One cozy, rainy Sunday afternoon when I lived in Vancouver I was working on my latest, slightly over ambitious craft project. To pass the time while cutting out little stars on handmade birthday invitations (oh so many stars), I flipped on the TV. And promptly began my happy dance. You’ve Got Mail was on! I settled in to watch, while my wonderful then-husband went out for the afternoon. When he got back home hours later, I was still watching You’ve Got Mail. So naturally, he asked, “how is this movie possibly still on?” To which I had to shamefully (well, not really) admit that TBS was having one of its back to back movie repeats. And that I was watching it…again. Add that to the hundred times and counting I’d already seen it. But that’s what you do when you just plain love a movie. You love every quote, the whimsical music or the beautiful scenery; the main characters may even like the same books you like (got to love the Pride and Prejudice references in You’ve Got Mail). So even though you’ve already memorized every precious part, you still want to watch it over and over again.
Then one day you’re going along with your life and a trailer pops up on TV. They’re making a sequel! Huzzah! Your excitement mounts (well, until you realize you have to wait another six months for it to be released). In honour of that excitement, I’m dedicating this week’s Top Ten Tuesday to the Top Ten Sequels that most made me giddy in the weeks before their release. Now, not all are necessarily the most Oscar worthy sequels ever made, but they will make you laugh. And, of course, warm you up on a rainy, cozy Sunday.
1. Father of the Bride & Father of the Bride Part II
Starring Steve Martin and the unbelievably lovable Diane Keaton, Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride II rank right up at the top of my family’s MUST WATCH REPEATEDLY list. Based on the popular 1949 novel by Edward Streeter and the classic 1950s original film, FOTB gives us a glimpse into the serene life of George Banks (Martin); a life thrown into chaos when he reluctantly becomes the father of the bride in the wedding of his only daughter, Annie (Kimberly Williams). Among the long list of things that endear these films to me is the unconditional love Banks exudes for his children – even when he’s busy losing his shit in the middle of crowded grocery store it’s wonderful to know it all comes from a place of fatherly concern. And what great father doesn’t go a little nuts when the happiness of his kids is at stake? As George’s wife Nina, Keaton gives another flawless performance, providing just the right calm to his crazy and giving both films an extra dose of heart, while wedding planner Franck Eggelhoffer (Martin Short) and his barely comprehensible foreign accent provide additional comic relief. I could go on (obviously), but I think Roger Ebert reviewed it best when he said that FOTB is, simply “just everyday life, warmly observed.” Well, it certainly warms my heart.
2. Before Sunrise & Before Sunset
As one of the most graceful and subtle romantic films made in the 1990s, I never would have thought to dream that Before Sunrise would eventually inspire a sequel. As a relatively unknown film, it just didn’t seem the sort. But sometimes life sends you very pleasant surprises. Nine years following its release, its starring actors, Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply, partnered with director Richard Linklater to continue their small labour of love. After spending a single night together nine years earlier in Vienna, fated lovers Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Deply) come together again, this time in the City of Lights (and this time in the daytime). In keeping with the original film’s eloquent, dialogue-fueled storyline, we get a refreshingly realistic look of where nine years of adult living can take two people who can’t escape the memory of one another. Blissfully unadulterated fans of the films, such as myself, will also be happy to know the trio has announced a third installment in the year to come. So keep on the lookout for trailers people!
3. Sex and the City & Sex and the City II
There is little need to describe the depth and perfection achieved by the first Sex and the City movie. If you were elated during its production and waited with bated breath for its release, I find it unlikely you came away from theatres disappointed. With complex performances by all my favourite SATC regulars, and a few fabulous new faces as well (that’s right, I’m talking about you, Jennifer Hudson), I literally wanted to eat this movie with a spoon and from the moment the credits rolled was ready for seconds. And although the second course undeniably missed the mark, I still just can’t help myself. I savour any time spent with Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha, and their gorgeous, over the top couture. (For fans of the series’ fantastic fashion, tune in to ABC Family on Tuesday nights for Jane by Design, a new show that boasts a cameo by SATC’s famed Costumer Designer, Patricia Field).
4. My Girl & My Girl 2
My Girl was released in 1991. I was seven years old and it was, for me, the examination of life and death that I imagine Lean on Me was for my brothers in the 80s. In small town Pennsylvania in 1972, Vada Margaret Sultenfuss, a quirky and uniquely mature little girl, lives with her distant, undertaker father (Dan Aykroyd). As charming and funny as this movie is, My Girl radiates a depth that could have easily been minimized and turned to fluff by a sequel. But the 1992 follow-up did not disappoint as our heroine (because truly that is what Vada is to me) journeys to California to explore the life of her radiant mother, who died shortly after childbirth. As well as unveiling how magical her mother was and how much she meant in the peculiar lives she touched, Vada discovers the bittersweet disenchantment of growing up and going home. And, of course, meets a boy.
