primarily typical teen angst. He wants to see Earth, he wants to know what it is to be human, he wants to live, he wants to love, he wants to find belonging, and most importantly he wants to know who he is. And knowing who he is involves knowing who his father is. Thus the road trip from Mars to Florida to Colorado to California and back to Mars. As for Tulsa, while she is born on Earth she also mostly wants to know that she has belonging. She’s shuttled from foster home to foster home and feels like an alien in her own world. Trust me it’s all very deep in a highly predictable and saccharine way.

What?! I was really hoping that Tulsa would introduce Gardner to the beauty of Coca-Cola or something at one point, but alas. Gardner’s journey is mostly product placement free. Same can’t be said for Nathaniel Shepard and the sleek technology he surrounds himself with. He shuttles around in his self-driving Volvo as if it’s the ultimate replacement for his shattered dreams of space travel. Shove it, astronauts! You haven’t experienced adventure till you’ve driven the new Volvo (he says as he cries himself to sleep… don’t worry, the car drives itself. He can weep as hard as he wants without putting himself or others in danger).

Who?! As with many robot friends in cinematic history, Gardner’s robot, Centaur, is basically a Planchet. Gardner is always like “You aren’t even real, stupid robot.” and dismantles him for his own schemes. But the robot still had only unconditional love for him and it’s sad really. Even sadder is when he’s abandoned part way through the movie and never mentioned again. Bring that robot to Earth! Let him in on your kooky adventures. Anyway, I only did a Planchet this week because I didn’t want to mention that Logan Paul, a Youtube star, makes a truly terrible cameo halfway through the film. Fuck. That.

Where?! Road Trip Alert! I would put the primary settings as Mars and Colorado (I love it!), but with some stops in Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. It’s an A because of how important Mars is to the plot. You could even argue it’s an A+ with the mention of “Space” in the title. But let’s appreciate it for what it is, not for what it isn’t.

When?! Future Setting Alert! From Gardner’s mother’s grave we know she died on January 25, 2018. The film takes place 16 years later so in 2034. That’s enough for me when it comes to the date of a future film. I’ll give it a C. Funny enough this was a major sticking point for reviewers. The fact that nothing really got updated from the phones to the cars to the slang used by Tulsa. Showed a single robot, a single self-driving car, and some plexiglass computers and that’s apparently all they budgeted for.

When I started watching the film I thought it was going to be terrible. It was slow and extremely predictable. Interestingly once they went a more cliched route for the latter half of the film it actually picked up pace and was pretty enjoyable. Like two films smooshed together. A somewhat boring space adventure at the front, and a typical teen romance road trip on the back half. It all added up to mostly harmless fluff. Interesting that it got hated on so much. Is it so bad that every once in awhile they make a sugar sweet film for the whole family? It’s not like it’s inherently bad just for that reason. That being said I wish it wasn’t laughably predictable. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Space is so in right now, and you want a little piece of the action. You got this weird script about some Moon boy or whatever so … hey, intern, give this a once over and set it on Mars like that Damon one. We’ll rake in that dough, I’ll grab a few drinks with some stars, no problem … Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sklog-nalogy) – The movie actually isn’t all bad. It wasn’t quite It’s-Not-That-Bad level, but it is a lot closer than you would think. The first hour is a little slow but interesting, and the second half picks up even if it is half of a YA road trip film. There are certainly things I disliked, but for a young adult romance that is over two hours long it could have been a lot lot worse. Which is why I’m porting over Sklog-nalogy from the Bad section for the week. In this case the BMT film this reminds me of is possibly the least likeable film we’ve ever done: Waiting for Forever. In both cases you have a weirdo “martian” guy stalking a girl he’s fallen in love with through misadventures. In this case the “martian” is actually a Martian and is innocuous, funny, kind, a hopeless romantic, and genuinely makes a bit of sense. In Waiting for Forever he is a creepy stalker who the lead actress should have been concerned was going to kill her. The movies have a weird core that is similar, but take drastically different turns. This film is an okay example of the genre, although it has its faults. Waiting for Forever shows exactly how such a storyline can go wrong by basically glorifying stalkers as “romantics”. That I think is probably why I liked this film reasonably well in the end, at least it kept it innocent in that regard.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – The film basically turns into a Young Adult road trip movie where they barely mention Mars which isn’t so great. The twist with Gary Oldman is incredibly obvious. The film is, indeed, so sugary sweet that I can understand why it got a ton of bad reviews (although 16% is much much lower than I would have expected). The last bit I’ll run through for a Crime Against BMT-anity. The faux-future stuff is off the chain. Basically everyone uses these weird plexiglass computers, but then everyone has phones that look like a current Samsung. Gary Oldman is in a self-driving car, but yet Tulsa’ Dad drunkenly flies a beat up crop duster, they drive around in a beat up pick up, and at one point Gardner gets a ride in a (driver-ful) crappy Greyhound bus. The mixed messages are crazy! It is basically an exercise in how little one can do while still getting away with setting a film nearly 20 years in the future. Most can be forgiven, it isn’t like cars look alien compared to 2000, but the phones were a very strange oversight considering they updated the computers fairly well.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I don’t think there is legacy here. It might have at some point, if we decide it is the best bad movie we’ve watched this year. But for some reason I highly doubt that. It has been listed in a few places for worst of already. Looper, and The Playlist specifically. Ultimately I think it’ll fall away without much notice, but we’ll have to wait and see.

This does seem like one of those films that is based on a book … but it wasn’t. So no homework to report on here. I’ll just leave it there then.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Recap

Jamie

Jack Sparrow is back… uh… Jack. We find him destitute and drunk on the island of Saint Martin when the son of Will Turner, Henry, comes a-knocking looking to free his father with the power of the Trident of Poseidon. Will they outrun some nasty ghost pirates and nab the Trident before it’s too late? Find out in… Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

What?! Henry Turner is dead set on freeing his father, Will Turner, from his eternal curse aboard The Flying Dutchman by obtaining the powerful Trident of Poseidon. Knowing that Jack Sparrow is his only hope he heads on a quest to find him. On his way there he is part of a crew that crosses paths with a Spanish pirate hunter, Salazar, trapped in Devil’s Triangle. In exchange for his life, Henry is tasked with delivering a message of revenge to Jack Sparrow (what a coincidence! You’re looking for him too?). Once on Saint Martin, Henry crosses paths with Carina Smyth who is also searching for the trident (what a coincidence! You’re looking for that too?). At the same time Salazar is freed after Jack drunkenly throws his compass away (this is getting confusing with all these coincidences). Shortly thereafter both Carina and Jack are sentenced to death. Freeing them with the help of Jack’s crew, Henry and the gang set out for the Trident. While searching for Jack, Salazar encounters Barbossa who promises to help him find Jack. They converge near a small island where our heroes and Barbossa manage to escape to land. Once there Barbossa makes a new alliance with Jack to help him find the Trident and they join together on the Black Pearl. The race to the Trident is on! Our heroes find the secret Trident island and open a path in the ocean to their prize. A fight with Salazar ensues at the end of which they break the Trident, thus breaking all curses across the land. Escaping to their ship they leave Salazar to die at the ocean’s depths. We end with Henry reuniting with his father Will, freed from his curse forever. My god is that unnecessarily complex. THE END.  

Why?! Henry Turner wants to save his dear old dad, Will, and Carina wants to help him because… huh… not sure actually. She just wanted to follow the stars on the map left to her by her daddio. I guess she thought they would somehow lead her to him… which in the end it did (Spoiler Alert: He’s Barbossa). As for Jack, he is mostly a drunk in this film, hoping only to escape death. While more of a subplot in this film, Jack’s objective of eternal life is something that ties together most of the films. In particular it ties in Davy Jones as the ultimate villain of the franchise: the evil pirate who has the eternal life that Jack so desires. This is what leads me to believe that there will be at least one more film in the franchise. The obvious end to to the Jack Sparrow saga is his place on The Black Pearl as the eternal shepherd of the underworld through a final battle to destroy Davy Jones and his Locker for good.

What?! Now here is a classic MacGuffin. From the start we are told that the Trident of Poseidon can break any curse. How? Why? Don’t worry about it. Just know that it is an object that both good and evil will strive for in the hopes of gaining ultimate power. It’s a funny MacGuffin too in that its power is released only in its destruction, so the first time we see it is also the last.

Who?! While Keith Richards has played Jack Sparrow’s father in the 3rd and 4th Pirates of the Caribbean films, he does not show up here. Instead Paul McCartney randomly cameos as Jack’s uncle, throwing a few jokes his way in prison. Cool.

Where?! The Caribbean, duh. In fact the setting for a large portion of the film was specified this time. Jack is stuck and rumored dead on the island of Saint Martin. Once they leave that island though the setting is basically just the open sea and secret islands. C.

When?! All the films at least can be framed in reference to each other. Henry Turner is 21 years old in this film and thus 21 years after the third film (at the end of which he was conceived). The fourth film is claimed to be 16 years after the third film, placing this film in 1756 give or take a couple years. This is fun, but it’s still a D-.

