Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Preview

Originally it seemed obvious that when we hit the “foreign film” entry in the Bring a Friend that we would watch our beloved Nic Cage in Outcast, the Chinese film he did with our less beloved Hayden Christensen. However as we did more research it was clear that the film was an American production looking to break into the Chinese market and probably would have gotten an American release if, you know, it wasn’t so terrible. Seemed to fit better as a straight-to-DVD. So instead we went all in and chose a film that was a 100% foreign release with no American audience in mind and linked it up with a very traditional American rom com release. That’s right! We’re watch Ghosts of Girlfriends PAsterix at the Olympic Games. We all know Ghosts of Girlfriends Past: stars Matthew McConaughey, he plays a giant doucher with a heart of gold, and got solidly terrible reviews. Classic. As for Asterix at the Olympic Games, it’s unlikely anyone has heard of it. I read some articles about it back when it was released because it was a shock to the French cinema. It was the third in a series of films in which the second entry, Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, was a historically gigantic box office smash and critical darling. So obviously the third film was hotly anticipated… and landed with a thud. Everyone hated this film in France and it went on to win the French equivalent to the Razzie award for worst picture. Seemed like a perfect test to see if the language of bad film is universal. Let’s go!

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009) – BMeTric: 39.4

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(Huh … Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention, but I feel like I haven’t noticed movies’ IMDb votes tailing off as time goes by. I actually kind of assumed as new users replaced old the number of new votes for a film would kind of just, paradoxically, rise. But apparently it does tail off. Or … maybe this movie is of a certain breed. A movie slowly being forgotten. One of those forgotten films of the 00s that young BMTers will be marvelling over in 2037 … one can dream.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Tepid reimagining of A Christmas Carol as a romantic comedy, with McConaughey typecast as a roguish lothario who’s encouraged to change his charming-wastrel ways while visited by various apparitions – including his late playboy uncle (scene stealer Douglas) – the night before his brother’s wedding. Game actors aren’t helped by flat cinematography (even Garner, as McConaughey’s once and future sweetie, looks drab) and predictable writing.

(Sounds boring. But I’m liking the shots at the cinematography. Niche. I think as long as you go in not expecting much you can probably get out untraumatized. At least, that’s how it sounds to me.)

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

(Emma Stone looks like fun there. Always loving Breckin Meyer. I guess this is what Leonard Maltin meant by “game cast”. Also it seems like it plays right into a bunch of romantic comedy tropes, like the last 30 minutes of Made of Honor, so that could be fun to stare aghast at.)

Directors – Mark Waters – (Known For: Mean Girls; Freaky Friday; Just Like Heaven; The Spiderwick Chronicles; Mr. Popper’s Penguins; The House of Yes; Future BMT: Vampire Academy; Head Over Heels; Bad Santa 2; BMT: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Notes: Brother of the screenwriter Daniel Waters for Batman Returns, Demolition Man, Heathers, and Hudson Hawk! Also married to an actress (Dina Spybey-Waters) who seems fairly accomplished in television.)

Writers – Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (written by) – (Known For: Bad Moms; The Hangover; Office Christmas Party; Future BMT: Rebound; Four Christmases; The Hangover Part III; 21 & Over; The Change-Up; Full of It; The Hangover Part II; Flypaper; BMT: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Notes: They created and wrote for the show Mixology which at one point became quite famous for being terrible! Notably have provided many uncredited rewrites, including for the BMT film Mr. Woodcock.)

Actors – Matthew McConaughey – (Known For: Sing; Interstellar; Gold; The Wolf of Wall Street; Dazed and Confused; Tropic Thunder; Kubo and the Two Strings; Dallas Buyers Club; Magic Mike; Mud; Free State of Jones; Contact; A Time to Kill; How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days; Reign of Fire; The Lincoln Lawyer; Frailty; Amistad; Bernie; We Are Marshall; Future BMT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; The Wedding Planner; Surfer, Dude; Sahara; Paparazzi; The Dark Tower; Larger Than Life; My Boyfriend’s Back; Angels in the Outfield; The Sea of Trees; Two for the Money; BMT: Failure to Launch; Fool’s Gold; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Tiptoes; Notes: Enjoying continued late-career success dubbed The McConaissance. He broke onto the scene with Dazed and Confused (which is was subsequently type-cast for, and later embraced), and is an ardent supporter of the Texas Longhorns football team.)

Jennifer Garner – (Known For: Catch Me If You Can; Juno; Dallas Buyers Club; Daredevil; Wakefield; 13 Going on 30; Miracles from Heaven; The Invention of Lying; Draft Day; Danny Collins; Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; The Kingdom; Deconstructing Harry; Washington Square; Future BMT: Mr. Magoo; Dude, Where’s My Car?; Arthur; Pearl Harbor; Catch and Release; Butter; The Odd Life of Timothy Green; Men, Women & Children; BMT: Elektra; Nine Lives; Valentine’s Day; Mother’s Day; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Notes: Recently separated from her husband of over ten years, Ben Affleck. Born in Texas she was raised in West Virginia, a fact that occasionally comes up in her acting roles (her call sign in Alias was The Mountaineer at one point, for example).)

