Splash

Jason Takes Manhattan

“The big city? Cops? Shootings? Car chases? That kind of thing?” “Well, no. No shooting stuff. It’s more like songs and dances.” – Exchange between Dabney Coleman and Kermit the Frog, The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) “It’s like this. We live in claustrophobia, the land of steel and concrete. Trapped by dark waters. There is no escape. Nor do we want it. We’ve come to thrive on it and each other. You can’t get the adrenaline pumpin’ without the terror, good people. I love this town.” – Radio DJ, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) “When people see New York in the movies, they want to come here.” – Mayor Ed Koch, The New York Times (1985) Two movies released in the 1980s used the phrase “Take(s) Manhattan” in their title. The first was the latest G-rated feature starring lovable puppet characters from a popular children’s variety show. The second was the latest R-rated installment of a slasher horror franchise. Released almost exactly five years apart, they each saw their familiar — iconic even — characters visit New York City, and with slightly varying results they each made light of the rotting of the Big Apple at the time, creating pieces of virtual tourism that either dismissed or embraced the fact that the place was turning into a terrifying cesspool that no outsider should dare enter.

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Too Sequel Trio

This may just be a pet peeve involving semantics, but the use of the word “too” in sequel titles over the past 30 years has been really irritating. The logical reason for having a title ending in the word — as opposed to the explanation that it’s simply different from using the homophonic number, as “2,” “II” or “Two” — is to indicate that the new movie is not so much a continuation of the original as a fresh start with a similar protagonist or premise. “Too” in this case means “also,” as in another. Sure, it can also mean “more,” but it makes greater sense if Think Like a Man Too is about new characters who must think like men rather than the same guys who must further think like men. But it isn’t. I’m not sure of any kind of literary precedent to the “too” sequel prior to Hollywood’s apparent first use in 1984. There isn’t an easy way to filter through the history of books for examples. But it is something that occurs, and just recently there was a work of erotic fiction called “Checking Her Cherry, Too,” which must be commended for getting the usage correct. According to the official description on Amazon, “It’s not necessary to have read the first ‘Checking Her Cherry’ to enjoy this story, but after reading it, you’ll certainly want to! This sequel features different characters, but shares the same title theme.” Clearly it’s not too difficult to understand when “too” is appropriate […]

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Science fiction has long been considered by some experts to be a lesser genre than traditional dramas and character studies. Because it lends itself so easily to exploitation, science fiction isn’t always given the respect it deserves. Sure, it tends to be a box office winner, as evidenced by the fact that more than half of the all-time domestic grossing films fit easily in that genre (with at least two more – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Shrek 2 – marginally related as genre films). Still, some still consider science fiction something not to be taken seriously. It is for this reason that “legitimate” film directors might shy away from science fiction in lieu of more important or significant projects. However, many directors got their start or their earliest fame from working in science fiction and other allegedly exploitative and pulp genres. This week’s release of Prometheus reminds us that even though Ridley Scott has directed historical epics (Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven), military action films (Black Hawk Down), crime thrillers (American Gangster) and straight dramas (Thelma & Louise), he got his start in science fiction with Alien and Blade Runner. Scott isn’t the only director to begin a successful career in science fiction. Here are seven other directors who started out or received some of their earliest success in this genre.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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