Last week, we looked at Mad Max, the first movie in the franchise. It's also the most low-key movie in the franchise. If you think about Mad Max, the franchise, you're likely going to think about the crazier set. If you think about Mad Max, you think about a certain style and spirit of post-apocalyptic movie. You're not thinking about the original tragedy of a man trying to resist the pull into monstrosity only to give fully in when his family is taken from him.

If it weren't for the production dates, one could be forgiven for thinking that Mad Max was an alright movie, but mainly a prequel of The Road Warrior with the standard issues that plague prequels.

For those who haven't seen it, The Road Warrior is the story of Max (the one that's significantly angry) finding himself stuck in a conflict between two sides.
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I want to be clear with this one. These Cases that I make aren't all efforts to get rid of the original. Early on in this series, I did a Case for re-remaking The Day The Earth Stood Still and, if at all possible, I will not allow that original to go away. Sometimes there are problems with the original that should be addressed in retelling. Sometimes, it's simply the case that there's more to be done with the idea.

In this case, it's both.

I want the original franchize to remain. All the movies are enjoyable. Yes, I even want to hold onto "Beyond Thunderdome", even with its kind of mess.

That said, the concept as a whole does have its issues and does have some untapped potential.
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Okay, I could make a Case for remaking the Transformers movie. There's enough material there for me to expound upon the problems and enough potential there for a good story to happen in its place. But, that's one of the problems of the movie that we have.

On the one hand, there's the story of a plucky NSA contractor computer tech which becomes a story that has, among other things, the bare bones of a potentially good serious M-I-B style movie. On the next hand, we have a military squad in a story that has, among other things, the bare bones of a potentially good Predator style movie. Then, there's two teens in a story that has, among other things, the bare bones of a coming of age story of self-actualization. Oh, and by the way, there are transformers doing... something.

That's four hands, four stories for a single movie. I'm not going to say that this many stories can't be done in a single movie. That has been done much better than this movie. I am going to say that Michael Bay can't do it.

Of course, he couldn't do any one of the stories right in the first place. Michael Bay lacks respect... for anybody... or anything.
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For those who are not aware of the 1980s classic, "Revenge of the Nerds" is the story of Lambda Lambda Lambda's quest for revenge against their abusers.

The stage is quickly set. Using the 80s tropes, Lambda Lambda Lambda is a fraternity peopled by those who would be labeled "nerds", "dorks", and "geeks" interchangeably. For the most part, they're intelligent, technically minded, with interests in science, chess, and the less socially desired musical instruments. They also included a gay member, an immigrant with a thick accent, and one nicknamed "Booger". They interact among themselves quite well, but face social censure for who they are, despite causing no harm.

Their rival fraternity, the Alpha-Betas, are made up of the athletically accomplished. Or, in simpler terms, they're "jocks". Early in the movie, the Alpha-Betas burn down their building, quickly blaming that on faulty wiring, and are given the Lambda house. This isn't enough, they continue to humiliate the Lambda fraternity to the point of a mass-physical assault, which prompts an important question.

Louis Skolnick, the leader of the Nerds throughout the movie, asks the question. "What did we ever do to you?"

The response was "You were born."
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A little backstory, because I don't know that there is a name for this Trope and I'm not about to get lost in a TVTropes search in order to find it. It comes from the comments in another webpage, wherein I had promoted the posts on my blog. Someone had noted that there is a common sexist trope that can happen in some of these kinds of movies. A woman makes ready to do a man's job and is shown to be silly for thinking she can do such a thing.

In some ways, our culture have already addressed this trope. The more common trope, these days, is that the woman announces her intention and, indeed, achieves that which sets out to accomplish. In fact, we've moved past that to a point where, sometimes, the trope is how outdated it is to even need to prove such a thing. The narrative either reaches a point where the protagonist outgrows the desire to prove herself to someone else or reacts, initially, with the roll of the eyes such a demand deserves.

Even so, we can still put in our own response. And, I dare to say that the 60's/70's style screwball comedy is exactly where we should put it.

My proposal is we set up something like a bet.
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The Assassination Bureau, for those who haven't seen it, is the 1969 comedy about the chairman of the company sharing it's name with the movie and the lady journalist who has a plan to address their existence. The journalist, Sonya Winter, gains the financial backing of a newspaper, sets up a meeting with the Bureau. She finds that her meeting is with the chairman of the Bureau, one Ivan Dragomiloff, and uses the occasion to ask for a contract on Ivan Dragomiloff. He obviously sets a high price which she meets and he, much to her surprise, accepts.

The reason that he accepts a contract is where this has the potential to get interesting. In a board meeting with his international board, he takes the other members to task. What had been founded, by Ivan's own father, as a means of ridding the world of evil, via careful judgment of anybody they're asked to kill, had changed. It seems that you can make the moral case for killing anybody and, once that's the case, financial reward is its own justification.

The contract on himself gives him a means, within the bylaws of the Bureau, of addressing that issue and returning the Bureau to what he sees as a place of upstanding morality. Because the contract was proposed, paid in appropriate price (some 20,000 lb, in pre-WWI money), and accepted, either the other board members must kill him or he must kill them.
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Time After Time, for those who have the bad luck to not have seen the movie and the good luck not to have seen the recent attempt at a television series, is the story of H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper transported from their time to the (at the time of filming) present. Conflict and out-of-time drama commences.

In the movie, Doctor Stevenson reveals to his good friend, H.G. Wells, that he is the feared and infamous Jack the Ripper. Shortly after that, and shortly after discovering that said friend has really designed a real time-travel device, he uses that time-travel device to escape capture by the police.

Again in the movie, the reason H.G. Wells creates his time machine, iconic to the very one in his story of the same movie, for the purpose of going to his predicted Utopian future. Instead, he has to go in pursuit of his... the word "frenemy" actually applies.

In that future they both come to, in the movie that being approximately 1979, both are surprised by what they find. They don't find the utopia, exactly. In fact, they find a world that has, in some ways, degraded. In both versions, the Jack the Ripper character expresses, to Wells, the line that "[Then], I was a freak. Today, I am an amateur."
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No, I'm not talking about the cartoon. I will be focusing on the original. Yes, you can thank Barney Stinson.

"The Karate Kid", for those who have seen neither the original nor the remake, is the story of a kid with a single mother moving to a new location, having the social problems associated with being the odd one out and the new kid, as well as dealing with the trouble of a violently aggressive bully. Seeing that he's going down a bad path, one elderly gentleman of Japanese descent takes it upon himself to teach the lad Karate, the same martial art as said bully.

Barney Stinson, the character in "How I Met Your Mother", popularized an interpretation of the original movie and others have taken that to heart. In that view, the lead character, Daniel, is the bad guy of the movie. The real good guy is the one that the movie would have us believe to be the bad guy, one Johnny Lawrence, the bully who, at one point, violently beats Daniel. And, I'll go so far as to say that they're half-right.
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I actually watched this movie for this post. I watched this movie. I watched A Matter of Faith. This is a good time to note that I have a Patreon account*. If you like what I do, please share this page with others and, if you can, become a patron. Because, I repeat, I watched A Matter of Faith. My Netflix queue will now have "Because you watched A Matter of Faith" on it. I should be compensated, somehow.

I watched this movie because I've seen other reviews. The two over at The Bible Reloaded did an "Atheists Watch" post on it. The three at God Awful Movies gave it a full breakdown, as did Captain Cassidy over at the Roll To Disbeleive blog. And, they all make their good points. That means that I come to this movie with certain expectations and certain points already being made and expectations set ahead of time. Whether that means my suffering was prolonged or I didn't give this movie a fair chance is up to you to decide.
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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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