Garfield Preview

Jamie awakens to find himself hanging by his feet in the rafters of the old mansion. “I know it’s a shock being a vampire and all,” says a voice. Turning to his side Jamie sees a young vampire smiling back at him. “But don’t worry. The name’s Odin and I’ll help you learn all the coolz vampire rulez at Dracula School.”  Jamie does love rules, but he also knows that the librarian could be back at any moment to squeeze his twinzo powers out of him. “I’ll pass bro,” he says, pausing momentarily to turn his hat backwards, “I gotta find my brother, Patrick.” “Well maybe I can help you,” Odin replies, “you see we’re both Larbagios, those are vampires made by other vampires. We are mortal enemies of Hedgermias, those are vampires who made themselves vampires. There are also Royeldrums, those are vampires that were always vampires. We all fight and can never love unless bound by the Oaths of Keldronia, for otherwise our blood lust will overtake us and we will become Hedgermias. Thus we must be pure and remember that the flesh is sacred…” Rolling his eyes Jamie interjects, “Wish I could stay but look at the time…” As he turns to leave Odin suddenly transforms before his eyes into a large dog. “I didn’t get to the useful part yet,” the large dog says, “Larbagios can also transform into animals.” Oooo, that is helpful. With such a power Jamie will be able to sneak right by that librarian and start figuring out where Patrick is. Concentrating real hard he feel himself transform. Looking down he sees a mass of orange hair and black stripes. Great, a big ol’ fat orange cat. Not super inconspicuous, but it’ll have to do. That’s right! We’re (finally) watching Garfield and Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.

Patrick is mesmerized by the terrible teenage witch rap dance, unaware of time slipping away from him. Days pass, his lips cracked with dehydration, his mind lost in the glorious inanity he is viewing, his body dying. All of a sudden the door explodes, splinters showering Patrick and awakening him from his daze, bullets zip and crack, raining down on all manner of teenage witch and wizard. “LAPD! You have the right to remain dead,” a grizzled officer growls. Another officer, dressed in overalls with no shirt, shakes his head, “Gosh dern it Sticks, this was supposed to be an easy in and out job, just grab the kid and let’s get outta here!” The grizzled officer grabs Patrick roughly. “You’re welcome punk, Stones and I just saved your mind.” They drag Patrick through the front door and … onto another set? This one is dressed up as an alleyway. They drop Patrick into a pile of garbage, Sticks and Stones look at each other and nod, “Light’er up” says Stones. As they gleefully firebomb the witch’s house set, black doll eyes gleaming, Patrick’s mind begins to clear. Just then an alley cat walks by. “You don’t belong here” the cat says with a wink, and walks off. Wait … A talking cat!?! What is this place? That’s right! We’re also watching A Talking Cat!?!!

We move forward in the Bring A Friend cycle to watch two films that involve talking cats. That’s because Garfield is in fact a talking cat!?! We used to avoid films like Garfield (and the BONUS Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties) thinking they were “just for kids” and not worth our time. We eventually realized that that was patronizing and decided to give them a chance… and they turned out to mostly be not worth our time. But sometimes they can be fun. Here’s to hoping! As for A Talking Cat!?! It’s is a film!?! The verdict is still out. It certainly exists and it will play in front of our eyeballs, but it’s hard to say how or why this film(!?!) has become something of a cult classic. Even leading to a podcast A Talking Cast!?! Which broke down the film minute-by-minute. Jesus. What a week. Let’s go!

Garfield (2004) – BMeTric: 66.2

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(Nothing super interesting. Kind of fun seeing a film that goes all the way right back to when the internet archive started. Was very stable for about a decade, but has started regressing up towards the mean a bit. A 5.0 is absurdly low though.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Murray is an ideal voice for the world’s laziest (and hungriest) cat in this innocuous, uninspired comedy combining computer-generate animation and live action. Meye is Garfield’s hapless owner, who tries to woo attractive veterinarian Hewitt by adopting Odie, a homeless mutt, which spurs Garfield into defensive action. Based on Jim Davis’ comic strip and animated TV series. Followed by a sequel.

(Innocuous is the worst thing you’d want to hear with something like this I think. Translation is it is merely boring and not worth anyone’s time. Even the review is kind of boring.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GV5y4yTDtBI

(Everything but the dancing seems fine to me. The dancing … well it is something people do. They straight Marmaduked it and there isn’t much we can do about it now is there?)

Directors – Peter Hewitt – (Known For: Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; The Borrowers; Thunderpants; Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?; Future BMT: Zoom; Tom and Huck; BMT: Garfield; Notes: Not that old, it is pretty plausible the one-two punch of Zoom and Garfield killed his career. British, born in Brighton.)

Writers – Jim Davis (comic strip “Garfield”) – (BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Notes: His life is mostly identical to Jon Arbuckle, who also grew up on a farm in Indiana and was a cartoonist, although Davis has been married a few times. Also wrote the strip U.S. Acres, which was part of the Garfield & Friends brand.)

Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow (written by) – (Known For: Toy Story; Future BMT: Daddy Day Camp; Evan Almighty; Money Talks; Goodbye Lover; BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Cheaper by the Dozen; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar as part of the team that wrote Toy Story. They jointly directed a Monster Mash film in 1995 which looks … not super great.)

Actors – Breckin Meyer – (Known For: Clueless; The Craft; Road Trip; Can’t Hardly Wait; Rat Race; The Insider; Escape from L.A.; Go; Herbie Fully Loaded; Josie and the Pussycats; Kate & Leopold; Prefontaine; Dancer, Texas Pop. 81; Blue State; Future BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Rebound; 54; Caffeine; Touch; Tail Lights Fade; BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Pinocchio; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for Pinocchio in 2003; Notes: Went to grade school with Drew Barrymore who introduced him to his first agent. At one point I knew him as that guy who had basically back-to-back one-and-done television series, Inside Schwartz, and Married to the Kellys.)

Jennifer Love Hewitt – (Known For: Tropic Thunder; Can’t Hardly Wait; Heartbreakers; Future BMT: Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit; Delgo; The Suburbans; The Truth About Love; House Arrest; Jewtopia; Telling You; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; The Tuxedo; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Notes: Possibly most famous for Party of Five. She is in the new show 9-1-1.)

Stephen Tobolowsky – (Known For: Memento; Basic Instinct; Spaceballs; Mississippi Burning; Freaky Friday; Groundhog Day; Thelma & Louise; Robots; Buried; Sneakers; Adaptation.; The Insider; Single White Female; Mr. Peabody & Sherman; Great Balls of Fire!; Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!; Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco; Murder in the First; Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael; The Grifters; Future BMT: Mr. Magoo; View from the Top; Little Black Book; The Glimmer Man; National Security; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; My Father the Hero; Black Dog; Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde; Bird on a Wire; You May Not Kiss the Bride; Memoirs of an Invisible Man; Calendar Girl; Peep World; Blind Dating; Funny About Love; Romeo Is Bleeding; Radioland Murders; The Pickle; Josh and S.A.M.; BMT: Freddy Got Fingered; Garfield; Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous; The Country Bears; Failure to Launch; Wild Hogs; Atlas Shrugged: Part III; Notes: Very prolific character actor, Ned from Groundhog Day. Had a very long running podcast, The Tobolowsky Files, although it looks like it may have ended last year.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $75,369,589 (Worldwide: $200,804,534)

(Giant success I would say. For $50 million you might have wanted to break $100 on the home front, but certainly a good reason to make a sequel one would think.)

#40 for the CGI Star genre

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(Cutting edge! This plot just goes up and up … until it just becomes every film I guess. Highest BMT is Transformers: Age of Extinction and lowest is Transformers: The Last Knight … lots of Transformers I guess. Rocky and Bullwinkle will be fun.)

#20 for the Family – Talking Animal (Live action) genre

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(Right in the middle of the talking animal live action family film boom it looks like. Highest grossing BMT is Zookeeper, although that will be trounced by Alvin and the Chipmunks at some point. Hot to Trot is very low naturally, back in the day when they did talking animal films the right way (shakes fist))

#19 for the TV Cartoon (Live Action) genre

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(Right before a big boom in the mid 2000s (the Transformers franchise I guess). BRATZ and Dudley Do-Right back-to-back as our lowest BMT examples is fantastic. Although only BRATZ is really worth watching in any capacity.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (20/137): When the novelty of the CGI Garfield wears off, what’s left is a simplistic kiddie movie.

