House of Wax Recap

Jamie

Carly and Nick are a couple of totally opposite twins. When a group of their friends get stuck out in the woods they are spookified to find a creepy town dominated by an even creepier wax museum. Even scarier is when they start to disappear. Can they stop the baddies and escape before it’s too late? Find out in… House of Wax.

How?! On the way to the big college football game in Louisiana, a group of dope college kids are just looking to have a good time (and maybe spill some big secrets). Carly and Wade are in looooove, but are trying to figure out their future, no help to Nick, Carly’s bad boy twin brother fresh off his latest trouble with the law. Paige and Blake are also in loooove, but Paige is totally pregnant and doesn’t know how to tell him. There’s also the comedic relief, Dalton, but he’s silly. When it gets a little late to drive they decide to camp in the woods and finish the drive in the morning, only to wake up super late. When Wade checks his car he finds the fan belt has been cut and so everyone else leaves in the other car to try to make the game, while he and Carly catch a ride with a rando who claims to know where the nearby Ambrose is. In Ambrose they find the town virtually deserted with a weird giant House of Wax in the middle, but eventually meet Bo, who runs the gas station and who brings them back to his house to get the part. There they stumble into a house of horrors where Wade is trapped by Bo and given over to his separated conjoined twin brother Vincent to turn into a wax statue, while Carly is taken back to the station and put in the basement. Having missed the big game, everyone comes back to the camp and Dalton and Nick head to Ambrose check on Carly. There Dalton is pretty quickly killed by Vincent, while Nick does battle with Bo and manages to help Carly escape. Meanwhile, Vincent also heads over to Paige and Blake and kills them both just to really take care of those loose plot threads. Nick and Carly want to try to help Dalton and Wade if they can so they head over to the house where they have to hide when Bo and Vincent return. Realizing they are in the house, Bo and Vincent chase them through underground tunnels to the House of Wax where in a climactic battle they start a fire and amongst the melting ruins they fight Bo and Vincent. They are able to kill them and escape where they learn that there was also a third brother and, bum bum bum, we might even see him in a sequel (hint: we won’t) THE END.

Why?! The main characters here really just want to get to a football game. Even the bad guys only do a mediocre job at trapping them in the woods as most of them leave, but return of their own volition once they realize they’ve missed the big game. The motivation for the bad guys is a little murkier, which is not exactly typical of horror films, where that’s usually given quite a bit of detail. Here it’s mostly implied that Bo and Vincent were conjoined twins and their separation left Vincent scarred physically and Bo scarred mentally. Following Bo’s troubled youth, the death of their parents, and the decline of their small town, they live in isolation trapping passerbys with the help of their other brother in order to murder and turn them into wax art pieces to honor their late mother… I think I have that about right.

Who?! I do like to analyze the baddies in horror films and this is kinda interesting since their backstory is more implied than actually detailed for the audience. Like even the fact that Bo was the crazy one and not the deformed Vincent is only vaguely insinuated. I think Vincent had some real potential though. Think about it. He’s a hulking guy driven crazy by his overbearing twin brother. After the first film it could be revealed he is still alive and made a wax figure of Bo that he still talks to and imagines is telling him to do heinous things. Really could see a Jason type scenario where he just gets bigger and bigger and powered by lightning and shit. Missed opportunity. Give us more Houses of Waxes.

What?! I now have a bit of a feel when there might be some props for sale for these films and this is one of them. There are some crazy memorabilia online that isn’t for sale, but the only thing I could find for sale was this lame-o beauty pageant poster. That price is absurd. Get out of here with that. Much like Freddy has his gloves and Jason his mask, Vincent does have a mask that I would be interested in. He definitely would have a new, cool distinctive weapon if we made it to a sequel. I would go flamethrower. Would be different and would allow for the 4 or 5 full body burns I’m looking for in the films I watch.

Where?! This is truly a mystery in that online it suggests the kids are driving from University of Florida to Baton Rouge for the game. Then we see at the beginning of the film that they are 156 miles from the stadium, which would likely place them around Biloxi, MS. So really it just depends on how far they drive before making camp. My guess is LA. If you trust sources online, they say that Ambrose is 26 miles North of Baton Rouge but that seems like they are pulling that out of their ass. I mean… why would they stop and camp in the middle of nowhere when they are like a 20 minute drive from the capital of a state. C

When?! This would certainly be late in the college football season as they are heading to what seems to be a major SEC matchup in Baton Rouge and Carly has just nailed down an post-graduation internship. My inkling is that it would be a big time Gators-Tigers matchup between a couple undefeateds in November and boy howdy, I’ll just kill me if we don’t go to the game. There are actually a couple places online that suggest it’s November 2005 and I’m not really sure why. C-.

The final battle scene is truly astounding. An incredible piece of filmmaking. Beautiful to watch and I don’t think there are many horror films out there where you could point to something and say “just get through the rest of the movie so you can see it.” It’s really well done. I also will say that I think this is pretty easily the best I’ve seen both Cuthbert and Murray, so that’s interesting too. Other than that, though, it’s almost maddening how weird and poorly constructed the rest of the film is. You can pick out so many parts of the plot and wonder how they felt like it worked with the rest of the narrative. I mean, the bad guys skulk around the kids’ campsite and decide to cut the fan belt on one of two cars… leaving open the real possibility that the kids all leave in the one car and return with a tow truck. The end. Most of the kids even leave at that point and the other two only inadvertently run into the other brother who takes them to Ambrose. What I’m saying is the plot melts away at the merest flame of a critical examination, but that final battle scene is both fresh and dope. As for the Basket Case franchise, I thought the first one was pretty great. One of those independent exploitation like horror films that’s really interesting and fun to watch (and still is pretty creepy on top of it). The sequel goes the way of a number of horror sequels (Texas Chainsaw 2, Evil Dead 2, etc.) and leans into the comedic aspects of the idea and… I mean, I guess it works OK. There are some real funny horror stuff in there that needs to get some credit (the monster sex scene is kinda hilarious), but otherwise it’s a little heavy on the costumes and makeup to take seriously. A pretty fun twin franchise, though. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I remember watching House of Wax in theaters. And I remember being spooky scared because I was a scaredy cat about horror films. Time to flex my new found desensitivity. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – My impression of this film has always been that it is just outside of the Hostel-level torture porn that was on the rise at the time. I distinctly remember a scene in which the main character gets the tip of her finger clipped off (gross) and then a friend reminded me that someone also gets his Achilles tendon slices right up (double gross, and that happens in Hostel as well which is an odd coincidence). I still haven’t seen much torture porn horror films, they aren’t my cup of tea, but I should have a more informed opinion now that I’ve seen a bunch of horror films. What were my expectations? To be super grossed out, and then probably to realize the film isn’t actually scary and is mostly like Silent Hill 2 or something in the end.

The Good – The final scene, which is mentioned in multiple reviews, is, indeed, an incredible set piece. They tease the “this house is entirely made of wax” angle early enough that it is delightful to see it start to go up in flames. Murray and Cuthbert are also pretty excellent in the film. It feels like it missed something in translation in the end. It somehow mixed 2000s torture porn, with 80s / 90s slashers, but then paced it like a 70s spooky town / house film. It ends up kind of not feeling like it belongs to any era of American horror films, but not in an interesting or good way. Best Bit: The final set piece.

The Bad – The kills are not only complete crap in this film, they also come waaaaay too late. We open with a group of 6 people (Cuthbert and her beau, Hilton and her beau, then Murray and his dopey friend). Of those four die … but that is well and truly it, only four kills in the film. And the only actual tension-filled kill is Cuthbert’s boyfriend. With a film like this, you absolutely need a flashback / early kill to set things up, and it would have served a dual purpose in that the protagonists could then find the wax statue and the audience could wonder whether Vincent actually encased the person in wax, or made a likeness (spooky!). Anyways, the point is as a horror film the film is just bad, even if the final set piece and battle is decent. Also, nit pick, the group camps out and then accidentally sleeps in until 2PM. Impossible. No group of 6 people can all sleep to 2PM while camping. Most unrealistic bit of the film for me. Fatal Flaw: Unrealistic camping scene … fine it was the bad kills.

