Revisiting Scream 3 (2000) & Iron Man 2 (2010)

Sequels are funny things. Like a lot of people who think about movies way too much, I tend to judge them pretty harshly. Do they hold up to the original? Are they better? Does this story make sense? Is it necessary? The real question should simply be, is it any good? Was it entertaining? Did I like it? Upon re-watching a pair of sequels recently, I feel like I’m either becoming a nicer viewer or (hopefully) less judgmental. I think there’s also something to be said for experience with a story making it easier to digest even if there are elements that you find bothersome. You know they’re they, you see them coming and you adjust your viewing as necessary.

That actually wasn’t the case with Scream 3, which I watched towards the end of last week. The first and only other time I saw this movie was in the theaters when it came out in 2000. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Scream series (you can read my review of the first one here), but they were gigantic to the horror community that I was just getting into as they came out. I remember liking the third installment, thinking that the filmmakers were really playing with the genre and having fun with it. I mean, it’s not a flat out comedy by any means, but I remember feeling a sense of winking towards the audience, especially in the scene where the killer throws a knife at Dewey and the handle smacks him in the head. That bit still made me laugh.

But, I wasn’t seeing or noticing the humor as much this time around. Yes, I was working and it was kind of on in the background while I was doing other things, but it just wasn’t as prevalent. I still liked the movie and think it’s pretty good, but there were two aspects that got on my nerves. First off, and I know I liked this at the time, but the Jay and Silent Bob cameos are just super weird and kind of pointless. I’m saying this as someone who loves those characters, those movies and Smith in general, but they really took me out of the movie. But, they weren’t nearly as bad as that ridiculous voice modulator thing that so much of the movie depends on. Does that kind of thing even exist? I feel like if it did, there would be an app. Anyway, I get the idea that it makes everyone you’re not seeing directly in front of you suspect, but it gets to the point where you as a viewer can’t trust anyone and just become more and more disconnected. It also made me far more aware of off-screen dialog which took me out of the store even more. Without that aspect, the movie would actually be pretty damn solid. I don’t even mind the retconning stuff because I think it fits in pretty well and all makes sense. Plus, it’s another not to old horror movies, though this one far more unsettling. With that, I’ve watched the first and third movies in the past few years and just need to rewatch 2 and see 4 for the first time. I’ve heard good things.

After writing up a piece about Iron Man 3 for Spinoff, I remembered that 2 was on Netflix Instant and gave it another watch. I honestly didn’t remember many of my opinions about the movie from the first time I saw it other than a deep desire to punch Justin Hammer in the face. After going back and re-reading my original review of the film, it turns out that that same elements spoke to me both times. I liked it, it’s a big fun action movie. The performances are great. I didn’t like Sam Jackson that time around, but none of that stuff bothered me this time. And, while I still despise Justin Hammer as a character and think he came off kind of cartoony, I don’t think Sam Rockwell’s portrayal of him is all that far from people like him in the real world.

It’s actually kind of funny that I remembered most of the scenes of the movie, but couldn’t remember how I felt about them. There were bits I forgot, like Tony Stark’s dad as a kind of Walt Disney character. I’m actually listening to a book about Pixar right now that got into some of the “I’ve got these ideas, but haven’t developed the technology just yet, maybe they will n the future” ideas that were directly stated in this film. It’s interesting how the things you’re reading/watching/listening to can inadvertently segue into one another.

Anyway, I’ve found that repeated viewings of the first Iron Man tend to leave me a little flat. I still like all the character stuff they did and Robert Downey Jr. makes an awesome Tony Stark, but the ending definitely has diminishing returns. I understand that they wanted to show that Tony Stark could perservere over a larger, more powerful oponent, but that battle is just boring the third or fourth time around. Similarly, the one between Iron Man, War Machine and Mickey Rourke at the end of this one’s a bit lame. You get that awesome sequence with them taking on the drones and then you finish up with Tony and Rhodey aiming blasters at the Ruskie and he explodes? Eh. These things are great the first time around, but don’t always make for the best repeated viewings which is what I want from my movies. Still, it’s a movie packed with fun and shows just one small aspect of how cool an Avengers movie can and hopefully will be.

What We’re Watching: Wednesday & Thursday

Last week I went through what the missus and I watch on Monday and Tuesday. I intended to write them throughout last week, but with all the work I had on my plate and the Halloween Scene double features to write about, it fell to the wayside until today! Here’s what we’re watching in the middle of the week.

WEDNESDAY
9:00pm – MODERN FAMILY (ABC)
During the 8 o’clock slot on Wednesdays the missus watched America’s Next Top Model. Seeing as how I hate Tyra Banks, I can’t be in the same room as that show. I watched the first few episodes of Undercovers, but the show didn’t really capture my attention, so I usually spend this time reading books or blog posts. Anyway, after that we watch Modern Family, a show I’d heard a lot of good things about but didn’t watch last season thanks to a scheduling conflict (Lost, I think? How soon I forget…). For once in a long time, all the hype was right and I completely see why people love this show. I laugh so hard at this well written comedy that it hurts sometimes. MF is up there with my favorite comedies and might be the best written one on TV right now. 9:30pm – COUGAR TOWN (ABC)
Whereas I instantly fell in love with Modern Family, it took a little while for Cougar Town to suck me in. I think the problem with the show is that it’s not immediately obvious who these characters are and how they’re related. After looking a few things up on Wiki, I had a much better grasp of what was going on, which made it easier to laugh at. Basically Courtney Cox is a real estate agent with a son who’s just gone off to college. She’s dating one of the guys from Swingtown, her assistant is Busy Phillips, her ex husband/father of her kid hangs around and then Christa Miller and her husband hang out. They do a lot of drinking and jamming, which is awesome. It’s well written, though maybe a little too insidery, but once you get the relationships down, you’re good to go. 10:00pm – REAL WORLD/ROAD RULES CHALLENGE CUTTHROAT (MTV)
It’s pretty well documented that I like The Challenge. To me, a lot of these people are like the comic book characters of my youth. I spent a lot of time with them and still like seeing them carted out every now and then for my amusement. They’re just way worse at puzzles than Batman.

THURSDAY8:00pm – BIG BANG THEORY (CBS)
Still digging this show as anyone who reads my live blogs knows. I miss Penny dearly and there seem to be a lot fewer point-outable geek moments in the episodes, but that’s cool by me. Not looking forward to Eliza Dushku’s appearance because I’m not a fan of hers, but if she can be good on anything (I’m doubtful), it should be BBT! I’m still bummed that CBS moved this one against Community, which I also miss. 8:30pm – THE OFFICE (NBC)
I’m digging this season of The Office more than last season. I think they’re pulling out some of the stops because it’s Steve Carell’s last season. We’ll see how things play out. I’ve often said that the show could survive without Carell, that the secondary characters have been beefed up enough to support the show (one of the beauties of setting a show in a place is that you can stay with the place when people leave, just ask ER). Even with that, I wouldn’t be surprised if the show bowed out at the end of the season. Either way, it’s good with me. 9:00pm – 30 ROCK (NBC)
Hmmm, I’m not sure what to say about 30 Rock. I still dig the show, but I don’t get excited about it anymore. I dug the live episode and still have a lot of fun watching all the twisted relationships continue on in the weird hyper-real world the show is set. It’s still a solidly written and incredibly funny show, I just don’t know where it’s going, if anywhere. Ah well, I’m still along for the ride. 9:30pm – OUTSOURCED (NBC)
Outsourced didn’t really impress me right away with it’s premise of an American guy getting transferred to India to head up the call center that has been relocated to that now customer service friendly picture, but I’ve been having a pretty good time with it since then. Part of the reason I like the show so much is that I had a lot of friends who were from India in college, in fact, my first week at school I knew International students almost exclusively and there’s lots of bits in the show I experienced. Todd (the American) does need to tone down his ignorance when it comes to Indian culture a little to make the show more palatable, but I’m digging this one otherwise.

10:00pm – ?
With Jersey Shore ending last week, I’m not sure what we’ll me watching on Thursdays at 10pm. Anyone got any suggestions?