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Be Kind Rewind – The Good, the Bad, the Sequel

By Michael Nazarewycz

If there’s one thing Hollywood loves, it’s a successful film. If there’s another thing Hollywood loves, it’s exploiting a successful film by trying to turn it into a franchise. For all of the cool things we remember and love about the 1980s, the decade was also responsible for handing us the sequel. Oh sure, sequels actually date back to the 1930s, but the 1980s certainly perfected them.

Two films from the 1970s that went on to become cultural phenomena – Grease (1978) and Saturday Night Fever (1977) – got 1980s-style sequelizations ... for better or worse. Or just for worse.

 

Grease 2 (1982)Grease 2
1982
Starring Maxwell Caulfield, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Adrian Zmed
Directed by Patricia Birch

Rydell High is once again the backdrop for the story of love between kids from opposite sides of the tracks. This time, though, the genders are reversed, and the wholesome foreigner is the male – Michael Carrington (Caulfield) – who falls for tough chick Stephanie Zinone (Pfeiffer). While it might be hard to believe that Adrian Zmed is the leader of a gang, it’s even harder to believe that the same franchise that brought us “Summer Lovin’” and “Hopelessly Devoted To You” now bring us ... “Reproduction” (and they ain’t singin’ about Xerox).

Staying Alive (1983)Staying Alive
1983
Starring John Travolta, Cynthia Rhodes, and Finola Hughes
Directed by Sylvester Stallone

Several years after the events in Saturday Night Fever, dancer Tony Manero (Travolta) is trying to make it as a dancer on Broadway. But the more things change ... well, you know. Tony has a sweetheart of a gal in front of him (Rhodes), but he lusts after that which he does not have (Hughes). Sound familiar? Sly Stallone’s brother, Frank, was nominated for a Golden Globe for his musical contribution, “Far From Over.” He lost to a much more popular and successful song, "Flashdance ...What a Feeling.”

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