Don't even ask me about "Singin' in the Rain."
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 100 13:58:15 -0800
Subject: Don't even ask me about "Singin' in the Rain."
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[A few years late, but still very silly... -psl]
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ALL THINGS BEING SEQUEL...
By Tony Kornheiser, The Washington Post, Sunday, June 1 1997
Like everybody else in America, I just made a deposit into Steven
Spielberg's bank account. I saw "The Lost World," so my eight smackers
are part of the $790 million or so the movie took in in its first 12 hours.
Spielberg's movies are all profit. They make Hillary's foray into cattle
futures seem like a harebrained investment.
"The Lost World" is a sequel to "Jurassic Park," which essentially means:
We're gonna make the same movie -- we're gonna give you dinosaurs smashing
into cars, dinosaurs stomping people, dinosaurs chewing people, dinosaurs
digesting people, dinosaurs burping, dinosaurs at the self-serve pump,
dinosaurs doing their laundry, dinosaurs taking aerobics classes; these
dinosaurs will be doing everything but reupholstering the seats in the
Jeff Goldblum is the only main character who returns from the first movie.
(As sequels get further removed from the original, fewer familiar characters
remain. "Police Academy 8" stars Rudy Giuliani, Mark Fuhrman and Eddie
the Jack Russell terrier.)
For some unexplained reason, Mr. Goldblum, who had no children in "Jurassic
Park" a mere three years ago, now has a 14-year-old daughter. She is a
world-class gymnast, she is cute as a button, and she is black! (This is
never explained.) Hooray for Hollywood.
I don't want to give away the end of the movie, but you will probably not
be shocked to learn that the little girl kicks some serious dinosaur hiney.
What rating were they trying for with that move, PC-13?
I was surprised they did not make Jeff's wife a Native American lesbian
with a prosthesis. The main intellectual thrust of this movie -- and it
occurred to me while watching a raptor bite off someone's head that
"intellectual" was not what Spielberg was going for -- is to scorn
paleontologists who've maintained that T. Rexes were not good parents.
Personally, I'd never held the conviction that they weren't. I hadn't
given it much thought. After all, they have been dead for two billion
years. It's probably a shortcoming on my part, but I haven't spent much
time thinking about whether the Java Men were good lacrosse players either.
"The Lost World" has more action and is scarier than "Jurassic Park." It
has to be. If it weren't, nobody would come. People demand escalating
action in movies. It is all we seem to care about.
If they made "Casablanca" now, Ingrid Bergman wouldn't simply get on that
plane and fly through the fog and out of Rick's life. No, the pilot would
turn out to be a Nazi spy, and Rick would have to kill him with a machete,
and then fly the plane himself and crash-land in a football stadium during
the Super Bowl.
If they made "Ben-Hur," the chariot race wouldn't be exciting enough by
itself. There would have to be a bomb on board! And it would explode if
the chariot ever went below 50 miles per hour! And they'd toss the bomb
back and forth between the chariots. And Demi Moore would be tied to one
of the wheels. Her toga would be shredded.
Don't even ask me about "Singin' in the Rain." The skies would darken.
The heavens would heave. Gene Kelly would be dancing through a tornado.
Sequels have made the whole action trend worse. Some time ago, someone in
Hollywood apparently decided that if you have a successful movie, all you
have to do is tart it up, give it a stupid new name featuring a colon, like
"Jaws VI: Bite Me," and people will pay to see it again.
What do they take us for, idiots? It's outrageous. I had this revelation
while in line for "The Lost World."
Sequels can't be any good because whatever theme the original movie may
have had -- however thin -- is now irrelevant. Everyone knows the plot.
All that's left is action. These movies never have any literary value.
William Shakespeare didn't write knockoff sequels, did he?
Well, okay, there was "Richard III," "Henry V," "Henry VI," "Henry VIII
(I Am, I Am)."
Anyway, I fear we will always have sequels.
And I cringe at what is coming:
"Schindler's Other List."
"Schindler III: The List They Didn't Want You to See."
"The English Patient's Dental Hygienist."
"The English Patient 4: This Time It's Personal."
"Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' Heads."
And of course:
"The Silence of the Lamb Chops."
(c) Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company
© 2000 Peter Langston