Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Foul ups on follow ups....

One reason the blogger thing won’t go away is that the press tends to get basic things wrong all the time.* I think everyone has had the experience of reading a story on a subject they have in-depth knowledge on, and going, “Nope, that’s wrong.” Oddly, we seldom seem to extrapolate from that to the idea that the press might be getting lots of stuff wrong, from patently bogus documents being used to attack a sitting President during an election, to…well, to a list of bad movie sequels.

[*Plus the mass media coverage is insufferably shallow. Check the Supreme Court coverage from your local paper or TV station to the articles found at SCOTUSblog.com. Indepth coverage and analysis of the issues and arguments before the court, written in punchy and easily understandable prose, and all actually looking purely at the legal issues involved, rather than what special interest groups have “won” and “lost,” as if these cases aren’t about constitutional provenance, but instead are a horserace. Not interested in the law? There’s an informative and smartly written blog out there on about any topic you can think of. And it’s all free.]

I don’t expect a mass market magazine like Entertainment Weekly to consult any of the folks who run the vast number of really good bad movie and b-movie websites out there, even when they attempt to construct a list of bad sequels…yet. Even so, EW’s March 10th list of the 25 Worst Sequels ever is pretty embarrassingly bad. So maybe the day will come when the press routinely looks to the Internet for a readily available pool of expert opinions.

Let’s take a look:

25: The Matrix Reloaded. Eh. OK, it was definitely a let-down. I’ll give them a flyer on that one.

24: The Next Karate Kid. Really? The Next Karate Kid?! Was that a particularly worse sequel than, say, The Karate Kid Part III? And, in a theme that will be recurring in this critique, was The Karate Kid itself really good enough that a failed sequel to it could be one of the worst in film history?

23: Porky’s II: The Next Day. Again, what a let down from the original Porky’s.

22: Teen Wolf II. Ditto.

21: Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde. Ditto, ditto. And one problem with such film lists is that recent movies tend to be overemphasized. I mean, a year from now, who will remember this? And if something like this can make the grade, why is it worse than, say, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous?

20: The Godfather III. Eh, I wouldn’t pick it, but it does fall far from the first two, so I won’t argue with it.

19: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise. Seriously, WTF?

18: Battle for the Planet of the Apes: Really?

17: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier: Finally, the first obviously just correct choice. Should have been higher, but you can’t argue with this infamous turkey being on the list.

16: Ocean’s Twelve: Huh? I have no idea why this is here. It wasn’t that bad. And I’m not the only one who thought so. It has a 55% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.com. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but hardly a ‘worse sequel of all time’ rating.

15: Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd. Whatever. Why not Son of Mask?

14: Conan the Destroyer: Good pick, you morons. A rare sequel that’s better than the first film, and you call it one of the worst sequels ever.

13: The Sting II: Definitely. Very good call. (The second such out of the first 13 selections.)

12: Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. I guess.

11: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. Really?

10: Jaws the Revenge. Obviously. Call good, although it should be higher.

9: Speed 2: Cruise Control. A solid if not spectacular choice. Should be lower though. Speed 2 is a worse sequel than Jaws the Revenge?

8: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. Really?

7: The Fly II. C’mon, it’s not that bad. Lame, at best. And again, worse than Jaws the Revenge?

6: Weekend at Bernie’s II. Now we’re in the realm of idiots.

5: Batman & Robin. Can’t argue with that, should be lower, though.

4: Blues Brothers 2000. Yep. An atrocious movie.

3: Leprechaun: Back 2 the Hood. Yes, a huge let down from a previously brilliant series. (Rolls eyes.)

2: Caddyshack II: OK, but nowhere near the second worst sequel ever. At 25-20, maybe.

1: Staying Alive. OK, I’ll accept that, although I’d personally put it lower.

Anyway, not only is the inclusion of a number of these films way off, and the ratings more than a bit suspect, but a number of the top five worst sequels ever aren’t even mentioned: Exorcist 2: The Heretic (should be #1, not even on the list), Highlander 2: The Quickening (should be #2…beaten by friggin’ Weekend at Bernie’s II). The Trial of Billy Jack! Rocky 4! Death Wish 3! King Kong Lives! Superman IV: The Quest for Peace! All those are better sequels than Ocean’s 12?!

Meanwhile, if you’re going to include horror sequels, how about ones that disgraced great movies? Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. Howling 2: Your Sister is a Werewolf. Now those are bad sequels. Including movies from the Friday the 13th and Leprechaun series, meanwhile, is retarded.

Horrible article. And there’s even an equally bad sidebar. The 10 Best Sequels are given, films purportedly even better than the first ones. Well, For a Few Dollars More is not even a sequel to A Fistful of Dollars, it’s an unrelated film. And despite their lame protests, Silence of the Lambs is not a sequel to Manhunter, even if both feature Hannibal Lector. Finally, I’m sorry, but Terminator 2 is not a better movie than the first Terminator.


At 10:31 AM, Blogger BeckoningChasm said...

Terminator is way, way better than Terminator 2. And although it's officially a sequel, what it really is, is a remake.

At 12:52 PM, Blogger Big Al said...

Well, if they're going to bring up Silence of the Lambs, how can they leave out Hannibal. But we could go on, and on. but more to the point, had a free subscription to EW, cancelled after 2 issues.

At 12:59 PM, Blogger Keith said...

There was a Weekend and Bernies II?

At 1:52 PM, Blogger Cullen M. M. Waters said...

Conan the Destroyer a better film than Conan the Barbarian? Not that I don't like the movie, mind you. It's just not an opinion I'm used to seeing...

At 2:08 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

I don't know, when CtD came out, it was generally acknowledged to be a fun movie, whereas Conan the Barbarian was ponderous as hell.

I guess if you like your barbarians stilted and deadly serious, then CtB would be your choice. I think Roger Ebert's review was pretty typical of the feeling at the time, although he was overly optimistic regarding the film's success:

"What you can see in CONAN THE DESTROYER, if you look closely, is the beginning of a movie dynasty. This is the film that points the way to an indefinite series of Conan adventures...The first Conan movie, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, was a dark and gloomy fantasy about the shadows of prehistory. This second film is sillier, funnier, and more entertaining. "

In any case, calling CtD one of the worst sequels ever is a bit much.

At 2:09 PM, Anonymous KurtVon said...

Would you settle for "not notably worse"?

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Sure. I can see if you did like the initial film's seriousness (Arnold clearly didn't; given his propensity for making essentially comic action films like Commando), you would find the direction of the second film a let-down.

Note that I'm not calling CtD a great movie or anything. It's just that I think it's better than CtB, which I don't think is that good at all.

At 3:48 PM, Blogger Brad said...

I'm surprised Alien Cubed or Alien Resurrection didn't make the cut. No, actually, I'm not surprised, considering they didn't have Exorcist II in there.

Here's two rules you need before you can even consider a sequel for the Bottom 25:
1. The first movie had to be -- at least -- pretty danged good.
2. The sequel needs to slap the viewer in the face somehow -- either by trashing something the first movie was trying to do or by simply being such a piece of crap.

Personally, I think the last two Alien movies would more than meet that second requirement.

At 8:26 PM, Anonymous Tork_110 said...

Wait, Reloaded is worse than Revolutions?

At 6:04 AM, Blogger Zack Handlen said...

I actually thought the first Conan's seriousness made it more interesting; sort of like a con game, where you only realized that nothing of importance was going on after it was over. Anyway, I enjoyed it- although the sequel did have the better jail-bait.

Any "worst sequel" list that doesn't have Exorcist II in it isn't worth a damn, ultimately.

At 12:25 PM, Blogger thanoseid said...

So if anyone's still looking down here, what would be a couple of the best sequels of all time? Bride of Frankenstein? Godfather 2? Um.... oh! Wrath of Khan?

At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Tork_110 said...

Spider-Man 2!


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