The Island of Dr. Moreau Recap

Jamie

When UN negotiator Edward Douglas’ plane crashes in the Pacific he is rescued and taken to the reclusive Island of Dr. Moreau. He soon learns that Dr. Moreau has used his big ol’ brain to create an animal-human tribe that regards him as a god… but not for long. Can Edward escape the island (and purr-haps find love) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Island of Dr. Moreau.

How?! Edward Douglas is in for a house of horrors when his UN plane crashes in the Pacific on its way to peace negotiation. First, his fellow companions fight to the death over the lack of rations on their lifeboat (not ideal), then he gets picked up by a crazy scientist, Mongomery, who looks shockingly like Val Kilmer (crazy, right?), and finally when he is delivered to safety on an island he finds it occupied by horrific animal-human hybrids created by the obviously and completely crazy Dr. Moreau (not the best). Weirdly, Dr. Moreau seems like a comparably normal guy next to Montgomery, who spends his time preventing Edward’s rescue and partying with the animal monsters. From here the film descends into chaos as Edward vacillates between complete horror one moment to almost resignation the next, all while palling around with Dr. Moreau’s cat-human daughter Aissa. When the punishment of one of the animal-humans ends up in death, his hyena-hybrid friend is distraught and on inspection of his corpse discovers the source of their control by Dr. Moreau. He is able to remove it from his own body and thus begins a mutiny against Dr. Moreau. Confronting him in his house they question their own creation at his hands and then subsequent relegation to their distant village. When Dr. Moreau attempts to resort again to punishment they kill him and take over the compound. Montgomery at first attempts to stop them, but then eventually destroys the serum that prevents them from going full animal and implants himself as the god. But the hyena-hybrid is having none of that and has him and Aissa killed and Edward brought to him. Edward is able to trick the animal-humans into fighting amongst themselves, which results in the deaths of the aggressors. The remaining animal-humans let Edward leave on a boat so they can live in peace. THE END. Big Question: Who hurt this film most, Val Kilmer or Marlon Brando (hint: Kilmer).

Why?! Wow, this is certainly an interesting question. Edward is mostly motivated by escape, but he seems incredibly relaxed throughout the film given what is happening. The only explanation is that he is a UN peace negotiator, so perhaps there is a moment where he realizes his only chance of survival is to use his skillz. That probably entails being calm and collected despite any level of pressure. Montgomery and Moreau are just insane and motivated by their own egomania and delusion.

Who?! I feel like every once in a while we make a discovery in one of these categories that I didn’t even know was possible. When they show that Dr. Moreau won a Nobel Prize all of a sudden I’m like, “wait, how many fake Nobel Prize winners have we seen in BMT before?” Well here’s to our first and hopefully not our last (the next will come sooner than you think).

What?! I’m shocked to see that there isn’t a crazy number of props available from this film. I can only find one measly piece of Ron Perlman’s staff, and that ain’t no fun. I literally want a full Dr. Moreau costume and apparently no amount of money can accomplish that for me. Harumph.

Where?! We are on some random island in the Pacific. Presumably it’s under no real jurisdiction considering it’s only inhabited by Dr. Moreau, Montgomery, and their creations. This will almost certainly hold the spot for “Unknown Location in the Pacific” for some future mapl.de.map. I give it a B even though it’s unnamed. They are pretty clear we’re on Dr. Moreau’s island.

When?! Now this was interesting. It’ll end up coming in at a C- at best, but on wikipedia they claim the film takes place in 2010. Which is just bizarre because it is not made clear in any which way. I suspected this was from some version of the script, as this film is a super famous disaster so people would have interest in reading original scripts, and Patrick found one. Weirdly this script actually says the film took place in 2007, but that the story is being recounted in 2010. And yet there it is on Wikipedia.

I’m fairly certain that without Kilmer and some obvious and unnecessary Producer meddling, this film could have been a success. The costumes are pretty incredible and the (original) director, Richard Stanley, certainly had a vision that he set up and then almost immediately couldn’t put to screen. Watching the documentary about the film, it seemed like the producers panicked after Brando took a shine to Stanley and began the process of destroying the film. Once he was fired you get the sense that they just wanted to finish the film ASAP and as a result it’s just a super rushed mess of a narrative. They also don’t really take advantage of Brando, who is off the wall, but in a way that could have been interesting if used better. Same for Kilmer, except he seems the more destructive of the two given his role in the film. David Thewlis just seems sad to be there. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If I made this movie I would call it The Island of Dr. Moreau … because it is based on a book. What else could I call it? The Island of Creepy Half-Animal People? I guess that does explain what it is about a bit better. Whatever, Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I had definitely seen this film before, but all I could really remember was being supremely creeped out by the animal people … which was probably the point. Other than that, Marlon Brando’s performance is legendary, although prior to this viewing I didn’t quite realize that Val Kilmer was considered the real problem actor on set. Makes sense his career started to tumble in the 2000s. What were my expectations? Off the wall b-b-b-b-bonker shit. That’s about it, this is considered one of the more confounding and strange bad movies ever made. So much so, they made a whole documentary about the making of the film.

The Good – The film has a lot of interesting ideas, as do most adaptations of The Island of Dr. Moreau (obviously). They transition quite seamlessly from the original concept of the book (something like a elixir that allows transitions between animals and humans … a very pre-genetics idea) to the much more scientifically motivated animal-human hybrid idea (which reeks of eugenics debates essentially). The adaptation doesn’t really suffer from the modernization of ideas, it is just that the movie around it is a complete mess. 

The Bad – Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando are competing on who can chew up the scenery faster. The animal costumes are so disturbing (especially in the odd shanty town set) that it makes the film almost impossible to enjoy. The film devolves into darkness so quickly that in the back half it is almost impossible to see what is really happening or where anyone is. Ultimately the film sinks under the weight of the botched production, a mishmash of ideas all spliced together in some gross adaptation-original hybrid … man I wish I was a reviewer in 1996, that is a bomb closing line for a review.

The BMT – It’s a classic for a reason. This is likely one of the quintessential troubled production bad movies. Brando’s performance is a legend, and it is the peak of managing to try both practical (the costuming) and CGI (… some disturbing shots of the animals jumping around) and getting both profoundly incorrect. It is actually a little better than you might think though, just because the ideas themselves are solid. If not for the production difficulties it might have met some mixed reviews. Did it meet my expectations? Certainly. It was b-b-b-b-bonkers shit, and is a confounding and strange bad movie. I was surprised at how much sense it made though, that made it all the more pleasant to watch.

Roast-radamus – Oddly this film gets almost no award consideration. There is no product placement, there is no secret holiday or coherent setting. No one really has a direct and clear motivation even (!). I’ll give it a small Worst Twist (How?) for the obvious combo-twist of Thewlis finding out he was brought to the island intentionally so that his genetic code could be used, and the obvious and inevitable reveal that Fairuza Balk is part cat. It is going to get closest to BMT in the end as a supremely entertaining bad movie.

