Flatliners (2017) Recap

Jamie

Looking to scientifically explore the concept of the afterlife, a medical student, Courtney, has four of her peers stop her heart and then resuscitate her. Finding that the procedure improves her mental capacity, they each in turn try the risky procedure to deadly consequences. Can they stop the game before it’s too late? Find out in… Flatliners (2017).

What?! Courtney is a star student at the University of Anonymous Medical School. However, she is haunted (figuratively) by the death of her younger sister in a car accident caused by her own distracted driving. Looking to explore the afterlife, she recruits a few of her fellow students to help her stop her heart and then resuscitate her a minute later. When the experiment is a success and Courtney seems to gain increased mental acuity and memory (straight out of Limitless) the rest of the morons are super into the idea of almost dying too. These supernatural abilities are cool for a second, but it totally turns out that they’ve opened the door to their worst sins coming to life and trying to murder them. Uh oh! After Courtney (now literally haunted by her sister) is killed by what they had assumed were hallucinations, the rest of the dumbos realize they must apologize to those they’ve wronged or suffer the same fate. Once they go through this process they are free from their hauntings and ready to focus on what’s important: scrubbing away all evidence of their involvement in Courtney’s death (that is a real fact, the film ends with them disposing of evidence in a river… not sure what moral we are meant to learn from all this). The End.

Why?! Much like the original film each character in Flatliners has their own motivation for flatlining. Courtney claims to want to make scientific history by proving the existence of the afterlife, but we get the feeling that what she really wants is to overcome the guilt associated with the death of her sister. The next to go is Jamie who simply wants to gain worldwide fame as a Dr. Oz type television personality. Seeing how Jamie and Courtney gain special abilities from the experience, Sophia wants to go next so that she won’t struggle so much in finishing med school. Finally Marlo is just super competitive and goes last. Ray is the fifth member who doesn’t actually flatline and plays the moral compass of the group looking to make sure none of them die.

What?! I’m going to settle this score once and for all. Everyone who says that this isn’t a remake but rather a sequel hasn’t done their due diligence. Yes, Kiefer Sutherland appears in a cameo, but his name is Dr. Barry Wolfson. It’s not Nelson like in the original. “But Jamie, maybe he changed his name after the horrors of the first film.” That would be a good point if it weren’t so dumb. Why would that be the case and they end up doing nothing with it? No sly wink to Courtney/the camera. No “Be careful. Reaserch can be a real killer,” delivered with a smirk  so that all the Flatlinerheads in the cinema can get amped and cheer. Nothing. Just boring old Dr. Barry Wolfson cameoing away. This film is clearly a remake.

Who?! A little case of nepotism up in here. Avery Bederman played the younger sister of Courtney in the film and just so happens to be the daughter of executive producer Michael Bederman. While I could mention that he’s quite successful and was executive producer on Best Picture winner Spotlight, I will instead highlight that he was an uncredited line producer of one of our very favorites of 2014. That’s right! Endless Looooovveeeeeeeee. I have endless love for that book/movie/movie.

Where?! It’s a rarity for us to find a film that goes out of its way to not have a setting. The Tuxedo is a famous example where they digitally scrubbed the film of NYC references following 9/11 to avoid controversy. For Flatliners (2017) I can only presume they just didn’t want to spend the money making Toronto look like Chicago (where the original was set). Instead an unrecognizable city skyline and “Great State” license plates told us all we needed to know: welcome to the great state of Americana, where we bleed red, white, and blue and eat hot dog pie. F.

When?! Temporal settings are hard as it is, even when you have a DVD to pause. In the theater? Forget about it. It might be there, but I’ll have to wait until it’s out on DVD so I can never watch it again probably. F.

My theatrical experience was quite different from BMT Live’s of the past. That’s because my showing was absolutely packed (shocking, I know). I went on a Friday and it was filled to the brim with teenyboppers jockeying for seats next to potential beaus. Despite this, a few of them must have been paying attention because they actually chuckled at the jokes, jumped at some of the scares, and seemed to have a bit of fun. I did not. I had assumed the film was a slim 85 minutes when I entered the theater, but realized an hour in that that was an impossibility. How did you make a 110 minute long ABC television pilot of a film? How and why? Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! While reflecting on the remake of Flatliners I liked to imagine the conversation Kiefer had with the writer of this film prior to signing on. Am I playing the same character? Maybe. Well, do I have the same name? Maybe. But are we shooting a scene where I’m the character from the first movie? Probably, but we’ll see if we edit it out in the end … any other questions, Kiefer? Nope, sounds chill. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake; Homework Sklog-signment) – The story is as interesting as ever, and the cast is fine (specifically Luna, Page, and, after a bit of a false start, Clemons). If the original didn’t exist it would be a forgettable albeit still terrible supernatural horror film. Nothing more. Which I guess is a positive. Since this is already a remake might as well get the review of Flatliners (1990) out of the way: I dug the Gothic look a ton, and the cast was incredible (even if the acting wasn’t always). I loved the idea … right up until they were getting haunted by spooky ghosts. There is a better story concerning doctors exploring life after death, which I guess is why Flatliners is more on the cult side of cult classics. And … why they really needed to do something new for this remake. A group of doctors one-upping themselves. Going further. Getting addicted. Breaking down psychologically, and the one that dreamt it up (and dreamt of fame) finally snapping when he realizes he’ll have to share the spotlight with those he considers less than him. Go true blue low-budget mad scientist. At least then you’d bulletproof against it being a bomb, and you don’t devolve into the supernatural (at least, when you don’t have anything new or interesting to say).

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – The supernatural part of the story is the weakest and ends up handcuffing the film into a trite jump-scare horror that is honestly not scary, not interesting, and no fun. There is also a major divergence from the original in which the doctors go a little limitless (although The Fly is what came to mind initially) after flatlining. Bullshit, people would have noticed they were geniuses after dying for a minute. A recent Sklognalogy is Godsend. Although there at least you get that awesome mad scientist character in DeNiro. Here, Page ended up dying halfway through, and wasn’t even the same kind of unhinged madman that Kiefer eventually morphed into in the original.

The BMT (Legacy; StreetCreditReport.com) – This is the second year in a row August didn’t serve up a serviceable Summer Live, but we did wait it out to get something with a truly dire Rotten Tomatoes score. We’ll see about the legacy. I think it depends on the Razzies, and it has a better chance than Mechanic Resurrection did last year of snagging a few. I think the 4% Rotten Tomatoes score speaks for itself for street cred, but there won’t be worst-of lists for a while to confirm. I’m on the edge of my seat!

