The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Preview

Fresh off the complete destruction of Adam Banks’ office, Patrick delicately asks Jamie what his plan is. “Burn it all to the ground,” Jamie says matter-of-factly and for a moment his eyes get a faraway look and Patrick has a chilling sensation run up his spine. Ever since they were children Jamie has seemed different somehow, like an unknown and yet horrific paranormal power lurks beneath his statuesque exterior. But Patrick knows that “calm” is the operative word when dealing with a couple of cybertronic nuisances. “That’s just what they want us to do. The question is what they don’t want us to do,” he helpfully suggests to Jamie. The fire quickly winks out in his eyes and Jamie stops in his tracks to ponder. “Yeah, and they actually haven’t done anything yet, right? Just make a couple of phone calls. That can’t be their whole plan.” As they continue to walk and ponder they start to get the sense that everyone is looking at them. There is a distinct buzz on set and they have the feeling that it’s not entirely the result of the steamy Chris Klein yoga scene they’ll be filming later that day. Suddenly Jamie stops, his mouth agape, and Patrick quickly sees why. On the set stands Angel, infamous costar of their previous cat-astrophic film fiasco. Seems like the cyborgs weren’t just making calls to Adam Banks, but to the casting director as well. Patrick would have scoffed at this juvenile attempt at disruption, after all they killed Angel once, they can do it again, if not for one other shocking detail… Angel was also making out with CK’s costar (and real life girlfriend) Leighton Vanderschmidt in what can only be described as the beginnings of a disastrous love triangle. Gulp. That’s right! We are finishing the Twilight saga franchise by watching the second (and currently last) BMT qualifying entry: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1. It is by all accounts the worst entry in the series and interestingly preceded what is regarded as the best entry in Part 2. Be prepared to be bored by sad vampires and shirtless werewolves. Let’s go!    

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011) – BMeTric: 72.3; Notability: 84

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 2.0%; Notability: top 5.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 20.6% Higher BMeT: Jack and Jill, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, Shark Night 3D, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Higher Notability: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Green Lantern, Cars 2; Lower RT: Jack and Jill, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, The Roommate, A Little Bit of Heaven, Hick, Abduction, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Dream House, New Year’s Eve, 666: The Prophecy, Honey 2, Red Riding Hood, Trespass, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Season of the Witch, Atlas Shrugged: Part I, The Moth Diaries, Zookeeper, The Ledge, Something Borrowed and 26 more; Notes: Wow, it has been sitting stock still at 4.9 forever. Has that genuinely-bad-movie staying power I love to see. And my god, the cred. 80+ Notability?! 70+ BMeTric?! That is really incredible.

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – Kristen Stewart is really pretty good here, although like almost all actresses she believes pregnant women rub their baby bumps unceasingly. I would have liked more scenes developing her thoughts about married life. Although the possibility of an abortion is hinted at, we never learn her thinking on this question: Does a vampire baby have a soul? Does it have a right to life although, technically, it’s half dead? Luckily, we must wait only until Nov. 16, 2012, when “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” will open. It had better have the answers. If it doesn’t, Charlie Swan has a gun and he knows how to use it.

(A wild review. Spoiler alert, I watched this film ages ago of my own free will. It is horrible and boring. The fact that this review have it 2.5 out of four stars is perplexing. Genuinely perplexing. I don’t understand. It isn’t a movie. It is half a movie, and not the good half! I can’t get over this.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQNLfo-SOR4/

(That is the beginning of a movie, right? She gets pregnant, and the conflict is that the baby is eating her because it is a vampire … and then nothing because the movie ends and we skip to the next movie. I suppose Marvel did that a bit with Infinity War and Endgame, but not really. I’m glad that trend died with things like the Divergent series.)

Directors – Bill Condon – (Known For: Beauty and the Beast; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Dreamgirls; The Good Liar; Kinsey; Mr. Holmes; Gods and Monsters; Sister, Sister; Future BMT: Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh; The Fifth Estate; BMT: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 in 2013; and Nominee for Worst Director for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 in 2012; Notes: Annoying he got nominated for the second one as well which is actually pretty good. Won an Oscar for writing Gods and Monsters.)

Writers – Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay) – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Future BMT: Step Up; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2010 for The Twilight Saga: New Moon; in 2011 for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; in 2012 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; and in 2013 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Notes: Produced Dexter for which she was nominated for three Emmys. She also produced The O.C. and Jessice Jones among others. She adapted all of the screenplays for Meyer.)

Stephenie Meyer (novel) – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; The Host; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 in 2013; Notes: Notably a mormon (themes of which are present throughout Twilight) and notoriously Twilight was the inspiration for Fifty Shades of Grey among other things.)

Actors – Kristen Stewart – (Known For: Twilight; Into the Wild; Underwater, Charlie’s Angels; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Snow White and the Huntsman; Happiest Season; Panic Room; Adventureland; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; On the Road; Zathura: A Space Adventure; Still Alice; Cafe Society; The Runaways; American Ultra; Seberg; Speak; Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk; Equals; Lizzie; Future BMT: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; Cold Creek Manor; The Messengers; Catch That Kid; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Jumper; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 2013 for Snow White and the Huntsman, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 in 2012; Nominee for Worst Actress for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2010 for The Twilight Saga: New Moon; and in 2013 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Notes: Had an off-and-on relationship with Pattinson throughout the series. Is slated to direct her first feature at some point, The Chronology of Water.)

Robert Pattinson – (Known For: Tenet; The Devil All the Time; Twilight; The Lighthouse; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; The King; Good Time; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Lost City of Z; High Life; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Waiting for the Barbarians; Maps to the Stars; Cosmopolis; Water for Elephants; The Rover; Queen of the Desert; Damsel; Vanity Fair; Life; Future BMT: Remember Me; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for Remember Me, and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; and in 2013 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Twilight Saga: New Moon in 2010; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2012 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; and in 2013 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Notes: He’s Batman! He’s from London and has a really solid independent film resume despite being most well known for this series.)

Taylor Lautner – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Tracers; Run the Tide; Shadow Fury; Future BMT: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; The Ridiculous 6; Abduction; Grown Ups 2; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Valentine’s Day; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 in 2013; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and Valentine’s Day; and in 2012 for Abduction, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Grown Ups 2 in 2014; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2010 for The Twilight Saga: New Moon; and in 2012 for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Notes: A kid actor, he is also an accomplished martial artist, and is Grown Ups 2 is anything to go off of a very good gymnast.)

Budget/Gross – $110,000,000 / Domestic: $281,287,133 (Worldwide: $712,205,856)

(A huge hit. They all were. They made like billions of dollars and people were into Jacob versus Edward and stuff. Remember?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (52/210): Slow, joyless, and loaded with unintentionally humorous moments, Breaking Dawn Part 1 may satisfy the Twilight faithful, but it’s strictly for fans of the franchise.

(This is basically what I remember, that somehow they made a feature length film out of the first ten minutes of another much better film. Reviewer Highlight: By any normal standard, this is a terrible movie, with stilted dialogue and leaden pacing — every 15 minutes or so, the action stops for a musical montage involving slow-motion handsomeness. But the Twilight saga stopped being normal a long time ago. – Dana Stevens, Slate)

Poster – Finally Vampire Sex Time – Part 1

(This is a very appropriate poster because I look at it and immediately go “that looks boring” so good on them for sticking to truth in advertising. Good font, interesting spacing, and very airbrushed skin. C.)