5. How to Train Your Dragon & How to Train Your Dragon II
How to Train Your Dragon is probably the most out of place selection on my list because, well, its sequel has actually yet to be released. It earned its position as number five, however, as a result of my incredibly eager anticipation of its sequel, which I sadly have to wait until June 20, 2014 to see! The only upside to this long delay is that Finn will finally be old enough to attend movies with Mom and Dad, so yay for that. Based on a series of young adult novels by British author Cressida Cowell, HTTYD tells the story of Berk, a seaside Viking village plagued by ruthless dragons, and its smallest and most awkward occupant, Hiccup (Jay Baruschel), who somehow manages to befriend the cutest dragon ever put to paper, Toothless. In my opinion it is the most adorable and accessible animated film for children, while still managing to appeal to the sarcastic sensibilities of us grown-ups (that’s right, I’m counting myself as a grown-up now). Since HTTYD is designed to be a part of a trilogy, we can only hope Dreamworks doesn’t disappoint in round two!
6. Bridget Jones’s Diary & Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Since this is technically a book based blog and I have been lucky enough to attend a fair few book club meetings with our lovely Atlanta Lady Litwits, I know for a fact that our audience is very familiar with the brilliant novel Bridget Jones’s Diary by author Helen Fielding. In making the transition from page to screen, BJD was fortunate enough to have lost none of its original charm. In fact, we simply gain the opportunity to put a hilarious visual to the often unrefined escapades of London girl Bridget Jones and her search for the perfect man, career, and, well, panties. And although Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason didn’t have quite the perfection of the original, it did include a slap fight between Colin Firth and Hugh Grant, which, if you ask me, was worth the price of admission alone. The extra silver lining: look out for Bridget Jones’s Baby, appearing in theatres in 2013!
7. Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants & Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2
Another fitting edition to our little book blog, the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants also began as a series of young adult novels. The actresses chosen to bring to life the four effervescent young woman of SOTTP, could not have been better selected and will no doubt each earn a place of their own on the great list of Hollywood’s most promising up and comers (if Hollywood can get its act together). America Ferrera, Alexis Bledel, Blake Lively, and Amber Tamblyn play friends from birth Carmen, Lena, Bridget, and Tibby, all very special and all very different. For the first time in their lives, the foursome find themselves facing a summer apart. But when they unearth a vintage pair of “magical” jeans that miraculously fit each and every one of them, from the beautifully curvaceous Carmen to the long and lean Bridget, they sudden have a gateway to keep them united across time and distance.
8. Sleepless in Seattle & You’ve Got Mail
Okay, okay, okay. You’ve Got Mail is not technically a sequel to the modern classic Sleepless in Seattle. It does, however, follow a similar storyline (with a modern, updated twist), and was undeniably a carryover of director Nora Ephron’s ongoing professional love story with romantic leads Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. In Sleepless in Seattle, the charming, but oh so 90s, frumpy Annie (Ryan) finds herself falling for single father Sam (Hanks) when she hears him on a phone-in radio show talking about the loss of his wife. Five years (and much technological advancement later), Hanks and Ryan find love again in You’ve Got Mail as chat room pen pals Kathleen and Joe, blissfully unaware of each other’s true identities as rivals in the business of selling books. Now, you can go on ahead and blame my youthfulness, but I actually saw the “sequel” before the original and it has found a place of indelible permanence on my list of favourite movies of all time (as I’m sure you caught on in the intro to this article). I love everything about this movie. I love getting to watch New York City move through Summer and Fall into Winter and lush, green Spring. I love the slightly kitschy musical medley that my high school drama troupe ended up featuring in one of our shows. I love the butterfly in the subway on his way to Bloomingdales (to buy a hat, of course). And I love the books, all the books! Charming. That’s the only way to describe it…so see it, if you haven’t, and be charmed.
9. Princess Diaries & Princess Diaries II: Royal Engagement
The Princes Diaries II and its predecessor are the first of two deeply guilty pleasures claiming spots on my list. As well as being fun and silly (classic Disney, perfect for being re-run on ABC Family), these films marked the entry of Anne Hathaway into film making, where the powers that be thankfully discovered how talented an actress she truly is. Hathaway stars as the clumsy Mia Thermopolis, hapless enough without the newfound discovery that she is, in fact, secretly the princess of a small European country called Genovia and the only heir to the Genovian throne. Adding substance to these sweet films is the always royal grace of Julie Andrews who plays Mia’s long-lost grandmother Queen Clarisse Renaldi.
10. Cheaper by the Dozen & Cheaper by the Dozen 2
Guilty pleasure number two comes with a confession. I actually do not love the original Cheaper by the Dozen. But take the crazy family of fourteen, fronted by Bonnie Hunt and Steve Martin as Mom and Dad Baker, on the road and into the woods for lake house fun, and I’m back on board. Sometimes I ask myself why I like it so much. Usually, the answer is something in the neighborhood of “I don’t know but Eugene Levy sure is a funny jackass.” Either way, CBTD makes a good, wholesome treat when you get nostalgic for summer vacations with the family.
Brooke’s Note: Thanks so much to Victoria for kidnapping this week’s Top Ten List and morphing it into a fun movies post – always fabulous to add a little variety (spice of life and all). TTT is hosted by the lovely people at The Broke and the Bookish, so go check out their regularly scheduled postings!