The Guardian (1990) Preview

Hats backward and cargo shorts a-baggin’, Rich and Poe skateboard their way to the Italiano Arcade & Pizzeria to smash on some video games and eat some ‘za. They immediately own a bunch of middle schoolers in Super Mario Bros 3 like some video game wizards and make their way to the top of the social pyramid. There are some dope tweens around, but they are by far the dopest. “Haven’t seen you two around here before. You guys sure can whiz on the j-stick,” one of the kids say, “they call me Toad, who are you?” Rich steps up, “I’m Big M and this is my bro LJ. We’d mash the ‘cade all day, but our Granny is a real lamester. You chilling me?” Toad nods and laughs while Poe tries not to cry. That’s his beloved Granny they’re talking about. Nobody calls her a lamester. Rich continues, “but maybe that’s not the worst thing, you feelz? We heard some real slippery things going on around here.” Toad looks a bit nervous, “Yeah, real canopy thang. But it’s just Elivira, the new nanny. Everyone else is icy.” Rich and Poe look at each other. Elvira? That doesn’t sound like Gruber. They looks around but Poe can’t see anyone that looks suspicious. “Rich, I don’t think this is working… Rich?” Rich is staring off into the distance. The crowds part between him and the most beautiful woman in the world. She flips her golden hair to the side and beckons to him. He floats towards her… the seductive and super creepy nanny who looks both ageless and yet thousands of years old. His mind is telling him to resist, but he has eyes only for this scary witch nanny and the creepy tree she’s sitting in. Wait, what? That’s right! You knew right from the start when I was talking about witch nannies and creepy trees that there was only one film I could be talking about. Let’s say it all together. The Guardian (1990). Of course. That film that everyone knows. Well at least one person knew about it and his name was Roger Ebert and he hated this film. In fact he said it was one of the worst he had ever seen. Good enough for us. Let’s go!

The Guardian (1990) – BMeTric: 31.9

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(The rating feels really low for a film from the early 90s and for a film I’ve never heard of. Even after the regression that is pretty astonishing. It really must be a terrible horror film. Getting a little excited here.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Yuppie couple hires a nanny for their newborn child, but we know there’s something odd about her: she feeds babies to a tree in a nearby gully. Friedkin’s first return to horror after The Exorcist has a few good scenes, but a ludicrous story and a hormorless approach. Seagrove is very good in an almost unplayable role. Cowritten by the director from the novel The Nanny by Dan Greenburg.

(I probably knew this was based on a book and forgot to be honest. Everything in this preview is about Friedkin. He really squandered a lot of his good will by 1990 it seems. He only really directed sporadically after 1985.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbl1b664ivk/

(‘Member the Exorcist? Me too … member that thing where William Friedkin was the director … cool me too.’ I literally have no idea what this film is about or what it is beyond a horror film made by the director of the Exorcist. Should I watch the Exorcist then? It feels like a good extra homework assignment.)

Directors – William Friedkin – (Known For: The Exorcist; The French Connection; Killer Joe; To Live and Die in L.A.; Cruising; Sorcerer; Bug; The Boys in the Band; Rampage; The Brink’s Job; Future BMT: Jade; Deal of the Century; The Hunted; Blue Chips; Rules of Engagement; BMT: The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Cruising in 1981; Notes: Given he directed The Exorcist it might be surprising to know he grew up Jewish, became agnostic, and then is clearly a Christian in some capacity given recent quotes.)

Writers – Dan Greenburg (novel & screenplay) – (Future BMT: Private Lessons; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Was married to Nora Ephron ages ago. His son was the kid in Lorenzo’s Oil.)

Stephen Volk (screenplay) – (Known For: The Awakening; Gothic; Future BMT: Octane; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Famously wrote and directed Ghostwatch, a fake documentary which played on the BBC which confused a bunch of people who thought it was real. It was banned from replay for a decade.)

William Friedkin (screenplay) – (Known For: To Live and Die in L.A.; Cruising; Rampage; BMT: The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Cruising in 1981; Notes: Cruising was considered by many as anti-gay, and the film was protested by the gay community at the time of production)

Actors – Jenny Seagrove – (Known For: Local Hero; Another Mother’s Son; Moonlighting; Future BMT: Run for Your Wife; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Long time partner of Bill Kenwright who is an actor and … the chairman of Everton F.C. since 2004? Still works as an actress, although not as often.)

Dwier Brown – (Known For: Field of Dreams; House; Red Dragon; Gettysburg; To Live and Die in L.A.; The Cutting Edge; Reunion; Future BMT: House II: The Second Story; Mom and Dad Save the World; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: If you’re racking your brain trying to figure out who he was in Field of Dreams, he was Kevin Costner’s father at the end.)

Carey Lowell – (Known For: Leaving Las Vegas; Licence to Kill; Sleepless in Seattle; Fierce Creatures; Future BMT: Club Paradise; Love Affair; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: You’d know her from Law & Order, she was on the order side of things, as a DA.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $17,037,887

(Probably not great … although you could make these things for less than a million around this point in time, so maybe it turned as profit.)

#233 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(It feels like this came at a peak of the genre in the late eighties. Kind of went on a bit of a hiatus after. Still having a moment now, especially with It Part 2 coming out this year, should be good for R-rated horror.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (2/9): No Consensus

(Nice I get to make a consensus: Hysterically funny … wait, it was supposed to be a horror film? Reviewer Highlight: Maybe after years of banging his head against the system Friedkin decided with “The Guardian” to make a frankly commercial exploitation film. … give us a break. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – The Guardian Not Starring Kevin Costner (B+)

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(Too many words and the image itself is a bit small, but I’m digging the simplicity of it and the coloring. The font isn’t the worst either. Good effort.)

Tagline(s) – Tonight, while the world is asleep… an ancient evil is about to awaken. (F)

(I literally don’t understand this… when? Tonight? Is that like… when I’m watching the movie or is the film set over a single night during which the ancient evil awakens? Neither? Cool cool cool. Just one more thing. Would it have mattered if that ancient evil awoke while everyone was awake? No? Interesting.)

Keyword(s) – baby; Top Ten by BMeTric: 92.6 Date Movie (2006); 92.1 Son of the Mask (2005); 91.0 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 84.0 Baby Geniuses (1999); 76.3 Junior (1994); 75.9 In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011); 74.7 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 73.9 Look Who’s Talking Too (1990); 70.6 The Animal (2001); 69.0 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013);

(Shit. I have to watch The Animal for a third time. Maybe Jamie will appreciate it more given it stars someone from Survivor. [Editor’s Note: I will])

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 24) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Xander Berkeley is No. 10 billed in The Guardian and No. 6 billed in Seeking Justice, 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) => 10 + 6 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 24. If we were to watch Savage Islands we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Jenny Seagrove was unhappy with the film’s constant re-writes, and wanted to make a completely different film. She said to The Guardian in 2007: “It was about this druid nanny who became a tree. I begged Universal to make it about a real nanny who kidnaps babies. ‘No, no, we can’t do that,’ they said, ‘the thirty somethings in America won’t come and see the film.’ I said, ‘I think you’re completely wrong; this film is total fantasy, and it’s just awful.’ Two years later The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992) was released, so I rang up my friend at Universal and he said, ‘Don’t. Don’t even talk about it, you were right.’ ” (haha)

Was to originally be directed by Sam Raimi, but he left the project early to direct Darkman (1990). Producers brought in William Friedkin, and the project suffered through several re-writes sending co-writer Stephen Volk into a breakdown. Friedkin eventually took over the writing duties. (oooooooooooof)

William Friedkin’s first horror movie in seventeen years since The Exorcist (1973). (Maybe a mistake)

One of only two feature films that William Friedkin wrote nothing about, positive or negative, in his memoir The Friedkin Connection (see also Deal of the Century (1983)).

A new effects crew was brought onto the scene after the initial tree failed to work mechanically. The new team constructed a tree that held 500 gallons of fake blood and detachable bark. (oh no, haha)

The delivery scene used real footage of an actual live birth. (oh no … I would just say haha here, but that would feel redundant)

The film was released three years after its source novel “The Nanny” by Dan Greenburg had been published in 1987. (Fact: I did not read this book)

The movie’s dark villain, Camilla (Jenny Seagrove), is included in the compilation film Boogeymen: The Killer Compilation (2001).

A cable television version of the film is not billed to William Friedkin, but to Alan Smithee, a generic name which is used by directors when they don’t want to be associated with a picture. This, despite the fact that Friedkin claims on the film’s audio-commentary he never heard of such a version. There are two versions of “The Guardian”: the theatrical cut, credited to Friedkin, and a modified cut, credited to Smithee. The Smithee cut has never been released on home video or DVD, and has only been shown on cable. It includes new scenes, including another scene in the hospital, different dream sequences, a scene of the nanny waking the wife up and alternate angles for other scenes. Also, the ending of the cable cut is different and omits much of the gore. (Oh wow, that is kind of cool. They cut a version and clearly didn’t ask him about it. Sounds like we can’t get it though)

Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert named the picture one of his “Most Hated Films” of all-time. (Noice, it is on his end of the year worst of list so …)

One of three movies with “The Guardian” title made during the modern era of Hollywood. This supernatural horror movie was made and released around six years after the 1984 action crime thriller The Guardian (1984) and sixteen years before the sea rescue drama The Guardian (2006). (We have now watched two for BMT. Martin Sheen’s 1984 film doesn’t have any reviews. That sounds like I have to cook up 5 fake reviews to get this onto Rotten Tomatoes …)

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Troll Preview

Sergeant Godzilla roars with anger at Officer Fultz, who simply scoffs and asks if he can go. He’s got some actual bad guys to stop with lethal force and no time for pencil-pushing bullshit. “RAWR, not till you tell me why you broke all those rules last week. And who are these two bozos with you?” Fultz looks back at Jamie and Patrick, “Just some scum I caught littering in the dead zone.” Godzilla seems taken aback, “The dead zone, huh? Get outta here you rule-breaking nogoodnik and don’t let me catch you breaking any more rules.” With that Jamie and Patrick are left alone with Godzilla. “Mighty dangerous place out there in the dead zone. Wanna tell me what you were looking for besides trouble?” Knowing this might be their only shot Patrick speaks up, “A couple of your officers we hope… Rich and Poe? Do they work for you, sir?” Godzilla squints at them. For a moment recognition seems to dawn on his scaly face but then it’s gone, “No. Nobody by that name here. They sound like a couple of rule-breakers anyway. Perhaps they work over in Bridgetown. That’s the toughest precinct in these parts.” Jamie and Patrick ask if they can head that way but Godzilla seems hesitant, “It’s not exactly police friendly and you both seem like you follow the law.” Jamie and Patrick nod and think about all the coolz rulez they follow. “They won’t take kindly to either of us. But I can drop you over at an informant’s apartment and he might know something of interest. Just don’t… make a deal with him. He’s trouble.” They hop in Godzilla’s specialty police racecar and zoom on over to the apartment. When they approach the door it creaks open and a warty troll hand beckons them in. That’s right! We’re watching the 1986 cult classic Troll. Made on a shoestring budget and earning $5 million at the box office this was such an cult success that they later attempted to rebrand two different films as its sequel. Troll 2 actually is considered one of the worst films ever made and Troll 3 (originally The Crawlers) is largely forgotten. This was apparently mentioned on a list of the 50 worst films ever made, but that’s not enough to make it on the Wikipedia list so it was rejected. Let’s go!

Troll (1986) – BMeTric: 57.1

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(The rating has kind of hilariously been all over the place. Around 4.0 is obviously solid though. Interesting that it has nearly 10K votes as well, heartening.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  If your idea of entertainment is seeing Sonny Bono metamorphose into an apartment of foliage, this is the movie for you. Angelic tyke is possessed by a troll, who takes over her body and starts turning the neighbors into seed pods that eventually turn into new trolls. Too close to Gremlins; some viewers may get off on hearing June Lockhart swear. Sequel: Troll II.

(Troll II isn’t a sequel to Troll. Or at least, it is a SINO, a Sequel in Name Only. And yeah Leonard … seeing Sonny Bono morph into a forest is exactly what entertains me.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7rg8C8w5ZY/

(“The weirdest, and wildest … creature of them all. That troll legit just looks like the troll from Ernest Scared Stupid … or maybe Hoggle from Labyrinth?)

Directors – John Carl Buechler – (BMT: Troll; Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Visual Effects for The Garbage Pail Kids Movie in 1988; Notes: A Special Effects guy back in the heyday of 80s horror. He actually directed a number of features, most just don’t have reviews online.)

Writers – John Carl Buechler (story) (uncredited) – (BMT: Troll; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Visual Effects for The Garbage Pail Kids Movie in 1988; Notes: Awwww he was just diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer, like Alex Trebek.)

Ed Naha (written by) – (Known For: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; Honey I Blew Up the Kid; Dolls; Future BMT: The Ten Commandments; BMT: Troll; Notes: He wrote two RoboCop novelizations. Pretty cheap.)

Actors – Michael Moriarty – (Known For: Pale Rider; Courage Under Fire; The Stuff; The Last Detail; Q; Bang the Drum Slowly; Shiloh; Dog Soldiers; It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive; Hickey & Boggs; Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season; Future BMT: Along Came a Spider; Neverwas; BMT: Troll; Notes: Probably most well known for Law & Order where he was the prosecutor for the first four years of the series’ run. He was eventually replaced by Sam Waterston.)

Shelley Hack – (Known For: Annie Hall; The King of Comedy; Time After Time; The Stepfather; Future BMT: House Arrest; BMT: Troll; Notes: Was a Charlie’s Angel for a season in 1979.)

Noah Hathaway – (Known For: The NeverEnding Story; Sushi Girl; Best Friends; BMT: Troll; Notes: He played Atreyu in The NeverEnding Story. He holds black belts in Tang Soo Do and Shotokan, and (at the time this sketchy IMDb bio was written) is learning American Kenpo. Hmmm, American Kenpo you say)

Budget/Gross – $700,000-1.1 million / Domestic: $5,450,815

(I mean sure. You couldn’t not make money with cheap horror films back in the day it seems.)

#113 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

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(Juuuuust beats out In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale for our lowest grossing film in this genre. Right before the big Willow / Princess Bride boom in the 80s. Then everything kind of died off when people realized the effects looked like crap and were expensive. And then Highlander: Endgame changes the game in 2000 .. Joking, it was Harry Potter.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (2/8)No Consensus

(Very few reviews naturally, and surprisingly bad considering how innocuous the trailer looks. The consensus can be summed up as: Boring, insufferable, and not scary. Reviewer Highlight: Almost as scary as the Leprechaun – Kevin Fiddler, Henderson Home News)

Poster – [Placeholder Picture] (F+)

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(This is so hard to distinguish what it’s trying to show that it has to have been done intentionally because they knew the troll looked dumb. It’s just like… a bad photo. A very tiny amount of credit for the font I guess.)

Tagline(s) – Apartment for Rent. Inquire Within… (D-)

(Things aren’t going well for the Troll marketing team. Is there a joke here… are we supposed to be enticed by the prospect of a Troll landlord? At least it’s short and all the words make sense when put together.)

Keyword(s) – troll; Top Ten by BMeTric: 86.3 Troll 2 (1990); 57.1 Troll (1986); 54.1 Leprechaun 2 (1994); 49.5 Seventh Son (I) (2014); 45.0 Slackers (2002); 32.4 A Troll in Central Park (1994); 30.9 Snow White and the Huntsman (2012); 30.7 Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013); 30.1 Beowulf & Grendel (2005); 29.0 Ernest Scared Stupid (1991);

(The original keyword was “girl in a notably short outfit” for reals. How about fucking “troll”?! Who wrote this email generator … oh yeah, I did. Anyways I manually replaced it. I’ve seen … most of these kind of sadly. I don’t see how Slackers applies though … maybe they are referring to like … online trolls there?)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 25) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Julia Louis-Dreyfus is No. 3 billed in Troll and No. 3 billed in North, which also stars Elijah Wood (No. 1 billed) who is in The Last Witch Hunter (No. 3 billed), which also stars Vin Diesel (No. 1 billed) who is in Babylon A. D. (No. 1 billed), which also stars Michelle Yeoh (No. 2 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 4 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 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 25. If we were to watch Fathers’ Day, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – The hero of this film is a boy named Harry Potter Junior, who is surrounded by a fantasy world of witches, wizards and magic, 11 years before J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels swept the publishing world.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ film debut.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has admitted being embarrassed by her role. In April 2013, Jay Leno showed her scene as a nymph on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.125 (2013). Louis-Dreyfus was surprised and visibly annoyed that Leno dredged up her connection to the film. (Yeah not a good look. I sometimes think about how annoying it would be if I was like “My God, Jason Statham. I loved you in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.” I imagine he would punch me square in the face).

Brad Hall and Julia Louis-Dreyfus play an on-screen couple in this film. In real life, the two were dating, and married the year following the film’s release. It remains the only live-action film in which they starred together, although both provided their voices to A Bug’s Life (1998).

Although she remained covered in the film for her transformation into the Faery, an on-set photo of Julia Louis-Dreyfus was published in the March 1986 issue of Cinefantastique Magazine in which her bare breasts were visible. (Oh no)

The movie Troll 2 (1990), despite its title, is not a sequel to this movie and also does not contain Trolls. (Yeah they are goblins from Nilbog in that one)

In John Carl Buechler’s original story treatment, Torok was a monster who was systematically killing off the inhabitants of the building slasher-movie style. Producer Charles Band wanted to create a PG-13 movie, so the story was altered and the fantasy element was created.

The picture of Galwyn in his human form (before being turned into a mushroom) that Eunice St. Clair shows Harry Potter Jr. is a caricature of the film’s director, John Carl Buechler.

As production began, Michael Moriarty complained to director John Carl Buechler that he didn’t understand his character. The day that they shot the scene in which the Potter family moves into the building, Buechler snatched a bucket hat off the head of first assistant director Mauro Sacripanti and put it on Moriarty. “I look ridiculous,” Moriarty said. “So Harry Potter is ridiculous?” A light-bulb went off and there was no further discussion of the character. (I’m ridiculous … all I needed to know m’man. Jesus, this movie)

The Ratspit puppet from “The Dungeonmaster” (aka Ragewar (1984)) is recycled.

Director John Carl Buechler had been so impressed with Noah Hathaway’s performance in “The Neverending Story” that he cast him as the lead in the film.

