Last week, FR broke down their favorite sequels. This week, more of the same–except, the opposite. These are terrible, terrible movies. Yippee ka’yay, mother<gunshot>.
Nathan: Clerks 2
Kevin Smith is a bad director. Even he admits this much. But Clerks still stands as one of the more inspiring entries in the world of ’90s independent cinema. Raunchy, raw, and frighteningly funny at times, it was the real deal.
Everything went downhill from there. I could’ve withstood dozens of movies like Cop Out, but Clerks 2 tarnishes the best thing that Kevin Smith ever did.
Tyler: The Godfather Part III
Such an easy choice, so obvious, but nonetheless a necessary inclusion. The familiar lament is the (very real) ineffectuality of Sofia Coppola’s ghastly performance (love you as a director, Sof’, I swear), but the grander, far nastier dilemma is the gross misplacement of familiar, tortured, beloved characters in some strange, badly-lit world, all hackneyed pursuits of redemption and impenetrable Vatican politics. The initial pair of Godfathers rank among the titans of all-time cinema; their bastard successor is a gaseous, inconsequential disaster. Michael Corleone lost his soul in II, and now unwatchably tries to gain it back. (Not that he’s successful.) Andy Garcia, the illegitimate son of Sonny (!!?!?), swings his dick through unceasing scenes, chomping ears and scenery as he goes. George Hamilton shows up, replacing Robert Duvall. (Seriously.) Sofia, oh, Sofia…just, one of the worst line deliveries in the history of history. Any unabashed devotee to the Godfather saga owes it to themself to endure this travesty once, if only to marvel at the horrific spectacle. Then: never, ever again. Really. Never. ‘Cause, in the end, what’s the worst part of Part III? It’s fucking boring.
Nathan: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Do I really need to explain this one?
Tyler: Major League II
Major League ain’t any great shakes by any stretch of the imagination, even as a baseball movie. But it’s a fun damn lark, it’s got Sheen before Sheen was “Sigh, Sheen,” and it was a perennial sleepover favorite starring oddly perennial sleepover mainstay Tom Berenger (see: Sniper). There’s good laughs to be had, there’s Corbin Bernsen not being completely annoying, there’s Dennis Haysbert doing some early-career slumming cooing racist-ass paeans to Jobu, there’s the fucking fantastic manager character purring “Ferrrrget about the currrveball, Ricky. Throw ‘im the heeaaater.” Plus, Willie Mays Hayes. Wesley Snipes, back when he was a pimp (apex: Waiting To Exhale. No, seriously.), and not an imprisoned evader of tax.
League II? Yeah, not so much. Snipes, presumably off filming Passenger 51 or something (“Always bet on Die Hard in a spurious setting.”) hands off the Hayes reins to, of all people, Omar Epps (??), and the hardy R-rating of the initial installment is dumbed down not one, but two levels, to a butt-lame PG, presumably because studio producers realized the first film’s audience was heavy with soda-chugging preadolescents heavy with delivery pizza in their friends’ basements. Not unlike like Ghostbusters II, another eyeroller of a sequel that equates telling the same story all over again with “storytelling,” League II chokes down and regurgitates everything that made its predecessor even remotely remarkable, the difference being that Ghostbusters is a God damn masterpiece, and Major League was just about passable. Also, I mean, Omar Epps. Good on you for House, dude, but, to paraphrase Charlie Murphy, this was after Wesley Snipes.
Nathan: Rambo: First Blood Part II
The first installment of the Rambo franchise, First Blood, was a fascinating chase movie that also functioned as an exploration of post-Vietnam stress. The second installment is an explosives festival set to the tune of American imperialism and jingoism. Stallone still has the wooden charisma, but First Blood II, and all of the other subsequent Rambo pictures, represents the worst of the Reagan-era blockbusters.
Also, see every Rocky sequel. The first was a glorious depiction of an underdog going the distance. The beauty of the movie was in that Rocky didn’t actually win. Every subsequent Rocky installation fed the fantasy and then turned its half-baked attention towards Cold War politics.
Tyler: Live Free Or Die Hard
If you have any sense of the good things in life, you love Die Hard. You tolerate its first two sequels, Die Hard 2: Die Harder and Die Hard With A Vengeance, because, though they’re not as good, they lack Hans Gruber, and John McClane keeps getting balder, they’re still entertaining. For some reason, they keep it together, the entertainment value aspect, they’re ludicrous, but they feel a part of a whole, McClane the same crusty sorta-romantic who just can’t tear himself from virtues of duty and righteous ass-kicking.
What those sequels lack is a buttoned-down PG-13 rating preventing the climactic utterance of one of the coolest climactic lines ever. They lack one of the killers from Scream 2/the dealer from Go/the hero from Deadwood which I’m never watched but assured I should looking oddly agenderous, fake-blowing up the Capitol and aspiring to domination on a global scale. They certainly lack fucking Kevin Smith, onetime promising low-budget auteur, popping up as a hacker (living and bickering with his mom, HAW!), calling himself “Warlock,” shoehorning in references to Boba Fett and yet still somehow assisting to save the day. And they REALLY, REALLY lack Justin Long.
