The Snowman Recap

Harry Hole is a gritty Oslo detective struggling with alcoholism. When a string of murders start, he and his partner suspect it’s the work of a savage serial killer. Can they catch the monster before it’s too late? Find out in… The Snowman.

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

But first, the quiz all you kids are clamoring for … The Snowman! Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

  1. In the film J.K. Simmons (you know … the guy who was like … there doing things) is a businessman pushing for Oslo to obtain hosting rights to what event?
  2. Harry Hole’s ex-girlfriend Rakel is dating a very nice (almost overly nice … hmmmm) doctor named Mathias. What type of medicine does Mathias practice?
  3. Harry Hole is a cop that don’t play by no one’s rules, so naturally he goes rogue to investigate Katerine Bratt’s father’s suicide (murder? Da da da) in Bergen. Along the way he meets Mathias who is attending a conference, what was the subject matter of this conference?
  4. In the beginning of the film, when Harry Hole discovers the little girl hiding in her basement and decides to dunk all over Katerine’s sloppy investigative skills, what animal was the girl wearing the mask of?
  5. What detail connects all of the victims of The Snowman Killer, how does he choose the women his is going to kill? You could go into more detail about his M.O., but do you really want to?

I full expect Jamie to have gotten a 100% again (EDIT: he did not, but who can blame him? This movie was a complete mess), although there are some bonus points to be had, particularly in the first question. Back to the 6W’s!


How?! Oh man, Harry Hole is such a mess. Waking up drunk, not going to work, and dealing with a break-up with his ex-girlfriend (as he struggles to continue to be in her son’s life). But he’s obviously the best goddamned police detective Oslo has, so back off! Anyway, he just needs a juicy new case to keep his head straight. Turns out this case is the work of a serial killer that his new partner is already familiar with. While Harry seems to find links between the women murdered and their personal life involving adultery and children out of wedlock, his partner becomes convinced that it’s the work of a prominent businessman in town. As they investigate each murder the killer seems to toy with Harry, sending him notes, setting him up to meet victims before they are murdered, and framing a suspect as The Snowman. This culminates in the murder of his partner by The Snowman as she attempts to further investigate the businessman. When Harry finally gets too close to the murderer it is revealed that he is his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. He has kidnapped her and her son and taken them to his childhood home. In a final confrontation The Snowman is killed by falling through the ice on a frozen river. Harry wins again just like he always does and always will in the many sequels this wildly successful film will have… jk. This was terribly boring and unsuccessful. THE END.

Why?! Due to the nature of this film this is actually difficult to answer. Harry Hole is solving the crime because he is a detective. Duh. Boring. But the killer seems to be killing women because they have affairs… or is it that they are having children out of wedlock… or is it that they are having children who never know their fathers… or is it that they are having abortions? It’s all a little murky because the killer’s MO seems to change depending on his mood. Oh yeah and he also kills random people to try to cover his tracks… whatever. It all stems from his childhood in which he was the product of a violent affair that resulted in the suicide of his mother.

What?! No major product placement or plot devices so I’ll use this space to talk about the adaptation from the book, which I read years ago. I commend them on the changes they made to fit the story to a cinematic release. It’s pretty common now to take a story with a built in fan base and adapt it straight. They certainly didn’t do that here. At the same time almost all the changes made were for the worse or at least more confusing… that’s all I got.

Who?! There is a very special thanks to Truls Kontny, head of the Film Commission Norway, for obvious reasons. I’d rather reiterate the weirdness of Val Kilmer in this film. It’s understandable but still shocking that not more was made of his involvement in the film. He obviously has been significantly impacted physically from his illness and it was at times hard to watch him struggle through his scenes. Hate to say they should have recast his part but… yes, they probably should have.

Where?! Norway, duh, they gave a special thanks to Truls Kontny after all. If they had kept the book’s ending of Harry hanging off the iconic ski jump that overlooks Oslo then this would get an A… as it is it is just heavily set in Oslo but able to be set elsewhere. Like, if this film was made 20 years ago it would have been set in Alaska and starred Sly Stallone who wouldn’t have been an alcoholic but rather addicted to health and fitness. B+.

When?! Harry buys concert tickets as a birthday present for Friday, November 21st. We see him go to the concert so all the events of the film occur on or around that day. Weird thing is that you have to jump to 2020 or go back to 2014/2008/etc. to get a November 21st on a Friday. I guess I would think maybe this took place in 2008 or before since the book was set in 2004 and written in 2007… or they didn’t really care much. B+.

The murkiness of the motivations is part of the mess that is this film. Not only does it sometimes seem like parts of the film are missing, but it also seems to mix and match it with portions of the book. This messes with the internal logic of the film because while we see some motivation of the killer derived from childhood trauma (slightly different than in the book), the rest of the murders aren’t changed significantly enough to match the new motivation. Problematic. It’s actually startling that this film was released in this state. Should have thought about reshoots maybe. It did no one any favors and seems to have harmed the reputation of a young director in the process. And I didn’t even mention Val Kilmer. Egad. Patrick?


‘Ello everyone! When I am shaken awake by a terrible dream, sweating in the cold moonlight, staring out into the clear London night, I tremble, my mind running a thousand miles per hour over the anxieties to come upon morning. My heartbeat slowing, I whisper to myself “At least I’m not the person who had to edit The Snowman” and fall soundlessly asleep. Let’s get into it.

The Good (Sklognalysis) – I like Fassbender and many of the side actors in the film. The vistas are beautiful, what more could you ask for? Well … we’ll get to that. But if this movie was a screensaver it would be just magnifique. Unfortunately it’s actual intention is to entertain, sooooo … A tiny Sklognalysis to end it. The rumors surrounding this movie are basically that the production started before the director even got on board, they couldn’t afford to film in Norway as long as necessary, and thus only about 85% of the script was actually filmed. This is what I would call an uneditable film. The material wasn’t there to fashion a story out of the pieces, it is an editor’s nightmare. Given the condition of Val Kilmer (his voice still recovering from throat cancer and thus totally dubbed) it is pretty obvious they were not allowed to reshoot … it is just bonkers. Just, absolutely incredible stuff. Once the Bad Movie Twins Media Empire is launched we’ll get to the bottom of these mysteries.

The Bad (Sklogcabulary Quiz) – Val Kilmer is completely dubbed in this film and barely appears in it. I needed to come up with a catchy description of what this kind of represented and settled on:

Star Poser (n.) – An actor hired to bring star power to a film who instead, ironically, ends up being the weakest part.

Val Kilmer, in this film, is a Star Poser. It is no slight to Val Kilmer, but someone had to tell him he just couldn’t do it. His voice is shot and the voiceover is just … you couldn’t find a voice actor who could kind of sound like him? It is just weird. I’ve covered it several times, but the film is just put together very very poorly. They must have just had nothing to work with because the result is kind of indescribably bad.

The BMT (Legacy / – The legacy I think is that this is kind of a rare example of a film I watched juuust after the Razzie awards were given where I thought “huh, kind of surprising this didn’t get a nod”. Most of the time we hit the big targets, so it is pretty surprising we hit something just a little too late to put it in our current year worst at the Smaddies Baddies. And street cred? Woof. Fourth worst at both AV Club and Variety. What more could we ask for really?

I did not read the book this was based on, but I can say with assurance this was very very Norway. Continue to check out the evolving Map Streets Map Alright! as we add more European countries Sklog-packing across Europe.

Quiz Answers

The answers to the quiz this week were: (1) The XV Winter Sports World Cup. I will accept just the Winter Sports World Cup obviously, I’m not a lunatic. (2) I’m not exactly sure where he got the time to go to medical school given all the killing he’s been doing (spoiler alert? Why are you reading this if you care about spoilers?), but he is a plastic surgeon, which is what makes … (3) The fact that he is going to a hormone treatment conference all the more suspicious (hmmm, wasn’t the killer obsessed with fertility … more on that in a second). (4) She is wearing the mask of a donkey. I can’t help but like Michael Fassbender and he does an absolutely great donkey impression, Oscar for Best Sound Mixing right there IMO. (5) They all have or were going to have children to unknown fathers. Although weirdly he did know his father was a cop, that is, presumably why he toys with them … this movie was pretty sloppy guys, unpopular opinion alert.


The Sklogs


The Country Bears Recap

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

For all those Country Bear-heads out there, you know what time it is … Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

  1. In one of the more dire sequences in the film, the band discovers that Ted Bedderhead is working as a wedding singer living in an apartment above who’s garage?
  2. When Ted Bedderhead declares that he won’t play in the concert a distraught Beary quotes: “The people who love you no matter what, that’s your family” causing him to run home as fast as his little bear legs can carry him. Who said this quote to Beary?
  3. In an opening sequence including the only example of wire-fu in The Country Bears, it is indicated that Fred Bedderhead, the band’s harmonica player, inventing what?
  4. At the beginning of the film we see Beary watching a recording of a musical documentary about The Country Bears in which they recount the band’s farewell tour amid musicians besmirching their good names for cameo money. What was the name of that tour?
  5. Not counting Beary Barrington (or Roadie, played by M. C. Gainey, the band’s human drummer) how many bears play in The Country Bears band? Straight up … think about the fact that I got this question wrong and how fundamental this fact is to the entire film I had literally just watched … think about it.

As usual, answers will be at the end of Patrick’s section.


Beary feels like he just doesn’t belong and so runs away to find his place in the world with the help of his heroes The Country Bears. Will he be able to get the band back together, save Country Bear Hall, and discover the meaning of life before it’s too late? Find out in… The Country Bears.

How?! Beary Barrington seems just a little different. That’s because he’s a bear and his family are humans. Thinking that he might fit in better elsewhere he runs away to get advice from those he identified most with: The Country Bears. They are of course a band of animatro… I mean, totally real bears who used to be one of the biggest bands in the world. After mauling several civilians to death (one can only presume), Beary arrives at Country Bear Hall to find that it is about to be demolished by the evil Reed Thimple. Oh no! Beary suggests that the band get back together and tots put on a huge concert to earn the necessary funds to save the hall. A series of misadventures and oddly placed dance and music numbers ensue, culminating in the band reuniting, but getting in a big fight and deciding not to play the concert. A distraught Beary realizes that the being a family doesn’t mean you have to look alike, but that it’s the love that’s inside that counts. Awwwww. Rushing back home he is greeted not only by his loving family but also The Country Bears who have been inspired by his courage to play the big concert after all. Double awwww. Just at that moment though the country bear bus (and several members of the band) are kidnapped by Reed Thimple. This lasts approximately five seconds before Beary and his family bust them out, rush over to Country Bear Hall, and put on the big (clearly overpriced) concert to earn the $20000 they needed. THE END.

Why?! Like many kids’ films this is primarily about feeling different but realizing that that’s OK. Beary wants to feel like he belongs somewhere, most importantly with his family. Only once he gets a taste of human flesh (probably) and sees that even a band (which seems so tight knit) might have their problems does he realize that fitting in is more about love than looks. Everyone else just wants to get paid and laid. They are a world famous band after all. The Country Bears hooking up with groupies is probably on the extended DVD.

What?! Is this a product placement for itself? Like was this not supposed to get people all jazzed about the Country Bear Jamboree and want to see them up close and personal? If this was a major blockbuster a la Pirate of the Caribbean would we have Country Bear World instead of Harry Potter World? Also funny reading up on the attraction and realizing there are literally like a thousand bears in the show. We really only got the… bear minimum (AY-OH).

Who?! Big Al is like a Planchet, but awesome and everyone loves him. He talks real slow, loves his grass, and puts one over on those that mean to do harm to The Country Bears. Love you, Big Al. More importantly there are like a trillion musician cameos in this film. The most prominent of those are Jennifer Paige and Krystal, who both get solo songs to sing (and were apparently never heard from again). Elton John, Willie Nelson, Don Henley, etc. etc. etc. all appear as themselves in a Making the Music type documentary shown at the beginning and end of the film.

Where?! Tennessee, baby! It’s pretty obviously TN, but I had trouble proving it for most of the movie. Luckily there was a close-up of a license plate and some police officer uniforms that confirmed it. C+.

When?! My best guess here is September 2001. This is based on a table calendar on a desk in an office store (so not an exact science). For obvious reasons I would expect that the events of the film took place in the beginning of the month… unless 9/11 didn’t happen in the human-bear world that the film took place in… which is real weird to think about. C+.

I was actually a little surprised how much I didn’t mind this film while at the same time realizing that it is bonkers insane. The entire film takes place in a world where humans and talking bears coexist and everyone just understands and accepts this. Bears are just sprinkled here and there throughout the world. If this weren’t a kids’ film I would say there might have been some allegory to race in America, but no… right?… wait… right? Once you get past that it’s pretty much a harmless kids’ film with some pretty elaborate song and dance numbers performed by C-list musicians. Real weird but not totally bad. Patrick?


‘Ello everyone! Sometimes, when you feel like you just don’t belong, there is only one thing to do … watch a kids movie about how to feel like you belong. Spoiler alert: it turns out you belonged the whole time! Thanks, Country Bears! Let’s go!

The Good (Sklognalysis) – The movie is extremely linear, which makes it pleasant enough at times. Basically Beary Barrington doesn’t feel like he belongs with his human family, so he goes to live with his heros the Country Bears, who he helps to save Country Bear Hall … the end. Literally that is the entire movie. And if you were to make this movie, maybe you could make it better, but at least they can say you couldn’t streamline it any more than they did. They got some decently solid comedic actors to be in this. I wanted to pop a little Sklognalysis here mainly because we here at BMTHQ started to turn around a bit on watching kids’ movies for BMT. This is mainly because of the B-story in these movies, like the hostile corporate takeover in Nine Lives, which are endlessly fascinating, why would a kid want to watch that? Well, here you see a kids film without a B-story at all. It is so linear that they couldn’t even really squeeze in a short section where Mr. Barrington is whistleblowing on his logging company or whatever. Is this good? I think so, it kind of reminds me of Air Bud, where even the B-story (Air Bud’s original owner comes and tries to get Buddy back) is really a part of the A-story, and makes for a more pleasant and clear watching experience. But it certainly makes the movie less fun as well. So kind of a mixed bag. We’ll keep you up to date on our evolving kids’ movie thoughts.

The Bad (Sklog-quel) – The musical acts are not the worst musical acts I’ve seen in a movie. … Er, well … beside one:

My god, is it weird that I’m only mainly concerned about where the guitar player came from? The animatronics are disquietingly creepy (as one reviewer put it). Walken as the bad guy is just weird, and leads to some poor directorial decision making (like the triple take smashing of a model Country Bear Hall:

which is just weird). Diedrich Bader pulls double duty, but his live action performance in particular is very not good. For the Sklog-quel I think I want a remake. Basically, the suggestion that the bears kind of inexplicably just live in the real world (and people seem to think they are indistinguishable from humans?) is very problematic for me. Let’s see a movie where the bears kind of live in the woods in a secret community. Make Tobolowsky the manager in a logging company and Walken his eeeeevil boss who wants nothing more than to destroy the Country Bears home. The concert is more of a coming out party, to make the world aware of the Bears, and the main character is merely Tobolowsky’s (human) son who discovers and decides to help them save their home. I’m just imagining the Ewok Village of a set they would have built for this and am enamored with the idea. Would it suddenly make the movie much better? Maybe, maybe not. But for me it extracts one of the more perplexing choices they decide to make, which is having the Country Bears just kind of … around.

The BMT (Legacy / – The legacy I think is all part of BMT coming home to one of its original genres, the kids’ movie. If kids’ movies continue to grow in popularity with the Bad Movie Twins, then so shall the legacy of trailblazers like The Country Bears. The is also pretty solid. Mentioned in at least a few worst of lists in a year marked by some truly dire options like Ballistic Ecks vs Sever. It is mostly dismissed as a kids movie, but still finds some play here and there.

Now how is it as an adaptation … actually quite good. All things considered what do you do with The Country Bears? You make a big animatronic romp. And given that requirement they dish in spades, I mean … there are a ton of animatronics. I think I give it a B+. If it was actually a good movie you’d be seeing Pirates level of adaptation grades there.

Quiz Answers

(1) Elton John, who they find gardening in a terrible yellow outfit overtly winking at the camera saying “get a load of these guys not knowing who Elton John is!” … it is terrible. (2) His father. Upon saying this he realizes that it doesn’t matter that he’s adopted, and that The Country Bears can never replace the love of his family. Awwwwww. (3) The stage dive. I figured they would show him crushing people underneath his enormous bear weight, but nope, in the documentary he crowd surfs quite effectively. (4) The Hiber-Nation Tour. It was printed on the Country Bears Bus to this day and is shown to the audience at least five time. (5) Five. Ted Bedderhead is the lead singer, Trixie St. Claire plays the piano, Tennessee O’Neal plays a guitar, Fred Bedderhead plays the harmonica, and Zeb Zoober plays the fiddle. Henry Dixon Taylor is the band’s manager and MC, he doesn’t actually play in the band, so half points if you said six, which is what I said … about a movie I had just watched.

Jamie, naturally, got a 100% on the quiz.


The Sklogs



Jon Baker and Ponch are partners on the California Highway Patrol. While Jon sees CHIPS as a way to earn back the love of his estranged wife, Ponch is actually an undercover FBI agent looking for corrupt cops involved in a series of highway robberies. Can they take down the baddies and get the girl(s) before it’s too late? FInd out in… CHIPS.

How?! FBI agent Castillo is a risk-taking super cop who don’t play by nobody’s rule (natch). In the process of breaking rules and taking names, Castillo gets in hot water and is sent undercover as ‘Ponch,’ an officer in the California Highway Patrol. Meanwhile Jon Baker is one of the worst candidates for CHP there is, but with his motorbike racing pedigree and a sob story about his estranged wife he finagles his way onto the force. As a team, they start investigating a series of highway robberies suspected of being an inside job, all the while battling Jon’s addiction to painkillers, Ponch’s addiction to masturbating, and questions about their own sexuality that seem to send them into panic. This is all very upsetting, but apparently is supposed to make me laugh… I guess because it’s funny that Ponch is a step away from being a sex criminal. Hilarious! Through a series of high speed chases Ponch and Jon eventually catch up with the ringleader’s son, who is killed. Due to all his rule-breaking, risk-taking, and name-taking Ponch is fired from the FBI. Unwilling to stop their investigation and goaded by the kidnapping of Jon’s estranged wife, Ponch and Jon confront the ringleader, a fellow CHP officer. With the help of the full CHP force they take down the corrupt cops and save the day. THE END.

Why?! Jon wants to earn back the love and respect of his estranged wife, who by all accounts is a terrible person. Ponch on the other hand seems to have no motivations other than to solve crimes and masturbate while doing so. This combination of buddy cops turns out to be weird, sad, and disturbing. Great! As for the bad guy, he’s trying to get enough money to get his son into rehab… also very sad. A total bummer of a film even without all the gay panic content.

What?! An incredible product placement movie. From the start Ponch is using Dove moisturizer to convey his pretty boy persona and Jon is washing his pain pills down with Red Bull to convey his X-treme persona. These aren’t just product placement, these product placement are being used to define characters. Add on top that throughout the film our hateable heroes are stopping at every LA-centric restaurant under the sun, from Pink’s to Tommy’s Burgers, and we’ve got something special.

Who?! A number of uncredited roles in this one, including Erik Estrada’s cameo. Stark difference from Baywatch where Hasselhoff and Pam Anderson got laughably high billing. Also Josh Duhamel and Maya Rudolph have minor roles that went uncredited. They must have jumped in for funsies.

Where?! A+ Settings Alert! CHIPS stands for California Highway Patrol and that’s enough for me. This is also an early contender for the 2018 Setting as Character Smaddies Baddie as every LA centric restaurant in the city is featured and even Dax gave an interview asserting that the real star of the film was Southern California. Boom. That’s an A+ if I’ve ever seen one.

When?! There are two spots where a date could be found. One is on Ponch’s phone in the opening scene where it seems like it says that it’s November 2nd. However, a few scenes later, when Ponch is being introduced at CHP the blackboard says that “all 415’s have to be in by September 1,” so you would think everything would take place in August or something. Maybe they just don’t erase that blackboard all that often or (hear me out) perhaps they didn’t put as much effort into the exact temporal setting as I do in trying to find it. Disappointing. D.

This film WAS… WHAT WE THOUGHT IT WAS!… AND WE LET IT OFF THE HOOK! Basically, everything that we presumed and feared from the trailer came true. This is a poorly made film rife with jokes that play mostly on sadness. It’s certainly different than Baywatch and the Jump Street films, which is a credit to the creators I guess, but Baywatch is just a better film (which is kinda crazy to say). While I would endure a Baywatch sequel, I wouldn’t even enjoy a CHIPS 2. Even on a Fifty Shades Freed, staring into the abyss kind of a way… I think I’m just realizing that I really didn’t enjoy this film. Patrick?


‘Ello everyone! Alright, so you’re a producer and maybe your frustration with not getting invited to the 21 Jump Street cast party made you act a bit rashly. Baywatch … was not sweet IP. But this time you definitely got some sweet IP. CHiPs! Everyone liked CHiPs. Erik Estrada and … like motorcycles. Maybe you won’t get to meet The Rock, but Dax Shepard is … pretty close. Sweet IP Money Train here I come! What could go wrong? Let’s get into it.

The Good (Sklog-cabulary Quiz) – The storyline is actually a lot more coherent and focused than you would expect. Also, I tend to enjoy it when characters who would have been incompetent if they were in a film from, say, the 90s, are now written as super competent. What’s that? It sounds like a Sklog-cabulary Quiz!

Gross Competence (n.) – Behavior that appears to be erratic and incompetent, but is nevertheless quite effective at getting a particular job done. Characters exhibiting gross competence often appear to be savants in their particular occupation.

Zac Efron in Baywatch, or Andy Samberg in Brooklyn 99 I think are at least close to this definition as well. Basically the professionals here often come across as foolish or bumbling, but ultimately, against all odds, their actions are exactly what is needed to get the job done. I like this trope in television and film. For me, rooting for a competent hero is far preferable to rooting for an incompetent one. And it was nice to see Dax Shepard’s character not come across as an idiot. Well … not a total idiot at least.

The Bad (Sklognalysis) – The film is gross. They spend a good amount of one scene talking about eating butts … yup. It is upsetting that the gay panic stuff from the trailer was such a big part of the film. And this film has way too much unneeded nudity. Comes across as exploitative. By giving up the bad guy early it makes the mystery basically worthless. And finally, all supporting characters are so undeveloped that when they do occasionally wander into a scene it just doesn’t work because their motivations and abilities are never established. So … yeah, a ton of not so great stuff here. Question for our Sklognalysis: If you lampshade blatant gay panic humor by having the main character state that he thinks someone is homophobic if they don’t want to touch dicks when hugging … does that help or hurt? Answer: neither, trick question. It is still gay panic, and it is still gross.

The BMT (Legacy / – I think paired with Baywatch CHIPS could have an interesting legacy. If we further collect more television adaptations in the future we could have quite the expertise on the niche genre. The films got the cred though, number 7 on the AV Club’s worst-of list for 2017. Didn’t make an appearance in Rolling Stone’s or Variety’s lists, but it does get a few shout outs. It has the cred.

I feel a bit like we are dropping the ball on the adaptation cycle by not watching the original sources. Can’t really watch many CHiPs though, and even if I did the early season is different than late season, etc. Thinking back on Baywatch and even 21 Jump Street though I feel like these adaptations aren’t actually very “good”. They are modern action comedies fashioned out of literally the most basic plot elements from 80s television shows. I would be interested to see if/when someone decides to set a movie like this in the 80s and go for the kind of funny nostalgia of it all.  Wait … did I just describe the terrible Starsky & Hutch adaptation? For now I give the adaptation a C+ with the caveat that if I ever do watch some CHiPs (I won’t) I’ll update the grade. Something like 21 Jump Street I think reaches in the B-range. Not a great adaptation, but the quality of the film makes up for it.


The Sklogs

Transformers: The Last Knight Recap


Cade Yeager is back, Jack! A final showdown is afoot between Earth and the Transformers planet Cybertron. An ancient staff is the key to either Earth’s destruction or salvation. Can Cade obtain this staff and stop Earth’s demise before it’s too late? Find out in… Transformers: The Last Knight.

How?! I fear that I may have waited too long to write this up and now won’t be able to make heads or tails of the terribly convoluted plot that is the hallmark of all Transformers films. Here it goes: five years after the last movie Transformers are hunted by the US government. Despite this many more arrive from space each day. Why? Turns out that their home planet Cybertron is all kinds of fucked up. The creators that dwell there are angry so they brainwash Optimus and send him in search of a magic MacGuffin… er… staff that will bring life back to their planet. Meanwhile on Earth, Cade Yeager is a Transformer sympathizer hiding out as a fugitive. He finds a powerful talisman in the ruins of Chicago which results in both the US government and Megatron trying to track him down. Cade manages to escape with the help of a British robot who knows that he’s part of a larger prophecy for the final showdown with Cybertron. They team up with a British historian who tracks the magic MacGuffin staff to a submarine, which turns out to be a Transformer, that takes them to an ancient underwater spaceship (you following this? No? Good). Inside they find the staff, but it’s stolen by Optimus, who is temporarily a bad guy. Optimus then has the staff stolen by Megatron and turns back into a good guy (this is real). All our friends and foes head to Stonehenge where Cybertron is using the staff to suck the core out of the Earth. Cade and the historian head up to Cybertron and a bunch of shit happens. People are screaming “Physics!” and “Science!” at the screen and then Cybertron is stopped by our friends. In the end Optimus says that humans and Transformers have to learn to work together… they obviously will not because he says this at the end of every film and no one listens. THE END.

Why?! Did you just read that? It’s impossibly stupid. If you insist on diving into the motivations of Cade it’s mostly about protecting his daughter. He knows that the Transformers are good and the only thing that can save the Earth. If he doesn’t help them the US government will destroy them and doom the Earth. As for the adversaries, they are led by Quintessa, a robot god creator. She is angry at the destruction of her planet Cybertron and plans to use the power within Earth (actually a giant Transformer called Unicron) to rebuild. Gonna sap on that sweet, sweet molten core a la Independence Day 2.

What?! May as well make the MacGuffin Alert a permanent fixture in the Transformers franchise. This is particularly true in The Last Knight which revolves around the recovery of the powerful staff. Hits every possible box of a stereotypical MacGuffin. As for product placement, they really toned it down in this entry. We get a nice shot of Cade drinking a refreshing Bud Light, but that’s about it.

Who?! Jerrod Carmichael is the designated Planchet of this film. He fills the role of comic relief, but is also made fun of constantly and turns out to be more helpful than anyone gives him credit for. Textbook. Also want to point out an uncredited role for Freya, that dog that Michael Bay adopted. Nice touch.

Where?! You can always count on a Transformers film giving you some sweet locations provided by intertitles. In this case I would say the primary setting is England, with a secondary in South Dakota (!). There are also some scenes set in the deserts of Namibia which would be fantastic for a World Overall this is an A-, given the importance of Stonehenge to the climactic battle.

When?! We get a brief glimpse of a universal time clock at CalTech in the beginning of the film that places the start on the 309th day of the year: November 5th. This doesn’t jive super well with everyone prancing about in t-shirts in South Dakota, Chicago, and England, but the UTC clock don’t lie. We can presume this takes place in present day I guess… but that’s pretty hard when every film says it’s been five years since the events of the last film. Would seem like we would have gotten to at least 2022 by this point. But who knows. B.

This movie is truly terrible. I hope they make a sixth one. Patrick?


‘Ello everyone! You’re Michael Bay, and you promised the world you wouldn’t direct another Transformers film. But promises are meant to be broken, right? I mean … that’s the saying, right? Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel / Prequel / Remake) – This movie is a wasteland. The only good thing is that I’ve now learned there is a Submarine Museum in London. Which, yes, I will be going to at some point in the near future. Thanks Transformers 5! Let’s do a Remake. As a matter of fact, let’s do a remake of the entire “second trilogy” of the Transformers franchise. I think an interesting idea would have been to jump forward in time to after a catastrophic war between the Autobots and Decepticons has devastated humanity (something they explored in this movie to an extent). Introduce the new character (the person Wahlberg was kind of meant to be) as a genius human inventor who could be the edge in the battle between the two sides. Combining the heart and ingenuity of Cade Yeager with the driven leadership of Optimus Prime, can the Autobots turn the tide of war and bring peace to Earth? Come see in … The Transformers Warzone Trilogy.

The Bad (Sklognalysis) – This movie straight up makes no sense. Like, the storyline is so muddled that at times you have to just throw your hands up in the air and be like “whatever, I guess show me some explosions?” They also have way too many characters who are just really bad comic relief. From the kids in the beginning (who are promptly forgotten about) to the grating Cogman (voiced by Jim Carter), none of it works. I’m also glad they are shedding Cade in future installments. The idea of him being an “inventor” doesn’t really work in the context of the film they are trying to make. And don’t get me started with the whole Deus Ex John Turturro they tried to throw into the mix as he used his single day of shooting to lob exposition at the protagonists from Cuba. Uuuuuugh. For the Sklognalysis I feel like I want to just mull on Michael Bay a bit here. Bay must have some motivation for what he does. I recall watching documentaries about The Island and the original Transformers and his claim to fame at the time was attaching cameras to very nice (and fast) cars and shooting crashes and explosions and chases in intense adrenaline-fueled intimacy. He still does this … but why does it feel like that it all he cares about? He’s an odd duck when you think of his pet project Pain and Gain from a few years ago. This is the first time I looked at Transformers and thought “this franchise is irredeemable, they have to start completely over”. It makes me sad, but it also makes sense that they should just part ways and never look back.

The BMT (Legacy / – I think Transformers as a series will ultimately hold a strong position as one of the worst franchises we’ve watched. The films are so incoherent. Maybe something like Resident Evil could take the crown, but for some reason I think Transformers, having an original film I actually liked, has an interesting transformation (ha!) across BMT. For we finally have a fully mature set of lists to consider. I am genuinely shocked to see the A.V. Club lacking delicious Transformer bashing in their list. Luckily Rolling Stone had it as their number one. I would actually say, without seeing Emoji Movie yet, that Fifty Shades Darker and Transformers: The Last Knight are shockingly close together as far as what I think are the worst films of the year. Usually we hate some random film a little more (like Mechanic: Resurrection), but this year the big boys really came to play.

We had the possibility to look at bringing number 2 and 3 into the fold this time around … but they felt like a different series. I didn’t even bother to re-watch the fourth one either. So no homework.


The Sklogs

Made of Honor Recap


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?


‘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 / – 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.


The Sklogs

I Know What You Did Last Summer Recap


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.


‘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 + – 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!


The Sklogs

That’s My Boy Recap


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?


‘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!


The Sklogs