Staying Alive (1983)
Sylvester Stallone directed, co-wrote, and produced Staying Alive, the sequel to John Travolta’s blockbuster disco classic, Saturday Night Fever. That’s not a weird joke setup, that is a thing that happened in the ‘80s. While ABBA returns to make a decent soundtrack, brother Frank Stallone clawed his way to a Golden Globe nomination for the catchy piece of crap tune “Far from Over.”
The movie is forgettable garbage, a piece of plastic without any of the emotion of the original. There is only one piece of trivia truly worthy to note: Travolta, as the disco duke Tony Manero, fixes his hopes for his future by taking over the male lead in a Broadway production. The name of the production is, we shit thee not, Satan’s Alley. The fake trailer of the same name is vastly better. Staying Alive, unfortunately, made a bazoodle of bucks in 1983. Why, God, why?
Zoomers, heed thine elders and repeat not our mistakes: in the ’90s, book publishers went hog wild churning out heavily belated sequels to classic works without even deigning to add zombies. Don’t let this happen to you. While a few of these professional fanfics turned out pretty good, readable was about the best you could hope for. Thus came Scarlett, written in 1991, as a sequel to the novel (and Oscar-winning film) Gone With the Wind.
As was the style at the time, a high budget miniseries hit the airwaves three years later, featuring Bond veteran Timothy Dalton as Rhett Butler and Joanne Whaley-Kilmer, the swordswoman from Willow, as Scarlett O’Hara. The miniseries is beautiful to look at, with Irish scenery and luscious costuming. That’s what won it a handful of awards. The story is margarine on stale Wonder Bread. With a little sprinkle, you could’ve managed a decent fairy bread. But no, only greasy sadness.
My Summer Story (1994)
Jean Shepherd, the original author of what became A Christmas Story, made it big on radio with his wild tales of childhood. A predecessor of Adrien Cronauer, the bombastic radio guy Robin Williams played in Good Morning Vietnam, children’s poet Shel Silverstein later convinced Shepherd to write his tales down for us auditory-processing-deficient goons. They were a smash hit, and director Bob Clark’s adaptation of his Christmas trial is now a comfy holiday staple.
There’s a lot of anecdotes in Shepherd’s armory, and, in 1994, Bob Clark took another run at capturing that Red Ryder BB gun magic with My Summer Story. Considering that if you google “Christmas Story sequel” you get either an even worse made for TV movie or the decent Christmas Story Christmas, you can see how that worked out.