Emma Stone – (Known For: Battle of the Sexes; La La Land; The Help; Superbad; Crazy, Stupid, Love.; Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance); The Amazing Spider-Man 2; The Amazing Spider-Man; The House Bunny; Zombieland; Easy A; Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping; The Interview; Friends with Benefits; Irrational Man; The Croods; The Rocker; Magic in the Moonlight; Future BMT: Marmaduke; Aloha; Gangster Squad; Unlikely Hero; BMT: Movie 43; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Notes: Broke out after her role in Superbad she has become one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood as well as winning the Oscar for Best Actress for La La Land last year.)

Budget/Gross – $37.5 million / Domestic: $55,250,026 (Worldwide: $102,223,269)

(Rough domestic total. Would have expected at least a bit more, 75-100 million if it were a success. Probably not really room for a sequel anyways. Thinking about it, I wonder how many romantic comedies leave room for a sequel … they all kind of end the same way right?)

#3 for the Romantic Comedy – Fantasy genre

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(What a very strange (and consistently created) genre. Her was the last one listed, so … again, either dead or forgotten by the Box Office Mojo staff.)

#16 for the Romantic Fantasy genre

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(Combined with the previous plot the romantic fantasy really did peak in 2009! I wonder if it is because it is cheap, or because they are light hearted fun … either way it does seem interesting that it would crest right after the financial collapse. Both make sense. These are still killing it though, with Beauty and the Beast and certainly other live-action Disney adaptations to come.)

#10 for the Womanizer / Cad / Player genre

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(This genre booming in the early 2000s is just … exactly what you would expect. The genre certainly has gone out of style … can’t say I miss it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (37/140): A retread of A Christmas Carol, featuring Matthew McConaughey in a retread of his Dazed and Confused role, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past lacks originality, humor, and any semblance of charm.

(I don’t believe you. It is impossible for a film starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Emma Stone, and Michael Douglas to not be incredibly charming. Originality and humor on the other hand I can totally believe.)

Poster – Ghosts of Sklogfriends Past (C-)

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(Certainly tells a story and has a central color to focus everything around, but busy and has terrible font. Slightly underwhelming mixed bag.)

Tagline(s) – You can’t always run from your past (D+)

(I always thought that the phrase “running from your past” implied that you can’t actually do it… it’s not something that you can get away from… because it’s your past… an abstraction that cannot be changed or erase and will eventually “catch up with you.” Anyway, what I’m saying is I don’t understand this tagline as it seems meaningless. Besides, it sounds weird that they’re repeating the word “past” in the title and tagline.)

Keyword(s) – wedding; Top Ten by BMeTric: 85.7 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 80.8 Sex and the City 2 (2010); 79.8 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000); 76.5 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000); 72.8 Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003); 72.0 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011); 70.3 Devil’s Due (2014); 68.4 Supergirl (1984); 67.9 Superman III (1983); 67.8 Double Team (1997);

(Ha! I think Sex and the City 2 is the big one there (although … is there a wedding? I can’t remember. There is in the first one). Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas was once proposed as a Nevada based movie for the Mapl.d.map … we nixed that, but the thought still kind of tickles me. Suggesting Rock Vegas is in fact in Nevada.)

Notes – This is the second time that Christa B. Allen has played the younger version of a character played by Jennifer Garner. The first was in 13 Going on 30 (2004).

Originally set up at Walt Disney Pictures with Ben Affleck attached to play the lead character, and Kevin Smith to direct. Production was to begin in the fall of 2003, but budgetary concerns and the failure of Gigli (2003) forced the studio to cancel the film one month prior to shooting. Ironically, when the film did get made years later, Affleck’s wife Jennifer Garner appeared in it. And the role Affleck was supposed to play, was instead played by his Dazed and Confused (1993) co-star, Matthew McConaughey. (Doesn’t feeeeel like irony. More of just a fun coincidence. I’m not sure why I wouldn’t expect Jennifer Garner to get attached to a movie her now ex-husband was set to star in from years prior.)

When Ben Affleck was attached to the project, offers went out to Warren Beatty, Robert De Niro, Bill Murray and Jack Nicholson for the part of Uncle Wayne.

Based on the novel A Christmas Carol in Prose, 1843, by Charles Dickens. (You don’t say)

When going back to his late teens, Connor winds up in Kripke’s basement. Kripke’s basement is where, in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), John Connor said he first made out with Kate Brewster only a few days before the T-2 arrived, both Connor’s name and the locale being homage to the Terminator series.

Released in Germany as “Night of the Ex-Girlfriends”

Director Mark Waters installed a ping-pong table at both Crane Estate and Elm Bank Reservation, where the present-day wedding scenes were filmed, and would regularly challenge Micah Sherman, Albert M. Chan, and Michael Anastasia, who play the groomsmen. (Fun facts)

The first of two films to feature Jennifer Garner and Matthew McConaughey. The second was Dallas Buyers Club (2013).

Anne Archer and Michael Douglas have also been in Fatal Attraction (1987) together, although they do not have scenes together in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009).

In the movie they play the song nothing but a good time by Poison a song that was later sung in the movie Rock of Ages (2012) a movie that stars Catherine Zeta-Jones wife of Michael Douglas who co-starred in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009). (Wait … and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past has 23 letters, the number 23!!!!!!!!!)

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License to Wed Preview

Phew, we need a little respite. We’ve been watching some pretty horrid films for the <10% RT cycle and there are a few more on the horizon. So for Girls Night Out we’re not going to subject ourselves to something like Bolero or Return to the Blue Lagoon. Nope. We’re just going to do a nice and simple recent rom com. A little palate cleanser and momentary return to BMT normalcy. That’s right! We’re watching the Robin Williams vehicle License to Wed! The consensus for this film seems to be that it is broad and formulaic… now that sounds like BMT. Let’s go!

License to Wed (2007) – BMeTric: 53.5

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(Popular and Below Average. There is a modest regression to the mean, but it looks like it is probably around where it will stay. No rethinking this one, this movie is just not very good … is what it seems to be saying. The BMeTric is higher than I would have expected maybe? These plots aren’t actually that interesting.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Embarrassing comedy wastes a talented cast in a laughless story about a reverend who puts an unsuspecting engaged couple through a series of “tests” to determine if they are ready to be married. Gag after gag falls hopelessly flat, with one involving mechanical babies hitting a new low, even for this kind of lame-braining affair. A comic misfire for Williams, who is basically straitjacketed here.

(Wow, didn’t expect to see a bomb here. I feel like Maltin is far less forgiving to a boring lame comedy than he is to a boring lame action film, although perhaps that is because he likes classic comedy more? … Maybe. This movie doesn’t seem very exciting, but I’m guessing Old Dogs would be described roughly the same way and it is amazing, so I’ll hold out hope.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmyfIOp30aI

(Hmmmm. On the face of it the premise is ludicrous. Imagine yourself in such a situation. Any normal person would say that Robin Williams is (being generous) harsh, but more people would call him a lunatic. To then rest the entire movie on multiple people not only finding this person a normal human being, but also they must consider his opinion to be of the utmost importance and consider Krasinski unreasonable for inevitably becoming upset with him. It … doesn’t seem pleasant. It is going to be unfunny, and frustrating, and will wholly depend on Williams to carry the movie. Based on the reviews I’m thinking he wasn’t up to carrying such a heavy load.)

Directors – Ken Kwapis – (Known For: He’s Just Not That Into You; The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants; A Walk in the Woods; Big Miracle; Follow That Bird; Future BMT: Dunston Checks In; The Beautician and the Beast; He Said, She Said; Vibes; BMT: License to Wed; Notes: He directed He Said, She Said with his wife Marisa Silver. His career has spanned nearly four decades now, although these days he mostly directs television. For a guy I’ve never really heard of his career is really impressive.)

Writers – Kim Barker (screenplay & story) – (BMT: All About Steve; License to Wed; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for All About Steve in 2010; Notes: It does not help that she shares the name with the journalist who inspired the film Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. I can’t find anything else about her … besides vitriolic rebukes of what might be called a … subpar filmography thus far.)

Vince Di Meglio and Tim Rasmussen (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Marmaduke; Smother; BMT: License to Wed; Notes: They are writing partners, although Vince Di Meglio had a career as a visual effects artist prior to an extended writing career with Rasmussen. They haven’t written a feature since 2010, but do a ton of different things within the studio system though.)

Wayne Lloyd (story) – (BMT: License to Wed; Notes: Was miscellaneous crew on The Fog … again, not much else there … where did this script come from? I would guess Kim Barker, but there is little about any of these people online, so it is quite confusing.)

Actors – Mandy Moore – (Known For: Tangled; The Princess Diaries; Saved!; Romance & Cigarettes; Dr. Dolittle 2; Dedication; American Dreamz; Future BMT: Racing Stripes; Southland Tales; Love, Wedding, Marriage; How to Deal; Swinging with the Finkels; Chasing Liberty; Try Seventeen; Hotel Noir; BMT: License to Wed; Because I Said So; Notes: Made her first album at 15 and first toured with the Backstreet Boys. Somehow a staple of my childhood, and developed an extensive filmography along the way. This movie predates her own wedding in 2009 (although she has since sadly gotten a divorce))