Tagline(s) – Forever is only the beginning (C+)

(Nooooooooo. Oh sorry I thought you meant I would have to watch this film forever and this first viewing is just the beginning. Phew. The tagline is nonsense in the context of the film. I understand what they mean, but it gets a little too meta for my taste. Still, short and somewhat clever.)

Keyword – vampire

Top 10: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), Twilight (2008), Jennifer’s Body (2009), Hotel Transylvania (2012), Doctor Sleep (2019), Hellboy (2019), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), The Lost Boys (1987), Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation (2018)

Future BMT: 89.4 Vampires Suck (2010), 87.9 BloodRayne (2005), 51.1 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010), 48.6 Sleepwalkers (1992), 43.9 Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), 43.8 Priest (2011), 42.2 Transylvania 6-5000 (1985), 41.8 Bordello of Blood (1996), 40.8 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), 39.4 The Forsaken (2001);

BMT: Hellboy (2019), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), Vampire Academy (2014), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), Queen of the Damned (2002), Dracula 2001 (2000), Ultraviolet (2006), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Dudley Do-Right (1999)

(Amazing we still have three 50+ BMeTric vampire films left. I’m probably most excited for LXG (that’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) because that film is absurd.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Taylor Lautner is No. 3 billed in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and No. 2 billed in Ridiculous Six, which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 15. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – Robert Pattinson took a boat driving lesson so he would be able to drive the boat in the honeymoon scenes. Despite taking lessons, he crashed the boat in both the lessons and while filming in Brazil.

It took three hours to apply all the necessary make-up effects to Kristen Stewart to create Bella’s emaciated physical appearance. Effects that couldn’t be achieved with make-up were created digitally in post-production.

In order to keep the budget on both parts of Breaking Dawn reasonable, even though it is substantially greater than the previous installments in the series, much of the film was shot in and around Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge.

Kristen Stewart said in an interview that filming Bella and Edward’s honeymoon sex scene was hard to do, but she was very happy with the final result.

Robert Pattinson went through a strict diet and exercise regime for six months in preparation before filming. He stopped his routine after filming the much-talked-about sex scene.

During their vows and first kiss as husband and wife, the song “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” by Iron & Wine plays. This is the same song they danced to at the prom at the end of the first Twilight (2008) installment when Bella first tries to convince Edward to turn her so they can be together forever.

Sofia Coppola was very interested in directing this project, but she was only willing to direct one part of ‘Breaking Dawn’, which Summit wanted to split in two parts.

The soundtrack song “Cold” by Aqualung and Lucy Schwartz includes the lyrics “sing for the lion and lamb”. This is a line from the first film/book of the franchise when Edward says “So the lion fell in love with the lamb”.

In the books, Edward’s time hunting humans is revealed much earlier. It was Robert Pattinson who approached director Bill Condon about including that arc in the film.

In the indoor chess game, Edward missed the best move, Qa1, as placing the queen in the corner instantly checkmates.

When Bella and Edward have sex for the first time it is prefaced by a scene where Bella is unable to find a swimsuit in her suitcase and decided to enter the water completely nude. However in a later scene Bella and Edward go swimming again and Bella now has on a swimsuit.

One of the key elements in both the book and the movie was how Edward tries to distract Bella with activities in order to keep her from thinking about having sex again. In the movie, one of the activities is a game of chess, with both red and white pieces, just like the pieces on the cover of the book.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Taylor Lautner, 2012)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Bill Condon, 2012)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2012)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Ensemble (2012)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, 2012)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Melissa Rosenberg, Stephenie Meyer, 2012)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel (2012)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Kristen Stewart, 2012)

Days of Thunder Preview

With Patrick back at the apartment blazing the k’board on some dynamic AI features for their FMV video game, Jamie is off to the Super Dope Toys factory for a little R&D on the big Rich & Poe toy give away. On his guided tour through the surreal factory he gazes about with a childlike sense of wonder. There’s Eldric the Elephant, his favorite toy as a child! And the dastardly Dr. Cybotronic, with his stethoscope that shoots laser beams! Novelty farts! Novelty darts! Novelty darts shaped like farts! In his glee he finds himself separated from the group and lost in what seems like a never ending maze. Suddenly a door appears before him marked ‘Top Secret.’ Jamie hesitates, but eventually concludes that nobody likes a secret. Secrets are for sharing. But when he opens the door he only sees a dumb ol’ tank of water far below at the bottom of the room. A chill runs down his spine as he hears the door close behind him. Now trapped, the walkway he is standing on begins to slowly lower into the water. An alarm sounds and Jamie becomes acutely aware that he’s not alone. There is something in the water… something big. A periscope emerges and, being a submarine expert, Jamie recognizes the sounds of tubes flooding. That submarine is ready to strike and here he is without a single depth charge. Thinking quickly he jumps on the jetski conveniently waiting nearby. But this ain’t time for any old jetski action, Jamie knows it time to kick it up a notch. “Let’s do the dew,” he says, popping a can of refreshing Mountain Dew into the jetski’s gas tank, “cause I got the need, the need for speed.” And with that he roars away. That’s right! Close enough, cause this week we’re doing an actually good movie that somehow got bad reviews. That would be Days of Thunder starring the always in need of speed Tom Cruise. We didn’t choose it for its bad reviews as it’s admittedly pretty close to not qualifying. We chose it for its killer soundtrack including Show Me Heaven by Maria McKee which hit #1 on the UK charts (oh, and also a video game too). Let’s go!

Days of Thunder (1990) – BMeTric: 29.8; Notability: 73

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 11.6%; Notability: top 3.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 31.1% Higher BMeT: Rocky V, Ghost Dad, The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection, Wings of the Apache, 3 Men and a Little Lady, RoboCop 2, Navy Seals, Ernest Goes to Jail, Desperate Hours, Another 48 Hrs., Hard to Kill, Air America, The Rookie, The Guardian, Bird on a Wire; Higher Notability: RoboCop 2, Predator 2; Lower RT: Ghost Dad, Spaced Invaders, Wings of the Apache, Meet the Applegates, Where the Heart Is, Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection, Heart Condition, Ernest Goes to Jail, Opportunity Knocks, Air America, Everybody Wins, The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, Brain Dead, Too Much Sun, Graffiti Bridge, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Navy Seals, Short Time, Stella, Another 48 Hrs. and 26 more; Notes: Low 6’s is exactly what I would have expected for a film like this for IMDb. The Notability is something else though, wow. We’ve been smashing some 50+ Notabilities in this cycle (I guess that’s why they get movie tie-ins). Seems to genuinely have been the biggest non-sequel by that metric in 1990 which is incredible.

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – Kidman has little to do as the love interest and doesn’t make much of an impression. And Cruise is so efficiently packaged in this product that he plays the same role as a saint in a Mexican village’s holy day procession: It’s not what he does that makes him so special; it’s the way he manifests everybody’s faith in him.

