Sunday, October 30, 2011

Random Thoughts Special Edition: Prequels, Sequels, and Reboots! Oh my!!


For all the bitching one hears about the over abundant proliferation of sequels and super hero rip-offs that fill the screens at the Big Ass Studio 64 Screen Cinema Multiplex out by your local mall, pub, or health spa, on a daily basis, movie fans still flock to them as if they’re a wily nilly herd of Republican sheep trying to decipher the latest ranting's and ravings of Michelle Bachman because she’s too deep for their thought processes.   Yet, the same crowd will leave the film, jump on the Internet and proclaim that as far as originality is concerned, Hollywood is bankrupt. They’ve run out of ideas. It’s time to fold the tent and go home. Yeah, right.

The average movie patron, for all their bitching, gets what they ask for, what they put their good money down for, and what they buy their $15 Popcorn and $10 soft drink for. No more, no less. Hey, it’s not your billions some studio nincompoop is investing, or even your Monopoly Money they’re playing with so quit your complaining or just stay home so they can feed it to you on the TV at sixty bucks a pop.

Sequels have always been around forever and I guess they always will be. Even back in the 30’s movies had sequels. 

King Kong had a Son , even though we never were an eyewitness to him dilly dallying with a Mrs. Kong, although such a scene would have probably boosted the movie grosses by a factor of ten, and our knowledge of Simian reproduction by 20.   Still, such a plot twist would have left Ms. Fay Wray, Ms. Lange, and Ms. Naomi Watts extremely jealous, but they would have been no match for Mrs.  It would be tantamount to pitting Don Knotts up against Muhammad Ali in his prime.   The more time that has passed since the film editor spliced together the last strips of film, the more opportunities there are for some studio big wig to take another stab at it.



In Kong’s case, Dino DeLaurentiis sent him up the WTC in 1976, and in 2005 Peter Jackson finally brought fulfillment to his personal long passionate unrequited love affair with New York’s biggest citizen. In the sixties, the Japanese shipped a gangly and mangy looking Kong in for a WWE grudge Match against their very own radioactive giant Lizard Gojira, so that they could party all night long in downtown Tokyo.

But being the generous nation that we are, Hiroshima and Nagasaki not withstanding, we returned the favor by flying Godzilla into downtown Manhattan, because Roland Emmerich swore that Size Does Matter, although he wasn’t talking about his overinflated ego or budget.

It pissed rain for most of the two and a half hour running time proving once gain that size does matter when you have to cover up your not quite ready for prime time CGI Lizard with more running water than Noah saw in 40 days and nights, plenty of dark scenes, and then have Mr. Zilla dart in and out of and in between skyscrapers so you never really see him up close and personal. Talk about laying a giant egg or should I say a truckload full of giant eggs. But if you cross your fingers extremely hard and say you do believe in monsters fifty times, Godzilla may roam the planet in 3d in 2014. So get your asses busy now.

Tarzan has been swinging on a vine since the first tree sprouted up in the rain forest. And even Jane and Boy, who dropped in from the sky, hung around for quite a while with him.

The Thin Man drank enough hard liquor solving mysteries with Mrs. Thin Man to keep his most favored distillery in business for years. Now, Johnny Depp says he want’s a shot at that liquor cabinet. No word on who’s playing the dog yet.

Andy Hardy kept looking for his love life for 20 years until he finally came home in 1958 carrying a passel full of mealy mouth brats and a wife with him, apparently having found amore without us. In other words, he got screwed and we got screwed over after putting up with him all those years.

I personally want to know what ever happened to my favorite funny guy, Henry Aldrich and his pal Dizzy? Bet you don’t remember those two. They made a bunch of movies. About eight of them. Funny ones. Can’t find the movies unless I want to order from some offbeat company I never heard of. Then again, they do sound legitimate.  What have you got for me?  They’ve got the BBB thing going on and everything.  Hey, send me a few and I’ll stick an ad up for you.  You know the old saying, early to bed, early to rise, advertise, advertise, advertise.  But I guess I’ll settle for a couple of clips on YouTube for now.

Henry Aldrich seems to be available legitimately from a web site called Nostalgia Merchant. We dealt with them for VHS products back in the 80’s. Don’t know how they are now who owns it.

Bonita Granville wasn't totally clueless as Nancy Drew, the teen sleuth, through four films until she met and married Jack Wrather who had this Lone Ranger gig of his own going. They then found out that old dogs never die, they just have puppies and carry on forever. It seems you can make more money with a cross dressing collie than solving the Mystery of the The Hidden Staircase.