Live Free Or what? Such a movie doesn’t exist. Don’t ask me. I’m sitting on a beach, earning twenty percent.
Nathan: Jurassic Park III
Jurassic Park, believe it or not, was one of the most formative artistic experiences of my life. Spielberg’s original, a dangerous theme-park ride, brought many young boys’ fantasies to life with computer animated dinosaurs. The experience of seeing Jurassic Park was awe-inspiring. I coaxed family and friends into taking me, and saw the film four times theatrically. The second installment – The Lost World – while lacking the shine of the new, still had enough Spielberg pop to keep things lively.
The third movie didn’t include even one memorable set piece, it wasted the acting services of William H. Macy, and…oh, wait, I can’t remember anything else about it.
Tyler: Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
I saw Crystal Skull with my girlfriend of the time. We weren’t expecting much, but we were in the mood for a big summer blockbuster, and, really, how bad could it be, right? Right? …………..right………………?
The memory is clear. We weren’t twenty, twenty-five minutes it. I turned my head to the girl, caught her attention, and I’m pretty sure my mouth was just agape, face shaking side-to-side. We all remember “nuke the fridge.” But…Shia Lebeouf’s greaser motorcycle slide through the college library? A stoned-or-exhausted-or-both Harrison Ford’s BETWEEN SEQUEL EXPOSITION ONE OF THESE ACTORS IS DEAD AND THE OTHER IS RETIRED mutterance “Marcus…Dad…”? ALIENS? FUCKING ALIENS?? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME, LUCAS, DO YOU HAVE PICTURES OF SPIELBERG IN NAZI REGALIA WHAT IN THE HELL WHAT IN THE HELL????
(To be fair, one moment in Crystal Dong Party did gift me genuine pleasure. The best Indy girl, all these years later, sidling onto the screen and purring like she did all those years ago. “Innnnnndiana Jones.”)
Nathan: Every Disney Made-for-Video Sequel
Aladdin: King of Thieves. Aladdin: The Return of Jafar. The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride. The Lion King 1 1/2. The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning. The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea. Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World. Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World. Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas Edition. Cinderella II: Dreams Come True. Cinderella III: A Twist in Time. Bambi 2.
Michael Eisner’s great contribution to the Disney Legacy is in his ability to acquire other, better companies (Pixar, Miramax) and to make loads of money on cheap sequels.
Walt rolls in his grave.
Tyler: Halloween: Resurrection
Halloween is a personal favorite, beloved by me from an early age, still scary as fuck to the untrained eye.
It’s difficult for me to recount the elemental agony of this movie. I saw it in theater as tradition with friend of FR John, with whom I’d also theatrically endured the execrable Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (featuring “Paul Stephen Rudd!”), as well as the passable Halloween: H20. The night we underwent that torture (part of the ol’ po’-folks double-feature with, of all flicks, Road To Perdition), we drove back to my neighborhood, where we met up with friend of FR Mike and his then-girlfriend, to whom I unleashed a monologue of blind baffled rage that, humility be damned, I wish I had on fucking camera. (We take our great rants when we can get them, no?) The obvious disaster is the inclusion of Busta Rhymes in the cast; his sputtering delivery of the “line” “MICHAEL MYERS AIN’T A SOUND BITE!! A SPIN-OFF!!! MICHAEL MYERS IS A KILLA’ SHARK!!! IN BAGGY-ASS OVERALLS!!!!” one of the just…I mean, really, just read what I transcribed right there. But, that lunacy aside (ignoring Tyra Banks’s presence as Flipmode’s assistant/grist-to-the-Myers-mill), as well as the naming of some heroic teen character “Deckard” (SEE IT’S A BLADE RUNNER REFERENCE, GET IT?), the single vile feather of indefensible absurdity comes courtesy of Sean Patrick Thomas, at the time a big ol’ deal due to his romantic male lead performance in Save The Last Dance, a movie I somehow dodged seeing despite weakness in the knees for girls while attending high school as the millennium turned. Thomas, his character–for some reason–an aspiring chef, is but one of a handful of idiots doomed to death by the hand of The Death Guru, their silly-ass reason for assembly being a reality-online-All-Hallow’s-Eve-fiesta staged in the old hainted Myers house, broadcast onto the Internet via headcams that already looked Prodigy-level extinct at the time of Resurrection‘s 2002 release. As these dipshits meander through the ghostly home (or something evocative), they uncover scary (gasp!), weird (shriek!) evidence that might suggest the persistent existence of Linda Richman-He’s-Gonna-Fuck-You-Up. One of these signs? One of these portentous omens that Michael Myers might still be alive and kicking? To wit.
Sean Patrick Thomas inspects kitchen spices. Opens canister. Sniffs. Affects intimidated glare.
“…this fennel is fresh.”
Spooky music is cued. Eventual surviving heroine appears concerned.
That shit happens.
Later, when finally confronted with his deserved demise, Thomas slashes some knives together and hollers “You like sushi, motherfucker??” Perhaps due to The Shape’s confusion of his human body with seafood, Thomas briefly gains a staggering upper hand by throwing that fresh fennel in Myers’s face.
I’m fucking serious.
I mean, seriously.