“Cantos Profane,” otherwise known as “The Troll Song,” was recorded prior to shooting and set the tone for the rest of Richard Band’s musical score. The characters were supposed to perform it as a full-blown production number, but due to limitations in the low-budget puppets they had to grunt along to the music. (Oh no, I’m getting whiffs of Garbage Pail Kids the Movie)

While the film is not short on hideous or disgusting creatures, Torok is the only troll to appear on screen. The other creatures are fey folk, nymphs, goblins, and other mythical beings. (Coooooool)

The role of Malcolm Mallory was explicitly written for Phil Fondacaro but director/FX man John Carl Buechler was pressured to cast Billy Barty. Originally, a fully animatronic puppet was intended to have been utilized for Torok the Troll, but Buechler scrapped his plan and sculpted a creature costume directly onto Fondacaro’s life cast, knowing that the producers wouldn’t want to pay two different actors. (The guy seems like a straight up VFX genius)

Godzilla (1998) Preview

Jamie and Patrick crawl through the wasteland, no civilization in sight. “What are we going to do, Patrick?” Jamie cries through parched lips. “We’ll never find a police station.” Patrick meditates on this possibility while looking in his backpack of supplies. Only one delicious five-dollar footlong from Subway left. They each get a half-foot and sit against a rock to snack. Without warning Jamie stands up, his eyes ablaze, and throws his remaining sandwich to the ground. “This Subway sandwich is delicious, but what’s the point? We’re going to die anyway!” Suddenly they hear a faint buzz in the distance as a police car approaches… or is it a car? As it nears they notice that it’s a rocket skateboard. Rad. The police officer hops off his board, dark visor down, and gets right up in Jamie’s face. “Littering, dirtbag? Do it again, scum, I dare you. You are a weed. And I’m a weedkiller.” Patrick tries to interrupt, but the police officer pushes him back. “You want to get blown away too, filth? Both of you are coming with me and you’re lucky to be alive.” Jamie and Patrick look at each other in shock and shrug. Guess they’ll make it to the police station after all. After a super cool ride on the police issue rocket skateboard they enter the station, loose paper blowing around their feet and dangerous looking punks attempting escape at every turn. Almost immediately they hear a loud roar from up ahead “Fultz! Get in here, you no-good, rule-breaking piece of shit!” Other police officers whistle and clap as the officer, apparently Fultz, drags Jamie and Patrick into the sergeant’s office. “You wanted to see me Sarge?” He asks, looking annoyed. When the desk chair turns Jamie and Patrick are shocked… is that… Godzilla? That’s right! We’re watching the 1998 smash hit Godzilla starring Matthew Broderick and directed by Roland Emmerich. A bit of a surprise that it is on the rejected list given that it had such anticipation and star power and is still known today as a giant critical failure. People were basically laughing at it. But perhaps it didn’t quite reach the depths of Batman & Robin. Let’s go!

Godzilla (1998) – BMeTric: 58.7

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(I guess it makes sense … a little weird that it would drop to almost below 50. This film should be a classic bad movie and thus immune to regression to the mean. Then again, mid-5.0s probably makes sense. A rating in the 4s is incredibly low for a blockbuster no matter how bad.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Giant lizard monster moves swiftly from the Pacific to N.Y. harbor, and terrorizes the Big Apple. Biologist Broderick hooks up with mystery man Reno and his team to stop it. Giant-scale fx-driven no-brainder doesn’t make much sense, has shallow characters, and goes on too long – but still offers a surprising amount of fun. Followed by an animated series.

(Did I just hear “animated series” … I think I know what I’m doing for the You Just Got Schooled section. Anywho, quite a mild review to be honest, but also a little bit like how I remember it. I saw this in theaters almost certainly, and I remember thinking it was fine. I was 12 at the time … but still, I distinctly remember thinking it was silly but fine.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt6bMHUoE6I/

(Ooooof that Hank Azaria shot at the end. I just watched a video where he went through his filmography and he said this film was a terrible experience, that they were just soaking them with water the entire time and he got sick like four times.)

Directors – Roland Emmerich – (Known For: Stargate; The Patriot; The Day After Tomorrow; Independence Day; White House Down; Anonymous; Future BMT: Stonewall; BMT: 10,000 BC; Independence Day: Resurgence; Godzilla; 2012; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Independence Day: Resurgence in 2017, and for Godzilla in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: We literally just watched Universal Soldier which he directed. For all intents and purposes we’ve finished his filmography, Stonewall is too small to qualify. So good for us I guess.)

Writers – Dean Devlin (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Stargate; Independence Day; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Independence Day: Resurgence; Godzilla; Geostorm; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1999 for Godzilla; and in 2017 for Independence Day: Resurgence; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: Good friends with Mel Gibson.)

Roland Emmerich (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Stargate; The Day After Tomorrow; Independence Day; BMT: 10,000 BC; Independence Day: Resurgence; Godzilla; 2012; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Independence Day: Resurgence in 2017, and for Godzilla in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: I think I mentioned this in the Universal Soldier preview as well, but he was one of the first openly gay directors in Hollywood.)

Ted Elliott (story) (credit only) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Aladdin; Shrek; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; The Mask of Zorro; Treasure Planet; Small Soldiers; The Road to El Dorado; Future BMT: The Legend of Zorro; The Puppet Masters; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; BMT: Godzilla; The Lone Ranger; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Lone Ranger in 2014; Notes: He used to spell check reviews for Roger Ebert. Collaborates with Rossio frequently.)

Terry Rossio (story) (credit only) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Aladdin; Shrek; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Deja Vu; The Mask of Zorro; Treasure Planet; Small Soldiers; The Road to El Dorado; Future BMT: The Legend of Zorro; The Puppet Masters; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; BMT: Godzilla; The Lone Ranger; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Lone Ranger in 2014; Notes: Was at one point a Machine Parts Inspector. The writing partner of Elliott for the most part, although their filmographies differ slightly.)

Actors – Matthew Broderick – (Known For: The Lion King; Manchester by the Sea; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; WarGames; Trainwreck; Glory; Bee Movie; Tower Heist; The Cable Guy; The Producers; To Dust; Ladyhawke; Rules Don’t Apply; Election; You Can Count on Me; The Tale of Despereaux; Margaret; The Freshman; Addicted to Love; The Road to Wellville; Future BMT: Inspector Gadget; Deck the Halls; The Stepford Wives; Family Business; She’s Having a Baby; Dirty Weekend; Finding Amanda; Diminished Capacity; BMT: Godzilla; New Year’s Eve; Notes: He’s done a lot of random guest spots on television more recently. He’s been married to Sarah Jessica Parker for over 20 years now.)

Jean Reno – (Known For: Leon; The Promise; Mission: Impossible; Hotel Rwanda; Ronin; Flushed Away; Nikita; The Big Blue; French Kiss; L’immortel; Margaret; La ragazza nella nebbia; The Crimson Rivers; Subway; Wasabi; Armoured; Al di là delle nuvole; Comme un chef; La rafle; Future BMT: Couples Retreat; The Pink Panther; The Pink Panther 2; The Last Face; Just Visiting; Xia dao lian meng; Flyboys; The Da Vinci Code; Days and Nights; BMT: Rollerball; Godzilla; Alex Cross; Notes: One of the more notable french actors to have transitioned into an international film star. He worked with Luc Besson early in his career.)

Maria Pitillo – (Known For: True Romance; Natural Born Killers; Chaplin; She-Devil; Bright Lights, Big City; White Palace; I’ll Do Anything; Spike of Bensonhurst; Future BMT: Dear God; Wise Guys; Bye Bye Love; Frank & Jesse; BMT: Godzilla; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Godzilla in 1999; Notes: She got married in 2002 and has a daughter, so it is likely because of that that she seems semi-retired. Sang in The Lost Capone.)

Budget/Gross – $130–150 million / Domestic: $136,314,294 (Worldwide: $379,014,294)

(That seems … fine-ish. They were certainly expecting much higher, but that is kind of shockingly high for a film without a sequel. I guess how badly it was critically panned might have done it in.)

#24 for the CGI Star genre

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(Below a Transformers or two, and the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles … so this is basically the Michael Bay category. Still quite high considering it came out in 1998. People loved their CGI star in 2010.)

#11 for the Creature Feature genre

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(Highest grossing creature feature we’ve seen for BMT, right at the late-90s peak. This is indeed the highest grossing bad creature feature available.)

#15 for the Disaster genre

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(Somehow beaten out by 2012 as far as BMT goes, and the highest we can get is Armageddon. An interesting genre. There was a set of exploitation films in the 60s and 70s (like Towering Inferno), which I have to say I find rather distasteful. Then as CGI blew up it came back in the late nineties, and then it surged again around 2010-15 … it certainly seems like when things are “going well” in the US people like to see some big disaster films, and when things aren’t … well then reality will suffice I suppose.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (12/75): Without compelling characters or heart, Godzilla stomps on everything that made the original (or any monster movie worth its salt) a classic.

(Yeah, a complete catastrophe considering this is a beloved cult franchise. It was supposed to break out a whole new world of remakes for Hollywood, but alas, they had to stick with garbage J-Horror adaptations instead for a bit. Reviewer Highlight: You have to absorb such a film, not consider it. But my brain rebelled, and insisted on applying logic where it was not welcome. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Sklog Does Matter (A-)

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(Kinda working for me in an old school kind of way. Needs a bit more green maybe. You could image a version of this being the poster for a 1982 Godzilla reboot, although that font is straight 90’s and I love it. Artistic, nice framing, font, and tells a story. I dig it, what can I say?)

Tagline(s) – Size Does Matter (B+)

(Short and sweet and can’t help but love a blockbuster that uses a dick joke as a tagline. I think the biggest problem for me is that it’s not really clever… just kind of using the dick joke and having that be the joke. Still, it’s working.)

Keyword(s) – giant monster; Top Ten by BMeTric: 82.2 Skyline (2010); 74.8 After Earth (2013); 64.3 Max Steel (2016); 62.3 Ghostbusters (2016); 62.3 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997); 62.0 Independence Day: Resurgence (2016); 59.9 Monsters: Dark Continent (2014); 58.7 Godzilla (I) (1998); 54.7 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012); 54.6 Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995);

(Wowza, there are a lot available. The Ghostbusters one is fake though, at least, it doesn’t qualify by a country mile … you know what, I’m going to bold that because I’ve seen it, so there.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jean Reno is No. 2 billed in Godzilla and No. 5 billed in Rollerball, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 2 + 5 + 1 + 2 = 10. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Despite the less-than-expected box office performance, this film still made more money worldwide than any other American movie based on a foreign film. It held this record until Godzilla (2014) claimed it 16 years later, although accounting for inflation, this movie still made more. (Yeah it is kind of crazy. Imagine if the movie was halfway decent!)

Godzilla has only about 11 minutes of screentime. (I guess, having watched it he is still all over the film even if you aren’t seeing him)

Mayor Ebert and his assistant Gene are spoofs of the late film critics Roger Ebert and his partner Gene Siskel (who would pass away less than a year after the film’s release). This is in response to the duo giving negative reviews to Emmerich and Devlin’s earlier films Stargate (1994) and Independence Day (1996). (That’s pretty funny)

An animated series called Godzilla: The Series (1998) was made which continued the storyline of the film. In the series, Tatopoulos accidentally discovers the egg that survived the destruction of the nest. The creature hatches and imprints on Nick as its parent. (Great ….)

Toho Studios gave the American creators a 75-page dossier of what they can and cannot do with Godzilla’s character. This included the following rules: Godzilla cannot eat people, only fish, he has to have three rows of dorsal plates, no more or less than three toes on his feet and four fingers on his hand, she cannot be made to look silly, he cannot die in the movie. Almost all of these points were disregarded, and according to Patrick Tatopoulos, the only specific instructions Roland Emmerich gave him was that Godzilla should be able to run incredibly fast and that it shouldn’t resemble a dinosaur too closely. (WTF)

The lead role was written specifically for Matthew Broderick. Indeed, the actor committed to the film without reading a finished screenplay. (Kind of cool)

Dean Devlin aggressively defended the movie on internet message boards, at times telling the Godzilla fans “to hell with you” if they had a negative opinion over it. The official Godzilla message board was shut down soon thereafter due to all the heated arguing. Years later, Devlin has admitted to recognizing the movie’s faults and apologized to the fans in various interviews. (Internet forums are poison Devlin)

Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin abandoned Godzilla’s iconic atomic breath in favor of a “power breath”, where their Godzilla would simply blow objects away by exhaling a strong wind-like breath. However, news of the power breath leaked before the film’s release, which outraged fans and forced Emmerich and Devlin to make last minute changes on scenes involving the power breath, effects supervisor Volker Engel stated, “Dean and Roland wanted this monster to retain a certain menace and credibility, but Godzilla’s breath is something everyone expects to see at some point, So they came up with instances in which you would see something like the old breath, but with a kind of logic applied to it. We make the assumption that something in his breath, when it comes in contact with flame, causes combustive ignition. So you get this flame-thrower effect, which causes everything to ignite.” Creature designer Patrick Tatopoulos added, “We were creating an animal. We weren’t creating a monster.” (Actually pretty good reasoning, but completely makes sense that fans would be annoyed as well)

The number of the cabs used in the chase at the end of the movie is MN 44. Moon 44 (1990) is the title of an earlier film that was directed by Roland Emmerich and in which Dean Devlin appeared. (Fun fact)

Patrick Tatopoulos, who designed the new Godzilla, states that the creature design mixes elements of various reptiles; also, he wanted the creature to be imposing and to inspire respect. To achieve that, he was inspired from the character Shere-Kan featured in The Jungle Book (1967); the tiger had a noticeable chin and Tatopoulos applied this characteristic on his design, taking the appearance of it from what he refers to be a “Selfin Dragon.” He also gave the creature humanoid shoulders and hands, very similar to the features included in the original design. (It … actually does kind of look like a tiger chin)

Godzilla’s design is based off a marine iguana as they originated in the Galapagos which is in the South Pacific. (It isn’t in the South Pacific, it is on the equator, but yeah, you can see a marine iguana in the opening)

The tanks used in the fish feeding scenes were actually big plastic/fiberglass mock-ups that were wheeled around on big dollies. (Movie magic)

When a cross-promotional deal with Anheuser-Busch was cancelled, visual effects artists had to digitally “erase” all Budweiser labels seen on beer bottles in the film. (Ha, when product placement goes wrong)

Was meant to be the cinematic debut of actress Maria Pitillo. The movie immediately “won” her a Golden Raspberry Award as the Worst Supporting Actress and she stopped receiving movie roles some years later. (Ridiculous since the film gives her absolutely nothing to do)

Roland Emmerich wanted his Godzilla to be fast. He can run about 200 mph. (Huh, that seems … too fast)

In a 2014 interview for the British film magazine Empire, Roland Emmerich admitted that he wanted to make a disaster movie about meteors rather than a Godzilla flick. However, Armageddon (1998) and Deep Impact (1998) had already been made by the time he was done directing this movie, which frustrated him as he wanted to make one first. (Ha)

Razzie Notes

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Maria Pitillo, 1999)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Dean Devlin, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Roland Emmerich, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, 1999)

Gods and Generals Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the third in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Gods and Generals (2003) – BMeTric: 17.1

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(It concerns me that this film is actually rising over time. Not because the rating is rising, that is natural as the vote count increases. No. I’m concerned because anyone is deciding to watch a horrible 4 hour film … why? I guess Civil War enthusiasts, which I suppose might explain the rising score.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Writer-director Maxwell’s prequel to Gettysburg is not in the same league but does manage to capture some of the sights, sounds, and personalities of the Civil War’s early years, with an emphasis on the South. Lion’s share of the story is devoted to Lang’s pious “Stonewall” Jackson. Telling vignettes and vivid battle scenes make up for some ponderousness, speechiness, and overlength (it’s even longer – 231m. – on video). Film’s backer, media mogul Ted Turner, has a cameo as a Confederate soldier. Based on the Jeff Shaara novel.

(Amazingly if you watch the director’s cut the film is an astonishing 4 hours and 40 minutes. When I watched it for the first time I remarked “I’ve forgotten what it was like to not be watching Gods and Generals. I’ve been born, lived, and died while watching this film.” Leonard is being kind, or it was a review of the time, because the film is an achievement in ponderousness, there is no more ponderous film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxPXrrZ8bJU

(Hmmmm. Hmmmmm. Hmmmmm. I wonder which side is fighting for God’s glory and which for his kingdom on earth …. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.)

Directors – Ron Maxwell – (Known For: Gettysburg; Little Darlings; Future BMT: Copperhead; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Notable somewhat for his incredibly long production periods. The intention, as of 2013, was to write and direct a Joan of Arc movie. But it is somewhat unclear what happened with that plan.)

Writers – Jeff Shaara (book) (as Jeffrey M. Shaara) – (BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: The son of Michael Shaara who wrote Gettysburg, which this film is a prequel to. He also wrote a sequel called The Last Full Measure.)

Ron Maxwell (screenplay) (as Ronald F. Maxwell) – (Known For: Gettysburg; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Exclusively writes and directs historical epics financed by Ted Turner.)

Actors – Stephen Lang – (Known For: Avatar; Hostiles; Tombstone; Don’t Breathe; Braven; Public Enemies; Manhunter; Gettysburg; The Dinner; The Men Who Stare at Goats; The Hard Way; Tall Tale; Band of Robbers; Last Exit to Brooklyn; Gridlocked; White Irish Drinkers; Project X; Pionér; The I Inside; Twice in a Lifetime; Future BMT: Eye See You; A Good Marriage; The Nut Job; Shadow Conspiracy; In the Blood; Another You; Guilty as Sin; Mortal Engines; The Amazing Panda Adventure; Trixie; Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You; Band of the Hand; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Fire Down Below; Gods and Generals; Notes: His father was a noted businessman and philanthropist who left the entirety of his $150 million fortune to charity upon his death.)

Robert Duvall – (Known For: The Godfather; Widows; Apocalypse Now; The Godfather: Part II; The Road; The Natural; Jack Reacher; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Judge; Deep Impact; Falling Down; MASH; Open Range; We Own the Night; Crazy Heart; Secondhand Lions; Network; True Grit; Sling Blade; Thank You for Smoking; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Something to Talk About; Days of Thunder; Wild Horses; Lucky You; The Handmaid’s Tale; Gone in Sixty Seconds; In Dubious Battle; Seven Days in Utopia; Breakout; Jayne Mansfield’s Car; BMT: The Scarlet Letter; Gods and Generals; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Newsies in 1993; Notes: Won an Oscar for Tender Mercies. Was good friends with Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman whom he went to acting school with.)

Jeff Daniels – (Known For: The Martian; Looper; Speed; Dumb and Dumber; State of Play; The Hours; Steve Jobs; Pleasantville; Terms of Endearment; 2 Days in the Valley; Gettysburg; Arachnophobia; The Squid and the Whale; Away We Go; Blood Work; Ragtime; Good Night, and Good Luck.; Because of Winn-Dixie; Traitor; Heartburn; Future BMT: Space Chimps; My Favorite Martian; RV; Dumb and Dumber To; Allegiant; 101 Dalmatians; Mama’s Boy; The Butcher’s Wife; All the Rage; Super Sucker; The Catcher Was a Spy; Paper Man; The Answer Man; BMT: Gods and Generals; Notes: Married his highschool sweetheart and lives in his home state of Michigan helping to support economic development there.)

Budget/Gross – $56 million / Domestic: $12,882,934 (Worldwide: $12,923,936)

(Catastrophic. But then again Gettysburg didn’t do much better. I’m fully convinced Ted Turner just loves the Civil War and doesn’t care. Also they probably have a racket whereby every school in America buys a copy of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals and thus the film is profitable before it even releases … I’m only half joking, that sounds plausible to be honest.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (10/121): Filled with two-dimensional characters and pompous self-righteousness, Gods and Generals is a long, tedious sit. Some may also take offense at the pro-Confederate slant.

(Some might take offense … at the pro-Confederate slant. Yeah I can imagine that might rub some people the wrong way. Reviewer Highlight: Four hours including the intermission, I felt like I was seeing the Civil War in real time for awhile there. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper)

Poster – Sklogs and Generals (B-)

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(Neither the worst nor the best. I think the imagery is stirring but wish they had done it a bit more artistically. Looks a little sloppy. Odd font, but unique.)

Tagline(s) – The nation’s heart was touched by…. (D+)

An unforgettable story of the Civil War, from the Director of “GETTYSBURG” (D-)

(Obviously the second one is a classic trash just trying to get those Gettysburg fanatics in the seats. At least it tells me the story is unforgettable. Which is true. I’ll never forget how terrible it was. The first is merely bad. So you’re telling me the nation’s heart was touched by a gigantic civil war that tore the country apart? Interesting.)

Keyword(s) – george washington character; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.5 Wild Wild West (1999); 17.1 Gods and Generals (2003); 16.5 The Manchurian Candidate (2004); 12.0 Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014); 6.6 The Patriot (2000); 2.2 John Paul Jones (1959); 0.2 Janice Meredith (1924); 0.0 George Washington’s First War: The Battles for Fort Duquesne (2003);

(Noice, although I’m skeptical there was a George Washington character in Wild Wild West all things considered. As a matter of fact, why would George Washington be in Gods and Generals? Or The Manchurian Candidate. Weird stuff. Usually I would replace a dumb keyword like this, but I’m mostly just fascinated.)

Notes – Some scenes were filmed on Robert Duvall’s estate in Virginia, which was the site of some Civil War skirmishes.

Martin Sheen was in the Washington, D.C. area the week of September 11th filming scenes for The West Wing (1999). He was prepared to fly the Tuesday morning Dulles to LAX flight if Warner Brothers agreed to his demand for one million dollars to reprise his role of Robert E. Lee from Gettysburg (1993). It was only because Warner Brothers passed, that Sheen was not on Flight 77 the morning of September 11. (Wow)

The majority of the Civil War re-enactors in the movie volunteered to be in the movie without pay. In return, the production company agreed to donate at least five hundred thousand dollars to preservation of a Civil War battlefield. (Cool I guess)

The wide shots of the Union infantry advancing towards the stone wall during the Battle of Fredericksburg were not set up nor filmed as visual effects shots. However, due to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the subsequent travel concerns and military reserve call-ups, the film’s re-enacting unit had drastically shrunk in number. This was not fully evident until the wide shots were viewed in post-production. Visual Effects Supervisor Thomas G. Smith had to digitally create over seventeen thousand low-resolution CGI soldiers, and then map out individual speeds for them: running, walking, or crawling wounded. He then added three thousand dead soldiers to scatter around the shot. (Kind of sad actually, that they didn’t get to do what they originally envisioned due to a national tragedy)

Kevin Conway often cites reprising his Gettysburg (1993) character, Sergeant Buster Kilrain, in this film, as part of the reason he turned down a supporting role in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which would have prevented him from shooting this film. (Oof)

Originally given an R-rating by the MPAA for extended battlefield violence and gore. Director Ron Maxwell either shortened or cut out entirely the most objectionable scenes in order to get the film down to a PG-13 rating. (But I assume he added twice as much footage of Jeff Daniels ordering people into the proper battle formation? Can’t let the movie be too long)

The film mostly omits a few of General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson’s eccentricities, but makes sly reference to them. The real Stonewall Jackson rode with a hand raised at all times, as he felt it was necessary to balance his bodily humors. In the film, Jackson suffers a wound to one hand, and spends a scene riding in that manner, ostensibly to staunch the bleeding. In addition, the real Jackson, according to legend, sucked on lemons incessantly in the belief that it was essential to his health. In the film, he presents lemons as a gift to the fiancée of his junior officer, and enjoys the resultant lemonade for its tartness. (What a weirdo)

Russell Crowe was the first choice to play Stonewall Jackson. Crowe expressed initial interest but eventually declined, citing a need to return to Australia and take a break from movie making. The role was then offered to Stephen Lang, who was already signed and rehearsing to reprise his Gettysburg (1993) character of General George Pickett. Billy Campbell took over the Pickett role.

Ted Turner put up the entire sixty million dollar budget of the film personally.

Although Robert E. Lee was a highly regarded officer in the U.S. Army, his dislike of slavery, and lukewarm approach to secession, combined with some early reverses while in command of the Virginia militia, took him out of consideration for field command in the Confederate Army. Instead, he was made an advisor to Jefferson Davis. He was named to command the Confederate Army outside of Richmond in 1862, when General Joseph Johnston was wounded, because Davis did not want General Pierre Beauregard in command.

A subplot involving John Wilkes Booth and his actor friend Henry T. Harrison (from Gettysburg (1993)) had to be cut from the film in order to get a wide release. The entire battle of Antietam was also deleted. In all, nearly two and a half hours of the film never made it to final print. (Jesus Christ. Director’s Director’s Cut of 6 hours incoming)

The intermission was actually included in the print and was almost an entire reel of black film. Theaters added light cues at the beginning and end of it. (Weird)

Unlike Producer Ted Turner’s previous American Civil War movies Gettysburg (1993) and Andersonville (1996), this movie was a major failure at the box-office and among the critics. The movie returned only twelve million out of its sixty million dollar budget. History buffs were angered by some obvious historical inaccuracies in its depiction of some of the major characters, despite the movie’s promoting its historical authenticity (Stonewall was not shot in the hand at the start of the war, Lee’s ascension to the position of the leader of the Confederate army happened slightly differently, et cetera.). Some critics even accused the movie of historical revisionism in favor of the Confederacy, due to the film’s somewhat glorified depiction of the Confederate Generals, and downplaying the importance of the issue of slavery in the conflict, since it focuses more on the states rights issue instead. (Yeah … they do seem to like the Confederates in the film)

Jeff Daniels reprised the role of Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain from Gettysburg (1993). Tom Berenger had been asked to reprise the role of James Longstreet, but declined, and was replaced by Bruce Boxleitner.

Stephen Lang also appeared in Gettysburg (1993). However, he does not reprise his original role from “Gettysburg”, that of Major General George E. Pickett. Instead, he played Lieutenant General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, who died two months prior to the momentous clash in Gettysburg. Billy Campbell took over the role of Pickett. (Honestly someone bigger should have been Stonewall, but whatever)

Ron Maxwell spent all of 2002 editing, re-editing, test screening and touching up the film. It went from six hours to three hours and five minutes, to three hours and thirty-seven minutes time and again. (Jesus, it was six hours!)

According to a report on CNN.com, Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV) and George Allen (R-VA), Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and former Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) all make small appearances in this film. “Wet plate” photographs of these politicians in full Civil War attire are available online. (Weird and wild stuff)

Gettysburg (1993) was based on author Jeff Shaara’s father’s classic novel, “The Killer Angels”. After the critical and commercial success of the film, Jeff was approached about the possibility of continuing the story, finding someone to write a prequel and sequel to The Killer Angels. Because of this, Jeff Shaara has used his father’s historical fiction approach to the American Revolution, the Mexican-American War, another Civil War Trilogy in the West, and both World Wars. (Good for Shaara I guess, get yo money)

Ted Turner is a huge Civil War buff. He financed two more films on the subject, Gettysburg (1993) for theatrical release, to which this movie is the prequel, and Andersonville (1996), a successful and acclaimed television movie about the worst and most notorious Confederate P.O.W. camp for captured Union soldiers in the entire war. (I knew it!)

Ghosts of Mars Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the second in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Ghosts of Mars (2001) – BMeTric: 67.2

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(that is quite a low rating I’m going to be honest. I’m not really surprised, the movie is a hilarious debacle, but you’d think those John Carpenter heads out there might be keeping the rating afloat a bit.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In the near future, Mars has been colonized, but there’s an outbreak of mass murder in some remote settlements. People are possessed by vengeful Martian ghosts; it’s up to the leam of a lady cop and a hardened criminal to battle them. Routine, predictable, and dull; unimaginatively, the Martian-possessed people adopt a punk/grunge look. Basically a remake of Carpenter’s early Assault on Precinct 13.

(Multiple places note the similarities between this as Assault on Precinct 13. The reviews seem like a mix between either dull and predictable or so bonkers it is amazing. Suffice it to say: we thought it was so bonkers it is amazing.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbmFwk8n0f0

(Wow … well, that was certainly stylized. The premise is kind of a western (with alien possession being akin to some Native American burial ground perhaps, or just a Native raid on a mining outpost), and the costumes certainly seem to match at times.)

Directors – John Carpenter – (Known For: Halloween; Halloween; They Live; Escape from New York; Escape from L.A.; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; The Fog; Prince of Darkness; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Assault on Precinct 13; Assault on Precinct 13; Eyes of Laura Mars; Dark Star; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers; Halloween; Lockout; Black Moon Rising; Halloween II; BMT: The Fog; Ghosts of Mars; Notes: One of the most influential horror directors in history. One of my favorite directors. Halloween and The Thing are two great movies to introduce two very different approaches to the genre.)

Writers – Larry Sulkis (written by) – (Future BMT: Village of the Damned; BMT: Ghosts of Mars; Notes: Very likely close to or a production partner with Carpenter at the time, uncredited as a writer of his Village of the Damned as well.)

John Carpenter (written by) – (Known For: Halloween; They Live; Escape from New York; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Escape from L.A.; The Fog; Assault on Precinct 13; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Prince of Darkness; Assault on Precinct 13; Dark Star; Eyes of Laura Mars; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; Halloween 5; Halloween; Black Moon Rising; Halloween II; BMT: The Fog; Ghosts of Mars; Notes: He wrote a good number of the films he directed back in the day. Notably he also often produced the synth heavy soundtracks. I was in Edinburgh and missed a concert by him by one day. I was very sad.)

Actors – Natasha Henstridge – (Known For: The Whole Nine Yards; Bounce; Future BMT: Maximum Risk; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; Steal; Deception; Dog Park; BMT: Species II; Ghosts of Mars; The Whole Ten Yards; Species; Notes: Canadian, but started as a model in Paris. Species was her first role in the biz, which makes perfect sense.)

Ice Cube – (Known For: xXx: Return of Xander Cage; 21 Jump Street; Friday; Boyz n the Hood; 22 Jump Street; Three Kings; The Book of Life; Higher Learning; Barbershop; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; Rampart; Trespass; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; The Longshots; The Glass Shield; Future BMT: First Sunday; Lottery Ticket; Fist Fight; Friday After Next; I Got the Hook Up; All About the Benjamins; Next Friday; Dangerous Ground; The Players Club; BMT: xXx²: State of the Union; Torque; Anaconda; Are We Done Yet?; Are We There Yet?; Ghosts of Mars; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes: Basically a BMT staple at this point, and we got plenty of time to go. Has had an interesting acting career going from mostly thug / gangbanger, to comedy, to kids’ film, and now he tends to be a cop in comedies.)

Pam Grier – (Known For: Mars Attacks!; Jackie Brown; Escape from L.A.; The Man with the Iron Fists; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; Above the Law; Foxy Brown; Something Wicked This Way Comes; Beyond the Valley of the Dolls; The Big Bird Cage; Holy Smoke; Class of 1999; Coffy; Just Wright; The Big Doll House; The Package; Fort Apache the Bronx; Original Gangstas; Future BMT: Bones; Fortress 2; Snow Day; Jawbreaker; Larry Crowne; Posse; The Allnighter; In Too Deep; Scream Blacula Scream; BMT: Pluto Nash; Ghosts of Mars; Notes: Insane life. She started in blaxploitation cinema filming in the Philippines where at some point in the 70s she contracted some tropical disease, lost all her hair, and temporarily went blind taking over a year to recover. Then in 1988 she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 18 months to live. She survived both. Say what?)

Budget/Gross – $28 million / Domestic: $8,709,640 (Worldwide: $14,010,832)

(Absolute catastrophe! Oh no John Carpenter, why?)

#71 for the Action Heroine genre

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(Ah right there before the peak, that’s definitely fun. Considering the notes indicate Henstridge was basically dying of exhaustion during filming from making so many movies it does seem like it was the time to be a fit female actress in Hollywood. You got to just pick a franchise and run with it for a bit there.)

#43 for the Sci-Fi Horror genre

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(You’d think this would be surging a bit more with the recent Horror surge … especially because sci-fi feels like one of the genres that can benefit from a low budget shoestring approach. We’ve seen quite a few of these at this point. Can’t genre I enjoy the genre much to be honest. Kind of like action comedies … not really good action films, not really good comedies. Sci-fi horror tends to make for a not really good sci-fi film and a not really good horror film.)

#30 for the Zombie genre

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(Right at the forefront of a Zombie resurgence! Rather interesting because this is still the only bad zombie film we’ve done which seems … unbelievable. Although I guess that is mainly because we haven’t done any of the Resident Evil films. Really became a thing around 2015, has since cooled.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (22/104): John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars is not one of Carpenter’s better movies, filled as it is with bad dialogue, bad acting, confusing flashbacks, and scenes that are more campy than scary.

(The flashbacks! That is one of the best parts to be honest. Once you are like 4 layers deep you kind of forget who you are and why you are even watching the film. Reviewer Highlight: Someday we’re all going to look back on this one and l-a-a-a-augh. – Cody Clark, Mr. Showbiz)

Poster – BANANANANANANANAS! (D)

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(I really really really wanted to like this poster but I have several problems with it. It looks cheap and dumb. The color scheme is both obvious (red is for Mars, black is for spoooooky) and poorly done. The alien guy looks silly. He wouldn’t look that silly, but they you notice his multiple finger piercings and you are like “that looks silly”. I desperately want to think any part of this is cool, but it isn’t. The font is maybe okay, the gradient is tough to replicate exactly on the fly.)

Tagline(s) – It’s their planet… we are the aliens. (B-)

(I like the idea of it, but it just doesn’t roll of the tongue as much as it needs to to get it a better score. Kind of obvious, but with the poster above I think it works enough, like you see the weird looking guy and you know it is kind of talking about him / them / it specifically.)

Keyword(s) – martian; Top Ten by BMeTric: 70.0 Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964); 67.2 Ghosts of Mars (2001); 61.0 Doom (2005); 51.4 My Favorite Martian (1999); 45.9 Mars Needs Moms (2011); 39.4 Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003); 26.8 Contamination (1980); 26.3 Spaced Invaders (1990); 26.2 Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991); 24.7 Mars Attacks! (1996);

(I’m kind of shocked at how few of these we’ve done. I bet we could get a lot more done. Maybe with a stellar cycle … would have to think of how best to do something like that though.)

Notes – John Carpenter revealed that he had become burnt out after he had made this film and made the decision of leaving Hollywood for good. It would not be until nine years later that he made a full feature film, which was The Ward (2010).

Filmed entirely at night.

The prosthetics that the main bad guy wears were rather too large for his mouth and resulted in most of the “ghost-speak” having only the “a” vowel sound. (kind of like him sounding like he’s saying banananananans the entire time? … yeah I might have noticed that a bit)

Much of the location shooting was done on a gypsum mine near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The gypsum, which is almost pure white, was sprayed with a biodegradable red food dye to give the appearance of a Martian landscape. (Oh they didn’t create a giant biohazard by spraying it with blood?)

Jason Statham was originally hired to play James “Desolation” Williams, but was replaced by Ice Cube for star power.

Natasha Henstridge replaced Courtney Love (the original choice) at the last minute. Love left the project after her boyfriend’s ex-wife ran over her foot in her car while she was in training for the picture. Michelle Yeoh, Franka Potente and Famke Janssen were briefly considered. Henstridge was suggested by her then-boyfriend Liam Waite, and was able to join the cast just a week before production began. The actress found the experience to be very harrowing, due to the heavily physical nature of her role and the difficult working conditions.

In a 2006 interview, Ice Cube nominated this as the worst movie he had appeared in, calling it “unwatchable in many ways. John Carpenter really let us down with the special effects on that one – it looked like something out of a film from 1979”.

This film contains Jason Statham’s first ever on-screen kiss.

Production had to shut down for a week when Natasha Henstridge fell ill due to extreme exhaustion (she had just done two other films back-to-back before joining the production at the last moment).

For the film’s score, music producer Bruce Robb brought in famed heavy metal band Anthrax to play to picture for director John Carpenter, who had originally filmed the movie listening to Metallica. The film’s score is entirely original and was recorded by Robb at his Cherokee Studios in Hollywood. The film’s DVD offers a bonus feature with behind-the-scenes footage in the studio with the musicians, Carpenter and Robb.

The narrator on the trailer is Keith David.

The film is considered to be a futuristic remake of John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 (1976). (Eh makes sense I guess. I’ve seen the original Assault on Precinct 13, very grindhouse style which is good and bad I think)

Originally called Escape from Earth, a supposed sequel to Escape from L.A. (1996) that features Kurt Russell as Snake Plisskin before changing its script due to box office failure.

For the film’s soundtrack, director and composer John Carpenter called upon various rock musicans to help enhance his own score. They include members of Anthrax, Steve Vai, Guns N’ Roses’ guitarists Buckethead and Robin Finck and Elliot Easton (formerly of The Cars).

The film takes place in 2176.

Police Academy Preview

This film was watched as a BONUS along with Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment. Look for that preview for the continued adventures of the Bad Movie Twins.

Police Academy (1984) – BMeTric: 14.4

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(Wow dropped from a 30 BMeTric to a sub-15 which is crazy. Why are people all of a sudden thinking this film is funny? Guttenberg is charming perhaps, but genuinely funny? I find it hard to believe.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Generally good-natured comedy (with typical ‘80s doses of sexism and tastelessness) about a group of weirdos and misfits who enroll in big-city police academy. Winslow’s comic sound effects are perfect antidote for slow spots in script. Followed by far too many sequels, a TV series, and an animated TV series.

(I think this is generally the accepted belief. Winslow and Guttenberg are both serviceable with Winslow’s machine gun sound effect stealing the show at times. Glad he shouted out the sexism and junk, it is fine that that was what the 80’s was like, but we can acknowledge that that shit ain’t funny anymore. Amazing homophobia though as well, gay panic up the wazoo.)

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

(That is basically it. A series of 80s slapstick vignettes with no real discernible story. Have fun.)

Directors – Hugh Wilson – (Known For: The First Wives Club; Blast from the Past; Guarding Tess; Future BMT: Burglar; BMT: Dudley Do-Right; Police Academy; Notes: Just passed away this last year. Won a Primetime Emmy for writing a show he produced called Frank’s Place.)

Writers – Neal Israel (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Real Genius; Bachelor Party; Police Academy 3: Back in Training; Future BMT: Police Academy: Mission to Moscow; Look Who’s Talking Too; Police Academy 6: City Under Siege; Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; BMT: Police Academy; Notes: Previously married to Amy Heckerling who directed European Vacation, Clueless, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Look Who’s Talking Etc.)

Pat Proft (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Real Genius; Bachelor Party; The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!; Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult; The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear; Hot Shots!; Hot Shots! Part Deux; Police Academy 3: Back in Training; Brain Donors; Future BMT: Police Academy: Mission to Moscow; Police Academy 6: City Under Siege; Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Mr. Magoo; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Scary Movie 4; Scary Movie 3; Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; High School High; Wrongfully Accused; BMT: Scary Movie 5; Police Academy; Notes: Actually wrote The Star Wars Holiday Special. Wow.)

Hugh Wilson (screenplay) – (Known For: Blast from the Past; Guarding Tess; Future BMT: Stroker Ace; Burglar; Down Periscope; BMT: Dudley Do-Right; Police Academy; Notes: There is a claim on IMDb that he has a screenplay that is going to be produced that is about the first police force assembled in the Middle Ages with an alternate title of Police Academy: 1123… chew on that.)

Actors – Steve Guttenberg – (Known For: Home for the Holidays; Cocoon; Short Circuit; 3 Men and a Baby; Diner; The Boys from Brazil; Amazon Women on the Moon; Police Academy 3: Back in Training; The Bedroom Window; Rollercoaster; Zeus and Roxanne; Future BMT: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; 3 Men and a Little Lady; Cocoon: The Return; Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; The Big Green; It Takes Two; High Spirits; Affluenza; Surrender; BMT: Can’t Stop the Music; Police Academy; Notes: The Gutes. IMDb says he turned down the lead in Big and Ghostbusters. Classic Gutes.)

G.W. Bailey – (Known For: Goodfellas; Runaway; Short Circuit; Home on the Range; Q & A; Future BMT: Police Academy: Mission to Moscow; Police Academy 6: City Under Siege; Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment; Mannequin; Burglar; Warning Sign; BMT: Police Academy; Notes: High school classmates of Janis Joplin and Jimmy Johnson.)

Kim Cattrall – (Known For: Big Trouble in Little China; Sex and the City; The Ghost; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Ice Princess; Masquerade; The Return of the Musketeers; Rosebud; Above Suspicion; Meet Monica Velour; Ticket to Heaven; Midnight Crossing; Future BMT:Sex and the City 2; Mannequin; 15 Minutes; Porky’s; Unforgettable; Turk 182; Live Nude Girls; BMT: Crossroads; Baby Geniuses; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Police Academy; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1991; Notes: Do yourself a favor and read her IMDb trivia because it’s bonkers. I’ll just note that it claims she was one of the last actresses to work on a studio contract. Which is a little nuts.)

Budget/Gross – $4.1 million / Domestic: $81,198,894

(Jesus, hugh hit obviously. No wonder they kept going back to the well time and time and time and time and time and time and time again.)

#6 for the Comedy – Bumbling genre

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(This thing beats out modern Kevin James films like Paul Blart 2! That is crazy! It was made in 1984, once you adjust for inflation this must be one of the highest grossing bumbling comedies ever!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (7/18): No consensus yet.

(Juuuuust on the border. It actually just fell below the threshold after they added the Roger Ebert review in April. Given it was a pure 0-star Thumbs Down I suppose it is appropriate it finally gets its due. Reviewer Highlight: Now comes without any doubt the absolute pits of this genre, the least funny movie that could possibly have been inspired by Airplane! or any other movie. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.)

Poster – Sklog Skool (C)

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(I do not like this. Not because I don’t like the animated stylings or anything (see my assessment of the sequel’s poster) but because I don’t like the white border, none of the police officers are really even doing anything interesting, and the amount of text is not good. The font is at least somewhat unique.)

Tagline(s) – The new police recruits. Call them slobs. Call them jerks. Call them gross. – Just don’t call them when you’re in trouble. (C)

What an institution! (B-)

(Obviously the first is just too long to give a decent grade. Can’t do it. But I like the repeat of “call” and it ends on a clever note. The second isn’t the most clever, but it is short and sweet with a slight double entendre. So best of the bunch.)

Keyword(s) – big breasts; Top Ten by BMeTric: 57.4 Derailed (2002); 53.7 Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986); 46.6 Three – III (I) (2005); 38.0 Sheena (1984); 37.7 Flesh Gordon (1974); 28.6 Gor (1987); 28.0 Greta – Haus ohne Männer (1977); 26.4 Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders (1990); 26.1 American Assassin (2017); 25.8 The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982);

(Fun fact: Police Academy 3 doesn’t even qualify … yet. At some point they’ll add some extra review to move it down again. I actually assume that in about 3 years the BMeTric for Police Academy 3 will plummet, given that is what is happening to all the other Police Academy films.)

Notes – Director Hugh Wilson stated that when it came time to film the driving scene with Hightower at 4:30 a.m., the actor originally cast as the angry driver was found passed out drunk in the trailer, so Hugh himself ended up playing the role of the angry driver, into whom Hightower crashes.

In addition to playing Jones, Michael Winslow also supplied the voice for all public address announcements heard at the academy. (Fun Fact)

Producer Paul Maslansky got the idea for this movie during the production of The Right Stuff (1983). A group of police cadets arrived to help with crowd control for the filming of a street scene. When the cadets piled out of the buses to take their posts, they were diverse; men, women, tall, short, black, Asian. They did their jobs so terribly, that Maslansky found it humorous, asking the sergeant, “Are these all going to be future San Francisco’s finest?” The sergeant told him “We have to take anyone who applies into the academy for training–but we can flunk them out in two weeks.” It started Maslansky thinking, “What if they don’t want to be flunked out? What if some guy or girl wants to stay in?” That night, Paul wrote a two-page treatment and gave it to executive producer Alan Ladd Jr., who loved the idea and agreed to develop the movie. (That is pretty awesome. Basically how old Hollywood used to work, just randos writing treatments and making boatloads of cash.)

The location used as the Academy campus was known as the Mimico Lunatic Asylum or variations thereof until 1911, and Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital from 1964 to 1979. It was acquired by Humber College in 1991, after being mainly used as a site for filmmaking between 1979 and 1991. It is now a renovated and active educational institution. (Fun Fact)

In the DVD “Making of” documentary, Marion Ramsey says she came up with Hooks’ voice by reading the description of her character in the script, and recalling the time she met Michael Jackson. The voice is a parody of Jackson. She also recalls that in the moment where Hooks exclaims “Don’t move, Dirtbag!” the sound techs were used to recording the “meek” voice and were surprised when she said the line so loud. (Huh, that is actually a lot more thought that I thought would have went into it)

The “shoe polish on the megaphone” originated from a prank played on British Director Michael Winner on the set of one of his movies. Hugh Wilson decided to use the gag, after he heard the story from a crew member. (Coooooool)

This is one of few films, to which Roger Ebert gave zero stars, but it was also a very rare zero-star review where Ebert didn’t castigate the film for being depraved or immoral or diseased (something he had made a point of doing in most zero-star reviews, such as those for “Caligula”, “I Spit on your Grave”, and “Death Wish II”. He just said it was a would-be comedy that not only had zero laughs but didn’t even try to make the audience laugh. (Ha)

Marion Ramsey was asked to wear a fat suit for her role as Hooks, with the idea that Hooks’ boot camp training would have rendered her slim by the end of the film. Due to time constraints, the scene showing Hooks after her weight loss was removed from the final cut. By the time work on the sequel began, producers changed their minds, opting instead to have Marion remain wearing the fat suit, in order to garner audience sympathy for her character. A brief shot of “slim” Hooks remains in the film, however, as a close-up of Marion without the fat suit is seen during the graduates’ march at the end of the film. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?)

The only Police Academy movie that was given an R-rating, and also the most successful of the franchise at the box office.

The term “Tackleberry” has become a standard in the private security industry to denote an officer who is inordinately fond of firearms and other high-tech equipment. (Ha makes sense)

According to the cast and filmmaker commentary, it was Producer Alan Ladd, Jr. who came up with the idea of having Mahoney be the recipient of the “podium gag” at the end, after watching dailies of Lassard’s podium scene. (A very strange scene indeed)

Steve Guttenberg mentions in his biography, “The Guttenberg Bible”, that Donovan Scott filmed home-movies during filming. According to Guttenberg, there is a “very funny, touching, and unreleased documentary that he made of the shoot.”

Steve Guttenberg said of Mahoney in a 1984 interview, “I think he’s a party guy. He doesn’t really know what he is going to do with his life. But it is kind of hard to talk about him because he is not exactly a deep character. I really hate when actors get interviewed, and they have just starred in The Love Boat (1977) or something, and they go on for a month about motivation and character analysis. Police Academy set out to be light entertainment, and that is what it is.” (Boom. Roasted losers. Guttenberg is a gross but charming character which is probably the best part of the first two films)

Fackler’s wife riding the hood of her spouse’s car, to prohibit him from joining the police academy, (with Mrs. Fackler ultimately catapulted with an abrupt stop) was the start of a comedic tradition with the film series: The Parody On A Parody. Like so many gags, this one would be “recycled” for Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986): Now, with Fackler riding the hood of his car to prevent Mrs. Fackler from joining the Force; complete with the couple being spotted from the interior of a limousine, as well as a hubcap coming off of the car as it backed out of the driveway. (Ooooof. Parody of a parody is terrible)

In the party scene, Tackleberry is seen to play the saxophone. In real-life, David Graf actually was an accomplished saxophone player. (There is no other reason he would)

This film is regularly played on television in the United Kingdom, during the Christmas period. The film’s only Christmas reference is the tune heard during Hooks’ driving test; “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”. (HA, Secret holiday film?)

The role of Commandant Eric Lassard was also written with Leslie Nielsen in mind. (Uh you can tell)falign

Truth or Dare Preview

In deep pursuit of the parkour thieves who ruined Arf Collector Von Schnauzer’s promising career in dog showery, Jamie and Patrick don their alter egos, the Angels of Death, and become vigilantes of the night. You a criminal? Better watch out cause the Angels of Death might lure you into a criminal trap and totally take you out when you try to do criminal things. Just sitting there thinking about criminal things? Still watch out, they don’t like people thinking about being criminals. Next thing you know you might be doing those criminal things. You trying to stop them from stopping criminals? That’s probably OK if you are the police, but if you are a criminal and want to stop them so that you can continue to be a criminal then watch out! Jamie and Patrick go about their vigilante business for a while until one day they find a cell phone on the ground with a text message that tells them the exact whereabouts of the secret lair of the parkour thieves. What luck! They go to this hideout in an abandoned doll factory and start knocking the bad guys out with their patented Twin Chop®. Their bloodlust cannot and will not be satisfied until those responsible are held accountable. Justice! They finally arrive in the office of the parkour ringleaders and tell them to drop their weapons and give up because justice is there and it’s not square. The two ringleaders look at each other and pull back their hooded sweatshirts. Jamie and Patrick gasp. “My god, they’re beautiful.” Two beautiful ladies are the ringleaders. “Who… who are you?” Jamie stammers. “Ready to play a game?” One responds. “Just call us Truth or Dare,” the other one finishes. That’s right! We’re watching one of the many trash horror films to come out this year, Truth or Dare. Much like Ouija this seems to be an attempt to take something that not really all the spooky (a rousing game of Truth or Dare) and make it super scary spooky. Maybe Hide and Seek is next. Wait, that just might work. Let’s go!

Truth or Dare (2018) – BMeTric: 57.2

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(I’m rather intrigued by how swiftly it seems to be rising. It is still really really low obviously. Sub-5.0 would have put it among the worst of the year, but it is getting to the point where it is perhaps merely “quite bad”.)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –   [T]he joke is on our heroes, but this time, every cruel punchline is seemingly pulled at the last minute. We’re supposed to like these victims, not gasp in horror and delight when they’re compelled to die campy—but bloodless!—deaths by an evil game you play when you’re kinda bored and kinda hormonal, but not imaginative or bold enough to do much about it.  

(Oh shit. Burned. I’m just hoping the film isn’t terribly boring. For the most part do you ever like these people … I’m flashing back to The Gallows now, where everyone was just a complete dick to everyone and you just didn’t give a shit that they were dying.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cgnk3MLw9TM

(Sigh. That just looks like any of the other terrible supernatural horror films we’ve seen. Rings, The Bye Bye Man, Slender Man, etc. And it doesn’t seem to have a hilarious Bye Bye Man I can laugh at. Double sigh.)

Directors – Jeff Wadlow – (Future BMT: Cry Wolf; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; Kick-Ass 2; Never Back Down; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Katie Couric’s nephew. He was interviewed on Today by Katie Couric.)

Writers – Michael Reisz (screenplay by & story by) – (BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Worked on Boston Legal at the time that it won a Peabody Award. Is a prolific voice actor. Was a lawyer prior to entering the entertainment business.)

Jillian Jacobs (screenplay by) – (BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: He first foray into screenwriting (at least credited). Was a producer for Big Brother in 2012, and is writing the upcoming Fantasy Island film which also stars Lucy Hale.)

Christopher Roach (screenplay by) – (Known For: Non-Stop; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Appears to be a writing partner of sorts with Jillian Jacobs. He has produced hundreds of episodes of reality television, and written mostly WWE specials.)

Jeff Wadlow (screenplay by) – (Future BMT: Prey; Cry Wolf; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; Kick-Ass 2; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Wait … literally this entire film’s crew is writing and directing Fantasy Island. Which is also a Blumhouse production. I don’t know if any of Blumhouse’s nostalgia adaptations have worked (or even come out) yet, Jem and the Holograms certainly didn’t.)

Actors – Lucy Hale – (Known For: Scream 4; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2; TinkerBell and the Secret of the Wings; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Won American Junior Competition in 2003, and signed a record deal in 2012. Seems like her acting career is taking off though.)

Tyler Posey – (Known For: Men of Honor; Future BMT: Yoga Hosers; Maid in Manhattan; Collateral Damage; Legendary; BMT: Scary Movie 5; Truth or Dare; Notes: The son of long time television actor John Posey, who is vaguely famous for playing the original Danny Tanner in the Full House pilot. Tyler and John both star in Teen Wolf.)

Violett Beane – (Known For: Slash; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Oh shit, she’s in everyone’s favorite show! That’s right, God Friended Me!! Was also a major character on The Flash.)

Budget/Gross – $3.5 million / Domestic: $41,254,705 (Worldwide: $94,841,481)

(My God. Yeah, Blum has this down. I can’t say it is a particularly pretty model at times, but it certainly harkens back to the early 80s when a cheap camcorder, a dozen willing teen actors, and a mask could make you a cool hundred million for $30K. Like … I doubt Truth or Dare 2 would happen, but does it need to happen really? They just made $100 million!)

#57 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(I guess we haven’t looked recently, but it is pretty nice to see how popular genres operate in this regard. It isn’t necessarily that you make more money per theater. It is that you are in more theaters that tend to mean your genre is having a moment. Also these I think have been getting cheaper as well. We’ve seen 19 of these. Hmmm, what could be our twentieth? I wish I could tell you it would be Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, but it is going to be The Nun. Spoiler alert.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (21/141): Truth or Dare’s slick presentation isn’t enough to make this mediocre horror outing much more frightening than an average round of the real-life game.

(Slick presentation … that’s intriguing maybe. That points to maybe the director having an interesting idea. Although this review suggests otherise. Reviewer Highlight: It does nothing to cleanse Mr. Wadlow of the lingering stench of his 2013 effort, “Kick-Ass 2.” Even so, some setups can be unwittingly funny. – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times)

Poster – 2 Rich 2 Poe: The Return of Truth and Dare (D+)

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(It’s daring but in a bad and not good at all way. Really I can’t say there is anything I like with this poster other than the boldness of choosing a weird poster with a giant pink question mark on it. That’s enough to move it a little out of the basement though.)

Tagline(s) – The Producer of Happy Death Day and Get Out invites you to play. (F)

(No.)

Keyword(s) – forced suicide; Top Ten by BMeTric: 57.2 Truth or Dare (I) (2018); 45.7 Unfriended (2014); 41.7 Village of the Damned (1995); 38.6 The Boogey Man (1980); 34.8 Little Evil (2017); 30.7 Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013); 30.4 Marked for Death (1990); 30.3 By the Gun (2014); 30.3 Crawlspace (2012); 30.1 Push (2009);

(Huh, interestingly rich keyword it looks like. Obviously all horror films (or thrillers maybe). And bam, got the best one apparently. Although … wouldn’t The Happening count?)

Notes – The menacing grin that comes with the killing Truth or Dare force is nicknamed the Willem Dafoe grin, and is in part inspired by his menacing smile and the facial disfigurement of the Gustavo Smile. (I had to look it up, thinking it was a real thing. Dafoe plays Gustavo in a short I think, but whatever)

The actors had to mimic the facial structure of the Calux smile prior to the CGI rendering of the face itself. (I guess Calux is a demon or something? All the pictures are basically of The Joker though, it seems fictional)

The game Truth or Dare has existed by record for centuries, with earliest history as 1712 suggesting origin in being a Christmas questions and commands game. (fun facts)

The mission in Rosarito, Mexico does not exist and is actually a constructed set on a managed soundstage. (Cool)

Jeff Wadlow pitched nothing but the title and opening sequence to Jason Blum to get him to sign on to the film. (Well I can’t wait until the opening sequence then)

Jeff Wadlow had been drawing scary grins since high school and after becoming acquainted with snapchat and the face altering filters became inspired to give the entity Calux such a grimace as he takes control of the characters.

Released on Friday the 13th like the previous Blumhouse teenage slasher film “Happy Death Day” (2017), which also bore a PG-13 thematic rating despite featuring the unexplicit murder of teenage protagonists and mild, grisly demises.

An Unrated version of the film was released featuring more gruesome death sequences of the characters, prolonged dare sequences at the Rosarito Mission in the beginning and a racier sex scene between Lucy Hale’s Olivia and Tyler Posey’s Lucas. (Hope we got that, since the theatrical cut is PG-13 I think)

The warped faces caused by the force are edited to resemble the bizarre morphs of Snapchat and various phone photo application filters, particularly the Big Eyes, Big Mouth filter. (Huh, that is one way to keeps costs down)

The film was initially going to be released on April 27, 2018, but in January 2018 the release was moved up two weeks from its original release date of April 27, 2018 to April 13, 2018. This was likely done to avoid competition with the highly anticipated “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) which is set to be released on April 27, 2018. (I mean … maybe. They, maybe surprisingly, probably do have considerable audience overlap)

The brand of cigarettes the girl at the beginning of the film asks the cashier for are the same brand smoked by The Smoking Man in the TV Series “The X-Files”. (lol, okay, these notes are starting to push it a bit)

Stars Hayden Szeto and Morgan Lindholm previously appeared together in the unreleased short film Never Have I Ever (2016) .. also centered around a popular party game. (That’s ridiculous)

The first Blumhouse feature marked in title by Jason Blum’s distributing company handle. (Oh that is interesting though, got a bit of cache it looks like)

The game itself operates by rules: 1. The option.of Truth amongst the players can only be selected twice before the game automatically sets the next selected participant to do Dare. 2. The game passes along from group to group. 3. The game’s truth aims at turning others against one another, and establishing complete honesty of character 4. Dares are physically dangerous challenges that usually resulting in severe bodily harm or death. 5. Refusal of the options results in immediate grisly death. (Number two is bullshit)

The library scene in which the game forces Olivia to reveal Markie’s frequent affairs on Lucas pays homage to actress Lucy Hale’s role as Aria Montgomery on “Pretty Little Liars” (2010-2017), in which her character was harassed by an anonymous game playing assailant entitled A, who would on occasion turn the protagonists of the show against each other and have Hale’s character reveal other’s affairs. (I don’t care about this note except to say that yet again we have a horror film going to the library. Y’all best not besmirch the library)