I already did the Homework Sklog-signment, but I might as well give a little BMT Live Theater Review! I watched at the Cineworld on Fulham Road and, wow, what an absolutel shithole. No offense, but it is just kind of getting run down, and I have a feeling it will close soon. The Fulham Broadway Vue is way better, not to mention the enormous (and posh) Westfield Vue. Anyways, there was a surprising number of people, mostly older, one who just couldn’t figure out how not to eat popcorn ridiculously loudly. No audience reaction at all. Which for a purported horror film is not the best I think. The only really remarkable thing though is that there were (count em!) 30 minutes of commercials and trailers before the film. Mostly commercials. This is the first time I’ve ever gotten angry about that, but it was just way too many. I could have left my house after the movie started and easily got there before the movie actually started. No fun … maybe I’m getting old.

Cheerios, 

the Sklogs

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Jaws 3-D Recap

Jamie

Jaws is back, Jack! Just when the latest SeaWorld resort is set to open, our titular shark swims into the park with a baby in tow ready to wreak havoc. Can Michael Brody stop the terror and get the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… Jaws 3-D.

How?! SeaWorld is about to open a new resort and things are popping. They got waterskiers, they got dolphins doing tricks, and they got our old friend Mike Brody getting hot and heavy with his lady love. Life is good and nothing could go wrong. When a maintenance man goes missing on a routine dive, Mike goes searching for his body only to discover that a shark has gotten loose in the resort! Uh oh! Springing into action the trainers are able to corner the shark and capture it alive… which seems suspect.You would think it would be a lot harder to capture a monster shark alive. They literally had to blow it to smithereens and electrocute it to death in the past. But oh well, nothing to see here (or is there?). Obviously it soon becomes clear that the shark they captured is just the baby of the true monster Jaws that we’ve come to love and respect. By the time Mike realizes this it’s too late, the resort is in the midst of its grand opening. As the shark wreaks havoc across the limited scope of a theme park, they devise a plan to lure it into a tunnel and suffocate it to death. When this plan fails there’s only one thing left to do: delicately remove the pin from a water grenade held by a dead guy chilling in the mouth of the shark (even more ridiculous than it sounds). After a grand 3D explosion we are treated to a couple dolphins doing neato tricks. THE END.

Why?! Sadly this legitimately becomes a question in the Jaws series as the Brody family is continually stalked by killer sharks. In the first two films you could chalk it up to the shark being hungry and heading to Amity to snack nearer to shore. So its motivation is simply to eat because it’s essential to life. However, this film would take place a decade later in a totally different state and Michael and Sean Brody would once again encounter a monstrous shark that wants to eat them. So we must ask what the shark’s real motivation is. My guess? It’s an assassin sent from the future to kill the Brody family as their offspring are all that stands in the way of the successful shark uprising of 2044. Wait… did I just make this movie rad?

What?! This film is peppered with product placement but you simply can’t ignore the fact that it’s essentially a five hour commercial for SeaWorld (Wait, this film wasn’t five hours long?) Halfway through the film they open the park to great fanfare and it actually made me sad. I don’t want to watch a commercial for SeaWorld! Why did you make me, BMT?

Who?! No Planchet character to be seen. In fact very little humor at all. One interesting fact is that the actor who portrayed Sean Brody, John Putch, eventually turned full time to directing, mostly for television. I presumed he wouldn’t have directed anything for BMT… I presumed wrong. He is none other than the director of Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike. It’s a small BMT world.

Where?! Have I mentioned that this is set at SeaWorld in Florida? Because it’s set entirely in a theme park in Florida. This really should be an A+, but can only get an A because it happens to not be called SeaWorld: The Movie. A.

When?! I didn’t get anything exact. It can be presumed that it’s the beginning of summer since Sean Brody arrives on the scene fresh off final exams at school. I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed something more specific, but for now it stands as a measly D.

This film is terrible. An unacceptable jump down from a serviceable first sequel in Jaws 2. The storyline could never have been made successfully and they obviously got a director who didn’t have the chops to bring the tension that either Jaws or Jaws 2 had (albeit in two totally different ways). Not a surprise that he didn’t direct ever again. I did not like it at all. As for our Friend, D-Tox starring Sly Stallone I’ll let Patrick talk about the merits of the film. Instead I’ll limit my comments to the book on which it’s based, Jitter Joint. The film and book are only very tenuously connected, to the point where I wonder how the author ended up with a credit. Other than the basic idea of a cop heading to rehab and dealing with a string of murders, they are entirely different. The book ended up having a more sensical and original killer (son of an alcoholic targeting alcoholics) and a nice ambiguous ending (not sure whether he ends up living or dying), so I guess I enjoyed that one more, although I didn’t much enjoy the book. It’s just that the film didn’t have much of anything of value. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! So you’re the new PR director for SeaWorld and you want to make … a splash! Luckily you got connections up to wazoo, and you’ve been hearing that Jaws is not only going three-dimensional but also, more excitedly, they are looking for some corporate synergy! Can they guarantee all patrons to SeaWorld will look 100% super happy and 100% super alive throughout? … No? Whatever, let’s get that money making machine rolling! Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Lea Thompson is as cute as ever, and Dennis Quaid obvs looks great too. I dug the classic 70s/80s bar scene. There is so little good here I’m actually having a hard time figuring out what to do, because the idea behind Sequel/Prequel/Remake is to take the nugget of good and try and correct everything around it to make a good movie. But … honestly this comes across as more of one of the knockoff Jaws films that were being made in the late-70s and early 80s. So I guess Remake it, but don’t make it a Jaws film. Strip all of it out, and almost go Jurassic Park with it: Shark World. A bold SeaWorld-like amusement park which claims the world’s largest and most dangerous sea life on display! But uh-oh, everything goes wrong and a small group of patrons are trapped underwater fighting for their lives against the park’s most dangerous pets. Meanwhile, on the surface there is a scramble to secure the facility in the face of a greedy owner who only cares about money and himself, in that order. Shark World 3D! Underwater, they are the dominant species!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – This film looks like a cheap 70s film you’d see on Mystery Science Theater 3000. In fact, the Sklognalogy is from MST3K: The Return, the disasterpiece Avalanche! This movie very much comes across as similar to that, cheap with weirdly well-known main actors and only appealing to the genre nuts. The director clearly had no idea how to film underwater, the connection to SeaWorld is gross and perplexing, and there is never really a coherent storyline (at least not one you care about). It also shits all over the Jaws franchise. In a way that is actually unrecoverable. This movie took a series that had kind of a silly but inevitable sequel, to a laughable franchise that would eventually be poked fun of in Back to the Future II.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – For us I think Jaws 3D joins a film like Can’t Stop the Music as being just kind of perplexing. I could see myself watching it again if, for whatever reason, I found myself watching all four at once. But I doubt it. It is probably still going to be one of the technically worst films we see in BMT, because films that look this technically bad probably wouldn’t be released any year after around 1988. And street cred would be hard to determine if not for the Razzies where it got nominated for nearly every award (it won none of them), and, blessedly, a very amusing clip by Siskel and Ebert for their worst of the year.

