Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Junesploitation 2021 Day 15: Sequels!


  1. WHEN ANIMALS (can't stop) ATTACK(ing)!

    GRIZZLY II: REVENGE (1983/2021, Showtime)
    for the first time. Also Available on YouTube... you're welcome! :-D


    Shot in Hungary in 1983 as a sequel-in-name-only to 1976's "Grizzly" (one of the better "Jaws" ripoffs from its era), "Grizzly II: Revenge's" troubled production and legal/financial limbo kept it unreleased until January of this year. And my God, it's every bit as fascinatingly awful as you'd expect a 38-year-old orphan horror production released during a worldwide pandemic to be. Producer Suzanne Csikos Nagy (doing her best behind-the-scenes Doris Wishman impersonation) clearly cobbled together every scrap of original film footage with as inexpensive a library of contemporary stock footage (drone footage of forests and wild animals) and music/sound effect files she could find online. That's not me saying it, the movie's credits thank the YouTube community and five stock footage providers (three separate times!) for helping its completion. We randomly switch between separate groups of humans in Yellowstone National Park running into or chasing after a giant killer grizzly bear, but a rock concert with early 80's Hungarian youth crowds cheering the Scottish group Nazareth (though we only see the movie's make-believe musical acts) takes about half of "Grizzly II's" 74 minutes (68 without credits).

    Somehow this is the one flick where George Clooney, Laura Dern and an unrecognizable Charlie Sheen crossed paths as horny campers... for five minutes at the very start. Forget them (even if the trailer/poster shoves their names in people's faces), because John Rhys-Davies steals the show. Every other recognizable actor looks either checked out (Louise Fletcher in the 'Mayor of "Jaws"' role) or bored (Steve Inwood doing a James Brolin impersonation, Deborah Raffin as an animal caretaker), but Rhys-Davies knows the shit show he's in and hams it up. Charles Cyphers and Marc Alaimo also leave a mark as a-hole poachers, but it's all for naught. There's no pacing to footage that has been assembled with almost no money shots or pay-offs for the constant build-ups in the handful of first-person bear attacks. You know, stuff that a timely post-production or footage-insert sequence could have fixed. Shame, because the building blocks of a decent low-budget horror flick are here waiting for a real filmmaker to take a whack at it. I'd pay actual good money if Patrick made this the commentary track feature for this year's Scary Movie Month, since anything the FTM gang says about "Grizzly II: Revenge" would automatically make it better.

    This is a shameless, no-fun cash grab that barely deserves 1 star. But the story behind its production is a 5 star JUNESPLOITATION! miracle. So let's split the difference and call it 2.95 FIREWORK EXPLOSIONS BURNING SOMEONE ALIVE (out of 5).

  2. Ernest B. Schoedsack's SON OF KONG (1933, HBO Max) for the first time.

    The co-director, most of the technical crew and half the main cast (Robert Armstrong, Frank Reicher, Victor Wong, etc.) from "King Kong" return for this sequel, which was put together and released in cinemas the same year as its prequel. The rushed production schedule shows in the final product not living up to "KK's" standards, but it manages to be fun despite itself. It takes 40 minutes to set-up that Carl Denham, the captain of the S.S. Venture (both running away from potential lawsuits/jail), Charlie and new girl Hilda (Helen Mack) wind up in 'Kong Island' (not Skull), and that's when the fun starts. John Marston's Nils Helstrom makes a nasty villain that screws over everybody else, but thankfully he's sidelines when the stop-motion set-pieces take over.

    It's rare for sequels to acknowledge how damaged its characters are because of events in the previous adventure. Since pappy Kong is gone we're stuck with Denham's guilty conscience making him go easy on Baby Kong (only 12 feet tall and clearly not as smart as the King) and treating him like a pet buddy. Alas, at 69 minutes in length "Son of Kong" is done and gone just as it starts to get good. We get some sweet fights with a giant bear (as tall as "Grizzly II's" :-P), a barely-seen sea serpent and a couple of dinosaur attacks. but then a timely storm wipes 'Kong Island' off the map and gives Baby Kong a noble send-off that feels like what it is: shameless pre-code Hollywood white privilege at its not-so-finest. 3 HAND-DRAWN BIRDS IN REAR-PROJECTED BACKDROPS (out of 5).

    1. This movie aired every Thanksgiving on WOR and by the time we were eating stuffing, I was still crying about the end. I was no longer allowed to watch it until I grew up a little, them I still cried.

  3. J̶a̶m̶e̶s̶ ̶C̶a̶m̶e̶r̶o̶n̶ Ovidio G. Assonitis' PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING -Director's Cut- (1981, YouTube) for the first time.

    While the behind-the-scenes drama behind the making of "Piranha II" is more interesting than anything on the screen, it's not a half-bad Italian ripoff of one of the better post-"Jaws" 'animals attack' flicks. And hell, having James Cameron working on it even for just a few days gives the picture an energy and semi-coherence absent from the likes of "Tentacles." The events from Joe Dante's "Piranha" are name-dropped just enough to link that a boat sunk in a beach at a seaside resort carried genetically-altered versions of the sweet water killer creatures, now salt water/air friendly. Adding wings so the piranhas can fly on land (or hide in a dead body until they can attack an unsuspecting nurse) adds a layer of danger to the predictable build-up. Only the finale makes no sense as a solution to the problem (why would all the piranhas congregate on one spot after they've been in the sea?), but thanks for the cool dragged-by-an-anchor practical stunt and Stelvio Cipriani's not-bad score. :-)

    Gore effects are decent for the low budget, and we spend enough time setting-up the main characters (particularly Lance Henriksen as the Chief Brody of this vacation spot and his scientist-y wife Tricia O'Neil) to make us care a little that some humans get wasted. Shame that the three black characters we get to hang out with the most get it worse than anybody else, but that one's more on Osinnitis than Cameron. :'( 3 EXPLODING TOY HELICOPTERS (out of 5).

    1. Assonitis is the KING of sequel in name only movies...like AMOK TRAIN and THE BITE. See below!

  4. JAWS 3-D (1983, Blu-ray 3D).

    It rarely happens, but sometimes you can see and feel everyone working in a movie (in front and behind the camera) checked out and going through the motions. For "Jaws 3-D" even the cinematographers, saddled with a cumbersome 3D shooting process, light every scene to look as a low-budget production: grainy blacks, undetailed clothing, etc. That'd be passable for a low-budget flick, but for a would-be $20 million summer blockbuster? Hell no. After seeing it in 3D (great transfer and good 3D immersion for the cheesy toward-the-camera effects) I rewatched "Jaws 3-D" in 2D with the Forever Cinematic Commentary Track. Just looking at the screen hurts, and that's before Louis Gossett Jr. (fresh off his "Officer and a Gentleman" Oscar win), Dennis Quaid, Lea Thompson and Simon "Manimal" MacCorkindale (to name a few) are saddled with terrible dialogue that mostly recycles "Jaws" tropes while building its 'Brody' mythology. Oh well, at least the dolphins and Shamu killer whales are cute. :-(

    In an ironic twist, "Jaws 3-D" and "Grizzly II: Revenge" (both '83 movies) dramatically super-size their killer animals from their prequels. In the former characters mention (and react to) the bear as being 28 feet tall, and in the latter the leads calculate the shark is 35 feet large. Despite its budget the big studio picture's shark looks phony as hell, and zero-budget "Grizzly II" has to get by with forced-perspective puppets. So, irony then? :-D 2.5 BREAST-GRABBING UNDERWATER FAKE TENTACLES (out of 5).

  5. Martial Law 2: Unercover, dir Kurt Anderson, 1992

    Cynthia Rothrock taking down one mullet at a time. Love it.

  6. Deadliest Prey (2013, dir. David A. Prior)

    The Prior brothers (writer-director David and star Ted) realized 1987's Deadly Prey had become somewhat of a cult classic, so they decided to make a sequel 26 years later. Thankfully they didn't seem to entirely realize why it was a cult classic, or they might have played up the comedy aspect and make a Birdemic or a Sharknado. Instead, the sequel is exactly as earnest as the original, which makes the movie.

    The story's mostly the same as the original. Mike Denton (Ted Prior) is again kidnapped and hunted by mercenaries, except he has a kid now, and instead of Cameron Mitchell we get three computer hackers spouting quippy youth lingo written by a 58 year old man. My favorite of the trio is Candy Girl, who says "True dat!" about a dozen times during the movie and seems to be in love with Denton, several decades her elder.

    And how does the script deal with the fact that Ted Prior's in his mid-50's now, you ask? It doesn't, the fight scenes are just slower now, making the villain's henchmen look even more inept than in the original.

    Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997, dir. Jan de Bont)

    It's not a terrible action movie in isolation, but you just can't help comparing it to the first Speed, and a slow-moving ocean liner isn't exactly as exciting as a speeding bus, and Jason Patric isn't exactly Keanu Reeves. Plus it doesn't have any right to be over two hours long. Sandra Bullock is still Sandra Bullock though, and Willem Dafoe is always fun.

    The Finnish title translates as Speed 2 - Danger Strikes at Sea.

  7. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998 - Danny Cannon)
    In the spirit of the 587th podcast, I have seen both I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. Since I don't manage to see a film every day, I'll save a short report on the former for a free-space day. Just as a preview: The first one seems much more polished than this work by Danny Cannon. I remember seeing this film on DVD or cassette as a teenager in the early 2000s, when I must have been about 12 or 13 and certainly had a crush on Jennifer Love Hewitt - but that's all I can remember.I'm sure we had fun with this film back then, even if I find it hard to comprehend today. I STILL KNOW serves all the unloved clichรฉs of a horror film, which at some point simply become annoying and unnecessary. Any charm the antagonist might have had in the first part was gone anyway since the reveal - and the twist building up here doesn't make it any better overall.

    For J-Love, who has nothing really to do and acts far too passively, 2 out of 4 really strong cleaning skills.

  8. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) - 6/10 fat ghost zombies

  9. Mannequin: On the Move (1991, dir. Stewart Raffill)

    Apologies to Brain Saur, but this movie is not a underrated nor is it a hidden gem. The rehashed story of a man falling in love with a mannequin is just plain stupid. I had some fun for the simple nostalgia factor of watching this kind of dimwitted 90s comedy, but can’t excuse the rest of the folderol. Lazy, nonsensical and unfunny. Besides the adorable Kristy Swanson, Meshach Taylor’s “Hollywood” is the main attraction here, and boy, this gay panic comedy has aged terribly, it’s hard to watch.

    The movie even has the temerity to steal the theme song (“Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship) from the first film, leaving me wishing I’d rewatched the first instead.

    This one was a dud.

    Bonus ‘sploitation points for two female sanitation workers getting hot n heavy for a trio of stripping Bavarian chippendales and scooping them up with the dumpster arm of a garbage truck (it was so stupid, I had to laugh).

  10. Caddyshack 2.

    HAHAHAHA Im kidding! Watching this movie is truly a fate worse than death. As a matter of fact as soon as i finish my time machine built from an old Keurig coffee maker and a radioactive Tamagotchi, my first priority will be to erase that flick from existence.

  11. I'm watching This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse, which is the last movie for me to watch from my Coffin Joe box set.

  12. Mannequin: On the Move (1991) Dir. Stewart Raffill

    Ok I can buy the magic necklace girls turns to wood thing. But how did the dancers change their costumes so quick? Why is there a montage of the past 12 hours at the 1 hour mark? How did I watch three Stewart Rafill movies this month?

    Its on Prime.

    1. This movie confounds me and my wife has watched it at least four hundred times.

  13. THE CURSE II: THE BITE (1989, directed by Frederico Prosperi)

    The only thing better than a sequel is one that’s in name only. That’s exactly what The Curse II: The Bite is all about. It’s really a movie called The Bite, which was directed by Fred Goodwin, who is really Frederico Prosperi, whose only other credit is producing the nature on the loose movie The Wild Beasts.

    The film came to be after the success of The Curse. Producer Ovidio G. Assonitis and his company TriHoof Investments started making this film and another called The Train, which also became an in-name-only sequel as well called Beyond the Door III (AKA Amok Train).

    Our heroes are young lovers Clark (J. Eddie Peck, the star of Lambada) and Lisa (Jill Schoelen, who is one of my favorite unheralded scream queens with roles in The Stepfather, Cutting Class, The Phantom of the Opera, Popcorn, When a Stranger Calls Back and Chiller) whose cross-country trip has taken them right past an abandoned nuclear test site crawling with mutant snakes. Clark gets bit and starts to slowly mutate into a snake himself.

    Luckily, Lisa has some help from a sheriff (Bo Svenson) and Harry Morton (Jamie Farr) a traveling salesman who is also a doctor of sorts. He tries to treat the snakebite and uses the wrong medication, which pushes the mutation further as he furtively seeks the couple out to save them as much as he’s trying to save himself from a malpractice lawsuit. Why is a travelling salesman also a doctor? That’s just how the world of this movie works.

    Also, if you ever wanted to see a movie where Jamie Farr has conjugal relations with trucker women, come on down to Curse II: The Bite!

    There are some great Screaming Mad George effects in this, as well as an astounding scene where Clark tries to use his hand in a Biblical manner on Lisa. His mutated snake hand. Man, I was screaming at the television! Stick with this movie because while it starts off slow, but it gets ooey, gooey and great by the end. And by great, the kind of great when Italian filmmakers are let loose in America. You know what I’m talking about.

    This worked out so well that a movie called Panga became Curse III: Blood Sacrifice and Catacombs was retitled Curse IV: The Ultimate Sacrifice.

  14. European Vacation (1985, dir. Amy Heckerling)

    Really forgot the jokes in this one

    While the original BHC is an all-timer, I’ve never made time before today to check out the sequels. Original director Martin Brest is out, and heavy hitters Tony Scott, Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer are in. There’s a real case of sequel-itis here, in that we’re just doing what was in the first movie, but bigger and louder this time. They also can’t do as much fish-out-of-water comedy, so a lot of the laughs are Eddie bantering with his two buddy cops rather than the Beverly Hills lifestyle in general. It’s nicely filmed with some fun jokes and action, but I’m left with the feeling that I’ve seen all this before.

    If part 2 was the bigger sequel, this is the cheaper sequel. Setting it in and around a Disney-like theme park seems like a good idea, as it gives Eddie new fish-out-of-water gags to do, but it all feels scaled down and very business-as-usual. Also, this one doesn’t know what tone it wants to be, as the meta Disney spoofs feel very PG-13, but all the gunplay is ridiculously violent. It’s the “why fire one bullet when hundreds will do” school of action filmmaking. This was before Eddie’s big comeback, and the career lull shows. There are a couple of really funny cameos, though.

    30 days of Chinese fantasy movies, day 15
    Aside from being based on the same bit of folklore, this is not related to the 2019 NEZHA. (There’s a Maguire/Garfield/Holland thing going on, it seems.) This one’s set in a steampunk-ish alternate 1930s, where a cool motorcycle guy runs afoul of gangsters, and suddenly everybody’s got magic powers. The acting animation on the characters is really stiff and dead-eyed, as the filmmakers are obviously more interested in the fights and chases, which are plentiful. This was fun in a Saturday morning cartoon kind of way, but there’s not much else here.

  16. American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1990)

    You’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now. American Ninja 2 remains the high point of the series by a pretty wide margin and even that’s not a particularly good movie. Michael Dudikoff returns (eventually, he doesn’t show up until about halfway through) to rescue David Bradley, who is being held captive by terrorists because that’s what happens when you spend your free time American Ninja-ing all around the globe.

    Apparently the intent was for Dudikoff and Bradley to team up but Dudikoff refused to return unless his character got to save the day and was shown to be the better fighter (which is doubly bananas considering how much stiffer a fighter Dudikoff is onscreen compared to Bradley). This is also the first in the series not to have Steve James and he is sorely missed. There’s some fun to be had during the showdown in the final act, but it’s too little too late.

  17. Supercop 2 (1993, dir. Stanley Tong)

    This is technically an entry in Jackie Chan's Police Story series, but stars Michelle Yeoh (Jackie cameos in a truly awful "comedy" sequence where Jackie is undercover dressed like a woman). I watched the American Buena Vista re-edit on Pan-and-Scan VHS, so I feel it was slightly compromised. Michelle Yeoh is amazing, but not in this nearly enough, and the action sequences don't really let her apply her skills too much. It's mainly generic shootouts that seem poorly filmed / edited. I would say skip this and watch any of the other Police Story movies.

  18. I hate to be "that guy" but so far not ONE of you has picked a movie that fits this category. No one has chosen movies with Alvin Simon or Theodore!?

    Oh wait...i misread the category as "Squeakquels". never mind

    1. ๐Ÿ˜… [Original "Street Fighter II" announcer] 'You Win!' ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘

  19. Halloween: Resurrection (2002, dir. Rick Rosenthal)

    The cold open with JLC is good, the rest is better than I thought it would be after all I have heard. This obviously isn't upper echelon Halloween but I don't think it deserves to be as derided as its reputation.

  20. Return of the Seven (1966)

    I’m a pretty big fan of The Magnificent Seven but I’ve generally avoided the sequels until now as I’d generally written them off as cheap cash-ins. Having watched them now I can’t necessarily argue against them being cash-ins. I also can’t speak to the budget of any of the sequels relative to the original. They don’t exactly feel noticeably cheap aside from losing Steve McQueen for the first sequel and Yul Brynner from the second. I think the biggest strikes against them are the rehashed plot elements, and the degree to which the genre had moved on over the course of this franchise.

    Return of the Seven released in 1966, six years after Magnificent Seven just a couple months before The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly would release. In addition to bringing back Chris, Return would also bring back Vin, Chico, and Petra (albeit all played by different actors) and even to an extent return to the same setting. Having Yul return is one of the positives here but this was probably my least favorite of the sequels due to having a slightly less interesting cast than the other sequels, too many recast characters from the original, and rehashing just a bit too much of the original to make it feel like anything than just a lesser Magnificent Seven.

  21. Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969)

    Released a couple weeks before The Wild Bunch and three weeks before True Grit, I’m sure Guns suffered heavily in comparison. That said, the plot of the Seven aiding revolutionaries is a bit more interesting than the previous movie at least. George Kennedy (who I like as an actor in his own right) I think wisely doesn’t try to do a Yul Brynner impersonation. Joe Don Baker turns in an entertainingly unhinged performance as one of the more damaged characters to join the ranks of the Seven. And hey, we also get James Whitmore, who will forever be Shawshank librarian Brooks Hatlen to me but is a welcome addition to the cast here. There are still some familiar beats being hit here, but overall felt like a step up from Return for me.

  22. The Magnificent Seven Ride (1972)

    It didn’t matter much by this point in the franchise, but I don’t think there were any ground-breaking Westerns coming out around the same time as Ride. A year later through, Yul Brynner would be co-starring in Westworld as the Gunslinger, looking very similar to Chris Adams. Somewhat less recognizable as Chris Adams is Lee Van Cleef who takes over the role in Ride. There’s little in the character here that feels connected to the earlier installments and ultimately that maybe works in the movie’s favor.
    Things maybe start off here a little darker than they do in the other movies, as Chris’ initial motivation is the rape and murder of his wife (a plot thread that gets wrapped up halfway through the movie and that Chris has completely recovered from by the end). The team doesn’t get put together until after this is resolved, but unlike the prior films rather than recruiting the team one by one here, Chris arranges to get 5 convicts out of prison with the promise of a full pardon. The last slot as always is taken up by an inexperience member, this time around a writer doing a piece on Chris. There’s a hint of danger at first that the convicts, who have no love for Chris (having put them in prison in the first place), might turn on him the first opportunity that they get but this fades away fairly quickly leading to familiar climactic battle that ends each of these movies.

    Like the other sequels it’s not terrible, but there’s plenty of wasted potential in this franchise in that these movies didn’t have to stick as rigidly to formula as they did. I understand that not every franchise can be the original Planet of the Apes films, going off in crazy directions with each movie, but hell, maybe not kill off precisely 4 of the 7 in each movie for instance?

    1. Side note: It should be noted that a 3 out of 7 chance of surviving a Chris Adams job is at least slightly higher than surviving being a woman somehow connected to Paul Kersey, or being assigned as Harry Callahan's partner.

  23. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004)

    The sequel to the classic 1995 anime doubles down on the neo-noir esthetic, (cybernetic) body horror and the philosophical explorations of the original. This time the story focuses on Batou, Major Kusanagi's friend and partner, who struggles to adjust to a world without her as he investigates a series of gruesome murders involving high-end androids (or in fact, gynoids, because they are all lady-robots). Visually, the movie is stunning, with an interesting mix of CG and traditional animation, and while the CGI looks a bit dated now, it actually adds to the weird robotic fakeness of the world. The mood is heavy and cerebral - the original wasn't exactly a fun romp either, but Innocence is downright depressing at times. Which is not to say it's bad. On the contrary, it's expertly crafted and really compelling, at times hypnotically so - it just might not be ideal Junesploitation material. Recommended for any fan of both serious sci-fi and crazy robot gore.

    1. Not that gory or violent, since it's rated 'PG-13' versus the first "GITS" hard 'R.' Maybe without all that Major Kusanagi nudity the first movie would also have been rated 'PG-13'?

  24. Peter Rabbit 2 (2021)

    It was 106*F in SLC today so I took the kid to a real life theater and watched the latest rabbit flick. It was not great, but I’m glad the stars aligned to get me a Junesploitation technicality entry.

  25. Wonder Woman 1984, dir Patty Jenkins, 2020

    Okay. So a second watch of WW84 did burst my, I'm back in a movie theatre yay I love it, experience of it all. It hurt and helped that I was watching it with my Partner.

    Dan when he saw the stone: Really a wishing stone. That's what we're doing? What is it a 1980s High School Comedy?

    And he's not wrong. So I still kinda like the dopey mess of a movie.

  26. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

    All these Disney+ Marvel shows have me wanting to just binge MCU movies, so I'm glad I could make this fit for a category.

    I really like this one, and casting Robert Redford? Genius.

    1. 'Hail.. Hydra!' So good! Where's the Best Supporting Actor nomination, Academy Awards? Losers! ¯\_(ใƒ„)_/¯

  27. Since I had not watched the original film for my sequel in a long time, I thought it was appropriate to get it to it first.

    THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971, dir. William Friedkin)

    A cinematic masterpiece. Gene Hackmen is Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle and Roy Scheider is his partner Buddy Russo on the hunt for narcotics. Though Popeye Doyle may have thuggish tactics when it comes to dealing with suspects, he has a good instinct for sniffing out a big case. Boy, he does find one. Doyle is a character who would not be a hero today, but that does not take away from how effective the film is in drawing the viewer in. All of the following of suspects that happens never gets dull.

    FRENCH CONNECTION II (1975, dir. John Frankenheimer)

    Popeye Doyle is sent by the NYPD to Marseilles to help track down the mysterious “Alain Charnier” who brought the heroin to New York in the first film. His French hosts are not too happy to deal with Doyle, who is even more of a**hole in this picture. (That is saying a lot.) Doyle is not happy to be in such foreign territory, either. His rogue ways get him in some deep trouble, yet nobody can say that Popeye Doyle gives up easily. I think Gene Hackmen had even more to do as an actor in the sequel; his baseball monologue is wonderfully delivered. The pacing and handling of the action are not as tight as in the first film, but that issue decreases as the finale approaches. If one goes in not expecting the greatness of the original, you might not be disappointed.

    1. Yeah, I know I misspelled Gene Hackman's name. Looking up information about him just now, I see that he turns 91 this year.

  28. Creepshow 2 (1987)
    Directed by Michael Gornick

    Romero screenplay, based on King stories, how bad could it be? I personally liked the animatronic Creep from the first movie. Maybe animation was cheaper. On the positive side, his chin looks like a scrotum with two dangling testicles.

    Old Chief Wood n’ Head: George Kennedy wanted or needed to work, bless him. Holt McCallany is not going to win any awards for Native American representation. I really like the sequence when he gets pulled through the wall. The scalping thing is all kinds of wrong, but it’s 1987.

    The Raft: just reread this King story, and it gets much of it right. Amazing what you can do with a plastic tarp and latex molds. Coming on to the girl while asleep is all kinds of wrong, but hey, it’s 1987. The segment’s a little cheesy and shallow, but so was the story. I did like the oil slick burp though.

    The Hitch-hiker: typical sexually liberated woman receives fatal comeuppance for disregarding human life, after running down a hitchhiker. The repetitive mauling and mayhem against a black (homeless?) hitchhiker is all kinds of wrong, but you know…1987. Fun King cameo in this one. Lois Chiles is solidly ok in this. Was her character name a slam on Hollywood studio executive Sherry Lansing? Lois Chiles says the phrase “Mrs. Lansing” about 40 times in this segment.

    For a reviled sequel with a terrible reputation, this was fine if nothing special, and nowhere near as bad as several things I’ve watched this year.

  29. Jaws 5: Cruel Jaws (1995)

    No, it is not actually a sequel, but perhaps that is exactly why it is a perfect movie for Junesploitation day 15.

  30. THE HILLS HAVE EYES PART II (1985, dir. Wes Craven)

    For reasons that will become clear tomorrow.

  31. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009, dir. Shawn Levy)

    AKA: How to squander the comedic talents of Robin Williams, Steve Coogan and Christopher Guest.

    Imagine how funny they (and the rest of the cast, my god, Amy Adams, Jon Bernthal, Hank Azaria, Bill Hader, Owen Wilson, etc…) could have been in a movie that didn’t require them to play act against green screens to lend credibility to CGI cherubs and monkeys in space suits.

  32. Hostel Part II

    Eli Roth is a mad man. I can’t believe this was a wide release, multiplex movie. I mean, I can, because I saw it opening night, but ya know.

  33. Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984) - It's really tempting to be ironic or dismissive of this movie but once I got past that I found it genuinely fun and (for lack of a better word) joyful. It's certainly dated, but rather than feeling cringy it ends up placing the film in its own world. And there are two or three genuinely great musical sequences, particularly the Turbo-centered scene at the 45 minute mark inspired by Fred Astaire's ceiling dance in Royal Wedding and another with Ozone teaching Turbo how to charm a woman.

  34. Toy Story 4 (2019)

    I overlooked it initially because the ending of the third was oh so perfect! After this viewing, it confirmed that yes, this film was wholly unnecessary. But it was enjoyable enough and the animation was gorgeous.

  35. Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990 Joe Dante)

    A wild sequel with one helluva supporting cast. It was fun to revisit this one for the first time since the theatrical run.

    1. You took your kid to see "Peter Rabbit 2" in theaters but didn't watch "Gremlins 2" with him by your side to cover his eyes during the grinder scene? Dude, you're such a lame protective-of-a-child's-fragile-mind 2020's dad! :-P

  36. Debt Collectors (Jesse V. Johnson, 2020)
    I really enjoyed The Debt Collector (2018) on Scott Adkins Day and was looking forward to watching the sequel. I wasn't fully invested in the story and felt a bit let down by Adkins' arc, but him and Louis Mandylor truly have a great chemistry, not to mention a stellar screen presence. I would love to see a third installment.

    The Howling II (Philippe Mora, 1985)
    Heather has been challenging this one for a while now, so I only grew more curious over the years and was, I should mention, fully willing to embrace the wackiness.
    Anyone who loves this movie (I know you exist, I've read the Letterboxd reviews), please don't take this personnally and don't let my opinion affect your enjoyment.
    This was far, FAR worse than I was expecting. I can - and do - appreciate the camp factor. I can watch a fascinatingly bad movie and have a good time. Hell, I had a TREMENDOUS time at the European premiere of Verotika (introduced by Danzig himself, who clearly hadn't been discouraged by the Chicago experience, and to that I say: good for him!). This, on the other hand, was a painful watch for me. Not in the sense that I was bored or anything like that; I sometimes had to walk away and do some chores because I was just too embarrassed. I felt mortified every time Christopher Lee was on screen (which is a lot, unfortunately), and might actually have enjoyed the movie a bit more were he not in it.
    I really wanted to listen to Patrick and Heather's commentary right after to process my feelings, but sadly the link was broken, so I'm still as confused as I was yesterday.

    Piranha II (James Cameron?, 1982)
    Ok, this one might have benefited from coming right after Howling II, but Piranha II is not nearly as disastrous as I was expecting and has, if you can believe it (at this point of the night, I barely could), actual actors that 1) are competent, and 2) don't look absolutely miserable, along with pretty solid underwater scenes and nasty gore effects. The movie as a whole is a mess, sure, but considering the behind the scenes drama, it could have ended up a whole lot worse.

  37. Crocodile Dundee in Los Angles (2001)

    I wanted to complete the series, for some stupid reason. It's better than the 2nd, but not worth watching. He's playing detective again, but at least we get back some "fish out of water" gags, and "Things Australians do" stuff. And a teacher that's hot for crocodile hunters!

    It's really not very good. I wonder if Australians hate these movies and all the stereotypes they taught the world?

  38. I felt like watching Jurassic Park III after Adam's column, but first I had to watch Jurassic Park II: The Lost World (1997). I was enjoying it quite a bit, but a lot of the movie seemed to be occurring at night. I fell asleep around 2/3's of the way through (just tired, not boredom) and will finish it tonight.

  39. MARTIAL LAW 2: UNDERCOVER (1992, dir. Kurt Anderson)

    Has some good fights and a charming Cynthia Rothrock, but the story was deeply uninteresting to me. I’m not sure I was in the mood.