Reboot THIS! (Part Two: Sequels)

When last we spoke, you and I, we discussed Hollywood’s fondness for rebooting franchises every few years and churning out sequel after sequel.  (Okay, I did most of the talking, but you nodded silent agreement.)  In that blog post, I humbly submitted some films that are prime candidates for reboots/remakes, and this time I’m offering up some slam-dunk sequels.

Pump Up The Volume (Likelihood of awfulness: AVERAGE)

Now he looks like Costner's little brother, which OH MY GOD!! ROBIN HOOD WAS RIGHT!!

Now he looks like Costner’s little brother, which OH MY GOD!! ROBIN HOOD WAS RIGHT!!

Kids today don’t remember the good ol’ days of Christian Slater being the ultimate heart-throb. It’s hard for today’s generation to recall when Slates was like a rebellious combination of Leo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling, and Johnny Depp.  He was dreamy, sexy, quirky, and dangerous.  He played vengeful skateboarders and sociopathic high-school rebels and his hair would fall into his eyes and he’d smirk and YOU COULD HEAR THE PANTIES HITTING THE FLOOR!! Anyhoo, the original Pump Up the Volume was not based on that Technotronic jam you’d hear at Chicago Bulls games, but was instead a story about how one kid fought the system…with ROCK MUSIC!!  Slater’s pirate radio station rocked out all the coolest underground bands back when there was such a thing as “underground.”  That’s why I think this story deserves a sequel:  thanks to the internet and digital music sharing, etc. ANYONE can have their own “radio” station.  Now imagine that ol’ Happy Harry Hard-On (Christian Slater’s on-air persona) has become a high school teacher, but still has the soul of a rebel.  In fact, perhaps he discovers mistreatment of some of the students in his class (or bullying or illegal standard testing or whatever hot-button topic works at the time) but the school shuts down the local internets or something so Harry must teach the kids how to do it OL-SKOOL and is threatened with termination and such but it’s totes okay because he’s taught the kids to find their own voice and DAMN THE MAN!!  Throw in some cyber-hacking bullshit and you’ve got yourself a stand-up-and-cheer feel-good movie with a bitchin’ soundtrack.  Plus, seeing Christian Slater play the adult for a change would be cool.

Real Genius (Likelihood of awfulness: High)

No, look again.  It's NOT Axl Rose.

No, look again. It’s NOT Axl Rose.

This would probably suck.  No lie, I would really cringe if I heard they were going through with plans for a follow-up to one of my favorite movies of all time (there have been repeated rumors since 2007 that Val Kilmer had already signed on for a yet-to-be developed sequel.)  I would cringe because the original is so perfect that there’s NO WAY they could make me love a second one any more than the first.  That being said, in the right hands (Shane Black springs to mind) it would be a lot of fun to see Chris Knight as either a college professor or even a private-sector company man.  Perhaps Chris has lost his way, and some upstart college wonks would have to show him the path back to the man he was in college, slaving away for Dr. Hathaway’s nefarious schemes.  Sure, a fat Val Kilmer would be depressing, but the dude can still be funny.  Team him with a Michael Cera or go the other way and have Chloë Grace Moretz play a sassy young lady, maybe even (GASP!) Chris Knight’s long-lost daughter.  Again, with the right script and director, this would be wonderful.  However, in the wrong hands, it could be Slap Shot 2.

Point Break (Likelihood of awfulness: Guaranteed)

In fairness, it was almost impossible to find an unflattering pic of Keanu.

In fairness, it was almost impossible to find an unflattering pic of Keanu.

Again, in a perfect world, this would work.  In the world we actually live in, however, this is doomed.  There was a great deal of talk about a sequel, but then, well…Patrick Swayze died.  He was totally on-board and excited to participate in the planned follow-up.  With Swayze, it could have worked.  Hell, the Fast ‘N’ Furious series basically ripped off the Point Break formula, and they’ve done pretty well for themselves (or so I’m told.  I’ve yet to see a single one of those films.)  Without Swayze, this doesn’t really stand a chance.  To make matters worse, there are rumblings of a reboot, with surfing only being a part of the big-picture “world of x-treme sports and illegal street racing” backdrop.  Okay, first off, who still uses “x-treme” to describe ANYTHING?!  Secondly, did Hollywood follow my lead and ignore the plot of every Fast ‘N’ Furious released thus far?  Because it seems like they have that covered.  Yeah, the sad thing is this will happen and it will be terrible and I will cry.

48 Hrs. (Likelihood of awfulness: Average)

Welcome to...Jurassic Park!

Welcome to…Jurassic Park!

“Hey, asshole!” you shout at the computer. “They already DID a sequel to this!  It was Another 48 Hours and it was…well…” and then you stare at your shoes and male little back-and-forth sweeps in the dust with your toes.  (Why is there dust on the floor where your computer is located?  Jesus, Swiffer that shit!  Place looks like a pig sty!) Yes, there was a sequel, and yes it was lackluster.  Do it right, and this is an aging-cops-and-robbers buddy cop movie that could realistically revamp the whole formula.  And hopefully the screenwriters would twist things up and make it seem fresh: perhaps Eddie Murphy’s con-man Reggie Hammond is now a bail bondsman or something.  Perhaps a skip-trace bounty hunter (although the original movie worked because even though the premise was far-fetched, it wasn’t completely beyond belief.)  Nolte’s Jack Cates is retired, maybe working as a night security guy or something, and Eddie needs his help to track down some bad guy.  It would be fun, and both these actors (especially Murphy) could use a sure-fire hit.

The Last Starfighter (Likelihood of awfulness: Less Than You’d Think)

Yes, it's true.  Under that state-of-the-art makeup is the head bad-guy from Robocop.

Yes, it’s true. Under that state-of-the-art makeup is the head bad-guy from Robocop.

My alternate-timeline brother Vex Pop (not his real name) and I have already discussed this idea and think it’s pretty goddam good.  Hell, we almost have a treatment ready.  This would literally write itself.  In fact, GPA Entertainment has a project called “Starfighter” stuck in pre-production that many feel is either a reboot or sequel.    For those unfamiliar with the original The Last Starfighter, here’s the plot:  The Rylan Star League has come under attack by the Ko-Dan Armada.  To recruit new Starfighters, they plant coin-op arcade games throughout the galaxy and guess what?  Those games are actually training simulators, and when you break a certain score they come down from space to your trailer park and ask you to fight bad guys in a pretty awfully-rendered CGI spaceship! (Hey, it was 1984, and yes, they’d come a long way since TRON, but still had quite a way to go.)  Anyway, the kid plays the game,  goes to space, teams up with a reptilian co-pilot/navigator, and totally saves the universe.  Now, imagine that same scenario…but with Xbox Live.  Jesus, do you know how many kids play CoD on any given weeknight?  You could even have the recruiters themselves playing against everyone, anonymously gauging progress and gamer scores.  Hell, you could actually have an entire recruiting class from all over the world, Willy Wonka style.  Even better, maybe some are old guys like me and others are foul-mouthed little pricks who say terrible things about your mom, blacks, and gays (not always in the order) from the safety of their living room.  Watching these twerps react to a alien-filled space boot camp would be awesome.  Alex Rogan (the kid from the first movie) is now Admiral Rogan, and High Chancellor Grig has tasked him with outfitting a new class of Gunstar Starfighter with talented pilots because of some threat or another. Honestly, the bad guy is an afterthought, because the whole recruitment and training part of the film just sets up the epic finale.  Even better, what if some of the Starfighters/pilots are actually fighting the war from their living rooms in what they think is a giant massively multiplayer shooter? Drone tech has come a long way on this planet…why couldn’t an advanced spacefaring race translate that to home consoles?  In other words, some of those kids playing think it’s a big tournament, but IT’S TOTALLY REAL!!!  And finally, one of the best parts of this whole enterprise would be that for once… for ONCE…we’d have a movie tie-in video game that made complete sense.

The Ex-Box

When my original 1st-Gen Xbox 360 finally (after six years of faithful service, which is apparently a lot more than many of you got) succumbed to the RRoD, I went ahead and spent the dough for an arcade version (el cheapo) new slimline Xbox.  They promised that the overheating problem was solved (auto shut-down?  Really?  That’s your solution?) and since I had the Kinect and all the games the kids enjoy that got me through the cabin-fever-inducing Northern Indiana Winters, I really had no choice.  The unit was much quieter than the old, bulkier first-gen system and had dedicated Kinect plug-ins, etc.  It was like all my problems had disappeared forever in the glossy, black monolith of joy that sat beneath my television.

And then: tragedy.  I think, but cannot know for sure, that maybe we had a power surge during one of the many hard storms we got here in Ft. Wayne this last month.  The first thing I noticed was wrong was the internal flash memory was gone. Wiped.  Then the dang thing wouldn’t power on.  It made the trademark “ding” sound when I tried to start it manually.  But that was all the old gal had in her.  Luckily, I was under warranty.  I submitted my repair order online, printed out the prepaid shipping label, and sent the sucker off.  “Now we wait,” I told the kids.  The Xbox repair and service page estimated no more than fifteen total days turnaround.  The confirmation email from Xbox was dated April 4th.  Time was on my side, and I figured I’d be streaming Netflix and battling my way down Damavand Peak in no time.

I have rarely been so wrong.  So horribly, naively wrong.

I filed my repair order on the Xbox service website on April 4th.  Got a confirmation email and I was told that it should take no more than 15 days for complete turnaround.   No, really.  that’s what they said.  And, surprise!  My Xbox is scheduled to be delivered today. Today.  April 25th.  Okay, so…a little longer than promised.  Fine.  Like, four more days.  The problem is that I seriously doubt I’d be getting the damned thing at all if I hadn’t been pro-active.  The rest of this story is gonna play out sort of like “Memento.”  We’re going backwards to put the pieces together.  For example, here’s part of an online chat I had with Xbox support this past Monday…

You are now chatting with ‘Karen’.
Turner: Hello, human!
Karen: Thank you for contacting Xbox Customer Support. My name is Karen. Please give me a moment to review your concern. How are you doing today?
Karen: Hi there!Turner!
Turner: Splendid, except for being concerned for my poor Xbox out there in the world all alone…
Karen: Sorry to hear that, Turner. But let me just check what happened to your console.
Turner: My repair order number was/is as follows:
Turner: 1*******0
Karen: Okay. Let me just check this tracking number.
Turner: My FedEx tracking number (provided by you guys) is 0*************6
Karen: Okay. Thank you for that information, Turner.
Karen: I am going to check the tracking number. Thank you.
Karen: I’ve already checked the tracking number, Turner. It says here, it can’t be found.
Turner: I know. That’s why I’m asking you guys what’s up.
Turner: Was my unit shipped back to me or not?
Turner: And if not, why?
Karen: Hold on, let me just verify again.
Karen: Give me a few minutes, Turner. I am still checking here.
Karen: Thanks.
Turner: Mmmmkay.
Karen: Thank you.
Karen: Thank you for your patience, Turner.
Turner: Mmm-hmm!
Karen: I truly admire your patience and cooperation with this.
Karen: We received your console last April 17. You will received your console after 7 days.
Karen: So you can chat us back again tomorrow, Turner.
Karen: Just disregard the tracking number of Fedex, since it was already received by our service center.

Hey, great!  So…wait, what?  April 17th?  It took thirteen days to get from Ft. Wayne, Indiana to Lubbock, Texas?  Shit, I could’ve WALKED it there!  “There’s been a mistake,” I say to myself.  “I just chatted with ‘Vern’ form Xbox support on the 16th.  The day before ‘Karen’ showed my Xbox arriving.”  I mentioned this to ‘Karen.’

Karen: According to our system, it was received on April 17 only.
Turner: I have a transcript of a chat with a Microsoft rep dated April 16th
Karen: Yes. You will received your console tomorrow, Turner.

HUZZAH!!  I WILL RECEIVED MY CONSOLE TOMORROW!!  Which would’ve been the 21st!  Tuesday!  Obviously, ‘Karen’ must’ve misspoken.  Not the 21st.  The 24th is what she meant to say.  Forget ‘Memento.’  Let’s go deeper, ‘Inception’ style.  Let’s take a look at some of my chat with ‘Vern’ the week before…

Vern: I was looking at the repair status here and it’s still saying it’s still on transit to our repair center, however it was shipped from you since April 5, it’s already the 17th.
Vern: I was checking further with the documentation so it really took me a while.
Turner: Yeah, I wondered if someone just didn’t scan it in.
Turner: Thesite said average repair time was up to, what? Fifteen days turnaround?
Turner: My only concern is making sure you guys DO in fact, HAVE it.
Vern: Yes, Turner.
Vern: The maximum days would be around 15 but as early as today it should have arrived.
Vern: We still have 3 days though from the shipping date.
Vern: It maybe that the system here has not yet updated the information.
Vern: But rest assured Turner, you’ll receive an e-mail once the device is received.
Turner: You mean “officially” received as the FedEx invoice marks it as delivered on April 11th, correct?
Vern: Yes, Turner.

Ah-HA!!  ‘Vern’ knew what was up.  But ‘Karen’ had other information…

Karen: You will received the console anytime on April 24.
Karen: I am not showing April 11 on my system, Turner.
Turner: Shall I send you the entire transcript? From my April 16th chat?
Karen: The only date that I have here is April 17, that was the day that we received the console.
Turner: Was he lying to me, then?

WAS HE?!?!  Had ‘Vern’ been playing me from the BEGINNING?!  I had TRUSTED HIM!!  And THIS betrayal is how he repaid that trust?  Ooooo, ‘Vern!’  I dislike this strongly!  But ‘Karen’ knew exactly how I felt.

Karen: I am so sorry about this Turner.
Turner: I have been telling my kids that the xbox would be here “any day now”
Karen: I really do understand your situation right now.
Turner: Now I guess I’ll tell them that we are buying a PS3
Karen: And if I were you, I would feel the same way too.
Karen: So sorry for what happened, Turner.
Turner: That’s it? No other answers? Like, why you told me the Xbox was being shipped back to me and even gave me a FedEx tracking number?
Turner: Nothing?
Turner: Okay.
Turner: I guess you’re done now.
Turner: I’ll be sending myself a transcript of this useless chat and sharing it.
Karen: I really do understand you, Turner.
Karen: If you want to, you can check the status of the repair on this website.
Karen: click here
Turner: Oh, I have. It told me the xbox was being shipped out.
Turner: Looking at it right now. “REpair complete”
Karen: Since, it was April 22, you will receive the console on April 24 Turner.
Karen: Yes, it was completed. And it still needs to be shipped, Turner.
Karen: That’s why you will receive it on April 24.

Then, I hate to admit, I sort of…lost it.

Turner: NO! April 17th, I received an email saying the console had shipped. I don’t know who screwed up, but they should be held accountable.
Turner: Why would I get the email and then still not have it shipped until the 22nd?
Turner: Okay, you know what? Whatever.
Turner: I know what happened. You guys got it on the 4th but somebody forgot to scan it in or something
Turner: Then, when I complained on the 16th, repairs were begun
Turner: They told me it was being shipped on the 17th and sent me the tracking number
Turner: But again, someone screwed the pooch.
Turner: I guess it’s just tough luck
Turner: Seeya around, ‘Karen.’ If you see ‘Vern’ do something horrible in his coffee mug.
Karen: I really do apologize for the delay, Turner.
Turner: Oh, hey. Thanks.
Karen: Sorry again Turner.
Karen: We are really upset right now that this incident happened to you.
Turner: Is there anyone else I can complain to? I know you’re just trying to put out fires.
Turner: But like a supervisor or quality control person or Vern? Whoever Vern’s boss is, boy…
Turner: That guy. THAT guy should get an earful
Karen: I really do understand that Turner.
Turner: So, no?
Turner: What about…and I’m just spitballin’ here…like, do you know where Vern lives?
Karen: Yes. You can file a complaint, hold on let me just give you the steps.
Turner: Thanks.
Turner: But, yeah…friggin Vern.
Turner: And Vern’s boss.
Turner: Betcha he’s your boss too, huh?
Turner: Probably a douche, amirite?
Turner: Sexist of me to assume your boss is a “he” though.

Not very professional of me, but damn it, I was just DONE with this whole thing.  But then the plot thickened once again.  It turns out someone had other ideas…

Karen: Oh sorry for that Turner, I will inform my boss about the complaint rather.
Turner: Okay. So, not me. You. You’ll fill a complaint on my behalf.
Karen: Yes, Turner.
Karen: Again, I am so sorry for the inconvenience, Turner.
Turner: So you’ll just be like “oh, hey…some guy is upset that we lied to him and blah-blah-blah his kids are crying and at least some of the blame falls on Vern, cause SCREW THAT GUY.”
Turner: I imagine your office is a lot like the place where Archer works.
Turner: What fun you must have!
Turner: Okay. I really gotta go now.
Karen: I will inform my boss, that the previous representative that you’ve talked to didn’t provide you the right information, Turner.
Karen: I really do apologize for what happened.
Turner: But you sure did, didn’t ya? You betcha.
Karen: But thanks anyways for bringing this information to us.
Turner: You hooked me right up.
Turner: Yeah, seeya. And tell Vern to look over his shoulder.
Karen: Yes. Thank you for understanding.
Karen: You take care and have a great day ahead, Turner.
Turner: I don’t. But I’m sorta screwed either way, so yeah.
Turner: Bye.

Epilogue:  The FedEx tracking site says that the package was delivered today at 10:07 am.  So, there it sits.  Finally.  The invoice says that it was shipped from ZAPOPAN, JA  MX on Monday.  The day I spoke with ‘Karen,’ meaning that it was there, ready, during our chat.  Patiently waiting in a repair facility in Mexico, apparently.  I’m willing to bet that as SOON as our chat concluded, ‘GLADoS’ (excuse me, ‘Karen’) called someone up and the thing got put on a truck to Laredo, Texas then eventually to Ft. Wayne.  From Mexico to my front door in three business days (it was almost closing time when I had my chat with ‘Karen.’)  Three.  That, to me, is the saddest part.  Say it left my house on the 5th.  It’s in Microsoft’s hands by the 8th.  Let’s say three days to do the repair. Then three days to get back home.  That puts it in my hands again on the 14th.  Imagine how many more headshots I’d have gotten on Kharg Island I’d have had.  Man…if only. If only.