The Prophecy has a nebulous place in film-going memory. If you've heard of it, your primary point of interest is, likely, Christopher Walken. Why wouldn't it be? Christopher Walken has a voice and a cadence that... somehow works with almost any role he takes on. And, there are some lines, here, that work only because Christopher Walken says them.

Gabriel: Do you know how you got that dent, in your top lip? Way back, before you were born, I told you a secret, then I put my finger there and I said "Shhhhh!"

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If you know the premise of "I Dream of Jeannie", you know the premise of "Bewitched". They're not identical. It's just nigh-impossible to have a conversation about one in which the other does not feature. "Bewitched" came first and "I Dream of Jeannie" came next, on a different network, copying for a similar concept.

Still, what came out is quite different. "Bewitched" shows something of a sense of a culture's understanding of gender norms and class norms (Thank you, Evan Tarlton, for giving me that.) in comparison to "I Dream of Jeannie"'s more aggressive wish-fulfillment (no pun intended).

"Bewitched" is the sit-com about Darren and Samantha Stephens. Darren is an every-day, ordinary, every-man (so long as you limit that to middle-class White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). Samantha is a goddess with nigh-unlimited power to create life from thin-air, invade minds, and subject mere mortals to horrific transformations... or, to use the show's language, a witch.
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I... think I can forego my usual explanation for those who aren't aware. I won't. Remember how I'm in love with the sound of my own text. But, I could.

"I Dream of Jeannie" is the classic sitcom about Major Tony Nelson, an astronaut, and the Djin he meets after splashdown from a mission has him long off his expected target. By accident he releases her from a bottle. He immediately recognizes that she is what we call, in modern days, a genie and says, to himself, that he has read about them, and immediately sets to making wishes in the hopes of getting back home and/or back to NASA.

If you have read of the Djin, including the powerful ones that need to be bound inside vessels, you should know that wishes aren't something to rush into. Part of what you should have read involves stories of wicked tricksters. Or, spirits resentfully bound into service. Neither of these bodes well for how they will choose to go about granting your wish.

Of course, you should also know that they're not certain to have great magical powers. They can be spirits of fire or air. That's why the popular image of a genie is that of a person from the waist up and a dust-devil from the waist down.

None of all of that applies to "I Dream of Jeannie", of course. It's just a silly situation comedy about an everyman, his wacky neighbor, and the nigh-omnipotent deity which the everyman controls and eventually marries.
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This one's going to have to start with a bit of linguistic setup. "Ruined my childhood" has become a phrase used for various reasons. Some of them are obviously... wrong. The adaptation of a beloved cartoon into a bad movie, for instance, doesn't ruin the time you spent, as a child, enjoying said cartoon. You still did enjoy that and you can still look back, fondly, upon the time you spent enjoying said cartoon.

There is a better use of the phrase, one that does describe a legitimate bad thing to do to a person that is, nonetheless, not as bad as the issues surrounding not doing that to a person.

I have memories of enjoying a particular performance of a particular kind of media with my sister, while we were both children. This was, by the good judgment of our parents, child-friendly. It didn't have bad messages. It didn't use bad words. It was a good way for us to be entertained safely. And, until a revelation a couple years ago, I could look upon those memories with fondness. The memory was comforting to me, a place of safe nostalgia.

Then, I learned something. This wasn't a new version of the old thing I enjoyed. This was new information and/or new perspective on the thing that I enjoyed. In light of this new information and/or new perspective, looking back on this thing that I enjoyed is no longer a comforting memory. Now, it is a discomforting memory.

This was not a nice thing to happen to me, personally. But, because other individuals matter just as much as I do, it would have been the greater injustice for my memory to remain unharmed by the new information. Even if the rest of the world found this out and I didn't, I would still be acting in a way that perpetuates that injustice.

This was my effort to state the concept without going into any specifics that might lead the conversation down the road of those specifics.

That said, let's talk about A Spell for Chameleon.
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Note: For evidence of just how suggestable I am, here's the review that spurred this for me. https://youtu.be/rD3AcYi3CAc

Maven of the Eventide points out the primary issues, but let me go over them in order to, you know, justify the fact that I'm writing something.

Once Bitten, for those who were blissfully unaware of the 80's, was comedy about the eighteen year old male virgin (allegedly a rarity in the 1980's), Mark Kendall. He is eager to have sex for the first time, with his girlfriend, Robin Pierce. At the same time, he is the target of a lady-vampire, The Countess, who needs to seduce and take the blood of a virgin once a century.
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When I made my first Case for remaking What Dreams May Come, Antigone10, a commenter over on the Slacktivist Blog where I shamelessly promote my blog, commented that she and her husband both thought that the premise deserved a remake. Her husband had thought for a more spiritual take with a better message (which I think I addressed in my first and continuing Case), but she had her own idea that merits its own Case. She thought about a story in which the main character, Chris Nielsen, is dreaming and/or hallucinating.

