The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Preview

Jamie and Patrick are pale and sweating. “It’s even worse than I imagined it would be,” says Jamie, gulping down the bile rising in his throat. The film set has become a horror scene with the introduction of Michael Myers. It’s unbearable to watch, with multiple crew members off puking at the mere sight of what is happening. “For the love of God, stop him,” scream the TikTok bros. They pound on Patrick’s rock hard chest in despair, but it’s futile, his eyes are glazed over like doll’s eyes as he has accepted the monster he has become. “He’s unstoppable,” says Patrick gravely. “Listen to me,” begs Jamie in a whisper, tears streaming down his face, “they have given up. Everyone is ready to play ball and make the film we want to make. We have won.” His voice breaks and he looks out on the set and wonders whether you could call something like this winning? No… the whole world has lost. But with that Patrick snaps out of it and realization dawns on his face. “Cut!” he screams to everyone’s relief and Michael Myers looks over as Patrick approaches. With a shudder Patrick pats Myers’ gross cat monster face, “thanks Mike, we…” his voice quavers, “we needed a little Cat in the Hat magic on set to,” he gulps, “bring up people’s spirits.” Mike Myers nods in appreciation and asks if there are any other scenes for him to shoot and Patrick quickly shakes his head and points him to the exit. Everyone lets out a breath as Myers turns to walk away grumbling about the 8 hours of makeup just to shoot a 4 minute scene. Just then a shot rings out and Myers’ cat chest explodes. My god! That shot was meant for Patrick! That’s right! BMT Live is back, Jack! When we saw that a squeakuel was coming out that was actually getting bad enough reviews to qualify for BMT and in theaters for both of us, we couldn’t let the opportunity pass. Here’s to hoping it’s actually a quality BMT film and not just another Keeping Up With the Jonses… that film we watched in theaters that no one remembers. Let’s go!

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021) – BMeTric: 2.7; Notability: 30

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 74.7%; Notability: top 14.3%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 22.2% Higher BMeT: Thunder Force, Cosmic Sin, Music, Tom & Jerry: The Movie, Awake, Outside the Wire, Things Heard & Seen, Spiral: From the Book of Saw, The Unholy, Bliss, The Woman in the Window, Vanquish, Infinite, Chaos Walking, The Marksman, Voyagers, The Virtuoso, Breaking News in Yuba County, Cherry, Separation, and 1 more; Higher Notability: Music, Tom & Jerry: The Movie, Chaos Walking, Infinite, Cherry; Lower RT: Cosmic Sin, Vanquish, Separation, Music, Breaking News in Yuba County, Axis Sally, Infinite, The Virtuoso, Thunder Force, Chaos Walking, The Woman in the Window, Voyagers, Bliss, The Unholy, Awake, Tom & Jerry: The Movie; Notes: As usual I don’t put the plots for just released films because they are uninteresting. The BMeTric is obviously also fake news to a degree. You know what? So is the Notability. This is a pretty big release. I imagine the Notability will rise a bit over the years as people in the crew become famous. All of this is fake!

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – After more than a year of pandemic-induced stay-at-home orders, audiences are eager to hit movie theaters and reunite in a dark room with a larger-than-life big screen and booming sound. As theaters slowly open up, studios are gleefully releasing titles in preparation for what is hopeful to be a profitable and exciting big summer launch. Will “Hitman Wife’s Bodyguard” kickstart the action? … Directed by Patrick Hughes, this comic book-energy spy adventure, gorgeously captured by cinematographer Terry Stacey and keenly scripted with barbed laden dialogue from Tom O’Connor, Brandon Murphy, and Phillip Murphy, is heavy on blood, guts, action, and star power. It really is time for a summer movie season again.

(Uh … what? I’m pretty amazed, the review isn’t really the normal “I get it guys, the movie is terrible … but I like it” good review from critics. This is like “this movie is a solid comedy, fight me in real life”.)

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

(Looks okay. Like the first one a bit. I’m surprised by how little plot they actually told. He is on sabbatical, Hayek find him … and explosions and torture maybe? It really gives nothing away. Britney Spears is doing some heavy lifting on getting me excited for this movie … I’m not sure it works.)

Directors – Patrick Hughes – (Known For: The Hitman’s Bodyguard; Red Hill; BMT: The Expendables 3; The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Notes: From Australia, he’s the son of actor Tim Hughes. A commercial director (for things like Xbox, BMW, etc.), he’s directing a film called The Man from Toronto which kind of just sounds like this film?)

Writers – Tom O’Connor (screenplay & based on characters created by & story) – (Known For: The Courier; The Hitman’s Bodyguard; Fire with Fire; BMT: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Notes: Somehow there is almost no information about him. Fire with Fire is one of those films where it seems like they’ve photoshopped Bruce Willis’ head onto a stunt double for the entirety of filming.)

Brandon Murphy and Phillip Murphy (screenplay) – (BMT: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Notes: I assume they are brothers … this gets even more curious, was this film actually written? These guys have almost no information about them either. They are attached to write and direct a sci-fi film involving skiing called Snow Valley maybe?)

Actors – Ryan Reynolds – (Known For: The Hitman’s Bodyguard; The Croods: A New Age; Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw; Deadpool; Deadpool 2; 6 Underground; Ted; The Proposal; Life; Safe House; Pokémon Detective Pikachu; The Croods; Adventureland; Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies; Just Friends; Buried; Definitely, Maybe; Turbo; The Voices; Future BMT: Green Lantern; Blade: Trinity; The In-Laws; The Amityville Horror; A Million Ways to Die in the West; The Change-Up; Criminal; Van Wilder: Party Liaison; Self/less; Smokin’ Aces; Waiting…; BMT: R.I.P.D.; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Notes: Y’all know Ryan Reynolds. He bought Wrexham AFC with Rob McElhenney, they are touring the U.S. this summer … I’m not joking, they bought a football club in Wales.)

Frank Grillo – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Boss Level; Captain America: Civil War; Body Brokers; Minority Report; Cosmic Sin; Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Zero Dark Thirty; Warrior; Homefront; Black and Blue; The Purge: Anarchy; End of Watch; The Purge: Election Year; Jiu Jitsu; The Grey; Point Blank; Beyond Skyline; Reprisal; Future BMT: My Soul to Take; Pride and Glory; BMT: The Sweetest Thing; Gangster Squad; The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Notes: There is no way he’s actually second billed IMDb, but whatever. Was supposed to be a major character in the Marvel films … but then they killed off his character earlier than anticipated.)

Salma Hayek – (Known For: The Hitman’s Bodyguard; From Dusk Till Dawn; Bliss; Savages; Dogma; The Faculty; Sausage Party; Once Upon a Time in Mexico; Traffic; Desperado; Across the Universe; Tale of Tales; Four Rooms; Frida; Here Comes the Boom; Puss in Boots; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Muppets Most Wanted; The Hummingbird Project; Future BMT: Like a Boss; Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant; Fled; 54; Fools Rush In; How to Be a Latin Lover; After the Sunset; BMT: Wild Wild West; Fair Game; Grown Ups 2; Grown Ups; The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 2000 for Dogma, and Wild Wild West; and in 2014 for Grown Ups 2; Notes: The godmother of Robert Roriguez’s children. Her brother designs chairs.)