StreetCreditReport.com – This film came out in a month that has been written about as one of the worst ever … well it has by another blog. Surprisingly, Siskel and Ebert didn’t put it in their worst ten of 1996. But when you have a documentary made about how troubled the production is that is credit enough. This could very well be the worst animal-human creepfest ever … wait, nope, we just watched Cats didn’t we? So this could be the second creepiest animal-human hybrid film.

You Just Got Schooled – For this I had a few choices. I could read the book, but I already had at some point, plus it takes too long. I could have watched one of the original old adaptations, but those would be hard to find. There is also a making of documentary, but I didn’t want to watch that before watching the actual film. So naturally I went for the 1977 adaptation with Burt Lancaster as Dr. Moreau, and Michael York (whom you might know as Basil from the Austin Powers series) in the lead role. The film is quite good, if very old fashioned for the time. With Close Encounters and Star Wars coming out the same year, this film comes across as more of a 60s film than anything else. The ideas are excellent though, and it was interesting to watch both adaptations back to back. I’m convinced at least two sets in the 1996 film are homages to the 1977 film (the staircase up to Thewlis’ room, and a creek looking out to the ocean near where Thewlis arrives on the island). Being able to possibly recognize that makes watching the film worthwhile. B- adaptation of the story. Closer to the original vision, but old-fashioned and thus a bit boring for modern tastes.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Along Came a Spider Recap

Jamie

Alex Cross is back, Jack! And boy is he damaged. When a psycho kidnaps a Senator’s daughter, Cross is shocked to find the maniac communicating directly with him. Can he and his definitely-not-a-bad-guy secret service helper stop the baddie and rescue the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… Along Came a Spider.

How?! Alex Cross is stinging from the death of his partner in an undercover operation gone wrong. But when a prominent politician’s daughter is swiped from a high security school by a teacher, Gary Soneji, who seems to have meticulously planned out the crime years in advance he’s intrigued. He’s even more intrigued when the guy starts communicating with him and implies that he wants Cross to personally profile him for the historical record. Enter Alex Cross and his exquisite mind. He takes the school’s secret service agent, Jezzie, as his partner and together they start knocking down clues. “Why is that picture missing?” Cross asks! “Why take a measly Senator’s daughter and not some even more powerful person?” Jezzie chimes in! “Why does this maniac seem to just want fame?” Cross ponders. Oh how beautiful a mind he has… or should I say they! Because he and Jezzie together foil a second kidnapping and ruin Soneji’s day. With the plan ruined, Soneji (or is it?) demands a ransom and, through an intricate, wholly original plot whereby he forces Cross to run across D.C. answering a series of pay phones, is able to get millions of dollars in diamonds. At this point Cross is puzzled as the case doesn’t seem to have gone the way he thought. Even more puzzling is when a distraught Soneji shows up at Jezzie’s apartment and attempts to kill her resulting in Cross killing him. Realizing this doesn’t make sense Cross cracks Jezzie’s computer with his sumptuous mind and reveals that (what a twist!) Jezzie has been part of the plan. She and another secret service agent tailed Soneji, let him take the girl, foiled the other kidnapping, demanded ransom, and then stole the girl back. When Jezzie realizes that Cross’s mind is just too stunning, she runs to the hiding place to kill the girl. But Cross is too good and shows up and kills her and saves the girl. THE END. Big Question: Is Alex Cross’ mind a 10?

Why?! You have to applaud the adaptation because it does streamline the motivations whereas the book mixes Soneji up with all kinds of psychology stuff like split personalities. Here it’s simple: Soneji wants fame and considers himself the criminal of the century worthy of documentation by bestselling crime author Alex Cross. Jezzie on the other hand wants money and uses her position as a secret service agent to take advantage of Soneji’s plot for her own devices. Alex Cross just wants to solve the crime, his mind demands it.

Who?! At a certain point in the the hierarchy of the US government I have to cut my losses and not mention that we have an actor portraying the character. Senator Hank Rose seems to fit the bill. Even the characters in the movie are like “he’s not even that famous, why would anyone care to kidnap his children?” The only reason I even am mentioning him is that he is played by Michael Moriarty (aka Harry Potter, Sr. from the film Troll) and he appears to be quite kooky. He was kooky in Troll and he’s kooky here and I watched him in a film Full Fathom Five where he is also decidedly kooky. Always interesting to watch.

What?! Hey, anyone need a prop police badge from Along Came a Spider? No? Me neither. But speaking of props I did enjoy a cyberprop (just coined that) in this film. The kids in the elite D.C. school hide messages encoded in pictures, which they pass back and forth. Uncrackable unless you know the key that tells you where to look specifically in the data for the message. It’s a nice touch and actually seems believable.

Where?! This is a Washington D.C. special (honestly how an Alex Cross film should be). We get several prominent landmarks featured and the portrayal of a US Senator. Climax takes place in Northern Virginia. I would give this an A-, but the Tyler Perry Alex Cross film proved that they can really take Cross to a number of other cities and he settles in quite nicely. B+.

When?! I went back through and the closest we get is the dry erase board in the security area of the school that appears to have a note for the date 23/4/01. This would make some sense, but I’m thrown off by the apparent use of a European date notation. Regardless this is a D at best.

I found this one almost the reverse of Kiss the Girls. I thought Morgan Freeman sleepwalked through the film and Monica Potter was not particularly good. This was probably partially the fault of the script, which was pretty meandering. And that in turn might have been because the book itself was much much harder to adapt than Kiss the Girls. They did a pretty straight adaptation of that one, but in this case there was just no way. The book as written is unfilmable, so they had to do a lot of work to smooth everything out and it was smoothed into something slow and boring. Not a thrill and/or chill to be seen and an ending that is both nonsense and anticlimactic. The only good thing was that I felt like the director pretty deftly handled a twist in the middle of the film in order to obscure it from audiences who hadn’t read the source material. Somehow we had two Alex Cross films with nearly identical Rotten Tomatoes scores and I reacted totally differently to them. Interesting. I give it an upside down hand heart (aka The Butt). Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If I made this film I would have called it Along Came a Creepy Kidnapper. ‘Cause I’m scared of spiders. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Confusingly this film is the second in the series, whereas the book is the first in the long-running book series. The book is straight up b-b-b-b-b-bonkers (more on that later), but I had already seen the film back in the day before I realized it qualified for BMT. So the preview was me just kind of remembering that the film kind of sucked. What were my expectations? The further I get away from reading the book I wondered if I misremembered things a bit. The film is so far from the book that maybe things got muddled in that way … I don’t think so though, I bet the film is a mess.

The Good – Morgan Freeman is still pretty good as Alex Cross, although he seemed a bit less thrilled with the film. Seemed a bit bored. It is too bad he never got a chance to go at some of the later books which I assume eventually settled into something a bit less … weird. If you didn’t really expect a twist the twist at the very least kind of comes out of nowhere. The child actors do a shockingly good job.

The Bad – This movie is a mess. A complete mess. They botch the twist in the end. The two main villains (spoilees, one is Monica Potter, who seems like a good guy from most of the film) are terrible actors as well. It is a really bad adaptation of the book, but almost by necessity. You see … the book is insane. So when they adapted it they clearly had to cut half of it out and try and rebuild it from the ashes. It doesn’t work. The story makes no sense without the batshit insanity Patterson introduced with the main villain, because his motivations only make sense if his is batshit insane. It is a bizarre choice for a bizarre film. Small shoutout for them totally ripping off Dirty Harry with Alex Cross running around from payphone to payphone at the behest of the villain. Bold move.

The BMT –.I think this is one of those films where the book adaptation is so crazy that it makes it slightly more enjoyable … but it still isn’t good. I’ve seen the film twice … and I will do as much as possible to avoid seeing it a third time. Just not good or fun. Did it meet my expectations? Well I had already seen the film, and remembered not liking it and thinking it was dumb … nailed it. I remembered correctly.

Roast-radamus – Very small Setting as a Character (Where?) for Washington D.C. because the fact that high-level government children getting kidnapped is pivotal to the plot. Decent MacGuffin (Why?) … actually aren’t all kidnapping films centered around a MacGuffin? Interesting thought I’ve never considered before. And of course no bad thriller would be complete without a Worst Twist (How?) and this one is a doozy. Here is turns out the good guy is a bad guy, but then kills the other good guy (for no reason), and they are in a farm house … it makes no sense. It is fantastic. I’ll throw this into the Bad running early. I really disliked this film and just hated it.

StreetCreditReport.com – This is a lot closer to something that I can imagine entering some BMT pantheon. Maybe … worst book adaptations? I can’t really find any good lists from 2001, but the cred, as I said in the other recap, is just because of Alex Cross. Crazy pulpy detective series with a 100% BMT record? Yeah, we were going to do these eventually.

You Just Got Schooled – Ah, another book adaptation. This book is insane. It was the first Alex Cross film and I think Patterson didn’t really know what he wanted to do with it. It actually feels like multiple books smashed together. You have the kidnapper obsessed with the Lindbergh kidnapping … but then all of a sudden the kidnapper is a family man, who claims to have a multiple personality, and robs a McDonald’s, and then the Secret Service agent is involved, but Alex Cross is having a relationship with her, and one of the kids died! The multiple personality story is straight out of Primal Fear, which I had read just before this book. That probably didn’t help when I read it. It really did feel like a smash up of a cheap detective thriller with some early-90s legal drama (obsessed with split personalities obviously). The book is a C-, and somehow the adaptation is an F.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Kiss the Girls Recap

Jamie

Alex Cross is a psychologist/cop who specializes in understanding the criminal mind. When his niece is captured by a serial killer whose motives may not exactly be what they seem, it’s up to Alex to figure out his next move. Can he stop the killer and rescue his niece before it’s too late? Find out in… Kiss the Girls.

How?! Alex Cross, D.C. detective extraordinaire and part-time psychologist is the master of getting into the mind of a criminal. When he finds out that his niece has gone missing, along with a number of girls in the Durham, NC area, he will stop at nothing to solve the crime. He goes down there and is like “guess what, I’m now a part of this,” and the cops there are like “well yeah, duh, you’re Alex Cross, welcome aboard.” He gets all up in that investigation and things get pretty thrilling/chilling when the kidnapper, calling himself Cassanova, appears to communicate with Cross directly. When Dr. Kate McTiernan is kidnapped and subsequently escapes it becomes clear that the killer is collecting talented women and is keeping them alive as part of a fantasy harem he is building. From the drugs used on Kate they track down a doctor in LA that must be involved. Their sting goes disastrously awry, though, and things are looking pretty dire and the audience is like “how will Alex Cross recover?” but we all know how: he’s Alex Cross! He swiftly uses his beautiful mind to track down the general area of Casanova’s hideout and when he hears a gunshot is able to find and free the missing girls. The LA doctor, known as The Gentleman Caller, is killed, but Casanova escapes. While Cross is just chilling out waiting for a dinner date with Kate he realizes that Casanova is in fact one of the police officers working the case! He rushes to Kate’s house to find her having handcuffed Casanova to the stove and him threatening to blow the house up in a gas explosion. Cross again breaks out that gorgeous mind and shoots Casanova through a carton of milk, thus killing him and preventing the explosion. THE END. Big Question: This is just good, right?

Why?! Cross’ motivation is personal, as his niece is one of the kidnapped women. No need to go into more detail than that really. For Casanova and The Gentleman Caller, they get pretty deep into their motivations. Casanova considers himself a great lover and kidnaps and drugs talented women for his “harem” to live out his fantasy that he is irresistible and a man of great power. The Gentleman Caller is just a sadist really… so not as much thought for his character I guess. 

Who?! Interesting tidbit that Anna Maria Horsford went uncredited in the role of Vicki (Alex’s sister) in this film, but then reprised her role in Along Came a Spider and was credited in that. She basically had the same amount of screentime in each. Curious. Billy Blanks also made an appearance as Ashley Judd’s kickboxing instructor. He’s, of course, the inventor of Tae Bo.

What?! Sometimes when you’re watching a film that’s set in a particular place (especially when there is a good chance they actually filmed on location) you’ll see some funny product placement specific to the area. I always like to see local beers play a role in films. Here Alex Cross shoots Casanova in the climactic final scene through a Maola milk carton. You gotta run with that Maolo, get on the “Alex Cross’ Milk of Choice” ad campaign.

Where?! The beginning of the film takes place in D.C. and there is a small part in California, but otherwise all the action is in Durham, NC. Same as in the book. Interestingly there is a reason it does. Because of the Research Triangle in the area I think they were going for the idea that it would be a perfect place to pick up super talented women in a relatively small area. B+.

When?! I think this likely takes place in either April or May ‘96. They have a big wall that charts the disappearances of the girls. To the left is a series of calenders for January-May of 1996. Presumably this is the range over which the girls were kidnapped. Considering Alex Cross’ niece had just been the latest victim you presume that it’s somewhere near the end of that range. Although, weird that it seems so chilly in NC that time of year. C+.

I’ve realized that I have a soft spot for thrillers. Last year I raved about Mercury Rising and now I have to say… Kiss the Girls is closer to being just fine to being BMT. I thought Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd were excellent. In particular I thought Judd should have been a bigger star from what I saw in this film. Sad given what has been revealed about that in recent years. The thriller itself had enough thrills and chills for me and I think its biggest error was being way too predictable and stumbling over some lazy red herrings. I can’t really tell whose fault that might have been. The director I guess, but it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the film. So I give it the patented BMT hand heart of approval… you know, the classic rating system that fans of BMT have come to know and love. And for those that are wondering, yes I did think through the other hand symbols we’d have as part of the system. Turn that hand heart upside down and it turns into a butt for our “poo in the face” rating. For fun BMT films? Turn your hands into goggles through which we are watching the films in amazement. Everything we make up for BMT is the lamest possible thing and I’m very proud of this. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If I made this film I would have changed the name to Smooch the Girls. ‘Cause Casanova be smooching. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I had read this book ages ago after we watched Alex Cross. Out of the two books I read this is by far the most adaptable, although it is still rather disturbing. I will say, I very much enjoy serial killer fiction, and this is very much that. The book wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever read, but the subject was definitely up my alley. I was excited to see Morgan Freeman in the role as well. What were my expectations? I expected it to just be kind of confusing. Those are pretty common issues for thrillers, and I can very much imagine that being the issue since, honestly, I found the book pretty confusing.

