10 Sequels To Classic Movies That Really Should Not Happen

Okay, I know it’s the nature of the film business beast to repeat successful formulas ad nauseum with remakes, reboots, and re-imaginings galore; and I don’t want to be another one of those movie bloggers that complain that ‘Hollywood has officially run out of ideas’, but dammit these sequels are really bad ideas. A few are just talk, a few are in production, and the rest have nothing happening but an announcement with a corresponding IMDb page but they are all scary sobering possibilities on the horizon. So just to put my 2 cents in here’s 10 projected sequels of classic movies that I truly hope are axed:


1. BLADE RUNNER 2 (Dir. Ridley Scott? 20??)


Scott has batted around the idea of a sequel to the seminal 1982 cult sci fi movie for the last decade. The most recent news, in 2008, was that EAGLE EYE writers Travis Wright and John Glenn were tackling a screenplay for a sequel. More recently Scott and his brother Tony Scott announced that they were going to produce a prequel in the form of 5-10 short “webisodes” called PUREFOLD. Webisodes are fine, but the idea of a full length sequel is an awful one; BLADE RUNNER was a flawed yet contained story that created a convincing world pre CGI ‘n all. A sequel would be indistinguishable from the over 25 years of bleak neon-lit dystopian future imitators. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the Scotts just leave it with the webisodes.


2. MONEY NEVER SLEEPS AKA WALL STREET 2 (Dir. Oliver Stone, 2010) The plot description on IMDb is: “As the global economy teeters on the brink of disaster, a young Wall Street trader partners with disgraced former Wall Street corporate raider Gordon Gekko on a two-tiered mission: To alert the financial community to the coming doom, and to find out who was responsible for the death of the young trader’s mentor.” Oh so it’s supposed to be all timely! What’s worse is that the young trader is set to be played by Shia LeBeouf (God, I hope it doesn’t turn out he’s Gekko’s son – see #3 below), which I guess makes him this generation’s Charlie Sheen. Michael Douglas is in place to reprise his Oscar winning role as Gordon Gekko who had the famous line: “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” Well, there is no better word and this time, greed is very bad.


3. INDIANA JONES 5 (Dir. Steven Spielberg, 2012) Now I was one of the few in the film geek blogosphere that actually liked INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM… (I didn’t like the title however) yet I strongly feel this would be one trip too many back to the well. The 4th film had the ring of one final trip through cliffhanger clichés for old times’ sake, but a 5th one would be really pushing it. All Harrison Ford franchises have to end sometime, how about now? Now sure works for me.


4. REPO CHICK (Dir. Alex Cox, 2010)


Cox has not been able to leave his beloved 1984 punk oddity alone – in the 90’s he wrote a “semi sequel” entitled “Waldo’s Hawaiian Holiday” which was later adapted into a graphic novel and just recently he announced REPO CHICK, an actual proper sequel produced by David Lynch. Emilio Estevez opted out, telling the Austin Decider: “I remain proud of “Repo Man”, but my focus is on what’s ahead of me, not what’s in my rearview mirror.” This film is in the can so it can’t be axed but still some sensible soul could see fit to shelve it and save the reputation of a genuine cult classic. Here’s hoping.


5. FLETCH WON – This has also been in development hell for ages. Over a decade ago, Kevin Smith was tapped to write and direct what would be a prequel based faithfully on the Gregory McDonald novel, with either Jason Lee or Ben Affleck as the iconic character, but major disagreements (particularly about the level of Chevy Chase’s involvement) squashed the project. After that, in 2005, Scrubs writer/director/producer Bill Lawrence was on board with his Scrubs star Zach Braff, but neither is attached or listed (nor is anyone else) any more on the film’s IMDb page. Looks like the project has been certified dead…or extremely sleepy. Let’s hope it never wakes up.


6. NOBODY #*$%’S WITH THE JESUS (A THE BIG LEBOWSKI spin-off) Now, I just made up the title but, hey, it’s a much quoted line and it falls right in line with Adam Sandler’s YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN so I think it works. This is just talk, mainly John Turturo’s, about a spin-off film written by the Coen Brothers and directed by and starring Turturo. In a 10th anniversary article in Rolling Stone last year (“The Decade Of The Dude” Sept. 4th, 2008) Turturo relays that the story will deal with Jesus landing a job as a bus driver for a girls’ high school volleyball team. “It will be like a combination of ROCKY and the BAD NEWS BEARS. At the very least we’d have to have a Dude cameo.” Uh, no thanks – methinks this idea reeks as bad as Walter Sobchak’s “ringer” suitcase filled with his dirty underwear.


