Made of Honor Recap

Jamie

Thomas and Hannah are a couple of platonic besties. When Hannah returns from a business trip with a surprise fiancé and asks Thomas to be her maid of honor, he realizes that he’s in love with her. Can he stop the wedding and get the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… Made of Honor.

How?! Thomas is a ridiculously rich playboy living it up in New York City. While he beds a new girl each day, he has a strict regimen to avoid commitments. His only commitment is his long-time best friend Hannah. When Hannah leaves for a six week business trip in Scotland it tears Thomas apart and he soon realizes that he’s in love with her. Planning to admit this love to her, he’s surprised when she returns with an engagement ring on her finger and a beau in tow. Oh no! When she asks him to be her maid of honor he plans to use the position to prove to her that he’s the one. Cracks in the engagement start to show when they arrive in Scotland for the wedding, but a misunderstanding threatens to send Thomas packing back to the States. On the drive to the airport he realizes that he shouldn’t have given up so easily and races (literally… on a horse) to the wedding to break it up at the last moment. Thomas and Hannah get together and live happily ever. Duh.

Why?! Love, obviously. Seriously, we kind of plop into the film in the middle of Thomas and Hannah’s story. They’ve been best friends for ten years and haven’t fallen in love because Thomas is a stunted man-child who loves to bone any and all beautiful women without committing to anything. So when he realizes he’s in love with her that becomes the entire focus of the film. Everyone else is just a pawn in their game of love, especially Hannah’s poor, perfect fiancé Colin. He can do no wrong and yet still is left standing like a dope at the altar.

What?! The source of Thomas’ fortune is probably the most cliche thing in a film that is built painstakingly from years of cliches cultivated from the rom com forest of love. He is purported to be the inventor of the coffee cup sleeve and gets 10 cents each time a cup of coffee is sold. Ha! So he is made to be so rich that he just bums around NYC slaying ladies. This is our hero, everyone! A side effect of this totally ludicrous aspect of the plot is that Starbucks is sipped aplenty on screen.

Who?! In a perfect demonstration of Poe’s Law, the writers of Made of Honor attempted to make a spoof of a maid of honor instructional video starring Survivor/The View/Fox & Friends’ own Elisabeth Hasselbeck. While it may have seemed extreme enough on paper I actually couldn’t tell whether the video was real or not. I had to go online to find out whether it should go under the What category as a super odd product placement for a real video or under the Who category for a super odd cameo. It was the latter. Either way it wasn’t funny.

Where?! We get the first half of the film set in NYC hard. We get shots of the Met, Central Park, etc. The glorious sights and sounds of the city. Then the action moves to Scotland even harder. Beautiful. I like it enough to give it an A-.

When?! Exact date alert! When Hannah heads to Scotland we see a text from Thomas dated May 27th. The trip is 6 weeks and the wedding is planned 2 weeks after that. So apparently the wedding is set for the end of July. Cell phones really revolutionized our settings game. B-

Despite the incredible genericness of this film, I thought the first half was pretty pleasant. The main character was a nice guy and didn’t stoop to being bad to try to win the girl. But when the action moved to Scotland it got ridiculous real fast. Went right off the rails. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Made of Honor? More like It’s a Goner! Amirite. McDreamy goes to his native home of Scotland (I assume that is where the McDreamys are from) to win his best friend’s hand from a true blue baxter (the name for the dope left at the altar in rom coms). As long as I can stare at Patrick Dempsey all day I should be good … right? Let’s go!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I think Patrick Dempsey is very charming, it is interesting how he kind of reinvented himself years after losing relevancy as a young actor. The first thirty minutes of this film are also pretty refreshing: you have what appears to be a genuine friendship between a man and a woman, it is believable, and how Dempsey decides to give a relationship a go rings true. The lead up to him becoming the Maid of Honor is actually quite good. Spoiler alert: he gets the girl in the end. So naturally you have to do a Sequel in which we explore the nasty divorce proceedings several years later. Think Kramer vs. Kramer, but more dramatic. At the same time Tom’s Cup Caddy business is floundering because his brand is banned in Europe (probably a retaliatory act by Colin, the baxter in the original film), and he is dealing with his father’s death. It is a tear jerker, exposing the limits of human will. Can Tom save his business, reconcile with his wife, and handle his father’s estate? “Wait, is this a sequel to that lightweight romantic comedy from a few years back … I mean, all of the characters have the same names so I guess it must be. Divorce of Honor is a very weird name too.” says Leonard Maltin.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – The instant Patrick Dempsey becomes the titular Maid of Honor things get rolling into what is one of the most ridiculous romantic comedies you’ll ever see. You have a crazy basketball slam dunk sequence, they all go out to Scotland and stay in a big castle, they all participate in a Highland Games scenario, they kiss during a weird Scottish Hen Do celebration, there is the misunderstanding non-sex scene, and a horseback ride to stop the wedding. The last thirty minutes is just nuts, every cliche you can think of rolled into one movie. I should also mention that the three leads in the film are all incredibly wealthy and just have no care in the world, like tens of millions of dollars wealthy, making the entire situation even harder to parse. For the Sklognalogy I think I’ll stick to Rom Coms and go with What to Expect When you’re Expecting, just because it is kind of just a mashup of every cliche in each’s respective subgenres. WtEWYE for ensemble-cast rom coms, and Made of Honor for stop-the-wedding! rom coms.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I think this guy has decent legs. If someone asked me for a recommendation of a stop-the-wedding! romantic comedy, this is officially the one I would point to. It’s just got the perfect rich-people-problems, crazy setting, and baxter combo (the guy is the perfect baxter, straight up a perfect man by design). From the critics it is impressively named on the top 15 worst of 2008 by critics according to The Guardian. Maybe not a surprise there though, it could have been on the Brit’s radar because of its aggressive use of the Scottish setting. And 2008 was a crazy good year for bad movies, that honor is nothing to scoff at.

I’m going to do a short Sklognanlysis for the the 10 cent per coffee sleeve thing Jamie mentioned … those things probably come in a pack of 1000 for a dollar. He would get something like 0.01 cents per sleeve. Still a lot, even that low-ball would probably make him something like $200K a year (based on US statistics alone, so millions worldwide isn’t out of the realm of possibility). They should have said he used his invention money to buy a large early stake in Starbucks and that’s why he is rich, would have made more sense. And maybe that is what they meant … but 10 cents per cup? He’d be a billionaire. There is something like five million cups of coffee sold per day in the US.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

I Know What You Did Last Summer Recap

Jamie

After accidentally hitting a man with a car, four teenagers dispose of the body and vow to tell no one. A year later they all receive threatening notes regarding the accident. Can they stop this maniacal killer before it’s too late? Find out in… I Know What You Did Last Summer.

How?! Julie, Ray, Barry, and Helen are the raddest kids in town and boy howdy do they know it. Celebrating the 4th of July before they leave their podunk North Carolina town for college, they accidentally hit a man walking along the darkened road on the seaside cliffs. Fearing jail and loss of reputation the kids vow to tell no one and dispose of the body in the sea. A year later this devastating secret has wreaked havoc on their lives. Julie is struggling in school, Ray has settled for being a townie fisherman, Helen never made it big in acting, and Barry is a total asshole (but wasn’t he always?). As July 4th approaches they begin to get threatening notes hinting that their secret may not be so secret after all. These notes culminate in a murderer in a fisherman’s outfit coming after them with a giant hook. After Barry and Helen are fatally hooked by the fisherman, Ray and Julie figure out that [SPOILER ALERT] the man they hit survived! Lured onto the man’s fishing boat in a moment of panic, Julie and Ray must confront their tormentor. Ray is able to gain the upper hand and throw the man overboard. Unfortunately, the police are never able to recover a body, only his severed hand clutching a hook. Bum bum bum!

Why?! So the incredibly detailed backstory involves a fisherman named Ben Willis whose daughter is killed in an accident. He blames his daughter’s boyfriend who was driving at the time for her death. On the anniversary of the accident he sent a threatening note to the boyfriend (mistaken for the boy’s own suicide note) who despondently goes to the seaside cliffs to drink his sorrows away. There Ben Willis kills him. Presumably super satisfied with a job well done, Ben Willis proceeds to walk down the darkened road back to town when all of a sudden he gets his just desserts and is hit by our protagonists. His “corpse” is dumped in the ocean, but he is somehow able to survive. Enraged by the arrogance of these kids he vows revenge… again… a year later… again… because he’s a crazy person and everything has to happen on July 4th? I don’t know, his motivations are straight bonkers. I feel like he should have recovered from the accident and been like, “Gotta admit. Karma’s a bitch.” As for our protagonists, they just want to get paid and laid… oh, and live.

What?! It’s no secret what the coolest teens in town are drinking this summer. With a cool refreshing taste and zero calories there’s nothing to feel guilty about when you hook yourself a delicious… Diet Coke!

Who?! Nearly forgot that a band appears in the film at a beach party the teens attend just prior to MURDERING SOMEONE. According to IMDb that band is Southern Culture on the Skids and they are a staple of 90’s and 2000’s comedies. Can’t wait to hear them again in Without a Paddle.

Where?! Very nice settings film. It is made clear that this film takes place in Southport, NC. This is a real town in North Carolina and is apparently also the setting for The Birds II: Land’s End, the totally unavailable TV movie sequel to The Birds. Cool stuff. B+.

When?! Secret Holiday Film Alert! As mentioned this takes place on July 4th. Even has a fantastic scene where the killer exclaims “Happy 4th of Joooo-ly.” That is an A if I’ve ever seen one.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I Know What You Did Last Summer? I’d rather not know! Four teens are given a tough choice: face the music in a vehicular manslaughter charge, or tango with a murderous fisherman ghost. And they make a pooooor decision, let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I actually didn’t mind this film for the most part. It had a few moments of Scream in there, kind of a humorous play on tropes. If you can get past the fact that it is one of the least scary horror film you’ll ever see (and isn’t that the point?) it is probably high up on a list of solid big-release horror films made between 1995 and 2005. I would go as far to say I dug the final fight. They go two-on-one with Freddie Prinze Jr. and Jennifer Love Hewitt versus the bad guy which is actually a pleasantly equitable battle. And they have a very nice fishing boat set piece used to great effect. If anything I would remake it. Keep the core story, introduce an early kill to the film, and bring it back to the low budget slashers of the 80s. If that sounds unclear it probably is because it is unclear … I’m not sure it would fix any of the problems. I mainly just want an early kill (see below).

