Movie Series that forgot the formula that worked

1) Predator

  • predator

  • Mini Gun
  • Kick Ass sound track
  • shirtless, muscular men

The first one we liked because it had all these, the second one was ok, but it had none of these. Let’s just pretend the AVP movies don’t exist...because they’re horrible (but one reason they’re awful may be because they had none of these). But then Predators (no aliens, just predators, plural) included all of these factors, and it was actually pretty dang good. If you haven’t seen it yet or weren’t paying attention, the sound track in Predators is EXACTLY the same music used in the original Predator movie.


raidersofthelostark2) Indiana Jones

  • Nazis
  • Judeo-Christian artifacts

Temple of Doom and the Crystal Skull both sucked, but why? Because they didn’t have nazi’s, and because Han Solo, I mean, Jones, wasn’t trying to find Judeo/Christian artifacts.

Now, I’m not saying that we always have to cater to the Judeo/Christian majority and my Christian background.  It’s not because I’m a Christian that I enjoy or like Raiders of the Lost Ark or Last Crusade. I like them because they are really well done movies, good script, good story, and good action. This is not to say there wasn’t any of these in the other two (Temple of Doom or Crystal Skull), but... they just weren’t as fun, at least for me. Part of the intrigue and fun we had with Lost Ark and Last Crusade was that the artifacts they searched for actually existed at one point. The Ark might actually be around still (though, that’s very doubtful). Christ cup, eh, I doubt it was really ever around for very long, but he did drink from something, so, it was possibly important to early Christians at some point.. In Temple of Doom he did return the artifacts for a religion that may or may not exist is not widely known, so we don’t have much of a context of how important they may be. But it was more about saving the slave kids,...which, ya know, that’s good, but that’s pretty depressing, definitely not as light hearted or fun as the other movies. For Crystal Skull I feel like George Lucas demanded that they put a sci-fi spin on Indiana Jones...which didn’t fit right with me. I really didn’t care for Jones finding some extra terrestrial artifact. I did, however, like the fact that they brought back his lady friend from the first movie as his ex wife and mother of his child in the fourth one.

And as for the villains, I get the fact that we can’t always have the Nazi’s be the bad guys. The russians in Crystal Skull were a good replacement, but let’s all be honest, we just really like Indiana Jones kicking Nazi ass.


3) Die Hard

  • diehard

  • Bad guy wants to steal something
  • Black guy buddy
  • Mcklain gets all bloody
  • Shirtless, shoeless, or both


If you like the Die Hard series as much as I do, then you’ll know there a few things we look forward to. One is the enthusiastically incestuous quip:  “Yippie-Ki-Aye-Mother-Fucker”, which is in all of the original three films. Another, perhaps more notable is that McClain always seems to lose his shirt or shoes and is running all over the place with blood on his face, shirt, arms, legs, feet, and probably his ass. has already mentioned that the 4th movie was cut down to a PG-13 rating, and that the original version would have included his Yippie Ki Aye wise crack, and would have been a bit more violent.

However, what it still would not included is his black buddy. Remember back to Die Hard, where his black buddy cop was that guy from Family Matters and ate Twinkies?) He even had TWO black buddies, the limo driver.) Well, that same black buddy cop was in the sequel, Die Hard Two: Die Harder. He had to give him a quick call when terrorists were hijacking the airport he was hoping to not have to deal with another hijacking that next Christmas. And let's not forget his black buddy, Samuel Jackson in the third film, Die Hard with a Vengeance. So, why is a black buddy so important for McClain? Is it because us white guys are all racist and we need to be reminded that black guys can do some good too? Probably. But more importantly... no black guy would ever be as whiny and white as the the that guy from the Mac vs PC commercials. We know you think you’re a hip mac computer, but you suck ass as a John McClain side kick.


matrix3) Matrix

  • Amazing, innovative bullet time filming of real people
  • Genre bending plot
    • (blending sci-fi with film noir mystery, thriller thrown in for good measure)

Remember when the first Matrix movie came out and how amazing it was? Yeah... let’s just stop right there. That’s all that happened. That’s it, Matrix. One, very awesome movie that was never ruined by very crappy sequels. I could stop right there but I might as well backup my point.

In the original Matrix movie, they actually invented a new way of filming. If you watch the extras on the DVD, you’ll see that they used the real live actors suspended from the ceiling and had dozens of digital cameras mounted around the room in front of a green screen. All those pictures from the digital camera were stitched together using a computer, then the subway put in behind the actors later. The end result is a very real looking bullet time scene...because every element IS actually real. The subway was really there, the actors are really there, the editors just put them in using computers in post. Why is this important? Because the human eye and brain are amazing. We can tell if someone is trying to fake us out by using a digital rendering of a face and not a real one. This will probably be true for another five to ten years. If you watched the new Tron movie, you’ll know that although the film industry has made fantastic strides in showing a computer generated face (Clu looked amazing), but we humans can still tell because...well, just because the human face is THE most recognizable shapes the human brain can recognize. I’ll prove it to you. Check this out:

                       \            /



Does that look like a face? If you think it does, that’s because your brain is programed/evolved to recognize the human face above ALL other shapes and symbols. This is why, when a face looks almost real, but isn’t quite, we can tell. This is also one of the reasons why the Matrix sequels sucked. They just forgot that they made a groundbreaking movie before and decided to go full CG during the big fight scene with all the Agent Smiths. Just pure crap.


batmanbegins4) Batman

  • Good Director
  • Villains that stay true to the original comic books
  • be ABOUT Batman
  • no nipples
  • Batman’s universe needs to be DARK

All the good Batman movies follow very simple rules. No nipples on the body armor, have a good director, have the villain be faithfully close to the original comic book character, and be ABOUT Batman and his struggles balancing a double life, and be dark.

The bad one’s don’t follow these rules. The bad one’s start, in my humble but correct opinion, with the second movie, Batman Returns. Now, to be fair, this was directed by Tim Burton...but you can tell he wasn’t really trying, (apparently he didn’t want to direct it in the first place)

But let’s not forget that it was NOT about Batman. It was about the very sad story about the rise and fall of the Penguin, and how very, very gross Danny Deveto can be. (Although, we now know how far his gross can be after It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). In the history book that should be required in all our public schools, ”Batman - The Complete History: The Life and Times of the Dark Knight” The original creator of the villain imagined the Emperor penguins as being “stuffy Englishmen.”  So his original idea was for a rich, upper class guy who steals shit just ‘cus he can. Some have even said that the Penguin is really the one villain who is NOT insane. But Deveto’s character...was definitely insane, and...gross, and not English...and just wrong.

Everyone knows that the Joel Shoemaker’s Batman movies were the worst, but the fourth one, Batman and Robin, was so bad that it was voted the WORST MOVIE EVER, and killed the franchise for eight years. It was also the only movie to include nipples in the armor. Also, the Shoemaker batman movies were so bright and colorful, that they were more reminiscent of the campy television series.

Later, Christopher Nolen started making Batman movies and followed all of these rules. Thank you Christopher Nolen.


5) Star Wars

  • starwars

    Believable, well developed characters with good chemistry
  • Have the Millennium Falcon
  • Fantasy story (wise wizard, coming of age story)
  • Two HUGE plot twists twists
  • The Force is actually mysterious and cool

Let’s address each one.

  • Believable, well developed characters with good chemistry
    • Even though Star Wars: A New Hope, Episode IV was George Lucas’ third movie (the two before this was American Graffiti and THX), he was somehow able to get really good performances out of Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hammil. These actors weren’t just hired because they were big names...becuase they weren’t. Harrison Ford had a small part in American Graffiti, he was on set for Star Wars because he was working as a freekin’ carpenter on the set. If you know anything about the making of the first films, you know that the cast was put together in ensemble, meaning Lucas watched them interact and got a feeling of how they would do TOGETHER before he put them in the movie. This is why he had good chemistry...because he casted for it. I doubt this is how the prequels were casted because all actors, aside from the kid who played Anakin, they were all big name actors before the movie.
  • Have the Millennium Falcon
    • The original trilogy obviously had the Millennium Falcon in them. But the best Prequel, episode 3, also has a cameo with the Millennium Falcon.
  • Fantasy story (wise wizard, coming of age story)
    • In the original movie, Luke Skywalker was a teenage moisture farmer who was ready for an adventure and wanted a way out of his humdrum life in the desert on Tatooine (Google Docs fixed spelling for me for Tatooine). Then those pesky storm troopers murdered his aunt and uncle and he was free to have the adventure of his life and become a jedi! The first movie of the prequels introduces us to Anakin (coincidentally on the same freekin’ planet) who is a slave and is freed by a game of luck and some pod racing. Luke Skywalkers character development was steady and believable. Anakin's was...not. And although Obi Wan  was in the prequels...he wasn’t the wise wizard we remembered from the original trilogy. And yes, that was kind of We still needed someone wise and mysterious to guide our characters...and a slightly younger yoda, for some reason, didn’t cut it for me.
  • Two HUGE plot twists twists
    • Believe or not, there are some people who don’t know the two enormious plot twists in the original trilogy, so I won’t ruin it for those people here. Just know that they exist and don’t let anyone tell you. Just watch the original Trilogy with some friends. It’s a good watch.
    • The Prequels, though, have no twists. Or, rather, really lame one’s. The one sort of fun twist is that Senator Palpatine turned out to be the Emperor, but...I already knew that. The only other twist was that R2-D2 apparently can fly, and Anakin built freekin’ C3-PO.


 alien6) Aliens

  • Have Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) kicking alien ass
  • don’t show the alien too much
  • but if you do, make sure it’s huge and fucking awesome
  • Have the main, evil corporation be the Wayland Yutani Corporation
  • The director should stand up for himself and have an idea
    • if you watch the commentaries in the Alien Quadrilogy, all the directors say they had a hard time fighting back the producers and people at Fox to fight for their idea and vision for the movie. All accept for the director of the fourth movie, Resurrection, who admitted he just let anyone tell him what they wanted him to do and just had fun making the movie.

Now that I’ve seen Prometheus, I will admit that perhaps we don’t need Ripley to have a good Alien movie. Prometheus was pretty freekin’ awesome. But the fourth one wasn’t and none of the AvP movies were any good either (way worse than Resurrection that’s for sure).

One major problem I had with Resurrection was that the bad, evil organization was no longer the Waylan/Yutani Corporation that had been the driving force behind it all since the beginning of the first movie and continued through the first three. Even the AvP movies got this part right. But Resurrection just screwed that up and decided that the company was bought out by Walmart. Now, Walmart is pretty freekiin’ evil, I wouldn’t put it past them to try to develop an alien species to make their crappy products in a third world country...or another world entirely in the future. But Resurrection just decided to make it a “military operation.” Eh, not that exciting to me.

Thankfully, Prometheus brought back the Wayland corporation (not yet combined with Yutani). You may remember that Wayland has already be portrayed in the first AvP movie by the same man who played Bishop in Aliens. He died. This is one area that proves that the movie Prometheus and its director Ridley Scott are completely ignoring the fact that the AvP movies were ever made. This is a good thing.


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