We have done a whole bunch of franchises over the last year (and I would venture a guess that 2018 may turn into the year of the franchises as we had a blast doing them) and you can’t help but find the aspects of each of them that made them hits in the first place. It’s like Stockholm Syndrome, we come to love our captors. Pirates of the Caribbean is no different. I came to enjoy the spectacular CGI, even more spectacular stunts, and the humor that Jack Sparrow brought to the table, even when the storylines started to make very little sense and the films ballooned to nearly three hours. So when the fourth took much of that away and then the fifth really only brought the CGI back up to snuff (Jack is reduced to a caricature of himself, constantly yelping in surprise as he has nothing more clever to say) I was pretty disappointed. But it didn’t slake my thirst for an adequate conclusion to the series. I know they can do it. I need to see Jack Sparrow ride off into the sunset at the helm of The Black Pearl having been granted eternal life. It’s the only real way this ends. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Six years ago you made a terrible mistake. Succumbing to peer pressure you allowed Johnny Depp to make yet another Pirates of the Caribbean film, much to the world’s chagrine. Since then the thirst has been silent, waiting in the darkness. Then … a small voice says in the back of your head: “Make another one. It’ll be great. Savvy?” Ugh, I hate you, you think … but, yes, I savvy indeed. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – This comes across as much more of a Pirates of the Caribbean film than the fourth. It was fun and at least had a spirited direction compared to some of the other sequels. Resolving the Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley storyline at least allows the series to pass into a slumber if they didn’t feel the need to complete a second trilogy. I think though I’ll outline what I could imagine a sixth film to be in a Sequel. Basically, at the end of this film all pirate curses have been broken, but apparently magic still exists (it appears Jack Sparrow’s compass still operates, pointing to the owner’s desire). In the sequel the compass brings Jack Sparrow back to Shipwreck Cove to hold another Brethren Court with Elizabeth Swann (who remains the Pirate King) and Carina Smyth (who inherited the captaincy of the Caspian Sea from her father Captain Barbossa). The problem? Magic in this world is dying, a consequence of the breaking of Poseidon’s Trident, and without magic the pirate’s domination of the sea is in peril. Jack Sparrow, harboring his long-held desire for immortality, offers to find the hidden merman city which, according to legend, is ruled by Triton, the son of Poseidon. Knowing that where Gods live there is the possibility of immortality Jack sails deep into the Amazon where the secret city is to be found. Can Jack Sparrow discover the secret to save Pirate magic before it is too late? Pirates of the Caribbean: The Forsaken Mermen.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – The story in this case as one of the weaker in the series, it was never really clear what anyone was doing. While I like Javier Bardem, his bad guy was also a little weird and shoehorned into the whole mythology (although I liked seeing young Jack). And, sorry, but Brenton Thwaites is the new Jai Courtney, there is something uncharismatic about him where he could be replaced by almost anyone and the movie wouldn’t suffer a bit. It was the same in Gods of Egypt. Get your money though Thwaites. In this short Crimes Against BMT-anity I thought I would just note how humorless the whole Pirates franchise managed to becomes during its run. The first film was (and still is) fantastic, but mainly because of how funny and wacky the whole world and especially Jack Sparrow was. By this installment? Barbossa is a garbage human, Jack is a mopey asshole, and the once exciting life of a pirate looks to be rather … drab and, honestly, sad. Hopefully they can finish off the series with a bang. If not that go for broke and get some catastrophic 0% or something. Do it … do it.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I still don’t think there is much legacy here unless there is a complete garbage pile of a sixth film. It was a fascinating look at big budget franchises, something we kind of tended to avoid prior to this year (outside of something like Transformers which demanded to be addressed), so perhaps it’ll change BMT temporarily and we will hit a few of those now. Street cred is basically impossible to analyze until the end of the year. A few of the lists I’ve found ignored this guy, and besides Depp I don’t really see it getting noticed … maybe sequel / remake, but nothing big. I’ll go under the radar.

And I don’t think I have anything else to report. I did not revisit the franchise, I started right back up with the fourth, so I can’t really do a review there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Recap

Jamie

Years after the vanquishing of Davy Jones, our famed anti-hero Jack Sparrow finds himself on the trail of the Fountain of Youth. In an untrustworthy alliance with the infamous Blackbeard he is being chased by the Spanish and by Barbossa, now in the service of the King. Will they get the treasure before it’s too late? Find out in… Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

What?! We open in England where Jack is in search of a ship to get him back on track to search for the famed Fountain of Youth. He finds that he’s not the only one currently in search of the treasure, as Barbossa, now a profiteer for England, and the Spanish are also in pursuit. Hearing rumors of another pirate posing as Jack Sparrow he comes across a former beau, Angelica, who captures him. Once on board he realizes that his has been taken prisoner in service of Blackbeard, famed psychopath and dear ol’ dad to Angelica. Oh no! Much like characters in an old school adventure game of the past, Jack and Blackbeard need to collect a number of specific items to make the MacGuffin… er… Fountain of Youth work. These include several other MacGuffins, including a mermaid’s tears and some silver chalices. Once they collect these in a series of exciting misadventures and arrive at the Fountain, it turns into an outright brawl between Blackbeard and Barbossa’s crews. This brawl is ended by the arrival of the Spanish who promptly destroy the Fountain as sinful. In a final act of revenge Barbossa mortally wounds both Blackbeard and Angelica. With only one dose of the Fountain left to save either father or daughter, Jack tricks Blackbeard knowing that his selfish ways would doom him and save Angelica. Upon his death everyone is happy because he sucked. THE END.

Why?! This is easily the most straightforward of the Pirates of the Caribbean films and as a result the motivations are also fairly straightforward. Blackbeard wants to cheat his recently foretold death by drinking from the Fountain of Youth, Barbossa wants to kill Blackbeard for sweet revenge, and the Spanish want to destroy the Fountain. So the race is on! As for our hero Jack Sparrow, his motivation doesn’t change much in the series. He’s happy as long as he is sailing the open seas on his beloved Black Pearl, but there is always an undercurrent of a desire for immortality. That’s basically the premise of the first three films: how can Jack Sparrow sail the open seas for eternity? It’s hinted that that’s the reason he wants to get to the Fountain, but this all falls apart once the climactic melee ensues. This motivation is why I’m pretty sure there will be at least a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film.

What?! Each entry in the series seems to ratchet up the MacGuffin level one more notch. By the time they get the fourth one we have a film based entirely on finding the Fountain of Youth that needs several other objects to work. While an ideal MacGuffin is something we don’t know or need to know the actual function of (we obviously know how the reason the Fountain is important in this case), this is still a great set of MacGuffins.

Who?! Have to give a shout out to Author Tim Powers (one of the fathers of Steampunk) who got a “Suggested by” credit for this film on the basis of his pirate adventure novel On Stranger Tides. Apparently the book was a major influence on the Monkey Island games as well. Funny story is that when Disney approached Powers about optioning the book for the fourth film he was surprised because he had thought they had already lifted elements from it for the first film.

Where?! Is the entire Pirates of the Caribbean series an A+? I say no, not precise enough. Like saying Here on Earth is an A+. On top of that they are never specific as to where in the Caribbean they are most of the time. Booo. I deem this a C- only because they are specifically in England at the start.

When?! I’m not going to be able to put an exact date on this, but it is interesting that this film give a basic time frame for the entire series. Takes place during the reigns of King Ferdinand of Spain, King George II, Prime Minister Henry Pelham, and Lord John Carteret. Sets it between 1751 and 1754. That’s a tight D- and funny because the wikipedia page says it takes place in 1750. Read yo history wikipedia. I would place it in 1751.

To finish up the recap I’ll just mention that the first film in the series not to feature Gore Verbinski at the helm really took a step back technologically and overall stuntwork. If there were three things I looked for in a Pirates of the Caribbean film it was cutting edge visual technology, some jokes from our charismatic lead Jack Sparrow, and grand and complex stunts. This basically went backwards on all three. Not great.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Johnny Depp has been calling you day in and day out. Constantly. You don’t want to do it, but you know one thing: Johnny Depp wants his money, and he wants it now. So I guess we’re making a fourth one. Get the giant set piece assembled, we get to deal with this thing again. Let’s go!

The Good (BMulTiverse Theories) – Something about this series gets me every time. I don’t understand it. They all start the same (a giant set piece action scene with Johnny Depp flying around with tons of practical effects), they get more and more ridiculous, Depp is a caricature at this point … but I like it. Something about it entertains me in a different way than Transformers (which at this point just annoys me). I like Penelope Cruz, and I forgot how much Jack Sparrow doesn’t really annoy me (it is perplexing given how other characters, like Mortdecai, are very similar and extremely grating). I didn’t mind the movie, I actually quite liked how they scaled the story back compared to the second and third film. I’m going to introduce a new game here called the BMulTiverse Theory. Similar to Sklognalogy, this looks into a different film and re-imagines what might have been given a different sequence of events. In this case the Pirates franchise reminds me of what I imagine a modern day Indiana Jones would have looked like. Sprawling sets with elaborate practical effects. Magical realism, a charming lead, all presented as a period piece. We’d be sitting at five or six Indiana Jones right now, the stories getting more and more ridiculous. Trust me, it would be the same, and we’d all be complaining about how trite the character of Indiana Jones is at this point.

The Bad (Sklog-cabulary Quiz) – The film is far too long. I love Ian McShane, but Blackbeard failed to bring any of the charm or interest that a villain needs in this series. The entire thing seemed very linear, almost comically McGuffin-esque. Half the characters only speak in order to explain things about the Fountain of Youth as all of the characters directly and unyieldingly march toward this inevitable goal. Let’s try out a new Sklog-cabulary Quiz. For Pirates of the Caribbean I think I’ll note something that is also present in the aforementioned Indiana Jones series, the:

Rube Goldberg Action Sequence – (n.) An action sequence that accomplishes by complex means what seemingly could be done simply.

A mark of the Pirates franchise in which Johnny Depp flies across chandeliers or sword fights on a giant wheel, it is really impressive when done correctly. It actually isn’t really a bad movie trope since you need a crazy amount of money to pull it off, but it is something the sticks out about the Pirates franchise.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – On Stranger Tides won’t really have any legacy, although the franchise as a whole could have a place if a sixth is made. A double trilogy where the second trilogy was torn apart by critics would be rather fun. This actually does have a bit of street cred. It is listed as the 20th worst film of the year here. Otherwise it kind of falls to the wayside in a very very impressive bad movie year. It is the year of Jack and Jill, but just look at the razzies that year. Very impressive lists all around.

I’ll leave it there because we have a whole other recap to get to.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Friday the 13th (2009) Recap

Jamie

Jason is back, Jack! This time he’s been rebooted and he ready to kill afresh. A group of douchey college kids are at Crystal Lake trying to get paid and laid, unfortunately Jason is there to rain on their… parade. Can they take him out before it’s too late? Find out in… Friday the 13th (2009).

How?! In a rare double pre-title sequence we open with a brief recap of the events of the original film. We see Jason’s crazy mom, we see her head being cut off, and we see Jason pick up a locket off her dead body. Flash forward to “Present day” and a bunch of jokesters are hiking through the woods. Most of them think they are just there from some fun in the sun, but secretly two of them have heard of a marijuana stash in the woods and hope to strike it rich a la The Beverly Hillbillies but with weed instead of oil. Sufficed to say they all get brutally murdered by Jason (or do they? Bum bum bum) after enjoying some crisp cold Pabst Blue Ribbon. Flash forward again some time later and we have another group of jokesters heading to the lake for some more fun in the sun (deja vu). On the way they bump into Clay, the brother of one of the girls in the first camping party, who’s searching for his sister. Pretty much from the jump you get the feeling that this dude is actually the main character of the film and everyone else is just there to die. And boy do they! Almost immediately the carnage begins and they are picked off one by one. Clay manages to escape and finds his sister taken prisoner by Jason in tunnels below the decrepit Camp Crystal Lake. In the final showdown they are able to get Jason all twisted up in a woodchipper and send him to the bottom of Crystal Lake for good… except he totally jumps back out of the lake ready for another sequel! Classic, Jason. What a trickster.

Why?! They did add a lot more motivation to this one. While most of the teens are just at the lake to get paid and laid (and killed), the main character actually has a mission. He wants to find his sister. It’s a little fan service to a similar character from Part IV, except this time he’s the main character and actually finds and saves his sister. Additionally, this is the first time we see Jason keep someone alive for an extended period of time. Seems like the motivation for him is that the girl looks a bit like his deceased mother, so he keeps her alive as a comfort or out of confusion. This isn’t wholly out of character for Jason either. Part II is a notable case where Jason is stopped in part because a character pretends to be his mother and confuses him. So seems again to be a little twist on a fan service call back. Other than that he seems like his usual territorial killing machine.

What?! There’s nothing more American than ice cold Pabst Blue Ribbon, camping with your buds, and MURDER. We get all three in the second pre-title sequence. That’s not the only product placement (this is a Michael Bay production after all), but it’s the most fun.