Normally, I'm fairly against "It was all a dream" stories. As a fan-theory it can be slightly amusing. Perhaps I need to watch more David Lynch, who's filmography tends to take from dreams and dream logic and put it to good use.

So, hey, maybe we have a fantasy director for this project.
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Thanks to the comments by Antigone10 over on the Slacktivist open thread where I shamelessly self-promote my blog and book, there will be an Other Case for What Dreams May Come. For now, we're continuing from the Case I made in the Case previous.

To review for those who haven't read the previous, I argued that the movie What Dreams May Come would be better off remade with the main character, Chris Nielsen, is, instead of the main character, a viewpoint character for the purposes of framing and exposition on clinical depression. The main character should, instead, be the wife, Annie Collins-Nielsen, should be the main character as she navigates an afterlife that is built by her own mind... one that suffers from clinical depression. She would eventually get help, from Chris, that would enable her to escape that Hell and/or work on making an afterlife that isn't Hellish.

There are two reasons why I don't think the concept should stop there. This should be made into a television series (or Netflix and/or Amazon Prime series) with multiple seasons. That gives us the opportunity to explore far more of the potential than even a series of movies.
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What Dreams May Come is, for those who haven't seen, the story of a man who dies, goes to an interesting interpretation of the afterlife, and eventually tries to save his wife from the Hell she winds up in after killing herself.

This movie was one of Robin Williams' dramatic roles and I want to say that it tries. It really tries. It... aslo fails.

For another view on this movie, one that is less charitable than mine, I can advise you check out Renegade Cut*. My own falls along similar line.
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We've recently learned about what Mike Pence seems to think is a good practice. For those who are either unaware or reading this from far enough in the future that this has been overshadowed by other things (or he's just that irrelevant, because I can dream, damnit), the practice is of never being alone in a room with a woman who is not either his wife or a blood relative. Through this he doesn't just avoid the potential appearance of an improper relationship with a woman, but also the temptation.

Mike Pence is not alone in this practice. It was called "The Billy Graham Rule" and isn't all that unusual in strict, conservative, religious Evangelical households. Neither is it all that unusual in strict, conservative, religous Muslim households. You might also have heard of the movie "Old Fashioned", about a man who makes a vow to God to obey such rules. I might tackle that movie in The Case, but it would require watching it. Until then, you can rely upon The Cinema Snob* and/or the God Awful Movies Podcast** to mock it in the links at the end of this piece.

Proponents of the Billy Graham Rule present it as, among other things, an act of humility. Opponents of the rule may argue, instead, that it presents self-hatred. I... am not a neutral observer. I am one of the opponents that argues that it presents self-hatred. And, I'm about to go farther.
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The name is negotiable. Fair warning, it'll take a while for me to get to the point.

In terms of low-budget movies, there's a relative moral scale (not relative morality per se, but let's not get into that conversation). At the top of the heap, you have low budget, artsy and experimental movies. These aren't perfect and, on a moral level, they can share certain failures of the rest of the movie world, as well as their own. But, they have a charm and, sometimes they do great things.

I really enjoyed Cube, Wristcutters: A Love Story, and a whole host of movies that I remember but cannot recall their names. (Really, I've tried. I've tried asking around only to find people asking me "do you mean this vastly more well-known movie that you couldn't escape for a decade?")
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We're living in a world of dark re-imaginings of what was once lighthearted fare. This has been going on for longer than Riverdale, but Riverdale really brings us to a peak of what's done wrong in the effort. I don't want to reject the idea of dark re-imaginings. I think they have real value. They can add depth to a work or a franchise or an idea. But, you have to do it right. In order to get a sense of how to do it right, let's start with source material that's more ripe for the dark re-imagining.

For those who haven't seen it, Flight of the Navigator is about David, who's knocked out in the woods near his home, wakes up to find that it's eight years later, the world has aged that eight years but he hasn't. This turns out to be due to an abduction by an alien artificial intelligence. Said artificial intelligence lost, for reasons I can't recall if they ever existed, its navigational charts in the mind of David and needed them returned. Upon requiring them from David, the machine also takes in part of his personality.

So much of that is just ripe for horror and dark foreboding. We have a family that has to deal with the sudden disappearance of a child, including one member who was an even younger child. We have the displacement in time. We have the nigh-Lovecraftian element of an alien artificial intelligence with motivations we may or may not be able to guess at. Oh, and did I mention the parts that deal with government scientists?
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My Own Worst Enemy, for the majority of the world that has forgotten, was a short-lived TV spy-show with a twist. The premise of the show was that some of the world's top spies underwent complex conditioning that gave them a case of controlled multiple personalities. While on missions, they were their spying, assassinating, dark-deeds-for-the-greater-good selves. While not on missions or not on that particular job, their other personalities would take over, making them happily standard members of middle American suburbia.

The conditioning of Christian Slater becomes unstable, again in the premise, enabling switches of personality. Thus, the conflict is set. On the one hand, we have Edward Albright, the lone-wolf doer of dark deeds in service to his country. On the other hand, we have Henry Spivey, the wimpier, but more moral husband and father. The two come into conflict with each other and the roles of each other as they accidentally slip between.

If I had to guess why My Own Worst Enemy was short lived, it would be that it had a tendency to be rather down on the work-a-day people who make up the bulk of civilization. Whether by intention or otherwise, it made the case that your life isn't as valuable as that of such a spy. When a show's basic message seems to include "your struggles and triumphs and failures just don't add up to all that much", I can see people being turned off.

Two items turned me off.
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Quantum Leap, for those not yet born in 1993, is the story of Samuel Beckett (no relation to the playwright) who invented and tested a time machine. It was a partial success in that it did send him back in time, but only into the lives of those in the past. And, he couldn't get back. All he could do was stay in one setting long enough to complete an unspecified but important task or "put right what once went wrong". Then, he would "leap" into another life at another point in history and geography.

Unlike some shows I've subjected to The Case, Quantum Leap made some fairly good use of its potential for its time.

For its time is an important caveat. Quantum Leap existed in the late '80s and early '90s. That gave it two binds that held it back from fully exploring its potential.
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I've already made a Case for remaking 50 Shades of Grey, which started life as Twilight Fan Fiction. As this indicates, Twilight does share the major problem of 50 Shades. Much of the story is something that can be appreciated as a fantasy that should remain fantasy. But, Twilight has its own problems that make it so that it can't all be solved with a presentation that acknowledges that it's not just a step away from reality, but a step away from desired reality.

Twilight, for those not already made familiar by a wealth of commentary, is the story of late teen Bella Swan and her falling in love with a vampire.

The story begins with her moving to a dreary town to live with her father, who is also the local Sherriff. She goes to the dreary High School, where she is nigh-immediately the most popular girl, but finds no joy in either that or any of the people. It's not that she's malicious in her distaste for her classmates, but more that she holds everybody in the same low esteam with which she holds herself.

Some readers and critics, particularly in the comments of Ana Mardoll's deconstructions of the series*, have put forth that Bella Swan could be taken to present as suffering clinical depression.

The only classmates who don't go out of their way to befriend Bella are the Cullens, of which Edward captures her attention. He's initially hostile, but concerned for her well-being, and otherwise a bundle of mixed messages. This prompts her to ask about the Cullens, learn about a convenient fictional myth from the real-but-inaccurately-portrayed local Native American community, and pour over some internet research, all leading up to the much-shown and much-mocked scene. He tells her to say it and she says "vampire".
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Waterworld, if you've forgotten (and most have) was the movie set in a world in which global warming caused the ice-caps to melt... and nothing else. The story is your fairly average, low-budget, action piece with Dennis Hopper playing the over-the-top bad guy and Kevin Costner as the blander-than-bland good guy.

Item of note: I know that Kevin Costner can play someone with emotions. I've seen it in Bull Durham.

Now, I say the story is a fairly average, low-budget action piece. But, the movie itself had a high budget. I don't know where the budget went. If it all went to Dennis Hopper, that might have been a good choice. I suspect that it went to the efforts of shooting, off the coast, on settings that would allow you to view this as a world where there's no dry-land in the background of any of the shots, not until they come to the remaining island.

Still, the concept is workable, but for a couple problems.
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Ladyhawke is the 1980's Middle Ages fantasy movie about a cursed couple. Both in love, the woman is a hawk during the day and the man is a wolf at night. When an animal, either can only think as an animal. They can feel for each other and even recognize each other, but cannot communicate. For nostalgia, I consider this a classic. On re-watch, I can consider it a tad confused with its tone, but I still say it's an entertaining movie to watch.

A character calling himself Mouse, played by Matthew Broderick, is both comic relief and our viewpoint character for the story. He's a thief of so slight a build that he was able to escape an otherwise inescapable prison by crawling through the drains. He's a capable thief, which keeps us aware of why he would be wanted in his position, and the comedy comes from him being in over his head and surviving through wit and luck.

The movie takes a passing look at the fact that, having been unable to communicate but always so close, there's a strain and can be a desire to find intimacy with someone else. But, that doesn't last more than about one scene, long enough for Mouse to find the way to be clear that nothing really happened.

Therein lies the wasted potential.
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Only You Can Save Mankind is a book you probably haven't read. Even if you really enjoy Terry Pratchett, it's not in his Discworld series and... in all honesty, it's not a great book. I know. I just stated a paradox. It's by Terry Pratchett and I... don't like it.

I don't hate it or even dislike it. I can see how others would like it. If you have the chance, give it a read. I didn't find it a chore to get through the whole thing. And, hey, if Amazon is any indication, a lot of people loved it. (Though, one did give it a one star review and called it liberal indoctrination, which actually endears the novel to me.)

My issue with the book is that it left me with the feeling that... nothing really happened. Oh, there was action, there was exploration of a theme and the beginnings of what could open up to a deconstruction of common game tropes of "Always Chaotic Evil" and the application of the Social Anthropological Principle of Out-Group Homogeneity Bias*. Unlike other stories that never notice their own potential, this one notices, but doesn't really have a grasp on how to engage it.
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The first movie, intentionally or otherwise, was Act I. I've made the Case for Act II. Now, it's time to complete the epic trilogy.

Like with the second movie, we can move the youngest Incredibles onto new stages in their lives.

Violet Parr has gone through college and law school and is starting her career. This is a source of tension within the family because the firm she works for takes on a lot of what Bob Par/Mr. Incredible considers "anti-hero" cases. A more neutral description would be that they represent plaintiffs in injury and damage cases due to super-hero negligence.

To Bob Parr, this is the very thing that drove superheroes out of the job in the first place. To Violet Parr, this is an essential element of justice.

To Helen Parr/Elastigirl, this is just another conflict in the family that she has to mediate in order to keep the family together.

Dash has just finished college on a track scholarship. As Dashiell Parr, he's continued to not take his studies seriously at all. As the superhero, Blink (a super hero name of Dash is just too obvious and asking for trouble), he did actively study criminology. He knew that he had a career easily in front of him, just like his dad.

And, John, sometimes still called Jack-Jack, is now in college. Like Violet, he has an obvious interest in Super Hero studies, itself an obvious choice for many a student on account of the re-emerging importance of superheroes in emergency response and law enforcement. Like Violet, he gets into his share of arguments with his father.

The first or second scene (after an initial bit of super-hero action, perhaps) will remind of the key issue. Dash has a girlfriend, someone he believes responsible enough to handle the family secret.
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It seems official. The Incredibles Sequel is in the works for 2019. There's no reason why we shouldn't have a sequel. It's an entertaining movie about people fully embracing who they are (some for the first time some again) and the need to work with others and the need to value your family. These are good morals.

But, as you might be able to tell from a couple Scenes I'd Like to See*, there's a pervasive problem within the movie.

The Incredibles takes, as given, the moral superiority of those with super powers. They're not just special for being individuals with their own unique space-time and the unreplicable perspective and experience within, like everybody else. No, if everybody's special then nobody's special. The accomplishments that most people achieve, through hard work or study, are mediocrity. Someone born with a superpower that makes practice and exercise immaterial, such as that which others need to win a race, has the unique capacity for greatness.

To put it another way, The Incredibles despises participation trophies, but applauds to celebrate accidents of birth.

This isn't an intended moral of The Incredibles, but not setting to outright tell people that they shouldn't try to achieve greatness if they weren't born great is a very low bar to set. It's more of an underlying assumption throughout the movie. But, for all that, I'm not suggesting a remake.

Whether by intention or not, The Incredibles can be both its own movie and Act I. The first act has the job of establishing the setting and the basis for the conflict to come. The Incredibles has done just that.
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The idea comes from my discussion of Amarie's response to Captain America: Civil War. Link right here. http://amarie24.dreamwidth.org/61828.html

Again, as per previous times I've taken on super heroes, I haven't read the comic books. I'm going, mainly, by the movies. I'm also going by the short-lived cartoon that tried to follow the success of Spiderman in the 90s. Other than that, I'm working with things I've only learned through cultural osmosis. That said, my primary source is the Iron Man movies.

The first Iron Man movie starts with billionaire, playboy, weapons dealer Tony Stark. Tony Stark is a capable salesperson, perhaps a genius level engineer, and has earned precisely none of his fame, wealth, or power. No, really.

Tony Stark was born and raised into the Stark family, which already owned a weapons development company. It was already quite wealthy and already had connections with the US government and military. Tony Stark grew up knowing that he really could do anything he set his mind to, because he had the wealth and connections to override anything that would be a reasonable impediment to someone who was just a genius.

That's all part of it. I mean, you can't blame him for having his privileges. And, his story is, essentially, of recognizing that his actions have consequences on other people and taking responsibility. Good for him... sorta.
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