Budget/Gross – $30–50 million / Domestic: N/A (Worldwide: N/A)

(Obviously, it hasn’t really gotten to the point where it has an actual return. $30-$50 seems high for a comedy though, it would need to get $100 million potentially to really be a success. The original did get $75 domestic + $100 million international though, so it did make a ton of money.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 31% (15/48): Despite the charms of its ensemble, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard fails to protect the audience from repetitive and tired genre tropes.

(Isn’t repetitive and tired genre tropes kind of the point? I haven’t seen the original yet, but given the parody poster of The Bodyguard I always figured the movie was a comedic take on a very specific sub-genre. Reviewer Highlight: The impression is of a creative team laughing that they’re getting away with this again, like a group of bank robbers howling as they round the block in their getaway car, then circling back to nonchalantly knock off the same place again. – A.A. Dowd, Variety)

Poster – The Hitman’s Bodyguard’s Bodyguard

(I kind of like that better as a title for the sequel. Also, I am going to surprise you by saying that I kinda like the orange on this poster. It doesn’t really make sense, but it’s better than the alternative. Everything else is lazy and terrible and I hate it. C-)

Tagline(s) – Hit me baby one more time (C+)

(That could be worse. It’s short and kinda says something about the film, although in a meta way that I generally am not keen on. The cleverness is lacking, but again… not offensive.)

Keyword – bodyguard

Top 10: Tenet (2020), Wonder Woman 1984 (1984), Titanic (1997), The Gentlemen (2019), The Dark Knight (2008), The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017), Inception (2010), Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019), The Interpreter (2005), Baywatch (2017)

Future BMT: 82.8 Kazaam (1996), 63.5 Mr. Nanny (1993), 62.9 Fat Albert (2004), 58.2 Wild Orchid (1989), 56.8 The Transporter Refueled (2015), 51.9 Blackhat (2015), 47.4 Men in Black: International (2019), 46.3 Machete Kills (2013), 44.9 The Rhythm Section (2020), 44.0 Fred Claus (2007);

BMT: Baywatch (2017), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Fifty Shades Freed (2018), Angel Has Fallen (2019), Geostorm (2017), Fantasy Island (2020), Rambo: Last Blood (2019), Bloodshot (2020), The Expendables 3 (2014), Vampire Academy (2014), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), London Has Fallen (2016), Hunter Killer (2018), Conan the Barbarian (2011), The Bodyguard (1992), Gangster Squad (2013), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), The Snowman (2017), Elektra (2005), Over the Top (1987), The Pacifier (2005), Hitman: Agent 47 (2015), Be Cool (2005), Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005), Romeo Must Die (2000), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Ride Along (2014), Mortdecai (2015), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), The Musketeer (2001), The Gunman (2015), The Prince & Me (2004), Alex Cross (2012), I, Frankenstein (2014), Ride Along 2 (2016), Hollywood Homicide (2003), Exit Wounds (2001), Proud Mary (2018), First Daughter (2004), Grind (2003), I Spy (2002), Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009), Left Behind, Pluto Nash (2002), Never Die Alone (2004)

(Mushy keyword, clearly every film has it … I’ll still say I can’t wait to rewatch Kazaam. And what could have caused the meteoric rise of bodyguard films in the 2010s?! Joking, it is just because people put keywords on films they’ve seen recently and more so since IMDb expanded their user base in 2011. We’ve been over this before.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Samuel L. Jackson is No. 2 billed in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard and No. 3 billed in Jumper, which also stars Michael Rooker (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 4 billed) => 2 + 3 + 5 + 4 = 14. If we were to watch Amos & Andrew we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – The movie, like the first film, was entirely shot in Europe. This sequel was filmed in five European countries which were Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom.

First ever theatrical feature film featuring both Morgan Freeman and Samuel L. Jackson. The picture is also the first time that actress Salma Hayek and actor Morgan Freeman have starred in the same film as well as being the first time also for both the acting combo of Ryan Reynolds and Antonio Banderas as well as Morgan Freeman and Ryan Reynolds.

The possibility of another sequel has been touted by the film’s director Patrick Hughes prior to the picture’s premiere in June 2021. He said of another sequel in an interview: “It dawned on me during the first film that the endlessly suffering fool who is Michael Bryce, must suffer endlessly, therefore we must endlessly make sequels. As a result, the sequel does leave things ready for another film. All we can say is that it sets Ryan up to suffer. Endlessly.”

When star Ryan Reynold’s other 2021 release ‘Free Guy’ had its American launch date moved to 13th August 2021 by the Disney studio the stateside release date of ‘Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’ (2021) moved from its August 2021 U.S. release date to a 16th June 2021 opener in North America.

Publicity for this picture, according to an interview with director Patrick Hughes, states that the character of Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek) suffers from a rare personality disorder which is known in psychiatric medicine as “batshit crazy”.

At least 150 cast and crew from The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017) came back to work on the sequel.

The film stars one Oscar (Academy Award) winner – Morgan Freeman, and four nominees: Salma Hayek, Samuel L. Jackson, Antonio Banderas, and Richard E. Grant.

In reviews of this oddly wordy-titled movie sequel, some critics have jokingly speculated on the title of a possible further sequel, including ‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Child’s Bodyguard’, ‘The Hitman’s Ex-Wife’s Bodyguard’, ‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Son’s Bodyguard’, and ‘The Hitman’s Mother-In-Law’s Agent’s Bodyguard’.

At one point, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) hits someone with a bottle of Aviation Gin. This is the brand of gin owned by Reynolds in real life.

Though the film is partially set in Greece none of the filming for the movie actually shot there.

One of the biggest ever international film productions to ever shoot in the central-southeastern European nation of Croatia.

Dutch Preview

Poe is led through the dank twisty turns of a stone passageway. He shivers, lamenting that he didn’t bring his ermine stole. Suddenly he is thrust into the light of an overly elaborate crypt. A ring of men and women stand above him. His breath catches, in the middle of the room is a book, but before he can grab it and backflip his way out of there, he feels a hand on his shoulder. “My fellow members of the most exclusive of dance clubs, The Skulls,” says Mr. Big, an evil look crossing his face, “We have a traitor in our midst. This is no foxy lady with legs for days. It’s a police officer in disguise!” And with that he tears off Poe’s dress to reveal his full detective uniform. A gasp rises from the room. How did he know? Poe’s got to think quickly. “No… no…” he sputters backing away from the dangerous mob of rich clubgoers, “you see I used to be a police officer… but they didn’t approve of my sweet beats and smooth rhythm.” The members stop in shock. How dare the police question sweet beats and smooth rhythm. But Mr. Big is suspicious and insists he, “prove it.” Wiping sweat from his brow, Poe pulls his emergency flute from ankle holster and begins to lay down the bangingest tune that anyone has ever heard. People are straight jamming to the phat flute beats. Suddenly Mr. Big shouts for everyone to stop. “That may have been the phattest beats I’ve ever heard,” he says enraged, “but that doesn’t mean you’re a Skulls.” Poe puts a hand on his shoulder and whispers urgently, “then let me prove it to you. Let’s take a little Thanksgiving road trip together… a road trip through our imagination.” That’s right! We’re doing a TGivs special with a true holiday classic, Dutch starring Ed O’Neill. I’ve seen this countless times and loved it as a child watching it on Comedy Central and now it’s time to see if it stands the test of time as our special 2020 BMT Live(ish) Thanksgiving Spectacular. Let’s go!

Dutch (1991) – BMeTric: 14.2; Notability: 42 

(If you are on reddit movies at all you’ll know that this film has become something of a cult classic. People unironically are declaring this as one of the very best TGivs films, on roughly the same level as Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. This happened around 2014, and it likely fueled by people in their early 30s who watched this film multiple times on cable in the late 90s. If you were like 10 in 1998 you would have seen this film a ton on television around this time of year.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – You’ve got to give John Hughes a certain amount of credit. At least when he makes a formula picture, he’s following his own formula. Hughes is the poet of the colorful domestic crisis, of the movie where typical Americans do typical things in typical places while learning to be better people than they were at the beginning of the film. Hughes has written, directed and/or produced so many of these films by now that perhaps we can even forgive him for beginning to repeat himself.

(Yeah, so the criticism at the time was definitely along the lines of: been there done that. This film is almost explicitly a mash-up of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (an odd couple travelling across the country for TGivs), Uncle Buck (the working class Joe interacting with the more upper class children), and National Lampoon’s Vacation (as it being a designed road trip for bonding purposes). It was so much so that Hughes didn’t want to direct because he thought he would get shit for just making Planes, Trains, and Automobiles again.)

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

(I feel like this is not really the message that comes through in the actual film. I’m actually a bit perplexed by the “he’s just a big kid” message on all of the advertising surrounding it. What I remember is the he is mostly a grumpy dude, perplexed by this uptight rich kid … the end. He tried to get him to loosen up, but it isn’t like Dutch is an arrested development loser or anything. I’ll guess we’ll see.)

Directors – Peter Faiman – (Known For: Crocodile Dundee; BMT: Dutch; Notes: A really weird choice. Was one of the creators of the Crocodile Dundee character, and this is his only genuine American feature (Crocodile Dundee was mostly filmed in Australia). Given just how explicitly American it is, it feels weird to go for a very Australian director.)

Writers – John Hughes (written by) – (Known For: Home Alone; National Lampoon’s Winter Holiday; National Lampoon’s Vacation; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; The Breakfast Club; Weird Science; Pretty in Pink; Uncle Buck; Sixteen Candles; Miracle on 34th Street; 101 Dalmatians; Some Kind of Wonderful; The Great Outdoors; Mr. Mum; She’s Having a Baby; Future BMT: Home Alone 3; Beethoven’s 2nd; Flubber; Maid in Manhattan; Dennis the Menace; Beethoven; Drillbit Taylor; Just Visiting; Curly Sue; Vacation; Baby’s Day Out; Career Opportunities; Class Reunion; National Lampoon’s European Vacation; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; Savage Islands; Reach the Rock; BMT: Dutch; Notes: Started by selling jokes to comedians, then moved into television advertising, and ended up working for Mad Magazine as a result. National Lampoon’s Vacation was based on one of his magazine stories. He would spend the late 90s making kid films and writing under pseudonyms. Notoriously prolific writer, and is considered the quintessential voice of 80s teen films.)

Actors – Ed O’Neill – (Known For: Ralph Breaks the Internet; Finding Dory; Wreck-It Ralph; Wayne’s World; Cruising; Wayne’s World 2; The Last Shift; The Spanish Prisoner; Spartan; The Dogs of War; Sun Dogs; Redbelt; Prefontaine; Disorganised Crime; Future BMT: Lucky Numbers; K-9; Sibling Rivalry; Blue Chips; Little Giants; Entourage; The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; The Bone Collector; Nobody’s Baby; BMT: Dutch; Notes: Was hired based on his character of Al Bundy, the father on Married … With Children. He was nominated twice for Golden Globes for that role, and three times for an Emmy for his role on Modern Family.)

Ethan Embry – (Known For: The Guest; First Man; Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies; That Thing You Do!; Can’t Hardly Wait; Blindspotting; Vacancy; White Squall; Late Phases; The Devil’s Candy; Defending Your Life; Cheap Thrills; A Far Off Place; Dancer, Texas Pop. 81; The Independent; Future BMT: They; Disturbing Behavior; Vegas Vacation; The Reunion; All I Want for Christmas; Standing Still; Eagle Eye; War on the Range; Empire Records; Pizza; BMT: Timeline; Sweet Home Alabama; Dutch; Notes: Ended up starring alongside Ed O’Neill in the Dragnet remake in 2003. He is mostly a television actor now, starring in shows like Grace and Frankie.)

JoBeth Williams – (Known For: Poltergeist; Kramer vs. Kramer; The Big Chill; Wyatt Earp; The Big Year; Stir Crazy; The Perfect Catch; In the Land of Women; Teachers; The Dogs of War; Timer; Barracuda; Desert Bloom; Just Write; Future BMT: Poltergeist II: The Other Side; Switch; SGT. Will Gardner; American Dreamer; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Jungle 2 Jungle; Dutch; Notes: Apparently the role of Murphy Brown was created for her, but she ultimately turned it down.)

Budget/Gross – $17,000,000 / Domestic: $4,603,929 (Worldwide: $4,603,929)

(That is a terrible return. Here’s the thing though: I bet it ultimately made money just by selling the rights to show this film every year around TGivs for the last 30 years. It is one of the best TGivs films by virtue of there just not being that many of them.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (4/23)

(The consensus here is really easy: As if made in a John Hughes factory via assembly line, this is not the worst he’s made, but far from his best effort. Reviewer Highlight: If a film like this is to be funny at all, it had better work when the warring principals still hate each other, before the rich boy is shown to be a sweet kid and the whole story turns to mush. – Janey Maslin, The New York Times.)

Poster – Driving Me Crazytown USA

(Interesting poster. Obviously the font is amazing. Patrick needs to immediately get a print of his name where that’s the “T”. Otherwise it’s just OK. Ed O’Neill must have really been riding that Married… with Children high. )

Tagline(s) – Can a big kid bring out the child in a little jerk? (C)

(I can’t decide whether this is totally mediocre or slightly good. I get the idea and I think they just ran into a stumbling block when it came to “jerk” at the end. Doesn’t really make sense and can’t save the long tagline.)

Keyword – thanksgiving

Top 10: Deadpool (2016), The Santa Clause (1994), The Mule (2018), Prisoners (2013), Boyz n the Hood (1991), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Spider-Man (2002), Contagion (2011), American Gangster (2007), Lady Bird (2017)

Future BMT: 78.6 Superhero Movie (2008), 67.9 College Road Trip (2008), 53.1 Hanging Up (2000), 44.6 Baggage Claim (2013), 33.2 Must Love Dogs (2005), 32.9 Son in Law (1993), 31.6 Free Birds (2013), 27.4 The Comedian (2016), 23.0 Don’t Say a Word (2001), 19.7 Art School Confidential (2006);

BMT: Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009), The Prince & Me (2004), The Roommate (2011), The Intruder (2019), Dutch (1991), Deadly Friend (1986)

(We’ve seen quite a few real TGivs films. Paul Blart and The Intruder for example, are real TGivs-centric films. Son in Law is easily the best of the remaining BMT films available. It is so good that it is the other TGivs film on the Calendar challenge.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: JoBeth Williams is No. 3 billed in Dutch and No. 3 billed in Jungle 2 Jungle, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 3 + 6 + 1 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – The film was mentioned in passing in an episode of Married with Children (1987) during an in-flight to London, as a joke to the film’s failure. Ed O’Neill was the star of the series.

John Candy was the first choice to play Dutch Dooley. (I think he comes across as too nice, although … in that version he would have probably been Uncle Buck which would have probably been fine)

There were plans to do a sequel, which never materialized. (What could the sequel have possibly involved? Just another roadtrip?)

Prior to filming, Director Peter Faiman, Writer and co-Producer John Hughes, and Producer Richard Vane took a road trip throughout Georgia, The Carolinas (North and South), Mississippi, and Tennessee to scout the route of the film’s characters, Dutch Dooley and Doyle would take to drive back home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. Faiman liked most of the places that he’d seen during the trip, and they ended up in final film. (I’ll have to watch closely what the actual idea is. So the kid goes to school in Georgia? And why is Dutch there to pick him up then if they all live in Chicago?)

If you pause it just right when Dutch is going through his wallet in the motel room, you can get a clear shot of his drivers license showing his address and name, which reads “David Dooley.” Which means “Dutch” must be a nickname. There’s never an actual mention of “David” in the film. (I love these fun facts)

At one point, Writer/Director/Producer John Hughes considered directing the film but then reconsidered because of the films’ similarities to his other hit film, “Planes, Trains And Automobiles” which revolved around two characters who at first really didn’t like each other and go on a road trip to get back Chicago after having a bunch of setbacks (which included a destroyed/burnt car, being robbed, etc.) for Thanksgiving with a happy resolution.

The surname of Doyle and his family is “Standish”, this name was also used in another John Hughes film, The Breakfast Club (1985), for Molly Ringwald’s character Claire Standish.

Released under the title “Driving Me Crazy” in the UK and Australia.

The large double doors, out of which Dutch bursts, are supposed to be the doors of Doyle’s dormitory. In reality, these doors are the main entrance to Hermann Hall, the administration building at Berry College, where the school scenes were filmed.

This was one of four films that was written, produced or directed by the late John Hughes in 1991. The others were Career Opportunities, this film, Only The Lonely (in which he produced and was Directed by Home Alone’s Chris Columbus) and his final film as director, Curly Sue. They all take place in Chicago, his hometown.

In the restroom at the bus station, the old man bathing in the sink is wearing the same shoes as Doyle after his were stolen on the bus.

There are similarities between the Dutch Dooley character and that of Al Bundy from “Married With Children” in which Writer/Producer John Hughes felt that Ed O’Neill was the right choice for the role.

JoBeth Williams full characters’ name is Natalie Wojejowsky Standish in which she mentions as she introduces herself to other women at Reed’s party early at the beginning of the film.

This was the first and only film that Director Peter Faiman ever directed in the US. He had directed the surprise hit, “Crocodile” Dundee in 1986, in which part of the film took part in New York City but the majority of it was filmed in Australia.

The film is essentially a remake of three other John Hughes films which he also wrote which are “Uncle Buck”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and “Planes, Trains And Automobiles”. (That sounds about right actually)

The shoes that Doyle is left with after having his own stolen on the bus are the same as the homeless man’s who he meets in the bus station restroom

At one time in the movie, a billboard is shown, showing that Dutch is actually the owner of a very successful trucking company.

Father Figures Preview

Rich is dragged into a dark ceremonial chamber. He looks wildly between the identical Nic Cages. How could such a monstrosity be? Their ideniticalness is perverse. Unnatural. And yet their grips are like iron, with full twin power. And Poe! Sweet Poe. Dragged to whatever depths by John Travolta’s dark magic. The horror, the horror. As Rich is strung up to a ceremonial table, the Nics prep a variety of terrible tools to extract the delicate shard of the Obsidian Dongle from his heart. They sing a jolly Christmas tune, showing off those pipes that both Nic Cage and John Travolta are well known for. The tune brings back memories, and spur on vivid hallucinations of his past life as it flashes before his eyes. His childhood in Louisiana, a place of wonder. His mother’s fresh baked bread, the smell mingling with his father’s pipe smoke. His denim jacket! Oh how he and Poe laughed over the jackets. They were a present from his parents to both of them. They always treated Poe like a son, especially after… the accident. The jackets were totally rad and had a couple white cobras stitched into the back with the words “No Rulez 4 Life.”. He remembers when they first put them on. It felt like they’d never take them off. In fact, they never had and have been wearing them this entire time. They were so intertwined with those jackets that there was no need to ever mention them before. And in that moment when they first donned their trademark jackets his father said, “look at my boys… brothers for life. As long as you have each other you’ll never lose.” His father… Poe’s father, too, after… the accident. Using the last of his strength, Rich utters one word, “No.” That’s right! We’re watching Father Figures from 2017. I remember seeing the trailer for this film and thinking, “someday we’ll watch that for BMT.” And here we are. Destiny that a twin cycle would come along and Father Figures would be there to take its rightful Place. Let’s go!

Poe awakens. He’s covered in dirt and rocks and can barely move. Suddenly he feels the Earth shift above him and two hulking hands pull him from the rubble. “Are… are you dead?” two hulking identical monsters ask him, their ludicrous fashion stretched to the breaking point by their muscles. Using the last of his strength, Poe utters one word, “No.” That’s right! As a twin friend for this twin cycle we are watching Twin Sitters starring bodybuilders-turned-actors David and Peter Paul aka The Barbarian Brothers. They are twins and they are babysitting twin. Need I say more.

Father Figures (2017) – BMeTric: 41.9; Notability: 32 

(That notability is precisely what I would expect for a big comedy, I now know enough about notability to know that. And I bet in a few years this is a 50+ BMeTric. Just need to drop a few points off of that IMDb rating.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – “Father Figures” is what you might call a bastard comedy, and not just for the fact that it was once boldly titled “Bastards” and tells of two twins (played by Ed Helms and Owen Wilson) road-tripping to find their biological father. As a kicked-around project originally meant for a November 2016 release, and then a January 2017 release, and now coming out in time to be the comedy alternative to “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” it has that uncertain lineage in its very construction. Filled with insincere wackiness and sappiness, “Father Figures” never quite figures out whether it wants to be a raunchy, zippy road movie or a more dialogue-driven dramedy. Despite having no personality of its own, this movie just yearns to be recognized at all.

(Love the twin shoutout in the review itself. And this appears to be a very common complaint: the film has the feel of a family friendly road trip film, but then swerves inexplicable into a rauchy sex farce randomly. That could be interesting I suppose.)

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

(This definitely seems like a cheerful road trip comedy for the most part. Really weird they kind of went the Wedding Crashers route in the end. Probably just was received poorly with notes like “I want to see Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers, and Ed Helms in Hangover again please.”)

Directors – Lawrence Sher – (BMT: Father Figures; Notes: Primarily a cinematographer he was nominated for an Oscar for his work on Joker. He also was the Director of Photography on the Hangover films, so he worked with Ed Helms before at the very least.)

Writers – Justin Malen (written by) – (Known For: Office Christmas Party; BMT: Father Figures; Notes: Wrote a Chinese comedy called Wished (under what I assume is a pseudonym Hongwen Mai), and is writing the script for the upcoming Clifford the Big Red Dog film.)

Actors – Owen Wilson – (Known For: Wonder; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Midnight in Paris; Cars; Wedding Crashers; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Inherent Vice; Night at the Museum; Cars 3; Night at the Museum 2; Meet the Parents; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; The Royal Tenenbaums; Starsky & Hutch; Zoolander; The Cable Guy; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; No Escape; The Big Year; The Darjeeling Limited; Future BMT: Breakfast of Champions; How Do You Know; Little Fockers; You, Me and Dupree; Are You Here; Drillbit Taylor; Hall Pass; Masterminds; Free Birds; Cars 2; Meet the Fockers; The Internship; The Hero of Color City; BMT: Zoolander 2; Anaconda; Marmaduke; The Haunting; I Spy; Father Figures; Around the World in 80 Days; Behind Enemy Lines; Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Zoolander 2 in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Notes: Went to the University of Texas with Wes Anderson with whom he’s collaborated a number of times including The Royal Tenenbaums. Says “wow” in a distinct and easily mimicked way.)

Ed Helms – (Known For: We’re the Millers; The Hangover; Tag; Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story; Night at the Museum 2; Monsters vs. Aliens; A Futile and Stupid Gesture; The Senator; They Came Together; Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay; Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie; Jeff, Who Lives at Home; Stretch; Everyone’s Hero; Mune, le gardien de la lune; Cedar Rapids; Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story; Future BMT: Meet Dave; Evan Almighty; Coffee & Kareem; The Hangover Part III; The Clapper; Semi-Pro; Confessions of a Shopaholic; The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard; Christmas with the Coopers; Corporate Animals; Vacation; Someone Marry Barry; I Do… Until I Don’t; The Hangover Part II; BMT: Father Figures; Notes: At this point maybe most famous for his role in The Office than anything else. Started in UCB, and was a correspondent for the Daily Show as well, and is an accomplished banjo player.)

Glenn Close – (Known For: Guardians of the Galaxy; Dangerous Liaisons; The Natural; Mars Attacks!; Fatal Attraction; What Happened to Monday; Air Force One; Tarzan; 101 Dalmatians; The Big Chill; The Girl with All the Gifts; In & Out; Crooked House; The Wife; The World According to Garp; Cookie’s Fortune; Hoodwinked; Albert Nobbs; 5 to 7; Reversal of Fortune; Future BMT: 102 Dalmatians; Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil; The Stepford Wives; The Divorce; Mary Reilly; The Wilde Wedding; Anesthesia; Hook; Maxie; The House of the Spirits; The Chumscrubber; BMT: Pinocchio; Father Figures; Evening; Warcraft: The Beginning; Notes: Has won three Tony awards for her work on Broadway. Her role in Hook is as the Boo Box guy in an undisclosed cameo role.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $17,501,244 (Worldwide: $25,601,244)

(Not great. A film like this you’d expect at the very least a $50 million take, but you’d be quite pleased if you could pull off that rare $100 million comedy. Instead it kind of scrapes out what was likely a break even result once VOD was counted.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (8/48): Success has many fathers, but failure is Father Figures.

(Wowza, someone pay whoever came up with that insane consensus! I kind of love it, but probably because I hate it so much. Reviewer Highlight: Distinguished mainly by its overqualified cast and lack of inspiration, “Father Figures” can’t decide whether it’s a gross-out comedy or an uplifting tale of brotherly love; it embraces the worst of both worlds. – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times)

Poster – Rad Dads

(Nooooooooooo. This is everything I’ve been fighting against in talking about these posters. Look at that color scheme. Just a bunch of dumb human faces on a white background. Gross. Look at the spacing, the font, what story does it tell?! My god, it’s horrible. F.)

Tagline(s) – Finding Their Father Would Be a Family Miracle (F)

(Is… is “family miracle” a phrase? Are they doing this on purpose just to hurt me? What the hell is this tagline? Either my brain isn’t working and I’m missing a pun or this is one of the most nonsensical, trash taglines in history. You better hope my brain is broken.)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Despicable Me 3 (2017), The Great Outdoors (1988), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), Meet the Robinsons (2007)

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), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 13.4 Little Women (2018);

BMT: Jack and Jill (2011), Father Figures (2017), Pluto Nash (2002), The Identical (2014)

(Note for the coming weeks, I’ve added this keyword to a bunch of the upcoming films … so that’ll be nice. I mean, if they come in. I haven’t had much luck with IMDb keywords if I’m being honest, they are sticklers over there at IMDb. Unlike wikipedia, where I rule the roost. As for this film, you can see by 2017 we had entered the post-Harry Potter lull. I predict twins will be charging back to become a keyword force in American cinema yet!)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Owen Wilson is No. 1 billed in Father Figures and No. 2 billed in Zoolander 2, which also stars Penélope Cruz (No. 4 billed) who is in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (No. 2 billed), 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) => 1 + 2 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch The Internship, and Wicker Park we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – The script was sold less than two days after being pitched, in an impressive thirty-six hours.

Originally titled “Bastards”, but changed to “Father Figures” in September 2017, just three months before release.

The front desk worker in the hotel is Andrew Wilson; Owen Wilson’s older brother. (Oh wow, a rare Andrew Wilson sighting. He’s in quite a few small films at this point)

Bill Irwin filmed scenes as Dr. Tinkler, but Christopher Walken took over the role during re-shoots. (Big oooooof)

Although they play twins, Owen Wilson is five years older than Ed Helms in real-life..

Near the end of the film, Helen mentions that Peter (Ed Helms) and Kyle (Owen Wilson) were born “three days before Christmas” in December 1975. The film was released on December 22, 2017, Kyle and Peter’s 42nd birthday. (That’s fun, although likely unintentional since I think it was delayed for a bit before release)

Paramount Pictures was originally attached to the project, but they ended up dropping out, sending the script into turnaround and leaving Warner Brothers to release the film.

Ed Helms says that ” this is a ’75 stingray, the car is a 1981 corvette, not a ’75 (Huh)

During the epilogue, it is revealed that Kyle had twin babies. While there is no evidence that identical twins run in families., non-identical twins can do. (YUP. Actually also happened in The Identical where our Elvis stand in also is shown having had twins at the end of the film)

Towards the end of the film, Helen (Glenn Close) reveals to the boys their mother was an unmarried girl; she would not reveal the father’s name and her name was Jenny. Glenn Close played Jenny Fields in The World According to Garp (1982), a single mother who only knew her child’s father as “Technical Sergeant Garp”. (Now that is a fun fact!)

The Space Between Us Preview

It’s been a strange year for the Romance film. While there is a major ongoing BMT saga in the Fifty Shades series, with Fifty Shades Darker coming in as a BMT Live! this year, there wasn’t much besides that. Even Nicholas Sparks seems to have taken himself out of the game. We basically found ourselves choosing between the Reese Witherspoon RomCom vehicle Home Again and the SciFi/Romance The Space Between Us. I think you know which one won that battle. That’s right! We’re watching the very rare SciFi/Romance film in The Space Between Us. This film is about a boy born on Mars who yearns only about experiencing Earth, but is denied that opportunity because his body wouldn’t handle our gravity… until he takes the matter into his own brittle-boned hands. I would have loved to save this film for a Set in the Future cycle (as romances are hard to come by), but alas. Guess we’ll just have to go with Heartbeeps instead. Let’s go!

The Space Between Us (2017) – BMeTric: 19.3

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(The number of votes is a bit surprising and the rating is very surprising. Who watched this film? How does it end up being one of the worst opening of all time and then gets 30K votes on IMDb and decent enough (average at least) ratings. It makes no sense! This could be a mystery, but I think I have to watch the movie first to see if it is worth an investigation.)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  Butterfield and Robertson (who’s about 10 years too old to be playing a high-school student at this point) don’t exactly get sparkling dialogue with which to convince us of their burgeoning love. Neither does the score, which works overtime to make us feel all the feels. But hey, at least there’s an exploding barn. That’s something you don’t see on Mars every day.

(The score! I love when a score is all up in your face, it is the best. I think this film is going to be boring, but there is an outside shot it’ll be just silly and self-serious enough to keep me interested.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x73-573aWfs

(That … kind of looks interesting. Uh oh … this movie is going to be crazy boring isn’t it? How long is this? Two hours?! Goddamnit.)

Directors – Peter Chelsom – (Known For: Hannah Montana: The Movie; Serendipity; Shall We Dance; The Mighty; Funny Bones; Hear My Song; Future BMT: Town & Country; BMT: The Space Between Us; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director for Town & Country in 2002; Notes: British, his long career has seen him nominated for BAFTAs and Razzies. A classically trained actor originally he played alongside Patrick Stewart and Anthony Hopkins among the Royal Shakespeare company.)

Writers – Allan Loeb (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps; Rock of Ages; The Switch; Things We Lost in the Fire; Future BMT: So Undercover; Here Comes the Boom; 21; Collateral Beauty; The Only Living Boy in New York; BMT: The Dilemma; Just Go with It; The Space Between Us; Notes: His story seems very inspiring. He was struggling and almost bankrupt when he moved to New York, joined Gambler’s Anonymous, and developed the script for The Only Living Boy in New York. This sparked his career despite only just having being produced this year.)

Stewart Schill (story by) – (BMT: The Space Between Us; Notes: Almost exclusively a television editor of all things. He’s managed to earn just about one writing credit every ten years. I assume him and Lewis punch up in their spare time.)

Richard Barton Lewis (story by) – (BMT: The Space Between Us; Notes: Almost exclusively a producer (including being the Executive Producer of The Outer Limits), it is interesting he’s a writer here as this is his first writing credit it nearly twenty years.)

Actors – Gary Oldman – (Known For: Darkest Hour; The Dark Knight; Dracula; Léon: The Professional; The Dark Knight Rises; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; True Romance; Batman Begins; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; The Fifth Element; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; The Book of Eli; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; A Christmas Carol; Lawless; JFK; RoboCop; Air Force One; Future BMT: The Unborn; Lost in Space; Paranoia; Planet 51; Man Down; Criminal; Criminal Law; Quest for Camelot; Child 44; Hannibal; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: Red Riding Hood; The Scarlet Letter; Tiptoes; The Space Between Us; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; Notes: Most of the recent news concerning him is about the Oscar buzz for Darkest Hour where he plays Winston Churchill. He also just got married for a fifth time.)

Asa Butterfield – (Known For: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children; Hugo; The Boy in the Striped Pajamas; Ender’s Game; Journey’s End; Nanny McPhee Returns; A Brilliant Young Mind; 10,000 Saints; Son of Rambow; Future BMT: The Wolfman; BMT: The Space Between Us; Notes: He broke onto the scene in Son of Rambow, but Hugo was his biggest role in his young career. Born on April Fool’s Day and a supporter of Arsenal (booooo).)

Carla Gugino – (Known For: Man of Steel; Gerald’s Game; Watchmen; San Andreas; Sin City; American Gangster; Spy Kids; Night at the Museum; This Boy’s Life; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Faster; Race to Witch Mountain; Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams; Snake Eyes; Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael; Mr. Popper’s Penguins; The Lookout; Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco; Miami Rhapsody; Match; Future BMT: The Unborn; Rise: Blood Hunter; Michael; Elektra Luxx; The One; Son in Law; Righteous Kill; Troop Beverly Hills; The Singing Detective; Women in Trouble; Every Day; I Melt with You; The Center of the World; Even Money; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Hotel Noir; BMT: New Year’s Eve; Sucker Punch; The Space Between Us; Notes: Was turned on to acting by her aunt Carol Merrill, who, oddly I think, was really only a model on Let’s Make a Deal where she made $77 an episode.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $7,885,294 (Worldwide: $14,793,385)

(A catastrophe. It is rare that what amounts to a YA romance is so reviled and gets released so widely when it looks to be a disaster.)

#87 for the Sci-Fi – Adventure genre

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(The genre is a-boomin’ and making a ton of cash. But what I’m interested in is the boom period in the early 2000s where the genre was still not making much money. 2002 in particular is crazy: Star Trek: Nemesis; Treasure Planet; The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Star Wars Episode II – Attack of the Clones; The Time Machine. Woof.)

#12 on the Worst Openings – Saturated chart

(This chart is quite interesting. We’ve only seen three of the films above this one, although we’ll hit three or four of the others in the future for sure. Sometimes these films are just not even on the radar though. Like Won’t Back Down. Ludicrous trailer, but I doubt we ever bother with it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (19/118): The Space Between Us strands its star-crossed young lovers in a mind-numbingly vast expanse of shameless cheese that will send all but the most forgiving viewers eye-rolling for the exits.

(I had to read this consensus twice. Am I going crazy or does it not make a lick of sense? I think “mind-numbingly vast expanse” just rubs me the wrong way. Seems like it could be fun though. Like Safe Haven maybe? A boy can dream.)

Poster – The Sklog Between Us (B-)

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(Nice artistic poster here with the moon as part of the text and an astronaut standing in a field of flowers. Not super cohesive otherwise.)

Tagline(s) – What’s Your Favorite Thing About Earth? (D)

(Ha! I guess I never thought about it. Maybe the air. Probably the air. It’s nice to breath and it makes the sky and sunsets and maybe gives you a nice breeze on a sweaty summer day. Certainly my favorite thing about Earth does not include this tagline. I could do without this nonsense.)

Keyword(s) – mars; Top Ten by BMeTric: 66.9 Ghosts of Mars (2001); 46.1 The Last Days on Mars (2013); 46.0 Mission to Mars (2000); 45.5 Mars Needs Moms (2011); 44.6 Approaching the Unknown (2016); 41.7 Red Planet (2000); 40.8 Ice Age: Collision Course (2016); 30.6 Avalanche Sharks (2014); 24.8 RocketMan (1997); 21.6 Stranded (2001);

(Wow, at least we hit up the number one. Mission to Mars, Red Planet, and maaaaybe RocketMan are on the docket I would say. Mars Needs Moms … we’ll probably have to figure out a way to choke that pile of garbage down at some point, but I don’t want to. Kind of like this weird list, just wonky.)

Notes – The original title of The Space Between Us was Out of This World.

In the scene where Gardner arrive on Earth, the space suit masks, worn by some of the scientists, are actually a brand of full face snorkel masks. (Not a surprise, I feel like I know exactly what these look like)

Highland High school in Albuquerque was used in some scenes, during school hours which caused a hassle between school administrators and the State Film commission (Oh that sounds awful)

Spaceport America in New Mexico hosted their first movie shoot. There were over 400 crew, actors and extras at the spaceport during the shoot.

With less than a month to go before its debut, STX Entertainment has changed “The Space Between Us” release date from December 16, 2016 to February 3, 2017. This will take the sci-fi drama out of the competitive holiday movie season into the less crowded mid-winter timetable where it will open against the horror sequel “Rings”. (What what)

The Space Between Us is the second space-related movie Asa Butterfield has started in, Ender’s Game being the first.

Just after the video call with Tulsa, Gardner is watching a movie left by one of the German scientists. That movie is “Wings of Desire.”

Cameo appearances by YouTube stars Joey Graceffa and Lele Pons during the classroom scene (boooooooooooo)

The Space Between Us stars Britt Robertson, who had also starred in a major role in Tomorrowland. Both movies involve futurology and “illegal” adventures.

Both Asa Butterfield and Janet Montgomery were in BBC’s Merlin as Mordred and Mithian. (Yeah, I didn’t realize Butterfield was in Merlin … my dog has watched every episode twice if that is worth anything (spoiler: it isn’t)).

Britt Robertson also plays a role in the 2-season TV show “Life Unexpected”. In both roles, she plays a foster child who is seeking emancipation.

In Ender’s Game, Asa Butterfield played Ender who had a second in command named Bean. From the Ender’s Game novels, Bean was a baby who was born as part of an illegal experiment, was highly intelligent, was reunited with his biological family, grew to extreme proportions with an over sized heart that would eventually kill him in Earth gravity, left behind the woman he loved, and went into space to prolong his life. This mirrors much of the story of The Space Between Us. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat I’ve read Ender’s Game but I didn’t know the backstory to Bean. Thanks random IMDb note, spoiler alert).

Are We There Yet? Preview

Onwards and upwards to Chain Reaction. After painting ourselves into a corner last year we finally fully extricated ourselves from the mess by landing on Ride Along 2. This cycle we get to move from that to the Are We There Yet? Series through Ice Cube. While this is not the worst reviewed set of films in history (that would obviously go to Baby Geniuses and Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 with a shocking 2% and 0% RT scores, respectively), this is pretty spectacular in its own right with 11% and 8% RT scores for the two films. Also, it has the strange distinction of having the first film be totally original and then having the second film be a remake of the Cary Grant film Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House (that was in turn based on a book which itself was expanded from a short story). Sometimes you can’t make this shit up. Let’s go! To start the road trip extravaganza:

Are We There Yet? (2005) – BMeTric: 62.5

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(There are two interesting things in these graphs. First, I’m genuinely surprised at how high the BMeTric is. I would have assumed a film with a sequel wouldn’t have been a complete catastrophe. Second, if you ignore the initial uptick the rating is pretty stable over the years and at a surprisingly low 4.2(ish). All signs point to this being a simply terrible film. Can’t wait.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  If you wait long enough, just about anything can happen, including Ice Cube turning into Fred MacMurray. Actor Cube isn’t the problem here, but a stale premise is: the child-hating owner of a sports memorabilia store transports two headstrong kids over a long, disaster-prone trip to Vancouver, all to help hottie-mama Lond out of a scheduling ham while getting into her good graces. Before turning in this box-office success, director Levant did Problem Child 2 and Snow Dogs. Forewarned is forearmed.

(So much to unpack here. (1) Forewarned is forearmed? I honestly had never heard the phrase until now and it just seems so strangely out of place to me. And yet looking it up it dates to at least the 16th century and has been used throughout the years and has a quite literal meaning. (2) Calling out the director specifically for Problem Child 2, who do you think you are Leonard … me? (3) Name dropping Fred MacMurray in a review of an Ice Cube family comedy. All bold moves. Something just makes me love this entire review.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cn7IPP2bc5c

(Wow the music. I will say this though: this is a straight kids movie, why are we watching this and how are we going to judge it. Also the Paul Bunyan Ax would have seriously injured Ice Cube)

Directors – Brian Levant – (BMT: The Flintstones; The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; Are We There Yet?; Problem Child 2; Snow Dogs; Jingle All the Way; The Spy Next Door; Beethoven; Notes:  Won the Razzie Award in 1995 for Worst Screenplay for The Flintstones; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1997 for Worst Director for Jingle All the Way; Notable television writer starting his career on the Jeffersons and writing for other huge shows like Happy Days. He wrote Sklog childhood staple Problem Child 2. Egad, imagine doing that for BMT?! Gross.)

Writers – Steven Gary Banks and Claudia Grazioso (story & screenplay) – (BMT: Are We Done Yet?; Are We There Yet?; Notes: Writing duo. Not much about them … but their not-a-movie Family Dude seems to morph into Just Go With It, no? Just in Hawaii with Adam Sandler instead of Montana. That is kind of nuts, they must have landed Sandler and then cut Banks and Grazioso free. As a matter of fact I wonder if they were thinking of Just Go With It as the third Are We There Yet? movie starring Ice Cube as well. Would have had to be a different character though, he doesn’t need to pretend to have a family. But perhaps it was supposed to be Cube’s next PG film and he bailed in favor of better projects.)

David Stem (screenplay) – (Known For: Shrek 2; Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius; The Rugrats Movie; Rugrats in Paris; BMT: Daddy Day Camp; Are We There Yet?; The Smurfs (BMT); The Smurfs 2 (BMT); Clockstoppers; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Screenplay for Daddy Day Camp; The next two have also been writing partners since 1992. These guys worked on the Nickelodeon classic Roundhouse! Be still my beating heart. Is in the process of writing the sequel to Enchanted with Amy Adams.)

David N. Weiss (screenplay) – (Known For: Shrek 2; All Dogs Go to Heaven; Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius; The Rugrats Movie; Rugrats in Paris; BMT: Daddy Day Camp; Are We There Yet?; The Smurfs (BMT); The Smurfs 2 (BMT); Clockstoppers; Rock-A-Doodle; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Screenplay for Daddy Day Camp; Before he teamed up with Sterm this guy wrote All Dogs Go to Heaven and Rock-A-Doodle. I’m star struck over here. He’s written several children’s books and both Weiss and Stern were nominated for an Emmy as part of the writing team behind Rugrats.)

Actors – Ice Cube – (Known For: xXx: Return of Xander Cage; 21 Jump Street; Friday; The Book of Life; 22 Jump Street; Boyz n the Hood; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; Three Kings; Barbershop; Rampart; Higher Learning; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; Trespass; The Glass Shield; The Longshots; BMT: xXx²: State of the Union (BMT); Anaconda; Torque (BMT); Are We Done Yet?; Ghosts of Mars (BMT); Are We There Yet?; First Sunday; Lottery Ticket; Ride Along 2 (BMT); Friday After Next; I Got the Hook Up; All About the Benjamins; Dangerous Ground; Ride Along (BMT); Next Friday; The Players Club; Notes: Slowly creeping up the ladder of BMT legends. Obviously most famous for being part of NWA and in my opinion he has made an incredible transition to acting. Seeing xXx 3 as non-BMT makes me sick to my stomach. Disgusting.)

Nia Long – (Known For: Friday; Keanu; Boyz n the Hood; Boiler Room; Alfie; Soul Food; The Best Man; The Best Man Holiday; Lemon; Roxanne Roxanne; The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy; BMT: Big Momma’s House 2 (BMT); Are We Done Yet?; Are We There Yet?; Big Momma’s House (BMT); Made in America; Premonition; The Single Moms Club (BMT); Held Up; Stigmata; Notes:  Against all odds these two movies will be the second and third Nia Long movies we’ve watched in this cycle alone! If only she had appeared in Big Momma Like Father Like Son. The younger half-sister of comedian Sommore)

Also stars Aleisha Allen (who was in School of Rock)

Budget/Gross – $32 million / Domestic: $82,674,398 (Worldwide: $97,918,663)

(That is a pretty significant success so not shocking they made a sequel. Anything near $100 million is quite good for a comedy.)

#10 for the Comedy – Fish-Out-of-Water Father genre

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(This comes in right above a recent BMT (Cheaper by the Dozen) and far above Hall of Fame inductee Old Dogs. Naturally right at the peak of as genre which may or may not attempt a comeback soon. The fact that zero films have been placed in this genre on Box Office Mojo since 2013 makes me think the odds aren’t good.)

#10 for the Comedy – Road Trip genre

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(I love it! I feel like we haven’t seen a “novel” trend in one of these in a while. Here the genre was put to quite the long term test from around 2000-2010. Given how there was an intense burst with Dumb and Dumber in 1995 and then the genre slowly climbed its was back to reasonable box office returns, I’m surprised by the lull in 2010. If I were to guess it is, like many other things, a genre that kind of got pushed to the side as tentpoles were being hastily assembled. It is nice to see that it has recovered and has not been relegated to VOD forevermore … although recent ones have not been great including the sequel to the aforementioned Dumb and Dumberer. This came in near the reviled Tammy. BMT classic Wild Hogs came in number one, where’s my sequel?!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (13/116): This supposed family comedy staring [sic] the usually blameless Ice Cube and Nia Long has provoked most critics to write, “Is it over yet?”

(Hilarious type in the consensus. Not actually as uncommon as you would think. For an initial movie in a two part series that score is very very low. Supposed comedy is a little concerning. Sounds … boring.)

Poster – Are We Sklog Yet? (C-)

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(There is a whole class of posters that a similar to this that I just hate, hate, hate. Too much empty space and not enough stylization of the characters on the poster. Here the font is OK and the visual tells me a story so not a total loss. For the record: it would still be really easy to make Are We Sklog Yet?)

Tagline(s) – 24 hours. 350 miles. His girlfriend’s kids. What could possibly go wrong? (D-)

(That is for real the tagline for this film and it is terrifying. Like the worst. Can’t give it an F though cause it does give me some tantalizing details about the plot. What could possibly go wrong indeed.)

Keyword(s) – car fire; Top Ten by BMeTric: 62.5 Are We There Yet? (2005); 62.3 The Last Exorcism Part II (2013); 59.9 Cell (I) (2016); 56.7 The 5th Wave (2016); 55.7 Spring Breakers (2012); 53.2 Cold Creek Manor (2003); 49.9 Point Break (2015); 46.1 Sleepwalkers (1992); 42.1 The Black Dahlia (2006); 41.6 Southland Tales (2006);

(Thinking about it I can’t wait to watch Southland Tales. Somehow that has just flown under the radar for years. Otherwise a sparse list with the 5th Wave seeming particularly weak … kind of amazing it is near 60 BMeTric at the moment)

Notes – Ice Cube’s first PG-rated movie. (And I think this series is his only foray into that genre. Prob will stay that way I would think)

Actor Ice Cube stated on Late Night with Conan O’Brien (1993) that this film was originally intended as an Adam Sandler vehicle. (Jeez, that makes a ton of sense)

Despite the film’s title, “Are We There Yet?” is only said once in the film. (Small blessings)

Kevin said his mom (Nia Long) thinks Nick is better looking than Taye Diggs. Nia Long and Taye Diggs played love interests in The Best Man and The Best Man Holiday. (fun facts)

When Nick is asked what Suzanne’s kids names are, he answers ‘Theo and Rudy [Huxtable]’ from The Cosby Show (1984). (ooooof that joke has not aged well to say the least)