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Parodies and 4th movies... - Danny Danger Oz [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Parodies and 4th movies... [Aug. 31st, 2008|01:32 pm]
dalekboy
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[mood |thoughtfulthoughtful]

Someone commented on my kicking the crap out of Scary Movie 4, saying "I wouldn't judge a franchise by the 4th movie in it.

Are there any *good* 4th movies in franchises?

Not that I've seen *any* of them, I don't watch horror movies so the references, clever or not, just wouldn't work for me, it just seems a little harsh."


Which is a fair comment. Most 4th movies are pale photocopies of the original. However, I do think that the adverts for the Scary Movie series are an accurate portrayal of what to expect from the franchise. Most film companies would put a range of their funniest jokes in the trailers. And none of the previous films got my interest with their trailers, either.

Here's the trailer for the first Scary Movie. I have seen all the films it's referencing in the trailer. The Matrix fight looks mildly amusing, but the only thing that made me laugh was the piano down the stairs.

Scary Movie 4 needs you to have seen the films it's sending up for the majority of its gags to work, and its 'original' gags just aren't that funny. At this point, and based on the trailers for Scary Movie 2 and SM 3, I can't see any reason why I would bother with the series. And if I'd rewatched the trailer for SM 4, I wouldn't have bothered to turn on the TV last night at all.

A good parody stands on its own without needing one to have seen the source material. If you know the things it's parodying, then that adds an extra dimension to it. Blazing Saddles is a good parody, as is something like Best in Show. They are funny without foreknowledge of the source material, because they are genuinely humourous in the first place, and generally have actors that are capable of good delivery and comic timing.

Spaceballs and Robin Hood - Men in Tights really need the audience to have seen the things they send up. They have whole sequences that don't work without that foreknowledge.

And while I admit these are definitely exceptions to the rule, here are a few good fourth-films. I'm not saying they are brilliant, most certainly aren't as good as the first in the series, but they are worth watching on their own merits or as a continuation of the story -

Tremors 4
You Only Live Twice
The Ghost of Frankenstein
House of Dracula
Tarzan Finds a Son!
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home
Hornblower: The Frogs and the Lobsters
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm.


Naturally this is a purely subjective list, based on my personal tastes, and what I've seen. I haven't seen all the Die Hard films, for instance, or the fourth Hammer Horror Dracula and Frankenstein films, and I need to rewatch Elm St. 4 before I could comment fairly on it.

So, who has other fourth films to add to the list? Or other good/bad parody films?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: shrydar
2008-08-31 04:46 am (UTC)
I loved "Live Free or Die Hard" - it was suitably aware of it's roots, it was a good continuation of the story, but also wasn't mired in the same decade as the earlier films.

Alien: Resurrection fared much better as a continuation of the story than I expected. Given the ending of the third film I was expecting to find it irritatingly contrived, but I really enjoyed what they did with it.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-31 07:48 am (UTC)
I liked Alien: Resurrection despite its flaws, though in recent years I've grown to like it less.
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[User Picture]From: kaelajael
2008-08-31 05:35 am (UTC)
For me, I loved Galaxy Quest. It was an enjoyable movie on its own, but the more you knew about SF and fandom, the better it became.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-31 07:49 am (UTC)
Yes, that's a good parody film. It works as a film without knowing the references, and the more you know, the more gags you get.
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From: gutter_monkey
2008-08-31 09:10 am (UTC)
It was also more of a parody than a spoof.
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[User Picture]From: king_espresso
2008-08-31 05:46 am (UTC)
I found a fourth movie in a franchise that's pretty good: Thunderball. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-31 07:47 am (UTC)
Yes, yes, yes... I'm sleep deprived, you fucker! :P
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[User Picture]From: king_espresso
2008-08-31 08:54 am (UTC)
"Yes, yes, yes... I'm sleep deprived, you fucker! :P"

I am, and quite an adept one too.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-31 02:19 pm (UTC)
Well, that's not what I've been writing on toilet walls about you!
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[User Picture]From: king_espresso
2008-08-31 03:27 pm (UTC)
Was that you? You spelled analingus wrong. ;-)
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From: gutter_monkey
2008-08-31 06:15 am (UTC)
Here's a scene-by-scene review of the latest spoof, 'Disaster Movie':
http://contest.disastermovie.org/?page_id=182

It sounds even worse than the other spoof movies.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-31 07:50 am (UTC)
Wow... that makes SM 4 sound watchable. I remember seeing the ads for it and going 'nope, not for me.'
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2008-08-31 07:20 am (UTC)
Saw IV, assuming you get on board with the Saw franchise at all, is a lot better than Saw II and III I think.

Star Wars Episode IV is also brilliant, but I'm not 100% sure that counts.

Also, as mentioned above, Thunderball.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-31 07:51 am (UTC)
I'll end up watching Saw IV, because even with the flaws of 2 & 3 it's still an interesting idea.
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[User Picture]From: stephen_dedman
2008-08-31 01:13 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure what would be the 4th film in the Star Wars franchise. Caravan of Courage? Or Phantom Menace? Either way...

I haven't seen Die Hard 4 yet, nor Harry Potter 4, nor Rocky or Rambo IV; I wish I hadn't seen Superman IV or Batman and Robin; and the kindest true thing one can say about Planet of the Apes 4 was that it was much better than #5. The Universal Monster Movies either stopped at or before #3, or should have done.

So far, the exceptions to the rule would seem to be Thunderball, Star Trek IV (which many feel is the best in the entire series), and Indy 4, and I'm sure some people would argue with the last.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-31 02:24 pm (UTC)
I like The Ghost of Frankenstein for some of its ideas and for when the creature speaks - genuinely chilling.
House of Dracula I like because of Larry Talbot's story arc, that finishes with that movie.
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From: gutter_monkey
2008-08-31 05:52 pm (UTC)
I just watched Die Hard 4 just then and it was a bunch of fun. The "They stole our internets!" stuff was a little cringeworthy but I'd been warned about that and put my brain on a lower setting when those scenes were on.
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[User Picture]From: hespa
2008-08-31 07:28 am (UTC)
I feel the need to defend Robin Hood; Men In Tights, a movie I watched at least a dozen times growing up. The only Robin Hood source material I had at the time was the Disney cartoon, and I still loved it. Maybe I was missing things, but it didn't feel like there were sequences of "hmm, this is sending up something but I'm not sure what". Even as an adult, I think it's a very funny film. Maybe not quite as funny as Blazing Saddles, but pretty darn funny.

Spaceballs I possibly can't judge as well, since I was familiar with Star Wars when I saw it. But once again it seems to have a lot of gags that are based more on silly characters, silly situations and yeah, OK, toilet humour than on sending up any particular moment from the source material.

Maybe this misses the point of parody, since the films are being funny in their own right rather than funny in reference - but then again, as you point out, if something is only funny in reference then it's not very accessible to an audience.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-31 08:01 am (UTC)
You can like Men in Tights - just because I think it's a seriously flawed screenplay doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. I have a handful of truly awful films that I love, even with their flaws. Hell, some I love because of their flaws, and some I love because of what they tried to do.

While I like Spaceballs, it's funniest and best gag is lifted from a Warner Brothers cartoon. Unless I enjoy it a lot more on a rewatch, it's not a film I plan to ever own.

Life of Brian is a good parody/film in its own right. There's enough Christian mythos around that you can't help but get some of the jokes, though I know that non-christians who saw it often wondered what other people were laughing about in some scenes. That said, I know theologians who said they killed themselves laughing at bits where the general audience were quiet. Apparently there's a tonne of extra laughs to be had if you've seriously studied religion.

Now that is good writing.
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[User Picture]From: stephen_dedman
2008-08-31 01:16 pm (UTC)
Now that is good writing.

Agreed, and that's also one of the things I loved about Shakespeare in Love. The more you know about Shakespeare, English history, theatre, or a variety of other subjects, the funnier it is.
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[User Picture]From: gadge
2008-08-31 07:52 am (UTC)
I believe Lethal Weapon 4 was rather bad.
And you already know how much I hated Indy 4.
Good ones? I can't think of any off the top of my head. Or even off the medium of my head.

And Scary Movie 2 is one of the worst films I've ever seen. Scary Movie the original is pretty bad as well, considering the plot is essentially Scream.

But I did love that staircase joke. :)
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-31 08:03 am (UTC)
I think the piano on the staircase works well because you can understand what it would be like to be running up a set of stairs and have a piano suddenly coming at you.

The other staircase gag, throwing an old woman at the villain, was simply unfunny.
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[User Picture]From: gadge
2008-08-31 08:29 am (UTC)
Definitely the piano one. That was the one I liked.

There's a couple of other moments here in there that I enjoyed, but oddly enough I couldn't tell you which they were.
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[User Picture]From: stephen_dedman
2008-08-31 01:14 pm (UTC)
Not that I've seen Scary Movie 4, but didn't they steal that idea from Laurel and Hardy?
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-31 02:26 pm (UTC)
Probably. Either that or just another case of coming up with an idea that's been done before by chance.

I think it's more likely that they just happened to accidently come up with something that was funny.
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[User Picture]From: damienps
2008-08-31 08:49 am (UTC)
Let's forget Duperman IV The Quest for Plot
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