Welcome to the latest installment of Flickchart Road Trip, in which I’m starting in Los Angeles and “driving” across country, watching one movie from each state and posting about it once a week. The new movie I watch will go up against five movies from that state I’ve already seen, chosen from five distinct spots on my own Flickchart. Although I won’t tell you where the new movie actually lands in my chart (I don’t like to add new movies until I’ve had a month to think about them), I’ll let you know how it fared among the five I’ve chosen. Thanks for riding shotgun!
When I think of West Virginia, I can’t help but think of (and start singing in my head) Billy Joel’s song “The Ballad of Billy the Kid.” It’s from his seminal album Piano Man, but I’m actually most familiar with the live version from his album Songs in the Attic. The song describes William Bonney’s origins as such: “From a town known as Wheeling, West Virginia …” Only, it turns out that’s not correct. Bonney was likely born in New York City and has no apparent connection to West Virginia. Joel attributed this and other historical inaccuracies in the song as “an experiment with an impressionistic type of lyric.”
In recent years, there’s been a number of once-dormant franchises – particularly franchises that began in the 1980s – being resurrected with a third sequel. Not every franchise warrants a fourth movie, but we’ve recently seen Rambo, Live Free or Die Hard, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull…to varying degrees of success. (Surely, it will not be too much longer before some genius decides to make Back to the Future Part IV.)
There are two science fiction franchises, however, that share a very similar pattern of quality in their four movies. The first two films in both series are widely considered classics (and, in fact, all four films rank in the Top 100 of Flickchart’s list of the Best Films of All Time). Both had their reputations tarnished by a lackluster third film (yet even those movies have their defenders). And both had pretty definitive trilogy conclusions blown open by the arrival of a fourth film.
These “fourquels” might be considered unwarranted, even unwanted. One promises “resurrection”, the other “salvation”, but the results may be somewhat less than heavenly. Yet, some people may find them better than the disappointing third movies. And when you are presented with them on Flickchart – and you admit that you’ve seen them – the question is, “Which is better?” Care to find out? Step in to the Reel Rumbles ring as we pit Terminator Salvation vs. Alien Resurrection. Read the rest of this entry »