Why can't anyone ever leave anything well enough alone? Why can't we be allowed to simply experience something in the world of pop culture, enjoy it immensely, and then move on with our lives, lives that we hope are full of future opportunities to be supremely entertained by musicians, TV shows or films?
Things have gotten so bad these days that on those rare occasions when our senses are truly wowed by some form of entertainment - and many more people happen to be similarly wowed - our joy is somewhat tempered by the dreadful realization that endless copycats, sequels, and re-releases are inevitably to come. Success, after all, breeds more attempts to cash in on future successes, and that is understandable to a point. We are talking about the almighty dollar, after all.
But far too often those future attempts ooze laziness and a general lack of any original thought, only more of the same formula presented by people crossing their fingers in the hope that the masses will come back for more. And when you do come back and you end up being so disappointed by what you've seen or heard that it almost diminishes the pleasure you experienced the first time around when you experienced the original, it matters not to those who dangled more of the same in front of your face. All that matters is that you came back, because coming back always costs you money, which lines their pockets.
Maybe the most contemporary example of success breeding a lazy second attempt at more of the same involves possibly one of the most overrated guy-flicks of all time, "The Hangover." (Admittedly, Zach Galifianakis was hilarious.) It generated huge laughs and mountainous profits, so "The Hangover 2" was regurgitated all over the movie-going populace, with the exact same plot unfolding in Bangkok instead of Las Vegas. "I can't believe this is happening again," the character played by actor Bradley Cooper says early on in the sequel, essentially admitting that viewers aren't going to see anything new.
"The Hangover 2" crossed my mind the other day when I read that a TV show version of the classic Coen brothers flick, "Fargo" is in the works. Really, can't we just leave it alone? Can't we just joyously stumble across the timeless classic film now and then while flipping channels with our remote control and be happy with that? The exaggerated Scandinavian accents, and the phrases like “Ya, sure, youbetcha” and “real good then” were a riot in the flick, but does that mean we’re supposed to come back for more of the same week after week? I guess that’s a pointless question.
Then, the icing on the depressing cake: The Walt Disney Company last week announced it had purchased LucasFilms, which gave us the Star Wars franchise and, not only that, Disney's going to kick out three more Star Wars movies.
Page 2 of 3 - Be truthful to yourself: Did you think Star Wars was any good? Sure, you had a couple of action figures and maybe got some Star Wars toys with your Happy Meal, but did you really care? Is "The Empire Strikes Back" really one of the best sequels of all time? Please. I'll throw up on myself watching "Jaws 2" or "Halloween 2" before I'll sit through "The Empire Strikes Back." They made "Return of the Jedi" and then mercifully put the franchise to bed, until the awful Star Wars "pre-quels" were unleashed upon humanity several years ago. Now, Disney tells us the next three films will continue the Star Wars story. I can't wait to see what Luke, Han Solo and Leia's grandkids are up to.
Leave...it...alone. Peter Jackson is as creative of a filmmaker there is in the business these days, and I couldn't feel a bit refreshed when, after his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, he threw up his arms and said he'd had enough. Money talks, though, and soon his arms came down to collect a mountain of it, for making "The Hobbit" in not one movie or two, but another trilogy.
Did a previous paragraph mention the “icing on the cake”? The examples of greed chewing up creativity and spitting it out come so fast and furious these days – Fast 5! – that there’s already icing on the icing. A film trailer spotted on TV the other day previewed a remake of “Red Dawn,” a 1980s Cold War-ish Soviets-attack-the-unsuspecting-United-States flick that starred Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen. There may have been a couple more actors from “The Outsiders” crew in there, too, but who cares? The film was as cheesy as a Mugoo’s cheese pizza with extra cheese, but someone figured it was high time to make some cash and remake it.
Well, we’re about time for the clever ending of the column, but today there is none. I thought about writing something about egg nog being an absolute treat, but part of its allure is that you can only get it during the holiday season and therefore you appreciate it more. Would you dig egg nog as much if a carton populated your fridge pretty much all the time? Then I thought about writing about northern Minnesotans and golf in the same vein. Do we appreciate the game more because we can’t golf all year long around these parts, only during a few precious, warm months?
But maybe egg nog and golf references aren’t an ideal fit, so today there’s no real ending to this column, only a realization:
They remade Red Dawn.
Page 3 of 3 - They...remade...Red Dawn.