John Krasinski – (Known For: 13 Hours; The Hollars; The Holiday; Monsters University; Jarhead; It’s Complicated; Monsters vs. Aliens; Dreamgirls; Shrek the Third; Away We Go; Kaze tachinu; The Muppets; Promised Land; Smiley Face; Kinsey; Leatherheads; The Prophet; Big Miracle; Nobody Walks; State and Main; Future BMT: Aloha; Brief Interviews with Hideous Men; BMT: Taxi; License to Wed; Doogal; Something Borrowed; Notes: Married to Emily Blunt. Fun facts: He’s brother-in-law to The Tucc, Stanley Tucci who is married to Felicity Blunt [Editor’s Note: We talking about The Tucc?]. Also went to highschool with his Office co-star B.J. Novak)

Robin Williams – (Known For: Aladdin; Good Will Hunting; Happy Feet; Dead Poets Society; Mrs. Doubtfire; Jumanji; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Insomnia; What Dreams May Come; The Butler; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Night at the Museum; Robots; Awakenings; FernGully: The Last Rainforest; The Fisher King; Popeye; The Birdcage; Hamlet; To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; Future BMT: Toys; Flubber; Nine Months; Fathers’ Day; RV: Runaway Vacation; Club Paradise; Jack; The Angriest Man in Brooklyn; A Merry Christmas Miracle; Absolutely Anything; Man of the Year; The Final Cut; Shakes the Clown; The Best of Times; The Survivors; The Big White; Noel; Hook; Jakob the Liar; Patch Adams; Bicentennial Man; Shrink; BMT: License to Wed; Old Dogs; The Big Wedding; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor in 2000 for Bicentennial Man, and Jakob the Liar; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Death to Smoochy in 2003; Notes: Obviously a legend and sadly recently took his own life. He was a staple of my childhood and also a brilliant and classically trained actor. There isn’t much more to say. I’ll add a small note about her daughter Zelda here though: she apparently voiced a character in the newest King’s Quest which I have been meaning to play.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $43,799,818 (Worldwide: $69,307,224)

(Yeah, not great. You’d hope to at least get close to $100 million for a comedy, especially with that is a pretty large budget for a romantic comedy at $35 million. Not surprised License to Wed 2: The Honeymoon never happened … yeah, I might write that in the recap next week, sounds fun.)

#96 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(Right around the recent BMT Rumor Has It … which is at #99. The genre of the Golden age. Slowly rising during the 90s (although it made a ton of money in the 80s there were clearly less of them) and then plateauing from 2000-2010. The genre has all but collapsed, probably because of VOD. We’ll have to get them while they’re hot.)

#21 for the Wedding genre

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(Around Bride Wars and seen more recently with That’s My Boy. Feels right doesn’t it? Getting warm outside, feels like the right time for some BMT wedding movies. I pointed out previously that there is basically one wedding movie a year. This was the wedding movie for 2007.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (9/125): Featuring one of Robin Williams’ most shtick-heavy performances, the broad and formulaic License to Wed wrings little out of its slightly creepy, unappealing premise.

(Ha, “broad” is a very funny word to use here. Dirty word in comedy to an extent. I’m digging the slightly creepy premise though, sounds like something you can squeeze a little joy out of, purely rejecting of the fundamental premise of the movie.)

Poster – License to Sklog (C)

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(This has a lot going against it. Hard to make a good looking poster with so much white on the page. No dominant color can overtake it, so it’s screwed from the get go. The generic font doesn’t help. On the other hand the spacing, symmetry and humor to the poster are pluses. Kind of just evens out to a meh.)

Tagline(s) – First came love… then came Reverend Frank. (B+)

(Huh… this is almost a tagline you would expect for a sequel. When we know who Reverend Frank is. Still, it’s got everything you expect from a good tagline.)

Keyword(s) – church; Top Ten by BMeTric: 92.0 Date Movie (2006); 86.8 BloodRayne (2005); 84.7 Left Behind (I) (2014); 83.8 RoboCop 3 (1993); 81.7 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 78.5 The Devil Inside (2012); 76.2 I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998); 75.5 In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011); 72.6 Jonah Hex (2010); 70.2 The Last Exorcism Part II (2013);

(What a list! A march through time, some pretty sneaky BMTs in there too (like Robocop 3, a church plays a huge role in that film weirdly). PSA: If you are going to watch Highlander II remember to try and get the non-renegade version on VHS. Much more highlanders-are-aliens goodness in that one.)

Notes – Ben Murphy’s parents are played by John Krasinski (Ben)’s real life parents. (fun fact)

‘The Office’ (US) stars John Krasinski, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner and Mindy Kaling all featured in this movie. (fun fact)

Ken Kwapis, director of this movie, also directed many episodes of The Office (US). (fun fact)

Brian Braumgartner’s character’s name is Jim, the same name as John Krasinski (Ben) character’s name on The Office. (fun fact … just a few fun facts, nothing super interesting in these notes even! This movie can go either way)

Rumor Has It… Preview

I can’t pretend like we’ve been looking forward to watching this film for years because we haven’t. We are simply watching it because it is one of the few examples of a film that employs the rare “…” in the actual title. And since we are trying to hit up nine different punctuation marks in titles we definitely need an ellipsis. That’s right! We’re watching Rumor Has It…! This is of course the sequel to The Graduate… kinda. Not the real sequel (because there actually was a book called Home School that was a sequel to the novel The Graduate), but just a film that suggests that certain characters are the “real” life inspirations for the characters in the original novel that then got adapted into the film. That’s basically the entirety of the plot and it sounds like the worst. Let’s go!

