Sequels Symposium I: The BeginningA reflection on Hollywood's obsession with sequels and a candid guide to making 'em better

UNLIKE FINE WINE, some things just don’t age well at all. A glass of milk on a warm day; clothing from H&M; that hot, cigarette-smoking chick from your high school—each may have it’s moment as the object of your desire, but it’s all downhill from there. Perhaps more disappointing than any of these haggardly maturing archetypes, though, is the foul stench of a slowly dying movie franchise.

There isn’t much worse than helplessly watching as a once well-spun story spins listlessly into superficiality and eventually irrelevance; it’s one of the most frustrating aspects of being confined to the consumer side of the entertainment industry. Yet it happens again and again to far too many good films. How many times have you slunk down in your cushioned seat at the theater, hand over your eyes in empathetic embarrassment for the veritable train wreck in progress onscreen in front of you? And as you commiserate with the actor whose career the film will surely kill, you can’t help but think, Damn, even I could’ve done a better job than THIS.

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