Blogger Q&A: What’s your favorite sequel?
When our bloggers were asked to name their favorite sequels, it wasn’t long before we noticed that most of the biggest names in sequeldom were conspicuously absent. Nobody, it seemed, felt like writing about the #2 movie on the Flickchart global chart, The Empire Strikes Back, or about Flickcharters’ #8 film, The Godfather Part II. Instead, our writers reached deep and came up with some personal favorites not normally found in honor rolls and best-of lists. There’s still one entry from the global top 20 list here, though — read on to find out which one, then share your favorite sequel in the comments below.
Several years ago, Clerks II writer/director/actor Kevin Smith stated that he would retire, since he felt he was running out of stories to tell. In the years since then, he has retracted that statement and made plenty of distinctive films, most based on his own SModcast episodes (Tusk, Red State), homages to his own past (Zack and Miri Make a Porno) and to his late father’s interests (Cop Out). Clerks II — as of now — is the final film in Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob films and marks a severe right turn for the writer-director, as it comes after the funniest, most heartfelt and emotional film of his career: Jersey Girl.
For Smith, his version of Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight’s Jesse and Celine are the two clerks from Clerks, Dante and Randall. Catching up with these characters twelve years after the original film, we learn that they have moved on to work at the Mooby’s fast food franchise featured in Dogma. While Dante is getting ready to leave the clerk life behind, Randall is stuck in the same rut that he’s been in for several decades.
What I find so effective about Clerks II is the joy and love that went into it. Clerks II isn’t as cynical as Smith’s previous films; hell, there’s an impromptu dance number to The Jackson 5’s “ABC” for no other reason than it is happy. But Clerks II might also be Smith’s most emotional film, as we see the love between Dante and Randall, as we see the two finally admit how much they mean for each other and that they need each other in their lives. Like Jesse and Celine, I want to continue the story of Dante and Randall for years to come (Clerks III is tentatively scheduled for 2018), seeing where their friendship goes and how these two evolve while staying in relatively the same place over decades. — Ross Bonaime
- Global ranking: 2157
- Wins 40% of matchups
- 34 users have it at #1
- 593 users have it in their top 20
By the Light of the Silvery Moon
By the Light of the Silvery Moon was one of the first sequel I ever watched, and at the age of six the idea was a fairly novel one to me. The movie follows the Winfield family, with a focus on the eldest child Marjorie (played by the always charismatic Doris Day) and her engagement with the boy next door Bill Sherman (played by the lovably earnest Gordon MacRae). Like its predecessor On Moonlight Bay, there is not really one main plotline, rather there are a series of misunderstandings, complications, and miscommunications that beset the characters, as well as a series of catchy songs. There is something innocent and endearing about the movie, where every problem is easily wrapped up with a few smiles, hugs, and a song, and no unhappiness lasts more than a few scenes. Even World War One which occurs between this film and its predecessor is wrapped up quickly between the movies with no fuss or muss. The Winfield family is a delight to watch, and the whole movie has a charm and innocence which lends it the feeling of a fairy tale, a perfect atmosphere for a Doris Day musical. All of these aspects mean that it’s one of my favorite sequels, but also helping it along is the Thanksgiving sequence involving one stolen turkey and another on the run, which has ensured that By the Light of the Silvery Moon has become my standard Thanksgiving movie. And how can you not love a movie that you associate with turkey, biscuits, and family? — Naomi Laeuchli
- Global ranking: 12648
- Wins 48% of matchups
- 0 users have it at #1
- 0 users have it in their top 20
Cheating alert: Zombi 2, otherwise known as Zombie, is not technically a sequel. George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead was released in Italy as Zombi, and this movie was meant to ride the coattails of Romero’s master work. In fact, this film was apparently written before Dawn of the Dead was even released, and the script was later edited to attempt to tie the movies together.
Regardless, I’m still counting it. Even if it’s not directly related to Romero’s movie, it’s still an excellent spiritual successor. Zombie follows the daughter of a scientist who travels to the island the scientist was working on after his boat appears in New York completely abandoned. Once on the island, they discover that the island has a voodoo curse on it which brings the dead back to life. Director Lucio Fulci applies plenty of gore (and a fair share of nudity) to the mixture, along with a fantastically synthy score by Fabio Frizzi. A few key scenes: eyeball vs. wood splinter, and zombie vs. shark. Yeah. Zombie. Versus. Shark.
While Zombie may not be a direct sequel, it still makes one hell of a double feature. — Jeff Lombardi
- Global ranking: 1215
- Wins 56% of matchups
- 0 users have it at #1
- 22 users have it in their top 20
Magic Mike XXL
People who haven’t seen Magic Mike XXL tend to laugh or roll their eyes when a group of its fans get together. XXL is the sequel to a film that, while probably better than it ought to be, achieves success by forsaking fun and embracing cynicism without giving way to being sex-negative. XXL eschews that darkness entirely, depicting an idealized world for sexual expression, where men worship the women they meet and women find something worth loving in these men. It finds that ideal by being more fun than most any movie on this earth. It kicks off with gyration-cum-industrial welding, and yet, somehow, this ends up being one of its least talked about highlights.
Not all the best stuff falls on Channing Tatum this time, though he’s as athletic, casual, and charismatic as in any movie. Matt Bomer steals a later scene set in a beautiful mansion, only to have it ripped from him once again by wrestler Kevin Nash in one line. The movie’s most popular scene among superfans and detractors alike seems to be the one where Joe Manganiello finds himself in a convenience store; the scene is a celebration of the film’s totally ridiculous nature. Fundamentally, this is a movie about guys doing their jobs well, and that job just happens to translate especially well to cinematic fun. Giving every character a reason to be in the movie, a totally delightful and noticeably different scene where their best side shows, is enough to make XXL a new icon for heterosexual males in a world where #masculinitysofragile. — Alex Christian Lovendahl
- Global ranking: 10692
- Wins 46% of matchups
- 0 users have it at #1
- 6 users have it in their top 20
Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back
This may be an infuriating choice, at least if I’m convincing. Bulldog Drummond is a detective series, based on British pulp novels. Drummond himself is described as a “gentleman adventurer,” which means he does detective work just for the fun of it, which means he can have fun doing it. This 1934 entry is the second Bulldog Drummond movie to star Ronald Colman, though there were a couple of silent films with the character, and while Colman’s 1929 outing is a lot of fun, too, Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back takes it a step further, becoming an incredibly entertaining send-up of the whole detective genre, with far more meta-humor than you’d expect in a 1930s film. Drummond is drawn into a mystery when he wanders into a seemingly empty mansion and finds a dead body, but when he returns with the police, the body is missing, and the house is inhabited by a foreign nobleman and his retinue. Drummond smells a rat and stays doggedly on the case, earning his nickname. Witnesses are found, then disappear continually, damsels are rescued, then kidnapped, our heroes are captured, escape, and are recaptured, and throughout it all, Drummond’s feckless partner (played by the mild-mannered Charles Butterworth) just wants to get home to finish his wedding night with his new bride (Una Merkel), who just wants. . . well, this is almost a Pre-Code. Colman mugs for the camera endearingly, craggy character actor C. Aubrey Smith (playing the chief of police) is dragged out of bed over and over for leads that disappear, and Loretta Young flits between damsel and adventuress fetchingly. As funny as it is, it is genuinely suspenseful, too, with a fiery climax that pays off splendidly. Now the bad news. This utterly unexpected delight is not on DVD, tied up in a three-way rights conflict. So if you want to see it, go beg Criterion (who owns some of the rights) to work it out and put this thing out, then blind buy it. You won’t be sorry, I promise. — Jandy Hardesty
- Global ranking: 15255
- Wins 34% of matchups
- 0 users have it at #1
- 0 users have it in their top 20
The Dark Knight
Considered one of the best comic book movies ever made, The Dark Knight is also one of the best sequels out there. Taking everything that works from Batman Begins and doubling down on it, the film is nearly a flawless masterpiece. Batman/Bruce Wayne is a character with real gravitas and sympathy going for him. This is due to a combination of the Nolan brothers’ excellent writing and Bale’s charismatic performance. You care for Batman in a way no other Batman film has made you care. His relationships with Rachel, Harvey Dent, James Gordon, and even The Joker all have significance on an emotional level that makes every punch, cut, burning building, and death all the more significant. Heath Ledger’s Joker works to create an atmosphere of true terror and makes the horror of the psychotic clown feel very true to life. And then there are the masterfully-done action set-pieces. The excellent and well-crafted heist sequence from the opening of the film is completely memorable and inspires awe. You think it can’t be topped until you witness the extended car chase sequence midway through the film that is nothing short of majesty. All of this is backed by an amazing Hans Zimmer score that keeps your pulse pounding and whose themes accentuate the actions on screen. Great characters, exciting action and deft direction from Christopher Nolan make The Dark Knight a film for the ages. — Connor Adamson
- Global ranking: 16
- Wins 80% of matchups
- 3467 users have it at #1
- 29616 users have it in their top 20