I am an ardent fan of pop culture. My wife might suggest that I am too ardent but nonetheless, there it is. So some things bother me more than they should. One particularly irksome itch is movies that should have never happened, violations of a franchise and canon that are so severe that someone must be taken to task for their transgressions.
Let’s start with Star Wars. The prequels were an abomination against all that was good and right in this world. The first one was particularly wretched but the two that followed were rife with plot holes, bad acting, poor direction, indifferent writing, racist tendencies, and huge continuity issues with the original trilogy. I’m not saying the original three were the greatest works of cinema but they did end up meaning something in our culture. Not even the fucking Ewoks can ruin that. So here is my list of what is and what should never be:
There are only three Star Wars films. George Lucas retired and didn’t even sell out to Disney.
Alien and Aliens are the only two films in that franchise. My friend Jambo is even aghast that the sequel was made but it is the perfect thriller, a perfect example of a movie that left fingernail imprints in thousands of theater armrests. The dialog was also priceless.
Francis Ford Coppola made two Godfather films. I think we’re all in agreement on this and there is no further need to discuss family business.
X-Men. There have been four movies. The first, X2, X-Men First Class, and Days of Future Past. That’s it. No Wolverine movies and Brett Ratner (previously noted on this blog as being one of the worst directors of all time) was never allowed near this franchise.
George Lucas’ retirement also means there was never an Indiana Jones movie made in the 21st century. Also, he was sick the day he thought up Temple of Doom and dismissed it as a racist fever dream. That’s right, only Raiders of the Lost Ark and Last Crusade exist here.
Pirates of the Caribbean had only one film. Johnny Depp went on to make more serious fare and fell out with Tim Burton. Everyone wins.
Ocean’s Eleven was one and done. No one went to Europe. No one went back to Vegas. Same with the Hangover. No one went to Thailand, no one went back to Vegas.
National Lampoon made two Vacation movies, the original and the Christmas Vacation. That’s it. You know this in your heart to be true.
Spiderman had two movies with Tobey Maguire and then the franchise ended. Finito. It’s a pity no one ever made a Fantastic Four film. Christopher Reeve made one Superman movie and no one has played the Man of Steel since. We have five Batman films: the sixties Adam West camp classic, two with Michael Keaton (the second is a little too much Tim Burton-y but Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer save it), and two with Christian Bale. It’s a shame Anne Hathaway never got to play Catwoman but that’s the breaks. There never has been a Catwoman movie and maybe someone should get on that.
Star Trek ended on the fourth film. That saves us lots of grief. I love the Next Generation TV series but First Contact doesn’t hold up well and the rest were stunning in their mediocrity. JJ Abrams and his crew of abysmal writers made such a mess in their second reboot (http://io9.com/star-trek-into-darkness-the-spoiler-faq-508927844) it stands as one of the worst science fiction films of recent memory. I sentence this wretched crew to a transporter malfunction like we saw in Galaxy Quest (which in all fairness is better than all the Star Trek movies except Wrath of Khan).
There are plenty of other franchises that need to die but most are ones that I could care less about. The horror genre is rife with them, not to mention action movies or anything involving Sly Stallone. But they aren’t things I CARE about. No matter how thrilling the idea of Kate Beckinsale in pleather is, I can’t give a good goddamn about Underworld. The above are all films that in one way or another got my blood pumping, whether through thrills or laughs or just transcending the medium. In this universe their greatness is not diminished by shoddy returns to the box office buffet. In this universe their light is undimmed.