Definitely a catastrophe at the time.

There was a small Homework Sklog-signment here in that I had never previously seen Jaws 2. And honestly? In many ways I dug it. I agreed with the choice to show more of the shark since the surprise in the first one was already blown. I liked the teenage characters and the tension when they were stranded on a flotilla of broken sailboats. It worked all the way up to the end, when a terrible looking fiberglass island comes into play, and the shark is electrocuted to end it all. And, obviously, the fact that the Amity Island selectmen wouldn’t believe Brody that a shark was attacking after seeing a shark eat a bunch of people ten years prior is ludicrous.

The more important bit was out Bring a Friend, where we brought along a true blue straight-to-DVD picture. D-Tox starring Sylvester Stallone would remind anyone that watching straight-to-DVD garbage just isn’t worth it. It is boring, and honestly the entire movie is cut in such a way as to make little-to-no sense. I don’t think it is going to change our mind in our tendency to avoid non-theatrical releases, but maybe we just have to find the right one. The set and much of the acting was amusing though, so it did get pretty close. I don’t think I would have necessarily batted an eye if that had come up in BMT, besides that it might be the most poorly edited together film I’ve seen. I’ll leave it there. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Recap

Jamie

Connor Mead is a world famous photographer/womanizer who does not believe in marriage. One problem, he has to attend his brother’s wedding this weekend! Uh oh! When he ruins everything, Connor is visited by three ghosts who try to show him the error of his ways. Can he save the day (and get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.

How?! Truly a classic rom com storyline. We have our wildly wealthy man about town, Connor Mead, who does NOT believe in love (gross! That’s for sissies!). He slays the ladies but we get the feeling that he really only sleeps around because he can’t face that he’s still hung up on the one that got away, his (also wildly successful) childhood friend Jenny. Connor heads off to his brother’s wedding and almost immediately begins to ruin everything. After one too many drinks he is taken on a journey of discovery to cure him of his wild ways by the ghost of his long dead womanizing uncle and three ghosts of girlfriends past (who hasn’t, right? College). First he is shown his past where we see a young Connor in love with Jenny but fated to screw it up. Then he is shown how his womanizing is hurting everyone that comes in contact with him in the present. Finally he is shown how if he doesn’t stop he’ll end up dying a sad and lonely man. While all this is happening he also manages to get the wedding cancelled… so not doing so hot on picking up what the spooky ghosts are putting down. After realizing that love is real he madly dashes to save the wedding and get the girl… which he does. The End.

Why?! The motivation in rom coms are just as straightforward as in horror films. Except instead of death, hate, and mayhem the motivation is love (awww). Someone is searching for love but can’t find it, only to figure out that it was right in front of them the entire time (awww). Pretty much the case here as while Connor isn’t actively searching for love he learns through the film that love is what he needs and Jenny has been there the whole time (awww).

What?! Connor is as much a scrooge about love as Scrooge was about Christmas spirit. Bah humbug on the whole thing. So when he has to suffer through his brother’s wedding he does the only thing he apparently likes to do more than have sex with any woman who passes his way: drink. And not just any drink, it’s Johnnie Walker Blue all day and all night. Expensive habit.

Who?! Double dose here as we have musician Christina Milian appearing unbilled as the subject of a Connor Mead photograph in the opening scenes. This completes a BMT trilogy for Milian with Be Cool (gross) and Torque (less gross). Don’t worry though, she has plenty more.

Where?! While the movie was filmed at the Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA, which I stayed at on my wedding night, it surprisingly wasn’t set in MA. In the opener, which takes place at Connor’s studio in NYC, he mentions that he has to travel to Newport for the wedding. This is an obvious reference to Newport, RI which is famous for its mansions. Pretty rare state. Rare enough that we used a film called Evening to hit it for mapl.de.map. What a disgrace. C-.

When?! A little debate at BMTHQ as to whether this is a holiday film. It’s certainly an adaptation on The Christmas Carol and at one point Connor even directly quotes the classic tale by asking a kid whether it’s Christmas yet (but he might just be joshing). It’s never directly acknowledged so can’t really count it, but diving deep into the uncredited roles listed on IMDb there are no less than three actors credited as “Unemployed Santa.” I think I’d remember a few jobless Santas in the film if they actually appeared, but that just might make this a super secret holiday film. D-.

Much like the recently BMT’d Made of Honor this film is almost pleasant in its genericness. Just plods along a plot that we’ve watched a million time. Unfortunately it totally botches the one thing that allowed Made of Honor to stand out from the crowd: an endearing main character and a realistic relationship to root for. In this case Connor Mead may just be the most unpleasant protagonist we’ve had to suffer through (not counting everyone Gerard Butler has played). He’s just an obnoxious, rich asshole who suffers no consequence for his years of being an obnoxious, rich asshole. All that being said, Emma Stone was fun. As for our foreign flick, Asterix at the Olympic Games, that shit was the Frenchest thing I’ve ever seen. I’m not totally sure why it was that French audiences rejected it so thoroughly (I thought it was silly but amusing). I presumed that it was the fact that our heroes Asterix and Obelix are somewhat minor characters in the film, but according to reviews I read that wasn’t the problem. Apparently this film was guilty of one too many French pop/athlete references and cameos… I didn’t notice because I didn’t get many of those references. The moral of the story? Bad movies are not a universal language. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Your boss is a hotshot producer and wants a fresh spin on an old classic. Well it’s coming onto Christmas, and you know what that means … you’ve forgotten to buy gifts and you need to smash out this spec in like ten minutes before hitting the mall! Oh, and obviously your idea is just a rehash of A Christmas Carol. But then you remember that Bill got fired for pulling the same trick last year … whatever, let’s have it star a horribly smarmy womanizer and release it in May. Bing bang boom, let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – The main players do a fine job with what they are provided, and the movie looks good as well. Oh, the bumping 80s tunes were a definite A+. But, there is very little else good about this, which we will obviously get into. But let’s make a Remake! About time we got this right. First, make it an adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life, Michael Douglas isn’t the warning miser, he’s the angel who wants his wings! He took in his nephews as his own, and for all he tried he couldn’t put Connor on the right track. And before he’s allowed his place in heaven, he needs to change the course of the young man’s life before it is too late! Going through the past he shows all the good he did, and where he went wrong, and the love he missed out on, and in the end the angel gets his wings. Yeah, also don’t fill the entire movie up with cliches.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – Let’s just get the Sklognalogy out of the way: this movie is basically identical to Made of Honor. The beats are all the same: The womanizer who realizes the one that got away is the one, but before he can get the girl he has to convince her (and himself) that he’s changed! The main difference: Made of Honor was half-way filled up with cliches. This guy had the smarmy lead, the psychoanalyzing ex, the honorable brother, the bridezilla, the bridesmaid who wants to bone him, the groomsmen who wants to be him, the sultry future mother-in-law and scary military father-in-law … sigh, it is just incredible. Not to mention that this entire movie reads as rich-white-people-problems put to film (like Made of Honor …). Anywho, long story short: turns out making a movie that is one-hundred percent rom-com cliches makes for innocuous by ultimately unsatisfying results. Go figure.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The one-two combination of this and Made of Honor is actually quite tantalizing for a footnote of 2017. It could come up there. I love McConaughey (Foooool’s Gold, it’s not that bad, it’s not that bad), so perhaps as the pinnacle romantic comedy lead … I could see it. CNN has it fifth worst for 2009, but it doesn’t get much play elsewhere for what is a truly impressive bad movie year. Two 2009 movies in a row! And plenty to go it would seem.

Along with Ghosts of Girlfriends Past we watched a Foreign Film this week for the Bring a Friend requirement: Asterix and the Olympic Games. This basically proved to me why we don’t do foreign films: I’m missing context. I thought it was actually rather funny (especially Brutus), I laughed more than I did during Ghosts of Girlfriends Past for example. But I feel like there was something missing. Were these actors good? Were they playing with or against type? If Will Smith was sitting there mugging it on screen I would possibly think a movie was great fun … but Disaster Movie has nobodies mugging constantly and is merely sad and tragic. It had two prequels (I didn’t watch them), and is based off of a beloved comic / cartoon … so there is possibly a level of offense as well with hurting the source material. I’m adrift. I thought it was fine (its bad-movieness saved by hilarious back-to-back-to-back French sports figure cameos to end the film), but people really seem to hate this thing, so I can merely defer to their opinion.

Some foreign films I think we could maybe gain context over time (Hong Kong cinema in particular, and possibly French comedy), but it would be difficult. I have a similar problem with films prior to 1980. That issue though I think is remedied easily: watch a ton of good movies from that era to get a feel for a typical 1970s film, for example. Same goes for martial arts and westerns actually. We just did it with slashers, a genre I had almost no knowledge of prior to this year! So there are opportunities. BMT brings opportunities, truly one of the greatest things ever to be invented ever.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Friday the 13th (2009) Recap

Jamie

Jason is back, Jack! This time he’s been rebooted and he ready to kill afresh. A group of douchey college kids are at Crystal Lake trying to get paid and laid, unfortunately Jason is there to rain on their… parade. Can they take him out before it’s too late? Find out in… Friday the 13th (2009).

How?! In a rare double pre-title sequence we open with a brief recap of the events of the original film. We see Jason’s crazy mom, we see her head being cut off, and we see Jason pick up a locket off her dead body. Flash forward to “Present day” and a bunch of jokesters are hiking through the woods. Most of them think they are just there from some fun in the sun, but secretly two of them have heard of a marijuana stash in the woods and hope to strike it rich a la The Beverly Hillbillies but with weed instead of oil. Sufficed to say they all get brutally murdered by Jason (or do they? Bum bum bum) after enjoying some crisp cold Pabst Blue Ribbon. Flash forward again some time later and we have another group of jokesters heading to the lake for some more fun in the sun (deja vu). On the way they bump into Clay, the brother of one of the girls in the first camping party, who’s searching for his sister. Pretty much from the jump you get the feeling that this dude is actually the main character of the film and everyone else is just there to die. And boy do they! Almost immediately the carnage begins and they are picked off one by one. Clay manages to escape and finds his sister taken prisoner by Jason in tunnels below the decrepit Camp Crystal Lake. In the final showdown they are able to get Jason all twisted up in a woodchipper and send him to the bottom of Crystal Lake for good… except he totally jumps back out of the lake ready for another sequel! Classic, Jason. What a trickster.

Why?! They did add a lot more motivation to this one. While most of the teens are just at the lake to get paid and laid (and killed), the main character actually has a mission. He wants to find his sister. It’s a little fan service to a similar character from Part IV, except this time he’s the main character and actually finds and saves his sister. Additionally, this is the first time we see Jason keep someone alive for an extended period of time. Seems like the motivation for him is that the girl looks a bit like his deceased mother, so he keeps her alive as a comfort or out of confusion. This isn’t wholly out of character for Jason either. Part II is a notable case where Jason is stopped in part because a character pretends to be his mother and confuses him. So seems again to be a little twist on a fan service call back. Other than that he seems like his usual territorial killing machine.

What?! There’s nothing more American than ice cold Pabst Blue Ribbon, camping with your buds, and MURDER. We get all three in the second pre-title sequence. That’s not the only product placement (this is a Michael Bay production after all), but it’s the most fun.

Who?! Aaron Woo plays a Planchet of sorts. A big stoner, loveable loser, and all around jokester, he doesn’t get made fun of enough for my taste in Planchets. No fun cameos either. Cameos don’t work very well in horror. Would just feel a little weird if John Cena showed up in a scene and was like “Oh man, that Jason guy’s even bigger than me, America’s favorite pro wrestler John Cena.” There are two funny “The producers wish to thank” credits, Tony Fussell and Randy V. Michna. From what I can gather from some simple online sleuthing Tony Fussell sells boats in the area of Texas where the film was shot and Randy V. Michna seems to also work and lives there. My guess? They were the guys who donated the use of the sweet lake house and boat for production in exchange for a simple acknowledgment. Bad move, guys. I would hold out until they named a character after me. Wouldn’t even care if he was the biggest bumbling idiot in the whole film. In fact that would be even better.

Where?! I like to imagine Michael Bay saying “Hey, can this be set in Real America™ and not New Jersey,” and then someone punched him in the face. It’s obvious at this point that Crystal Lake is in NJ and we get license plates to back it up. It’s also obvious that it was filmed in Texas because the setting looks nothing like NJ. C.

