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INCURABLE SEQUELITIS

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, June 15, 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ah, sequels. They’re nothing new, of course; they were a staple way back in the 1930s and ’40s (‘Tarzan,’ ‘Andy Hardy,’ ‘Dr. Kildare,’ ‘The Thin Man,’ etc.), but these days they’re just more expensive, and they’re called, ahem, ‘franchise films.’ Thirty years ago I was bemoaning their proliferation in the 1980s, with, of course, no idea of what was coming. This column was published in the Deseret News on Jan. 31, 1988, under the headline, ‘Some sequels fit to film, but others … ’ It could be published today if the titles were updated. (Some of the prospective titles listed below never happened, of course: ‘Romancing the Stone III,’ ‘Blind Date II,’ ‘Jagged Edge 2’ and ‘Top Gun 2’ … although the latter is now in production, some 32 years later. And when the sequel to ‘Gone With the Wind’ finally landed, it was as a 1994 TV miniseries, ‘Scarlett.’ And the second '3 Men' film was titled '3 Men and a Little Lady.')

IN THIS DAY of sequelitis, it seems there are more movies with Roman numerals behind the titles than without.

We were only 22 days into January when “Missing in Action III” and “Manon of the Spring” (the sequel to “Jean de Florette”) came on the scene, and Dudley Moore can be seen in local theaters now pitching his next film, “Arthur On the Rocks,” a sequel to his biggest hit, “Arthur.”

Other sequels already being hyped in local theaters as “coming soon” items are Neil Simon’s “Biloxi Blues” (the sequel to “Brighton Beach Memoirs”) and “Rambo III.”

And I mentioned here a few weeks ago that “Big Top Pee-wee” (the follow-up to “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure”), “A Nightmare On Elm Street IV,” “Cocoon II,” “Police Academy 5” and “Indiana Jones III” are all in various phases of production.

Now the L.A. Times reports that there are a lot of other sequels also on the docket — in what Hollywood calls “development.”

 

Looking over the list, I can understand the interest in some of them. Who doesn’t expect another James Bond movie or “Star Trek V” or “Ghostbusters II” or “Back to the Future II” or “Romancing the Stone III”? I can even understand “Robocop II” and “Fletch II.”

But how about these: “Hellraiser II,” “Caddyshack II,” “Iron Eagle II” and “Blind Date II”? Are they kidding?

And do we really need “The Karate Kid III,” “Halloween IV,” “Psycho IV,” “Terminator II,” “Rocky V” and “Aliens III”?

And I’m not even going to dignify such long-speculated possibilities as “Gone With the Wind II” and “The Godfather III.”

Enough already!

Can’t any movie with a modicum of success stand on its own these days?

Of all these films, only “Manon of the Spring” was intended from the beginning to continue the story of the first film as a sort of big-screen mini-series, not merely an afterthought made simply to cash in on an initial success.

Add to the latter “Top Gun II,” “Beverly Hills Cop III,” “Lethal Weapon II” and “Jagged Edge II,” purely crass commercial ventures.

 

When movies get to this point, the filmmakers often don’t care whether they entertain or are well-made. They just wind up the projects in a hurry to make a quick buck.

Say, haven’t we discussed this before?

Is this the “Sequelitis II” column?

This is more contagious than I thought.

ON THE SUBJECT of sequels, Marilyn Beck reports that Touchstone Films is already gearing up a second “3 Men and a Baby” film, which has the distinction of being the biggest moneymaker ever to come out of Walt Disney Studios. And that Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg will all be back for it.

Of course, in this case they won’t need Roman numerals. The sequel will obviously be called “3 Men and a Toddler” — followed by “3 Men and a Grade-Schooler,” “3 Men and an Adolescent” and “4 Men.”

No, wait — the baby was a girl! And the mother came back! How about “3 Men, a Woman and a Toddler,” followed ultimately by “3 Men and Two Women”? Or they could make it androgynous: “5 People.”

On the other hand, maybe “3 Men and a Baby II” isn’t so bad after all.