Rumor Has It… (2005) – BMeTric: 43.3

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(Huh. I declare this a popular below-average film. But look at how it sustains itself at 5.5 … very interesting, kind of like it is a truly terrible movie, no regression to the mean. But I’m not sure I’ve seen such a profile for a slightly below average film yet. It really shot out to a pretty impressive 40 BMeTric as well. All around a pleasant surprise.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  While home for her sister’s wedding, Aniston becomes convinced that her late mother, grandmother MacLaine, and future techno-magnate Costner inspired the Charles Webb novel that became The Graduate. Premise is icky (Aniston goes on a fling with a guy she initially thought was her father!) without being pointed. MacLaine gives it a shot with acerbic but unfunny rejoinders. If The Graduate didn’t still “live,” this would be pretty close to grave robbing.

(Now this is a movie Leonard watched. I could kind of predict his attitude: hates it for playing off a far more more interesting and successful film, but probably likes MacLaine in general and so resists writing the whole thing off. From what I remember that ickiness comes through even in the trailer, so I’m not really sure what they were thinking there.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMmamhnHZo4

(Oooof. Let’s just pour out a little bit in recognition that Adele’s song Rumor Has It would have been ALL OVER this trailer if this came out now. Also, Ruffalo playing the shy kind of weird guy … I forgot that used to kind of be this thing. He’s been the Hulk for so long it is hard to even process. The trailer is a throwback for a movie whose ultimate crime was that it feels like it should have come out in 1995)

Directors – Rob Reiner – (Known For: The Princess Bride; Stand by Me; This Is Spinal Tap; A Few Good Men; Misery; The Bucket List; Flipped; When Harry Met Sally…; The American President; LBJ; BMT: North (BMT); Rumor Has It…; Alex & Emma; The Story of Us; And So It Goes; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1995 for Worst Director for North; I like Reiner, primarily because I could watch the first five movies on that list any day of the week, almost the epitome of the movies I started watching just as I was “getting into” film and starting to look to the immediate past. His next film has to do with journalists investigating the claim the Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in the lead up to the Iraq War … yeah, he’s somewhat of a political activist.)

Writers – Ted Griffin (written by) (as T.M. Griffin) – (Known For: Ocean’s Eleven; Tower Heist; Matchstick Men; Ravenous; Best Laid Plans; BMT: Killers (BMT); Rumor Has It…; Solace; Notes:  Not in the trivia: Reiner replaced Ted Griffin twelve days into principal photography. Can’t tell why, but Griffin never really directed a feature, so perhaps he realized he was in over his head.)

Actors – Jennifer Aniston – (Known For: Office Christmas Party; Storks; Office Space; We’re the Millers; The Iron Giant; Horrible Bosses; He’s Just Not That Into You; Marley & Me; Bruce Almighty; Cake; Wanderlust; The Switch; She’s Funny That Way; Life of Crime; Rock Star; The Good Girl; She’s the One; BMT: Leprechaun (BMT); Mac and Me (BMT); The Bounty Hunter (BMT); Rumor Has It…; Love Happens; The Break-Up; Mother’s Day (BMT); Along Came Polly; ‘Til There Was You; Horrible Bosses 2; Just Go with It (BMT); Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2011 for Worst Actress for The Switch, and The Bounty Hunter; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2012 for Worst Screen Couple for Just Go with It, and in 2011 for The Bounty Hunter; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1997 for Worst New Star; Obviously most well known for Friends. Her father, John Aniston, has been on Days of Our Lives since 1986 and has appeared in nearly 2500 episodes.)

Mark Ruffalo – (Known For: Avengers: Age of Ultron; Spotlight; Avengers Assemble; Shutter Island; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Zodiac; Now You See Me; Iron Man Three; Begin Again; Collateral; Foxcatcher; 13 Going on 30; The Last Castle; Where the Wild Things Are; Date Night; Margaret; You Can Count on Me; The Kids Are All Right; Just Like Heaven; Thanks for Sharing; The Brothers Bloom; Infinitely Polar Bear; Blindness; BMT: View from the Top; Rumor Has It…; In the Cut; The Dentist; 54; Windtalkers; All the King’s Men; Now You See Me 2; Notes:  Was to appear in Signs instead of Joaquin Phoenix, but he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to drop out. It was benign and after brain surgery he was fine.)

Shirley MacLaine – (Known For: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; Steel Magnolias; Being There; Terms of Endearment; The Apartment; Ocean’s Eleven; Bernie; In Her Shoes; Postcards from the Edge; Artists and Models; Around the World in Eighty Days; Two Mules for Sister Sara; The Trouble with Harry; Defending Your Life; The Children’s Hour; Irma la Douce; The Turning Point; Some Came Running; Guarding Tess; BMT: Bewitched; Cannonball Run II; Rumor Has It…; Valentine’s Day (BMT); A Smile Like Yours; The Evening Star; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1985 for Worst Actress for Cannonball Run II; Brother of Warren Beatty. Too much about her to even figure out what to say, but we’ll see her in Cannonball Run II for sure.)

Budget/Gross – $70 million / Domestic: $43,000,262 (Worldwide: $88,933,562)

#6 on the Worst Openings – Saturated chart

(Pretty rough stuff. Number six worst opening is nuts, just a little better than Hoot! … HOOT! We’ve seen the number 9 and 10 on the list, and Victor Frankenstein will be in the mix soon enough.)

#99 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(right above Mannequin. Norbit was the most recent one I’ve (re)watched at a dominating 29th. Romantic comedy really hit a peak from 2000-2010, and since then it has kind of dropped off the map. Perhaps previously it was the be-all-end-all of movies geared towards women? And now with the surge in alternatives romantic comedies are the first to get relegated to VOD? Plausible.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (22/111): This riff on The Graduate has a solid cast, but is too lightweight to fully register.

(Solid cast, so not just Leonard seems to think so. The number of reviews is impressive. This was a big release on the year and it just crashed and burned. I suppose the note about changing directors at the last minute makes it all make a bit of sense though.)

Poster – Rumor Sklogs It … (D-)

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(No bueno. Why is there sky in the background? Why is there so much white? Why is the spacing so weird? Why is any of this like this? Only good thing is that they at least tried a little bit on the font… otherwise this is a masterclass on what not to do.)

Tagline(s) – Based on a true rumor. (D)

(Hahaha. Rumor Has It… Based on a true rumor. It really has a nice ring to it. Amateur hour up in here. At least it’s short.)

Keyword(s) – biological father; Top Ten by BMeTric: 48.6 The Ten (2007); 43.3 Rumor Has It… (2005); 25.1 Daddy’s Home (2015); 19.9 The Fifth Estate (2013); 18.7 Dance with Me (1998); 18.2 Duets (2000); 17.9 Mamma Mia! (2008); 16.6 Delivery Man (2013); 10.9 Potiche (2010); 9.6 Dirty Girl (2010);

(None! None of the keywords were particularly good. At least this one had Mama Mia! This keyword should just be called Mama Mia!-esque.)

Notes – Early in the film’s pre-production stages, Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft were strongly considered for the roles of Beau Burroughs and Katherine Richelieu. But when Bancroft died and Hoffman had filming commitments for several other projects, the roles were given to Kevin Costner and Shirley MacLaine. (Oh shit, that would have actually have been cool … for ten minutes and then once the novelty wore off the movie would be just as big of a disaster)

Shirley MacLaine was originally offered the role of Elaine in The Graduate (1967), but turned it down.

Along with President Bill Clinton and Fidel Castro, the picture on the far left is Beau (Kevin Costner) with Rob Reiner (the director). Hugh M. Hefner was originally supposed to be pictured, but Hefner objected at the last minute; Reiner was added in digitally. (Ha)

The Huttinger family house is the same house from Father of the Bride (1991). (fun fact)

The film takes place in 1997. (A period piece!!!! Yes. I hope this is incredibly obvious for no reason)

With only a 35-year age difference between them, Shirley MacLaine was really too young to be playing the grandmother of Jennifer Aniston. (True, Aniston’s father is roughly the same age as MacLaine)

Norbit 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 back in 2011 we also decided to provide a preview for the movie as well. 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 immediate afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Norbit (2007) – BMeTric: 81.2

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(Sweet 2011 inflection. It is definitely a strong trend. Yet again, despite thousands and thousands of votes coming it the movie’s rating doesn’t regress to the mean. It is generally unusual, but three out of the four Hall of Fame movies exhibit this unusual trend. Old Dogs was the only exception which is also very interesting. I suppose as a fairly innocuous family comedy it managed to evade the bad movie cultists that surround the more popular fair.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – As in Coming to America and the Nutty Professor vehicles Murphy plays several characters: Norbit a meek young man brought up by Chinese restaurant owner Mr. Wong and stuck in a terrifying marriage with the hideously overweight Rasputia. All three are in search of a script. Murphy shows his comedic range but is let down by the material, which includes all of the fat jokes the writers (including Murphy his brother Charles) could come up with. Prophetic ad line for the movie asked, “Have You Ever Made a Really Bad Mistake?”