But have no fear, all you amateur female detectives. Nancy has been around forever and always will be. Pamela Sue Martin climbed out of The USS Poseidon to pick up the clue book in the 70’s. Recently, Emma Roberts, brought Ms. Drew back to the big screen, but a once planned sequel seems to be kaput. And then there’s another one, one I didn’t even know about until recently. All I know is that it was broadcast on the TV in the 1990’s but I don’t know where, filmed in Canada and France, starred someone named Tracy Ryan as a 20 something Drew, and this curiosity piece is now showing on Netflix. Have at it.

I will when if and I do find the time and then I’ll report back. And if watching isn’t your cup of tea, thanks to the wonders of computer gaming, you can now be Nancy Drew to your hearts content, be you male, female, young, old, or anything in between.

And look, let’s be honest, wasn’t everybody clamoring for another Indiana Jones film until there finally was one? But after all was said and done fans everywhere decided to get all pissy about it because it wasn’t what they thought it should be? Now all they do is whine, “They should have left well enough alone!” Audiences are just plain fickle, and in the case of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull they were fickle to the tune of $786 million worldwide.

It’s the same thing with Star Wars. If people hadn’t been clamoring for sequels and prequels then maybe George would have retired with his billions instead of foisting the abysmal Haydn Christianson on us and stinking up the joint. NOOOOOOOOOOOoooooo!

Hell, I’ve wanted Willow II since 1988, but George and Ronnie can’t seem to get their act together. If Harrison Ford can put on that fedora at age 67 or so and crack his whip as Jones, then certainly Val Kilmer’s Madmartigan, at age 52, ought to be able to still swing a hefty sword with authority. So what if Ron Howard has won an Oscar since then? It won’t soil him to do just a little slumming. And one thing Ron, you should have talked your daughter out of being in that crappy M. Night Salami movie. It didn’t do squat for her career.

Theres been talk of a Goonies II, but having a bunch of middle age men dragging ass in the sewers of Seattle looking for a pirate booty doesn’t have the same appeal that it did when the journey was made by a motley group of up and coming teensters and tweensters. Then again, what kind of booty would we be talking about here?

If some of the sequels turn out bad, you pretend they don’t exist anymore and pick up wherever you damn well want to.

That’s why Superman Returned after Superman II, and numbers III and IV never really happened. It’s sort of like Pam Ewing waking up and finding Bobby in the shower after dreaming a whole television season up in Dallas for all the suckers who tuned in once a week. And Richard Pryor is no longer around to attest in the first person that there was a Super 3, although for all I know he may have been the one that wished it away.

Superman Returns to only $400 million dollars worldwide, and that wasn’t enough for the WB. No sir. Casting call. Time for the Superman reboot. New director. New Super duper. Bye bye Kate “Lois Lane” Bosworth, hello Amy "Lois Lane" Adams. Then to get everybody really confused, you take the Superman out of the title and slap the Man of Steel label on it. Crap, for all we know this could be a sequel to the 2011 October flavor of the month called “Real Steel” which is not about Superman at all. I think it has something to do with Rocky Balboa and Robots . Haven’t seen it, I’m not sure, let’s move on.

But that’s a way better fate that than being done in by what happened to poor Supergirl! Talk about a one shot deal! One movie, you’re done, and take Mommie Dearest with you, bitch. To punish you for failing, they stick you in some movie where you’re running around trying to get your kid brother’s stupid scooter back and have you cut off all your beautiful blonde hair in the process while your little friend discovers she’s a woman.

Talk about a career wipe out! But at least there was that nifty Pat Benatar song to cheer you on and regale MTV viewers across the nation for a time.

The best thing about The Legend of Billie Jean is this song. Then again, I think the movie was very underrated.

Let’s not forget the dreaded prequels. I’ve already mentioned George Lucas’s batch of bologna, but there have been others. Hell, Indiana Jones went back in time for one year to his younger self for Temple of Doom. I’m still trying to figure that one out.  He not only traveled through the time space continuum for Doomsville, he resided there  long enough to do a whole damn TV series. And he did it without a DeLorean.  I don’t think Lucas knows for sure why Indiana II  took place a year earlier than Indiana I.  I guess it fit the timeline he made up on the spur of the moment.  But at least we knew for sure Indy would survive the damn thing.

Sometimes your two heroes end up pretty much dead at the end of your hit film, thus really leaving you with a big prequel or sequel problem. The Sundance Kid aka Robert Redford and Butch Cassidy aka Paul Newman morph into William Katt and Tom Berenger for Butch and Sundance,The Early Days. Hey, I liked Katt as the hapless super duper klutz of the Greatest American Hero on the TV, and even more so as Carrie's hot date at the prom. But he is no Robert Redford. And if Paul Newman were the bright center of the universe, Tom Berenger would be the planet that it’s farthest from.

And nobody morphed better than Newman and Redford, who also reappeared in The Sting II as Jackie Gleason and Mac Davis. Either that or Newman was really chowing down in between films and Redford took some time to tune up his vocal chords for a few hit songs. 

If your super hero franchise lays a real big turd such as George Clooney's Batman did with Robin and The Governator back in 1997, you simply wait eight years, and then call your film Batman Begins, as if you were just kidding around the first time down the pike with Mr.’s Keaton , Kilmer, Clooney, O'Donnell, Nicholson, DeVito, Jones, Carrey, Schwarzenegger, Pfeiffer, Ms. Silverstone, and Ms. Thurman. You hire a director that made a film nobody understood because he goofed and ran it through the projector backwards, but  made movie critics get all misty eyed anyway. That way if he turns the caped crusader into a confused schizophrenic nit wit you can claim, “But it’s art.”

By starting all over again you also have the benefit of that new breed of internet species unavailable to you ten years ago who will proclaim your greatness from sea to shining sea. Yes, we do have the fan boys forever and ever amen.  And nothing, absolutely not one thing, will ever deter them, stand in their way, or hold them at bay through ice, wind, snow, rain, sleet, hail, or a massive power failure from coast to coast.

Absolutely none of this even remotely begins to explain why Spider-man is being sent back to relive his high school days when he hasn’t even been out of there long enough for a class reunion.   We’re starting over from square one,  becoming not just Spider-man, but The Amazing Spider-man because he wasn’t quite amazing enough to bear that adjective when he was just some damn overpriced American Colonist.  So riddle me this, why is the new Spidey better than the old Spidey, when new Spidey has to use mechanical gunk to spin his webs while old Spidey was making it natural?   Answer me that, Sony?   Screw you.

And what the hell is Sally Field going to do as Aunt May?  Give the kid a box of chocolates and yell, “Run, Spidey, Run!” 

I can see it now:

Peter Parker:  What is my destiny, mama?
Aunt May:  You’re a freakin’ spider mutant person, what the hell do you think your destiny is?

Screw you again.

Now, we get a new cup of Tassimo Tea, whereas the old Maxwell House Home Grown Coffee had yet to finish brewing to the last drop. But hey, this is Sony we’re talking about. Sony’s a corporation, and your measly 3 Spider-Man films grossing $2.5 billion (yes, billion) just isn’t enough moulah for you and your shareholders. So what do you do?

You get out your slide rule, figure out that the director and cast that helped you gather in all that loot in the first place should be kicked out the door because if they were in one of your sweat shop assembly line factories pumping out your PlayStation 3's or blu-ray players you’d do the same damn thing. Then you find some cheap replacement parts, a no-name director with no hits, an unknown obscure actor, and start dreaming of a Happy Fourth of July because the bean counters have convinced you that the movie going public is too stupid to see through your charade.

They are sure we will want to watch this low-budgeted rehashed instant replay even if your star won’t be celebrating Independence Day with us when the movie premieres because he probably doesn’t even know that his country lost the war almost 250 years ago. The worst part of it is that those bean counters are probably right. They know fan boys as well as I do and they are already beginning to wrap their arms around this imported pile of steaming sheep dung.   Me, I’ll stop in to see The Avengers, but screw your Spidey when I’m still waiting for him to join Mary Jane in holy deadlock. And I mean that. I won’t go. Period. I hate corporate b.s.

Just one thing sir, when do tickets go on sale?  Honorable number 3 son would like to know.

I could go on for days with this sequels, series, and prequels, stuff.   And I certainly may do so again if I sit down to write a review and that Drew Baylor came up with when his own dear old dad was dead as a doornail comes upon me again. You know the one. Whimsical.

Remember, none of this sequelitis rebooting rehashing recooking and refrying gets done if you don’t go. But for all your complaining about idea bankrupt Hollywood, going out to the theater will always be infinitely more entertaining than sitting in front of the tube, eating your cheeseburger, and having your brain cells killed off one at a time by Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor, X-Factor, So You Thought You Could Dance, Dummass, America Ain’t Got No Talent, and American Idol. I’m proof of that. Two years of writing about Idol several years ago, and I’m still in recovery. But the doctor’s say there is hope for me. You on the other hand, maybe not. You have to read this crap. Now I do have a movie review to write.


  1. Nostalgia Merchant here. Thanks for the link. And I'll advertise if you have any traffic.

  2. lol..okay. I expect to have some real traffic in about three or four years. We'll just keep hammering away.