Strange Wilderness Preview

A small note prior to this post: Once again we take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews back in 2011/2012 we also decided to provide a preview for the movie as well. This is the second in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediate afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Strange Wilderness (2008) – BMeTric: 48.8

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(So I’m going to dub this trajectory the Teenage Boy Arc. Basically I think what happens is that the only people who want to watch this film when it is difficult to get are people who like this brand of terrible humor. Then once people can watch the film and it is featured on rental sites it drops. And now the only people who watch the film are, again, teenage boys who watch stoner comedies unironically. Not to shit on an entire class of people, but I was a teenage boy, and I had terrible taste in comedy. Just terrible.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Painfully unfunny farce about producers of a ratings-challenged wildlife TV series who desperately seek Bigfoot in the wilds of Ecuador. You can’t help feeling embarrassed or Zahn, as the clueless host, when a wild turkey chomps on his private parts and won’t let go. Shelved for nearly two years before a fleeting theatrical run.

(I forgot it was shelved for years before it was released. The rumor is that Paramount stripped their name off of the film entirely. After watching the movie again the turkey scene is the worst thing I’ve ever seen, so if you are reading this preview before watching the film … enjoy.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKyowLXH8sk

(Yeah, seems about right. That trailer has more of a direction and storyline than the actual film by the way. It is far far less coherent when they try to stretch this out to 90 minutes.)

Directors – Fred Wolf – (Known For: The House Bunny; BMT: Strange Wilderness; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Grown Ups 2 in 2014; Notes: Both of the movies he directed came out in 2008 and he has been doing straight-to-video and shorts since. He is slated to have an Alec Baldwin film, Drunk Parents, out next year though.)

Writers – Peter Gaulke (written by) – (Known For: Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Future BMT: Black Knight; The Babymakers; BMT: Say It Isn’t So; Strange Wilderness; Notes: I wouldn’t call him the writing partner of Wolf necessarily, but he was a staff writer on SNL at the same time as Wolf and is writing Drunk Parents with Wolf slated for later this year.)

Fred Wolf (written by) – (Known For: I Want Candy; Future BMT: Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star; Joe Dirt; Without a Paddle; Black Sheep; Dirty Work; BMT: Grown Ups 2; Strange Wilderness; Grown Ups; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Grown Ups 2 in 2014; Notes: He was a staff writer for SNL during Sandler’s stint which was his big break. After all of those guys got fired he was asked back to be the head writer and featured player. I can only find one clip with him in it though, a short Weekend Update piece.)

Actors – Steve Zahn – (Known For: War for the Planet of the Apes; Captain Fantastic; Dallas Buyers Club; Diary of a Wimpy Kid; You’ve Got Mail; The Good Dinosaur; That Thing You Do!; Out of Sight; Lean on Pete; Roadkill; Stuart Little; Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days; Rescue Dawn; A Perfect Getaway; Crimson Tide; Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules; Bandidas; Reality Bites; Knights of Badassdom; Stuart Little 2; Future BMT: Daddy Day Care; National Security; Chicken Little; Saving Silverman; Sahara; Race the Sun; Chelsea Walls; Employee of the Month; BMT: The Ridiculous 6; Strange Wilderness; Escape from Planet Earth; Notes: Was born and raised in Minnesota, and trained for stage acting in Boston. He met his wife while they were touring with a production of Bye Bye Birdie. Cool life story.)

Allen Covert – (Known For: Hotel Transylvania 2; Happy Gilmore; 50 First Dates; Big Daddy; Hotel Transylvania; The Wedding Singer; The House Bunny; Never Been Kissed; Anger Management; Future BMT: Little Nicky; Eight Crazy Nights; Sandy Wexler; Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; Mr. Deeds; Bulletproof; The Waterboy; Bedtime Stories; Airheads; The Longest Yard; Heavy Weights; Grandma’s Boy; BMT: Jack and Jill; Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; Paul Blart: Mall Cop; Grown Ups 2; Strange Wilderness; Pixels; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Just Go with It; Blended; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star in 2012; Notes: Often vaguely seen as a sidekick to Adam Sandler’s characters in his various films. He had a string of writing credits which appears to have ended with Bucky Larson and Jack and Jill.)

Justin Long – (Known For: Jeepers Creepers; Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; Idiocracy; Die Hard 4.0; He’s Just Not That Into You; 10 Years; Galaxy Quest; Tusk; Zack and Miri Make a Porno; Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story; Drag Me to Hell; Veronica Mars; Herbie Fully Loaded; Funny People; Youth in Revolt; Comet; Going the Distance; Frank & Lola; The Conspirator; For a Good Time, Call…; Future BMT: Crossroads; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel; Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked; Alvin and the Chipmunks; Yoga Hosers; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; Jeepers Creepers II; Walking with Dinosaurs 3D; Alpha and Omega; The Break-Up; Serious Moonlight; Planet 51; Trauma; Ghost Team; Accepted; The Lookalike; Best Man Down; Literally, Right Before Aaron; Waiting…; BMT: Movie 43; Old Dogs; Strange Wilderness; Notes: Pretty famous comedic actor, who might still be most well known as the Mac Guy from the Apple ads featuring John Hodgman. His BMT filmography is … formidable.)

Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $6,575,282 (Worldwide: $6,964,734)

(Just no money. Like nothing. An absolute catastrophe. No wonder the director couldn’t really get anything done for a while.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 2% (1/45): Strange Wilderness is a laugh-free comedy that’s both aimless and overly crass.

(Laugh free. Aimless. Overly crass. Yeah, that is just about how I remember this film. One of the worst reviewed films ever made. Excellent.)

Poster – Sklog Wilderness (C-)

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(So the poster is a hard-F. Like unforgivably ugly … but the boldness of the color choice is almost interesting in itself. And then the font on the title is actually quite good. Like the silhouette. Something about it gets it close to average I think.)

Tagline(s) – This ain’t March of the Penguins. (B)

(Like it actually. Pretty descriptive idea. Bump it down because it is aging quite poorly and will only get worse as time goes on.)

Keyword(s) – bigfoot; Top Ten by BMeTric: 55.3 Eegah (1962); 48.8 Strange Wilderness (2008); 44.5 Willow Creek (2013); 43.3 The Barbaric Beast of Boggy Creek, Part II (1984); 39.1 Exists (2014); 36.2 Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (2011); 32.6 Harry and the Hendersons (1987); 31.3 Abominable (2006); 29.9 Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes (2012); 27.4 The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972);

(Huh, some of those are pretty big! I didn’t realize it until now, but Harry and the Hendersons was originally released as Bigfoot and the Hendersons in the UK.)

Notes – During the clip of the zebra being eaten by the vultures, the zebra “responds” to the birds with “oh my god, oh my god…” is actually a clip taken from the movie “Super Troopers”. It is Paul Soter when his character is “flashing” Marisa Coughlan outside of the police station while on the phone with her. (I think I actually caught that)

“Strange Wilderness” began its life in the 1990’s as a series of independently produced short videos by former “Saturday Night Live” writers Fred Wolf and Peter Gaulke. “They started out as little parodies of wildlife shows,” explains writer and producer Gaulke. “Fred and I went out and shot them with the help of John Burrud, who actually has a real-life wildlife show. His father Bill used to host ‘Animal World’ and other travel and nature shows back in the ’60s. So John helped us produce these little shorts which we eventually got onto Comedy Central.” (Ugh, that’s embarrassing. Reminds me of how Friedberg and Seltzer kind of got their start because Rick Friedberg made a cheesy golf instructional video with Leslie Nielsen)

The two main characters are named after the film’s screenwriters.

Some of the clips used when the TV executive proves that Strange Wilderness is too inappropriate are clips from the Faces of Death series. For example, Man on fire with Jesus music, Man being attacked by an alligator, and Pygmy footage) (I didn’t know this was a thing and I don’t really like that I now know that is a thing … but maybe I’m somehow better because I know this thing? It is a confusing time for me)

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It’s Pat Preview

Having fully transitioned to the Calendar cycle we are once again giving ourselves a little challenge for the set of nine film. We’re going to make sure that all the films are released in different months of the year. So One Missed Call knocks off the premier month of January. For the comedy entry in the cycle we are heading to the second most vaunted month in BMT: August. Where summer blockbusters go to die. This film, though, was hardly a blockbuster. That’s right! We’re watching the mostly forgotten SNL film It’s Pat! I remember watching this as a kid and being mostly disturbed by the depiction of a man driven to madness by the mystery that is Pat’s gender. Let’s find out if we’ll be disturbed by the “comedy” once again. Let’s go!

It’s Pat: The Movie (1994) – BMeTric: 66.6 (#95 on IMDb bottom 100)

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(There it is. Barely any regression from a truly dire 2.x rating for its entire IMDb existence. This indicates it has legendary potential. I’ll also say 10K votes for a film that was barely released is pretty impressive, as is the 60+ BMeTric for a film from 1994.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Sweeney’s cheerfully obnoxious, androgynous characters from Saturday Night Live skits was never a prime candidate for feature-film stardom. If you can get through the first five minutes, you may get through the whole movie, as Pat finds true love with the equally androgynous Chris. Barely released theatrically. Sweeney coscripted.

(Yup. Interestingly understated. Saying that one can manage the movie if you can get past the first five minutes means either the first five minutes are so bad it ruins the movie (this could be our golden goose! A very similar thing happened with the truly bizarre beginning to Car 54 Where Are You?) or it means you become numb and your brain shuts off after five minutes. I’m now getting a bit more fascinated by this movie and am interested to see exactly what tone it takes.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKXbqsPhWJQ

(Mother of God. Everything terrible about television-to-film adaptations of this time rolled into a single film. I feel like the only thing that is going to be interesting about the film is the direction, which seems at times to be almost surreal. But it looks brutal. Just brutal.)

Directors – Adam Bernstein – (BMT: It’s Pat: The Movie; Notes: Huge television director, including being nominated for an Emmy for the television series Fargo. He directed Scrubs, 30 Rock, Breaking Bad, Californication, and Better Call Saul as well. He, like many directors, come from music videos. He directed the Baby Got Back music video for Sir Mix-a-Lot. Here’s an oral history of the project.)

Writers – Julia Sweeney (characters & written by) – (Known For: God Said, ‘Ha!’; BMT: It’s Pat: The Movie; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, Worst Actress, Worst New Star, and Worst Screen Couple for It’s Pat: The Movie in 1996; and Nominated for Worst New Star for Stuart Saves His Family in 1996; Notes: Most well known for her time on SNL, which is where this character obviously came from. She is on several boards promoting secularism, science, and reason and is married to a scientist as well.)

Jim Emerson (written by) – (BMT: It’s Pat: The Movie; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for It’s Pat: The Movie in 1996; Notes: Former editor of rogerebert.com and critic in Los Angeles. There isn’t much about him beyond that. Interesting that a critic got a credit on the movie, although perhaps this was before he moved into film criticism.)

Stephen Hibbert (written by) – (BMT: It’s Pat: The Movie; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for It’s Pat: The Movie in 1996; Notes: He was married to Julia Sweeney at the time (or at least up until 1994). He was the Gimp in Pulp Fiction. We saw him act in Cat in the Hat, and his biggest credit is probably as a MadTv writer.)

Actors – Julia Sweeney – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Monsters University; Stuart Little; Gremlins 2: The New Batch; Honey I Blew Up the Kid; Don’t Come Knocking; Future BMT: Coneheads; Clockstoppers; Whatever It Takes; Vegas Vacation; Meet Wally Sparks; BMT: It’s Pat: The Movie; Stuart Saves His Family; Notes: Her brother got very ill and died right around when this opened. Her struggles around this time resulted in her one woman show God Said, Ha! I’m not too sure how this got nominated in 1996 either since it was definitely released in 1994. So, somehow, it missed the 15th annual Razzie Awards, but got picked up a year later, which was also before its home video release in 1997. It doesn’t make sense.)

Dave Foley – (Known For: Cars; A Bug’s Life; Sky High; Blast from the Past; 3 Men and a Baby; Toy Story 2; Monsters University; South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut; Dick; Run Ronnie Run; Suck; Childstar; Future BMT: Vampires Suck; My Boss’s Daughter; Postal; On the Line; Employee of the Month; Stark Raving Mad; BMT: It’s Pat: The Movie; Monkeybone; Grind; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screen Couple for It’s Pat: The Movie in 1996; Notes: Most well known for his role in The Kids in the Hall and Newsradio. Is also somewhat known for his more recent … low budget work, a result of his career being somewhat sidetracked while dealing with a nasty divorce in Canada.)

Charles Rocket – (Known For: Dumb and Dumber; Dances with Wolves; Titan A.E.; Earth Girls Are Easy; Short Cuts; Shade; Delirious; Future BMT: Fathers’ Day; Fly Me to the Moon; Tom and Huck; Murder at 1600; Hocus Pocus; Steal Big Steal Little; How I Got Into College; BMT: It’s Pat: The Movie; Wagons East; Notes: Also known as Charlie Hamburger, his story is pretty sad culminating in a strange suicide in 2005. He is also somewhat famous for being fired by SNL for saying “fuck” live on air.)

Budget/Gross – $8 million / Domestic: $60,822

(Absurd. Basically they did a limited release (probably because people watched it and said “yeah we can’t spend the money to release this”) and then pulled it. I’m actually not sure why they didn’t either shelve it or spit it straight to DVD. Straight to DVD would have maybe even gotten it a bit more cash since this was such a high profile bomb at the time even I, an eight-year-old, remember this coming out.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/11): No consensus yet.

(Oooh I get to make a consensus: Literally one of the worst pieces of garbage I’ve ever seen. I’m joking, but that is kind of what the critics said. One review appears to only be “Dear God…”, and another noted he wasn’t going to dignify the film with a review. Shockingly unfunny seems to be the closest you can get to a true consensus. Two 0% films in a row as well, line them up and knock them down!)

Poster – It’s Sklog (B-)

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(This looks more like the cover of a dime store paperback adaptation of the film that a poster of a film. Nice spacing, font, and a bold pink question mark that at least gives it a central color scheme. Somehow everything else is the worst thing ever.)

Tagline(s) – The Sex Symbol of the 90’s (A)

A Comedy that Proves that Love is a Many Gendered Thing (D-)

(Huge disparity between the two taglines from the poster. The first is short and clever. It uses the double meaning of sex symbol to make a joke about Pat, but also hint that the symbol in this case is more a question mark. That ties it all together with the plot. Needs the poster to fully succeed so not an A+, but very good. The second is basically the opposite of that, but doesn’t get an F because they seemed to try.)

Keyword(s) – neighbor; Top Ten by BMeTric: 85.4 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 85.1 The Cat in the Hat (2003); 84.1 Movie 43 (2013); 84.0 Home Alone 3 (1997); 78.0 Superhero Movie (2008); 72.7 Are We Done Yet? (2007); 72.1 The Apparition (2012); 71.6 Bewitched (2005); 71.2 The Boy Next Door (2015); 67.1 Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector (2006);

(In the Name of the King getting a neighbor keyword is hilarious. I guess Ron Perlman was Jason Statham’s neighbor. I find it highly unlikely that we will watch any of these other movies any time soon. Maybe Home Alone 3 if we get it to tag along with something.)

Notes – The film did so poorly that it was pulled from theaters one week after its opening weekend. (This is why it was only released to three cities and 33 theaters)

Pulp Fiction (1994), which came out in theaters seven weeks after ‘It’s Pat’ premiered, also features appearances by both Kathy Griffin and Julia Sweeney. Some critics have noted that Griffin and Sweeney both had the distinction of acting in one of the best movies of 1994, and also one of the worst movies of 1994.

Quentin Tarantino, a good friend of Julia Sweeney, worked on the script uncredited. (WHAT)

In the recurring ‘It’s Pat’ sketches on Saturday Night Live (1975), Dana Carvey portrayed Pat’s equally androgynous partner, Chris. Carvey was asked to reprise the role in this movie adaptation, but turned it down. Dave Foley was cast instead.

According to an interview with Michael De Luca, Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly worked on the script uncredited. (WHAT)

Two cameos that ended up on the cutting-room floor: Harvey Keitel as a priest and Jonathan Richman as Pat’s father.

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Charles B. Wessler)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Julia Sweeney)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Dave Foley, Julia Sweeney)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Jim Emerson, Stephen Hibbert, Julia Sweeney)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Julia Sweeney)