(I like the idea of Murphy getting all pissed about the writers failing to live up to his comic genius and then realizing that he wrote the movie. I’m also genuinely shocked Mr. Wong’s mind-blowing racism isn’t mentioned alongside the (seemingly) unlimited store of fat jokes the Murphy brothers could muster. I’m skeptical Leonard watched this film … this review is low on detes. I’m onto you Leonard.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmSZJ17ppEQ

(So she punches him in the face and she throws him through a window in the trailer. This trailer is aggressive, it is in your face. They use that song Don’t Cha by the Pussy Cat Dolls like five times. I don’t like the trailer, it hints that it might be the worst thing you’ve ever seen … but it does manage to hide the fact that the movie is more horror film than comedy. So congrats.)

Directors – Brian Robbins – (Known For: Varsity Blues; BMT: Norbit (BMT); The Shaggy Dog; Meet Dave; Ready to Rumble; Good Burger; The Perfect Score; A Thousand Words (BMT); Hard Ball; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Director for Norbit; Good Burger?! Say What? He was a main character on the show Head of the Class appearing in all 114 episodes. He got his start directing with Kenan & Kel and Good Burger, and many Murphy projects. He is also an extremely accomplished producer in both television and streaming services.)

Writers – Eddie Murphy (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Coming to America; Beverly Hills Cop II; Boomerang; BMT: Norbit (BMT); Vampire in Brooklyn; Another 48 Hrs.; Harlem Nights (BMT); Notes: See below for Razzie Notes; He doesn’t write as many of his starring roles than I personally would have expected. He didn’t seem very enthused about directing with Harlem Nights, so maybe he’d rather riff on screen and doesn’t really care to write? He hadn’t done it in years before Norbit (1995 was his last feature prior to Norbit in 2007).)

Charlie Murphy (screenplay & story) (as Charles Murphy) – (BMT: Norbit (BMT); Vampire in Brooklyn; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Screenplay for Norbit; Funny he was going by Charles Murphy … perhaps this suggests the screenplay was written long before the movie came out? Chappelle’s Show was in 2003-2006, and at that point he would have been far more well known as Charlie Murphy. Perhaps he got credited from an original draft written years before. It also perhaps resolves the curiosity that Eddie Murphy seemingly didn’t write a movie for all those years … huh, this movie was probably written in like 2000 wasn’t it?)

Jay Scherick and David Ronn (screenplay) – (Known For: Guess Who; BMT: Norbit; Zookeeper; I Spy; The Smurfs; The Smurfs 2; Serving Sara; National Security; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Screenplay for Norbit; The writers for the upcoming Baywatch adaptation (the trailer looks pretty funny). These guys’ filmography make me a bit skeptical, but maybe they are punch-up artists? … I was just thinking that maybe they are like Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon … who it turns out also wrote Baywatch. Two other dudes got final credit. Yeah, Baywatch clearly fired those two writing teams during production. Wow.)

Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Shrek; Shrek 2; Shrek the Third; Mulan; Coming to America; Beverly Hills Cop; Trading Places; Dreamgirls; Tower Heist; Shrek Forever After; Beverly Hills Cop II; 48 Hrs.; Doctor Dolittle; The Nutty Professor; Life; Dr. Dolittle 2; Bowfinger; Boomerang; Imagine That; BMT: Norbit (BMT); Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; Pluto Nash (BMT); Vampire in Brooklyn; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man; I Spy; Beverly Hills Cop III; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child (BMT); A Thousand Words (BMT); The Distinguished Gentleman; Harlem Nights (BMT); Notes: See below for Razzie notes; There isn’t much more to say about Murphy. He is both a legend in his own right, and a BMT legend. Since maybe 2000 his legacy has been marred by poorly reviewed films, bitterness, and poor public relations. The thing recently I remember was his awkward appearance at the SNL 40 celebrations.)

Thandie Newton – (Known For: Crash; RocknRolla; The Pursuit of Happyness; Mission: Impossible II; Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; W.; Run Fatboy Run; Beloved; Vanishing on 7th Street; BMT: Norbit (BMT); The Truth About Charlie; 2012 (BMT); Good Deeds; For Colored Girls; Jefferson in Paris; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; The Young Americans; The Chronicles of Riddick; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Supporting Actress for Mission: Impossible II; Actually has an incredible filmography, including the recent HBO smash hit Westworld. Grew up in England and her accent limited her early work. She is vegan, and was even named the Sexiest Vegan of 2014!)

Terry Crews – (seen in Scary Movie 5, The Ridiculous 6, White Chicks, The Benchwarmers, Gamer, The Single Moms Club, The Expendables 3, Blended … that’s more than Neil McDonough!)

Eddie Murphy Razzie Cred – Won the Razzie Award in 2010 for Worst Actor of the Decade; Won the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Actor, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress for Norbit; Won the Razzie Award in 1990 for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Director and Screenplay for Norbit; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2013 for Worst Actor for A Thousand Words; in 2010 for Imagine That; in 2009 for Meet Dave; and in 2003 for The Adventures of Pluto Nash, I Spy, and Showtime; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2009 for Worst Screen Couple for Meet Dave; in 2008 for Norbit; in 2003 for Showtime, I Spy, The Adventures of Pluto Nash;

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $95,673,607 (Worldwide: $159,313,561)

(That’s actually not that bad. Looking through his boxofficemojo he had had bombs before, and I remember comments surrounding The Haunted Mansion, Daddy Day Care, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash concerning his turn in quality. But I also remember that it wasn’t really until Meet Dave that faith was completely lost. That completely bombed and it was then three years before Tower Heist was supposed to get him back into the comedy game. We’ll see about the new Beverly Hills Cop I suppose.)

