This was an episode of Movie Fights that spoke to me. You can tell, because 90 percent of this post was done before I went to work Sunday afternoon. It features Terminators, superheroes and some great sequels, along with panelists Kristian Harloff, host of Schmoes Know Movie show; Mark Ellis, Schmoes co-host; and Nick Mundy of Screen Junkies. As always, I listen to the question, pause the video and type my answer, listen to the panel and pause to do follow-up thoughts. Then I pick a winner, which isn’t always me, but sometimes it is.
WHAT IS THE WORST TERMINATOR SEQUEL?
As much as I hate Terminator 3 for its terminator caricatures and for crapping all over the No Fate notion with its closing narration, the bombs eventually have to fall if you want to keep making movies, so I have to give this to Terminator Salvation. The future was ridiculous as a post-apocalyptic hellscape, There was nothing believable about any of the prior John Connors growing into whatever it was that Christian Bale was doing, nor did Anton Yelchin harbor the slightest piece of Kyle Reese in his performance. And Skynet was doing things that made no sense if all it wanted to do was eradicate humankind. It’s like maybe somebody had a good idea with the whole merging of man and machine for evil purposes but then somebody else decided to wrap it up in the rags of T3 it picked up from the bottom of a trash barrel and call it a Terminator movie.
Mentioned in the video: Genisys, Salvation, RIse of the Machines
Follow up: I’ve already spoken highly about Genisys, so I can’t agree with it on this list at all. Nick Mundy called the 1984 scenes a bad cover song of Terminator, and while I myself had said they initially were a little boring with how exact they were, the movie then went on and took them in a different direction, giving us something new. And as for “erasing” the first two movies to go off and do new things, I think NIck must have been a little defeaned by the roar of his hate-on for Jai Courtney, otherwise, he might have heard that Terminator Genisys did the exact OPPOSITE of erasing T1 and T2 by confirming the eixstence of multiple timelines.
As for T3 winning “Worst Sequel award” Mark Ellis seemed to base a lot of his argument on “They HAD to make T4 and T5 to wipe the taste of T3 out,” and I just don’t think that’s true. More sequels were made because there was money in them. And if your goal is to make something better than T3, you don’t turn around and making something as shitty as Salvation, which is Terminator in names and CGI-Arnold only.
My winner: Salvation.
BEST MOVIE SEQUEL TITLE
Alvin & The Chipmumks: The Squeakquel. This one is a little unconventional (ok, a lot), but I chose it, because never has a movie title done such an amazing job at telling me what to expect. Maybe I saw the original with my nieces, and it was OK enough that we could see the sequel, or maybe I’d never seen either of them, but a fit of nostalgia struck just the right way and I thought “maybe I’ll spend a lazy Sunday seeing what these Chipmunk movies are about.” Then I see that word — Squeakquel — and I know. No good can be found here, run away. Far far away. And I feel like I will love a longer, happier life having never seen this movie. So it has the best title, for existing in such a way that it spared my existence. Thank you, Alvin & Chipmunks 2.
Mentioned in the video: Empire Strikes Back, Days of Future Past, Hot Shots: Part Deux
Follow-up: Days of Future Past is an OK movie, but it’s not a great title. What does it tell a person who likes the movies but is unfamiliear with the comics? When you think of anything that has a “Days of” construction, what follows makes sense. “500 Days of Summer.” I know what summer is. “Days of Thunder.” I know what thunder is. “Days of Future Past.” What the hell is is “Future Past”? I shouldn’t have to do mental gymnastics to wrap my head around a good title, and this makes me do it.
Hot Shots is literally “Part Two.” Being in another language doesn’t add depth to it. As for Empire Strikes Back, it’s a great movie. It’s a great title. But it’s also a little bit of a head scratcher if you’re a casual viewer. It’s easy to miss the line in Star Wars about the Emperor dissolving the senate, because there’s so much going on in that scene with Tarkin being bad-ass and Vader being all chokey and whatnot, and if you don’t catch that line, it can be pretty easy to believe that taking out the Death Star and sending Vader spinning out alone into the universe was a killing blow against the heart of the empire. What’s left to be striking back? And maybe that question is enough to get you into the theater, but I want movie titles that punch you in the face, not ones that leave you going “wait, what?”
My winner: My argument against Empire Strikes Back is utter garbage; of course it’s the better title. Point for Kristian.
BEST SUPERHERO COSTUME USED IN A MOVIE (APPEARANCE ONLY, NOT FUNCTIONALITY)
Captain America: The First Avenger. It’s appropriate for its time — it looks like something that could exist in real life in the 1940s — but is still evocative of classic comic look. And it looks like it would be functional, too. I know functionality isn’t necessarily supposed to be a factor, but I do think at least looking like would be is part of what makes a good costume. Doesn’t mean it IS functional though. Take the X-men and Batman movies. Watch a blooper reel for X-Men and you’ll see them all struggling to lift their legs in all that leather, and every Batman actor ever has said they can’t see or hear in the cowl. But in both costumes, they LOOK like they’d offer protection, and the same is true for the utility of Cap’s outfit.
In the video: Batman in Batman Begins, Superman (Christopher Reeve versions), Iron Man
Follow-up: The Batman Begins costume has the cowl and cape going for it, sure. But where’s the chest symbol? It’s there, but you have to squint. And sure, from a realism standpoint it’s smarter to not have a giant target over your heart, but from an iconography standpoint, it’s a fail. Iron Man, while I love it, is hardly unique. It’s the Rocketeer meets Iron Giant with a nice paint job. My car has a decent paint job, and it’s not a very cool car. Superman certainly grabs the iconic imagery by the horns, but Kristian is right when he says its dated to a degree that nobody else, save Dean Cain, can wear it. Nearly everyone who’s come after has had to change it up, because they couldn’t pull it off. There’s nothing so unique to the individual that somebody else couldn’t put on any of the Cap suits and be a hero.
My winner: Wow, I was going to say Mark Ellison’s Batman once I heard his argument, but I kind of convinced myself of my own in the follow-up.
Pitch Arnold’s Next Movie
Best Movie Explosion
Best Movie of 2015
Lightning Round — which everyone should watch for some of the gutsiest answers I’ve ever seen in a lightning round.
Don’t forget to watch the video, linked above, to see all the fights and how I stack up against up them.
Leisure Time is on Twitter! Follow @TheLTtweet for post updates and smaller fannish thoughts.