The BMT – Now having watched the film again, I don’t think this is really a torture porn film at all. There are elements of it in the film, but it is a slasher film through and through, complete with it kind of being garbage given that it was made in 2005. In Hostel there are whole scenes devoted to just watching people get tortured. Here it is just the standard ultra-violence / gore that came into vogue around when The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake was made. Did it meet my expectations? It was a much worse horror film that I think I would have initially given it credit for, and not in an amusing way like with Silent Hill 2. I did vaguely remember that my reaction to Hilton’s death in the theater was “huh … that was it?”. So I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Roast-radamus – I think the dopey friend played by Jon Abrahams qualifies for Planchet (Who?), everyone just rips on him the entire time. A few funny product placements, especially the inexplicable Product Placement (What?) for the Pepsi machine outside of the gas station … you know, the fake gas station in the fake town that looks like it is stuck in the 50s, but with a shiny new Pepsi machine. Great Setting as a Character (Where?) for Louisiana. They just want to get to the big Florida-Louisiana football game man! I’m going to give this a nice MacGuffin (Why?) for the mysterious fanbelt the crew needs to fix their car throughout the film. And I’m going to count it as a Worst Twist (How?) for the dumb bit whereby they try and vaguely hide that Bo is the psycho twin from the beginning of the film, instead of the mutant Vincent, and also that Lester the weirdo from the beginning of the film is a third brother. And this is definitely solidly in the BMT category. That’s some goddamned cred! 

StreetCreditReport.com – It is mentioned on some IGN Roundtable around the time. Bloody Disgusting also did a whole profile on the fairly notable Paris Hilton kill. That actually was the big point on the Roundtable as well. At the time Paris Hilton being in this film was obviously a huge deal. Is it weird that I didn’t really bat an eye at her or her performance in the film? It was bad, but I’ve seen worse. But at the time it was fairly weird, I guess because of her reality show, this movie came out right in the middle of its run.

You Just Got Schooled – I’ll try and keep these sections short since there are three of them this week. I watched the original Basket Case in preparation for the sequel being brought along as a friend. It is really a pretty unique little creature feature exploitation film from 1982. The original puppet of Belial in this film is janky, but very charming. And the idea behind the murders and the main character are really amazingly refreshing for an early 80s horror film. But what takes the cake is the Times Square hotel setting, the kooky neighbors Duane meets during his brief stay in New York, and just the general grossness of the world created by the film. A-. Maybe a little low budget for everyone’s tastes, and definitely a tad gross at times with regards to Belial, but a fun horror film.

Bring a Friend Analysis – And from there we rolled right into Basket Case 2. Picking up right where the first film left off (although 8 years later, so with a notably older Kevin Van Hentenryck aka Duane) we are quickly introduced to a doctor who wants to add Belial to her menagerie of “unique individuals”, people like Belial that she’s saved from roadside attractions and given a safe space. Meanwhile, a tabloid reporter is looking to get the big scoop on Belial and Duane. Overall, the film feels both too shiny to be a proper sequel to its charmingly grimey predecessor, and too silly. Much like Leprechaun 2 it feels like the film got overwhelmed by one component of the first film. In that case it was the humor of Warwick Davis. In this case it is the clear fascination the director had with make-up / costuming for the unique individuals, which ended up just looking very silly and diluting the montrousness of Belial. It’s too bad, because Belial really is a rare movie monster that is both not very well known, and quite cool. While I disliked the film, I do think it is worth a look with regards to how low-budget 80s horror transitioned into cheap 90s horror. B+.

Twin Analysis – Hooooooooo doggy. Now I thought last week with Double Impact we got basically the best twin film you could have. Buy nay! House of Wax is basically the most twinsy of twin films. Sure, the protagonists are fraternal, but the male-female twin dynamic was a first for this particular cycle and thus refreshing. But then we combine that with the psycho killers being separate conjoined twins?! We have good-bad twin dynamics for days, and the ultimate good twins vs. bad twins battle royale to finish the film. Definite A+ right there. Then, completely by accident, we watched the Basket Case films as friends, and that also featured evil separated conjoined twins! What a coincidence. This one also involves some twin telekinesis and a truly monstrous twin relationship that drives the film forward. Also an easy A+. What a way to end the twin cycle!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Double Impact Recap

Jamie

Alex and Chad are just wee lads when their parents are gunned down in Hong Kong. Years later, Chad’s guardian finds Alex and decides it’s time for them to team up and get back what is rightfully theirs. But can lame-o Chad and rough-around-the-edges Alex really take down the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Double Impact.

How?! Alex and Chad are tiny twin babies when their genius daddio builds a smoking hot tunnel in Hong Kong that’ll earn big bucks for days. Unfortunately his skeezy business partner has his eyes on that sweet tunnel action and teams up with the mob to take them out. In the process Chad is saved by their bodyguard, Frank, while Alex is taken to an orphanage by their nanny. Fortunately for the viewer it’s made very clear that they are both taken in by the French so that we wouldn’t spend any brainpower wondering how both Alex and Chad have French accents. Phew. Years later Chad is kind of a lame-o scoping on chicks in LA while impressing them with his splits (they are impressive, though). Frank finds Alex in Hong Kong living as a smuggler and thinks it’s time to take that super money making tunnel back! They fly to Hong Kong where Chad is kinda shocked by how everyone seems to know him. It’s only after a beautiful lady comes onto him, earning him a punch in the mouth from Alex, does he realize that he’s a t-t-t-twin?! Wha?! Alex is not super interested in fighting Griffith, who employs his girlfriend Danielle, but after Alex is beat up by the mobsters Griffith works with he starts to help out. After stealing a big shipment from the mob and then hitting up a party with some explosives, they become targets. They escape to an abandoned resort where Chad gets contacted by Danielle who is in trouble. He heads off to pick her up which makes Alex crazy with jealousy. When Chad finally returns the brothers split up in anger narrowly avoiding the mob who, having followed Chad, have arrived to take them out. Finding out that Frank and Danielle have been taken hostage they track them to a shipyard where they put their martial arts skillz to good use and kill all the bad guys and inherit their drop dead gorgeous money making tunnel. THE END.

Why?! The tunnel baby! They want that gd tunnel and they want it now. I kinda laughed at this idea, but in fact the Cross-Harbour Tunnel was built privately with the contract stating that those that built it would collect tolls for 30 years from the start of construction before the contract went over to the Hong Kong government. So this would mean by killing Griffith (and thus inheriting the bridge… I think? I don’t think that’s how this works) they would have had eight more years of those sweet tolls to gobble up.

Who?! Obviously an important film in the “actors portraying two characters” canon. However, I think the most interesting aspect of the cast is that this was the last film for which JCVD got a “fight coordinator” credit. He got it for Kickboxer and Lionheart in the two years before this as well. I can only assume this was a way he could make more on the film when they were still relatively small time affairs. After this he moved onto things like Universal Soldier.

What?! Is the tunnel a MacGuffin? I would argue no as generally a MacGuffin must hold power and allure in a way where the audience is meant to not care or understand anything more about it. Generally it’s like a staff or machine with a weird name or interesting properties. This is a tunnel. We know its allure (money bags with green dollar signs painted on them) and we know its power (the power over your time, literally the greatest power of them all).

Where?! Hong Kong quite literally for days. We get a brief scene in LA, but otherwise the city gets to shine in all its glory as we see Victoria Harbour in a lot of detail. Much like JCVD’s Knock Off we get a sense that the mob/smuggling/underworld aspect of the city holds particular interest for these east meets west martial arts mash ups. A. 

When?! I do think this takes place in modern day. The beginning of the film would take place August 2, 1972, when the tunnel opened, and it makes sense that they are about 19/20 years old when we see them attempting their big comeback. Chad in particular played it like an early 20-something just wanting to teach aerobics and woo the ladies with his splits.

I found the film to be a little boring as it dived into the murky waters of private tunnel ownership. In a lot of ways it felt like a 60’s film like an old James Bond or something. Didn’t feel particularly modern and so the story kinda dragged. But JCVD was surprisingly good in the dual role. He really acted his buns off (and his buns did their fair share of acting as well) to the point where I think it overcame some of the faults to at least be interesting from a JCVD point of view. I also really appreciated the fact that they didn’t play a bunch of games when it came to the dual role. One of the twins didn’t die early or have an accident requiring them to wear gauze on their face the whole time or anything. Lots of split screens, lots of body doubles, lots of fun (that’s the tagline for this review). As for Twisted Pair, I’ll let Patrick tell most of the story, but given our first taste of Niel Breen I have to say that it tasted very Breen. The movie makes no sense and at times you wonder if perhaps you are doing something unsavory by taking such a glimpse into the mind of a madman. But still, if you can get your hands on the film it’s a wild ride. I can certainly see the fascination people have with him and it’s actually pretty impressive that he’s made more than a few films with similar bad movie qualities. Usually bad movies of The Room kind are one hit wonders. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Am I seeing double? Double … impact?! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – If I’m being honest I’m still not really very familiar with Van Damme’s filmography. That might seem like sacrilege, but I just never was very into martial arts films in general. I once went to a Van Damme movie marathon which is fun. But obviously you stick to the classics there: Hard Target, Time Cop, and Sudden Death. I’ve seen a bunch of them, but the early films and anything past 1999 are still mostly a mystery. But obviously “the one where he plays his own twin” was always an eventual must watch for the Bad Movie Twins. What were my expectations? I suppose I expected it to be a silly half-assed garbage film? I don’t know. Sudden Death is an incredibly hilarious film, especially the final helicopter scene. So why can’t this be the same?

The Good – The split screen and movie magic moments are actually halfway decent. If this was a kids’ movie or something I would say it actually is a pretty effective gimmick. I also just mostly like this style. Much like Knock Off it feels very much like a Hong Kong crime film of the time. Unlike Knock Off I assume the crew filming in Hong Kong spoke english which possibly explains why the film felt of higher quality. And while the acting was pretty dire top to bottom I want to give a shoutout to both Bolo Yeung and Corinna Everson who were some very fun body builder bad guys. Yeung is amazing. His body-builder-martial-artist body is really just a sight to behold. Best Bit: Two Van Dammes.

The Bad – The film is kind of boring and, indeed, kind of just feels like a pretty silly Hong Kong crime film of the time. That isn’t a terrible thing on its own, it is just a tad bit more self-serious that you might expect from a “Van Damme Is a Twin!!” film. As mentioned the acting is particularly bad. It is too bad Van Damme could never really get a handle on his accent in the 90s. If he could have pulled off the American accent (and I think they did try for a scene or two in the beginning) and got himself into a more mainstream film as the bad guy, I think he would have had a bit more longevity in his career. Fatal Flaw: Too self-serious.

The BMT – It’s probably one of the quintessential bad twin films ever made. The one where Van Damme plays his own twin. Getting a fuller picture of Van Damme’s career is always fun, as is getting introduced to the world of Hong Kong cinema (even through what is ostensibly an American version of it). I don’t think it’ll really be remembered alongside The Quest and other great-bad Van Damme films, but it is still an interesting turning point in his career as Ebert astutely noted in his review at the time.

Roast-radamus – There is for real an odd number of Johnnie Walker bottles strewn around this film, so it does feel like a Product Placement (What?), although maybe the crew just really like Johnnie Walker. Loving the Setting as a Character (Where?) for Hong Kong, the seedy underworld of smuggling once again playing a major role in a Van Damme film. Is Vengeance a MacGuffin? I don’t think so. And I’ll toss this out as probably closest to Good, although I do think it is a rare film where you could argue for any of the three superlatives.

StreetCreditReport.com – I can’t really speak to any official cred (beyond being a twin film, and according to IMDb directly inspiring the film Twin Dragons which is amusing), but unofficially it was listed on an Over the Top Action Film list and a Guilty Pleasure Action Film list on IMDb, which I think is a fairly accurate description of the film. Although I’d argue there are multiple bad Van Damme films which are more entertaining than this one.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This was a very special week at BMTHQ. For this week we watched our very first Neil Breen film, Twisted Pair. Breen is the relatively new kid on the bad movie block. A real estate agent (or something) from Las Vegas, his films are notable in that he typically stars as a messianic figure. This is his latest film, and I have a hard time with it. Mostly the film is spectacular trash. The kind of thing only a delusional weirdo could produce and release to the world unironically. But is it ironic? It might be, he certainly has made enough films to know people are watching them ironically. Is Breen a bad person? Impossible to tell. Much like Tommy Wiseau, he seems to enjoy his notoriety while also keeping his personal life and business much to himself. The film is insanity, pure and simple, and was mostly fun to watch in order to speculate on Breen’s relationship with the actors on set and Nevada State University. The storyline is almost impossible to parse, though, and mostly dull. I would say that the only kind of Room-ish bit of the film is the fake rape scene in the beginning, which genuinely makes one wonder about Breen’s mental state. The rest is just an exercise in seeing what happens when a probable narcissist gets hold of a quality film camera. B+. If the film was more readily available I would say the Breen filmography is probably worth a watch just to see the current state of the art bad movie production in action. But at the moment this one in particular is a little too hard to get, so I have to dock it points.

Twin Analysis – Oh boy, as far as Double Impact is concerned this might be one of the best twin films ever. It’s got it all. The harsh brooding twin, the fun loving happy twin, twins separated at birth creating a real fish out of water scenario combined with a real odd couple scenario. The entire film revolves around the twins and avenging their parents. And complete with twin fighting twin and multiple split screens throughout the film creating two Jean Claude Van Dammes. Never have there been twins so adept at side splits! I’m giving it an A+. Boom done it. Then as for Twisted Pair you have the opposite problem in a way. At first blush it would appear to be the perfect twin film. Good/evil twin dynamics for days. Twins all over the place including a very bad split screen. And perhaps a twin-centric story with the good twin battling the bad twin … or is it? Is the storyline actually about the twins? I mean, they were both inexplicably granted magic abilities, just one of them fell out of Messiah Academy / Spy School and became a vigilante drug addict … or something like that. And in the end the story seems to be much much more about Good Breen laying waste to some international deep state conspiracy (or something, again, the storyline is impossible to parse). I feel obligated to give this an A- … but is the story actually about twins? Or is the movie just two twin brothers’ mostly disjointed stories smushed together? Scientists maintain we may never know.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Astronaut’s Wife Recap

Jamie

Jillian and Spencer have it all. He’s a handsome astronaut, she’s a beautiful astronaut’s wife. That is until a space accident leaves Spencer a little… off. Throwing away his dreams of flying he joins the corporate world in NYC and things go downhill fast. Can Jillian stop the crazy alien version of her husband before it’s too late? Find out in… The Astronaut’s Wife.

How?! Spencer is a handsome astronaut with a beautiful life and beautiful wife (an astronaut’s wife, if you will). But on his latest mission there is an explosion and he and his fellow astronaut barely make it back to Earth alive. Everything seems OK but things still feel a bit off, especially when Spencer decides to quit being an astronaut. Jillian is concerned (he would never quit his job!) and particularly peeved that he has decided to move them to NYC for a big shot job. But when Spencer’s friend dies and the friend’s wife commits suicide they head to the city for a fresh start. But boy howdy, this start is anything but fresh (or even slightly dope) because Spencer has really changed and is starting to scare Jillian, who is already having a tough time adjusting to the highfalutin NYC lifestyle that she hates. When a former colleague of Spencer’s shows up in NYC spouting off what sounds like crazy theories about her husband she is scared, but also intrigued. He more or less is like “he’s a scary ass alien and totally impregnated you with scary twin alien babies,” and she gasps but also believes him. It then becomes a bit of a cat and mouse game between Spencer and Jillian as they both kinda pretend things are OK but also he’s an alien. Finally, after realizing that the ultimate plan is to train their twin alien babies to take over the world with alien technology (this is real) she makes one last effort to kill him and succeeds! Except that the spooky alien inside him jumps from Spencer to Jillian. Oh no! So now she’s a creepy alien with creepy alien twin babies and the world is doomed. THE END.

Why?! World domination, duh. I mean, that’s just what aliens do and Spencer is no doubt an alien. As for Jillian, it’s hard to understand her motivation at times because she also doesn’t entirely know what’s going on. First she thinks about getting rid of the babies and thus foiling Spencer’s plan, but she has trouble doing it. Ultimately it’s a matter not only of survival, but survival for the human race and so she decides to kill him… and fails.

Who?! Gary Grubbs, from the final season of The OC fame, shows up as the director of NASA… which is interesting because that is a position appointed by the President, so we’ll have to keep this is mind when we are building the BMT Cabinet. Otherwise, probably the most notable was the Spouse twins making a very brief appearance as the creepy alien twins ready to destroy the world.

What?! It’s not for sale, but there is a screenworn NASA outfit for Johnny Depp listed on the YourProps site. Probably a museum piece… just not sure what museum. The only only kinda interesting object in the film is the repeated use of a radio both as a weapon and as a means of alien communication. I honestly don’t know whether it is meant to symbolize something or not. Just interesting that old timey radios are seemingly everywhere in the world.

Where?! We start in Florida and pretty quickly head to NYC. Charlize’s character haaates NYC and no wonder since the NYC they present is full of snobs who snidely look down on the idea of being a teacher as something not only beneath them but so utterly disgusting that they have to pretend to see someone they know just to get out of the conversation before they puke. I’m not sure whether to give it a B+ because it’s a pretty solid setting or an F because the setting is more of a caricature than an actual setting. Fine, B+.

When?! It takes place over an entire year basically. The accident occurs and then they move to NYC, she get a new job, gets pregnant and then is maybe like 4 months pregnant or something when the climax of the film occurs. So modestly it’s maybe a full year. I would guess it starts in the spring of one year and then ends in the late winter of the next year. Hard to say though. D as you get some sense of seasons.

I found almost everything in this movie to be exceedingly unpleasant. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very well made film. Surprisingly so, given that the director has not made another film after this writer-director debut. But it actually feels like this was a movie made by an alien (is it possible that that’s the point?) where every scene and interaction is devoid of recognizable human behavior. The scenes in NYC feel like you’re watching like Eyes Wide Shut weirdness as everyone talks and reacts like no one does in real life. Even Jillian and Spencer’s interactions feel really stilted and like they just met, let alone are married to each other. Add in some scenes of sexual and domestic abuse and I was already pretty tired of it all by the time Jillian became an alien herself. Probably for the better. Whatever world they were living in probably deserved to be destroyed by aliens. Couldn’t get much worse. As for Firestorm, it’s a fun super low budget action film that delivers on some pretty spectacular jazz trumpet scenes. Add in some cyborgs (or half-cyborgs, which is a phrase they actually use in the film) denoted by little bits of metallic paint on their faces and I had a reasonably good time watching this. At least a better time than watching The Astronaut’s Wife. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Twins that are destined to doom the human race? What is this, our life story? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I only vaguely knew what this film was about prior to watching it. It is mostly a little weird because it has a pre-Pirates-and-makeup-obsessed Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron the same year as The Cider House Rules in one of those sci-fi films that doesn’t actually seem like sci-fi. It feels more like a drama while being fairly hard science fiction in the end. What were my expectations? As usual with films I’m not super familiar with I was expecting to be bored. Because usually when people don’t bother to watch and review films years later it is because they are boring I think.

The Good – The storyline is a lot better than you might initially think, although there is a reason for that (see the Bad section for a bit more on that). I also thought Theron was quite good. The New York City set pieces work well, although, again, I think there is a reason for that which is a bit unfortunate. You know what? There isn’t much else to say on the good side without getting into the glaring issue with this film, so let’s move on to that. Best Bit: Charlize Theron.

The Bad – This is a total and complete rip-off of Rosemary’s Baby. So much so that I started trying to look up and see whether this was intended as a direct adaptation. It somehow isn’t. Theron even looks kind of similar to Mia Farrow in the role with the same short pixie cut. In both cases you have gaslighting and eerie tracking of the pregnant Farrow/Theron, and in both cases it feels notable that the setting of New York City with its often gothic architectural features take center stage. There is even a suggestion of potential drugging at the moment in which the devil/alien children are conceived. I won’t spoil the endings, but there are similarities there as well. I don’t quite understand what to think about this. Everything good about this film can be pretty directly traced to inspiration from the far superior Rosemary’s Baby so … does that make this film terrible? When nothing it has done is good on its own? Or is it fine, because how could a remake of Rosemary’s Baby really be that bad? I say terrible. Fatal Flaw: Shameless rip-off.

The BMT – I think as far as shameless rip-offs are concerned this might be a crowning jewel. It is incredibly hard to even think about this film on its own without being colored by what you think about Rosemary’s Baby. That’s really really odd. Otherwise it is pretty forgettable, even as a twin film. The twins play a big role, but you don’t see them until the end of the film. Did it meet my expectations? It was not boring. I actually kind of enjoyed this film. It was even a little strange trying to reconcile the two competing thoughts on the film. On the one hand I enjoyed it. On the other, I enjoyed the original, Rosemary’s Baby, more. It is almost ruined purely because the remake is completely unacknowledged.

Roast-radamus – A halfway decent Product Placement (What?) for ice cold Budweiser which I think you see in multiple scenes in the film. Very solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for New York City complete with Gothic themes. I think it has a strong argument for MacGuffin (Why?) for the alien twins who will pilot the experimental EMP deploying spacecraft obviously intended to be used to destroy humanity from within. I’ll skip the twist because I think it was actually pretty good. I think it is closest to Good than anything else.

StreetCreditReport.com – I can’t find a single mention of this on any lists. I can’t even find a single mention of this on worst astronaut / space film lists. This might actually be one of the most pure: “All of the cred comes from the fact that the plotline is about twins” that we’ve done for the cycle. I doubt we ever do The Astronaut’s Wife if there weren’t twins in the film. Or at least … maybe not for decades. Will BMT last for decades more? Am I joking?

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we brought along Firestorm as a friend. No, not the other Firestorm we already watched for BMT. This is a rather obscure 1997 sci-fi film about twins raging against a corrupt corporation trying to manipulate and kill cyborgs. One is a rogue agent of the corporation, the other, well … he plays smooth jazz. In the end they have to aid a revolution and take down the man. YEAH! In reality the film is one of those rather dull straight-to-video films probably most notable for having Robert Carradine in the role as the head of the cyborg army. Oh, and obviously the smooth smooth jazz. But naw, in the end it is probably like a C+. It should be more amusing than it is because of the jazz, but that sustains the story for like 15 minutes before you remember you are just rewatching Cyborg 3: The Recycler.

Twin Analysis – We are creeping ever closer to the end of the twin cycle. This week we had The Astronaut’s Wife which is a difficult one to assess. On the one hand you have a very twin-centric storyline. On the other, the twins don’t actually appear until late into the film. A perfect example of a B twin film. Give it an A for storyline dependence, but a C for actual twinness. As for Firestorm, this is a Bad Company scenario through and through. You see the twins together once in the beginning of the film basically, but soon one of them is killed off for production cost reasons … er, I mean for really important plot reasons. The idea of twins is important to the overall story. Without the protagonists being twins, then there is no infiltration of the bad guy’s company and the plot (for what that’s worth) totally falls apart. But they also get away with, overall, very little twinness in the film itself. I’m going to give it the same grade as Bad Company in the end, an A-. While you did get some split screen action in Firestorm, you had less of a good/bad twin dynamic at play, so it comes out as a wash I think.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Fatal Instinct Recap

Jamie

Ned Ravine is both a cop and a lawyer (hilarious) who gets a new, hot (with a capital H) case from Lola Cain. This is all a ploy to seduce Ned for reasons that will become clear later. Meanwhile Ned’s wife plots his murder while a former defendant also plots revenge. So lots of sex and murder and sex. Find out if hilarity ensues in… Fatal Instinct.

How?! Ned Ravine is the best damn cop in town. He’s never not got his man. It’s just those damn lawyers that are letting them walk. Who are these dastardly lawyers you ask? It’s him… he’s the lawyer. He’s only ever lost one case, the case of Max Shady, and now Max is out on parole and looking for revenge. Meanwhile, Ned’s wife, Lana, is having an affair with the hot and steamy young mechanic who’s not just working on her car (if you know what I mean… it’s sex). They plan to murder Ned and get a big payout from his triple indemnity clause. Also meanwhile, Lola Cain has pursued Ned to take up her case. What is it? A sham, that’s what, because all she really wants is to get into our boy Ned’s dungarees. And boy howdy, does she. But Ned is distraught. What has he done! He loves his wife and tells Lola that they can never be together again. Lola is driven mad and begins to stalk Ned. Lana’s plan comes together and they are able to get Ned onto a train bound for Santa Barbara so that they can get that sweet sweet triple indemnity. Unfortunately for her (fortunately for Ned (and unfortunately for Max Shady)) she mistakes Max for Ned and kills him instead! Ned thinks that she must have known he was in danger and saved his life so he agrees to defend her in court against the charges of murder. He is of course successful (he’s the best, remember) and following this success Ned confronts Lola about her stalking business. She reveals that she and Lana are identical twins, but she had to have plastic surgery after a horrific face accident. Her plan the whole time was to seduce and steal him from Lana. Upon returning home after hearing this news, Ned’s secretary reveals Lana’s murder plot as well and in a climactic battle Lola kills Lana, Ned Kills Lana, and Ned’s secretary kills her murderous husband we just met. Finally, Ned and his secretary smooch a bunch. THE END.

Why?! Well this is a spoof movie so in large part the motivations are besides the point. Ned wants to solve the crimes despite being an idiot. His wife wants to kill him and get money. Lola wants to seduce Ned and cause Lana pain. In the end they all want to kill each other. 

Who?! Rosie O’Donnell goes uncredited, which is notable as she was the link to the previous movie in the chain, Now & Then. My presumption is that is was simply because the role is pretty small, but it is a speaking part so maybe both sides were OK with it going uncredited in the end. The director Carl Reiner also has a cameo as Judge Arugula, which is funny only because the writers clearly thought that naming a character Judge Arugula was funny… not sure why.

What?! For a while I thought maybe the product placements were part of the joke in the film but eventually I just realized all the Pepsi and Papa Gino’s etc. etc. etc. were just regular boring product placements. It’s a little sad actually. Despite all the jokes on jokes they don’t even attempt to integrate the product placements and play with them. Seems a little banal for a spoof film. 

Where?! Clearly takes place in LA, most notably in regards to the train to Santa Barbara that Ned almost gets killed on. They didn’t do as much as they could have with that, but it was clear enough. The only weird thing is that neither Fatal Attraction or Basic Instinct take place in LA… in fact I mostly think of San Fran when I think of erotic thrillers. Again, the appears to be because this is more of a noir spoof than an erotic thriller spoof. B

When?! This is a silly question. Spoof films almost always deal outside of space and time because they are aiming to spoof films from a long time period. In this case it’s even longer as it clearly spoofs films like Double Indemnity (1944) and Basic Instinct (1992). Probably all in all the films spoofed span just about 50 years… so who’s to say when this takes place. Sometimes it seems like the 40’s, sometimes it seems like the 90’s. F.

I have a major gripe with this film. So while I think Armand Assante was incredibly game, the filmmaking is better than it should be, and (after recapping) I appreciated the humor and goofiness of it all… I can’t help but nitpick the aspect that really bothers me about Fatal Instinct. It’s just not a spoof of Erotic Thrillers. There is way more spoofing of the old school noir and hitchcockian thriller genres and that feels a bit stale. At a time when erotic thrillers were literally at their greatest power they left an awful lot on the table regarding what is already a pretty funny genre, really only using Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction as a general scaffold and barely touching any of the other major releases. And I don’t know why. Maybe it’s hard to spoof erotic thrillers. Maybe they’re too goofy to really pull too much from or you’ll get a Poe’s Law situation. But my guess is that they just didn’t have the right people for the job. It was directed by Carl Reiner and it shows in the quality, but he was already over 70 at that point and it makes me wonder if he was just more comfortable with the noir aspects of the script. Hard for me to get around that though. As for Two Much, that film really bothered me (and it’s not just because it’s about a man pretending to be twins, which is a crime against twins everywhere). The main character is entirely and utterly unredeemable. He has pretty much no good qualities about him and represents the lowest type of person. A man who has no backbone and is so weak that he can’t simply break up with a woman he just met who is struggling with her mental health. Instead he bamboozles her and ploys her with alcohol and drugs in order to pursue her sister who he somehow is convinced he is fated to be with (and thus justifies his actions). It is terrible and no wonder a US release was scrapped. It’s a terrible, terrible movie. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The saddest days in BMT are the days we have to watch bad parody films. Weep for us. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Oh boy. There are a number of parody films out there that BMT has yet to touch on. Obviously the numerous Friedberg and Seltzer films, the later Mel Brooks, random crazy ones like the Plump Fiction. This one really went under the radar. I had barely heard of it. I have, on the other hand, watched Cape Fear, Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, and Sleeping With the Enemy within probably the last year or two. So I was ready to see what Carl Reiner had to offer. What were my expectations? Zero laughs, but silliness with no story. Not necessarily to be bored, but it is more of just an exasperating pointlessness.

The Good – I think this film is way funnier than people at the time gave it credit for. At the very least I found myself chuckling at the silliness. It isn’t like Wet Hot American Summer, but there are at least a few fun moments in the film, which is not at all what I was expecting. The Friedberg and Seltzer comedies are just gross and raunchy, this has an innocent silliness to it that I could appreciate. A kind of funny who’s who of early 90s actors, especially the women. I really liked Sherilyn Fenn from Twin Peaks in particular, but then there is also Sean Young who was the police chief from Ace Ventura. Best Bit: Sheer silliness.

The Bad – The film isn’t that funny and the storyline is bizarre. Halfway through you could be forgiven for wondering what exactly the storyline was meant to be. It is somehow partly a copy of several movies (Cape Fear and Sleeping With the Enemy are lifted wholesale for B storylines), but then also a noir Hitchcockian thriller with characters from Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction peppered in. Once you get away from the heyday of the erotic thriller a lot of it just makes no sense. While the film is better than one would think, it still isn’t particularly good, and it certainly isn’t funny. Fatal Flaw: Nonsense noir story.

The BMT – This is, so far, probably the best parody film we’ve done. But that isn’t saying much, we really don’t do that many parody films. Dracula: Dead and Loving it, might end up being the one that beats it in the end, Robin Hood Men in Tights narrowly doesn’t qualify. I do think we managed to watch it at the perfect time for me, I watched a good number of the (more recent) films being referenced. If we had tried to watch it 5 years ago I would have been so lost. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them. At least it wasn’t boring. I don’t think it’ll have much legs in BMT lore, but it’ll probably come up in terms of other more recent parody films we do.

