The 411 Movies Top 5 09.14.12: Week 339 - Top 5 Franchises That Overstayed Their Welcome
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 09.14.2012
From Rocky and Saw to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, American Pie and more, the 411 staff ranks their top 5 franchises that have gone on for far too long!
Note: Yes, I am not Trevor Snyder. Trevor had some personal things to deal with I'm providing the Top 5 for you in the meantime. He'll be back next week!
THE TOP 5 FRANCHISES THAT REALLY OVERSTAYED THEIR WELCOME
Yes, the poster series for a franchise that went on too long. The first movie is an Oscar-winning classic with Sylvester Stallone as the small-time boxer hitting it big. The second movie was a good follow-up with Rocky winning the belt and the third (my favorite of the bunch) showed him having to handle a new challenge and losing his fire. But then the slump began with the fourth practically pro-USA propaganda and the fifth reducing our hero to near bankruptcy and a fight on the street. The last one from a few years ago wasn't bad but still annoying how Stallone couldn't realized that the series, much like its main character, should have retired gracefully and on top rather than keep trying for comebacks.
The first Shrek movie was wonderful, a great send-up of classic animated fairy tales and a good cast too. The second wasn't bad either thanks to the addition of Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots. But then they kept dragging it out with a poor third movie with lame bits and a fourth film that tried to tie it all together but felt lacking. That's also to mention the Puss spin-off movie as Mike Myers' act got rather old and the joy of the first film's energy faded for a rush for money.
3. American Pie
>: In 1999, American Pie was a stand-out comedy embracing a sexier side of teen movies with a fresh cast. Had it stood alone, it would be regarded still as a comedy classic. But then they had to drag it out with further years, a wedding and various direct-to-video spin-off movies that just used the label and not the characters. The recent Reunion movie showed how it had slumped with the actors clearly just in it for a paycheck and lacking the energy of the originals, showing how, just like high school, some eras belong in the past.
2. Final Destination
The first Destination had a cool concept: A guy has a vision of a disaster, saves himself and his friends before it happens only for death to hunt them down one by one to prove they can't escape. The first one was good and the second wasn't bad either. But five? Yes, Spike TV proves there's plenty of mileage off crazy accidents with 1000 Ways to Die but the formula of the movies is cliché now. At least the final film had a nice twist to bring the series full circle but word that they're working on another and annoys me to see a good concept driven so far into the ground.
Now, I've never been a fan of the whole "torture porn" segment of horror to begin with. However, to extend that for seven movies is pretty insane even by Hollywood standards. How many times can you watch people being put through horrific torture situations by a lunatic (who by the way, died about four movies ago) and extend their agony? It just doesn't feel right in the first place to me so dragging it out movie after movie is terrible as there's only so many ways you can watch some person scream in pain before ripped apart.
5. Puppet Master
While I do love just about all of the Puppet Master movies, I'm not above saying that Chuck Band's Full Moon Entertainment probably should have stopped making them after part five. Parts 1-3, while not great (they're no Trancers), all had their moments of goofy low budget fun. Parts 4 and 5, telling one big story, don't connect as much as they should, and as a result you end up with two movies that are just mediocre. They must have made a lot of money, though, because after part five's Final Chapter, six more movies were made (some Final Chapter, huh?). Someone must be watching them (well, besides me). I just wish at least a few of those movies were as good as Puppet Master III.
4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Tobe Hooper's 1974 original Chainsaw is still one of the scariest and nastiest horror movies ever made. When Hooper finally got a chance to make a sequel twelve years later he made a movie that both didn't live up to the first one and went off in a very weird direction. Subsequently, Part 2 didn't make much money at the box office and settled into becoming one of those movies that fans "found" later on on home video. Hooper wasn't involved with part 3, but then I doubt he could have saved that movie from being, well, good. It's gory and all (the unrated version is), but it just doesn't have that "oomph" of the original (the movie does have a kick ass teaser trailer, though). Part 4, The Next Generation, is actually pretty okay, but that movie flopped and it was time to "reboot" the franchise. 2003's Chainsaw works right up until the part the camera travels through that head wound. After that, the movie just does downhill and never recovers. And the less said about The Beginning the better. As morbidly obese film critic Jay Sherman once said, "After part 2, give it a rest." Someone should have heeded that advice.
As I've said numerous times in this very feature, the first Nemesis is a great if incomprehensible at times low budget sci-fi action flick. It's one of director Albert Pyun's best movies. However, instead of bringing back the first flick's star, Olivier Gruner, the second Nemesis went in a completely different direction and made the lead character a lesbian bodybuilder that can't act. Much like Chainsaw above, Pyun should have quit while he was ahead and did something else after the disaster that was, is, and always will be Nemesis 2: Nebula. But he couldn't stop himself. He went to make two more movies, and each one was worse than the last one. In fact, Cry of Angels: Nemesis 4 is one of the worst movies ever made. It's disgraceful to think that what started out brilliantly ended with such inanity.
2. The Howling
I haven't seen the latest Howling flick, The Howling: Reborn, but I'm hopeful that when I do see it, it's better than the six sequels that came before it. Some of those movies have their moments, yes (even New Moon Rising), but they're, in an overall sense, a massive tragedy. Joe Dante's original is still a classic werewolf movie, but the sequels are really nothing more than sequels in name only. They're just awful. But then someone must have made money from them because they kept making them. Someone paid to make New Moon Rising because, regardless of how bad it was, there would be a sizeable audience for it. If only we all stopped watching after part 2.
1. Date Movie (... Movie)
The Aaron Seltzer-Jason Friedberg parody movies are, collectively, an abomination. Things started out relatively okay with Date Movie (about 60% of the bits worked in that movie), but then everything went downhill at the midpoint of Epic Movie. That's when the series' badness just overwhelmed whatever good stuff Seltzer and Friedberg had accidentally come up with and it was shit from there on. They're still making these things, though. They're doing one based on The Hunger Games, according to imdb.com, and it'll be out in 2013. Good God what the hell is going on here? Another one?
Agree with our choices? Disagree? Be sure to share your thoughts and your own Top 5's below. And don't forget to include suggestions for future Top 5 columns...we're always looking for the next great list.
Till then, check out Mommy Porn and Me, Trevor's ongoing chapter-by-chapter review of the erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey. He's reading it so you don't have to!