By In Stuff

Worst Sequels (In Numerical Order)

I do not think that “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” is the worst movie ever made. There have to be at least four or five movies that were worse, or else (as Browning wrote) what’s a “Cheaper By The Dozen” for? But “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” has to be the worst movie ever made that I actually went to see at midnight on opening night. I often like to say that I did this for my wife, who loved the Star Wars series so much that I don’t believe she has ever gotten over not marrying Han Solo.*

*Not Harrison Ford. Han Solo.

But, I must admit more than a little excitement going to see the movie (though I tried to hide it). I don’t really get science fiction beyond The Jetsons — or anyway, that’s what I’ve always believed because I didn’t understand 2001: A Space Odyssey — but I was stunned to find going into “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” that I knew a lot more about Star Wars than I would readily admit. Truth is, I was reasonably able to follow conversations between Star Wars nerds who enjoyed talking about things like the backstory of Boba Fett, the bounty hunter.

I didn’t know I had picked up Star Wars knowledge through cultural osmosis or if I was a bigger fan than I realized. Whatever the reason, I really did want to see “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.” In fact, based on my movie plus-minus system, I probably went into “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” expecting at least a three star movie (on a five-star scale), maybe three and a half stars. It was, instead, a minus-billion-shmillion-quillion-jillion-jarjarbinkillion star movie, which makes it among the worst movie experiences I’ve had.

I bring this up because, through the brilliant editor Mark Mravic — fun fact: Mark’s college team once topped the New York Times’ David Brooks in College Bowl — I came across this fun bit where the author tries to come up with the perfect order to watch the Star Wars movies. I know there are many people who believe that the true perfect order of Star Wars movies is to only watch the original three movies — IV, V and VI in your program — and there are those who believe you can skip VI and the Ewoks while you are at it.

But if you feel like you want to somehow get the whole experience, I heartily endorse Rod Hilton’s machete order, in no small part because (spoiler alert) it eliminated “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” altogether.

This got me thinking about the worst movie sequel night I could come up with (in numerical order). This gimmick has been done by many other people before, so I don’t claim this to be an original idea. My quirk is this: I’m not really interested in the worst movie sequels ever made because that would include pointlessly ghastly movies like “Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace,” and “Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2” and “Leonard Part 6.”*

*Which, I guess, is not actually a sequel … wonder if George Lucas ever considered making Leonard prequels.

No, I’m interested in terrible sequels for good movies — or at least movies that some people think are good. Well, really, even more to the point, I’m interested in sequels where the first movies were good enough that I actually watched the sequel. This is a fairly low threshold — I saw “Analyze That” for instance and also “Meet The Fockers” — but not so low that it includes movies like “Troll 2” or “Leprechaun: Back 2 The Hood.”*

*However — and this, like the rest of this post probably only interests me — I did actually see the astonishingly wretched “Highlander II” before I saw “Highlander.” I don’t recall exactly how this happened or a single plot line from the movie, but I do remember that I was probably 10 minutes into Highlander II before realizing that it wasn’t a trailer for another movie.

In other words, I wanted to put together a terrible sequel night featuring only movies that were tempting enough that I actually saw them. I do realize that this is of limited use to you as a reader since you don’t know what movies I’ve seen and not seen and don’t care. But I suspect that is comes close to the very definition of this blog.

So, here then is my perfect “Worst Movie Sequel Night (In Numerical Order)”

No. 1: “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace”

Well, what else? I actually have quite a few memories of the night I saw it, the excitement in the theater, the way people were dressed up as Star Wars characters*, the way everyone cheered whenever they saw anything at all familiar, and more the ever-growing elephant-in-the-room realization (one everyone was trying to smother) that this movie kinda sucked.

*Margo wore a cape of some sort and … that was kind of it. When I asked her what character she was trying to be, she did not really know. She had dressed up as sort of a generic Star Wars character, the kind who might bring the Emperor iced tea while over oversaw the building of the new Death Star.

I’m going to say it was the pod racing scene that finally broke everyone’s spirit. The thing that I think made the original Star Wars Trilogy so great to those of us who aren’t normally science-fiction or special-effects driven is that the narrative was always interesting. I’m a sucker — aren’t we all suckers? — for the story of a restless young hero who discovers (gradually and with constant surprise) that the humdrum life he or she is living is an illusion and really they are destined for an extraordinary adventure. This is at the heart of Harry Potter and Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz and the Matrix and the Terminator and many other cool things.

And the first Star Wars Trilogy just keeps delivering a driving narrative and constant questions — Who is Obi Wan? What’s Leia’s story? Would you trust Chewbacca get to drive? What is haunting Han Solo? Why couldn’t they have put a voice box in R2-D2? Why does Darth Vader’s outfit magnify the sound of his breathing? Did the Emperor really take over the galaxy because he could shoot lightning from his fingers? Were women allowed to be stormtroopers? And so on.

But it was during that pod racing scene that I realized — there was no point to this at all. None. There wasn’t a single question that I wanted answered, not a single thought prompted by what was happening on the screen, heck, I didn’t even understand what was going on. I didn’t know why they were racing, I didn’t know why I should care, I didn’t have any doubt about how the race would turn out … I was just staring at a screen with pointless explosions and plotless effects and I absolutely cannot stand movies like that. They make me absolutely crazy. I don’t mind a brainless comedy and can live through a schlocky drama … but that pod-racing scene was like torture.

When I tweeted about this, several people suggested that “Star Wars Episode II: Whatever The Heck That’s Called” was actually a worse movie than “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.” I’m not enough of an early Star Wars observer to know, but that wasn’t my reaction. “Star Wars Episode II: You Know The Second One” left no impression on my memory whatsoever. Maybe I’ve just blocked it out, but I don’t remember a single thing about it. But “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” left behind scars that I may never entirely recover from.

No. 2: Caddyshack II

Obviously, the biggest competition for terrible sequels is going to be the second movie. This is a choice field with movies like Jaws 2 and Staying Alive and Analyze That and City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold and The Sting II and Speed 2: Cruise Control*. My original choice for this was Grease 2 which I was forced to sit through again in the last few days because my young daughters simply refused to accept their father’s assessment that it was horrendous … that is, until faced with the horror that is the “Let’s Bowl Tonight” sequence.**

*I will never forget Anthony Lane’s line about Speed 2: “I am thinking or suing Twentieth Century Fox for breach of contract, on the ground that most of it is set on a boat.”

**I love Michelle Pfeiffer. If I had to list my Top 5 crushes ever — which I will not do for more reasons than there are stars in the heavens — she would be on it. I love her. And yet, she starred in two of my least favorite movies ever — Grease 2, which I do not blame her for (she was so young) and The Story of Us, which I absolutely do blame her for. She certainly brought much joy into my life, but those movies were so bad that I’m not sure she has been a net positive.

But, as several alert Tweeters pointed out, there’s simply no way you can ignore the hideousness of Caddyshack II. How about that movie meeting?

Producer: “OK, great news, we’re going to do Caddyshack II. But we do have some challenges. We can’t get Bill Murray or Rodney Dangerfield or Ted Knight, and Chevy Chase is only willing to be in the movie for like 29 seconds. That’s a pretty big void. Who out there is big enough to make up for that kind of loss of talent?”

Casting director: “Jackie Mason.”

Producer: “Perfect.”

No. 3: The Godfather Part III

My default position is that Godfather III never happened. But a few weeks ago, through an odd and fortunate series of events, I ended up having lunch with Joe Mantegna, who might be the single best guy in the world. It’s so cool when you meet famous people that you admire and they turn out to be even cooler in real life than you expected. He told this great story about filming Godfather III. He said he was filming one day, and he looked across and there was Al Pacino. There was Diane Keaton. There was Francis Ford Coppola. And he suddenly had this crazy nervousness, this “What the heck are you doing here?” moment that is about as human a reaction as I can imagine. And it made me think that maybe I should give the movie one more chance.

I put it on — just when I thought I was out they pulled me back in — and watched exactly 23 seconds of it, turned it off. You’re my hero, Joe — I’ll watch “House of Games” and “Search For Bobby Fischer” a hundred more times each. But The Godfather Part III never happened.

No. 4: Batman & Robin

I originally put “The Next Karate Kid” as my No. 4 disaster — two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank as Ralph Macchio — and several people rightfully pointed out the criminal fourth Indiana Jones movie. But then I did the math and realized that Batman & Robin was the fourth in the series.

Batman & Robin might be my least favorite movie of all time.

I’m not saying it’s the worst. I’ve seen worse. I’m saying it’s my least favorite. Above, I talked about how torturous it was for me to sit through the pod-racing scene in “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.” Well, Batman & Robin was like a 125 minute pod-race for me. It’s a comic book movie, right? A stinking comic book. I was not a comic book junkie, but I read comic books from the time I was like 3. And I could not follow this movie. Could … not … follow. I had no idea what was happening. I didn’t know why things were blowing up. I couldn’t figure out what anyone was trying to do. I didn’t know what made the bad guys bad or the good guys good. I couldn’t understand why Alicia Silverstone left Paul Rudd.

One way to know a movie is bad is when you look at your watch to see how much time is left in it. In Batman & Robin I looked at my watch after 20 minutes. TWENTY MINUTES. I still had almost two hours to go. It was like an endurance test. I wouldn’t watch that movie again for Klondike Bar.

No. 5: Rocky V

There are movies that get better with age. Most don’t. Most get worse. When I left the theater after watching Rocky V, I thought I had seen a bad — but predictably bad — movie. It had a few Rocky moments. And seeing Stallone beat up Tommy Morrison in a parking lot (sorry, should have said “Spoiler alert” there) seemed OK.

I saw the movie again not too long ago — maybe a year ago. It was pretty close to unendurable.

No. 6: Leonard Part 6

As mentioned above, it’s not actually a sixth part of anything — except maybe the sixth sign of the apocalypse — but I’ll include it anyway for the title alone and because I should get SOMETHING out of actually seeing it.

That’s as far as I can go in order — I didn’t see:

No. 7: Saw 3D: The Final Chapter

No. 8: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

No. 9: Super Bowl IX … I did see this one. The Vikings ended up with 119 yards of total offense and nine first downs. Steelers won a 16-6 snoozefest.

No. 10: Never Say Never Again. This was not actually the 10th James Bond movie made — the official 10th was the Spy Who Loved Me with Roger Moore — but after that there have been some real Bond stinkers. You could pick almost any of them, really. I would say Never Say Never Again, with an ancient Sean Connery, is as bad a choice as any.

96 Responses to Worst Sequels (In Numerical Order)

  1. Diver says:

    This is how bad I thought Phantom Menace was: It stopped me from seeing any more Star Wars movies. They made a couple more? You don’t say.

  2. pip says:

    I agree with everything except that Indy 4 was terrible. I am a die hard fan of the Indy franchise, and I will maintain until my dying day that Indy 4 was simply “meh”. Not terrible, not great. Just meh. It certainly wasn’t the travesty people make it out to be, and it DEFINITELY shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence as “Batman and Robin” or “The Next Karate Kid.”

    Was Mutt Williams really that much worse than Willie? Was nuking the fridge really that much more ridiculous than jumping out of a crashing airplane on a little inflatable raft from about 500 feet up? Were aliens really that much more far-fetched than magical cups, or stones, or anything? (That last one might get me into trouble, but from an objective perspective, it’s all just fantasy)

    Indy 4 gets a bad name because it happened 20 years too late. Not because it was that horrible.

    • Tampa Mike says:

      I’m a big fan of the Indy movies too, but 4 is flat out awful.

      Yes, Willie was a sidekick and didn’t have as big a part in the movie. Mutt thought he was better than Indy. Yes, the fridge is much more ridiculous. It is completely impossible. You can kind of sort of convince yourself that the raft could save you, but they should recoin “jumping the shark” to “nuking the fridge”. Yes, the aliens are more far fetched…and even worse out of place. Indy is not sci fi, it is not fantasy.

    • I got pip’s back on this one. Aliens are no more or less fanciful than a centuries-old crusading knight sitting in a room (presumably) without leaving it or eating for hundreds of years or a box that kills anyone when it’s opened unless you close your eyes.

      Full disclosure: I had heard so many foul reviews of the movie that I expected it to be awful. I thought I was getting a -4 and got about a -2.

    • Ed says:

      They’re fanciful in a completely different way, though. It’s going from historical fantasy to science fiction.

      Regardless, the aliens, at least to me, aren’t why Indy 4 was terrible.

    • N says:

      Aliens having visited earth at some point is probably the most believable of all the Indiana Jones plots.

      Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is leaps and bounds above the abomination that is the Temple of Doom. Raiders of the Lost Ark was my favorite movie of all time when Temple of Doom came out and I fell asleep twice during it.

  3. B.E. Earl says:

    I had forgotten about Highlander 2. That was pure awful. For a movie to totally destroy the mythos of the original film like that was unforgivable. See The Chronicles of Riddick. Which isn’t necessarily an awful film (it’s not good), but it totally goes against the feel and mythology of Pitch Black. It might have been fine as a stand-alone sci-fi/action flick, but as a sequel…nah.

    Highlander 2 wouldn’t have even been good as a stand-alone sci-fi flick.

    • NRJyzr says:

      That may explain why I liked Chronicles of Riddick; I still haven’t seen Pitch Black.

      I wholeheartedly agree with Phantom Menace. Has their ever been a better, unintentional comedy, title for a movie?

      Sadly, reading this piece has reminded me I paid money to see Highlander 2….

    • Blotz says:

      We came up with the perfect encapsulation of why Highlander 2 sucked so bad. It was like sitting down to watch Die Hard 2 and discovering after the first few minutes, that Jack Mcclain was now a Taxi Driver in Atlantis…with mermaids and everything.

    • NRJyzr says:

      But at least mermaids would be interesting.

      Highlander 2, not so much

    • Mark Coale says:

      I was a huge Highlander fan as a teen and when Highlander 2 came out, I was working as a film critic for the student paper at Indiana.

      I gave it an I, because F wasn’t strong enough.

  4. DJM says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. DJM says:

    I agree with pip about Crystal Skull. Though it did lead to a short-lived cultural interest in such artifacts, which led to Dan Ackroyd investing in a business selling vodka in crystal-skull containers, and which I believe is leading to an inevitable Ghostbusters 3.

    Which I will see, and which I will enjoy for the same reason as Crystal Skull: I will know going in how terrible it could be and have expectations set accordingly.

  6. bluwood says:

    Sorry pip, I pride myself on being a huge Indy fan, but that movie was ABSOLUTELY ATROCIOUS. And I have to admit it sure didn’t help that, for whatever reason, I simply can’t stand watching any movie with Shia LeBeauf (sp?). Anyone else like that? I mean, there are certain actors I just dislike watching on screen, and for no reason I can come up with. Sigourney Weaver, Nicolas Cage (sorry), LeBeauf is the biggest.

    • Lukehart80 says:

      I am with you on Indy 4 being a wreck. It’s not that entirely on its own merits it was so awful, there are worse summer blockbusters every year, but it failed so grandly to live up to the first three.

      Mostly though, I am replying because your feeling need to apologize for not liking Nic Cage cracked me up. There is certainly no need to apologize for that stance. Any sane man (or woman) would feel the same. Unless we’re talking about Raising Arizona, which is tremendous.

    • Ed says:

      Yeah…who likes Nic Cage? He’s awful.

    • I think Luke is sort of on to something here. Part of the problem with Indy 4 (which is terrible enough on its own) is that almost immediately after Last Crusade we started hearing talk about whether there’s be a 4th. For 20 years the three principals (Lucas, Spielberg, Ford) said they would only do it if they had the perfect story. They all seemed interested but very protective of the franchise and very leery of not living up to the standards that they had set with the first three films.

      Aside: All three are great but they definitely do go 123 in my mind whereas most people would rank them 132. I just recently read a piece that pointed out the biggest flaw with Last Crusade that I had never really put my finger on, which is how preposterous it is that Indy acquired his hat, jacket, whip, chin scar and fear of snakes all in the course of one adventure in a single afternoon. And if you think about it, that really is almost as absurd as the refrigerator. I’ll take the opening sequence of Temple of Doom any day.

      Anyway, the three of them seemed dead set on only doing it if they could live up to the standards they’d set. So then when it finally came out, the reaction that I and many people had was “After 20 years of saying they would only do it if they could get it right THIS is the script they were finally satisfied with? THIS is what they finally decided lived up to the standards of the first three?”

      The other reaction I had was “Huh, no wonder Karen Allen hasn’t been in a movie in 25 years. She’s awful.” And she was really horrendous. I loved her in Raiders and she was find in Animal House and I remember liking her in Starman. But she literally seemed to have no idea to act. As wooden (no pun intended) as any porn star during a fully clothed scene in between sex scenes. I cringed hearing her deliver lines. It was just about unwatchable.

    • Ed says:

      I don’t think that’s so preposterous — unlikely, yeah, but the whole movies are based on stuff that’s unlikely. It’s definitely POSSIBLE that someone could have had a massive life defining experience like that all in one day. The refrigerator thing is downright impossible.

      And Sean Connery alone makes Last Crusade better than the Temple of Doom. Sometimes I think I like Last Crusade even more than Raiders.

    • GregTamblyn says:

      Indy 2 was totally unwatchable because of Spielberg’s wife. All she did was shriek through the whole movie in that screech owl voice of hers. 4 was a joke.

    • bluwood says:

      @Luke: I was apologetic because I know (though I don’t understand why) there are MANY insanely loyal fans of Cage out there. Honestly, I haven’t seen Raising Arizona, for the exact reason I stated in my previous comment.

      As for the original (Canonical?) 3 Indy movies, I could understand an argument for either 1 or 3 being best (as of this moment, I’d lean toward 3, but ask me again tomorrow). 2 didn’t do it for me though, and I really, really hated 4.

      I think The Angry Young Man was bang on with regards to the disappointment; all the interested parties had vowed not to do another Indy movie unless it would hold up to the Canonical 3, and it so spectacularly did not, it just crushed the true fan base (IMHO).

      Funny note: Connery is only 8 years older than Ford, yet played his father – and did so quite convincingly!

  7. Lukehart80 says:

    Joe, I can understand where your wife is coming from. I’m a straight man, but I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten over not marrying Han Solo either.

  8. I don’t think anything can possibly trump Major League 2 for me. It really captures every aspect of being a bad sequel — the story that doesn’t make sense to repeat it, missing members of the original cast, and fundamentally repeating the exact same storyline again as if it were novel.

    • I agree. The other element of a bad sequel is changing the original characters into something else or into a caricature. Cerrano was changed into something else, and Dorn went from their #3 hitter who overrated himself a bit to a complete joke of a player. The “free agent” looked like he’d never swung a bat before he was cast, and every attitude of every character was manufactured and silly, like it was “Rookie of the Year” or something. Randy Quaid was the best part: that’s enough to condemn any movie

    • @FBC Stephens, that was the biggest problem I had with Die Hard With a Vengeance. Suddenly John McClane was a drunken burnout which he very definitely hadn’t been in the first two films. He was just a family guy having some marriage trouble in the first film, and a happily married man (living in LA) in the second. Then suddenly he’s a drunken derilect of a cop in the 3rd film? It literally seemed like they confused John McClane with Bruce’s character from The Last Boy Scout.

    • John Gale says:

      Majore League 2 isn’t *that* bad. I actually kind of enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong. It’s nowhere near as good as the original (probably my favorite comedy *and* my favorite sports movie ever), but it was fine. There were a couple things I liked. For example, it killed me that Harry Doyle was all dressed up for opening day, but as the team went into a losing streak, he started showing up in his undershirt. Also, when Willie Mays Hayes *threw his own cap off* before making a Willie Mays-in-the-1954-World-Series-esque catch, I thought that was hilarious. The real travesty in that series is Major League: Back to the Minors, which is right up there with the first two Star Wars prequels, Indiana Jones 2 and 4, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III and Rocky V among the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It’s so bad for so many reasons, but the main one is that it revolves around a minor league team (The Buzz, if I remember correctly) that wasn’t even affiliated with the Cleveland Indians (I think it was the Twins’ AAA affiliate). Just horrendous.

  9. Ed says:

    The Hangover 2 falls right in there with Major League 2. Exact same plot, although they did at least have all the same characters.

    I also disagree about Crystal Skull — that movie was horrendous. Yes, nuking a fridge is 100000x more unrealistic than jumping out of a plane in an inflatable raft. It’s unlikely you could do that without getting injured, but it is possible. With the fridge thing, he’d be dead. And if he somehow, SOMEHOW, wasn’t dead….he would have had about 15 broken bones. Then there was the silly swordfight across the tops of jeeps, etc. — it just took all the fun stuff from the original three and ratcheted it up about 6 levels to make it ridiculous and dumb instead of just implausible. Mutt Williams was definitely worse than Willie, but that’s because he was a much bigger part of the movie. Willie was a secondary character who didn’t do much of anything….Mutt was one of the leads and basically the entire reason the movie existed. Plus…I always thought Temple of Doom was significantly worse than Raiders or Last Crusade anyways. It’s still better than Crystal Skull though.

  10. I have long taken the position that there is no sequel to Highlander. I would consider giving myself a memetic virus a la Snow Crash to just erase them all from my memory and perception – the rumors of their existence were that bad.

    I give Godfather III a pass on the grounds that a movie at ground zero looks really bad compared to movies on K2 and Everest (Godfather I and II, pick either order).

    From the reverse angle, Godfather II has to be the best sequel of all time – it picked up all the baggage of a legitimately great movie and was at least as good if not better.

  11. castlerook says:

    Love the article. I’d like to nominate Men in Black 2 as a serious contender for the list. Not saying it should be number 1, but definitely in the top 5.

  12. mckingford says:

    Clerks 2. That is all.

  13. Scump says:

    No mention of Blues Brothers 2000? I am surprised.

  14. dan-O says:

    Good to have the comments back.

  15. Jamie says:

    Star Wars II is definitely worse than I. The scene where Darth Vader and Amidala discuss how great authoritarian dictatorship is was undearable. One of the very worst scenes ever, and that was supposed to be them falling in love? Yech. I didn’t like I, but II absolutely ruined Star Wars for me. I will say I saw it a second time in the IMAX format and it was edited in such a way that it was at least bearable. And I think that was the biggest problem with all of the prequels, no one told Lucas what should be included and what should be left out.

  16. Unknown says:

    I thought the sequel to Wall Street was pretty horrendous. I think what kills me is the fact that they could have gone in a billion different directions and made a great sequel. Instead they made a sappy, painfully predictable, Gekko redemption/Shia LaBeouf puppy love, movie. Gordon Gekko was an iconic movie character of the 80’s but could have been even bigger today. When you’re talking movies and someone mentions Wall Street the first thing that comes to most people’s mind (I believe at least) is Gekko. They should have ridden Douglas and his brilliant character in some sort of way. They really blew it.

  17. JenL says:

    As some one like your wife, wants to marry Han Solo, Indiana Jones AND Harrison Ford, I have to agree with number one being Star Wars Episode I. I am a huge fan of the original three movies (Even the Ewoks) and looked forward to seeing the release of Episode I at midnight only to feel slighted and let down. My second in line as many have pointed out would be the 4th movie of the Indy Series. I absolutely love the Indy movies as many have pointed out and no matter how hard I try to defend the 4th movie, there is no defending. For all of the ladies out there- I think one of the others that would make the list is Sex and the City II. A couple of others that still annoy me, Jaws the Revenge and Oceans 12 which I still have not been able to stay awake through on any occasion of watching.

  18. Isaac Lin says:

    Regarding Rocky V: it has a promising start with a return to Rocky’s roots, and the alienation of his son amplified by Rocky taking on a protege, but unfortunately it fails to develop these story lines.

    As mentioned in earlier comments, Attack of the Clones had some truly cringe-worthy dialogue that made you wonder just what Anakin and Amidala saw in each other (there was some stilted stuff in Phantom Menace, but it didn’t have to carry the weight of a budding relationship).

    Drew McWeeny from decided on the following order for showing the movies to his sons: Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, Return of the Jedi. With this order, you get a sense of the whole redemption arc of Anakin/Darth Vader.

    Drew writes up his children’s reactions to the movies; here is the first article for the Star Wars series:

    • John Gale says:

      Hmm…seems McWeeny made a major strategic error. The correct order is Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and that’s it. Maybe, maybe, *maybe* show just Revenge of the Sith first. Maybe (I wouldn’t, but it’s at least somewhat defensible). Alternatively, introduce the Thrawn Trilogy or KOTOR or something else if the kids are clamoring for more content. If I ever have kids, I’m going to do my best to protect them from terrible things like Episodes I and II.

  19. KHAZAD says:

    Welcome back, comments. In your latest poll, I noticed “Driving too slow” and “Riding on your tail”, two diametrically opposed answers, are nearly tied at the top and both well above all other answers.

    At least for highway driving, anyone who says riding your tail should stay out of the left lane. Anyone who says driving to slow should not ride anybody’s tail unless they are in it.

    • Agreed. To an extent. Around here we don’t have any speed limits above 55mph. If I’m doing 75 in the left lane, a full 20 mph over the limit, and you want to go faster than that, you’ll have to play Pole Position. I’m not going to change lanes to accommodate your desire to 30mph over the limit when I’m “only” 20 over the limit.

      I voted for “other.” My biggest annoyance is people who break first and THEN put on their turn signal. If I’m behind you, I don’t care if you’re turning right or left. The main purpose your turn signal serves with respect to the cars behind you is to alert them that you’re about to slow down in the middle of the street.

    • Ed says:

      I almost posted this same thing — if I’m going 15+ over in the left lane, then no, I’m not moving over to get stuck behind slower cars to let you drive 100 mph. But if you’re driving relatively slow in the left lane, then yes, you need to get out of the way.

    • bluwood says:

      The rule is if you’re not passing, get out of the left lane. It’s not about your actual speed, it’s about the passing thing.

      It’s important for non-passing fast lane drivers to understand that it is illegal for another car to pass them on the right. So if I get up on your tail when you’re slow and the right lane is clear, please move out of the freakin’ way.

    • Ed says:

      This comment has been removed by the author.

    • Ed says:

      I know — that’s actually the point I was trying to make. If I’m in the left lane because there’s a line of cars to the right of me going slower than I am, and I’m passing them, then get off my ass. I’m not going to move over and get behind those slow cars. I will move over once I’m past them and it’s actually clear….I can’t help it if it’s a line of 25 cars behind a tractor trailer and it might take me a couple of minutes to get past all of them.

      If there’s nobody over there, then yeah, get out of the way — if they want to break the law and drive 90, then hopefully a police officer will pull them over very soon.

    • @bluwood…It is true that on many two-lane roads, the left lane is designated for passing and otherwise you’re supposed to be in the right. That’s not necessarily the case when you’re dealing with three-lane or larger roads. On the LIE, the highway I most frequently, it is mostly three lanes and sometimes 4. Never 2. Trucks are not allowed in the left lane. Everyone else is, at all times. It is not designated for passing only.

      And even for two-lane roads where the left lane is designated for passing, that does not mean it’s actually illegal to pass on the right. If someone is doing 60 in the left lane of a 65 zone on a two-lane road and you pass them on the right at 64 (i.e., under the speed limit) that is 100% legal.

  20. Feralad says:

    Glad to see the comments back. The funny thing about this post: I’ve probably watched Star Wars: Phantom of the Menace more than other movie in my life. Not kidding. I can’t tell you why. The only reason that sounds a wee-bit understandable is that it was my childhood. Jar-Jar Binks could possibly be my favorite character of all-time.

    As I look back, the movie is atrocious. As bad as Joe says. But I was a kid? That has to give me a pass, right?

    This movie was my childhood. And yet I have absolutely no problem with Joe simplifying it to the worst of the worst. Either I just trashed my childhood (somebody grab me a tissue) or I just gave big props to Joe for having enough favor in my eyes to do so.

  21. Gamer vista says:

    Rocky V is stunning in showcasing the world of boxing. I enjoy watching movie with regards on the story of boxing.

    Bet 365

  22. GregTamblyn says:

    Good topic.

    Never Say Never Again was a snoozer but at least had Connery. For my money you could add ANY of the Roger Moore Bonds to this list. Heck, add all of ’em.

    Spiderman 3 was pretty stinky too.

  23. Brian O'Neal says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Brian O'Neal says:

    Joe! I bet someone else has already shared this next link, but in case it’s new to you:

    it’s a “what if” scenario in which Phantom Menace was actually a good movie

  25. Marco says:

    yay! Comments! (I was reading this post and thinking as I read it that I hope comments get turned back on soon.)

    I’d move “batman and robin” into the #1 spot. Somewhere in the Batman franchise somebody decided that the path to glory was to add more stars. Worst decision ever.

  26. Panicstreak says:

    Slap Shot II. Stephen Baldwin on skates.

  27. Tampa Mike says:

    Most movie franchises start getting stale at #3. Unless they are really well written, which let’s face it – most are not, the characters have become very flat and the story very thin. Time is a killer too because you start getting a lot of years from 1 to 3. I am trying to come up with a good #4 movie, and I don’t think I can. Not even one.

  28. Jeff says:

    I don’t go to movies much, but you had me at “Margo wore a cape of some sort and that was kind of it.”

  29. Scott says:

    Great list but regret your total lack of respect for Trolls 2. The movie is flat out great in its awfulness. There are (spoiler alert) no trolls, only goblins hence the name of the town (Nilbog, think backwards)and a scene of a kid peeing on his family’s food so he can save them. OK, it was not filmed as a sequel but given the name after shooting in hopes of getting some mileage off of the not complete failure of Trolls but it has “2” in the title and deserves more love.

  30. Love the entry. For my judgement the ‘worst sequel’ title has to be judged in comparison to the movie that preceded it and the farther away it is in quality from the original than the worse it is. For my money, ‘The Two Jakes’ is by far the worst sequel ever made due to the perfection that is ‘Chinatown’. Never has a sequel been less necessary.

    • THIS is an excellent call. By screwing with an undisputed classic (be it “Chinatown” or “Jaws” or “Caddyshack”), the producers earn their own suite in a special Circle of Hell. There is a reason why there was never a “Citizen Kane 2: Son of Kane” or “Wizard of Oz 2: Return to the Rainbow” or “It’s a Wonderful Life 2: Potter’s Petals.” (Of course, on the other hand, it makes the accomplishments of “Godfather II”, “Empire Strikes Back” and the long “Harry Potter” series even more astonishing.)

      My idea for your next movie-themed column: “The Worst ‘Great’ Movies.” Fertile ground and undisputably contentious. My top two: (1) “Easy Rider” (has aged abot as gracefully as Joan Rivers; is now laugh-out-loud bad); (2) “Forrest Gump” (outkicked its coverage by 50 yards; A nice little movie idea? Yes. Epic Oscar classic? Nope. And I hate it when Zemeckis tries to get cute by rewriting history. Prime example: when he has Michael Fox “teach” the Duck Walk to Chuck Berry in Back to the Future.” Yuck.)

    • Unknown says:

      There actually was a Wizard of Oz 2, 1985’s Return to Oz. Quite different than the original, but technically a sequel none the less.

  31. Unknown says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. Unknown says:

    Yeah comments!

    I have to totally agree with you on Highlander II.

    My only memory of it is that it was FORGETTABLE! However the first Highlander is one of my favorite movies of all time. And it would seem the franchise realized what made the series so popular and parlayed that success into a very good (later) sequel in Highlander: Endgame.

    If you haven’t seen it I would definitely recommend watching it and removing all memories you may have of the terrible Highlander II!

  33. nickpa1 says:

    i saw rocky v and wished i could be one of the kids bullying rocky’s son.

  34. yoyodyne says:

    Nit: Never say Never Again is not a ‘real’ James Bond film. It’s just a remake of an earlier one where MGM didn’t have sole rights, so the new studio of course cast Sean Connery.

    Allen Quartermain and the Lost Cities of Gold is the worst sequel ever, fwiw.

  35. Just thought of another travesty, ‘Another 48 Hours’. Shoehorned plot with disinterested stars equals trash. How could they do that to Kehoe?

  36. bluwood says:

    On the flip side, which sequel is BETTER:

    1. Godfather Part II
    2. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
    3. The Dark Knight

    Personally, as much as I LOVE STEV:TESB, I’d vote for The Dark Knight.

    • Ed says:

      Well, even though Godfather Part II is probably the best out of those three movies (despite how much I love Dark Knight and ESB), I think the original Godfather is still a better movie. ESB and Dark Knight, on the other hand, are definitely better than Star Wars and Batman Begins. I think the Dark Knight is a bigger step up from Batman Begins than ESB is from Star Wars, so…

      Grading them just on how much better they were than the original, I’d go Dark Knight, ESB, Godfather II. Rating them as individual movies….that’s tougher. I think Godfather II would have to be first, but I don’t know that I could pick between ESB and Dark Knight.

    • NRJyzr says:

      I have to agree with Ed, there’s a larger gap between Dark Knight and Batman Begins than there is between Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back. Even though Empire has the best “I love you” scene in history.

    • John Gale says:

      Empire, hands down. I always thought The Godfather was wildly overrated (probably the single most disappointing movie experience of my life because I had heard from so many sources that it was the best movie ever, and I honestly don’t think it’s even in my top five mob movies), though the sequel is significantly better. It’s still a movie I’ve only seen once, though, and I don’t feel compelled to watch it again. The Dark Knight was a great movie, but I think it isn’t quite as good as Batman Begins was (it’s really weird to me that so many people think that the Dark Knight was flawless when it completely screwed up Two-Face). Empire was a lot better than A New Hope, and it’s the best of the three movies mentioned.

  37. PhiskPhan says:

    Am I the only person who thinks Ghostbusters 2 is better than Ghostbusters 1? I liked the Statue of Liberty better than the StaPuf Marshamallow Man, loved the idea of a river of bile flowing beneath the city, liked Rick MOranish better as a lawyer than a CPA, etc.

    • Can I say equal? I keep thinking of both, and I can’t deny either one. I generally think of the first movie as introducing the world and the second as having fun with it, but they both did such a great job with both tasks. I’d say 2 had a little more fun, but 1 was fantastic, and arguably had the harder job.

  38. Bob Post says:

    I can’t disagree with any of the above postings. I always wished they would have stopped at the original 3 Star Wars movies, and left it alone. Indy was great in 1, okay in 2, very good in 3, and downright awful in 4. But the worst sequel I think I’ve ever seen was “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles”. The first was so beloved that it started the whole Australian hat thing. The second was at least tolerable. But the third was embarassing. Total fail.

  39. Apologies for not reading enough comments to know if this has been said, but the fourth alien was one of my worst movie +/- experiences. Sure, I knew going in that the entire premise of the movie was Hollywood studio sees monetary opportunity, but it’s such a cool series, Sigourney was back, Winona and Ron Perlman joined in, AND they got the guy who did City of Lost Children and (eventually) Amelie to direct it. It was a nonsensical mess. In the brilliant and trippy City of Lost Children, a character shows up unexpectedly, receives looks of surprise, and then says, “who did you expect, Santa Claus?” which worked, because the opening is a weird dream sequence involving many Santa Clauses, and it was a weird movie where lines like that could sneak in. In the 4th Alien movie, a character shows up unexpectedly, receives looks of surprise, and says, “Who did you expect, Santa Claus?” IT MADE NO SENSE. AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY.

    I feel better now. Thanks.

  40. Oh wait, just thought of it: S. Darko, the truly atrocious sequel to Donnie Darko. Do not see it. I was angry for a week after that I had seen it/it exists. I can’t think of a bigger drop from original to sequel. (The Neverending Story 2 was also atrocious, but not the blight on humanity that was/is S. Darko).

  41. Mark says:

    Bad News Bears – laugh out loud funny. The sequel can only be described as atrocious.

    Superman I and II – both very good. Superman III and the latest Superman with Kevin Spacey? Unspeakably horrible.

  42. Grulg says:

    Attack of the Clones is pretty bad, but so are most of the Supes sequels, Alien 3, etc.

  43. David says:

    When in doubt, pick the sequel by Saturday Night Live alumni: “Wayne’s World 2,” for instance. Or “Blues Brothers 2000.”

    But I just might go with “Teen Wolf Too,” or 2. Whatever it is. No reason to do the first, so make another one.

  44. Will Osser says:

    I may be the only person in the world who liked Leonard Part 6. That’s likely because I never saw it. But I liked it because I just happened to be driving through Golden Gate park one day and there was a porsche 928, a normally ugly car, but it was painted with camouflage colors AND it had a tank turret on top. Now, that’s just plain ridiculous, but there it was in the middle of the park, parked, and unattended. I later found out it was going to be a movie with Bill Cosby, who’s terribly funny. Thankfully, I have never seen it, and my brief encounter with the car was just a happy stroke of luck.

    I agree with most of your choices. I’d like to give a shout out to Star Trek V, just because it was beyond terrible.

  45. Dodger300 says:

    Michelle Pfeiffer is definitely a net positive. She is abslutely to die for in “Into the Night!”

  46. Justin Zeth says:

    Most fans decided the fourth Indiana Jones movie was terrible as soon as it was announced.

    It was mediocre. “Mediocre” makes it very poor compared to its lofty predecessors, of course, but it’s not unwatchable like Star Wars I or II or Rocky V.

  47. My vote for worst movie sequel is the Exorcist II with a bombastic Richard Burton, a no longer cute and innocent Linda Blair, Louise Fletcher bringing her career to a crashing halt so soon after Cuckoo’s Nest, and lots and lots of locusts. The audience, filled mostly with Catholic priests, voted unanimously after the film ended to convert to Scientology.

  48. Cool, Ice, Freeze, Winter, Ice, Gotham, Ice, Freeze. Et cetera

  49. hot cup joe says:

    Just wanted to mention the Blues Brothers 2000 is a way underrated sequel, good enough to make my own “sleeper movies” list. The homage to the opening “get out of jail” scene from the original is a postmodern classic…..

  50. Leonard Part 6 was so bad that I snuck into it (after seeing something else) -and- walked out of it…

  51. Blues Brothers 2000 was dreadful. The idea of having -another- cop car (and a Crown Vic, no less) was awful, Goodman was terrible (and he’s usually not), and they kept trying to get the entire band in shot with high school arc blocking where everyone’s in a line facing the same direction. It lacked all the sense of absurdity that the first one had, and for comparative evidence, just think of every ridiculous scene Carrie Fisher had in the first one.

  52. Ben says:

    Episode II was A LOT worse than Episode I. At least Episode I has Darth Maul. Episode II was full of Hayden Christiansen’s atrocious acting and that series of trainwrecks were Padme and Anakin’s “love” scenes. ugh.

  53. Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home. Save the whales, lose your lunch.

  54. mbrandt23 says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Beverly Hills Cop III. It was horrendous.

  55. I’m surprise to disagree with you on something, Mr. Posnanski… But The Story Of Us was for me a great film, with many, many scenes right on the money, reaching to my own experiences of a love life and a family life. Just the scene with the couple and their parents, all in the same bed, was a very strong way to illustrate this kind of situation where you not only bring your own criterias in the discussion, but also your parents’… Anyway, just my two cents. :o)

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