Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What's Poppin': Movie Trilogies

It's been a while since I wrote a feature for my "What's Poppin'" column. The last couple of months have been somewhat hectic to say the least -- I finally graduated from law and grad school (Rant: I left school with a student loan debt that totals nearly $200 grand. If you are thinking about going back to school, please feel free to contact me. I may not talk you out of it, but I will definitely give you information admission boards, employers, and loan companies conveniently leave out), moved to Dallas, was best man at one of my closest friend's wedding, and found a job.

Fortunately for the movie studios in Hollywood, all of that didn't deter me from going out to the theaters. In fact, I watched The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR) at a 5AM showing on the Saturday morning of opening weekend. It ruined my sleep schedule and made me completely worthless for a few days, but it was definitely worth it.

(I watched the movie a total of three times in the first week, but let's not get into that.)

As many of you may/should already know, TDKR is the last installment of Christopher Nolan's brilliant remake of the Batman story. In my opinion, the aforementioned set of three movies will go down in history as our generation's defining cinematic trilogy -- similar to what Star Wars was for our parents' era.

So to further elaborate on the ever-popular idea of creating and watching movie trilogies, I've narrowed my list down to its most basic and true forms. For those who may not know me well, I was born in the mid 80s, so these movie titles are directly correlated to that specific time frame.

My Personal Top 5 Trilogies

1. Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises

In my opinion, each movie was so good individually that they may be even somewhat underrated as stand-alone films. Batman Begins is often overlooked because of the late Heath Ledger's Joker in part II, but it was the perfect opening chapter to the series. It had the right blend of character development and action and could be my favorite out of the three. The Dark Knight, 'nuff said. Ledger's performance has to go down as the best antagonist of all time -- just imagine if he played Lord Voldermort in Harry Potter. At the outset, TDKR was destined to not be good enough in people's eyes. I think when we all look back at Nolan's Batman movies, we're going to appreciate the brilliance that is Bane and *spoiler alert* Robin in the last movie. You know you are the GOAT when all people complain about is the inflection in characters' voices.

2. Toy Story 1, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3

The first Toy Story is still my favorite animated movie ever. It catapulted this particular genre to the heights they are currently at today. It was the first feature film to be created entirely by CGI. Think about that. Also, how did Toy Story 3 not win an Academy Award for best comedy in 2010? I'm cracking up just thinking about Buzz Lightyear, the Latin lover.

3. The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King

Pure epicness. I realize that is not a real word, but it basically sums of the Lord of the Rings series. All three movies were aesthetically beautiful, even taking your breath away at times. To be honest, the graphics may be a little dated now, but let's remember the Fellowship of the Ring was released over a decade ago (2001)! The Return of the King finished off the series with a bang -- the battle scenes seemed to last for hours, which is exactly how I imagined them when I read the novels.

4. The Mighty Ducks, D2, D3

I've polled a bunch of my friends on the subject of movie trilogies, and for some reason, the Mighty Ducks films are always left out. How can people forget the amazingly cheesy character development that just screamed 1990s? Basically, all of the decade's corniness is lumped into this one movie franchise. You hated Gordon Bombay at first, but then you find out he's just been smothered by the game of hockey and the pressures that come with it. We instantly relate and cheer for Charlie because he represents the average Joe. Not everyone can be the most talented (Adam Banks), the most charismatic (Goldberg), the fastest (Luis Mendoza), or the strongest (Fulton Reed).

To add to all of the amazing characters, the way the plots were created simply made you want to stand up and cheer for the Ducks. People often overlook the fact that it was a co-ed team (do they even have those?), there were figure skaters who were converted into hockey players because not many people knew how to skate, there was a goalie who could catch everything with her glove, and there was the amazing Flying-V that made you quack in anticipation. Wow.

5. Infernal Affairs I, Infernal Affairs II, Infernal Affairs: End Inferno 3

I still don't understand the name change. Why wasn't the third movie just Infernal Affairs III? Anyways, if you are a fan of The Departed, then please watch the IA series. The Departed is essentially a copycat of Infernal Affairs, which is incredible in every way.

Honorable Mention: The Man With No Name trilogy (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) and the Back to the Future trilogy.

I would have included the Terminator triology, but they just HAD to make a fourth one, which of course was downright horrible (sorry, Christian Bale). Just Terminator 2 alone would have vaulted the would-be trilogy into legendary status. What a waste.

And on the other side of the spectrum, if Hollywood had the audacity to ruin not only the Terminator trilogy, but the Indiana Jones one as well, why can't they find a way to make a third Bad Boys?! Will Smith and Martin Lawrence -- let's not wait until you guys are 50. And no, I do not want to watch a Bad Boys starring Will Smith's son (it's going to happen). While we're on the subject, I'm still waiting for a third installment of Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights.

What Could Have Been

- The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions

When The Matrix first came out in 1999, it completely revolutionized the movie industry. But the rest of the movies just never lived up to the first one. In the summer of 2000, I watched and re-watched The Matrix no less than 30 times.


- The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Red Dragon

This is coming from someone who absolutely despises scary movies. Anthony Hopkins played this role perfectly. He depicts the character as twisted, misunderstood, and just hungry. I don't know about you guys, but I can definitely relate to that.


- Austin Powers: The International Man of Mystery, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Austin Powers: Goldmember

Am I the only person that doesn't think Austin Powers is funny? Mike Meyers was awesome in Wayne's World and Shrek, but I think it was just too much in Austin Powers. I realize that's what they were going for, but I liken Mike Meyers to someone like Will Ferrell. Hilarious, but not good enough to carry a movie by himself.

Don't Waste Your Time With These

1. The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith

Maybe the expectations were too high, but you CANNOT screw up Star Wars!

Jar Jar Binks, really?!

2. Big Momma's House, Big Momma's House 2, Big Momma: Like Father, Like Son

I love Martin Lawrence, but these movies were just plain horrible.

3. The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Many people don't know this, but the trilogy starring Brendan Fraser is actually a remake from a six-installment series that dates from the 1930s to the 1950s. I'm pretty sure those movies are better. Attention, Mummy lovers! Hollywood is completely rebooting the franchise in 2014.

What are some of the movies I failed to mention? What are your personal favorites? Do you completely disagree with my list? Please comment in the section below and you may be featured in the next GCAST.

Photo and video content courtesy of:,,,,,


According to the interwebs, High School Music was rated as the worst trilogy of all time. Sorry, but I can't do that to Vanessa Hudgens.

bad boys 3 is slated for 2015 after Transformers 4 .... also Die Hard is making 5 and 6 ... and on top of that Expendables 3, insider information from writer Skip Woods himself

Great post and great topic.

Thoughts on Bourne (minus Legacy)?

Also, I have to throw this in there, but Terminator -- and only because (bold statement to follow:) T2 is the GOAT second movie of a trilogy series.

And no, I'm not including Terminator: Salvation in the mix, because it doesn't even include Arnold -- unless you consider a CGI Arnold as Arnold, but that's just absolutely wrong in so many ways.

Bourne could've been great if they didn't make it seem like the cameraman was having a seizure during every fight scene

Jason Bourne is bad ass. But their running in top trilogies ended after Legacy was made and released. Also, the studios have made it clear that they hope to have Damon and Renner together one day. That would be amazing to see but technicality wise -- they are out of it.

It was probably just an oversight, but you left off the Blade trilogy. Vastly underrated IMO.

Two what could have been trilogies dates me a bit, but The Godfather and Beverly Hills Cop. Godfather I and II are considered two of the best movies ever, which means III was that awful, people refuse to acknowledge its existence. Beverly Hills Cop was Murphy at his pinnacle along with Trading Places and Coming to America. Sad to see his beat recent roles doing voice work as a dragon and donkey.

you forgot the best trilogy of all time. GODFATHER.

Great stuff guys. Phil, I'm actually not a fan of the Blade movies. I thought they could have been better. Tina, Godfather III killed it for me.

Albert, totally kidding about the Blade trilogy. It was awful!

Couldn't agree with you more on the Silence of the Lamb, Hannibal, Red Dragon! I liked those movies so much, I actually bought them. And I only own a few movies.

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