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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs

 
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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 6/11/2006 2:27:17 PM   
kingoftheducks


Posts: 643
Joined: 30/9/2005
Brilliant review of Leonard Part 6, though it makes me really want to see it!  What is it about bad movies that I love so much?

If the link to my Ishtar review isn't working then the review looked like this:

quote:

Late one night, a few years ago now, I was curious to see Ishtar being shown, I endeavoured to stay up and watch it - having heard the tales of a production out of control, of Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty tormenting their producer, and of it's status as one of the biggest flops of all time; I also remembered that it featured in Empire's 50 worst films of all time feature back in 1997.  I was confused though as the film began, as I found myself laughing hysterically - not at - but with the film as we are quickly, effortlessly sold to Hoffman and Beatty as Clark and Rogers a Simon and Garfunkel wannabe duo with all the talent of an X-Factor cast-off.  However, it was late, I didn't make it far into the film, I nodded off.
   Today, milling about HMV in London, I stumbled upon a copy of Ishtar on DVD for 5.99 and just had to buy it, it was too tempting, I had to know if my enjoyment of the film had been a product of the early hours or not.  So this evening I watched Ishtar again, and this time I saw it all the way through.
  Yes, the plot is a bit of a muddle, yes.
   But, this is a film about two inept songwriters thrown into a confusing conflict where they're confused for communists and CIA agents - at varying times - whilst bemoaning that they're going to miss their gig at Chez Casablanca, it's a buddy-movie, and what a great partnership it is.  Hoffman and Beatty play off each other gloriously, really enjoying acting like a pair of idiots in way over their heads, their sheer mindless belief that they are supremely talented is wonderfully funny and painful at the same time.  This film sits firmly on their shoulders and they carry it beautifully.
  Though it makes no sense the film is consistently laugh-out-loud funny with a glorious array of set-pieces all neatly strung together and played out with gusto by our tone-deaf heroes.  Essentially, and almost spookily, the film seems like a Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson movie, with Hoffman (he played Stiller's father in Meet the Fockers) delivering delusion and angst like an all-singing, all-dancing cross between Zoolander and Stiller's character in Meet the Parents, whilst Beatty is all Texan charm, even sounding incredibly reminiscent of Wilson throughout.  I said to my girlfriend half way through as we were laughing our heads off, "They should remake this" and she replied "Why?  I like it like this."  She was baffled when I told her that it was regarded, by Empire, as one of the 50 worst films of all time, and I was too... it may not have the greatest plot known to man, but it is a comedy, and I haven't laughed this hard at a comedy since 'Anchorman'...
  I may sound like a mad fool, but I think this film is due a reappraisal, and Rogers and Clark need to release an album...

4/5


Anyway, can't wait to see what film you review next...


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Post #: 61
RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 6/11/2006 11:37:20 PM   
Peter A. Quinn


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Well done, sir! An intelligent, well-paced review (am I reviewing your review?) of a much-loathed, incoherent turkey. Which I love very much, despite it's very obvious flaws! I really like the old guy in the wheelchair, who's only recurring line in the film seems to be, "Kill 'im!" Cheers, g_b. Service, and then some. But I wonder what the budget really was..?

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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 7/11/2006 11:39:44 AM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
quote:

ORIGINAL: Peter A. Quinn

Well done, sir! An intelligent, well-paced review (am I reviewing your review?) of a much-loathed, incoherent turkey. Which I love very much, despite it's very obvious flaws! I really like the old guy in the wheelchair, who's only recurring line in the film seems to be, "Kill 'im!" Cheers, g_b. Service, and then some. But I wonder what the budget really was..?


I don't remember the wheelchair guy - I really should have stoked up the old Betamax and watched it again I suppose.  But last time I saw it (well, sat through it is a better description) was about a year or so ago and I promised myself I wouldn't waste that time again.

I reckon the budget (both initial and final, assuming it did go over) was reasonably small, though - it's just got an air of cheapness about it that suggests it was a low budget, high concept piece of "work".

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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 7/11/2006 4:25:52 PM   
BobM70


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Joined: 29/12/2005
Great thread, Badir...

Very insightful. I was wondering if you could do Death To Smoochy,  starring Edward Norton and Robin Williams. It bombed heavily under massive negative reviews. I like it though...


Bob

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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 7/11/2006 4:33:28 PM   
great_badir


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From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
Bob - thanks.

As I said to kingoftheducks a few posts above, Death To Smoochy is one I'd like to do, but I haven't seen it as yet.  I really want to see it before covering it.

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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 7/11/2006 4:43:13 PM   
BobM70


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Haha! Didn't even notice the post of Kingoftheducks. But still, I am looking forward to it .


Thanx

Bob

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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 7/11/2006 6:25:49 PM   
Indiana Jones


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Joined: 30/9/2005
Dude you promised me 'Nothing but Trouble' and as of yet.....nowt.



Pretty please with a cherry on top.


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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 8/11/2006 9:30:57 AM   
great_badir


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From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
It's coming, Indy......it's coming.......

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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 8/11/2006 11:05:59 AM   
Indiana Jones


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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 9/11/2006 1:33:41 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
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From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
Indy - this one was REALLY difficult cos I couldn't find anything interesting on the net about the making of it, so I've had to rely on my own recollections of articles, reviews etc.  As a result, the quality of it may not be up to scratch, but for what it's worth........  Nothing But Trouble, Dan Aykroyd (1991)
 
Budget - $40million+
Worldwide Box Office - under $5million certainly, maybe even under $4million 
Subsequent takings (rentals etc) - I dunno........ten bucks?

He's Chevy Chase and we're not.  Some would praise the lord upon hearing that statement.  Others will stroke their chins and nod gently, fondly remembering "the days when Chevy was funny".  That means Saturday Night Live, Caddyshack, Vacation and little else for most people (NB - Fletch excluded on the basis that for much of its running time it verges more on thriller than comedy).  Not me - I love Chevy.  He's one of my all time comedy heroes and I will defend this man (and Phil Collins, but that's a whole other thread) to my grave.  My fondness for Chevy is such that I even appreciate many of what most see as his "lesser" films - basically everything else he did, but particularly the rest of the Vacation series (yes, even Vegas), Spies Like Us, Cops & Robbersons, Memoirs Of An Invisible Man and Fletch Lives.  Heck, I hold my hands up and admit to the soft spot I have for Snow Day, arguably his best film for years.  Though major props for that one go to Iggy Pop.  As if that wasn't bad enough, I don't feel any remorse when I tell people that his few, brief scenes in Caddyshack 2 are brilliant.  Disclaimer - but they are the ONLY good scenes in the film.  And yeah, sure, there's the stuff that even I, probably the UK's most enthusiastic Chevy lover, struggle to defend - Man Of The House, Deal Of The Century and Under The Rainbow, all of which represent some of the worst work on the man's CV.   And then there's Nothing But Trouble, which is another level of wrong altogether.  Dan Aykroyd's long cherished vanity project (based on an experience he had in the late 70s after being pulled over by a small town sheriff for speeding) about a BMW driving banker, his pretty neighbour and two of his clients on a trip to Atlantic City, being arrested after running through a stop sign whilst searching for a nice lunch spot in generic backwoods USA, was tipped to be 1991's comedy diamond.  With a cast including Aykroyd (and brother Peter), Chase, John Candy, Taylor Negron, Brian Doyle Murray and a peak-of-her-popularity Demi Moore.  As Chevy's, erm...........love interest.  The pedigree was there for yet another tasty SNL/Second City love-in and, with complete creative control and the go ahead to direct his own script, it was also a chance for Aykroyd to make something a bit more adult and less family friendly than previous projects - his last film to be squarely aimed at an adult audience was The Blues Brothers, eleven years before.  So, his largely vile characters swear, play about in filth, kill and generally disgust the audience for the film's running time.  It SHOULD at least have been an interesting watch - Aykroyd's fascination with morbid humour was heavily featured in his early Second City and SNL days and it had gone down well with both his audience and colleagues, but he never really got a chance to capitalise on it in his film career (Neighbors aside, another comedy flop that I'll probably cover in this thread).  With Nothing But Trouble, his dream was handed to him on a very large plate.  Probably made of jewel encrusted platinum.  Shopping the chunky script around (Aykroyd is famous for his phone-book sized, longhand scripts with literally pages of description), Warner eventually said yes and stumped up a $40million budget, enormous for an untested director, putting it on a par with many of the biggest films of that year - only Terminator 2 and Hook eclipsed Nothing But Trouble's hefty bill.  Funding set, Aykroyd quickly assembled a cast and crew and got to work on building the unusual world (AKA Valkenvania) of Nothing But Trouble. Given that the only really bankable stars in the film were Moore and Chase (who's career hadn't quite yet started its inglorious swan dive), much of the $40million went on production design and special effects, something which the film would live or die by - heavy make up was required for several cast members, chiefly Aykroyd, who was playing the town's 106 year old judge and one of his deformed grand children Bobo (who's brother Li'l Debull is played by Aykroyd's real life brother Peter).  The majority of the budget, though, went on the design and build of Valkenvania.  Modelled after any number of actual US ghost towns and reminiscent of the farmhouse/warehouse/barn/slaughterhouse/junkyard featured in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, Valkenvania and, specifically, the domain of Judge Alvin Valkenheiser (Aykroyd) are the real stars of Nothing But Trouble - filled with mazes, booby traps and gadgets, the Valkenheiser "funhouse" really is a marvel of design.  It looks every inch as real and menacing as it's supposed to and it's not too much of a stretch of the imagination to think that somewhere in deepest, remote mid-States USA, there could well be a house JUST like this one for people who, like Chase's character, commit a minor traffic offence.  And it's scary.  Even though a "comedy", there's an air of unease that pervades Nothing But Trouble, which was no doubt Aykroyd's intention from the get-go.  In fact it's almost like watching a comedy version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (hey, there's even a scene featuring dinner with the weird family).  BUT that's really the film's only success.  As we know from Hugh Hudson's Revolution, big money spent on good production design doesn't guarantee a film's quality or success.  Particularly when that film features an uncomfortable John Candy as a woman (like Aykroyd, Candy has two roles - arresting officer Dennis and his twin sister Eldona, who takes a shine to Chase's character). With no apparent reports of production troubles or overruns, we have to assume the film was on budget and on time, being released across the US with much publicity - I distinctly remember the never ending optomistic trailers that appeared in UK cinemas shortly before it was never released here.  They featured that high octave voice-over saying things like "What do you get if you take Chevy Chase [cut to Chevy mugging], Dan Aykroyd [cut to Aykroyd, as the Judge, laughing maniacally] and John Candy [cut to Candy in a dress, smiling sweetly]?  Nothing....But....Trouble!!!", which was typical of those zany screwball comedies of that era (One Crazy Summer anyone?).  Released across America, its opening weekend gross of just under $4million, whilst disappointing, was hardly a disaster - most of the 80s SNL comedies opened slow and steadily pulled in the fans after several weeks of word spreading.  But when the second week's figures dropped off to hundreds of thousands, Warner began to panic.  By the end of its full run (it was at least granted a second, third and fourth chance and not pulled after one week) it had made just under $9million, one of the worst SNL showings since Bill Murray's Quick Change the previous year.  Rather embarrassingly for the distribution arm of Warner, thanks to the lack of interest in the US, the only other territories the film was granted release were Australia (the UK having laughed it out of the country) and, curiously, Japan.  But no one was buying there either - takings from them were so low, they weren't even counted towards the film's final domestic gross.  In fact, the film had been missed by so many people that even the Razzies struggled to nominate it for anything (it did eventually net Aykroyd a worst supporting actor award, which I've read takes pride of place on his award shelf).   To match its heavily marketed theatrical release, the advertising accompanying its home video release made it seem like the second coming - I distinctly remember it taking pride of place in the Woolworth's display the week it came out.  A week later, it was gone.  And not because everyone bought up every available copy.  Nope.  It wasn't even to be found in the bargain bin.  I often wondered why it disappeared from Woolies so quickly and whether it was the same in every VHS vendor.  Turns out it was the same - so few copies were purchased, that many stores sent back their total stocks as it was actually costing them money to have the thing on their shelves (this would also explain why second hand copies would be so hard to come by and any that did pop up were always ex-rentals).  Today it's largely the same story with the DVD - it IS available and easy to get, but you will struggle finding it on any shop shelf.  Failure's a funny thing. Any good?  Every time I've seen this film I have NEVER laughed.  That's unusual for me and a Chevy film - there was even one scene in Man Of The House that nearly had me in stitches.  But Nothing But Trouble is a film desperate to succeed at everything it does.  As I've already mentioned, the production design (and a shout out for the cinematography as well, courtesy of The Thing legend Dean Cundey) is about the only admirable thing in the film.  But who watches a film for the production design alone?!?!?!  It's a black mark on everyone's careers.  Little wonder that all the cast changed tack with their next projects, all of them going for more drama based stuff - Chevy went with Memoirs Of An Invisible Man, Aykroyd went with My Girl, Candy went with Only The Lonely (where he first proved what a great actor he was) and Moore?  Well, she did Mortal Thoughts.  'Nuff said.

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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 9/11/2006 3:06:25 PM   
Indiana Jones


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Gawd bless ya guv, a sterling read as always.

Man I loved this movie, despite the fact I know it's shit, the whole Humpty Hump dance scene in the middle is so damn superfluous and pointles and yet so amazing. Dan Ackroyd  is pretty good and Chase is his usual superbly great, affable self, but it just doesn't gel, shame really, this was kind of the beginning of the end for Chase, god bless Candy trying his damn hardest to keep the thing afloat.

Still if you can get a copy to watch, do so, some will love it (finger guns) and some will hate it (middle finger)

Thanks again Badir, my fellow Chaser.

< Message edited by Indiana Jones -- 9/11/2006 3:08:05 PM >


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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 9/11/2006 3:23:33 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
quote:

ORIGINAL: Indiana Jones

the whole Humpty Hump dance scene in the middle is so damn superfluous and pointles and yet so amazing.


You've just reminded me that Tupac is one of the Humpty Hump guys. 

The oddest thing I find about NBT is the way that they try to make Chevy a hunky matinee idol throughout the thing, which is perhaps why even he doesn't make me laugh.

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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 9/11/2006 3:36:53 PM   
Indiana Jones


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He was always a hunky matinee idol in my eyes........

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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 14/11/2006 2:01:26 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
Possible spoilers follow........  Get Carter, Stephen T. Kay (2000)
 
Budget - depending on who you ask, anything between $45million and  $65million
Worldwide Box Office - under $19million 
Subsequent takings (rentals etc) - couple of million maybe  When Warner Bros. announced they had green-lit a remake of Mike Hodges' Get Carter, the film world was up in arms.  Imagine the bloddy fall-out when Sylvester Stallone was confirmed as Carter and, even worse, when one of AICN's "undercover top secret deep throat" informers leaked the fact that the script had a happy ending which Warner was fully supporting.  It was an internet massacre of titanic proportions, conveniently forgetting that it had already been remade once (without fuss) as a Bernie Casey blaxploitation flick (Hit Man - actually not quite as bad as you might think) only a year after Hodges' original.  Noughties remake director Stephen T. Kay (who had only one feature film under his belt, the low key A-lister starring The Last Time I Committed Suicide) hadn't even shot a millimetre of the "blasphemous" project and already it had the filmic Last Post played for its inevitable failure, both commercially and critically. Ironically, in a year of $100million+ blockbusters, Get Carter was very much a low budget, almost independent project.  With a huge who's who list of, shall we say, left-field producers and indie production companies behind its back, and something of a resurgance in Stallone's career (Cop Land, Antz and a well received appearance on Saturday Night Live having reminded everyone that Stallone was talented when given the right project), Get Carter was all set to be more of a refresh than remake.  Shifted over to the US, it followed the same basic premise as both the Hodges version and Ted Lewis's original novel (the less impressive sounding Jack's Return Home) - shady gangster Jack Carter attends his brother's funeral and concludes that his death was not an accident.  Goes on a one-man vengeance rampage and hurts/maims/kills (sometime all of the above) everyone that stands in his way, before tracking down who he believes is the chief suspect.  Tough stuff. It's fair to say that the Hodges version will never be quite as good as most people like to think it is.  It's a great film, no doubt, and indeed the best in entry in Hodges' patchy CV (Morons From Outer Space anyone?).  BUT it suffers from a lack of substance (there really is little in the way of drama and/or sub-plot) and several moments of soap operatics from its cast of British stage and TV actors.  With all this in mind, Kay and script writer David McKenna went for something a bit more layered - several sub-plots are introduced, Carter's character is turned more grey shaded (as opposed to Hodges' outright bastard) and the whole thing becomes a morality play.  Hell, there's even some room for a little bit of comedy (not much, though - it's still largely a miserable little film).  Further complicating this update, McKenna's screenplay refused to tie up its loose ends right up to the climax, unlike the original where there is an almost clear crumb trail as to where the plot is heading.  But, with that, Kay and McKenna arguably aided the film's undoing - Get Carter is loved and admired for the same reason that John Boorman's Point Blank is.  Sometimes people want to see a very basic frill-free film from the "baddies" POV, especially when that baddie becomes a focussed character the audience are supposed to root for - just as many people were cheering on the T-800 as they were Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese.  Kay's Carter was still a bad man.  The world he lived in was still a bad place.  And the guys Carter was after were still REALLY bad guys.  But McKenna's humanising of Carter didn't fit the template quite as comfortably as when Sir Michael Caine brandished the shotgun for a supremely nihilistic tragedy. Regardless, Warner gave the thumbs up and Kay assembled the rest of his cast - Mickey Rourke, Miranda Richardson, Alan Cumming, Rachael Leigh Cook and John C McGinley.  Oh, and not forgetting Sir Michael as greasy good for nothing scum, Cliff Brumby.  Shooting in Las Vegas, Washington and anytown stand-in Vancouver, Kay and cast breezed through an enjoyable shoot with few problems, unlike Hodges and co. - stolen footage, bitterness between stars Caine and Ian Hendry, Hodges trying to be taken seriously and shake off his TV director rep and heavy studio intervention with casting and the enormous downer-ending Hodges had proposed had all hindered the original production, which in turn helped the look and feel of the film.  With no such problems (not to mention a shoot on time and under budget), Kay handed over a polished thriller that was easy to watch.  Exactly what Warner wanted - a relatively gamble free cheapish film (not the mega-budget blockbuster rumoured at the time) with famous faces and a familiar story. All was looking good - Kay delivered something that ticked all of Warner's boxes (even if the fans were out to protest the film's very existence) in time for a release into a gap in the October schedules - at the time Warner thought their only competition for that week (and the weeks immediately around it), which should have left the way clear for Get Carter clearing up.  Only problem is they didn't bank on the ball-busting success of Meet The Parents, which only should have shown as an average rom-com.  Despite having a massive release in well over 2000 screens across the US, Carter netted a rather embarassing $7million in its opening week.  In response, Warner attempted something which only happens when a film is REALLY struggling - an epic drip-fed wordlwide release over 18 months, in the hope that word of mouth alone will reverse Carter's fortunes.  It even got a look-in in territories like Iceland, Peru, the Czech republic and Egypt.  Almost two years later, the US gross was about $14million and wordlwide box office was no more than $5million.  By the time it got to the UK's very late release (it was originally intended to reach the UK only a few weeks after the US, but once the first week takings came in Warner UK kept pushing the release date back) they decided it wasn't worth it and it went straight to DVD. Effectively ending Kay's film career (he's been doing TV ever since) and stumbling Stallone's career (AGAIN!), Warner brushed Carter under the carpet and didn't really bother pushing the DVD much either.  Since then, it's been (unfairly) voted by Brits as the worst remake of all time (presumably cos so many of us hold the '71 version so dear) and has become a byword for badness. Any good?  The 1971 model  of Get Carter is seedy, gritty, cold and miserable.  Kind of like an Austin allegro.  The 2000 update, on the other hand, is undoubtedly more glossy, but still with a rash of cheap bleakness pumping through its veins...............a Ford Escort, if you will.  I LIKE the remake - there's still some of the original's grit, plenty of misery and Stallone gets the shit kicked out of him by Mickey.  And there's something eerily perfect about Stallone as an American Carter equivalent.  How on earth it was voted worst remake is beyond me (there are FAR worse).  But it does have that happy ending.  Oh, how it would've been a minor masterpiece had Stallone been shot in the graveyard at the very end.  Still, it's nowhere near as bad as people make out - the script has a few holes, but it's tight, Kay's direction is up and down and the editing can be too MTV-choppy.  But it looks great, the performances are uniformally decent (aside from Miranda Richardson, unusually struggling with the low-key whipser her character requires) and Caine, even if he was in "I'll be in it cos I need to pay my mortgage" guise, is worth the price of admission alone.  Yeah, it's not too bad at all.

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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 24/11/2006 1:10:12 AM   
texasranger

 

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Oh Great one, any chance of an overview of this?http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105629/

Okay, so the screenplay is a bit muddled, but it looks great and has one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard.

< Message edited by texasranger -- 24/11/2006 1:57:17 AM >

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Post #: 75
RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 24/11/2006 1:11:40 AM   
UTB


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Nixon is a superb film and by not watching you are seriously missing out. 

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Post #: 76
RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 1/12/2006 12:27:03 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
quote:

ORIGINAL: texasranger

Oh Great one, any chance of an overview of this?http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105629/

Okay, so the screenplay is a bit muddled, but it looks great and has one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard.


There is indeed.  It is on the list to do.  I'm writing one at the moment (won't say for waht yet), but I'm really struggling with it - every time I read it back it sounds shit no matter how I word it.

May start on another one if I can't tame this one by the end of next week.  Keep checking back.

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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 1/12/2006 12:29:20 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
quote:

ORIGINAL: UTB

Nixon is a superb film and by not watching you are seriously missing out. 


I have watched and have hated.  Sorry, I think it's an awful film.  I'm not Anthony Hopkins' biggest fan anyway, but nothing about it appealed.

...............that's not to say it won't feature in this thread at some point - what was it?  $60million budget and a $10million return or something?

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RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 19/1/2007 8:29:50 AM   
great_badir


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From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
An Alan Smithee Film:  Burn, Hollywood, Burn!, Arthur Hiller (1998)
 
Budget - approx. $15million
Worldwide Box Office - Approx. $50000 
Subsequent takings (rentals etc) - unknown "My name's Arthur Hiller.  No, I didn't direct Bonnie & Clyde - that was Arthur Penn.  But I've had what you might call a fairly solid directing career - Love Story, Plaza Suite, Silver Streak, The In-Laws, The Out Of Towners, The Lonely Guy - good solid and reliable comedies.  Sure, I've had a couple of slumps lately, but you can't argue with the $70-odd million I made with See No Evil, Hear No Evil!  This time, I've got a great pitch for a film that CAN'T lose - it's gonna be a Hollywood satire written by Joe Eszterhas and I've already signed up Sly Stallone, Jackie Chan, Whoopi Goldberg, Eric Idle, Ryan O'Neal - RYAN O'FUCKING-NEAL!, Larry King, Coolio and Chuck D.  Hell, even Bob Evans and the fat Weinstein are up for appearances.  We did have Bruce Willis and Schwarzenegger, but they were a bit TOO expensive.  Which brings me onto the best bit - all it's gonna cost you is $10million in chump change!!  Whatsay?"

"......................okay, we'll do it."

"Of course you will.  And you won't regret it, not for a second." "What's it called? "An Alan Smithee Film!" "...............oh."  Oh indeed.   Except it wasn't An Alan Smithee Film at that point, I just threw that in for a cheap punch line.  No, the film was just Burn, Hollywood, Burn!, and on paper it sounded like nothing short of genius - a long in the tooth editor is finally given the chance to direct a big Hollywood action blockbuster called Trio.  After the shoot, the studio wrestles the film away from the director and re-edits it without his permission.  When he sees the studio cut he's appalled, calling it "worse than Showgirls", and wants his name removed from the credits.  Except he can't do that because the only pseudonym that can be used in place of his name in such cases is Alan Smithee.  And the director's name?  Alan Smithee. It's easy to scoff with the benefit of hindsight, but even now the basic premise sounds tasty enough for a Christopher Guest treatment, especially seeing as how the end product of Hiller's Burn was a mockumentary itself.  It was supposed to be the career saving grace of curmudgeonly dirt-disher Joe Eszterhas, once the scriptwriting darling of Hollywood who's ideas drew critical and/or (at least) commercial acclaim, sometimes in equal measure.  But by the end of the 90s he was a laughing stock who had witnessed his last five projects fail dismally, one after another.  Burn was both Eszterhas' excuse and apology, an honest, rough and ready account of how to get burnt (if you'll pardon the pun) in the dream factory, partly autobiographical and wholly bitter. With low-level backers Hollywood Pictures and Cinergi Pictures putting up most of the film's meagre budget, and Eszterhas himself contributing as well as footing the entire bill for the score and soundtrack, Burn was almost an independent, a massive far cry from the gloss that both director and writer were previously used to.  Despite what some saw as a restrictive budget, Eszterhas called favours on friends and colleagues to make up the cast and crew, managing to pull together the talent role-call at the top of this little essay.  To latter-day film fans, the words Stallone, Goldberg and Chan scream box office disaster,  but back in 1997/98 they still had pulling power and semi-successful careers.  Jackie Chan had finally broken Hollywood after years of trying, with a string of money-making Hong Kong imports intended almost solely for the US market, Stallone was fresh from a critically acclaimed turn in Cop Land and more box office hits than misses and Whoopi...well, she was still working as solidly and reliably as she had been since the mid 80s.  Besides, they were all game and it was probably as good as Eszterhas and Hiller were going to do such a tight wallet.  Not that the project was without its gambling elements, though - Eszterhas (surrounded by abject failure), star Eric Idle (who was still trying to make it as a leading man) and the surprise casting of Ryan O'Neal, who had spent the last twenty-odd years desperately resuscitating his career (his last box office hit was 1979's The Main Event) all seemed like dodgy choices, but for $10million no one was worrying too much.  What's the worst that could happen?  It gets bad reviews, maybe turns a small profit and then everyone forgets about.  No biggie. Over the course of its shoot, Burn gathered much scrutiny from the industry and its players and Variety magazine barely went an issue without some mention of the film.  It was all going relatively smoothly on set with cast getting along famously, and they were sticking to their budget like glue, but stories quickly leaked about numerous scenes Eszterhas had written at the last minute that were...shall we say a little too close for comfort for some.  Actors, producers, writers, directors and studio heads Eszterhas had worked with in the past were all fair game for attack and even the meek Hiller threw in some of his own gripes about past experiences.  None of it was close enough to the truth to be libellous, but those who were making the film and those merely close to the project all knew what was aimed at who.  Not that any of this caused many problems, amazingly - for a film so close to Hollywood reality, few people stood in its way.  Presumably cos they knew it would all go spectacularly tits up. Hiller wrapped on time and on budget and Burn was squirreled away (after having its title expanded to An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn!) for editing in early 1998.  And here's where things go a bit screwy - in one of the most unusual coincidences in cinema history, Hiller's own cut of the film was met with disdain from producers and studio reps and it was immediately "removed" from his clutches, only to be re-edited by the studio.  With real life mirroring celluloid, Hiller, upon seeing the studio's version, called it a piece of shit and demanded the studio release his own cut.  With no final cut guarantee drawn up, the studio called no dice, at which point Hiller requested that his name be removed from the film entirely.  An Alan Smithee Film had literally become an Alan Smithee film.  Ho ho. Quick on the rebound, Hiller went on the road accepting every interview he was offered, punctuating them with something along the lines of "in all that crap up on screen, my decent film is struggling to get out".  No one was convinced, though - poor Hiller had misjudged his timing (Burn had yet to be released) and few believed the words of a man who's last film was Tom Arnold starring straight-to-vid tosh Carpool.  Hiller was branded the villain in the whole saga, whilst everyone waited, some even with anticipation, to see Burn on the big screen.  It didn't take long for the backlash.  Within weeks of the studio re-edit, Burn had a preview screening.  You can guess what the reviews were like. Opening in the US swiftly after its preview, Burn bowed to audiences.  On 19 screens.  That's NINETEEN screens.  Savaged and brutalised by every person who saw it at preview stage (not one favourable review had been written), distributors feared a monumental disaster so (it is claimed) engineered a very small release, on which they could blame any box office failure.  It was even worse than they predicted - nineteen screens ain't much, but most people would expect a couple of hundred thousand return at least.  Burn made a little over $45000 at the US box office and a further $5000-odd elsewhere, making it even less of a money earner than Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space.  Hiller felt justified as Eszterhas and the studios suffered the worst financial disaster of their combined careers, whilst Hiller himself was all but blacklisted from Hollywood and didn't work again for eight years.  Ryan O'Neal was dealt yet another blow after Zero Effect looked like it might put him back in the public eye, Eszterhas pretty much dropped scriptwriting in favour of books, Eric Idle notched up another disaster, Stallone's success took an enormous nose-dive, whilst Whoopi and Jackie managed to escape with only minor bruises.  As for the film, well it was nominated in all the major Razzie categories (won five) and signalled the end of yet another career - Alan Smithee's.   Smithee was "retired" after Burn's failure (enormous even for a Smithee film), with Thomas Lee being chosen to take over the pseudonym reigns.  Unfortunately, there were already several people in the business with the same name and, after the Walter Hill/Jack Sholder/Francis Ford Coppola fiasco Supernova, Lee was replaced again with Smithee, who's still hard at work, pounding out four or five pieces of shit a year, but most of it for TV. Any good?  Burn is fully deserving of its Razzies, detractors, bad reviews and industry finger pointing, moreso because it COULD have been so much better.  In terms of potential it was right up there with Chris Guest's The Big Picture, but with Joe Eszterhas behind the typewriter (subtlety is NOT his middle name) it was never going to live up to that potential.  Oh well - as Donald "Duck" Dunn would say "If the shit fits, wear it".

_____________________________

FAVE FILMS
BO BOMBS

(in reply to great_badir)
Post #: 79
RE: Great Badir celebrates those Box Office bombs - 19/1/2007 12:55:23 PM   
filmburner30

 

Posts: 1556
Joined: 5/12/2006
From: guildford
Well done movie bombs such as Heavens Gate and Sorcerer and Baron Munchausen desrved to be celebrated ,they are in my opninon negelected gems un done by dense critics.
Also kudos for mentioning Hudson  Hawk ,North, and others.
Skidoo does have one redeeming feature a corking Nillsson soundtrack.
Also the Legend that is Keith Moon appears in Sextette and steals the film(if thats possible)
I would mention Irwin Allen who after the success of The Towering Inferno pissed on his fireworks with comedy greats like The Swarm,When Time Ran Out ,and Beyond the Posiedon Adventure.
oh And of course those disaster movie bombs like The Cassandra crossing,Raise The Titanic,and Airport 80 the concorde    

_____________________________

"Where are you calling from Milo?"
"The bottom of the pool?"

"Im The Anti Christ.You got me in a Vendetta kind of mood"

"Come back Alan , You Wanker!"

"Your a Doctor,Deal with it"

(in reply to great_badir)
Post #: 80
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