#11 for the Comedy – Fat Suit genre

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(Better than Big Momma’s House 2 and Big Momma Like Father Like Son. Only a shade below the original Big Momma’s House as well. Obviously a major player in the genre, Eddie Murphy was a trailblazer with the Nutty Professor franchise. Is it crazy to say that this movie marked the end of the Fat Suit Era of Hollywood? I can think of two reasons why. First, the genre is garbage. Second, they can kind of pull it off with cheaper CGI it seems (see Central Intelligence).)

#29 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(Man … the romcom genre kind of sucks. No joke, there are like 300 films in this list and the 31st is Sex in the City 2. Gross. Once again this graphic is interesting. Such a major genre you can kind of see Hollywood grow through the 90s and reach saturation in about 2000 and then it just holds steady. Nothing really causes the fall. The movies just seem to consistently not make money. Thinking of a 2000 theater release $24K per theater is $50 million dollars. Since the 80’s only 80 or so movies have broken that mark, and only 28 broke $100 million. Plus I’m sure, given the cultural restrictions on romance in particular, these movies perform quite poorly if at all overseas. My guess is that, yet again, this is a genre destined for VOD release going forward.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (11/123): Coming off his Oscar-nominated performance in Dreamgirls, the talented-but-inconsistent Eddie Murphy plays three roles in Norbit, a cruel, crass, stereotype-filled comedy that’s more depressing than funny.

(Less than 10% on rotten tomatoes is incredible. Cruel (yep), crass (yep), stereo-type filled (yep) those are the things I remember about this film on my first viewing. It made me feel gross and it seems like 91% of critics also felt gross while watching it.)

Poster – Bore-it … get it? (C+)

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(I know Jamie would be hating on this poster because it is basically just white. I actually think it does an adequate job at highlighting literally the only thing you want from this movie: Eddie Murphy as a big ol’ fat girl. I gave it b-b-b-b-bonus points because of how they squeezed the title. Very hard to spoof if I wanted to.)

Tagline(s) – Have You Ever Made A Really Big Mistake? (C-)

(I was going to give this an F, but then I envisioned Rasputia on th eposter and thought, ah, big mistake. I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it, and it makes sense for them movie. So I merely declared this below average.)

Keyword(s) – orphan; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.6 Epic Movie (2007); 86.3 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 83.6 Fantastic Four (2015); 81.5 Alone in the Dark (2005); 81.2 Norbit (2007); 78.0 The Room (2003); 77.5 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 74.1 Prom Night (I) (2008); 73.8 Superhero Movie (2008); 64.3 The Next Karate Kid (1994);

(Huh, interesting list. I’m shocked the Next Karate Kid is so loathed actually. I never did get around to that. Besides that Alone in the Dark is the only other must see, although a 70+ horror film in Prom Night does hold some allure.)

Notes – One scene shows Rasputia watching a talk show with a paternity test theme. Eddie Murphy endured a paternity scandal before the film’s theatrical run, involving Spice Girl Melanie Brown. A DNA test confirmed the actor was the baby’s father.

The set used in the film is the same one that “Gilmore Girls” (2010) used as Stars Hollow in their 7 season run. (awesome. I’ll have to look out for that on my watch of Gilmore Girls)

The car wash scene is a parody of a TV ad featuring Paris Hilton. (oh alright, that’s didn’t hold up)

For security purposes, early prints were shipped under the title ‘Jupiter’, an apparent allusion to Eddie Murphy’s film Pluto Nash (2002). (fun facts)

This is the second film that Cuba Gooding Jr. played in, that starred Eddie Murphy playing multiple characters. The first film was Coming To America (1988), he had a small non- speaking role, as boy in barber shop chair.

WatchMOJO lists Norbit number 10 on its top worst comedy movies list. (Number 10?! Let me see this fucking list: Norbit, Chairman of the Board (BMT), Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (Seen it), Little Nicky (Seen it), Freddy Got Fingered (BMT), It’s Pat. Son of Mask, Master of Disguise (BMT), Bio-Dome (Seen it), Jack and Jill (BMT). Alright … that’s a pretty legit list.)

Awards – Nominated for the Oscar for Best Achievement in Makeup (Rick Baker, Kazuhiro Tsuji)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Eddie Murphy)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Eddie Murphy)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Eddie Murphy)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Cuba Gooding Jr.)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Eddie Murphy)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Brian Robbins)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Eddie Murphy, Charlie Murphy, Jay Scherick, David Ronn)