When?! Online there are claims that the film takes place on June 13th, 2009, exactly 29 years after the initial intertitle placed the events of the first film. Not sure how they arrived at that conclusion other than assumption or maybe a copy of the script. There is a note on IMDb claiming that the date can be seen in the police station… but there isn’t such a scene. So perhaps it’s a cut scene. Anyway, never made explicit. D-.

I’m actually being unfair to Michael Bay, who is obviously a big horror fan (he’s rebooted five different franchises!). It shows a bit in this film as it fits nicely into the series as a whole. Biggest critiques are that the teens are just a bit too unlikeable, the pacing gets a little slow for a modern horror, and it has little ambition to be anything more than a straight reboot. But besides that I was pleasantly surprised. I got to see some teens killed, got to see some boobs, and there was some great fan service to boot. What more could I ask for? As for Freddy vs. Jason and Black Friday, our two nonqualifying films for the week, I’ll let Patrick handle that business. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You are Michael Bay and you have all this sweet IP. Well … you have a ton of old horror intellectual property, but let’s call it sweet IP for now. What do you do? That’s right, you remake all of them in the hopes that one pans out into a franchise. I mean … what are the chances literally all of them are bad? Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel / Prequel / Remake) – Alright I’m going to say it … I kind of dug the movie. I thought the first 20 minute sequence with the five teenagers (who just want two things: sex and that sweet ganja) was excellent. I liked fast-Jason, it is that “new” element you kind of expect from a Friday the 13th sequel. I thought the homages were well done, and probably two of the kills were decent stuff. I’ll say it: This was as good as a remake of Friday the 13th could have probably been, and I honestly wish it had got another shot to show off the direction they wanted to take the new Jason in. But alas, all good-bad things must come to an end. But … I want the Sequel! At the end Jason may or may not have come back to life and murdered the two survivors. Personally, I think people overlook how likely it is that that was indeed a dream sequence (given that the first three original movies ended with a similar dream sequence event). We pick up with Clay and Whitney arriving at the hospital amid a firestorm from the local police. An officer is dead along with roughly 15 other people, and the body of Jason is gone. Suspicious to say the least. Stuck in jail as the parents of the recent victims arrive looking for blood, Clay and Whitney decide to reveal the location of Jason to mollify the police chief. When they hear that no body (or mask …) is to be found, Clay and Whitney immediately know that a massacre is afoot. Seeking revenge against the two that got away the police stand no chance against the cunning backwoodsman Jason as he Assault-On-Precinct-13’s the ill-equipped Crystal Lake station. Can Clay and Whitney survive a second night against the unstoppable Jason Voorhees? Friday the 13th Part 2 (2018)!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – The film is still a remake of a slasher and doesn’t do a particularly good job at motivating Jason. They try with a weird girl-looks-like-Jason’s-mother routine, but Jason kidnapping Whitney is probably the worst part of the movie. It isn’t in character. Jason murders, he has a single purpose. And that girl isn’t his mother. We see his mother’s head in the beginning of the film, so there isn’t any Part II trickery available either. The film sags quite a bit in the middle as they transition from the excellent opening sequence to a rich guy’s house full of terrible people, and also stretched the number of kills a bit with a frenetic pace to end (although that isn’t out of character for the series). Still, for the record, I think this is probably above average for the series. It is better than 3, 5, 8, 9, X, and Freddy vs. Jason I think. The Sklognalogy is probably something like Ghost Ship (the most ship!). A movie you can kind of acknowledge isn’t an actual “good” movie, but it fun to watch regardless.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The end of an era for us! We watched all 12 Friday the 13th films in a year. This year should have been the 13th (what what) but Paramount was like “naw, I don’t like money”. All Friday the 13th films will forever have a special part in BMT lore. And, I would say as expected, the half-way decent remake of Friday the 13th didn’t make a single worst-of list for the year. That year was amazing though. Old Dogs, I Love You Beth Cooper, All About Steve, and Miss March? Ridiculous year for bad comedy.

We did have a small Homework Sklog-signment with this film, the not-really-a-Friday-film Freddy vs. Jason. It was an Elm Street film, and honestly … I don’t like funny Freddy. I like the Freddy from the first one. I loved the first one, so watching where the franchise went was interesting. But it was a bad Friday film, not a very good Jason and he’s kind of not used enough to make it all worth it in my opinion. Meh. Maybe I’ll change my mind once I watch the Elm Street franchise.

And naturally, since we are such big Doane-heads (don’t you see? He saved Christmas. We owe him a lot, guys), we watched the second Darren Doane film of the cycle! Black Friday, the Bargain Bin entry, and a poor man’s Gary Daniels film (so straight Z-list). This … barely exists. I’m actually not entirely convinced Jamie and some of his bowling buddies didn’t shoot this piece of garbage in their spare time on the weekend. I can kind of see why some people enjoy these films though, it is oddly fascinating. While I wouldn’t go quite so far Z-list in the future, a nice C-list starring a has-been like Dolph Lundgren or Steven Seagal I do think is more likely now that I’ve seen the worst possible example of the bargain bin. I no longer fear the Z-list, I transcend reality and observe it from my elevated enlightened position. Like with Sandler films.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Recap

Jamie

Lara Croft is a world-renowned archeologist/tomb raider/adventurer. When she discovers a secret key hidden by her father, she realizes it is the key to unlocking a powerful device coveted by the Illuminati. Can she find and destroy the device before the evil Illuminati get their hands on it? Find out in… Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

How?! Lara Croft is an adventurer extraordinaire in high demand for the recovery (theft?) of antiquities across the world. She’s like an even sexier Indiana Jones or the equally iconic character that Tom Cruise played in The Mummy. On the anniversary of her father’s death, and coincidentally the start of a complete planetary alignment, a clock hidden in Lara’s house begins to tick. After breaking it open she recovers a hidden mystery MacGuffin… er… I mean, key. Not knowing what it does she makes the mistake of bringing it to an appraiser who promptly tips off the Illuminati so they can steal it. Uh oh! She then coincidentally gets a letter from her father sent before his death that lays out the entire plot of the film: that key enables the bearer to recover a powerful time control device called “the triangle.” She needs to get that device and destroy it before the Illuminati takes over the world! (dun dun dun!). Following them to Cambodia she is able to recover the first piece of the triangle. Seeing that they are dealing with a total badass, the Illuminati strike a deal: we both want the triangle, so let’s make sure we get it and then figure the rest out later. Lara agrees. Heading together to Siberia, Lara is able to again recover a piece of the triangle, only to have her kinda-sorta-not-really love interest Alex West (played by Daniel Craig sporting one of the worst American accents in the history of cinema) killed. Realizing the only way to save him is to go back in time she helps complete the triangle. Then a bunch of gobbledegook that makes no sense happens: Lara Croft is transported back in time, grabs the triangle, kills the Illuminati boss, transports back to the present day minus like 3 minutes, kills the Illuminati boss a couple more times, and destroys the triangle. Or at least that’s what I think happened. The End.  