Roast-radamas – A just okay Setting as a Character (Where?) for the clear Los Angeles setting. It is necessary for the Chinatown / general noir feeling, so definitely ends up being a very LA film. I’ll throw Worst Twist (How?) out there as an unfortunately odd and convoluted twin connection. I think I’m going to throw this lightly into the Bad bin because I wouldn’t want to watch it again, I’d rather watch Mafia!

StreetCreditReport.com – I can’t find any list that includes it. The only video I could find including it was just a Siskel & Ebert video whereby they merely gave it two thumbs down, it didn’t make their year end worst of list. And it definitely didn’t even get close to getting onto any worst spoof film lists I could find. Basically this is the definition of mid-table. If not for its twin connection I’m not exactly sure when we would have watched the film. That is 100% its cred, the fact that the plot involves twins.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we watched the barely-not-qualifying Two Much starring Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, and Darryl Hannah. Released to around 500 theaters there was much debate at BMTHQ as to what exactly the qualifications are to be a BMT film, but we finally relegated it to Friend as the traditional cutoff is “wide release” on Box Office Mojo (i.e. 600 theaters). And wowza, is this film a doozy. The main issue is that the main character is a reprehensible monster. We meet him as he is grifting widows during their husbands’ funerals. Later on, because god forbid our “hero” learn anything, he drugs Griffith’s wine so that he can date Hannah later in the evening, but whoops! The sommelier merely thinks he’s a serial rapist and is aghast at the gaul of this monster to rape two women in the same evening by drugging the same extremely expensive bottle of wine at the same restaurant … what is happening in this film!? All of it winds away to its inevitable (happy?) conclusion. Ultimately it feels like an incredibly gross film I can’t stop thinking about … but also one that you can kind of get the gist of just by reading the above paragraph. Glad we watched it though, very strange stuff, this weirdly seems to happen whenever they adapt French farces, they come across as less funny and more gross. B+.

Twin Analysis – Both odd twin films this week. With Fatal Attraction I found myself somewhat distressed as I wondered “wait … is this actually a twin film?” But then right at the last second, phew, they pull it out. Turns out the totally different looking female leads are, in fact, identical twins. One of them just got smashed in the face with a shovel and had to receive radical face altering plastic surgery. Amusing from a twin perspective I guess, but ultimately means the twin factor is a lot less important than one would think. Too bad. C. I think this is about as bad a score as you can get for apparently identical twins playing a major role in a film. Congrats. Two Much on the other hand is an easy peasy F+. Because guess what? They ain’t twins! Antonio Banderas is just pretending to be twins. It is actually a crime against twin-hood. “But Patrick!” you scream, “the twins play such a prominent role in the film!” Yeah I don’t really care about that, they just aren’t twins. Much like clones or robots or shapeshifting aliens it just isn’t the same thing. I gave it the plus because it played a big role in the film, that’s the biggest concession I’ll make. For the record we did this partly because it felt necessary to do a non-twin twin-centric film for the cycle, but rest assured all other films in the cycle do, in fact, feature bona fide twins.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Mrs. Winterbourne Recap

Jamie

Connie Doyle is down on her luck and pregnant. As if things couldn’t get worse she gets in a train accident and is mistaken for the wife of a prodigal son of a wealthy family. Taken in by the eccentric mother and grumpy identical twin brother, she’s in quite the pickle. Can she set things straight (and also maybe get the guy) before it’s too late? Find out in Mrs. Winterbourne.

How?! Connie Doyle comes from a troubled background. At a young age she runs off to NYC and finds herself pregnant. The father, Steve, is a con man asshole and so wandering alone around the city she finds herself mistakenly on a train to Boston. A nice man named Hugh helps her and while palling around with his similarly pregnant wife they get in a terrible train accident. Connie wakes up in the hospital having been mistaken as the wife of Hugh Winterbourne, the prodigal son of an intensely wealthy New England family. While she tries to escape the Winterbourne’s and set things straight, she is also amazed at the wealth and comfort they live in as they pamper the new “Mrs. Winterbourne” and the new grandson. Hugh’s mother, Grace, is particularly taken with the pair, while his identical twin brother Bill is suspicious and cold. Connie is different from the typical Winterbourne ilk and Grace kinda digs it, so she forces Bill to spend time with her. This is wildly (almost unbelievably) successful as Bill falls in love with Connie after spending approximately two hours with her. At the same time he discovers her dark secret and the guilt weighs heavily on him. Connie attempts to leave several more times until Bill makes it clear that their hours together have been the happiest of his life and that he wants to marry her. Through the publicity of the wedding, Steve tracks down Connie and attempts to blackmail her. Distraught, she decides to kill him, but in a truly farcical manner both she and Bill converge on Steve’s hotel room to discover he’s dead. At the wedding the police show up and more farcical things happen, but ultimately it’s made clear that Steve’s new girlfriend was the killer. Having resolved that, Bill and Connie get married and wink at the screen to prepare us for the sequel Meet the Doyles. THE END.

Why?! It’s quite the farce as no matter how hard Connie tries she can’t seem to make it clear that she’s not part of the Winterbourne family. The reason is made pretty clear. While she wants to be truthful, she also wants what’s best for her son (which is wealth and privilege). What is a mother to do? Probably the weirdest motivation is Bill, who seems sullen and distant until he spends a single day with Connie after which it’s love and marriage. Why? I actually don’t know.

Who?! There is an amusing scene where the father of Connie’s baby is watching TV and is laughing at Bobcat Goldthwait and he is being predictably weird in his standup and Steve is laughing at it and I think the point is character development to be like “he’s the kind of guy who laughs at Bobcat” and I kinda love it. Bobcat of course goes uncredited. Connie’s nurse after the accident is played by Paula Prentiss who was a prominent actress who hadn’t made a film in 15 years and her performance is predictably weird… and uncredited.

What?! I’m sure there were some weird semi-50’s props from this film that found their way to a Toronto area dumpster. The only thing that stuck in my mind a bit was the Winterbourne ring representing a special type of prop… one that holds some kind of power over Connie’s transformation in Mrs. Winterbourne. But really it’s just because it’s what seals a connection to the film Two Much which is startlingly similar to this film and yet we decided to watch it next week for some reason. Maybe to enjoy Jeff Fahey having sex on a motorcycle for this week.

Where?! Really fabulous Massachusetts film. We know Connie is heading MA way on the the train and then she is delivered to the Massachusetts manor of the Winterbournes. This would just be OK, but they add in a Tour de Boston in the middle of the film where Connie and Bill walk by Paul Revere’s home and through Boston Common not once but twice. That deserves at least a B+.

When?! I don’t know when this takes place. My guess is Spring and that Connie and Bill rush to a Spring wedding, but hard to say. The film doesn’t really take all that much time really because, as I mentioned, Bill falls in love with Connie in a matter of days and insists on getting married in just a couple weeks… even though this is apparently the widow of his estranged identical twin brother who just gave birth to his nephew. It’s all very bizarre. Would have made more sense if the film took place over a much longer time period while Connie recovered from being in a terrible train accident.

This is certainly a film. It has charm at times, but suffers a little bit with a lead that is a little overmatched by Shirley MacLaine and Brendan Fraser. It also has one of those weird production design choices that makes most of the film feel like it’s set in the 1950’s, while whenever they venture away from Winterbourne manor you realize that it’s the present day. Overall I think I would have said this was just a meh film except that I actually did like the character of Paco. A gay Cuban who was persecuted by his government, he found a place in Mrs. Winterbourne’s household and knows that no matter what problems Connie has she will be accepted there. It’s very sweet and so I’d say this is slightly better than nothing. As for Woman of Desire, phew… hose me down. Jeff Fahey having sex on a motorcycle. Uh yeah, yes please. Yes for sure. You’re saying The Lawnmower man is having sex on a motorcycle? Yah. Add in some truly humorous 90’s concepts of DNA technology in regards to identical twins and I very much enjoyed Woman of Desire. Did I mention Jeff Fahey has sex on a motorcycle? Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Somehow we keep on watching films which would have been pitch perfect for the US Mapl.d.map. First Urban Legend for New Hampshire, and now Mrs. Winterbourne for Massachusetts. We’re on a tour of New England! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I had literally never heard of this film prior to building this twin cycle. It looks like … Change of Seasons? A film that was made. It exists. It has a really famous cast. But it seems impossible anyone actually watched the film at the time. I know that’s wrong because this style of rom com was huge, so obviously there had to be bad versions that were released. You just rarely hear of them I guess. What were my expectations? To be bored. There aren’t many reasons a film like this is slammed by critics, the most common reason is because it is boring.

The Good – Shirley MacLaine and Brendan Fraser are both quite good, especially MacLaine. I also really liked Miguel Sandoval’s storyline as Paco, the Winterbourne’s valet. Great Massachusetts film. And finally, the film is more interesting than I would have immediately given it credit for, it is not nearly as boring as you would expect. If not for a really weak leading actress I think this would have been well received based on MacLaine’s performance specifically. Best Bit: MacLaine.

The Bad – Ricki Lake is so bad in the lead role that it completely sinks the film, it is only saved a tiny bit by how genuine the romance that anchors the plot feels, and I think if the story was better Lake’s performance could be forgiven. The main issue is the storyline is just a huge downer. You bookend the film with two lovely and generous people tragically dying in a train wreck, and a murder of a dirtbag blackmailer. Everything in between is poisoned by just how depressing the core of the story is. Unfortunately there isn’t much to be done, it isn’t quite so easy to just put everyone in comas and call it a day, and I suppose all of this comes from the book. Fatal Flaw: Downer story.

The BMT – Slightly higher that you would think. It is definitely one of the better Big Wedding type garbage rom coms I’ve seen. If someone wanted to watch Mrs. Winterbourne I wouldn’t flat out refuse like with a lot of other films. But the BMT cred is mostly just as a twin film as usual with this cycle. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them by not merely being a boring mess of a film. The fact that there were some truly heartfelt moments, and a whole lotta weird choices made it at least a bit interesting to watch, even if it isn’t a particularly good-bad film.

Roast-radamus – A fantastic Setting as a Character (Where?) for Massachusetts and Boston in particular complete with a walk along the Freedom Trail. And throw out the Worst Twist (How?) for the incredibly obvious twist that Steve’s new pregnant girlfriend murdered him. So obvious in fact that they literally show the woman leaving the motel in the scene before. I think this is closest to Bad … although I could be convinced this is actually a good movie if you ignore Ricki Lake’s performance.

StreetCreditReport.com – I actually did find a blog / old website list from 1996 with Mrs. Winterbourne on it which is kind of amazing. Otherwise I think you throw this on a top 10 worst films set in Boston list. I imagine it could make a list for the worst mistaken identity films. Almost all of its credit, as is usual, is because the film is a twin film, and we love twin films.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we curled up with our old friend Jeff Fahey for what I would consider a rare instant classic for BMT Bring a Friend, Woman of Desire. In the end it shouldn’t be too surprising that most of the friends we watch aren’t actually particularly fun to watch, they are mostly just amusing disasters. This film from a zoomed out perspective is no different, messy, weirdly almost set in South Africa, and kind of dull. But then you get not one, but two Jeff Fahey / Bo Derek sex scenes one of which (wait for it) is performed on a motorcycle parked in Jeff Fahey’s living room. Wait a tick, that can’t be right … but oh, it is so so right. I will remember this film for one thing and one thing alone: Jeff Fahey and Bo Derek have sex upon a motorcycle sitting in Jeff Fahey’s living room. You can’t ever take that away from me. A. I don’t care what anyone else thinks, I would watch that entire film again just for that sex scene. I only wish Jeff Fahey played smooth jazz on a saxophone afterwards. Maybe that’s in the director’s cut.

Twin Analysis – In this case our two movies have the connection that one of the twins is deceased for the vast majority of the film. In the case of Mrs. Winterbourne we have Brendan Fraser playing Bill and Hugh Winterbourne which fall into the Opposite Twin trope with Bill being a straightlaced businessman, and Hugh clearly dressed as a kind of Bohemian hipster type. No split screen, but the fact that they are twins is a huge part of the story, so I’m going to give it a solid A-. Just wish we could have seen Brendan Fraser act opposite of Brendan Fraser. As for our friend Woman of Desire we again have the Opposite Twin trope with Steven Bauer playing Jonathan and Ted, where the eeeeeevil twin has murdered his own brother with the help of his brother’s lover Bo Derek. The twin energy is real here, and incredibly important. As the defense attorney says at the end “the government overlooked one little known fact: twins have the same DNA.” Wait … they did what?! Is that a little known fact? I guess in 1994 you might have to explain to a jury that indeed, the two people who look identical have the same DNA, but that sounds like a screenwriter thinking he’s about ten times more clever than he actually is. I wish Jeff Fahey was the twin though, Bauer actually wasn’t really in the movie as much as you would think. B+, great twin energy, but in a supporting role.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Father Figures Recap

Jamie

Peter and Kyle are as different as twins can be. Kyle is a fun loving free spirit, while Peter is a down-on-his-luck sad sack. When Peter finds out that the story about their dead father was all a lie, they set out in search of their real dad. Can they find their dad (and maybe get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Father Figures.

How?! Peter is a divorced doctor who laments how his life turned out. His kid hates him, he does rectal exams all day, and the highlight of his day is watching TV alone. It’s all made worse when at his mother’s wedding he is reminded about the carefree, fun lifestyle of his fraternal twin brother Kyle. The cherry on top is that at the same wedding he finds out the story about his dead dad was all a lie! The man very well could still be alive. With Peter’s world crumbling, Kyle agrees to set off and find their father. First stop, Terry Bradshaw (duh) playing himself and boy does he. He’s ready to accept them into the family until he realizes that while their mom was great in the sack, they weren’t together at the time of conception. Time to head off again. This time to confront Ronald Hunt. The loser criminal doesn’t seem like the best dad, but they still give him a shot. Unfortunately he gets them wrapped up in trying to steal a car. Oops. Time to give up, but while heading to the airport they pick up a hitchhiker who gets them lost in the middle of nowhere. While arguing about the state of things, they almost get killed by a train and realize that all they need is each other… and the magical hitchhiker. So with their new Enterprise Rent-a-car they head off to none other than Worcester, MA (!) where they’ve got a hot tip on another potential dad, Patrick O’Callahan. On the way, Peter has a one night stand with a woman who he is shocked to find was Patrick’s daughter! Uh oh! But Patrick’s twin brother insists it’s not true, because Patrick didn’t have sex before marriage. Instead it must have been Peter and Kyle’s family vet, Dr. Tinkler. They head home to confront him where their mother reveals the truth: they were adopted. She doesn’t know who their father is, but their mother was a young drug addict she was trying to help. Realizing that life is more about what you have and that they have each other, Peter and Kyle team up to start a new billion dollar app and everything is looking pretty good. THE END.

Why?! For a film with a scene of a kid peeing on Owen Wilson, Ed Helms thinking he had sex with his sister, and a weird (but kind of good (but also out of place)) satire of the magical black person trope, it’s a pretty heavy film. It’s very much about finding and understanding your purpose in life and not getting hung up or dwelling on what you’ve lost, what you thought you had, or what you want, but appreciating what you have. Particularly when it comes to family. Peter and Kyle didn’t choose their family, but they realize that their family actually did choose them, and that despite how different they are the love they have is stronger than those differences. It’s really nice… for a film that’s not super great.

Who?! This isn’t Terry Bradshaw’s first BMT rodeo. We know him best from Failure to Launch, and that honestly was a better effort considering he wasn’t just playing a cartoon version of himself. Then there was The Cannonball Run where he played *check notes* Terry… huh… guess I’m not sure whether he was playing himself in that one.

What?! This is actually one of my favorite subtle product placements in recent memory. Peter and Kyle get their rental car destroyed by a train and we see them talking to a man delivering a new one and are all like “that’s for delivering the new rental car.” And I’m like “Ha, Enterprise up in here.” And then in the credits we see under special thanks: Enterprise. Even if you totally explode your car with a train, Enterprise will still deliver a new one.

Where?! Nice solid road trip film starting in Ohio and then going to Florida, New York, and Massachusetts. Finishing with a taste of Hawaii is also perfect. I also can’t really get over that they very specifically head to my old stomping grounds, Worcester, MA. Although I didn’t recognize where they went, so not sure they actually filmed there. B+.

When?! I do not know when exactly this took place. My guess is that it’s early Fall given the wedding setting, the changing leaves in New York, and shift towards sweaters as they journeyed north… yes, I’m insane. My guess is that if we really poured through all the footage we’d find something. Maybe the prop Enterprise Rent-a-car rental agreement has a date on it. F.

To me this seemed like a film that was written by three different people. Or perhaps even existed as three scripts before being merged together. It’s very surprising that there is just one writer considering how quickly and often they vacillate between comedy styles. You’ve got an indie Jeff Who Lives at Home vibe going on, then the next second it feels like Harold and Kumar, and then the next second it’s like Wedding Crashers. It just never seemed like they knew exactly what they wanted to make. As a result even something that could be good, like what I take as satire of the “magical black person” cliche, can get lost and confused in the muddle of everything. But I can’t say the underlying message wasn’t touching, it’s just the journey to get there didn’t come together well at all. As for Twin Sitters, I couldn’t have been more tickled by the bizarre Paul twins and their twin extravaganza of a film. Twins everywhere and they are just muscley freaks of nature with fashion for days. I disagree with Patrick a bit, much better than Santa with Muscles and for one main reason: I kinda liked that the Paul twins weren’t afraid to play stupid. Big muscle guys seem to shy away from that (Hulk Hogan being a prime example). They always want to be big brain business people or scientists. Wrong! Give me some twin dum dums! I love it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Ugh, fraternal twins. Whatever, I guess we had to watch a film with fraternal twins eventually. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – The film has been on our radar for a long while, but for an odd reason: it might have one of the best examples of a terrible movie poster ever! Just look at all of those faces staring out at you from a snow white background. Really just useless garbage. Anyways, modern bad comedies tend to just be boring and no fun, and I doubt this would be any different. It can’t help but end up being wholesome in the end. That fact that it has bad reviews suggests it is boring. What were my expectations? To be bored and to laugh zero times.

The Good – Funnier than I expected, and that is entirely due to Owen Wilson. Something about his exudes charm, and while he is leaning into his vague surfer/stoner hippy schtick in the film, it ends up working (except when they make him anxious and sad in the middle of the film). I think his performance, plus a surprisingly surprising twist involving Katie Aselton, end up saving the back half of the film. Oh and out of nowhere I really liked the diversion involving Katt Williams’ hitchhiker character. There is a weird amount of stuff to like for a film that is really not very interesting. Oh and I secretly liked the silly connections drawn to The World According to Garp right at the end. Best Bit: Owen Wilson.

The Bad – It is indeed pretty not funny and boring, especially the first half of the film. I didn’t really like Ed Helms’ character who was so depressing that he had to end up with a happy ending because it was literally impossible to make him sadder at the end of the film. Terry Bradshaw was awful in the film, and surprisingly so was J.K. Simmons. The entire film felt inevitable. If you could start the film with a better first father than Bradshaw, and then flow right into them being depressed about a near miss there with the Katt Williams hitchhiker character, and skip the middle bit, I think the film ends up much better. Considering it is far too long for a comedy, I’m surprised they didn’t try and reedit it into a leaner film. Fatal Flaw: Trite.

The BMT – I think the only thing this film will be notable for in terms of BMT in the future is that terrible poster. It’ll be the poster child (heyooooo) for “throw a bunch of faces on a white piece of paper and call it a day” style of modern movie posters. Otherwise it might be a small stop on the Owen Wilson bad movie filmography,twin films (fraternal or not), and road trip films maybe. I will probably never watch this film ever again. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them, but in the wrong direction, it was too good. It had a few solid laughs, and the back half was too interesting to be boring.

Roast-radamus – A solid Product Placement (What?) with Dunkin’ Donuts. Turns out both America and existential-journeys-to-find-your-father run on Dunkin’. A great Road Trip (Where?) film covering Ohio, Florida, New York, and Massachusetts, including a ton of driving (and presumably stops at Dunkin’). I do think we have a MacGuffin (Why?) for the search for the ultimate MacGuffin: Dad (awwwwwwwww). I don’t think any of the twists are bad unfortunately. I think this is closest to Good personally. I couldn’t help but be touched by the message being presented, and Wilson was solid.

StreetCreditReport.com – I was looking through all the lists and mainly marvelling that I’ve seen probably a solid 50% of the worst films of 2017 on any given list. That’s pretty impressive given the sometimes random choices some of these lists make (The Only Living Boy in New York is on the AV Club list and Transformers 5 isn’t … what?). Usually I’d say something like “I’m not shocked this film went under the radar” … but I am legitimately shocked that this film wasn’t on any list! And then I realized why, it was a Christmas film! Ah, well rest assured this had cred galore. I think it would have easily made most top 10 lists for the year, and is definitely the worst twin film of 2017. And this is coming from someone who kind of liked the film!

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we brought along another twin-based comedy in Twin Sitters. What a wild career Peter and David Paul had. Twin bodybuilders, they managed to star in four films. The last few are a lot like this where the twins straight up say “we’re big dumb brutes.” What a strange idea of a career, playing character that are almost too dumb to function but big and strong. And the entire film is very twin-centric with the twins baby-sitting another set of twins! The child twins are actually the actors who played the lead child role in Kindergarten Cop which is pretty fun. The entire film is really silly, directed by the actor who played the bad guy’s son in UHF (and Jambi in Peewee’s Playhouse) who also appears in the film. It really is just so dumb it is hard to articulate coherent feelings on. I guess the most interesting thing was the end is a lot like 3 Ninjas with a group of bad guys attempting to infiltrate the house to kidnap the children, and the Paul twins fighting them with household objects. Where did that cinematic trope originate? Looney Tunes? Are the Paul twins just big cartoon characters? Anyways, I bet there are better Barbarian Twin films out there. If I’m being honest, this just feels like a weird knockoff of other films. It feels like Santa With Muscles, so C-, wouldn’t really recommend it unless you are watching all of the Paul twin films or something.

Twin Analysis – I’m going to tell it like it is: fraternal twins start at a C. Sorry, not sorry, it is just the way it is. They might as well be brothers. Anyways, I did like the Polar Opposite Twin trope, that’s a classic. With Helms being an uptight doctor, and Wilson being a very laidback loser who fell ass backwards into money. The twin angle plays a decent sized role in the film as well. Lucky for the film there is an identical twin in the film (one of the potential fathers is an identical twin), and a set of twins at the end. Three twins!! I’m going to give it a B. Much better than I expected. Now, on the other hand we have Twin Sitters! My god, has there ever been a more twin film in the history of twin films. And another fortuitous connection, despite Peter and David Paul being very identical, they also play into the Polar Opposite Twin trope. Now that’s fun! There are, I think, five sets of identical twins in the film (and a set of identical triplets!). I was hoping the bad guy would have also turned out to be a twin, but alas, it was not meant to be. Regardless, I’m going to give this the true A+. They might not be stigmata twins, but this film has so many twins, and the idea of twins, and standing by your twin brother, and twin dynamics, and magical twin abilities … it has it all (as far as twins are concerned)!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs