In the Army Now Preview

Rich and Poe plunge into the water. A slow motion shot shows them float slowly downward as sad music plays. They are seemingly dead and this is the end of their story… the end of their quest… the end of their world… or is it?! Suddenly a beam of light shoots from Poe’s chest pointing their way to safety. They swim like a couple of totally majestic dolphins and burst forth onto a beautiful beach, sputtering for air. They look around. Their surroundings are so exotic. Just being able to place their eyes on such a beautiful exotic location makes everything seem way better than it actually is. “I… don’t understand… is this a new quest? Or did they kill us? Also why did that random beam of light shoot from your chest out of nowhere to save our lives?” Rich has so many questions and yet Poe has no answers. He sniffs the air and he turns quickly to Rich in panic, “do you smell that?” Rich sniffs too and narrows his eyes. “Is that…” but before he can finish the thought they both scramble up the nearest sand dune and lay eyes on a sea of fire and desert. It was all a facade. An oasis in a world of shit. Suddenly a convoy of trucks come screaming through the fire and smoke to come to a screeching halt in front of them. A small military man steps out of the nearest car and looks them up and down before nodding to a nearby soldier. The soldier steps up to Rich and Poe and thrusts some guns into their hands. “Congratulations,” he says in an unidentifiable (but definitely not racist) accent, “General Tiniman has recruited you. You are officially in the army now.” That’s right! We’re watching the Pauly Shore classic In the Army Now, which is set in the African country of Chad for some reason. It is somehow the first of the five major Pauly Shore films that we’ve done for BMT, which seems like a mistake. Let’s go!

In the Army Now (1994) – BMeTric: 51.8; Notability: 41 

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(Great BMeTric obviously, and the notability is incredibly impressive. Looking through his filmography the notability for Shore-led films is always around 30-40. Sub-5.0 films are relatively rare. This is a film that was inevitable for BMT, and one I’m quite excited to actually see, since I’ve seen the other major Pauly Shore films.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Pauly is a pacifist who joins the army so he can “be all that he can be for free,” only to learn that there’s more to enlisting than receiving complimentary room and board. Latest in a long line of barracks comedies proves no competition for Buck Privates. Pauly’s fans might disagree. Brendan Fraser appears unbilled.

(Absolute deep cut with Buck Privates, a comedy from 1941. Just whip that ref out like it’s nothing. And yeah, I think between the two Iraq wars there was a sense of, I don’t know … comedy about the army again. That would obviously go away real quick in the 2000s. I can’t think of a comedy-army film that has come out since the 90s to be honest … A brief look suggests Delta Farce might be a rare breed indeed.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8WQ8sgWaVU

(Ha, they call Encino Man “California Man” in the beginning, so this trailer is maybe for European consumption? I had to change all of those in the autogenerated preview because I think that is what it is called in the UK. Other than that it looks like a Pauly Shore movie. If that is what “toning down” the weasel character was to the producers … I don’t know what to say really.)

Directors – Daniel Petrie Jr. – (Future BMT: Toy Soldiers; Stranded; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: Is the son of Daniel G. Petrie who won three Primetime Emmys, and Dorothy Petrie who won two Primetime Emmys. His brother, Donald Petrie, directed BMT classic Welcome to Mooseport.)

Writers – Steve Zacharias and Jeff Buhai  (story) – (Known For: Revenge of the Nerds; Future BMT: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise; Johnny Be Good; Eddie; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: Long time writing partners. They released the Johnny Be Good screenplay as a book in the early 2000s.)

Robbie Fox (story) – (Known For: So I Married an Axe Murderer; BMT: In the Army Now; Playing for Keeps; Notes: Son of Charles Fox, a composer who was nominated for two Oscars for original songs in the 70s.)

Ken Kaufman (screenplay) – (Known For: The Expendables 2; Space Cowboys; The Missing; Curious George; Muppets from Space; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: In 2013 he wrote a novel called Ramblefoot.)

Stu Krieger (screenplay) – (Known For: The Land Before Time; Monkey Trouble; Future BMT: A Troll in Central Park; BMT: In the Army Now; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Where the Boys Are in 1985; Notes: Briefly wrote feature films in the mid-90s, he has mostly worked in television (both movies and shows). He developed the kid’s show Toot & Puddles.)

Daniel Petrie Jr. (screenplay) – (Known For: Beverly Hills Cop; Beverly Hills Cop II; Turner & Hooch; The Big Easy; Deadly Pursuit; Future BMT: Toy Soldiers; BMT: In the Army Now; Beverly Hills Cop III; Notes: Was was nominated for an Oscar for Beverly Hills Cop.)

Fax Bahr and Adam Small (screenplay) – (Known For: Bad Grandpa; Future BMT: Malibu’s Most Wanted; Son in Law; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: These guys worked on In Living Color and MadTV together. Just prior Bahr, to start his career, made Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, the acclaimed and award winning documentary about the making of Apocalypse Now.)

Actors – Pauly Shore – (Known For: A Goofy Movie; Pauly Shore Is Dead; Future BMT: Bio-Dome; Jury Duty; Sandy Wexler; The Wash; Encino Man; Son in Law; 18 Again!; Class Act; For Keeps?; BMT: Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; In the Army Now; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor in 1996 for Jury Duty; and in 1997 for Big Bully, Bio-Dome, Carpool, and The Stupids; Winner for Worst New Star of the Decade in 2000 for Bio-Dome, Encino Man, and Jury Duty; Winner for Worst New Star for Encino Man in 1993; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000 for Bio-Dome, Encino Man, and Jury Duty; Notes: Debuted on MTV with Totally Pauly in the late 80s. From the 80s through 2010 he only actually starred in 5 films: Encino Man, Son-in-Law, In the Army Now, Jury Duty, and Bio-Dome. He hosts Random Rants on YouTube.)

Lori Petty – (Known For: A League of Their Own; Point Break; Free Willy; Tank Girl; Cadillac Man; Prey for Rock & Roll; Relax… It’s Just Sex; The Glass Shield; Future BMT: Dead Awake; Poetic Justice; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: Was apparently originally cast in the Bullock role in Demolition Man, but left over creative differences. The Glass Shield was the last in a series of starring turns for her in the mid-90s.)

Andy Dick – (Known For: Old School; Road Trip; Laputa: Castle in the Sky; Zoolander; Dr. Dolittle 2; Funny People; The Cable Guy; Reality Bites; Hoodwinked; Permanent Midnight; For the Boys; Pauly Shore Is Dead; The Hebrew Hammer; Scotland, Pa.; The Independent; Future BMT: Inspector Gadget; The Comebacks; Happily N’Ever After; Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil; Blonde Ambition; Dude, Where’s My Car?; Loser; Employee of the Month; Bongwater; Best Men; Abducted; BMT: Zoolander 2; Double Dragon; In the Army Now; Notes: Allegedly reintroduced Phil Hartman’s wife to cocaine, something that would contribute to her murdering her husband and committing suicide. Had a years long feud with Jon Lovitz over it, although he denies any culpability. In the Army Now was a rare star turn for him, he was mostly a television actor (News Radio) and supporting comedic actor (like in Old School).)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $28,881,266 (Worldwide: $28,881,266)

(That’s kind of okay. $10 million less than Son in Law which is probably the benchmark they were looking at. This is the beginning of the end for his starring career. Jury Duty would make $17 million, and then Bio-Dome would make $13 million, and that was it, he wouldn’t star in a feature film (of consequence) again.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (2/32): This 1994 Pauly Shore vehicle stretches its star’s thin shtick to the breaking point with a laugh-deficient screenplay that borrows shamelessly from Bill Murray’s far superior Stripes.

(The comparisons to Stripes are thick across all reviews. Would a movie like this made now draw such comparisons? Probably not. Just because its popularity (and the popularity of Bill Murray in general) has waned so much in the last 25 years. But it is interesting that a film made nearly 15 years later is getting condemned to comparing unfavorably to a classic … like, can people not make comedies about the military unless they are better than Stripes? Reviewer Highlight: The screenplay, work by five writers, based on a story by three others, seems to have been rewritten often enough that any individuality has been lost. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.)

Poster – Stupid Soldier

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(Hate the font. Hate the color. But I love the framing and think it’s a pretty well put together poster besides being aesthetically gross. B- Patrick’s Shallow Fake: Whenever these things compress they always look a bit off. Love that for no reason they have two totally different fonts. Decent shadow on my face this time, just needed to be a bit more matte? The idea behind the fake movie is that there is a super soldier serum that I take that makes me Captain America, but it also makes me super dumb for the duration of my super powers. Like … you can pay me for that spec whenever Netflix, the lines are open.)

Tagline(s) – America, sleep tight! The safety of the free world rests in his hands! (F)

(That is unpleasantly bad. Although now that Patrick is making parody posters and we have been trying to make up taglines for these films I do appreciate that there are probably larger forces at play a lot of the time when we get something bad like this. Like there is an obvious tagline in The Few, The Proud, The Stupid… but I think they had to tread carefully in their treatment of the military. So they went with something inoffensive but bad.)

Keyword – u.s. military

IntheArmyNow_u.s. military

Top 10: Midway (2019), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Top Gun (1986), Spider-Man (2002), Fury (2014), 2012 (2009), Platoon (1986), The Predator (2018), Stripes (1981), Black Hawk Down (2001)

Future BMT: 68.4 Delta Farce (2007), 34.4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), 33.5 Red Tails (2012), 30.4 The Monuments Men (2014), 27.8 Pearl Harbor (2001), 25.2 The Fifth Estate (2013), 23.2 The General’s Daughter (1999), 22.1 Renaissance Man (1994);

BMT: 2012 (2009), The Predator (2018), Hunter Killer (2018), The Mummy (2017), The Pacifier (2005), In the Army Now (1994)

(Vaguely ebbs and flows with things like the Cold War (peaking around 1990), and then post-9/11 … or maybe that is just the career of Michael Bay? Hard to tell. The kind of regular gaps in the 80s and 90s is interesting … makes me wonder if it has something to do with recruitment cycles for the U.S. military.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 23) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Art LaFleur is No. 7 billed in In the Army Now and No. 6 billed in Cobra, which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 7 + 6 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 23. If we were to watch Encino Man, and Extraordinary Measures we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – According to an interview, the scar on the back of Pauly Shore’s neck, visible when he first encounters the female drill sergeant, occurred during filming, when a shell casing ejected and landed on his neck, burning him. This scar is first visible when the barber turns him around after his haircut.

This is the third Pauly Shore movie to feature Brendan Fraser as Link in progressive life roles. The others are Encino Man (1992) (High School) and Son in Law (1993) (College).

Most of the basic training and war scenes were shot at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. A sign saying “Fort Sill” is clearly visible in one scene.

The video game Bones plays in the opening sequence is Return Fire (1994) for the 3DO.

In a 2017 interview with Joe Rogan, Pauly Shore admitted that this film was the beginning of the end of his movie career. While he enjoyed making it, and doesn’t regret doing it, he was offered the script when he was under a 3-film contract with Disney. He’d already made Encino Man (1992) and Son in Law (1993), which had been modest box office hits. Executives at New Line Cinema offered him a role in a film called “Totally London,” in which Shore would’ve continued a variation on his popular Weasel character. Disney CEO Jeffery Katzenberg refused to let Shore out of his contract. Disney bought the script from New Line Cinema, and decided to shelve it. Katzenberg then gave Shore the option to do this movie. Shore’s agents advised him against it because they thought the script was mediocre. They also felt audiences wouldn’t accept Shore without his usual Weasel style, since he would have to cut off all his hair in the beginning for the basic training sequences. Shore said he made the film because it was his only available choice at the time, and he desperately wanted to be on a movie set. When this movie earned less at the box office than his previous films, Disney wouldn’t let him make anymore movies for them. His next two films, Jury Duty (1995) and Bio-Dome (1996), were box-office failures, though the latter eventually gained a big cult following. (You can glean as much from his career trajectory. He started in supporting roles in major films, then made those five films as a leading man, and then immediately just churned out a bunch of supporting roles in non-theatrical films … it is bizarre, but he never really got many leading man roles for video releases. Just seems odd considering he was genuinely quite famous among teen audiences in the mid 90s)

Bones enlists as a Water Purification Specialist in the Army Reserve thinking he’ll be in safe position far from danger. In reality, a reserve water purification unit assigned to the 14th Quartermaster Detachment suffered the highest casualty rate of any American unit in the Gulf War. A Scud missile struck their barracks in Saudi Arabia, killing or wounded 81% of the soldiers of the unit. (Oooooooof, … could this have been a recruitment tactic to try and make that unit more appealing afterwards. I mean … assuming they are talking about the first Gulf War)

The script was originally much raunchier and was supposed to be Pauly Shore’s first R rated film similar to Stripes (1981). Disney rejected the original script due to Pauly Shore’s popularity at the time with teenage audiences and said the film could not exceed a PG-13 rating so the younger crowd could see it. The script then went through several changed and was toned down to its eventual PG rating.

Damon Wayans was considered for the role of Fred. He turned it down to work on Blankman (1994). (Wowza!)

Whoopi Goldberg was considered for the role of Drill Sergeant Ladd. She turned it down because she was filming Corrina, Corrina (1994). (Semi-wowza!)

After Earth Preview

Brief note before we start: last July we got together yet again and worked out a fourth class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly a decade since we started BMT and as usual the films from more than five years ago might just deserve a rewatch, a reassessment, and a recap. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the seventh (ninth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films chosen. After Earth is this generation’s Battlefield Earth… you know if John Travolta had used Battlefield Earth as a way to insult his children. This is a preview, the hall of fame induction speech will immediately follow. Enjoy!

Generated on: 2020-01-12

After Earth (2013) – BMeTric: 74.9; Notability: 46 

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(Exactly the rating I would expect, high fours is just right. The notability is much lower than you would think. I wonder if films starring huge actors tend to have lover notability even if the production is big. Since salaries have to be adjusted to accommodate the star.)

RogerEbert.com – 3.5 stars – “After Earth” is a lovely surprise. This film from producer-costar Will Smith and director M. Night Shyamalan, about a father and son marooned on a hostile future earth, is a moral tale disguised as a sci-fi blockbuster. It’s no classic, but it’s a special movie: spectacular and wise. … “After Earth” carries itself with confidence because it knows what it wants to say, and how to say it. The asteroid storm appears suddenly, as if willed into being by Poseidon stirring a cauldron with his trident. The design of the spaceship would make Odysseus feel at home: the ribs of its hull seem to be made of wood and bone. The skyscrapers on Nova Prime are built from triangular wedges that suggest a schooner’s sails. The warriors fight with blades. Ursa is Latin for bear. Kitai’s leap from a high cliff is a leap of faith. His name is Japanese for “hope.” This movie is a fable. Fables teach.

(Insane review! But I have to respect the legacy of Roger Ebert. He always had an interesting take on blockbusters and films being “good for what they are” and this review for his site basically does just that here. He liked the movie for what it is, ignoring things it didn’t necessarily need to be (well acted with a good story).)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r9IXze_tPM/

(Looks pretty cool when you put it that way. But we know better, because we’ve seen the glory of this movie. We’ve seen Jaden Smith becoming best friends with a bird.)

Directors – M. Night Shyamalan – (Known For: Split; The Sixth Sense; Unbreakable; Signs; The Village; The Visit; Wide Awake; Future BMT: Glass; BMT: The Last Airbender; After Earth; The Happening; Lady in the Water; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for The Last Airbender in 2011; Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Supporting Actor for Lady in the Water in 2007; Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for After Earth in 2014; Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for The Happening in 2009; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Lady in the Water in 2007; Notes: Has started producing television, which honestly is where I would expect him to end up in a few years. I could see him doing something like Star Trek where you just throw big idea sci-fi at the screen with a medium-to-good hit rate. That genuinely seems missing from television these days.)

Writers – Gary Whitta (screenplay) – (Known For: Rogue One; The Book of Eli; BMT: After Earth; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for After Earth in 2014; Notes: Was an editor of PC Gamer for years.)

M. Night Shyamalan (screenplay) – (Known For: Split; The Sixth Sense; Unbreakable; Signs; The Village; The Visit; Stuart Little; Devil; Wide Awake; Future BMT: Glass; BMT: The Last Airbender; After Earth; The Happening; Lady in the Water; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for The Last Airbender in 2011; Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Supporting Actor for Lady in the Water in 2007; Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for After Earth in 2014; Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for The Happening in 2009; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Lady in the Water in 2007; Notes: The Sixth Sense is one of the most recent films that appear on the AFI Top 100.)

Will Smith (story) – (BMT: After Earth; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for After Earth in 2014; Winner for Worst Original Song, and Worst Screen Couple for Wild Wild West in 2000; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for After Earth in 2014; Notes: Created the television show All of Us which is nearly all of his writing credits. This is his only feature film credit. Otherwise he has a single story credit for an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.)

Actors – Jaden Smith – (Known For: The Pursuit of Happyness; The Karate Kid; Skate Kitchen; BMT: After Earth; The Day the Earth Stood Still; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for After Earth in 2014; Notes: Noted weirdo, and I say that with total affection. He made waves a few years ago with his word-salad ramblings on social media. A rapper who claims he doesn’t see gender … or something like that.)

David Denman – (Known For: Brightburn; Logan Lucky; Power Rangers; 13 Hours; The Replacements; The Gift; Big Fish; Fair Game; Puzzle; The Nines; Smart People; Take; Beneath the Harvest Sky; Future BMT: When a Stranger Calls; Shutter; The Singing Detective; Fanboys; Men, Women & Children; BMT: After Earth; Jobs; Out Cold; Notes: You’d recognize him as Roy from The Office. He went to Juilliard with Alan Tudyk.)

Will Smith – (Known For: Spies in Disguise; Aladdin; Bad Boys; Men in Black; Independence Day; Men in Black 3; I Am Legend; The Pursuit of Happyness; Hitch; Focus; Hancock; I, Robot; Enemy of the State; Concussion; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; Ali; Six Degrees of Separation; The Legend of Bagger Vance; Where the Day Takes You; Future BMT: Student of the Year 2; Made in America; Gemini Man; Suicide Squad; Shark Tale; Men in Black II; Bright; Bad Boys II; Collateral Beauty; BMT: After Earth; Wild Wild West; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for After Earth in 2014; Winner for Worst Original Song, and Worst Screen Couple for Wild Wild West in 2000; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for After Earth in 2014; Notes: He is playing Serena and Venus Williams’ father in the upcoming biopic.)

Budget/Gross – $130,000,000 / Domestic: $60,522,097 (Worldwide: $243,611,982)

(Pretty close to doing fine(ish). If the budget was $100 it would be roughly break even. It is … basically Birds of Prey? A bit more expensive to make, and a little less domestic take.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (23/203): After Earth is a dull, ploddingly paced exercise in sentimental sci-fi — and the latest setback for director M. Night Shyamalan’s once-promising career.

(Awwww that’s actually a really sad consensus. Feels filled with resignation, as if there was no other way this film could have been. I suppose in this case Rotten Tomatoes is right. Reviewer Highlight: Mr. Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, are producers on “After Earth,” which suggests that there was no one on the production who could really say no to him. – Manohla Dargis, New York Times)

Poster – After Earf (C+)

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(Real father-son motif there, which is nice and helps me think this was all some tragic mistake and not something that Will Smith orchestrated to embarrass his son. Nice font too. I would have liked more of the blue-green in the color scheme and the construction works for a star vehicle, but doesn’t give any sense of what you are in for. It’s alright.)

Tagline(s) – Danger is real. Fear is a choice. (A-)

(A little on the nose, but works for the film. Particularly before you watch it. It grows on you the more you read it I think. Could have been a little cleverer I think, but that’s about it.)

Keyword – stranded

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Top 10: Dunkirk (2017), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Kong: Skull Island (2017), The Martian (2015), Constantine (2005), Star Trek Beyond (2016), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Prometheus (2012), Cast Away (2000), Blockers (2018)

Future BMT: 62.4 The Hills Have Eyes II (2007), 57.9 House of Wax (2005), 55.0 Coneheads (1993), 42.0 Red Planet (2000), 39.4 The Forsaken (2001), 39.4 Six Days Seven Nights (1998), 31.0 Rugrats Go Wild (2003), 28.9 Flight of the Phoenix (2004), 20.6 Last Man Standing (1996), 20.3 The Amazing Panda Adventure (1995);

BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Jumper (2008), Soldier (1998), After Earth (2013), Chernobyl Diaries (2012), Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004)

(This seems to go in waves. Which is pretty cool. Perhaps like Patton Oswalt’s Zombie Spaceship Wasteland. This keyword is closest to Wasteland, and the idea is that the tastes of generations cycle between the three ideas. Fighting against zombies, exploration through space, and surviving a post-apocalyptic wasteland.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 21) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Will Smith is No. 2 billed in After Earth and No. 1 billed in Wild Wild West, which also stars M. Emmet Walsh (No. 5 billed) who is in Christmas with the Kranks (No. 4 billed), which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 1 + 5 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 21. If we were to watch Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – Although not credited on the finished film, co-writer/producer Will Smith was responsible for much of the movie’s direction. While M. Night Shyamalan was primarily in charge of the blocking (composition of shots, placement of the camera) and the visual aspects of the film (color and design), it was Will Smith who personally coached Jaden Smith in his performance and dictated the development of the story and the on-screen action. After both the story and acting were heavily criticized, Shyamalan decided to take the blame.

The original cut was 130 minutes long, and included more backstory on the decline of Earth and the formation of Nova Prime. However, the film was vastly re-edited after performing poorly at test screenings, and any actors playing Nova Primates were either reduced to extras or cut out entirely. The deleted footage will likely never be seen, as M. Night Shyamalan is satisfied with the theatrical cut.

The original idea for the film was a father and son on a camping trip. After the car they are traveling in careens off the road, the son makes his way through the forest to find help for the father. Realizing that the idea had greater potential, producer Will Smith and screenwriter Gary Whitta decided to adapt the basic survival concept into a much larger science-fiction project. (The original sounds better)

Will Smith, who had wanted to work with M. Night Shyamalan for several years but was unable to find a suitable project, personally hired him to direct. This became the first time in twenty years that Shyamalan accepted a project based on someone else’s screenplay, and the first film in Shyamalan’s career where he does not appear on screen.

Producer/co-writer Will Smith envisioned “After Earth” as a multi-platform franchise, including books, graphic novels, and interactive video games, which would all inform on and add to the ideas and concepts already developed in the finished film.

In a 2019 lecture at NYU’s Stern School of Business, Shyamalan publicly disowned his films The Last Airbender (2010) and After Earth (2013), calling them “junk movies.” He added: “I did a couple huge, big-budget CGI movies. There has always been this inexorable pull to join the group; a constant seduction in the form of whatever you want to tally, in the form of money, or safety, ease, not getting criticized. I did these movies, and I rightfully got crushed, because they said, ‘You don’t believe in yourself, you don’t believe in your own voice, and in you don’t believe in your values.’ I felt really lost. It just didn’t work. There’s probably something Darwinian about all this.”

Eisner Award-winning comic writer Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman and Robert Greenberger produced a 300-page “bible” covering the history of mankind, from their decision to leave Earth to the events depicted in the finished film. It was intended to serve as a resource for all kinds of ancillary materials in the After Earth (2013) franchise.

When Kristofer Hivju showed up on set, he got into a discussion with the make-up department, who wanted to cut his characteristic long hair and beard. Hivju was against it, and was even supported by Jaden Smith, but eventually lost out. To make matters worse, most of his role was eventually deleted from the final cut.

A series of spin-off novels, sub-titled “Ghost Stories”, have been planned to promote the movie, but are also intended to flesh out the concepts in the film itself. The titles of these books include ‘Innocence’, Peace, ‘Hunted’ and ‘A Perfect Beast.’ All books are written by writers Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, and Robert Greenberger, with illustrations by Benito Lobel.

Second time that real-life father and son Will Smith and Jaden Smith play father and son on screen. The first time was in The Pursuit of Happyness (2006).

The film takes place in 3071.

M. Night Shyamalan’s first digital film. The first feature film shot with Sony’s F65 digital camera.

The original screenplay was written by Gary Whitta based on an idea by Will Smith. In pre-production, M. Night Shyamalan did a few drafts of the screenplay to familiarize himself with the material, before passing it over to Stephen Gaghan, who stayed on as the chief screenwriter during production. Mark Boal, writer of The Hurt Locker (2008) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012), also worked on the script.

To promote the movie, Harper Collins and Insight Editions published ‘After Earth: United Ranger Corps Survival Manual’ and ‘After Earth: Kitai’s Journal.’

Kristofer Hivju, Lincoln Lewis, and Isabelle Fuhrman had major supporting roles in the original cut though the majority of their scenes were deleted during post-production (In the theatrical cut Hivju has one scene, Lewis has one line, and only the back of Fuhrman’s head is visible in one shot – though her face can be seen in the trailer).

The word “ursa” is the Latin for “female bear”. The protagonist’s name Kitai is the Russian for “China”.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Jaden Smith, 2014)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Will Smith, 2014)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Combo (Jaden Smith, Will Smith, 2014)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2014)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (M. Night Shyamalan, 2014)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Gary Whitta, M. Night Shyamalan, Will Smith, 2014)

Holmes & Watson Preview

Jamie and Patrick wander the wasteland of the BMTverse, their tuxedos in tatters. Last they saw Banks was thrilled with another boffo box office Rich and Poe entry, but the reviews were brutal. “A truly terrifying cat-astrophe,” said one critic, while another derided, “the deranged vision of two power-hungry maniacs.” Harsh, but fair. They had lost their way in their quest to bring their magnum opus to screen and now they must suffer the consequences. Suddenly a hooded figures appears in front of them and they are overcome with emotion. “Nic Cage,” Patrick cries, “we’ve failed you. We made a horrible Rich and Poe movie but they weren’t here when we came back. It must have been too terrible to work.” But Nic Cage pulls down his hood and laughs. “Silly Bad Movie Twins, can’t you see? Rich and Poe were in you the whole time.” When they look down their tattered tuxedos have been replaced by detective suits. “Wooooaaaaahhh,” they say in wonder. “It is time,” Nic Cage says solemnly, “the tournament.” Another figure approaches and they bow their heads and explain that the tournament will consist of the pillars on which the universe is built. Each one is a test, but also a learning experience. The first is about the dangers of imagination. “Stick close to what you know,” says Nic Cage, “for the new and unknown are dangerous.” The other hooded figure nods, “tread well-worn paths and you will not be… punished.” At that Nic Cage bows his head and Rich and Poe are transported into a Wicker Man. As the fire rages around them they wonder what this has to do with winning the ultimate tournament. Nic Cage’s eerie voice whispers from seemingly nowhere, “Elementary, my dear Rich and Poe. Elementary.” That’s right! We’re watching last year’s big Christmas disaster Holmes & Watson as the first entry in the first cycle of 2020: adaptations and remakes. I have to admit I was somewhat interested in this film before it came out given that even the poorly reviewed Get Hard gave me a good chuckle here and there, but the reviews for this Will Ferrell/John C. Reilly were so bad that it ended up waiting for BMT. I still think there’s a chance I like it. Let’s go!

Holmes & Watson (2018) – BMeTric: 80.6; Notability: 43 

HolmesWatsonIMDb_BMeT

HolmesWatsonIMDb_RV

(Below 4.0 is so low. I’m actually a bit surprised. I feel like horror fans are super hard on horror because they want new and interesting things and come down hard when things are done poorly. Comedy on the other hand seems to be: as long as it is even remotely funny and I have a good time I’m good to go. I guess this must be just excruciatingly not-funny?)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars – “Holmes & Watson” is so excruciatingly awful that you have to wonder what it was, other than their paychecks, that could have possessed the cast and crew to keep coming back each day, when it must have been obvious from the first day of shooting that the project was the most hopeless of cases imaginable. … Considering that the end result is probably the biggest cinematic clunker of the season, the closest thing to an actual mystery in “Holmes & Watson” is how a screenplay as puerile as this one could attract so many talented people.

(Cooooooold bloooooooded. That is a quite the review. It does seem like the consensus seems to genuinely be: this is the worst Sherlock Holmes adaptation ever made … somehow including Sherlock Gnomes? You have to assume.)

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

(I was kind of just like “meh, whatever” right up until The Boys are Back in Town started up, and then my mind viscerally rejected this trailer. It really does look like garbage. A bunch of predictable jokes, poor British accents, and if those are the creme de la creme jokes they are rolling out for the trailer, I have to assume the movie is twice as bad.)

Directors – Etan Cohen – (Future BMT: Get Hard; BMT: Holmes & Watson; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for Holmes & Watson in 2019; Notes: He is tapped to direct a Mandrake the Magician adaptation starring Sasha Baron Cohen … that seems like an insane thing to adapt. Very specifically not Ethan Cohen.)

Writers – Etan Cohen (written by) – (Known For: Men in Black 3; Tropic Thunder; Idiocracy; Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa; Future BMT: Get Hard; BMT: Holmes & Watson; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for Holmes & Watson in 2019; Notes: Got his start on Beavis and Butt-head with Mike Judge, along with King of the Hill. Currently writing an animated monster wrestling movie called Rumble.)

Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were created by the late) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) – (Known For: Sherlock Holmes; Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows; The Great Mouse Detective; Young Sherlock Holmes; Mr. Holmes; The Hound of the Baskervilles; The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes; The Seven-Per-Cent Solution; Murder by Decree; The Lost World; Future BMT: Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; The Hound of the Baskervilles; BMT: Holmes & Watson; Notes: That’s Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to you. In addition to creating probably the most famous literary detective ever, he also wrote a number of other works, most notable The Lost World.)

Actors – Will Ferrell – (Known For: Elf; The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part; Step Brothers; Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery; Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me; The Other Guys; Between Two Ferns: The Movie; The Lego Movie; Old School; Wedding Crashers; Blades of Glory; Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby; Megamind; Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy; Zoolander; Stranger Than Fiction; Starsky & Hutch; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; The Producers; Future BMT: Bewitched; Boat Trip; Land of the Lost; Superstar; The Ladies’ Man; The House; Semi-Pro; Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie; The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard; Drowning Mona; Get Hard; The Suburbans; Daddy’s Home 2; Daddy’s Home; The Internship; A Night at the Roxbury; Zeroville; BMT: Holmes & Watson; Zoolander 2; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Bewitched in 2006; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2006 for Bewitched, and Kicking & Screaming; in 2010 for Land of the Lost; and in 2019 for Holmes & Watson; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Zoolander 2 in 2017; Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Holmes & Watson in 2019; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Land of the Lost in 2010; Notes: I would argue he’s the best SNL alumni cast member in history. Tons of hits and misses, but he has manages to build a successful television, film, and short film career. He founded Funny or Die with Adam McKay.)

John C. Reilly – (Known For: Guardians of the Galaxy; Sing; Step Brothers; Ralph Breaks the Internet; Wreck-It Ralph; Gangs of New York; The Aviator; The Lobster; What’s Eating Gilbert Grape; The Sisters Brothers; Boogie Nights; Kong: Skull Island; Chicago; Magnolia; We Need to Talk About Kevin; Stan & Ollie; The Thin Red Line; The Dictator; Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby; Hoffa; Future BMT: Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie; Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant; Boys; Days of Thunder; Nightwatch; BMT: Holmes & Watson; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Holmes & Watson in 2019; and Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Holmes & Watson in 2019; Notes: Started out as a character actor, moves into dramatic roles, but also somehow manages to be a great comic actor as well. Is married to Alison Dickey who apparently was Sean Penn’s assistant for a while.)

Ralph Fiennes – (Known For: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Skyfall; Spectre; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1; Official Secrets; Schindler’s List; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Duchess; Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang; In Bruges; Red Dragon; The English Patient; The Hurt Locker; Great Expectations; The Lego Batman Movie; The Reader; Hail, Caesar!; Future BMT: Maid in Manhattan; Wrath of the Titans; Clash of the Titans; Chromophobia; BMT: The Avengers; Holmes & Watson; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Avengers in 1999; Notes: Is the oldest of six siblings. His brother Magnus is an accomplished composer, and his brother Joseph is famous for playing Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love.)

Budget/Gross – $42,000,000 / Domestic: $30,573,626 (Worldwide: $40,466,970)

(Hmmmm, the budget makes sense, a period piece will rack up bills on extras, sets, and costumes. And they probably were hoping for a $100 million return from the box office which I think is still fairly normal for a Will Ferrell comedy. Missed the mark though, that’s a pretty big bomb.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (8/75): The lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson than does Holmes and Watson.

(That is actually likely a pretty accurate presumption … it does look like an awful adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. Reviewer Highlight: If a comedy falls in the forest and nobody laughs, did it even exist? – Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out)

Poster – Rich & Poe: Old Timey Detectives: A Rich & Poe Story (D)

holmes_and_watson_ver2_xlg

(Nah, this is actually in line with many of the Will Ferrell films, but it doesn’t really work for me. Bad color scheme and boring font… really just all around boring. No thanks.)

Tagline(s) – They don’t have a clue. (B)

(Predictable, but solid. Works just enough to escape being too generic. This is just good solid craftsmanship. It’ll get the job done.)

Keyword – victorian era

Holmes&Watson_victorian era

Top 10: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), A Christmas Carol (2009), The Prestige (2006), Alice in Wonderland (2010), Dracula (1992), The Lost City of Z (2016), The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Van Helsing (2004), Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), Sherlock Holmes (2009); 

Future BMT: 40.8 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), 40.1 The Wolfman (2010), 37.1 Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), 31.7 Victor Frankenstein (2015), 30.9 Van Helsing (2004), 13.4 Tai-Pan (1986), 5.4 The Phantom of the Opera (2004), 4.9 A Dog of Flanders (1999); 

BMT: Holmes & Watson (2018), Around the World in 80 Days (2004)

(Both of those BMTs star Steve Coogan, that’s fun. I guess he is British … does he look Victorian or something? The big spike in the early 90s was Interview with a Vampire and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It does genuinely seem like 1990 to 1995 was a big Victorian Era era. Indeed there are shockingly few released between 1995 and 2000)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Rebecca Hall is No. 3 billed in Holmes & Watson and No. 3 billed in Transcensdence, which also stars Paul Bettany (No. 2 billed) who is in Firewall (No. 2 billed), which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 3 + 3 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 17. If we were to watch A Night at the Roxbury we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – According to Deadline, after disastrous test screenings, Sony attempted to sell the film to Netflix, which declined. (Uh oh, that isn’t a good sign)

Speaking on the Empire Podcast #346 (11 January 2019) about the quality of the film, Steve Coogan, who played Gustav Klinger, said “I think in 20 years time when the dust has settled and people are able to look at Holmes and Watson objectively, I think people will say ‘It’s still rubbish”. (Hahahah, Coogan is great)

In 2008, Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell were once attached to star as Sherlock Holmes and Watson. The project re-entered development in 2016 with Ferrell as Holmes and John C. Reilly as Watson. (Huh, that is actually a pretty interesting pair)

Became the only film in the history of the Razzie Awards to “win” Worst Picture and not even be nominated for Worst Screenplay.

Actor Billy Zane has a cameo in this film aboard the Titanic; an homage to his role in the 1997 film about the Titanic.

Christophe Beck wrote a score for this film which was not used.

Hugh Laurie, who plays Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft, in the film, previously portrayed the title character in the television series, House MD. The character Greg House was modeled after Sherlock Holmes.

As of 2018, this is the seventh adaptation during the decade to be based on Sherlock Holmes lore, after: Sherlock (2010), Sherlock Holmes (2009), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), Elementary (2012), Mr. Holmes (2015) and Sherlock Gnomes (2018).

Moriarty has a daughter in this film. He is traditionally portrayed as unmarried, with no children.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2019)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (John C. Reilly, 2019)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Etan Cohen, 2019)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel (2019)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Will Ferrell, 2019)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Combo (Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, 2019)

Cats Preview

“You can’t fire me, it’s my money,” Banks says calmly, weathering Jamie’s wrath. “Beside we have just two weeks before our Christmas release date and as far as I can tell you have 25 minutes shot.” Jamie and Patrick squint at Banks and ask if it can be pushed back, but Banks shakes his head. Whatever they have will be going out, so they better get their lazy asses into gear and find 2 hours of footage from somewhere, with or without the crew they just fired. Using dream sequences and flashbacks cut from previous entries in the series they get up to about an hour, but they begin to panic. “What about public domain footage?” Patrick asks, but even having Rich and Poe sing Happy Birthday to each other while watching an entire episode of The Three Stooges only gets them so far. Suddenly, while lazing away their remaining days on their helicopter cruise ships, Jamie has a brilliant idea to get the last 45 minutes of film. “Patrick! You have a beautiful mind, right?” Patrick shrugs, duh. “Well why don’t you put that beautiful noggin to work and craft some sweet AI computer magic to bring our vision to life!” Patrick agrees and gets down to coding. Mere hours before the premier they get their finished film in the can and ready for the show. Jamie and Patrick are beaming. Despite the many roadblocks they persevered and their vision is complete. The theater hushes and the lights dim and a gasp arises from the audience as the terrible, freakish computer generated figures of Rich and Poe dance eerily across the screen. Jamie looks at Patrick for an answer but Patrick can only shake his head and mutter, “I guess the AI decided to make us monster cats.” That’s right! For the final entry in the 2019 entry we decided to catch one final bonus BMT Live, given the Christmas release of one of the worst reviewed films of the year. Indeed we decided to watch Cats, the much reviled adaptation of the long-running hit musical. This also gives a little hint to the first cycle of next year. Let’s go! 

Cats (2019) – BMeTric: 79.1; Notability: 34 

CatsIMDb_BMeT

CatsIMDb_RV

(Incredibly BMeTric, which I guess makes sense given how much the internet hates his film. The notability is quite low, maybe because much of the cast is made up of dancers? Notability is somewhat depressed in the year of release because there are people who aren’t yet famous but will be in the future. I’ll have to run a study on it, but perhaps it is cut in half? It is hard to tell without looking at the data.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – In 1939, T.S. Eliot published a book called Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, filled with poems he had written about cats to amuse his godchildren. A far cry from The Waste Land, almost 20 years before, Eliot’s poems are sweet and sneakily profound, detailing different kinds of cats, their behaviors, personalities, and mysterious self-involvement. … There’s not nearly enough of that in “Cats,” but I enjoyed the film for what it is. It’s “London’s Got Talent” for the feline set.

(That is a really really positive review. I mean, relatively at least. I’ve heard inklings of “if you ignore the CGI the film is kind of good” coming from some places, it is just hard to tell how much of it is critics being contrarian after the fact.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtSd844cI7U/

(This is the cleaned up trailer I think. There is another one which is truly mind-boggling. Like, Idris Elba’s face is kind of floating in the general vicinity of his creepy cat body it looks like. This looks mostly fine. It takes a lot of dancing cats and stuff for your brain to start rejecting it, although that is always a bad sign given that you have to watch 2 hours of dancing cats and stuff.)

Directors – Tom Hooper – (Known For: Les Misérables; The Danish Girl; The King’s Speech; The Damned United; BMT: Cats; Notes: Met the British director and producer Matthew Robinson through his father who was somehow involved with ITV in England. Via that connection he got work in television, and made the transition to major motion pictures from there.)

Writers – T.S. Eliot (poetry collection “Old Possum’s Books of Practical Cats”) – (BMT: Cats; Notes: Was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1948 and is considered one of the greatest poets of modern times.)

Lee Hall (screenplay) – (Known For: Rocketman; Billy Elliot; War Horse; Victoria & Abdul; BMT: Cats; Notes: Also wrote the book for the musical adaptation of Billy Elliot.)

Tom Hooper (screenplay) – (BMT: Cats; Notes: The first writing credit he’s received since the short film he produced while in school.)

Andrew Lloyd Webber (musical) – (BMT: Cats; Notes: A titan of musical composition having developed Jesus Christ: Superstar, Phantom of the Opera, Evita, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.)

Actors – Francesca Hayward – (BMT: Cats; Notes: Principal ballerina at the Royal Ballet in London. Took a sabbatical to make this film.)

Taylor Swift – (Future BMT: The Giver; BMT: Cats; Valentine’s Day; Notes: Y’all know Taylor. Reported to be worth over $300 million including nearly $100 million in real estate assets.)

Laurie Davidson – (Known For: The Good Liar; BMT: Cats; Vampire Academy; Notes: Got his start as William Shakespeare in the television show Will.)

Budget/Gross – $95,000,000 / Domestic: $22,950,935 (Worldwide: $43,450,935)

(So … first, the run isn’t over, there is, in theory, plenty of time to make some sweet cash. But, second, the rumor is the budget is in fact much higher than that given the issues with CGI and reshoots. Over twice as much even, which would be disastrous. We legitimately might have just witnessed Tom Hooper’s directing career end.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (56/272): Despite its fur-midable cast, this Cats adaptation is a clawful mistake that will leave most viewers begging to be put out of their mew-sery.

(An absolute abomination of a critical consensus. For shame Rotten Tomatoes, for shame. Reviewer Highlight: Cats is terrible, but it’s also kind of great. – Stephanie Zacharek, TIME Magazine)

Poster – Sklogs (B+)

cats

(I actually kind of like this. Very nice symmetry and color. Although makes the cats seem human size which, let me tell you, is not the case. Obviously also has that classic Cats font we all know and love.)

Tagline(s) – You will believe (C-)

(Nah. Way too generic. Seems more appropriate even for a sci fi picture which this… is, I guess. Not even sure what I’m supposed to be believing… that they actually made a major motion picture about Cats. At least it’s short.)

Keyword – based on stage musical

Cats_based on stage musical

Top 10: Cats (2019), Les Misérables (2012), Annie (1982), The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Mamma Mia! (2008), Dreamgirls (2006), Into the Woods (2014), Chicago (2002), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Little Shop of Horrors (1986); 

Future BMT: 51.9 Fame (2009), 42.3 The King and I (1999), 37.6 Nine (2009), 20.9 Chorus Line (1985), 5.4 The Phantom of the Opera (2004); 

BMT: Cats (2019)

(Pretty amazing that we’ve only seen one of these in the end. At the very least Fame should have been on our radar, with Nine being a close second. The 90s really were as bereft of musicals as it would seem. Newsies was supposed to be the big comeback for the West Side Story type major musical production, but instead it flopped. I would imagine the genre will eventually be relegated to streaming, headlined by musicians hoping to break into acting instead of the more rare triple threats like Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman. Which might honestly be the prudent financial path in the end … musicals are really really hit-or-miss.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Idris Elba is No. 5 billed in Cats and No. 7 billed in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 5 + 7 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 20. If we were to watch The Dark Tower, and Two for the Money we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – On December 21st 2019, a mere 2 days after its release, Universal Pictures announced they would be releasing a new version with updated CGI at an undisclosed time. (This was known prior to that, but it is still apparently unprecedented. It marks a major moment in both film and BMT history)

One week after its release, it was revealed by The Daily Mail that director Tom Hooper edited and re-cut the film after it was panned by many critics.

Dame Judi Dench was cast in the original 1981 London stage production in the dual roles of Jennyanydots and Grizabella. However, shortly before the opening of the original production, she suffered an injury that forced her to withdraw from the show, to be replaced at the last minute by Elaine Paige.

Was originally intended to be a traditionally animated movie before Tom Hooper came on board to direct. (Animated? Would make much more sense for actors in costume shrunk down if anything)

Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote new songs exclusively for the film. (Like Les Miz the new songs are probably terrible)

Universal Pictures originally planned to release Wicked (2021) on this release date. (Oh yeah, I heard this as well)

The cast attended “cat school” for preparation, according to Taylor Swift.

This is the first movie adaptation of “Cats” since the 1998 made-for-television BBC movie. (Which appears to just be a recording of the musical itself)

Andrew Lloyd Weber has had to fight off charges that he plagiarized “Memory”, which is said to be influenced by Ravel’s Bolero.

Tom Hooper’s second musical movie after Les Misérables (2012).

Serenity (2019) Preview

Jamie and Patrick stop dead in their tracks as they espy Chris Klein and Josh Hartnett by the craft station. “What thuuuuuu…” Patrick says before storming over and knocking their Nespresso’s out of their hands. Chris and Josh are stunned, “what the hell, bro,” Chris says annoyed, “I thought we were friends. You know how much I love my Nespresso.” But Patrick isn’t having any of it and demands to know why they are there. “We’re just here to be your body doubles, man. Chill. The studio was getting a little worried about… well…” he looks away embarrassed. But Patrick presses him on it. “Well,” Josh continues, “it’s because you gained sixty pounds and have been wearing a fedora in every scene.” Patrick is shocked and looks down at his body. It’s not that bad… right? And everyone loves his hats. But even Jamie looks away at that. Patrick storms back to their trailer. “What are we going to do?” he asks Jamie, “we’re losing control of the production. First body double, next they’ll replace us entirely and then our vision will never be realized.” Jamie rubs his hands in glee. Finally, it is happening and they will get full control, just like he wanted from the beginning. A fire lights in his eyes. “We’ll burn it all down,” and they both cackle in glee.

“They did what?!” Banks says upon hearing that Jamie and Patrick had fired the entire cast and crew of the film. Unbelievable. This just went from a debacle to a disaster and all because Patrick was a glutton and Jamie a vengeful maniac. As a last resort he arrives on set to find Patrick smiling peacefully at the quiet serenity of the abandoned set and Jamie tearing it all down with a chainsaw. Perfect. That’s right! We’re watching (another) film that somehow attracted crazy huge stars but ended up bombing at the box office. It’s Serenity starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. Never heard of it? We have and apparently it’s gotta be seen to be believed. This is for Bring a Friend and we’re gonna do something a little different by celebrating the 25th anniversary of a major BMT straight-to-video release. How is this connected to Serenity you ask? Well it also stars our boy Matthew McConaughey 25 years younger. That’s right! We’re watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, the absolute bottom of one of the major horror franchises in film history. This also means we’ll get the third film, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, as a bonus. Perfect. Let’s go!

Serenity (2019) – BMeTric: 51.5; Notability: 14 

SerenityIMDb_BMeT

SerenityIMDb_RV

(That is a really high BMeTric for something that seems to be an independent film gone awry. The more I dive into this preview the more intriguing this movie becomes … I imagine actually having to watch it will reveal that it is in fact merely a boring drama.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – “Serenity” is terrible and insane, and will surely end up being one of the worst films of 2019. But it’s also such a wildly ambitious roller coaster ride that it must be experienced, preferably with friends, to laugh together at its cheesy dialogue, over-the-top performances and multiple, major plot twists.

(Huh. That is kind of how I feel about Cats to be honest. So maybe this will end up being more interesting that I would have initially thought.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3zMlsEK8xA/

(Wow, that really spelled out the whole mystery of this thing. I thought the film was just a weirdo paradise noir or something, and people hated the genre mash up. It seems like it is way way more nuts than that.)

Directors – Steven Knight – (Known For: Locke; Hummingbird; BMT: Serenity; Notes: He is one of three original creators of the British television game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? … impressive.)

Writers – Steven Knight (written by) – (Known For: Allied; Locke; Eastern Promises; The Hundred-Foot Journey; Hummingbird; Woman Walks Ahead; Pawn Sacrifice; Amazing Grace; Dirty Pretty Things; Closed Circuit; Future BMT: November Criminals; The Girl in the Spider’s Web; Burnt; BMT: Serenity; Seventh Son; Notes: The Girl in the Spider’s Web is quite interesting because it is the only major bad movie I could find that is set in Sweden. It is also really borderline, it is at like 39.8% on Rotten Tomatoes last I checked.)

Actors – Matthew McConaughey – (Known For: The Wolf of Wall Street; Interstellar; Sing; The Beach Bum; Tropic Thunder; Dazed and Confused; Between Two Ferns: The Movie; White Boy Rick; Dallas Buyers Club; A Time to Kill; The Lincoln Lawyer; Magic Mike; Contact; How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days; Mud; Reign of Fire; Killer Joe; Gold; Amistad; Free State of Jones; Future BMT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; The Wedding Planner; Surfer, Dude; The Dark Tower; Sahara; Paparazzi; My Boyfriend’s Back; Larger Than Life; Angels in the Outfield; The Sea of Trees; Two for the Money; BMT: Serenity; Failure to Launch; Tiptoes; Fool’s Gold; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Notes: He had a resurgence with Dallas Buyers Club and the HBO series True Detective in particular. From Texas, he was a bankable rom-com star for years.)

Anne Hathaway – (Known For: Dark Waters; Interstellar; The Dark Knight Rises; Les Misérables; Ocean’s Eight; Don Jon; Alice in Wonderland; Brokeback Mountain; The Devil Wears Prada; The Princess Diaries; Love & Other Drugs; Get Smart; The Intern; Rio; Rachel Getting Married; Colossal; Ella Enchanted; Rio 2; Becoming Jane; Havoc; Future BMT: The Hustle; The Princess Diaries 2; Passengers; Song One; Alice Through the Looking Glass; Don Peyote; The Other Side of Heaven; BMT: Serenity; Bride Wars; Valentine’s Day; Notes: Not a great year for her as this is our second Hathaway film we’ve seen for the 2019 bad film cycle. Oh wait, *checks notes* … she might have just had her second child. So strike that, a fantastic year for Anne Hathaway.)

Diane Lane – (Known For: Justice League; The Outsiders; Inside Out; Man of Steel; Trumbo; Unfaithful; Chaplin; The Perfect Storm; The Cotton Club; Streets of Fire; Rumble Fish; Hardball; Under the Tuscan Sun; Hollywoodland; Secretariat; Bonjour Anne; A Walk on the Moon; My Dog Skip; Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains; Future BMT: Jack; The Glass House; Must Love Dogs; Nights in Rodanthe; Murder at 1600; Movie Madness; Knight Moves; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Every Secret Thing; Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House; Fierce People; BMT: Serenity; Judge Dredd; Jumper; Untraceable; Wild Bill; Trigger Happy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 1985 for Streets of Fire, and The Cotton Club; Notes: Really didn’t do any television at all (beyond the miniseries Lonesome Dove, but that is more of a movie) before kind of randomly appearing in the last season of House of Cards.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $8,547,045 (Worldwide: $14,387,413)

(Pretty rough. I’m not sure where they were thinking they were going to make up that budget.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (37/185): A high-concept mystery with a twist, Serenity isn’t what it appears to be at first — unfortunately, it’s also not anywhere near as clever or entertaining as it thinks.

(That is the thing, if the entire point of your film is to be clever, then it probably should be clever. You know? Reviewer Highlight: What an infuriating mess the makers of Serenity have unloaded on an unsuspecting public. It’s still only January, but this batshit bonkers trip through the subconscious has already earned a place among the year’s worst movies. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Sklog-renity (A-)

serenity

(I actually really dig this. Nice color scheme and overall cool and artistic. I always wish in cases like this they would put that final cherry on top and give us that sweet, sweet Serenity specific font.)

Tagline(s) – On Plymouth Island, No One Ever Dies…Unless You Break the Rules (D)

(Seems a bit specific since I don’t know what Plymouth Island is. And is that actually the plot of the film… an island where no one dies… the trailer made it seem like maybe a few people are going to die. Too long and not clever and I also don’t really know what it means.)

Keyword – fishing boat

Serenity_fishing boat

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Angel Has Fallen (2019), Gemini Man (2019), Aquaman (2018), Justice League (2017), Dunkirk (2017), Serenity (2019), Man of Steel (2013), The Meg (2018), X-Men: Apocalypse (2016); 

Future BMT: 55.5 Point Break (2015), 48.3 Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), 41.0 Flipper (1996), 36.3 Gemini Man (2019), 31.0 Pearl Harbor (2001), 24.4 Heaven’s Prisoners (1996), 23.2 Criminal (2016), 22.8 After the Sunset (2004), 12.0 Angel Has Fallen (2019), 9.7 Snow Falling on Cedars (1999); 

BMT: Serenity (2019), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), Sabotage (2014), Godzilla (1998), The Fog (2005), Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997), The Guardian (2006)

(It is kind of tough to find good keywords that are both informative (not too many movies have it), and interesting (enough movies have it). Here … weirdly the BMT ones I think I can specifically remember each of the fishing boats in them, so that’s fun. I might have to rethink the plots as well, a lot of them seem very same-y to me.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Diane Lane is No. 4 billed in Serenity and No. 2 billed in Judge Dredd, which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.

Notes – The movie was filmed in Mauritius.

Uma Thurman was originally cast but dropped out and replaced by Diane Lane.

The film strongly references some famous literary works, including Moby-Dick (the protagonist’s Captain Ahab-like obsession), The Old Man and the Sea (the character’s obsession to catch the one fish that got away), The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (the same symbolic bird always following the boat), and Shakespeare’s The Tempest (the “we are such stuff as dreams are made on” quote).

Angel Has Fallen Preview

Jamie stares in shock as Patrick slams the newspaper down in front of him. The headline screams “Cake-Fueled Scandal Rocks Rich and Poe Production” and that’s not the only thing screaming. “You know the immense pressure I’m under, Jamie?” Patrick screams, chowing down on another slice of banana cream pie. But Jamie waves him off, “you know this is nothing. You were there. You saw it all happen.” But that’s not the point. Sure, Patrick knows the truth, but the studio doesn’t and they’re starting to hear words like greedy, arrogant, and unprofessional being thrown around. Worst of all, Jamie is getting a reputation as an all around bad boy character, while Patrick is being called difficult. Difficult! He’s not difficult. Everyone else is difficult! “Why don’t you take a week off,” Patrick suggest, “go to the ski chalet and relax to the max,” and Jamie nods. Besides he can get some b-roll of some avalanches for the big climactic snowboarding shootout. While he’s away Patrick begins production with the new sidekick they wrote, Angel. Overweight, bumbling, and an overall fool they spend the movie totally owning him for his bumbling ways. Patrick and Jamie know the character is a perfect way to show just how cool and rad their own characters are by juxtaposing them against his total lameness. When Jamie returns, the set is abuzz. Everywhere he turns he hears “Angel is so funny,” and “next breakout star.” Confused he confronts Patrick who is also beside himself. Apparently everyone loves the helpful idiot. When a new gossip article links Angel and Leighton Vanderschmidt it’s the final straw. They can’t have his star outshine theirs. There’s only one thing to do: Angel must go down. That’s right! We’re watching Angel Has Fallen. While not the worst reviewed film of the year, it’s a sequel to the terrible London Has Fallen, so that basically made it a shoe-in. It was also helpful that it fit the chain reaction section through Gangster Squad’s Nick Nolte. Let’s go!

Angel Has Fallen (2019) – BMeTric: 17.4; Notability: 33 

AngelHasFallenIMDb_BMeT

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(The IMDb rating is a lot higher that I think I would expect. I guess I don’t really expect people to go to bat for a nothing sequel to a franchise full of nothing … but unlike horror, action films have their staunch defenders I guess.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – [K]ey moments, like any scene featuring great character actors like Tim Blake Nelson and Lance Reddick, are raced through with negligible conviction and even less inspiration. If this type of no-brow entertainment is your thing, you may find something to like in “Angel Has Fallen,” but that doesn’t mean you need what these guys are reselling.

(Many other review sites were a bit kinder than this, but I think this is probably accurate. More or less they are saying that it’s bad, without giving in to the “good for what it aims to be” syndrome that we see all over the place nowadays.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U2AJvU3bl4/

(I remember seeing this trailer and actually thinking “shit, this might actually not be that bad.” In some ways this turned out to be true. But it still qualified and the denizens of the BMTverse rejoiced.)

Directors – Ric Roman Waugh – (Known For: Shot Caller; Snitch; Felon; BMT: Angel Has Fallen; Notes: Long time stuntman. Did the stunts on the likes of Teen Wolf Too, Gone in 60 Seconds, Sudden Death, and Double Dragon)

Writers – Robert Mark Kamen (screenplay by) – (Known For: The Karate Kid; The Fifth Element; Taken; The Karate Kid; The Karate Kid Part II; The Transporter; Transporter 2; Lethal Weapon 3; Bandidas; Kiss of the Dragon; The Warriors Gate; Taps; A Walk in the Clouds; Future BMT: The Next Karate Kid; The Karate Kid Part III; The Transporter Refueled; Taken 3; Transporter 3; Taken 2; Colombiana; Gladiator; BMT: Angel Has Fallen; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Karate Kid Part III in 1990; Notes: Long time collaborator of Luc Besson. After the success of The Fifth Element he was asked to join him in creating a studio in Europe. I presume this is EuropaCorp.)

Matt Cook (screenplay by) – (Known For: The Informer; Patriots Day; Triple 9; Future BMT: The Duel; BMT: Angel Has Fallen; Notes: Seems to have burst onto the scene with three different films made in 2016.)

Ric Roman Waugh (screenplay by) – (Known For: Shot Caller; Snitch; Felon; BMT: Angel Has Fallen; Notes: He’s actually written every film he’s directed other than his first, Exit, which looks like a Cinemax film which he eventually went credited as Alan Smithee.)

Creighton Rothenberger (story by & based on characters created by) – (Known For: Olympus Has Fallen; BMT: London Has Fallen; The Expendables 3; Angel Has Fallen; Notes: Met writing partner Benedikt in screenwriting class and they eventually got married. Love is alive!)

Katrin Benedikt (story by & based on characters created by) – (Known For: Olympus Has Fallen; BMT: London Has Fallen; The Expendables 3; Angel Has Fallen; Notes: They are now divorced and will likely not be writing partners now… love is dead.)

Actors – Gerard Butler – (Known For: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; Olympus Has Fallen; 300; Den of Thieves; How to Train Your Dragon; The Vanishing; Tomorrow Never Dies; RocknRolla; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Reign of Fire; Nim’s Island; Coriolanus; Beowulf & Grendel; Mrs Brown; Dear Frankie; Harrison’s Flowers; The Cherry Orchard; Future BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Tale of the Mummy; The Ugly Truth; The Game of Their Lives; A Family Man; Machine Gun Preacher; BMT: Movie 43; Dracula 2001; Geostorm; Gods of Egypt; The Bounty Hunter; Timeline; Gamer; Playing for Keeps; London Has Fallen; Angel Has Fallen; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for The Bounty Hunter; and in 2017 for Gods of Egypt, and London Has Fallen; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble for The Bounty Hunter in 2011; Notes: One of the greatest actors of all time. Part of the Hollywood A-list as evidenced by his invite to Mark Burnett’s holiday party. So suck on that, Gerard Butler haters.)

Nick Nolte – (Known For: Cape Fear; Tropic Thunder; Warrior; 48 Hrs.; The Thin Red Line; Noah; Hulk; Run All Night; Hotel Rwanda; The Player; The Spiderwick Chronicles; Over the Hedge; Parker; U Turn; The Deep; Paris, je t’aime; New York Stories; Hateship Loveship; A Walk in the Woods; The Company You Keep; Future BMT: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore; Breakfast of Champions; Return to Sender; I Love Trouble; Arthur; Simpatico; The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; Nightwatch; Blue Chips; Angel Has Fallen; Three Fugitives; Trixie; Mulholland Falls; Everybody Wins; Asthma; Neverwas; BMT: The Ridiculous 6; Zookeeper; Another 48 Hrs.; Gangster Squad; Notes: Has maybe the most famous mugshot in the world. Was also sentenced to 45 years in prison in the 60s for counterfeiting, but the sentence was suspended.)

Danny Huston – (Known For: Wonder Woman; Game Night; The Aviator; Children of Men; Robin Hood; Stan & Ollie; Newness; Leaving Las Vegas; Marie Antoinette; 30 Days of Night; 21 Grams; Big Eyes; The Kingdom; The Constant Gardener; Edge of Darkness; Hitchcock; The Proposition; Made in Dagenham; The Conspirator; The Congress; Future BMT: IO; Stolen; Wrath of the Titans; Clash of the Titans; All I See Is You; Boogie Woogie; Birth; Pressure; The Warrior’s Way; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; Anna Karenina; The Professor; Fade to Black; BMT: The Number 23; Angel Has Fallen; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Notes: For a hot second he was a director in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Made The Maddening, an erotic thriller starring Burt Reynolds, which is described as a “creepfest” on Wikipedia.)

Budget/Gross – $40,000,000 / Domestic: $69,030,436 (Worldwide: $133,365,452)

(That actually seems pretty okay. You’d want a bit more domestically, and for an action film you’d hope to punch $100 million there as well. But overall they probably made a bit of money out of it … Angel Has Fallen 2?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (68/174): Cut from the same rough cloth as its predecessors, Angel Has Fallen rounds out a mostly forgettable action trilogy in fittingly mediocre fashion.

(Technically speaking, I think the second film was less than mediocre, making this film more of a return to form than a fittingly mediocre conclusion. I personally was hoping for more offensive garbage, but we can’t all get what we wish for. Fortunately this just snuck in for BMT. Reviewer Highlight: Angel Has Fallen is a film in search of a soul. It doesn’t find it, but the effort is appreciated. – Clarisse Loughrey, Independent (UK))

Poster – Angel Has Sklog-en (C+)

angel_has_fallen_ver10

(Weird. I would think I would like this a lot, but I don’t. The color and the framing are fine, but the font makes this look like an ad for a TV show. I need quality, Angel Has Fallen.)

Tagline(s) – The Hero Becomes the Fugitive (C)

(Not into it. I need it to flow. This is clunky and weird. It’s short and it explains the plot, but that a tagline does not make. I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity here too. Like America’s Greatest Hero is now America’s Most Wanted. Or something like Husband. Hero. Fugitive. Works better for me.)

Keyword – third part

AngelHasFallen_third part

Top 10: Angel Has Fallen (2019), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Glass (2019), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Logan (2017), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003); 

Future BMT: 82.7 Home Alone 3 (1997), 69.8 Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017), 68.5 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), 65.9 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 63.5 Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001), 63.4 Poltergeist III (1988), 62.7 Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983), 62.6 Blair Witch (2016), 61.9 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 60.8 The Karate Kid Part III (1989); 

BMT: Angel Has Fallen (2019), Batman Forever (1995), The Expendables 3 (2014), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), RoboCop 3 (1993), Superman III (1983), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994), Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011), Ernest Goes to Jail (1990)

(I’m now genuinely wondering if we can make a full cycle out of just third part films … and wait … is 1995 to 2000 so weird forgotten time of original filmmaking? Why aren’t they completing those sweet trilogies at that point. Maybe … with the small studios starting to go under in the early 90s a lot of the crap third parts were relegated to straight-to-video / cable maybe? Interesting theory at least.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Gerard Butler is No. 1 billed in Angel Has Fallen and No. 1 billed in Hunter Killer, which also stars Gary Oldman (No. 2 billed) who is in Lost in Space (No. 1 billed), which also stars Heather Graham (No. 5 billed) who is in Say It Isn’t So (No. 2 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 15. If we were to watch Kingdom Come we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Production on the film has been delayed by three months, to allow Gerard Butler time to recover from an injury he received while riding his motorcycle. (Pretty dumb)

Piper Perabo replaced Radha Mitchell as Leah Banning, Mike’s wife, who Mitchell played in the previous two movies. (… I did not realize they had switched actresses, I had just kind of assumed it was Piper Perabo before)

Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman are the only two actors reprising their roles for this installment. Thus, being the only two actors to appear in all three “Has Fallen” movies.

Gerard Butler stated that this film will be darker and more character driven than either of its previous installments, even going so far as to compare it to “Logan” (2017). He also expressed hope that this will be the final installment in the “Olympus has Fallen” series.

Nick Nolte played the role of an Ex-Vietnam War veteran in this movie. In real life, he never had a chance to go to Vietnam war due to a felony case years before. However, he felt incomplete for not being able to do so since at that time, he felt obligated to fight in Vietnam War as a young man.

In Olympus Has Fallen (2013), Morgan Freeman portrayed the Speaker of the House, and in London Has Fallen (2016), he became Vice President. In between the second film and this one, his character has been elected as President of the United States. This marks the second time of Freeman as President, after he played President Tom Beck in Deep Impact (1998). (Fake presidents are amazing!)

All three films in the series have been distributed by different studios. FilmDistrict distributed Olympus Has Fallen (2013); Gramercy distributed London Has Fallen (2016); and Lionsgate distributed Angel Has Fallen (2019). (That actually seems weird)

Reportedly, there were no plans to have Aaron Eckhart return and play the role of the president, as the first two films are set over the course of seven years and the maximum time for a U.S. president is two terms (exactly eight years, unless the person becomes president in the last two years of the term). So Morgan Freeman took over the role instead. (Always made sense anyways)

Had almost half the production budget of Olympus Has Fallen (70 million) with a substantially smaller 40 million.

The Circle Preview

With his cadre of Rambos leading the way, Patrick enters the BMTverse. He breathes in the dull, uninspiring air and a part of him knows it’s home. The old rickety Rambo crouches down, his knees giving off loud popping noises, and tastes the earth. “Your brother, he’s been here.” The young spry Rambo with the sad eyes tastes a different spot, “another was with him. The man in black.” At that the older garbage Rabmo hisses, “Vampiro.” Patrick steps forward, “Which way did they head?!” At that the youngest of the Rambos replies bluntly, “No.” But Patrick pleads “I need to get to him before it’s too late. Please!” The Rambos nod, “OK.” At that they head off. From the few monosyllabic statements the Rambos make Patrick is able to glean that Vampiro is a Dracula who has been sucking the BMTverse dry in some mysterious scheme and that Jamie is in grave danger. “So what is the scheme Vampiro has set up?” Patrick asks, and immediately the Rambos point to a large building dominating the skyline of New Angeles. The sign reads, “The Square.” Patrick doesn’t want to say anything but to him The Square looks pretty hip. That’s right! We’re watching the 2017 classic The Circle starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks about a big ol’ company that totally spies on you. Sound the Ointment Alarm, cause this movie is topical. Let’s go!

Meanwhile, the man in black backflips from his skateboard and and grabs Jamie by the throat. He squints at him, “You really don’t remember me, do you?” Jamie looks closer and notices the sharp Dracula teeth of the Dracula that turned him into a Dracula at Dracula School a year ago. “Vampiro,” he wheezes. “Let him be, baby,” a young sexy voice says from behind Vampiro and four beautiful bodacious beach bunnies come out from the steam. “Sticks and Stone will not be happy if you kill him, Vampiro,” the sexiest of them coos. “Call me Buford, baby,” He replies. That’s right! We’re going for the only Jim Hanks vehicle in history, Buford’s Beach Bunnies. Tom Hanks’ bro plays the titular Buford being titillated by the titular Beach Bunnies. It should be a hoot and in no way sad probably. Let’s go!

The Circle (2017) – BMeTric: 56.8 

TheCircleIMDb_BMeT

TheCircleIMDb_RV

(Ooooooo for a film like this low-5s is incredibly incredibly low, that is promising. And very consistent across the years as well. Interesting.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  When the story turns into something akin to a nightmarish cousin of “The Truman Show” or “Network,” or the kid sister of Cronenbeg’s “ExistenZ,” you want it to get bigger, wilder, more outrageous, more frightening, and it’s too nice and reasonable and conscientious to do that. The result feels undernourished in just about every way, although Hanks’s performance, John Boyega’s brief role as a founding programmer, and a couple of frightening action sequences break through the tedium.

(Yeah I would have expected it to go very broad in the end … it is pretty concerning that it doesn’t. Like what is this movie about then?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUlr8Am4zQ0/

(Watching that trailer and I’m thinking Firewall starring Harrison Ford. Reading the review above it … and I’m getting whiffs of The Space Between Us. Which is concerning because that movie was boring.)

Directors – James Ponsoldt – (Known For: The Spectacular Now; The End of the Tour; Smashed; Off the Black; BMT: The Circle; Notes: Went to Yale, and then got a Masters in Fine Arts from Columbia.)

Writers – James Ponsoldt (screenplay by) – (Known For: Smashed; Off the Black; BMT: The Circle; Notes: Is writing and directing a film about “wild animals in Los Angeles” called Wild City.)

Dave Eggers (screenplay by & based on the novel by) – (Known For: Where the Wild Things Are; A Hologram for the King; Promised Land; Away We Go; BMT: The Circle; Notes: Actually an amazing story concerning his parents both dying when he was a young man, and he dropped out of school to raise his youngest brother who was 8 at the time. It became the subject of his fictionalized memoir, the acclaimed A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.)

Actors – Emma Watson – (Known For: Beauty and the Beast; Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1; The Perks of Being a Wallflower; This Is the End; Noah; My Week with Marilyn; The Bling Ring; The Tale of Despereaux; Future BMT: Regression; BMT: The Circle; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for The Circle in 2018; Notes: She’s going to be in Little Woman later this year, obviously most famous for her roles in the Harry Potter films where she played Hermoine.)

Tom Hanks – (Known For: Toy Story 4; A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood; Forrest Gump; The Green Mile; Saving Private Ryan; Catch Me If You Can; Toy Story; Toy Story 3; Cloud Atlas; Sleepless in Seattle; Cast Away; Cars; Road to Perdition; Toy Story 2; Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; The Post; Apollo 13; Bridge of Spies; Saving Mr. Banks; Big; Future BMT: He Knows You’re Alone; Larry Crowne; Inferno; Ithaca; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: The Circle; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Notes: Ya’ll know Tom Hanks! He’s getting Oscar buzz for his role as Mr. Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.)

John Boyega – (Known For: Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi; Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens; Pacific Rim: Uprising; Detroit; Attack the Block; Half of a Yellow Sun; Imperial Dreams; Junkhearts; BMT: The Circle; Notes: British. You can hear his natural sccent in Attack the Block.)

Budget/Gross – $18 million / Domestic: $20,497,844 (Worldwide: $20,497,844)

(Hmmmm, given the budget that isn’t actually that bad I suppose, but it is a box office disappointment. Their Netflix distribution may have made a bit more of that back since. I’m a little surprised it could be made for so little.)

#55 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

thecircle2017_yaadaptations

(Our 8th BMT film of this genre. Came right as these types of films stopped making money. Weirdly, not even close to the worst box office we’ve seen beating out The Darkest Minds, Midnight Sun, The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, and Vampire Academy)

#52 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated chart

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (20/135): The Circle assembles an impressive cast, but this digitally driven thriller spins aimlessly in its half-hearted exploration of timely themes.

(Yeah that sounds about right. Float through something significant, but straddle the fence and make it as milquetoast as possible. This is indeed what I expect. Reviewer Highlight: The Circle is a big honking sloppy mess of a movie, one that flops around so aimlessly that it’s baffling so many intelligent people had a hand in making it. – Will Leitch, The New Republic)

Poster – Corporate Sklog-vallience (C+)

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(It’s artsy in the framing and the color is fine. Font makes me sad. At least make the C in Circle be the company’s logo. Not just block bullshit.)

Tagline(s) – Knowing is good. Knowing everything is better. (A-)

(Do you know what’s better than a billion dollars? A gazillion dollars. While I don’t support the message of the tagline I can still recognize that it’s a good tagline.)

Keyword(s) – video surveillance; Top Ten by BMeTric: 82.3 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 79.5 The Devil Inside (2012); 67.8 College Road Trip (2008); 65.7 Captivity (2007); 65.5 Pulse (I) (2006); 60.4 Maid in Manhattan (2002); 60.2 Sliver (1993); 56.8 The Circle (I) (2017); 52.5 Everly (2014); 52.2 Bangkok Dangerous (2008);

(This is a pretty interesting keyword. Like is that really what Halloween: Resurrection has? College Road Trip? This seems to be one of the rare ones where it is a central theme to the film.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Tom Hanks is No. 2 billed in The Circle and No. 1 billed in Bonfire of the Vanities, which also stars Bruce Willis (No. 2 billed) who is in The Whole Ten Yards (No. 1 billed), which also stars Natasha Henstridge (No. 4 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 20. If we were to watch Angels & Demons, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Bill Paxton died before the film’s release. Glenne Headly, who played his wife in the film, died the same year after the film’s release. (What? I knew Pacton died, but I didn’t realize Glenne Headly died.)

Re-shoots took place four months before release, aimed at making Emma Watson’s character more appealing, but test audience reactions were even worse than previous test screenings. (Jesus THAT was their attempt at making her MORE appealing? She’s insane in the movie)

The scene where Annie video calls Mae was shot by Karen Gillan’s crew while they were filming Gillan’s feature film; The Party’s Just Beginning (2018) in Scotland. (Wow that is interesting)

In the U.K. this film did not get a cinema release but went straight to streaming service Netflix. (Yeah I noticed)

The logo of The Circle was created before the Uber redesign, despite them looking very similar.

The lead role of Mae was first offered to Alicia Vikander, which according to her, was one of three roles offered simultaneously, alongside the roles of Maria in Assassin’s Creed (2016) and Heather in Jason Bourne (2016). Due to fan factor, she opted to do Bourne, thus the producers moving on to casting second choice Emma Watson.

Received a “D+” CinemaScore, which is quite rare. [Variety 2017] (Not surprised)

This is the second time that Tom Hanks has a role in an adaptation of a novel by Dave Eggers. The first was A Hologram for the King (2016). (Never heard of it)

The auditorium scenes were filmed at Citrus Community College’s Haugh Performing Arts Center in Glendora, California.

Opening bridge shot is Dumbarton Bridge in Northern California near Silicon Valley. Fake image of the Circle building located on the Coyote Point recreation park.

The ending was changed significantly for the film adaptation. In the novel, Mae, fully believing in The Circle’s goals and mantras, betrays Ty in his attempt to bring down the company and he is effectively silenced. (WHAT?! THAT IS CRAZY)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Emma Watson, 2018)

Dracula 2000 Preview

“Gruber?” Rich whisper, but instead of the mad man one of the groundskeepers steps into view. Suddenly the man’s suit glows blue and a virus begins to download onto their computer. Poe and Brock rush into the room out of breath. “Stop! Rich… the groundskeepers. They are lawnmower men.” A gasp goes through the room. How could such monstrous beings be hiding right under their noses? No wonder Gruber wanted the tech so badly. A virus that controls lawnmower men would be devastating. Rich turns to his colleagues. “Now I understand. It’s so obvious. Gruber wanted us to find the virus, once we found it it activated the lawnmower men who then came and downloaded the virus from our computer. It’s all a frame job. Made to look like we released lawnmower men on the world.” My God! It’s all so clear! The lawnmower men cackle in glee as they run forwards and jack into the internet and enter cyberspace. Just then Poe has an idea. “Get me the virus file and a laptop. It’s time to get spectechular.” They all high five at his appropriate use of teen lingo. Putting on some sweet VR head gear they all get hacking and hack like they’ve never hacked before. Finally they find the garbage file and isolate the virus. “Tell me the name,” Poe yells, “we need to understand the code and then we can jack into cyberspace and take it down.” Rich reconstructs the degraded file and gasps, “It’s a money-making scheme meant to bleed the school dry of funds before escaping to the Caribbean.” It’s Poe’s turn to gasp as he understands the implications, “you don’t mean…” But Rich nods, “It’s a Dracula Virus. FangTime2000. And we’re on the hook. It’s time to jack in.” That’s right! We are going back in time to the far past of 2000 where just adding that number to a film’s name meant you were in for a wild ride. No better exemplified than with Dracula 2000, which attempted to move the well-worn property into the new millennium. We’ve been eyeing this one mostly for the opportunity to see a tiny Gerard Butler when he was just a wee lad. Jonny Lee Miller gave us the opportunity. Let’s go!

Meanwhile… having subdued the security guards using their country bumpkin disguises the two hooded figures finally remove their hoods. Gasp! It’s Sticks and Stones! The wiley Z-universe twin cops. On brand, they are up to no good and gaze upon their final destination: the BMTVerse Jackdrive. They activate the screen and up pops their BMTverse partner in crime. “We’re ready to jack in, Dr. Vampiro.” That’s right! We’re watching Dracula 3000 as the delightful pairing for the Bring a Friend cycle. This is a terrible film that makes me sad to even think about watching. Yay! Let’s go!

Dracula 2000 (2000) – BMeTric: 64.0 

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Dracula2000IMDb_RV

(Extremely consistent which is a good sign. As usual I feel like what this means is that over time people are still looking at this film and thinking “this is garbage”. Sub 4.0 is really low. Promising.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Miller heads to New Orleans to save a sweet young thing from the charms of cinema’s most famous bloodsucker (Butler). Perhaps the only film in history that manages to get its producer’s name, lead character and release date all in the official title, this modern-day take on the vampire classic shows why some characters are best left in their own era. Has a few good moments and better performances than you might expect. Followed by two direct-to-video sequels.

(Oooof, no Oxford comma Leonard? That is really just too bad, I’m a huge proponent of the Oxford comma. Whatever, I don’t think Leonard watched this film, this review is too generic. A few good moments? Naw, I bet this movie is garbage. Just speculating.)

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

(My God, this looks like the rudest tudest late-90s / early 00s trash remake in history. Just spit right in the face of Dracula fans. I cannot wait, this is going to be so dumb.)

Directors – Patrick Lussier – (Known For: My Bloody Valentine; White Noise: The Light; BMT: Dracula 2000; Drive Angry; Notes: Started as a television editor, specifically on MacGyver. His son is also involved in film editing.)

Writers – Joel Soisson (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Trick or Treat; Future BMT: Piranha 3DD; Highlander: Endgame; Cam2Cam; BMT: Dracula 2000; Notes: Wrote the straight-to-video sequel Hellraiser: Hellworld. His wife Claudia Templeton often cameos in his films.)

Patrick Lussier (story) – (Future BMT: Terminator Genisys; BMT: Dracula 2000; Drive Angry; Notes: Also wrote straight-to-video sequels Dracula II: Ascension and Dracula III: Legacy. Despite the different names they are indeed sequels to this film.)

Actors – Gerard Butler – (Known For: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; 300; Den of Thieves; Olympus Has Fallen; RocknRolla; How to Train Your Dragon; The Vanishing; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Tomorrow Never Dies; Reign of Fire; Nim’s Island; Coriolanus; Beowulf & Grendel; Mrs Brown; Dear Frankie; Harrison’s Flowers; The Cherry Orchard; Future BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Tale of the Mummy; The Ugly Truth; A Family Man; The Game of Their Lives; Machine Gun Preacher; BMT: Movie 43; Dracula 2000; Geostorm; Gods of Egypt; The Bounty Hunter; Timeline; Gamer; Playing for Keeps; London Has Fallen; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for The Bounty Hunter; and in 2017 for Gods of Egypt, and London Has Fallen; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble for The Bounty Hunter in 2011; Notes: His home was apparently destroyed in the Woolsey Fire, all of the recent news is dominated by press concerning his soon-to-be-released Angel Has Fallen.)

Justine Waddell – (Known For: The Fall; Mansfield Park; Killing Bono; Future BMT: Thr3e; Anna Karenina; BMT: Dracula 2000; Notes: Daughter of Gordon Waddell former captain of the Scottish rugby union team.)

Jonny Lee Miller – (Known For: Trainspotting; T2 Trainspotting; Mansfield Park; Byzantium; Melinda and Melinda; Afterglow; Endgame; The Flying Scotsman; Future BMT: Dark Shadows; Hackers; Mindhunters; Plunkett & Macleane; Love, Honour and Obey; BMT: Dracula 2000; Æon Flux; Notes: Star of Hackers, he is English and dropped out of school at 17 to pursue acting.)

Budget/Gross – $54 million / Domestic: $33,022,767 (Worldwide: $47,053,625)

(Not good. I’m stunned it had a 50+ million dollar budget at this point in time. That is really high, and for what? A remake of one of the classically overdone tales in cinema history. This is like how they keep making Robin Hood films that almost always bomb / suck.)

#128 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(Came right at the end of an initial peak. As far as gross goes, it comes in right around Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter … which is not a very good look. That movie was the 3rd sequel of a cheap 80s horror franchise. This cost $50 million dollars.)

#25 for the Vampire genre

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(Our fourth vampire film for BMT. This came before the Twilight boom, but I’m pretty surprised at how consistently vampire films have been made throughout history.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 18% (12/68): This retelling trys [sic] to offer a different spin on the origin of Dracula. Unfortunately, there’s nothing here audiences haven’t seen before.

(That misspelling is just incredible. And now I’m getting a bit concerned this is just going to be boring. I still have hope this will be completely trash. Reviewer Highlight: A thudding, suspense-free montage of unshocking shock effects and more severed heads than toppled during the French Revolution. – Stephen Holden, New York Times)

Poster – Spectacula 2000 (B+)

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(I like the feel of it. The color and framing particularly. The font is less interesting, but has a kind of shine to it. Overall pretty solid stuff.)

Tagline(s) – The Most Seductive Evil of All Time Has Now Been Unleashed in Ours. (D)

(If I wanted to read this much I’d buy a book. Also this is nonsense. Just stop reading it. It’s just gonna make less and less sense.)

Keyword(s) – number in title; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.8 Battlefield Earth (2000); 90.4 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 89.8 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 86.4 Troll 2 (1990); 85.9 Fantastic Four (2015); 85.9 Piranha 3DD (2012); 84.6 Movie 43 (2013); 83.9 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005); 83.8 The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011); 83.0 RoboCop 3 (1993);

(Oh shit. Well we have to watch Piranha 3DD at some point (it will be unpleasant). Human Centipede is never happening though. It is amazing how many terrible films have numbers in the title. I like the inclusion of Battlefield Earth which is sometimes subtitled “A Saga in the Year 3000”.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Gerard Butler is No. 1 billed in Dracula 2000 and No. 1 billed in The Bounty Hunter, which also stars Jennifer Aniston (No. 2 billed) who is in Just Go With It (No. 2 billed), which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Must Love Dogs, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – The name of Van Helsing’s antique business, “Carfax Abbey” is also the name of house Dracula moves into in Bram Stoker’s book “Dracula”.

The line in the film where Jonny Lee Miller playing Simon Sheppard says, “Never, ever fuck with an antiques dealer,” was a line the actor would say on set as a joke. The director liked it and incorporated it into the scene. (Oh no!)

Dracula says, “I don’t drink… coffee,” in one scene. This is a spoof of “I never drink… wine” from Dracula (1931).

Script doctor Scott Derrickson told the story of how he got the job working on this film. Harvey Weinstein called him, saying, “I just bought this script, called, ‘Dracula 2000’.” Derrickson replied, “Oh, yeah? Is it good?” Weinstein replied, “It stinks!” Derrickson asked, “So why did you buy it?”, and Weinstein replied “Because it’s called, ‘Dracula 2000’.” Derrickson did the re-write, which Weinstein discarded. Ehren Kruger did the next rewrite. (Jesus Christ)

The typeface used on the title screen is a variation of the same typeface used on the first release of the Dracula novel in 1897. (Cool)

Nathan Fillion plays a priest in this movie. He would also go on to play Caleb, an evil Priest on the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) (Must be a young Nathan Fillion)

The doctor who screams as Dracula approaches him in the police station is named Dr. Seward, a reference to the Book. (Cool)

The character Lucy Westerman’s name is a reference to the character Lucy Westenra from Bram Stoker’s book. She is in the movie, as in the book, the best friend of the main character Mina (book)/Mary (movie). (Alright, it is starting to feel like the writers just read the book and shoehorned a bunch of shit in this thing)

Gerard Butler was given a break from filming The Cherry Orchard (1999) so that he could play Dracula in “Dracula 2000”.

Director Patrick Lussier remarked in an interview that the Father Uffizi character played by Jason Scott Lee in Dracula II: Ascension (2003) and Dracula III: Legacy (2005) was originally written into this film. (Huh, so a more direct sequel than I thought)

Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace Preview

Meanwhile… Poe and Brock are getting psyched for the big championship game. Suddenly Poe watches in alarm as the lawnmower men around the field stop in unison, their eyes suddenly glassy and unseeing. “Lawnmower Men,” Poe whispers while Brock stares on in shock. “Lawnmower Men? It can’t be. They… they are just silly legends used to scare kids.” But no, they are real and something has brought them out of their slumber. Poe suddenly realizes what it is and turns to Brock, “It’s Rich. He needs my help.” One of the other players begins to protest, but Brock stops them, “If you need my help, you have my bat, bro.” And they seal the deal with a Predator Handshake. That’s right! In celebration of the 500th BMT film (say what?!) we are also watching The Lawnmower Man and Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace. The sequel has been on my bad movie bucket list forever because it actually seems impossible that it got released to theaters. But it did and we couldn’t have asked for a better pairing for this celebration than the hacking computer technobabble extravaganza of Hackers and the Lawnmower Man franchise. Let’s go! 

Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996) – BMeTric: 67.2 

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(Holy shit! That is really low. How does it only have 67 BMeTric? I guess 8000 votes it really really low, which is itself rather astonishing. This is blowing my mind.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Moron-turned-genius Jobe is back, still intent on ruling the world from cyberspace. This involves ruthless billionaire Conway, reclusive computer expert Bergin, docter Pouget, and young O’Brien, returning from the original film. The plot is both complicated and simpleminded, and aimed primarily at teenage computer fans – but the standardized Blade Runner future, routine action, and only intermittent computer graphics will likely leave them as disinterested as everyone else. Aka: Lawnmower Man 2: Jobe’s War.

(WHAT? This got a better review than the first one? Well I am now intrigued. Also this review is somehow longer than the review for the first one, which was already an epic that is uncharacteristic of Leonard. Of all the movies to become verbose over, the Lawnmower Man franchise?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MubmJ2jwvOM/

(To think, these two trailers came from a Stephen King short story that really doesn’t have much to do with either storyline. This thing is wild and reminds me of Highlander 2: The Quickening. Gloriously cheap sci-fi nonsense. Sock it to me.)

Directors – Farhad Mann – (BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Notes: Mostly a television and commercial director, it kind of suggests he developed Max Headroom, although he’s only credited as the director of the pilot.)

Writers – Farhad Mann (story & screenplay) – (BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Notes: Appears to mostly director British Crime procedurals like Murdoch Mysteries.)

Michael Miner (story) – (Known For: RoboCop; RoboCop; BMT: RoboCop 3; Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; RoboCop 2; Notes: Wait one second … we finished Miner’s filmography? That is awesome. A self-described technophobe.)

Actors – Patrick Bergin – (Known For: Patriot Games; Free Fire; Ella Enchanted; Map of the Human Heart; Mountains of the Moon; The Boys from County Clare; Silent Grace; Future BMT: Eye of the Beholder; Sleeping with the Enemy; The Invisible Circus; Love Crimes; Age of Kill; The Wee Man; Strength and Honour; BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Notes: A former math teacher in Ireland, he also had a top 10 hit song in Ireland called The Knacker. I’m sorry, but that is awful.)

Matt Frewer – (Known For: Watchmen; Hercules; 50/50; Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Dawn of the Dead; The BFG; The Meaning of Life; The Fourth Protocol; A Home at the End of the World; Twenty Bucks; Weirdsville; Foreverland; Future BMT:Supergirl; Riding the Bullet; Cannonball Fever; Senior Trip; Going the Distance; Spies Like Us; Frankie & Alice; BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Ishtar; Pixels; Notes: A significant voice and television actor now. He’s Big Russ in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (the neighbor) and also interestly enough was Max Headroom, which makes sense considering the director.)

Austin O’Brien – (Known For: Apollo 13; The Baby-Sitters Club; Future BMT: My Girl 2; The Lawnmower Man; Last Action Hero; BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Last Action Hero in 1994; Notes: Mostly a child actor. He was in the (non-qualifying) Prehysteria!)

Budget/Gross – $15 million / Domestic: $2,409,225

(Aaaaaaand, there is it. Play stupid games, win … a catastrophic box office bomb. There is an important lesson here: when you make a sequel hot garbage sometimes people don’t want to go see it no matter how rad it is.)

#18 for the Virtual Reality genre

lawnmowerman2_virtualreality

(YES, three for three! We went from having seen two films to having seen five in this category. Wait a second, I have to check something … there are nine total qualified films, of which we will have actually only seen four after this because Vanilla Sky is a rare non-qualifying film we did for BMT once. Still almost halfway through the genre now.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (1/9)

(I’ll have to make a consensus … Oh, wait, there are only two reviews with actual snippets and it seems like Rotten Tomatoes’ full review links are broken, so I can’t make one. Weirdly one of the two Top Critics was the only good review basically saying the special effects were okay. Reviewer Highlight: Mowing the lawn might be more involving than watching this subpar sci-fi sequel, which manages to be complicated and witless at the same time. – Andy Seller, USA Today)

Poster – The Lawnmower Man 2: Inspired by The Lawnmower Man: Inspired by Stephen King’s The Lawnmower Man (C-)

lawnmower_man_two_beyond_cyberspace

(Wow. So they just reused the same poster but made it even sillier (and removed Stephen King’s name, obviously). What could you possibly think this film was about if you didn’t already know?! Downgraded because it’s a blatant rip off.)

Tagline(s) – God made him simple. Science made him a god. Now, he wants revenge. (F)

(Oh for God’s sake. At this point they should have just stopped making the film. Unacceptable.)

Keyword(s) – psychotronic film; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.8 Battlefield Earth (2000); 94.6 Batman & Robin (1997); 92.2 Son of the Mask (2005); 91.1 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 89.8 The Wicker Man (2006); 89.2 Vampires Suck (2010); 89.2 Jaws: The Revenge (1987); 89.0 House of the Dead (2003); 88.6 Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966); 86.5 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987);

(Psychotonic – denoting or relating to a genre of films that typically have a science fiction, horror, or fantasy theme and were made on a low budget. That does seem to fit. Vampires Suck doesn’t really though, and neither does Son of Mask. Battlefield Earth had an enormous budget.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 26) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Matt Frewer is No. 2 billed in Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace and No. 10 billed in Ishtar, which also stars Warren Beatty (No. 1 billed) who is in Town & Country (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 9 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 2 + 10 + 1 + 1 + 9 + 3 = 26. If we were to watch Eye of the Beholder, The Island, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – Director Farhad Mann found himself locked out of the editing room by the producers who wanted a film which would appeal more to their target demographic – teenage boys. (shiiiiiiiit)

Austin O’Brien is the only returning cast member from the first film. (Oooooof. A regular Atlas Shrugged up in here)

Although the film was set in the future, the cast donated their old 80s computers for the set in order to save money in the budget. (What? That is bizarre)

The 1993 VHS tape of the widescreen version of the first film had an announcement screen that read “Look out for Lawnmower Man 2: Mindfire” in 1994. This obviously never happened, and the film appeared 2 years later with a different title. (Huh, that is kind of fun. It also has a different name in Europe, Jobe’s War.)

Dark Phoenix Preview

As Rich does his best to battle Assassinbot 3000 in space, Poe is forced to watch on a big screen by Gruber, who screams in delight, “Bwahaha. I have finally won. You all will die. Except for you, Poe. You will be forced to watch it all.” Suddenly Jade is by his side and whispers softly to him something about family and to always be himself. Rich’s last words, apparently. Odd. He tries to decipher what it could mean. Be himself… be… HIMSELF! Of course. His time machine! “Granny, you still have my seventh grade science project?” he whispers to her. She nods silently that she does. Freeing a hand, he reaches for her otherwise innocent looking keychain, which in fact was a time machine dongle that he never quite got working. He manages to tap into the mainframe and bypass the firewall in order to overclock the CPU and reroute power to the tiny dongle. A time bubble forms behind the distracted Gruber and a monstrous hooded figure emerges. “Are… are you me?” Poe stammers. The figure takes off his hood and is revealed to be a spider monster. “But how… why am I a spider monster?” The spider monster responds, “all the monstrous things that Gruber forces you to watch. It turns you into this.” Poe is still a little confused, “I become a spider monster?” The spider monster nods his head. Well alright. The spider monster frees them all from their ropes and Poe and him perform a patented spider chop to Gruber’s neck rendering him unconscious. “Thanks, Spider Monster Me,” says Poe, but his joy is crushed as the spider monster looms over him and begins to laugh. “Bwahahaha, I was never you, Poe. I was Spider Monster Gruber this entire time! You have still failed. I have only risen from the puny human ashes to become my true, dark self. Dark Gruber!” That’s right! After a long winter and spring nearly bereft of bad films it’s been a veritable smorgasbord lately. This includes some very big failures of some very big franchises. So we are taking the plunge and really putting a huge burden on ourselves by watching the latest (last?) installment of the X-Men prequels live and in theaters! X-Men: Dark Phoenix is one of only two X-Men films that qualifies for BMT (the other being X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and comes with three previous installments of which I saw just one. So I got some work ahead of me. You better be worth it Dark Phoenix. Let’s go!

Dark Phoenix (2019) – BMeTric: 30.0

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DarkPhoenixIMDb_RV

(A flat six sounds correct as the initial rating. I think this means the BMeTric is going to fall quite a bit over time. The rating usually goes up as general audiences rate the film, so I assume it’ll go to like .. 6.2 or something.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  Everyone seems to agree that this X-venture is the last cinematic one for a long time. Fox is being rolled into the Marvel empire and we probably won’t see Professor X, Magneto, or even Wolverine for years. By then, everyone will have forgotten “Dark Phoenix.” Heck, that will happen by the end of the month. After all, nobody cares anymore.

(Ha! Basically: why does this movie exist anymore? And I have to say, that basically agrees with my perception in the lead up to the film as well.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWbMckU3AOQ/

(Pretty good trailer to be honest. As people online pointed out, it is a bit spoilie, in that you can pretty much guess what happens to Jennifer Lawrence and when given the brief bits shown in the trailer, but I do think that is a pretty compelling trailer indicating that Dark Phoenix is what causes humanity to close ranks somewhat against the X-Men and for the school to become as isolated as it seems in the original film.)

Directors – Simon Kinberg – (BMT: X-Men: Dark Phoenix; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Fantastic Four in 2016; Notes: He developed the new Twilight Zone. He also directed one of the episodes. That was his only other directorial effort prior to this film.)

Writers – John Byrne and Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum (story “The Dark Phoenix Saga”) – (BMT: X-Men: Dark Phoenix; Notes: They wrote the original Marvel run that the film is based on.)

Simon Kinberg (written by) – (Known For: X-Men: Apocalypse; X-Men: Days of Future Past; X-Men: The Last Stand; Sherlock Holmes; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; BMT: Fantastic Four; xXx²: The Next Level; Jumper; X-Men: Dark Phoenix; This Means War; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Fantastic Four in 2016; Notes: He wrote all of the other films in this New Class series, and he was given the shot to close it out. He’s writing the new Logan’s Run film.)

Jack Kirby (comic book created by) – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; X-Men: Apocalypse; Avengers: Infinity War; X-Men: Days of Future Past; Spider-Man: Homecoming; Thor: Ragnarok; X: First Class; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Black Panther; Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Captain America: Civil War; Captain America: The First Avenger; Ant-Man and the Wasp; Iron Man; Thor; Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Ant-Man; The Incredible Hulk; Iron Man Three; Thor: The Dark World; Future BMT: Captain America; The Fantastic Four; Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic Four; Justice League; BMT: Fantastic Four; X-Men: Dark Phoenix; Notes: Him and Lee basically built Marvel up to what it is now. He fought in WWII and almost lost his legs to frostbite.)

Stan Lee (comic book created by) – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; X-Men: Apocalypse; Avengers: Infinity War; X-Men: Days of Future Past; Spider-Man: Homecoming; Thor: Ragnarok; X: First Class; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Black Panther; Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Ant-Man and the Wasp; Iron Man; Thor; Doctor Strange; Spider-Man; Ant-Man; The Incredible Hulk; Iron Man Three; Thor: The Dark World; Iron Man 2; Future BMT: The Fantastic Four; Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic Four; BMT: Fantastic Four; X-Men: Dark Phoenix; Notes: Died rather recently after a lot of rumors concerning elder abuse, and other unsavory issues surrounding his failing health. Would cameo in most Marvel films.)

Actors – James McAvoy – (Known For: X-Men: Apocalypse; X-Men: Days of Future Past; Deadpool 2; X: First Class; Split; Atomic Blonde; Wanted; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Atonement; Filth; The Last King of Scotland; Trance; Penelope; Gnomeo & Juliet; Starter for 10; Becoming Jane; Wimbledon; Muppets Most Wanted; Bright Young Things; The Conspirator; Future BMT: Sherlock Gnomes; Swimming Pool – Der Tod feiert mit; Submergence; Victor Frankenstein; Glass; BMT: X-Men: Dark Phoenix; Notes: He grew up in Glasgow and is a fan of Celtic.)

Michael Fassbender – (Known For: X-Men: Apocalypse; X-Men: Days of Future Past; X: First Class; Inglourious Basterds; 300; Alien: Covenant; Prometheus; 12 Years a Slave; Shame; Jane Eyre; Steve Jobs; The Light Between Oceans; Eden Lake; Centurion; Song to Song; Macbeth; Hunger; A Dangerous Method; Slow West; Haywire; Future BMT: The Counsellor; BMT: Jonah Hex; The Snowman; Assassin’s Creed; X-Men: Dark Phoenix; Notes: Ate nuts, berries, and sardines as a diet in order to lose 33 pounds for Hunger.)

Jennifer Lawrence – (Known For: X-Men: Apocalypse; X-Men: Days of Future Past; X: First Class; The Hunger Games; Red Sparrow; Mother!; American Hustle; The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2; Silver Linings Playbook; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1; Joy; Winter’s Bone; Like Crazy; The Beaver; The Poker House; Future BMT: Serena; House at the End of the Street; Garden Party; The Burning Plain; BMT: X-Men: Dark Phoenix; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Mother! in 2018; Notes: Is the third youngest best actress nominee ever at 20 years old for Winter’s Bone, which is a fantastic film.)

Budget/Gross – $200 million / Domestic: $39,190,534 (Worldwide: $142,934,155)

(This is a gigantic bomb. Even worldwide this is going to lose around $100 million if you calculate the net in the traditional manner (needing two times the budget). The nail in the coffin for this iteration of X-Men.)

#119 for the Comic Book Adaptation genre

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(Around Judge Dredd at the moment (and it really isn’t going to get much better to be honest). This is our 22nd comic book film. It is obviously huge right now.)

#97 for the Superhero genre

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(Our 17th superhero film. Right now this is around Catwoman. It’ll be a bit better than that … maybe like the new Fantastic Four maybe. Again, huge right now, so it makes sense the film is our right now.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (67/290): Dark Phoenix ends an era of the X-Men franchise by taking a second stab at adapting a classic comics arc — with deeply disappointing results.

(Yep, meaningless, emotionless, and dull is what all the reviews say. Which is not what you want. Reviewer Highlight: “Logan” is the proper finale to the “X-Men” film series. “X-Men: Dark Phoenix”… is so disappointing that it doesn’t deserve that honor. – Matthew Rozsa, Salon.com)

Poster – Sklog Phoenix (D-)

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(I don’t want to be too harsh, but this is trash. Why are there so many colors? It’s like all the colors that ever existed are on this poster. Gross. Almost an F… just needs to be a tad stupider to really hit the bottom.)

Tagline(s) – The Phoenix will rise. (C-)

(I mean, I guess this is fine for fans of the series. If you are excited for the Dark Phoenix storyline this could get you all jazzed up… but otherwise it’s pretty blah.)

Keyword(s) – mutant; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.3 Epic Movie (2007); 88.0 Street Fighter (1994); 87.8 BloodRayne (2005); 84.8 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 83.7 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005); 78.4 Superhero Movie (2008); 73.2 Cell (I) (2016); 72.9 The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996); 72.1 A Sound of Thunder (2005); 68.2 The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961);

(Another week, another reminded that I’ve seen Street Fighter like 4 times, but never for BMT. Which is ridiculous. The Island of Dr. Moreau is easily going to be the best of that batch.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 21) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Michael Fassbender is No. 3 billed in X-Men: Dark Phoenix and No. 1 billed in The Snowman, which also stars Val Kilmer (No. 4 billed) who is in Batman Forever (No. 1 billed), which also stars Tommy Lee Jones (No. 2 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 3 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 21. If we were to watch Glass, Last Man Standing, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – Hans Zimmer decided to retire from composing superhero movies after having worked on scores for Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Spider-Man, but Simon Kinberg convinced him to work on this film.

The film takes place in 1992, the year the X-Men comics were relaunched with new costume designs and a new cartoon show, X-Men (1992). (Period piece!!!!!!)

This will be the first X-Men film to not feature or reference either Logan/Wolverine or the actor that portrays him, Hugh Jackman. This is because Jackman retired from the role, which he portrayed since X-Men (2000). He was briefly featured in Deadpool 2 (2018) through reused and stock footage from X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009).

Mystique and Magneto were not originally intended to appear as Jennifer Lawrence implied in several interviews that she was done with playing Mystique, though she said in an interview that she had a change of heart as she didn’t want fans to be confused if her character got the ‘Chuck Cunningham Syndrome treatment’. (I’ve never heard of that, but it is great)

Directorial debut for writer Simon Kinberg.

Was originally scheduled for a November 2nd, 2018 release, but due to 20th Century Fox wanting reshoots in March 2018, the film was delayed by 3 months to February 15th, 2019, and then another 4 months to June 7th, 2019. (It would have been better off in February. Rumor is that the original story was the same as Captain Marvel, and the delays meant they had to re-cut it on the fly to differentiate itself)

Director Simon Kinberg has stated that he cut a good deal of the original storyline of the Dark Phoenix to focus more on ending the storyline that originally began in X: First Class (2011) and focus more on Jean’s character for the film. As such the elements of the Hellfire Club and the alien race known Shi’ar and their Shi’ar Empire from the original comic book storyline were removed from the film adaption to cut down on unnecessary sub-plots. Members of the Hellfire Club such as Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost previously appeared in X: First Class (2011).

Simon Kinberg took influence from Logan (2017) in making the film less stylish and more natural.

Simon Kinberg describes the land of Genosha as Magneto’s Israel: “It’s a land built for mutants, a homeland where they can be safe and self-sufficient.” In keeping with Magneto’s Jewish heritage, Israel is the land where the Hebrews founded and made their home after being set free from Egypt. (That’s pretty great)

In her role as Mystique, Jennifer Lawrence is now actually older than Rebecca Romijn was when she originated the role in the first film of the franchise. (fun)

The film released before Fox’s other X-Men Universe film, The New Mutants (2020). Unlike Dark Phoenix’s original release date where the film was to release 7 months after The New Mutants’s original April 6th, 2018 release date. (I’m skeptical New Mutants is coming out)

The third act was originally going to take place in space. After re-shoots were completed, it was changed to a sequence where the X-Men are kidnapped and taken aboard a military train. (Yes, I think this is the Captain Marvel thing. I think they wanted something that was similar to some sequence in Captain Marvel, but had to change it)