Audiences heading to the theaters this week will be partying like it's 1996, as Roland Emmerich rings in the 20 year anniversary of Independence Day with the bombastic blockbuster sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence. Original stars Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman try to recapture the magic of 1996's highest-grossing sci-fi thriller (only, they have to do it without Will Smith, which is easier said than done).
We liked Independence Day. It's cheesy, and larger than life, and more fun than we probably expected 20 years ago. But just because a movie's celebrating a milestone doesn't always mean it deserves a follow up. In fact, when combing over the box office results of 1996, we found six movies we wish were getting a Part Two instead of Independence Day. They're filled with colorful characters we wish we could catch up with, played by actors who absolutely need another day in the sun. It's too late to get these sequels into movie theaters this year, but can Hollywood at least start the ball rolling on some of these dream sequels?
Arguably Michael Bay's best movie, The Rock found Nicolas Cage teaming up with Sean Connery to infiltrate the impenetrable Alcatraz and stop terrorists from launching a chemical weapon on San Francisco. In years past, this mismatched duo would have been reunited to prevent another disaster at a different tourist destination, but Hollywood let the dynamic duo of Mason (Connery) and Goodspeed (Cage) rest. But how awesome would a new Rock movie with a deranged, older Cage and a crusty Connery be in 2016? It'd get the iconic Connery out of retirement, and give Bay a better franchise than the Transformers in which to play. Set it at the Eiffel Tower, and we're ready to Rock and roll.
Nowadays, Adam Sandler makes generic, forgettable fare that goes straight to Netflix. He could use a shot in the arm, and bringing back one of his beloved characters for a long-awaited sequel could score him huge brownie points with a fanbase that's grown dejected over the years. Even better: What if Sandler ignored the passage of time and did a Happy Gilmore sequel set days after the last one ended? Hire Julie Bowen (Modern Family). Call up Christopher McDonald. Don't acknowledge that anyone has aged. Just tell the next chapter in the story. I'd watch that tomorrow. So would you.
That Thing You Do!
The song immediately popped into your head, didn't it? Tom Hanks' directorial debut was an infectious piece of bubblegum pop, structured around a one-hit wonder '60s group who enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame, and the subsequent crash. But the joy of That Thing You Do! is that we came to love the characters, and if we had a chance to check in on Guy (Tom Everett Scot), Faye (Liv Tyler) and Lenny (Steve Zahn), it'd be delightful. Maybe Guy could play the sage role of Mr. White (Tom Hanks), leading a new group through the shark-infested waters of fandom? There are possibilities...
Yes, I saw Dumb & Dumber To, and I recognize the dangers of dusting off old characters for the benefit of a sequel no one needs to see. But the idiots at the heart of the bowling comedy Kingpin are ripe for another adventure, and I'd love to see if Roy Munson (Woody Harrelson) could find a new protégé to train. Or, take the rivalry between Roy and Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray) to a new sports arena. I don't care, so long as it's more time in the company of Harrelson and Murray. A crazed Randy Quaid would be icing on that cake.
Listen, I know the Coen Brothers don't do sequels. And seeing them operate without a net in movies like this year's screwball Hollywood comedy Hail, Caesar! proves that they shouldn't bother with retreading old ground. Except, the TV show Fargo has proven that this universe -- this unique corner of the globe -- is loaded with interesting characters telling dark stories, so if the Coens WANTED to return anywhere, Fargo is where I would send them. You know you'd squeal with delight if a trade broke the news that Frances McDormand was willing to play Marge Gunderson again, sinking her teeth into a new murder mystery. It won't happen... but it'd be great if it could.
Michael Keaton's back, baby. After Birdman and Spotlight, the Keaton Renaissance is in full effect, meaning the actor has the opportunity (and the muscle) to resurrect a delightfully quirky character in Doug Kinney, a man who -- 20 years ago -- was so busy, he created duplicates of himself. How relevant would that story be in today's 24-hour, media-saturated world, where we barely have time to watch anything longer than a Vine? Keaton makes every movie better. Multiple Keatons, even a second time, would be a win. Make it happen, Hollywood!