Stone Cold Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. But wait, this is going in the Hall of Fame? Maybe, it’s going head to head with another film for the final spot in this year’s class. That preview will follow. Enjoy!

Stone Cold (1991) – BMeTric: 21.8; Notability: 35 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 27.6%; Notability: top 31.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 21.1% Higher BMeT: Cool as Ice, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Problem Child 2, Child’s Play 3, Suburban Commando, Nothing But Trouble, Mannequin: On the Move, Kickboxer 2: The Road Back, King Ralph, Double Impact, Zandalee, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, Hudson Hawk, V.I. Warshawski, House Party 2, The Butcher’s Wife, Curly Sue, Scenes from a Mall, Drop Dead Fred, Ernest Scared Stupid, and 21 more; Higher Notability: Hook, Hudson Hawk, Mobsters, Switch, Flight of the Intruder, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Life Stinks, The Five Heartbeats, Necessary Roughness, He Said, She Said, The Marrying Man, Oscar, Out for Justice, Rock-A-Doodle, Billy Bathgate, Teen Agent, Driving Me Crazy, F/X2, Another You, King Ralph, and 12 more; Lower RT: Nothing But Trouble, Cool as Ice, Mobsters, Problem Child 2, Drop Dead Fred, Pure Luck, The Marrying Man, Strictly Business, Another You, Oscar, The Hitman, Mannequin: On the Move, Curly Sue, Driving Me Crazy, One Good Cop, Suburban Commando, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, Ernest Scared Stupid, Life Stinks, Eve of Destruction and 11 more; Notes: It jumping to 6.0 is pretty weird. Overall, kind of middling on all counts, but that I think it is inevitable with smaller films from the 80s and early 90s. And this … is a small film.

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Football’s “Boz” infiltrates a gang of Mississippi bikers whose extortion antics have caught the attention of both the Feds and the Mob. Only some amazing stunts save this silliness from the BOMB scrap heap. Written and executive produced by Walter Doniger, who once directed Mantle and Maris in Safe at Home!

(Good to hear about the stunts. Maybe a bit foreboding that they don’t specifically call out the Boz for his acting. It means they either didn’t give him enough to do to embarass himself, or he is just so blandly boring it wasn’t notable.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bNfag1hosI/

(Oh my God … how is this a real trailer? It is the most 90s and worst thing I’ve ever seen. This is for a widely released film, correct? Not for a straight-to-DVD Billy Drago film? Absurd.)

Directors – Craig R. Baxley – (Future BMT: Action Jackson; Dark Angel; BMT: Stone Cold; Notes: A legendary stunt coordinator, and part of the three generation Baxley stunt coordinator family. His grandson is a stunt performer, so it is very possible they will be a four generation stunt family, coordinating stunts for over 70 years.)

Writers – Walter Doniger (written by) – (BMT: Stone Cold; Notes: Nominated for a Golden Globe in 1949 for Rope of Sand. Worked for Universal in the 40s and made U.S. Army films during the war. Directed 173 episodes of Peyton Place.)

Actors – Brian Bosworth – (Known For: What Men Want; Three Kings; Future BMT: The Longest Yard; Do You Believe?; BMT: Stone Cold; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Stone Cold in 1992; Notes: Was a huge college football star and is considered to be somewhat of a bust in the NFL playing for Seattle. Maybe most notable for being trucked by Bo Jackson in a high profile game.)

Lance Henriksen – (Known For: Aliens; The Terminator; The Quick and the Dead; Falling; Jennifer’s Body; Dog Day Afternoon; Alien³; Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Network; Tarzan; The Right Stuff; Near Dark; Hard Target; Dead Man; Powder; Mom and Dad; Jagged Edge; Appaloosa; Pumpkinhead; Omen II: Damien; Future BMT: Piranha Part Two: The Spawning; When a Stranger Calls; Harbinger Down; Scream 3; House; House III: The Horror Show; Man’s Best Friend; Phantom; Jennifer Eight; Nightmares; The Slammin’ Salmon; Excessive Force; The Next Man; Modigliani; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Color of Night; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; Stone Cold; Notes: Just saw him in X-Files, as he plays Frank Black in the spin-off series Millenium (for which he was nominated for three Golden Globes).)

William Forsythe – (Known For: Once Upon a Time in America; The Rock; Dick Tracy; Cold Pursuit; Raising Arizona; The Devil’s Rejects; American Me; Extreme Prejudice; The Substitute; Cloak & Dagger; City by the Sea; Patty Hearst; Hell’s Kitchen; Weeds; The Waterdance; The Hollow; Palookaville; Lethal Vengeance; Future BMT: Freedomland; Virtuosity; Hard Ca$h; Halloween; Awake; Career Opportunities; Out for Justice; Blue Streak; The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag; Loosies; War on the Range; Dead Bang; Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead; The L.A. Riot Spectacular; Run with the Hunted; BMT: Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; Firestorm; 88 Minutes; Stone Cold; Notes: Firestorm also stars an NFL player, Howie Long. You probably know him from John Doe, the Fox series starring Dominic Purcell … no, you don’t remember that series? 10PM on Fridays, absolutely killer time slot, right after Firefly.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $9,151,887 (Worldwide: $9,151,887)

(Ooof, that budget can’t be right though can it? Unless the Boz was getting paid a ton. No matter how you cut it I don’t think $10 million is what they were hoping for as a return.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 33% (3/9)

(Another consensus for me: The Boz is serviceable in a rote actioner which ends up being too dumb to be fun. Reviewer Highlight: Brian Bosworth’s acting debut in Stone Cold carries about the same wallop The Boz did in the late stages of his very brief career in professional football. – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – Frosted Tips

(First, I’ll say I like the custom font and I like the color scheme. Maybe a bit on the nose with stone/cold = blue, but I still think it works. It is advertising the film in the only way it knows how: The Boz, front and center, something about bikes. The only odd bit is the tagline is soooo small and just floating in the sky, and it looks a bit cheap. B+.)

Tagline(s) – A cop who enforces his own brand of justice. (C+)

(Generic. That describes about 100 films since the early 80s unfortunately. I don’t think it is necessarily bad, it just doesn’t do anything to add to the film itself, so it gets a medium grade.)

Keyword – undercover cop

Top 10: The Departed (2006), Bad Boys for Life (2020), Batman Begins (2005), Baby Driver (2017), BlacKkKlansman (2018), Scarface (1983), Point Break (1991), The Fast and the Furious (2001), American Gangster (2007), Sin City (2005)

Future BMT: 58.7 The Mod Squad (1999), 49.1 Showtime (2002), 46.7 Cop Out (2010), 44.7 Tomcats (2001), 42.1 Sleepless (2017), 41.6 Boiling Point (1993), 40.7 Brick Mansions (2014), 38.8 Action Jackson (1988), 37.1 Fled (1996), 36.9 Bulletproof (1996);

BMT: Fast & Furious (2009), Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), Gangster Squad (2013), Ride Along (2014), Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), Exit to Eden (1994), Ride Along 2 (2016), Stone Cold (1991), Exit Wounds (2001), No Mercy (1986)

(I have to say, not super into most of the films available with this keyword. Action Jackson is maybe notable for having the same director as this film though. He certainly had a type.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: William Forsythe is No. 3 billed in Stone Cold and No. 5 billed in 88 Minutes, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 5 + 3 + 1 = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Michael Douglas was executive producer of the film but received no credit, according to his wishes.

Brian Bosworth has said in an interview that as a keen biker, he had previously built the bike that his character rides in the film and suggested that it be used instead, since he was more comfortable with it.

Lance Henriksen wrote his own lines for every scene.

In a Q&A with the audience after a special screening of the film in Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse in 2014, Brian Bosworth talked about how original director Bruce Malmuth was fired due to some “personal issues that he couldn’t control which poured out on set”, and his firing caused all the original backstory for Bosworth’s character to be removed and changed after Craig R. Baxley was hired to direct. About four weeks was spent filming scenes with Bosworth’s character and his family (wife, child and sister), which in the end were completely axed out after $4 million was spent shooting them.

The meal Brian Bosworth makes for his Nile monitor (the big lizard) is not at all suitable for that animal.

Shooting began June 4, 1990. Craig R. Baxley replaced Bruce Malmuth as director in late June 1990. Production was halted due to an IATSE dispute, resulting in the departure of director of photography John R. Leonetti and other IATSE members of the crew. Completed shooting September 26, 1990. (IASTE = International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees)

Chains states, “God forgives, The Brotherhood doesn’t.” This is based on the slogan of The Outlaws Motorcycle Club, an actual outlaw motorcycle club.

The United States Military Academy’s Army football team had adopted GFBD as a team slogan for many years, players having first heard it in this film. The Academy officially removed the slogan in 2019 after learning that the phrase originated with the Aryan Brotherhood.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brian Bosworth, 1992)

Endless Love (1981) Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. This actually isn’t one of those five films. This is a bonus preview I’ve made because Endless Love (2014) is being inducted. That preview will follow directly. But if you end up watching Endless Love 1981, here’s your one stop shop for preview information. Enjoy!

Endless Love (1981) – BMeTric: 46.5; Notability: 31 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.3%; Notability: top 28.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 8.6% Higher Notability: Halloween II, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, The Cannonball Run, Looker, All Night Long, The Devil and Max Devlin, The Final Conflict, Death Hunt, Caveman; Lower RT: Final Exam, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Deadly Blessing, Death Hunt, The Devil and Max Devlin, Student Bodies, Caveman; Notes: The BMeTric bit is obviously the most impressive. To understand what it is saying, consider that only films with Rotten Tomatoes scores below 40% are counted in the percentiles (so it is the top XX% for qualifying films). So basically it is saying there are 20ish such films in 1981 and of those this film has the highest BMeTric. That’s pretty amazing. Sub-5.0 IMDb, and very notable for having an Oscar nominated song. Hit it! Endlesssssss Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve.

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Is there anything good in the movie? Yes. Brooke Shields is good. She is a great natural beauty, and she demonstrates, in a scene of tenderness and concern for Hewitt and in a scene of rage with her father, that she has a strong, unaffected screen acting manner. But the movie as a whole does not understand the particular strengths of the novel that inspired it, does not convince us it understands adolescent love, does not seem to know its characters very well, and is a narrative and logical mess.

(I 100% agree with Ebert on all counts here. I think the film, with a few years of distance, is slightly better than the two stars he gave it. But I think Shields is the strongest bit of a pretty okay adaptation of a difficult book.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33msTt1jAu8/

(Pretty intense stuff. This trailer makes me wonder whether it was recut due to confusion by test audiences. Because it is really explicit that he set the fire, so the scene (which isn’t in the movie) of him admitting he set the fire doesn’t make sense. But, if the film was originally non-linear … then it would be easy for the movie to be shown in such a way where the “you’re just jealous of our love compared to your failing marriage” idea holds a lot of water.)

Directors – Franco Zeffirelli – (Known For: Tea with Mussolini; Romeo and Juliet; Hamlet; Jane Eyre; The Taming of the Shrew; Brother Sun, Sister Moon; Callas Forever; Future BMT: The Champ; BMT: Endless Love; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars, one as director for Romeo and Juliet, and the other for La traviata as a set designer. Was a member of the Italian parliament in the 90s for the rightist party Forza Italia.)

Writers – Scott Spencer (based on the novel by) – (Known For: Waking the Dead; Future BMT: Father Hood; BMT: Endless Love; Endless Love; Notes: Apparently adapted someone else’s book into the Charles Bronson film Act of Vengeance.)

Judith Rascoe (screenplay by) – (Known For: The Bang Bang Club; Dog Soldiers; Future BMT: Terror Train; Havana; BMT: Endless Love; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Daughter of critic Burton Rascoe, she is a writer who taught fiction at Yale. She was tapped to adapt a series of novels in the late 70s and early 80s.)

Actors – Brooke Shields – (Known For: The Other Guys; Pretty Baby; The Midnight Meat Train; Chalet Girl; Freeway; Hannah Montana: The Movie; The Muppets Take Manhattan; Alice, Sweet Alice; Freaked; King of the Gypsies; Daisy Winters; Future BMT: The Bachelor; Black and White; Cannonball Fever; The Hot Flashes; The Greening of Whitney Brown; BMT: Furry Vengeance; Endless Love; The Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for The Blue Lagoon in 1981; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Sahara in 1985; Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Speed Zone in 1990; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1982 for Endless Love; and in 1985 for Sahara; Nominee for Worst Actress of the Century in 2000 for Endless Love, Sahara, and The Blue Lagoon; and Nominee for Worst Actress of the Decade in 1990 for Cannonball Fever, Endless Love, Sahara, and The Blue Lagoon; Notes: Was a model and 15 at the time of filming this film. She stopped acting in 1983 to attend Princeton where she graduated in Romance Languages. She was the star of the television show Suddenly Susan.)

Martin Hewitt – (Future BMT: Two Moon Junction; Yellowbeard; BMT: Endless Love; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Hired as part of a nationwide search. Is a home inspector in California now.)

Shirley Knight – (Known For: As Good as It Gets; Our Idiot Brother; Sweet Bird of Youth; The Private Lives of Pippa Lee; Picnic; The Salton Sea; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; The Rain People; Juggernaut; The Group; Petulia; Redwood Highway; A House on a Hill; Future BMT: Beyond the Poseidon Adventure; Angel Eyes; Diabolique; The Centre of the World; Grandma’s Boy; Little Boy Blue; P.S. Your Cat Is Dead!; BMT: Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2; Paul Blart: Mall Cop; Color of Night; Endless Love; Stuart Saves His Family; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars in the 60s for Sweet Bird of Youth and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs. Was a Warner Brothers television contract star in her early career.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $31,184,024 (Worldwide: $32,492,674)

(Obviously hard to tell, but $31 million seems pretty alright for an adaptation of a novel in 1981. I can’t imagine people were thinking in terms of beaucoup bucks on the Endless Love IP at the time. There are also not really any actors in it. It was probably fine.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 28% (5/18)

(I get to make a consensus: Notorious for its poor understanding of the character and melodramatic tones, the film mainly fails to live up to its much more profound source material. Reviewer Highlight: A Cotton-candy rendition of Scott Spencer’s powerful novel, Endless Love is a manipulative tale of a doomed romance which careens repeatedly between the credible and the ridiculous. – Variety Staff, Variety)

Poster – Endless Lurv

(I like it. I like the color, I like how creepy he looks. The literally endless Endless Love is maybe a bit on the nose, but otherwise it is a pretty solid poster for the film. A-.)

Tagline(s) – She is 15. He is 17. The love every parent fears. (B)

(I think it could have done without the first bit. I understand that part of the point is that she is far too young to be dealing with this obsessing young man … but I think the short and sweet “The love every parent fears” gets the point across while clashing with what otherwise might seem like a generic romance to work well.)

Keyword – obsessive love

Top 10: The Great Gatsby (2013), Batman (1989), Fear (1996), There’s Something About Mary (1998), Ghost (1990), The English Patient (1996), Fatal Attraction (1987), Far from the Madding Crowd (2015), Walk the Line (2005), The Reader (2008)

Future BMT: 60.5 Obsessed (2009), 51.0 Eye of the Beholder (1999), 50.9 Mr. Wrong (1996), 37.3 Enough (2002), 36.0 Hush (1998), 33.3 Mad Love (1995), 32.4 The Crush (1993), 25.1 The Phantom of the Opera (1989), 24.0 To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (1996), 23.0 A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996);

BMT: The Boy Next Door (2015), Swimfan (2002), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), The Roommate (2011), Perfect Stranger (2007)

(They’ve loved obsessive love in Hollywood for years. I think I’m most intrigued by eventually watching Obsessed, although I do believe Jamie has already seen that one.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Brooke Shields is No. 1 billed in Endless Love and No. 3 billed in Furry Vengeance, which also stars Brendan Fraser (No. 1 billed) who is in Escape from Planet Earth (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 4 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Extraordinary Measures we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – During the lovemaking scene, director Franco Zeffirelli squeezed Brooke Shields’ big toe off camera to provoke a reaction that would look like an orgasm. (Gross)

Movie debuts of Tom Cruise, Ian Ziering and Jami Gertz. (I don’t remember Ian Ziering)

Tom Cruise’s very brief appearance in the movie is critical to the movie’s plot. (I guess … )

Brooke Shields’ mother and manager Teri Shields nearly turned down the movie after first reading the script, as she felt the role of Jade Butterfield had no substance. She said “It was just going to be Brooke standing around looking beautiful.”

Martin Hewitt was the subject of a high profile talent search. Despite considerable media attention, his career failed to take off. Both Leonard Whiting and Graham Faulkner experienced similar career slumps after appearing in Romeo and Juliet (1968) and Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972) for Franco Zeffirelli.

Meg Ryan auditioned for the role of Jade Butterfield before Brooke Shields was cast. (That could have been interesting)

The MPAA awarded the initial cut of the movie an X rating. Franco Zeffirelli subsequently made several cuts in the love scenes between Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt to achieve a lower rating. The movie was resubmitted to the MPAA five times before they awarded this an R rating.

The movie was noted to have one of the most spectacular one-man stunt displays when Hugh Butterfield gets run over by a car in New York City. The stuntman does a high end-over-end flip in mid-air. (It is very impressive)

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song (Lionel Richie, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Dyson Lovell, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brooke Shields, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Shirley Knight, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Franco Zeffirelli, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Judith Rascoe, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Martin Hewitt, 1982)

Message in a Bottle Preview

Jamie and Patrick stride down the street towards St. Mary’s Church, Jamie’s nose still buried deep in the book. “Why are we going anywhere?” whines Jamie, “This book is really heating up, the cyborg just took Communion.” Patrick ignored him. For all its lack of literary merit, the book does seem to be giving them clues. Taking a deep breath Patrick busts into the church, half expecting a couple of cyborgs ready for some hand-to-hand combat. Instead a lone priest stands shocked in the middle of the empty nave. His eyes become wide and he starts to stumble backwards. “Los diablos… los robots,” he is able to sputter before turning and fleeing out a side entrance. Well, they certainly seem to be on the right track. “Ahem,” they hear and wheel around, hands ready for karate. A woman leans back lazily in one of the pews. “So I guess it’s true,” she says, a smirk on her face, “los diablos came back looking for a fight. Don’t worry, I’m not here to fight you, so relax. I’m here to find out what the hell is going on with the Bad Movie Twins. The name’s Lindsey Appleton, hardscrabble investigative reporter… and I presume you two aren’t los diablos.” Jamie and Patrick shake their heads. When they ask what she’s found out so far, Lindsey shrugs and tosses them an object. “This was here when I arrived, but it’s addressed to you, so I assume you better be the ones to read it.” Jamie and Patrick look at what they hold in their hands… a bottle. But not just any bottle. This bottle has a message in it. When they pull it free it just has two words on it, “page 473,” and Jamie’s already flipping to that place in the book. That’s right! With a based-on-a-book series comes great responsibility… but also mostly reading Nicholas Sparks novels. We still have quite a number of them to get through so we thought we should start at the beginning. Not his first book but the first one that got adapted, Message in a Bottle. Let’s go! 

Message in a Bottle (1999) – BMeTric: 22.4; Notability: 40 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 30.4%; Notability: top 34.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 32.6% Higher BMeT: Baby Geniuses, Inspector Gadget, Universal Soldier: The Return, Wing Commander, Wild Wild West, The Haunting, Dudley Do-Right, Bats, The Rage: Carrie 2, Virus, The Mod Squad, The Bachelor, Breakfast of Champions, The Astronaut’s Wife, Eye of the Beholder, Superstar, My Favorite Martian, Random Hearts, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Simply Irresistible, and 32 more; Higher Notability: Wild Wild West, Inspector Gadget, The 13th Warrior, End of Days, My Favorite Martian, Snow Falling on Cedars, Idle Hands, Joan of Arc, The Haunting, The Story of Us, The Out-of-Towners, Crazy in Alabama, Double Jeopardy, Random Hearts, Instinct, Stigmata, Dudley Do-Right, In Too Deep, The General’s Daughter, The Other Sister, and 9 more; Lower RT: Baby Geniuses, The Mod Squad, Universal Soldier: The Return, Friends & Lovers, The Bachelor, Eye of the Beholder, Wing Commander, Chill Factor, Virus, Body Shots, End of Days, Jawbreaker, My Favorite Martian, The King and I, Lost & Found, Molly, Gloria, Idle Hands, Random Hearts, The Astronaut’s Wife and 42 more; Notes: Low BMeTric, but a surprisingly high Notability, especially since this is the first Nicholas Sparks film. Looking at this list mostly reminds me that we have a ton to do still as far as 1999 is concerned.

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – “Message in a Bottle” is a tearjerker that strolls from crisis to crisis. It’s curiously muted, as if it fears that passion would tear its delicate fabric; even the fights are more in sorrow than in anger, and when there’s a fistfight, it doesn’t feel like a real fistfight–it feels more like someone thought the movie needed a fistfight ’round about then.

(That is pretty brutal. Ebert mentions later in the review that he hadn’t read the book, so indeed, he wouldn’t really know whether all of this makes sense with regards to the book, not like that really matters.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpb616fwYMk/

(I remember when this movie came out … and yet I don’t remember this trailer. Because I feel like I thought this was some Sleepless in Seattle, “lonely heart looking for love, going to do some silliness with a message in a bottle” story. But this is like “my wife died and I’m real sad, can you fix me, I’m a brooding and broken man” type story … somehow that is far less interesting than a story about a weirdo who thinks bottles in the ocean are a dating app or whatever.)

Directors – Luis Mandoki – (Known For: When a Man Loves a Woman; White Palace; Voces inocentes; La vida precoz y breve de Sabina Rivas; Gaby: A True Story; Future BMT: Angel Eyes; Born Yesterday; Trapped; BMT: Message in a Bottle; Notes: Gaby: A True Story was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. From Mexico City, he’s also made a few Documentaries, particularly about the 2006 election in Mexico.)

Writers – Nicholas Sparks (novel) – (Known For: The Notebook; Future BMT: The Last Song; Nights in Rodanthe; Dear John; The Lucky One; The Best of Me; The Longest Ride; BMT: Message in a Bottle; The Choice; Safe Haven; A Walk to Remember; Notes: It is just an incredible number of books he’s had made into films. Has twin daughters.)

Gerald Di Pego (screenplay) (as Gerald DiPego) – (Known For: Sharky’s Machine; Phenomenon; Words and Pictures; Little Murder; W; Future BMT: Angel Eyes; The Forgotten; Instinct; BMT: Message in a Bottle; Notes: Almost exclusively wrote television. Including an episode of Murder, She Wrote where Jessica probes a 20-year-old unsolved murder after attending the funeral of a New Orleans jazz great.)

Actors – Kevin Costner – (Known For: Let Him Go; Hidden Figures; Man of Steel; Molly’s Game; Dances with Wolves; The Untouchables; The Highwaymen; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Waterworld; JFK; No Way Out; Mr. Brooks; Field of Dreams; Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit; The Art of Racing in the Rain; Silverado; Open Range; Tin Cup; Draft Day; The Big Chill; Future BMT: Play It to the Bone; Dragonfly; 3 Days to Kill; Swing Vote; The Bodyguard; Criminal; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Revenge; Black or White; The War; BMT: Rumor Has It…; 3000 Miles to Graceland; The Postman; Message in a Bottle; The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for The Postman in 1998; Winner for Worst Actor, and Worst Remake or Sequel for Wyatt Earp in 1995; Winner for Worst Actor for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1992; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1993 for The Bodyguard; in 1996 for Waterworld; in 2000 for For Love of the Game, and Message in a Bottle; and in 2002 for 3000 Miles to Graceland; Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Wyatt Earp; and in 2002 for 3000 Miles to Graceland; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000 for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Postman, The Postman, Waterworld, Waterworld, Wyatt Earp, and Wyatt Earp; Notes: Rumors are swirling that he might be leaving Yellowstone! I’ve never seen it, but I am always intrigued by westerns.)

Robin Wright – (Known For: Wonder Woman 1984; Wonder Woman; Forrest Gump; Blade Runner 2049; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; The Princess Bride; Everest; Moneyball; State of Play; Unbreakable; Adore; Beowulf; A Most Wanted Man; The Pledge; The Last Castle; White Oleander; A Christmas Carol; New York, I Love You; The Conspirator; State of Grace; Future BMT: Toys; Justice League; BMT: Message in a Bottle; Notes: Won a Golden Globe for House of Cards. Her career started on the Soap Opera Santa Barbara. Was married to Sean Penn for nearly 15 years.)

Paul Newman – (Known For: Cars; Cool Hand Luke; Road to Perdition; The Towering Inferno; The Sting; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Slap Shot; The Verdict; The Color of Money; Nobody’s Fool; The Hustler; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Hud; The Hudsucker Proxy; Exodus; Twilight; Hombre; What a Way to Go!; Torn Curtain; Silent Movie; Future BMT: When Time Ran Out…; Harry & Son; BMT: Message in a Bottle; Notes: Was married to his second wife for 50 years prior to his death. Won an Oscar for The Color of Money, and then started a salad dressing company which was non-profit and donated all profits to charity. It has apparently raised over $550 million for charity.)

Budget/Gross – $80,000,000 / Domestic: $52,880,016 (Worldwide: $118,880,016)

(Amazingly terrible performance if the budget is to be believed. I guess a Kevin Costner rom com would have been looking for $100 million at the time? So yeah, it didn’t really do great overall I guess.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (12/38): Handsome-looking but dramatically inert, Message in a Bottle maroons a formidable cast in a trite romance that lacks spark.

(But it doesn’t lack Nicholas Sparks (da dum chhhhhh). Reviewer Highlight: Adapted from Nicholas Sparks’ 1998 best-seller, ”Message in a Bottle” isn’t going to win any awards, but it’s a true all-stops-out gusher, the sort of solemn contemporary hankie-fest in which a sweet, smart, lonely-at-the-core professional woman … proceeds to fall for the Last Romantic Man. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Sad Love 2: Even Sadder

(I mean, that poster is getting butts in seats, let’s not get it twisted. It does its job and I suspect it does it well. But couldn’t get a little better with the font? I’m gonna come in at a B. Like the overall sunset orange color tone as well.)

Tagline(s) – A story of love lost and found. (B-)

(I can see what they were going for. Not totally terrible, weaving in “Lost and Found” into the tagline along with “Love Lost”. So kind of a twist of two common phrases. Not clever enough though and a little clunky.)

Keyword – based on novel

Top 10: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Goodfellas (1990), Forrest Gump (1994), Catch Me If You Can (2002), Jojo Rabbit (2019), Emma. (2020), Homefront (2013), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), The Invisible Man (2020)

Future BMT: 72.2 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), 47.5 The Dark Tower (2017), 43.8 Priest (2011), 43.6 Allegiant (2016), 43.4 The Rhythm Section (2020), 42.2 Pan (2015), 41.3 Addicted (2014), 40.8 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), 40.8 Ben-Hur (2016), 39.7 Eat Pray Love (2010);

BMT: After (2019), Dolittle (2020), Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), Hunter Killer (2018), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Fifty Shades Freed (2018), The 5th Wave (2016), The Three Musketeers (2011), Striptease (1996), The Circle (2017), Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), Fifty Shades Darker (2017), Death Wish (2018), A Walk to Remember (2002), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), The Choice (2016), Conan the Barbarian (2011), Kiss the Girls (1997), Jumper (2008), The Snowman (2017), The Host (2013), Something Borrowed (2011), Around the World in 80 Days (2004), Mortdecai (2015), Eragon (2006), I Am Number Four (2011), Vampire Academy (2014), Dragonball Evolution (2009), The 13th Warrior (1999), Poseidon (2006), Seventh Son (2014), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), The Postman (1997), The Haunting (1999)

(Looks to be in that last little wave of the 90s just prior to when they started making a ton of YA adaptations and things like Harry Potter, and instead they were harkening back to when you picked a wall-liked book and made a straight adaptation from the material (without sequels in mind).)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Kevin Costner is No. 1 billed in Message in a Bottle and No. 2 billed in 3000 Miles to Graceland, which also stars Kurt Russell (No. 1 billed) who is in Tango and Cash (No. 2 billed), which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Toys, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – After the scene where Kevin Costner gets involved in a fight, his lip is bleeding. He puts his hand to it and looks at the blood. This was not part of the script. Another actor, Steve Mellor (Man on Dock) was scripted to pull Costner away from the fight from behind. When Mellor’s arms came around, he accidentally gave Costner a bloody lip. After the take, Mellor apologized to Costner for the accident. Costner said not to worry about it; that he ended up turning it into something. And, in fact, the director ended up using that shot. (fun fact)

This is the 1st film adaptation from a Nicholas Sparks novel.

The sites that were finally chosen for most of the shooting of the scenes of Garret’s hometown were Northport and Popham Beach, Maine. Over $250,000. of renovations were done to the seasonal home in Popham that became Garret’s house, including the addition of the room which held Catherine’s artwork and the adjacent living room with fireplace (faux). At the end of filming the owner of the house demanded that it be returned to its original state costing the production company nearly as much to undo. (Ha!)

The producers originally planned to film on Tangier Island, Virginia, USA, but some members of the town council objected to the drinking, cursing and sex in the movie and demanded script revisions in exchange for shooting permission. Warner Brothers then tried Martha’s Vineyard near Chilmark, Massachusetts, USA, but the Chilmark Conservation Commission turned down a request to build a temporary 3,000-square-foot house on stilts in the dunes near Chilmark Pond. (They would, that is an incredibly irresponsible thing to do. Think about the poor Piping Plovers you lunatics!!)

This movie is set in North Carolina, but at the end of the movie when Dodge is brought to Garrets boat the Game Wardens sleeve patches have the state of Maine Logo. (Huuuuuuuge error!)

The painting in Catherine’s studio that Dodge carried outside during Garrett’s encounter with Catherine’s brother is “Girl With Lantern” by the American impressionist painter Helen Maria Turner. The painting, which was produced in 1904, is housed in the Greenville Museum of Art in Greenville, South Carolina, USA.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Kevin Costner, 2000)

The Legend of Hercules Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. Well, nothing says “I’m a producer and I have no idea what I’m doing” like making a film starring Kellen Lutz. Enjoy!

The Legend of Hercules (2014) – BMeTric: 83.1; Notability: 33 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 0.4%; Notability: top 38.8%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 0.4% Higher BMeT: Left Behind; Higher Notability: Transformers: Age of Extinction, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Exodus: Gods and Kings, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Dracula Untold, Transcendence, Think Like a Man Too, Dumb and Dumber To, Annie, The Monuments Men, A New York Winter’s Tale, Horrible Bosses 2, Ride Along, The Expendables 3, Need for Speed, Men, Women & Children, Walk of Shame, Lessons in Love, Vampire Academy, Blended, and 6 more; Lower RT: Left Behind; Notes: Absurdly low IMDb rating for that number of votes. It is crazy that anything beat it at all, congrats to Let Behind I guess. This is definitely in that same small-but-terrible camp that seems to just churn out Hall of Fame films in the mid-2010s.

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – It may or may not be a good thing that summer will bring a second attempt at reviving Hercules on the big screen with Dwayne Johnson in the lead and directed by Brett Ratner. But with the bar set this low, surely the performer formerly known as The Rock doesn’t have to strain himself too hard to pump up the entertainment value.

(It is pretty funny that both of these movies came out, and both were bad. Shockingly the one with The Rock isn’t even close to good, and thus it has been completely forgotten. The complete catastrophe that is this film didn’t really help with that.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0GMzQwO2l0/

(Holy crap, this looks like such a load of crap. I … just don’t understand. They really don’t make films like this anymore. Hell, they barely made films like this in 2014! This feels like a movie some guy who got rich buying up real estate in 2007 would make before going bankrupt.)

Directors – Renny Harlin – (Known For: Die Hard 2; Deep Blue Sea; The Long Kiss Goodnight; Cliffhanger; The Dyatlov Pass Incident; A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master; Prison; Bodies at Rest; Future BMT: Exorcist: The Beginning; 12 Rounds; Cutthroat Island; 5 Days of War; Skiptrace; Cleaner; Mindhunters; The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Driven; The Covenant; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1991 for The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; in 1996 for Cutthroat Island; in 2002 for Driven; in 2005 for Exorcist: The Beginning; and in 2015 for The Legend of Hercules; Notes: Finnish, and is probably the most successful Finnish director in Hollywood history. Was married to Gena Davis for five years.)

Writers – Sean Hood (screenplay) – (Known For: Cube 2: Hypercube; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; The Crow: Wicked Prayer; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Claims to have retired from screenwriting in 2018, but has an announced television series, so perhaps it is just that he is no longer pursuing feature films.)

Daniel Giat (screenplay) – (BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Notes: Nominated for two Emmys for Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and Path to War.)

Renny Harlin (screenplay) – (Known For: Prison; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1991 for The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; in 1996 for Cutthroat Island; in 2002 for Driven; in 2005 for Exorcist: The Beginning; and in 2015 for The Legend of Hercules; Notes: Only wrote a few films including Born American starring Chuck Norris’s son Mike Norris.)

Giulio Steve (screenplay) – (BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Notes: A very prolific Italian producer … I have to imagine this has something to do with cheap production in Europe in some capacity.)

Actors – Kellan Lutz – (Known For: Twilight; Immortals; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; What Men Want; Science Fiction Volume One: The Osiris Child; Experimenter; Future BMT: Prom Night; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Extraction; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Tarzan; Love, Wedding, Marriage; Guardians of the Tomb; Speed Kills; Java Heat; Syrup; A Warrior’s Heart; Accepted; Stick It; As Blood Runs Deep; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; The Twilight Saga: New Moon; The Expendables 3; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for The Legend of Hercules in 2015; Notes: Naturally started his film career as a model. He was born in North Dakota and moved to Hollywood originally to attend Chapman University to study Chemical Engineering (what what). He dropped out to pursue acting.)

Gaia Weiss – (Known For: Judy; We Are Boats; Future BMT: Overdrive; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for The Legend of Hercules in 2015; Notes: French. Originally trained as a professional ballerina.)Scott Adkins – (Known For: Zero Dark Thirty; Doctor Strange; The Bourne Ultimatum; Yip Man 4; The Expendables 2; Triple Threat; Avengement; Unleashed; Accident Man; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Ninja: Shadow of a Tear; Close Range; Savage Dog; Future BMT: The Pink Panther; The Accidental Spy; Grimsby; American Assassin; Criminal; Dead Reckoning; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; The Medallion; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Notes: Trained in Taekwondo, Kickboxing, Ninjutsu, Krav Maga, Karate, Wushu, Jiujitsu, Muay Thai, Capoeira and Acrobatic Gymnastics. Dat’s a lotta martial arts.)

Budget/Gross – $70,000,000 / Domestic: $18,848,538 (Worldwide: $61,279,452)

(Woof. Who thought a Kellen Lutz film was going to gross like $140 million dollars? In what universe was this going to ever make enough money to be worth it. It just doesn’t make any sense. Is this one of the biggest bombs of 2014?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (4/83): Cheap-looking, poorly acted, and dull, The Legend of Hercules is neither fun enough to qualify as an action movie nor absorbing enough to work on a dramatic level.

(I don’t think they were ever thinking of the drama angle to this stuff. What they were hoping for was maybe Kellen Lutz mugging for the camera while rock music played .. or something. Who knows. Reviewer Highlight: The dialogue isn’t dubbed, but is written and delivered so indifferently that it might as well have been. – Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club)

Poster – The Legend of Smirk-ules

(It is definitely of the time. I personally don’t like the blue-toned “grittiness” of posters which I think were popular at the time. I think the weirdest bit of the poster is that it is just a full picture of Kellen Lutz … and yet his name isn’t on the poster. They are advertising it as essentially: Just imagine whomever you want in this role, he barely needs to even have a face to be what we want, which is a generic Hercules person. I’m giving it a C+, I think it delivers what the filmmakers wanted, but I don’t like the bland color scheme. Bumping it up for the font.)

Tagline(s) – Every man has a destiny (D)

(I actually hate it and I’ll explain why. Is Hercules a man? In this movie he might be, I can’t remember. But in the stories he’s the son of a god … so yeah, the son of a god would obviously have a destiny! I can’t think of a good one, but I would have tried to go more with the “legend” part of it, how a mortal man destined to save his people became a legend.)

Keyword – sword and sandal

Top 10: Gladiator (2000), Braveheart (1995), Aladdin (2019), 300 (2006), Troy (2004), The Beastmaster (1982), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Immortals (2011), Legend (1985), Clash of the Titans (2010)

Future BMT: 49.7 The Last Legion (2007), 47.9 Alexander (2004), 46.9 Kull the Conqueror (1997), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 42.9 Hercules (1983), 42.5 Samson (2018), 41.2 Clash of the Titans (2010), 40.8 Ben-Hur (2016), 34.4 Il mondo di Yor (1983), 33.9 Immortals (2011);

BMT: Gods of Egypt (2016), Conan the Barbarian (2011), Eragon (2006), Conan the Destroyer (1984), Pompeii (2014), In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007), Red Sonja (1985), The 13th Warrior (1999), The Legend of Hercules (2014), Season of the Witch (2011), Meet the Spartans (2008)

(Every so often they try and bring these sword and sandal films back and it never quite works. I think it is because they try and make them action films. The ones that end up being good seem to hire big name actors and bring the drama to the story. The bad ones hire a Kellen Lutz who looks good without a shirt and go from there.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 24) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Kellan Lutz is No. 1 billed in The Legend of Hercules and No. 15 billed in Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 15 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 24. If we were to watch Immortals, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Scott Adkins’s character, King Amphitryon, is seen at two different ages in the film, younger and older, and Adkins created two different looks for the character. He said he wanted to look extremely “lean and ripped” for the younger scenes, showing highly defined eight-pack abs in a shirtless scene, as compared to very “muscular and bulky” for the older scenes, where he just had to show his biceps in sleeveless costumes. He said for the younger scenes, he ate very carefully and trained a lot to achieve the ultra-cut look but for the older scenes, he trained just as hard but ate what he wanted because the focus was on size and not muscle definition, and he did not have a shirtless scene anymore. (This is a very very detailed note)

This was the second Greek mythology movie to star Kellen Lutz. The first was Immortals (2011), where Lutz portrayed Hercules’ uncle, Poseidon. (Whaaaaaaa?)

Director Renny Harlin mandated that all the male actors shave their legs along with their torsos, because the film was being shot natively in 3-D and he said that hair stuck out when you shot with stereoscopic cameras. (Whaaaaaaa?)

Director Renny Harlin said that he chose Scott Adkins for the role of King Amphitryon because of “his acting skills, his incredible physical ability and his incredible physique.” He said that King Amphitryon “had to be the biggest badass the audience had ever seen, and only Scott Adkins fit that bill.”

Kellan Lutz said his co-star Scott Adkins had the body of a god and that his physique was so great, it looked green-screened. He also said it “did not make his Hercules character look too well.”

Kellan Lutz said that because he was shirtless through much of the movie, he could constantly do push-ups and ab-crunches on set before takes without fear of sweating into his costumes and staining them. He said it allowed him to look pumped on camera, greatly enhancing his looks, and he ended up doing more than a thousand push-ups and ab-crunches every day on set for the duration of the shoot. (Jesus, these notes are just like … descriptions of gym workouts)

Due to the heavy armor worn by his character throughout the film, Johnathon Schaech was bitterly disappointed that he was unable appear shirtless in the film. He had been following a punishing bodybuilding and dieting regime to prepare for the role. (Jesus, what the hell are these notes! Was this all from a Men’s Fitness interview or something?)

Hebe, in Greek mythology, is actually the Goddess of Eternal Youth and the daughter of Zeus and Hera. Considering that Hercules is the son of Zeus, that would actually make the two love birds half-siblings.

When Kellan Lutz first landed the role, he said that physique-wise he wanted to get really big to portray Hercules. However, director Renny Harlin told him not to get any bigger as he found it very stereotypical for Hercules to be “a pile of meat.” Instead, he instructed Lutz to “get his abs to pop out more” as he thought it would be a great effect in 3-D. So Kellan Lutz adopted a special Paleo (caveman) diet for the role, ensuring that no fat accumulated on his body and that his abs visibly popped throughout principal photography. (What. The. Hell. Are. These. Notes.)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Kellan Lutz, 2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Gaia Weiss, 2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Renny Harlin, 2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel (2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Combo (Kellan Lutz, 2015)

Exit to Eden Preview

Rich and Poe kneel next to Nic Cage, while Santa peers menacingly from just over their shoulder. “Here it is, Nic. May we open it to find the cure?” Nic nods weakly but when Rich and Poe open the book a look of shock crosses over their faces. Nic smiles. “Empty,” he says, “this was but one more test before you head back to your world. A world that must be protected from the Obsidian Dongle.” With that he waves his hand and a door appears in the distance. Tears run rivlets through Rich and Poe’s dust streaked cheeks as they finally see their path home. A home they had nearly forgotten, but now must be protected from the very real and not at all arbitrary power of the Obsidian Dongle. “But… but what about you?” they ask Nic, who honestly is not looking too hot. I mean… like… for real… Suddenly Santa butts into their touching scene and points at Rich and Poe demanding that he get his compensation for their ride to Nic. The twinkle in his eye is scary. What might they have wrought for poor Nic Cage in this moment of weakness? But just when Santa opens his mouth to speak a croaking chuckle begins to emanate from Nic’s throat. “Jokes on you, fat boy,” he finally gasps and with that he dies. Santa screams to the heavens in rage and flies away to bring destruction on all that lie in his path. Rich and Poe rush to Nic’s side and hold his broken body in his arms. A faint voice is heard, “never forget meeeee,” and with that his body fades leaving only a five dollar bill in its place. Wiping tears from their faces Rich and Poe look towards the final exit home. That’s right! We are starting off the first cycle of the year (films based on books) with a true classic of the bad movie genre. Exit to Eden was the misguided effort to make a comedy out of a Fifty Shades of Grey-esque BDSM book Exit to Eden with the inclusion of a wacky jewel theft subplot involving Rosie O’Donnell and Dan Akyroyd… so… yeah. It also has the distinction of being generally unavailable for viewing. But not for us! Let’s go!

Exit to Eden (1994) – BMeTric: 53.8; Notability: 55 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.8%; Notability: top 11.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 1.2% Higher BMeT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Junior, The Next Karate Kid, The Flintstones, Double Dragon, On Deadly Ground, North, Leprechaun 2, 3 Ninjas Kick Back; Higher Notability: The Flintstones, Beverly Hills Cop III, The Shadow, Love Affair, Frankenstein, North, Radioland Murders, I Love Trouble; Lower RT: Getting Even with Dad, Major League II; Notes: Amazing that it started to rise a bit more recently. Some benchmarks: sub-10% RT, 50+ BMeTric, and 50+ Notability. And was chosen as one of Siskel and Ebert’s worst films of 1994. A top 10 BMT-qualifying film of 1994 across the board.

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars – How about Faye Dunaway? Linda Fiorentino? Sigourney Weaver? See what I mean? Anne Rice recently took out two-page spreads in Variety and the New York Times to announce that she has seen the film of her novel “Interview with the Vampire,” and thinks it is a masterpiece. I don’t think we should look for her ad about “Exit to Eden,” not even in the classifieds.

(This is right around when Ebert was bizarrely praising Jingle All the Way, so I think we have rest assured that he really truly hated this film. I assume in this case he is referring to the odd casting choices. You’d think his quote was concerning Rosie O’Donnell, but no, he is actually referring to Dana Delaney.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yxa7yLhYDg8/

(Rollerblading. Going to weird resort vacations. This movie could not possibly be any more 90s. The trailer is really long I feel like … but maybe that is because it is a trailer for a comedy with no funny jokes, so it just feels longer than usual.)

Directors – Garry Marshall – (Known For: Pretty Woman; Overboard; The Princess Diaries; Runaway Bride; Beaches; Frankie and Johnny; The Flamingo Kid; Nothing in Common; Future BMT: The Princess Diaries 2; Raising Helen; Dear God; Young Doctors in Love; The Other Sister; BMT: Exit to Eden; Valentine’s Day; New Year’s Eve; Mother’s Day; Georgia Rule; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for New Year’s Eve in 2012; Notes: Died in 2016. A legend whose sister, Penny Marshall, is also a legend. Nominated for 5 Emmys for The Odd Couple and Mork & Mindy.)

Writers – Anne Rice (novel) – (Known For: Interview with the Vampire; The Young Messiah; BMT: Queen of the Damned; Exit to Eden; Notes: Her books featuring Lestat is by far her most famous, but she has written several other including the Mayfair Witch trilogy.)

Deborah Amelon (screenplay) – (BMT: Exit to Eden; Notes: She apparently was in Ice Follies with Dorothy Hamill. She ended up writing Hamill’s biography A Skating Life.)

Bob Brunner (screenplay) – (Future BMT: The Other Sister; BMT: Exit to Eden; Notes: Allegedly he gave “Fonzie” his nickname on Happy Days, and also wrote the infamous scene in which the Fonz jumps a shark on water skis.)

Actors – Dana Delany – (Known For: Tombstone; Fly Away Home; Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; HouseSitter; Light Sleeper; Masquerade; Wide Awake; Moon Over Parador; Patty Hearst; Where the River Runs Black; Spin; Future BMT: The Wedding Guest; Live Nude Girls; Dead Man’s Curve; Wild Mountain Thyme; The Fan; Multiple Sarcasms; Drunkboat; A Beautiful Life; BMT: Exit to Eden; Notes: She won two Emmys for her starring role in China Beach. Apparently she turned down the role of Carrie in Sex and the City.)

Dan Aykroyd – (Known For: Trading Places; Ghostbusters; The Blues Brothers; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; My Girl; 50 First Dates; Ghostbusters; Ghostbusters II; Casper; The Great Outdoors; Tommy Boy; Get on Up; 1941; Chaplin; Twilight Zone: The Movie; Driving Miss Daisy; Sneakers; Evolution; Antz; Grosse Pointe Blank; Future BMT: Yogi Bear; Coneheads; Loser; My Girl 2; My Stepmother Is an Alien; Celtic Pride; War, Inc.; Feeling Minnesota; Loose Cannons; Doctor Detroit; Sgt. Bilko; Pearl Harbor; Canadian Bacon; The Couch Trip; Getting Away with Murder; Spies Like Us; Diamonds; Into the Night; This Is My Life; Unconditional Love; BMT: Crossroads; Caddyshack II; Tammy; North; Exit to Eden; Nothing But Trouble; Christmas with the Kranks; Pixels; Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor in 1989 for Caddyshack II; and in 1992 for Nothing But Trouble; Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Nothing But Trouble in 1992; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Exit to Eden in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for North in 1995; Notes: Is moving and shaking once again with a new Ghostbusters coming out soon, a new Ghostbusters animated series in production, and he’s the creator of a new Blues Brothers television show. Most notably the owner of Crystal Head vodka.)

Rosie O’Donnell – (Known For: A League of Their Own; Sleepless in Seattle; Pitch Perfect 2; Beautiful Girls; Tarzan; A Very Brady Sequel; Harriet the Spy; Wide Awake; I’ll Do Anything; The Twilight of the Golds; Future BMT: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; The Flintstones; Another Stakeout; BMT: Exit to Eden; Car 54, Where Are You?; Fatal Instinct; Now and Then; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress in 1995 for Car 54, Where Are You?, Exit to Eden, and The Flintstones; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Exit to Eden in 1995; Notes: Won 11 Daytime Emmys for her talk show, and a Primetime Emmy for hosting the Tony Awards in 1999. She still acts, the last thing I saw her in was a part in Curb Your Enthusiam a few years ago.)

Budget/Gross – $25-30 million / Domestic: $6,841,570 (Worldwide: $6,841,570)

(Wow, really really bad. I have to imagine this put the kibosh on any other plans to adapt Rice’s lesser known series. Queen of the Damned probably stopped the Interview with a Vampire series as well. BMT classics.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (1/18)

(My consensus: Boring. Everyone, especially Marshall, seems embarrassed about this one. Reviewer Highlight: A sodden, Emmanuelle-lite caper from Garry Marshall that wants to be a ”sex comedy” and that is neither sexy nor funny. – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Brexit to Eden

(I like the artistry in the layout and I like the font. But the color scheme isn’t good and it falls into mediocrity as a result. C+ probably although maybe better. Seriously though, if this is the poster for your movie you’ve got a problem on your hands. This is a film for no one. No one wants this.)

Tagline(s) – Two cops are going undercover on the exotic island of Eden. But to crack this case they’ll have to flash more than their badges. (C-)

(My god. It’s both beautiful and horrendous. I can only believe that they intentionally used the phrase “But to crack this case,” because it vaguely resembles butt crack and it’s kind of amazing. I like the puns but I can’t abide by the length.)

Keyword – bdsm

Top 10: Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017), Addicted (2014), 8MM (1999), Jawbreaker (1999), Fifty Shades of Black (2016), Exit to Eden (1994), Lightning Jack (1994)

Future BMT: 41.3 Addicted (2014), 41.0 Jawbreaker (1999), 31.5 Lightning Jack (1994), 19.0 8MM (1999);

BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), Fifty Shades of Black (2016), Exit to Eden (1994)

(I would think 8MM is one of the bigger ones for this, although it is more about snuff films I think. I couldn’t help myself with this keyword despite it probably having a little too few films to really give a good graph.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Stuart Wilson is No. 6 billed in Exit to Eden and No. 9 billed in Here on Earth => 6 + 9 = 15. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Dan Aykroyd when interviewed on the American morning radio show Hill-Man, identified this film as the one that he’d like to forget making. (Not Nothing but Trouble?)

Antonio Banderas was offered the role of Elliot Slater but his schedule for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) prevented him from accepting the role.

Rosie O’Donnell’s weight noticeably changes in certain scenes. This is because the studio ordered several scenes to be shot before releasing the film, which was several months after principle photography had been completed and she had gained weight.

Rosie O’Donnell reportedly disliked the final cut of the movie, calling it “terrible”, and refused to go promote it as a result.

This film was adapted from a book by Anne Rice, and during the scene in New Orleans people are arguing over whether a man is Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise. These two actors starred in a film adaptation of Rice’s Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), which mostly takes place in New Orleans.

Most of the Eden scenes were filmed at the Manele Bay Hotel, on the island of Lanai, Hawaii.

Feature debut for Penthouse Pet Sandra Taylor.

Garry Marshall’s daughter Kathleen Marshall plays the woman in the airport restroom. She makes cameos in all of her father’s films.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Rosie O’Donnell, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Dan Aykroyd, Rosie O’Donnell, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Dan Aykroyd, 1995)

The Specialist Preview

“Welcome to Hell,” Santa says as his sleigh settles down in front of Rich and Poe. His well oiled muscles are fresh from destroying another horrific monster in this fantasy realm. Bathed in blood he nods cheerfully at Kilgorn, recognizing a kindred spirit. “Ho ho ho,” Santa laughs, his abs jiggling like a bowlful of rock hard jelly, “and what would you boys like for Christmas?” Just as Rich is about to tell Santa about their quest, Poe jumps in eagerly to ask for the latest Jim Nasium Jones action figure that has all the special add-ons, like the rocket pack and complete frolf set. “It’s really cool beans,” Poe gushes. Santa winks and out of thin air appears that most exclusive action figure. “Woah,” Poe says and honestly Rich can’t blame him, even if it did totally bone their quest to save Nic. Jim Nasium Jones is rad. Just as Santa is about to fly away, another satisfied customer in his wake, Rich calls out for him to wait. Santa turns a menacing eye on Rich, “Really? Another wish?” The rat-bat squeaks in fear and flies away. “You know the price. You must fulfill a wish of mine as well… if you dare. Ho ho ho.” His tone is menacing. “Yes,” Rich affirms, his voice cracking, “take us to Nic Cage.” Santa smirks and pops his knuckles. “Gladly, my boys,” Santa says in a suspicious, jolly tone, “But on one condition.” Rich and Poe lick their lips waiting for the other shoe to drop. “Just get me close enough to tell him something,” Rich and Poe look at each other. Just to say something to him? Seems harmless enough. They nod in agreement. “One very, very special thing,” Santa completes and begins to scream in maniacal laughter. That’s right! We are finishing 2020 with an extra special Stallonian Calendar Leap Week! Some very special years are blessed with 53 thursdays. In those years we get an extra week outside the cycles and BMT Lives to do what we wish and boy howdy do we wish upon a star for a new Sly Stallone movie. This year we gather under the traditional Stallone Day hanging slab of meat to watch The Specialist. Let’s go!   

The Specialist (1994) – BMeTric: 45.9; Notability: 42 

(Actually a lot lower Notability than I would have thought. It is a Sly Stallone film from 1994 involving, presumably, a lot of stunts and pyrotechnics. I wonder if given Sly’s undoubtedly absurd salary at the time they had to skimp on some of the crew to meet the production’s budget … could be. The rating is getting mighty close to a genuine cult classic. It it ever hits 6.0 on IMDb it would have to be one of the highest rated sub-10% Rotten Tomatoes films ever.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Rod Steiger, as the mob patriarch, employs an accent that requires him to say “chew” when he means “you.” Roberts, as his son, is real slick with chicks (“What I want, I take” is his opener with Stone). And the movie includes a dandy example of the Aquarium Rule, which teaches that whenever a large aquarium is introduced into a crime movie, we will eventually see a character’s head sleeping with the fishes.

(He actually seemed to like the film more than a lot of critics at the time. This is right around the time that I think Ebert started softening on “good for what they are” action in particular, and I think the very forgiving 2 star review is evidence of that.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqTrjDsEg4g/

(I mean, yeah. I’m down. Mid-90s Stallone flicks are at least entertaining if not always good. They do a nice tease of how much Woods chews at the scenery as well.)

Directors – Luis Llosa – (Future BMT: Sniper; BMT: Anaconda; The Specialist; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Anaconda in 1998; Notes: Born in Peru, he made multiple films set in the Amazon jungle culminating in Anaconda. Since 1996 he’s mostly been a producer on Peruvian soap operas.)

Writers – John Shirley (Specialist novels) (suggestion) – (Known For: The Crow; BMT: The Specialist; Notes: The series was a pulpy book series about the assassin Jack Sullivan. It was published under the pseudonym John Cutter, and Shirley, after becoming a famous novelist, disowned the series as garbage written for quick cash. Also wrote multiple full albums for Blue Öyster Cult and was a writer on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon which won an Emmy.)

Alexandra Seros (written by) – (Known For: Point of No Return; BMT: The Specialist; Notes: While only credited on these two films she seems to maybe be involved with the UCLA film school and is still (maybe) listed as a screenwriter on LinkedIn, so it is possible she has been doing mostly behind the scenes writing for the last 20 years.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Rocky; Cliffhanger; Creed II; The Expendables; First Blood; Creed; Rocky III; Escape Plan; The Expendables 2; Rocky Balboa; Rocky II; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Antz; Cop Land; Escape to Victory; Death Race 2000; Bullet to the Head; Animal Crackers; Future BMT: Escape Plan II; Escape Plan 3; Staying Alive; Rocky V; D-Tox; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Backtrace; Avenging Angelo; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Oscar; Rocky IV; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Driven; Zookeeper; Rhinestone; Get Carter; Judge Dredd; The Specialist; Rambo III; Cobra; Over the Top; Daylight; The Expendables 3; Rambo: Last Blood; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Demolition Man; Rambo; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actor for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Winner for Worst Actor in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1989 for Rambo III; and in 1993 for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Spy Kids 3: Game Over in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Cobra, Cobra, Lock Up, Lock Up, Over the Top, Over the Top, Rambo III, Rambo III, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rhinestone, Rocky IV, and Tango & Cash; Nominee for Worst Director for The Expendables in 2011; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1986 for Rocky IV; in 1987 for Cobra; in 1989 for Rambo III; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1994 for Cliffhanger; in 2002 for Driven; and in 2020 for Rambo: Last Blood; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1987 for Cobra; in 1988 for Over the Top; in 1990 for Lock Up, and Tango & Cash; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for The Specialist; in 1996 for Assassins, and Judge Dredd; in 1997 for Daylight; in 2001 for Get Carter; in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; and in 2020 for Rambo: Last Blood; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Rambo: Last Blood in 2020; Notes: Y’all know Sylvester. Most of the recent news for him is about how he just bought a $35 million house in Florida. Good for him I guess.)

Sharon Stone – (Known For: Basic Instinct; Total Recall; Casino; The Disaster Artist; The Laundromat; The Quick and the Dead; Alpha Dog; Lovelace; Antz; Broken Flowers; Above the Law; Bobby; The Mighty; Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold; Stardust Memories; Irreconcilable Differences; Fading Gigolo; The Muse; Les uns et les autres; Beautiful Joe; Future BMT: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Sliver; Cold Creek Manor; King Solomon’s Mines; Diabolique; Simpatico; Action Jackson; Intersection; Gloria; Life on the Line; Sphere; Mothers and Daughters; He Said, She Said; Deadly Blessing; Last Dance; Last Action Hero; Year of the Gun; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; A Warrior’s Tail; A Little Something for Your Birthday; BMT: Catwoman; Basic Instinct 2; The Specialist; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 1995 for Intersection, and The Specialist; and in 2007 for Basic Instinct 2; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1988 for Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold; in 1994 for Sliver; and in 2000 for Gloria; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Catwoman in 2005; and Nominee for Worst New Star in 1997 for Diabolique, and Last Dance; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Casino. She appeared nude in Playboy in 1990 which is somewhat credited for getting her the role in Basic Instinct which would propel her to stardom. Still works a ton, just more sporadically on both television and film.)

James Woods – (Known For: Once Upon a Time in America; Casino; Hercules; Contact; The Virgin Suicides; White House Down; Any Given Sunday; Chaplin; Videodrome; Against All Odds; John Carpenter’s Vampires; The Way We Were; Surf’s Up; Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within; Straw Dogs; Stuart Little 2; Riding in Cars with Boys; Nixon; True Crime; Salvador; Future BMT: Big Fat Important Movie; Scary Movie 2; Play It to the Bone; The Getaway; The General’s Daughter; Kicked in the Head; Jamesy Boy; Pretty Persuasion; Bling; John Q; BMT: The Specialist; Be Cool; Jobs; Notes: Notably went to MIT and dropped out in his sophomore year to pursue acting. Nominated for Oscars for Ghosts of Mississippi and Salvador. Also notably a Hollywood conservative.)

Budget/Gross – $45,000,000 / Domestic: $57,362,582 (Worldwide: $170,362,582)

(That seems like a modest success to me. This probably didn’t end up leading to a sequel because of how poorly it was received critically.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (2/29)

(Wowza! That is absurdly low! Let’s make a consensus: A dmb story involving dumb people saying dumb things. That about sums that up. Reviewer Highlight: Llosa relies on stock action shots and tedious exposition to get from scene to scene. You keep waiting for something — anything — neat to happen, but nothing does. – Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle)

Poster – The Sklogalist

(I should have been keeping track of the posters we’ve seen where the star(s) appear multiple times. It tickles me that there is double stallone on this. So much is wrong with this but daaaannnngg, that’s some unique font… I believe they are going for a digital look based on The Specialist’s brand of time bombs. Or maybe not. I honestly can’t tell, but I very much appreciate the effort. C-.)

Tagline(s) – The government taught him to kill. Now he’s using his skills to help a woman seek revenge against the Miami underworld. (F)

(No. Stop. I didn’t even read it. Who would read this enormous tagline? Fine, I’ll read it… did a child write this? That might be the worst tagline in history.)

Keyword – time bomb

Top 10: Tenet (2020), Die Hard (1988), Inception (2010), The Dark Knight (2008), Justice League (2017), Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), Spectre (2015), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), The Fifth Element (1997)

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 63.9 Underdog (2007), 62.5 Big Fat Important Movie (2008), 56.9 Suburban Commando (1991), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.3 Son of the Pink Panther (1993), 47.7 Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995), 46.6 Solo (1996), 46.3 Machete Kills (2013), 44.4 Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990);

BMT: Armageddon (1998), Sucker Punch (2011), Batman Forever (1995), The Expendables 3 (2014), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), Point Break (2015), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Movie 43 (2013), Godzilla (1998), Tango & Cash (1989), The Specialist (1994), Rambo III (1988), Killers (2010), Abduction (2011), Soldier (1998), Hudson Hawk (1991), Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997), The Lawnmower Man (1992), Spice World (1997), Torque (2004), I Spy (2002), RoboCop 3 (1993), Fair Game (1995), On Deadly Ground (1994), Double Team (1997), Alone in the Dark (2005), Bad Company (2002), Universal Soldier: The Return (1999), Extreme Ops (2002)

(If you squint you might be able to get the impression that time bombs were a purely 90s thing. Like dumb 90s films love time bombs and that love just grew and grew. And now? Not so much. We are over time bombs now … I could actually believe that. As far as films with time bombs I hope to watch soon, look no further than Under Siege 2.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sylvester Stallone is No. 1 billed in The Specialist and No. 1 billed in Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 10. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.

Notes – Sylvester Stallone had this to say on filming the shower scene with Sharon Stone:”OK. Let it be known, I didn’t want to do this scene because Sharon was not cooperating. We get to the set and she decides not to take her robe off. The director asks only a few of the crew to remain, and she still won’t take it off. I promised her I wouldn’t take any liberties, so what’s the problem? She said, ‘I’m just sick of nudity.’ I asked her if she could get sick of it on someone else’s film. She was having none of it, so I went down to my trailer, brought back a bottle of Black Death vodka that was given to me by Michael Douglas and after half-a-dozen shots we were wet and wild.” (Oh, that sounds awful Sly)

Sharon Stone was 36 when this movie was filmed, although her character was supposed to be in her early twenties.

Eric Roberts is only two years older than Sharon Stone. In the film his character was supposed to have killed her parents when she was a child. (haha)

Sylvester Stallone demanded for some of James Woods’s scenes to be cut out of the movie and for some of his scenes to be re-shot in order for Stallone to have more screen time. The reason for that was because Stallone was worried that Woods would “steal” the movie away. Stallone allegedly also cut out some Rutger Hauer’s scenes from Nighthawks (1981) for same reasons.

David Fincher was set to direct this at one stage. Sylvester Stallone liked Fincher but he was overruled by the producers, because Fincher’s career was still in deep freeze after the failure of Alien³ (1992) and wasn’t revived until the massive success of Seven (1995).

Ray Quick’s cat was named “Timer”. The cat who portrayed Timer (a Maine Coon) is also seen in Assassins as Pearl.

The producers got Sylvester Stallone to do the movie by threatening to replace him with Warren Beatty if he didn’t commit himself to the project within a fifteen-minute deadline.

In January, 1993 the Los Angeles Times listed The Specialist as the best unproduced thriller script in Hollywood, based on a poll of forty agents, producers and studio executives. (Interesting, an early blacklist thing)

“Turn the Beat Around”, covered by Gloria Estefan for this film, remains one of her highest selling singles.

Mario Van Peebles was attached to direct the movie in 1991, but left.

The music for this movie was written by John Barry who is more known for doing the music for the James Bond movies that starred Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton.

When Sylvester Stallone enters his computer to activate the massive explosion of his home near end of film, the password he uses is “Top of the world, Ma.” This is a slight paraphrase of Jimmy Cagney’s last line in White Heat (1949), just before Cagney shoots into the large gas storage unit he’s standing on, causing massive explosions. (“Made it, Ma. Top of the world!”)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sharon Stone, 1995)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Jerry Weintraub, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Rod Steiger, 1995)

Jingle All the Way Preview

As night closes around then, Rich and Poe hearts pound in fear. That strange, portentous book has spooked them and they no longer know what horrors await. Suddenly they feel very tired and homesick and shiver sadly in the gloom. They tense up when they hear a rustling in the woods. “Hello,” they call, peering into the darkness hoping that it was just the wind. Suddenly a monstrous rat-bat comes flying out of the trees! Egad! The horror! Woe is Rich and Poe, champions of the universe, who will be done in by this ghastly beast. Nic Cage will die and the prophecy will go unfulfilled. But instead of slaying them with its talons, the rat-bat instead screams  “Kout!” in a goofy, friendly voice as it flies down and kills a bush viper ready to strike and kill them. “Pissah of a snake, this one, ayuh,” it says as it perches in a tree above, “You boys lost yah cah or something?” It goggles its big disgusting eyes at Rich and Poe and snacks on mouthfuls of snake before a look of recognition crosses its rat-bat face, “Well, I’ll be. So the squirrels were right. You them boys gonna save the nuts or whatevah. Wicked cool. But what’re you doing out here in bush viper country? You’re going the wrong way, ayuh.” At the rat-bats words Rich and Poe deflate. Nic’s life hangs in the balance. They ask politely if the rat-bat could carry them in his horrifying claws and fly them to Nic, but the rat-bat lifts up his talons, dripping with fresh blood, and laughs, “these fellahs’ll rip yah to shreds, ayuh. No… I think I have something a little bettah.” And with that he winks and lets out a shrill whistle. Suddenly they hear a jingle jangle. That’s right! As a celebration of the end of 2020 we are doing a special live BMT Christmas spectacular. We thought maybe a Rocky marathon at first, but we realized only one BMT Christmas film would do. It’s Ahnold time. Jingle Jangle All the Way here we come. Let’s go!   

Jingle All The Way (1996) – BMeTric: 47.0; Notability: 73 

(The IMDb rating is shockingly low early on. I would have thought it would be higher since it always feels like Jingle All the Way has some cult following among people who were 10 in 1996. The Notability is amazingly high! I love it.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – “Jingle All the Way” was inspired, I suspect, by that panic a few years ago when stores ran out of Cabbage Patch dolls. As the movie opens, little Jamie Langston is watching the TurboMan show on TV, and of course he wants the TurboMan action figure for Christmas, complete with all its accessories. Jamie’s dad, Howard (Arnold Schwarzenegger), is a busy businessman, who says he has already purchased the toy–but lies. His adventures while trying to find a TurboMan provide the movie’s plot. …I liked a lot of the movie, which is genial and has a lot of energy, but I was sort of depressed by its relentlessly materialistic view of Christmas, and by the choice to go with action and (mild) violence over dialogue and plot. Audiences will like it, I am sure, but I have to raise my hand in reluctant dissent and ask, please, sir, may we have some more goodwill among men? Even TurboMen?

(Oh don’t worry Ebert, literally every single reviewer hated this film. So there is no need to bravely stand alone against Jingle All the Way and its materialistic message. It is possible that Ebert gave it the best review out of any major critic, 2.5 out of 4 stars is pretty solid.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuPc9QJcGJs/

(This actually looks really fun as a trailer. It is a very obvious idea that would have only really existed after Cabbage Patch Kids in the 80s, a truly modern Christmas message about how materialism has taken over the holiday. I’m sure they absolutely thought they had a shoe in Christmas classic on their hands.)

Directors – Brian Levant – (Future BMT: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; The Flintstones; Problem Child 2; Snow Dogs; The Spy Next Door; Beethoven; BMT: Are We There Yet?; Jingle All The Way; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for The Flintstones in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Director for Jingle All the Way in 1997; Notes: Has mostly been straight to video sequels for the last 10 years, but he has also been announced for the writer-director of the new Police Academy film.)

Writers – Randy Kornfield (written by) – (Known For: Eight Legged Freaks; BMT: Jingle All The Way; Notes: Apparently his grandfather worked in film back in the day. He seems like he probably is a staff writer of some kind for production studios, still writing, just not getting explicitly credited on screenplays.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: Terminator: Dark Fate; Total Recall; The Terminator; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; Predator; The Expendables; True Lies; Conan the Barbarian; The Expendables 2; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; Commando; Kindergarten Cop; Twins; Escape Plan; The Running Man; Welcome to the Jungle; The Last Stand; The 6th Day; Dave; The Long Goodbye; Future BMT: Hercules in New York; Junior; Collateral Damage; End of Days; The Iron Mask; Cactus Jack; Eraser; Terminator Genisys; Last Action Hero; The Kid & I; BMT: Batman & Robin; Red Sonja; Jingle All The Way; Raw Deal; Sabotage; Around the World in 80 Days; Conan the Destroyer; The Expendables 3; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1983 for Conan the Barbarian; in 1994 for Last Action Hero; in 2000 for End of Days; and in 2001 for The 6th Day; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1998 for Batman & Robin; in 2001 for The 6th Day; in 2005 for Around the World in 80 Days; and in 2015 for The Expendables 3; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The 6th Day in 2001; Notes: As with many old movies during quarantine, there was just a Kindergarten Cop reunion on Zoom, so that’s fun. He’s the father-in-law of Chris Pratt.)

Sinbad – (Known For: Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco; Crazy as Hell; Future BMT: Coneheads; First Kid; Planes; The Meteor Man; Good Burger; Hansel & Gretel; Houseguest; Necessary Roughness; BMT: Jingle All The Way; Notes: Apparently he suffered a stroke recently, sadly. Was in the Air Force prior to breaking into comedy, although he hasn’t really worked in film since the early 2000s.)

Phil Hartman – (Known For: Spaceballs; Pee-wee’s Big Adventure; Small Soldiers; So I Married an Axe Murderer; ¡Three Amigos!; Kiki’s Delivery Service; Amazon Women on the Moon; The Brave Little Toaster; Ruthless People; Quick Change; CB4; Future BMT: Coneheads; Sgt. Bilko; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Blind Date; The Pagemaster; Loaded Weapon 1; Fletch Lives; Houseguest; Greedy; How I Got Into College; BMT: Jingle All The Way; Stuart Saves His Family; Notes: Sadly was murdered by his wife in 1998 who was troubled with drug abuse. Was famous for his impressions on SNL, his voices on The Simpsons, and his role on NewsRadio.)

Budget/Gross – $60,000,000 / Domestic: $60,592,389 (Worldwide: $129,832,389)

(Obviously not what they were expecting given the apparent budget. Kind of okay, would have come out as a wash at least over the years with the DVD sales and whatnot.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (7/46): Arnold Schwarzenegger tries his best, but Jingle All the Way suffers from an uneven tone, shifting wildly from a would-be satire on materialism to an antic, slapstick yuk-fest.

(Really low. And interesting how the consensus seems to see some sort of statement on materialism in parts of the film, whereas other critiques seem to focus on just how materialistic the whole film actually seems to be. Reviewer Highlight: You’ll need an awful lot of Christmas cheer to forgive Arnold Schwarzenegger for his fourth, and hopefully last, venture into comedy, a turkey that needs stuffing on the most inaccessible shelf of your local video store. – Neil Smith, BBC)

Poster – Pringles All the Way

(Gah! My eyes! Get that out of here and burn it before too many people see it. Just… not good. But not like The Avengers or anything. D-.)

Tagline(s) – Two Dads, One Toy, No Prisoners. (A-)

(Yes, yes, yes. This is what you want from a tagline. Give me the classic hits with my sweet pringles all the way twist. It’s almost so classic you are tempted to downgrade it for lack of originality. But I won’t.)

Keyword – christmas

Top 10: Home Alone (1990), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), Love Actually (2003), Elf (2003), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), The Santa Clause (1994), The Grinch (2018), Die Hard (1988), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Peppermint (2018)

Future BMT: 82.9 Home Alone 3 (1997), 75.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 73.7 Look Who’s Talking Now (1993), 69.1 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), 68.8 Black Christmas (2006), 68.5 Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015), 61.0 Legion (2010), 60.4 Maid in Manhattan (2002), 60.0 Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007), 59.8 Staying Alive (1983);

BMT: Jingle All The Way (1996), Christmas with the Kranks (2004), Santa Claus: The Movie (1985), Movie 43 (2013), Replicas (2018), Unaccompanied Minors (2006), Shaft (2019), Gangster Squad (2013), Soldier (1998), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009), A Madea Christmas (2013), Cobra (1986), Daylight (1996), RoboCop 3 (1993), Behind Enemy Lines (2001), Jack and Jill (2011), The Number 23 (2007), Jaws: The Revenge (1987), Get Carter (2000)

(Looks like that War on Christmas is working … I’m joking, but yeah, we really liked Christmas in the 2000s huh? Perhaps the completion of the “genre leaking” that Die Hard started where the keyword can be applied to any and all films since they all dare to be (ironically) Christmas movies? … Probably not.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Arnold Schwarzenegger is No. 1 billed in Jingle All The Way and No. 4 billed in Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Producer Chris Columbus wanted Joe Pesci to play Myron, but he was deemed too short at 5’3 next to Arnold Schwarzenegger who is 6’2. This was despite the fact that Schwarznegger had previously appeared in two films alongside the even-shorter Danny DeVito.

Sinbad improvised the majority of his lines. Arnold Schwarzenegger also improvised many of his responses in his conversations with him.

In March 2001, a U.S. District Court jury in Birmingham, Michigan ruled that 20th Century Fox stole the script idea “Jingle All the Way” from Detroit high school biology teacher Brian Webster. The studio was ordered to pay $19 million, later reduced to $1.5 million. Webster submitted the script, then named “Could This Be Christmas?”, to the studio in 1994, and never received payment nor credit despite the film making $129 million worldwide. 20th Century Fox appealed, and the verdict was reversed, since Webster’s script was submitted after the studio had already purchased a treatment (summary or outline) of what would become this movie’s script. (It is a really wild story. The wiki blurb about it either must be deceiving or wrong, because it says that the names of characters are the same … I don’t see how that could be the case without it being cut-and-dry plagiarism)

The story is based on the 1980s shopping frenzy over the Cabbage Patch dolls. However, it ended up perfectly mimicking the Tickle Me Elmo craze of Christmas 1996.

Verne Troyer has an uncredited role as the shortest Santa that gets punched while on Arnold Schwarzenegger in the warehouse.

Filming took place in Minnesota for five weeks from April 15, 1996. At the time, it was the largest film production to ever take place in the state.

You can buy official Turbo Man action figures on Ebay.

The world premiere was held on November 16, 1996 at the Mall of America in Bloomington where parts of the film were shot. A day of events was held to celebrate the film’s release and Arnold Schwarzenegger donated memorabilia from the film to the Mall’s Planet Hollywood.

Despite the Turbo Man being a fictional product created for the movie, the toy that Myron references in the diner that he did not get as a child (and later said to be the most popular boys’ toy aside from Turbo Man) is, in fact, a real toy. It is in real life called the Johnny Seven OMA gun (OMA meaning “one man army”), as it performed seven different functions. The Johnny Seven OMA gun was produced by Deluxe Reading under their Topper Toys toyline, and released in 1964, where it became the best selling boys’ toy of that year. The toy was marketed heavily on television, and the commercial went exactly as how Myron described it. The toy is no longer made, and has become a collector’s item.

The giant Santa in this film is WWE’s The Big Show.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was paid a reported $20 million for the role.

Although Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that the Minnesota locals were “well-behaved” and “cooperative”, director Brian Levant often found filming “impossible” due to the scale and noise of the crowds who came to watch production, especially in the Mall of America, but overall found the locals to be “respectful” and “lovely people”.

Chris Parnell’s first movie appearance.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger only signed on for the film in February and the film was shot so quickly, only six and a half months were available for merchandising, instead of the ideal year. As such, merchandising was limited to a thirteen and a half inch replica twenty-five dollar talking Turbo Man action figure and the west coast exclusive Turbo Man Time Racer vehicle, while no tie-in promotions could be secured. Despite this, several critics wrote that the film was only being made in order to sell the toy. Chris Columbus dismissed this notion, stating that with only roughly two hundred thousand Turbo Man toys being made, the merchandising was far less than the year’s other releases, such as Space Jam (1996) and 101 Dalmatians (1996).

20th Century Fox offered Arnold Schwarzenegger the project after development on a remake of Planet of the Apes (1968), which had been a longtime pet project for the actor, fell apart.

Some home media covers have Howard dressed in a Santa suit. Howard never wears a Santa suit in the course of the film.

Howard and the reindeer enjoy Grain Belt Premium Beer, which is a Classic Minnesota made beer, still very popular today.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Brian Levant, 1997)

Congo Preview

Poe describes the beautiful road trip that he and Mr. Big would take, bonding over their shared interests of Tetherball and early 20th century Bildungsroman literature. Starting in Sacramento, California (for obvious reasons) they would proceed north through Idaho and continue straight on to Saskatoon. “Would we be able to stop at the Western Development Museum?” Mr. Big asks dreamily. Poe nods, “Darn tootin’. Wouldn’t be a trip to Saskatoon without it and we might even splurge for one of those old timey photos where we dress up in old western clothes.” Mr. Big frowns. He knows that Poe is really just saying these things because he wants to get the Book of Secrets… but he can’t help but tell him meekly to continue describing the road trip. “You’d think we’d be heading straight to Winnipeg at this point… but you’d be wrong. Cause we’re continuing east,” Poe explains. “No,” whispers Mr. Big, “you don’t mean…” but Poe nods, “The ‘Ware.” Mr. Big looks at him startled, “You’d take me to… Delaware?” And Poe shrugs his shoulders, “it seems only appropriate after you were so kind to let me into The Skulls.” With tears in his eyes Mr. Big walks over to Nic Cage’s Journal (all rights reserved). He picks it up, kisses it and brings it over to Poe. “I thought this,” he says waving to the large ornate chamber, “was The Skulls,” his voice cracking with emotion, “but today you proved that The Skulls… was inside you the whole time.” Just as he is about to hand the book over they are surrounded by people in gray ninja gear and lasers. “Give us the book,” one of them says. Poe, realizing what is happening, begins to speak up but it’s too late… the laser beams start a-flyin’. That’s right! If I mention laser beams there is only one film I’m thinking about. “Entrapment?” you ask… OK, two films. The other is Congo. The major film release where a lady mows down grey gorillas with a laser. Celebrate for us on this very momentus 25th anniversary of the release of Laser Gorillas aka Congo. Let’s go!   

Congo (1995) – BMeTric: 54.3; Notability: 81 

(It has a really low IMDb rating. It used to have a BMeTric of like 65 too! And a notability of 81? My god, when was the last time we had a film with that high of a Notability? I just checked and we haven’t done an 80+ since 2019 (where we actually did quite a few of them). I am very much looking forward to just how big of a disappointment this must have been.)

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – “Congo” is a splendid example of a genre no longer much in fashion, the jungle adventure story. Perhaps aware that its material was already dated when Stewart Granger made “King Solomon’s Mines” in 1950, the filmmakers have cheerfully turned it into an action comedy, and the actors have gone a step further, treating it like one of those movies like “Beat the Devil” that is a put-on of itself. The result is not a movie that is very good, exactly, but it’s entertaining and funny. False sophisticates will scorn it. Real sophisticates will relish it.

(Shots fired at the end. This feels like right around when Ebert started to consider things “good for what they are” and became a bit less pretentious (to use a loaded term) about things. This is pretty soon after Arachnophobia which is, by all accounts, a genuine horror comedy, so I could definitely see Marshall going back to the tongue-in-cheek creature feature well.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icu59hembVk/

(The thing I remember from the trailer was the guy stumbling down the stairs. It made me think it was a horror film. It isn’t a horror film and you barely see the gorillas in the end. Good trailer though regardless, even shows off the laser weapon.)

Directors – Frank Marshall – (Known For: Alive; Eight Below; Arachnophobia; BMT: Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Congo in 1996; Notes: Married to Kathlene Kennedy he has an interesting career having worked as a producer for LucasArts before leaving to form his own production company (with his wife) and begin directing.)

Writers – Michael Crichton (novel) – (Known For: Jurassic Park; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; Jurassic World; Twister; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Jurassic Park III; Westworld; Disclosure; Runaway; The First Great Train Robbery; The Andromeda Strain; Coma; The Terminal Man; Future BMT: Sphere; Rising Sun; Looker; BMT: Congo; Timeline; The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Twister in 1997; Notes: Almost 6’9’’, and married 5 times. He famously submitted an essay written by George Orwell in graduate school where he studied English which got a B-, and he quit soon after. He also trained to be a doctor and quit right after qualifying.)

John Patrick Shanley (screenplay) – (Known For: Moonstruck; Doubt; Alive; Joe Versus the Volcano; The Thief and the Cobbler; Five Corners; Future BMT: The January Man; We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story; BMT: Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Congo in 1996; Notes: Won an Oscar for Moonstruck and a Tony for Doubt. He also was nominated for an Emmy for Live From Baghdad. No apparently Grammy aspirations so his EGOT hopes are probably non-existent.)

Actors – Laura Linney – (Known For: Love Actually; The Truman Show; Nocturnal Animals; Primal Fear; Mystic River; Arthur Christmas; Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; Falling; Searching for Bobby Fischer; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; The Squid and the Whale; Dave; Absolute Power; Genius; The Mothman Prophecies; Kinsey; The Roads Not Taken; Mr. Holmes; Breach; You Can Count on Me; Future BMT: The Other Man; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows; Hyde Park on Hudson; The Nanny Diaries; The Fifth Estate; Man of the Year; Sympathy for Delicious; The Hottest State; The City of Your Final Destination; Maze; Lush; The Life of David Gale; BMT: Congo; Notes: Nominated three times for an Oscar (You Can Count on Me, Kinsey, and The Savages). Also the star of The Big C which she won an Emmy for.)

Tim Curry – (Known For: The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Clue; The Hunt for Red October; Annie; Charlie’s Angels; Times Square; FernGully: The Last Rainforest; Kinsey; The Cat Returns; Muppet Treasure Island; The Rugrats Movie; Rugrats in Paris; The Wild Thornberrys Movie; The Shout; Future BMT: Scary Movie 2; McHale’s Navy; Fly Me to the Moon; Valiant; Rugrats Go Wild; Christmas in Wonderland; The Shadow; The Pebble and the Penguin; Loaded Weapon 1; Ritual; Burke and Hare; The Secret of Moonacre; The Three Musketeers; Legend; Oscar; Bailey’s Billion$; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; Passed Away; BMT: Garfield 2; Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Congo in 1996; Notes: Was nominated for three Tony awards and an Emmy in his career. Had a stroke a few years ago and is now confined to a wheelchair, but he has started doing voiceover work again which is something he had become very famous for in his career.)

Dylan Walsh – (Known For: We Were Soldiers; Nobody’s Fool; Secretariat; Loverboy; Blood Work; Edmond; Betsy’s Wedding; Future BMT: The Stepfather; Authors Anonymous; Where the Heart Is; BMT: Congo; The Lake House; Notes: Ended up as a big name television actor starring in Nip/Tuck and Unforgettable and now does short stints on things like Blue Bloods and Law & Order.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $81,022,101 (Worldwide: $152,022,101)

(That’s actually a decent amount of money, although they were obviously looking for that Jurassic Park money. So in that sense maybe less of a bomb and more of a disappointment as expected.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (11/51): Mired in campy visual effects and charmless characters, Congo is a suspenseless adventure that betrays little curiosity about the scientific concepts it purports to care about.

(I’m not sure what scientific concepts they are referring to here. Is it the giant diamonds from King Solomon’s Mind which illogically are the only things that can produce a laser weapon? Or perhaps the killer ape guardsmen? Or the sign language gorilla robot arm? Reviewer Highlight: The entire tone of the book has been transformed from tension to tongue-in-cheek with dismal results. – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Goril-lazer Beamz

(The poster already tells you the film’s gonna be nuts. It’s just a giant fake gorilla face with a bunch of computer code on it and the dutchest of all dutch angle titles. I’m not sure what I would even think if I saw this in a movie theater. It’s bold, that’s for sure. But probably not in a good way. C)

Tagline(s) – Where you are the endangered species (B+)

(But this is solid. Congo… where you are the endangered species. Yeah that’s kinda nice. Flipping things around on you with the image of the gorilla. Telling you that you’re in for an adventure of derring-do. I dig it.)

Keyword – gorilla

Top 10: Red Sparrow (2018), Dolittle (2020), Green Book (2018), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017), 2012 (2009), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), Sing (2016), Zookeeper (2011), King Kong (2005), Trading Places (1983)

Future BMT: 72.1 The Last Exorcism Part II (2013), 54.8 Evan Almighty (2007), 48.9 The Omen (2006), 40.4 Hollow Man (2000), 34.1 The Tourist (2010), 28.8 Buddy (1997), 28.4 Baby’s Day Out (1994), 27.5 The Legend of Tarzan (2016), 27.1 The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981), 21.9 Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995);

BMT: Dolittle (2020), 2012 (2009), Zookeeper (2011), Congo (1995), Old Dogs (2009), King Kong Lives (1986)

(There weren’t very good keywords this time for some reason. I have seen most of these, which maybe Ace Ventura 2 being the one I’m most excited for. The plot doesn’t tell me much except maybe that in the 2000s with CGI technology it became a lot easier to put gorillas in films.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 23) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Ernie Hudson is No. 3 billed in Congo and No. 6 billed in Miss Congeniality 2 Armed and Fabulous, which also stars Sandra Bullock (No. 1 billed) who is in Demolition Man (No. 3 billed), which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 6 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 23. If we were to watch The Nanny Diaries, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – Ernie Hudson stated that playing the character “Captain Munroe Kelly” is his personal favorite from his career. (He does seem to have a great time with it)

Executive producer and director Frank Marshall originally intended to use the computer work pioneered on Jurassic Park (1993) for the gorillas, but opted for models, as the computers weren’t capable of reproducing hair. (Yeah, it was a bit too early for that)

The “diamonds” used for the scenes during the climax of the movie were actually Herkimer Diamonds borrowed from the Herkimer Diamond Mines of Middleville, New York. They are doubly-terminated (two-ended) quartz crystals that are found in only two places in the world. They were the only gems that would look enough like diamonds and be that large. As a kind of tribute, Tim Curry’s character’s first name is “Herkermer” (his character does not appear in the Michael Crichton novel upon which the movie was based). (Wait … he isn’t in the book?! What a crazy character to add)

The part of the 727 pilot was played by musician and pop icon Jimmy Buffett. (huh)

Executive producer Frank Yablans had been involved in this project since its inception. Michael Crichton had pitched his idea for a modern-day King Solomon’s Mines to him, before he had even written the novel. Yablans liked the idea so much that, without Crichton’s authorization, he sold the movie rights to Twentieth Century Fox in 1979, a year before the book was published. The technology to create the apes was not available at the time, however, and the project never materialized. During the production of Jurassic Park (1993), Crichton was impressed with the dinosaurs that Stan Winston’s studio had created. Producer Kathleen Kennedy (who produced both movies) suggested using Winston again for the apes, and suggested the project itself to her husband, executive producer and director Frank Marshall, and Crichton agreed. This resulted in Yablans, Marshall, and Kennedy collaborating on this movie.

Although the movie mentions King Solomon’s Mines, it bears several key points in common with “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar”, the book and movies based on it.

There are rumors of a deleted scene where one of the gorillas, in a pivotal scene in the movie, wields a laser gun. Nobody is sure if these rumored scenes exist, but YouTube channel Funhaus has started an investigation after discussing it on their movie podcast. (This feels like a dumb Mandela Effect thing. People who say this 25 years ago probably has smushed Amy fending off the evil gorillas using her sign language translator, with Laura Linney shooting lasers at them right after)

Composer Jerry Goldsmith was originally brought on-board when this movie was being conceived in the 1980s. When it went into production again in the 1990s, James Newton Howard was hired to write the score. Howard composed the tribal chant used in this movie, but had to back out of the project. Goldsmith was then brought back on-board.

In addition to Amy, Stan Winston Studio created twelve genetically mutated gray gorillas for Congo, eight of which were built as fully articulated hero heads and suits. To initiate the design of the twelve grays, Chris Swift rendered a series of drawings. Stan Winston then gave key artists at the studio the opportunity to design and sculpt one unique character each. Because the grays were a fictional, mutant breed of gorillas, the sculptors enjoyed a lot of creative freedom in devising their designs. 

Rather than re-create the features of a mountain gorilla, the studio had instructions to design Amy so that she would more closely resemble the ‘cuter’ lowland gorilla.

Stan Winston’s crew lifecast the main Amy performer, Lorene Noh, at the studio, then sculpted Amy over her lifecast. From that sculpture, the crew created a ‘hero’ Amy head that was covered in silicone skin and hand-tied hair. It was one of the first times the studio would use these new silicone formulas, rather than foam latex, for a character.

Fred Thompson turned down a key role. (Ha, definitely the eeeeevil corporate telecom CEO)

Problems with the grays in the design stage only intensified when the characters started shooting. The mine in which the Grays’ scenes were set was essentially a large, empty cavern of red rock. There was no foliage of any kind, and without it, director of photography Allen Daviau was unable to justify the kind of dappled lighting that would have gone a long way in making the grays look more authentic. “In any kind of creature work,” Stan Winston commented, “so much of its success depends on the lighting and setting those characters are in. I wasn’t at all happy with the Grays’ environment. That big red cave didn’t allow for interesting or dramatic lighting at all.”

One of the most critical elements for bringing Congo’s gorillas to life was the performances of the actors and actresses inside the suits. Under the direction of veteran gorilla performer Peter Elliott, it took approximately six months of intensive rehearsal for Lorene Noh and Misty Rosas to become Amy, and for the gray gorilla actors to become mutant primates.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Kathleen Kennedy, Sam Mercer, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Tim Curry, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Frank Marshall, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (John Patrick Shanley, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Jerry Goldsmith, Lebo M., 1996)

Sex and the City 2 Preview

“You gotta help us!” Poe wails and he, Rich and their new BFFF Kilgorn follow close behind the fleeing ghost. But the ghost is having none of it. “Uh uh. You better back on up. I ain’t no Casper the Friendly Ghost and you ain’t no Ghostbusters and if it wasn’t for the good Lord Jesus I’d punch you square in the faces.” They all can’t help but smile at the ghost and how sassy she is. Suddenly Poe has an idea, “But that’s just it,” he explains, “we are doing this for the good Lord Jesus.” Suddenly the sassy ghost is listening. “You see the Book of Secrets is the devil’s book and we’re going to destroy it.” The ghost ponders for a minute and eventually relents and nods for them to follow. Soon they reach a brightly lit club with a neon sign blinking the words “Hollywood Badass.” Progressive psytrance music blasts each time the door opens and the group knows they have no chance at getting in. Unless… Rich and Poe leap to put their masters of disguise skillz to the test. “Alright, keep cool, I know this club” the big sassy ghosts says, “These disguises have got to be tight. So let’s go over our backstory. I’m Carrie, a gal about town looking for love. You three are my friends. You’re prim and proper Charlotte,” she says pointing to Kilgorn, who beams. “You’re the overworked voice of reason, Miranda,” she says pointing to Rich who acts upset (but is secretly thrilled). “And you’re Samantha,” she growls pointing to Poe. Poe frowns and starts to explain why the ghost is really more the Samantha of the bunch, but stops when he sees the scowl on the sassy ghost’s face. He gives a reluctant thumbs up. That’s right! We’re finally hitting up the classic squeak-quel Sex in the City 2, the one where they go to the Middle East for some reason and their old and married pretty much. We’ve been reluctant, and let’s see if it was for good reason. Let’s go!

Sex and the City 2 (2010) – BMeTric: 79.6; Notability: 67 

(An incredibly low rating. And an incredibly high Notability. I should check, but is that because of cameos, or literally just because the IMDb cast list is just enormous. I bet there are a lot of cameos. And now I’m excited.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – Some of these people make my skin crawl. The characters of “Sex and the City 2” are flyweight bubbleheads living in a world which rarely requires three sentences in a row. Their defining quality is consuming things. They gobble food, fashion, houses, husbands, children, vitamins and freebies. They must plan their wardrobes on the phone, so often do they appear in different basic colors, like the plugs you pound into a Playskool workbench.

(I mean, while true that “consuming things” wasn’t necessarily the crux of the show (Carrie has a thing about fashion and shoes, and Samantha works in that industry, but most stories were about, you know … sex and New York City), that definitely was a very obviously strange part of the first film. It is interesting to see how much more it seemed to grate on critics this time around.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Djz0q-GeboM/

(Wow that really doesn’t show much huh. I guess that is good. Somehow the fact that it is getting more obviously about worshiping consumerism and rich people in general does make its shininess seem … dirty. Also the more I look into this film for the preview the more perplexed I am that they chose Abu Dhabi. It seems like it could have just as easily been Paris, or Morocco, or Tokyo, or Sydney. Tokyo would have probably made the most sense since I think they went to Paris in the later seasons of the show.)

Directors – Michael Patrick King – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Directed 10 episodes of Sex and the City, and both movies. Won two Emmys for his work on the series.)

Writers – Michael Patrick King (written by) – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Wrote 31 episodes of the series. Ultimately went on to create 2 Broke Girls.)

Candace Bushnell (characters from the book by) – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Notes: Has had two of her books made into television series, the other being Lipstick Jungle.)

Darren Star (television series creator) – (Known For: Sex and the City; Future BMT: Teen Agent; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Notes: Notably created and produced Melrose Place, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Sex and the City. His current show is Younger which is in its 7th season.)

Actors – Sarah Jessica Parker – (Known For: Footloose; Mars Attacks!; The First Wives Club; Sex and the City; Ed Wood; Flight of the Navigator; The Family Stone; L.A. Story; Honeymoon in Vegas; Extreme Measures; Strangers with Candy; State and Main; Smart People; Miami Rhapsody; The Substance of Fire; Future BMT: I Don’t Know How She Does It; If Lucy Fell; Striking Distance; ‘Til There Was You; Girls Just Want to Have Fun; Blue Night; Spinning Into Butter; Hocus Pocus; Moving In; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Did You Hear About the Morgans?; Dudley Do-Right; Failure to Launch; New Year’s Eve; Escape from Planet Earth; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 2010 for Did You Hear About the Morgans?; and in 2012 for I Don’t Know How She Does It, and New Year’s Eve; Notes: Won two Emmys for played Carrie in Sex and the City. Had been married to Matthew Broderick since 1997.)

Kim Cattrall – (Known For: Big Trouble in Little China; Sex and the City; The Ghost; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Ice Princess; Horrible Histories: The Movie; Masquerade; Above Suspicion; Meet Monica Velour; The Return of the Musketeers; Ticket to Heaven; Midnight Crossing; Future BMT: Mannequin; 15 Minutes; Porky’s; Live Nude Girls; Unforgettable; Turk 182; The Tiger’s Tail; Rosebud; BMT: Crossroads; Baby Geniuses; Sex and the City 2; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Police Academy; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1991; Notes: Was nominated for an Emmy five times for her role in Sex and the City, but never won. Is somewhat notable as one of the last actors to have been part of the studio contract system.)

Kristin Davis – (Known For: The Knight Before Christmas; Sex and the City; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; Future BMT: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D; The Shaggy Dog; Deck the Halls; Couples Retreat; Nine Months; Holiday in the Wild; Sour Grapes; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Was nominated for an Emmy once for her role in Sex and the City. She was in Melrose Place for one year, but was written out, reportedly because viewer hated her character and they didn’t know what to do with her.)

Budget/Gross – $100,000,000 / Domestic: $95,347,692 (Worldwide: $290,745,055)

(That’s a success. I can see why you would look at the reviews and think that they really stretched the concept too far and should quit while they are behind. Also I bet at least one of the actresses would just have no interest at this point.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (34/217): Straining under a thin plot stretched to its limit by a bloated running time, Sex and the City 2 adds an unfortunate coda to the long-running HBO series.

(Uh oh. A bloated running time, how long are these films … they are both 2.5 hours. Shoot. I have to watch 5 hours of Sex and the City this weekend? Reviewer Highlight: It’s an almost avant-garde adventure in aimlessness. – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal)

Poster – Sklogs in the City 2

(While I do not personally find the poster aesthetically pleasing and question the need for a Dutch angle, I also cannot fault them for this poster. You have your four glam girls up front and a little desert and sky to give a taste of that desert heat. Throw in some fine font work and I think it’s doing a job. B.)

Tagline(s) – Carrie on (D)

(I’m glad to see this tagline isn’t on the poster and in fact this is probably one of the few times where I don’t think it needs one. Besides the tagline is trash. The only thing that would make it good is if the person who wrote it revealed that he was actually playing on the desert theme and the fact that they all will carrion for vultures one they succumb to the heat.)

Keyword – based on tv series

Top 10: The Addams Family (1991), Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006), Addams Family Values (1993), The Addams Family (2019), Star Trek Beyond (2016), Fantasy Island (2020), The Avengers (1998), Dark Shadows (2012), Brüno (2009), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Future BMT: 83.1 Inspector Gadget (1999), 79.3 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000), 75.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 69.4 The Flintstones (1994), 67.3 Scooby-Doo (2002), 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 66.4 Yogi Bear (2010), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 65.0 Max Steel (2016);

BMT: The Avengers (1998), Baywatch (2017), The Last Airbender (2010), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Masters of the Universe (1987), CHIPS (2017), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), The Lone Ranger (2013), Wild Wild West (1999), Sex and the City 2 (2010), Lost in Space (1998), Æon Flux (2005), Garfield (2004), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Garfield 2 (2006), I Spy (2002), Marmaduke (2010), Dudley Do-Right (1999), Car 54, Where Are You? (1994)

(This is a rare instance where I think the plot actually is suggesting this filmmaking trend is well and truly dying. I think it is entirely due to television becoming prestige enough that television series don’t merely have to dream of becoming a major motion picture anymore. When you want to redo a series or make a sequel to a series you just make another series a la Twin Peaks. So I do imagine that in the future we’ll just stop seeing feature films based on television shows and instead we’ll get little 2 or 3 episode seasons instead.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sarah Jessica Parker is No. 1 billed in Sex and the City 2 and No. 2 billed in Dudley Do-Right, which also stars Brendan Fraser (No. 1 billed) who is in Escape from Planet Earth (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 4 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch If Lucy Fell, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Kim Cattrall occasionally came to the set wearing a wedding dress for the benefit of the paparazzi photographers, to trick the public into thinking that her character Samantha Jones would get married in this film.

The dress Carrie wears to dinner when Mr. Big picks her up from her old apartment is the same one she wore when apologizing to Natasha, Mr. Big’s ex-wife, for her and Mr. Big’s affair in Sex and the City: What Goes Around Comes Around (2000).

The government of Abu Dhabi did not allow filming, calling the film “too sexual”.

In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Penélope Cruz mentioned that she shot her cameo in two hours. She said that she wanted to do it because she was a fan of the series and Sarah Jessica Parker.

The airport, when the ladies arrive in the Middle East, is not the Abu Dhabi airport. It is the airport of Marrakesh, Morocco, famous as well for its architecture.

In May 2015, Sarah Jessica Parker posted a teasing photo of her with a shopping bag, in order to promote her collaboration with Bloomingdales. However, the photo went viral, when it proved so ambiguous, that several fans believed the photo teased a potential third “Sex and the City” movie. Several online outlets reported the announcement, and an unaware and puzzled Cynthia Nixon, co-star of the show, was asked about it during a live interview. In the end, Warner Brothers Studios had to make an official statement that there was no plans for a “Sex and the City 3”.

“Sex and the City 3” has been discussed, but not yet confirmed. Sarah Jessica Parker went a bit into detail in an interview on Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003), but in 2017 confirmed that it’s “not gonna happen”.

When Samantha makes a comment about Charlotte’s Irish nanny not wearing a bra, she says, “you mean Erin go bra-less”. “Erin Go Bragh” is an Irish saying that means “Ireland Forever”.

Jennifer Hudson’s character didn’t return for this film. Hudson herself still featured in the film, as she recorded the original song “Love is Your Color” for the production.

The film is included on Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list.

The blue Manolo Blahnik pumps that Carrie leaves in the penthouse and that Mr. Big uses as the “diamond to seal the deal” are visible over her left shoulder when she’s in her closet packing for Abu Dhabi.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, 2011)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble (2011)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel (2011)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Liza Minnelli, 2011)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Michael Patrick King, 2011)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2011)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Michael Patrick King, 2011)

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 Preview

“Ghosts shmosts,” scoffs Poe, walking boldly into the forest. “Yeah, ghosts… uh.. Shmosts,” says Rich hesitantly and both he and Kilgorn cling to each other as then more slowly creep their way forward. The forest is dark and their breath comes out in white puffs. When did it become so cold? “Poe?” Rich whispers urgently. Suddenly they bump into the back of Poe. Rich begins to explain how he and Kilgorn weren’t scared, per se, it’s just that with the forest being so cold they felt like they needed to stay close for warmth. But Poe doesn’t even react to the totally believable story (and why shouldn’t he believe it? It’s true), instead he stands frozen with a look of horror on his face. Shakily he raises a hand and mouths through lips white with terror, “gh-gh-gh-ghost.” Egad! For in front of them is indeed a ghost of a terrifyingly huge lady. Oh woe is he who grapples with such a monstrous phantom. Rich and Poe are ready to put their famous quick twitch muscles to the test when suddenly the ghost speaks, “Hellur.” Rich and Poe chuckle and even Kilgorn is amused because, as he says, “the ghost said hellur when saying hello.” Suddenly they are at ease, as if they’ve been reunited with an old friend, “Hellur to you, too,” says Rich but the ghost just looks cross and starts to lay into them about their general behavior. Daaaaang, this ghost got sass. Just as it’s finishing a story about prostituting themselves and running from the fuzz back in the day Poe is able to quickly interject and ask about Nic Cage’s Journal (all rights reserved) and the Great Nut. The ghost recoils and crosses herself. “We don’t speak about the Book of Shadows in these woods.” That’s right! We are watching the follow-up to the 1999 smash hit The Blair Witch Project which was turned around so fast that they couldn’t even figure out whether they wanted to try to capture the magic or do something totally new. By all accounts they instead made a garbled mess that destroyed what could have been a franchise. Nice one. Let’s go!

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) – BMeTric: 83.7; Notability: 29 

(Holy crap, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a film so slowly creep downward over time! That is really a new one. Like people just became more convinced of it over time that this was a generic piece of trash. The notability is also off the chart. That is huge for a found footage horror film I think … I suppose because everyone involved in the original became famous afterwards.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – “The Blair Witch Project” was perhaps one of a kind. Its success made a sequel inevitable, but this is not the sequel, I suspect, anyone much wanted. The opening scenes–the documentary showing the townspeople affected by the first film–is a more promising approach, because instead of trying to cover similar ground, it goes outside the first film and makes its own stand.

(This review is a bit better and more forgiving than I would have expected. In the context of the original, everything I’ve read is that it is just a regular horror film, so maybe this review is more right than the general consensus. Should the film be compared to the original? Maybe not, maybe it is fine to be fine on its own merits.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WtrIgbvsWU/

(Forget everything you’ve heard … like if you’ve heard this film is a generic piece of garbage, just go ahead and forget that … like it might not be, right? This does look like garbage though, what a perplexing decision.)

Directors – Joe Berlinger – (Known For: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: Famous documentary filmmaker for the Paradise Lost series about the West Memphis Three. Won an Emmy for the first one, nominated for an Emmy for the second, and nominated for an Oscar for the third.)

Writers – Daniel Myrick (characters) – (Known For: The Blair Witch Project; Skyman; Future BMT: The Objective; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: Developed the lore and screenplay for the original film in 1994 (which is when the original film was set) directly out of film school.)

Eduardo Sánchez (characters) – (Known For: The Blair Witch Project; Lovely Molly; Future BMT: Exists; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: Born in Cuba. Reportedly him and Myrick were paid $4 million as a result of the success of the original film.)

Dick Beebe (written by) – (Future BMT: House on Haunted Hill; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: His last film credit. He created the television series The Lazarus Man starring Robert Urich, which appears to be notable because TNT cancelled it because Urich was diagnosed with cancer and there was a lawsuit filed concerning the scandal.)

Joe Berlinger (written by) – (BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: This is the only non-fiction film he has a writing credit on.)

Actors – Jeffrey Donovan – (Known For: Honest Thief; Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile; Sicario; Changeling; Sicario: Day of the Soldado; Sleepers; Shot Caller; Hitch; J. Edgar; Villains; LBJ; Wonder Woman: Bloodlines; Come Early Morning; Believe in Me; Future BMT: Lucy in the Sky; Vegas Vacation; Extinction; Bait; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Notes: Has a black belt in Shotokan karate. Probably most notable as the main character in Burn Notice.)

Stephen Barker Turner – (BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Notes: Seems to have mostly done one off episodes in his career, including single episodes of Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. The trifecta!!)

Erica Leerhsen – (Known For: Magic in the Moonlight; Anything Else; Hollywood Ending; Little Athens; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: Seems like she’s mostly stopped acting at this point. Had a recurring role on The Guardian in the early 2000s.)

Budget/Gross – $15,000,000 / Domestic: $26,437,094 (Worldwide: $47,737,094)

(Obviously not what they would have been expecting. But also not the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It probably turned a profit just because the budget was small.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (15/108): This sequel to Blair Witch Project is all formula and no creativity, mechanically borrowing elements from the original and other horror movies.

(There it is. Yeah this is the consensus I heard. That it is just another horror film. Given that I’ll be watching the original directly before I suppose I will actually find out. Reviewer Highlight: Even formula-slasher-pic fans are likely to find this hectic, unfocused effort a letdown. – Dennis Harvey, Variety)

Poster – Blair Witch Too

(I like the font and I kinda like the boldness of the tree ring motif of the whole thing. I just think it looks a little cheap. Like I look at it and go “that’s not a good movie” so if that’s what they were going for then I guess it’s a success. B.)

Tagline(s) – Evil Doesn’t Die. (C)

(I don’t see a tagline on the poster which is a ding, but this one is on imdb so I’ll go with it. I guess I kinda like the vibe and the shortness of it, but a little generic.)

Keyword – supernatural horror

Top 10: Sinister (2012), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Doctor Sleep (2019), The Conjuring (2013), Poltergeist (1982), Insidious (2010), The Lost Boys (1987), Final Destination (2000), The Sixth Sense (1999), Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Future BMT: 77.9 Boogeyman (2005), 76.2 Paranormal Activity 4 (2012), 70.0 The Unborn (2009), 64.3 The Darkness (2016), 64.1 The Grudge 2 (2006), 64.1 The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008), 61.9 Poltergeist III (1988), 61.6 Soul Survivors (2001), 61.0 Legion (2010), 60.9 Darkness Falls (2003);

BMT: The Haunting (1999), Ghost Ship (2002), Silent Hill (2006), Hellboy (2019), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Rings (2017), Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000), The Fog (2005), The Ring 2 (2005), An American Haunting (2005), Troll (1986), One Missed Call (2008), The Gallows (2015), The Devil Inside (2012), Bless the Child (2000)

(I think it is fairly obvious Blair Witch Project helped kick off the big boom in the 2000s. And man they were huuuuuge in the 00s. I bet the drop more recently is just that they started not involving as many famous names as they did in the 2000s.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Erica Leerhsen is No. 3 billed in Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 and No. 3 billed in Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), which also stars Jessica Biel (No. 1 billed) who is in Valentine’s Day (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 1 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Next we can get the HoE Number down to 18.

Notes – Unhappy with Joe Berlinger’s version of the film, Artisan opted to re-shoot certain scenes to add more “traditional” horror movie elements and re-cut the movie to make it more commercial. Berlinger repeatedly states on the DVD commentary that he doesn’t like the changes that were made and that they ruin the ambiguous tone of the plot.

Artisan Entertainment, who distributed the original movie, was keen to produce a sequel quickly, to take advantage of its predecessor’s popularity. However, Haxan Films, the producers of the first film (which included original directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez), weren’t comfortable working on a sequel so quickly, and preferred to wait until the hype had diminished a bit. Artisan (who had the rights) then decided to produce the sequel without Haxan Films. Myrick and Sanchez were given an executive producers credit, but both men later stated that they had very little creative input, and disliked the final film.

The film was to originally open with Frank Sinatra’s song “Witchcraft” to give off a lighter atmosphere before the plot unfolded but Artisan Entertainment forced Berlinger to instead include Marilyn Manson’s “Disposable Teens” for the opening scene for a punk rock feel instead. (The soundtrack is an abomination BTW)

When the tour group picks up Kim Diamond in the cemetery, she is lying on a tomb marked “Treacle.” According to the companion mockumentary Curse of the Blair Witch (1999), Eileen Treacle was one of the Blair Witch’s alleged victims who was drowned in a creek in Burkittsville in August 1825.

When Erica Leerhsen had originally auditioned for Kim Director’s role, she went to the audition with short blonde hair and as director Joe Berlinger described “completely Gothed-out”, but ultimately was given the supporting role of “Erica”. It was Joe Berlinger who decided to make her a longhaired redhead.

In the scene in which Jeffrey is sitting at a table in the madhouse and the camera moves towards him you can see an old s/w photograph hanging on the wall. This is a photo of Kyle Brody, the 8th kid kidnapped by Rustin Parr and the only one who wasn’t killed by him. Kyle Brody was the main witness in the Rustin Parr trial and he described how the children were killed. He spent most of his life in a madhouse. So the madhouse in which Jeffrey lives could be exactly the one in which Kyle Brody spent his life. As the photo shows Kyle Brody as a grown-up, it was shot in the madhouse, too.

The symbols referred to as “The Witches Alphabet” are actually Norse runic symbols known as The Elder Futhaark.

One of the Symbols written on the walls of the Rustin Parr Ruins, the one that looks like ‘Þ’, is the Celtic Symbol Thorn. The Bringer of Death (Somewhat famous in horror circles because the Cult of Thorn because a big part of the Halloween franchise and a reason Michael Myers is effectively immortal in the original series).

In the dream when the baby is submerged in the water, watch the lower right-hand side of the screen. You’ll see the shadow of a stickman emerge and come higher into the frame.

Unlike its predecessor, this film is not presented in a found footage format. It is also the only film in the series not filmed in found footage as Blair Witch (2016), the third film, is presented in this format.

Joe Berlinger: appears as Burkittsville resident “Joe” during the documentary opening sequence.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (Bill Carraro, 2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Joe Berlinger, 2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, Dick Beebe, Joe Berlinger, 2001)