Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CROSSTOPIX #3: Part 2 of 3

Welcome back to this week's edition with CrossTopix! Alongside STVO, is movie director and a new member of the CrossTopix team, Nick Smith. Now for those that haven't read already, Nick Smith is making a movie called "Munger Road."

As always, if you haven't read Part 1, check it out here. Now that you've caught up... let's resume discussion.

4. Clash of the Titans comes to theaters on April 2nd and later in April, A Nightmare on Elm Street releases nationally. What do they both have in common? They’re both remakes! Ever since the early 2000s we have been seeing a lot more movies being remade for this generation. Do you enjoy seeing some of your favorites (or movies you didn’t care for) being re-envisioned or do you feel that the studios need to start being more creative and produce more movies that are original properties?

STVO: Ah!!!!! There are WAY too many remakes currently out and on their way. Remember when it was kind of unique to see a movie being remade or when a new original movie got released that you would make comparisons of that movie to older favorites? Now we have movie companies re-launching movies that were released a decade or less, remakes to some movies that could probably still have sequels to their original series, and other annoyances. There are some remakes I’ll still see (Clash of the Titans and A Nightmare on Elm Street come to mind) but I find it very pathetic how many unoriginal movies are out there and that sometimes they pick some lesser known movies just to make it seem like it’s an original movie (I Spit on Your Grave, Short Circuit and Drop Dead Fred I’ve heard talks of possibly going the remake route.)

I did not like the remake of Dawn of the Dead as it did not have the excitement and thrills that the original movie has and to me, the remake came off as a watered down version (not in violence, but being an enjoyable movie.) So far only one movie comes to mind of me liking it more than the original. That movie would be My Bloody Valentine 3D. I do LOVE Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, I always debate if I like them more than the original two Tim Burton Batman movies though. While I prefer less remakes to be made, one movie I think a quality director should make is Spawn. The comic book series and HBO animated series were fantastic, but the movie left many fans (and new comer fans like myself) very disappointed.

Nick: Well I said in my interview that it is disappointing to me that my generation... our generation... seems to only be good enough to remake or re-imagine the movies that the previous generations already made. Are we out of stories? Looking at the horror genre alone... where are our Freddy Kruger’s or Michael Myers? Aside from Jigsaw and the Ghost Faced Killer from SCREAM... we have yet to create anything iconic. I understand Hollywood’s position on remakes and why they make good business sense. Look, movies cost a lot of money to make and market... and these remakes are a lot safer to do because they have a proven track record. Hollywood would stop making them if they weren’t successful.

On the other hand, I wonder if all of these remakes were to be replaced by new material and new stories... whether or not they would be JUST as successful. Just about every remake has been a waste of time but there have been some good ones. The Amityville Horror was decent. I am actually very curious about the new Nightmare on Elm Street because I believe they are actually doing something different with the story... I don’t want to spoil it... but at least it looks more promising than the Friday the 13th remake.

To answer the question, I do think the movie studios can be more creative but they also are running a business. Perhaps audiences will be soon be burned out by seeing these movies and Hollywood will have to go back to the drawing board. I actually think the one movie that could turn audiences perceptions a little bit will be the new Spiderman movie. Are you F’N joking? We get to watch the same f***ing movie that will BARELY be a decade old and the last sequel will be less than four years old? Spiderman 3 was an abomination. It was the Batman & Robin to the Spiderman series but look, that doesn’t mean SONY needed to start over. The only, ONLY reason why Batman Begins worked was because we hadn’t seen a Batman movie in seven years and it was a new story that had never been told. The first BATMAN, directed by Tim Burton, told about 2 minutes of Bruce Wayne’s story. Batman Begins was fresh and original and I’m glad that I am reinvested in the characters that Christopher Nolan has brought to the screen. Do I really want to reinvest in watching Spiderman come to be? Does his Uncle get shot? How did I predict that? Because I just F’N watched that movie.

5. Sometimes people view movie sequels as a negative occurrence or at least they end up seeing them as not living up to the originals. Despite that, there have been many movies that not only match their predecessor but are superior to the original! What is your favorite movie sequel of all-time? Bonus Question: Favorite Video Game Sequel.

STVO: One very obvious sequel I loved was The Dark Knight! It had so many exciting thrills, phenomenal acting from Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, and just a much superior story to Batman Begins, even though that movie had an already impressive story. If a third movie is made, I don’t foresee it surpassing The Dark Knight.

From my childhood a movie sequel that still hits my heart today is “Back to the Future Part 2.” Seeing the depth of how they tried to make an “accurate” representation of the future during 1985 with Pepsi and Pizza Hut endorsements and many fascinating ideas such as going back to the past and placing bets on many different baseball games to become a millionaire was brilliant! Watching it today, you have a good laugh seeing a 1980s representation of what things will look like in 5 years from now. Yeah, I don’t foresee mini-Pizza Hut pizzas growing larger or a 3D Jaws movie looking like what they had pictured. Still, I have to pick this as my favorite sequel of all-time. Runners-Up Include: Devil’s Rejects (sequel to House of 1000 Corpses), Dawn of the Dead, and let’s not forget the “epic” ending in Short Circuit 2 with Johnny 5 jumping in the air for celebration, hahaha.

I won’t go into too much depth with the video game answer (this one could work as a separate question again later on) but some of my favorite sequels include Zelda: A Link to the Past (With Ocarina of Time coming close!), Super Mario World, Sonic & Knuckles, and Resident Evil 4!

Nick: The best sequel, HANDS DOWN is THE DARK KNIGHT. There has NEVER been a sequel that has been produced quite like that movie. I’d like ANYBODY to name me one movie that not only lived up to the IMMENSE hype that TDK had but then surpassed it. From the IMAX production, live stunts, filming around the World, the cast... everything about this movie was EPIC. TDK IS the definitive sequel and comic book movie... surpassing my previous favorite.... Spiderman 2.

I know a lot of people would say The Godfather Part II. F*** the Godfather series! Yes, it helped shaped what we watch as movies today but I will take Goodfellas, Casino, Scarface, or Road to Perdition over the Godfather any day... it terms of Gangster Movies. Also, just to throw this out there... I think Scream 2 is superior to the original Scream.

As far as best sequel to a video game... I would go with either Super Mario Bros. 3 for the NES or Mortal Kombat 2, for the Sega Genesis. Most disappointing sequel? Resistance 2 for the PS3.

6. There are many different types of horror movies: Monster movies, psychological thrillers, serial killers, sci-fi, etc. What genre is your favorite and what makes you enjoy it the most?

STVO: I love a good horror movie, even if it doesn’t end up scaring me. As long as it has a good story, is a little comedic or just one that has an event similar to those you actually could believe seeing on the news, those ones work best for me. That’s why I like movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hostel, and the Devil’s Rejects. These involve some of the worst, most deranged people you can ever think of torturing mostly innocent people with no remorse for what they have done. Sure the acting may not always be that greatest, but to see these actions happening and picturing the relation of these events to a real one, sends a horrifying chill down my spine. Something I feel a good horror movie should have.

I really enjoy the Saw movies as well, while I can’t picture someone being as big of a mastermind like Jigsaw making all those traps for that many people, it creates an interesting what-if scenario and it’s unique scenario of how crazy one man gets by trying to do good for the world, that instead, he ends up doing so much wrong!!! I respect monster and sci-fi movies as they can be entertaining as well (for some of them, very humorous as well.) I personally don’t like ghost stories or those movies where you don’t see the person/thing killing the victims. Those movies don’t send any chills to me and not seeing the person committing these acts just doesn’t terrify me whatsoever. Sixth Sense was decent but not a personal favorite. Movies like The Blair Witch Project come off as somewhat lazy to me personally because to me, they just couldn’t properly paint a good vision of a murderer. Seeing people cry and complain about who’s giving them a scare for their life without showing the tormenter or the actions doesn’t receive any sympathy from me (I’m talking about the movie world, not real life events!!!) I also did not like Cloverfield as it screamed “Blair Witch Wanna-be” but with a creature like Godzilla only not nearly as interesting. None of that viral marketing had me interested at all. While it may be better than the last two I discussed, I have no interest in seeing Paranormal Activity as I just see more of that “oh it’s there and it’s going to kill us!!!” garbage without seeing what really happens.

To cap off, I also want to say I enjoy movies/series such as Child’s Play, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th (any but the original two, Jason’s mom, haha!), Leprechaun, or real B-movie goodness like Gingerdead Man. These movies aren’t scary, but they are entertaining and with characters like Freddy Krueger or Chucky, I always get a good a laugh!

Nick: My favorite sub-genre from Horror would be psychological thrillers. I F’N hate Zombie movies but I’m into mostly everything from SCREAM, to the RING, to A Nightmare on Elm Street, Leprechaun, The Blair Witch Project, Final Destination, etc. Other than zombie... I dabble in it all. I’m glad Hollywood is pretty much off their Japanese horror remake binge... Wasn’t the biggest fan of that genre either. Not a big fan of the “Torture Porn” genre either such as the Saw sequels, Hostel, etc. Although the first SAW movie was fantastic... but it’s nothing like the sequels.

What I like most about horror movies... is that it really is one genre that affects audience’s senses and emotions the most. You can be terrified, laugh, in suspense, smile, cry (maybe, I cry when I watch TROLL 2), and it also has the MOST LOYAL fan base of any genre. You feel like you are apart of a larger group when you are in a theater watching a horror movie because it caters to a special audience.

The most fun I have EVER had in a movie theater was watching two different HORROR movies. Seeing the Ring, back in 2003, was an experience I will never forget. Now you have to remember that back then... none of us knew what we were in for and during most of the movie I was actually using my NOKIA cell phone to block the movie screen... I was terrified. Freddy Vs. Jason was the other... my experience in that theater was probably influenced by the fact that we were at a inner-city mega-plex in Michigan and the audience definitely took sides on who they wanted to win. Freddy Kruger 4-Life!

In closing, stop pirating movies. I’m not going to preach... but everybody reading this... think about your job for a second. Do you like the fact that it pays you money? Movies are people’s jobs. They should be paid for their job... and piracy is actually forcing people to lose their jobs. Whether or not you hate your job or not... it would kind of suck to lose it because of theft... If you were, say, a manager at Walgreens... it would be ABSOLUTE B.S. to lose your job because of too many tampons or candy bars were being stolen.

STVO: While I don't like to do CrossACTION segments until Friday, I will state I wholeheartedly agree with Nick's last paragraph. It's been believed that Hostel 2 didn't succeed as well as the first one (especially in other countries) due to the movie being pirated before it was even released! I personally enjoyed the movie and am very upset that there won't be a sequel to that movie (or at least a theatrical one.) That could happen to any of your favorite movies and also, there's many ways to save money for movies via Netflix, signing up for free movie showings (I saw Hot Tub Time Machine way before it was officially released in theaters legally AND FOR FREE!), etc. Take the part of people losing their jobs seriously at least, this is a bad economic time here!

That is all for discussion questions of CrossTopix, CrossACTION will take place on Friday as usual. STVO will not do a rebuttal/agreement on movies being pirated again, as he has something else on his mind he'd like to discuss. Nick very likely has something else up to his sleeve too.

In the meantime, please leave some comments about this week's discussion or even future suggestions on what we should discuss or do to make this site better for you. Also, become fan of CrossTopix on Facebook by joining the page right here.

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