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – Let’s get this out of the way in this recap: neither of these films are scary. Not even for a moment. The killer has a lame ass weapon. It lends itself to some nice corpse dragging effects, but other than that they have to kind of pretend he can do more with it than hook people’s mouths (as unpleasant as that already is) … he can’t, that’s his one solid move. The acting is pretty rough despite having what appears to be a star studded cast. They also go a little far with the horror-movie-magic … you’re telling me a weirdo fisherman is clearing up a dead body and a bunch of crabs out of a trunk in broad daylight? Give me a break (fine … it was probably a delusion by Julie James, but that is even worse). It is a weak slasher, despite the occasional bright spot. It isn’t a BMT film (nor will it be), but I feel like the analogy is something like Halloween H20. Some bright spots here and there, maybe some decent kills … but still a poor excuse for a slasher. Complete with its own travesty of a sequel.

The BMT (Legacy + StreetCreditReport.com) – I don’t think this has a legacy besides I guess being on a long list of not very good late 90s horror films. And as far as street cred … there is none, nary a whisper among the critics at the time. You see, this is a bonus film through and through. It is barely BMT. It isn’t good, but it also isn’t totally bad. I generally agree with the attitude that this film would have been much better received if it came out before Scream, but got a bit of a short end of the stick because it is somewhat correctly viewed as a copycat of that superior film. The end.

I’m going to do a quick Sklognalysis here. We’ve been watching a lot of slashers recently, specifically Friday the 13th, and I feel like I’ve come to an understanding and appreciation of the genre. In I Know What You Did Last Summer, there is one thing I simply could not get past nor abide: it takes like 40 minutes before you see a kill in this film. Friday the 13th always rocked the opening kill. It gets people in the mood, gives a little preview of the killer’s MO, etc. But the thing I hesitate with is: Is it a necessity in a good slasher? Perhaps my view is colored by what might be termed the Stalker version of slashers (Scream, this, eventually Friday the 13th are examples) where the killers come and get you. There it feels like you want an early kill to get people tense about the approach of the killer. In the Cabin in the Woods killer though the good guys go to the bad guy who is kind of just chilling in the woods. There the happy-to-terrified journey is itself tense (something is wrong -> the characters slowly realize it -> first kill -> all hell breaks loose is a solid formula). Here we got a Stalker, and we needed to see him wield that sweet ice hook early and often, otherwise you lose steam and kind of end up bored. That’s my opinion: the fatal flaw of this film was no early kill. I’d even say it takes precedence over hiding the killer’s identity (that rarely works), just give me a kill!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

That’s My Boy Recap

Jamie

What?! Donny Berger is a has-been celebrity famous for a lurid affair with his middle school math teacher that produced a love child. Finding himself on the verge of prison for tax evasion, Donny must reconnect with his estranged son just days before his son’s wedding in order to somehow come up with the cash. Will he get the cash and more importantly reconnect with his son before it’s too late? Find out in… That’s My Boy.

Why?! As is the case with all Sandler films it wears its motivations on its sleeves. The cash that Donny must come up with to avoid jail is the MacGuffin of sorts. It forces him to try to reconnect with his son conveniently at a time when his son, Han Solo, is getting married and in the news. I say it’s a MacGuffin “of sorts” because once Donny shows up at the wedding weekend that plot is barely mentioned again until the very end of the film. Donny is having so much fun slumming it with some rich sexual deviants that he seems to forget all about the cash he needs. As for the antagonist of the film, Han Solo’s fiance, she is simply a classic gold digger. Wanting to marry Todd and set herself up for a life of riches even though she doesn’t really love him and cheats on him all the time. Donny to the rescue.

How?! Once Donny shows up at the wedding he he first tries to scam Han Solo into earning him some quick cash by filming a television special. When Han Solo refuses he settles in for the weekend pretending to be Han Solo’s best friend and winning the love and adoration of the bride’s family. Unable to get rid of Donny, Han Solo slowly but surely embraces his estranged dad as they go one increasingly disgusting adventures together. Eventually Han Solo figures out the scam for cash that Donny was running and he boots him out of the wedding only to have Donny discover that Han Solo’s fiance is cheating on Han Solo with her brother. You read that right. That’s the actual storyline. Of course Donny swoops into the wedding, reveals the secret incest, and saves the day. The end.

Who?! I don’t think you could honestly write about this film without talking about the extended Vanilla Ice cameo. He is TERRIBLE. He’s not even playing a character. Just a slight caricature of himself. Still TERRIBLE. Additionally, we have former NFL coach Rex Ryan show up as a Boston super fan accountant. He is also TERRIBLE. Finally, gotta love films within films and we are given a couple scenes from the Donny Berger TV movie starring Ian Ziering as Donny Berger. Good stuff.

Where?! Great settings film. Donny is from Massachusetts and still lives in Massachusetts and Han Solo is getting married on Cape Cod. Mentioned all the time. Only thing that could have made it better was if it was set on Martha’s Vineyard. B.

When?! A little debate here and some suspicion that they changed the temporal setting in post. No debate at all that this is a SECRET HOLIDAY FILM ALERT. There is a wedding announcement paper that shows that Han Solo’s wedding is part of the “Memorial Weekend Weddings” edition. Also mentioned verbally later. Online there are some assertions that it takes place during Patriots Day Weekend. Understandable confusion since a marathon plays a role at the end of the film. It would seem that it may have been edited to match the release weekend as when they talk about the marathon there are several odd edits that suggest that it was indeed referred to as the Boston Marathon at some point. Solid B+ despite the change. Would have been an extra level holiday film if they used Patriots Day though.

Not sure if you could tell, but I got a kick writing Han Solo as one of the characters. Did it as many times as I could. Let’s throw it to Patrick for some BMT straight talk. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! That’s My Boy? More like Oh Boy! Amirite or amirite … right? Adam Sandler is comedy (and box office) gold, and this is in no ways based solely on my film preferences from when I was 13 years old … what could go wrong!? Let’s get into it.

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – This is honestly the most successful Sandler film I’ve seen in awhile. Personally, I can often find things to like in Sandler films (In Blended I thought Barrymore and Sandler continued to have amazing chemistry, and Aniston is charming as always in Let’s Go With It). This is the first one in a while where I thought Sandler himself (goofy voice and all) did an okay job. Sequelize then brother! Let’s fast forward to, you guessed it, Donny Berger and Miss McGarricle’s wedding day which is naturally going to be broadcast live on VH1. But guess who’s here to ruin the show? Donny’s other son and Todd’s half-brother, Luke Skywalker Berger! Can Todd save the day just like Donny did for him? That’s My Boy: Dream Wedding … get it? That was the name of Nick and Vanessa’s reality wedding on TLC … whatever, amazing deep cut.

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – So what was wrong with the film? Boring sagging middle, cursing for the sake of cursing, the usual unnecessary violence, and a terrible ending to the film (perplexing really). And as usual with Sandler films the sin is Greed: he can’t get enough of that sweet product placement you know (in this case Rolling Rock). I’m tempted by Sloth (the jokes are indeed lazy, Vanilla Ice merely acting terribly is supposed to be a joke I think and is meant to sustain a whole chunk of the finale). Predictably unfunny unfortunately.

The BMT: Legacy – This will become merely a footnote in our quest to complete Sandler’s filmography I think. Unlike the last two films we watched, this one isn’t BMT material more because it is slightly too good, and when it is bad it is just kind of loud-swearing bad. Like a 20 I think on the BMeTric scale, definitely bad, but you can kind of get away with liking it and it is not so boring I wouldn’t sit down and watch it again (especially because Samberg is great as usual).

A very very quick Sklognalysis at this point just to, again, mention the other routine feature of Sandler films besides blatant product placement. That’s right! Unnecessary celebrity (usually sports) cameos! In this case an amazingly brutal cameo by Rex Ryan as a Boston-area lawyer helping Sandler out with his legal troubles. Terrible at acting and basically given one job: pretend to like Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. It’s not him that’s bad, to be clear, it is the material. Oh and Dan Patrick is in it as well, but he always is. Booooo!

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs

Wagons East! Recap

Jamie

What?! After a group of settlers realize that the Wild West is super lame they all decide to head back East. Led by a former doctor, Phil, and a wagon master with a secret, Harlow, they strike out eastward much to the chagrin of some city fat cats who will do anything to stop them. Will they evade the traps set by the fat cats and make it back home? Find out in… Wagons East!

Why?! As mentioned above, the settlers have all come to the conclusion that the West sucks balls for one reason or another. It is the entire motivation for the plot of this film. Once they set out, others realize that quitting is OK and the eastward trek goes viral. This spooks a bunch of railroad tycoons and land developers who are about to get a major investment in railroad construction if they can achieve a high enough population in the West. They determine that they must stop the wagons, and thus the trend, by any means necessary in order to preserve the investment.

How?! While all the settlers hate the West, they also don’t want to be seen as quitters. A series of good omens and the arrival of a wagon master, albeit a drunk one, convinces them that quitting is OK and they set out on the trail. The businessmen looking to stop the wagon train first hire a local gunslinger to do the deed, but the wagons evade his traps by pure dumb luck. Even when the wagon train has their own bad luck, such as stumbling into a Native American war camp, they come out unscathed due to the common sense in their quest. The film basically proceeds like this, with more traps evaded and bad luck turning fortuitous. In the climactic scene, the US Cavalry is called in and Harlow challenges the leader to a fight. He wins and the wagon train proceeds without hindrance to St. Louis. If that sounds dumb and boring then you’re not far off.

Who?! No Planchet or cameos/musicians/athletes/presidents in this one. There is a notable character that went uncredited. That’s J.P. Moreland, the land developer that is trying to stop the wagon train. He’s played by Gailard Sartain (what a name!), who we know from most of the Ernest films and television show (usually as the character “Chuck,” although as “Jake (Chef #1)” in Ernest Goes to Camp). Presumably this is a case where he realized how bad the film was and chose to go uncredited, as his part is fairly significant.

Where?! Interesting settings film. We are shown in the beginning that Prosperity is located in the New Mexico Territory. From there they travel vaguely East until arriving in St. Louis. Pretty good all things considered. Not sure I’d count this as a setting that is vital to the plot though… The West isn’t really exact enough and it could have been set in Colorado or Arizona. B-

When?! I usually fear films set in the past or future. They are often satisfied with simply saying “Hey, we’re in the past/future!” and leaving it at that. Wagons East! is fortunately not one of those cases. We get some nice reference years to try to nail down the date. We are told that Phil is a former surgeon in the war. This is presumably the Civil War, so we can place the film sometime after 1865. Later we are told that Harlow led the Donner Party “about 20 years ago.” The Donner Party set out in May 1846, so makes sense that we are looking at about 1866-1867. As for the time of year, I get to set off a little Secret Holiday Film Alert! That’s because while the film is mostly vague on exactly when the wagon train is travelling, we are shown explicitly that they arrive at St. Louis on July 4th! Happy 4th of Jooooo-ly, everybody! B+

Now that you know the ins and outs of all that makes up Wagons East! we can dive into the BMT-ness of the film.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Wagons East!! More like Ragged Least! A parody starring classic comedians and slamming a genre cresting at the peak of its power? What could go wrong? Actually … seriously, what went wrong? Let’s get into it! Oh … and I’m trying something new. A twist to The Good, The Bad, The BMT. Basically they will now function as three minigames. Usually these will be the three that follow. After that, if there was a Homework Sklog-signment or other thing to discuss it will go there, otherwise it will be these three games. Let’s go!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Somewhere buried under the overlong unfunny mess of a production is a simple idea: Westerns are peaking in popularity after a lengthy period without releases in the 80s (Dances With Wolves and Unforgiven won best picture two and four years prior), so it is time to skewer them like Blazing Saddles did before! In that vein I think you could get away with a Reboot. But how you ask? Westerns aren’t really having a moment anymore. Ah, but it wouldn’t be a parody of Westerns … it is a parody of reboots! Complete with CGI Candy teaser at the end! Is that gross and weird or bizarrely brilliant, skewering the resurrection of characters played by now deceased actors in a reboot of one of the worst films ever? There is nothing to salvage here is the point, but like the reported (and abandoned) Men in Black / 21 Jump Street cross-over film, skewering the idea of bullshit crossovers, reboots, and origin stories is in.

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – Here I will try and identify the sin committed to create this film. Greed? Did they want that sweet Western boom money? Pride? In their hubris did they think they knew Westerns so well it would be easy to nail the genre? No … sloth. Produced by a company going out of business they hired people ill-suited for the job resulting in a movie containing almost no humor. Too lazy to rewrite or edit the movie makes no sense. Richard Lewis phones it in, literally wearing an 80’s NYC comedian blazer and mullet. They don’t even bother to give Candy a character (Ebert nailed that in his review). Top to bottom just terrible.

The BMT: Legacy – This movie is too boring to be good, like a ten in the BMeTric. The legacy of this film though is interesting. It is a rarity, a parody of Westerns. Alongside Blazing Saddles, and A Million Ways to Die in the West it comes along only so often. Parodies themselves are somewhat rare. The legacy is that this is literally the worst example of an extremely niche genre. And as such it will always have a place in BMT lore. Even if I never want to watch it again and it makes me sad. It has a place, it is a warning.

I’ll close with a short Sklognalysis as well. Mainly because it is astonishing to me that parody westerns managed to come out exactly 20 years apart right as the genre was cresting. In 1974 Blazing Saddles came out after the glut of Westerns in the late-60s. In 1994 Wagons East in response to things like Dances With Wolves. And in 2014 came A Million Ways To Die in the West. There always seems to be one. So what can we expect in 2034 I wonder. Mull on that.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 Recap

Jamie

What?! Baby geniuses are back, Jack! Bobbin’s World daycare/preschool has hit it big and ready to launch a multimedia empire with media mogul Bill Biscane. Little do they know that he’s got a plan to use the partnership to launch mind control kids TV shows. Uh oh! Can a new generation of baby geniuses stop him before it’s too late? Find out in… Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2!

Why?! World domination, duh. Biscane hopes to get children across the world addicted to his television shows so that he makes gobs of money. And he can’t have it fail because, as we are told several different times, he sunk so much money in the R&D for the mind control technology (reminder: this is a children’s film). What isn’t clear about the entire plan is why he gets Stan Bobbins (little brother of Dan from the first film) involved. Biscane owns the technology… why even involve anyone else (particularly what seems like a company run out of a single location)? Such hubris is ultimately his downfall as the the babies at Bobbin’s World seem to want only one thing: to stop him at all costs.

How?! Alright, so in order to get the children of the world addicted to his television network, Biscane needs only to put a DVD into a DVD player and have it play. Simple, right? Wrong! Not when you only have one copy of the disc and employ bumbling idiots as your goons. Just when they are about to play the disc it falls into the stroller of the babies. Oh no! When the goons attempt to get it back they are stopped by a superhero kid named Kahuna who bears a striking resemblance to Whit and Sly from the first film (but that would make no sense. So why did they use the same actor? Beats me). It turns out that Biscane is actually an East German child kidnapper named Kane and that he has spent his life concocting plans to kidnap/control children only to be foiled by Kahuna every time. Kahuna in turn is a kid who drank a magic potion that has kept him young forever and super strong and smart. You following this? Anyway, now these four babies and some other unimportant side characters are caught in the middle of this eternal struggle of good vs. evil. Kahuna and the babies come up with a plan to stop Biscane, but Biscane foils it and captures Kahuna. Oh no! It must be over. Wrong… Kahuna then… uh… gets the disc back (yeah, that’s the ticket) and then… uh… they duke it out and the babies turn into superbabies and they beat up everyone and everyone is happy and Jon Voight becomes a creepy baby Jon Voight. The end. See, this plot is tight.

Who?! I 100% have to give a shout out to the weird-ass cameos in the film. Not only do we get a dose of Whoopi Goldberg playing herself and thanking Kahuna for saving some kids, but we also get a cameo by the boy band O-Town formed as part of MTV’s Making the Band in 2000 and some canned footage of George W. Bush waiting his turn to speak to Kahuna. This, of course, makes this the best president/musician-as-actor film in history.

Where?! Despite being on the cusp of a multimedia empire it would seem that Bobbin’s World hasn’t yet expanded to outside the LA area. This is confirmed as Kahuna’s hideout is straight up in the ‘H’ of the Hollywood sign. Wow. That’s an unexpected A. Using landmarks to perfect effect.

When?! I don’t recall an exact date coming up at any point (other than the flashbacks, which take place after World War I and in the 1960s), but there is a totally random moment where a side character is disappointed that a boy just wants her to tutor him rather than take her to homecoming. It also specifies that she goes to Fillmore High School which makes sense as Fillmore, CA isn’t too far from LA. Creeping about online it seems like their homecoming is usually end of October. That’s like a B-. Semi-exact but vague. Hoping I’m not flagged on too many FBI lists for the searches I just performed.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2? More like Super Crazy, Sweet Baby Jesuses Too! Amirite? Let’s see, thinly veiled allusions to Nazis in a film starring literally babies using creepy CGI. Could this be real, or is this just fantasy? This was real and it was dog poo in my face! Let’s get into it!

  • The Good – Not much. Actually nothing? Maybe getting the babies to act was impressive enough, although I wouldn’t say it was better than the first movie. There are flashes of humor in Voight’s performance as well, he has a lot of fun with it. That is it though. Let that sink in.
  • The Bad – Nearly everything. Shoddily made. 95% of the film is ADR voice work including Jon Voight’s lines. The story is ludicrous. The sets are ludicrous. The lines people say are ludicrous. It is a poorly thought out and put together film, top to bottom. I’ll save you the trouble and not list out everything individually. I’ll leave you with this: they totally unnecessarily connects the original film to this new one by making Baio the brother of MacNicols … why not just say Baio was MacNicols? Because you needed him to be kind of a sell out horrible person? Why not just write it differently?
  • The BMT – A resounding yes. This movie certainly earns its place on the IMDb bottom 100 (top ten even). It is fascinating that a film like this would be released to over 1000 theaters and even record foreign box office takes. This film probably is the pinnacle of the Bad Kids’ Film genre. This isn’t a genre we typically take part in because early in the history of BMT we watched Dudley Do-Right, and realized it was, one, not that bad, and two, just impossible to make fun of. This earns the place in BMT by sheer force of will and Jon Voight’s tour de force. Really just an incredibly tone deaf and weird to the nth degree acting performance. Steven Paul must have cashed in a few favors to get this made. Considering there is a whole television series after this (released as I think five films) there must have been money to be made, but I find even that unbelievable. In the spirit of the BMT Hall of Fame we introduced recently this would earn its ticket based on the fact that is is the peak of a full genre, the kids’ movie genre. Nothing will ever beat it.

The game this week is tough. I think I’m going to go with a Sklognalysis where I’ll draw a comparison between this movie and a movie in our past. The movie I’m thinking of is pretty niche: The Night They Saved Christmas, a TV movie from 1984. I saw this recently at the bequest of my brother who was feeling very nostalgic about the film. First: would not recommend, the movie is super weird, and mostly boring. But the comparison I made is between the strange North Pole sled depot (with pools of water everywhere and everything just kind of looking like It’s a Small World ride in the Magic Kingdom) and then also with the character of Ed played by Paul Williams (the songwriter … he wrote Evergreen with Barbara Streisand which was nominated for an Emmy, Grammy, and Academy Award) which, in his epic creepiness, operated very similarly to the Kahuna in this film. He has a weird lair, is a 50ish year old man in a child’s body, and puts children in harm’s way for his own selfish desires. They are both so creepy though … watching these movies back-to-back I think would at least make you think “huh, it seemed like we learned our lesson back in 1984 … guess not”. And doesn’t that make this movie at least a bit special in an anachronistic way?

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Friday the 13th Part III Recap

Jamie

What?! Jason’s back (for the second time, not the third… or at least not as the killer… it’s weird) and ready to kill again. After surviving his machete wound from Part II, Jason is targeting a group of regional theater actors (I presume) that take an ill-timed vacation in the woods. Will these sexed-up, weed-smoking teenagers be able to survive their encounter with evil? Friday the 13th Part III!

Why?! I love horror films. The motivation is quite simple: Jason is made to kill and teenagers are made to try to survive (usually ineffectively). There are a couple of interesting subplots for the characters though. One is an aspiring actor, there is a couple that is young and pregnant, and the main girl organized the entire trip to try to confront her demons regarding a traumatic experience she had at the lake house. Coincidentally that traumatic experience involves Jason who just happened to wake up from a 5-year hiatus the day before the film takes place. Ouch. Bad luck.

How?! Uh… in like a thousand different ways. Jason’s MO is generally to sneak around a place and slit people’s throats or bury an axe or machete in their head. No different for this film. This is the entry where creative kills became a thing, particularly a harpoon death, death by red hot poker, a guy getting his head crushed and having an eye pop out, and easily the goriest scene of the franchise thus far where someone is chopped in half. Don’t worry though, most of these things are more hilarious than actually scary.

Who?! Friday the 13th hadn’t totally embraced how ridiculous they all were quite yet, so the jokesters in the first three films aren’t quite true Planchets. This film almost got there, though, with the character of Shelly. Shelly is a fat, fro-sporting aspiring actor (who is easily the worst actor in the film). He plays pranks by pretending to get killed and be a murderer. It would be meta and somewhat funny if the character wasn’t such a downer. He spends nearly the entire film being like “you all hate me cause I’m ugly and fat. Waaaaa!” At least be funny once in awhile, man. Otherwise it’s no fun for any of us.

Where?! It’s clear through the first three films that we are located at or very near to Crystal Lake. Several indications tell us that we’re in New Jersey in the first film, and it’s confirmed in the second film. Thank God, because this was the first film to be (very clearly) filmed in California. But it gets a New Jersey tally as it is near Crystal Lake. C-.

When?! As noted in Part II’s recap we know that this film takes place in 1984 and is set in June or July. We can be pretty sure this film starts on a Friday as the group of teenagers are off to the lake house for a weekend getaway (starring Selena Gomez). This leads to one of the most commonly cited timelines for the series with this film taking place on Friday, July 13th into the 14th. This means the first film takes place July 10th-13th. Apparently the move to July is rooted in the script which states explicitly that the film takes place on Friday the 13th (which could only occur in July). Fine whatever. I would prefer it was set in June and they didn’t worry about the exact days of the week, as June 13th is Jason’s birthday and it would make more sense that he kills on or around that anniversary. This timeline made me sad. C-.

Those are the W’s, but there are only three letters we care about here at HQ. Whether this film was B-M-T.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Friday the 13th Part III? More like Copying Halloween Part III! That’s right, I watched the first three in arguably Hollywood’s worst horror mega-franchise, could three times be the charm? … In a way, but maybe not in the way you’d expect. Let’s get into it.

  • The Good – The lore in this series is strong and, when you compare it to Halloween, it definitely shows more promise than where Halloween 4, 5 and 6 ended up. Not exactly fair because I assume Friday the 13th Part 5 is really where things just go off the rails. Still, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this series. It gave me a new appreciation for the slasher genre (not joking) which I still didn’t quite understand with Halloween. We’ll get into that a bit later.
  • The Bad – The 3D nonsense was insane, you can kind of see how terrible and beholden they were to it at the time. I mean … Shelly. The franchise itself suffers from one big issue in parts 2 and III: they seem to go all out for the first kill and they just nothing but nothing for at least 30 minutes afterwards. Then they are stumbling all over themselves to kill off at least 10 people in the films. If I were to rank the classic tropes this movie created or fell into: (1) Terrible young actors, (2) obsession with gruesome kills over genuine tension, (3) too many kills such that the movie grinds to a halt to just murder people in clusters, (4) too many Chekov’s red hot pokers such that the movie became very linear and predictable. Again, we’ll get a bit more into the pros and cons in a bit.
  • The BMT – Honestly, no. Not any of the three. Shelly gets you close, but he’s just on the correct side of tongue in cheek I think. The budgets are too small, the lore is too good, and the films are just a bit too self aware. I assume that the fourth (the final chapter) kills Jason and I assume zombie Jason represents the franchise crossing the Rubicon. And seriously, I can’t wait to sit down and watch two or three more. I understand slasher obsession a bit now.

I’ve already written a lot, but here I think I need to go into a bit of Sklognalysis. The main reason being that the lore of this film is kind of incredible. The first three in this franchise see the evolution of the bad guy from Jason’s mother, to a bag-wearing monstrous mamma’s boy in the woods, to a psycho man in a mask. Each film involves a lake (from which one can oddly assume Jason draws his power), each film occurs in about a single day, each film has 10+ kills, each film has a variety of weapons, and each film culminates with a storm. The films start with a replay of the previous film, and in each a single person survives and has a horrible dream to end the film, and is driven insane and taken away by the perplexed police. In the recap for part 2 I rewrote this trilogy a bit, but even without the rewrite I think the franchise may stand alone in showing evolution while being true to its lore and predecessors. They evolve the killer while stopping short of explicitly falling back to supernatural explanation. I don’t know … I kind of loved this first trilogy, even if all three are objectively poorly made films. There is something about them. Lucky for everyone there is eight other main franchise films to destroy its legacy.

I am genuinely excited to watch the entire series and then watch the Crystal Lake Memories (it is a 7 hour long documentary!).

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Dirty Grandpa Recap

Jamie

Trying out something new with my part. I’m gonna try to use the 6W’s (Who, What, Where, When, hoW, and Why) to explain the what and how of the film at hand. With that in mind I’m going to keep my part totally intact rather than throw it to Patrick in the middle. So get prepared for some text.

What?! Zac Efron is roped into driving his foul-mouthed grandpa (Robert De Niro) to Boca the week before his wedding, but gets sidetracked and ends up in Daytona Beach during spring break, much to the dismay of his fiancee.

Why?! The apparent impetus of the film changes throughout because De Niro’s character constantly lies about his intentions. At first it is simply that Robert De Niro needs a ride to his house in Boca… gotta say, not the best film idea. Just driving an old person around (although, that’s basically the plot of Nebraska and Driving Miss Daisy and they were both nominated for Best Picture, so what do I know). Once that lie is revealed Robert De Niro claims he just wants to get laid and took him along as a wingman. Ha! Get it? It’s funny because he’s old and he wants to have sex. Ha! But that also turns out to be a lie. Finally he admits he actually roped Efron into the trip because he was a shitty dad who raised a shitty son (Efron’s dad) and doesn’t want Efron to turn out the same by marrying the wrong girl and being a shitty lawyer. Awwwww… or something.

How? Funny you should ask. If not for a wildly improbable coincidence (they meet an acquaintance of Efron’s on the way to Florida and they immediately fall in love) then the plan wouldn’t have worked out so well for De Niro. If you follow the storyline closely you’ll see that De Niro’s original plan seems to be that he is going to get Efron totally shitfaced at spring break and take compromising photos of him. Then at his rehearsal brunch he would put those photos up and ruin his wedding and get him fired. Apparently Efron is supposed to then be ecstatic and thankful for losing his job and fiancee. The real version of this film is that Efron ends up just hating his grandpa… probably almost as much as I hated this film. Instead he loses his job and fiancee but is OK with it because he realized he’s actually in love with someone else.

Who!? Rather than listing off character in the film (which would be somewhat dry), I’m going to highlight a smaller character in the film that I surprisingly like or really hated. I actually liked Jason Mantzoukas’ turn as Pam. The character is just Rafi from The League and guess what? I like Rafi from The League. If it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t have laughed at all. I think the screenwriters knew this as well since what seems like a super minor character shows up like 8 different times and plays a vital role in the climax of the film.

Where!? Dirty Grandpa really did a doozy on its settings. If you weren’t close watching like I was then you may have become very confused as Efron zipped around the Southeastern seaboard. We started pretty clearly in Atlanta. De Niro needed a ride to Boca so we know we’re going to spend most of the film in Florida. They then immediately make a detour to spring break in Daytona Beach. How do we know? Why an obese gentleman rubs his breasts on Efron’s car while screaming “Daytona Beach!!!” Obviously. Once the shit hits the fan we see Efron drive back to Atlanta, only to find out that his heart belongs in Florida and we drive immediately back (conveniently passing a ‘Welcome to Florida’ sign). Phew. This certainly borders on A territory. Like Justin and Kelly before it Spring Break almost becomes a character in itself in the course of the film. But it’s just not quite vital enough. I’m going to put it at B. Better than C territory, but not important enough to the plot.

When?! This is the funniest question to answer. Whoever was in charge of the continuity in the film dropped the ball a little bit. We are given a beautiful exact date for the film. Reading from a newspaper a character explains that Efron is getting married, “This weekend. Saturday, March 27th.” It is perfection. However, when you ponder for a minute March 27th wasn’t on a Saturday in 2016… the two closest years are 2010 and 2021 because of the leap year. We know it can’t take place in the future because De Niro’s driver’s license is valid, yet expires in 2018. So it’s either a 2010 period piece or they screwed up the day of the week. I would guess the latter. It was probably in the script when it was written in 2010 and they just didn’t change that random date. How could they possibly know that a crazy person would come along and rain on their stupid parade. Anyway, it gets an A- for how specific and weirdly vital the late-March setting is.

Jesus, we really blew this one out. Maybe I need to rethink the rhetorical question method (called RhetorWrecked… boom). Luckily no one reads this anyways so who cares?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Dirty Grandpa?! More like Shitty, Bland, Flawed! (I made a list of half-rhymes, I’m pretty proud of myself). Only one question racing through my mind during this film: Am I Unfinished Business angry or just regular bad-comedy angry? Actually to be more exact the phrasing was “Am I like … unfinished business naaaaaangry?” My brain was just trying to entertain itself at the time … let’s get into it.

  • The Good – Efron can sing well. Jason Mantzoukas as Pam was indeed a delight if you like The League. He just plays Rafi the entire time, so that works fine.
  • The Bad – I have a little sklognalysis below about what was really getting me naaaaaangry during this film. But De Niro’s character might as well have just been a string of curses strung between “heart warming” I’m-old family stuff. His character kind of doesn’t make any sense. Efron is boring and his trajectory is unbelievable. The entire temporal and geographic landscape of the film is also just weird. They’re in Atlanta, then Florida, and they are there for what seems like five days (they were supposed to be gone for one). There are many many things to dislike about the film, but the cardinal sin? I laughed zero times.
  • The BMT – Yes and no. Yes because I would put this with Tammy and Unfinished Business as another example of an anti-comedy where comedy is replaced with anger and cursing. No because it is an unfunny garbage comedy.

And I’ll close with a little Sklognalysis deep dive. There were two cop characters in the film. Their introduction is promising (they are joshing around, but in a “you are dumb, you are in jail, have fun being an idiot in jail” kind of way), but then Pam (Mantzoukas) pops out and they are just like “oh, you were selling crack to children, but we like you Pam, so it’s all cool!” Their characters aggravated me to no end. Why? Because they were absurd, but taken in wildly different directions from moment to moment whenever convenient.

Exhibit A: Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle – The cop parody in this film extends along the Keystone Kops vector of idiocy, and along the Arrested Development vector of humorous brutality (if there is such a thing these days), etc. They are taken along the vector of past comedies and, perhaps, real life experiences to their logical conclusion. Along the vector.

Exhibit B: Superbad – Inverting expectations. McLovin’s expectations are that the police are going to arrest him and be jerks. They instead end up as fun loving and helpful. It works by playing off a common experience in an unexpected way.

Exhibit C: Dirty Grandpa – In this film Pam himself represents the logical conclusion for a drug dealer (or at least a common portrayal, fun loving and harmless). And that’s where the juxtaposition falls apart. The cops are at turns corrupt, but understanding to Pam. They are mean, but not really to Pam, and not really in general. They are inconsistent, but worse yet … they are not consistently along the “cop parody” trajectories you’d expect, but rather switch between the two aforementioned types: fun loving, and brutally idiotic.

Going against type can be refreshing, but here it doesn’t work because they aren’t consistent. It was aggravating and broke me out of the movie. Their ubiquitous presence also throws the balance of the film off in a way as well because it makes Daytona (and eventually the southeast US in general) feel very small. Without them the film would be more dull. But with them it fails at being at the very least self-consistent.

I call it the Along The Vector theory of parody. Without a solid case of reverting expectations, always default to parody in the direction of expectations. When when you choose a vector, stick with it.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs