>>> Bang for Your Buck
By staff writer David Nelson
May 7, 2006


Essential New Word of the Week: phattygoodness (definition hint: carbo-loading)

Summer is almost upon us, and for many, that means occasionally seeking refuge in the comfort of an air-conditioned theater. Not sweating to death is fun, but the movie itself I can take or leave. Hollywood fare has been declining for years, so I’ll mostly just be hiding under the seats like some kind of troll, living off stray gummi bears and spilled nacho cheese sauce.

Many moviemakers lack originality to such a degree that you almost have to admire them for their audacity. Specifically, I’m talking about all those sequels. If some writer stumbles across a winning formula by teaming up a kickboxing Eskimo and a sarcastic robot who travel through time solving sexy mysteries together, then that’s great. I’ll probably be first in line to see it. But next year, when they have to save the local Youth Center from Mr. Greedly, I’ll be less enthusiastic. And the year after that, they’ll embark upon their greatest adventure yet: love. And I’ll just give that a miss entirely.

“The only sense of urgency I remember from The Matrix Reloaded came from my decision to order the ¾ gallon Mountain Dew Bladder Jammer™.”

Most sequels are just unnecessary. I mean, did Big Momma’s House leave so many questions unanswered that the director felt it would betray his creative vision to not address them in a sequel? I doubt it. It’s far more likely that Martin Lawrence just wanted another few million dollars to build a rocket car made out of drugs, or something.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, either. I’m sure that in the 80's, Charles Bronson said to his agent “You know, we could do another Death Wish movie.” Except he surely mumbled it through a mouthful of ham. Well, I’ve been studying the sequel phenomenon all my life from my head-shaped volcano base, and in this article, I present my findings. Use them so that future generations can be spared the horrors of Sharon Stone’s crack-in-the-sidewalk vagina in Basic Instinct 3.

I’m going to examine various sequels over four decades and rate them by equating them with everyday objects that reflect how necessary or unnecessary they are. A truly necessary sequel, like Empire Strikes Back, would be equivalent to, say, duct tape. An unnecessary sequel, like Home Alone 2, would correspond to, say, a tea cozy. And if you’re not good at interpreting metaphors, you can always send away for the Cole’s Notes to this article.

The 1970’s

Rocky II

Rocky fights Apollo Creed again, only he wins this time. This was probably a good idea on the part of the writers. It’s not much of an underdog story if the underdog always loses. More to the point, this sequel is mostly about Rocky’s training, which involved beating raw meat and chasing chickens. To this day, I think that’s awesome. You can lift weights all day long, but you can’t put barbecue sauce on ‘em when you’re done.

Necessity Ranking: Toilet Paper

Like TP, you might be able to make do without Rocky II if you had to, but it wouldn’t be pleasant. Besides, when you’re eating lightning and crapping thunder, it must be hard enough to stay clean back there.


Superman II

The original was okay, but Superman’s big menace was Royal Tenenbaum and the guy who got boned up the ass in Deliverance. This is fucking Superman we’re talking about. He’s got laser eyes and freeze breath. He could have killed Lex Luthor from across the room in 2 seconds and taken the rest ofthe day off to play ping pong with the Flash. Instead, the retarded son of Jor-El chose to stand there and allow Luthor to launch nuclear missiles at nuns.

What I’m saying is, the first movie suffered from lack of a credible antagonist. This problem was remedied in the sequel, which pitted three equally powerful and weirdly dressed villains against the hero. Who can forget Terence Stamp demanding that the President kneel before Zod? I like to think that the ensuing blowjob scene will make the director’s cut someday.

Necessity Ranking: Washing Machine

Sure, it’s patchy and campy in some places, but in many ways, Superman II should have been the original. The big guy saves the day, bangs Lois Lane and roughs up some truckers for kicks. Without washing machines, we’d be forced to hand-launder our capes and tights. Without Superman II, we’d have to skip directly to Superman III, where he fights a multiple sclerosis-addled Richard Pryor and a Dell computer. Or Superman IV, where he takes on Radioactive Homo.


The Godfather: Part II

Just in case you’re a blind and deaf guy whose sight and hearing have recently been restored through the magic of Oprah Winfrey’s tears, let me fill you in:

“The Godfather Part II is the greatest sequel ever made, one of the greatest films of all time and possibly finer than its superb predecessor.”
-Some guy on IMDB

Necessity Ranking: Oxygen

That’s right, motherfucker. Without Godfather Part II, you might die.


The 1980’s

Back to the Future Part II

Back to the Future Part I was an enduring tale of universal experiences, like overcoming adversity, seeking redemption, and preventing your mom from giving you a drunken blowjob. The second installment, though, was rather confusing in places. There’s two of every character running around, and all kinds of crazy time travel plot holes. You know what? Fuck it. Lea Thompson had some nice titties in that film.

Back to the Future Part II promised me that in 2015, there would be hoverboards. Well, here we are a mere nine years away, and humanity is not any closer to perfecting hoverboard technology. What a ripoff. I want my damn hoverboard!

Necessity Ranking: Unicycle

Like the plot of Back to the Future Part II, a unicycle is, arguably, a perfectly legitimate means of getting from A to B. Of course, it’s a bit awkward, tedious, and showy. It’s probably not so bad once you get used to it. But I’d still rather travel in a DeLorean.


Ghostbusters II

Pretty much the same movie as Ghostbusters I. New York is headed for supernatural doom; nobody takes the guys seriously, etc. But, really…who you gonna call? Well, if it were up to me, I’d say Lindsay Lohan in a Wonder Woman costume. But since that’s not going to happen, we have to settle for the Ghostbusters again.

This sequel has the team battling a river of hostility-based slime that's possessing a painting. And if that sounds a bit strange to you, it’s because it was written by retarded children wearing helmets filled with bees. It’s also worth noting that in the five years since the first movie, the black Ghostbuster hadn’t received any kind of promotion. Someone should look into that.

Necessity Ranking: Corn Holders

They certainly make eating corn less messy, but if corn holders vanished from the face of the Earth tomorrow, humanity would find a way to carry on. The same is true for the Ghostbusters sequel.


Teen Wolf Too

You see what they did to the title there? Instead of using the numeral “2,” or the word “Two,” they decided to use the adverb “Too,” indicating that Jason Bateman, like Michael J. Fox before him, is a Teen Wolf, too. I hope you enjoyed that bit of wordplay, because it’s easily the cleverest thing about this crappy movie.

Necessity Ranking: New Coke

Some sequels are unnecessary because they’re simply copies of the original. And some are far, far worse. I’d rather drink Coors Light than New Coke, and speaking of the Silver Bullet, someone should have shot one into Teen Wolf’s black heart and spared us this mess.


The 1990’s

Look Who’s Talking Too

Get this: In the first movie, there’s a baby, right? And it…it talks!!! And in the second movie….there’s another baby. And it talks! And then…in the third movie…there’s a dog. Wait for it. Wait for it…. And the dog talks!!! THE DOG TALKS!!!

Necessity Ranking: Male Nipples

Inexplicable, occasionally embarrassing, and unsuitable for babies to suck on.


Weekend at Bernies II

This one is somewhat of an anomaly. Just because a sequel is almost identical to the original, doesn’t make it unnecessary or bad per se. I love watching those two wacky goofballs stumble around with a cadaver. Folks, this is surely what Thomas Edison had in mind when he invented motion picture technology. They could make Weekend at Bernies IX and I’d still see it.

Necessity Ranking: iPod

Sure, there are still Walkmans out there. There are also movies that don’t feature the comedic desecration of a corpse. Both are now obsolete. Thank you, iPods/Weekend at Bernies II.


Terminator 2: Judgment Day

This movie had awesome action sequences, incredible special effects, and a riveting story line. T2 was everything a sequel ought to be; filling in the gaps from the original and expanding the story arc. Also: Liquid Metal™.

It also had Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, who I think is kinda sexy in a mentally unstable way. That’s the buff T2 Sarah Connor, though, and not the soft, girl-next-door, ” Do you want fries with that?” T1 Sarah Connor. Let me put it this way: If I were a security guard, and she were restrained and catatonic, I’d lick her face also.

Necessity Ranking: Remote Control

Would you really want to watch television without one? You’d have to get up and turn a knob every time you wanted to change the channel. That horrified reaction you’re getting right now happens to me when I imagine the Terminator franchise without T2. Mercifully, through the magic of technology, we don’t have to worry about either scenario.


The 2000’s

The Matrix Reloaded

What in the name of Zion happened? The Matrix held such promise as a franchise, but the sequel collapsed under the weight of its own hype. In the first movie, every fight scene was a desperate attempt to survive or escape. In the second, Neo fights the agents until he decides he’s bored, and then flies away. The only sense of urgency I remember came from my regrettable decision to order the ¾ gallon Mountain Dew X-Treme Bladder Jammer™.

Necessity Ranking: Segway

Should have been necessary; didn’t quite turn out that way. I remember people saying that cities were going to have to be redesigned to accommodate Segways. I also remember people saying The Matrix sequels were going to change the way we look at movies. Heh heh. Nope.


Bridget Jones 2: The Edge of Reason

To be honest, I don’t have any fucking idea what goes on in these movies. The only thing I know is, every girl I’ve ever met lists the original as one of her favourites. Also, Renée Zellweger doesn’t look half-bad, even though she’s supposed to be playing a fat chick, I think.

Necessity Ranking: Tampons

Only necessary to women, and I can never really hope to appreciate how or why.


Spider-Man 2

All in all a pretty good summer/popcorn film, and yet still fairly derivative. Peter Parker once again struggles with his double identity and the expectations of others while battling a crazed scientist who hears voices. Which is kind of like being married, I bet.

I wonder if Spider-Man sometimes imagines how his life would have turned out if he’d been bitten by, say, a radioactive llama. He’d have the ability to spit and be admired by Peruvians. That’s the kind of theme that the writers should have explored in the sequel.

Necessity Ranking: Waterslides

I have nothing against waterslides; they’re a wholesome source of fun. But if they didn’t exist, I’d just find other ways to have fun, such as cross-country binge drinking, and freestyle ballroom fornicating. Likewise, the absence of Spider-Man 2 would cause me no great concern.


Findings

Generally speaking, the quality and necessity of sequels has been going downhill since the 70’s. Something has to be done about this, and fast. We, the moviegoing public, need to throw our support behind original features, not overhyped reworkings of successful originals. If we don’t, our children will be saddled with sequels like “My Second Big Fat Greek Wedding,” and “Two Days After the Day After Tomorrow.” And quite frankly, Chuck Norris is getting too old to star in all of
them.

Essential New Word of the Week:

phattygoodness (‘fætigUd’nes) n: Certain foods go along with drinking. Toasted seaweed crackers, soybean cakes and steamed kale just ain’t gonna cut it. No, if I’m punishing my body anyway, I’m gonna do it right: with nachos, wings, samosas, and other deep-fried, oily crap. All of it covered in ranch dressing, usually. A category of food collectively known for its ability to absorb alcohol and enhance sociability. A category of food known simply as “Phattygoodness.” The “ph” spelling is rather fly, don’t you agree, homies?


And now a quick joke...

I have a joke about my fear of skydiving but I’m afraid it won’t land.