Friday, June 5, 2009

Weekly Top Tens Part 3: The Ten Sequels I Would Like To See

Although I know my list of the best sequels of the decade was dominated my superhero, action and horror movies, I often think that they make sequels to the wrong movies. Why not make a sequel to movies where the characters were fascinating, and we truly want to see who they become after the movie is over, instead of just seeing Spider-Man fight another bad guy? So that’s what, for the most part, I tried to do when I came up with my list of the ten sequels I would like to see.

10. Ghostbusters
As a child, Ghostbusters was everything to me. I loved the movies, I loved the cartoon show, I had all the toys. It was my favorite. And the thing about Ghostbusters is that there is no reason why they could not have told more stories centered on these characters. Although I pondered putting this on my remake list, I don’t think I want anyone other than Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson playing my favorite childhood characters. Their age may actually make for a more fascinating movie. I know director Ivan Reitman has been talking about a third movie for years, but it’s time to get the damn thing going!

9. The Last Seduction
I know that there have been a couple direct to DVD, low budget sequels – which I have not seen, but have heard are little more than the erotic thrillers that show up on late night cable – but the idea of a real sequel to this movie is fascinating to me. Linda Fiorentino’s Bridget Gregory was one of the most memorable female characters of the 1990s – a sexual confident seductress, and femme fatale, who screws over her husband, her lover and everyone else – and gets away with it! I would love to see what she’s been up to in the past 15 years – and someone really should give Fiorentino another great role, no matter how difficult she is.

8. Gone, Baby, Gone
I know Ben Affleck’s directorial debut was not a huge box office hit, but it was a great mystery movie. Dennis Lehane wrote five books about Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro, and all of them were just as good as Gone Baby Gone was. Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan were the perfect embodiment of their characters, and Ben’s screenplay and direction was pitch perfect, capturing the streets of Boston with a knowing intimacy. There is no reason why all five books could not be made.

7. The Talented Mr. Ripley
With director Anthony Minghella gone tragically early, the chances of reprising this character with Matt Damon in the lead role are probably slim to none. But Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley was the center of a number of novels, all of them dark and obsessive. Damon, who is a fine actor, was never as good as he was here, where he completely captured the Ripley character. Although Ripley has been played by such great actors as Alain Delon, Dennis Hopper and John Malkovich (and Barry Pepper), I still prefer Damon over all of them – and would love to see him play the character again.

6. Eastern Promises
Eastern Promises is that rare movie where the main character – Viggo Mortenson’s Nikolai – is actually in a more precarious situation at the end of the movie than he was at the beginning. He has now infiltrated the Russian mafia in England to its highest level, and while the story of Naomi Watts and the baby is through, Nikolai’s, not to mention Vincent Cassell’s Kirill, is far from over. This strikes me as a movie that could easily be turned into a series.

5. The Incredibles
Yes, I know, I complained about only making sequels to superhero movies, but The Incredibles simply deserves a sequel. The original was such a joyous, fun, action packed movie, bursting with bright colors and memorable characters, how could you not want to see further adventures from this animated group? Plus director Brad Bird is a genius and Pixar has already proven, with Toy Story 2, that they can do sequels well.

4. Unbreakable
Initially, this was supposed to be a trilogy, but when the first didn’t make as much as money as The Sixth Sense, ego-maniacal director M. Night Shyamalan decided not to do the other two. That’s a shame, because the first movie was a pitch perfect thriller that simply demands a sequel. It’s like episode one of a comic book, except that Shyamalan never gave us anything after. Considering how poorly his last few films have done, he may want to reconsider.

3. The Big Lebowski
How could anyone NOT want to see the further adventures of The Dude? The Coen Brothers funniest movie, it’s also the only one that I think really lends itself to a sequel. I mean, don’t you want to know what the Dude is up to? What about Walter? And Maude? And Jesus? Poor Donny won’t be around, but Maude’s baby, the little Dude, should be around 10 right now. The comic possibilities are endless!

2. The Good Shepherd
Like Unbreakable, Robert DeNiro’s The Good Shepherd – one of the most underrated films of the decade – was supposed to be the first in a planned trilogy about the CIA. Spanning its beginnings in the first film, moving onto the 1970s and ‘80s in the first film, and bringing us all the back to Iraq in the present in the third film. Now that The Good Shepherd didn’t exactly set any box office records, I doubt if the studio is going to want to finance another installment. But given just what sort of control and mastery that DeNiro showed behind the camera on this film (which is more than he’s shown in front of it for more than a decade), that’s a shame.

1. Taxi Driver
In case you think this is just wishful thinking on my part, both Robert DeNiro and writer Paul Schrader have said they are interested in doing a sequel to this movie – Martin Scorsese hasn’t said. But wouldn’t it be fascinating to find out what Travis Bickle has been up to for the last 30 years? Was he really able to stop himself from exploding all over again? And what would he make of the new New York? Did he ever see Iris again? I would honestly love to know what happens to someone like Bickle when they get older.

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