Mechanic: Resurrection Recap

Jamie

This week we watched Mechanic: Resurrection in theaters for BMT: Live! A tradition whereby the bad movie twins attempt to find movies that have even remotely similar US and UK release dates. I’m going to take it upon myself to put this film into context with the original Mechanic and the 2011 remake. I’ll let Patrick do most (but not all) of the talking about Mechanic: Resurrection. The original film starring Charles Bronson was very similar to Get Carter. He is an old school gangster that gets a little caught up with some personal feelings, which puts him on the wrong side of his boss (in this case he takes a shine to his hitman mentor’s son and decides he wants to train him to be his replacement, which doesn’t make his boss very happy). In the end they decide to take him out and he is killed (but not before killing everyone that got in his way). That’s almost exactly Get Carter, but not quite as good. With the 2011 remake they shifted from a subdued thriller to a straight action. As a result, Statham and Ben Foster had to bumble and stumble their way through every job. They botch everything. Of course this is what happens when you want to make a hitman thriller into a straight action. They have to fuck up every job so that their only escape is through massive stunts and violence. It was shit. It’s actually super surprising that it got >50% on RT. I would have pegged it at high 30’s. Almost every change made from the original was a mistake and there was some rididididiculous writing on display (I could write a whole blog post on the medical jargon employed in the film, for it was absurd). So nowhere to go but up, right? Wrong. I feel like it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to say that a film we’ve watched is truly awful. Mechanic: Resurrection is truly awful. It’s like the makers watched last year’s horrendous Hitman: Agent 47 and looked around and said, “Shit… they’ve cracked the code. Perfection,” and browsed through whatever properties they owned so they could create the exact same film for this year. It was nonsense. The funniest thing about all this: the remake actually got the plot right this time! Instead of just having the hitman screw up in order to create action they had him cajoled into doing sloppy and near-impossible mission in order to save a loved one. That actually makes more sense, and yet it was still a pile of trash.

God damn do I love Settings 101. Once again we got a great settings film in Mechanic: Resurrection. It also was one of the more difficult films to assess of our recent fare. On the face of it Mechanic: Resurrection is a classic B settings film. Everywhere you go you are told explicitly through intertitle where exactly you are in the world. So you are never confused as we jump from Brazil to Thailand to Malaysia to Australia to Bulgaria. But as you can see from that list this is essentially a roadtrip film (what Patrick termed the globetrotter film). Do I consider it set in Australia? Thailand? Bulgaria? If we were making a mapl.de.map is this penalized because it doesn’t spend a lot of time in a singular location? After much gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes we came to the conclusion that this would not be a penalty. Here they are clear enough and the locations used well enough that this earns a solid B+ in Settings 101. It’s all about how clear the location is and how much it factors into the plot. For the record I would push for the film to count towards Bulgaria. I feel like it was the most solid location of the five. Australia has an argument as does Thailand, but that would be my vote (I’m sure you all were wondering).

Patrick

‘Ello everyone? Mechanic: Resurrection? I’m going a little NYPost back splash on you: The Mechanic Should Have Stayed Dead! Buuuuurned. It was BMT Live! So far I would say we’ve been remarkably successful with our in theater choices, did the streak continue? Let me put it this way … I have OPINIONS! Let’s hear them.

  • The Good – Who can’t resist a little Statham charm, and a little gratuitous Jessica Alba butt that makes you feel a bit dirty, you know? Considering the overall quality of the film some of the shots they managed to get are impressive. One more word: globetrotting. C’mon, everyone loves some great views.
  • The Bad – Nearly everything. I’ll speak a bit more on the theater experience below, but this is as close as I’ve ever come to walking out of a film. Five minutes in I thought “seriously … what the fuck is this?”. Usually bad movies are skilled people with good intentions when everything goes wrong. This, somehow, came across as watching people bad at their job do it badly. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and say the budget just didn’t match the aspirations. Amateurish is the word to describe the film. Expository would describe the script. Literally, there is a whole thirty minutes with pure monologues which sound like this: “Crain and I grew up as child soldiers trained in the East End. I escaped, and he’s never forgiven me for it.” First, seriously, c’mon, my workmates got a kick out of the mere idea of child soldiers trained in the East End, it is ludicrous. Second, how didn’t this come up in the first movie? This mysterious past didn’t come across in the slightest until literally right now. Alba’s backstory was equally ridiculous and is just deadpanned to the camera for a minute straight. Tommy Lee Jones is a gunrunner with a heart of gold! While mind you, still controlling the entirety of the European and South American arms trades, as if only “the little guy” needs guns in those parts of the world. I could go on for days, and I have. I literally whispered to myself “is this the worst movie I’ve ever seen?” Of course it isn’t, it isn’t even the worst movie I’ve seen in theaters, but while watching it it certainly seemed like the nadir of something.
  • The BMT – I would watch this movie a thousand times over. If there is any good in the world this movie will ultimately break 50 on the BMeTric and enter the pantheon. But I fear it will go the way of Hitman: Agent 47, forgotten and forgiven for all the hurt and pain it had caused. For shame.

As promised a little note on the Theater Sklog-sperience: This was my first venture to the Westfield mall in Shepherd’s Bush and the Vue there is fantastic. Great seat, courteous audience, awful awful (awful) movie. As I walked there I reflected on the fact that Hitman films just … kind of suck. You have a superman of a “good” guy, and the only way the kills are action-y in reality is if the person screws them up. The original Mechanic did a good job combatting both of those pitfalls and yet still was kind of boring (it’s like Get Carter, but I liked Get Carter more). The remake has Ben Foster literally screw everything up twice just so we could get some action. Not a good look. Even walking there I knew I wasn’t going to have a great time.

I’ll leave it there because I’ve written a lot. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Deadly Friend Recap

Jamie

This week we began on the Sklog’s Birthday Bonanza, all movies from 1986, with a movie based on a book, Deadly Friend. As I watched Deadly Friend I couldn’t help but think to myself “Hmmm, I would have thought I’d be having more fun watching this than I am.” After all, this was a film that featured a bright yellow robot as a main character and a death scene involving a zombie throwing a basketball at someone’s head so hard that it literally explodes! But almost everything outside of those two things was pretty meh. But I’ll leave the further analysis of the film to Patrick.

In terms of the adaptation from the book Friend by Diana Henstell, we actually got a bit of a departure going from print to screen. The book was just a classic boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl is killed by father, boy resurrects girl on a stormy, lightning-filled night. Just classic stuff. At its core it’s just an update of the Frankenstein story to a 1980’s love story. The movie kept a lot of the main storyline (the boy’s weird robot best friend is probably the most peculiar), but scrapped a lot of the Frankenstein heavy features, choosing instead to focus on the love story (and eventually the gore). The most prominent change made was to the motivation of the main character bringing his love interest back from the dead. In the book the boy is distraught over her death and in a fit of anger/love/insanity steals her body from the mortuary and attempts to revive her (to horrifying effect). In the film they seemed to shy away from having the main character straight-up rob a grave. Instead he plans on installing a microchip into her brain to revive her from a coma. Finding that he is too late to the hospital and she has already passed away he decided to go forward with the operation and revives her (to horrifying effect). Just a little softening to make an unlikable character… well, still pretty unlikable. Overall, I found the book to be quite the drag (mostly because the main character is a pain in the ass and super weird) and unsurprisingly the movie it inspired isn’t much better. It’s basically the worst combo. At least with a lot of the other films we watched for this cycle I enjoyed either the film or the book (or both). In this case they both were just OK. Phew… finally no more books to read.

This week Settings 101 was an exhilarating adventure. We’ve been on quite the run of films with distinct locations, so it’s nice to have to work for it this week. While watching the film there were several scenes with fairly clear license plates shown to the viewer. Unfortunately, these license plates turned out to be prop plates with “Drive Safely” written at the top rather than the state name (kind of like the “Great State” license plates of The Tuxedo). Unwilling to give up I scoured the rest of the film for any other indication of location. Fortunately the film opens with a scene of the boy moving with his mother to their new home. He is navigating the highways and byways of America and has a map on his lap. That map? A map of Illinois! Now this would hardly be definitive except that there is a line marking their route through the state ending near the city of Peoria. Now does this really mark their route? How are we to know whether this truly means that the film is set in Illinois or if they just grabbed a random prop map for the film? Who cares! Set in Illinois! A definitive D-. Literally the least amount of information that could possibly be provided and still arguably have a set location. I. Love. It.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Deadly Friend? More like Dreadful Fraud, amirite? We watched what I will describe as a very strange movie, and probably for a very strange reason. Let’s just get into it:

  • The Good – Um, honestly nothing? It isn’t really a movie I would say. It is somewhat charming in the technological youth it exhibits in its hopes and dreams of robots at that point in the 80s. But it is a barely movie through and through. Even the practical effects aren’t effective. And acting is okay for what it is I guess. But at that points in time it is a low-budget nonsense movie. I wonder why it has a cult following …
  • The Bad – I’ve already went through it a bit, but the movie is bonkers. It makes little sense in some ways (the main character is either totally insane or a sociopath) and then is only morbidly fascinating in most others. It is boring, and weird, and falls short in almost every way. As Jamie said: it should be more fun, but it isn’t.
  • The BMT – No. Too small and boring. Like Maximum Overdrive it is only BMT in showing how people completely botched horror in the 80’s. Probably the cocaine.

Ah, and why did we watch this movie? Because 1986 is amazing terrible for bad movies. It was between this and Shanghai Surprise as far as we could tell (since we have already seen Cobra) and Shanghai Surprise had to be reserved for Romance … so yeah, getting a bit sparse. This cycle … might be bad.

You know what? I’m going to leave it there. Deadly Friend isn’t very inspiring.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Bonfire of the Vanities Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Bonfire of the Vanities? More like Bonfire of the Banalities. I had a tough time figuring this movie out, and I’ll tell you why. Let’s go.

  • The Good – For much of the movie it is well acted. I was rather impressed with Hanks, Willis (surprisingly), and especially Melanie Griffith. It is, for decent stretches, at least fascinating. I would say I was more confused as to whether this was supposed to our world or a truly surreal satirical take on our world, and perhaps that is what kept my attention, but there were certainly bits I did like.
  • The Bad – Where to begin … I mean, I know this movie is a satire, but it does come across as genuinely racist. Like it is painting a picture of a world it imagines exists and then takes the unfortunate tack of taking down the strawman caricatures it creates, as if that is meaningful. I kept grasping at things, trying to think how I could make the movie better in some tangible way, but the unfortunate thing is: without reading the book I didn’t know! I knew the movie’s approach couldn’t be the book’s angle because it would have been torn down and cast out of society with vigor. But how it differed I didn’t know. Reading the IMDb notes and realizing they were forced to recast the judge as black (Morgan Freeman) makes oh so much sense. At times I really couldn’t believe what I was watching. I found it shocking. I knew it was supposed to be satire, but it is so weak that occasionally you get lulled into the sense that you are watching a real movie only to be shaken awake by angry and awful people and actions. I found the first half of the film stressful, and the second half unpleasant (if slowly relieving as you realize that things are kind of going to way you’d expect them to go). So there you go. I did not think this is was not that bad, but perhaps that is the mood I was in, willing to take this silly movie a bit too seriously. And yet my feelings seem to mirror the critical reception at the time, so I’m giving myself the benefit of the doubt.
  • BMT – I’ll keep this short. I thought it was boring, but shocking enough to warrant a solid 25 and maybe (maybe) I’d throw it to someone with the tentative recommendation that you are watching a truly strange movie come to life. I do kind of want to read the book about the making of this movie. It must have been simply bonkers.

Let’s see. Sequel/Prequel/Reboot would be fun to try and figure out who would play all of the people in a reboot made this year (plus, hey, it’s not like we are having a serious discussion on race in the United States at the moment …). So in the Tom Hanks role I wanted someone with that boyish charm, who can play someone you kind of want to hate a bit, and as close to 35 as possible (a believable age for the social position Hanks was in in the movie), and I think Andrew Garfield in that role would work really well. You could definitely believe him on Wall Street and then sympathize as his world falls apart around him. Bruce Willis comes across a lot older than he actually is (also 35 at the time), but also the literal alcohol character is tough to pull off I feel like these days, they are either now much older or the perpetual party boy type deal (like Miles Teller in The Spectacular Now). I went a little older and found Danny McBride which I think could work, even has the comedy chops if they wanted to go that direction again. Jeremy Renner or Joel Edgerton could both work as well. Scarlett Johansson in the Griffith role rounds out the important bits. Recast Freeman in his own role and you got a stew cooking.

There isn’t much beyond the three leads to make this movie again if they cared. The rest of the cast you could debate back and forth, but really that is unimportant compared to actually getting the tone right.

Jamie

As we finish our Now A Major Motion Picture cycle heading into our transition week, I can start to think retrospectively about the collection of books that I’ve (largely suffered) through. In most cases the books and the films were either very similar, bordering on straight adaptations (Pinocchio, Phantoms, The Choice, and The 5th Wave) or wildly different (Fair Game, Get Carter, and Random Hearts). The Bonfire of the Vanities stands out because it’s not really in either category. The first half of the film is basically a straight adaptation, with only minor changes to how characters look or behave. Halfway through the film though, it veers wildly off course. Starting from a scene where our main character Sherman McCoy wanders out of a courtroom in which he has been indicted on charges of reckless endangerment, we, as the audience, also wander helplessly from a film that made some sense, to one that makes no sense. I was so confused by the tone change at that point (anchored by what I knew from the book) that I actually assumed for a while that what we were seeing was a dream sequence (spoiler alert: not the case). It seems at this point that the filmmaker decided that he no longer liked the film he was making (probably because all the characters are terrible people) and decided that the movie needed some bucking up. Let’s all of sudden make Peter Fallow a hero (rather than the shitty pulp tabloid man that he is in the book), let’s have Sherman comically brandish a shotgun in a crowded party, and let’s make the climax of the film be the just acquittal of our valiant hero (!!!) Sherman McCoy. In the book this climax was just only in that it took all the shitty, vain people involved in the story and destroyed them all in a blaze of glory. In the film none of the characters are developed enough to convey this (and the ones that are developed have been developed into nicer, softer characters) so that the climax is played straight. Gross.

Funny enough this probably wouldn’t have made a difference to me if I hadn’t read the book. I wondered if I would have thought the film was well-acted and well-written (albeit a bit aimless), and produced in that Hollywood way to make it pleasant enough. I thought that I might have even said It’s Not That Bad.™ With the book, though, it seemed like a disaster. In the end I think Patrick and I agreed though. The fact of the matter is that the book is considerably more shocking in its racism than the film and in that way you can see the satire. It creates caricatures of real NYC dwellers of the time, but magnifies the hidden racism that roils beneath in order to satirize the institutions in the city (police, law, finance, politics). But how the film reigned back the exaggeration and dared to soften the McCoy and Fallow characters destroys the satire and in turn makes it simple offensive. Basically, I was wrong in my assumption that I might not be offended if I didn’t have the book to anchor me. His recap proves that I would have probably been even more offended.

Perhaps it’s a byproduct of all these films being based on books, but we’ve had a nice little run of films with very distinct settings for Settings 101. Once again we have a film that gets an A! In this case The Bonfire of the Vanities is a takedown of the New York City elite. Obviously they couldn’t change the setting or else the entire message would be lost (instead they just lost the message through shitty character development). We get several shots of the New York skyline, a close-up shot of Sherman McCoy’s New York license plate, clear “Manhattan” and “Bronx” highway signs, and a climax that centers around the idea of a white Manhattanite running over an African American youth in The Bronx. Kinda hovers a bit between A- and A as there isn’t really a distinct New York landmark used as a prop. But as the setting itself is vital to the plot and unchangeable, I give it the A. Once again, misses out on the coveted A+ by not having the setting in the title of the film.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The 5th Wave Recap

Jamie

It’s pretty easy to sum up my feelings on The 5th Wave book/movie combo. They are both equally terrible. The book was quite the slog, coming in over 500 pages but reading like if they took the beginning of The Hungers Games (before she even gets picked for the games) and just streeeeeettttcccchhhed that right out. We are made aware of an alien attack and how four waves have decimated the Earth’s population, but then spend hundreds and hundreds of pages with our characters sitting around working out their feelings of loss and despair. They just kind of repeat over and over “I was a normal kid, but now I’m not so normal. Perhaps I am no longer even human. Alas, what is human? What is humanity? What is life? What makes it worth living? Alas. Woe is me.” You spend hours in these kids heads as they mostly do nothing but sit around. It’s tough. As for the film, I would have ventured to say that it was virtually unfilmable. Not enough happens in the book to make it interesting on the screen, and yet there is so much setup (presumably for the other books) that it can’t all fit into an effective storyline. They either needed to totally change the story or combine the books into a single film and just focus on the action that’s available. They, of course, just put the book directly to screen… It was basically the worst of both worlds. Not only did they retain the noticeable lack of action, but they brutalized the characters in order to fit the book into a 100 minute package. God I hope they don’t make more of these. I really don’t want to read the next book. Patrick?

In what has become a standard in the BMT review we are once again grading this film for Settings 101. Like all YA novels, this story takes place in Ohio (fine, it’s just I Am Number Four… but isn’t is weird that a different, alien-centric young adult novel with a number in the title is also set in Ohio?). We first become aware of the setting through news network maps depicting the location of the alien mothership hovering over Ohio. There is also a hint of location during the earthquake/tsunami wave, where our main characters explains that they were able to survive since they only had to worry about a smaller wave coming in from the Great Lakes. This would have been enough for a solid C rating. Adding to the grade though is the vital role that Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (in Dayton, OH) plays in the plot! This is the alien base and is mentioned by name throughout the film. Additionally, when our main character is working her way to the base she uses a map of Ohio to do so with Dayton clearly marked and circled. Similar to Random Hearts I have to ultimately give this an A-. While the presence of Wright-Patterson as a major plot point is good, it could have been replaced by many other air force bases. It’s not iconic or irreplaceable.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone? The 5th Wave probably refers to how many overpowering waves of nausea you’ll experience while watching this film! (straight up roasts up here this week). Alright, we went YA with this, and as an expert in trash YA novels let’s get into it.

  • The Good – The acting across the board was adequate. Moretz and Schreiber (killing it again in BMT, right on the heels of his tour de force performance in Phantoms) in particular made it out mostly unscathed. The story for the most part was interesting, even if I needed Jamie to explain some of the secret book reasoning behind some choices.
  • The Bad – The love triangle was garbage, most adults in the film might as well have been faceless blobs for how relatable they are. The story structure is so classically droll (really? A voiceover flashback combination? I know it can make sense with a book, but mix it up, don’t “read” me the characterization of everybody. They end up completely botching the army storyline involving Zombie (who should have nipped that terrible nickname right in the bud when it came up, it is the worst).
  • The BMT – Yes, but especially if they can squeeze a few more adaptations out of it. I’ve read Hunger Games and Divergent and each of those tumbled straight downhill in quality. I’m tempted by Maze Runner as well (especially the Porch Trials). But this is by far the worst any of these series started out. And they almost always get worse as they go on. Give us one more, please. I need more Evan Walker in my life (not really, he was by far the worst actor in the film I thought).

Phew, I like YA novels and adaptation, especially when they are Sci Fi, but jeez louise, this is pretty mind melty. Especially when you have a true plot hole! I’m going to call this Major Sklog-servations a small discussion about a major revelation I had during Me and Jamie’s discussions about the film. In this case: In the book the revelation that (spoiler alert!) the aliens can take on human form is a rather well known fact apparently. It is a reason people distrust the army when they come around. In the movie this is not the case, they explicitly trust the army and do not find out about body snatching until the army tells them. The point at which the army tells the audience about this issue is one of crossroads for our protagonist played by Moretz. She has just missed the bus to the army base, she sees the entire refugee camp gunned down in the heat of argument, and she flees into the woods. There is no doubt that she couldn’t have heard or known about the body snatching from the army in the refugee camp … except moments later in her journal she discusses the issues concerning losing trust in humanity when anyone she knows could be an Other. Powerful stuff and a rare actual plot hole (most plot holes are usually just events that stretch credulity, not an actual plot inconsistency). She manages to intuit something inherently non-intuitive (and terrifying), that she cannot ask anyone for help because they may be an other. I would think this is clearly a plot point lost in translating the novel to the screen and either uncaught or left as a minor continuity issue. Fin.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Random Hearts Recap

Patrick

Guten Tag, allerseits! I was in Vienna this weekend, so we are still a little behind on things so I’ll try and make this quick. We watched Random Hearts (more like Not So Smarts! You have to give me a break on that, for some reason my mind was pulling me to “farts” rhyming with hearts which, while hilarious, seems below me, you know?), and I have to say: what? Seriously, I don’t understand. Let’s get into it.

  • The Good – Some of the performances were quite good. If you are a fan of the 80s style political / crime drama this probably has a place deep within Netflix where you go “I’ve never heard of The Falcon and The Snowman, I guess I might as well watch that, it isn’t like I’m doing anything else …” you know? There are large swaths of this movie which from a writing perspective seem effective and well done. In fact, the only notable thing about the audio commentary by director Sydney Pollack was his intense love for the script.
  • The Bad – Whoever had the job of waking up Harrison Ford so that he could stumble onto set and deliver lines in a monotone did a poor job. Hard to watch. The entire B storyline involving a crooked cop and Ford’s job would make you go “oh yeah, I forgot this was part of the story … why do I care about this again”. Incredibly little payoff overall in the movie. The entire thing meanders around for like 2 hours before reaching the “climax” and then I looked at my watch and said to myself: “There is only 20 minutes left … that is not nearly enough time to untangle this story.” And it was not.
  • The BMT – Weird weird weird. My gut says no. I would never watch this again. I would only ever recommend this to a political / cop drama enthusiast looking for a movie recommendation (not as a bad movie) and it would be in the context of “want to see what happens when someone tried to make an 80s style drama in the late 90s? Seems super weird right?”. The blunt answer is no. I think this movie is merely bad. In a boring way. Not BMT. Sorry.

See what I mean? Weird. I will note that since we’ve gone through Ford before in Chain Reaction (Firewall and Hollywood Homicide) this makes the third Ford focused ( … see what I did there, I’m the best) Chain Reaction film. And I look forward to more in the future. I would have done an audio commentary review, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead I’m going to a quick career BMTrospective for Harrison Ford to look forward to his prospects and where he might land in the BMT pantheon. So here are his BMT films with respective BMeTrics:

(47.6) Hollywood Homicide; (47.2) Random Hearts; (38.2) Six Days Seven Nights; (34.1) Paranoia; (33.9) Firewall; (26.6) The Expendables 3; (24.2) More American Graffiti; (23.9) The Devil’s Own; (10.8) Extraordinary Measures; (7.1) Crossing Over; (3.6) Getting Straight;

So first, Getting Straight (only 6 reviews on rotten tomatoes) and Crossing Over (released to only 42 theaters) I don’t think qualify. Extraordinary Measures I think will be done, but on a very special occasion. I’m personally too busy for it, some might say I already work around the clock. Out of them all Six Days Seven Nights might end up being a keystone in a certain number game Jamie might just be outlining below, so I think it is a definite. And More American Graffiti seems poised for a sweet Bad Sequel cycle. I think 3 more Ford films will find their way into BMT then to make a total of seven (plus Paranoia which was done on our own as a Razzie nominee I think). For such a long career that is a pretty solid hit rate to be honest, to only have those handful of duds available. That’s your life Harrison Ford. Auf wiedersehen, and back to you Jamie.

Jamie

Random Hearts is the perfect Chain Reaction film for this cycle. Is it a thriller? Is it a romance? Is it a political drama? Or is it a political-thriller-rom-dram? Whatever it is it hardly fits into a standard category and provides something a little different than our typical fare. Patrick expounded on the weirdness of this film, even without the baggage of the book. Why? Because the book is exponentially weirder. Even though the book has some of the political angle of the film, there is no doubt that it aims to be a straight romantic drama. The only problem is that there is nothing romantic about the book in the least. The story starts essentially the same as the film: two people find out their spouses were having an affair after they turn up in a plane crash sitting next to each other under false names. Good plot. It then deviates into the super philosophical about the nature of love and what it means. The characters feed off each others’ crazed neuroses brought on by their anger and grief. They throw everything they own out, they sell their houses, Vivien give her son to her parents and implies that she’s never coming back, and she gets rid of her dog all because they believe that if their love wasn’t real then nothing else they had was too (including her son!). He then loses his job and so they spend their days shacked up in an apartment together obsessing over finding the secret love nest that their spouses kept, having sex, and talking endlessly about their nihilistic view of love and how nothing can ever be promised or built because love has no future or past. It is depressing and horribly unromantic. You might wonder how this was ever adapted into a film. Well, when you have a simple nugget of a plot so good (the plane crash aspect) it not hard to see the desire to take that and turn it into a totally different film, which is what they did here. Other than that particular crux of the story very little of the film has any relation to the book, which was a relief. 

We got a great Settings 101 film in Random Hearts. The film is very specifically set in Washington D.C. with Harrison Ford being a part of the D.C. police department and Kristin Scott Thomas being a state representative from New Hampshire. We get a jogging scene in front of the National Mall, a jaunt to New Hampshire, Miami, and Maryland through the film (I like when there are specific secondary settings in a film, adds to the fun), and the major event in the film (the plane crash) is explicitly detailed as a flight from D.C. to Miami that crashes into the Potomac. You have to give it an A-. Why the minus? The setting plays a major role in the plot, but not in a particularly fun way. Has all the elements of an A settings film, but could have been set elsewhere without much of a hiccup (other than changing the occupation of Thomas).

Next up is the Sci Fi category in our Based on a Book cycle. Cheers,

The Sklogs

The Choice Recap

Jamie

This week was our Romance category, and nothing screams Romance like Nicholas Sparks’ instant classic The Choice! The Choice presents an interesting case for the based-on-a-book cycle. This is primarily because I found the book to be somewhat offensive. And not even in the hyperbolical sense (like “the editing in The Choice offended me”). It was truly offensive. For those who haven’t read the book, the plot isn’t too far off from the film: boy meets girl, girl has boyfriend, they fall in love, she leaves boyfriend, they get married, there is an accident, the boy must make a choice regarding whether to take the girl off life support. Thus the title The Choice. Now all this would simply be incredibly sad if this choice had to be made because Travis and Gabby (our main characters) had not thought through the situation in advance (which would be pretty common given how young they are). With no advance directives laid out, Travis would have a gut wrenching decision to make regarding the woman he loves. Is he ready to let her go given the quality of life that she would endure otherwise? Here’s the rub though: she did have an advance directive. She signed, with Travis and a lawyer witnessing, an advance directive stating that she wished to be taken off life-support in the event that she was in a coma for more than 120 days. So the choice is actually whether he is going to follow her advance directive… … … and he chooses not to. I understand that this is an incredibly tough decision, but ignoring an advance directive and going against Gabby’s wishes… that’s not right. That’s the wrong choice. I’m sorry. It is. It was her (and their) choice and they made it together and then he disregarded it. And then for Sparks to have the gall to have Gabby come out of the coma and imply to the reader that Travis made the correct choice is even worse. It’s offensive. Straight up. It’s all a little less offensive in the film for two reasons: 1. The movie is poorly told and edited, so the offense in question is actually kind of hard to grasp. I don’t think this is on purpose, but it softened it a bit nonetheless. 2. They seemed a bit more aware of the problem. There was a particular scene where Travis’ dad (a vet) decides that he is going to buy a new lizard for a little girl  whose pet has died and pretend that it lived by some miracle, instead of breaking the bad news to her. It’s almost a metareference to the entire story, “Yeah, here’s a miraculous story of Gabby coming out of the coma (when we know that the truth is much harder and harsher a reality). But it’s nicer for you sweet, naive audience.” As you can probably tell I had OPINIONS about the adaptation.

Alright, well this can hardly be judged for Settings 101, but here it goes anyway. Everyone everywhere always knows that this book/film is set in North Carolina. Why? Because it’s a Nicholas Sparks book, duh. They are all set in North Carolina. Like Phantoms, though, they don’t really go out of their way to mention it much. Fortunately for The Choice it has a few things going for it: 1. License plates confirmed the location. 2. It was shot on location in the actual setting of Wilmington, N.C. so the restaurant and beaches and stuff are well known Wilmington landmarks (!). 2. Gabby is from Charleston and we see Travis drive there (passing a Welcome to South Carolina sign no less) along the coast, so realistically they can only either be in North Carolina or Georgia. All adds to a C. Now normally for a film that only definitively proves its location through license plates and the like you would be in the D range, but come on! They filmed in the small coastal town where the book took place! That’s kind of crazy. Gotta bump that up to a C.

Patrick

Olá a todos! That’s right, I was on holiday (as they say) in Portugal for the week and naturally I carved out some time to watch The Choice (more like … My Choice is Nope! (?) I’m not sure, there isn’t a good rhyme [EDIT: My brother pointed out that using the version of nice pronounced like noice you could get something like “The Choice?! More like Not Noice!”, it is pretty good. Better than the garbage I put out into the world. Thanks bro]) … not really, I watched it when I got back. And I must say, let’s get into it.

  • The Good – Huh, the main woman was kind of cute in a I-Can’t-Quite-Figure-Out-How-To-Do-An-American-Accent-Properly kind of way, so that’s nice for a rom dram. The scenery was unbelievable, really putting NC right up and center. Fighting the good fight in showing how the 1% are just like us, you know? (Seriously though, everyone in this movie was quietly and absurdly wealthy and they almost conspicuously don’t mention it).
  • The Bad – The main guy looks like a cartoon, in such a way that he could only ever exist in Civil War movies (jelly much Patrick? Whatever, he looks like a cartoon). The movie is pretty dull. The ending is absurd (you don’t just shake off a 100 day coma lady, c’mon!). The movie is 20 minutes too long. Both main actors are terrible. If I could freeze this movie in a time capsule I would as a testament to “this is what a bad romantic drama is”. The perfect ending to Nicholas Sparks’ production company I must say.
  • The BMT – Hell yeah. This movie is crazy bad and there is one scene that kind of saves it for me (think motorcycle ride in the rain ending with a singing church scene, it is amazing). But if someone said let’s watch this and make fun of it I would definitely do it … for an hour and then tell them to stop because it isn’t worth it at that point.

Phew. I did have opinions. Major opinions. I’ve felt like my responses have gotten a bit stale over the past few weeks so I’m going to go back to Sequel Prequel Remake and then start mulling over some new games when Jamie goes on vacation. Here I think we definitely need a Prequel where we see Travis just smashing it in NC for a summer. Fresh out of college you see him rebel a bit against his father’s dreams for him as a vet. He buys a boat, buys a sweet adirondack chair and makes a life promise with his best buds that they’ll never get married! But oh, a blast from the past as his old high school squeeze blows in threatening to derail all of the summer shenanigans for the newly minted graduates. Can this sleek southern gentleman juggle his friends, his summer plans, and his heart?! The Choice 2: Summer Fling. There is definitely some southern dreamboat on the CW who would kill in this role.

Obrigado,

The Sklogs

Phantoms Recap

Jamie

I’m going to try my best to stick to the adaptation, since that is my major contribution this cycle. As expected, Phantoms reminded me of Stephen King in the beginning. Often King starts with some major unexplained event and the characters confronted with the event must battle the unknown assailant, while also coming to terms with why they have been chosen to do battle. This is the same with Phantoms (where a set of characters find themselves in the midst of a town that has entirely disappeared). The big difference right away is that Koontz’s characters are primarily squeeky clean. They are goodie-two-shoes small towners with nary a blemish to their names. I prefer King’s method where the narrators are often outsiders with some real (or perceived) character flaw. Still, pretty similar in the beginning and I thought the creepy atmosphere of the book was actually really well done. Then it goes totally awry. Koontz spends long stretches of the back half of the book concerned with a total (pseudo)scientific explanation of the events at hand. As a result it became super slow. As for the adaptation, I can’t lie. I actually kinda dug the film Phantoms. It’s certainly not a scary horror film (I was not scared once during the whole experience), but I am a fan of Horror/Sci-Fi and this was at least halfway decent. It had OK atmosphere, a nice performance by Liev Schreiber as a smarmy deputy, and the occasional great practical effects. To boot, the adaptation was actually fairly impressive given that while I read the book I explicitly told Patrick that I thought it was unadaptable. I was wrong. They did fine. In fact I would say most changes made were actually for the better. My biggest gripe? A change to the ending. In the book the seemingly invincible monster is decisively destroyed. Hooray. In the film? We get a garbage precredits twist where the monster (in the guise of Liev Schreiber) appears in a different Colorado town waiting to kill again (in the sequel). Not digging that at all. Ventured one step too far into cliche. Anyway, I’ll let Patrick delve deeper into the film itself.

I am definitely going to do a Settings 101 for this film. This is a pretty good case of a low grade settings situation. Everywhere you look they talk about how this film was set in Colorado, so I was expecting them to be driving to the town passing a “Welcome to Colorado” sign or have insert titles tell the audience where we are. Nope. As far as I could they didn’t even say the word “Colorado” in the entire film. There was one instance of a zoom on a license plate, a 303 phone number is mentioned, and it was filmed in Georgetown, CO, so there isn’t really any doubt, but not as prominent as I would have though. Staunchly in the D+ category of settings. On top of that the book isn’t even set in Colorado (it’s set in California). Not sure why they bothered to change it. Bizarre.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Phantoms!? More like Phan-DUMBS!! How does the movie compare to the book? What was the deal with the setting of the film? Was Ben Affleck the bomb in Phantoms? All that and more literally immediately right now, let’s go!

  • The Good – There were a few solid practical effects all things considered. Also a few okay performances, Liev Schreiber’s performance at least seems like acting and made some semblance of sense. And it was a valiant attempt at adapting what is in reality a very difficult book to handle from both a length and … let’s call what needed to be done “necessary alterations” to a sci-fi horror book.
  • The Bad – Oof. Let’s start with how it failed as a horror film. It wasn’t scary. It didn’t have nearly enough characters to pull off the necessary kills to get you into the creature feature territory. And despite some good practical effects most were silly to the point that it made the bad guy laughable. Onto how it failed as an adaptation. It unnecessarily changed the motivations behind Affleck’s character to the most cliché choice possible. It aged up the Rose McGowan character unnecessarily. It completely botched the ending. It cut out one of the more effective side stories involving an escaped sociopath. And finally as a movie. Affleck literally yells throughout the movie, he is not the bomb. Rose McGowan is terrible, sorry. Sure, the horror genre isn’t great for literature, but this one was actually a pretty good read. And the movie is not good as a movie in its equivalent genre (at best).
  • The BMT – Surely. This movie though might be too small. It really does come across as a TV movie, kind of like what It ended up being for Stephen King. People treat it like a real movie (kind of) but it is really unpolished and silly and kind of low budget. And that is probably the best excuse you can give Phantoms. Dean Koontz has never successfully adapted a book into a movie, so they don’t really give him a chance, and this one gets weirdly close, but also kind of sucks.

Just to briefly touch on the setting before Jamie grades it: The change from California to Colorado was astonishing to me. We considered it for the mapl.d.map oh so long ago, but rejected it because the book was set in California and there was no immediate evidence watching the beginning of the movie that it was in fact Colorado, and then the biggest piece of evidence it was Colorado? The trailer! It doesn’t need to be Colorado, was California in the source, so why change the setting? Perhaps only Dean Koontz knows … where is an audio commentary when you need it?

And a little mini-book review myself as well. I thought this book was shockingly good personally. I don’t really go for horror books. I like the idea of them and read It and The Shining by King … but neither scared me. Not once. Phantoms though? Actually really creepy and effective in the first act. Koontz certainly seems to follow in the King footsteps with weak third acts, but Phantoms I think proudly stands next to King in pop-horror literature. All the more reason the lack of scares in the movie disappointed me in the end. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is by far Koontz’s best horror book though. And I agree with Jamie, his obsession with providing a scientific explanation bordered on ludicrous and does derail the book. The second and third acts are weaker, but I still liked it damn it!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Pinocchio (2002) Recap

Jamie

Easily the most interesting thing about Roberto Benigni’s Pinocchio is just how true an adaptation it is from the original tale. Watchmen ain’t got shit on this. Perhaps only Gus Van Sant’s Psycho can surpass it. It’s almost a scene-for-scene, line-for-line transcription of story to screen (with some scenes excluded for time). The only thing explicitly changed is a random expansion of the Candlewick character (called Leonardo here). Benigni seemed to go out of his way to include him in as many scenes as possible. Why only change that one aspect? Hard to explain. Anyway, this is probably why many reviewers of the film regarded it as so bizarre. They chalk it up to misguided vanity that Benigni would prance around on screen spouting macabre nonsense, perhaps not realizing (or deciding to not acknowledge) that the nonsense was just the original story. It would be like if a Cinderella adaptation was made where in the end birds fly down and poke out the eyes of the evil stepsisters striking them blind for the rest of their wretched lives. Or a Snow White adaptation where the evil queen has to dance in burning hot iron shoes until she dies. American reviewers would be like “WTF, mate! This is a children’s film!” Benigni simply made the most accurate adaptation of a book that we may have ever witnessed and it probably flew over a lot of people’s heads. The real story just isn’t particularly well known here. Does that mean it’s actually good? Ha! Oh deary me, no.

Do I dare do a Settings 101 for Pinocchio? Seems so obviously Italy. Although the fact of the matter is that I can’t remember if they actually say that it’s set in Italy. It obviously is, but treats it as a given. You almost have to give it a D, just for leaving it implicit. Instead I think I’ll just make a SklogCycle for the film. Don’t know what that is? Neither does anyone else cause I just made it up. Inspired by the ridiculous(ly awful) voice cast of Pinocchio, I’m going to make up a BMT cycle featuring stars of that cast. It would be called Pi-NOPE-io cause Patrick nailed it. Let’s see:

  • Scattergories (Calendar): The Country Bears (features Queen Latifah who voiced The Dove)
  • Comedy: Underdog (features Jim Belushi who voiced Farmer George)
  • Action: The Mod Squad (features Eddie Griffin who voiced The Cat)
  • Horror/Thriller: Mary Reilly (features Glenn Close who voiced The Blue Fairy)
  • Rom Com: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (features Regis Philbin who voiced Ringmaster)
  • Chain Reaction: The Out-of-Towners (features John Cleese who voiced Talking Cricket)
  • Sci-Fi: Delgo (features Eric Idle who voiced Medoro)
  • Razzie: Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (features Breckin Meyer who voiced Pinocchio)
  • Scattergories (Based-on-a-book): Christmas with the Kranks (features Cheech Marin who voiced The Fox)

This cycle would physically harm me. The Country Bears, Underdog, Delgo, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, and Christmas with the Kranks all in one cycle? No thanks. Pretty impressive though as I even got a Chain Reaction coming from Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and two transition points, which means this cycle could have legitimately been inserted between the Calendar and Based-on-a-book cycles. Boom. Don’t worry about it.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Pinocchio? More like Pi-NOPE-io!!!! Benigni is out of his mind, let’s get into it:

  • The Good – It is a beautiful movie. The acting, given that it is an Italian film (by which I mean, there is clearly a different style of comedic acting in Italy, far more slapstick, which you can see in other Benigni films), is rather good. It is an incredibly bold accurate retelling of a children’s tale from 1885 …
  • The Bad – Yeah, so anyone familiar with Grimm’s Fairy Tales might know that the original tales are rather, hmmm how do you say? Bonkers insane terrifying nightmare fuel? This is no different. At one point the Blue Fairy fakes her own death and effectively makes a tombstone that says “Fuck you Pinocchio, you did this!!” and he flips out only for her to be like “haha, you passed the test! Hooray!” At another point she has creepy rabbits with a coffin come in to convince Pinocchio he is dying so he’ll drink medicine. At the end of the movie he is essentially working himself to death because he “learned his lesson” about being a good boy. It is ridiculous.
  • The BMT – … I am very much glad we did this movie for BMT. It is super weird, but at the same time it makes you say “why did someone at Miramax think this would sell again?”. The Brekin Meyer voiceover is bar-none the worst voiceover in movie history. I am not at all shocked that zero people could psych themselves into saying “you know what? There is more good than bad here”. But yet it is an interesting and beautiful movie nonetheless. It is wild and weird and bad and I would totally watch it again with someone game to see a wild and weird and bad film. So there.

Phew. I’m going to cut it a bit short to announce a new project from BMTHQ. It was five years since our first BMT last February and that got me thinking about how much I’ve learned about bad movies in those years and also just how different our approach to watching bad movies is now than then. So in order to take advantage of this wealth of knowledge we have decided to introduce the Bad Movie Twins Hall of Fame (BMTHoF). Last week we voted our first class with the stipulation that it must have been over five years since we saw the movie (so if you look at the archive anything from before Norbit on June 30, 2011. In the coming months we will be producing induction speeches for each of the five movies we voted in and (and this is depressing) at least one of us will be re-watching each film. Oof. How do we find the time (it is hard, our lives are hard, pity us). Without further ado the first BMTHoF class is:

Old Dogs, Battlefield Earth, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li, Wicker Man, and Norbit.

I know that I for one am especially excited for watching Old Dogs and Norbit (still the most unpleasant movie I have ever seen) again. And Jamie is going to demolish the 1000 page book for Battlefield Earth. And when it is done a de novo preview and recap will be created for the Archives! Truly exciting times at BMTHQ.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

Fair Game Recap

Jamie

Fair Game, God damn! I love when we have a plethora of media to work our way through. I, of course, read the book that this (and the Sly Stallone masterpiece Cobra) was based on, A Running Duck by Paula Gosling. It’s a dime store thriller that was only available to me by ordering it in large-print edition (for the visually impaired) from a Wisconsin library. If there was ever anything that made me question everything that BMT stands for, it’s imagining a little old lady in Wisconsin working her arthritic fingers to the bone trying to find the only copy of A Running Duck that exists in the MN/WI area. She probably thought some other near-blind little old lady in MN wanted a thrill ride for the ages, but nope. Just me. Anyway, the book is nothing really to write home about. A standard thriller and honestly a bit boring. Someone wants to kill a woman, a Vietnam vet-turned-cop troubled by his violent past is set to protect her, they bone, he kills the bad guy. The only interesting thing to talk about with it is the odd similarities that exist between a book like this and current bestsellers like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. Throughout the book I was hit over the head with dominance/submission overtones. The male protagonist frets constantly over the safety of the female protagonist (who always seems to be defenseless and in a daze). Much like Twilight there is a powerful force out to get the female character and eventually the male character takes over her entire life to battle this force. There is a lot of talk of “doing as I say” and “learning to obey commands” with the idea that the female character will in the end be safer. And she of course realizes that this type of relationship is what she has been missing in her life and falls in love with him. You could have really replaced the characters in the book with Bella and Edward, and the assassin with a rival vampire and you would have basically had Twilight. Certainly interesting to think about.

As for the adaptation, to truly get a full picture of it I rewatched Cobra. This turned out to be a good thing because it helped realize that both adaptations are actually pretty good. They take key aspects of the plot of the book, but twist them in slightly different directions. They are neither too close or too far from the source material. In fact they are almost complements of each other, things that are changed in Cobra are often the same as in the book in Fair Game and vice versa. I think Cobra is the slightly better adaptation, because a lot of the changes for Fair Game were pretty silly and lame (the bad guys are now Russian hackers plotting a heist, random setting of Miami, Billy Baldwin is not a particularly good cop, etc.) while Cobra kept a lot of the cool shit. This by no means implies that Cobra or Fair Game are good films. They are not. They are both ridiculous.

Word up. Once again I’m going to go with the Settings 101 game that I love so much. Right away in Fair Game we get a clear idea of the city and state that we are dealing with. That’s because whenever there are cops involved in a film you can’t just make up a police department. Billy Baldwin has to be from the Miami PD. Perfecto. What takes this up to the B grade is the fact that the bad guys spend most of their time (life?) on La Tortuga, a boat that located off the coast of Miami. How do we know where it is? Because the film continually shows a map depicting exactly where in the ocean they are floating. Wonderful. Of course, Miami itself doesn’t really get to shine all that much in the end, so it can’t really make it up to A-level. In fact I honestly can’t really think of famous Miami landmarks. Are there any? I guess they would have had to set up a sting at a Marlins game or something (a la Abduction). Anyway, just for kicks we can also give Cobra a C+ or B-. It also clearly takes place in Los Angeles with the LAPD… but that’s all it really has. Kind of the bare minimum with a clear setting without resorting to license plates.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Fair Game?! More like Fairly Lame! Kind of true. This was a weird one, let’s get into it:

  • The Good  – The movie was pretty much composed of non-stop adrenaline-fueled in-your-face action, if that’s your thing. The actions scenes were also often quite impressive from a technical perspective (even if they were often ludicrous). The movie is more of a movie than I expected, but …
  • The Bad – The movie still felt like it was barely theatrical released. Basically Billy Baldwin was all that stood in the way of this being Firestorm starring Howie Long, and it was about two levels below the other A Running Duck adaptation Cobra in quality. Cindy Crawford was genuinely terrible and there is no excuse really. Selma Hayek’s character makes no sense.
  • The BMT – Yes. More so that Firestorm. 40-50 I think. Quality stuff, but again, not as much of a “real movie”™ as one would hope. Would I watch it again? Yeah, maybe. I could imagine it fitting in quite well with a Seagal / Van Damme / Baldwin trilogy bonanza. Like … On Deadly Ground / Timecop / Fair Game would make you question everything you’ve done with your life.

I’m going to keep this a bit short, so let’s think of a quick game. I’m feeling Sequel / Prequel / Remake and especially a sequel. Imagine an older Billy Baldwin and older Cindy Crawford running around like idiots pretending like any of this still makes sense? It would be truly glorious. I would even still make the bad guys Russian and the theme of the movie would still be heavily focused on the neo-Luddite ideals of technology allowing criminals to control the world. I would call it Fair Shake and could make it on a dime Netflix.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

Basic Instinct 2 Recap

Jamie

Basic Instinct 2 is horrific. A truly bad film. It’s probably not memorable or interesting enough to be considered in the pantheon of straight dog poo films, but it had aspects that set it apart somewhat. First and foremost, Sharon Stone competes for the title of Worst Acting Performance Ever Seen in a BMT Film. She smirked after every deadpanned line as if to wink at the audience and say “remember this character? Isn’t this fun?” No it was not. I dreaded when she would appear on screen. On top of that this provides a perfect example of one of the main ways that a truly bad BMT film is created: the vanity project. I’ve said before that I feel like BMT films have to be made organically because they are rooted in delusion. If you set out to make a bad film you by definition lack delusion (you are obviously aware that you are making something bad), and so you will not succeed in making a BMT film. Alternately, the vanity project is a product of delusion. This was Stone’s vanity project. No one really cared and they let her drive it into the ground. This will all be detailed in my upcoming books (set for a June, 2054 release): The Seven Deadly Sins of Hollywood: How Bad Films get Made. The Greed chapter would be loooooong. I’m not sure what would be in the Gluttony chapter of the book… The Island of Dr. Moreau?

I’ll just have a quick game to go through our Settings 101 for Basic Instinct 2. This is easily a solid B+. Very, very, very clearly takes place in London. It even opens with a high speed car ride through London with a professional Footballer riding shotgun with Stone. They talk about London and the police investigation is performed by the British police. But what really pushes it to a high B is the fact that David Morrissey’s office is purportedly in the Gherkin, which is the glass egg-like building in the middle of London. Perfect. Only way it could have been an A is if Stone killed someone in London Tower, Big Ben, or Parliament and it was called Basic London. An additional small note: The original Basic Instinct is also a B+ for its clear San Francisco setting. Wonderful.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Basic Instinct 2?! More like this Bullshit Stinks Too! Booooooom. To preface this discussion of the movie we have to get a bit into the original Basic Instinct which I watched for the first time in preparation. My feeling? It is like looking at the erotic thriller genre with fresh new eyes. Sharon Stone is amazing, Douglas is amazing (deep V in the original Hollywood badass bar included. The bar was so luxuriously not-crowded, you could get a drink at the drop of a hat, solid stuff). The story could have been an entire HBO series and it would have murdered all 10 hours of it. It almost has an anti-pattern of a twist as well, I found it revelatory. Like what the Thing is for sci-fi horror or Halloween for slasher films, it feels quintessential. And yet I still have two legs to the Michael Douglas erotic thriller trilogy (Fatal Attraction and Disclosure being the other two, also the three highest grossing erotic thrillers in history). So yeah, I’m excited. But not as excited as I was to see how Basic Instinct 2 butchered the original’s legacy, let’s go!

  • The Good – The story, while very similar in beats to the original, is at least somewhat interesting. Moving the film to London does give it something of an exotic and novel feeling when directly compared to the original. And that is honestly it, because …
  • The Bad – Sharon Stone is a straight up parody of herself, I don’t understand how the woman I saw acting in the original became this shadow of herself in only 15 years. The main actor couldn’t keep up with anyone else in this film. The pacing for the movie was a crawl. The directing was lazy, the writing wasn’t nearly as sharp as it needed to be, and the ending is ludicrous. It is a genuinely terrible movie made only more so by the competence of its predecessor.
  • The BMT – Yes. 70? Sure, but only given what came before. I think it is a solid 50 (40 if you don’t like films that are more on the boring side) regardless, but given how incredible the original is this is a genuinely incredible film. It didn’t kill the erotic thriller, but it may have killed the erotic thriller sequel genre before it even got started.

Phew! I’m going to do a quick Audio Sklog-entary for the solo director commentary for Basic Instinct. There is only one thing I would recommend about this commentary, and it is those brief moments where the director awakens from his slumber and just tears into the film. At one point he exclaims “This isn’t the cure for cancer!” and “If you didn’t like the film, I don’t care”. It is stunning. Besides that, a lot of rote directoral details and discussion of London as a setting. D, this is why you don’t get just one person for commentary, especially a non-enthusiastic technical person. Boring.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs