Monte Carlo Preview

After escaping the mutants of the Greater Chernobyl area (and allowing for the necessary time to mourn the loss of the seven other random European X-treme tourists) Patrick and I decide that we gotta get this backpacking trip back on track. Time to finally get some rest and relaxation in Monaco that we so sorely need. Emphasis on the sore considering the intense pain, chills and open wounds I’ve been experiencing since I was bitten by that mutant (shh, don’t tell Patrick I don’t want him to worry). That’s right! We’re watching the Selena Gomez classic Monte Carlo! While this may not be the worst reviewed film of all time it was certainly hated by those that vote on imdb (read: young white men), so the BMeTric score is inordinately high. Don’t matter much to us since it qualifies and a Selena Gomez film is always welcome into BMT. Let’s go!

Monte Carlo (2011) – BMeTric: 37.2

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(Well known plot I’m going to call … the Built-in Fanbase Plot. Don’t worry, I’ll promptly forget it in a week and coin a new term. Basically big Selena Gomez fans (I assume) would rate this a 6.5. People who love (to rate) movies (on the internet like weirdos) though would give it closer to a 5.1. And then once general audiences get a hold of it it is generally moving up to between the two, 5.8. It should roughly stick there, this plot screams “average movie” and 6.0 would be where I would expect such a thing.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Three girls from a small town in Texas spend their savings on a dream trip to Paris. Once there, the girls discover that one of them (Gomez) looks just like a British socialite and use her mistaken identity to their advantage. Cast is attractive and likeable but the story is predictable … and dull. Although its target audience may not notice the poor editing and plot development, this still should have been a better movie. Loosely based on the novel Headhunters by Jules Bass.

(Actually rather harsh of Leonard, I would have thought he would go easy on a movie like this since he is definitely not the target audience as he points out. Dull is a bad word here. Kids’ movies are usually dull which is why we banished them from BMT back in the day (we realized our mistake more recently though). Hopefully as huge Selena Gomez fans we’ll be able to see past the poor editing though.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rxm_bVVhbr8

(“Cordelia gets to play hooky for a few days” … if this line is accurate and they actually agree to swap placed with the British Selena Gomez then this is just Prince and the Pauper, so why make it a Headhunters adaptation? If not then what are they talking about? I’m more confused coming out of the trailer than going in.)

Directors – Thomas Bezucha – (Known For: The Family Stone; Big Eden; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: His last name is pronounced “bazooka”. He used to be a fashion design with Ralph Lauren.)

Writers – Thomas Bezucha (screenplay) – (Known For: The Family Stone; Big Eden; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Has a special thanks on The Way Way Back, probably because he did some initial legwork in getting the script ready to be shot. This article explains it a bit if you search his name.)

April Blair (screenplay) – (BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Mainly a television writer and producer now, including having a writing credit on Sklog favorite Heart of Dixie!)

Maria Maggenti (screenplay) – (Known For: Before I Fall; The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love; Puccini for Beginners; Future BMT: The Love Letter; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: He is attached to an announced Dirty Dancing remake. Guess where it takes place … obviously Peru! Wait what?! And yeah, it is really a remake of the classic Swayze film that takes place in Peru, barf.)

Kelly Bowe (screen story) – (BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: She also wrote Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous starring Jessica Simpson … she has a thing about singers turns actors it would seem.)

Jules Bass (novel) – (BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Go back and watch the trailer … if this is Prince and The Pauper then this credit is nuts. This Jules Bass novel is not Prince and The Pauper. I am officially intrigued by this “adaptation”.)

Actors – Selena Gomez – (Known For: The Big Short; Spring Breakers; Bad Neighbours 2; Hotel Transylvania; Hotel Transylvania 2; The Fundamentals of Caring; Horton Hears a Who!; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; The Muppets; Ramona and Beezus; Rudderless; Future BMT: Behaving Badly; Aftershock; Arthur and the Great Adventure; Arthur 3: la guerre des deux mondes; In Dubious Battle; BMT: Getaway; Monte Carlo; Notes: Just rewatched Getaway, where she is amazing (obvs). She apparently holds 10 Guiness Book of World Records.)

Leighton Meester – (Known For: The Judge; Date Night; Going the Distance; Life Partners; Like Sunday, Like Rain; Future BMT: Hangman’s Curse; The Oranges; Country Strong; The Beautiful Ordinary; BMT: The Roommate; That’s My Boy; Monte Carlo; Notes: From Gossip Girl (so obviously amazing). Like Selena Gomez she has extended beyond acting with a few different singles in the early 2010s.)

Katie Cassidy – (Known For: Taken; The Scribbler; The Lost; Live!; Future BMT: Black Christmas; A Nightmare on Elm Street; When a Stranger Calls; Click; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Plays Laurel on the show Arrow. I know this because … well people seem to have an unreasonable amount of hatred for her. I say unreasonable because any non-zero amount of hatred for a character in a CW superhero show is unreasonable.)

Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $23,186,769 (Worldwide: $39,667,665)

(Not too shabby. Won’t be knocking down doors trying to get Monte Carlo 2 made, but with DVD / cable tie-ins I would imagine they made off fine with the film.)

#34 for the Comedy – High School genre

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(I remember this genre growing up because around 1998 there was a question about where all of the coming of age films went. Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off … the 80s were jam packed with the Hughes films. Can’t Hardly Wait was a breath of fresh air in 1998, and then there was another heyday. So either this current dip is all part of the genre recharging … or more likely they are going straight to VOD at this point.)

#170 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(Perhaps The Big Sick will reignite the genre, but more likely, again, this is a small indie genre or a VOD type deal at this point. Which will make things a bit harder for our Girls Night Out category. But then again … that category is a bit sexist anyways. Our most recently made entry is Blended … man we don’t really watch recent Romantic Comedies.)

#18 for the Summer Girl Power genre

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(These are rare, and … of a type. Material Girls and Bratz are the two films we’ve seen in the genre. The list kind of claims that they just went extinct almost two years ago though. Couldn’t really say why though … but most likely summer tentpoles chased them to earlier in the year.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (36/92): Although it has its charming moments, Monte Carlo is mostly silly, predictable stuff that never pushes beyond the boundaries of formula.

(Juuuuuuuuuuuuust squeaking in there. Which is probably a good sign. Means it is at the very least tolerable as a film. Maybe won’t scratch that Bad Movie Twins Itch, but also won’t put me to sleep hopefully.)

Poster – Monte Car-Sklog (C-)

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(Oooff that’s a rough Sklog incorporation into the title. I like the balance of the poster, but everything else is tough. No clear color, basic font, and too much going on. I feel like I might be going easy on it, but it’s not offensive either.)

Tagline(s) – She’s having the time of someone else’s life. (B)

(Certainly tells us what’s up and is a clever-ish play on a common phrase. A little long for my tastes but does the job.)

Keyword(s) – tied feet; Top Ten by BMeTric: 79.1 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 63.7 The Phantom (1996); 60.8 Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009); 58.7 The Snowman (2017); 57.3 Witless Protection (2008); 56.7 Glen or Glenda (1953); 56.4 Knock Off (1998); 53.4 Sinister 2 (2015); 51.5 Charlie’s Angels (2000); 51.3 Bride of Chucky (1998);

(… What? I need more Billy Zane in my life, but sadly The Phantom doesn’t qualify. The number of very hated films which were kind of reasonably well liked by critics is pretty stunning. Like Popeye. It has a 59% on RT and a 5.2 (which is terrible) on IMDb. I watched some clips of Popeye just to remind myself … woof, it is pretty rough to be honest.)

Notes – Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts were originally the stars of the film, but the producers decided to shoot the film with a younger cast. Kidman also remained on board as a producer. (And then she played Grace Kelly in the also BMT qualifying Grace of Monaco).

Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy, two of the film’s stars, previously worked together on The CW drama, Gossip Girl (2007) (2007).

The production spent four days filming in Paris and two weeks filming in Monaco. The rest of the filming took place in Hungary, with Budapest doubling for Paris and Monte Carlo. Raleigh Studios Budapest was used to substitute for Monte Carlo’s Hotel de Paris for the filming. (Good for Budapest?)

Meg’s first and middle names are the names of two princesses from the English house of Tudor.

It seems unusual, but “Meg” seems to be a nickname derived from the middle name of the character. Her full name, seen in the passport on her arrival in France, is Mary Margaret Kelly. (Huh, that is some great close watching by this IMDb user. This is Bad Movie Twins stuff).

As seen on their passports, the full names of girls are Grace Ann Bennett, Emma Danielle Perkins and Mary Margaret Kelly. (Yiiiiiiissssss, these are the notes I come for)

The first name of Selena Gomez’s character is “Grace” and the last name of Leighton Meester’s character is “Kelly”. Academy-Award winning American actress, Grace Kelly, became Princess consort of Monaco in 1955 when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. In addition to this, Monte Carlo is located in Monaco, and in Gossip Girl (2007), which starred Leighton Meester, her character married the Prince of Monaco. (WHAT? Spoiler for Gossip Girl, but … Blair Waldorf marries the Prince of Monaco in Gossip Girl? That’s cray cray).

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First Daughter Preview

I know what all of our faithful readers are thinking and it rhymes with Geostorm, but slow your roll. At the time that we had to choose the films for this week we just didn’t know what the reviews for Geostorm would be like… … … OK, so we did pretty much knew what the reviews for Geostrom would be like, but we couldn’t risk it getting “good for what it is” bullshit reviews that propelled it to 41% on RT. So this week we stayed the course and moved to our Games category where we aimed to get a Mockbuster friend to tag along. A Mockbuster is a film released with a similar title and concept to a major blockbuster hoping to ride the hype to minor profits. In the end there was only one Mockbuster that would do. That’s right! We’re watching TransmorFirst Daughter! Transmorphers is obviously a play off of Transformers and makes me sad to even think about… should be excruciating. As for First Daughter, the Katie Holmes vehicle is both on the Calendar and is an abstract part of the Periodic Table of Smellements (for #1). An unexpectedly important film in the BMTverse. Let’s go!

First Daughter (2004) – BMeTric: 56.5

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(Sub-5.0 is a brutal IMDb score, but that isn’t a surprise, the film has brutal reviews. Other than that you have the regression to the mean and 2011 inflection, but not much else interesting. In other world, these plots take after this movie (boom).)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Fairy-tale romance for wholesome teens centers on the sheltered daughter of the U.S. President who goes off to college to get away from her omnipresent Secret Service detail and falls for a hunky student whose true identity holds a big surprise (not really). Chasing Liberty was bad enough; did we really need another formulaic, juvenile variation of Roman Holiday the same year?

(The answer to the last question is no. I’ve never seen Roman Holiday (I know, a travesty, I have too little experience with film prior to 1980 I admit), but maybe I’ll check it out now. How can I properly assess this purported retelling if I never experienced the original telling?)

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

(That looks … generic. Honestly they kind of give away the twist hinted at by Leonard Maltin … just look at what Marc Blucas is wearing in certain scenes and you’ll get it. The soundtrack for this trailer is also bonkers.)

Directors – Forest Whitaker – (Known For: Waiting to Exhale; Future BMT: Hope Floats; BMT: First Daughter; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Battlefield Earth in 2001; Notes: Wait wait wait wait wait … the Forest Whitaker directed this? Weird shit. He’s enjoying a bit of a career resurgence with Lee Daniel’s The Butler and the most recent Star Wars films.)

Writers – Jessica Bendinger (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Bring It On; Aquamarine; Future BMT: The Truth About Charlie; Stick It; BMT: First Daughter; Notes: A former model turned novelist turned screenwriter/director. She hasn’t done much after her directorial debut Stick It, but she certainly had a burst of success in the mid-2000s.)

Jerry O’Connell (story) – (BMT: First Daughter; Notes: Yuuup, that Jerry O’Connell. Derisively known as the fat kid from Stand By Me, he ultimately had a very successful career in film. He is currently married to Rebecca Romijn with whom he has twin daughters. We. Love. Twin stories. Especially because Jerry O’Connell seems like a cool cat.)

Kate Kondell (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde; BMT: First Daughter; Notes: There isn’t much about her, but she’s written multiple pixie / fairy direct-to-video films including the Tinkerbell pirate fairy film I remember seeing a million advertisements for at one point in my life.)

Actors – Katie Holmes – (Known For: Logan Lucky; Batman Begins; Phone Booth; Woman in Gold; The Gift; Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark; Go; Thank You for Smoking; The Ice Storm; Wonder Boys; The Unbeatables; Pieces of April; Muppets from Space; Touched with Fire; The Extra Man; Future BMT: The Son of No One; Teaching Mrs. Tingle; Abandon; The Romantics; Disturbing Behavior; Mad Money; The Singing Detective; Miss Meadows; The Giver; Days and Nights; All We Had; BMT: Jack and Jill; First Daughter; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screen Couple for Jack and Jill in 2012; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress in 2006 for Batman Begins; and in 2012 for Jack and Jill; Notes: Most famous for her role in Dawson’s Creek. She subsequently became famous after marrying (and divorcing) Tom Cruise. She’s worked steadily throughout her career and is in the cast of the upcoming Ocean’s Eight.)

Marc Blucas – (Known For: Brawl in Cell Block 99; Sleeping with Other People; We Were Soldiers; Knight and Day; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Pleasantville; Red State; The Jane Austen Book Club; I Capture the Castle; Mother and Child; Sunshine State; Prey for Rock & Roll; Future BMT: Meet Dave; They; Summer Catch; View from the Top; Eddie; Thr3e; Stay Cool; The Alamo; The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human; BMT: First Daughter; Notes: Most well known for having a super fake sounding name. He’s had moderate success in television most recently, and will be in a new Nic Cage film coming out next year, exciting stuff.)

Michael Keaton – (Known For: Spider-Man Homecoming; Beetlejuice; The Founder; Spotlight; Batman; Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance); Cars; Batman Returns; Minions; Jackie Brown; Toy Story 3; The Other Guys; RoboCop; Much Ado About Nothing; Out of Sight; Herbie Fully Loaded; Mr. Mum; Night Shift; The Merry Gentleman; Multiplicity; Future BMT: Jack Frost; White Noise; Post Grad; Desperate Measures; Speechless; Gung Ho; One Good Cop; Inventing the Abbotts; The Squeeze; American Assassin; The Last Time; BMT: First Daughter; Need for Speed; Notes: He’s originally from Pittsburgh (all the way down to starting his career working on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood). He had a few minor roles before landing in Ron Howard’s Night Shift where he and Henry Winkler famously swapped roles (or at least characteristics) to much critical acclaim.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $9,055,921 (Worldwide: $10,592,180)

(Disaster. If you look at the notes there is a whole thing about moving the release because Chasing Liberty flopped so hard … didn’t help.)

#26 for the President genre

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(The thing I think I like the most about this genre is that is really is a recent phenomenon. There is a kind of Blockbuster aspect to representing Presidents and speculating about their lives. And this is despite that fact that political cartoons have been skewering presidenting for literally hundreds of years! We love fake presidents (so much we once considered a whole mini-game concerning it), so it is great to see Keaton put on the suit and try out the role.)

#260 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(Why do I remember speculating about this … anyways, comes right in the long plateau of a peak for the genre which has had a rather sudden downturn. I probably guessed this last time, but: romantic comedies aren’t tentpoles and are simply getting less screens I think in the new franchise era. Probably doesn’t help that of all film types this one might actually benefit the least from the big screen experience. VOD here we come!)

#47 for the Teen Romance genre

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(Just below Here on Earth (be still my beating heart!). That giant peak? You guessed it, the Twilight Saga. The John Hughes era of the 80s were the heyday, but the late 90s saw a small resurgence. With The Fault in Our Stars and other YA novels starting to find an audience it is possible we might be entering a new post-Twilight bump as well. We’ll see.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (7/85): First Daughter is a bland and charmless fairy tale that fails to rise above the formula.

(Wow. Sub-10% is nuts, and I’m stunned a film like this gets a coveted position like that. Especially when the consensus might as well be: Blah. I’m getting intrigued.)

Poster – First Sklog-hter (D)

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(Gah! I’m blind! Why is this poster sooooo white? Jesus. It’s also just a poster for Katie Holmes: The Movie… there is nothing First Daughter in this at all. Font is shit too. Boooo. Not an F because it doesn’t actually hurt my brain, only my eyes.)

Tagline(s) – The girl who always stood out is finally getting the chance to fit in. (B)

(I like the effort and the construction. Just too long and still doesn’t work in the whole “daughter of the president” thing.)

Keyword(s) – college; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.6 The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000); 71.3 Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011); 67.4 Pulse (I) (2006); 66.9 Teen Wolf Too (1987); 65.6 Bodyguard (2011); 64.1 The Roommate (I) (2011); 63.3 The Comebacks (2007); 62.7 Smiley (2012); 60.3 Soul Survivors (2001); 59.9 Flubber (1997);

(Top one is fake, but this does remind me we need to watch Teen Wolf Too at some points. Probably the only one that I really want to see from that list.)

Notes – Vera Wang designed all of Katie Holmes’ ballgowns for this film. (Her originals usually retail for over $10,000 each.) (That last bit is not a comment by us, the parentheses are in the IMDb notes. No comment otherwise)

The release date for the film was pushed back after the similarly themed Chasing Liberty (2004) flopped at the box office. (Ha! I think I’ve seen that one at one point …)

The movie James and Samantha are watching in the movie theater is The Girl Can’t Help It (1956). Director Forest Whitaker was originally set to direct a remake of the 1956 comedy after the release of “First Daughter”.

This film is dedicated to Michael Kamen, the film’s composer.

The book Katie Holmes is reading in the library is Hermann Hesse’s ‘Siddhartha’. (It’s on the BMT Not-Necessarily-Bad Book List!)

In the scene where Katie Holmes and Ameriie are sliding down the slope on the slip-n-slide, Katie Holmes inadvertently pulled down Aneriie’s sweatpants while struggling to climb over the hay bales, exposing Ameriie’s bottom in view of the camera. The director chose to leave this in the final cut of the film, since it was a spontaneous event and quite in line with the carefree nature of the scene. (The director being Forest fucking Whitaker)