(This is a really weird review, and at the same time probably explains how people actually saw Tom Cruise at the time. He was a bonafide movie star. And if not that quite yet, he was one in the making. An action star, but versatile enough that you’ll believe him in Cocktail, and someone people might have seen as a young, I don’t know … Paul Newman? This would be the last BMT film for Cruise for basically a decade, he’d effectively star in A Few Good Men and then only good films until the 2000s.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPXL4_eZ4-M/

(Reminds me of Youngblood. I just hope he has a montage scene where he’s hitting a sack of straw on a farm or something to build up his muscles. That reminds me … we should watch Youngblood.)

Directors – Tony Scott – (Known For: Top Gun; Beverly Hills Cop II; True Romance; Enemy of the State; Unstoppable; Spy Game; Deja Vu; Crimson Tide; The Hunger; The Last Boy Scout; The Taking of Pelham 123; Future BMT: Domino; The Fan; Revenge; Man on Fire; BMT: Days of Thunder; Notes: Brother of Ridley Scott. During the 2000s he worked in television, and won two Emmys for his television movies and miniseries (The Gathering Storm, and Gettysburg). Committed suicide in 2012, apparently after a lengthy battle with cancer and poor prognosis.)

Writers – Robert Towne (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Mission: Impossible; Chinatown; The Firm; Mission: Impossible II; Bonnie and Clyde; Frantic; The Two Jakes; The Parallax View; Shampoo; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Tequila Sunrise; The Missouri Breaks; The Last Detail; Orca; Heaven Can Wait; Ask the Dust; 8 Million Ways to Die; The Yakuza; Personal Best; Cisco Pike; Future BMT: Deal of the Century; Love Affair; BMT: Days of Thunder; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Mission: Impossible in 1997; Notes: Nominated for four Oscars (won for Chinatown). His career started writing and acting in Roger Corman films.)

Tom Cruise (story) – (BMT: Days of Thunder; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for The Mummy in 2018; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; and Nominee for Worst Actor in 1989 for Cocktail; and in 2006 for War of the Worlds; Notes: This is one of two projects on IMDb for which Cruise is listed as a writer. The other? The upcoming SpaceX project which he has an illustrious “idea” credit. Crazy that Cruise never really felt the need to write films for himself like Stallone and others.)

Actors – Tom Cruise – (Known For: The Outsiders; Top Gun; Tropic Thunder; Mission: Impossible – Fallout; Eyes Wide Shut; A Few Good Men; Rain Man; Collateral; Edge of Tomorrow; Oblivion; Mission: Impossible; Jack Reacher; Minority Report; War of the Worlds; The Last Samurai; Magnolia; Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation; Jerry Maguire; Future BMT: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back; Lions for Lambs; Legend; BMT: The Mummy; Endless Love; Cocktail; Days of Thunder; Vanilla Sky; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for The Mummy in 2018; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; and Nominee for Worst Actor in 1989 for Cocktail; and in 2006 for War of the Worlds; Notes: Nominated for three Oscars (Magnolia, Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire). Famously he is extremely high up in Scientology, was married to Mimi Rogers, Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes.)

Nicole Kidman – (Known For: Aquaman; Bombshell; Eyes Wide Shut; Moulin Rouge!; The Killing of a Sacred Deer; Lion; Destroyer; The Golden Compass; The Prom; Panic Room; The Others; The Upside; Cold Mountain; Australia; The Hours; Dogville; The Beguiled; Stoker; Paddington; Happy Feet; Future BMT: Bewitched; The Stepford Wives; Nine; The Invasion; Billy Bathgate; Practical Magic; Secret in Their Eyes; Before I Go to Sleep; The Goldfinch; BMT: Batman Forever; Trespass; Days of Thunder; Just Go with It; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Bewitched in 2006; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Just Go with It in 2012; Notes: Born in Hawaii, but notably Australian. Nominated for four Oscars (won for The Hours). Has done a lot of television recently including Top of the Lake, Big Little Lies, and The Undoing.)

Robert Duvall – (Known For: The Godfather; Apocalypse Now; The Godfather: Part II; Jack Reacher; Widows; Falling Down; The Chase; The Conversation; The Judge; To Kill a Mockingbird; Deep Impact; Secondhand Lions; The Road; Sling Blade; M.A.S.H.; Bullitt; Network; Invasion of the Body Snatchers; The Handmaid’s Tale; Open Range; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Something to Talk About; Lucky You; John Q; Newsies; BMT: The Scarlet Letter; Days of Thunder; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Gods and Generals; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Newsies in 1993; Notes: When just starting out he lived with Dustin Hoffman and was good friends with Jack Nicholson. Was nominated for 7 Oscars, and won for Tender Mercies.)

Budget/Gross – $55 million / Domestic: $82,670,733 (Worldwide: $157,920,733)

(That actually doesn’t seem so bad. I always say this, but I assume they were going for something more like Top Gun in the end which made nearly $200 million domestically. Not that that means there would have been a sequel or anything … although given Top Gun 2 is coming out, maybe we can get Days of Thunder 2 with Cole Trickle as the team owner or something.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 38% (25/65): Days of Thunder has Tom Cruise and plenty of flash going for it, but they aren’t enough to compensate for the stock plot, two-dimensional characters, and poorly written dialogue.

(Yeah, so “stock plot” is basically the moral of every single bad review of this film. I think the critics genuinely got offended that the plot is basically identical to Top Gun (just swap jets for cars). Reviewer Highlight: This is the kind of monstrously overgrown commercial movie that depends entirely on the microscopic pleasures of having one`s most routine expectations fulfilled. – Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune.)

Poster – Days of Funder

(Yes. Into it. One note: could we perhaps make Tom Cruise’s face bigger? No? It’s literally the biggest face of all time? Got it. Still like the artistry. Obviously the font is dope (and I say that unironically). Tells me this is all about speed. I’m good to go. A.)

Tagline(s) – You can’t outrun the thunder. (B-)

(I don’t know what this actually means, but it’s amazing. Basically the movie is telling you that you can’t help but watch it because it’s so fun and awesome. No matter how hard you try to run away from watching Days of Thunder you will fail. Bump it up cause it sounds good, but like… this is nonsense.)

Keyword – racing

Top 10: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), Le Mans ’66 (2019), Ready Player One (2018), The Social Network (2010), Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), Cars 3 (2017), Speed Racer (2008), Days of Thunder (1990), Planes (2013)

Future BMT: 46.2 Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again (1980), 40.9 Planes (2013);

BMT: 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), Days of Thunder (1990)

(Nothing super interesting since the keyword seems pretty sparse. At the very least a bunch are missing (the Cannonball Runs come to mind). But it is a good idea to keep Smokey and the Bandit in mind going forward.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Nicole Kidman is No. 3 billed in Days of Thunder and No. 2 billed in Trespass, 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) => 3 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Dr. Jerry Punch revealed that Tom Cruise approved Nicole Kidman to be his love interest in the film after it was suggested that Cruise see her performance in “Dead Calm (1989),” after a recommendation by Dr. Punch to director Tony Scott.

Production began without a finished script. Scenes were often written the day of filming. During one driving sequence, Tom Cruise actually had to read his lines off cue cards attached to his windshield, which resulted in a minor car accident. For subsequent driving sequences, Cruise was fitted with a special earpiece to have lines fed to him.

Some footage for the movie was shot during the 1990 Daytona 500. Two additional cars, driven by Bobby Hamilton and Tommy Ellis, were added to the rear of the field for the express purpose of shooting them for this film. They were not officially scored, and left the racetrack after one hundred miles (forty laps) were completed. At one point in the race, leader Dale Earnhardt even lapped the movie cars. (That is some insane shit)

Real-life Hendrick Motorsports pit crew member Mike Slattery served as an extra for Cole’s crew. After hearing what the stuntmen’s pay would be, he asked for the opportunity to do some of the stunts. However, when he saw how close the car came to the stuntmen, he changed his mind saying, “They can have it!”

The movie was conceived by Tom Cruise when he and Paul Newman were allowed to test one of Rick Hendrick’s race cars. Tom’s first lap was in excess of one hundred eighty miles per hour.

Don Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer, and sometimes Robert Towne, often started their days on-set having arguments with Tony Scott over how to shoot scenes.

Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall characters are (very) loosely based on former driver Tim Richmond and his crew chief Harry Hyde. Richmond was known as an overnight sensation, and Hyde was the veteran crew chief. The scene where Duvall’s character teaches Cruise about tire management is based on an actual incident between Hyde and Richmond, who died from complications from AIDS the year before the film was released.

The scene where Cole leaves the pits after a race, to hit Russ Wheeler, is based on an actual event during the 1987 All-Star race at Charlotte, North Carolina, between drivers Bill Elliott and Dale Earnhardt. (It wasn’t quite the same, Elliot and Bodine drove up beside him and bumped him after the race, they didn’t smash directly into the side of their car!)

NASCAR driver Greg Sacks did most of Tom Cruise’s stunt driving. Cruise wanted to do his own stunt driving, but wasn’t allowed to for insurance reasons. The Chevrolets were prepared by Rick Hendrick’s racing team, which later used some of the movie cars in real races. Thirty-five cars were wrecked during filming.

According to Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tom Cruise had a meeting with Dale Earnhardt, Sr. prior to the production of the film. It was rumored that Earnhardt was offered the role of Rowdy Burns, but he turned it down because he did not want to play the bad guy.

All cars used in the movie for the races had to pass inspection and qualify. Bobby Hamilton qualified one of the movie cars in the top ten.

At Daytona for the final race of the movie “Gentlemen Start Your Engines” is the voice of Burt Reynolds

In an effort to give a more realistic atmosphere, professional racing broadcasters were brought in to play the broadcast reporters and track announcers. Key among these were members of ESPN’s racing crew, including Booth Announcer Bob Jenkins, and Pit Reporter Dr. Jerry Punch.

Nicole Kidman wanted to study neurosurgery for her part, but the producers told her it would be a waste of time.

Donna W. Scott was cast by Don Simpson when he was casting roles for the film. They began dating afterwards, leading to Donna getting a small role as a “pit girl” in the film and spending almost two months on-set. After she broke up with Simpson, she began dating Tony Scott. They would eventually get married and have two children before he died in 2012.

In Daytona, Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer spent $400,000 to have a vacant storefront in their hotel converted into their private gym, with a large neon sign reading “Days of Thunder”. Simpson also kept a closet full of Donna Karan dresses to offer the attractive women his assistants found on the beach, and held private parties with friends like rapper Tone Loc. They threw a special welcome party for the crew at a local nightclub with minimal food and drink, and no music, but plenty of hookers they flew in, most of whom they limited to a roped-off VIP area with themselves and Tom Cruise. (uh … allegedly?)

Upon seeing the film “the King” Richard Petty (so named because he holds the record for most wins in NASCAR Grand National history) said of the movie, “the only thing they got right was the numbers on the side of the cars

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Sound (Charles M. Wilborn, Donald O. Mitchell, Rick Kline, Kevin O’Connell, 1991)

Cobra Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the fourth in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Cobra (1986) – BMeTric: 42.3

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(This is a movie which I think is becoming more popular as the years go on. I can say this straight out: the movie is nuts, but in a very 80s “this is nuts, but maybe also brilliant” kind of way. To be honest, I’m a little surprised the film hasn’t reached 6.0 yet.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Once more, Stallone wraps himself in the American flag and fights for the greater glory of mankind by going after criminal vermin; this time, he’s a cop. Typical low-grade action fare, where all the other cops are stubborn dummies, and all the bad guys are repellent creeps. Some good action sequences.

(The last throwaway line of “Some good action sequences” feels like an insult. Like Leonard is pitying them and throwing them a bone after this complete evisceration. Also, Leonard … you know I love semicolons. Don’t tease me like that, you devil.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoGoSu4NEyo

(I’m in. Although I have to say that the trailer is way too serious for its own good. Like obviously the film took itself too seriously, that’s the fun of it, but you can at least make it seem like it’s not just Sly mumbling to people the whole time and slamming Coors. Also, his license plate says AWSOM 50. Gotta mention it because it’s so stupid.)

Directors – George P. Cosmatos – (Known For: Tombstone; Of Unknown Origin; Future BMT: Shadow Conspiracy; Leviathan; Rambo: First Blood Part II; The Cassandra Crossing; BMT: Cobra; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Notes: Rumor is that Sly actually directed the film and Cosmatos ended up as more of a producer. No info as to whether the same might be true of Rambo II.)

Writers – Paula Gosling (novel) – (BMT: Fair Game; Cobra; Notes: Fair Game and Cobra are adapted from Gosling’s novel A Running Duck. Cobra is crazier and better, Fair Game might as well not exist.)

Sylvester Stallone (screenplay) – (Known For: Creed II; Creed; Rocky; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Rocky Balboa; Rocky II; First Blood; Homefront; Cliffhanger; The Lords of Flatbush; F.I.S.T; Future BMT: Staying Alive; Rocky V; Rambo III; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rocky IV; BMT: Driven; Rhinestone; Cobra; Over the Top; The Expendables 3; Notes: From ‘82 to ‘88 Stallone didn’t star in a film he didn’t also get a screenwriting credit for. And a ton of the films are brilliant. And then he stumbled and is basically just an old man action star at this point, although he is writing Rambo 5.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Creed II; Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Creed; Rocky; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Rocky Balboa; Escape Plan; Rocky II; First Blood; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Cliffhanger; Antz; Bullet to the Head; Cop Land; Death Race 2000; The Lords of Flatbush; Future BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Escape Plan II; Staying Alive; Rocky V; D-Tox; The Specialist; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Avenging Angelo; Rambo III; Daylight; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Backtrace; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Oscar; Rocky IV; BMT: Driven; Zookeeper; Get Carter; Rhinestone; Judge Dredd; Cobra; Over the Top; The Expendables 3; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Demolition Man; Notes: Still smashing the gym at the age of 72, this time to prep for Rambo 5. A bad movie legend if there ever was one.)

Stallone 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; and in 2002 for Driven; 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; and in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999;

Brigitte Nielsen – (Known For: Creed II; Beverly Hills Cop II; Future BMT: Red Sonja; Rocky IV; BMT: 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: Married Sylvester Stallone a year prior to this film, likely around the time Rocky IV came out. The Great Dane, she was Danish and noted for her height.)

Reni Santoni – (Known For: Rain Man; Groundhog Day; Can’t Hardly Wait; Dirty Harry; The Brady Bunch Movie; Private Parts; Doctor Dolittle; Bad Boys; Bright Lights, Big City; The Package; Dr. Dolittle 2; The Pick-up Artist; The Pawnbroker; Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid; Cat Chaser; Enter Laughing; The Battle for Anzio; Future BMT: 28 Days; Summer Rental; Brewster’s Millions; BMT: Cobra; Notes: His IMDb claims he was a professional baseball player prior to becoming an actor, although there are no stats concerning his career (which makes it unlikely it would have been in the United States at least). Played a cop in a Murder She Wrote episode centered around a baseball team though.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $49,042,224

(Basically broke even I would think. Makes a bit of sense it didn’t get a sequel, although that would have been fun.)

#19 for the Off-Screen Couples On-Screen genre

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(Vanilla Sky, Cobra, The Marrying Man, Gigli, and Shanghai Surprise are the BMT films that fit the bill. Stunt casting might have become more of a thing in the late 90s with the advent of the 24-hour news channel, and again in 2010ish although that was just Twilight basically. Nowadays it seems to more likely be couples just deciding to do it instead of an actual stunt, like with A Quiet Place.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (3/18): No consensus yet.

(The film is structured around an idea of super criminals which has since, rightfully, become a dirty word. The criminal which claims that they are the future, and that the justice system cannot stop them, and the cop who says “I am the law” and murders them all the same, screw due process, the process is broken! It is pretty disgusting if the entire thing didn’t play out like a joke half the time. Reviewer Highlight: The film trades on the same technique used by books that attack pornography by printing examples of the dirty pictures. Cobra pretends to be against the wanton violence of a disintegrating society, but it’s really the apotheosis of that violence. – Nina Darnton, New York Times)

Poster – I AM THE LAW (A)

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(I kind of inexplicably love this poster. Something about the matte colors. It feels like a painting, and a painting I want in my house … like, this represented America in all its macho super-violence, this represents something terrible and loveable about us in some way.)

Tagline(s) – Crime is the disease. Meet the Cure. (A)

(Again, I love it, but in a kind of psycho ridiculous way. Like for reals, people used to think super criminals were going to be a thing forever, and that we needed Judge Dredd (for reals) in our lives. That was a thing. And this movie represented that on a mainstream level, and this tagline perfectly conveys this. Somehow it works in both 1986 and 2019 in two totally different ways.)

Keyword(s) – psychotronic; Top Ten by BMeTric: 68.2 Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982); 62.8 The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961); 60.4 Space Mutiny (1988); 59.4 Red Sonja (1985); 57.7 Ghoulies (1984); 53.7 Casino Royale (1967); 52.9 Faces of Death (1978); 52.8 Starcrash (1978); 52.7 The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? (1964); 52.7 The Green Inferno (2013);

(What the f-in f! Anyways, that is a crazy keyword. Psychotronicdenoting or relating to a genre of films that typically have a science fiction, horror, or fantasy theme and were made on a low budget. This isn’t that really, although it does have the vibe. Not surprisingly most of these are Mystery Science Theater 3000 films and do not qualify.)

Notes – A very rare workprint of the movie is available amongst fans. Although most copies are in poor quality, it has approximately 30 to 40 minutes of footage not available in any other version. It also has all of the X-rated material removed from the final release. (Huh … I’ll just put this here to remind me to check this out later)

When Sylvester Stallone was signed to play the lead in Beverly Hills Cop (1984), he did a lot of work on the screenplay, turning it into an action extravaganza that the studio couldn’t afford. He eventually left Beverly Hills Cop and channeled his ideas for that project into this movie.

Body count: 52, and 41 of them are killed by Cobra. (Jesus Christ!)

Most 1980s action heroes were called John (ex. John Rambo, John Matrix, John McClane). The hero of this film is named Marion, after John Wayne, the epitome of the cinematic tough guy.

Some of the cuts made to avoid an X-rating include: the first murder victim having her hands severed; an extended autopsy scene, including lingering shots of naked and mutilated bodies; a longer death for Ingrid’s photographer Dan, including a shot of him slipping on his own blood while trying to escape; more deaths of the townspeople during the climax, including a person getting hit in the face with an ax. (Wowza, and here I thought it was going to be a 20 minute hardcore sex scene starring Sly)

The film was considered a box-office disappointment at the time, especially compared to Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) and Rocky IV (1985). However, it grossed $12,653,032 on its opening weekend, which was the largest opening weekend in the history of Warner Brothers and The Cannon Group at the time. It also earned over $160 million worldwide, against a budget of $25 million dollars (along with marketing costs). That opening weekend was the 2nd best for any film in 1986, trailing only that for _Stark Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)_. It also got lumped together with Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), which also opened wide on May 23, 1986. (That worldwide number is pretty nuts considering it apparently only make $50 million domestically. I can’t imagine it was very common for the international yield to outstrip the domestic yield in the 80s)

At one point during filming Sylvester Stallone complained to cinematographer Ric Waite that they were falling behind and that he and his crew needed to work harder. Waite responded by saying that maybe if Stallone “gets his hands off Brigitte Nielsen ass and stops showing off to his bodyguards maybe they wouldn’t have problems with time”. Although Stallone was shocked that somebody would talk to him that way he did tone down his ego but after a few weeks he returned to his old egotistical behavior. In the same interview where he mentioned this, Waite also said that despite his huge ego Stallone had a great sense of humor. He also confirmed a rumor that Stallone was the true director of the film, calling credited director George P. Cosmatos a good producer, but a bad director. (Oh shit)

The original rough cut was over two hours long. Due to concerns it might not be a hit, the final cut was 87 minutes, thereby increasing the number of screenings per day. Some of the more violent scenes were also cut to avoid an X-rating. A great deal of plot detail was either removed or sped up while most of the violence and nearly every death was edited or depicted off-screen, resulting in numerous continuity errors.

Director Nicolas Winding Refn is a huge fan of Cobra. In Refn’s cult movie Drive (2011), the main character has a toothpick in his mouth in some scenes. This is Refn’s homage to the opening scene of Cobra where Cobretti has a matchstick in his mouth. (The first part sounds correct, the second part sounds like there is a toothpick in someone’s mouth which is totally normal and not usually a “homage”)

The custom 1950 Mercury driven by Cobretti in the film was a car actually owned by star Sylvester Stallone. The studio produced stunt doubles of the car for use in some of the action sequences, such as the jump from the second floor of the parking garage. (Cool)

The movie was based on a novel “Fair Game” by Paula Gosling. In 1995, William Baldwin and Cindy Crawford made Fair Game, which was based on the same novel by Gosling. Just like Cobra, Fair Game was re-edited by Warner Bros. in post production, but in Fair Game’s case it was due to the test audience disliking the original cut. (Because it is a garbage film)

The knife used by the Night Slasher character was made for the film by knife designer Herman Schneider. Sylvester Stallone had asked Schneider to create a knife that audiences would never forget. (I don’t recall what it looks like, so … didn’t work)

Brian Thompson auditioned seven times for his role before he was hired. On his fourth audition he met Sylvester Stallone and both he and the director thought that Thompson was too nice to play the role of Nightslasher. But after a screen test he immediately got the job. Thompson repeatedly asked Stallone about his character Nightslasher, like how Stallone would want Thompson to play him, character’s background, his reasons for doing what he’s doing, but Stallone wasn’t interested in explaining Thompson’s character and he basically told him that he is evil because he is evil. In an unfortunate surprise for Thompson, when filming of the movie was finished, director George P. Cosmatos told Thompson, “You could have been good if you had listened to me.” (He is right and wrong. Sly was correctly reading the times with the psychopath killer and the fascination the public had with such things. It is seen in slashers like Michael Myers, and rolled into some of the erotic thrillers in the early 90s as well. But Cosmatos is ultimately correct, a psychopath is a psychopath which is pretty boring.)

The first draft of Sylvester Stallone’s script had lot of differences from later drafts and the film. These include opening shootout taking place in movie theater instead of a grocery store and lot more people getting killed, Cobra mentioning how some psychopath he was trying to catch killed his girlfriend, additional big action sequence taking place during night on a boat where Cobra and Ingrid are hiding when they get attacked by Nightslasher’s cult members but Cobra and Gonzalez manage to kill them all, and different ending in which it’s revealed that Monte was actual leader of the New Order cult and when he tries to kill Ingrid he gets shot and killed by Cobra.

The Stan Bush song “The Touch” from The Transformers: The Movie (1986) was originally written for this film. (Whaaaaaaaa?)

The Paula Gosling novel ‘Fair Game’ on which “Cobra” is based is also called ‘A Running Duck’. When the movie came out Sylvester Stallone allegedly wanted the novel reissued with himself credited as the author. Ms. Gosling declined the offer. (Oh, I can’t imagine why …)

Sylvester Stallone was a fan of John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band and approached them about doing a song for the film. The song “Voice of America’s Sons” was written for the film, and John Cafferty had contributed to the Rocky IV (1985) soundtrack as well. (Jam out to this)

Sylvester Stallone said he got the idea for the LAPD’s “Zombie Squad” from a real-life Zombie Squad in Belgium, comprised of cops who go out at night and handle crazed criminals on their own terms. (WHAT. I can’t find anything about that shit online)

The submachine gun used by Marion Cobretti in the final showdown with biker gang is a Jati-Matic. Cobretti uses a custom Colt Gold Cup National Match 1911 in 9mm using Glaser Safety Slugs, a frangible bullet.  (These notes were much much longer before I cut them down, look up the details yourself if you are interested)

Santiago Segura has claimed that this movie was the inspiration for his well-known character Jose Luis Torrente, main star of Torrente, el brazo tonto de la ley (1998) and sequels, that he conceived as a parody of the 80s action movies. In fact, the title is a spoof of Stallone’s movie, since then in Spain Cobra was titled as “Cobra, el brazo fuerte de la ley” (Cobra, the strong arm of the law). (Huh, this would be a great homework opportunity. According to wikipedia, José Luis Torrente is an ugly, bald, overweight, dirty, corrupt, lying, fascist, racist, and chauvinistic retired cop … sounds about right.)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brigitte Nielsen, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Brian Thompson, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Sylvester Stallone, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brian Thompson, 1987)

No Mercy Preview

Alright, this week we have to pause and feed the cycle beast. That’s right, it’s time for the Chain Reaction where we continue our misguided attempt to connect each cycle to each other through shared actors. Someday this will bite us in the ass, but that day isn’t today! Last film in the chain was Random Hearts (based-on-a-book). We used Charles S. Dutton to connect from there to a 1986 film called No Mercy starring Richard Gere and BMT favorite Kim Basinger. Not a huge amount to say about the film other than the fact that it’s surprisingly not well known given the star power that it has up front. Let’s go!

No Mercy (1986) – BMeTric: 22.7

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(Not very interesting beyond the fact that this looks more “normal” than the recent 1986 film trajectories. Basically, it reaches a asymptote which is far more typical of a 2000 film if I recall correctly (whereas the 1986 films have looked more linear recently). Compared to other recent films this is a much lower BMeTric as well, but Chain Reaction can do that.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Chicago cop Gere storms into Louisiana Bayou country seeking the killer of his partner, falls for Cajun beauty Basinger — who’s been ‘sold’ to the kingpin perpetrator of the murder. Even the mindless melodramas have to make sense, at least on their own terms; this one’s pretty ridiculous. The two sexy stars don’t really click.

(Alright, let’s get this out of the way: great semi-colon work as usual Leonard. But … do my ears deceive more or is there a suggestion that Kim Basinger plays a Cajun beauty in this film? One second, I just need to catch my breath. You are telling me BMT megastar Kim Basinger pretends to be Cajun in this film? It is like Christmas. If you could see the look on my face right now you would think “huh, must be his birthday or something, because he seems unreasonably happy for no reason”. There are no words for how excited I am right now.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehtJo9B98TQ

(I really thought for a while there that Kim Basinger wouldn’t speak for the whole trailer and it would keep up the hope that she actually attempts a Cajun accent. Unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be the case. Alas. In an alternate universe this film was made in 1992 and stars JCVD, which makes the fact that Gere actually stars all the more ridiculous.)

Directors – Richard Pearce – (Known For: Leap of Faith; A Family Thing; The Long Walk Home; Country; Heartland; BMT: No Mercy; Notes: Won the Golden Bear for best film at the Berlin Film Festival for Heartland. Father of Remy Pearce, a prominent costume designer and married to Lynzee Klingman, an Oscar-nominated editor.)

Writers – James Carabatsos (written by) – (Known For: Heartbreak Ridge; Hamburger Hill; BMT: No Mercy; Notes: Not much to find about him. Served in Vietnam and then became a screenwriter, but hasn’t done much since the 80s.)

Actors – Richard Gere – (Known For: Pretty Woman; Chicago; Primal Fear; Unfaithful; Hachi: A Dog’s Tale; An Officer and a Gentleman; The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; The Mothman Prophecies; I’m Not There.; Brooklyn’s Finest; Arbitrage; Days of Heaven; American Gigolo; The Cotton Club; Shall We Dance; Runaway Bride; First Knight; Sommersby; Time Out of Mind; Internal Affairs; Looking for Mr. Goodbar; Dr. T & the Women; Breathless; The Hunting Party; Final Analysis; The Hoax; Hachi-gatsu no rapusodî; Mr. Jones; Power; Yanks; Bee Season; BMT: Movie 43; Autumn in New York; Intersection; The Double; Amelia; The Benefactor; No Mercy; Nights in Rodanthe; The Jackal; King David; Red Corner; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1986 for Worst Actor for King David; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Screen Couple for Autumn in New York.)

Kim Basinger – (Known For: The Nice Guys; L.A. Confidential; Batman; 8 Mile; The Natural; 9½ Weeks; Never Say Never Again; Cellular; Wayne’s World 2; The Door in the Floor; Final Analysis; People I Know; Nadine; Fool for Love; BMT: Cool World; My Stepmother Is an Alien; Ready to Wear; The Informers; Bless the Child; While She Was Out; The Real McCoy; The Getaway; Blind Date; The Sentinel; No Mercy; I Dreamed of Africa; The Marrying Man; The Man Who Loved Women; Grudge Match; Even Money; Third Person; Charlie St. Cloud; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2005 for Worst Razzie Loser of Our First 25 Years; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Actress for Bless the Child, and I Dreamed of Africa in 1995 for The Getaway; in 1993 for Cool World, and Final Analysis; in 1992 for The Marrying Man; and in 1987 for Nine 1/2 Weeks)

Also stars Jeroen Krabbé who we’ve seen in The Punisher outside of BMT. Otherwise famous for Ocean’s Twelve and The Fugitive.

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $12,303,904

(That is probably a giant bomb. But there is little information to tell. But based on the previous films in the cycle I would assume that the budget was something around $15 million dollars at the least.)

#19 for the Travelogue – New Orleans genre: Movies set in or near the city

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(Kind of boring. Funny that this is even a chart. And a little surprising New Orleans has been a film mecca for so long. I knew Nic Cage lived nearby and the city gave good tax breaks for filming, but I didn’t really have a good idea for how long. Seemed only recently that Trespass and Escape Plan and whatnot all were set in New Orleans)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (3/14): No consensus yet.

(Uh oh, time to generate a consensus: The stars fizzle in this neo-noir thriller with no chemistry. Gere tries hard to save what amounts to a safe and formulaic New Orleans cop drama. It is the best I can do. Funny enough Ebert liked the film and gave it three out of four stars, so it seems a little divisive. A lot of people complimented Gere whereas another reviewer straight up said he hoped he never got another starring gig. That reviewer was disappointed I think. Also, check out the WaPo review for some comedy gold.)

Poster – Sklog Mercy? I don’t know … (B-)

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(I actually kind of dig this poster even though it too prominently features the two actors alone with no filter (too many colors as a result). But there is something interesting done with the poster that makes it look like a classic pulp book cover or something and I obviously love the unique font used for the title. Weird framing of everything though.)

Tagline(s) – He is entering her world to track down the killer she is desperate to be free of (C-)

Murder brought them together. Passion keeps them there. (B)

(Two separate taglines appear on the poster. The first one is too long and not clever and a bit botched on its wording. The second is much better but still botches the wording. Would have probably been an A- if it flowed a little better.)

Keyword(s) – neo noir; Top Ten by BMeTric: 77.0 RoboCop 3 (1993); 72.6 Striptease (1996); 69.0 Feardotcom (2002); 62.3 Setup (I) (2011); 58.8 The Crow: City of Angels (1996); 57.3 Daredevil (2003); 56.3 Body of Evidence (1993); 55.8 Catch .44 (2011); 54.6 The Prince (I) (2014); 54.5 The Canyons (2013);

(Okay, The Canyons is certainly a very weird neo noir, but I’m a bit skeptical about the others. Like I feel like Striptease is pushing the definition. Feardotcom is certainly pushing it. This list does remind me that I absolutely want to watch Robocop III. It is apparently a huge load of crap. And Robocop II was already a giant piece of crap.)

Notes – As told in his memoir, Kim Basinger’s then husband Ron Snyder found two love letters penned by Richard Gere stashed in a drawer in Basinger’s home gym at the end of April 1986, decided to follow his wife on one of her late night shoots with Gere, tracked the cheating superstars to a restaurant and watched them passionately making out in the parking lot in Gere’s limo. Snyder later confronted her and the marriage survived the affair, until Basinger started another romance on the set of Batman (1989). (uuuuuuuuuuuuuuh, that is quite awkward. But stars will be stars you know?)

The swamp-lands region seen in the picture was the Louisiana Bayou. Producer D. Constantine Conte said: “The bayou scenes were also shot in North Carolina, in swamps full of alligators and cottonmouth snakes. Richard Gere and Kim Basinger’ were very brave to do these scenes without stunt doubles. Director Richard Pearce said: “The air temperature was about thirty-five degrees and the water temperature about forty-five”. SPOILER: Ironically, it is within these scenes shot in the bayou that Eddie Jillette (Richard Gere and Michel Duval (Kim Basinger) warm toward one another and then fall in love. (awwwwwwww)

To offset the cost of production on several films, Tri Star Pictures, who usually released their films on the home market through parent company RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video, sold off the foreign video rights to No Mercy (1986), 8 Million Ways to Die (1986), Night of the Creeps (1986), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), The Squeeze (1987), Nadine (1987) and Gardens of Stone (1987) to CBS/Fox Home Video. (It was a different time back then. 8 Million Ways to Die was very much on our radar for films to watch this cycle, but didn’t make the cut).

The Louisiana leg of shooting also included scenes set in the Vieux Carre Police Station. Production designer Patrizia von Brandenstein said: “We converted a tourist-information-society building with wonderful murals of old New Orleans into our police station. The funny thing was that the building was due to be converted into a real police station and the department asked to keep some of our counters and other fixtures”. (Now that is a fun fact).

Shanghai Surprise Preview

This week we move to a romantic epic for the ages for our Girls Night Out. That’s right, we’re watching one of 1986’s worst picture nominees Shanghai Surprise starring Sean Penn and Madonna. Filmed back when they were married, it was made as a starring vehicle for Madonna after her breakout role in Desperately Seeking Susan. Obviously didn’t go great and was the first of many bumps in the road for Madonna’s acting career. I’m actually somewhat excited for this film considering it has an astonishingly low IMDb user rating (3.0). I honestly trust that a bit more than the Razzies. Let’s go!

Shanghai Surprise (1986) – BMeTric: 42.6

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(Well … I guess I can’t not acknowledge the weird rating dip in 2003 for this movie. It goes from 2.9 to 2.3 in a matter of months and has since just kind of regresses to the mean. The rating it also astonishingly low, at one point the film was likely in the bottom 100 on IMDb. The BMeTric trajectory is very very similar to King Kong Lives. Someday I’ll do a meta-analysis on graphics like this. I would call this the Classic Bad Movie trend. The BMeTric plot just goes up in a straight line because the rating is so low and the votes were already high enough when IMDb began that is never crosses from non-BMT to BMT, it is always BMT.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Missionary Madonna hires adventurer Penn (her then real-life husband) to capture a cache of stolen opium (for medicinal purposes only) in 1937 China. It’s all stupefyingly dull. As one critic noted, it’s tough for Penn to succeed in the grand adventure movie tradition when the screen legend he most reminds you of here is Ratso Rizzo. Coexecutive producer George Harrison, who appears briefly as a nightclub singer, wrote the songs.

(This cycle has so far been 2.5 stars, BOMB, 1.5 stars, BOMB, BOMB … there are no words. The irony being that this cycle has also been terrible by BMT standards. I think it is because bad films from 1986 are basically all stupefyingly dull. Sigh, We aren’t going to like this are we?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhX89dDoAw4

(Oh wow that ending. Does seem more of a comedy that you would have thought given the leading actors. Looks low budget and bizarre and I can see this either being one of the worst or one of the weirdest BMTs we’ve ever had the displeasure of viewing.)

Directors – Jim Goddard – (BMT: Shanghai Surprise; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Director for Shanghai Surprise. He was fifty at the time of release which seems relatively old for the golden age of the blockbuster. British and primarily known for his television work his almost complete anonymity in the US was even noted in his obituary.)

Writers – John Kohn (screenplay) – (Known For: The Collector; Theatre of Blood; BMT: Shanghai Surprise; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Screenplay for Shanghai Surprise. He was sixty at the time of release! His last screenplay. Nominated for a screenplay oscar in 1965 for The Collector. Mainly known for his production work he died of cancer in 2002.)

Robert Bentley (screenplay) – (BMT: Shanghai Surprise; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Screenplay for Shanghai Surprise. I can literally find nothing about this person on the internet. His only credit is this movie.)

Tony Kenrick (from the novel “Faraday’s Flowers”) – (BMT: Shanghai Surprise; Notes:  An Australian advertising writer he’s had two books adapted into movies and at least three others have been optioned with stars attached and never made. He wrote 14 books and Shanghai Surprise was adapted from his fourth.)

Actors – Sean Penn – (Known For: Angry Birds; The Game; Mystic River; Risky Business; Fast Times at Ridgemont High; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; The Tree of Life; The Thin Red Line; Carlito’s Way; 21 Grams; Milk; Taps; Fair Game; At Close Range; I’m Still Here; Colors; Dead Man Walking; U Turn; This Must Be the Place; Bad Boys; Casualties of War; Persepolis; The Interpreter; BMT: Shanghai Surprise; The Gunman (BMT); It’s All About Love; All the King’s Men; The Weight of Water; Hugo Pool; Crackers; Gangster Squad; I Am Sam; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Actor for Shanghai Surprise. This movie is notable for the fact that Penn and Madonna were in a relationship at the time. Five time academy award nominee for best actor (two time winner) and famous (some might say notorious) speaker on human rights. He is no stranger to controversy over the years including accusation of domestic violence towards Madonna, explicit support of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, allusions to Argentina’s claims towards the Falkland Islands (not a good look, I can tell you the Brits are sensitive about that guy), and the recent El Chapo interview. Most recently seen in The Gunman.)

Madonna – (Known For: A League of Their Own; Die Another Day; Dick Tracy; Desperately Seeking Susan; Vision Quest; Evita; BMT: Swept Away; Body of Evidence (BMT); The Next Best Thing; Who’s That Girl; Shanghai Surprise; Girl 6; Arthur and the Invisibles; Razzie Notes: Won the Razzie Award in 2000 for Worst Actress of the Century for Body of Evidence, Shanghai Surprise, and Who’s That Girl; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2010 for Worst Actress of the Decade for Die Another Day, The Next Best Thing, and Swept Away; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1990 for Worst Actress of the Decade and New Star of the Decade for Shanghai Surprise, and Who’s That Girl; Won the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Actress for Swept Away, in 2001 for The Next Best Thing, in 1994 for Body of Evidence, in 1988 for Who’s That Girl, and in 1987 for Shanghai Surprise; Won the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Supporting Actress for Die Another Day, and in 1996 for Four Rooms; Won the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Screen Couple for Swept Away; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1992 for Worst Actress for Madonna: Truth or Dare, in 1990 for Worst Supporting Actress for Bloodhounds of Broadway, in 2003 for Worst Original Song for Die Another Day, and in 2001 for Worst Screen Couple for The Next Best Thing; Notes: A very strange career now that I look at it. She’s worked incredibly consistently (26 films in almost exactly 30 years). A smattering of small and big films. A smattering of great and terrible films. Even her Razzie acumen seems out of place considering how few movies she’s been in. Strange stuff. The two actors are really the only thing this movie will have going for it likely.)

Also stars Paul Freeman – (Previously in BMT future HoFer Getaway and Double Team)

Budget/Gross – $17 million / Domestic: $2,315,683

(Wow. What a complete unmitigated disaster. That boxoffice doesn’t even really make sense. Then again, I had literally never heard of this film that appears to be considered one of the worst films of the 80s, so maybe just no one has ever seen it?)

#44 for the Off-Screen Couples On-Screen genre: Movies with Real Life Romance Between Lead Actors at the Time of Release or Shortly Before

offscreencouples_44

(Huh, the waves don’t really make sense to me. Maybe we follow certain couples until they stop making movies (see Brangelina) and then it takes a few years to find the hot new couples? I don’t know. Kind of funny how ubiquitous the movies have been through the years though. Indeed looking down the list of recent examples nearly all couples are now broken up.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 13% (1/8): No consensus yet.

(Uh oh, time to make a consensus: Madonna’s incompetence gave her an acting reputation she’s never shaken, all for a movie that appears to function solely as a vehicle to star the real-life couple as a novelty. The consensus seems a little scattered, but there is little anyone said about it that was good.)

Poster – Sklogging Surprise (D+)

shanghai_surprise

(I don’t like this poster. It is way way way too close in on Penn and Madonna. It is merely a shot from the movie (you can see it in the trailer). The red words are too bright atop the soft focus blues elsewhere. Why the plus? That’s sweet S on that Shanghai Surprise. Just complex enough that Sklogging Surprise would be a delight to produce (in that I wouldn’t need to change the S and it would make the title look snazzy). But what would it be? Soft focus Patrick kissing his wife? You would barely be able to tell I did anything! Boring.)

Tagline(s) – A romantic adventure for the dangerous at heart. (F)

(What in the hell? For the “dangerous at heart”? Is that a phrase? The answer is no. In fact, the only other time it appears in google searches is for a 1994 book of that very title. Here’s the synopsis of said books: Life was the pits for Rachel Hart. Single and pregnant, at least she’d had the good sense not to marry the no-good father of her child! Things couldn’t get worse, she assured herself. Then her ex-fiance turned up dead. And Rachel was the prime suspect… Big-city cop Delaney Parker didn’t fancy working undercover in this two-bit town. He liked even less getting involved with beautiful, sexy Rachel – she aroused his feelings as a man, a lover and a substitute daddy. Del was in over his head… he had to remember he was a cop first. But could he really send a pregnant woman to jail? You’re welcome. That’s an F.)

Keyword(s) – china; Top Ten by BMeTric: 59.6 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008); 49.8 Independence Day: Resurgence (2016); 48.2 The Man with the Iron Fists (2012); 47.9 Chandni Chowk to China (2009); 47.9 Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003); 46.2 Blackhat (2015); 46.1 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007); 43.2 Babylon A.D. (2008); 42.6 Shanghai Surprise (1986); 42.4 Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014);

(Methinks this list will be growing in the future with the growth of the Chinese market in determining the profits of Hollywood films. Transformers 4 is a perfect example of this. Something like Pacific Rim 2 and Need For Speed 2 could easily enter this list with a few missteps.)

Notes – Apparently, after principal photography wrapped, executive producer George Harrison allegedly said of lead stars Madonna and Sean Penn: “Penn is a pain the ass . . . [whilst] she has to realize that you can be a fabulous person and be humble as well”. (Brutal George, although I assume this is mostly him being a bit bitter about the inevitable financial loss of the film)

Ex-Beatle and executive producer George Harrison performs five songs on the movie’s soundtrack. (And apparently this is the only bright spot in the movie)

Lead stars Madonna and Sean Penn were married at the time the movie was made and released.

Awards – Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Madonna)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Sean Penn), Worst Director (Jim Goddard), Worst Screenplay (John Kohn, Robert Bentley), and Worst Original Song (George Harrison)