This week, Grantland.com is hosting its Sequeltology bracket as it tries to determine through voting the greatest movie sequel of all time. (It's The Godfather: Part II in a landslide, but go ahead and have the contest anyway.) You can vote throughout this week at the Grantland Facebook page.
That got me thinking – however – about the worst movie sequels of all time. There certainly are plenty to choose from. Hollywood is littered with putrid attempts to make money off a successful initial film. This should be like shooting Fletch Lives from a discount bin.
But first, a few rules:
• The first movie had to be good. The Land Before Time was a wretched affair involving growth-stunted dinosaurs. Thus all the sequels, including The Land Before Time XXIV: Aren't They Oil Yet?, won't be eligible. (I made that one up, of course, but I'm not that far off. Thirteen of them were made in total.)
• I had to have seen it. This automatically throws out gems such as Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, Caddyshack II and The Next Karate Kid.
• Weekend at Bernie's II is not allowed to be on this list despite the fact that by all accounts it is a terrible movie. I love it, and that's that.
• No direct-to-TV movies allowed, sorry The Return of Jafar.
With those rules in place, let's proceed:
1. X-Men: The Last Stand – Some people like this movie. I understand that, and I'm respectful of most beliefs. BUT THEY KILLED CYCLOPS IN THE FIRST FIVE FREAKING MINUTES! (Whew. Deep breath. Still have four more sequels to go.) They also killed Professor X and Jean Grey. And the bad guy, Magneto, walks away unscathed. This is essentially like if Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 had Hermione kill off Ron Weasley in the first five minutes and Harry Potter at the end. Then in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Hermione is killed by Neville and it ends with Voldemort playing chess in a park. I'm getting ready to go back into "all caps" mode. Let's just move on.
2. Honey, I Blew Up the Kid – OK, good, a movie series I don't have an emotional attachment to. We should hopefully be able to avoid "all caps' mode the rest of the way through. I got to see this gem in the movie theater. I loved the idea of the first movie, especially the thought of eating a giant cookie. So, I was excited about seeing its sequel. I quickly discovered, however, that it was about an annoying 100-foot-tall giant toddler who goes on a rampage throughout Las Vegas. Even as a kid – a time when I believed just about anything, including that our cat was a vampire – I found this headache-inducingly implausible. It also wins the second-worst use a of a stuffed bunny award, trailing only Con Air.
3. Jurassic Park III – Who needs Michael Crichton to write another book, whenever you can just come up with a ridiculous story on your own and film that instead to squeeze a few more bucks out of the series? But that wasn't even my biggest issue with the movie. No, the far larger problem was the insane survivability of the 13-year-old boy the plot revolves around. He becomes lost on the island and his parents hired Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ellie Degler, née Sattler from the first movie to go the island with them. This take awhile to set up, and in the meantime the boy is by himself for eight weeks with a bunch of people-hungry velociraptors. Yeah, he would have been dino lunch on day 3.
4. Speed 2: Cruise Control – It involves a boat chase on land. Enough said.
5. Batman & Robin – The filmmakers were determined to prove that they could make a worse Batman sequel than Batman Forever, easily the most embarrassing moment of Tommy Lee Jones' career, though he did try to top it later with Men in Black II. They succeeded. Oh, did they succeed. Bad acting – I'm especially looking at you, Mr. Schwarzenegger. Bad story. Bad direction. Bad everything. It also put the term "rubber nipple" on the map. An overall disaster.
Just missed the cut: D3: The Mighty Ducks, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, Star Trek: Insurrection, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Back to the Future Part III, Men in Black II, Austin Powers in Goldmember and Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (though technically a prequel).
• Joe Grace is a writer and journalist who lives in Chicago with his wife. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to like him on Facebook.
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