We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.
Before this weekend's Prometheus there was Alien, a little science fiction film in 1979 that was never made to inspire a franchise. Seven years later, the film received a sequel, Aliens, which cemented its status as a series with multiple stories and characters to be explored in further films.
Since then, the concept of making sequels and prequels has become an ol' hat in Tinseltown, with numerous films inspiring various continuations, for better or for worse. Yet while a movie like Twins is set to be turned into a franchise with an upcoming sequel, there are plenty of films that are more worthy of such expansion.
These are films that should get the franchise treatment, with their characters, concepts, and stories having more to say beyond just one movie.
7. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)
Recap: After years of playing John Rambo and Rocky Balboa, Sylvester Stallone paired himself with Estelle Getty for this action "comedy," which features one of the most annoying performances in the history of acting (that includes actor "Fartso" in an early production of "Oedipus Rex"). In case you can't figure it out from the title, Stallone plays a cop whose mother accidentally becomes his partner when she witnesses a crime. What ensues is a rampage of legendarily unfunny attempts at senile humor, completed with expressions by Sly indicating a desire to Shoot himself in the face. Reason: Yes, I admit this is the sickest idea on the list, and if it got franchised, I would be burning rioting in the streets with you as well. But my inner-Bad Movie Sadist feels like this is extremely uncharted territory - while we complain about tranny comedies like Big Momma's House or anything Katherine Heigl touches, a re-emergence of this concept in prequel, or Getty forbid, sequel form, could probably end the world. How far down does the rabbit hole's sewage pipe go? With the lame fascination Hollywood has with other "Golden Girl" Betty White, the casting couldn't be that difficult. And who plays Stallone's part, now that he is probably too smart for this role? Channing Tatum, obviously. Fat cats, I dare you to resurrect this beast borne from your father's evil production meetings. Until then, "Go ahead. Make your bed."
6. The Green Hornet (2011)
Recap: Seth Rogen took a stab at the whole hero phenomenon in this movie directed by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind French dude Michel Gondry. At his side was Jay Chou, a very popular Taiwanese singer. Released in an unfavorable time in the movie year (January), this exciting action movie (with very cool 3D) was passed over by too many. Reason: In my Pulitzer Prize-winning review for this film, I said that The Green Hornet was "a superhero movie that actually dares to have some damn fun fighting bad guys," and I was right. The whole "dark" concept behind hero stories only works for some; others just cheat themselves out of being simply fun by trying to run with the "big boys" like Batman, etc. Rogen's reinterpretation of the Green Hornet, however, offers the right kind of unique comic book fun, with an imaginary style (from Gondry) that still has no comparison in the genre. Though Gondry isn't essential for this dream franchise to continue on, (it would be nice if he produced the movies, however), the usage of Rogen provides a solid contrast to every other masked vigilante we see out there. Plus, we could have more wacky villains like Christoph Waltz' Chudnofsky.
5. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
Recap: Moonrise Kingdom director Wes Anderson took his style on a big budget adventure with The Life Aquatic, the liveliest of all his films. With Bill Murray playing the movie's title character, The Life Aquatic remains one of the most unique films to come from directors of Anderson's class, and it's also one of the most ambitious. Reason: Anderson's action movie, The Life Aquatic leaves us wanting more from Team Zissou and their adventures. Although it will never, ever happen, a prequel or sequel would certainly get the job done. Anderson and Murray would have to be on board, but those are the only members of this massive crew that are needed for the Zissou legacy to continue. Perhaps Team Zissou can discover a new island, or even take his adventures to land territory? This unique movie is too special to be celebrated only once. We've heard about Zissou's great journeys, and now we'd like to really experience them.
4. Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny (2006)
Recap: Jack Black took his awesome rock duo Tenacious D to the big screen with sidekick Kyle Gass for this stoner movie directed by Liam "United States of Whatever" Lynch. The film came with an awesome soundtrack and a plethora of brilliant silly comedy. To the loss of millions (of people), no one saw it. Losers. Reason: Okay, not many people saw Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny, whatever. The ingredients of this movie are prime for repetition. This duo has great chemistry (they're more than just two stoners), they play catchy rock songs (NOT COVERS), and re-instill rock 'n roll with its larger than life power. Considering these elements, the different stories and even cameos are endless. Have them fight pop stars, or have "The D" team up with someone like Bob Dylan to fight ghosts. A Tenacious D franchise is exactly what the musical genre needs to apologize for all its generation "Glee" travesties.
3. The Fifth Element (1997)
Recap: A lot of successful science fiction movies are given the franchise treatment, but The Fifth Element is one that seems to have been skipped over. Though it grossed $263 million worldwide (that's in 1997 dollars!) it's only been celebrated since then in everyone watching it a bunch of times, with everyone agreeing that for blockbuster entertainment, it doesn't get much more fulfilling that The Fifth Element. Reason: You could bring back most of the original cast, or you could just give Milla Jovovich more focus (she carries other movies on her own, why not a Fifth Element sequel?) Plus, Bruce Willis seems to have a Nicolas Cage-like appetite for action roles, so I'm sure he wouldn't deny this pitch. The only thing that's necessary is writer/director Luc Besson has to be on-board, and NO, he can't pass it off to one of his lackeys that direct his scripts like Columbiana or Lockout. Hollywood could use another injection of Besson's boyish imagination for sci-fi action. The special effects are ready for it, and we are ready for it.
2. Speed Racer (2008)
Recap: The famous cartoon finally got its big screen adaptation when the Wachowskis got behind the wheel, tricking this thing out with incredible use of color and a style that sticks to the series' distinct look. For reasons I will never understand, this movie received a lukewarm reception that led to a big loss for the studios. Maybe Speed Racer was just too far ahead in the special effects race (Ha ha ha get it? A racing joke!) Reason: I don't care if audience members weren't hip to the Speed Racer spectacle, I just know I want more. I want more of the blinding colors, I want more of the fourth gear dialogue, I want the goofy monkeying around humor, and most importantly, the insane car chases I thought were only possible in animation. On top of this, I demand to know what happens next with the mysterious partnership between Racer X and Speed Racer. Don't know what I'm talking about? As Jeff Bayer would say, "Sigh."
1. Air Force One (1997)
Recap: Released during the Clinton era, Harrison Ford soon replaced the man as the world's coolest president, without having to put on sunglasses. In case you're un-American, (which, I guess, is actually totally possible but still unacceptable), Air Force One was a soaring action opus to the power of the American, so much that the president himself (an ex-vet who served) had to combat first-hand with terrorists who have hijacked the most important airliner in the world. Gary Oldman played a psychotic terrorist who played our stereotypes of disturbed European loonys to a tee. Reason: It's scribbled somewhere over the Constitution that Air Force One is one of the coolest movies ever made, but somehow today's American action movie standards have forgotten that. Instead, they prefer to toy around with agents like Jack Bauer in "24" protecting the president, or dopey toolboxes like Benjamin Gates in National Treasure. Yet even a "turrist" knows that the concept of Air Force One is more delightfully pornographically patriotic than anything else we're working with, and is absolutely potent for the franchise treatment. There are numerous types of "terrorizers" that any actor (young or old) playing president can kick ass against; just use that same hat of subjects that writes out scripts like Act of Valor and replace the good guys with "The President." If any franchise were to inspire people in the power of the presidency, it would be an Air Force One franchise. I heard Lady Liberty cries a tear every day that someone doesn't pitch this movie for a remake, prequel, or sequel.