The Good – I actually liked this film to be honest. We’ll get to some of the issues, but Ashley Judd must have been a revelation in the late 90’s. She is so good in the film, and it is pretty crazy the film got such bad reviews when the main two actors are so good. I thought the setting was cool, a very good use of the Research Triangle of North Carolina. I’m glad they kept it there instead of trying to force it back to DC (which is where Cross tends to be based in the earlier novels). And it wasn’t nearly as confusing as I remembered the book being, because they resolve the Casanova / The Gentleman Caller confusion really quickly.

The Bad – They try and half-heartedly foist the actual twist from the book (in which the reader wonders right to the end which of the police detectives is in fact Casanova) into the film even though it is abundantly clear Carey Elwes is the only logical choice. The fact that the twist is so obvious is an issue, and one easily solved: just make the detective such a minor character you’d never think he’s the culprit. But nope, it’s the late-90s, so you have to get that big name for the bad guy. Dumb. The Gentleman Caller serial killer story is as bad as in the book. It is so unnecessary it kind of annoys you that they are drawing you away from Casanova who is the far better story of the two.

The BMT – Just because we are completing the Alex Cross franchise. That’s really the only real BMT cred its got. Otherwise it’ll end up being one of my favorite BMTs ever I suppose, just because of Judd’s performance which is genuinely quite good. Did it meet my expectations? No, but in a good way. This is a very good adaptation of a book that deals with difficult subject matter and is somewhat confusing as written. The film manages to deal with the difficult subject manner tactfully, and is considerably less confusing that the book I thought.

Roast-radamus – I think this is a decent Setting as a Character (Where?) for North Carolina, with the Research Triangle in particular playing a big role in the film. I’ll also give it a shoutout for Worst Twist (How?) for even daring the headfake the audience about Detective No Name being a legit potential Cassanova. And finally I think this has a decent shot at Good since at least I expect this will be my favorite thriller this year.

StreetCreditReport.com – I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising that this doesn’t have much cred in the media at the time. It isn’t that bad, and there wasn’t as much media coverage of bad films at the time. The cred comes from Alex Cross anyways, both the amazing Tyler Perry adaptation, and the fact that the books have been around for so long. It isn’t even close to the worst serial killer film. Hell, it’s the best Alex Cross film ever made!

You Just Got Schooled – As I said I read the book long ago, but I’ll try and remember as much as I can. I read Along Came a Spider first (I’ll save that review for that recap), but that really set up the character for me. This takes him out of DC and sends him to the South, and I remember being supremely confused about how they were splitting the story between Cassanova and The Gentleman Caller (the two killers in the film). They kind of wanted you to wonder if they were the same person, but it was obvious that they weren’t. And then the twist of which detective was the killer was weak because … I mean, who cares? So yeah, the book was a bit more confusing and leaned into the lame twists a bit too much. These types of books are also terribly written … as I said, somehow the film is loads better than the book. C+.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

A Walk to Remember Recap

Jamie

Landon Carter is just your typical teenage rebel. When he gets in trouble for a prank gone awry, he is forced to join the school play with Jamie Sullivan. She’s a good girl and Landon would NEVER fall in love with her. So can he fall in love with her and overcome the secret reason why he shouldn’t fall in love with her before it’s too late? Find out in… A Walk to Remember.

How?! Landon Carter is a teenybopper rapscallion who, along with his scallywag friends, gets in trouble for the literal definition of peer pressure… like… he gets a dude to jump off a bridge by pretending like he’s going to do it too. Pretty on the nose. Anyway, the school is like “you rascal, you now have to volunteer teach and participate in the school play,” and Landon is like, “pffft, whatever. Definitely won’t fall in love with a total nerd.” But then he sees Jamie Sullivan and she’s a total nerd but also… intriguing. But still, definitely NOT falling in love with her. However, realizing that he’s probably going to totally bomb the play he asks Jamie to help him out. Through this process they strike up a friendship and they totally own the play, but afterwards go their separate ways. That is until Landon’s so-called friends play a prank on her and he’s like “yo, not cool and also she’s my girlfriend and I love her.” The audience is confused but thrilled as we get to watch young love blossom over fancy dinner dates and dancing. But Jamie is always on guard and we soon find out why. She’s dying from cancer and the audience rends their clothes in despair. But Landon isn’t ready to give up yet. He still totally is in love and they keep on dating and making her dreams come true in the short time they have. Realizing the profound change in his life he decides that despite her imminent death he wants to marry Jamie and despite the misgivings of their parents they do and boy oh boy, let me tell you, it’s… a walk… to remember. In fact, I’m remembering it right now and it’s beautiful. We then find out that after her death the once wayward Landon is now studying to become a doctor and likely cures cancer in the future. THE END. Big Question: Would the story have been less profound if they didn’t get married? Just wondering how much the marriage itself factors into the story.

Why?! Love… oh, you probably want me to say more. Well, I think Jamie always realized that Landon was really nice (and very handsome *wolf whistle*), but through a combination of peer pressure and difficulties with his parent’s divorce was straying from the straight and narrow. So I think she kinda knew that if they hung out that side would come out and they would fall in love. So still, love all the way.

Who?! Mandy Moore is the star and at the time was a pretty big pop star. Not like Britney, bitch. But like a bench player on the all-pop star team. There were also a couple “In memory of” credits at the end of the film. These went to Nicholas Sparks’ sister, who was the inspiration for the book, and Jimmy Everest, who was a child who died of bone cancer and whose memorial helped establish the University of Oklahoma’s pediatric cancer center.

What?! A bunch of places mentioned how crazy the product placement in this film was and I was like “what?” but then I was reminded that there is pretty much a full-blown commercial for the Star Registry in the middle of the film (you can name your own star!). And this came just a mere three years after they were forced to stop claiming that you were buying the official naming of a star… so it’s officially unofficial. That is pretty good.

Where?! I mean… it’s Nicholas Sparks. Where else but North Carolina. But also like most of his books it’s not necessary, just made very clear. So like a B or B+. Obviously this film could also have taken place on Martha’s Vineyard… starring me. Obviously. Also, interestingly this film features a scene with a “Welcome to Virginia” highway sign. Add that to the list.

When?! Now if you thought the product placement was great for this film, wait until you get a load of the temporal setting. Eventually the film revolves around Jamie having all of her dreams come true thanks to Landon. This includes seeing a once-in-a-lifetime comet. What comet? Well she specifically mentions it’s the Comet Hyakutake… which was visible in Spring 1996. Interestingly she wouldn’t have needed a telescope to see that comet… it was very bright and visible to the naked eye. But yeah, I’m gonna give that an A. Somehow the exact time of the film is relevant to the plot.

The film is fine, but eventually gets quite weird. It’s all very saccharine, so if you’re into high schoolers falling deeply, madly and/or truly in love and marrying despite imminent death from cancer then this will do nicely. If you aren’t looking for that then it’s a tough watch. The big critique is how much time they spend on the front half of the film (sometimes even on trivial things) only to put the pedal to the metal as Landon goes from scoffing at Jamie in the hallway, to holding her head in his hands and asking “baby, are you all right?” in what feels like five second. It’s pretty jarring, but still less jarring than them getting married just moments later. The book does a better job with the pacing and as a result is probably more successful. But still… it’s OK. We all need a little sweetness every once in a while. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Oh man, that walk. You know what? That was a walk that I’m going to remember, that’s how good that walk was. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – This was a long time coming. We almost audibled to Sex in the City 2, but then it just felt right. It had been so long since we had done a Nicholas Sparks film, and this is the true OG Nicholas Sparks film. I was a bit surprised to learn that the leading man is also somewhat musically inclined. I was not surprised after watching it to learn they didn’t let him sing in the film. What are my expectations? A whole lotta schlock. What I want is Midnight Sun. Someone has to be a terrible actor, and I want to tear up and think “Peter Coyote, you done right, don’t you feel bad.” If I don’t get that I’ll be disappointed.

The Good – I thought Mandy Moore did a decent job. If I knew nothing about her I wouldn’t have thought it was a singer-turned-actor, she held her own amongst the rest of the young cast. The film is mostly just syrupy sweetness, which often is enough to get me through a teen drama. The first hour is quite good in that regard. We get to learn who Landon is, see him change and start dating Jamie, ah young love. Then they gut-punch you, but that isn’t always a bad thing either.

The Bad – I did not like the weird pacing they chose for the adaptation. The relationship is building for about an hour, and then in order to connect the dots to the ending they kind of just have to fast forward months into the relationship. It makes the whole flow of the end of the film seem off. I don’t want to get into it too much, but having the two 18 year old lead characters get married at the end is very old fashioned. It dates the movie to a different time in America. And the play-within-a-movie was objectively awful and everyone should feel bad about that storyline.

The BMT – Of course, all Nicholas Sparks novels are going to inevitably result in BMT glory. This had to be done, so from that perspective it is obviously BMT. The issue is probably that this is one of the better Sparks films in the end. Like, you couldn’t even throw us one ghost wife? Not even a single one? That’ll ultimately sink it in my estimation. Did it meet my expectations? Nope. Neither of the leads were amusingly terrible at acting. They were both serviceable, and their relationship was earned and very sweet. And then, I felt nothing for Peter Coyote when his terminally ill daughter died. Sorry. It is probably his dour preacher demeanor that turned me off, whereas Rob Riggle in Midnight Sun was a constant amusing delight. So take some notes Sparks, your father figures should have an irreverent sense of humor. Just a tip.

Roast-radamus – There isn’t a Planchet, but there is a frenemy with a ‘tude named Dean. I mean, we don’t award things for that, but still, it is important to consider awards for sheer ‘tudeness. I’ll definitely allow for Setting as a Character (Where?) for North Carolina, they even filmed on the Dawson’s Creek set. And lob over an easy Worst Twist (How?) for the now-classic tragic-death-of-the-leading-lady-for-romance. I think this has a chance for a Good nomination at the end of the year, but it is highly dependant on how many films we think could get that designation.

StreetCreditReport.com – Not surprisingly this film got very little play in 2002. It might have just been floating in that fine-but-too-sweet area such that it really wasn’t the worst. Or 2002 was a particularly “good” year for bad movies. Whatever the case, the cred mostly comes from Sparks anyways who managed to mostly tarnish his reputation as a writer for a whole group of people who would never be interested in his books by releasing terrible adaptations for a decade. That’s it though, it is all Sparks.

You Just Got Schooled – Jamie (me, not Sullivan) jumping in because, guess what? I totally read this book. Don’t worry, it’s pretty short. Anyway, it’s a very sweet book, which focuses much more on the spiritual and religious aspects of Jamie’s (and eventually Landon’s) life. It also takes place in the 50’s and is told from Landon’s point of view decades later. Both these aspects make the pacing of their relationship and their eventual marriage much more logical. There is also a lot more discussion about their choices in the book, so the film feels like it hits hyperspeed at a certain point as they jump from not dating at all to marriage in a relatively short time frame. Besides that though I think it’s a pleasant enough adaptation of a pleasant enough book. Do I recommend it? No… why would you read this?

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Recap

Jamie

Leatherface is back, Jack! Or perhaps he’s just getting started. Two brothers are heading across Texas with their girlfriends in order to report for Vietnam (or are they?). On the way they are taken captive by a sadistic family led by Hoyt and his nephew Leatherface. Can they escape the mayhem before it’s too late? Find out in… Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. 

How?! We open with the origin of Leatherface, from his tragic birth to his even more tragic start as a murderer, when the meat packing plant he works in closes down and he chooses to murder the owner. His uncle Hoyt helps him escape the law and takes on the guise of the local sheriff. A short time later, a gang of youngsters are roadtripping across Texas, this time in order for Eric and Dean to report for duty for Vietnam. Dean is planning to draft dodge, but before he can fully admit it to Eric they tangle with an angry biker resulting in a car crash. When Hoyt shows up he kills the biker and thus we begin hours of on screen torture that I’m sure someone out there enjoyed. Anyway, they are all packed up and taken to the family home while Chrissie, Eric’s girlfriend who was thrown from the crash, climbs into the wreck when it’s towed to the house. She quickly realizes that her friends have been taken captive and she heads for help. She finds a biker and convinces him to come help while Eric, Dean, and Dean’s girlfriend Bailey attempt and fail to escape. Returning with the biker, Chrissie finds Eric, but he’s murdered in front of her by a chainsaw. Leatherface, well… takes his face all while the biker is killed like a dope. This is all very graphic and unpleasant. Chrissie then tries to save Bailey but is captured and joins the family and her friends for dinner. She and Dean manage to escape and head to the meat packing plant. There Dean saves Chrissie’s life and she manages to get away… except we know she doesn’t because this is a prequel. Leatherface pops out and kills her and everyone dies. Sad. THE END. Big Question: There must have been an audience for the neverending gore, torture, and lack of scares or else they wouldn’t have made it… right?

Why?! We do get a better picture of the motivations expressed in the remake. In that one they made it seem like the family is motivated in part by revenge against those that insulted them. In particular those that bullied Leatherface due to his skin condition. In this film, though, they make it seem more like Hoyt was driven insane from his time in the Korean War as a POW and then uses the perceived insults of society against the family to rile them up to murder and/or accept murder and cannibalism… a little zag there.

Who?! I’ll take this opportunity to highlight another movie monster actor. Andrew Bryniarski is interestingly the only actor to ever portray Leatherface twice in both the remake and this film. He was a former bodybuilder who broke onto the scene as Butterfinger in Hudson Hawk. He drummed up some controversy after making some insensitive remarks upon the death of Gunnar Hansen, the original Leatherface. Not a good idea if you want to keep raking in that Leatherface money. 

What?! These films generally lack much for this category given the horror genre (which spooks advertisers) and the fact that they’re generally set in the past. Obviously there are a huge number of props out there for the film, given the horror market on these things, but interestingly not many for sale at the moment. 

Where?! Gotta love the series that has given us so many A+ settings. It’s interesting that much like the temporal setting of these films, it’s probably impossible for them to ever stray from the Texas setting. It’s in the name and would be real weird to release The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Takes Manhattan… but I’d be there for it.

When?! The reboot was more specific with the time, but this still is pretty close. It’s set in July 1969 at the height of the Vietnam War, and that plays a prominent part in the plot. Probably not prominent enough to boost it up into A territory, but enough to get it to a B, despite not having an exact date.

While I could see the interesting choices made in the remake, while also admitting that it just wasn’t the type of film for me, this one really doubled down on the stuff I didn’t like from that one. They let R. Lee Ermey run wild and then upped the gore to the extreme. This must have been in some kind of apex of this type of horror film or something because in the 2003 film they cut Jessica Biel’s pregnancy storyline and removed the scene when a kid was murdered by Leatherface because that crossed a line. Here that was all out the window. It is tough to watch and almost laughably not scary. They aren’t even really trying to scare you until near the end of the film. That’s all without even mentioning the fact that they somehow still managed to rehash everything in the 2003 film for this film. If you’re going to make a torture movie then at least do something different with it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Just when we caught up with BMT we get sucked back into a bad horror franchise. This does mean we will only be two films away from completing the entire series. Well … I’m impressed, so whatever. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – After watching the first film and reading the preview I would assume that this is basically the same as the first except that they did everything wrong instead of most things as right as you could (given it is a remake of a classic horror film). So let’s see: they’ll redo the dinner scene and up the ante on the gore. I hope I’m wrong. What are my expectations? Now this one I fully expect to despise. Otherwise I’ll have to declare myself immune to gross-out gory horror.

The Good – Not much! I guess you have to give credit where it is due: this has by far the most chainsaw action and kills of any of the six films in the series. If you like prequels riddled with callbacks this is your movie as well. Like if you watched the remake and thought “I wonder how Hoyt had his teeth knocked out,” then guess what? You’re going to be pleased to know you find out. Also if you like frequent call backs to the original classic film they dole out those in spades as well.

The Bad – Nearly everything? I started this film and all of a sudden I had an overwhelming sense of deja vu. At first I thought “wait … this is the same story as the remake!” But guess what? If you think about it, five of the first six films have the same goddamned story! And with that my brain rejected the film. I hated this film. I’m going to declare it dog poo in my face. So there, take that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning! It is grosser, and weirder, and … if this is your style of film (it isn’t mine) then this really cranks the formula up to 11. And for me that made it a very unpleasant viewing experience.

The BMT – I hope to almost immediately forget this film exists in the coming weeks, but it’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with the Friday the 13th series as far as film series we somewhat illogically decided to watch all of the entries for (eventually, still two Massacre films to go). Unlike Friday the 13th I think I’ve liked each subsequent entry less than the previous one except for the remake. My ranking is basically: 1, 2, 5, 3, 6, 4. And my defense for liking the second is that at least it had a new and kind of amusing story. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, although I expected to hate it just for the gore, but ended up hating it because it was a retread as well, so it has that going for it.

Roast-radamus – Another Texas Chainsaw Massacre film, another A+ Setting (Where?) for BMT. Also I like that there all end up being weird Period Piece (When?) entries because for whatever reason people feel like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has to take place in the 70s? I do think this has a decent shot at the Bad entry at the end of the year as well. I’ll leave it at that, while there was a bunch of twist-y callbacks, that was mostly to service the prequel formula.

StreetCreditReport.com – This manages to be perfectly in between the time in which big publications were doing worst of lists and when the more consistent lists (like the AV Club) started being developed. I can’t find it anywhere, but I think by the time this came out the critics who didn’t feel like seeing the prequel to the 2003 version just ignored it. But if Ebert did review it, it would have gotten a thumbs down I’m sure. Its cred comes from its predecessor anyways.

You Just Got Schooled – Naturally for a two film series why not watch two good films in a series: Happy Death Day 2U. I’m actually a bit surprised this got almost the exact same critical reception as the first. I found this one to diverge too much from the horror formula to be interesting. It is, instead, a sci-fi alternate dimension comedy. To be frank, that’s not what I signed up for. Initially I was excited because it seemed like maybe they were going to focus on another character in the film (Ryan Phan), but then they just went back to Tree again and with that my interest waned. I kind of just wished it was a bit better because the writer-director clearly loves time travel films, so it would have been fun to explore more horror-comedy versions of those types of films. I don’t like genre mash-ups in general, and here they tried to mash up three genres into one. Guess what? That’s two too many genres. C+.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) Recap

Jamie

Leatherface is back, Jack! Or am I just (re)imagining it? When a group of friends find themselves trapped by a sadistic family of murderers led by Hoyt and his nephew Leatherface, they must try to escape with their skin intact. Can they find a way out (and finally take down the family) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003).

How?! We open on a backcountry road of Texas. A group of teenage-to-mid-thirties teenyboppers are on their way to a concert after visiting Mexico for some illicit fun. They include couple Kemper and Erin (who is obviously pregnant, but this seems to be abandoned part way through the film), Andy and his new hitchhiker boo Pepper, and jokester Morgan. When they see a young woman wandering the road they pick her up only to have her pull out a gun and kill herself. They try to find the police but are directed to an old mill, where a creepy kid directs Kemper and Erin even further into the wilderness to an old house. There, Kemper is taken by Leatherface, one of a family of psychos that prey on ne’er do wells like them. Freaked out, Erin gets Andy to go back with her and search for him, resulting in him also getting captured. She runs back to a van only to have a crazy cop, Hoyt, come and brutalize them and arrest Morgan. Erin and Pepper try to drive away, but Leatherface tracks them down and kills Pepper. Erin runs into the woods, but is taken in by a couple of other creeps and drugged. She wakes up with the psycho family, who explains to Erin (aka the audience) about everything that is going on. She’s put in the basement where she finds Morgan and is helped by the creepy kid to escape. They get to an abandoned house where Morgan sacrifices himself to help Erin get away. She makes it to the slaughterhouse where she is able to subdue Leatherface and escape to a truck. In a final climactic scene she is able to steal back a baby that the family has taken and get Hoyt’s cop car. She kills Hoyt with the car and escapes to freedom, thus ending The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Big Question: wait… this actually isn’t that bad, right?

Why?! Unsurprisingly the motivations in horror films get real weird the longer the series goes on. So we get a little breather with the reboot as they get to start over. Here they add in the wrinkle that the family doesn’t just kill and eat people, but also steals their children to raise as their own… in fact, it’s not till the prequel that they make it clear that they even eat them. Additionally, they goad Leatherface into murderous rage by invoking his childhood bullying due to his skin condition. So that’s slightly different than the previous films.

Who?! There are a couple Special Thanks that maybe seem music related. But I think the most notable thing for this film might end up being something that we focus on for a future cycle or just for this portion of the recap: the narrator. Here we get some opening and ending narration that is done by none other than John Larroquette. And you might be like “Wow, how did they get superstar John Larroquette to narrate this film?” Well… it’s because he narrated the original. Say whaaaaaaaaaa?!

What?! There apparently was several attempts at product placement for this film, but they didn’t come to fruition. It’s explained on the director commentary, but we unfortunately didn’t listen to it. While researching that I also stumbled across a book that posits that this film is a shift in the series to more erotic objectification male bodies rather than female. Which is interesting because Biel spends the latter half of the film running around in a tight white t-shirt in a rainstorm. But perhaps that’s a clash between director (Nispel – who directed Pathfinder and the new Conan and stuff) and producer (Bay).

Where?! It’s actually starting to get boring just writing over and over that these films are A+ films. Obviously set in Texas, obviously in the title, and obviously plays a role in the film given the isolation and backwoods characterization of the psycho family. 

When? I do have to give the new films some BMT props for really nailing down the timeline. They make it abundantly clear that it’s August 18th, 1973 when the events of the film take place. It’s an interesting quirk of Texas Chainsaw Massacre that they seem to feel compelled to keep the film set in the 70’s in the reboot. It’s not like when they rebooted Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street that they were like “no, it has to be set in the 80’s”. I think for that reason only it crosses from B+ to A-.

While this is not my type of movie, I actually kind of appreciated that they made some changes and choices that were unexpected. I really just expected a rehash of the original with increased gore (people forget that the original really doesn’t have much gore). Instead they added different reasons for how the kids get ensnared, a whole new family, and seemed to consciously eschew certain classics that had been a part of every Chainsaw film up to that point. Like I was truly shocked when there wasn’t a family dinner scene. This may in fact be the only film in the series without one. Add to that some pretty OK acting and if you allow for the fact that these movies generally exchange gore for scares (not a great exchange in my opinion) then I think this actually isn’t all that bad. I daresay it’s maybe even a little underrated in reaching BMT qualification. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We just couldn’t get enough of our friend Leatherface. Can he redeem his honestly pretty bad turn as horror icon from the original quadrilogy (or is that a trilogy plus a remake … it is hard to tell)? You’ll just have to read to find out. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Everything about this preview screams: Patrick you will hate this. Every bit of it suggests it is a sadistic horror film focused on gore. Which is, quite literally, my least favorite sub-genre of horror. So I don’t know what to say, I was going in ready to be disappointed. What were my expectations? To be disgusted and disappointed. I’ve grown to love horror films over the last few years, but really it is mostly the eerie ones focused on hauntings and curses and evil demons and such that I like. The goofy slashers are fun and can be some of the best the genre has to offer, but some time in the 2000s they veered off course into gore. I expected to be very upset coming out of this film.

The Good – I actually wasn’t upset by this film. The R-rated cut is, for the most part, tame enough that I could handle it. It was mainly the Ermey parts that got on my nerves (he was fine, his character was just a bit distasteful, and not in the “I’m a cannibal” kind of way). Overall, surprisingly, the film is a pretty decent reimagining of the classic. At the very least it isn’t nearly as bad as one could have expected. And that’s good. Oddly the very warm sepia look works for 70s / August / Texas, I was practically sweating watching the film.

The Bad – This film is bad in precisely the ways you would think it is bad. It is basically a reimagining of a classic horror film, and that always begs a question (why?). And it is a genre that I would guess only a small portion of the general population genuinely enjoys (gory horror, which some call sadistic horror). There are definitely goofy parts (Leatherface wearing Eric Balfour’s face). And there are definitely weird storyline choices (the hitchhiker and baby are good narrative decisions, but end up requiring a lot of explanations to build a coherent story). But as I said, this is all expected in my opinion. It was basically the least bad it could be.

The BMT – All of that being said it feels like they actually managed to get through this film relatively unscathed. It didn’t damage itself too much trying to reimagine a classic. It built up Leatherface and the family effectively. In an alternative universe this is a pretty decent jumping off point to a larger 2000s Texas Chainsaw Massacre series. But that wasn’t meant to be it seems. Did it meet my expectations? Maybe my constitution is hardening, but I actually didn’t think the film was too bad. I think there was maybe only one moment where I thought the gore was over the top (the suicide scene). Otherwise I handled it pretty well. Which is definitely a plus for the film.

Roast-radamus – Obviously, yet again, we got a Setting as a Character (Where?) with the A+ setting of Texas. And Period Piece (When?) for the clear and present 70s set piece. I don’t think it’ll get much of the other options unfortunately. No real twists or turns or anything, this kids are just here to die by the hands of Leatherface. I don’t think it’ll get Good either, it is too gross, and that is the closest it would have come to those awards. Pretty sparse options in my opinion.

StreetCreditReport.com – Not surprisingly given it got a very rare thumbs down (zero stars) from Roger Ebert, but it beat out some solid competition to be declared his number one worst movie of 2003. Even crazier is that both that video and the Rolling Stone list from that year included Masked & Anonymous, a film that appears to have only been released to 25 theaters which I had never heard of. Wild stuff. Regardless, that thumbs down is all the cred you need.

You Just Got Schooled – I was sitting around last Friday really not wanting to watch this movie when I stumbled onto a horror series which I had meant to watch: Happy Death Day. And perfect, there are two of them available. I knew the vague concept for the first one already (horror Groundhog Day), and it didn’t disappoint for the most part. I like the main actress, I liked the kind of amusing way she goes about trying to solve her own death, and I liked that the film acted as a kind of inventive-kill-buffet at times. But the twist was pretty telegraphed (if you paid attention), and I wish they hadn’t made the time loops semi-persistent (giving her a finite number of loops to get things right basically). It worked well enough, but I’m a bit surprised they decided to go with a direct sequel instead of maybe reworking it into an amusing television premise or something. It seems like they could’ve squared the circle a bit and come out with something even more fun using a rebooted format. I liked it though. Solid B.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Point Break (2015) Recap

Jamie

Johnny Utah is an FBI agent with a dark and x-treme past. He is tasked with infiltrating a gang of equally x-treme criminals who are pulling off x-treme stunts in tandem with robin hood like criminal activity. Unfortunately he finds himself intrigued by their philosophy and x-treme lifestyle. Can he stop them before it’s too late? Find out in… Point Break (2015).

How?! After the tragic death of his… poly extreme athlete (?) friend… *shakes head* Johnny Utah joins the FBI to find purpose in life. In a wild coincidence, right when they are doubting his abilities, a new breed of… poly extreme athlete… *sighs heavily* bank robbers arise. Seeing all the signs of his kindred spirits (and recognizing the tell tale signs of the Ozaki 8 set of extreme sports trials) Johny correctly predicts their next stop on their global crime spree. Setting out to infiltrate the gang by surfing a giant wave, he inadvertently snakes their leader Bodhi’s wave, who is forced to jump in and save Johnny’s life. Curious about this newcomer, and recognizing him from his past tragedy, he lets Johnny into their crew despite the misgivings of his friends. Soon he is base jumping into their hearts, finding love with the beautiful Samsara, and finding closure with his past demons. Everything is looking up… other than the fact that the FBI is kinda pissed that he’s just palling around with these pseudophilosophical extreme losers (nailed it) instead of getting the evidence they need to arrest them. After one of the group dies attempting a snowboarding trial in the Alps, Johnny is depressed and knows things have gone too far. When they bring him in on the next big robbery, blowing up a gold mine (to save the planet or some shit), he attempts to stop them but Bodhi escapes. The FBI moves in when Bodhi attempts to rob a bank to fund the last few ordeals, but again he escapes and Samsara is killed in the process (noooooo). Down but not out, Johnny uses his beautiful mind to track Bodhi to Angel Falls where he free climbs the shit out of it and confronts Bodhi who jumps off the falls and escapes for a final time. Realizing that there is only one ordeal left, he finally tracks Bodhi to a giant wave in the middle of a hurricane where he lets him surf to his death rather than arrest him. THE END. Big Question: So they didn’t rob anything for money? Just to give it back to the earth?… and instead they had a sponsor who funded this activity… why?

Why?! I mean, this is really the crux of the problem here. In the original film the gang was a bunch of surfers who were legit criminals. They robbed for money. Bodhi was just a charismatic criminal leader. In this case they are actually not at all interested in money. Instead they perform increasingly dangerous extreme sports feats in tandem with extreme sports robberies, after which they give the money to the oppressed workers and/or mother earth. In fact the connection of the Ozaki 8 and the robberies is never fully explained… other than an implied connection through Bodhi’s environmental philosophy. The Ozaki 8 are supposed to demonstrate the power of mother earth. The robberies are supposed to be the resulting punishment against those corporations that dared to betray mother earth… you know what, the more I talk about it the stupider is actually is. So I’m just going to stop. Johnny is just trying to find his place in the world and get over the death of his friend… mission accomplished by the end, I guess.

Who?! There are a tremendous number of cameos in the movie. They were mostly featured at the “rad” parties that the crew threw between bank heists. The best cameo was DJ Steve Aoki, who showed up DJing at a ski chalet a la Deadmau5 in Runner Runner. It’s like these films just ask for the hottest DJ so they can make it very clear just how cool the party they are depicting is. There were also interestingly three in memoriams, but not for deaths that occurred on the set. They just were using such high level stunt people that they literally were doing the most dangerous stuff on earth all the time… and some of them unfortunately died before the film was released.

What?! I mean, it’s hard to imagine that such a recent film (and a critical flop to boot) would have many props for sale. I certainly couldn’t dress up as poly extreme athlete Johnny Utah when he was still jamming out on his dirt bike. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. And only $1300? What a deal! They’re even selling a “Utah” skateboard that I don’t even remember being in the film! I have to stop. There is too much.

Where?! A little bit of a road trip film here as Bodhi starts in the United States and then travels through France, Italy, and eventually Venezuela while undercover. We spend the most time in Italy, but Venezuela also has a major landmark (Angel Falls) play a pivotal role in the film. At the very least this is an A- just for that and how clear they made the places where they went.

When?! In the beginning of the film we see footage from a heist which has an October 13th timestamp. They specifically say that heist happened “last month” so we presume that this mostly takes place at the beginning of November. I won’t even allow myself to think of the possibility that the meal that Johnny shares with the crew could possibly be a super secret Thanksgiving. It’s not made clear and so I can’t get my hopes up like that. C

This movie is straight dumb. It’s x-tremely hard to get over the bastardization of the motivations of the characters as compared to the original, but even without that comparison it’s inane. The idea that they are performing death-defying (and sometimes not even defying) stunts in order to specifically NOT steal money is bad and I don’t like it. Especially when the FBI freezes their assets at the end and they have to rob a bank to get more money… you know what might have helped you there? Some money from those crazy bank robberies you performed for free. All that being said, there are moments that are visually electric. I particularly liked the wingsuit scene. It really is amazing. Too bad the actual story set around the beautiful stunts is trash. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You ever wonder what would happen if some producers decided to remake a beloved 80s action film, but then made it totally different and lame? Wonder no more! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – This has been on the docket for years now (well … since 2015 to be exact), but I now know I really had no idea what the film was ever about. Because x-treme poly-athletes is not really what I would have guessed. I would have guessed it was still about surfing, just that they also did more extreme skydiving stunts and stuff. I do love vistas, so I was excited regardless. What did I expect? Vistas, vistas, and more vistas. Oh, and also a dumb story. If it gave me vistas without slapping fans of the original in the face then I’d be happy.

The Good – The vistas! Some of the more beautiful action scenes I’ve ever seen. You can kind of see the point of the movie right there: get some really nuts action shots, and build a dumb movie around it. That is well and truly the only good thing about this movie, the action stuff. Because the rest of it is terrible.

The Bad – Alright, let’s start with the fact that this is a slap in the face to fans of the original. In the original you got this hippy dippy surfer nonsense, but that is a real thing. But this hippy dippy x-treme poly-athlete nonsense? Yeah, I’m not buying it. They hijacked the name for no good reason, and then the movie doesn’t even bother to have much surfing in it. The acting is top-to-bottom really bad. And the criminal exploits are just weird, like, they don’t even bother to keep any of the money because they have a private backer? That is insane. What kind of private backer funds a series of x-treme sport endeavors which would kill anyone four times over by the end of it. Repeat after me: x-treme poly-athletes don’t exist. No one is that good at free-solo rock climbing and base jumping / wingsuit stunts. I makes no sense!

The BMT – It’ll always hold a place in my heart due to the vistas. And also it is probably going to be one of the worst adaptations we’ve ever seen forever more. It didn’t quite cross into dog poo territory because I respect the action craft and the vistas, but it really is one of the dumbest films you’ll ever watch. Did it meet my expectations? No, it was a slap in the face to fans of the original and I can never respect that.

Roast-radamus – I have to give it up for the Setting as a Character (Where?) category because I love jet-setting films, and this is one of the best from a vistas perspective. It also had amazing Product Placement (What?) for things like Monster Energy which was all over the place. I have to throw this into the MacGuffin (Why?) category for the entire misguided concept of the Ozaki Eight, which is just complete fucking nonsense. This will have a decent shot at getting mentioned for Bad next year, although I think it ends up missing out on the big awards in any case.

StreetCreditRerpot.com – I don’t remember this, but apparently this was also released on Christmas Day! So yeah, it missed out on all of the big lists for 2015, but no doubt it would have made it onto a few if they had released it in January like they probably should have. It is definitely the worst x-treme poly-athlete film ever made, that seems like a given.

You Just Got Schooled – I rewatched the original Point Break (1991) prior to viewing, and it is a true classic. The group of surfers feel authentic, Gary Busey is hilarious, and the cast is pitch perfect for the film. Yeah, some bits are cheesy. And yeah, the hippy surfer vibe you get from Swayze is a little extreme at times, but it ends up all the more shocking once you realize that he’s a fake. He’s a criminal, and his hippy dippy vibe and attitude is cultivated by surrounding himself by other criminals who can do the dirty work for him. He hides behind a code of non-violence, while befriending explicitly violent people for use when he so pleases. It made watching the remake feel like a slap in the face. They really do take one aspect of it (that hippy “we are all leaves in the wind, go with the flow” attitude) and pop it into a trash film about a whole lotta bullshit. B+ for the original, which is only docked for being a little too cheesy at times.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs