I don't even know where today went. Way too busy to do a real post, so here are a couple of interesting links and a thought or two about them.
Every summer the movie critics dust off their keyboards, crack their knuckles, and get to typing about how sad it is that the summer schedule is full of sequels. It's their equivalent to Minnesotans' complaining about snow in March, even though there's always been snow in March in Minnesota since time began. This year, the first complainer I've heard about is Patrick Goldstein from the Los Angeles Times.
"Is there anyone besides me" he asks, "who is depressed by the news that Steven Spielberg, a great filmmaker with the clout to get any project he wants off the ground, is going off to make … Indiana Jones 4?" Actually, Patrick? Probably not. At least not anyone I want to hang out with.
He goes on to do the usual whining about how sequels are all about money and being "cozy and reassuring" versus good storytelling. He's way too general about the whole thing. Yeah, there are crappy sequels, but there are good, thoughtful ones too. And not just The Godfather Part II.
I'm more in line with David Bordwell and his friends who see movie sequels as just another manifestation of serialized storytelling. As one of the panelists, Jason Mittell, says, "Continuity of a narrative world is a core part of nearly every storytelling form, but the language of 'sequel' is applied predominantly to film. 'Series' seems a more respectable term, as it suggests an organic continuity rather than a reactive stance of 'Hey, let’s do that again!'" And I think that's the key. Does the sequel continue the story (even when, like in the Shrek movies, the first installment didn't exactly cry out for continuation) or just tell the same story over again (like in the Home Alone movies, for example)?