People Getting Played Off
Cut AWays To Miserable Stars
Veteran Stars Doing Absolutely Anything
Rubbish Red Carpet Filler
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments section below!
Awards season. That unapologetically back-slappy period where society’s richest and most privileged come together to reward each other with golden statues. While us ‘normies’ (that’s probably what they call us, right?) don’t get to partake in the fun, that doesn’t mean we come away empty handed. Our gift is getting to see first hand the stream of painfully awkward situations these live ceremonies often birth. Moments like...
People Getting Played Off
Let’s start with the basics. Watching stars fumble through their acceptance speeches is often a hotbed for awkward award show moments. Not least of all when they start to get played off halfway through their ‘Thank You’’s, ‘I Love You’s’ and ‘Oh God, this is so unexpected’’s. Some throw caution to the wind, refusing to have their moment in the sun cut short. Others meanwhile start to get flustered and decide to power through, increasing their rate of speech to T&C-levels of super-speed and coming across like malfunctioning robots. Family Guy funnyman Seth MacFarlane certainly saw the comedy in this when he hosted the Oscars back in 2013. And you thought swimming with sharks was tense.
Cut AWays To Miserable Stars
Being an awards show host is a thankless job. Try too hard and you get criticized for pushing things Ricky Gervais-levels of too far. Don’t try enough and you get labelled boring, no better than a garden variety James Franco and Anne Hathaway double-act. However regardless of the host, there’s one thing you can rely on: a bit of crowd interaction. This can go either way but it’s always funnier (for us, at least) when the person being discussed totally does not find the host’s comments remotely humorous. At. ALL. Craggy-faced misery guts Tommy Lee Jones is a fine example of this. In his own infamous words to Jim Carrey whilst shooting the (Razzie) award winning Batman Forever, he just cannot condone this kind of buffoonery.
Veteran Stars Doing Absolutely Anything
What’s that? Some veteran star is being honoured for their services to cinema? Oh, and they're going to accept the award ON STAGE, you say? Like, on live telly? Where absolutely anything can and probably will happen? Well then, that surely won’t be eye-scratchingly painfully viewing for everyone in the world, ever. Almost any time any veteran actor returns to the stage (Bar badass Christopher Lee, that is) to accept an honorary award the preceding spectacle is near-unwatchable. They’re chaperoned out confused, wide-eyed and often running on some sort of 5-minute internal delay, all while a sweaty-palmed hosts stands cautiously nearby to re-steer the car if they see it veering perilously towards the non-PC trees. Please, for the sake of your lasting legacy, stay at home.
Rubbish Red Carpet Filler
The grit-teeth awkwardness of award shows isn’t confined to the ceremony stage. Red carpet correspondents (a sort of B-Movie version of a main host, usually Alex Zayne-shaped) stalk the perimeter of the show, ready to pounce on unsuspecting celebs trying to get into the venue. With a camera and microphone thrusted in their face, the interviewee is then quizzed about all manner of boring stuff from clothes, predictions and whatever the hot-topic of the moment happens to be. However the real fun of this awards shows patter is its pure unpredictability. There’s something devilishly moreish about the combination of live telly and pure on-the-spot confusion that can result in some truly weird moments. Like when Paris Hilton’s mate Kimberly Stewart accidentally shot off down the red carpet on the chopper she was inexplicably riding or that time Nick Nolte forgot how to speak at 2012’s Oscars. This pre-show stroll is the gift that keeps on giving.
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It’s been awhile since we left Tony Soprano eating with his family in that diner. Two whole years have passed since Don Draper dreamed up his last big ad campaign at that mountain retreat. In just over a year’s time, Westeros will be through with fighting and the battle for the Iron Throne will be done and dusted. Old news. Over. Kaput. What will we watch then? Will there be anything out there in telly land worthy of taking the place of these epic water cooler shows or has the wave of amazing TV silently crashed into the shore and disappeared without any of us noticing?
It was shows like these that heralded in television’s golden age just over over a decade ago. In the years that followed, small screen entertainment just got better and better, from gripping hour-long dramas like The Wire and Breaking Bad to smart, quick-hit comedies like 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation. TV quickly established itself as the place to be, often overtaking its big screen counterparts in terms of quality, depth and overall enjoyment. Big name stars flocked to the series format and awards were won. It was even powerful enough to bring gone-before-their-time shows back from the dead, with avid viewers embracing high-brow programming and demanding more from those who controlled its fate. However while we were all busy binge watching, we stopped paying attention to how long this flip of fortune may last.
To say that 2017 saw a lot of changes in film and television is a bit of an understatement. Revelations about Harvey Weinstein not only rocked Hollywood but had ripple effects in all corners of show business, including television. Many of the shows that helped redefine what could be done in the format were affected. Kevin Spacey was unceremoniously fired from House of Cards; FX cut all future ties with Louis C.K; Transparent star Jeffrey Tambour hinted at his departure from the award-winning show and Netflix has yet to decide the fate of Aziz Ansari’s Master of None. Similar to how allegations against Brand New front-man Jesse Lacey signalled a time-to-move-on book-end to the emo genre for let down fans, perhaps this whistle blowing marks the end of a golden era for television entertainment.
Separating the art from the abusers involved in creating it can be a confusing process for all those who related to, and built aspects of their identity around, the shows impacted by recent allegations. For years, the stream of unparalleled and abundant television entertainment seemed too good to be true and as the Weinstein scandal and its fallout continues to unfold, we may have discovered that that's exactly what it was. Maybe this is the right time for television’s golden age to come to a close. As for what comes next? Only time will tell. However it’s safe to say that big changes are certainly on the way.
What do you think we can expect from television's Silver Age? Let me know in the comments section below!
2018’s Oscar nominations arrived earlier this week, offering a hopeful change of pace to shake up what most of us have come to expect from Academy voters. While an Oscar statuette is considered the highest praise an actor can receive, they’re not always awarded for the best performance on a star’s resume. Let’s take a look...
Let’s not bury the lead here - 2018 is shaping up to be Gary Oldman’s year, with the screen-vet and twice Academy nominated star looking likely to take home an Oscar for his immersive turn as UK Prime Minister and friendliest person you’re ever (not) likely to see on the tube, Winston Churchill. If he does win big, it’ll be no big surprise. Oldman’s made going to the cinema worthwhile for the better part of twenty-five years and while his take on Churchill is impressive, it’s hardly the role he’ll be remembered for. True Romance’s Dexyl Spivey or The Fifth Element’s Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg may not be welcome in the Academy’s Kodak Theatre but they’re more than welcome on the DVD shelves of die-hard fans. Will Oldman's turn as a prickly PM be as fondly remembered? Don't think so.
Is there anyone who so clearly wanted an Academy Award more than Leo DiCaprio? Pick a film at random from his IMDB resume. Go on. Take a look. No matter which title you land on, his performance in that movie could easily be considered as a contender for Best Actor. Here’s someone who not only seems to pick his roles based on their ability to blow socks off but who carefully curates his personal life off-screen to maintain the illusion and allow for easy immersion whenever we see him in a new character’s shoes. The guy even started strong; making his mainstream debut with a enviable performance in 1993’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. After missing out with classic turns in 2002’s Catch Me If You Can, 2004’s The Aviator and 2006’s The Departed, it took him literally crawling though the mud and putting himself through hell to get what he was after. Is it his best role? Nope. Did it do the job? You bet.
You’d be forgiven for thinking Jeff Bridges had some sort of advantage when it comes to industry recognition. As the son of Lloyd Bridges and younger brother to Beau, acting was seemingly in his blood and while it never appeared that he was all that interested in awards, that didn’t stop him from turning in performances that were worthy of them. It was his role as grizzled country singer Bad Blake in 2009’s Crazy Heart that won him his Academy Award, melding two passions that are clearly close to Bridges’ heart: acting and music. However the film is almost forgettable when it comes to his extensive back catalogue. Crazy Heart better than Tron, The Fisher King or The Big Lebowski? That’s just, like, the Academy’s opinion, man.
Sort-of-cockney-sort-of-American sounding actor Christian Bale is known for going to extreme lengths in the name of professional pretending AKA acting. Sometimes he’s losing an uncomfortable amount of weight, like when he appeared in 2004’s The Machinist. Sometimes he’s losing an uncomfortable amount of hair, like he did when he starred in (and won a Best Actor Oscar for) 2010’s The Fighter - and sometimes he’s just plain losing it and it's uncomfortable, like when he got all mad at that lighting guy whilst shooting 2009’s meandering sequel Terminator Salvation. Either way, the guy’s committed, and the Academy clearly acknowledged that - even if it did take them almost 25 years. While it’s undeniable that Bale is an actor worthy of an Academy Award, it’s hard not to think his talents should have have appreciated straight off the bat in Spielberg’s 1987 epic Empire of the Sun or even 2000’s unnerving American Psycho. Perhaps, like Patrick Bateman, his early work was a little too new wave for their tastes.
Did I miss anyone from this list? Let me know in the comment section below!
It may seem like all cinemas have to offer at the moment are glossy CGI superheroes and audience-dividing Star Wars adventures but look between the frames and you’ll see something that’s currently going unnoticed - and for good reason. It’s the waning dregs of the franchises that audiences forgot. More specifically, the would-be young adult franchises. You know the type - the ones that were adapted from popular young adult novels and came complete with soundtracks chock full of floppy-haired indie bands - and to everyone's surprise, they’re not quite dead yet.
It feels like ever since the whirlwind success of series like Twilight and The Hunger Games studios have constantly been on the lookout for the next tween-tale they can spin into Hollywood gold. However the formula for success isn’t always as cut-and-dry as simply finding a colourfully dystopian future and a couple of beautifully moody sentient cheekbones to lead it to peace. For the past few years the powers that be have been trying to preempt the inevitable conclusion of their biggest money makers by fast tracking new stories with sequel potential but despite their very best efforts, almost none of them have actually succeeded in doing what they set out to do.
Instead what these studios were left with was a sobering lesson in why you should never count your chickens before they’ve hatched. And us? We got to watch countless trailers for movies that had already been abandoned by their audiences but were determined to limp over the finish line. Films like The Divergent Series, a franchise with a plucky chosen-one hero, a society divided into five factions and a - wait, isn’t that just The Hunger Games? You may vaguely remember the release of part one back in 2014 but did you know that the franchise has released a sequel, a two-part threequel and still has an as-yet unmade conclusion in the pipeline? Didn’t think so.
What about The Maze Runner? With its down-trodden lead, trapped within a deadly-game that’s all that’s separating him from freedom… hang on, that sounds familiar too but were you aware that part three (yes, part three) is due later this year? At last, some surprising news! And these are just two of the films that made it this far. Others weren’t so lucky, like 2013’s The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones or 2014’s Vampire Academy, two movies that cut their losses after failing to impress at the box office.
While it may be true that anything can happen in the movie business, one certainty is that if something's popular, audiences are guaranteed to see more of it. However if the trial-and-error track record of the young adult genre proves anything, it's that more of the same is never a shortcut to success.
Do you think we need another young adult franchise? Let me know in the comment section below!
Cinema-wise, 2017 ended with a rift more divisive than a light-sabre swipe. Rian Johnson’s eagerly anticipated trilogy sandwich filler The Last Jedi hit screens and immediately split the opinions of seasoned Jedis and fledgling Padawans alike. Some (including Disney) thought it was exactly the breath of fresh air that the series needed, a gasp-inducing continuation that refused to let you get comfortable from the get-go, either via character twists or Porg humour. Others meanwhile felt that Johnson’s episode played a little too fast and loose with the universe, characters and Star Wars story tone that they hold so dear. For the first time ever, there was a clear love-it-or-hate-it vibe about the Skywalker saga. Talk about a disturbance in the force.
It raised an interesting point though: What is it exactly that makes a film any good? Can a film be purely good or purely bad or is the worth of each cinematic outing based purely on personal taste alone? December was an interesting time to talk about good and bad movies too, notably due to the release of James Franco’s The Disaster Artist. Debuting just a week or so before The Last Jedi, Franco’s film revealed the story behind The Room, Tommy Wiseau’s infamously terrible movie that’s since gone on to become a sleeper cult-hit with movie fans. With Franco likely to win big during award season (scratch that - already winning big) thanks to a pitch-perfect performance of a character once deemed too terrible to succeed, it blurs the lines even further on what constitutes good art in the eyes of viewers.
With movies like Star Wars, the task of earning the accolade of ‘good movie’ is an even trickier task. Fans have had years to paint their own personal futures for their favourite characters and dream up bespoke swan songs and additional adventures that no Disney-released canon storyline can ever hope to compete with. For every person who admired The Last Jedi’s unexpected new direction, there was someone disappointed that their latest trip to a galaxy far, far away left them a little short of satisfied. Try as you might, you just can’t please everyone - not even if you’re a money spewing powerhouse like Disney.
And yet it gets more nuanced still. Perhaps a film’s worth depends less on the quality of its story and performances and more on the the personal impact it has on viewers when it lands on their radars. As time has told, box office returns - despite often feeling like the be-all-end-all signifier of a film’s overall worth - mean little-to-nothing in the bigger picture of a movie’s lifespan. There’s a reason why Best Picture winners are often hard to recall but no one has any trouble fondly remembering the movies they grew up with, no matter how shoddy or bizarrely constructed they are. Rarely are the latter included amongst the former yet its these movies that shape our tastes, fill our DVD shelves and adorn our walls. What makes a movie any good? Whatever you bring to it.
What do you think separates a good film from a bad film? Let me know in the comment section below!
The 90th Academy Awards is just a few months away - and you can tell. The industry has stepped up its game by firing out its best and brightest titles in the hopes of bagging gold - but who’ll come out on top? While Oscar predictions can often be hit and miss, some stars wear their intentions very much on their sleeve when it comes to Academy approval. People like...
When actors pick roles the old saying goes: one for them, one for you. Unless you’re Joaquin Phoenix. The Gladiator star seems to have dedicated his entire career to fully immersing himself in characters most likely to land him on the Best Actor shortlist. While he may have only been nominated thrice (Gladiator in 2001, Walk The Line in 2006 and The Master in 2013), you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s happened more, having starred in look-at-me awards fodder Her, Inherent Vice and Irrational Man all in the last decade alone. This year’s no different, with Phoenix doubling-down on his personal quest by playing none other than the Son of God in Mary Magdalene. Thems some big sandals to fill. Jesus Christ, somebody give this guy an Oscar.
Some stars have been around long enough to vary their output to suit all audiences whilst still managing to juggle their dedication to earning an industry nod. Amy Adams has dabbled in almost every genre going - from big budget kids films like Enchanted to questionable tent-pole epics like Man of Steel - and yet at the same time she’s proven time and time again that there’s much more going on beneath the surface. 2005’s Junebug flagged this aspect of her character early on and it’s continued with powerful performances in 2008’s Doubt, 2010’s The Fighter and most recently 2016’s quiet sci-fi Arrival. Adams may be following up her appearance in Tom Ford’s artfully shot Nocturnal Animals with a return to popcorn cinema in Justice League and Disney sequel Disenchanted but it feels like it’s only a matter of time until she bags gold.
Jake Gyllenhaal burst onto the scene in 2001’s Donnie Darko, a film that was possibly a little too bizarre for major industry recognition at the time but one that perfectly showcased the burgeoning actor’s talent and potential. He may have been unable to resist the occasional big studio paycheque (Prince of Persia, we’re looking at you) but Gyllenhaal has consistently returned to roles with depth, pathos and the ability to appear on the radars of Academy voters. In 2006, he came tantalisingly close with Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain and has tried restlessly to return to that spot in the years since, with smart choices like 2013’s Prisoners, 2014’s Nightcrawler and 2016’s Nocturnal Animals. With his new one Stronger pulling on heart strings by telling a real-life Boston bombing tale, perhaps 2017 could finally be his year.
It takes some serious acting chops to receive four Best Actress nominations, especially when you consider the time and effort it takes to fully embody a character worthy of receiving that accolade. Then there’s all the additional press and promotional work that so often comes hand-in-hand with pushing for Academy recognition, all when you could very easily be making a decent living with big payday roles in summer blockbusters. And yet one look at Michelle Williams’ IMDB page showcases her dedication to constantly churning out high-brow content. Whether it’s showcasing all colours of a long-term relationship in Blue Valentine, taking centre stage in My Week With Marilyn or playing opposite grief in Manchester By The Sea - Williams’ end-goal is clear. Your move, Academy.
He made his name by making us laugh in Bruce Almighty, Anchorman and of course, America’s superb adaptation of The Office but Steve Carell clearly has higher aspirations than tickling a few funny bones. His serious slant was teased relatively early on when he played a suicidal teacher in the ace Little Miss Sunshine but it was his transformative portrayal of the troubled John du Pont in 2014’s dark drama Foxcatcher that made his intentions of Oscar glory crystal clear. While his goal may be set, making the transition from token funnyman to the owner of a gold bloke is no easy task (Robin Williams did it but not many others have) but by continuing to surprise audiences with roles like the one he files in this year’s Battle of the Sexes, Carell could very well be in with a chance.
Did I miss anyone out? Let me know in the comments section below!
“We made a movie about the worst movie and it might be our best movie,” Tweeted Seth Rogan earlier this week. He was referring to The Disaster Artist, a James Franco-Directed retelling of how one of the best-worst-movies ever came to be and the pair’s latest project. Franco’s film chronicles the creation of Tommy Wiseau’s bizarre passion project The Room, a now-infamous cult-favourite that has been celebrated in cult circles since its 2003 release. Never heard of it? You’re missing out - but in the meantime, here’s a whistle-stop guide.
Following years of failed auditions, mysterious struggling actor Tommy Wiseau pens a script and enlists the help of his friend and fellow budding thesp Greg Sestero alongside a cast, crew and seemingly never-ending back account to bring his dream to life and show Hollywood what they’re missing. The end result was The Room - a truly awful yet awfully hilarious guide on how not to make a movie. Audiences loved it, just not for the reasons Wiseau intended and almost fifteen years later, the film still manages to draw eager crowds. It’s an impressive feat but one that makes you wonder - what elements does a so-bad-it’s-good movie need to elevate it above being just another bad film?
Word of mouth is a base ingredient. Much like fellow terrible tale Troll 2, chatter amongst movie fans helps raise a bad film’s status and that doesn’t come without some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments. Troll 2 hit the mark and eventually got its day in the sun via Director Michael Paul Stephen’s ace documentary Best Worst Movie. Both are proof that a movie can be terrible for many reasons and if its a real turkey, it evaporates out of a viewer’s brain almost instantly. In the case of The Room and Troll 2 the opposite was true, with fans barely able to contain themselves during viewings without blurting out one of the movie’s many awkwardly delivered lines.
However with The Room, the key element that helped it avoid an eternity in obscurity was having a creator who was full of real-life intrigue. To this day nobody quite knows where the clandestine Wiseau is actually from, what his actual age is or where he got the (reportedly) $6 million he needed to finance, promote and self-distribute the movie. In the years since, Wiseau has appeared at numerous screenings all over the world to interact with fans and famous friends in his own bizarre way, proving that despite his oddball persona he’s more than grateful for the appreciation of his work.
Ironically, this key saving grace of The Room is also the most successful aspect of The Disaster Artist. Franco’s rendition of Wiseau is weird and wonderful in spades but also accessible and empathetic at the same time. In both cases it’s hard not to think that without this alluring figure at their core, both films would hardly be worthy of comment, regardless of whether they were good or bad.
What do you think makes bad movies good? Let me know in the comments section below!
We hear about the shortcomings of films all too often these days. It feels like sometimes a movie’s fate can be sealed even before the lights have started to dim in the cinema. Like it or loath it, the Internet has given everyone a voice and it seems that everyone has chosen to use that voice to bad mouth movies as soon as they hear absolutely anything about them. On the flip side of the coin, praise for good movies can be all too rare. Riding a wave of word-of-mouth buzz can literally make a decent film transform regular old film frames into statuette gold come awards season but what happens when a film becomes too successful for its own good?
The immensely successful Harry Potter franchise is a perfect case in point. Under the careful guidance of Producer David Heyman, a handful of talented and distinctly different directors and most importantly of all, series author J.K Rowling, the team pulled off a near impossible feat in fully realising a totally immersive Wizarding world. For eight movies, we lost ourselves on the big screen in a richly populated universe full of colourful characters and the money rolled in faster than a Snitch on a mission. And then it came to an end. With the story told, Rowling’s Potter anthology wrapped up naturally, leaving a nice neat package for us to enjoy and fondly revisit for decades to come.
At least that was the plan. Despite raking it in at the box office, spawning a bespoke studio tour, multiple merchandise offshoots and its very own theme park, franchise owners seem reluctant to let it retire that easily. What followed was Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, a spin-off tale set in the same universe that, while still canon, left our original hero’s story untouched. Successful, a sequel was soon announced and as we get our first looks at Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald, it’s hard not to think that it’s the beginning of the end for yet another beloved franchise.
It seems like whenever a film does marginally well, a sequel (or trilogy) is all but inevitable. For some these seem warranted - Back To The Future kept the fun going for three movies (for the most part) and cemented itself into cinematic lore. The Godfather undeniably improved itself in part two, even if it did get a little shaky in its lackluster third feature. However more often than not it feels like studios act too quickly, dooming a successful film to a fate of watered down future instalments, making you forget why you even tuned in in the first place.
Bear in mind that while we may have only just met Newt Scamander and his magic briefcase, Warner Bros has already planned five (yep) sequels for the character. Proof, if you ever needed it, that can be a double edged sword. Newt’s certainly not the boy who lived but seen has he’s not going anywhere in a hurry, we better hope he’s the bloke who survives.
Do you think sequels can improve films? Let me know in the comments section below!
It’s official. No one alive today will ever live to see the Star Wars franchise ride off into the golden Bespin sunset. Seriously. All this drama with the Skywalker family may very well wrap up once JJ Abrams releases Episode IX onto audiences but today’s die-hard Star Wars fans will likely never get to see their beloved franchise come to a natural and official conclusion. News came this week that Disney and Lucasfilm are so happy with Director Rian Johnson’s middle-trilogy-movie The Last Jedi that they’ve offered him his very own galaxy to play by spearheading his own separate bespoke trilogy. Impressive - but does that also mean we’re destined to see the chronic watering down of a series we all seem to hold so dear?
The transition has already begun. Beyond the realms of the canon Skywalker arc we’ve also seen ‘Star Wars Stories’ within the same universe with Rogue One and next year we’ll have a young Han Solo to deal with while we wait for the conclusion of the trilogy kicked off by The Force Awakens. Then there’s 2020’s as-yet-untitled anthology film (cough cough… Boba Fett) that slipped through the grasp of Director Josh Trank, a rumoured Obi Wan Kenobi stand-alone feature and even a Jabba The Hutt spin-off being considered by the powers that be. Throw Johnson’s brand new trilogy into the mix and our visits to a galaxy far, far away are going to rapidly increase over the next couple of decades.
That’s a long time time to hope to hold onto people’s attention, especially when the original heroes that got us hooked in the first place are thin on the ground. At this rate, the only hope for the future of the franchise could be to adopt a revolving-door cast approach, similar to the one used in AMC’s sometimes-good-sometimes-bad zombie show The Walking Dead. You know the score - it’s where you suddenly find yourself caring about background players who then conveniently step up to the plate whenever a main star takes a bow, carrying the show forward in the process, with you along for the ride. This focus-shift technique has helped keep audience attention even on a show where heroes become food quicker than you can swing a bat.
Odds are, we’ll start to see new faces slowly becoming main features as the likes of Luke, Vader and Obi Wan drift off into the distance. If we truly are going to be spending the better part of our collective future in a brand new galaxy populated with any number of brand new faces, we better get use to this type of narrative tool taking place. Or not - it probably doesn't matter much. While all the intergalactic credits continue to roll in the series will power on regardless and with so many ideas in the pipeline, you’ll likely never see the final end credits roll anyway. Like the force itself, Star Wars has officially become omnipresent.
Are you looking forward to living with Star Wars for the rest of your life? Let me know in the comments below!
Xenomorphs weren’t the only extraterrestrial terror hunting humans throughout the eighties. Not long after James Cameron pulled the trigger on his testosterone-charged sequel Aliens, Director John McTiernan introduced us to a new intergalactic hunter with Predator in 1987. Two war movies, two alien franchises, two very different legacies. However as Predator closes in on its thirtieth birthday, it’s hard not to think the series somehow failed to capitalise on its full potential. With Shane Black’s upcoming retooling The Predator all that could change - but what went wrong during those intervening years that set the Predator so off course?
Maybe it can all be traced back to one single event: the mishandling of the film’s original sequel. The late eighties were good for John McTiernan. Having unleashed Predator onto audiences he doubled-down on the machismo theme with Die Hard a year later. However when the time came to follow up his alien movie with a sequel in 1990 his asking salary had doubled, pricing him out of Predator 2’s scant budget. To make matters worse, star Arnold Schwarzenegger dropped out too, due to either a salary dispute, clashing schedules or an unsatisfactory script. The exact reasons are still up for debate but one thing remains concrete: audiences were denied the continuation of Dutch’s story.
Had the pair signed on for another round, their combined presence may have given the Predator franchise a lease of life worthy of challenging Sigourney Weaver’s still-developing Alien anthology. Salvage attempts were reignited throughout the 90s with ideas for a proposed third movie entitled Predator 3: Deadlier of the Species reintroducing us to Dutch in a blizzard-ravaged New York City for another space-invader scuffle. Then there was The Zoo, an amalgamation threequel that bundled Dutch with Danny Glover’s Predator 2 hero Harrigan and shipped them both off for a stint in the wilds of the Predator's home planet. Both intriguing concepts that unfortunately never saw the light of day.
Instead, the Predator found itself relegated to bargain-bin adventures. There was ‘meh’ crossover cash-in Alien Vs Predator in 2004 and its equally tedious 2007 sequel AVP: Requiem. Then Robert Rodriguez took a stab in 2010’s Predators, a stand-alone sequel that felt more like a Friday night popcorn movie than a worthy continuation. While new directors certainly don’t spell doom for a franchise, stripping Predator of both its original helmer and star so early on seems to have inflicted wounds that are difficult to heal. Perhaps the key to Alien’s continued success is down to the lynchpin figure of Ripley, tying things together either in person or in spirit. With the Predator currently lacking a concrete foe to face, it could be some time before it emerges from the wilderness and into a worthy battle arena.
Where do you think the Predator franchise went wrong? Let me know in the comments section below!
Author: Simon Bland