Predator 2 Preview

When Jamie and Patrick enter the Police Academy they are immediately approached by the officer in charge. He says that given their perfect physiques and solid references he thought they could keep an eye on the jokester recruits until they quit. Just as Patrick beings to politely decline (they ain’t no snitches) a strong gust of wind results in the freak pantsing of the officer. Looking around he sees Jamie laughing with the rest of the party animal recruits. “You’ll regret this!” screams the officer in charge. “I’ll make sure both of you are run out of this Academy!” Oh yeah? Not when they are the best recruits the Academy has ever seen. They backflip their way through obstacle courses and use their years of experience with heavy weaponry to blow through the simulations. One day as graduation nears they return to their bunks to find 50 kgs of cocaine sitting on our beds. God damn sabotage! “How can we get rid of a shitload of cocaine?” Jamie wails. “Hold on,” says Patrick thinking, “Shitload… load… load of laundry. I got an idea!” Recalling the tight writing of Exit Wounds, Jamie and Patrick quickly soak 3,000 t-shirts in a vat of cocaine water. When the police arrive all they find is Jamie and Patrick and a shitload of t-shirts. “What’s going on here?” Asks the commander, “we got a tip for a drug bust.” “Nope,” responds Patrick, “Just us and our t-shirt business inventory.” The commander is impressed and we graduate first in the class for our mad skillz and entrepreneurship. In disbelief the officer in charge gets wind of a pretty tough first assignment. Precinct 16 has a Predator problem and he’s pretty sure he knows who’s going to be on Predator Duty. That’s right! This week we are taking the opportunity of the Franchise-zzz cycle to finish (?) the Predator franchise with Predator II. We really jumped around that franchise but somehow never got around to the film set in the far crime-ridden future of 1997 that co-starred Gary Busey. Seems like an oversight. No more! Let’s go!

Predator 2 (1990) – BMeTric: 24.4

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(There is almost no logical eplanation in my mind why the Predator 2 IMDb rating would be above 6.0, almost none. The movie is a joke that sidelined quite an impressive idea for a franchise for a decade.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Fast-paced (if too derivative) sequel, minus Arnold. This time, cop Glover and cronies take on the title alien in 1997 L.A. Good production design and lots of hit-’em-across-the-face action, but don’t looke for anything resembling inventive dialogue or character development. Then again, you wouldn’t expect either from a film with Morton Downey, Jr., in its cast.

(Wow Morton Downey Jr. was basically a morning zoo guy, but more trash TV. His filmography was dire. Was a weirdly pro-cigarette advocate right up until he got cancer and had to have a lung removed. Sounds like a delight.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yPdBVUP5Zw

(Ha “With a few days to kill” classic. Seems just okay. It certainly seems ludicrous. Honestly, they didn’t need to make it a heatwave and have everyone sweating profusely the entire time. Its gross.)

Directors – Stephen Hopkins – (Known For: The Ghost and the Darkness; Race; Under Suspicion; The Life and Death of Peter Sellers; Future BMT: Lost in Space; A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child; The Reaping; Blown Away; Judgment Night; BMT: Predator 2; Notes: Directed most of the first season of 24, including the pilot for which he was nominated for an Emmy. Won an Emmy for The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. Has a hilarious quote about Predator 2 where he said that his main mistake was taking it too seriously and trying to add too much depth to the film. Sure man, whatever you say.)

Writers – John Thomas and Jim Thomas (characters & written by) – (Known For: Predator; Predators; Executive Decision; Future BMT: Mission to Mars; BMT: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem; Wild Wild West; The Predator; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; Predator 2; Behind Enemy Lines; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: God I kinda love all these films and cannot wait for Mission to Mars now. These two are writing partners and brothers. Just like us… exactly like us… with the exact same level and success as us.)

Actors – Danny Glover – (Known For: The Old Man & the Gun; Sorry to Bother You; Saw; Shooter; The Rainmaker; Lethal Weapon; Witness; Silverado; The Royal Tenenbaums; The Prince of Egypt; Escape from Alcatraz; The Color Purple; Blindness; Dreamgirls; Lethal Weapon 2; Antz; Lethal Weapon 4; Maverick; Lethal Weapon 3; Future BMT: The Shaggy Dog; Rage; Gone Fishin’; Age of the Dragons; Operation Dumbo Drop; Diablo; Barnyard; Andron; The Cookout; Monster Trucks; Pure Luck; Angels in the Outfield; Flight of the Intruder; Supremacy; Switchback; Legendary; Wild America; LUV; Gospel Hill; BMT: Alpha and Omega; Proud Mary; 2012; Dirty Grandpa; Predator 2; Notes: In 1984-5 he appeared in three Best Picture nominated films, Places in the Heart, The Color Purple, and Witness. He never got a nomination, though. He did get nominated for four Emmys throughout his career.)

Gary Busey – (Known For: A Star Is Born; Point Break; Lethal Weapon; The Firm; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Lost Highway; Under Siege; Silver Bullet; Thunderbolt and Lightfoot; The Player; The Buddy Holly Story; Big Wednesday; Bounty Killer; Straight Time; Insignificance; Barbarosa; The Gingerdead Man; Cloud 9; Wild in the Streets; Carried Away; Future BMT: Piranha 3DD; Behaving Badly; Chasers; Drop Zone; Homo Erectus; Rookie of the Year; D.C. Cab; Black Sheep; Surviving the Game; Entourage; The Gumball Rally; BMT: Soldier; Predator 2; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for The Buddy Holly Story. Father of Jake Busey who was actually in the latest Predator film. Nearly died in a motorcycle accident in 1988 when he crashed while not wearing a helmet. Strangely not long before the accident he had appeared at a rally aimed at preventing a law requiring people to wear helmets when using a motorcycle. Sad.)

Kevin Peter Hall – (Known For: Predator; Harry and the Hendersons; Future BMT: Big Top Pee-wee; BMT: Predator 2; Notes: Sadly died very young after contracting AIDS from a blood transfusion received following a car accident.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $30,669,413 (Worldwide: $57,120,318)

(Eh. If you squint your eyes you can only kind of tell that this lost millions of dollars for the studio. Yeah, killed any hopes for a franchise for a while.)

#46 for the Creature Feature genre

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(Right in the original creature feature boom from the 80s, although given it looks like dogshit compared to Jurassic Park it isn’t that much of a surprise it would take a while to figure out how to transition from mega expensive animatronics to CGI like that film did. Alien Vs. Predator is the highest grossing BMT film we’ve done.)

#45 for the Future – Near genre

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(Right in the sweet spot where the genre was punching above its weight a bit. Predicting the future in film has been around for about as long as film and follows the technological advancements as well. A Sound of Thunder is the lowest grossing, but probably most entertaining example we’ve done)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (7/26): No consensus yet.

(A lot higher that I personally would have expected, but people do love Predator. Reviewer Highlight: [T]he film’s greatest loss is one of spirit. We live on a speck in a corner of a vast universe, and what makes us human is our ability to wonder about what’s out there. Since we do not know, the fables we create serve only to inspire our dreams. “Predator 2” is a movie whose dreams are angry and ugly. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Alium Hunter 2: Aliums in the City (D-)

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(My eyes! My god, my eyes! Almost The Avengers (1998) level but that weird slanted predator blocks out most of the jarringly bright colors to mitigate the damage. At least it got that classic Predator font. Last Year’s reboot forgot that to its great detriment.)

Tagline(s) – He’s in town with a few days to kill. (Ha, no.)

Silent. Invisible. Invincible. The Ultimate Hunter. (Warmer.)

This Time… Los Angeles, 1997. (Yes… and…)

(Cocaine is the only explanation for any of this. From the poster to the three wildly different taglines. They must have typed out like 500 taglines in an all night bender and then began yelling and punching each other because of how genius they all were until they fell unconscious from exhaustion and the producers just used all of them because fuck it. They got a party to go to.)

Keyword(s) – alien; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.6 Battlefield Earth (2000); 93.9 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 82.5 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 82.2 Skyline (2010); 81.9 Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959); 78.1 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000); 76.3 AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem (2007); 74.8 Species II (1998); 74.8 After Earth (2013);

(My god. Who would have thought the last “alien” film we’d have to do to polish off this keyword is The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas. No I.)

Notes – The filming of the alley scene was very troublesome for the filmmakers, due to it being filmed in a very rough neighborhood. The alley was littered with garbage, most of which was used in the film, and plagued with large rats. Local residents angered by the noise created by the film crew, would throw bottles and paper bags filled with feces from windows at the crew in the alley below. Worst of all, the film crew found a dead body hidden amongst the garbage. (This does not sound real. They found a dead body in an alleyway filled with trash that they chose as a filming location? Come on.).

The Jamaican voodoo posse gangs, seen in the film, were based on actual gangs that were terrorizing New York City and Kansas City in the mid to late 1980s.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said no to Predator 2 (1990), because he didn’t like the new director, or the new script.

In the backstory behind why Dutch, the main protagonist of the first film did not return for the sequel. Keyes had learned of Dutch’s encounter with the Predator, and he tracked Dutch down to a hospital, in which Dutch was being treated for an illness from radiation sickness, thought to be a result of exposure of the Predator’s Self-Destruct Device. After hearing Dutch’s account of events, Keyes and the O.W.L.F. team were sent to the jungle to investigate, and studied the site where the Predator detonated it’s Self-Destruction Device, and discovered evidence of a spaceship launch in the jungle, and that the deceased Predator’s ship had automatically returned to the Predator homeworld, and Dutch later escaped from the hospital and vanished, and Keyes personally believed he was still alive. (Ugh, it would have been perfect for The Predator this year, to have him having been abducted and then returned to Earth as its savior)

With more time than the original Predator (1987), Stan Winston, Stephen Hopkins, and Lawrence G. Paull came up with ideas and designs with more exotic weapons (the retractable spear, the detachable pincers, the Smart Disc, the net, et cetera.) for the Predator to use, to differentiate this film from the previous one.

The spear weapon, that was used in the film, disappeared and was reported stolen after filming was completed.

The plot underwent a few changes in its earliest stages. Gary Busey’s character, Keyes, was actually intended to be Dutch, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character from the first film. Schwarzenegger was very outspoken against the sequel’s concept, feeling that taking it into the city was a bad idea, and declined the role. (I don’t think he’s right, I just think it would have been smarter to go Cambodia 1967 first as that was already mentioned, would have allowed to make LA 1997 not take place in the future as well)

Kevin Peter Hall had studied African tribal dances, in order to get into the feel and flexibility of the Predator, and to give him a personality.

Stephen Hopkins was given the task of directing Predator 2 (1990) after greatly impressing the studio when directing A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989). He had been given just four weeks to shoot, and a further four weeks to edit the film. This meant that he had to shoot on one stage, while the crew dressed the other, allowing them to shoot almost continually.

The film was re-cut over twenty times, according to Stephen Hopkins, because of more graphic shots of mutilated bodies and decapitations by the Predator.

Rubén Blades was giving a live television interview to Good Morning America (1975) from the set of this movie. During the interview, Stephen Hopkins walked on camera, and ordered Blades back to work very loudly. The incident was so embarrassing, Blades and Hopkins did another interview a few days later to apologize.

King Willie (Calvin Lockhart) is said to practice Voodoo, yet Voodoo is not commonly practiced in Jamaica and actually comes from Haiti. King Willie is more likely a Rastafarian, which is a common religion in Jamaica and would explain his dreadlocks and the fact he calls Harrigan “Babylon” (a Rastafarian term for the justice system which they see as oppressive and corrupt).

Elpidia Carrillo, who played Anna in the first film, has her name listed in the sequel’s credits, yet doesn’t seem to appear in the actual film. Look carefully during the scene inside Peter Keyes’ mobile headquarters, and you will spot her. When Keyes (Gary Busey) describes how the creature activated a self-destruct device in Predator (1987), you can briefly spot Anna on one of the video screens. Carrillo filmed a debriefing scene, in which she talks to the camera and describes the events of the first film, but it was cut from the sequel.

The subway attack scene was directly adapted from the first Predator comic book series. The producers thought it was cool, and wanted to use it in the film. (Huh, I honestly didn’t realize the comics came before the second film)

Respirators were required during the slaughterhouse sequence, due to the debris and chemicals that had filled up inside the set.

John McTiernan’s fee after Die Hard (1988) was two million dollars. That’s why he declined to direct this movie, because the executives wanted to keep the budget the same as on the first film.

Keyes is the only character to ever use the word “predator” to refer to the Predator on-screen the word “predators” is also used by Isabelle in Predators (2010) but she uses it to refer to the human characters in the film not the Predator creatures.

According to Screenwriters Jim Thomas and John Thomas, a Predator sequel had not been planned, and they had to wait to see how successful the Predator comic book series would be. After the series was a hit, Producer Joel Silver was finally able to convince Fox to make the sequel, which was immediately greenlit.

The original storyline of the film was to have taken place in New York City, but Jim Thomas and John Thomas quickly changed it to Los Angeles, because of budget concerns. The scene where the Predator raises the skull during the lighting storm, was to have taken place atop the Chrysler Building.

This was the first film to be given the newly instituted NC-17 rating in the U.S. for its graphic violence, before it was re-cut to its final theatrical length. (Huh. I was actually rather skeptical of this when I read it, but as it makes sense it was the first. You’d need a load of violence these days to get NC-17 and it would have to be a lot more graphic than this)

Several of the hunting party members were played by players from the Los Angeles Lakers; Danny Glover was a big fan, and when the production needed several very tall people to play the background Predators, he asked them to help out. (Awesome)

The first film Gary Busey made after his nearly fatal motorcycle accident. (He looks good)

The brief scene with the hunting party was the most expensive to make in the entire film. Stan Winstons effects team had to build nine additional, unique Predator suits for just a few minutes of screentime. (That sounds dumb … but weirdly worth it)

John McTiernan was offered the chance to direct, but turned it down to work on The Hunt for Red October (1990). (Smart)

[There were a bunch more notes mostly with info gleaned from either the novelization or comics, but you can go to IMDb for those]

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A Sound of Thunder 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 first 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!

A Sound of Thunder (2005) – BMeTric: 72.0

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(Oh those sweet summer children who gave this good reviews initially. It is a bit shocking that it is that high actually. The CGI alone I would have imagined would have dropped it into the 3’s.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In Chicago, 2055, a company takes expeditions back in time to hunt dinosaurs. Precautions are taken, but (of course) something goes wrong, and a tiny change in the past sends alterations down through time that our heroes try to set right. Misguided expansion of Ray Bradbury short story with mediocre effects and a confusing script. It’s easy to see why this stayed on the shelf so long. Filmed in 2002.

(“Mediocre effects” is extremely kind even in 2005. Final Fantasy: Spirits Within was released in 2001 and this is like … five years prior to that level of quality. And they had full creates in CGI. It is too much. It just look like garbage. It sat on the shelf, I believe, because they were trying to finish the really bad looking CGI.)

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

(The beginning is pretty crazy. I understand why they put it in there, but that isn’t part of the film. And weirdly the CGI doesn’t look that bad in the trailer. Which makes sense, you’re trying to trick people into seeing the film.)

Directors – Peter Hyams – (Known For: 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Stay Tuned; Sudden Death; Outland; Timecop; Capricorn One; Running Scared; The Star Chamber; The Presidio; Enemies Closer; Hanover Street; Narrow Margin; Future BMT: The Musketeer; End of Days; The Relic; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for End of Days in 2000; Notes: One of the few writer/directors of major films who also serves as his own cinematographer.)

Writers – Ray Bradbury (short story) – ((Known For: Fahrenheit 451; Moby Dick; Something Wicked This Way Comes; King of Kings; It Came from Outer Space; The Illustrated Man; The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit; Future BMT: Fahrenheit 451; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: A close friend of both Ray Harryhausen (who was best man at his wedding) and Gene Roddenberry. Perhaps the greatest American Science Fiction writer.)

Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (screen story & screenplay) – (Future BMT: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night; Sahara; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Penned a first draft of the long-awaited and always-upcoming Uncharted film based on the Playstation video game.)

Gregory Poirier (screenplay) – (Known For: Rosewood; Future BMT: Tomcats; The Spy Next Door; See Spot Run; Gossip; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; A Warrior’s Tail; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: Born in Hawaii, and apparently wrote a draft for Superman Returns.)

Actors – Edward Burns – (Known For: Saving Private Ryan; The Holiday; 27 Dresses; She’s the One; The Brothers McMullen; Friends with Kids; Confidence: After Dark; The Fitzgerald Family Christmas; Sidewalks of New York; The Groomsmen; Newlyweds; Future BMT: Life or Something Like It; Echelon Conspiracy; 15 Minutes; Man on a Ledge; Ash Wednesday; No Looking Back; BMT: One Missed Call; A Sound of Thunder; Alex Cross; Notes: Has a brother Brian Burns with whom he owns a production company called Irish Twins … presumably because they are, in fact, brothers born within a calendar year.)

Ben Kingsley – (Known For: Schindler’s List; The Jungle Book; Iron Man 3; Shutter Island; Operation Finale; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Hugo; Ender’s Game; The Dictator; Knight of Cups; War Machine; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Dave; Lucky Number Slevin; Gandhi; The Walk; Sexy Beast; Transsiberian; House of Sand and Fog; Future BMT: BloodRayne; Thunderbirds; The Last Legion; War, Inc.; The Ten Commandments; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Collide; Suspect Zero; Slipstream; Rules of Engagement; Self/less; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; An Ordinary Man; The Ottoman Lieutenant; BMT: The Love Guru; A Sound of Thunder; Species; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2007 for BloodRayne; and in 2009 for The Love Guru, The Wackness, and War, Inc.; Notes: Ferdinand Kingsley, his son, is a notable television actor, including an appearance in Doctor Who.)

Catherine McCormack – (Known For: Braveheart; 28 Weeks Later; Spy Game; Dangerous Beauty; Shadow of the Vampire; Magic in the Moonlight; The Tailor of Panama; The Journey; The Land Girls; Strings; Renaissance; Dancing at Lughnasa; Born Romantic; Future BMT:The Weight of Water; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: A British actress who appears to have more recently been performing in the theatre, including work with the Royal Shakespeare Company.)

Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $1,900,451 (Worldwide: $11,665,465)

(A truly catastrophic bomb. As a matter of fact, if you dug into it, it might actually be one of the worst box office bombs in history, or at least since 2000)

#78 for the Creature Feature genre

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(The lowest grossing film we’ve done in the genre. After this it is pretty obvious everyone looked around at each other and said “yup, that’s about enough of those for now, we should wait a bit before tricking people into watching more of these.”)

#77 for the Future – Near genre

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(2012 is by far the most successful BMT film of the genre. It has blown up since 2010, plausibly because we still are in a dystopian kick. I’m surprised Hunger Games doesn’t qualify as Near Future as I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what actually kick started things in 2012.)

#48 for the Time Travel genre

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(Only Timeline and this amazingly. There are plenty in the future though (heyyyyooooo, get it?). Unfortunately Timecop doesn’t qualify, but we do get to watch The Time Machine again …)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (6/99): Choppy logic and uneven performances are overshadowed by not-so-special effects that makes the suspension of disbelief a nearly impossible task.

(Somewhat oddly most of the reviews don’t seem to mention the special effects. Which makes me wonder if they actually watched the film. It is literally the craziest thing you’ll see (unless you watch hundreds of bad films … it is still top ten craziest thing I’ve seen in a BMT film, no joke). Reviewer Highlight: So perfect in its awfulness, it makes one seriously consider a theory of unintelligent design. – Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – A Sklog of Thunder (C+)

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(I hate the font. It looks super silly and I don’t think it gets across anything important about the film. The red hand and butterfly is interesting, although perhaps feels more like a horror film? I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. I like the style outside of the writing, so I’ll go above average for it., even if it looks a bit cheap)

Tagline(s) – Some Rules Should Never Be Broken. (D)

(First, it sounds like a tagline, but it isn’t. It is a tautology. Of course there are rules that should never be broken. They are rules. Second, what is even the rule being broken here? The butterfly effect rule? The sound of thunder rule? Neither. The actual rule broken? Don’t turn off the biofilter on your time machine … yeah, I’m not sure the tagline is getting that across. But it sounds nice, so it isn’t an F.)

Keyword(s) – time travel; Top Ten by BMeTric: 73.8 The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006); 72.0 A Sound of Thunder (2005); 71.4 S. Darko (2009); 67.7 Black Knight (2001); 65.8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993); 62.9 Lost in Space (1998); 62.6 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 59.1 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015); 58.1 The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007); 53.1 Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996);

(The Seeker doesn’t have time travel according to Box Office Mojo, but whatever. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III though, now that is a ridiculous and pointless film.)

Notes – Renny Harlin was fired from the production, because he made a creative decision that made Ray Bradbury very unhappy, and this film’s producers decided to support Ray Bradbury.

One major reason for the film’s long delay is that the original production company went bankrupt during post-production, and there simply wasn’t money to finish the film. (Which is why the CGI is absolutely the worst thing you’ll ever see)

Production was slowed when severe floods in the summer of 2002 in the Czech Republic caused considerable damage to the set.

This film was originally set for release in 2003.

Spota’s supermarket is a reference to director Peter Hyams’s wife’s family name.

The T.A.M.I. acronym stands for “Time Alteration Manipulator Interface”

When Hatton (Ben Kingsley) receives his clients after their time safari, he likes to compare them with great explorers: Marco Polo, Columbus, Armstrong… and he also says “like Brubaker on Mars”, remembering a future (past for him) conquest of the Red Planet. Brubaker was the name of the commander of the Mars expedition in the film Capricorn One (1977), also directed by Peter Hyams. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?)

Based on the short story A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury

Pierce Brosnan and director Renny Harlin were originally attached to this film. (See above note about Harlin)

The film takes place millions of years in the past and in 2055. (I can’t wait to see if that 2055 is made explicit, I honestly cannot remember)

A video game based on the film was released for the Game Boy Advance. It also had been considerably delayed, and ended up coming out slightly before the film, in March 2005. It was an overhead shooter with some driving stages, and included support for co-op and deathmatch multiplayer via link cable. A third-person action-adventure shooter based on The Thing (2002) engine was being developed by Computer Artworks for BAM! Entertainment for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, but ended up being cancelled. Its plot differed from that of the film: the changes in the course of evolution were not an accident, but acts of terrorism caused by a Luddite cult. The “present” time was also changed to 2038. The game was to have nine missions taking place in both the past and present. Real-life bands would have been hired to provide the music. (I have to definitely never play that game because that would be a huge waste of time)

The change in the timeline is caused by a single butterfly. This probably alludes to the so called “butterfly effect” in which a small change in one state of a system can result in large differences in a later state.

The Predator Preview

As the Viking King Vikling celebrates Jamie’s victory over Vlurg with booze and wenches, Jamie drags the rotting corpse down to the seaside and throws it in as bait for Frang. Almost immediately there is a tug at the rope and with a jerk he is pulled into the raging ocean. Just as he is about to succumb to the pounding surf a mighty whale surfaces and eats Jamie in a single gulp. It smells like death in the belly of the beast. Attempting to crawl to the mouth, Jamie stumbles onto a rotting mound of flesh. It’s Frang! The whale must have eaten the monstrous shark months ago and Vikling never noticed. If Frang couldn’t get back out the mouth what hope does even a super muscly guy like Jamie have? Pounding his fists against the rotting flesh of Frang’s useless corpse, Jamie wails in anguish. “Have you forsaken me, Vikling?! Has everything you wanted dead not ended up dead?… At least… in the end. Not necessarily killed by me, but that’s mostly semantics, right?” Suddenly he realizes that a faint glow can be seen further down the gullet of the whale. Crawling towards it, dragging Frang behind him, he find a small encampment and fire. A humanoid monster is sitting there eating a small bit of food. “My God,” Jamie whispers in horror. “It’s a Predator.” Wanting to weep he takes solace in the fact that Patrick must be having even crazier adventures in the alternate universe he’s been sucked into.

Patrick is walking down the beach of terrible CGI birds following Sticks and Stones who have gone silent in the wake of the Z-Movie Multiverse revelation. Every so often he brushes aside one of the birds until … is that Jamie in the distance? Thank God he thinks and starts quicken his pace only to be thrown to the ground as the beach set begins to shift and chlorinated pool water sloshes over him, spilled from the “ocean”. Shoddy workmanship this, he thinks, who built this set? … Wait … presumably no one built the set. His eyes begin to blur, the birds becoming gigantic, filling his field of vision, until one grabs him in pixelated claws and begins to carry him off. He’s thousands of feet into the air, but … how could a z-movie afford just a spectacular effect? The bird explodes into a blob of pixelated blood, and Patrick crumples to the ground, the beach set righting itself, and the birds returning to normal size. “Gosh dern it,” says Stones, “it’s happening.” Stick nods, “Kid, you gotta keep your mind straight, you don’t belong here. This place will drive you mad.” “As sure a pig loves mud.” Stones chimes in. Patrick feels dizzy and his vision shifts again. He sees Jamie, but now a far distance away, talking to what appears to be a … giant bug? Jamie’s going to handle that one on his own, Patrick thinks, and then passes out.

That’s right! It’s impossible to pass up the chance at a major motion picture release that qualifies BMT. Not to mention one that is meant to reboot a major franchise, and one of the most anticipated action films of the year. Let’s go!

The Predator (2018) – BMeTric: 24.3

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(Kind of heartening that it kind of dropped a ton even before most votes had been cast. Pretty hilarious still. It plays right into the 14-year-old boy demo though, so it’ll float around 6.0 I bet and never really get too far below that.)

RogerEbert.com – 3 stars –  With a fantastic cast and razor-sharp pacing, the fact is that this is what you want from a movie called The Predator.

(Wow, one of the rare top critics who gave this a halfway decent review. And I like to think this was in the spirit of Ebert who was an early pioneer of cutting some slack with the good-for-what-it-is type films (a viewpoint I mostly disagree with).)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaG1KZqrLvM

(So that was probably the best of the three trailers. The other two … looked not so great. And then the film … kind of mostly ended up being regarded as not so great. So it did kind of even out. I was expecting this to be high 50s on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics inability to tolerate things like cursing or violence or other nonsense for the sake of such things heartened me a bit. Making an R-rated movie because “that’s what Predator should be” is dumb and puts violence (unnecessarily) to the front of one’s mind. It certainly seemed to be the case here, but I guess I’ll see.)

Directors – Shane Black – (Known For: Iron Man 3; The Nice Guys; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; BMT: The Predator; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Last Action Hero in 1994; Notes: Kind of fun that he was in the original Predator as an actor. The films he’s directed had, thus far, been notable as critical darlings, but commercial flops.)

Writers – Fred Dekker (written by) – (Known For: The Monster Squad; House; Night of the Creeps; Ricochet; Future BMT: House II: The Second Story; Teen Agent; BMT: RoboCop 3; The Predator; Notes: Notably was a classmate of Black’s at UCLA, which is likely how he got The Monster Squad produced as writer-director.)

Shane Black (written by) – (Known For: Iron Man 3; The Nice Guys; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; Lethal Weapon; The Monster Squad; Lethal Weapon 2; The Long Kiss Goodnight; The Last Boy Scout; Lethal Weapon 4; Lethal Weapon 3; Future BMT: Last Action Hero; BMT: The Predator; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Last Action Hero in 1994; Notes: Sold Lethal Weapon when he was 22 and quickly became the highest paid screenwriter ever (selling The Long Kiss Goodnight for a reported $4 million). He took a seven year break in the late 90s.)

Jim Thomas and John Thomas (based on characters created by) – (Known For: Predator; Predators; Executive Decision; Future BMT: Mission to Mars; Predator 2; BMT: AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem; Wild Wild West; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; Behind Enemy Lines; The Predator; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: Wrote the original Predator. This is the third of their films we’ve seen this year, and Predator 2 (which we’ve seen, but outside of BMT) will officially be done soon enough.)

Actors – Boyd Holbrook – (Known For: Gone Girl; Logan; A Walk Among the Tombstones; Run All Night; Out of the Furnace; Milk; Behind the Candelabra; Jane Got a Gun; Higher Ground; The Skeleton Twins; The Free World; Little Accidents; Future BMT: Morgan; The Reunion; The Oranges; Very Good Girls; BMT: The Host; The Predator; Notes: Born in Kentucky and became a model after being found in a playhouse there where he was working as a carpenter. Was engaged to Elizabeth Olsen for a time.)

Trevante Rhodes – (Known For: 12 Strong; Moonlight; Song to Song; Burning Sands; Future BMT: Open Windows; BMT: The Predator; Notes: Crazy good filmography thus far. Was a football player at the University of Texas.)

Jacob Tremblay – (Known For: Wonder; Room; Before I Wake; Future BMT: Shut In; Extraterrestrial; The Smurfs 2; The Book of Henry; BMT: The Predator; Notes: Both his older and younger sisters are quite prolific child actors. His younger sister was even in the amazing The Bye Bye Man last year!)

Budget/Gross – $88 million / N/A

(It made $24 million in its opening weekend and around $50 million worldwide. That $88 figure also possibly doesn’t include reshoots as I think it was announced before they announced the reshoot schedule … so it could be a bit more. It’ll be a flop, but kind of how Solo was a flop. Like … if they had just kept the budget under control a tight $150 million-ish worldwide wouldn’t be such a bummer … but it is, and that, honestly, looks optimistic at this point.)

#50 for the Creature Feature genre

thepredator_creaturefeature

(Alien V Predator is the highest grossing of the genre that we’ve seen thus far actually. Domestically it looks unlikely that this will top that given world of mouth. Just went back-to-back with Jaws: The Revenge, and we watched the entire Anaconda series earlier this year. Kind of the year for the creature feature. Major takeaway: these shouldn’t be considered horror films ever, none of them are scary.)

#30 for the Sci-Fi Chase genre

thepredator_scifichase

(Jumper is the highest grossing here around were Alien V Predator ended up, so, again, unlikely to beat it. I feel like a genre like this is definitely starting to get relegated to things like Netflix. Hell some of the best horror and sci-fi films have already been released straight-to-VOD this year. Strange times coming.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 34% (62/185): The Predator’s energetic blend of black humor and fast-paced action hits just hard enough to nudge this oft-waylaid franchise back on track while setting up sequels to come. (Original consensus at 41%)

The Predator has violence and quips to spare, but its chaotically hollow action adds up to another missed opportunity for a franchise increasingly defined by disappointment.

(I originally generated this when the film sat at 41% and looked like it would maybe just miss out on qualifying. It then dropped dramatically and now seems very unlikely to recover. The two consensuses are interesting, I’ve never actually noticed them change one before.)

Poster – A Definitely Hard-R Predator Film, Look at All That Gore! (C+)

predator

(I like the bold move with the orange and got some artistry, but I can’t get past the fact that it looks stupid, you know? Like, I would like it if it didn’t look extra dumb. Also gotta get some font work. Ever heard of it? Interestingly AvP: Requiem is the only other film in the series to also have a totally boring font. Appropriate.)

Tagline(s) – The Hunt has Evolved (B+)

(Alright. So I have to put my personal beliefs to the side for this one. Concise and hints at the plot. Also had a little double meaning in there to up the cleverness a tad. All in all pretty good… What this hints at though is a terrible movie that lazily uses the “evolution” ploy to claim that somehow this has totally amped up the ultimate predator into the EXTRA ULTIMATE PREDATOR, BRRROOOOOOOOO. So… that’s not super great.)

Keyword(s) – commando mission; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 68.8 The Marine (2006); 61.2 Transformers: The Last Knight (2017); 61.0 Doom (2005); 59.4 Monsters: Dark Continent (2014); 57.3 Suburban Commando (1991); 56.7 The Devil’s Tomb (2009); 54.7 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012); 53.1 Red Dawn (2012); 51.6 You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008);

(The Devil’s Tomb is some weird direct-to-DVD film starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ron Perlman. I feel like weird films like that deserve a voice somehow. They seem totally ignored in a very profound and sad way.)

Notes – The film was directed and co-written by Shane Black, as a sequel to Predator (1987), Predator 2 (1990) and Predators (2010). Shane Black had played Hawkins in the original film.

The film was originally conceived as a reboot of “Predator”, until Shane Black came aboard and confirmed he would be making a sequel instead, as he wanted to continue to explore the “Predator” mythology.

Jake Busey plays the son of Peter Keyes, the government official from Predator 2 (1990) who died during the hunt for the Predator. Peter Keyes was played by Gary Busey, who is Jake’s father in real life as well. (Huh, that is kind of fun)

Shane Black had gone on record stating he wanted this movie to be true to the spirit of the original, and for it to be R-rated, saying, “It’s an odd thing. Whether Deadpool (2016) helped is an open question, but I suspect it did. I made a condition of my participation with ‘Predator,’ that it be the same rating as the first movie, and the first movie was rated R. In other words, I don’t want to cut away every time the Predator does something violent. I was watching the American version of The Grudge (2004), which was PG-13, and I remember being so frustrated by the fact that everything that was scary in the Japanese version, they had to cut away from in the PG-13 American version.”

After the success of Iron Man 3 (2013), Shane Black was approached by 20th Century Fox with an Iron Man 3 (2013)-sized budget to direct a new “Predator” movie, and he could not resist. (I think people very much underestimate the effect of the MCU on making a lot of those films great. While they give young directors a chance to show off their stuff within a studio context, there always seems to be a lot of hand holding, and I wonder if it pumped up Black’s stock as a director too much.)

Arnold Schwarzenegger turned down the opportunity to return as Dutch. (That also would have been fun as a cameo. Arnold does pick a choose with this things, rumor is he is going to appear in the Terminator reboot).

Adrien Brody expressed interest in reprising his role from Predators (2010). (Naw we’ve good)

Shane Black confirmed via twitter that the film will be rated R. He tweeted that “And, just to be clear… PG-13 is for pussies. Spines bleed… a lot.” Black also tweeted “I am standing on set next to a 7-foot tall gentleman in a Predator suit – so no, it is not all CGI.” This tweet confirmed that this movie will stay true to the original by having the Predator be played by a guy in a suit instead of CGI. (blah. How would Shane Black know that spines bleed a lot?)

Benicio Del Toro was originally supposed to star in the lead role but he was replaced by Boyd Holbrook due to scheduling conflicts. (Nooooooooooo. Benicio is like … an actor I know the name of!)

Shane Black revealed that the rough cut was so dark, it was nicknamed the Night Cut and led to reshooting the third act. (… dark shots are the worst)

When Casey Bracket (Munn) first enters the lab and is examining the recovered Predator items, one of the shelves in the background contains the Xenomorph Tail Spear from AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004). (Fine. It is kind of canon after all … although I think I would consider it sub-A. Like I think they could scrub the AvP stuff without too much trouble at least)

The actor Steve Wilder Striege was originally cast as a minor character in this movie, but 20th Century Fox removed his scenes a few days before picture lock, when actress Olivia Munn informed the studio that he was arrested, charged and registered as a sex offender in 2010 after facing allegations that he attempted to lure a 14-year-old female into a sexual relationship via the internet. (Yeah … do there is a bit of controversy surrounding the film. Another moment where Shane Black sounds like a idiot)

Edward James Olmos’ scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. (I love me some Olmos, so that is too bad)

If you look closely to the school, the football field, and the barn that was filmed in this movie, you’ll recognize that it’s the same school, football field and barn that was used on the TV show Smallville. (fun fact)

The Predator shown in the teaser poster is actually the Crucified Predator from Predators (2010), identifiable by the damage to its Bio-Mask. (whaaaaaa?)

In the Halloween scene when Rory first wears the bio-mask the original predator suit that Jean-Claude Van-Damme wore for the 1st Predator film is seen. That suit was eventually abandoned when John McTiernan and Stan Winston decided to redesign the creature. (I’ll have to keep a look out, the thing looks ridiculous)

After the Loonies are escaping from the bus, they see some motorcycles parked nearby. McKenna yells “get to the choppers!”, a throwback to a line from Predator (1987) made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character Dutch. (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Preview

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

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

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

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006) – BMeTric: 61.8

Garfield2_BMeT

Garfield2_RV

(It is pretty shocking to see how close these two movies are in both IMDb rating (5.0 now) and in Rotten Tomatoes score (15% and 11%). Just more of the same I guess … but in England or whatever.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  While tagging along with Meyer on a trip to London, Garfield is mistaken for a look-alike cat who’s come into a big inheritance. Minor but amusing. Alternate version runs 86m. Advertised as Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.

(What a short review. And basically reads, again, as: innocuous but secretly boring but also blessedly short. Which I guess i’m down with …)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLTnQko_Lz4

(Oh God. This looks terrible. Why would they do this? The original was so charming in how … local they kept it! Keep Garfield in … Indiana or wherever he lives.)

Directors – Tim Hill – (Known For: Muppets from Space; Future BMT: Alvin and the Chipmunks; Hop; Max Keeble’s Big Move; BMT: Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Notes: Developed Spongebob Squarepants, and turned to directing on shows like KaBlam! Amazingly it seems like he got the Muppets from Space as his first major directorial job. Seems like a big get.)

Writers – Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow (written by) – (Known For: Toy Story; Future BMT: Daddy Day Camp; Evan Almighty; Money Talks; Goodbye Lover; BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Cheaper by the Dozen; Notes: Apparently they are working a project with Jamie Foxx and David Bautista called Groove Tails involving mice in a competitive dance competition … or something.)

Jim Davis (comic strip “Garfield”) – (BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Notes: Has an organization employing over 50 artists that work on the Garfield brand in general, managing its image and overall finances. He is currently an adjunct professor in Indiana.)

Actors – Breckin Meyer – (Known For: Clueless; The Craft; Road Trip; Can’t Hardly Wait; Rat Race; The Insider; Escape from L.A.; Go; Herbie Fully Loaded; Josie and the Pussycats; Kate & Leopold; Prefontaine; Dancer, Texas Pop. 81; Blue State; Future BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Rebound; 54; Caffeine; Touch; Tail Lights Fade; BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Pinocchio; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for Pinocchio in 2003; Notes: Has been doing some television recently. Particularly Designated Survivor and is slated to star in The Fix on ABC it looks like.)

Jennifer Love Hewitt – (Known For: Tropic Thunder; Can’t Hardly Wait; Heartbreakers; Future BMT: Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit; Delgo; The Suburbans; The Truth About Love; House Arrest; Jewtopia; Telling You; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; The Tuxedo; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Notes: Just posted a flashback to some red carpet moments of her posing with her ex Carson Daly. Married to her The Client List co-star Brian Hallisay.)

Billy Connolly – (Known For: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; Brave; Pocahontas; The Last Samurai; A Series of Unfortunate Events; Open Season; What We Did on Our Holiday; White Oleander; Muppet Treasure Island; Mrs Brown; Fido; Still Crazy; Quartet; The Return of the Musketeers; The Man Who Sued God; The Impostors; Beautiful Joe; An Everlasting Piece; Future BMT: Gulliver’s Travels; Beverly Hills Ninja; Indecent Proposal; The X Files: I Want to Believe; The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day; Wild Oats; Who Is Cletis Tout?; BMT: Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Timeline; Notes: Scottish singer turned comedian. Was a vocal opponent of Scottish independence in 2014.)

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $28,426,747 (Worldwide: $141,702,264)

(This is a little closer to not being worth it, but probably still profitable. Still, the trajectory suggests a severe budget cut would be needed to make a third, plus I don’t think Murray was game at that point, this was only the second sequel he had ever done after all.)

#49 for the CGI Star genre

garfield2_cgistar

(This hits right before things really took off. I was actually pretty impressed with the CGI of Garfield in the previews I watched, which was surprising. Marmaduke was, as a more recent example, an actual dog which was just modified via CGI.)

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

garfield2_talkinganimal

(Marmaduke is number 29 on this list, so it hits right there as one would expect. I have a feeling I will still like this more than Marmaduke, although I guess both buy in heavily to the Cartoon Fish out of Water.)

#27 for the TV Cartoon (Live Action) genre

garfield2_basedoncartoons

(While the original was a little ahead of the peak for the genre, this guy hit right before I really got saturated. The weirdest film we’ve seen on this list I think is Aeon Flux.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (8/74): Strictly for (very) little kids, A Tale of Two Kitties features skilled voice actors but a plot that holds little interest.

(Oooooof. Very little kids. I guess the original seemed like it was just for kids as well so … makes sense? Reviewer Highlight: The best thing that can be said about Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties is that the movie isn’t quite as bad as its name. – Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle)

Poster – Talking Animals 2: Destination: London (C+)

garfield_a_tail_of_two_kitties

(Both the first and second film seem to buy into the mostly white, very simplistic style that I generally don’t like. Still love the font and nice symmetry. But overall just meh.)

Tagline(s) – Too much of a good thing is even better. (C-)

(Technically there isn’t a tagline on the poster, but I liked this extra one enough to include it. It’s just such a weird play on a common phrase. So innocuous and not connected to the film in any way. As generic of a sequel tagline as you could make.)

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

(Date Movie doesn’t reeeeeally seem like a cat film, which is too bad. The keywords from IMDb really are the worst.)

Notes – Garfield is one of two characters who have been portrayed by both Bill Murray and the late Lorenzo Music. The other is Dr. Peter Venkman of the “Ghostbusters” series. (It is kind of silly they didn’t just get a voice actor to to this … why do you need a big name to voice Garfield again? Considering they already had a very distinctive voice for Garfield, just get somehow who can to a passable job.)

Billy Connolly admitted in an interview that when he was offered the role of Lord Dargis in this sequel, he wasn’t aware that the first Garfield (2004) movie existed. (ha)

Castle Carlyle is really Castle Howard in North Yorkshire. Brideshead Revisited (1981) was filmed at the same castle. (Yiiiiis, these are the fun facts I come for)

Along with Ghostbusters II, this is only the second sequel of one of his movies, Bill Murray has appeared in. (WHY)

Tim Curry the voice of Prince and Bill Murray the voice of Garfield were both originally considered to star in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) as Eddie Valiant and Judge Doom. But they both got replaced by Bob Hoskins and Christopher Lloyd. (Good choice. What a classic)

Roger Ebert’s review of this movie was written in first person as Garfield. (Alright … oh wow it is a horror show)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Prequel or Sequel (2007)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Excuse for Family Entertainment (2007)

Garfield Preview

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

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

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

Garfield (2004) – BMeTric: 66.2

Garfield_BMeT

Garfield_RV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#40 for the CGI Star genre

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

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

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

#19 for the TV Cartoon (Live Action) genre

garfield_basedoncartoons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Game Plan Preview

Rumors of a giant robot spiders generally travel fast and in little time Patrick and Jamie are hot on its trail. They bicker over the extensive number of MacGuffins they’ve had to collect, almost as if some invisible hand has guided them from task to task. They know that this just has to be the final step, for what else could they be missing? As they round the next corner they see the small cave that an old prospector pointed them to. They take a step towards it but without warning the protective giant robot spider is upon them. They do battle, hoping only to survive. Even with twin powers combined it seems that they are no match for the robotic beast. Finally it turns its laser beam eyes upon them. This is it! It’s the end for our heroes. Patrick suddenly remembers the Obsidian Dongle in his hand and turns it towards the spider as it shoots. The laser beam is absorbed and he feels the Dongle pulsate with energy. The spider cocks its robot head in confusion, but only for a moment as Patrick then blasts it away with the power of the Dongle. “My God,” they say with looks of horror on their faces. It’s a power too great for mankind to possess and they know in that moment that their quest has been righteous. They enter the cave expecting the next MacGuffin or a new riddle, but instead find a small child. She looks upon Jamie and speaks, “Father?” Jamie is confused, but deep down he knows the fact is true. But how can a child… his child… be the key to destroying the Dongle? How can a child be a MacGuffin? That’s right! We’re watching The Game Plan. In an effort to repair the Chain Reaction that Cannonball Run II destroyed we are shifting that film over to the Game section of the cycle (as a Razzie award nominee) and jumping to The Game Plan starring The Rock through Roselyn Sanchez. Phew. What a mess. Thanks IMDb. Let’s go!

The Game Plan (2007) – BMeTric: 25.9

TheGamePlan_BMeT

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(Quite a low BMeTric compared to other recent films. The interesting thing actually is how the rating just stalls. Been around 6.2 forever, which is basically exactly average for wide release films since 1980. No one will ever see it as anything more or less than that: average.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Egocentric superstar quarterback (Johnson) becomes a better person – and a better player – after he spends quality time with the 8-year-old daughter (Pettis) he never knew he had. Predictable mix of rib-tickling and heart-tugging elements; this family-friendly comedy sticks close to the rulebook for movies about self-absorbed workaholics suddenly saddled with parental responsibilities.

(First, no way The Rock is a quarterback. Middle Linebacker for sure. Second, love the hyphen and semicolon game here, strong stuff. Finally, “sticks close to the rulebook”? I’m not mad Leonard, I’m just disappointed.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okZ4S4yjvlw

(I had to look it up: apparently you can just put a person’s name on a birth certificate. If you do so knowing the information is false you can be charged with a crime. But in this film I imagine the mother was fairly certain The Rock was the father, so I guess s’all good. That trailer? It was fine. Looks like a kid’s film.)

Directors – Andy Fickman – (Known For: She’s the Man; Race to Witch Mountain; Future BMT: You Again; Parental Guidance; BMT: Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2; The Game Plan; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 in 2016; Notes: Is now mainly a producer and has directed over 40 episodes of Kevin James’ show Kevin Can Wait.)

Writers – Nichole Millard and Kathryn Price (screenplay & story) – (Future BMT: Fallen; BMT: The Game Plan; Notes: Both Price and Millard were lawyers. The only difference in their credits is Price wrote for the reality show The Mole, which was a fantastic show.)

Audrey Wells (story) – (Known For: Under the Tuscan Sun; George of the Jungle; Shall We Dance; The Kid; The Truth About Cats & Dogs; Guinevere; BMT: The Game Plan; A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: Busted into the biz as an assistant for novelist and screenwriter Alan Sharp who wrote Rob Roy and Night Moves among other things.)

Actors – Dwayne Johnson – (Known For: Skyscraper; Rampage; Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle; Moana; Fast & Furious 8; Get Smart; Fast & Furious 7; Central Intelligence; Hercules; San Andreas; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; Furious 6; The Other Guys; Fast & Furious 5; The Mummy Returns; Pain & Gain; Race to Witch Mountain; Welcome to the Jungle; Snitch; The Scorpion King; Future BMT: Tooth Fairy; Jem and the Holograms; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Southland Tales; You Again; Reno 911!: Miami; Planet 51; Walking Tall; BMT: Doom; Baywatch; Be Cool; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; The Game Plan; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Doom in 2006; Notes: Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? According to news reports he’s cooking the acceptance of animal abuse … by taking his family to an aquarium apparently. Y’all looney animal right activists, aquariums are fun, save the hate for Sea World.)

Kyra Sedgwick – (Known For: The Edge of Seventeen; Born on the Fourth of July; Submission; Secondhand Lions; Kill Your Darlings; The Possession; Singles; Phenomenon; Murder in the First; The Woodsman; Heart and Souls; Cop Car; The Last Act; Time Out of Mind; Mr. & Mrs. Bridge; Critical Care; Personal Velocity: Three Portraits; What’s Cooking?; Future BMT: Something to Talk About; Collection; Loverboy; Big Sky; Man on a Ledge; Tai-Pan; Kansas; BMT: Gamer; The Game Plan; Notes: The Closer. Personally I love her more at Wuntch in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Wuntch time is over! She’s married to Kevin Bacon.)

Madison Pettis – (Known For: Horton Hears a Who!; That’s What I Am; Future BMT: Do You Believe?; BMT: The Game Plan; Notes: Had a few leading roles in television including a number of voice parts. She is now twenty, and I believe attends Tisch.)

Budget/Gross – $22 million / Domestic: $90,648,202 (Worldwide: $147,880,543)

(Huge hit. But probably not something The Rock wanted to continue as he transformed himself into movie star Dwayne Johnson. Also I feel like these types of films rarely get sequels, what with children growing up and stuff.)

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

gameplan_daddyfishoutofwater

(Ah a classic. Cheaper by the Dozen is the most successful one we’ve watched, but it is juuuust beat by Big Daddy which currently has a 39.8% on Rotten Tomatoes, it wasn’t qualifying for the last ten years (!), a bad review was added in March. For some reason there hasn’t been films added to this list in five years.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 29% (29/101): Despite The Rock’s abundant charisma, The Game Plan is just another run-of-the-mill Disney comedy.

(Hmmmm, does not bode well for us. Likely boring, inncuous, laugh-free, heart warming, and hard to hate. Like the Pacifier. Reviewer Highlight: Having tamed one muscled man-child (Vin Diesel in The Pacifier), Disney sets its sights on The Rock. – Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly (see))

Poster – The Sklog Plan (D+)

game_plan

(A very Disney poster. As you all know I hate posters that are predominantly white in color tone. Feels very empty and messy. Mediocre font and the balance is all off anyway. Weird and generally bad poster here. I do like the poses that the football players in the background are making to show their displeasure at the situation. They all be like “say whaaaaaaa? You got a whaaaaaaa?”)

Tagline(s) – Joe Kingman had the perfect game plan to win the championship… but first, he has to tackle one little problem. (D)

(Hahahahaha. No. It is egregious and insane that that entire thing actually appeared on the poster. No thanks. Give it a D for the puns, but otherwise useless.)

Keyword(s) – tween girl; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.1 Grease 2 (1982); 75.0 Daddy Day Camp (2007); 55.1 The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990); 52.2 Annie (2014); 48.4 Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005); 45.8 Unaccompanied Minors (2006); 39.1 Blue Crush (2002); 38.9 Ladybugs (1992); 36.3 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003); 34.7 Monkey Trouble (1994);

(I cannot wait to see Neverending Story II again, it is just a bonkers film. He’s like loving his memory and shit. I’ve seen Annie (2014) … in theaters … why did I watch that in theaters if it wasn’t for this? I guess The Razzies maybe? Blah.)

Notes – Dwayne Johnson said he came up with the idea for his character to be such a huge Elvis fan, and suggested the idea to the writers, who loved it and added it to the script. Johnson later said that when they asked how he came up with the idea, Johnson responded that he is Elvis’ biggest fan, and much of the Elvis memorabilia his character owns actually belongs to Johnson. (Fun facts. I have a feeling we are going to get a ton of fun facts. This screams: The Rock went on a three week press tour for this film)

Dwayne Johnson has said that this film will be the last film in which he will be credited as “The Rock”. (That makes sense. I’m like 50-50 whether I refer to him as Dwayne Johnson or The Rock at this point, although not to other people I guess)

Two bulldogs, named Tubbs and Tank, shared the role of Spike. (I love dog facts, Tubbs is on IMDb but this is his only credited role)

Dwayne Johnson’s character, Joe Kingman, suffers a separated shoulder that temporarily knocks him out of the big game. In real life, The Rock actually did suffer a season-ending shoulder separation while playing defensive tackle as a freshman at the University of Miami. (Fun fact)

Production was pushed back by several months after Dwayne Johnson suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon injury during a football practice session. (Oh shit. You aren’t getting any younger Dwayne, got to chill on those stunts I guess)

The scene in which “Joe Kingman” (Dwayne Johnson) runs the whole way through the city to the hospital carrying his daughter Peyton resembles Dustin Hoffman doing the same for his son in the movie Kramer vs. Kramer (1979). Also a movie about a father raising a child on his own. (Honestly … I think that is just something stressful fathers could relate to, that helplessness and duty that comes with being a father)

Originally the script called for the football team to be the New England Patriots, but negotiating with the NFL became difficult for producers so they made up the team name instead. (Gross)

The Rebels and New York Dukes stand in for the NFL’s New England Patriots and New York Giants. In the film, the Rebels play the Dukes in the last game of the regular season, and later in the League’s Championship game. The movie was released during the 2007 NFL regular season, and in that season the Patriots played the Giants in both the last game of the Regular season and in Super Bowl XLII (2008). (You know what? Let’s not think about that game)

The football referees were from the Association of New England Football Officials (What’s up with New England being all over this film?)

Wild Wild West Preview

When Patrick and Jamie arrive in beautiful Delaware City for the big No Rulez Race they are dismayed to find that their teammate, noted speedster and comic superstar Cheech Marin, has totally ditched them. On top of that he broke the chain on their rad three person tandem bicycle that they were going to use to power their way to victory. They hold the pieces of chain in their hands and vow to mend it, but it’s too late and they still got a race to win. In a stroke of genius they decide to split up into two different teams to give themselves a better chance to win and go off in search of a zany gimmick that will lead to victory.

As Jamie walks down the boardwalk he’s nearly run over by a rollerblader looking super sweet. “Watch where you’re going!” He yells and tries to get a police officer’s attention but he is waved off. Just then he gets an idea: no one stops a rollerblader because they are just too cool. What better way to win the No Rulez Race than to do the thing furthest from rulez: rollerblading. He straps on his blades, jumps into his jorts, and skates his way across America bippin’ and boppin’ to sweet tunez. Other teams totes sabotage each other, but no one minds the dude just blading along. Nearly 1 month later he finally blades his way towards the finish line. Every other competitor has broken down weeks ago, but his blades keep on a-going. He looks to his right…

As Patrick stumbles his way out of the nearest tavern he’s nearly run over by a rollerblader looking like a total asshole. “Hey, watch it bub!” He shouts drunkenly and in a stupor. He’s taken the loss of their three-person tandem bicycle hard and has only found solace in the cool refreshing taste of Zima. He is generally terrible at everything now and decides to give up on life. What better way to show the world that you’ve given up than to strap on some blades and attempt to skate your way across America. Nearly a month later and trailing empty Zima bottles the entire way, Patrick approaches the finish line. Every other competitor has broken down, but Patrick has continued ever forwards, his eyes glazed with hate for the world that has abandoned him and his three-person tandem bicycle. He looks to his left…

… they are shocked to see each other right alongside! Patrick’s legs akimbo, he looks terrible. Like some knock-off terrible version of Jamie’s golden rollerblading god. Yet they finish at the exact same time because they are the best twins ever and demand their prize. The organizer reveals that the prize was supposed to be a golden microphone but he lost it months ago in Bolivia. “Like this one?” They ask, pulling out their karaoke prize. “Yup, guess you had it the whole time and this whole adventure was pretty much useless and not worth going through.” Knowing just what to do we sing together with perfect pitch and the microphone opens to reveal another riddle. Good god. “To the desert you must go, and find the final piece you need. A robot spider is your foe, defeat it with your twinzo speed.” That’s right! We’re watching the only major BMT film with a giant robotic spider, Wild Wild West. A true classic of the BMT genre, I remembering seeing it when it came out in theaters with a packed crowd. I was of an age where films were mostly good and never bad, but I do remember feeling that this one was a very strange film. BTW, the reason Cheech Marin abandoned us in this story is he was used as a Chain Reaction but didn’t actually appear in the film at all. IMDb totally screwed us. Anyway, we’ll mend the chain next week. Let’s go!

Wild Wild West (1999) – BMeTric: 71.5

WildWildWest_BMeT

WildWildWest_RV

(Very stable around 70+ which is in “legendary” territory. Basically the rating is rising as one would expect with the number of votes coming in. This kind of trend is pretty common with really terrible films that came out before Rotten Tomatoes pages started getting archived. You can’t see the start of the graph basically, but by 2004ish it had already been established as one of the worst films ever made.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Rehash of 1960s TV series finds special agents James West (Smith) and inventor Artemus Gordon (Kline) on a special mission for President Grant to capture nefarious bad guy Arliss Loveless (Branagh). Overstuffed with visual gimmickry, but leaden in every way. You can hear the banter landing with a thud every few minutes.

(Sounds about right. Everything you read about this film suggests Will Smith was a major miscast. Is seems to forced a film that should have been westers-sci-fi into a more comedic style. And by doing so things get leaden as Maltin says.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=It89i3W-v4s

(Wow. Well, the first half of that trailer actually looked kind of fun. If I was around 13 years old in 1999 and saw that on television I might be excited to see it in theater (hehe … gulp). The second half looks genuinely terrible though, just kind of a mess of bad CGI mostly.)

Directors – Barry Sonnenfeld – (Known For: The Addams Family; Men in Black; Men in Black 3; Addams Family Values; Get Shorty; Big Trouble; Future BMT: R.V.: Runaway Vacation; Men in Black II; The Concierge; BMT: Wild Wild West; Nine Lives; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: Has directed for over 20 years. Recently directed ten episodes of the Series of Unfortunate Events television series.)

Writers – Jim Thomas and John Thomas (story) – (Known For: Predator; Predators; Executive Decision; Future BMT: Mission to Mars; Predator 2; BMT: AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem; Wild Wild West; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; Behind Enemy Lines; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: They haven’t done much credited work, mainly they get story credits for the various Predator adaptations and sequels. Jim Thomas did an article in Empire looking back at Predator though, so they are still kicking around it seems.)

S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock (screenplay) – (Known For: Tremors; Short Circuit; *batteries not included; Heart and Souls; Future BMT: Ghost Dad; Short Circuit 2; BMT: Wild Wild West; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: Claimed their original script was more serious and tried to get their names taken off of the credits. Helped found Stampede Entertainment which made the first four films in the Tremors franchise.)

Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman (screenplay) – (Known For: Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Shrek the Third; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Doc Hollywood; Last Holiday; BMT: Wild Wild West; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 2001; Notes: Comedy writers presumably brought in to punch up the script after they decided to go the comedy route with this film. Their credited work is punctuated with large gaps in working, and I can’t really find much additional information on them.)

Actors – Will Smith – (Known For: Independence Day; I Am Legend; Men in Black; Focus; The Pursuit of Happyness; Men in Black 3; Bad Boys; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; Hancock; I, Robot; Hitch; Enemy of the State; Concussion; Ali; The Legend of Bagger Vance; Six Degrees of Separation; Where the Day Takes You; Future BMT: Made in America; Shark Tale; Suicide Squad; Men in Black II; Bright; Bad Boys II; Collateral Beauty; BMT: After Earth; Wild Wild West; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for After Earth in 2014; Winner for Worst Original Song, and Worst Screen Couple for Wild Wild West in 2000; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for After Earth in 2014; Notes: Y’all know Will Smith. Once a rapper, a television phenom in Fresh Prince, now … he’s bungee jumping over the Grand Canyon on Youtube for his 50th birthday.)

Kevin Kline – (Known For: Beauty and the Beast; No Strings Attached; The Big Chill; A Fish Called Wanda; Definitely, Maybe; Sophie’s Choice; The Hunchback of Notre Dame; The Road to El Dorado; Silverado; Ricki and the Flash; Chaplin; Last Vegas; Cry Freedom; Life as a House; Dave; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Grand Canyon; In & Out; The Conspirator; French Kiss; Future BMT: The Pink Panther; Darling Companion; The January Man; Consenting Adults; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; The Last of Robin Hood; As You Like It; BMT: Wild Wild West; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Wild Wild West in 2000; and Nominee for Worst Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: Y’all know Kevin Kline. His daughter is the musician Frankie Cosmos.)

Kenneth Branagh – (Known For: Avengers: Infinity War; Dunkirk; Murder on the Orient Express; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit; Valkyrie; The Boat That Rocked; The Road to El Dorado; My Week with Marilyn; Much Ado About Nothing; Hamlet; Dead Again; Chariots of Fire; Swing Kids; Henry V; Rabbit-Proof Fence; Mindhorn; Celebrity; Othello; Five Children and It; Future BMT: Frankenstein; Sleuth; BMT: Wild Wild West; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: He had a very obscure uncredited cameo in Avengers: Infinity War. Naturally, he is huge in the Shakespeare scene in London, I saw him in Winter’s Tale … it was fantastic.)

Budget/Gross – $170 million / Domestic: $113,804,681 (Worldwide: $222,104,681)

(Some places argue it made back its money overseas. False, this was a write off of probably $100 million from the pure accounting perspective. But it likely made its money back with advertising and tie-ins surrounding the release.)

#17 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre

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(Barely beaten by the first Ride Along for the highest grossing qualifier we’ve seen, although Men in Black II is actually the most successful qualifying example available (same director as Wild Wild West!). The genre got blown out in the early 90s, but has recovered since.)

#20 for the Adventure – Period genre

wildwildwest_adventureperiod

(The Pirates franchise crushes this one for bad films, and the Three Musketeers (Plaaaaanchet) from 2011 is my favorite. I have a feeling with CGI and 3D printing technology that period films are going to see a boom in the near future and it becomes easier and cheaper to create. I guess we’ll see though. You can definitely see CGI helping the genre come into its own in the late 90s.)

#17 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

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(This is our seventh, and this is by far the most successful bad adaptation we’ve seen, and the most successful qualifying film ever. This kind of marks the end of a giant boom of adaptations. They come out more regularly now (Baywatch and CHiPs are recent examples), but they were just churning them out in the late 90s)

#6 for the Western genre

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(Peak of the western genre actually, highest grossing qualifying film in the genre. The genre is coming back in style in a major way as well after dying in the late-90s. We’ve seen six westerns now, my favorite being (Hall of Fame) Texas Rangers. Although Jonah Hex is also pretty hilarious.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (22/131): Bombastic, manic, and largely laugh-free, Wild Wild West is a bizarre misfire in which greater care was lavished upon the special effects than on the script.

(The argument in the notes seems to be that the script was overwritten once they got Will Smith (mis)cast in order to make it a comedy. Then they didn’t even do that right and had to do a bunch of reshoots to add even more comedy in because audiences didn’t understand why the movie wasn’t really funny. It sounds like a complete disaster. Reviewer Highlight – The elaborate special effects are like watching money burn on the screen – Roger Ebert)

Poster – Wild Wild Sklog (F! F! F!)

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(Whhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Holy shit. Move over The Avengers (1998) there is a new sheriff in town. That has got to be hands down the worst poster I have ever seen for a major motion picture release.)

Tagline(s) – It’s a whole new west. July ’99. (:D)

(Lol, yes please put this on the poster. Make sure you have that year on there in case someone is confused and thinks the movie might come out in July 2000 or July 2001. This smacks of someone being like “this is truly an event people. When children across America hang this on their walls they want to remember exactly when it came out.”)

Keyword(s) – utah; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.5 Wild Wild West (1999); 55.3 Point Break (2015); 48.6 R.V.: Runaway Vacation (2006); 25.1 Idle Hands (1999); 24.6 Resident Evil: Extinction (2007); 23.9 My 5 Wives (2000); 23.3 Duets (2000); 22.6 Pride and Prejudice (2003); 20.3 The Mountain Between Us (2017); 18.8 Love Me Like You Do (2014);

(I wouldn’t really call Wild Wild West a Utah film unfortunately. The climax takes place there, but the film is kind of roadtrippy in how it moves around. Starts in West Virginia, moves to Washington D.C., goes to New Orleans (for an extended segment), and then they railroad it to Utah pretty directly. But it definitely takes place across a number of different settings. Still, pretty surprising we’ve not seen any of the others on this list.)

Notes – Will Smith turned down the lead role in The Matrix (1999) to star in this movie, being a fan of the television series. He later said this was the worst decision he made in his career. (It was. Although you can’t really say Keanu somehow because I giant star after The Matrix, and Will Smith was slightly more famous than him at that point … but Wild Wild West definitely quickened the pace of Will Smith’s box office downfall)

The film underwent costly re-shoots in an attempt to inject some humor after it was found that test audiences weren’t sure if it was supposed to be a comedy. (It shouldn’t have been)

Though a box-office failure in the U.S. (it managed to turn a profit overseas), it’s commonly joked that the only reason the film earned any money at all is because unaccompanied minors would buy tickets to this film, then use them to sneak into screenings of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) and American Pie (1999). (HA)

Will Smith said that he knew the movie wasn’t any good and he was embarrassed when it earned almost fifty million dollars in its opening weekend. Years later, Smith apologized publicly to Robert Conrad (star of the original television series) and said now that he was older and more experienced, he understood Conrad’s anger and criticism of the film version, as well as Conrad’s refusal to make a cameo appearance in it. (Conrad should have had more input, although maybe he just was opposed to any movie being made)

When Kenneth Branagh was in an articulated metal platform as Dr. Loveless, he actually was seated in the device in a kneeling position. He would have to get up every few minutes and walk around to get the circulation back in his legs, as they would constantly go numb from being in that position for an extended period of time.

When this film swept the 20th Annual Razzie Awards, winning five statuettes including Worst Picture, Robert Conrad, who played James West in the original 1960s television series, accepted three of the awards in person, as his way of expressing his low opinion of what had been done with his source material. (HA, good on Robert Conrad)

Robert Conrad was initially approached by Barry Sonnenfeld to make a cameo appearance as President Ulysses S. Grant. He turned down the offer after reading the script, due to what he felt was its poor quality and lack of loyalty for the original series, on which it was based. (YOU SHOULD HAVE DEMANDED TO BE SCRIPT SUPERVISOR)

The characters of “Spike Guy” and “Knife Guy” were added to the movie and inserted into the climax after test audiences found the heroes fighting only Loveless’ beauties to be very odd. (Ahahahahahahhaha these notes are gold)

Mel Gibson was set to star as James West, and Richard Donner (who had directed three episodes of The Wild Wild West (1965)) was set to direct, with a script by Shane Black, back when Warner Bros. announced the plans to make the movie in 1992. However, they both dropped out and went on to do Maverick (1994). After Gibson dropped out, Tom Cruise was attached to star, before dropping out to star in Mission: Impossible (1996). (Wow, what a journey this had to the screen. Maverick is better … although still a very odd Western)

Belle was originally cast with, and filmed with British actress Phina Oruche. Reportedly, the chemistry needed for the bathtub love scene wasn’t there. The scene was recast and re-shot with Garcelle Beauvais. However, Oruche was not told, and found out she was no longer in the film at the premiere in Los Angeles. (Oh no!)

Kevin Smith has said that the giant spider was producer Jon Peters’ idea for the later-abandoned “Superman Lives” project with Nicolas Cage and Tim Burton. (Yup, a very famous story on podcasts. The entire thing sound so absurd as to be … extremely plausible)

Barry Sonnenfeld, Kevin Kline, Salma Hayek, Will Smith, and in fact half the staff at Warner Bros. hate this film. Hayek in particular thought she was being underused, while Kline considered himself too good of an actor for the finished product. (Kline is too good of an actor for the finished product. So is Branagh actually)

This is the second movie in which Kevin Kline plays both the President of the United States and the man impersonating the President. The first was Dave (1993). (That didn’t even occur to me as I watched the film)

When Will Smith asked his mother what she thought of the film, she replied “You’ve done better, baby”. (Oh no! These notes are amazing)

There was a recurring villain on the television series named Dr. Loveless, but he was a dwarf rather than an amputee, and his first name was Miguelito, not Arliss. (Huh, fun fact)

Ted Levine grew up watching the original television series. Levine said he enjoyed working on the film, but because there were so many writers revising the script, there was no center, causing the story to be all over the place. He attributed that to the film’s failure, as well as Will Smith’s miscasting. (Uh … fair)

According to screenwriters S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock, their original script was rewritten almost entirely from their draft. The duo, who have worked on several films together, claimed their script was heavily rewritten by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman, with further rewrites by an uncredited Jim Kouf, in an attempt to add more action and comedy to a script that was a mostly serious, dialog-driven mystery western. Entire additions, such as the villain, most of the jokes and action scenes, and the entire 3rd act involving the giant spider, were new without their input. Wilson and Braddock tried to get their names taken off from the film after seeing the final product, and they have since refused to work with a major studio because of the experience. (Yeah, the first script sounds much better sadly. Although I’m not sure how much I buy it, Maddock himself claims he tends to drive scripts towards comedy, but perhaps they mean it would be more like Tremors and less like … this.)

At an official 150 million dollars (unofficial 170 million dollars) it stands as the most expensive movie produced by Warner Bros. and the most expensive movie released in 1999.

In 1997, writer Gilbert Ralston sued Warner Bros. over the upcoming motion picture based on the series. Ralston helped create The Wild Wild West (1965) television series, and scripted the pilot episode, The Wild Wild West: The Night of the Inferno (1965). In a deposition, Ralston explained that in 1964 he was approached by producer Michael Garrison who ‘”said he had an idea for a series, good commercial idea, and wanted to know if I could glue the idea of a western hero and a James Bond type together in the same show.” Ralston said he then created the Civil War characters, the format, the story outline and nine drafts of the script that was the basis for the television series. It was his idea, for example, to have a secret agent named Jim West who would perform secret missions for a bumbling Ulysses S. Grant. Ralston’s experience brought to light a common Hollywood practice of the 1950s and 1960s, when television writers, who helped create popular series, allowed producers or studios to take credit for a show, thus cheating the writers out of millions of dollars in royalties. Ralston died in 1999, before his suit was settled. Warner Bros. ended up paying his family between 600,000 and 1.5 million dollars. (Hollywood accounting at its best. Go get your money Ralston)

The locomotive in the film (#25 William Mason) was previously used in The Great Locomotive Chase (1956). “Chase” also featured Virginia & Truckee Railroad #22 “Inyo”, which was used in The Wild Wild West television series. (Train facts! Awesome)

The sequences on both Artemus Gordon’s and Dr. Loveless’ trains interiors were shot on sets at Warner Bros. The train exteriors were shot in Idaho on the Camas Prairie Railroad. The Wanderer is portrayed by the Baltimore & Ohio 4-4-0 No. 25, one of the oldest operating steam locomotives in the U.S. Built in 1856 at the Mason Machine Works in Taunton, Massachusetts, it was later renamed The “William Mason” in honor of its manufacturer. During pre-production the engine was sent to the steam shops at the Strasburg Railroad for restoration and repainting. The locomotive is brought out for the B&O; Train Museum in Baltimore’s “Steam Days”. (Tauton Mass. what what)

In the movie, the Central Pacific’s Jupiter was played by the J.W. Bowker (Virginia & Truckee #21). Now displayed at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, California. The Union Pacific’s 119 was played by the Reno (Virginia & Truckee #11). Now displayed at Old Tucson Studios in Tucson, Arizona. (I. Love. Train facts!)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2000)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Kevin Kline, Will Smith, 2000)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Barry Sonnenfeld, 2000)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Jim Thomas, John Thomas, S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman, 2000)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Stevie Wonder, Kool Moe Dee, Will Smith, 2000)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Kevin Kline, 2000)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Kenneth Branagh, 2000)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Salma Hayek, 2000)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Kevin Kline, 2000)