Why?! Motivations are so easy in a MacGuffin film. The Illuminati want “the triangle” which will enable them to control time and thus the world. Lara wants to destroy “the triangle” as such ultimate power should be possessed by no one. Why not just destroy the key or just stop the Illuminati rather than destroy “the triangle” itself? Well, “the triangle” can only be retrieved during the planetary alignment that happens every 5000 years. So if she destroyed the key or simply stopped them, then 5000 years later the Illuminati could try again (if climate change doesn’t kill us first, amirite?). She has to get “the triangle” and destroy it for good. It’s the only way. See? Totally super tight plot. Don’t worry about it.

What?! Shoutout to UPS. Lara Croft knows what brown can do for her. It can deliver essential plot devices/letters from her dead father right to her front door. Speaking of plot devices, this is the second film in a relatively short time span that could be called MacGuffin: The Movie (Cradle 2 the Grave was the other).The triangle in this film is the very definition of a MacGuffin. It’s such a MacGuffin I’m surprised they didn’t name Iain Glen’s character Manfred MacGuff.

Who?! Pretty solid Planchet in this film, Bryce, played by Noah Taylor. He’s Lara’s Q and is constantly called a giant nerd. Also want to note that Jon Voight got second billing for this film… he barely appears in it.

Where?! Good globetrotting settings film. Large portions set in England and Cambodia. A short segment is set in Venice. The climax is set in Siberia. Intertitles are used occasionally. B.

When?! May 15th on the nose. Just so happens that the start of the planetary alignment corresponds to the anniversary of Lara’s father’s death, which is shown on his tombstone and mentioned several times. The rest of the film takes place during the ensuing week. B+.

Brief note for Dirty Dancing (2017), it is pretty obviously the most useless thing I’ve ever watched (and I watched the entire season of the reality television show The Vineyard!). It is incomprehensible why this actually exists and isn’t shamefully hidden away. I was trying to think of an adequate comparison and I’m drawing a blank. Maybe that Arthur remake we never watched… or Red Dawn? Even that wasn’t as mind-numbingly boring and unnecessary as this TV movie. Really it would be like they made a TV musical Casablanca starring Zac Efron and Taylor Swift and had the Germans toe-tappin’ along to some swell tunes. But it’s greatest crime? Abigail Breslin cannot dance. She literally can’t do it. They spend the entire movie trying to convince you that she gets better and can dance at the end. She can’t. Watch the finale from each version back to back and you’ll be shocked and upset. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Every five years the IP gold miners dig through the Hollywood archives and wonder “what could be the next big wave, how can I get that money printing machine?” And every five years someone with very little historical awareness “discovers” video games and gets very very excited. I mean. People love video games! People love movies! And every five years BMT opens a bottle of our cheapest champagne to celebrate the video game gold rush as things like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider are made. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Out of all of the video games movies I’ve seen I think this is the best one, although I can’t be certain, Silent Hill was pretty good too. Angelina is fun, they keep the story fairly tight and focused like a laser beam on a McGuffin. And ultimately you can kind of forget all of the flaws because hey, time travel, and boobs, whatever. A remake is already coming, and a sequel happened so … prequel! Let’s get a little tag-team Angelina-Craig action in here. They fall in love and steal priceless artifacts! He’s in it for the money, she just wants to feel connected to her dead father! What an odd couple! With her trusty Cockney hacker sidekick Lara Croft stars in: Lara Croft and The Golden MacGuffin!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – First, I’ll point out how ridiculous it is that Jon Voight got second billed on this movie. Other than that this movie’s story is just pointless, and the CGI looked terrible. But hey, it is a mid 2000s video game film, that isn’t a total surprise. My main complaint with the action is that, like everything that came out close to The Matrix, the wire-work stunts were off-the-chain (by which I mean they look terrible). I think the analogy is something like Warcraft. Yeah, not a super great movie, but you can see why fans like it, and you can see why they made it, and what they were trying to do with it. It just left out all of that stuff that critics like, like character development or coherent motivation.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The legacy of the film will be minor … until we watch the sequel maybe. The sequel is interesting because I’ve heard that some consider it superior by at least not being boring. But that seems ludicrous … so it could very well find a special place in BMT lore. As far as streetcreditreport.com goes, it got #6 on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s yearly list … remember when just random places would make lists like this? I’m finding some weird ones. It is number eight on Reel Films, but overall tends to get eclipsed by none other than Freddy Got Fingered!

So we tagged up on a TV movie with the remake of Dirty Dancing. I had never seen the original (the horror), and I have to say, it holds up. The only question they leave hanging is how long they were on vacation for. I had assumed it was all summer (Jennifer Grey sees Swayze show up during a pep talk for the staff). I was mainly curious so that I could know how unbelievable it is that Jennifer Grey becomes a professional dancer during the course of the movie. The remake on the other hand leaves no questions unanswered! They were on vacation for three weeks, the older daughter sings a duet with a black employee at the resort and everyone nods their head about the times-they-are-a-changin’, and the parents almost get divorced. The sheer number of extra storylines is insane, causing the remake to be 40 minutes longer than the original! Profoundly upsetting. The true crime though, as Jamie alluded to, is the dancing. I loved the original, it holds up well, but it rides on the power of both Grey and Swayze’s dancing. And the two leads in the new one, they don’t got it.

Was it a time crunch? Was it intentional? I can almost psych myself into the idea that they intentionally told Breslin to not get into dancing shape for the film as a kind of any-girl-can-learn-to-love-and-dance-in-three-weeks idea … but the movie rises and rises in a crescendo of trash until my mind could take no more. It is something to behold, just horrible and offensive. This convinces me that we need to pay more attention to TV Movies in the future, there are ones that I think are worth a shot. Even something like Liz and Dick might be worth a shot if we can think of a reason to do it. And with that …

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Project X Recap

Jamie

Three high school losers set out to throw an epic birthday bash in hopes of upping their social status. As word spreads, the party begins to spiral out of control. Can they keep the police at bay, the damage under control, and still get the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… Project X.

How?! When Thomas’ parents are heading out of town during his birthday his best friend Costa plans to throw a huge rager to impress the girls that never notice them (documenting it along the way using an A/V club nerd). At school Costa attempts to spread the word of the party far and wide with seemingly little success. Following a series of misadventures getting weed and quieting the neighbors, Thomas, Costa, and their third friend JD are thrilled to find the party is more than just popular, they are already legends. Hundreds and hundreds of people show, alcohol is flowing, hard drugs are aplenty and the party spins out of control. Meanwhile Thomas is trying to balance getting with the girl he’s in love with and potentially getting with the hottest girl in town. When the neighborhood descends into chaos, riot police come in, and his house is burnt to the ground our “hero” learns a valuable lesson: even if you break a million laws and do immeasurable damage to your family and life, it’s much more important that you are cool and got really drunk that one time. Oh yeah, and he still gets the girl somehow. The End.

Why?! The party is planned by Costa with the express purpose of increasing their social cache. He wants to be known, plain and simple, and a giant rager is how he can accomplish this. In a way he totally exploits Thomas, who really just wants to get with the girl he’s in love with, Kirby. Costa hears that Thomas’ parents are going to be out of town and jumps on the opportunity to use the empty house for his own purposes. In a weird twist he literally gets no comeuppance. He expresses some remorse, but Thomas kind of waves it off. Not great lessons in Project X.

What?! Prominent role for Thomas’ dad’s Mercedes which “cannot be touched.” Which of course inevitably means that it is destroyed during the party. Also, in terms of plot devices, there is a pretty heavy Chekhov’s Gun set up where our characters steal a gnome from a maniac and then seem to assume that they will never hear from him again… he obviously shows up in the third act to burn down the house.

Who?! Shout out to Miles Teller who plays… Miles Teller in the film. Would be weird if it weren’t for the fact that most people in the film played characters that shared at least a first name with them. Jimmy Kimmel also makes a cameo at the end making a joke in an opening monologue for his late night show.

Where?! Prominently set in North Pasadena, California. Said over and over and shown in writing on the high school they go to. C+.

When?! Exact Date Alert! We get featured on screen in text that the party takes place on May 14th, 2011. This is as close as we’ve come to intertitle confirmation of an exact date. Gotta give that a B+.

As for our Bring a Friend film, xXx: Return of Xander Cage I found myself fairly entertained while also recognizing that the film is a symptom of where cinema is heading for better or for worse (big ensemble flicks with easy to digest plotlines and foreign actors catering to the international audience). It felt very much like a better version of Mechanic: Ressurection, which isn’t saying a whole lot since that movie was one of the worst we’ve watched for BMT. In fact the more Patrick and I discussed the film the more I didn’t like it. But at the moment I think it’s merely an incredibly silly, predictable popcorn movie that is slightly better than I expected (as I expected a pile of trash). Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Remember being young and you thought writing about the rad fake party with the rad fake girls in english class made sense? Remember later realizing you knew nothing about parties, or girls, and honestly the third act was always a mess? Just me? Anyways, now imagine if a hero came along and said “no, I shall live without shame! We shall show the world what a party imagined by a 14-year-old boy would look like!” This is Project X! Let’s Go!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I can appreciate that this is probably one of the better found footage films we’ve watched for BMT. It has a Logical explanation of why they are carrying a camera around like idiots for an entire party; A proper three-act structure often lacking in the meandering found footage genre; And, in some ways, an attempt to show at least some of the unflattering bits of what is otherwise a rather rosy picture of a youth ruining his life right in front you your eyes. Let’s do the brutal Sequel! They helpfully mentioned that our main character was heroically convicted of multiple crimes, although it would seem (unless multiple counts are involved) that all are misdemeanors and involve at most a year in county jail. The sequel follow him descending into obscurity as he tries to stay out of trouble in his senior year in high school and his slow realization that for one night of fame … he sacrificed a decade of his life and possibly his future. The movie is a slice of life drama (also found footage) as he struggles to stay connected to Kirby, who is off to USC in the fall. Project X: Crime and Punishment. “Wow, I mean, I didn’t like the first one, but this just feels mean spirited” says Leonard Maltin.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – I didn’t enjoy this film. It is gross and devoid of worth, but I am not the intended audience. The acting is pretty brutal, but that is expected, the third act is a mess, but that’s expected, and shoehorning a love interest plot kind of backfires because they do almost nothing to make us care about either of the people involved. Sklognalogy is I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, in that is is just … gross and devoid of worth as I said. Although this is streets ahead of that piece of literal garbage. This movie is understandably loved by the demographic it focuses on like a heat-seeking missile, and I’ll say it every time: I am not the audience. If you are, say, a woman, or a man over the age of 24, you’ll probably just watch it in disgust. That’s my opinion anyways.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I think if I take anything from this movie it is this is a decent example of a good found footage film, but bad film, like The Gallows in a way. Also watching this and (re-watching) xXx in the same week was kind of interesting. I called both movies “misogynistic”, but that isn’t totally precise. Ultimately I settled on the definition: both films would fail basically all tests used to analyze gender equality in Hollywood. FilmSchoolRejects named it to its worst list of the year, and PopMatters put it at number 2 pointing out that there were at least three copycat parties in California after the movie was released! Pretty solid cred, including the previously discussed revulsion from Roger Ebert and Leonard Maltin. It had to be done.

Finally, a brief recap of my adventures with xXx over the week. I re-watched the first two, and yeah, basically the first one is actually not too bad outside of the fact that the tech is straight out of GI Joe and the boat at the end looks absolutely ridiculous. It is believable that Vin Diesel’s character would be able to infiltrate the hilariously one-note anarchist bad guys’ crew though. The second one is amazingly ridiculous, and obviously has the best character of the whole franchise: the Presidential Bullet Train. The third is somewhere in between. It isn’t as good as the first, but it is better than the second. But it is silly, with just explosions on stupid sets, and wholly predictable. That is its biggest sin, it can’t surprise and thus can’t really be that fun because everything feels inevitable. It doesn’t make me any more inclined to watch films above 40% on Rotten Tomatoes … as a matter of fact it makes me much less inclined to watch films with reviews above 30% these days to be honest. So, it had the opposite effect. Congrats xXx: Return of Xander Cage!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Christmas with the Kranks Recap

Jamie

With their daughter away for Christmas, the Kranks decide to skip it all together, save some money, and go for a luxury cruise much to the annoyance of their neighbors. That is until their daughter surprises them on Christmas Eve. Can they turn it around and save Christmas before it’s too late? Find out in… Christmas with the Kranks.

How?! When Luther and Nora Krank’s only daughter heads off to Peru with the Peace Corps it seems like Christmas just won’t be the same. In a stroke of genius Luther concocts a scheme where they will boycott the entire holiday, save some money, and go on a luxury cruise instead. This plan immediately runs into trouble as they boycott the firemen, police officers, and boy scouts who come for the normal charity and kindness they’ve come to expect from the Kranks in the holiday season. Not this year, freeloaders! No retreat and no surrender! They particularly miff their holiday obsessed neighbors when they refuse to decorate their house along with everyone else. After suffering the entire community’s scorn they get tantalizingly close to their cruise only to get a call from their daughter surprising them with a holiday visit with her new fiance she met in Peru! Oh no! Scrambling around they find themselves unable to get guests or decorations together for a last minute Christmas Eve party. Looking for one last dose of holiday cheer Luther attempts to put up a giant Frosty decoration on his house, but nearly dies in the process. Seeing this near death experience the neighbors band together to put on the party and give the Krank clan a Christmas they’ll never forget. The End.

Why?! This is actually an interesting question. Everyone kind of assumes that they decide to skip Christmas to save a quick buck, which obviously rubs everyone the wrong way. It’s no wonder they think this either since both Luther and Nora use this excuse throughout the film. While it’s made more explicit in the book, the reality is that Luther just doesn’t really like Christmas. He thinks it’s wasteful and stressful and is basically just protesting the season. He doesn’t like the peer pressure to participate that is heaped on them by their neighbors and he wants to show how much better it is to just skip it. Spoiler alert, though, it turns out skipping it is much more stressful than actually doing it. So I guess the moral of the story is that peer pressure works really well.

What?! For a Christmas movie this was surprisingly bereft of product placement. I would note an interesting thing about the Frosty prop used in the film. IMDb claims that it was Tim Allen’s dad’s Frosty that is used in a huge number of different films. This cannot possibly be true. First, the book has the Frosty plotline, which would be super coincidental. Second, the Frosty prop is now on display in a Christmas film prop show currently in Akron. Third, there is zero evidence online to corroborate this absurd claim. For shame, IMDb.

Who?! Dedicate “in loving memory” to Alan King, a famous comedian who died the year of its release. He apparently shot some scenes in the role of Luther’s boss, but they ended up on the cutting room floor. He also has a dedication in the credits of Rush Hour 3, which is an interesting double billing. The Alan King Double Feature.

Where?! Riverside, Illinois is the home of the Kranks. Noted by a local newspaper and police. Lots of license plates around as well. Solid, but not over the top. B.

When?! A+ Setting Alert! Again, nothing like a holiday film to open the door for some title integration. Made me wonder if there is any example of a film with a double A+ setting. Both a place and a time integrated in title. A Christmas title is the best opportunity. Something like A New York Christmas or something. Autumn in New York is a good one Patrick found, but I’m not sure how I would grade that. I know how to grade this, though. A+.

I took one for the team this week and read the novella on which this film is based, Skipping Christmas by John Grisham (yes, that John Grisham). For the most part the film is an exact adaptation, made possible by the low page count. The only additions were some slapstick stunts like the freezing of a cat, which were probably deemed necessary since the book is mostly a story of a bunch of assholes being assholes to each other (with some snark thrown in here and there). I have to note one glaring omission: in the book when the Kranks hear that their daughter is bringing her new Peruvian fiance to Christmas they take a moment to note that many Peruvians are dark-skinned… alrighty. I thought I had misread it. But, then when he shows up they note with glee that he’s not dark-skinned at all, but is in fact lighter than Luther… sufficed to say that didn’t make it into the film. Nothing like a bit of casual racism to get you in the holiday spirit. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Your production company is feeling that itch for some corporate synergy. They’re wondering if a Christmas movie could be made that as a bit more … apologetic towards the rampant commercialization of the holiday season. You’ve got a can-do attitude, right?! Grab your John Grisham novel, and milk that sweet IP! Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Tim Allen pulls off the grumpy-dad character quite well. And while the message is gross, the ultimate pay off in the end kind of makes it all understandable. Also, credit where credit is due, I did not see the rather emotional twist at the end coming. I think I want to see the Sequel! That’s right, in the intervening years, while Blair and Enrique have come to Chicago every year for the big Christmas bash, this year Blair is pregnant and can’t travel from, you guessed it, Peru! So the Kranks are going on vacation. It’s a culture clash for the ages as the Kranks meet the Decardenals (holy shit, he has a last name!) and have a true blue peruvian Christmas! Christmas with the Kranks 2: Meet the Decardenals!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – The message is pretty gross as all of the reviews say. Even then, the movie is kind of two movies smushed together. The first half is all about them skipping Christmas (and honestly, being jerks about it … like, you are saving $3K, you can’t give a donation to the cops, c’mon!), and then halfway through they realize they can’t anymore, so it kind of kicks into high gear at that point. As far as Christmas films go, this might be the worst I’ve seen (Saving Christmas doesn’t count), but it still has the charm of being about family and fun and Christmas. You just wish it wasn’t so heavy-handed and gross about greed-is-good mentality of embracing Christmas materialism. The Sklognalogy is … well, avoiding the obvious, let’s go with The Guardian starring Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner. Another movie that feels like two movies smushed together and ultimately fails to be particularly good versions of either movie it is trying to be.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I think this could have major ramifications for BMT, but it depends on whether we are willing to sacrifice some BMT Live action. Primarily because … I think this movie could have been really fun to watch around Christmas. Which makes me think we could have three BMT Lives and a BMT Holiday extravaganza instead. If that happens, this movie will make a turning point in BMT. Otherwise, none, perfectly forgettable beyond being a not-at-all-secret BMT Holiday film. It does get a few shouts as a top ten worst holiday film. And gets shouts as one of the worst films of 2004. In other words, this had the cred. Like Deck the Halls, it had to be done as an all-time bad holiday film.

Before I go I want to do a brief analysis on the “friend” from this pair. In this case we were testing the waters concerning Christian Films, by watching Saving Christmas, breaking an unspoken BMT rule in the process. So, did we prove the rule by watching the exception and realizing even the extremes still barely qualify? Or are more religious films coming soon to a BMT near you? … Personally, it is the exception that proves the rule. Christian films are low quality, and just make me angry with what is often a disingenuous holier-than-thou attitude. Our unspoken rule of really only doing those once in a lifetime movies seems a-ok to me at this point. This is a BMT film, but it is also probably the biggest one ever released (not counting something like Passion of the Christ I suppose) … and it still barely qualifies. So doubtful any others are really worth it.

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs