As Pitch Perfect 2 inches closer to its debut, my anxiety becomes more and more palpable. The first one was good. I saw it for free at an advanced screening, and then I saw it three more times in theaters because I never grew out of that phase when you’re a toddler and you crave repetition.
And yet, as much as I loved the first, I’m wary about the second because it only exists due to the first being hugely popular, and not because it was an inspired story that beat from someone’s heart as if the story itself was their lifeblood. And maybe my standards are too high, but those are the only stories I like.
Remember the good old days before everything was a franchise? I literally don’t; I was born in 1986. That’s four years after they decided Grease 2 was a good idea, so without question, I was born into a world which dictated that if something is good, we keep remaking it until it’s bad. And I don’t really know when that became the standard. Just imagine if there had been a Casablanca 2. You know what happened when Casablanca wrapped and a guy said, “Hey what do you all think about a part two?” They said, “Go home, Larry. You haven’t seen your wife in two months.”
I’m not saying that sequels are necessarily bad, okay? Sister Act 2 was a literal gift from heaven. I’m pretty sure it was directed by actual Jesus, and not Bill Duke like IMDb says. But Whoopi Goldberg, in her everlasting wisdom, shut it down after that, because all good stories end, and also a bunch of the nuns died. Whoopi gets it.
And that got me thinking. I realized that the best chance a reboot has for being successful is pure intentions. With pure intentions, money isn’t the prime objective. All the actors (usually the originals) are there because they want to be there. The work is good because it comes from a place of creativity, and not a place of projected box office numbers. Fan excitement is often born naturally, measured by hashtags and ComicCon buzz, instead of being drummed up by marketing campaigns, and timing is dependent on the stars aligning (the actors, not the cosmos – people are busy these days) and not the immediate turnaround that rides the hype of the original project. So with all this in mind, I looked to all the exciting new reboots with enlightened eyes, and braced my expectations:
Zoolander 2 (2016)
It’s been 14 years since the original, and as much as I loved Zoolander, I’m not sure I will ever feel like it needs a sequel, mainly because of all the iterations that crew of comedians and actors have produced since. That being said, I will undoubtedly see it anyway, even if it’s only to see if Vince Vaughn reprises his non-speaking role as Derek Zoolander’s brother. I should also mention that the flawlessness with which Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson announced the project is unsurpassed, and if the movie is as charming as the unveiling, I won’t consider it a waste of time.
Wet Hot American Summer (Summer 2015)
A cult hit to begin with, the original launched the careers of just about everyone that starred. Despite several huge film obligations, literally the entire cast has signed on for the eight episode season, even parts as minuscule as H. Jon Benjamin as the Can of Vegetables. It’s hard to naysay that kind of enthusiasm. The oddball humor seems to lend itself not just to feature length films, but also TV episodes, so I’m optimistic that the change of format will be a good thing. Whoopi would approve.
The X Files (TBD)
Gillian Anderson (who, whoa, got smokin’ hot) is the one who really got the buzz bubblin’ on this one. She and Chris Hardwick launched a hashtag, and while there are no solid plans in place, all necessary parties have expressed interest. After nine successful seasons and a film, I think fans were more or less satisfied with the long and meaningful life of The X Files, but the premise is a fountain that seems never to run dry, and after more than a decade, the special effects are sure to improve, right?
Plus this 2013 reunion photo stirred all kinds of emotion in me, so not only do Mulder and Scully have to reunite, but Gillian and David have to have a long and secret love affair just like the one Kate and Leo have obviously been hiding.
Twin Peaks (2016)
The subject matter in Twin Peaks kind of leads me to believe that any extension of the story would just be convoluted, but the entire thing got pretty convoluted originally, so I guess if it’s staying true to form, it should be all right? With David Lynch at the helm, it’s sure to at least be original, and far from boring, and the piqued intrigue alone makes the effort worthwhile, in my opinion. Plus everyone is going to binge watch the original, and I just really love when we can all get together and appreciate something. It’s nice.
Ghostbusters, The Girl Version (2016)
First off, I’m annoyed that this now has to be called “The Girl Version” but that’s a completely different topic. I find the entirely new point of view on a tried-and-true plot to be totally exciting, especially when comedy’s funniest women make up the team. Plus, despite the outside-the-box casting that launched a thousand misogynistic Twitter rants, Dan Aykroyd is involved, and his blessing makes this completely legit.
Ghostbusters, The Guy Version (2016)
AKA nothing new and exciting. This reboot is the equivalent of that kid who won’t let you play with his toys because you’re not doing it right. They wanted to make sure women didn’t have the chance to ruin Ghostbusters like they ruined voting and the workforce, so they slapped a new name on the Marvel Model and called it a day. A testosterone-vamped version does nothing for me, and since I already inexplicably boycott anything Channing Tatum is in anyway, I probably won’t see this. Even though Dan Aykroyd is also involved in this version, I’m giving it thirty thumbs down.
Granted, even with the purest intentions, projects can be a letdown. I, like millions of others, shouted the war cry for more Arrested Development, and when the newest season was released on Netflix, despite mustering all my unwavering fanhood, I was underwhelmed. I just was. The cast was back, the writing was smart, the fan support was there, and yet something just wasn’t the same. Maybe you just can’t duplicate perfection.
Conversely, Better Call Saul, which by all counts should have been the Joey of AMC, is pretty fuckin’ good. The perfect formula still eludes us. I fully expect Victor to post in two years how wrong I am about everything. (But not about Girl Ghostbusters being way better than Boy Ghostbusters. There is no doubt in my mind about that one.) Despite my anxiety, I am a relentless optimist and a nostalgia junkie, so as long as Hollywood continues to dredge up old goodies, I will hope for the best and throw my money at them, along with literally everyone else. Cheers.