7. PORNO (The sequel to TRAINSPOTTING) This is another project that’s probably dead or just resting quietly at the moment. Director Danny Boyle has said he’d like to do this follow-up in the future when the original actors have aged appropriately because the book sequel takes place much later but it’s been a while since he said that now. Ewan Macgregor though has nixed the idea that he’d reprise Renton with these remarks about Irvine Welsh’s follow-up novel “Porno”: “I didn’t think the book was very good. The novel of ‘Trainspotting’ was quite fantastic … and then I find that the sequel … it didn’t move me as much.” Like when Rodney Dangerfield bowed out of doing CADDYSHACK II because he hated the script, Macgregor just earned some major integrity points there.


8. BEVERLY HILLS COP IV (2012) This one is pretty likely to happen. Whatever your feelings on Murphy he is still huge bankable star (albeit in crappy family films these days) and it has been a lucrative franchise so I bet this one is in the cards. Maybe reprising Axel Foley will bring back some much needed edge to Murphy, but I doubt it. No matter how you slice it this is an unnecessary and uninspired attempt to cash in where there most likely will be insufficient funds. I mean, it’s not exactly BOURNE or even the DIE HARD series we’re talking about here, is it?


9. TRON 2.0 Working title: TR2N (Dir. Joseph Kosinski, 2011)


This is a sure thing too, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing it away. TRON wasn’t exactly a treasured part of my childhood, in fact I found it more than a little dull, but it had its charms as a dated ode to the world of video gaming before the rise of the internet. Now 29 years later with Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner returning, a sequel is poised to come win over the fan boys. That’s just the problem – who else but fan boys will be lining up for this? Unless I hear it’s a major re-imagining that smoothes over the shortcomings of the original, I surely won’t be in line.


10. GHOSTBUSTERS 3 (Dir. Ivan Reitman?, 2012) This has been a buzzing on the internets for a while now with all of the principals set to return (even Rick Moranis who, except for some cartoon voice work, hasn’t been onscreen since 1997) joined by fresh meat: Seth Rogen, Steve Carrell, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, and every other Apatow player and crude comedy regular working today as Ghost Buster trainees. Actually that last bit is just rumored (as is Moranis being present) but it is true that Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (writers on the US The Office) are writing a 3rd film and most of the original cast is set to come back except Sigourney Weaver who recently said: “I don’t expect to have anything to do with it, although I wish them well.” Well, I wish them well too, but I have a sad feeling that G3 will be a sticky pile of ghost goo.


Okay! Ten sequels I’d rather not see come to fruition. Any others out there you’re dreading? HEATHERS 2? JURASSIC PARK 4, the UNTOUCHABLES prequel?!!?


More later…

Indiana Jones And The Wrath Of The Fanboy Force

As I’m sure you well know, last summer the long awaited fourth installment of the incredibly popular Indiana Jones series, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, was released to ginormous box office receipts and overall favorable reviews (it’s currently at 76% on the Tomatometer). In the U.S. alone it made over $300 million and is the 3rd biggest grossing film of 2008 after THE DARK KNIGHT and IRON MAN. Well, despite these numbers there were a lot of folk who didn’t “join the rest of the world in breathing a sigh of relief at the multiplex” as I wrote in my review of the film (May 21, 2008). An increasing amount of film bloggers and tons of message board shut-ins, especially as the movie just hit the DVD market, are voicing their displeasure and resurrecting the “they raped my childhood” complaint that was born out of the extreme negative reaction to the STAR WARS prequels.

The fanboy bitching went mainstream a few weeks back when South Park aired an episode that actually featured Indiana Jones getting raped by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg not just once but three times in scenes that borrowed heavily from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, THE ACCUSED, and DELIVERANCE (of course).


Comedian/fanboy geek (probably best known as the voice of the rat in RATATOUILLE) Patton Oswalt recently went on Conan O’Brien and stated point blank that he thought the movie “sucked” and went on to bash its ending in particular. He elaborated on it in a stand-up performance at Blizzcon, Oct. 2008 in Anaheim, California:


“The last shot of ‘Raiders’, the very final shot of that movie, is that warehouse full of crates. And it was really dark and ominous. And it’s a really ballsy way to end your adventure movie. It’s a perfect film. ‘Raiders’ is perfect. And then the last shot of ‘Temple of Doom’, there’s elephants rearing up and a village is celebrating and he’s kissing the hot woman and you’re like ‘wow, what a cool action movie that was!’ And then the final shot of “Last Crusade” is Indiana Jones and James Bond (!), Sean Connery are on horses zipping away across the desert to God knows what adventures…oh, my goodness, that was great! And then the last shot of “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is a line of elderly people slowly walking out of a church! And they play the “Raiders” music over them like they’re making fun of them!”


Oswalt had previously done loads of material criticizing the STAR WARS prequels (“If I actually had a time machine I would go back to 1993 or ’94 and kill George Kucas with a shovel…stop him from making the prequels”) so this bit isn’t surprising and, I admit, a good point. For the record I hated the prequels, though I think “raped my childhood” is a bit strong, and understand completely the disappointment surrounding them. While having some familiar elements they didn’t feel to me like the movies I saw and loved so much in the theater as a kid – yes, I’m old enough to have seen STAR WARS before it was renamed “Episode IV: A New Hope” (and I refuse to refer it as such now). Being just the right age for them I equally loved the Indiana Jones movies – they were like an extension of the old timey serial movie inspired fun and saw each of the films more than I could possibly count.


I was extremely skeptical about them making another Indiana Jones film – the 3rd one (INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE -1989) wrapped it all up nicely into a tidy trilogy and it seemed unnecessary to go back again almost 20 years later to attempt to relive past glories. So I was surprised, and maybe a little embarrassed, to enjoy the fourth film so much. I still stand by what I wrote after seeing a midnight show last May that the film was: “an entry that is as good an Indiana Jones movie as could be made today”. Mind you, some folks have told me that that comes off as a backhanded compliment. I really meant it though – I feel given the changing times and the advanced age of the core participants that this was as good as they could produce. I honestly believe that no matter what they served up that fanboys would have problems with whatever element. Back in the day I remember many schoolyard grumblings about implausible plot points and action set pieces of the original films – don’t get me started on how Indy survived that submarine ride in RAIDERS…, etc. These days the message boards and blogs replace the playgrounds as we all age and get more cynical, nitpicking about annoying details while friends and family say repeatedly “it’s just a movie” just over our shoulders.


I’ve already been scoffed at for saying that I liked it better than the dark TEMPLE OF DOOM (the one I saw the least as a kid) but I seriously do think, especially after seeing it more than once, that KINGDOM OF CRYSTAL SKULL is a more even and much more entertaining action film. I didn’t mind the aliens aspect, though I agree with some film folks about it being too X-Files and that the special effects were at times overboard – one message board poster said it was “Indiana Jones and the CGI Jungle” and I cant really argue with that. I also had problems with the gopher at the beginning, the Shia LaBeouf swinging from vines with moneys like Tarzan scene, and the before-mentioned ending – like blue-velvet-ant wrote in the comments of my review: “Hes Indiana Jones. He doesnt do married.”


Still, the bottom line to me is that it felt like the Indiana Jones movies I saw at the theater as a kid – it had the same tone, pacing, and Harrison Ford’s crusty charisma carried me through just like before. I went along with the outlandish escapades and was even immensely amused by the much derided “nuking the fridge” sequence (see Urban Dictionary: Nuke The Fridge). I wish folks would cut out using the “raped my childhood” tack – it’s a dead horse beaten beyond recognition at this point and many people are offset and offended by the use of the word “rape” in what is supposed to be a humorous context. Though I’m not saying ban it completely – Patton Oswalt’s line “Hollywood, where dreams come to be raped” is too accurate and brutally funny to be dropped. When somebody makes that “raped my childhood” complaint, perhaps the best response would be this one, from a snarky message boarder: “Well, your childhood was dressed too sexy and all walking around acting slutty; it was asking for it!”


More later…

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL – The Film Babble Blog Review

I just got home from a midnight show of the new Indiana Jones movie and am ready to blog ‘bout it so here goes:

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (Dir. Steven Spielberg, 2008)

The most anticipated movie since the first of the STAR WARS prequels has had fans worried the world over that their beloved childhood memories may again be in jeopardy. That’s right, of all the threats that our whip cracking archaeologist hero has to face, the wrath of the hardcore fanboy force may be the scariest. Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas knew going in that this franchise was in the current CGI era of comic book superheroes a murky cob-webbed temple filled with elaborate traps and to enter and go for the gold one more time may result in getting crushed by a giant boulder of condemnation. Well, somehow they amazingly emerge with an entry that is as good an Indiana Jones movie as could be made today. Right off the bat it’s an old school blast set in 1957 with the villains being the KGB (since Nazis would be out of date) led by a dominatrix-like Cate Blanchett, Ray Winstone as a now you trust him, now you don’t partner of Indy’s and Shia LeBeouf as a WILD ONE attired motorcycling youth who ropes our Dr. Jones into another globe trotting adventure. The first shots of the grizzled grey haired Ford scowling like only Ford as Indy can are a bit of a shock. I mean, he’s 65 but within moments the manner in which he naturally assumes the role of his most iconic character again can be considered one of the best special effects on display here.

It’s fitting that my last post was about self-referential moments in Lucas/Spielberg movies because this is self-referential city! To go into any in any detail at this early point though would be major Spoiler action so don’t worry I won’t go there. I will say that all the elements you would expect and want from an Indiana Jones movie are here in abundance including the multitudes of close range shooting by groups of military men with machine guns that don’t hit anybody, legions of bugs, snakes (of course), those dusty skeleton filled caverns with still working mechanizations, bickering with the leading lady (welcome back to the spunky Karen Allen who seems to be really enjoying herself) in moments of extreme danger, and my personal favorite – the amount of times, with great classic sound effect, that Indy can be punched in the face and then be fine less than 10 seconds later.

Ford is more engaged here than he has been in ages but with projects like HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE (2003) that’s not too surprising. It does seem like LaBeouf is being groomed to take over the series (hope that’s not a Spoiler) which is not a notion I’m comfortable with but hey, I’m getting ahead myself. It’s just so nice that unlike the STAR WARS prequels there is nothing here that embarrasses the series and I predict this will be embraced by the faithful fans for the most part. Despite that Indiana Jones has a new catchphrase with “this can’t be good” and even recites Han Solo’s classic “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” line, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL is very good entertainment with just the right tone and humor. So join the rest of the world in breathing a sigh of relief at the multiplex.

More later…

Keepin’ Cool With The AC Breeze & New Release DVDs

“Doing da ying and yang, da flip and flop, da hippy and hoppy (yodels) Yo da lay he hoo! I have today’s forecast.
(yells)
HOT!
– MR.SEÑOR LOVE DADDY (Samuel L. Jackson)
DO THE RIGHT THING (Dir. Spike Lee, 1989)

He said it! It was been unbearably hot this week so the best thing to do is to get the air cranking, tear open a few Netflix envelopes, and devour some DVDs. Here’s some I’ve seen lately and while for the most part they are a dire lot they did provide some diversion from the sweltering Summer sun. Let’s start with :

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM (Dir. Shawn Levy, 2006) From the trailers I saw for this last Christmas (sorry Holiday season) it looked to me like yet another Ben Stiller as punching bag enterprise but this time aimed at kids with lots of CGI. Well, that’s pretty much what it is but it’s better than I expected with more than few really funny moments and a great supporting cast. Abundant back and forths (some improvised) between Stiller as a hapless failed inventor turned security guard and Robin Williams dominates the lively proceedings. Williams plays a life sized Teddy Roosevelt in battle mode mannequin, who as I’m sure you know if you’ve even glanced in the direction of this movie, comes to life with everything else in the museum at night. Not so life size are the miniatures cowboy Jebediah (Owen Wilson – uncredited for some odd reason) and Roman warrior Octavius (Steve Coogan) who make good with their bit parts – sorry for that lame ass pun. Wait – lame ass puns dominate this movie so I’ll leave that in.

Anyway Ricky Gervais somehow pulls off some amusing walk-throughs without having a single genuinely funny line while oldtimers Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs pull no punches (literally) but the real shining player here? 3 words – Dick. Van. Dyke. Nice to see the man atone for years of bland TV and forgettable cameos by sinking his teeth into his role as Stiller’s smooth retiring night guard mentor. Lots of critics have dumped on NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM (it has a 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and I agree with the consensus that the CGI doesn’t impress like it used to and that the humor may be way too broad at times but I still think it’s a decent family film. Even if that’s all that it is.

THE NUMBER 23 (Dir. Joel Schumacher, 2007) Sometimes I watch movies that I know are going to be horrible. It’s that I want to know just how and in how many ways they are horrible. I guess the genre here is psychological suspense though there’s nothing either psychological or suspenseful in this convoluted Jim Carrey vehicle. For the first 10 minutes or so Carrey is his usual glide through life wisecracking self until his wife (Virginia Madsen) gives him a book about the supposedly mystical number of the title. He of course becomes obsessed with 23 seeing it everywhere – in his birthday, address, social security #, etc. He cites examples (as does the opening credit sequence does to drive home the meaningless point) like “Ted Bundy was executed on the 23rd of January” * and even writes “9,11, 2001 – 9+11+2+1=23″ in pen on his arm. Before long he makes the connection to not only the saxophone (the saxophone has 23 keys!!!) playing detective of the book to some murdered girl and others who have had similar deadly numerical obsessions helping the movie make its red herring quota. Schumacher’s films all have an overly glossy look – something he perfected in the era of high impact rock videos and magazine ads – and this is no exception. Nothing resembling real life here. This time he tried to disguise the stylized emptiness with the contrived “depth” of a cultish pseudo-intellectual theory. Consider it an extremely dumbed down Pi (which cinematographer Mattthew Latique worked on too!). How many ways is this movie horrible? I’m think-ing of a number…

* Actually he wasn’t! Bundy was sent to the electric chair on January 24th, 1989. Ah-ha!

DISTURBIA (D.J. Caruso, 2007) So I feel old and unhip because it took until his hosting of Saturday Night Light earlier this year for me to take note of Shia Lebeouf. I mean the kid is apparently really hot these days – magazine covers, TRANSFORMERS, and he’s even going to be the son of Indiana Jones next Summer. Lebouf was called by Vanity Fair the next Tom Hanks (who was called the next Jimmy Stewart in the 80’s) has here what was billed as REAR WINDOW for a new generation. Uh, okay. Well, underneath the teen angst veneer the premise of Hitchcock’s classic is just a clothesline to hang cliche after cliche on. Under house arrest instead of being wheelchair bound Lebeouf out of boredom spies on his neighbors – mostly Sarah Roemer – the cliched perfect girl next door until his binoculars wander to the cliched suspicious activities of…oh you know the plot!

It’s not really so odd how it’s not that we can guess everything that happens way before it happens – it’s that it seems like the film makers knew we could guess them and still made no attempt to actually trigger true suspense. The house of the serial killer is one of those that only exists in the movies – so full of secret compartments, passageways, shrines, and a well lit sanitized freezer room – he must have gotten the Murder Maniac special at the local real estate office! I shouldn’t be so hard on this movie though – it’s just another PG-13 thriller throw-away for the weekend multiplex crowd. I’ll also admit though that Lebeouf is talented – he rises above this dreck at every unsurprising turn. Now let’s just see how he handles that bullwhip.

SOME RANDOM BABBLE :

Isn’t it funny how Eddie Murphy who reportedly walked out of the Academy Awards last March because he didn’t get the statue for DREAMGIRLS turned down the sequel to DADDY DAY CARE and actual Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. stepped in to play the same role in DADDY DAY CAMP? Isn’t that funny? Isn’t It?!!? Oh, nevermind.

Don’t ask me what’s funny about UNDERDOG – because I got nothing.

If they ever make one of those VH1 biopics about The Kids In The Hall they really ought get that guy who’s supposed to represent Verizon (or is it AT&T? Cingular?) in those damn Alltel commercials to play Dave Foley. I mean the guy – Scott Halberstadt – would nail it I bet.

The new celebrity-reality show The Two Coreys featuring the present day antics of former teen movie stars Corey Feldman and Corey Haim is airing now on A&E – The Arts & Entertainment Channel. This is definitely ironic because The Two Coreys is neither art nor entertainment. Discuss…

If it seems like the Coen Brothers are overdue for a movie and it sure does to me – their all too brief Buscemi bit in PARIS, JE T’AIME was such a tease – well, soon (November) we’ve got – NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. It’s got Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Kelly McDonald, and Josh Brolin. Despite the fact it has been a while since the Coens have done a film based on their original screenplay this seems promising.

More later…