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)

Boo! A Madea Halloween Preview

“The great nut?” Rich scoffs incredulously, “you serious?” He insists to Poe that this is all absurd. Yes, it’s true, that tiny cute squirrel scroll was rather specific in how they were meant to cure “the Great One,” and indeed that aptly describes our boy Cage, but I mean… this is all vague scroll nonsense… right? But Poe isn’t so sure. Looking around he mutters, “the great nut… the… great nut,” when suddenly a burly man on a horse rides up and rears gallantly into the sky. “Did I hear you mutter something about the great nut?” he says happily, “oh boy! I knew today would be a wonderful day where I could help someone! It felt a bit like… oh, I don’t know.” He scratches his head happily. “Destiny?” Rich hesitantly offers. “Yes! Like destiny. Oh boy! This’ll be fun and we’ll be BFFs forever. My name is Kilgorn from Abelstar and I had a dream about the great nut. Isn’t that fun?!” He’s bursting with glee. Rich and Poe shuffle their feet awkwardly for a moment before filling the silence with a soft affirmative. It will be fun. “I know! Hooray! Follow me! My dream told me to ride this way” and with that Kilgorn begins to ride off through the woods. Rich and Poe look at each other and sigh. “Maybe Nic Cage can tough it out without Nic Cage’s Journal (all rights reserved)?” Poe suggests but they both sigh again and start following their new BFFF Kilgorn. Up ahead they see him stopped at the edge of a wood. He’s quaking with fear and grabs Rich and Poe close against his bare, greasy chest. “This was also in my dream… or more like my nightmare,” he says, voice quavering, and then points into the woods, “gh-gh-gh-ghosts.” That’s right! We’re doing a special BMT Live (ish (not really)) by breaking out of the cycle in order to grab a festive Halloween edition of BMT. Gotta hit up some sweet Madea action with Boo! A Madea Halloween. I’m not sure where we stand on Madea given our up and down experience with the franchise, so maybe this’ll help us figure that out. Let’s go!

Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016) – BMeTric: 52.6; Notability: 17 

(Honestly? That is really impressive. You’d think the legion that is Perry’s fanbase who maybe do a halfway decent job at defending the rating. But then again, they would undoubtedly have to counter a brigade of racists who tend to deflate any black lead film. Still a bit surprising at how low the score is. As is the notability, but it was filmed in six days, so there are only so many famous people you could get involved.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – At 103 minutes, this film has way too much dead weight. Scenes are repeated over and over, and some of the acting would not cut it in a school play. But in the rare moments when “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween” is firing on all cylinders, it displays a cleverness which hints that, with more time and a few more iterations of the script, this might have been a good movie. For the most part, the film has a rushed, haphazard quality that makes it feel like a selfish cash grab by its creator. But I know better; Perry’s love for his audience radiates off the screen and is returned just as powerfully by his fans. The real problem isn’t that he’s preaching to a built-in choir, it’s that the choir too easily forgives cinematic trespasses like this. That’s the Christian thing to do, I suppose, but I’m going to be a heathen here. Madea would understand.

(Interesting. The entire review is actually pretty fascinating, as is Tyler Perry and his creation Madea. A character created essentially for someone who is the opposite for myself. I try hard not to presume much about what we are watching because of that. We’ve seen two other Madea films, and this is poised to be the worst one we’ve seen.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sPHseSGr9Q/

(Oh boy. Part of that actually looks kind of funny. The idea of random characters being in various horror films is just amusing. Like, imagine 23 Jump Street just being those characters in Friday the 13th or something? That’s a funny idea. Also Bella Thorne is in this film? That’s wild.)

Directors – Tyler Perry – (Known For: Why Did I Get Married?; I Can Do Bad All by Myself; The Family That Preys; Future BMT: Madea Goes to Jail; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Meet the Browns; Madea’s Witness Protection; Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Nobody’s Fool; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Good Deeds; A Fall from Grace; Acrimony; Daddy’s Little Girls; For Colored Girls; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor; A Madea Christmas; The Single Moms Club; Notes: Notably started out writing while living in his car. He parlayed a single play into a playhouse, and then a multimedia empire. He is estimated to now be worth nearly $1 billion, and will likely cross that threshold relatively soon as he makes $80 million a year himself from a deal with CBS.)

Tyler Perry Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 2014 for A Madea Christmas; and in 2018 for Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Nominee for Worst Director in 2013 for Good Deeds, and Madea’s Witness Protection; in 2014 for A Madea Christmas, and Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor; and in 2017 for Boo! A Madea Halloween; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, Worst Actress, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for A Madea Family Funeral in 2020; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Combo for A Madea Christmas in 2014; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2013 for Alex Cross, and Good Deeds; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Combo for Boo! A Madea Halloween in 2017; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Madea’s Witness Protection in 2013; and Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween in 2018;

Writers – Tyler Perry (written by) – (Known For: Why Did I Get Married?; I Can Do Bad All by Myself; The Family That Preys; Future BMT: Madea Goes to Jail; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Meet the Browns; Madea’s Witness Protection; Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Nobody’s Fool; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Good Deeds; A Fall from Grace; Acrimony; Daddy’s Little Girls; For Colored Girls; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor; A Madea Christmas; The Single Moms Club; Diary of a Mad Black Woman; Notes: I think he currently has maybe six television shows on the air. He has produced nearly 1000 episodes of television in general, which also likely make an enormous amount of money for streaming rights alone.)

Actors – Tyler Perry – (Known For: Gone Girl; Star Trek; Vice; Why Did I Get Married?; I Can Do Bad All by Myself; The Family That Preys; The Star; Future BMT: Madea Goes to Jail; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Meet the Browns; Madea’s Witness Protection; Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Good Deeds; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows; A Fall from Grace; Brain on Fire; BMT: Alex Cross; Boo! A Madea Halloween; A Madea Christmas; The Single Moms Club; Diary of a Mad Black Woman; Notes: He has received multiple lifetime achievement awards for his achievements in television and movie production, including the 2020 Governor’s Award from the Primetime Emmys.)

Cassi Davis – (Known For: School Daze; Future BMT: Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Daddy’s Little Girls; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for A Madea Family Funeral in 2020; Notes: Almost entirely known for the roles of Aunt Bam (various Tyler Perry films), Ellen Payne (House of Payne) and also appeared as a voice in The PJs prior to that.)

Patrice Lovely – (Future BMT: Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; A Madea Family Funeral; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Notes: Was the ringmaster for the UniverSoul Circus for years prior to acting with Perry on stage as Hattie.)

Budget/Gross – $20,000,000 / Domestic: $73,206,343 (Worldwide: $74,827,344)

(Given it was filmed in 6 days I’m going to guess that $18 million of that goes directly into Tyler Perry’s pocket. $1 million is for the crew and sets. $1 million for all of the other actors. And then Tyler Perry likely makes another $35 million straight cash. I bet he makes like $50 million dollars when he releases a movie … my god!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (8/43): Boo! A Madea Halloween won’t win Tyler Perry’s long-running franchise many new converts — but at nine films and counting, it hardly needs to.

(Shockingly high critic score now that I look at it. Looking through it the good reviews seem like a mix of “the least religious and thus most tolerable of the Madea films” and “Madea fans will like it.” Reviewer Highlight: Madea remains a distinctive, weirdly compelling character. Maybe someday Perry will make a good comedy for her. – Jesse Hassenger, AV Club)

Poster – Happy Hellurween

(I like my title actually. But this poster makes sense. It’s selling Madea, it’s got some sweet font, etc. I guess I’d like it if they were a bit more stylish in bringing in more orange. A little amateurish in that way. But still good. B.)

Tagline(s) – Trick or treat, fools. (B+)

(This is solid. You could have also used my Happy Hellur-ween. But don’t worry about it, not a big deal. This is catchy and I think it works quite well. Gives you the attitude of the film in a short and sweet package.)

Keyword – halloween

Top 10: Hocus Pocus (1993), The Addams Family (1991), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), The Karate Kid (1984), Addams Family Values (1993), Halloween (2018), Casper (1995), House of 1000 Corpses (2003), Zodiac (2007)

Future BMT: 92.3 Son of the Mask (2005), 82.5 Halloween: Resurrection (2002), 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 69.3 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), 67.0 Halloween II (2009), 63.7 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 63.6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 60.7 Skinwalkers (2006), 58.9 Pet Sematary II (1992), 57.7 The Next Best Thing (2000);

BMT: Thir13en Ghosts (2001), The Predator (2018), Batman Forever (1995), Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016), Made of Honour (2008), Deadly Friend (1986), Town & Country (2001)

(The Predator is a real deal Halloween film. The others I can’t really remember … Deadly Friend is I think, I think I remember someone smashing a pumpkin. Oh yeah, and Warren Beatty is dressed as someone in Town & Country, wild. The notability plot is somewhat inexplicable … maybe just holiday films in general have become smaller affairs with horror films dominating Halloween and blockbusters dominating Christmas? I would believe it I suppose.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Tyler Perry is No. 1 billed in Boo! A Madea Halloween and No. 1 billed in Alex Cross, which also stars Jean Reno (No. 3 billed) who is in Rollerball (No. 5 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 5 + 1 + 2 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Shot in six days.

Tyler Perry says the idea was conceived after watching the film Top Five (2014). In that film, Chris Rock’s character enters a movie theater and sees movie goers lined up for a fictional Tyler Perry movie about Madea fighting ghosts in a haunted house. That movie was also called “Boo!”

The film netted $74 million between domestic and international runs and $72 million of that was domestic. Having only a six-day shooting schedule, it made roughly $12.3 million per day of shooting.

YouTubers Liza Koshy, known by her fans as “little brown girl,” Mike Tornabene, a.k.a. “Dom Mazzeti,” Yousef Erakat, a.k.a. “FouseyTUBE,” YouTubers Kian Lawley and J.C. Caylen all have roles in the film (I combined a bunch of notes here. I wonder if this was a move to pull in a built in audience, or whether this was just because YouTubers are incredibly cheap actors …)

In the scene where BJ walks through the living room, the actor is holding the iPad of the film’s script supervisor which happened to have a PDF of the script on the screen as the prop was improvised as cameras started rolling on the scene.

While both Bam and Hattie call Madea by her given name, Bam also calls her ‘Dea’, and Hattie calls her ‘Ma’.

The first film in the franchise to feature Hattie and the second film in the franchise to feature Aunt Bam.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Tyler Perry, 2017)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Combo (Tyler Perry, 2017)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Tyler Perry, 2017)

Red Sonja Preview

“How… how are we talking to you?” Rich asks the small squirrel that has appeared in front of them. “Destiny,” it whispers in importance, dancing excitedly on its tiny feet, “it is foretold in the ancient scroll. Come.” Its eyes are shining and it hurries off, occasionally turning back and beckoning them forth. Rich and Poe shrug their shoulders. What’s one more adventure? Besides, Nic Cage needs saving and this, however bizarre, is their best lead. Upon arriving at the squirrel’s tree they see that word has already spread, for hundreds of squirrels are there chattering amongst themselves. A gray, wizened squirrel waddles up with a little tiny knobbly cane and it’s all very sweet and Rich and Poe both think it’s very cute. “It has been foretold,” the old squirrel wheezes, “in the ancient scroll,” it continues pulling out the cutest, tiniest scroll and unrolling it. Thank god they don’t have to read it themselves because it’s so little and tiny and they’d need tiny cute glasses to read it, which the old squirrel has. He clears his throat and reads, “It is foretold in this ancient scroll that there will come a time where the great one will fall ill and a pair of twins will arrive to seek out the cure. The Great Nut that will be broken and through its shattering will clear the bowels of humanity.” The bad movie twins frown. “And with a mighty expulsion of putrid air and waste, which is foretold in this scroll, the world will be empty and the movement satisfactory.” The old squirrel hacks and coughs with the effort of speaking and really this whole thing is a little less cute once it’s all laid out like that. Recovering, it squeaks out a final, “Destiny,” before waving them away. That’s right! We’re watching the Conan the Barbarian adjacent sword and sandals film Red Sonja starring a new-on-the-scene Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold (but not playing Conan for some reason). Let’s see if 35 years have aged this fantasy action film into a fine wine. Let’s go!

Red Sonja (1985) – BMeTric: 60.0; Notability: 33 

(Surprisingly low. I guess I’m not surprised it has been rising with the number of votes though. I feel like these cheesy 80s properties are ripe for cult status. Very high notability given though considering it looks like garbage.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Spectacularly silly sword-and-sorcery saga with female lead, based on pulp writings of Robert E. Howard (of Conan fame). Might amuse juvenile viewers, but only point of interest for adults is deciding who gives the worse performance, Nielsen or villainess Bergman. Schwarzenegger has a brief guest spot.

(I don’t think Arnold’s guest sport is all that brief. I think he’s in like half the film. This feels like a review that was written much closer to the time of the film’s release. Somewhat interesting that he gave the same score to Conan the Destroyer, which was a genuinely terrible film from what I can recall.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUHsZEo4I24/

(They basically go all out on “THIS IS A CONAN FILM” … but he’s Lord Kalidor don’t worry about it. Man they really don’t make films like this anymore. It is basically a pulp novel come to life!)

Directors – Richard Fleischer – (Known For: Soylent Green; Tora! Tora! Tora!; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; Fantastic Voyage; The Vikings; 10 Rillington Place; Compulsion; Mr. Majestyk; The Boston Strangler; Barabbas; See No Evil; The Last Run; The Narrow Margin; Violent Saturday; Future BMT: Amityville 3-D; The Jazz Singer; Doctor Dolittle; Mandingo; Million Dollar Mystery; The Incredible Sarah; BMT: Red Sonja; Conan the Destroyer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for The Jazz Singer in 1981; Notes: )

Writers – Robert E. Howard (based on the character created by) – (Known For: Conan the Barbarian; Solomon Kane; Future BMT: Kull the Conqueror; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Red Sonja; Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Sadly killed himself on the night his mother died when he was 30 years old. Was friends with H. P. Lovecraft and one of the Lovecraft Circle.)

Clive Exton (written by) – (Known For: 10 Rillington Place; Isadora; Future BMT: The Awakening; BMT: Red Sonja; Notes: His last major motion picture. He wrote 21 episodes of Poirot, which is great and I highly recommend.)

George MacDonald Fraser (written by) – (Known For: Octopussy; The Three Musketeers; The Four Musketeers; The Return of the Musketeers; BMT: Red Sonja; Notes: Created Harry Flashman, the bully of Tom Brown’s School Days. The character appeared in the film Royal Flash starring Malcolm McDowell.)

Roy Thomas (comic book) (uncredited) – (Known For: Logan; Fire and Ice; BMT: Red Sonja; Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Wrote for a bunch of comic companies, but probably most notably Marvel. Credited on Morbius, and Captain Marvel among many others because of that. Wrote three sword and sorcery films in 1983, 1984, and 1985.)

Barry Windsor-Smith (comic book) (uncredited) – (BMT: Red Sonja; Notes: Notably wrote on the Weapon X storyline for Marvel comics in addition to the Conan the Barbarian comics.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: Terminator: Dark Fate; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; The Terminator; Total Recall; Commando; Predator; Dave; True Lies; Kindergarten Cop; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; Conan the Barbarian; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Escape Plan; The Running Man; Twins; Welcome to the Jungle; The Last Stand; The 6th Day; Maggie; Future BMT: Hercules in New York; Junior; Collateral Damage; Jingle All The Way; End of Days; Cactus Jack; The Iron Mask; Eraser; Terminator Genisys; Last Action Hero; The Kid & I; BMT: Batman & Robin; Red Sonja; 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: A little odd he gets top billing in the film. Anyhoo, he just had heart surgery, but is in recovery and feeling “fantastic”. Arnold is the best.)

Brigitte Nielsen – (Known For: Creed II; Beverly Hills Cop II; Future BMT: Rocky IV; BMT: Red Sonja; Cobra; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst New Star for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst New Star for Red Sonja in 1986; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 1986 for Red Sonja; in 1987 for Cobra; and in 1990 for Bye Bye Baby; Notes: Famously was engaged to Sly Stallone during Rocky IV and then married soon after. She’s famously 6’1’’ which is part of the reason they approached her for this film.)

Sandahl Bergman – (Known For: Conan the Barbarian; All That Jazz; Airplane II: The Sequel; Hell Comes to Frogtown; Future BMT: Xanadu; The Singing Detective; Mame; BMT: Red Sonja; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Red Sonja in 1986; Notes: Oddly, much like Arnold, she played two different characters in this and the original Conan the Barbarian. Apparently she was originally asked to play Sonja … I wonder with Arnold and her in the two leading roles whether they would have more explicitly suggested they were Conan and Valerie.)

Budget/Gross – $17.9 million / Domestic: $6,948,633 (Worldwide: $6,951,415)

(Yeah that’s a disaster. I’m not sure I believe the nearly $20 million budget though, but perhaps that explains why they pumped the brakes on King Conan, the third film that was eventually turned into Kull the Conqueror … oh yeah I forgot we have a final Conan film to watch!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (4/26): Dull, poorly directed, and badly miscast, Red Sonja is an uninspired conclusion to Schwarzenegger’s barbarian trilogy.

(Most reviews appear to lament how miscast Nielsen is, and how if she were the least bit charming or funny the film would end up being a light romp. Instead it is a deathly serious disaster. Reviewer Highlight: Red Sonja returns to those olden days when women were women and the menfolk stood around with funny hats on until called forth to be whacked at. – Variety)

Poster – Red Skloga

(Yes. … … oh you want more? This fits a mold that makes my brain happy and I wish I could go back in time, ask for a large poster for my room, and hang it there because it’s cool. It feels like the cover of a book I’d read and it would be kinda terrible but also I’d like reading it. So I don’t even think I can give an unbiased opinion on this so I’ll rate it J. Stands for “Jamie likes this.”)

Tagline(s) – A woman and a warrior that became a legend. (C-)

(Bringing me down to Earth. I can judge this without bias and I don’t like it because it’s bad. It’s too long and doesn’t flow. It isn’t clever and is kinda vague.)

Keyword – sword and sorcery

Top 10: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Troy (2004), Dune (1984), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Princess Bride (1987), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), 300 (2006), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), Stardust (2007)

Future BMT: 65.9 Highlander: Endgame (2000), 53.2 The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990), 50.6 Your Highness (2011), 49.7 The Last Legion (2007), 46.9 Kull the Conqueror (1997), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 44.4 Wrath of the Titans (2012), 42.9 Hercules (1983), 41.2 Clash of the Titans (2010), 34.4 Il mondo di Yor (1983);

BMT: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), Hellboy (2019), Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), The Last Airbender (2010), Conan the Barbarian (2011), Masters of the Universe (1987), Seventh Son (2014), The 13th Warrior (1999), Eragon (2006), Conan the Destroyer (1984), Red Sonja (1985), Season of the Witch (2011), Dungeons & Dragons (2000), In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)

(I mean … I wouldn’t count the Harry Potter films personally. But certainly the genre had a moment with Lord of the Rings in the early 00s. And now they are having a big moment on television with Game of Thrones and now the upcoming Wheel of Time (which I hope is good), a reboot of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and things like The Witcher. NeverEnding Story II is a wild one from the BMT list.)

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 Red Sonja 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. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character was originally intended to be a reprisal of Conan, star of the comic book in which Red Sonja first appeared, but the film did not have the rights to this name. An unofficial explanation endorsed by fans is that Kalidor is one of Conan’s “traveling names,” a common feature of multi-national mythical/legendary heroes such as Zeus (a.k.a. Jupiter) and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Gandalf (a.k.a. Mithrandir). (Oh, I just thought they were trying to get that Conan sheen while not having to deal with it being a Conan movie explicitly. Weird they didn’t have the rights)

Arnold Schwarzenegger eschews this movie as one of his worst, yet he (laughingly) claims that it’s an excellent disciplinary tool for his children. “I tell them, if they get on my bad side, they’ll be forced to watch Red Sonja (1985) ten times in a row. It must be working, because none of my kids has ever given me much trouble.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger signed up for a glorified cameo, as a favor to producer Dino De Laurentiis. Much to his surprise, he was on the set for four weeks, three weeks longer than expected. He discovered after watching a rough cut of the movie that his role had been expanded to co-star, thanks to crafty angles and multiple cameras. Soon after, Schwarzenegger decided to terminate his 10-year contract with De Laurentiss. (Ha! See I knew the Maltin note was kind of wrong. He’s in like half the movie.)

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brigitte Nielsen had an affair during filming. (Future wife of Sly … I wonder if there is any bad blood about that stuff)

Sigourney Weaver was considered for Red Sonja. (That would have been amazing)

It is commonly believed that Robert E. Howard created the character of Red Sonja in one of his Conan short stories. He actually created Red Sonya, who appeared in “Shadow of the Vulture,” a story set in 16th-century Turkey with no Conan connections. She was the namesake of the famous “Red Sonja” who first appeared in a Conan comic book written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Barry Windsor-Smith.

A remake was announced in 2009, with Robert Rodriguez directing and Rose McGowan to star as Red Sonja. When Conan the Barbarian (2011) failed at the box office, Rodriguez and McGowan backed out of the project. As of 2015, the remake is in development hell. (… but Rose McGowan was the bad guy in the 2011 Conan film … I don’t get it)

Sandahl Bergman was initially cast as the title character. She decided to portray Queen Gedren to help avoid typecasting. (Poor decision, would have been cooler with the Conan connection there)

It took Dino De Laurentiis almost a year to find an actress “Amazonian” enough to play the title character. Eight weeks before production was set to begin, he saw Brigitte Nielsen on the cover of a fashion magazine. The 21-year-old native of Helsingør, Denmark, in Milan for a modeling job, soon found herself on a plane heading for Rome and a successful screen test.

On a 2015 episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, soap opera actress Eileen Davidson revealed that she auditioned for the role and was actually runner-up to Brigitte Nielsen.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brigitte Nielsen, 1986)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brigitte Nielsen, 1986)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Sandahl Bergman, 1986)

House of Wax Preview

As the gamemasters cackle and begin the unnecessarily long process of putting the two pieces of the Dongle back together, Rich begins to hear a whistle. It steadily grows louder until even the gamemasters stop and look around. A lightning strike suddenly hits the Earth. It quakes and Poe emerges from a crack. “Im… impossible,” John Travolta gasps in horror. Rich and Poe clasp hands in a Predator high five. “I’m here, brother,” Poe says, “now let’s pound some dweebs.” While Rich and Poe’s greasy abs, gleaming in the sunlight, would normally strike fear into anyone’s hearts (and in fact, even more so now as Poe emerged from the Earth entirely in the nude), the gamemasters simply smile. “Silly brothers, you have no chance against the power of the twins,” screams Travolta in crazed glee, but when he attempts to smash the pieces of the Dongle together an unseen power prevents him. “Wha wha whaaaaaa?” he says like a total dumbo. The pieces of the dongle are suddenly wrenched from his hands and float over to Rich and Poe. A look of peace is on their face as they use their new found powers to provide an anticlimactic ten minute long expository monologue directly into the gamemasters’ heads. It’s incredibly detailed and reveals formerly unknown facts about Rich and Poe’s upbringing on the bayou. It’s a tale of twins, separated at birth, one taken in by a rich family, the other a poor, but forever linked by their sense of justice and attitude towards rulez. They are and have forever been… the Bad Movie Twins. And with that they place the pieces of the Dongle together and totally pound those dweebs. The ceremonial chamber melts under the intense power of the Dongle. Looks like it’s time to blow this joint. That’s right! We are transitioning to a very special 2020 year in review cycle by watching House of Wax (2005). I’m sure you’re all like “but wait, that wasn’t made in 2020!” and you’d be right. Because of world events there just aren’t that many major motion pictures for the year. So instead we are doing what we are calling Hindsight is 2020. We are mixing together some of the films that did get released early in the year with a retrospective look at films released 5, 10, 15, etc. years ago and a few holiday films to boot. It’ll be an extravaganza the likes of which we’ll (hopefully) never see again. Let’s go!

The literary agent looks in fear at the two cyborg men. “Wh-what do you want with me?” he asks in fear and then looks down at the basket they have brought into the office, “and what’s in the basket?” he wonders aloud. “Oh, just something I think you’ll be very interested in,” the two cyborg men say before they turn and take off their stylish fedoras to reveal none other than… Sticks and Stones! Bum bum bum. That’s right! We are finishing our Bring a Friend cycle by partaking in the lesser known horror franchise Basket Case 2. It’s a little questionable just how bad some of these films are as they have niche audiences that love them, but can’t we just watch a weird horror sequel involving a tiny deformed twin in a basket in peace? Let’s go!

House of Wax (2005) – BMeTric: 58.0; Notability: 34 

(Nice, 2005 is basically the oldest a movie can be and still see the beginning of the film’s release on the internet archive it looks like. I find it interesting that it opened so low … maybe finicky horror fans slamming a not-great horror film? Maybe people trying to brigade a Paris Hilton film? Maybe back then IMDb was much more of a movie aficionado’s site. It is hard to tell, but still pleasantly low rating even today. Fun trajectory.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – The Dead Teenager Movie has grown up. The characters in “House of Wax” are in their 20s and yet still repeat the fatal errors of all the “Friday the 13th” kids who checked into Camp Crystal Lake and didn’t check out. … Where the movie excels is in its special effects and set design. Graham “Grace” Walker masterminds a spectacular closing sequence in which the House of Wax literally melts down, and characters sink into stairs, fall through floors and claw through walls. There is also an eerie sequence in which a living victim is sprayed with hot wax and ends up with a finish you’d have to pay an extra four bucks for at the car wash.

(I agree with Ebert about the final scene. I saw this film long ago and that is, indeed, an impressive set piece in a way. I’m more surprised, though, that he didn’t reject the film flat out as torture porn garbage. Because it is pretty close to Hostel-level in how it revels in gore. Unpleasant in my opinion, just not my cup of tea as far as horror is concerned. This is, of course, based on my memory of watching it over 15 years ago.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DnFKwVcM10/

(Pretty standard. Having watched it a few times now I can say they are being a bit deceptive about the set up for the film. The set up is epically stupid. But it gives the right vibe: Texas Chainsaw Massacre basically.)

Directors – Jaume Collet-Serra – (Known For: Orphan; The Shallows; The Commuter; Non-Stop; Unknown; Run All Night; Future BMT: Goal II: Living the Dream; BMT: House of Wax; Notes: Tapped for Black Adam and Jungle Cruise, two upcoming Dwayne Johnson features. From Spain, and directs music videos under the mononym Juame.)

Writers – Charles Belden (story) – (Known For: House of Wax; Dracula’s Daughter; Mystery of the Wax Museum; Charlie Chan at the Opera; BMT: House of Wax; Notes: This is why I found it odd that people talk about the 1953 film as the predecessor, when this guy wrote the 1933 Mystery of the Wax Museum and gets a credit listed on IMDb on this and the 1953 film. The story is a lot closer for that film as well.)

Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes (screenplay) – (Known For: The Conjuring; The Conjuring 2; Future BMT: The Turning; The Reaping; The Crucifixion; BMT: House of Wax; Whiteout; Notes: You guessed it, they are twins! They are twins that wrote a horror film about twins. They also played twins in the movie Rad starring Lori Loughlin. They are part of the writing team for the Die Hard prequel McClane.)

Actors – Chad Michael Murray – (Known For: Freaky Friday; Max Winslow and the House of Secrets; Fruitvale Station; Camp Cold Brook; Future BMT: The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia; Survive the Night; Megiddo: The Omega Code 2; A Cinderella Story; Home of the Brave; Cavemen; Outlaws and Angels; BMT: Left Behind; House of Wax; A Madea Christmas; Notes: Most notable for his star turn on One Tree Hill. He never quite made it to being a movie star, but he’s done a ton of television. Apparently he was up for the Ryan Atwood role on The O.C. but turned it down to do One Tree Hill.)

Paris Hilton – (Known For: Zoolander; The Bling Ring; Snakes on a Plane; Repo! The Genetic Opera; Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!; Future BMT: The Hottie & the Nottie; Pledge This!; Raising Helen; Wonderland; BMT: The Cat in the Hat; House of Wax; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for The Hottie & the Nottie in 2009; Winner for Worst Supporting Actress in 2006 for House of Wax; and in 2009 for Repo! The Genetic Opera; and Winner for Worst Actress of the Decade in 2010 for House of Wax, Repo! The Genetic Opera, and The Hottie & the Nottie; Notes: The heiress of the Hilton fortune, but apparently has made around $300 million herself mostly through fragrance royalties overseas. Allegedly her antics caused her grandfather to donate 97% of his fortune to charity, thus costing her relatives billions in inheritance. Can’t say I’m crying a river over that, that sounds swell.)

Elisha Cuthbert – (Known For: The Girl Next Door; Love Actually; Old School; Goon: Last of the Enforcers; He Was a Quiet Man; Future BMT: Captivity; The Quiet; Just Before I Go; BMT: House of Wax; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Captivity in 2008; Notes: I think she’s still known for being Jack Bauer’s daughter on 24. But beyond that she also had a starring role on Happy Endings, and on Ashton Kutcher’s show The Ranch. Married to the professional hockey player Dion Phaneuf.)

Budget/Gross – $40,000,000 / Domestic: $32,064,800 (Worldwide: $68,766,121)

(Hmmmm, not great. I’m actually really surprised by this, usually horror films are money in the bank. I have two guesses. First, its word of mouth was so bad it torpedoed the release. This is most likely. Second, this is right around when things like Hostel were starting to come out and it ended up playing into a much more niche audience than the producers realized. This is maybe supported by Hostel, a film I feel is wildly successful and spawned multiple sequels, “only” made $47 million domestically. Saw II and The Ring 2 were released the same year and made far more despite being worse than Hostel … but maybe that is the sequel effect.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (41/158): Bearing little resemblance to the 1953 original, House of Wax is a formulaic but better-than-average teen slasher flick.

(I’m actually a bit surprised they even mention the original. The original really has nothing to do with this film. I don’t even really think they considered it a remake in any capacity, it just used the same name. Reviewer Highlight: Related to the 1953 Vincent Price film in name, embalming technique and Warner Bros. pedigree only, the new House of Wax is a dreary, predictable tale. – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Time)

Poster – House of Racks on Racks

(That house is making bank on those wax sculptures fo sho. This is just a flat out good poster. Creepy and getting me intrigued. I like the subtle color scheme and the font is just enough, although I would have enjoyed them melting a little too. A)

Tagline(s) – Prey. Slay. Display. (A+)

(I mean… that’s… I’m speechless. This is the creativity I want. Stay within the tried and true formula while also surprising me. Rule of three with a rhyme scheme?! Come on. A little hint of the gory details of the plot and do it all in three words?!?! It’s a masterclass.)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Great Outdoors (1988), House of Wax (2005), Lord of the Flies (1990), A Cinderella Story (2004), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 36.2 A Cinderella Story (2004), 31.0 It Takes Two (1995), 13.4 Little Women (2018);

BMT: House of Wax (2005), Double Impact (1991), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Father Figures (2017), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), Jack and Jill (2011), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), Pluto Nash (2002), Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), The Identical (2014)

(And with that we finish our twin cycle with eleven bona fide “twins” films. A wild success if I say so myself. It Takes Two is probably the only one on the list which is definitely “twins” and we should do. A Cinderella Story is close, but it is just the step sisters that are twins in that case (and it is really hard to tell if it is real or assumed online).)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Chad Michael Murray is No. 5 billed in House of Wax and No. 2 billed in Left Behind (2014), which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 5 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 15. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Aside from the title and the setting of a wax museum, this film has no connection to the original film House of Wax (1953) in terms of plot.

Jared Padalecki is one foot taller than co-star Elisha Cuthbert. To make herself appear taller in scenes where she and Padalecki would be filmed together, Cuthbert taped two-inch blocks of wood to the bottoms of her boots. This was only done during scenes where they would be shot from the knee and up.

Names mentioned in the script but not the film are the roadkill collector (Lester), and Carly and Nick’s last name (Jones). Chad Michael Murray (Nick), in a radio interview, was shocked to hear his character finally had a last name, and said that it was an ongoing debate on set.

The town of Ambrose was constructed in 10 weeks, and was modeled after a real town in Eritrea called Asmara. Asmara was built by the Italians in Africa during World War II in the Modern Style rather than the Deco Style, which was more popular at the time. (Whaaaaaa?)

On 26 June 2004, a sound stage being used for the film burned to the ground during a test of special-effects equipment. The fire, started by a candle, destroyed a studio at Warner Bros Movie World on Australia’s Gold Coast. One crew member was treated for burns to his arm, but no one else was injured.

Paris Hilton was actually the first to be cast for this film. The cast was then built around her. (Whaaaaaa?)

Though the film takes place in Florida, USA, the film was actually shot in Australia. (False, the film is set in Louisiana, they are coming from Florida. But whatever)

The first end credits song and one of the songs on the film’s soundtrack, “Helena” which is by the rock band, My Chemical Romance, was released about two months before the film’s release and was already a huge hit. (I love fun facts about made-for-film songs. Just bizarre how famous some songs ostensibly made for films can be over time despite the films themselves not being particularly notable)

This is Dark Castle Entertainment’s fifth film.

The film takes place in Florida. One of the filming locations of this film’s predecessor, House of Wax (1953), was Saint Augustine, Florida. (Wait … this is the second note to suggest it is in Florida. But I swear, they are travelling to Louisiana to see a Florida-LSU game? Maybe I have the direction wrong. This has to be confirmed!)

The film originally opened with a character named Jennifer (Emma Lung) stuck on an empty road with car troubles and is attacked and killed by either Bo or Vincent (this alternate opening is included as a special feature on the DVD and Blu-ray). Though this scene was scrapped, Jennifer’s presence still lingers in the film. She is the female sculpture that Vincent is working on and is later displayed with a pink dress and bouquet of flowers outside the movie theater. (WHAT? This is my exact criticism of the film. That they needed an early kill of a person you’d later see as a wax figure. Why scrap it?)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress of the Decade (Paris Hilton, 2010)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Paris Hilton, 2006)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2006)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (2006)

Blame it on Rio Preview

Bessy the Alligator deposits Rich and Poe on the sandy shores of the island paradise before swimming merrily about the lagoon. “It’s so blue!” exclaims Poe in wonder. “So natural and beautiful and not creepy at all, just like Steve said!” shout Rich in glee. They frolic naked about the island, wild and free. Suddenly a beautiful girl peeks out from behind a tree. “Why hello young lady,” says Rich, extending a hand to the girl. Her name is Rio and she was shipwrecked here long ago and is ignorant about the world. Thus begins an entirely platonic mentorship between Rich, Poe, and Rio. They teach her the important things in life, like how to navigate the tricky politics of the male-dominated world of police work and a patented Twin Chop. Rio shows them the sources of water, an ancient abandoned sacrifice location, and how to fish. “Excellent, all very useful,” they say as they help Rio steady the glock she’s using for target practice. Time passes and they come to consider Rio like a daughter. She’s growing up so fast and while they worry about the danger of her pursuing her dream to become a detective, they can’t help but swell with pride. Just then a rustling in the bushes startles them and they realize that they had nearly forgotten about Steve, Bessy, and the civil war on the mainland! Has it finally arrived? Instead a couple of old farts stumble out of the woods and into camp. Their eyes twinkle at the sight of Rio, now a young beautiful lady. “Hoo hoo, who’s this?” they chortle. After Rio introduces herself they nudge Rich and Poe, “guess we can always blame it on Rio, right?” Rich and Poe scowl… a war is about to begin after all. That’s right! We’re watching Blame it on Rio as a connection from Glimmer Man in our never ending chain of BMT films. This is a 1984 Michael Caine picture about an old man who gets caught up in an affair with his best friend’s seventeen year old daughter. No, I’m not kidding. That’s actually what this movie is about. It sounds terrible and upsetting. Let’s go!

Blame It on Rio (1984) – BMeTric: 28.8; Notability: 22 

(Shockingly high IMDb rating given the subject matter. The notability is about what I would expect … like 20+ means it was a movie likely released to theaters it seems like. So it is kind of the minimum number of people to have a film released to theaters.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Caine has a fling with his best friend’s sexy teenage daughter while vacationing in Rio de Janeiro. Caine’s terrific, Johnson is voluptuous, Demi is obviously intimidated in topless beach scenes, and the script is kind of a sniggering TV sitcom, with a heavy-handed music score of too-familiar records. Written by Charlie Peters and Larry Gelbart. Remake of the French film One Wild Moment.

(Hmmm can I watch One Wild Moment … I hope so. I am skeptical Caine is “terrific”, but he gets to what I was thinking the film was going to be like. A television film that stumbled its way into theaters. It sounds gross by the way.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZOTSkgIP80/

(Wow. First, that trailer legit has bare breasts in it which seems crazy. Second, that is just a sequence of random scenes and jokes from the film, and then at the end it just says “I mean … come and look at beautiful shots of Rio I guess? There is probably naked ladies, and it is vaguely funny.” Really doesn’t get into the creepiness of the whole thing, you barely know that the two girls are their children!)

Directors – Stanley Donen – (Known For: Singin’ in the Rain; Charade; Funny Face; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; Bedazzled; Two for the Road; Arabesque; On the Town; What Lola Wants; Indiscreet; Wedding Bells; The Pajama Game; The Grass Is Greener; It’s Always Fair Weather; Kismet; Staircase; Future BMT: Saturn 3; BMT: Blame It on Rio; Notes: Saturn 3 and Blame it on Rio went back to back and it basically ended the slow wind down of his career.)

Writers – Charlie Peters (screenplay) – (Known For: Ruth & Alex; My One and Only; Future BMT: 3 Men and a Little Lady; Krippendorf’s Tribe; My Father the Hero; Her Alibi; Music from Another Room; BMT: Hot to Trot; Blame It on Rio; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Hot to Trot in 1989; Notes: He was hired on to Columbia in a program developed to garner good PR For Columbia which was dealing with the David Begelman embezzlement scandal at the time.)

Larry Gelbart (screenplay) – (Known For: Tootsie; Bedazzled; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; The Thrill of It All; The Wrong Box; Neighbors; Oh, God!; BMT: Blame It on Rio; Notes: Created M*A*S*H. He was nominated for two Oscars, for Tootsie and Oh God!)

Claude Berri (based on an original screenplay by) (uncredited) – (Known For: Jean de Florette; Manon des Sources; Germinal; Ensemble, c’est tout; Une femme de ménage; Le vieil homme et l’enfant; Uranus; Lucie Aubrac; BMT: Blame It on Rio; Notes: Mostly a producer, and wrote a bunch of French films throughout the 70s and 80s. He also won an oscar for a short film.)

Actors – Michael Caine – (Known For: The Dark Knight; Inception; Interstellar; The Dark Knight Rises; The Prestige; Dunkirk; Kingsman: The Secret Service; Batman Begins; Secondhand Lions; Now You See Me; The Eagle Has Landed; Children of Men; Get Carter; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; A Bridge Too Far; Youth; Austin Powers in Goldmember; Miss Congeniality; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Going in Style; Future BMT: Bewitched; The Swarm; Beyond the Poseidon Adventure; Sherlock Gnomes; King of Thieves; Dear Dictator; Cars 2; The Hand; Now You See Me 2; Sleuth; Mr. Destiny; The Statement; Around the Bend; Surrender; Water; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; On Deadly Ground; Get Carter; The Last Witch Hunter; Blame It on Rio; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1981 for Dressed to Kill, and The Island; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Jaws: The Revenge in 1988; Notes: Was born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite in London and took his name from The Caine Mutiny.)

Michelle Johnson – (Known For: Death Becomes Her; Far and Away; Waxwork; Future BMT: Dr. Giggles; Gung Ho; BMT: The Glimmer Man; Blame It on Rio; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Blame It on Rio in 1985; Notes: She was born in Alaska and starred in a series of non-theatrical films mostly in the late-80s and early-90s. She was Model of the Year in 1982.)

Demi Moore – (Known For: A Few Good Men; Ghost; St. Elmo’s Fire; The Hunchback of Notre Dame; One Crazy Summer; Rough Night; Margin Call; G.I. Jane; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Disclosure; Mr. Brooks; The Joneses; About Last Night…; Bobby; Deconstructing Harry; Flawless; Beavis and Butt-Head Do America; Forsaken; We’re No Angels; Love Sonia; Future BMT: LOL; The Juror; The Butcher’s Wife; Indecent Proposal; The Seventh Sign; Corporate Animals; Very Good Girls; Half Light; Bunraku; Young Doctors in Love; Passion of Mind; Wild Oats; Blind; Happy Tears; Now and Then; BMT: Striptease; Nothing But Trouble; The Scarlet Letter; Blame It on Rio; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 1997 for Striptease, and The Juror; and in 1998 for G.I. Jane; Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Striptease in 1997; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1992 for Nothing But Trouble, and The Butcher’s Wife; in 1994 for Indecent Proposal; in 1996 for The Scarlet Letter; and in 2001 for Passion of Mind; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; Notes: Somewhat notably is quarantining with her children, husband … and ex-husband Bruce Willis? In a series of bizarre photos Bruce Willis is creeping in the background. Turns out that Bruce Willis’ wife and kid were supposed to be there as well, but got trapped in isolation due to unforeseen circumstances. Was also married to Ashton Kutcher for a time.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $18,644,570 (Worldwide: $18,644,570)

(Also amazingly high … what it up with like The Blue Lagoon and films like this pulling in $20+ million takes? It just seems so weird. Probably cost a mint to make, this is Michael Caine’s “I want to buy a house, what garbage film can I be in this year?” peak.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (2/24): It isn’t clear who is most culpable for this creepy comedy’s sheer wrongness, but its smarmy laughs and uncomfortable romance will leave audiences feeling guilty long afterward.

(Hahahahahah, yes this is what I expected when this film was chosen. It should be hidden from the world, never to be seen again … right after we watch it I guess. Reviewer Highlight: This movie is clearly intended to appeal to the prurient interests of dirty old men of all ages. – Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Aging Poorly

(What was happening with posters. Do you want me to sit and read it? Because I won’t. If you want to show me a girl in a bikini, just show me a girl in a bikini. Why the other 1000 things on the poster? Also why is the girl looking in a mirror. Someone needs to write an essay about this poster. D)

Tagline(s) – You can blame the night, blame the wine, blame the moon in her eyes, but when all else fails . . . you’d better . . . Blame it on Rio! (C)

(This is upsetting on a moral level. Slightly less upsetting on a tagline level. I mean, it’s got features of a tagline despite being like twelve words too long.)

Keyword – rio de janeiro brazil

Top 10: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), Charlie’s Angels (2019), Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), The Incredible Hulk (2008), 2012 (2009), Geostorm (2017), Fast & Furious 5 (2011), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), The Money Pit (1986), Cars 2 (2011)

Future BMT: 72.2 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), 70.3 Mr. Magoo (1997), 58.2 Wild Orchid (1989), 44.4 Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990), 30.6 Cars 2 (2011);

BMT: 2012 (2009), Geostorm (2017), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), Blame It on Rio (1984), Driven (2001)

(The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is so bad, and indeed has a decent part in Rio. I’m intrigued by Magoo. Magoo is probably so so bad. Rio really had a moment in the 2010’s … well I guess just Twilight came out then.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Demi Moore is No. 4 billed in Blame It on Rio and No. 1 billed in Striptease, which also stars Burt Reynolds (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 5 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 4 + 1 + 2 + 5 + 4 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Surrender we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – According to contemporary news stories, special parental consent was required in order to allow the nude scenes featuring Michelle Johnson, as she was not yet eighteen at the time they were filmed. Publicity for this movie also stated that Johnson was around two months out of high school when she was cast. (Oh no no no no no no no no no no no no no)

The theatrical movie poster, featuring the rear view of a girl in a “Brazilian cut” bikini caused such a stir that an altered, airbrushed version of the same poster with a less revealing bikini was issued. (Oh God, no no no no no no no no)

Director Stanley Donen has referred to the production of this movie in Brazil as being “horrendous”. Donen has said that principal photography was marred by excessive bureaucratic requirements for personal information for the cast and crew; endless rainfall falling on days, in which the forecast said otherwise; and the late, and even non-arrival of goods, products, and services.

Yvette Mimieux and her then-husband, Stanley Donen, saw the original French movie In a Wild Moment (1977) — aka Un moment d’égarement — in Santa Monica, California, and decided that they wanted to remake it, and quickly optioned the property for an American version, which became this movie. In 2015 a French remake called Un moment d’égarement was released.

According to Allmovie, “(film) critics aptly noticed (Michael) Caine’s apparent discomfort throughout the film”. (Hahahahaha)

Final theatrical movie directed by Stanley Donen.

Michelle Johnson said during a 1984 interview that it wasn’t until after she was cast that she learned her role involved total nudity. “My parents were a bit concerned about it and I was too,” she said. “I always wanted to have a career (in film) and I wanted to make the right moves at the right time. So we read the script and we talked to Stanley to find out exactly what his intentions were for the film. My parents looked into Stanley’s reputation and seemed satisfied because he makes such quality films.” Johnson said she was incredibly nervous the first time she took her clothes off and stood around naked in front of the cast and mostly male crew. It was like hundreds of eyes were all staring at her exposed body. But once the camera started rolling, she was fine. “When I was being Jennifer, when I was really focused in on that character, I wasn’t aware that I was topless or completely naked in those scenes. That was the last thing on my mind because I was so focused. But the minute Stanley said “cut’ I was immediately aware that I was standing in front of 20 or 30 people with no clothes on and I picked up a robe and ran to my room.”

In her memoir Inside Out, Demi Moore reveals that she ended up in bed with a member of the crew one night. “Peter, a young guy who was running the second unit camera on the movie” is assumed to be Peter Lyons Collister. (This is the weirdest note I’ve read on IMDb I think)

This movie was released seven years after the original French movie, In a Wild Moment (1977). According to Randy Lofficier’s 1998 article “REMAKE… AMERICAN STYLE: American Writers Discuss the Writing and Crediting Process for Remakes of Foreign Films”, this remake “does not identify the French film and its writer, Claude Berri.”

Michelle Johnson said she didn’t even know who Michael Caine was when she was invited to audition. “This was so embarrassing,” she said in an interview when the film was released. “.So I called a friend who’s older than me. She goes to movies a lot. And she said, “Oh, that’s that Kung Fu guy.’ She was getting him mixed up with David Carradine. I immediately went out and saw “Alfie’ and “The Man Who would be King” and “Sleuth.’ I was very nervous at the audition, especially after seeing those movies.”

Sir Michael Caine performs a Greek Chorus role in this movie, which intermittently cuts to him talking to the audience from a studio shot with a gray wall background, explaining the twists and turns of the movie’s storyline. (Whaaaaaaaaaaa)

Director Stanley Donen said in a 1984 interview that he originally wanted an experienced actress for the role of Jennifer. He was looking for a young girl who was beautiful, lively, energetic and extroverted, but couldn’t find one that satisfied him who was willing to go nude. So he started auditioning new inexperienced actresses and he found Michelle Johnson. Even though she was a model, he thought it may be difficult convincing her and her parents that she would have to do nude scenes. But he said they were all fine with it. “Girls, you know, if they’re attractive, most of them are not at all unhappy about being topless,” he reasoned. “They are quite beautiful and they like to be admired.” (Oh no no no no no no no)

Demi Moore turned down the role of Lucy Lane in Supergirl (1984) to appear on this film. (I mean … uh, good choice?)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Michelle Johnson, 1985)

Return to the Blue Lagoon Preview

“Oy, mates!” screams Alligator Steve as he hops down from Bessy and greets Rich and Poe. Apparently, in the scuffle with the gamemasters he also fell through the portal and ended up back in his homeland. “All for the best,” he says with a wink. He watches in amusement as Tiniman’s army moves quickly away through the fire desert. With a slap on the back he invites Rich and Poe back to his village where they partake in some traditional shrimp on the barbie and hear the legend of their giant alligator friends. It’s all very exciting and interesting. “Do you think, Steve,” Poe asks, “that maybe we are supposed to help you win this war? That that’s the purpose of this part of the game?” But Steve isn’t so sure. The gamemasters seemed mighty suspicious of their behavior back at the school. “War is war, mates. You don’t want any part of it. Take Bessie and head out to the islands,” he says pointing to some beautiful tropical islands off the coast. “No will find you there. You will live a beautiful natural life full of natural beauty and wonder. It’ll be a magical time that everyone will be interested in because of how beautiful it is. And perchance you will find love there with the beautiful natural denizens of the island and it will be beautiful and natural and not creepy because how could something so beautiful and natural be creepy, right?” …. right. They try to convince him that they don’t need Bessie, but Steve is insistent that he’ll be alright. There’s a reason they call him Lil’ Bessie, mighty warrior. Just before they leave Rich and Poe look back at Steve one more time and ask hesitantly, “so this definitely isn’t a weird, creepy place, right?” That’s right! We’re watching the double feature of The Blue Lagoon and The Return to the Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields and Milla Jovovich, respectively. Panned at the time by critics for a variety of reasons they’ve mostly been remembered as films about nude young people falling in love on an island… which isn’t a great look. They are both set on an undiscovered island in the Pacific, which was good enough for us. Let’s go!

Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991) – BMeTric: 50.6; Notability: 21 

(Wait, this one also has that same 2012-2014 inflection. Looking through other films it really doesn’t seem that common. Just wait for this theory: The Blue Lagoon: Awakening, the totally unrelated third film made by Lifetime … came out in 2012. So when that came out people went and watched the whole series, and rated the film. That is blowing my mind.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  The two-year-old son of Lagoon 1’s deceased parents is rescued by a ship carrying a widow and her year-old daughter; circumstances (read: cholera) force the trio onto another tropical island, so the kids can eventually partake in PG-13 prurience.

(There are so many amazing things in this review. Calling it “Lagoon 1” with the number 1 is amazing. The semi-colon quickly followed by “read: cholera” … there is just something so charmingly quirky and shrunk down about the entire review. The BOMB designation is shockingly rare, so that’s super fun.)

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

(Hahahahahahahahah it was the first film to explore natural love? More like it was the first film to show 20 minutes of uninterrupted underwater dick shots. Oh gosh, “I’ve become one” they put that in the trailer? Out of innocence comes the most sensual love of all? Yiiiiiiikes. Guys, this one might be a doozy.)

Directors – William A. Graham – (Future BMT: Change of Habit; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: Was a prolific television director in the 70s and 80s, getting nominated for an Emmy for a television movie about Jim Jones. Was in the Navy and an avid sailor, which is maybe why he was tapped for this.)

Writers – Henry De Vere Stacpoole (book) – (Future BMT: The Blue Lagoon; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: Was able to retire after the success of The Blue Lagoon and write fiction full time. He occasionally wrote under the name Tyler De Saix.)

Leslie Stevens (screenplay) – (Known For: The War Lord; The Left Handed Gun; Incubus; Future BMT: Sheena; Gordy; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Sheena; and in 1992 for Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: A Navy brat, he ended up writing for Broadway. Created the late 90s revival of The Outer Limits before dying in 1998.)

Actors – Brian Krause – (Future BMT: Sleepwalkers; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: He starred in the Bandit series of television movies which act as a prequel to Smokey and the Bandit. Cristopher Atkins  (the star of the original Blue Lagoon) was in the first of those films. He played a main role in the series Charmed in the late 90s.)

Milla Jovovich – (Known For: The Fifth Element; Dazed and Confused; Zoolander; Paradise Hills; He Got Game; A Perfect Getaway; Chaplin; Stone; The Claim; Dummy; Future BMT: Future World; Resident Evil: Retribution; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter; Anarchy: Ride or Die; Survivor; Resident Evil: Afterlife; Two Moon Junction; The Fourth Kind; No Good Deed; The Million Dollar Hotel; Resident Evil: Apocalypse; Kuffs; Resident Evil: Extinction; Bringing Up Bobby; Joan of Arc; A Warrior’s Tail; Dirty Girl; Shock and Awe; Resident Evil; BMT: Ultraviolet; Zoolander 2; Hellboy; Return to the Blue Lagoon; The Three Musketeers; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 2000 for Joan of Arc; and in 2013 for Resident Evil: Retribution; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Fifth Element in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: Her daughter Ever Anderson was just cast as Wendy in the new Peter Pan film.)

Lisa Pelikan – (Known For: Circle; Julia; Swing Shift; It’s My Party; Future BMT: Ghoulies; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: Was at one point married to Bruce Davison (the Senator from X-Men), and has going to be a dancer, but a surgery cut her career short and she went into acting.)

Budget/Gross – $11,000,000 / Domestic: $2,807,854 (Worldwide: $2,807,854)

(Somehow a huge bomb! I guess back in 1980 people were much more willing to watch a film of this style. And then this one came out and was roughly the same 12 years later … and people just had zero interest.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/30): Despite its lush tropical scenery and attractive leads, Return to the Blue Lagoon is as ridiculous as its predecessor, and lacks the prurience and unintentional laughs that might make it a guilty pleasure.

(A zero percent is really really rare. I think this summary might have missed a bit of the point of why it was universally derided: this is the same as the previous film, but as a big dose of cynicism as it is (at least perceived to be) a cash grab. Reviewer Highlight: The sincere idiocy of this film really has to be seen to be appreciated — not that I think there is any need for you to see, or appreciate, it. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.)

Poster – Return to the Creepy Sexy Lagoon

(Much better than the first film’s poster. I like the orange sunset tones and Brian Krause’s face nicely conveys the plot of the film: bad acting. Wish the font was better and maybe this would have jumped past mediocre. B-. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: There we go, I love when I really get to color my face a crazy color. I have to assume there is a way to do this while keeping the whites very whit (like Jovovich’s eyes and teeth) … probably a filter. I think my pale complexion would end up registering as “tooth colored”.)

Tagline(s) – The story of natural love continues… (D)

Alone… wild… untamed… (B+)

(Hahahaha, that second tagline is quite hilarious. There certainly would be some things wild and untamed on that island… I’m talking about their hair… I’m saying they’d be wildly ungroomed… Anyway, the first tagline is stupid. The second one is actually OK… you know, if it actually had anything to do with the chaste, totally not wild love story of this franchise.)

Keyword – tropical island

Top 10: Jurassic Park (1993), Moana (2016), Jurassic World (2015), Cast Away (2000), Serenity (2019), The Thin Red Line (1998), The Beach (2000), Ice Age (2002), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)

Future BMT: 39.0 Club Dread (2004), 34.0 Robinson Crusoe (2016), 14.7 The Beach (2000);

BMT: Serenity (2019), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)

(Small keyword obviously. The Beach is the big one. BTW you can notice it more here, but yeah, The Blue Lagoon technically doesn’t qualify for BMT because technically there is no confirmation that it was released to 600+ theaters in the US. But it also made like $60 million apparently, so it was definitely a wide release. But it means it won’t show up in any analysis.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Milla Jovovich is No. 1 billed in Return to the Blue Lagoon and No. 1 billed in Ultraviolet, which also stars Cameron Bright (No. 2 billed) who is in Godsend (No. 4 billed), which also stars Rebecca Romijn (No. 2 billed) who is in Rollerball (No. 3 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 = 16. If we were to watch Joan of Arc, Hook, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – Milla Jovovich said that this is the worst movie she has ever done.

First starring role of Milla Jovovich.

Milla Jovovich said of this movie, “I think that the idea of falling in love on a deep and spiritual level without the distractions of the material world will always be appealing.”

When she was 13, during her days as a teenage fashion model, Milla Jovovich had been hailed by critics as “The New Brooke Shields .” Shields played Emmeline Lestrange in The Blue Lagoon (1980), to which this film is a sequel.

On Taveuni Island in Fiji, production designer Jon Dowding began work on the movie’s main set pieces 60 days before the cameras began rolling. Having served as the art director on The Blue Lagoon (1980), Dowding welcomed the opportunity to expand and improve upon his work from the earlier film. Both Dowding and his wife, wardrobe designer Aphrodite Kondos, drew extensively upon the cultures of Oceania for the design elements of the film. Dowding said, “In addition to the rich cultural influences of Fiji, Australian aborigines, New Guinea, Micronesia, Melanesia, the Marquesas and Easter Islands, we made every attempt to use raw materials found on Taveuni in the construction of the props, sets and costumes”.

Although it was touted as a sequel to The Blue Lagoon (1980), many reviewers criticized it as more of a remake than a sequel.

Nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards at the 12th annual ceremony in 1991. It was nominated for Worst Picture and Worst Director –both for William A. Graham; Worst Screenplay–Leslie Stevens; and two for Worst New Star–one each for Milla Jovovich and Brian Krause. It didn’t win in any category.

Taveuni in Fiji, the only land mass in the world that the international date line runs through, proved in the end to be a challenging but rewarding filming location of singular beauty. Cast and crew alike traveled countless miles on the island’s only thoroughfare, bouncing along an unpaved dirt road with harrowing curves to reach filming sites. Equipment was hauled in on stretchers through thick jungles and brought in on barges through dangerous coral reefs for some of the less accessible locations.

The novel this film is based on, “The Garden of God” by Henry De Vere Stacpoole , was published in 1925. (Oh … so it is based on a sequel of some sort? I figured it was literally a vague sequel to the adaptation of Stacpoole’s novel)

Final film of director William A. Graham. (… final feature film)

Filmed on Taveuni, one of 300 islands in the Fiji archipelago. With an average of 400 inches of rain a year, Taveuni is usually overgrown with magnificent greenery and is rightly referred to as Fiji’s “Garden Island”.

The production team was concerned about preserving the island’s ecological balance during the making of the movie. When they expressed concerns that a mile-long path that had to be cut through thick jungle vegetation–to get equipment to one of the more difficult locations–might harm the local ecology, the chief of the local village assured them that it would grow back within a matter of months. (That’s pretty cool)

The movie’s opening prologue states: “The South Pacific Ocean 1897. Fifteen years before our story begins, two children were shipwrecked on an uncharted island. The little boy and girl grew up alone in this lost paradise. As man and woman, they discovered a pure and natural love. In time, a child was born. But in a tragic accident, they were driven out to sea away from their island. Drifting for days, they believed that their lives and the life of their baby were at an end. Then a passing vessel drew near . . . “. (Yup that is the original movie)

Despite scenes of nudity and near nudity involving Milla Jovovich, the film was advertised as a “family-friendly” movie. (Gross! I do not enjoy that at all!)

Takes place in 1897 and 1912. (Okay, I wonder if they explicitly indicate that date for when they were rescued in the first film)

With the commencement of filming in June 1990–which is the dead of winter in Fiji–nature began to become a major “player” in the production. Director William A. Graham said, “When we first visited the island in early 1990, the weather was perfect. As soon as we began filming, we quickly learned why Taveuni is called the ‘Garden Island’. It rained for two weeks straight, which would certainly account for the lush tropical foliage.” Despite the adversity of working under less-than-ideal conditions at first, Graham remained undaunted and came out of it with his sense of humor intact: “The reason you have a 70-day shooting schedule on a film like this, as opposed to 40 to 50 days, is that you attempt to anticipate the unpredictability of nature. While we didn’t get the puffy clouds and blue waters everyone expected initially, the island presented us with a whole other kind of beauty. Nature exerted an undeniable force in the making of this movie, which the film journalists will probably give me credit for. I can see it now: William A. Graham wisely avoided the clichéd postcard look of paradise’.”.

While based on the novel sequel, “The Garden of God” the only thing “Return to the Blue Lagoon” shares with that book is the very opening where Richard and Emmeline are dead and the baby is rescued by the crew. In fact, in the novel, Arthur Lestrange himself decides to stay on the island with Baby Paddy (called Dick M) and dies while taking a walk, his body never being found. (That’s morbid)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (William A. Graham, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (William A. Graham, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Leslie Stevens, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Milla Jovovich, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brian Krause, 1992)