Who?! Aaron Woo plays a Planchet of sorts. A big stoner, loveable loser, and all around jokester, he doesn’t get made fun of enough for my taste in Planchets. No fun cameos either. Cameos don’t work very well in horror. Would just feel a little weird if John Cena showed up in a scene and was like “Oh man, that Jason guy’s even bigger than me, America’s favorite pro wrestler John Cena.” There are two funny “The producers wish to thank” credits, Tony Fussell and Randy V. Michna. From what I can gather from some simple online sleuthing Tony Fussell sells boats in the area of Texas where the film was shot and Randy V. Michna seems to also work and lives there. My guess? They were the guys who donated the use of the sweet lake house and boat for production in exchange for a simple acknowledgment. Bad move, guys. I would hold out until they named a character after me. Wouldn’t even care if he was the biggest bumbling idiot in the whole film. In fact that would be even better.

Where?! I like to imagine Michael Bay saying “Hey, can this be set in Real America™ and not New Jersey,” and then someone punched him in the face. It’s obvious at this point that Crystal Lake is in NJ and we get license plates to back it up. It’s also obvious that it was filmed in Texas because the setting looks nothing like NJ. C.

When?! Online there are claims that the film takes place on June 13th, 2009, exactly 29 years after the initial intertitle placed the events of the first film. Not sure how they arrived at that conclusion other than assumption or maybe a copy of the script. There is a note on IMDb claiming that the date can be seen in the police station… but there isn’t such a scene. So perhaps it’s a cut scene. Anyway, never made explicit. D-.

I’m actually being unfair to Michael Bay, who is obviously a big horror fan (he’s rebooted five different franchises!). It shows a bit in this film as it fits nicely into the series as a whole. Biggest critiques are that the teens are just a bit too unlikeable, the pacing gets a little slow for a modern horror, and it has little ambition to be anything more than a straight reboot. But besides that I was pleasantly surprised. I got to see some teens killed, got to see some boobs, and there was some great fan service to boot. What more could I ask for? As for Freddy vs. Jason and Black Friday, our two nonqualifying films for the week, I’ll let Patrick handle that business. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You are Michael Bay and you have all this sweet IP. Well … you have a ton of old horror intellectual property, but let’s call it sweet IP for now. What do you do? That’s right, you remake all of them in the hopes that one pans out into a franchise. I mean … what are the chances literally all of them are bad? Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel / Prequel / Remake) – Alright I’m going to say it … I kind of dug the movie. I thought the first 20 minute sequence with the five teenagers (who just want two things: sex and that sweet ganja) was excellent. I liked fast-Jason, it is that “new” element you kind of expect from a Friday the 13th sequel. I thought the homages were well done, and probably two of the kills were decent stuff. I’ll say it: This was as good as a remake of Friday the 13th could have probably been, and I honestly wish it had got another shot to show off the direction they wanted to take the new Jason in. But alas, all good-bad things must come to an end. But … I want the Sequel! At the end Jason may or may not have come back to life and murdered the two survivors. Personally, I think people overlook how likely it is that that was indeed a dream sequence (given that the first three original movies ended with a similar dream sequence event). We pick up with Clay and Whitney arriving at the hospital amid a firestorm from the local police. An officer is dead along with roughly 15 other people, and the body of Jason is gone. Suspicious to say the least. Stuck in jail as the parents of the recent victims arrive looking for blood, Clay and Whitney decide to reveal the location of Jason to mollify the police chief. When they hear that no body (or mask …) is to be found, Clay and Whitney immediately know that a massacre is afoot. Seeking revenge against the two that got away the police stand no chance against the cunning backwoodsman Jason as he Assault-On-Precinct-13’s the ill-equipped Crystal Lake station. Can Clay and Whitney survive a second night against the unstoppable Jason Voorhees? Friday the 13th Part 2 (2018)!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – The film is still a remake of a slasher and doesn’t do a particularly good job at motivating Jason. They try with a weird girl-looks-like-Jason’s-mother routine, but Jason kidnapping Whitney is probably the worst part of the movie. It isn’t in character. Jason murders, he has a single purpose. And that girl isn’t his mother. We see his mother’s head in the beginning of the film, so there isn’t any Part II trickery available either. The film sags quite a bit in the middle as they transition from the excellent opening sequence to a rich guy’s house full of terrible people, and also stretched the number of kills a bit with a frenetic pace to end (although that isn’t out of character for the series). Still, for the record, I think this is probably above average for the series. It is better than 3, 5, 8, 9, X, and Freddy vs. Jason I think. The Sklognalogy is probably something like Ghost Ship (the most ship!). A movie you can kind of acknowledge isn’t an actual “good” movie, but it fun to watch regardless.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The end of an era for us! We watched all 12 Friday the 13th films in a year. This year should have been the 13th (what what) but Paramount was like “naw, I don’t like money”. All Friday the 13th films will forever have a special part in BMT lore. And, I would say as expected, the half-way decent remake of Friday the 13th didn’t make a single worst-of list for the year. That year was amazing though. Old Dogs, I Love You Beth Cooper, All About Steve, and Miss March? Ridiculous year for bad comedy.

We did have a small Homework Sklog-signment with this film, the not-really-a-Friday-film Freddy vs. Jason. It was an Elm Street film, and honestly … I don’t like funny Freddy. I like the Freddy from the first one. I loved the first one, so watching where the franchise went was interesting. But it was a bad Friday film, not a very good Jason and he’s kind of not used enough to make it all worth it in my opinion. Meh. Maybe I’ll change my mind once I watch the Elm Street franchise.

And naturally, since we are such big Doane-heads (don’t you see? He saved Christmas. We owe him a lot, guys), we watched the second Darren Doane film of the cycle! Black Friday, the Bargain Bin entry, and a poor man’s Gary Daniels film (so straight Z-list). This … barely exists. I’m actually not entirely convinced Jamie and some of his bowling buddies didn’t shoot this piece of garbage in their spare time on the weekend. I can kind of see why some people enjoy these films though, it is oddly fascinating. While I wouldn’t go quite so far Z-list in the future, a nice C-list starring a has-been like Dolph Lundgren or Steven Seagal I do think is more likely now that I’ve seen the worst possible example of the bargain bin. I no longer fear the Z-list, I transcend reality and observe it from my elevated enlightened position. Like with Sandler films.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Recap

Jamie

Lara Croft is a world-renowned archeologist/tomb raider/adventurer. When she discovers a secret key hidden by her father, she realizes it is the key to unlocking a powerful device coveted by the Illuminati. Can she find and destroy the device before the evil Illuminati get their hands on it? Find out in… Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

How?! Lara Croft is an adventurer extraordinaire in high demand for the recovery (theft?) of antiquities across the world. She’s like an even sexier Indiana Jones or the equally iconic character that Tom Cruise played in The Mummy. On the anniversary of her father’s death, and coincidentally the start of a complete planetary alignment, a clock hidden in Lara’s house begins to tick. After breaking it open she recovers a hidden mystery MacGuffin… er… I mean, key. Not knowing what it does she makes the mistake of bringing it to an appraiser who promptly tips off the Illuminati so they can steal it. Uh oh! She then coincidentally gets a letter from her father sent before his death that lays out the entire plot of the film: that key enables the bearer to recover a powerful time control device called “the triangle.” She needs to get that device and destroy it before the Illuminati takes over the world! (dun dun dun!). Following them to Cambodia she is able to recover the first piece of the triangle. Seeing that they are dealing with a total badass, the Illuminati strike a deal: we both want the triangle, so let’s make sure we get it and then figure the rest out later. Lara agrees. Heading together to Siberia, Lara is able to again recover a piece of the triangle, only to have her kinda-sorta-not-really love interest Alex West (played by Daniel Craig sporting one of the worst American accents in the history of cinema) killed. Realizing the only way to save him is to go back in time she helps complete the triangle. Then a bunch of gobbledegook that makes no sense happens: Lara Croft is transported back in time, grabs the triangle, kills the Illuminati boss, transports back to the present day minus like 3 minutes, kills the Illuminati boss a couple more times, and destroys the triangle. Or at least that’s what I think happened. The End.  

Why?! Motivations are so easy in a MacGuffin film. The Illuminati want “the triangle” which will enable them to control time and thus the world. Lara wants to destroy “the triangle” as such ultimate power should be possessed by no one. Why not just destroy the key or just stop the Illuminati rather than destroy “the triangle” itself? Well, “the triangle” can only be retrieved during the planetary alignment that happens every 5000 years. So if she destroyed the key or simply stopped them, then 5000 years later the Illuminati could try again (if climate change doesn’t kill us first, amirite?). She has to get “the triangle” and destroy it for good. It’s the only way. See? Totally super tight plot. Don’t worry about it.

What?! Shoutout to UPS. Lara Croft knows what brown can do for her. It can deliver essential plot devices/letters from her dead father right to her front door. Speaking of plot devices, this is the second film in a relatively short time span that could be called MacGuffin: The Movie (Cradle 2 the Grave was the other).The triangle in this film is the very definition of a MacGuffin. It’s such a MacGuffin I’m surprised they didn’t name Iain Glen’s character Manfred MacGuff.

Who?! Pretty solid Planchet in this film, Bryce, played by Noah Taylor. He’s Lara’s Q and is constantly called a giant nerd. Also want to note that Jon Voight got second billing for this film… he barely appears in it.

Where?! Good globetrotting settings film. Large portions set in England and Cambodia. A short segment is set in Venice. The climax is set in Siberia. Intertitles are used occasionally. B.

When?! May 15th on the nose. Just so happens that the start of the planetary alignment corresponds to the anniversary of Lara’s father’s death, which is shown on his tombstone and mentioned several times. The rest of the film takes place during the ensuing week. B+.

Brief note for Dirty Dancing (2017), it is pretty obviously the most useless thing I’ve ever watched (and I watched the entire season of the reality television show The Vineyard!). It is incomprehensible why this actually exists and isn’t shamefully hidden away. I was trying to think of an adequate comparison and I’m drawing a blank. Maybe that Arthur remake we never watched… or Red Dawn? Even that wasn’t as mind-numbingly boring and unnecessary as this TV movie. Really it would be like they made a TV musical Casablanca starring Zac Efron and Taylor Swift and had the Germans toe-tappin’ along to some swell tunes. But it’s greatest crime? Abigail Breslin cannot dance. She literally can’t do it. They spend the entire movie trying to convince you that she gets better and can dance at the end. She can’t. Watch the finale from each version back to back and you’ll be shocked and upset. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Every five years the IP gold miners dig through the Hollywood archives and wonder “what could be the next big wave, how can I get that money printing machine?” And every five years someone with very little historical awareness “discovers” video games and gets very very excited. I mean. People love video games! People love movies! And every five years BMT opens a bottle of our cheapest champagne to celebrate the video game gold rush as things like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider are made. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Out of all of the video games movies I’ve seen I think this is the best one, although I can’t be certain, Silent Hill was pretty good too. Angelina is fun, they keep the story fairly tight and focused like a laser beam on a McGuffin. And ultimately you can kind of forget all of the flaws because hey, time travel, and boobs, whatever. A remake is already coming, and a sequel happened so … prequel! Let’s get a little tag-team Angelina-Craig action in here. They fall in love and steal priceless artifacts! He’s in it for the money, she just wants to feel connected to her dead father! What an odd couple! With her trusty Cockney hacker sidekick Lara Croft stars in: Lara Croft and The Golden MacGuffin!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – First, I’ll point out how ridiculous it is that Jon Voight got second billed on this movie. Other than that this movie’s story is just pointless, and the CGI looked terrible. But hey, it is a mid 2000s video game film, that isn’t a total surprise. My main complaint with the action is that, like everything that came out close to The Matrix, the wire-work stunts were off-the-chain (by which I mean they look terrible). I think the analogy is something like Warcraft. Yeah, not a super great movie, but you can see why fans like it, and you can see why they made it, and what they were trying to do with it. It just left out all of that stuff that critics like, like character development or coherent motivation.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The legacy of the film will be minor … until we watch the sequel maybe. The sequel is interesting because I’ve heard that some consider it superior by at least not being boring. But that seems ludicrous … so it could very well find a special place in BMT lore. As far as streetcreditreport.com goes, it got #6 on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s yearly list … remember when just random places would make lists like this? I’m finding some weird ones. It is number eight on Reel Films, but overall tends to get eclipsed by none other than Freddy Got Fingered!

So we tagged up on a TV movie with the remake of Dirty Dancing. I had never seen the original (the horror), and I have to say, it holds up. The only question they leave hanging is how long they were on vacation for. I had assumed it was all summer (Jennifer Grey sees Swayze show up during a pep talk for the staff). I was mainly curious so that I could know how unbelievable it is that Jennifer Grey becomes a professional dancer during the course of the movie. The remake on the other hand leaves no questions unanswered! They were on vacation for three weeks, the older daughter sings a duet with a black employee at the resort and everyone nods their head about the times-they-are-a-changin’, and the parents almost get divorced. The sheer number of extra storylines is insane, causing the remake to be 40 minutes longer than the original! Profoundly upsetting. The true crime though, as Jamie alluded to, is the dancing. I loved the original, it holds up well, but it rides on the power of both Grey and Swayze’s dancing. And the two leads in the new one, they don’t got it.

Was it a time crunch? Was it intentional? I can almost psych myself into the idea that they intentionally told Breslin to not get into dancing shape for the film as a kind of any-girl-can-learn-to-love-and-dance-in-three-weeks idea … but the movie rises and rises in a crescendo of trash until my mind could take no more. It is something to behold, just horrible and offensive. This convinces me that we need to pay more attention to TV Movies in the future, there are ones that I think are worth a shot. Even something like Liz and Dick might be worth a shot if we can think of a reason to do it. And with that …

Cheerios,

The Sklogs