Friday, June 15, 2007

Sequels R Us

The news that Sean Connery would not be appearing in "Indiana Jones 4" got me thinking.

I'm always wary when it comes to movie sequels. I'm not talking about stories that need to be told in multiple parts (so I'm not including "Godfather II" and the last two installments of the original "Star Wars" trilogy in this indictment). I'm referring specifically to unnecessary sequels, the kind of flicks that extend a story that was satisfactorily concluded in the previous installment (so I am talking about "Godfather III" and all three installments of the second "Star Wars" trilogy).

Of course, sucker that I am, I always make a point of seeing unnecessary sequels. I start off with a bad attitude. I nitpick, I groan, and I roll my eyes. I've finally had enough. I am not going to see "Indiana Jones 4" when it’s released in theaters. This will be the first Indy flick that I will not see during its opening week. Enough's enough.

Still, the whole thing got me thinking about my own "worst case scenario". That is, what other movie sequels might be on the horizon and what sequels might have been served up to us back in the day if wiser heads hadn’t prevailed.

1. Raging Bull 2


I'm always up for a Scorcese/DeNiro/Pesci vehicle. We caught a glimpse of this at the end of the original. Now we get the entire story of Jake LaMotta's years on the lecture circuit and as a stage actor and stand-up comic. This time around, DeNiro doesn't have to go on any yo-yo diets and Scorcese's already got an Oscar.

Tagline: Although he can fight, he'd still rather recite.

Quote: "They still gotta give you a spot on Letterman. You know why? There's nobody left."

2. Top Gun 2


Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer reprise their roles as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell and Ted "Iceman" Kazanski. The two are now instructors at the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School, teaching the next generation of elite fighter pilots. They're also still in the closet. Kelly McGillis returns as Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood. Instead of trying to seduce Maverick, she helps him to recognize that he can stop living the lie. The movie closes with a scene of Maverick and Iceman reciting their vows at a civil ceremony in Amherst, Massachusetts. The credits roll to the strains of "You've Lost That Loving Feeling".

Tagline: Come as you are.

Quote: "You can still be my wingman any time."

3. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid II


It's been a long time since Paul Newman and Robert Redford were paired together. This assumes, of course, that Butch and Sundance survived the shootout in Bolivia. You'll laugh as Sundance finally learns how to swim, and cry when Sundance buries his pal Butch to Kelly Clarkson's cover of "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head".

Tagline: Not that it matters, but none of this is true.

Quote: "Butch and me have been talking. Wherever the hell Tobago is that's where we're off to."

4. Footloose . . . And Fancy Free


Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer are back as Ren McCormick and Ariel Moore McCormick. Ren is now a high school principal, and Ariel is an outspoken member of the City Council. Their eldest daughter, played by Lindsay Lohan, is bright, ambitious, and talented high school senior. Unfortunately, she's a born-again Christian and wants to include a reference to her faith in her valedictory address. Principal Ren and Councilman Ariel butt heads with their strong-willed daughter.

There's a hilarious cameo by Sarah Jessica Parker as their old friend from high school who went out to Hollywood and made it big.

John Lithgow returns as Rev. Shaw Moore. In one of the film's most powerful scenes, Rev. Moore confronts Ren as he is about to cut off the power to his daughter's microphone during her valedictory address. Ren realizes that he's become the type of inflexible and reactionary authority figure that he himself despised. His daughter concludes her speech and Ren is amazed as, instead of tossing their caps into the air, the graduates break into an impromptu prayer session and Bible study.

Tagline: One kid. One town. Multiple opportunities to freely practice one's religion.

Quote: Student 1: "People think she's a Bible-thumper."
Student 2: "Is she?"
Student 1: "I just think she prays a lot."

5. The Continental Breakfast Club


They're back. John Bender (Judd Nelson), Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald), Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez), Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy), and Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall)meet again. The quintet finds themselves in traffic school. Who's the instructor? You guessed it, Dick Vernon (Paul Gleason).

Tagline: Five people who actually know each other pretty well at this point, with a whole lot in common, like multiple traffic violations.

Quote: "You wanna know what I did to get in here? I didn't pay my #&^%$ speeding tickets!"

What Might Have Been

Casablanca 2 (Humphrey Bogart, Dooley Wilson,Ingrid Bergman, Claude Raines, and Paul Henreid)

Sam (Wilson) and Rick Blaine (Bogart) open another "cafe". The year is 1963 and the location is West Berlin. Of course, Rick ends up working behind the scenes to help escapees make it over. Ilsa Lund (Bergman) shows up, of course, with hubby Victor Lazlo (Henreid). Older and wiser, Rick figures out a way to do the right thing and get the girl. Captain (ret.) Louis Renault steals every scene his in. His banter with the East Berlin border guards will leave you in stitches.

Tagline: Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she had to walk into his . . . again.
Quote: "Play that song again, and I'll kill you."

Lost Weekends (Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, and Phillip Terry)

Don Birnam (Milland) relapses after 20 years of sobriety. Wife Helen (Wyman) and brother Wick (Terry) are in Al-anon this go round, so Don can't rely on his two favorite enablers. Instead, he checks into a rehab center. Don works on another novel while he's in treatment. Helen and Wick have a brief fling, but quickly realize that a romantic relationship between two co-dependents of their variety is doomed to failure. Don ends up being the addiction counselor that all the patients love to hate.

Tagline: All he wants is to stop taking shots.

Quote: "I'm gonna put this whole 28 days down, minute by minute . . ."

The Sound of Music, Part II (Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews)

It's June 1972 and President Richard M. Nixon has invited the von Trapp Family to perform at the White House. The musical Austrians set up in their plush accommodations at the Watergate Hotel, and quickly find themselves embroiled in a web of political intrigue. We learn what was really on those damn tapes as Maria von Trapp leads President Nixon in a drunken sing-along that leaves National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger shaking his head in disgust.

Tagline: He had music within his grasp.

Quote: "Ah John (Dean), you are funny. Expensive, but very funny."

It WAS a Wonderful Life (Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore)

Mary Bailey (Reed) wonders what her life would have been like if she'd never married husband George (Stewart). Let's see: she's married to millionaire Sam Wainwright and actually got out of Bedford Falls. When the police arrive, Mary tells them that George had been drinking heavily and took a nasty fall down the stairs. She claims that the gunshot wound in his back was self-inflicted.

Tagline: Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Quote: "You've been given a great gift, Mary, the chance to see what life would have been like without your deadbeat husband."

Honorable Mention:

Spartacus 2 (Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, and Tony Curtis)

Spartacus actually survived the crucifixion, and he's none too happy.

Tagline: Spartacus is coming to Rome . . . with a few days to kill.

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