(I guess in our case it will be the morbid fascination with 2004 fully CGI characters … Reviewer Highlight – There’s nothing to recommend about this film except its sheer innocuousness. – Desson Thomsom, Washington Post (uh oh…))

Poster – This Cat is Morbidly Obese, Call Social Services (B-)

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(I like the furriness and realism of Garfield and the unique font. Otherwise though this falls into the very bare-bones, mostly white posters that I generally dislike.)

Tagline(s) – Get ready for frisky business (D)

(No thanks. That is a crazy tagline with no real tangible connection to this film and should have been immediately thrown in the trash.)

Keyword(s) – cat; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.7 Catwoman (2004); 92.4 Date Movie (2006); 88.9 Vampires Suck (2010); 86.2 The Cat in the Hat (2003); 84.4 Movie 43 (2013); 82.5 Inspector Gadget (1999); 82.5 Home Alone 3 (1997); 81.8 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 80.4 One Missed Call (2008); 78.4 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000);

(These are real deal cat films. I wonder if we will ever watch Home Alone 3. That is probably one of the most surprising “this actually genuinely qualifies, it was released to thousands of theaters” films we’ve never seen.)

Notes – Bill Murray named this film as one of his regrets in Zombieland (2009).

Bill Murray has said during interviews that he hates that he didn’t think to have Garfield say his famous Ghostbusters (1984) line “Dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!” (in the scenes of Odie being introduced to the house) until after all post-production had been completed, and it was too late to add it. (Decent point)

Jim Carrey turned down the role of Jon Arbuckle. (A tad bit too famous at the time I think, he ended up doing Mr. Popper’s Penguins seven years later)

In an interview, Bill Murray stated that he originally thought the script was written by Joel Coen. It wasn’t until the recording process, and watching dailies, that he realized that it was written by Joel Cohen, not the same person, of whom he was thinking. (Imagining a Garfield film written by Joel Coen is … an interesting idea)

Bill Murray and Lorenzo Music have both played Garfield and Dr Peter Venkman. Murray plays Garfield in this film and Dr Venkman in the Ghostbusters films, and Music voiced Garfield in Garfield and Friends (1988) and Dr. Venkman in The Real Ghost Busters (1986). (Yes, unfortunately Music died in 2001 otherwise I do imagine he’s be the voice in the film)

Joe Towne who plays a technician in the film (as Ariel Joseph Towne) was hired during production as the on-set voice of Garfield. (Oooooo fun fact)

In the film, Jon adopts Odie from his vet Liz’s animal hospital. In the comic strip, Odie was originally the pet of Jon’s friend Lyman. (Wow, some deep Garfield knowledge)

In the film, Nermal is a Siamese cat who lives on the cul-de-sac. In the comic strip, Nermal is a grey tabby kitten who originally belonged to Jon’s parents. (This is some great shit right here)

The license plate on Liz’s pickup is “Pet Doc”.

Jim Davis: Garfield’s creator has a cameo as the train conductor who makes the “all aboard” announcement. (Ugh)

Old Dogs Preview

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

Old Dogs (2009) – BMeTric: 44.4

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(That is a giant and sustained jump. Some may be surprised that a sub-50 BMeTric film would make it to the hall of fame (oh, only me?), but I would guess it being someone anonymous in bad movie circles lends itself to a slightly deflated vote count. Otherwise everything is pretty mundane by the looks of it, nothing to interesting here.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Hoped-for sparks from a teaming Travolta and Williams never materialize as the pair play business partners whose big Japanese deal is disrupted when they unexpectedly inherit 7-year-old twins. The stars seem to be having a better time than the audience. Only the youngest kids are going to find this slapstick material (including Green’s antics with a lovesick gorilla) very funny. Notable only as the debut for Travolta’s daughter Ella Bleu and Mac’s final film appearance.

(Two stars?! This is the kind of harmless nothing movie Leonard wouldn’t mind. I still don’t quite understand two stars though, the movie is basically incomprehensible and terrible. How does that get two stars?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhY8AP806tU

(My God, this movie doesn’t have a storyline! How incredibly cut up and weird that is. Of course they appear to have a 20 minute foray into a camp filled with caricatures, otherwise, how in the world would they punch up the script?)

Directors – Walt Becker – (BMT: Old Dogs; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; Wild Hogs (BMT); Van Wilder: Party Liaison (Seen it); Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2010 for Worst Director for Old Dogs. Apparently his trademark (according to IMDb) is having characters sing I’m All Out of Love … Mostly works in television now including the one-season show Glory Daze.)

Writers – David Diamond (written by) – (Known For: The Family Man; Evolution; BMT: When in Rome (BMT); Old Dogs (BMT); Notes: Amazing, I’ve completed David Diamond’s filmography. The only information I can find on him is he collaborated with Weissman)

David Weissman (written by) – (Known For: The Family Man; Evolution; BMT: When in Rome (BMT); Old Dogs (BMT); Notes: Same here, how very odd, there is almost no information about these people. I would guess they are mostly producers now working for a studio on comedies. Amazingly if you look at variety you come up with this fun story. That … sounds suspiciously like Old Dogs. A raucous buddy comedy announced in 2006 to be released by Walt Disney? Most def.)

Actors – Robin Williams – (Known For: Good Will Hunting; Dead Poets Society; Jumanji; Aladdin; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Insomnia; Mrs. Doubtfire; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Night at the Museum; Night at the Museum 2; The Birdcage; The Butler; To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; What Dreams May Come; Awakenings; One Hour Photo; Good Morning, Vietnam; Popeye; Robots; FernGully: The Last Rainforest; The Fisher King; Happy Feet; Hamlet; The Adventures of Baron Munchausen; World’s Greatest Dad; Boulevard; The World According to Garp; Happy Feet Two; Death to Smoochy; BMT: Flubber (seen it); Toys (seen it); License to Wed; Old Dogs; Nine Months; RV: Runaway Vacation; Fathers’ Day; The Big Wedding (BMT); Jack (seen it); Club Paradise; The Angriest Man in Brooklyn; A Merry Christmas Miracle; Absolutely Anything; Man of the Year; The Final Cut; The Best of Times; The Survivors; The Big White; Noel; Hook (seen it); Patch Adams (seen it); Jakob the Liar; Bicentennial Man (seen it); Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2000 for Worst Actor for Bicentennial Man, and Jakob the Liar; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Supporting Actor for Death to Smoochy; Obviously a legend and sadly recently took his own life. He was a staple of my childhood and also a brilliant and classically trained actor. There isn’t much more to say.)

John Travolta – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Grease; Savages; Hairspray; Carrie; Face/Off; The Thin Red Line; In a Valley of Violence; Bolt; Saturday Night Fever; Criminal Activities; Look Who’s Talking; The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3; Phenomenon; Broken Arrow; Lonely Hearts; Urban Cowboy; Get Shorty; Blow Out; Ladder 49; Primary Colors; A Civil Action; BMT: Battlefield Earth; Look Who’s Talking Too; Look Who’s Talking Now; Staying Alive; Old Dogs; Killing Season; Lucky Numbers; Michael; Domestic Disturbance; Be Cool; Perfect; Wild Hogs; Two of a Kind; I Am Wrath; White Man’s Burden; The Devil’s Rain; The Forger; The General’s Daughter; Mad City; Swordfish; The Punisher; From Paris with Love; Basic; Notes:  Won the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Actor for Battlefield Earth, and Lucky Numbers; Won the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Screen Couple for Battlefield Earth; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2010 and 1990 for Worst Actor of the Decade; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2010 for Worst Actor for Old Dogs and in 2002 for Domestic Disturbance, and Swordfish, and in 1986 for Perfect, and in 1984 for Staying Alive, and Two of a Kind; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1992 for Worst Supporting Actor for Shout; A staple of BMT. This should be obvious though considering he is in two different Hall of Fame inductees. Look at that Razzie cred!)

Also stars Seth Green (Somewhat amazingly this was only his second BMT along with the other Travolta classic Be Cool)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $49,492,060 (Worldwide: $96,753,696)

(How did this move make so much money. Why would anyone overseas see this film? That is flabbergasting to say the least)

#22 for the Comedy – Fish-Out-of-Water Father genre

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(That is below Kicking and Screaming which is just about all you need to know about that. Oddly enough the last movie Box Office Mojo classified in this category was in 2013, which is a tad bit odd. Also listed for recent BMT film Cheaper By the Dozen 2 (which makes no sense, he has twelve children, how is he a fish out of water?). Anywho, this managed to get released literally in the nadir of a genre, impressive.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (5/108): Its cast tries hard, but Old Dogs is a predictable, nearly witless attempt at physical comedy and moral uplift that misses the mark on both counts.

(5% is obviously extraordinarily low. Thinking about it and seeing the trailer I can certainly believe that the cast works hard. The screenwriters and director on the other hand …)

Poster – Old Sklogs (F)

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(I hate this poster. It is boring. It has no color or life to it. It suggests nothing about the film. Why not call it Old Dads? Honestly? Why ever suggest this movie is about dogs at all? They even put the dog front and center in the poster. I just don’t get it. I would love for someone to explain the logic, because I don’t get it.)

Tagline(s) – Sit. Stay. Play Dad. (A-)

(Besides being cheesy this is quite an excellent tagline. Plays into the title obviously, but also suggests a bit about the plot (him having to be a dad unexpectedly). I honestly wonder if the tagline itself inspired the title, because I can’t really think on why it is called Old Dogs … because there is an old dog in it … was the old dog a metaphor for something? I’m blowing my own mind over here, but I’ll save you the bother and not mention it)

Keyword(s) – twin; Top Ten by BMeTric: 72.9 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 67.1 The Spirit (2008); 65.0 The Unborn (2009); 58.6 Seed of Chucky (2004); 57.1 Dr. T & the Women (2000); 55.1 New York Minute (I) (2004); 55.0 House of Wax (2005); 51.0 The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007); 48.5 The Ten (2007); 48.2 Scary Movie 3 (2003);

(Oh yeah, my favorite keyword obviously. We’ve seen most of the amazing ones I think. Like the Spirit I think only has it because of clones (or something). The Seeker and I Know Who Killed Me are BMT classics though.)

Notes – The film’s release date was postponed three times. First, due to Bernie Mac’s untimely death. The second time was for the death of John Travolta and Kelly Preston’s son, Jett Travolta. The final time was because Robin Williams had a health scare that required surgery. All of the postponement ultimately caused the movie to be released more than a year after the original, intended release date, finally releasing on November 25, 2009. (Yes, this was something I vaguely knew before watching the film as well. It is funny to think that us “previewing” films did kind of start before the emails and recaps did, just because this movie in particular has an interesting backstory to it).

John Travolta and Robin Williams were close friends in real life.

Bernie Mac’s last released film. Soul Men (2008) was released first, but was the last film he made.

The film was originally 107 minutes long and adult-oriented with an R-rating being disturbed through Disney’s company Touchstone Pictures. After the test screening went poorly, Disney decided to distribute the film through Walt Disney Pictures and aim it toward children, cutting the film by 19 minutes and removing all adult jokes out so that it would be more acceptable for children. (Yes, this is also a rumor I had heard after watching the film. It does feel that way, although it makes you wonder how they did that when the focus of the film always had to be 60-year-old first time fathers. There was also rumors that the Japan storyline for Seth Green was at one point much larger and more detailed, although seeing as it was filmed in Connecticut that seems a little more unlikely).

The film is dedicated to both Bernie Mac and Jett Travolta, John Travolta and Kelly Preston’s eldest son who died unexpectedly earlier in 2009.

Although Kelly Preston is married to John Travolta, in this film she is paired with Robin Williams.

Majority of production, including most of Tokyo scenes (except for the Tokyo airport and Tokyo street scenes that were shot in New York City) were done in Connecticut, thanks to the 30% Film/TV production tax incentive that the State offered at that time. There was no overseas location shoot in this film. (See. I find it unlikely that they could have pulled off an “expanded” Japan storyline without actually filming in Japan for at least some exteriors)

One of the retouched pictures of Travolta and Williams, is actually from the shooting of Carrie (1976). Nancy Allen was replaced by Williams inside the car.

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (John Travolta)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Kelly Preston)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Walt Becker)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor of the Decade (John Travolta)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture