Monte Carlo Recap

Jamie

Grace is on her way to Paris to find herself and see the world. But when her wet blanket of a step-sister comes along, everything seems destined for disaster. That is until she is mistaken for a rich heiress and whisked away to Monte Carlo. Can she find her place in the world, find love, and avoid having the ruse uncovered before it’s too late? Find out in… Monte Carlo. And if you’ve seen it already, take the quiz and really test out your teen rom-com chops, are you a Grace or a Meg?! And now back to the recap.

How?! Grace just does not fit in. Not at school, where the popular kids look down their noses at her, or at home, where her Mom has remarried giving her a step-sister Meg she hates. She mostly just looks forward to seeing Paris after graduation and then heading off to her destiny at NYU. But when Meg is forced to tag along on the trip, Grace sees everything fall apart. The tour they signed up for is totes… ratchet (am I doing this right?), their hotel is shit, and basically everyone hates everything. Right when it seems like they are ready to give up Grace is mistaken for a high-flying heiress, Cordelia, and whisked away to Monte Carlo. While there they enjoy fancy balls that are real… turnt up (am I cool now?), dates with guys (both rich and poor), and learning about how the rich and fabulous can both be bad (boooo) or help the world (yay). When Cordelia arrives in Monte Carlo they seem bound to be discovered except that everyone hates her cause she sucks and they all like Grace so they’re like “Whatevs, sorry not sorry,” and everything turns out fine. The next year we find Grace working as a volunteer teacher in Romania where she is reunited with her rich and fabulous crush because they are in love now. Hooray. THE END.  

Why?! More like “Why not? YOLO!” amirite?… seriously am I using all this slang correctly? Grace wants to find herself and experience the world. That’s basically it. Finding love is just a convenient byproduct of this journey. Same goes for her two traveling companions. No one else in the movie really even has much motivation. Truly just a journey of self discovery for these ladies and guess what? I was OK with that.

What?! I guess the fact that a primary plot point in the film is the sale, theft, and recovery of a Bvlgari necklace is a product placement… but it also doesn’t seem like they’re actually thinking that their core audience is going to rush home and demand their parents buy them a $152,000 necklace either. Almost more of a MacGuffin than a product placement.

Who?! This features both singer-turned-actress Selena Gomez and actress-turned-singer Leighton Meester. This is of course just after Leighton appeared as the titular roommate in The Roommate, which will live on in BMT lore forever (Billy Zane just wants to go to fashion week guys!).

Where?! Mostly Monaco, babbbbyyyy! Although we get some hefty settings work done in Texas and grand Paris. Surprisingly not a casino to be seen in the film considering the setting, but despite this still a true blue A+.

When?! Finally we got one where the setting was obvious. We get several shots of passports being stamped on their way through French customs which clearly show that the trip, and thus the film, starts on June 19, 2010. Not vital to the plot though. B.

This movie… is just not that bad (Not that bad! Not that bad!). In fact, I actually think it’s a somewhat smartly done teen romantic comedy. Like Air Bud: Golden Retriever before it (yeah, I brought Air Bud 2 into this), it actually fairly deftly interweaves some real life teen issues into a silly adventure story. Like Grace is dealing with feeling like she doesn’t fit in anywhere anymore and just wanting to find herself. The two girls on the trip with her are dealing with their own issues and we get a fairly good sense of why and how they go through that process. Yeah the film isn’t a cinematic marvel, but it’s fun and kept me watching because I was interested in the characters, which is a lot more than I can say about most of the films we watch. I don’t care what you say! This films tots… not ratchet… it’s like… on fleek? Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Maybe it is just be getting old and sentimental, maybe I just love to get my girl power on every so often … or maybe, just maybe … It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! WHAT? Who’d have thunk it? Monte Carlo?! Let’s get into it!!

The Good – This movie does a ton of things right. It gives a strong message for all of the main three characters (Be yourself! It’s alright to enjoy the simple things in life! It takes time to heal … and that’s okay!), it has beautiful vistas (THE VISTAS), the soundtrack never quits and is surprisingly fresh (including a song by Selena Gomez herself), and it manages to subtly circumvent a few teen rom-com tropes along the way (the best being when Leighton Meester’s love interest tells here to “scream” to help her get over her mother dying … yeah, ain’t going to work. She tells him she just can’t and the eventual pay off concerning her recovery is saved for a much more well earned epilogue. Admirable). It does better than most rom-coms in basically every possible regard IMO, while being made for teens and starring Selena Gomez. It’s bizarre!

P’s View on the Preview – For a film like this I think the only thing to really look at is the genre. It is a teen-focused film, a romantic comedy of sorts, girl power. They are usually garbage. We aaaaaaaalmost don’t even do them because they are usually so worthless. Obviously testing these prejudices is the BMT way, can’t let our biases get in our way. And I’m glad we did, it is pretty hilarious that I thought this film was pretty good.

The Bad – The absurdity of Grace stumbling onto the perfect opportunity to replace Cordelia in Monte Carlo is just a little too much to handle no matter how well they manage the fall out. Unlike other iterations the people she’s meeting are mostly strangers, and her Aunt is immediately suspicious and figures it out rather quickly. But still, it is kind of unnecessary in the end.

Sklogification – Because I think you could set it up slightly better (although perhaps it works better now rather than six years ago). In my version Grace wins the trip to Paris, but (a la I Still Know What You Did Last Summer) it was all a set up by Cordelia who has managed to find Grace via social media as a perfect body double for herself. The rest of the movie is, indeed, a way for Cordelia to hang in Majorca while having Grace bumble about as her double getting a taste of a good life (or is it? Buh buh buuuuuuh). Anyways, could have been a fun twist, and people do have doubles right? Like … Saddam Hussein had like six of them didn’t he?

The BMT – I love it. I think it kind of rekindles my belief in the teen movie in BMT, even though this one was good. Being able to see that it can be good and have a good message and have a coherent story will allow me to recognize when a similar movie does all of that badly.

StreetCreditReport.com – None. It isn’t a surprise. I found a few blogs which ragged on it a bit, but the Rotten Tomatoes score (39%) kind of reflects that people found it quite innocuous at worst. Oddly Leonard Maltin, who usually goes easy on films like this, was one of the harshest on the whole affair. Whatever, no cred.

I did not read the book this was based on, so no homework. I have to get better at this stuff! But I’m in the middle of something else, just no room for Headhunters.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Chernobyl Diaries Recap

Jamie

A bunch of dumbos take a tour into a town near Chernobyl. Like dumbos they get trapped there and then must do battle with the mutant denizens of the town. Can these dumb-dumbs stop being dumb and escape before it’s too late? Find out in… Chernobyl Diaries. (If you’ve seen the movie, take the quiz as well! Test you nuclear disaster knowledge against the best of the best i.e. Jamie).

How?! Ah, to be young and dumb… emphasis on the dumb. Travelling Europe our heroes, Chris, Natalie and Amanda, make a stop in Kiev to visit Chris’s brother Paul. They mean to proceed from there to Moscow where Chris will propose to Natalie. Unfortunately Paul is super dumb and is like, “Forget proposing, bro. Let’s go to Chernobyl instead. Rad, right?” Nope. Not rad. Yet all these dumb-dumbs are like “Yup, obviously sounds amazing. We’ll get some super cool pix near that nuclear disaster. Good idea.” They join up with a tour group and head to the town, which is seemingly just an empty looking European town filled with wild dogs and a bear. Which I guess is terrifying in a non-horror film kind of way. Anyway, when they attempt to leave (presumably because they realize that they were super dumb) they find that their van has been sabotaged (a saboteur!) and they can’t leave until morning. While waiting their guide goes to investigate a noise and is killed and Chris is seriously injured. Realizing that Chris needs medical help they attempt to reach a checkpoint outside town only to be chased by dogs. When they finally make it back to the van it’s been attacked and Chris and Natalie are gone. They attempt a daring rescue only to be surrounded by mutants that have been living nearby. Their numbers are slowly whittled down until only Paul and Amanda remain. When they emerge from the reactor area they have severe radiation poisoning and are corralled by local authorities. It’s revealed that the mutants are escapees from a government experiment and we end with Amanda being thrown into that experiment to die… or perhaps become one of the mutants… or something. Bum bum bum! THE END

Why?! Did you not see where I said they were young and dumb? Isn’t that enough? You get a little backstory on the characters to show that Chris and his brother have had a rough relationship. Seems like Paul is always screwing up and Chris is always getting into trouble because of Paul. Unfortunately none of this is resolved in this film as Paul does the same thing here and everyone dies so… oh well. As for the mutants, well… they’re mutants!

What?! I do enjoy looking for products in these films just to see how much they tried given the very specific European locations. This gets an F right off the bat with a clear Telekom Srbija truck driving by in an early scene. As it sounds this is a telecommunications company servicing Serbia… where this film was actually filmed… not Ukraine. Even weirder is the beers they drink while partying it up in Ukraine: Bavaria 0.0%. This is a German beer but also a non-alcoholic beer… which is either because the actors couldn’t drink real beer in the scene or hints at a deeper backstory to our intrepid heroes. I choose the latter.

Who?! I literally had no idea the main character Chris was played by former boy band singer and child actor Jesse McCartney until I was looking around for this section of the email. Keep it up, my man, we always welcome more singers-turned-actors here at BMTHQ.

Where?! Ukraine all day never to be beaten (probably). It’s basically a perfect mapl.de.map film. Set in a weird location that is an integral part of the plot and in the title. A++ if I ever saw one.

When?! I do not know. I looked back through the film and didn’t get a glimpse at when this might take place. We certainly didn’t get anything after they got to the abandoned city… since it was abandoned. F.

I thought this movie was terrible. Not quite as bad as some of our least favorite BMT found footage horror films, but generally one of the most useless films we’ve watched in a while. I actually struggle to understand what the purpose of the entire affair was and why so much time was spent arguing and running away from wild animals rather than, you know, running away from mutants and discussing the presence of said mutants. This gets to the point where it’s very confusing as to exactly what the mutants were and why they existed (which is not a good thing since Patrick and I close watch these films). It also doesn’t help that the characters were so dumb (even for a horror film where all the characters are usually pretty dumb). Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What do you get when you cross the heart-pounding disorienting fear from Paranormal Activity, with the gripping stranger in a strange land horror of Hostel? Wait … this isn’t a found footage film? And it isn’t torture porn? Hmmm, yeah, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Let’s get into it!

The Good – Seeing Pripyat was cool. Basically the idea behind the movie is incredibly obvious. Chernobyl is legendary in a very unique way, a nuclear disaster leaving a desolate city in the former Soviet Union. Just sets up for a zombie apocalypse type movie with a creepy atmosphere on the cheap. And congrats you guys did it, you made a movie in Pripyat.

P’s View on the Preview – Going into the film I was mainly struck with surprise that the film wasn’t a found footage film. I could have sworn it was going into it. So seeing a movie that, in my mind, would have worked better as found footage being forced into something perhaps closer in style and tone to Hostel I thought would be interesting. It isn’t like Hostel either though … I actually am not sure I’ve seen a movie quite like this, although I’m sure there are stranger-in-a-strange-land type horror films shot in the traditional manner.

The Bad – I think this film would have worked a lot better as a found footage film. Given that I heavily dislike found footage films that … is not a compliment. The movie is incredibly dull, the “monster” part of the film is unimaginative and just feels cheap, and the twist ending didn’t work. The characters are so dumb it kind of ruins the whole affair.

Sklogification – The biggest crime of the film is, naturally, how stupid the characters are, epitomized by Chris leaving the van in order to … well to cripple himself and throw the tour into disarray. Let’s say instead he doesn’t leave the van. Now instead the whole band is mobile. Dawn breaks, they know where to go (Uri, the tour guide, naturally has a map), and they know it is 13 miles away. And they are off to the races. First chased by dogs, and then getting turned around by a mysterious band of men carrying Uri’s gun (uh oh are they friend or foe?). As they are picked off one by one can they make the checkpoint in time? … I like it more at least. Racing along a lonely road hoping to get to your destination in an abandoned city with wild animals. I wouldn’t even touch the mutant thing, too obvious, not to say offensive. Just the fear of whether what you are seeing is some urban legend come to life or guards protecting an abandoned city.

The BMT – Terrible. The movie is boring. For me, a person who has come to appreciate good horror films (partly by watching so many bad ones), this isn’t even bad. It merely brings nothing to the game. The more I think on it though the more I wonder about the tourist part of it … makes me want to watch An American Werewolf in London.

StreetCreditReport.com – Turns out critics agreed with me as none of them even bothered to report on this film as far as 2012 went. Even where there was 25 films in some of these lists there was no mention. I looked up the worst horror films and found this list interesting actually … because the guy calls the film found footage … it is not. It is traditionally shot. Bizarre.

No homework as has become usual it seems.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Another 48 Hrs. Recap

Jamie

What?! Just as Jack Cates is about to close in on a drug kingpin he’s been tracking for years, it turns out his old friend Reggie Hammond is primed to be the kingpin’s next victim. Can they stop the hit and take the baddies down before it’s too late? Find out in… Another 48 Hrs!

Why?! The biggest question is why the hitmen want to kill Reggie, who at the start of the film has spent the last five years in jail. Turns out the big heist that was the center of the first film involved money that belonged to a drug kingpin, the Iceman. Hearing that Reggie is finally out of jail (and away from the protection that he’s bought within), they set up a hit. However, it’s later revealed that the money is small potatoes. In reality they wanted to kill Reggie because he saw the Iceman’s face and could identify him. As for Cates, if wanting to take down a kingpin wasn’t motivation enough, he is framed for manslaughter after he justifiably takes down a hitman that he knows is connected to the Iceman. So now he needs to catch the Iceman to prove his innocence or he faces jail time. He figures out that Reggie was the target of the Iceman’s hit (what a coincidence!) and recruits Reggie to help take the him down. Obviously Reggie’s motivation is to not die, however he seems fairly unconcerned by the whole affair. He only reluctantly agrees to help after realizing that otherwise Cates won’t give him his money from the first film.

How?! Once Reggie is released from jail, both he and Cates are attacked by the hitmen. They end up in the same hospital and Cates convinces the local police to let him escort Reggie back to SF. They track the hitmen from place to place all while Cates is harassed by internal affairs and comes up empty on every lead. Only after Reggie reveals that he can identify the Iceman do they realize that he must be a cop and that’s the reason Cates is having such a hard time. Before they can catch the bad guy, Reggie is kidnapped and in a twist it turns out that the Iceman is Cates’ friend on the force, Kehoe. The twist is particularly bad as Kehoe was in the first film and as a result it reframes aspects of that film! Ugh. A shootout ensues and the bad guys are taken down in the exact same way as they were in the first film.

Who?! I actually realized this week that the Planchet isn’t the only “Who” obsession to work with. We got cameos, presidents, musicians, athletes, etc. So while watching this film I kept my eyes peeled for any of the above. Lo and behold there was a musical act in the middle of the film. Looking in the credits on IMDb the singer was credited as… former heavyweight pro boxer Michael Anthony Williams? Uh, what? That turned out to be wrong (*gasp* are you suggesting IMDb is wrong?) and it was actually the band Curio. This band had two songs on the soundtrack and yet was so obscure that the only place to find details about them is a rare and obscure music blog. Not obscure enough to not have a music video on youtube, though. Enjoy:

Where?! Just as in the first film, we are set in beautiful San Francisco. It also helps that Nolte is a cop as he’s clearly a detective in the SFPD. While obvious, this setting is not necessarily vital to the plot. Could have been LA, Miami, Chicago, New York, Philly, etc. without missing a beat. B.

When?! Another day, another film that seemingly goes out of its way to not give you an exact date. The first film at least threw you a bone and indicated that it was summer in San Fran, this one doesn’t even give you that courtesy. They even seem to purposefully obscure it as you are shown a close-up of a hospital discharge form for Reggie Hammond where the nurse is blocking the “Date of Admittance” line. What we are shown is that Reggie is 28-years-old and born on October 7th, 1961. So that’s kind of a fun exact date. Interestingly, that is the year that Murphy was born, but not the date (April 3rd is his actual birthday). This “When” is full of fun facts… but I don’t do this section for the fun facts. D.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Another 48 Hrs.? More like Isn’t This Just the First 48 Hrs? Relevant! The first 48 Hrs. was a classic buddy cop adventure with Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy. Why change anything up … at all, is probably what the writers were thinking. Let’s Go!

  • The Good – I thought this movie was rather entertaining if you pretended it was a standalone movie. I liked Nolte and Murphy’s dynamic, I liked the plot from a buddy cop perspective, I liked how gritty it felt. The things that kill it, I think, are easy to look past if this is something like a Tango & Cash, a standalone buddy cop action-comedy. One of the better BMTs we’ve seen in the past few months I would venture.
  • The Bad – This movie is waaaay too similar to the original. I have a theory on this: the movie is a sequel to a buddy comedy from five years prior. I think they felt obligated to reset the franchise after such a long hiatus, and they planned to innovate in the third  installment. That blew up in their faces when the similarities between this and the first were a major criticism upon release. Otherwise there is a horribly ludicrous scene in which Murphy is standing in a bus that then rolls over three times while everyone notes “well that is unlikely” as if the lampshading helps. The reset is aggravating as well since we just spent an entire film with Nolte and Murphy yelling at each other, why do we have to go through that again? Also …
  • The BMT – Jamie pointed this out (to be fair), but it is the claim to BMT fame for this movie. Besides being a quintessential example of a sequel going overboard mimicking its predecessor, the aforementioned twist is … more terrible than I ever realized. Consider: Kehoe is posited to have been the drug kingpin Iceman operating out of the SFPD since prior to the first movie (at least 7 years prior to the second film when Reggie saw him during the heist). But yet, in the first film Kehoe is the one who tells Jack about Reggie in the first place … ultimately this means Reggie will be wandering about the police station with every opportunity to tell everyone that Kehoe is the Iceman. The twist is incredibly bad. What I wouldn’t give to be in the writers’ room when someone remarked “Hey wait a minute … doesn’t this conflict with the first movie?”. And that is why this movie is still BMT, shocking oversights like this.

So in the preview I noted that the director was known for his love of westerns and that genre having a heavy influence on his films. So let’s Sklogify (or Remake) it with a little western rewrite. Jack Cates is a loose cannon among the US Marshals often getting a little rough and tumble when apprehending villains in the wild (wild) west. Reginald Hammond is a gunslinger in prison for bank robbery. When Cates finds an old wanted poster among the wreckage of a manhunt gone wrong, he thinks Hammond might know what is up (and might be able to save him from a hangman’s noose) and so he springs him and they go on the run. Indeed, the notorious Iceman, a vicious train robber and gang leader that many Marshals believe to be more myth than reality, appears to be the potential culprit of a planned kidnapping of Hammond to prevent the Iceman’s secret from getting out: Hammond had discovered years before that the Iceman was a US Marshal using his badge as cover for his ruthless crime spree, and had perpetrated the bank robbery that put him in jail as a means of protection. Now working together the unlikely duo, US Marshal and fugitive, have to take down the dirty US Marshal posse before they meet untimely deaths! Another 48 Hrs. seems like a weird name considering I’m remaking this as a stand alone movie, so it would need something else. Maybe just 48 Hrs., considering I’m not sklogifying the first movie (although I could, call me Netflix).

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous Recap

Jamie

What?! Gracie Hart is back! After the exploits of the first film Agent Hart is too famous for field work. However, when her friends Stan Fields and Miss United States are kidnapped in Las Vegas, Gracie hears the call of duty. Can she save the girl (and make some lifelong pals along the way) before it’s too late? Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous!

Why?! After watching the first film (where Gracie stops a terrorist threat live on national television) I immediately thought, “how in the world did they make a sequel to this film?” I couldn’t figure how Gracie Hart could make it back into the field as an agent. She would be super famous. Lo and behold the screenwriters thought the same thing and wrote in a plot where Gracie had shifted to a PR role within the FBI due to her fame. In the end, though, the motivation for getting back into the field (the kidnapping of her friends) is so great that she can’t help but do it. The motivation for the kidnapping itself is obscured throughout the film to the point where a viewer may not pick up on (or even really care) what it actually is. Turns out that Stan Fields has a gambling problem and got himself in deep with the Vegas mob. The mob decides to kidnap Fields so they can get a ransom for him and pay off his debts.

How?! The mobster hires a couple of loan shark thugs (with a background in Vegas showmanship) to kidnap Fields so he can extort payment via ransom. When the thugs accidentally grab the reigning Miss United States in the process they realize that the amount of money for the kidnapping is too good to give up to the mobster so they take the hostages themselves and proceed to fuck it all up through incompetence. Seriously, after they strike out on their own, the plan starts to make no sense. They send a couple of half-assed ransom videos, give up immediately, and decide to kill their hostages at Treasure Island on the strip (a place that apparently did the kidnappers wrong in the past). Not sure what the killing of the hostages actually gains for the baddies. Like… you didn’t get any money. All you seem to get is some vengeance on Treasure Island. It’s bizarre. And yet they go about it with absolute glee.

Who?! Diedrich Bader is the obvious Planchet here (although his role might be a bit too big for a true Planchet). He was the extra flamboyant replacement for the medium flamboyant Michael Caine of the first film with jokes and jokes and jokes to spare. His most offensive was when the FBI told him that he had to give up the location of Gracie Hart (who had gone rouge) or else he’d go to jail for obstruction. To which he paused and then replied, “which jail?”… as if there was a jail that his character would be OK with because he’s gay. Weird and wild stuff.

Where?! Vegas, baby! It would have been a load of fun for us to have watched this a couple weeks ago before we went to Vegas ourselves. We stayed right across the street from Treasure Island! We could have gone on a Miss Congeniality 2 tour around the strip. Sigh. A shame. Also a pretty nice, but short, opening in New Jersey/New York. B+.

When?! This is kind of a hard one. We immediately get a relative time frame compared to the first film as right before the kidnapping we are told that Miss United States is about to give up her crown, setting the events of this film at almost exactly one year after the first. However, neither the first or second film actually have a specific date. There is a scene in the second film where a character is reading a January 2004 Time Out New York magazine, but that doesn’t totally jive with the first film in which we see the twin towers (along with other evidence that sets the film somewhere in 1999-2000). Soooooooo, I guess it just sucks. C-.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous?! More like Miss Congeniality Dog Poo Right in my Face! We watched a sequel to what seemed like an unsequelizable film, what could possible go wrong? Dog poo in my face, that is what could go wrong! Let’s get into it:

  • The Good – It is genuinely shocking they made a legitimate sequel to a movie that seemed like it couldn’t have a sequel. How they went about it was genuinely impressive. I liked Nick Offerman’s character (although I think there was more they could have done with him, see below).
  • The Bad – The movie might as well not have a script. There are scenes where Shatner is literally sitting there waiting for Bullock to tell him what to do, as if he has no written lines. The back half is a complete mess. The relationship between Bullock and King is grating and they should have dumped the project the instant Bratt didn’t want to return. Speaking of which: Bratt has an incredible break-up-over-the-phone scene eliminating his character from the series without having to pay him a dime! All characters in Las Vegas were completely useless and could have been cut. Let’s bring back a classic since I’m learning French at work: Chien caca dans mon visage.
  • The BMT – Oh yeah. I would give this a solid 50-60 suffering only because it is kind of boring. I’m willing to bet if you watched this film 100 times you would slowly go crazy and be convinced it is brilliant. There is just so many bad things to unpack. Are you ready for the challenge Jamie?

And finally a little Sklogification: Basically the one easily fixable flaw in the film I think is that there is an entire storyline by which it is revealed that Shatner’s limo driver was paid by a Dolly Parton drag queen to park away from the curb to allow the kidnapping. Now I was convinced it was going to be Nick Offerman’s character in drag. He was always talking about his Vegas show that was cancelled and that is why he had to pursue a life of crime. What a twist it could have been to have him and his brother be part of a drag queen act and the entire plot being part of their revenge on the casino that spurned them? Already a little bit better, and it makes sense as to why the other FBI agents couldn’t crack the case, they were incorrectly looking for a woman accomplice!. I would have written: “Nice twist, even though I predicted it” in my notes, but alas. I would also consider a third film starring Benjamin Bratt (no Bullock as well) … by the way, his character moved to Miami. I like to think that he then “broke bad” and morphed into the villain in Ride Along 2. Unexpected Sequel!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Friday the 13th Part 2 Recap

Jamie

What?! Jason’s back!… er… I mean, Jason is here for the first time! It’s five years after the massacre at Crystal Lake committed by Jason’s mother and now Jason (back from the dead or whatever) is out for revenge. A new set of camp counselors are on the scene, but the result is basically the same. Can they survive the encounter with a new monster? Friday the 13th Part II!

Why?! The horror genre is interesting because the motivations have traditionally been vague or nonexistent, especially in the early franchises. Mike Myers was pure evil and out to kill his family, Freddy is pure evil and haunts the dreams of teenagers in his hometown, Leatherface is pure evil and kills those that stumble upon his crazy family. Friday the 13th is a bit different, whereby Jason’s mother kills all who attempt to reopen the camp where her son drowned through negligence. Part II continues the trend in that Jason isn’t just pure evil out to kill anyone who disturbs his peace at the camp, but rather he worships his (now dead) mother and kills those near the lake. He has no ability to discriminate between those that killed his mother five years ago and those that come to the lake in this film. As a result he goes on a rampage. It’s actually a pretty interesting backstory. The motivation for the campers is always the same: survive.

How?! Like, how did Jason kill the campers? In this one there isn’t a huge amount of variety. Mostly it’s stabbing people in the torso or neck. The best kill is the double spear kill through the bodies of two counselors making whoopee (and it gives me the opportunity to use the phrase “making whoopee.”). The third film is really when they started getting creative with the kills.

Who?! Each of the films has a Planchet of sorts. The guy who’s always joking around. This one is no different with Ted played by Stuart Charno, who has bright orange hair and is super skinny. Besides his jokes on jokes on jokes, the most interesting thing about the character is that he survives. Since the setting of the film is a functioning training camp there are like 25 people there. Instead of killing them all they wrote in the fact that most of the crew go out on the town the night of the massacre and don’t return until after the killing has stopped.

Where?! The first film pretty firmly establishes that the camp is located in New Jersey. The setting is bolstered in this one through the name of the training camp: Camp Packanack. This is clearly a play on Lake Packanack located in New Jersey. C+.

When?! The timeline for the series is legendarily screwed up. We know by reference that this film takes place five years after the first. It’s known from the fourth film (apparently) that the first film takes place in 1979. So we have the year of 1984 (which is fun because that means that the film was set in the future as it was released in 1982). I would presume that it’s June give that it’s a training camp for counselors for the upcoming camp season, but fans like to put it in July so that the third film takes place on Friday the 13th. Whatever. That’s what you can get from this film. Look towards Part III’s recap to get a better idea of the exact date. C-.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Friday the 13th Part 2? More like Just Like Halloween 2! We watched the first trilogy of one of the three horror mega franchises, could it live up to the standard set by the first installment of Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street? Let’s just say it gets off to a rocky start. Let’s get into it!

  • The Good – If you like lots of kills, and inventive kills this is the franchise for you it turns out. Halloween had less kills and more tension, and Myers for the most part slashes people (it worked well when he was a kid, why change anything ten years later you know?), and Kruger has that whole supernatural dream thing going. But otherwise … this guy was probably actually my least favorite of the three.
  • The Bad – This installment is a mess. You want to think the ending is a dream? Then did Paul survive? If not what happened to him? Who is Jason, a grown up version of the boy in the lake? Did he not actually die? Is this another boy Mrs. Voorhees raised in the woods? What happened to the kids who went off to the townie bar, I presume they just survived. Why is this never mentioned ever again? For all the low budget gore and dozen or so kill shots, there are so many loose ends after the movie sprints through the last seven teenage deaths that it is a wonder the editor cobbled the madness together.
  • The BMT – Out of the three I honestly think the second is the worst, but no. Too low budget. They made these things on a dime at the time. The entire trilogy predates Elm Street so the only real comparisons you got are things like Halloween 2 which kind of also looks like crap. Elm Street stands with The Thing as far as practical effects are concerned, so for the slasher genre that was (unfortunately a terrible) turning point. Here though they grabbed good looking young actors off the street and filmed it over a weekend basically. And what they made is actually pretty impressive.

Quick Sklogification in honor of this movie just being a mess. Out of the many admirable things in this franchise, one of the best things is watching the evolution of the character of Jason and the lore surrounding the film. But it ended up leaving things a little messy upon reviewing. Is Jason the (un)dead boy from the first film? Is there a psychic aspect to the series with the multiple dream sequences throughout? It is hard to tell. So If I were to propose a rewrite of the original trilogy (and, no, I haven’t seen the remakes) it would go a little like this: Ten years after a massacre at Crystal Lake closed the camp for good a new camp director wants to push against the ghost stories and start anew. But uh-oh, Jason won’t allow this and a massacre on a fateful Friday the 13th occurs. Turns out the instigating event was the death of his mother Mrs. Voorhees at the camp when he was but a boy of ten and he massacred them all and fled to the woods presumed drowned and dead (a little twist on the plot of the original). The lone survivor of the present massacre is taken to a hospital for recovery thinking Jason was killed by a machete. Jason, adopting this machete as his weapon of choice, follows her to the hospital on Saturday the 14th and, as a nod to Halloween 2, goes on a late night murderous rampage through the hospital. Naturally there is a hockey goalie there getting bandaged up after a local game and Jason snags that along the way. The lone survivor is killed, and Jason, again presumed dead, ultimately slinks off into the woods. In the third installment a manhunt has begun for Jason by the local police. Two deputies come across the injured killer and one is killed and the other wounded. The wounded deputy crawls to a cabin inhabited by oblivious teenagers having a party. Jason, in a rage, attacks the house and is ultimately killed by the deputy, the lone survivor of the bloody weekend. Throughout the trilogy the movies start where the predecessor ends, and there is a scattered powerful storm raking across the Crystal Lake region.

Now I’m not saying this is somehow better or the best, but nods to the original, a tighter narrative and lore, nods to Halloween as well (as was initially intended in fact), and no muddled need for the supernatural. Makes me wonder what the remakes are actually like.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Big Momma’s House 2 Recap

Jamie

What?! Big Momma is back! Just when it seemed like Malcolm Turner had settled down and was out of the game for good, he’s drawn back in for one last case. The main suspect is in need of a nanny and you know what that means! In order to catch the crooks, Big Momma gotta take care of the cooking, cleaning, and three darling kids. Big Momma time!

Why?! The bad guys are aiming to create a computer virus that would allow access to all the high-level intelligence systems in the nation. This program will be sold to the highest bidder (hint: it’s not a good guy). Malcolm needs to stop them, but that’s not all. He’s about to be a new father and needs one last thrill before settling into his life as a desk-jockey, suburbanite. If there’s one thing Big Momma is, it’s full of thrills.

How?! While Malcolm is forbidden from taking part in the mission, he goes over the heads of his superiors and learns that the suspected computer virus creator is looking for a new nanny. Disguised as Big Momma he proves once again that he’s the best agent they have and gets the job. It’s just what Big Momma do. At first he’s like fuck these kids, fuck this house, and fuck their tiny Mexican dog that watches telenovelas and drinks tequila (not joking). But, just like in Nine Lives, he soon comes to realize that the only true way to succeed is to stop trying so hard to be a good agent and just focus on being the best goddamn nanny the family has ever had. Once he does that he stops the bad guys in the nick of time. Phew!

Who?! Ugh! Worst. Planchet. Ever. Zachary Levi is ostensibly the comic relief in this film, but I assure you he is not. I’ve never wanted a character to disappear more than him in this film. Everything he said or did was unnecessary and unfunny. Should have just replaced him with another Big Momma… Note to self: make film with two Big Mommas. Oh wait, they already did and we watched it! Hooray!

Where?! Los Angeles, baby. We even get a couple intertitles telling us when we’re at the “Los Angeles FBI” and the “Orange County FBI.” With some beach scenes to boot, that’s good for an easy B.

When?! Never? And yet… always? That’s all you can presume from what is shown to the viewer. I literally scoured every frame for a hint as to when it took place. I stopped only when I found myself trying to decipher a scrap of newspaper flying through a frame. My conclusion? The piece of paper belonged to The Times-Picayune, a New Orleans paper, which is where Big Momma’s House 2 was filmed but not set. Don’t know why the family had old issues of The Times-Picayune lying around their Los Angeles house. Kinda shatters my suspension of disbelief and movie magic. We can make a broad statement that it’s at the end of the school year, right before summer. But that’s about it. D-.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Big Momma’s House 2? More like The Pacifier starring Vin “Big Momma” Diesel. Oh so long ago we watched the original Big Momma’s House, and it was glorious. Could the sequel stand up? Nope. Let’s go!

  • The Good – The storyline is at least somewhat more believable that the first. The kid actors are rather impressive: Chloe Grace Moretz? Kat Denning? Pretty solid picks. I have a weird soft spot for Big Momma … I don’t know why, but I do find the character heartwarming in a weird way.
  • The Bad – I think the fat suit got worse since the first one, something with the face seems to just get worse with each passing film. They really really didn’t give Nia Long enough to do, it is like Ride Along all over again, very talented actresses left to either spoil the guy’s fun or be eye candy. The biggest crime though … the story doesn’t feel original or like a Big Momma story. It feels like The Pacifier with Big Momma dropped into it. Kind of like Die Hard 5, which was just a generic action movie in Russia story with John McClane dropped into it. I guess I don’t really know what else to do with Big Momma except turn her into Ernest (oooo she’s going to camp now!), but it came across as soulless and thus less enjoyable.
  • The BMT – I don’t think it is a 60+ BMeTric. That is legendary. It is like a 40. It is a bad movie. It looks bad. It has a lot of bad jokes and isn’t once funny. But it needs a hook to make the leap. In the first one the hook was that Martin Lawrence literally tricked people who knew who Big Momma was that this ludicrous melted candle of a fat suit was a real person (the White Chicks disease: they-look-like-monsters-itis). This had nothing to really get it to where it needed to be. Too bad.

It has been a while since I “fixed” (aka Sklogified) a movie. Do you know what else was missing from this film? Paul Giamatti, whose character just disappeared from the sequel. My fix? Get a young guy in as a replacement. He’s obsessed with Big Momma. He’s been improving the suit. When Big Momma is hired as a nanny who has too many tasks to complete within a day what does Lawrence do? Gets his young FBI protegee in to clean the entire house while Big Momma is out or asleep. Oh oh oh oh oh … As Jamie said, Two Big Mommas! The young gun has his own suit and they use it to allow Lawrence to go out on assignment while the young guy has to pretend (terribly) that he’s the real Big Momma! Think Too-da-loo scene from Mrs. Doubtfire, that is the level of trickery that this young guy has to go through during the film. The movie immediately makes more sense too. Like, Lawrence becomes the nanny and then just complains incessantly about doing house work … it’s your fucking job. This way you avoid that weird aside as well. Boom. Fixed. 100% on RT, Oscar for Lawrence, you’re welcome.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Forest Recap

Jamie

A few personal thoughts before getting to the overview. It’s my opinion is that this film is awful. Really, really bad, even by horror standards. Particularly the last third of the film, which felt like it was straight out of The Haunting or An American Haunting or The Haunting in Connecticut… one of the hauntings from the early 2000’s, anyway. But as the Razzies are wont to do, it will probably not even appear on the pre-nomination list. Oh well. Let’s get into it.

What?! Sara Price’s sister Jess has entered the “suicide forest” of Japan and disappeared. Unwilling to accept that she’s gone, Sara enters the forest only to find that the spirits that dwell within may be coming after her next. The Forest!

Why?! Every horror film has you asking, ‘Why? Why are you going into the spooky ghost forest?’ And usually the answer is wholly unsatisfying. Not this time! She does it because they’re twins! Sara knows that Jess isn’t dead because they have a special twin connection, so she feels she must venture in to find her. It’s the best reason of them all! It also forced me and Patrick to confront the tough question: what would we do? The answer? Wait for the authorities and perhaps leave a note for Patrick at the edge of the forest. It would read, “Sorry, bro. I don’t fuck with ghost forests.”

How?! Fortunately for a young woman hoping to take a stroll through the ghost forest there are multiple people that are willing to help her with that ill-advised venture. These include the smarmy (or is he?) travel writer, Aiden, and his Japanese guide, Michi. Michi is the token smart person in the film and warns Sara that she’s got sadness in her heart and the forest will try to use it against her. Guess what? She doesn’t listen and the forest uses it against her. Surprise, surprise. God… they were all so dumb in this film.

Who?! I feel like when talking about a horror film the only ‘who’ you really care about is the monster. In this case the whole forest is the monster. It uses spirits and illusions to trick people into killing themselves and each other. So while the forest seems to be a suicide forest, it is hinted that the victims of the forest may have instead been manipulated into killing themselves. It’s actually pretty clever. Unfortunately, it’s also as scary as the other BMT film where trees are the primary antagonist, The Happening.

Where?! Uh, Japan. Duh. Haven’t you been playing attention? This is a clear A and bordering on A+, depending on how generous you’re feeling with the title. I think it’s an A.

When?! This is the second film in a row where the month and day that it takes place doesn’t seem readily apparent. Unlike London Has Fallen, though, this is probably just a matter of circumstances given that 95% of the film takes place in the middle of a ghost forest where everyone knows time doesn’t exist. That’s common ghost forest knowledge. Still an F.

Now that you know the details Patrick will give a little review.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The Forest? More like the Borest, amirite? It’s twin time (and Mt. Fuji), it is twin time and Mt. Fuji. Those of you familiar with the Twin Time song (nearly none of you reading) will know the tune, feel free to sing along. This might be the greatest twin movie we’ve ever done. It at the very least gives I Know Who Killed Me a run for its money. Arguably both involve stigmata twins. Fun fact: Jamie and I are stigmata twins. But only in a specific way. When someone asks me “hey, if I punch you does it hurt your brother” Jamie instinctively says “No, that’s ridiculous nonsense”. Let’s get into it!

  • The Good – The first act in a way. The set up to this film is somewhat better that recent terrible horror fare. The protagonist has a reason to go to Japan, you get the sense of loneliness and isolation that is meant to compel you towards the forest. Thick on jump scares, but otherwise I thought it was a decent setup to a decent idea.
  • The Bad – The rest of the goddamned movie. Thiiiiick on jump scares. So thick that might as well have been the only type of scare they had. The third act is just a catastrophe. It makes no sense. All the characters are dumb. Rumor is that the Japanese suicide forest is alive and tricks its victims into killing themselves by showing this movie to them over and over until they shout “No, why would you insist on washing up when you literally just saw ghosts in a weird forest hole?! Run out of the forest lady!!!” and end it all.
  • The BMT – No. I wish I was bold enough to end it there, but no. Horror/Thrillers that are BMT make you laugh. This is just sad and morose and makes you sad, for both the characters and the state of horror today.

Game game game game game … Jamie has already alluded to it, but let’s Sklogify this movie! Open the movie, I awake in a cold sweat. From across the Atlantic I can feel that my Jamie is in trouble! I travel to the spooky midwestern forest where he was last seen and the guide says: “Beware, this forest is haunted and will trick you into killing yourself best just leave a note”. And I say “yes, that is a prudent suggestion. Thank you forest guide I have entrusted with my life.” I write a nice note, Jamie finds it, comes out of the forest a day later and fin. Horror fans wonder “wait … what?”.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs