Midnight Sun Preview

“Truth or Dare, Bad Movie Twins,” Truth says. “Dare,” responds Patrick without hesitation. “We dare you to battle us,” Dare says with a laugh. Patrick and Truth engage in an increasingly tense battle of wits. Twisted twin riddles are thrown forth by Patrick, counterbalanced by Truth Bombs lobbed by Truth. As the furious battle gives way to grudging respect they turn their attention to Dare and Jamie who have decided on a physical confrontation. Twin Chops are counterattacked by Daring Dropkicks. As sweat and blood fly, Jamie can’t help but notice that the fight has become a dance of seduction. Patrick and Truth begin to get uncomfortable with the sexual tension in the room. It is thick in the air and when they look at each other Patrick quickly says “I’m married with four rambunctious kids, actually.” Truth nods. “Me too,” and with a smile and they begin to share pictures of their children. Meanwhile, Jamie and Dare continue fighting with furious passion. Suddenly Dare gets a big creepy smile on her face and asks again, “Truth or Dare, Jamie.” Jamie breathes heavily from exertion, but he knows what’s about to happen. “Truth,” he whispers. “Do you love me?” Dare asks breathlessly. “Yes,” Jamie responds, “Truth or Dare, Dare.” To which she also asks for truth. “Do you love me?” Jamie asks. “Yes,” Dare responds, “But you can’t love me. I have a medical condition called Statham’s Disease.” Jamie gasps. “Of course. It’s why you steal and parkour. To keep your adrenaline up at all times.” Truth lets out a sob and begins to run away. That’s right! We are watching Midnight Sun. A young girl has a very rare disease and a very hot new boyfriend. Will she tell him? Won’t she? Will she definitely die at the end totally Notebook-ing us? I assume so. Let’s get into it!

Midnight Sun (2018) – BMeTric: 12.6

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(Wowza, high rating. It is becoming increasingly obvious that anything below around 20 BMeTric is pretty rough. Which shouldn’t be a surprise. The number of “bad” films a year is debatable, but there were 158 films with IMDb ratings below 6.0 with over 3000 votes released in 2017. Out of any given year I would imagine we should be aiming to watch about 1/5th of those … which would be around 32 films. How many films have over 50 BMeTric? 33 in 2017. Which is why I tend to look to 50 as the general cut off for a guarantee watch. Which is correct I think. Anything below around 35 I imagine you have to look into the detes like with this or Death Wish. It also obviously depends on the genre. Teen rom-drams have inflated ratings and lower vote counts which hurt it … man, I really need to revamp the BMeTric into a real model.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars –  “Midnight Sun” does what it means to do for the people it means to do it for—and that might just be enough. The 12-year-old girls who are the film’s target audience probably won’t realize what it’s derivative of: a little bit of John Hughes and a lot of “Love Story.” “Midnight Sun” also bears more than a slight resemblance to last summer’s Young Adult drama “Everything, Everything,” in which a rare disease supposedly spells doom for a blossoming teen romance.

(I’m actually getting the feeling that this film might be a secretly good film. I’m not the audience, but I think I’ll be able to channel my inner 12 year old and perhaps appreciate what it is trying to do. I hope I’m wrong though and that there is like … a ghost mom or something.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WS-kCiCVEp0

(I have a sneaking feeling of spoilees at the end there because … I mean, they kind of suggest she’s going to die if she’s outside and then at the end she’s outside so … Anyways, I’m getting bad acting vibes from Thorne and Schwarzenegger, but otherwise it looks incredibly sappy.)

Directors – Scott Speer – (Known For: Step Up 4: Miami Heat; Future BMT: I Still See You; Status Update; BMT: Midnight Sun; Notes: Both I Still See You and this can out this year … which is nuts. Was a music video director for years winning a multitude of awards in that industry.)

Writers – Kenji Bando (based on the motion picture screenplay “Taiyô no uta” by) – (BMT: Midnight Sun; Notes: There is little to nothing about the guy, but a Japanese screenwriter who wrote the film this film is a remake of.)

Eric Kirsten (screenplay) – (BMT: Midnight Sun; Notes: Has an unproduced script on the 2012 Blacklist called “The Lighthouse”, otherwise there is literally nothing about this guy in the trades.)

Actors – Bella Thorne – (Known For: Assassination Nation; The Babysitter; The Duff; Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; Stuck on You; The Unbeatables; Future BMT: Amityville: The Awakening; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; Boo! A Madea Halloween; Ratchet & Clank; Big Sky; I Still See You; Finishing the Game: The Search for a New Bruce Lee; BMT: Blended; Midnight Sun; Notes: Was young Taylor Townsend on the O.C.! Has three actor siblings, but she’s the most famous.)

Patrick Schwarzenegger – (Known For: Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse; Stuck in Love; BMT: Grown Ups 2; The Benchwarmers; Midnight Sun; Notes: The son of Arnie! Started with roles in Happy Madison productions, and how he’s all growed up.)

Rob Riggle – (Known For: 12 Strong; The Hangover; 21 Jump Street; Step Brothers; Hotel Transylvania; The Other Guys; Hotel Transylvania 2; 22 Jump Street; Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby; Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life; Big Miracle; Going the Distance; Opening Night; Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story; Future BMT: Dumb and Dumber To; Nature Calls; The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard; Absolutely Anything; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2; Larry Crowne; Night School; Hell and Back; How to Be a Latin Lover; The Internship; Let’s Be Cops; Just Before I Go; Status Update; BMT: Furry Vengeance; Killers; Unaccompanied Minors; Midnight Sun; Notes: Bam. Well known for his (pretty terrible) football comedy skits on whatever channel’s NFL pregame he works for. Was a Marine, but left to become a comedian. Was briefly on SNL before joining the Daily Show.)

Budget/Gross – $2.8 million / Domestic: $9,561,064 (Worldwide: $27,365,467)

(That seems fine. That’s what you need. Just like with Truth or Dare there is a level of safety with films like this since even $10 million, which you can maybe get just from teen girls, the movie probably breaks even.)

#107 for the Romantic Drama genre

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(Fifty Shades of Grey holds the top three highest grossing BMT film in the category. We’ve seen twelve in total, and a number of Nicholas Sparks adaptations which is fun. The lowest grossing BMT film? Surprisingly The Scarlet Letter. Interestingly while the number of theaters the genre occupies has rebounded since 2008, its recent box office success has been lackluster. Possibly could be getting sniped by Netflix originals like The Kissing Booth.)

#48 for the Teen Romance genre

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(Nothing will ever beat Here on Earth (although ooooo Endlesssss Looooooooove got the closest I think). That big peak is very obviously Twilight which is fun, and the genre has entered a relative slumber. It’ll be back.)

#63 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

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(These really fell off a cliff after Hunger Games huh. Definitely an interesting genre and one that will come back (there are a few this year, like Mortal Instruments). I think the favorite of the ones we’ve seen is The Seeker: The Dark is Rising. Great twin film. Also, BTW, this isn’t based on a book. There is a book novelization, but the movie isn’t based on it, it is a remake of a Japanese film.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (12/56): Midnight Sun is a typically manipulative and contrived teen romance that’s unfortunately distinguished by its offensively inaccurate portrayal of a real-life disease.

(Hmmm, that’s actually weirdly promising. I will like to see how weird they go with the disease. The only other thing of interest was whether this was like a Sparks adaptation, and this reviewer seems to have answered my question in the negative. Reviewer Highlight: The authentic Sparks movies at least tend to be howlers, with shamelessly overcomplicated narratives and risible twists. Midnight Sun, on the other hand, is straightforward and trite. – Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club)

Poster – Midnight Sklog (D+)

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(Just like Truth or Dare this went with an arbitrary picture of our main characters for the thrust of the poster, which is bad. But it does have some quirky unique font, which is good. The rest is bad though. Like… I know they’re on a boat, but do you really want a poster where I have to guess that they’re probably on a boat?)

Tagline(s) – Dreams Come True at Night. (C+)

(Hmmmm, sounds like a tagline. It feels like a tagline. Certainly a little cliched, other than the fact that it works better for this film than perhaps the hundred other films it could have been the tagline for. At least it’s short.)

Keyword(s) – father daughter relationship; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.6 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 88.4 Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966); 87.6 BloodRayne (2005); 87.4 Crossroads (I) (2002); 86.9 Left Behind (I) (2014); 86.1 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 86.0 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 85.8 Fantastic Four (2015); 81.9 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 80.3 Littleman (2006);

(So … every film ever? This is literally just a who’s who of terrible movies. And guess what? We watch a lot of bad movies. Even, on occasion, Uwe movies like BloodRayne.)

Notes – -It is based on the 2006 Japanese movie of the same name. (Unavailable for us to watch anywhere. Thank God… I mean, rats.)

Based on the teen novel of the same name by author Trish Cook. (FAKE NEWS! The Trish Cook book is a novelization of the screenplay for this film.)

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Vampire Academy Preview

Cradling the child in his arms, Jamie brings her out of the cave and into his life. Having spent most of her childhood in the care of a giant robotic spider she has a lot to learn, but you know what? So do they. It’s a classic Old Dogs situation up in here as Jamie and crazy Uncle Patrick teach her how to swim and bike and laugh all the while getting into zany situations. They eventually put their party animal ways behind them and take accounting jobs at their father’s firm. It may not be the most glamorous job, but it’s a stable living and the benefits are good. As they wave goodbye to her on her first day of school, a single tear falls from their eyes. The Ivory Socket and Obsidian Dongle begin to glow a deep amber, “The final MacGuffin… it was within us the whole time. It was… love.” Knowing that it’s finally time, they place the pieces together. In a flash of light the universe is torn apart…

Blinking his eyes, Jamie awakens to find the little old librarian staring down into his face. “Hee hee hee, we did it. It is destroyed and the Socket is mine. No longer will the power of the Dongle stand in my way.” It was a set up from the jump! Jamie wails in anguish and begins to cough up blood due to his many mortal wounds. “No,” the librarian screeches, “you must live and help me use the Socket. I must have your twin powers.” He can feel her dragging him through the darkness until they come upon a large house in the woods. A man opens the door. “Another one, Lucretia? If I must.” He smiles, revealing large fangs. That’s right! We’re watching Vampire Academy!

Blinking his eyes, Patrick awakens unharmed on what is clearly a terribly built house set on a soundstage, a teenager in a shoddy witch costume sits across from him in the sparsely dressed living room. “I’ll get you my pretty,” she plagiarizes shoddily, “but not before I show you my dance grooves!” As she bips and bops around Patrick becomes confused. The display was terrible, what was the point? “Top this, top that, top that, top that, top that …” the witch’s song reverberates inside his skull. Where is he? What is happening? Top what? … Top “that” of course. Slowly and impassionately the witch is joined by other similarly dressed characters, and Patrick’s mind begins to slip away. Patrick wonders how he could have thought the dance was bad, it was wondrous. It was … everything. A slow small smile forms on the witch’s face. “Top that,” she whispers … That’s right! We’re also watching Teen Witch!

That’s right! We’re transitioning to our next cycle of the year where we are bringing along some z-movie friends to pair with our normal BMT selections. So we got a little teen angst mixed with the supernatural for the much anticipated cult classic Teen Witch and the much less anticipated box office flop Vampire Academy. This will be mirrored by Patrick being sent to the z-universe through the power of the Dongle and, ooooooh boy, we’re pretty excited about it. Let’s go!

Vampire Academy (2014) – BMeTric: 48.3

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(Kind of amazing that it took three months for it to drop … actually now that I say that it is perfectly reasonable that it took three months. Prior to the three month mark most voters would have been the kind of people who watched Vampire Academy in theaters. After three months you start getting people who watched it on DVD or VOD who are far less likely to be kind to the film.)

Leonard Maltin – 3 stars –  Vampire princess and her best friend / protector return to their prep school in the Rockies. Soon, it’s clear that someone or a group is trying to kill them – but who? And why? Unexpectedly witty, entertaining comedy-drama is well acted and explains its complicated mythology clearly, more or less. Main problem for the viewer is sorting out the hunky boyfriends. Deutch is particularly good as the wisecracking, spunky heroine. Screenplay by Daniel Waters of Heathers fame, brother of the director; based on the YA novel by Richelle Mead.

(More or less … MORE OR LESS. Shocking review from Leonard here. Having read the novel … there is a zero percent chance they explain the mythology properly. It is completely incomprehensible, even when gathered slowly across 300 pages.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1ERrnYunBg

(Oooof. That looks like quippy garbage … but I could maybe see why the target audience could like it I guess. It gives that classic movie perception of high school … but with vampires … hooray?)

Directors – Mark Waters – (Known For: Mean Girls; Freaky Friday; The Spiderwick Chronicles; Just Like Heaven; Mr. Popper’s Penguins; The House of Yes; Future BMT: Head Over Heels; Bad Santa 2; BMT: Vampire Academy; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Notes: Daniel Waters’ (the screenwriter of this film) brother. He is also married to Dina Spybey-Waters who is a very accomplished actress in her own right.)

Writers – Richelle Mead (novel) – (BMT: Vampire Academy; Notes: Ridiculously prolific writer having written around 30 novels in the last ten years. Was an 8th grade teacher when she sold her first book, then retired to write full time.)

Daniel Waters (screenplay) – (Known For: Heathers; Batman Returns; Happy Campers; Future BMT: Sex and Death 101; The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; BMT: Vampire Academy; Hudson Hawk; Demolition Man; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay in 1991 for The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; and in 1992 for Hudson Hawk; Notes: He wrote the screenplay for Heathers while working in a video store.)

Actors – Zoey Deutch – (Known For: Set It Up; The Disaster Artist; The Amazing Spider-Man; Before I Fall; Everybody Wants Some!!; Flower; Beautiful Creatures; The Year of Spectacular Men; Roxxy; Future BMT: Why Him?; Good Kids; BMT: Vampire Academy; Dirty Grandpa; Notes: Lea Thompson’s daughter, she is involved in a number of activist causes, including Planned Parenthood.)

Lucy Fry – (Future BMT: The Darkness; Bright; The Preppie Connection; Now Add Honey; BMT: Vampire Academy; Notes: Australian. Apparently earned a purple-belt in karate this year.)

Danila Kozlovsky – (Known For: Hardcore Henry; Dovlatov; BMT: Vampire Academy; Notes: Born in Russia he entered and graduated from their Sea Corps in 2002. He then won the Belyy Slon (White Elephant / Best Actor) from The Russian Guild of Film Critics in 2005, and the Zolotoy Orel (Golden Eagle / Best Actor) from The National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Russia in 2013.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $7,791,979 (Worldwide: $15,391,979)

(An unmitigated disaster. Looking at the genres as well this is universally just one of the worst box office performances in quite a while. I gigantic bomb no matter how you cut it.)

#44 for the Vampire genre

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(Not that much more than Transylvania 6-5000 which is … not great. We’ve only seen one other vampire films (Queen of the Damned) which is crazy. Came right at the end of the Twilight vampire boom.)

#60 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

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(Aaaaaaand comes right at the beginning of when they oversaturated the YA adaptation genre. Eragon is the best and … this is the lowest we’ve seen! The lowest that qualifies is the absurdly named Blood and Chocolate … what the fuck is that?)

#12 Worst Openings – Saturated Adjusted

(Wow. It is still number 16 based on actuals which is incredible. Along with the claimed budget I imagine that stopped any discussion of a franchise right quick.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (8/52): Though it may appeal to its built-in fanbase, Vampire Academy’s Twilight-meets-Mean Girls conceit borrows lazily from its predecessors and offers few laughs or thrills to complement its overstuffed backstory.

(Oooof. Does make sense though, they really do have to do a bit of world building to somehow establish why/how a vampire academy exists (as opposed to something like Divergent, where the backstory is mostly kept a mystery). Reviewer Highlight – This is a garbage heap of weak quips – J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader)

Poster – The Rich Person School for Attractive Vampires (C+)

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(Wait, for real? This is like an ad you’d see for like Vitamin Water or something… this isn’t an ad for Vitamin Water is it? IS IT??? Bold colors and artsy but bad font and boring. Overall middle of the road with a bump for being a little different.)

Tagline(s) – They Suck at School (C-)

(At the time this ironic embrace of what would be considered a cheesy pun would have been perceived as cool and “hip” (as the kids say). We are likely at the point where we’ve graduated from this to something else, but I’m not rad enough to know what that something is. Sincerity?… Is sincerely writing terrible puns now funny? I don’t know. Anyway, I don’t see irony when reading these things. I just see a not very good pun used moderately well as a tagline.)

Keyword(s) – vampire; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.9 Vampires Suck (2010); 87.5 BloodRayne (2005); 81.7 Ultraviolet (2006); 78.0 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 72.1 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011); 69.1 Stan Helsing (2009); 69.0 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 68.1 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 63.7 Dracula 2001 (2000); 63.6 Dudley Do-Right (1999);

(Hmmmmmm, I’ve seen all of the Twilight films (huge oversight in retrospect, although I guess I wouldn’t mind watching them again). All of these are premo though, kind of amazing they’ve managed to make so many hugely terrible vampire films recently.)

Notes – Sarah Hyland auditioned over Skype.

Although the movie did not perform very well at the worldwide box office ($15,391,979 against a $30 million budget) director Mark Waters was eager to give the franchise a second chance in the form of a sequel (Vampire Academy: Frostbite). Studio Preger Entertainment agreed to fund the film on the condition that Mark Waters could get fans to raise the necessary $1.5 million on their own in proof of their support of the film. An indiegogo campaign was started and ran from August 2014 to September 2014. Fans were only able to raise $254,500 by the end of the month, thus leading to Preger Entertainment canceling plans for a sequel. (My god. This is both hilarious and tragic).

Lucy Fry did not receive a callback for the first casting. When the producers started accepting self-tapes she submitted one that landed her a studio callback.

The psi-hounds were originally filmed using trained dogs, but director Mark Waters was not happy with the way they looked. They were replaced with CGI dogs, modeled off a drawing author Richelle Mead made for Waters. (I bet they don’t look hilariously terrible at all)

To prepare for their roles as Dhampir novices and guardians, Zoey Deutch, Cameron Monaghan, and Danila Kozlovsky underwent rigorous training sessions and workouts. (Watch out, we got regular Tom Cruises over here … Awww, I feel bad about that joke, you guys did work hard I bet)

Dimitri is a big fan of westerns, hence his trademark duster coat. He can be seen reading western novels and several posters are visible in his room. (That’s embarrassing)

Richelle Mead: The author can be seen walking past the doors just after Mr. Meissner’s class. (Fun fact)

After Rose Hathaway sedates Headmistress Kirova, before saving Lissa Dragomir, Kirova says, “I could have been a model. A man in Milan gave me his card when I was 16.” Kirova was played by Olga Kurylenko who was a model and began her career in Paris at age 16. (Whaaaaaaaaa?)